Detectives: Love Series Part 3

Ah detectives.  A special kind of outsider.

In general outsiders have a special place in my heart because, “I’m not just the president, I’m also a client.”  Detectives go places most regular folk might never see or want to see in their lifetime and it seems to me they do it because it’d be impossible for them not to.

There’s this Nicholas Cage movie called 8mm and he plays a private eye Tom Welles, hired to find out if the snuff movie discovered by a recent widow is real.  Early on he figures out it is real, but can’t stop there.  He digs deeper until he learns who the unfortunate girl in the movie was and all those responsible for its production.  None of this is for any type of conventional justice, (The movie makes it clear that the girl’s murder would otherwise go unsolved and Tom has to go a little vigilante on their asses.) but to understand how these men could do something so awful.  At one point, while confronting a bad guy, he screams almost in anguish, “I just want to understand!”

Now that’s just a movie, but the idea of someone venturing into the dark side of human nature for a better understanding is very true.

In Mindhunter by John Douglas you get to read about the genesis of criminal profiling told by the FBI agent responsible for it.  During this time there were literally two or three guys working on what would become profiling.  The plan was simple; if they collected enough data straight from the evil horse’s mouth, they could have a better picture of the criminals they were after and arrest them quicker.  So the plan was simple, the execution, not so much.

These men visited prisons all over the country and stroked the egos of the worst of the worst to get them talking in detail about their crimes.  Their hard work paid off and soon, local police were calling the FBI for help with their toughest cases.  Eventually profiling became what it is today, but not without its price.  It ruined the author’s marriage and stress to his body from the constant hours working, almost killed him.

I see this kind of dedication over and over again because yes, besides movies and books, I watch buckets of crime TV on cable too.  No matter what show it is, theses men and women are relentless; once they’re on a case, it’s all they think about until it’s solved.  I see this even when it’s a cold case being looked at with fresh eyes.  That determination, that drive is something I have a lot of respect for.

Detectives are problem solvers of the highest order because the problems they solve are life or death stuff.  If they quit, the cases don’t get closed.  That’s hero territory and that’s awesome.

Anybody have a favorite detective story or character?  Was there some characteristic about detectives I missed?  How was your day?  Tell me about all about it!

Info Stuff- Follow my ROW80 progress every Wednesday and Sunday and for the month of February, Tuesdays and Thursdays will be devoted to my Love series.  Eight loves that have shaped me into the writer I am.

8 comments on “Detectives: Love Series Part 3

  1. Hi, I’m Kait, and I’m a forensic psychology junkie.

    I, of course, think back to that fab (and largely inaccurate) TV show, Profiler, which I ADORED. That’s what got me interested. Then in college I discovered the real deal, and it set off a love affair with romantic suspense where I explored some of the darkest and creepiest parts of my brain–because some of the baddies I thought up…

    That quest for truth, for understanding the WHY is so interesting to me.

    Of course now that you’ve asked who some of my favorite detectives are, my brain is not cooperating in the least…

    Still, fascinating topic.

    • You’re not the first person to mention how great Profiler was and I’ve never watched it. Maybe one day.

      You and me both re: that quest for truth. I could probably post exclusively on all the crime shows I watch and what I think is going on.

      Arg! I hate when my brain spazes (Is that even the right spelling?) This post isn’t going anywhere, you can always come back.

  2. Another great post, Andrew! I really liked the points you made about relentless detectives and heroism. Hmmm…some favorites… Eve Dallas in JD Robb’s –In Death series, obviously. I’ve also particularly enjoy cop shows (this will be no shock) that are also partner shows, where one or both characters has that heroic drive, but the show is also about the partner relationship, um, Hunter (OMG, loved Hunter), Lethal Weapon, Castle.

    • Psych is a GREAT detective show. The cases are ridiculous, but the fun is watching the fake psychic and his best friend solve them. Plus it’s loaded with 80’s references. Pure joy.

  3. I loved the Inspector Morse series (based on the novels by Collin Dexter). In fact, I must recount my delight in Hamish MacBeth mystery when Hamish asks for the whereabouts of some residents in his small Scottish village. The reply to his question is something like, “OOOh, that was Thursday. Everyone was indoors, watching Inspector Morse on the telly.” Apologies to author M.C. Beaton for my paraphrasing.

    You ask what favorite detectives “we” your readers have; I discovered the Inspector Ghote series by H.R.F. Keating. A police detective in Bombay, Inspector Ghote solves his crimes by dogged persistence and an uncanny intuition. Check him out. 🙂

  4. Have you read John Connolly’s Charlie Parker books? They’re about a cop who eventually becomes a private detective, but they also have a touch of the creepy supernatural. Only a touch, though, so it’s not like you’re reading a horror or fantasy book or whatever.
    I’m also a big fan of the Bones, Castle and NCIS TV series.
    And I can’t reply to a post about detectives without mentioning Sherlock Holmes 🙂 I’ve almost finished reading the Arthur Conan Doyle books, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them. I also loved the BBC version of Sherlock that puts him in modern London.

    • Charlie Parker sounds a lot like the Pendergast series from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Makes me very interested in Charlie Parker. I know I have Sherlock Holmes somewhere. So many books, yada, yada.

      Love Bones and Castle. Plus, since I can’t have Angel or Captain Mal, these are great successors. Never got into NCIS. Not character driven enough for me. Seems to be a general problem I have with CBS shows. I do hear tons of people raving about Criminal Minds. Might have to give that one a shot.

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