Ron Tom / Freeform

Thanks For Being Less Than Useless On Pretty Little Liars, Lieutenant Tanner

With cops like this, we should all just embrace anarchy.

It seems the Liars have not one, but two A-like villains working extra-hard to ruin their lives, which means Tanner has yet another reason to pop up like an angry gopher to either be a plot device, less than useless, obstructionist, or all of the above.

For some reason -- probably because A-like villainy couldn't work so well anywhere near a competent police force -- Tanner has to believe that the girls who were fairly recently found buried underground in prom dresses not of their choosing have somehow developed into cold-blooded, Taken-level executioners. Clearly, women wearing perfect makeup, manicures, and excruciatingly high heels are also really into stuff like beating someone's head in and pushing them off a church. I'm not saying these things are mutually exclusive, but I'm thinking it's really, really hard to engage in hand-to-hand combat in heels -- maybe because I doubt I could get around for a full hour in what these girls consider casual footwear. "Oh, I'm just off to the coffee place, so I'm slipping into 4-inch stilettos! Hope no one sees me!" Egads.

Anyway, because the police (well, primarily Tanner) are so incompetent, the girls couldn't possibly tell her about the mysterious entities ruining their lives, right? As omnipotent as Not A/A Plus/Waldo is, Tanner is positioned at the opposite end of the spectrum. Hey, someone sketchy thinks you, Aria, made a phone call to Ali's house on the night Charlotte was murdered! Actually, they only fingered an attractive brunette, so Tanner is absolutely sure that must be you. Ergo, you lured her out and pushed her to her death. Easy peasy!

I don't even think that's enough to get a warrant, much less a conviction, but Aria still does a line-up because she's nice. Or stupid. Or stupidly nice. No one on this show should do anything to help Tanner in any way, and why they haven't lawyered up, I have no idea. Tanner might have found them underground, but they had to be abducted for her to stop giving them side eye and finding reasons to imply that they, not A, were the real problem.

I do appreciate that Tanner's complete inability to do her job actually helps out Aria this week, though. The idea that Tanner would take a phone call at her desk in front of Aria instead of escorting her from the room is bad enough. That she turns her back on Aria long enough for the girl to toss coffee all over a file pertaining to her? That's almost impressively dim-witted. Why in the hell would someone who seems to think Aria is an actual murderer ever allow her to storm into her office anyway? There are so many things wrong with this scene that I can only assume Rosewood hires based on gullibility and a complete lack of interest in personal safety.

While I understand that there's a suspension of disbelief required to watch this show -- the idea that the Nuevo A/Ayyyyy/Waldo is able to operate like a one-person James Bond without anyone having any awareness of his or her existence sort of requires the police be thumb-sucking idiots -- occasionally I'd like Tanner not to be a human road bump on the Liars' road of life.

Would it be entirely weird for her to check in with them and ask, hey, anyone bothering you these days? How's the PTSD? No, it's much better to suggest they're ruining her quiet little town by returning to it and cluttering up her life with actual work, because she'd be able to sit at her desk and knit if they weren't behind all the murder. Those darn kids!

Anyway, the best thing that could happen would be for Tanner to give in to her secret desire to be a cat breeder or professional seat filler at awards shows and get the hell out of town. Maybe Toby could be the new lieutenant, or a puppy, or an avocado. It really doesn't matter. No one seems capable of doing this job well, and maybe something without opposable thumbs would be less likely to accidentally shoot someone.

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