Disfunctional Female Detectives: the Exception or the Norm?

Barbara Pezzotti   ACIS

I have recently been watching the Danish/Swedish TV series “The Bridge” which, like many other hundreds of thousands of people in the world, I am enjoying very much. However, I can’t help but being a little annoyed by the female protagonist, who, like many other fictional female detectives nowadays, is disfunctional. Actually, in “The Bridge” case, very, very disfunctional. The Swedish detective Saga, who shows an extreme lack of empathy towards colleagues, witnesses, victims and whoever is involved in her investigations and life, is in good company.

In the last few years we have been getting used to Smilla, Lisbeth Salander, and Sarah Lund, just to name a few characters, and I wonder if disfunctional female sleuths are now the norm.  I also wonder if – according to this new trend – female detectives need to suffer from Asperger syndrome or mild autism in order to be efficient and work-oriented; or if they need to have behavioral issues in order to enjoy a free sexual life. It may argued that the female sleuth is once more inheriting traits from her male counterparts. In other words, they may be following the path of Monk and compagnia bella, but I still think there is a gender representation issue here. Do you agree? I would also like to know if there are disfunctional women detectives in Italian crime fiction. Any examples?

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One thought on “Disfunctional Female Detectives: the Exception or the Norm?

  1. DM says:

    I don’t know about Italian women detectives, Barbara, but in the UK a TV series called ‘Scott and Bailey’ has been very popular, Scott and Bailey both female, both slightly flaky in different ways but a million miles less dysfunctional than practically every male TV detective you can meet (and who you certainly wouldn’t want to meet after twilight even on a main street).

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