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  #101  
Old 08-30-2018, 11:50 AM
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You would lose that bet. It's revealed in a later novel that he is haunted by that event.
I've read them all, (but only once) and I don't remember that. But I'll accept your word.
  #102  
Old 08-30-2018, 12:34 PM
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Is that from a novel or the Amazon show? I know it's Connelly either way, just curious.
IIRC, it's from The Crossing.

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I've read them all, (but only once) and I don't remember that. But I'll accept your word.
He reveals it to Terry McCaleb in a very tense scene in A Darkness More than Night.
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  #103  
Old 08-30-2018, 01:13 PM
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Lew Archer always struck me as melancholy.
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  #104  
Old 08-30-2018, 01:32 PM
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I think Kinsey Millhone, in her fictional life, is miserable at the frustrating knowledge that she came so close to Z, but will never cross that finish line.
Robert B Parker died in 2010, but seven new Spenser novels have been published.

Just sayin'.
  #105  
Old 08-30-2018, 02:55 PM
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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.
My vote as well. The first two books aren't all that great, but set the stage for the rest of the series which is terrific and IMO must be read in chronological order.

For what it's worth, I've read that in Norway his first name is pronounced either "Harry" like we say it, or rhyming with "sorry"; "Hole" is a common surname and is pronounced "HO-leh."
  #106  
Old 08-30-2018, 03:16 PM
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Rust Cohle. 'True Detective', season one. Tortured soul.
  #107  
Old 08-30-2018, 03:17 PM
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I never read the books, but I started to watch the movie version of The Snowman and you're right. That was a miserable experience.
  #108  
Old 08-30-2018, 03:49 PM
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Stephen King's Bill Hodges was pretty miserable.
Came in to post this.

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I never read the books, but I started to watch the movie version of The Snowman and you're right. That was a miserable experience.
Seconded.


Sarah Linden on the U.S. series The Killing
  #109  
Old 08-30-2018, 04:58 PM
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Detective John Munch, originally on the Baltimore PD and of "Homicide Life on the Street", who later transferred to New York to be on "Law & Order: SVU", and of numerous cameos on other shows, is a pretty tortured soul.
  #110  
Old 08-30-2018, 06:01 PM
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Inspector Cramer because, face it, Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin were total dicks.
  #111  
Old 08-30-2018, 09:42 PM
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Rigby Reardon became pretty miserable whenever he heard the phrase “cleaning woman”.
  #112  
Old 08-31-2018, 08:03 AM
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The "troubled genius" trope is so common in detective fiction that Monk seems no more than an average example to me! It's as though you have to go as horrific as Blank Slate's example of Ash Henderson to make the misery notable.

"River" & "Luther" ... & both "Wallanders" ...
  #113  
Old 08-31-2018, 09:28 AM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMillan_%26_Wife

Life in the closet must be a helluva burden!
  #114  
Old 08-31-2018, 10:24 AM
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I'll second Bosch. Here is a list of scenes in which he smiled a genuine, happy smile.
  #115  
Old 08-31-2018, 01:59 PM
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Bosch nodded, even though he knew MikeF couldn't see him.
  #116  
Old 08-31-2018, 02:07 PM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McMillan_%26_Wife

Life in the closet must be a helluva burden!
Mac doesn't count. Don't confuse the actor with the role.

Stuart McMillan was definitely not closeted. While nothing absolutely proves it, he had a string of girlfriends before he got married, he was the "most eligible bachelor" in the society columns, he was crazy about Sally, absolutely adored her, he had one or two kids with her, plus he had a string of girlfriends after Sally died. Just because he lived in SF doesn't make him gay.

Hell, Mac was so not miserable he didn't even wait one episode after Sally and his son(s) died before banging some new hot chick (Jessica Walter).
  #117  
Old 08-31-2018, 02:24 PM
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Three pages in and nobody has mentioned Taggart?
  #118  
Old 08-31-2018, 05:53 PM
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Hell, Mac was so not miserable he didn't even wait one episode after Sally and his son(s) died before banging some new hot chick (Jessica Walter).
Sally DIED?
  #119  
Old 08-31-2018, 06:57 PM
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Sally DIED?
Yep. Killed in a plane crash. Along with the never seen nor mentioned son(s) (Susan St James was pregnant twice during the show run but they only officially mentioned that the McMillans had one kid. Which they never mentioned again. Not even a passing reference to a baby sitter. Strangest thing.)

Mildred went off to run a diner on the east coast and her sister became Mac's new housekeeper and chief kibitzer. Sgt Enright got replaced by Sgt DiMaggio (no relation). The show ran for six episodes as "McMillan" (sans wife). While not bad, it wasn't the same.

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  #120  
Old 08-31-2018, 07:16 PM
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While not bad, it wasn't the same.
I don't think it would be... It was their "witty repartee" that was the show, wasn't it? (I don't remember an awful lot, I was a kid, but I did see it on tv)
  #121  
Old 08-31-2018, 08:17 PM
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I don't think it would be... It was their "witty repartee" that was the show, wasn't it? (I don't remember an awful lot, I was a kid, but I did see it on tv)
They were cute together. I read that SSJ personally did not like The Rock, but she was professional enough not to let it show in the episodes.

I'm a big fan - I think the episodes hold up well. I rewatch them. There are a couple bad ones, but then, aren't there always?
  #122  
Old 08-31-2018, 08:33 PM
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They were cute together.
Yes, very much a "team" from what I remember. Like that other show with Robert Wagner and Stephanie whatshername.
  #123  
Old 08-31-2018, 09:02 PM
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Wallander, Morse and Rebus?

I don't think you are allowed to be a male fictional detective and be chirpy.
Peter Wimsey and Tom Barnaby are pretty happy fellows. OK, Peter still has nightmares from WWI, but for the most part he's got a fantastic sense of humor.
  #124  
Old 08-31-2018, 09:29 PM
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I have another candidate, Commissario Ricciardi. He is a detective in Naples in the early 30's, so among other things he has to deal with the politics of Fascism as a public official. But what makes him unhappy is that

He sees dead people.

Specifically, he sees the ghosts of people who were murdered constantly re-enacting the moment of their death, at the place of their death, and the ghosts say the last things on their minds as they died. This can occasionally be useful to a detective on a murder case, but virtually all of the time, the thoughts are opaque rather than useful. Also, since Italians are (in this universe) superstitious and paranoid, he can't share this curse with anyone, and he has to maintain a solitary and sterile existence, with his only solace being his old nurse who takes care of his household. There are two women who love him but can't have him. Because he is so completely upright and incorruptible, the other cops can't stand him. He is truly alone.
  #125  
Old 09-02-2018, 02:44 AM
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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.
But does "pretty hard to deal with" equal "most personally miserable"? I'm not seeing it. I'm not saying Monk doesn't hurt, I just think there are some even more miserable buggers out there.
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  #126  
Old 09-02-2018, 02:49 AM
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But does "pretty hard to deal with" equal "most personally miserable"?
Well, I don't think you can say who is "most" anything because it's never a comparison of exactly the same thing, but there are lots of scenes that show just how much and how badly it affects him personally, I think it'd be pretty hard to live like that. He's irritating, yes, but he's also suffering, day in and day out. There's no respite from all of his compulsions.
  #127  
Old 09-04-2018, 12:10 PM
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Well, I don't think you can say who is "most" anything because it's never a comparison of exactly the same thing, but there are lots of scenes that show just how much and how badly it affects him personally, I think it'd be pretty hard to live like that. He's irritating, yes, but he's also suffering, day in and day out. There's no respite from all of his compulsions.
Don't forget, he did get respite. "Now" in the story timeline, Monk had gotten a lot better. Near the end, he resolved his claustrophobia by being locked in the car trunk with Harold. And after solving Trudy's murder, in the last scene we see Monk in, going on to a new murder scene, he looks genuinely happy. Like a huge weight has been lifted.

He made big progress from the pilot episode, or before, when he never even left his apartment for six years. I wouldn't be surprised if getting closure made a lot of his OCD recede.
  #128  
Old 09-04-2018, 06:19 PM
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Don't forget, he did get respite.
Yes, I know, but I don't give out spoilers because there are always people who haven't seen a show or read a book yet.
  #129  
Old 09-05-2018, 01:22 AM
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Don't forget, he did get respite. "Now" in the story timeline, Monk had gotten a lot better. Near the end, he resolved his claustrophobia by being locked in the car trunk with Harold. And after solving Trudy's murder, in the last scene we see Monk in, going on to a new murder scene, he looks genuinely happy. Like a huge weight has been lifted.

He made big progress from the pilot episode, or before, when he never even left his apartment for six years. I wouldn't be surprised if getting closure made a lot of his OCD recede.
Indeed. Considering Monk as suffering "the worst" is nothing short of ludicrous.
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  #130  
Old 09-05-2018, 02:06 AM
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is nothing short of ludicrous.
Sure, healthy people are WAY better off than somebody with a chronic and intractable illness. You are so CLEVER!

(hint: the "people" being discussed are fictional.... )
  #131  
Old 09-05-2018, 07:59 AM
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I change my nomination to Ian Rutledge, recommended by Roderick Femm. A WWI vet, Rutledge is still deeply troubled by the war and he regularly hears the voice of a sergeant he killed for cowardice.

In the first book, he suspects Scotland Yard assigned him the case intending for him to fail because of his condition. He resolves never to go back to the clinic, and it's implied that he'll kill himself first.
  #132  
Old 09-05-2018, 09:07 AM
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I've been watching The Tunnel lately with a practically chirpy Stannis Baraetheon and his miserable partner, Elyse Wasserman. I like the switching of roles here- Elyse is beautiful (played by Clemence Posey) and a total mess. Her twin died, she's a bundle of raw nerves about it every second of every day but she is of course a brilliant detective.
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  #133  
Old 09-04-2019, 07:27 AM
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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.
" I'd consider myself a realist, all right? But in philosophical terms I'm what's called a pessimist... I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware. Nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself. We are creatures that should not exist by natural law... We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, that accretion of sensory experience and feelings, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody's nobody... I think the honorable thing for our species to do is to deny our programming. Stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction; one last midnight, brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal."

Rust Cohl

Yeah, Jesus!
  #134  
Old 09-04-2019, 07:31 AM
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If Rust Cohl ('True Detective, Season 1) is first, Jimmy McNulty ('The Wire') is a close second.

"What the fuck did I do?"
  #135  
Old 09-04-2019, 01:57 PM
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I'll put in a vote for detective Riggs from Lethal Weapon. His idea of fun was crying in his crappy trailer with a gun in his mouth while staring at pictures of his dead wife. He was so suicidal on the job that he was dangerous to be around.

Then when he finally started to have feelings for another woman, she was murdered too.

Last edited by Sam Stone; 09-04-2019 at 01:57 PM.
  #136  
Old 09-04-2019, 02:23 PM
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Mick "Brew" Axbrewder is pretty miserable. He's an alcoholic. While drunk he killed his own brother, who happened to be a cop. He caused his partner's arm to get blown off. He lost his PI license. He loses a lot of fights, despite being huge. He gets shot more regularly than I'd like to. IIRC he's homeless at some point, too, sleeping on his partner's couch when she'll let him. His car is a piece of shit (although not a sky blue Cadillac convertible; go figure).

I'm still hoping that Mr. Donaldson writes the 5th book he's promised, but I know there aren't many wanting to hold him to that promise.
  #137  
Old 09-04-2019, 02:39 PM
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We found a Belgian series on PBS that I never noticed when/if it was originally broadcast...it's shown at odd hours with episodes out of order now. It's called Professor T and at first I thought it was a Monk rip-off, because he has a lot of Monk's OCD quirks. But it's played a bit differently, and I just enjoy the way the series is done. He's pretty miserable because as a young kid (7?) he found his father's body after the father had hung himself. Fairly traumatic. However, the most recent episode shows Professor T checking himself into a mental clinic for treatment, so I guess there's hope there.
  #138  
Old 09-04-2019, 02:47 PM
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How do you figure? Near as I can tell, he seems to genuinely like his job — and he seems genuinely fond of his wife, and of his favorite restaurant, and of his dog, and of the music he listens to, and so on; and he doesn’t seem to drink to dull the pain, but because he just enjoys it, same way he just enjoys ice cream. Or reminiscing about old times. Or watching a good film. Or hearing a good joke.

Most of the time, he just strikes me as an upbeat guy.
I agree 110%. His real sense of enjoyment obviously comes from watching the murderer squirm and sweat as he narrows in on him. Compared to hounding the suspect, slapping the cuffs on him is just the icing on the cake.
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  #139  
Old 09-04-2019, 03:16 PM
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Morse. In the main series named after him, he's the typical miserable older detective with an alcohol problem and a classic car. He gets joy from classical music, so he's not without hope. But he clearly wants a life partner, and never gets one. He never gets the promotion he wants, he was sent down from Oxford for unfair reasons, he's not well liked, he's clearly very lonely, and he dies relatively young, with only a few colleagues to mourn him.

Then Endeavour shows that that was basically the pattern for his entire life. Other characters like Wallander had marriages and kids and seem to have had at least a few years of happiness when they were younger, but Morse tried to get that, worked hard for it, and never got it.

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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.
I think he might actually be the only lead detective in a major TV show who seems to be happy and have an OK home life.

Poirot is sort of happy. He's fulfilled, anyway. He had a lost love but not one that haunted him. He gained major acclaim and really enjoyed it. The only really sad part of his story, for him, was the way he died. (I don't think that's a spoiler).

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I've been watching The Tunnel lately with a practically chirpy Stannis Baraetheon and his miserable partner, Elyse Wasserman. I like the switching of roles here- Elyse is beautiful (played by Clemence Posey) and a total mess. Her twin died, she's a bundle of raw nerves about it every second of every day but she is of course a brilliant detective.
I LOVE that show. It does not get the recognition it deserves. Elyse might be a good suggestion, actually - especially given

SPOILER:
how things turned out for her, and how young she was when that happened. Most detectives have a past story that implies some periods of happiness, but her age means it's even more unlikely that she had any prolonged good times.


Stephen Dillane's character has some really extreme reasons for sadness that we actually see happen on screen, as opposed to us usually being told about them. But he also has good things going on and seems to be coping.
  #140  
Old 09-04-2019, 03:26 PM
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I've been watching The Tunnel lately with a practically chirpy Stannis Baraetheon and his miserable partner, Elyse Wasserman. I like the switching of roles here- Elyse is beautiful (played by Clemence Posey) and a total mess. Her twin died, she's a bundle of raw nerves about it every second of every day but she is of course a brilliant detective.
I saw that show when it aired on PBS and Elyse seemed to be on the autism spectrum or have Asperger syndrome
  #141  
Old 09-06-2019, 09:15 AM
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The ones in the first season of True Detective.
  #142  
Old 09-06-2019, 09:17 AM
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Having just finished season 2 of Mindhunter, I'm going to nominate Bill Tench for this list, provided "FBI agent in the BSU" counts as "detective."

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 09-06-2019 at 09:18 AM.
  #143  
Old 09-06-2019, 11:09 AM
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<referencing Colombo>
I think he might actually be the only lead detective in a major TV show who seems to be happy and have an OK home life.
Naw. As mentioned above, both the Barnaby's in the Midsomer Murder series have been happy with their lives, and other than the initial detective in the Death in Paradise series, the next two leads have been fairly happy (even if each had a tragedy early on, they've mostly moved past and are enjoying life and their job in the Caribbean). The detectives in the New Tricks series are also fairly happy in their lives. There are ups and downs, but it's not a constant gloom-fest.

I just noticed that all the series I mention are English. Interesting.

Well, Alan Cumming's character in Instinct was pretty happy with his life. Of course, CBS canceled that, the miserable bastards!
  #144  
Old 09-06-2019, 11:19 AM
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Max Payne - He was basically a mixture of inconsolable grief and a burning hatred that drove his unquenchable desire for revenge.
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  #145  
Old 09-06-2019, 03:17 PM
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Sherlock Holmes needed to mainline cocaine to cope when he wasn't working.
His inspiration, Poe's C. Auguste Dupin, the first classic "detective" in literature, already was a very gloomy character.
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  #146  
Old 09-06-2019, 03:30 PM
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Naw. As mentioned above, both the Barnaby's in the Midsomer Murder series have been happy with their lives, and other than the initial detective in the Death in Paradise series, the next two leads have been fairly happy (even if each had a tragedy early on, they've mostly moved past and are enjoying life and their job in the Caribbean). The detectives in the New Tricks series are also fairly happy in their lives. There are ups and downs, but it's not a constant gloom-fest.

I just noticed that all the series I mention are English. Interesting.

Well, Alan Cumming's character in Instinct was pretty happy with his life. Of course, CBS canceled that, the miserable bastards!
That's true, the Barnabys are happy. I can't watch Death in Paradise or New Tricks - they're just too cheesy. Maybe that's why they can afford to have relatively happy characters.

Lewis in Lewis and Morse is reasonably happy too, come to think of it. His wife died young (before Lewis started, so it's not a spoiler) but they'd had a happy marriage and other good things happened to him that I won't spoil.
  #147  
Old 09-06-2019, 03:35 PM
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I thought Lewis was relatively happy during Morse (I even remember him telling Morse to cheer up) but was more melancholy on Lewis. I assumed Lewis' wife was killed off because you can't have a happy detective. Had they gone forward with the programme featuring Hathaway, I assume they would have found a reason to make him sad.
  #148  
Old 09-06-2019, 03:40 PM
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I vote for Dresden as well. I had to stop reading the series for a while things got so bleak.

SPOILER:
He had to kill his ex-girlfriend/mother of his child


I though it couldn't go lower but then he was killed, and became a slave in the fae court.
  #149  
Old 09-06-2019, 06:54 PM
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I thought Lewis was relatively happy during Morse (I even remember him telling Morse to cheer up) but was more melancholy on Lewis. I assumed Lewis' wife was killed off because you can't have a happy detective. Had they gone forward with the programme featuring Hathaway, I assume they would have found a reason to make him sad.
Yeah, they might well have done. But on Lewis he

SPOILER:
got together with a new, loving GF, and still mostly got on with his kids.


After getting to his fifties with a marriage that had been happy since they were very young, lots of holidays and hobbies and support, ending it still in love, and probably getting further in his career than he might have thought. Not idyllic or anything but that's a fair amount of happiness. Lewis has a sort of melancholy face but he didn't actually seem sad very often.

Lewis did live in a very, very small and battered house, but that seemed a little odd for a man who had had a good job in Oxford and had owned a home since the 80s, and his wife had died suddenly without nursing home costs, and without any medical costs or any other costs that were ever mentioned. His wife died young, as the wife of a senior detective, and she worked and would have got death in service benefits and paid into a pension and probably a life insurance policy; he wouldn't have been poor after she died youngish. He might even have made out, financially.

But in the show Lewis lived in a home that was much poorer than the one he lived in when he was young and raising children and there was never any suggestion that he or his wife lost all their money somehow.

But they made him look like a divorced man living in a dive rather than a widower rattling around in a house too big for him now his wife was dead and his adult kids had flown the nest.
  #150  
Old 09-06-2019, 08:42 PM
SciFiSam is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Beffnal Green innit
Posts: 8,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny Daze View Post
I vote for Dresden as well. I had to stop reading the series for a while things got so bleak.

SPOILER:
He had to kill his ex-girlfriend/mother of his child


I though it couldn't go lower but then he was killed, and became a slave in the fae court.
This might sound weird but that makes me want to read the Dresden Files more and they've always just been something I've heard of. Are they worth reading?
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