Wednesday, October 24, 2007

John Francis Cuddy TV News

Interviewed by Sons of Spade's Jochem Vandersteen, Jeremiah Healy revealed:

The GOOD news on the Cuddy front is that a long-time friend and executive producer of television series (Martial Law, The Nero Wolfe Mysteries, Dick Van Dyke’s Diagnosis: Murder) is “pitching” Cuddy as a television series. We would probably update Cuddy as a Military Police veteran from the Persian Gulf conflict rather than the Vietnam War, and we would likely replace Cuddy’s visits to his wife at her gravesite by having an actress play the dead wife, whom only Cuddy can see (think Mike Hammer meets The Sixth Sense).

The Rap Sheet's J. Kingston Pierce commented:

Hmm. I like the notion that Cuddy could be coming to the small screen someday. We’ve been without decent private-eye series for far too long. But the widower sleuth’s customary visits to his late wife Beth’s grave, and how he even followed the advice she supposedly gave him during those drop-bys, became a peculiar attraction of the books. And part of what made those visits so interesting was that we never saw Beth, who had perished even before the first Cuddy novel, Blunt Darts (1984), began. We simply had to take it on faith that our hero could see her, or could at least sense her in some way. To give Beth a physical presence, no matter how ghostly, would be to detract from the commitment a reader, or maybe someday a viewer, has to make in believing that Cuddy isn’t merely crazy when he goes out to seek his wife’s counsel.

To which I responded:

I agree that giving Beth a more physical presence could take something away, but in the books, Cuddy does seem to converse with her about current cases--not merely reflect on what she might say were she alive. There would have to be some back-and-forth to be completely faithful to the books.

Complete fidelity aside, I would simply show Cuddy at Beth's grave, not have him or Beth say anything, but let him reveal his insights to another flesh-and-blood character after the fact.

On the other hand, Monk has done a good job of occasionally showing Adrian's dead wife, Trudy. She has a real presence on the show despite appearing so sporadically. I'd want the same effect from Beth's presence.

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