1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    How much development do these characters need to accept their actions?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ryan Elder, Apr 16, 2016.

    In my story, the protagonist wants revenge on the villains and manipulates members of the police force, to wanting revenge on the villain for the death of an officer, who was killed by accident, but he makes the police make the crime seem much more brutal, sending a dark message, thereby getting friends of the dead cop, out for blood.

    He manipulates the police force members into forming a vengeful mob to after the villains and kill them.

    However, how much development would these police characters need? The theme of the story is how wanting justice brings out the worst, in the MC, to the point where me is manipulating members of the system to become his pawns, since the system failed him.

    I was told by a couple of people that they do not like the cops coming in, in the third act, because they have had no prior development before, accept for the main one on the case, and they are just merely plot device characters.

    I see what they mean, but is I think they are more theme device characters. The theme being what I said before. So is it wrong for a group of minor supporting characters to be nothing more than theme device characters to get the theme across?

    Or do these characters need more development in the story, in order for the reader to feel and justify their manipulated actions and descent?

    It's just I want to cut down and make the story shorter, and not longer, so I do not want to devote more time to them, than mostly the third act. But do I have to, in this case?

    Since I am writing a screenplay, I tend to use movies as examples? In the movie M (1931), the mafia wanted to locate a serial killer and kill him, so they use a group of homeless people to help out with the hunt. But the homeless people are not given any prior development time before that. So can I them as theme driven characters like that, or is my situation different?
     
  2. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Seems like a lot of this is dependent on the setup. The mafia paying homeless people to do something is somewhat believable. Using law abiding police officers to do something illegal would require a deeper explanation for their motives.
     
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  3. Justin Phillips
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    Justin Phillips Active Member

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    You could go with something along the lines of Gotham on Fox. Is your MC a vigilante? Anyway, all he has to do is convince the right cop in charge, and then that cop can select a task force team to take out the villain. The task force team is merely following orders, so no prior set up needed.

    The idea of task force might only work though, if this villain has been wreaking havoc on the city for a while, and the cop in charge agrees that enough is enough.
     
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  4. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I haven't seen Gotham. The MC is a vigilante in the sense that he forms a revenge on plan on the villain, and yes he would have to manipulate a cop into thinking enough is enough, after his cop friend is killed, and then he would get the others to form a task force. But the others would be forming a task force, without the highest superior's permission and the orders they would be following are questionable, if not illegal, and they would realize it.

    But I do not have a reason, plot wise, for these cops to come into the story before the third act, though. I just don't want them to come off as a convenient theme device, or a deux ex machina of sorts.
     
  5. Justin Phillips
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    Justin Phillips Active Member

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    The way you described it, I don't see an issue. Of course, I'm just going off the thought of it, instead of reading it for myself.
     
  6. Bruno
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    Bruno New Member

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    In my opinion give these policemen a background is not mandatory.
    Making them act in a not stereotyped way is maybe more important.
     
  7. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Stereotyped how exactly?

    Also, even though the police are going to kill the villains, they want to make it look like a police self defense situation in order to help get away with it. The police also want to make sure they have the right group of people and are not killing the wrong villain, in avenging their fallen friend, but also avenging the other victims from before.

    The police only have two suspects at this point in the story, and do not even know who the other group members are until the climax. So they have to get the whole group together somehow, and find out that they have the right people.

    I was thinking that they could set up their own sting operation, where one of the cops goes undercover as a man, who sends one of them a message, saying he saw them dump the dead cop's body, and he is willing to go to the police, if the man does not pay him to keep quiet about it, by a soon deadline.

    The group then panics and with the deadline coming up, they do not have time to authenticate whether or not the blackmailer actually knows where the dead body is buried. They cannot afford to pay the price the blackmailer asks for, so they decide to go to where the dead body is buried, move it, and get rid of it as their plan.

    This is what the cops were counting on, hoping they would panic and go move the dead body. But I was told that this wouldn't work in trying to make it look like a legitimate sting operation to catch the villains with moving the dead body.

    I was told it was implausible because the police would never be legally allowed to go undercover as false blackmailers. But the police's goal is to make a crooked sting operation, with intent to kill the villains possibly, appear legal, and make the killings look like self defense, in resisting arrest.

    So with that in mind, could the police go undercover as false blackmailers and it can appear legal, as long as no money is actually extorted and taken? What do you think? Can it be plausible, or would I have to come up with another plan?

    And also, would the villains fall for this scheme as a whole group, to the point where they would risk digging up a dead body and possibly be seen, or would they see this coming a mile away that it was a crooked police trap?

    And would this be enough to get all the villains to go to the same place, in case it was a trap to defend themselves, so therefore, the police can get all the villains in one swoop, instead of having to pick them off all separately in different times and different places?
     
  8. AndrewA
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    AndrewA Member

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    What era and country is this based in? I think another plan is needed, too many flaws and unbelievable events, the amount of people involved in this kind of operation will make it impossible to be an illegal operation in manner you are suggesting.

    What would work though is through the corrupt cop or two which may need a good development which brings back to original question, just have the usual idea that they have underworld contacts and turn blind eye to things on their beat or patrol or whatever. These two are the dead cops best mates, so they are the ones who will hatch the plot to kill them.

    They will use gang contacts to manipulate a set up, especially if the contact hates the gang as well. FOr example a Mr Big approaches gang for a job of a lifetime which will pay huge. A heist is usually a favourite, they feed "the word on the street" back to operations and of course chance to put the cop killers away is one too good to miss. hiest goes wrong, the contact hides in the building or area prior to the event, and then fires a few shots over the heads of the police after gang is demanded to surrender, police open in hail of bullets.

    This is where I now say which country is this based in? South America having police just executing bad people on street is standard proceedure, America well we all know how trigger happy the cops can be, so again plausible, if in countries like UK, then not so.
     
  9. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. It takes place in modern times, in an American type city setting. I haven't decided what city yet.

    But if the cops pay off some thugs to do the killing it will give the story a whole new feel and tone then what I am going for. I feel that since theme is the police being brought down to the ends justifying the means, it should be police themselves that have to personally get their hands dirty, rather than get some other gang to do it for them.

    Plus I would also not only have to establish a group of rogue cops, but also another gang besides the villains who is willing to work for the cops as well. Is it possible to write it in a way, in which the cops would do it?

    When you say too many flaws and unbelievable events, which ones are there particularly?

    What else could the police do to trick all the gang members, they are after, to meet up all at the same place, at the same time, so they can get them all at once, rather than having to go on a killing spree from place to place?
     
  10. AndrewA
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    AndrewA Member

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    No other gang will not do the killing, just someone from outside the police is planted to manipulate the gang to making a move, the time and place is determined by the police, the killings are made by the police, to justify a mass shooting at the end, the person paid off to manipulate the gang fires the initial shots, hangs back and fires from safe location inside building etc, your core group of police hear shots and open fire on mass to kill everyone.

    Now, you could have it that corrupt cop approaches his superior and says he has a way to take revenge, your main group would be in on it and come up with a fool proof plan, pick location away from prying eyes and so on, other collegues can be in the dark and they would just think it would be a normal operation and have no idea that how many officers you plan on having in your story are actully carrying this out as a revenge plot.

    You could also write this in a way that the group is large enough that the stake out only has those officers in attendence, so that they can just shoot everyone without the need of a reason, as everyone would be in on it and plant evidence etc. The legal process would show they were acting on tip off from an informant, which can easily be proven and no wrong doing can come back on the group.
     
  11. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay then. Why does the person manipulating the gang have to not be an officer? Since the officers are trying to set up a sting, wouldn't it look more normal to the superiors if a cop was undercover as the blackmailer, rather than some mysterious informant?

    Why is it wrong for a cop to go undercover and do it as part of a sting? You say no wrong doing can be brought back to the group. But is an undercover cop, tricking a group of crooks to leading the police to a missing person (the dead cop), wrongdoing? All it is is tricking someone into uncovering evidence, so how is that wrongdoing?
     
  12. AndrewA
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    AndrewA Member

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    If the whole police force was corrupt and wanted this, then sure, send in policeman as a blackmailer, but somewhere along the line an illegal activity will get found out. An undercover cop who manipulated a situation would still be in the wrong. Ok so have your undercover guy do it alone, only the group in on it know. This has to be kept from superiors who are not part of the group. Again if you are having the whole of the gang killed off by the cops, then the whole operation has to be kept to just the group who are in on it, as I said in my previous post, location and time is key, can then execute the gang without any witnesses. A good cop will not be happy with other cops killing someone illegally.
     
  13. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Where is the good cop exactly? I thought the good cops were the superiors, who would be at the office when this happened, and then the bad cops would report back to him, saying that the undercover sting operation got messy, and they pulled guns out on us, so we had to shoot back.

    So no good cop would witness it, would they? Also since the cops are trying to pass it off to the superiors as a legitimate sting operation, wouldn't one of the cop's going undercover as a blackmailer be part of the sting, and it's okay for the superiors to know about it?

    I still do not understand why it's wrongdoing, for a cop to go undercover as a blackmailer, as part of a sting operation that is suppose to appear as legitimate. I mean cops go undercover as drug dealers, prostitutes, and con artists, etc... so why is it wrongdoing to go undercover as a blackmailer?

    I am not seeing the distinction.

    Basically here is how I see the scenario play out. The cops who want to get revenge on the gang, go to the superiors with a sting operation plan and tell them that they are going to send in an undercover to pose as a blackmailer, and send the gang a message, saying that he saw the gang dispose of the dead cop's body, and wants a large amount of money paid to him or in a few hours.

    The gang cannot verify to whether or not he actually knows where the body is buried before the deadline, and cannot come up with that much money in time.

    So the gang decides to get together, in case anything happens, and they decide to dig up the dead body and move it, so the blackmailer cannot tip the police off as to where it is. The police tell the superiors that they will survey the gang, and once the gang reveals that they have the dead body in their possession, they will and arrest them.

    The superiors give the okay, then the cops do that and everything happens according to plan, but the cops shoot the gang, and make it look like self defense, and make it look like they resisted arrest with deadly force.

    Wouldn't it be best to to tell the superiors that, so it makes the cops look like they had a legally legitimate reason for being there -- a sting operation --, as oppose to not telling the superiors anything at all?
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016

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