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  #51  
Old 08-26-2018, 07:21 PM
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I agree. I think that sometimes Monk is happy with all his peculiar quirks and tics.
I have the Monk DVD set and I'm just rewatching now. There's one scene where he's on a plane and this little kid plays a trick on him where the answer to a riddle is "repeat" (re-pete). When he gives the answer, the kid repeats the riddle. This goes on, over and over. Adrian knows he's being manipulated, but his disorder compels him to keep answering. You can see on his face the turmoil of being at the mercy of his disorder and not being able to stop answering.... Sometimes he seems "ok", other times it just makes you want to cry.
  #52  
Old 08-26-2018, 07:21 PM
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What about Poirot? I haven't read any of the books but on the TV show he always seemed chipper enough. Eccentric as hell, but happy.
Heís so annoying, I donít know how anyone could stand to be around him. Buy heís oblivious.
  #53  
Old 08-26-2018, 07:25 PM
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Two nominees:

Rust Cohle, from True Detective Season One, never said anything except bleak aphorisms that made you want to slit your wrists. Great show, but Jesus Christ, man.

Bernie Gunther, from Phillip Kerr's eponymous series, lived through the Third Reich by going along to get along. He never commits atrocities, indeed investigates and even stops some atrocities, but also never forgives himself for being part of the evil of Nazi Germany. His gallows humor covers up a bone-deep self-loathing.
  #54  
Old 08-26-2018, 07:44 PM
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The Punisher. Some people might wish they were Batman, Green Arrow or Spiderman. Anyone wish they were Frank Castle?

That's stretching the definition of detective a lot. But sometimes he does detective work to track down his targets. Call him a crimefighter.
  #55  
Old 08-26-2018, 08:25 PM
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Eddie Valiant wasn't the same after his brother got crushed by that piano.
  #56  
Old 08-27-2018, 09:11 AM
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Andrew Vachss's Burke had a miserable life and is not a happy person.
  #57  
Old 08-27-2018, 09:47 AM
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Xavier March in the Rober Harris novel "Fatherland" had some pretty awful stuff happen to him. He seemed contented with his moral victory, though.
  #58  
Old 08-27-2018, 09:55 AM
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Alec Hardy on Broadchurch spends the first two seasons in growing misery. I haven't seen the third season.
  #59  
Old 08-27-2018, 12:05 PM
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I think that Columbo is very happy. He loves his job, he loves his car, his dog, his wife. And especially his raincoat. He's one of the happiest of detectives.
Plus, on more than one occasion he's been seen whistling his own theme music! Most of us don't even have theme music.

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Side note: Until Mrs. Columbo got her own TV series, there was wide speculation that Columbo didn't really have a wife. You never saw her, and it was thought that making references to a nonexistent wife was one way of making the perp let his guard down.
Nitpick - she wasn't his wife at the end of the very brief 13 episode run.

For detectives who are personally miserable, I'll nominate Jeff Goldblum's Raines. Raines saw dead people, but even he knew they were hallucinations. He feared the fact that he had them, feared anyone ever finding out (which would end his career as a detective) and feared he was actually going insane. The show only lasted 9 episodes, and I was worried that the only path for him was that he'd eat his gun.

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  #60  
Old 08-27-2018, 02:18 PM
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No mention yet of Harry Bosch?
Harry Bosch is such a miserable asshole that he succeeded in making me quit the whole series after about 5 novels.
  #61  
Old 08-27-2018, 02:24 PM
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I wouldn't have put Wallander in the same category of some of these others until the last season of the show. But, ooooooh boy.
  #62  
Old 08-27-2018, 03:34 PM
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Martin Cruz Smith's, Arkady Renko character (Gorky Park, Polar Star, Red Square, and then they get a lot worse from there...) was the first guy I thought of, but he doesn't compare to some of the miserable bastards you all have dug up.
  #63  
Old 08-28-2018, 12:03 AM
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I wouldn't have put Wallander in the same category of some of these others until the last season of the show. But, ooooooh boy.
Agreed.
  #64  
Old 08-28-2018, 12:45 AM
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Batman.
Another comic book detective/vigilante who seems pretty miserable is Rorschach from The Watchmen.
  #65  
Old 08-28-2018, 01:40 AM
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Ritchie Roberts in "American Ganster" seemed a lot worse off than gangster Frank Lucas. I didn't quite understand the religiosity in his personal pursuit of justice (though it keeps cropping up.)
  #66  
Old 08-28-2018, 05:46 AM
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Harry Dresden has Seen Some Shit.
  #67  
Old 08-28-2018, 09:43 AM
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Harry Bosch is such a miserable asshole that he succeeded in making me quit the whole series after about 5 novels.
That's a shame, because that's just about the time Connelly figured out who Bosch was and what to do with him.
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  #68  
Old 08-28-2018, 09:56 AM
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That's a shame, because that's just about the time Connelly figured out who Bosch was and what to do with him.
So would you recommend just starting with book 5 or 6, or is it necessary to read them in order?
  #69  
Old 08-28-2018, 01:13 PM
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Harry Dresden has Seen Some Shit.
Beat me to it. When I started the series, I characterized it as "sadsack noir". Harry's gained power over the course of it, but his personal life is still pretty bleak (MORE bleak than in the beginning, if you count the events in and since Changes).
  #70  
Old 08-28-2018, 04:50 PM
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That's a shame, because that's just about the time Connelly figured out who Bosch was and what to do with him.
I agree. Some of the earliest books are pretty bad.
  #71  
Old 08-28-2018, 08:51 PM
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Beat me to it. When I started the series, I characterized it as "sadsack noir". Harry's gained power over the course of it, but his personal life is still pretty bleak (MORE bleak than in the beginning, if you count the events in and since Changes).
Man, no way. On the one hand is everything terrible that dude has gone through. On the other hand,
SPOILER:
He got to ride into battle on the back of Lucy the zombified T-Rex skeleton while Butters the coroner rode along, playing oompa music on his one-man band, in the single best scene in all literature.

so I refuse to believe he's the most miserable. He'll always have Lucy.
  #72  
Old 08-28-2018, 09:33 PM
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Not Lucy, Sue. The actual real-life Field Museum T-Rex skeleton.
  #73  
Old 08-29-2018, 05:40 AM
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Not Lucy, Sue. The actual real-life Field Museum T-Rex skeleton.
D'oh! I KNEW I should have looked that up!
  #74  
Old 08-29-2018, 07:20 AM
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No mention yet of Harry Bosch?
Ol' Hieronymous Harry was my first thought. Just reading the Bosch novels is enough to promote incipient depression.

Matt Scudder was pretty angst-ridden, what with the shooting that went bad, struggles with alcoholism etc.
  #75  
Old 08-29-2018, 07:51 AM
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Watching Hinterland on Netflix, I'm tempted to vote for Welsh detective Tom Mathias, but there's a long tradition of fictional detectives with absolutely pathetic personal lives. So who else is up there with Tom in terms of misery? Cormoran Strike might be up there too, though he's seemed to me to be reasonably content with his personal lot, pathetic as it might be in many ways.
I agree about Mathias. That scene where he plays a round of Russian roulette was one of the most chilling scenes I've seen recently. I like the series, but darned if those Welsh names aren't hard to follow and sometimes the accents trip me up. But it's a great series.

I can't come up with another so emotionally tangled up as Mathias.
  #76  
Old 08-29-2018, 08:46 AM
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So would you recommend just starting with book 5 or 6, or is it necessary to read them in order?
IMHO, read them in order simply to have the back story you need to appreciate where Connelly takes the character. If you meet characters like Eleanor Wish too late in his arc, you won't have a good sense for the complexity of their relationship (woefully simplified in the Amazon series, my only real complaint about that series BTW). You really have to see Jerry Edgar be Jerry Edgar for a few books to really appreciate how excellently and thoroughly he foils Harry. There's also something that happens in The Black Ice that remains, 20+ years later, an unspoken sword hanging over Harry's head.

And if you like Arthurian legend, there's no better modern take on it than A Darkness More than Night, but you really have to earn that book by reading all the Bosch stories leading up to it plus Blood Work.

You'll know that you're through the shake-down phase when you hear Connelly mention Bosch's "mission" for the first time. That's when he's finally got a real handle on who Bosch is.
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  #77  
Old 08-29-2018, 10:31 AM
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IMHO, read them in order simply to have the back story you need to appreciate where Connelly takes the character. If you meet characters like Eleanor Wish too late in his arc, you won't have a good sense for the complexity of their relationship (woefully simplified in the Amazon series, my only real complaint about that series BTW). You really have to see Jerry Edgar be Jerry Edgar for a few books to really appreciate how excellently and thoroughly he foils Harry. There's also something that happens in The Black Ice that remains, 20+ years later, an unspoken sword hanging over Harry's head.

And if you like Arthurian legend, there's no better modern take on it than A Darkness More than Night, but you really have to earn that book by reading all the Bosch stories leading up to it plus Blood Work.

You'll know that you're through the shake-down phase when you hear Connelly mention Bosch's "mission" for the first time. That's when he's finally got a real handle on who Bosch is.
Good summation, but I have to add - Bosch may be better defined in the later books, but in some ways, he's still an asshole.

Bosch is the kind of guy that always "knows" the right course of action. And if you don't agree, you're on his shit list. But next week, if in a situation with similar circumstances, if Bosch does the opposite of what he did, that now is the the only correct response. And if you do what Bosch did last week, you're wrong, and on his shit list.

He can't see that he's not always right. He won't acknowledge that other people's POVs can be just as valid.

I've known people like him. Hell, I think I've been people like him. First season Sherlock in Elementary was that way. I suspect Connelly is that way, if the way he comes across in Castle is an accurate portrayal. Bosch just happens to also be a good detective. But I bet he never took responsibility in his own mind for getting Harvey Pounds killed.

What are you referring to in The Black Ice?
  #78  
Old 08-29-2018, 10:53 AM
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Beat me to it. When I started the series, I characterized it as "sadsack noir". Harry's gained power over the course of it, but his personal life is still pretty bleak (MORE bleak than in the beginning, if you count the events in and since Changes).
Harry may be going through some weird shit, but he has lots of good friends - and family - who are always there for him, both physically and emotionally. Plus, he loves his work and he loves kicking ass and taking names. He has no place in this thread.

Parkour!
  #79  
Old 08-29-2018, 11:17 AM
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Gotta be...


Harvey Keitel in 'Bad Lieutenant'.
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Old 08-29-2018, 02:55 PM
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Good summation, but I have to add - Bosch may be better defined in the later books, but in some ways, he's still an asshole.
You'll note I never disputed that.

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But I bet he never took responsibility in his own mind for getting Harvey Pounds killed.
You would lose that bet. It's revealed in a later novel that he is haunted by that event.

Quote:
What are you referring to in The Black Ice?
SPOILER:
The killing of Cal Moore.
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  #81  
Old 08-29-2018, 03:44 PM
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Every detective, policeman (heck every person) on “Fortitude”. Watch the show and you’ll know what I mean.

(All the detectives I used to read were Poirot, Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes. The first 2 were pretty happy and full of themselves. SH too though there was that cocaine habit...)

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  #82  
Old 08-29-2018, 04:21 PM
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Vincent D'Onofrio on Law and Order: CI was a lonely mess. Mulder of the X-Files too.
  #83  
Old 08-29-2018, 05:17 PM
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SVU Detectives Finn and Munch are both miserable, and seem to feed off each other's misery.

It makes for some great comedy.
  #84  
Old 08-29-2018, 05:46 PM
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Chief Inspector Dreyfus, except when he thought Clouseau was dead.
  #85  
Old 08-29-2018, 08:21 PM
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Man, no way. On the one hand is everything terrible that dude has gone through. On the other hand,

[spoiler]He got to ride into battle on the back of Lucy the zombified T-Rex skeleton while Butters the coroner rode along, playing oompa music on his one-man band, in the single best scene in all literature.]

so I refuse to believe he's the most miserable. He'll always have Lucy.
That is a great scene, although as noted, it was Sue. Also, while Butters was a fan of oompa music, that's not what he played on the dinosaur. He was simulating the heartbeat of the dinosaur. An oompa rhythm might have produced some really interesting results.

In terms of detectives who have "seen some shit...", I'll nominate Charlie Parker from the novels by John Connolly. He's right up there with Harry Dresden.
  #86  
Old 08-29-2018, 08:45 PM
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Harry may be going through some weird shit, but he has lots of good friends - and family - who are always there for him, both physically and emotionally. Plus, he loves his work and he loves kicking ass and taking names. He has no place in this thread.

Parkour!
I'm a huge fan of Harry Dresden, and he does have a great circle of friends and relatives, but I disagree that he's not fundamentally unhappy.

He has:
Killed his lover and the mother of his child.
He rarely gets to see that child.
He and Murphy lust after each other, but can never get together.
He has witnessed a good man (Shiro) choose to die for Harry's sake. That's gotta lay a huge burden on him.
He has witnessed a good friend be crippled and almost killed as a result of his (Harry's) decisions. Again, a huge burden.
He has seen Molly Carpenter be unwittingly tricked into becoming the Winter Lady. (I'm curious how that affects his relationship with Michael and Charity. Don't know if Butcher plans on addressing that.)
He has seen numerous innocent people die horrible deaths which he couldn't prevent. And he takes this very personally.
The lover he thought he had found turned out to be under the influence of mind control, which caused her to think she loved him.

While Harry has done some amazing things, and I'm sure has more in his future, I don't see how he can be happy as a base state. Certainly he is capable of being happy in the moment.

Interestingly, I was just rereading Proven Guilty and I was struck by this:

"Sometimes I get tired of being the guy who is supposed to deal with un-deal-with-able situations."
  #87  
Old 08-29-2018, 09:09 PM
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what irritates me is when an author lets a character be happy for 50 or so pages and then goes out of their way to do something to make them miserable again

I forget the book but it was a female detective that lived in wither Colorado or Tahoe who wasn't that happy of a person had the usual failed marriage bunch of relationships ect drank a lot was always broke ect
Well the one that got away came back into town and they get married … and her asshole psycho client kills the husband because she couldn't give him what he wanted (evidence he was ripped off so he could take the ski resort from his family because they kicked him out after he broke his sisters leg by sabotaging her skis so she couldn't go to the olympics ) and she finds out hes evil and hes mentally ill enough to be "well if im not happy no one is " the first 5 and last 5 chapters is a normal detective story its the middle 3 or 4 the relationship happens …. drove me nuts …….
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Old 08-29-2018, 09:11 PM
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didn't monk himself on several occasions say " im never happy " in the first 3 or 4 seasons ?
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Old 08-30-2018, 12:34 AM
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didn't monk himself on several occasions say " im never happy " in the first 3 or 4 seasons ?
But does that make him more miserable than all the other fictional detectives?
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  #90  
Old 08-30-2018, 12:43 AM
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But does that make him more miserable than all the other fictional detectives?
I think having a disorder that affects every aspect of your life would be pretty hard to deal with. Somebody without that type of illness can try to come to terms with whatever has come their way in life.
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Old 08-30-2018, 03:38 AM
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Like flies trapped in amber...


...forever remaining the same age, never to know the satisfaction of making a life for themselves, or the joys of romantic attachment and conjugal love...

Those poor Bobbsey Twins.
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Old 08-30-2018, 03:47 AM
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Burton Guster, from Psych. Shawn is always dragging him into cases against his will, constantly belittles him by purposely getting his name wrong, uses him for his company car and he hardly ever gets the girl. The man just wants to be the best pharmaceutical salesman he can be. It's not fair, damn it.
  #93  
Old 08-30-2018, 03:50 AM
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Jim Rockford lived in a trailer, got beat up a lot, and the calls on his answering machine were never good news. He was cynical as hell, but seemed to be holding up okay.
Yeah but he drove a great car and had a popular theme song, so Iíll take it.

The Gary Busey character in the Tom Cruise movie, The Firm ó he eeked out a pretty miserable existence.
  #94  
Old 08-30-2018, 04:21 AM
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It's not fair, damn it.
But he's cool, and talented (did you see him tap-dancing). He's got it going on, does Gus.
  #95  
Old 08-30-2018, 04:35 AM
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Harry Angel. At the end of the movie, at least.
  #96  
Old 08-30-2018, 04:38 AM
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I'm a huge fan of Harry Dresden, and he does have a great circle of friends and relatives, but I disagree that he's not fundamentally unhappy.

He has:
Killed his lover and the mother of his child.
He rarely gets to see that child.
He and Murphy lust after each other, but can never get together.
He has witnessed a good man (Shiro) choose to die for Harry's sake. That's gotta lay a huge burden on him.
He has witnessed a good friend be crippled and almost killed as a result of his (Harry's) decisions. Again, a huge burden.
He has seen Molly Carpenter be unwittingly tricked into becoming the Winter Lady. (I'm curious how that affects his relationship with Michael and Charity. Don't know if Butcher plans on addressing that.)
He has seen numerous innocent people die horrible deaths which he couldn't prevent. And he takes this very personally.
The lover he thought he had found turned out to be under the influence of mind control, which caused her to think she loved him.

While Harry has done some amazing things, and I'm sure has more in his future, I don't see how he can be happy as a base state. Certainly he is capable of being happy in the moment.

Interestingly, I was just rereading Proven Guilty and I was struck by this:

"Sometimes I get tired of being the guy who is supposed to deal with un-deal-with-able situations."
Is anyone really happy all of the time? That's a pretty high standard to meet.

Regardless, Harry may have taken some blows, but he's a fighter, and they haven't broken him yet. Nobody rolls with the punches like Harry Dresden; his fundamental good cheer and irreverence is part of makes him such a great character.
  #97  
Old 08-30-2018, 06:46 AM
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A lot of Harrys in this thread.

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The various Scandanavian detectives all seem to have bleak outlooks on life and the bleak lives to go with them. I would nominate Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole ("The Snowman", etc.) as the most miserable.
I'll second Harry Hole. The first two books in the series can be safely skipped but the rest of it is great stuff. There is a dark humor at work that offsets the self-loathing and binge drinking.

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Bosch is the kind of guy that always "knows" the right course of action. And if you don't agree, you're on his shit list. But next week, if in a situation with similar circumstances, if Bosch does the opposite of what he did, that now is the the only correct response. And if you do what Bosch did last week, you're wrong, and on his shit list.

He can't see that he's not always right. He won't acknowledge that other people's POVs can be just as valid...
That nails Bosch perfectly. Harry doesn't really fit in this thread, though. When he has a murder to work, nothing else matters. He isn't happy exactly, but everything is safely tucked away when he's on the hunt. Retirement is a very bad thing for Bosch.
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Old 08-30-2018, 08:19 AM
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Retirement is a very bad thing for Bosch.
One of his bad guys says to his face "Retired and relentless is a bad combination."
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Old 08-30-2018, 08:50 AM
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One of his bad guys says to his face "Retired and relentless is a bad combination."
Is that from a novel or the Amazon show? I know it's Connelly either way, just curious.
  #100  
Old 08-30-2018, 10:17 AM
Tom Tildrum is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Falls Church, Va.
Posts: 14,004
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightshadea View Post
didn't monk himself on several occasions say " im never happy " in the first 3 or 4 seasons ?
That's because no one ever thanks him later.
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