One of the nice things about the arrival of streaming services is that we now get to see many programs produced in countries where the language is other than English. I tend to watch a lot of police procedurals, a genre that seems to be very popular worldwide as can be seen from the many mini-series that are being shown in a variety of languages. (Spoiler alert: In what follows, there is a spoiler for a minor plot line in the Spanish (Galician) series Bitter Daisies that can be seen on Netflix.)
In these shows, there are of course human corpses galore but one expects them so their appearance does not really disturb unless the filmmakers go out of their way to show blood and gore and violence, which, fortunately few of them do. Most often, the dead bodies are just briefly seen in the crime scene or in the morgue or the autopsy room.
What I dislike is when animals, especially pets, get killed in a show, especially when it is not necessary to advance the plot. For example, in the series Bitter Daisies, a police detective arrives in a small town to investigate a missing young woman. (Abused, missing, and dead young women and children seem to be the main plot device in many recent stories.) On her first day there, she notices a sign posted on a lamppost for a lost dog and later that day finds the dog outside her hotel. She takes the dog to her room and calls the number listed to say that she has the dog and will return him, much to the joy of the little girl whose pet the dog was and who was naturally very upset by his disappearance. So far, so good.
But then days go by and the detective does not return the dog because she is busy on the case and cannot spare the time to do so, keeping the dog in her hotel. That infuriated me. How can you not realize how anxious people are to get their beloved lost pet back? How can you be so busy that you cannot spare the short time to go to the owner’s home and return the pet? And wouldn’t having to look after a dog in your hotel room take time away from working on the case? That seeming thoughtlessness made me lose sympathy for the lead character, who was otherwise quite interesting. I kept thinking “Why don’t you return the damn dog!” Then after a few days, one of the villains kills the dog, thinking it is hers, as a warning to her to quit the case and leave town. She cannot bring herself to break the news to the dog’s owners so she tells them that he escaped again.
What is worse is that this plot line was utterly redundant, since the point it was designed to make (that the villains were really evil people and that seemingly respectable people harbor all manner of ugly secrets) had been amply made in the rest of the series. This storyline could have been cut completely and it would have made the show much better, at least as far as I was concerned. I am pretty certain I am not alone in my dislike of such things.