Viewer Profile: The Sherlock and the Moriarty

So, who’s up for watching a crime mystery show? There’s Bones, Criminal Minds, NCIS, COPS, CSI (of the Vegas, New York, and Miami varieties), and if you don’t like any of those options, the list goes on and on. We could always go a bit old school and dig up episodes of X-Files, Hawaii Five-O or Murder, She Wrote.

Sherlock and Watson

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Frankly, there can never be enough murder mystery shows. As long as there are sick, demented bad guys out there making the world a darker place, there will be a group of justice-seeking heroes hunting them down – and a team of cameramen right behind them.

There’s just something about the murder mystery genre that has captured the attention of audiences the world over. The very fact that it’s an entire genre (up there with comedy and supernatural teen romance) holds testament to the fact that the murder mystery show has its own devoted group of followers who are ready to chomp on some pop corn and chase serial killers. While viewers are drawn to this genre for their love of the hunt and the twisted mind games between the criminals and the people who chase them, every viewer has his own M.O. (that’s Modus operandi, for all of you FBI cadets who have yet to catch your first serial killer.)

The first type is the Moriarty. These are the TV viewers who adore dark, gloomy programming. These are the type of people who love to see blood and guts, murder and mayhem — the more sick and twisted the better! Are you the Moriarty type? Don’t feel guilty if you are. We’ve all got a darker side, the only question is if you’re willing to indulge it.

Hannibal the Movie

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Do you have a thing for slasher flicks and psychological thrillers? Did you get chills when Hannibal manipulated the innocent, wide-eyed FBI agent? Did you bite your nails in anticipation when you watched the murderer of Se7en reveal his plan to the detectives? I hate to break it to you, but you just might be a Moriarty.

For you, the great thing about murder shows is that it introduces you to a new lunatic every week. This guy burns people alive because he thinks he’s cleansing them; that guy abducts children and hides them in a cabin; this woman murders her husbands in cold blood and collects a hefty insurance check. You like to explore the depravity of the human mind and learn just how demented your fellow humans can become. It’s like watching a train wreck – you just can’t tear your eyes away.

American Psycho

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It might be weird that we’re so drawn to the bad guy, but it’s the writers’ fault for always making the evil characters so much more interesting than the good guys! So when you find yourself secretly cheering for the murderer, hoping he gets away so that he can kill again, be comforted by the fact that there are other Moriarty viewers out there, just like you, who crave the darker side of TV murder shows.

But every bad guy needs his counterpart, right? The foil to the Moriarty, of course, is the Sherlock. Sherlocks are on the side of the cops, the FBI, and crime scene investigators. Crime shows present Sherlock viewers with intricate puzzles to be solved where lives hang in the balance. Can you figure out the riddle before the nefarious serial killer claims another innocent?

Grisham CSI Las Vegas

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Sometimes you can, and sometimes you can’t, but you just feel compelled to play the bad guy’s twisted mind game. You can’t help but analyze every little clue, look for patterns in the criminal’s behavior, and examine every crime scene like a true FBI agent.

You might be a Sherlock if you’ve ever calmly stated, “He’s the murderer” in the middle of a program, much to the frustration of those around you. And when your friends and family ask you how you could possibly know the answer, you smile with a sense of accomplishment and explain quite logically how this character must be the killer. And usually, you’re right.

Monk TV Series

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So, which are you: the Moriarty or the Sherlock? If you watch crime shows, then you’re bound to be one of the two. Do the horrendous and unspeakable crimes of serial killers get your heart pumping? Or do the odd clues left at the crime scene leave you scratching your chin in thought?