Let’s face it: Ironside, starring massive Raymond Burr as a para in a power chair, was a gimmick. A successful gimmick, for sure, since it ran from 1967 to 1975 and is still running in Zimbabwe, no doubt, but the show had absolutely nothing to do with the real condition of paralysis. Burr was a big man and the butt of a thousand Johnny Carson fat jokes. The wheelchair meant he didn’t have to pretend to chase down criminals. He just tooled around in the back of his spiffy Ford Econoline Van and directed his assistants to catch the crook of the week.
Then came Lincoln Rhyme.
In 1997, crime novelist Jeffery Deaver wrote a bestselling book called The Bone Collector, featuring a sip-and-puff C4 quad/detective/scientist/force of nature, Lincoln Rhyme. Thoroughly disabled and no longer employable as a “real” cop, Rhyme was a fictional “consulting forensic scientist” a full three years prior to the debut of the popular television series CSI. Unlike the televis