Procedurals are the comfort food of TV. They are built on a formula: a problem is introduced, but rest assured that by the end of the episode, the bad guy will be caught, the patient will be diagnosed, the court case will be won, and the character’s lives will remain more or less the same.
Shows like this feed us with the comfort of ritual and stasis. But one hidden ingredient makes them particularly addictive, and particularly harmful.
In almost every procedural, there is a main character, whom I will refer to as the “Always Right Man.” He may be a doctor, a cop, a con man, a lawyer, an amateur detective, or even an FBI agent investigating the paranormal. But what we can count on is that, against all odds, his hunches are always right.
Other people might depend on logic, evidence, or following the rules of their profession, but not the “Always Right Man.” He trusts only himself and his own expertise and instinct. And in every episode, he is vindicated.
There will be variations on the theme, and a few shows have not one but two Always Right Men. But certain things are predicable. This character is almost always a white man. He might be given a flaw -- an addiction, an anti-social personality, or an overly goofy personality. He might have skeletons in his closet or a tragic past. By nature, the Always Right Man will circumvent the establishment. Maybe he agrees with the goals of his established profession, but he won’t be held back by protocol or professional guidelines. And he will always face "haters" trying to get him to follow the rules.