Tonight, we'll be looking at the three heroes of "A Shot In The Dark" to see just how heroic they were and whether there were some questionable actions requiring a demerit against them. I'll just say at the outset that kudos may be hard to come by and slight. Basically, the resolution to the mystery and the killer's identity is down to a Deus Ex Visitor and has nothing to do with our various sleuth's skills.
Ken Harris: Ken is a college student whose roommate apparently commits suicide. It soon becomes obvious however, that poor Byron was actually murdered! And he won't be the only student who gets kacked. Well, Ken isn't going to stand for this; And, since the police are even more clueless than usual, no one thinks anything of his going off and Scooby Doo-ing.
Joseph Harris: Ken's father just happens to come into town in time for all of this murder business. And since he's interested in criminals, why not jump into Ken's investigation, totally take it over and then freeze out the actual police? Seems reasonable to me.
Jean Coates: Poor Jean. Byron was her brother, you see. And the shock of his suicide is hard enough to bare, but then she finds out that he was actually murdered and then tossed out a window by his neck to fake the suicide. Ugh. And I'm afraid it isn't the only surprise for Jean as she's pulled into the investigation and has attempt made on her life, too.
Our Characters Shine!
Ken: Well, Ken is more helped out by the script than actual doing any brilliant sleuthing. He does get Lillian, who we're given hints is something of a shut-in, to travel with him to the college town where her son died. Since she's the Deus above, this is a good thing and shows him to be very convincing. I'll issue a half-kudo.
Joe: Um. I actually don't think that Joseph Harris did a damned thing. He was all over the place, asking questions and interviewing people, but we're only told at the very end after the mystery is revealed via Lillian that "oh, yeah, I had guessed the whole thing anyway". I don't see how I can issue a kudo for this man.
Jean: I'll give Jean a full kudo for not panicking when she's confronted by the killer and holds onto an all important letter, while fooling the murderer into thinking she dropped it. Really, she just dropped the empty envelope, which the killer in his/her haste fell for.
Our Characters Have A Lot Of Nerve!
Kenneth: The amount of time that Ken spends avoiding the police with valuable information really irks me. But, at least it's a consistent trait among his family...
Joseph: ... As Joseph thinks nothing of directly telling the police that they may not have evidence because... uh... he's a big-city lawyer and he says so, I guess. He actually comes across as an egotistical ass.
Jeanine: So, I know that Jean is in shock over her brother's death. But I find it nearly unforgivable that Mrs. Coates finds out her son was murdered, not dead by suicide, from Ken. I cannot understand why Jean -- her daughter -- would fail to mention this to her at some point. Now, due to the grief, I'm willing to only issue half-demerit.
I'm also issuing a demerit to side character, Tom -- one of the college students. In order to make himself feel more important he deliberately withholds a vital clue to the murderer's identity "until later" ... which of course ends in the information being lost, thanks to his getting himself killed for his big mouth. IDIOT
I'm also issuing a half-demerit to Miss Case for not informing her boss, Mrs. Coates, that her son did not commit suicide, but was murdered before Kenneth got to break that information. It's possible that Miss Case felt that this should be something coming from Jean [and she's right, of course] but you'd think that maybe she'd bring up what Lillian will be going through to her daughter at some point and then take it on herself to inform Mrs. Coates when Jean replies she can't be bothered to tell her mother any updates about her son's case.
And, I'm going to have to issue a demerit to the police department also for not informing Lillian Coates that her son was murdered, rather than committing suicide as she had been informed. It's ridiculous that Lillian finds out completely by happenstance.
Give a look at the review, or even better catch this murder mystery yourself, and share if you'd have given Joe a kudo down in comments.