This is a personal post. Nothing written here is considered a fact or writing advice. Just speaking my thoughts.
Lying as a way to move the story along or create tension is the one trope that I really hate.
Lying is pretty crappy in general but in TV and films, writers often use lies to extend drama and tension.
I however find this idiotic in a lot of cases, and lazy as a writing technique. I’ll explain with my own hypothetical TV synopsis!
Sally and John are partners working a serial killer case. Sally has been receiving threatening letters from the killer at her home. When John sees that Sally is scared to go home (her husband is out of town) and he asks her why, she says that nothing is wrong, she’s just used to having her husband there and misses him.
After Sally’s husband returns, John visits Sally’s home to have dinner with her and her husband. While he is using the restroom, he finds a ripped letter in the trash there. His detectives natural curiosity can’t be contained… He reads the snippets and realizes his partner is being stalked by the killer. 2020 (c) Tiffany Christina Lewis
So now! In the show there are a few things that can happen. John will either confront his partner, leading to trust issues, or he’ll say nothing. He may confront her at dinner with her husband or when they have alone time. He might even sneak and tell her husband about the trouble, just so he can be prepared and protect his wife.
This will then lead to Sally having a reaction. Will she be glad to finally have the secret off her chest, or will she be mad that her privacy was violated by her partner. Will she act like everything is okay, or will she finally show how terrified she really is?
So now! Here is why I find all this lying useless. Sally could still be terrified, relieved, or acting like everything is okay WITHOUT lying. Lying is just a quick and dirty way for the writer to extend the story. Not to mention, these lies OFTEN lead to more trouble. Instead of John being prepared with backup when they think the serial killer will come for Sally, he has no idea that a killer is coming and now Sally is trapped by the killer in her home and has to figure out how to save herself. Sally could die. For sure.
The section I wrote above could technically span 3-4 episodes and this tension is what the writers want.
I haaaaaaate it. Not only is it an over used trope in horror, drama and crime TV but it is also just not necessary. I’d really like to see more creative ways of creating tension as well as some pure partnerships in these situations.
What about you?? Which tropes drive you batty?