Maybe an example would be helpful. I’ll use the first season of Bosch, which is a detective story. My apologies for the spoilers. There are two cases and they intersect at times, but the emotional one is about a boy who suffered in the same orphanage as Bosch, only to be murdered. It’s a very cold case. Bosch has other demons, but the one to put to rest is realizing his own strength as an adult in a functional, responsible way. This is for healing, as one means of tempering his anger, and as a means to handle the fracture with his daughter. Real growth. And it’s externalized by the need to find justice for the dead boy he identifies with.
Bosch is too secretive. It’s how he protects himself. So one strand comes from a reporter who is reckless with what he learns, even getting someone killed by publishing information. Another strand is about an angry man who beat his wife and abuse his daughter who was the father of the dead boy and a suspect for a time. That former suspect’s anger has made his promising life a wreck and made his son a victim.
Bosch tries to provide the reporter a new context for his choices to publish. He tries to get the former suspect’s daughter to testify against him. He proves who killed the boy.
But the reporter continues in his bad ways. The killer was underage at the time of the murder, and he’s release. Which the reporter writes about with too much detail. The former suspect, who knows his daughter should have put him in jail is out for redemption.
So Bosch sees no justice, despite his care in uncovering the truth. None for the boy. None for the abuser. None for the killer. But these strands come together because the abuser, seeing in the paper where the killer will be, murders him and gets the jail time he feels he deserves. Despite a broken system, Bosch is able to complete his growth arc.
There’s a lot of irony here, but the success in the end comes because Bosch makes decisions along the way the come with difficulty. To me, the useful thing was touching on the growth through other characters. These different strands, especially the echoes in the broken characters, and how those were used to create a surprising but inevitable ending.
I was especially impressed by, early on, Bosch taking the time to share a drink with the reporter. It was an emotional scene that seemed almost off topic, but it became essential in terms of the need to deal with secrets (something that happens later for Bosch when he shares his orphanage information with his daughter). That piece didn’t become obvious to me until the the reporter’s opposite (oversharing) became a key to the ending.
I hope this helps.