Eleanor Taylor Bland’s highly successful Marti MacAlister series reflects the standard elements of the police procedural: the faith in tireless investigation and the momentum toward resolution via insight, rather than intuition, and the reaching of an inevitable conclusion based on common sense and legwork. However, Bland’s character, Marti MacAlister, broke new ground as an African American woman. Because the series has a modern time frame, MacAlister faces only subtle discrimination and the occasional off-putting remark, and her commitment to police work ensures her the respect of her colleagues. Given the two partners’ diverse backgrounds, the series affirms the viability of multiculturalism in the workplace. A strong feminist role model, MacAlister has come to terms with the death of a husband, the responsibilities of two children, and ultimately the complex emotional experience of a remarriage and stepchildren.
What further distinguishes the MacAlister series is its commitment to pressing social issues and its unflagging sympathy for those who are voiceless victims of social and economic distress—abused women and children, the homeless, the mentally ill, alcoholics, drug addicts, the unemployed, and the elderly.