The series has a regular case of characters whose lives continue you on in the next book. In one book, one character may be the most important, and in another it could be someone else. I certainly follow the lives of the different police officers and their families and friends. In some cases what is happening in their private lives is more important than what is happening on the job.
Thanks goodness that's where the comparison ends.
I follow the soap opera, General Hospital--mainly because it's after lunch and a good time for me to rest. I must confess, that often I sleep through most of it.
One of the things that happens on this show is that the characters change. Often it's because the actor playing a character wants to try something new. The character will be killed off by the writers or in some cases, a new actor will step-in. Sometimes the actor is offered a better job--or at least he or she thinks it is better.
One of my favorite shows, Downton Abbey, has similar problems. Actors playing fan's favorite characters get offered a job in another show or movie and want out. What happens, the character dies, making the fans very unhappy.
One thing I can assure everyone who reads my Rocky Bluff P.D. series is that none of my characters are going to leave for a better job. At least not yet, but if one does it'll be because I wanted him or her to leave. I've had a character I really loved retire in Bad Tidings. In the book I'm writing now, the former police chief has also retried.
Never will a new person step in to take the place of one of the characters--I'll try to keep everyone's description and character the same--and the characters will grow older naturally. Though I write only one RBPD a year, less than a year passes by between one book and the next.
Never will I have someone be shot directly in the heart and live. That's happened at least three times on General Hospital. Nor will I have someone return from the dead--another miracle that happens too often on the soap.
Be warned, I might kill off a main character sometime. I don't have anything like that planned, but you never know, it all depends upon what directions this bunch takes me next. I did kill of a wonderful guy in Final Respects the very first one in the series. It opened the door for another character to change and grow.
That is why my RBPD series is NOT like a soap opera.