Note – Any similarities to a politician who may or may not be currently in a position of power is unintentional on my part, but that politician should probably do more to avoid being a striking comparison to a murderous cartoon lion with totalitarian tendencies. Just saying.
In the Lion King, there are animals who act like people (on Broadway it’s people acting like animals acting like people, which is just a little too meta for me). Animated films frequently assign human traits to animals to avoid some of the messier aspects to the circle of life, but Lion King really has to go all out because there aren’t any humans. So we get things like lions falling in romantic love rather than the aggressive nature of an actual lion in heat. We see antelopes acknowledging their place as prey rather than living in constant fear of a predator attack. And we see prairie dogs functioning as an intelligence network. But there’s one major system missing in the Pridelands: a legal system. And I submit to you that the oversight of not managing a system to investigate lawbreakers was a major factor in the primary conflict of The Lion King.
Before the “human” intelligence side of the investigation into the death of Mufasa can really begin, CSI needs to conduct a thorough detailing of the crime scene. During that investigation, they would first notice that Mufasa had deep claw marks in the back of his paws. Definitely not the cause of death, but deep wounds caused at approximately the time of death would draw immediate notice. When looking at the rest of the crime scene, they would have noticed claw marks scratched into the rock face slightly above his body. While not being a smoking gun for murder, it definitely would merit further investigation than the open and shut nature of a “killed in a stampede” case.
Once CSI was done with the crime scene, pretty much every cop in the Pride Lands would be assigned to this case. If the king was possibly murdered, overtime is approved and all resources are diverted to this case. Nobody cares who vandalized Rafiki’s tree, the king is dead. The first step would be to look for Simba, since there was no body. At some point they would find shredded brambles with blood and lion fur, and CSI would get called back in. Even without all the crazy gear that human CSI has, they could have figured out that this was fur from a young lion and the ensuing manhunt would have found Simba very quickly. He wasn’t that far away, Nala found him by accident by running to the first oasis she got to after leaving the Pride Lands.
But even if they didn’t go searching for Simba, there is a lot more to the investigation than just deciding Scar is king and letting him side with your enemies and destroy the environment. One of the first questions a detective asks in a murder investigation is “who benefits?” The answer to this question is quick and obvious: Scar and the hyenas. Further investigation would lead a detective to speak to the wildebeest herd and ask what set off their stampede. One of them would have answered that it was a hyena attack, leading to accusations of regicide. Scar’s monarchy would have been tainted by connections to a foreign power influencing the succession of leadership directly to put him there. Imagine that.
At some point in the interview with a wildebeest, it would have come out that the hyenas behaved strangely. The hyenas chased the entire herd and didn’t stop to eat any that fell out of the chase. If you remember, Shenzi forbade Banzai and Ed from eating any of the wildebeests. That is not the behavior of an effective hunter, it is someone with a plan, and this plan appears to be interfering with a monarchy to benefit a specific individual. A good investigator would immediately detain Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed and conduct a thorough interrogation. During this interrogation, the investigator would search for inconsistencies in the stories of the three hyenas and begin with offering immunity to the first hyena who gave up the architect of the plot. Ed would likely be a waste of time, as he is nonverbal. I think Shenzi would be the first to break, as she was the smartest of the three hyenas, and would likely see the way the wind was blowing. She was also smart enough to know that Banzai would not take long to break, so the only way to guarantee her immunity would be to talk first. Loyalty only goes so far when faced with an investigator who knows you’re guilty.
The fascist/tyrannical nature of Scar’s rule is not evidence that he murdered Mufasa, but it does speak to his character. Scar moves to destroy every vestige of the previous administration . . . I mean monarch, sorry. Mufasa had a strongly pro environment approach, and he was anti hyena to the point where he wouldn’t even talk to them. Scar immediately allies with the hyenas, and in doing so allows them to upset the careful balance of the Pride Rock ecosystem. In addition, Scar takes Zazu and locks him up. These are all signs of a tyrant. He goes on to ban people from saying Mufasa’s name, adamantly decries anyone who says things aren’t going well, and makes a comment about being “ten times” the king Mufasa was. His monarchy is the biggest in history, period. Again, none of this means Scar killed Mufasa, but it does create the image of a “by any means necessary” and “do whatever I want” type of lion whose behavior you might want to look into a little more.
Assuming everything happens in this movie exactly as it did, there is one problem when we get to the final confrontation. When Simba arrives, he immediately confesses to killing Mufasa. While this would not hold up under any scrutiny or follow up questions at all, it was still a confession that is partially supported by the evidence. Obviously at that point, the police would step in and take Simba into custody for further questioning. But without that, the confrontation happens. Scar and Simba fight, and Scar tauntingly confesses in a whisper that he killed Mufasa. This gives Simba the strength and motivation to beat his geriatric uncle in a fight, and then he makes Scar confess to the rest of the group. Immediately the lions are on board and reject Scar as a false king who gained his leadership role through collusion with an enemy. The problem is that Scar confessed under duress. Simba’s giant paw was on his throat, and Simba told Scar exactly what he wanted to hear. That would be like if Nancy Pelosi waterboarded Donald Trump until he admitted he was working with the Russians. It’s inadmissible as evidence in a court of law, and also logically speaking it is a very suspect confession.
Obviously, the evidence points to Scar. But arresting him based on a confession obtained illegally would not hold up, even if later investigation pointed to Scar. It’s like evidence you find when going into a property without a search warrant. Fortunately for everyone involved, there’s more fighting and then the hyenas kill Scar, so there was no way to later judge Scar’s actions. The fight could be seen by a trial by combat, which means the result was the will of God. That’s definitely a lot more pleasant than saying “dude, you just murdered your uncle based on him being kind of a jerk.” Simba doesn’t know if Scar actually killed Mufasa. All he has is the word of a sociopath who was taunting him in the middle of a fight. That isn’t gospel, it’s just locker room talk. You can’t take what he says at face value, no matter how likely it is that he actually did it, you have to look at his heart.
I think I’ve hammered this point about as hard as I can without it just getting obnoxious. That’s it for now, love and kisses!
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