'Dead drag queen' used in murder mystery on ABC's homicide detective show

Posted by JD Uy
February 15, 2011 11:43 PM |

"Dead drag queen" on ABC's "Detroit 1-8-7"

''Because his name is Don. 'Detroit' was just the name of a character he played.... How would you feel if everyone was trying to get a piece of your guy!? Pawing at him like crazy animals? ...

''I didn't kill Don. You should be looking at those other drag bitches. They were jealous of Don because he was the best.... Some of those 'ladies' are pushing 200 pounds. They're men!''

Detroit 1-8-7

Lines from an ABC TV show, ''Detroit 1-8-7.'' The plot for this episode, titled ''Legacy; Drag City,'' centered around the murder of a female illusionist, "Detroit" (pronounced "De-twah") who was killed outside of a club where she performed. This bit of dialogue came from her jealous and abusive gay lover. Other suspects in the crime were an overly eager fan who insisted that he was not gay, and a rival drag performer named "Cherry Pop." (ABC/Detroit 1-8-7)

The show began with the bloody-faced body of the drag performer. Several insensitive comments were made by the show's detectives -- making light of the fact that "Detroit" and her fellow drag performers were men in dresses. (Actors portraying the queens included Jazzmun, D.J. "Shangela" Pierce, and Jai Rodriguez of "Queer Eye" fame.) 

The cops' discomfort was used mostly as a dramatic device to show tension between the police and the performers; and eventually the plot evolved to be more about jealousy than drag.

This episode arrives during a period of heightened sensitivity regarding the portrayal of transgender people on television. Saturday Night Live was widely criticized for a faux-commercial called ''Estro-Maxx.'' And an episode of Craig Ferguson's ''Late, Late Show'' became a topic of heated debate after a male actor played Ferguson's half-sister, Peg (a take-off of Oprah Winfrey's recently discovered sister). Even ''Glee'' was criticized a couple months ago for including the word "tranny" in an episode that was dedicated to ''The Rocky Horror Show.''

So, is this okay as entertainment? Does legitimate visibility and acceptance include trans and gay murders mysteries on detective shows? Or do you think Hollywood still does not get it?

Watch the show online and let us know.


Please Leave a Comment