Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

A defense attorney & PI who also happen to be writers

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Bored to Death: Jonathan was smart in that closet!

Posted by Writing PIs on October 4, 2010

Last night’s episode of Bored to Death (HBO, Sundays, 10 p.m. EDT) had us laughing so hard, we were crying.  Jonathan, the wannabe private eye who’s launched  his illegal investigative career (he’s not licensed) by advertising in Craiglist ads, ends up in his client’s bedroom closet, on surveillance to catch a cheating spouse.  To Jonathan’s surprise, he catches…no, we won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.

Let’s chat about that bedroom-sleuthing scene.

Was it legal for Jonathan the PI to hide in the bedroom closet? Yes.  The unsuspecting wife had no expectation of privacy, unfortunately, because her husband had given Jonathan permission to hide in the bedroom.

Was it smart for Jonathan to respond to his client’s text messages while on surveillance? No.  Sorry, Jonathan, but it’s a good rule of thumb to not be real-time interactive with clients while on surveillance.  You need to be watching the locale/person, not distracted by text messages, phone calls, reading a book…you get the picture.  It can take only a few seconds to miss what you’re hired to be surveilling.

Was it smart for Jonathan to text back to his client that nothing was happening? The issue of texting aside, YES!  Especially when you’re working a surveillance case where emotions run high–which they usually do in a suspected cheating spouse case.  The last thing a PI needs is an upset, hysterical client barging onto the scene.  Remember the woman in Texas who ran over her cheating husband THREE TIMES in a parking lot?  Guess how she knew her husband was there–the PI she’d hired called her from the hotel and told her.  Which is why we make it a rule that we do not converse or otherwise communicate with clients during the course of a surveillance.  Instead, they receive surveillance reports afterward.

No PI in New York would get by working as an unlicensed PI this long, so we’re hoping Jonathan gets caught soon, which could be a very entertaining premise.  But Bored to Death isn’t about gritty realism and rules.  It’s a funky, funny, sometimes surreal show that is getting better and better.  We can’t wait for next Sunday’s episode.

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