Does Crime Fiction Need a Resolution?

Warning: This post contains spoilers, so if you plan to watch Line of Duty, Amber or The Fall, you may wish to pass.

This weekend my family and I watched the first series of Line of Duty. It was a suspenseful viewing experience:  edge of your seat crime fiction layered with interesting characters, full of twists and turns and a dose of police corruption thrown in for good measure – right up my street. Refreshingly, everything wasn’t completely tied up neatly at the end either. There were threads left hanging, as possibly happens in a real investigation, but we were certainly given an outcome we could chew over.

Recently we also watched Amber; another crime series which focused on a teenager reported missing. The four part episodes whisked us back and forth in time as it examined various different scenarios of what might have happened to the missing girl. Naturally, as a viewer, we are constantly wondering whether she would be found alive and what happened to her. When it came to the final episode, it has to be said that daughter and I were almost expecting some kind of explanation. Instead, we were given another scenario and the whole case was left completely open.

I had a similar experience last year with The Fall. This was a gripping murder mystery, followed partly through the eyes of a rather engagingly married, father of two who doubled up as a serial killer who stalked his victims, broke into their houses and killed them. He was hunted down by Gillian Anderson, who played the sexy detective brought in to investigate the murders.

Once again, series one of The Fall reached no resolution. In the final episode, just as it seemed the detective was about to reach him, we witnessed him taunting her over the phone before he drove off into the sunset with his family to start a new life up north. Okay, it’s open for a new series. And after five compelling episodes the producers are assured of excellent viewing figures for series two. But, after all that back story, the final episode, the ‘ending’ if you like, just left me numb.

We all know that the police don’t always catch the bad guy, that not every crime is solved. As a reader or viewer (and even as a writer), I enjoy witnessing the events that make a story, to follow the twists and turns as the author takes me on a journey. But, whilst I don’t feel that it has to be tied up in a neat bow, I do feel that I deserve some kind of satisfactory outcome in the finish, an ‘ending’ if you like. I guess this is why the end of Line of Duty series one worked for me.

How about you? Does crime fiction need a resolution for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


2 thoughts on “Does Crime Fiction Need a Resolution?

  1. Thanks for the very interesting post. I too was disappointed with the ending of The Fall. It seemed, to me, to lack resonance with the previous material. I wondered if it had been hastily rewritten to keep sequel options open in response to the drama’s success.

    • Hi Marcus, Thanks for commenting. Yes, that thought passed my mind too, although I really don’t think it was necessary. The series made for compelling viewing and Gillian Anderson’s character would certainly have pulled back viewers to be sure.

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