Police Report #7 – Gotham and The Flash

It’s time for another police report on the police and crime scene work depicted on Gotham and The Flash. For those new to this column and wondering why I’m qualified to write it, I am a full-time police officer with nearly twenty years experience and a State of Indiana certified crime scene investigator with nearly eight years experience in crime scene work.

This installment takes us to the finales of Gotham and The Flash.

Warning: Spoilers ahead. Proceed at your own risk.


Episode #19 (“Beasts of Prey”): There isn’t much to complain about in this episode regarding the police work because there isn’t much of it. It’s mostly more Fish Mooney nonsense. Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and Bullock (Donal Logue) do some good follow-up work while looking into the Ogre (Milo Ventimiglia).

GOTHAM: Selina (Camren Bicondova, L)  and Bruce (David Mazouz, R) in the “Beasts of Prey” episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, April 13 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jessica Miglio/FOX

Selina: “So, yeah, you might as well learn to intimidate junkies now. You’ll be doing a lot of that when you put on the cowl.” Bruce: “You’re probably right. Do you have a spare pair of brass knuckles?”

Episode #20 (“Under the Knife”): More good follow-ups by Gordon and Bullock in this episode, but the Ogre case is ridiculous. Eleven victims, all of them belonging to upper class rich families, and no one noticed they’re missing?

If the Ogre comes after the wives or girlfriends of any detective who investigates the murders, why not assign an unmarried/unattached detective to the case? Better yet, call in the FBI, who love serial killer cases and have no loved ones in the city limits. The FBI specializes in finding serial killers and would’ve probably had the Ogre in custody before Bullock finished his third cup of coffee in a homicide scene.

Oh yes, and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz), the future Batman, witnesses Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) murder a guy and keeps his mouth shut about it? We’re supposed to believe he’d do this, and that the future Catwoman is a murderer?

Episode #21 (“The Anvil or the Hammer”): So Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) drags two trunks of body parts through the station and no one notices the smell?

Harvey blows his cover far too soon at the sex club where he’s trying to find a lead on the Ogre. Once he gets one, however, he and Gordon go to the Ogre’s apartment without backup. This is idiotic, but that’s nothing new for the Gotham City Police Department. Heck, Gordon and Bullock went to take a bomber into custody without even a bomb disposal team in episode #9, so why should I be surprised they’d go after a man who has successfully killed eleven women and avoided capture without a SWAT team or even a patrol officer to cover the front door? Where are Montoya (Victoria Cartagena) and Allen (Andrew Stewart-Jones) during all this?


Note the large empty space behind Bullock where at least three other officers (two back-up and one to cover the OPEN DOOR BEHIND HIM). It’s no wonder Bullock looks like he’s about to wet himself.

Just in case this tactical error didn’t occur to you, I hope you noticed it when they did it again as they walk into Barbara’s (Erin Richards) apartment later thinking the Ogre is going to be there.

Episode #22 (“All Happy Families Are Alike”): The main error (only in terms of police work, since that’s the scope of this column. This column would be several pages long if I go into all the ways this finale was bad.) in this episode is that Barbara is just allowed to walk around like her kidnapping and witnessing of her parents’ murder in the last episode wasn’t a big deal (which it wasn’t, since the writers worked so hard to make the audience apathetic about her and her parents).

Anyone going through a kidnapping and being at the scene of a double homicide wouldn’t be back alone in her apartment the next night. She’d be under supervision by a family member, friend, mental health professional, and possibly multiple detectives until she was absolutely cleared of wrongdoing in the deaths of her parents. She’d be subject to multiple interviews, DNA swabs, fingerprinting, and a background investigation. Yes, this would be done discreetly and with minimal mental stress, but she wouldn’t be eating cake with Leslie (Morena Baccarin) in her apartment, and at least one patrol unit would be watching the place to see if she attempted to flee the city, state, or country before the investigation was completed.

gotham ep22_scaled

Barbara: “Don’t worry, Leslie. I’m not going to hurt you. I’m going to use this on the writers for treating me like crap all season.”

That’s the end of Gotham’s first season…Thank heavens. It’s one of the worst-written shows I’ve seen.

The Flash

Episode #18 (“All Star Team Up”): Why, why, why do the writers on The Flash and Gotham insist on giving their actors drinks in crime scenes? Eddie (Rick Cosnett) walks under the tape to get to the crime scene involving the dead woman in her car while carrying a cup of coffee. The show can’t decide if Eddie is a good detective or a buffoon.

The Flash -- "All Star Team Up" -- Image FLA118A_0157b -- Pictured: Rick Cosnett as Detective Eddie Thawne -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Eddie: “Hey, I just got a call-out to a scene. Can I get a cup of coffee to go?”

And since when is the Atom (Brandon Routh) Iron Man?

Episode #19 (“Who Is Harrison Wells?”): The STAR Labs crew investigates a series of crimes committed by Everyman (Martin Novotny), who can take the shape of anyone he touches. At one point, the crew pulls up the Central City Police’s files of cases in the last few years involving people swearing innocence despite there being video surveillance of them at the scene. Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) does this in seconds. No, this doesn’t happen. You can’t just type “People who said they were innocent” in a search engine in the CCPD report management system and get a page of results in two seconds. In fact, the amount of results you’d get would be staggering with that search parameter. This task would take many hours, if not a day or two, to finish.

Everyman impersonates Eddie at one point and shoots two officers (and when did he get Eddie’s gun? Did I miss that?). Iris (Candice Patton) figures it out and uses video footage of the Flash/Barry (Grant Gustin) fighting Everyman (during which he becomes several people, including Eddie) to prove Everyman impersonated Eddie and shot the cops.

That’s nice, but it doesn’t completely exonerate Eddie and doesn’t exonerate all the people he impersonated in previous crimes at all. Why? Because the Flash crew stuff Everyman in their toilet-free super-prison and never bring him to trial. The Central City prosecutor buys that Everyman did this stuff, but apparently never thinks to ask, “Hey, where is this guy? We need statements about the stuff he did so we can get all those people he framed out of jail.”

And don’t get me started on Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) discovering the body of the real Dr. Wells and telling the Starling City Police Captain (Paul Blackthorne) not to mention it to anyone. Please. The best and safest way to handle that situation would be to expose it to the world and thus force the Reverse-Flash into the open and upset his plans.

The-Flash-Episode 19_scaled

Joe: “Don’t tell anyone about this major problem with the writing.” Star City PD Captain: “You’re kidding, right? You really think people won’t notice?”

Episode #20 (“The Trap”): A good chunk of this episode revolves around getting Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) to confess to killing Barry’s mother. Barry and Joe somehow think this will solve everything.

I mentioned this in the last Police Report, but Dr. Wells’ confession will be tossed out of court because no one’s going to believe it. Barry will have to reveal his identity in any kind of court hearing in which this confession would be entered as evidence. Barry and Joe apparently haven’t thought of this, and why Joe hasn’t figured out that Wells’ attorney is going to push the insanity defense to the moon is beyond me.


Barry: “Wait, this thing knows THE FUTURE? Why don’t we just ask it how I beat the Reverse Flash?” Cicso: “Because the writers have made us idiots.”

Episode #21 (“Grodd Lives”): A series of gold robberies has been happening in town, and Joe rides with a special team on one transport hidden in an ice cream truck. The truck is attacked with a land mine and then by an armored suspect who shoots multiple officers and then advances on Joe. Joe tells the man to drop his gun and pleads, “Don’t make me do this!” – as in “Don’t make me shoot you.”

My wife heard this and said, “You’re more than justified.”

She’s right, of course (and usually is). The suspect, who turns out to be a hypnotized General Eiling (Clancy Brown), has already shot multiple officers in front of Joe and then advances on him. Joe should’ve lit up Eiling as soon as he had a clear shot. The hesitation is (1) stupid, (2) deadly, and (3) out of character. In the previous episode, Joe shot Everyman without hesitation when he was about to kill Cisco. So Joe becomes hesitant on the draw in just one episode, and after he just saw fellow officers gunned down?

Finally, how is Joe going to explain the cases involving stolen gold since Eiling is put in the “I hope you showered before you got here” prison at STAR Labs and later released by Barry? Those gold thefts will remain cold cases forever.

Episode #22 (“Rogue Air”): Finally, someone calls out (and the writers finally admit) the idiocy of the STAR Labs “We don’t even give you a bed” prison. Cecille (Danielle Nicolet, and why isn’t she in every episode? Zowie!), the deputy prosecutor, learns of the prison when Joe asks for the CCPD’s help in transporting the prisoners. She rightly refuses and tells Joe he and his pals are involved in illegal imprisonment and human trafficking. I’m glad this part of the show is no more, although I can’t help but think it may return in season 2.

flash 22_scaled

Five people in desperate need of a toilet.

Episode #23 (“Fast Enough”): There wasn’t any police work in this episode on which to comment, but the finale does leave some big questions regarding police work that will need answered in Season 2. The biggest one is how will Barry, Joe, and the gang explain the disappearances of Eddie and Dr. Wells? My guess is the black hole above Central City will serve as a convenient dumping ground for the gang (and the writers) as they can all attest they saw Eddie sucked up into it along with (we must presume) scores of others. They can also say Dr. Wells was caught in it. It doesn’t solve the disappearance of Iris’ co-worker, however. That case, and many others, are still open files at the Central City Police Department.

The Flash -- "Fast Enough" -- Image FLA123A_0257b -- Pictured (L-R): Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, Robbie Amell as Ronnie, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon, Victor Garber as Professor Stein, and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Professor Stein: “We can use the singularity to get rid of every unresolved subplot this season! It’s genius!”

What did you think of both finales? What did you think of the police and crime scene work? Let us know in the comments section. Stay safe.

About the author

Nik Havert