Over the summer break, I spent time watching two great TV crime drama series.
Not the loud American ones just two strong English programmes; Vera and Touch of Frost. American TV crime drama programmes always seem to be noisy with lots of commotion.
They have good storylines too but their detectives are mostly young, good looking and always wear guns under their jackets.
Just the opposite of Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope and Detective Inspector Jack Frost. They look every bit older, weathered and experienced coppers.
There's clearly no substitute for the experience they bring to their work. And that's what I found fascinating watching both series over the summer break.
I rarely watch TV crime drama programmes. I have never found someone getting murdered something I want to watch, especially as many of the victims are women.
When I have watched, and it gets to the gory bits, I peer through my fingers pressed to my face.
For a while, I was at a loss to understand why this sudden urge to watch these crime series. It isn't just the very believable acting skills of Brenda Blethyn as Vera Stanhope and Sir David Janson as Jack Frost that I admire so much, I think it's the artistry of the detectives painstakingly building their case.
Slowly and thoroughly, plugging away at it. Of course, it wouldn't be an interesting TV drama if it was all straightforward. There are the clues; some real and others dead ends leading nowhere, an assortment of characters; shady ones and others seemingly respectable. Hours of solid, grunt detective work.
Vera and Frost are believable police detectives. They show that police work really does come down to methodically building a case that leads to an arrest.
It's the hard slog, leg work that I admire. In the police station the evidence board with photos, timelines, descriptions of suspects, information provided by witnesses, and sometimes with string marking connections that help to clarify thinking.
The detectives and their teams constantly scrutinise the board "the key is here somewhere", "what are we missing", "let's go over it again".
Adding any new information that will finally lead to an arrest. I admire the police work with the many twists and turns.
The writers know their stuff. There are some retired police officers who become successful detective novel writers.
One I read about recently didn't wait for retirement he started his writing career while a serving officer. I don't think there would any shortage of material after a policing career of 20 or 30 years. But one thing TV programmes like Vera and Frost demonstrate is that to get an arrest and successful prosecution it always comes down to fundamental basic police work.
I have no idea of the methods employed by our police officers when undertaking criminal investigations. Their work covers a wide range of criminal activity including murder; cybercrimes; forensic investigations; fraud; family and sexual violence; crimes against property; narcotics; cold cases and gang violence.
I presume they work along similar lines to what we see in Vera and Frost. Follow all leads, including the valuable information provided by members of the public and doggedly, undertake the long, hard slog that is a criminal investigation.
Both programmes Vera and Frost, make police work believable. You can feel their frustration and anger when things don't go smoothly.
How they sometimes run foul of their superior officers and make caustic remarks to fellow officers. I think TV programmes often embellish their stories and lead roles for good ratings and a continuing series.
Vera and Frost showcase the best of British acting with compelling characters and superb performances. What I take away from the programmes is the sheer sustained commitment police officers must have, when it comes to solving crime.
The pressure to work faster and get results must be intense. But without painstaking police work, a conviction and successful prosecution will not happen.
Vera and Frost show us what we never see. Behind the scenes criminal investigation work.
New Zealand will have its own Vera and Frost. They are working away daily on our behalf. Successfully doing the hard yards.