Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

The Subliminal Reassurances of Procedural Dramas

Bones – Don’t worry, if you get killed and all that’s left of you are your bones, a brilliant but socially awkward woman and a vampire with a soul will solve the crime using a combination of 3D imaging and sexual tension.

Cold Case – Don’t worry, if you died a long time ago, a malnourished woman in blue light will catch the bad guy through the power of flashbacks.

Criminal Minds – Don’t worry, if you’re killed by a serial killer, a team of oddballs led by a brilliant but broken man will catch him with a combination of psychology, visual effects, and Bartlett’s Quotations. With guest appearances by the cocky agent guy, the computer-bound nerd girl, and so-smart-he’s-practically-autistic kid.

Crossing Jordan – Don’t worry, if you’re dead and lying on a metal table, the sexy coroner will find the clue everyone else missed and break the rules by going out on the town to catch the bad guy with a combination of leather pants, lipstick, and slow motion.

CSI – Don’t worry, if you die in a horribly improbable accident, a team of odd but beautiful people led by a brilliant but broken man will figure it out using a variety of super cool tools and groovy music. Just remember to leave some skin under your fingernails and listen to The Who. Only applies to residents of Las Vegas, Miami, and New York City.

House – Don’t worry, if you’re incredibly, implausibly sick, a team of doctors led by a brilliant but broken man, who is also a grumpy drug addict, will save you … but only if you’re interesting enough to convince him to.

Law and Order – Don’t worry, if you’re shot and killed in New York, old, grumpy, alcoholic detectives will stand over you drinking coffee and they’ll make at least one pun. After a half hour, your killer will be handed over to an old, grumpy, alcoholic district attorney with an astoundingly beautiful assistant who will bring them to justice … unless it’s sweeps, then they might lose or get hit by a car or something.

Law and Order: Criminal Intent – Don’t worry, if your store is robbed by people in funny masks who turn out to be connected to the mob, a brilliant but broken man with a beautiful sidekick will find the culprits by psyching them out until they cry … unless the detective cocks his head so much that it falls right off.

Law and Order: Special Victims Unit – Don’t worry, if you’re horribly raped, a former rap star and a paranoid UFO freak will get the guy who did it. Be sure to cry a lot – it helps motivate them.

Medium – Don’t worry, if you’re dead and gone, a brilliant but whiny woman with psychic powers will dream about you and solve your problems for you, unless she’s too distracted by her whiny husband and whiny kids. Just die soon, because this show won’t be around too long.

Monk – Don’t worry, if you’re the victim of a crime in some parallel universe San Francisco where it’s never foggy, a brilliant but broken man with an annoying sidekick will solve the crime, so long as it doesn’t involve stepping on a crack or getting dirty or pretty much going outside and doing anything at all. Special guest appearance by cops so inept they make Car 54 spin in its grave.

NCIS – Worry.

Numb3rs – Don’t worry, math will save you, or at least catch your killer, so long as it can be explained on a chalkboard. With special guest appearances by the kindly retired dad, the so-smart-he’s-practically-autistic kid, and Joel from Alaska, who, it turns out, was really an FBI agent all along.

Without A Trace – Don’t worry, if you disappear at a moment of extreme stress, a team of beautiful people, some of whom are having sex with each other, led by a brilliant but broken man, will find you. Just make sure you live in New York and don’t stray too far.

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Hi, I’m Derek. I used to make websites. Now I grow flowers and know things. I’m mostly harmless. More.