James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Stormtroopers in Fiction

Actually, perhaps FBI is its own perjorative, and a far worse one than "stormtrooper." I have nothing but contempt for the Agency, which has no justification under the Constitution to exist - and unlike the typical stormtrooper in uniformed service in the police and military, the typical FBI agent is educated enough to know it.

So it was with great pleasure that I watched a Nero Wolfe mystery tonight on DVD: The Doorbell Rang. Starring Maury Chaykin as Wolfe and Timothy Hutton as Goodwin, it debuted on A&E some years ago. I'm not familiar with the Wolfe mysteries, but this adaptation of Rex Stout's novel oozes with Stout's obvious hatred of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.

Nero Wolfe, a private detective, takes on the FBI for its relentless and vindictive harrassment of a woman, while at the same time investigates a murder the New York Police Department isn't even trying to "solve" anymore. The FBI suspects three of their own agents in the murder, and therefore prefers to conceal evidence. The scenes in which Wolfe confronts the New York FBI chief are wonderful. The novel was written in 1965, when Hoover was still around; it makes me wonder if the FBI got a file on Stout.

1 comment:

  1. I worked for 3 years in an office building right next door to an FBI office. My dad served over 30 years with the Highway Patrol, and he, along with every other cop I've polled, asserts that the most realistic cop show ever to appear on TV was Barney Miller - a comedy. Its portrayal of the FBI was especially hilarious, and my dad gave laughing testimony as to its truth. My dad said that nothing could screw up a routine traffic investigation more than to have the FBI show up.

    These guys next door were quite a bunch, and I could see how they got their reputation.