Weekend Herald - Canvas
Film, TV and Culture
There are few things in this world more exciting than the idea that a psychic could actually solve a crime.
Just look at Sensing Murder. If Kelvin and Deb ever provided a single lead to help solve just one cold case, the show would be bigger than Country Calendar. And rightly so.
As it stands, their current 0.0 per cent success rate leaves a bit to be desired. If we want to see the job done right we’re going to have to turn to the realm of genre fiction, and new Lightbox (via NBC) series The Inbetween.
The show is set in a world in which not only are psychics definitely real but where the police take everything they say completely seriously. I’d go so far as to say never in the history of psychics on TV had a bigger kook been taken more seriously by so many detectives than Cassie in The Inbetween.
Cassie’s powers mean she sees clues in the form of violent otherworldly visions that can strike any time, anywhere. She has one at the supermarket that’s so gruesome and scary she immediately buys two big bottles of booze then goes home and drinks until she passes out on the couch.
In the morning an annoying little girl comes and wakes her up. “What did I do last night?” she asks. “Did I drunk-dial an old boyfriend or get into a Twitter war?” Dialogue is not one of this show’s strengths.
“You talked about Shannon Bell,” her young friend replies eerily. “The missing girl.”
It turns out this annoying little girl is actually a ghost. In addition to psychic business, Cassie also sees dead people, like in The Sixth Sense, and has to complete little side missions where she helps them do what they gotta do to pass through to the other side.
But back to Shannon Bell. Cassie tells the detective on the case — who also happens to be her adoptive gay dad — about her vision. There was a freezer on the beach, a woman with her eyes cut out, a “Peter Rabbit” song.
Sounds like absolute nonsense, but next minute they’ve found Shannon Bell and what do ya know? She’s had her eyes cut clean out.
This procedural crime-solving element moves along at a comically fast speed, and always follows the same pattern. Cassie will say something completely cuckoo to her dad and his equally credulous detective partner, then five minutes later they find out it all makes perfect sense.
“You see that?” one of them says a bit later on. “It’s a freezer,” the other replies. “Yeah … on a beach.”
Like a lot of genre fiction, the writing is aware of, and embraces, the show’s inherent ridiculousness in a way that makes you the idiot if you can’t just take it for what it is. And once you realise what
The Inbetween is — fan fiction ebook-quality writing with a Scandi-noir visual aesthetic — it is kind of a hoot to watch.
Look — until Kelvin and Deb can get it together, Cassie’s the best crime-solving psychic we’ve got.