by L.J. Sellers, author of provocative mysteries & thrillers
I’ve been watching The Blacklist because I’m a James Spader fan from way
back. The show has a variety of plot-hole problems, which I mostly
ignore because it's fast and engaging. But recently an episode irritated me so much, it made really
dislike the character. But it’s not her fault, of course.
First, it wasn’t rational human behavior. The bastard
would have killed her in a heartbeat, so the only move to ensure
survival is to shoot him dead. No conversation necessary. It also went
against law enforcement training. They train for shooter/siege
scenarios, and once they’ve determined the person in front of them isn’t an
innocent bystander, which takes only a second, they shoot. Their job is to
protect human beings—citizens or other law enforcement personnel—from
imminent danger, and they are trained to shoot to kill in those
circumstances. I've volunteered to practice with law enforcement groups in those scenarios, so I've seen the training. They even handcuff dead suspects.
I know Keen killed one of the invaders earlier, but she
also waited and gave him too many chances, including standing way too damn close.
Law enforcement training also teaches cops and agents to keep twenty
feet back from an armed suspect until their weapon is on the ground and
kicked away. (Which doesn't make for good video, I know.) Not only was the whole scene stupid and unreal, Agent Keen
has been reprimanded for that kind of bullshit before.
But she’s just a
character, an actress doing her job. I blame the writers. More
important, I think it’s sexist. Would they write that kind of crap for a
male agent? I don’t think so. Male protagonists are allowed to shoot
the bad guys. Sometimes, we see a male lead knock people out, take their
weapons, and secure them somehow. But that’s usually in a milder
one-on-one scenario. In the case of an assault on an FBI building with
multiple shooters, with several agents already murdered, I don’t believe
writers would have forced a male agent to act so weak and stupid.
not going to give up on the show—because I still love James Spader—but I am going to write the
producers and let them know what I think. For the record, the female FBI
agents in my stories would have shot the man dead, as would have I. What do you think? Was it sexist
and stupid? Or just lazy and stupid?