The high technology wireless radio devices that are concealed in the ear canals of the good guys for surreptitious communication work just fine without sticking your finger in your ear. And yet on NCIS Los Angeles last week –- in a pivotal scene where a guy is being shadowed -– there were all the protagonists, obvious as could be, looking like they forgot to take a Q-Tip to their ears for the last month.
For once, writers are off the hook. Nowhere in the scene description do we tell actors to poke their fingers in their ear canals.
Rather, it’s directors who are likely propping up this cliché, worried that the audience — particularly a CBS audience — won’t understand why characters are talking to invisible people.