1. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    How do real detectives act/talk and work?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Uberwatch, Feb 3, 2015.

    I need to know how a real detective acts and talk while on the job. I don't want anything based off generic crime television like CSI because I'm aiming for realism. The scenes I'm writing however are only limited to indoor interviews for the detective character. So he's not going to be visiting places. Just a chat with one of my other characters.
     
  2. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    My best advice for you would be to learn about what detectives do and how they do it. The dialogue then comes naturally. Not that there is a specific way they speak, just that they speak in a way that reflects the knowledge they use on a daily bases.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Can you watch the program, "The First 48", on TV? It's reality TV with homicide detectives. You can see first hand what they do.
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you mean how do they interrogate someone, I would contact the local police department (probably through the public liaison office) and see if you can arrange an interview. I believe there are also books available on interrogation techniques (bearing in mind some things in them may or may not be legal). Past that, it's as individual as the person.
     
  5. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the following is required: -
    • They talk in clich├ęs constantly,
    • They explain the blindingly obvious in painstaking detail to their (presumably) qualified co-workers,
    • They are intensely serious all of the time (I mean on the scale of being an overly serious fuckwit they are almost at Russell Crowe),
    • They are usually divorced and recovering alcoholics,
    • They tend to rely on a prop that does vastly more acting than they do, my particular favourite being the CSI sunglasses.
     
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  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    :rofl:
     
  7. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you conceived of a detective character? What's his/her personality? Hard-boiled? Hardassed? Laid back?

    How would they approach an interview with a witness or a suspect? There's your answer.
     
  8. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Laid back. He approaches the victim (not witness/suspect) calmly and asks questions. He prefers to get them answered as quickly as possible.
     
  9. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it is just police-talk you are after there are transcripts of police interviews widely available on the web for high profile crimes.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Here's an example from the program I mentioned:
    They looked like the actual characters so I didn't watch it. My bad. I'll find another one.

    Here's a link to the full episodes:
    http://www.aetv.com/the-first-48/video
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  11. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you sure that's not a comedic faux-reality show? It seemed like they were trying to be humorous in several instances such as the focus on smoking (stereotypical of detectives); the 10 seconds they used to show the woman brushing her hair; the closeup on the potato chips in that guy's shirt (and he apparently carried it into his interrogation?); "Lil Darrl" not understanding that they were asking for his last name; the supposed 1.5ish hour lapse after which the detective handed him a cigarette which he used to write; etc. etc.

    That show may be legit, but no way that youtube clip is. (Unless everybody else in this thread already understands this and I'm the only one who doesn't, in which case I'm just doubling down on the satire?)
     
  12. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would expect a lot of jargon, in jokes, and an "us vs them" attitude. That and whatever normal office workers discuss - football, food, sex, marriage problems, children, etc.

    What I would not expect to see is anything about "protect and serve".
     
  13. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. See, the thing most crime shows miss out on is that it's mostly paperwork and waiting for test results (which can take weeks or months to process) to reveal the answer/more clues.

    I would imagine your detective, however he is, would find that those he interrogates will either be helpful or more 'em..well...ah...I dunno...uuurr...' not helpful at all. I imagine he would have to face people who will act erratic and sometimes violent, especially if they think they're about to get caught.

    I wouldn't rely on stereotypes to tell your story, though.
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    Yep, my bad. The smoking should have tipped me off. It was late.:oops:

    I'll edit in a different link in my post.
     
  15. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    The hilarious narration was already a giveaway.
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    I didn't watch much of it.

    Believe it or not, some of the people interviewed on the real program don't sound all that different. A&E sometimes adds subtitles because it's hard to understand the mumbling.
     
  17. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm. "Calmly asking questions" does not usually equal "wanting to get them answered as quickly as possible." One is about being willing to put in the necessary waiting, the other is not.

    I could see a laid back detective seeming to give up on a line of questioning with a suspect, going onto a different line, then casually coming back to the first track and getting the perp to answer because his guard is down.
     

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