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Spin Control

Sunday Spin: Bending things for TV political drama

I’ll be watching the cable TV drama “The Killing” Sunday night to find out who killed Rosie Larson, even though it irks me.
Not just because the main character, Sarah Linden, could get an Emmy for worst TV mother in a drama, or that it is set in Seattle but was mostly shot in Vancouver, B.C. Our northern neighbor offered more tax deals, so producers must have decided one rainy Northwest city looks like any other.
But what irks me most is the fracturing of political facts thrown into the storyline for no good reason. Perhaps more precisely, it irks my wife because I keep saying, “Well, that couldn’t happen because. . .” until she tells me to pipe down so she can watch the show.
For those who have never watched,

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. . .  “The Killing” is a mystery about the murder of a Seattle teenager investigated by two detectives so unorthodox they make Starsky and Hutch look like Sgt. Joe Friday and Bill Gannon. The subplot is the mayor’s race between a corrupt incumbent and an idealistic but flawed challenger. In the show, Seattle city politics would make Chicago politicians blush, and while Emerald City politics aren’t squeaky clean, it’s unlikely any Seattle resident watching the show are saying “ya got that right.”
But political corruption is a dramatic device, so they get a pass on that. They use outdated images from a previous generation about the race coming down to the wire on Election Day, and driving voters to the polls. . .which doesn’t happen in Washington state any more because everyone votes by mail on ballots sent out weeks earlier.
Maybe they want to appeal to a broader audience, the folks around the country who still go to the polls. OK, so why use Seattle, other than to have your characters always in a car with the windshield wipers going?
And then there’s tonight’s big climax, on Election Day, which in the storyline happens the day after Halloween. Nowhere in the country does Election Day happen the day after Halloween. Elections are always on Tuesdays in November, but if Halloween is on Monday, Election Day is always Nov. 8. The earliest we ever vote is Nov. 2.
I am not total purist on such matters. In “Truth Like the Sun,” a new novel by good friend and former Spokesman-Review colleague Jim Lynch about another Seattle mayoral election, the 2001 primary is shifted a few weeks forward into August, where it is now but wasn’t 11 years ago. But it’s for a reason important to the denouement. There was no good reason to mess with the election schedule in “The Killing.” It’s just lazy.
And with that, I’ll pipe down.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.