Tag Archive: private investigator


Bulman-detective

Detective Sergeant George Kitchener Bulman is a fictional policeman created by novelist Kenneth Royce. The character appears in a series of books about The XYY Man (semi-reformed cat burglar Spider Scott).

Bulman was brought to life on the small screen by actor Don Henderson. With his scruffy look and eccentric demeanor, the character resembled a villain of the Victorian era, rather than a modern-day police detective, or latter-day private eye.

Origins

In the novels, the character’s name is initially given as Alfred “Alf” Bulman.

Bulman is presented as a corrupt officer – though the only example given is the method he uses to achieve promotion to sergeant. Bulman earns his stripes by persuading down-and-outs to confess to unsolved robberies, in return for a prison sentence which would put them indoors during the coldest months of winter!

First Transition to Television

The books were turned into a Granada TV series in the mid-1970s, with actor Don Henderson playing the police detective – now dubbed George Bulman.

In the series, Bulman lives for the day when he can put his nemesis Spider Scott (played by Stephen Yardley) back behind bars. Both Bulman and his sidekick Detective Constable Derek Willis (actor Dennis Blanche) are thwarted at every turn.

Over time, the officers develop some grudging sympathy and respect for Scott, as they discover how he and they have been used by the Secret Service.

Bulman was originally portrayed as mildly eccentric, wearing fingerless woolen gloves, using a nasal inhaler, and trying to ‘better’ himself by engaging in further education. The detective was prone to showing off his learning with a pretentious attitude that made him look foolish.

An Ongoing Concern: “Strangers”

The Bulman character proved popular with viewers, and, together with Willis, was given a spin-off series called “Strangers”, which saw the detectives transferred from London to the north-west of England.

During its five-year run, Bulman’s eccentricities were increased. He was given a propensity for keeping his belongings in plastic shopping bags, and a pet hamster named Flash Gordon.

It was in “Strangers” that Bulman’s middle name was revealed to be Kitchener.

Increasingly his advanced learning was used less to make him look pretentious and laughable. Instead, it underlined a Zen-like wisdom and otherworldliness.

Bulman also leapt in rank, moving from Detective Sergeant to Detective Chief Inspector in a single bound.

Here’s a YouTube promo, for the show’s first season:

Private Citizen, Private Eye

More from YouTube:

During the mid-1980s the character returned to television, in “Bulman”.

In this revamp, a disillusioned Bulman leaves the police, to work as a private investigator.

Ever the eccentric, the character used detection as a sideline, actually making his living by repairing clocks. He kept a model railway set-up in his office, and wore a T-Shirt bearing an illustration of William Shakespeare, with the inscription ‘Will Power’.

The private detective also gained a female sidekick, in the shape of feisty young Scotswoman Lucy McGinty (played by Siobhan Redmond). The actress would later achieve fame in the acclaimed BBC Television series “Between The Lines”, as detective Maureen “Mo” Connell of the Complaints Investigation Bureau (equivalent to Internal Affairs Division, in the USA) of London’s Metropolitan Police.

Ironically mirroring the post-prison career of Spider Scott, Bulman and his assistant Lucy were often coerced or tricked into doing clandestine and dangerous work for the Secret Service.

Spin-Off Literary Success

At the height of the show’s success, Kenneth Royce returned to his Bulman character by writing two more XYY Man novels (“The Crypto Man” (1984) and “The Mosley Receipt” (1985)) and a Bulman novel, “No Way Back” (a.k.a. “Hashimi’s Revenge”) in 1986.

In the 1990s, Royce followed with “The Judas Trail” (1996) and “Shadows” (1996).

Royce’s latter-day Bulman differs greatly from the television version.

Alfred George Bulman (as opposed to George Kitchener Bulman) has, by “The Crypto Man” in 1985, risen to Detective Superintendent in the Security Services section of the Metropolitan Police. His television alternative never made it above Detective Chief Inspector, before becoming a private investigator.

And That Was All…

The “Bulman” series ended in 1987. Henderson obtained the rights for TV use of the character, but got caught up with other projects. The actor died in 1997 before he was able to interest producers in a new series.

Our series is ongoing.

Hope you’ll join me, for the next installment.

Till then.

Peace.

Angel-AI

“Angel” is a television series created by Joss Whedon (director of “Marvel’s The Avengers”; co-creator of ABC Television’s “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD”) and David Greenwalt.

The show ran for 5 seasons on the WB network, and starred David Boreanaz as private investigator Angel, “the vampire with a soul”.

The Premise

The series chronicles the adventures of Liam, an 18th-century landowner’s son, turned into a vampire by the lady Darla (played by Julie Benz).

Adopting the vampire name Angelus, Liam massacred his entire village, then took off with Darla on a murderous rampage that lasted 140 years, and spanned the civilized world.

Now, assuming that each of them had to consume the blood of at least one human every day, for 365 days a year (Leap Years, too), for 140 years… Well; do the math.

Most prolific serial killers in history.

Until Darla made the fatal error of procuring a young Gypsy girl, for Angelus to consume.

The girl’s family took revenge in a cruelly subtle way. They put a curse on Angelus, restoring his human soul – and with it, his memory of every person he’d killed.

Driven to the edge of insanity by guilt and remorse, Angelus sought redemption.

Changing his name to Angel, he became a warrior for Good. Hunting down vampires, demons, and assorted Hell-beasts that prey on humans.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and the California town of Sunnydale.

There, Angel falls in love with a teenager, Buffy Ann Summers (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar). As Fate would have it, Buffy is the latest in an ages-long line of Slayers: one girl, per generation, endowed with superhuman abilities by The Powers That Be, to slay vampires, demons, and assorted Hell-beasts that…

Hmm.

Crusading vampire.

Vampire-slaying teen.

Cue angst, in the pre-“Twilight” era.

I’ll let Cordelia Chase (with a little help from Wesley Wyndham-Price) explain.
Video comes courtesy of YouTube:

Too much emotional baggage.

So, Angel left Sunnydale, for the City of Angels. There, he set up Angel Investigations (AI), a detective agency specializing in paranormal cases.

The AI Team

Here’s the bulk of them, in an extended credits sequence from YouTube, set to the show’s iconic theme tune:

You’re only as good as your supporting characters, and Angel had some great ones.

Doyle: Played by Glenn Quinn.

Doyle was the hard-drinking hybrid son of a human father, and demon mother.

Hard-drinking, because The Powers That Be bestowed on him the gift of visions. Or rather, garbled views of supernatural dangers currently happening, or yet to come – accompanied by Olympic-class migraine headaches.

Prior to his heroic death, saving the world, Doyle passed his gift on, to…

Cordelia “Cordy” Chase: Played by Charisma Carpenter.

Gorgeous, self-proclaimed “meanest bitch in the history of Sunnydale High”, Cordelia was more than just mean girl eye candy.

Funny, and incisively truthful in her bitchiness, Cordy signed on initially as a 2-words-per-hour secretary to Angel, after failing to make it in L.A. as an actress.

Handy with ancient weapons (she was one of Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s “Scooby Gang”, in Sunnydale), Cordelia remained the heart and soul of Angel Investigations. And the AI team’s crucial link to The Powers That Be – via those excruciating visions.

Wesley Wyndham-Price: Played by Alexis Denisof.

Former member of the Watchers’ Council – a group of stuffy British academics tasked with mentoring and providing logistical support to the current Vampire Slayer.

Wesley was booted off the Council when Faith (played by Eliza Dushku) – the Slayer called into action after Buffy Summers was killed – went homicidally rogue.

Reinventing himself as a rogue demon-hunter (“What’s a rogue demon?” as Cordelia puts it), Wesley fell on hard times in L.A., until offered a lifeline by Angel.

As the group’s resident authority on demonology and the paranormal, Wesley became a vital part of Angel Investigations.

Charles Gunn: Played by J. August Richards.

Orphaned by vampires as a child, the young Gunn became the leader of a group of street kids, dedicated to keeping their section of the city a vamp-free zone.

A skilled and inventive fighter, Gunn hooked up with Angel Investigations after his younger sister was turned into a vampire.

Always conflicted about working for a blood-drinker, Gunn later became the team’s expert on legal matters, after Angel was given control of Wolfram & Hart (more on them, later).

Lorne / The Host: Played by Andy Hallett.

Lorne (an abbreviation of his real name; don’t ask) first appeared as The Host of Caritas, a karaoke club with an open-door policy for supernaturals.

A lanky, green-skinned demon of the horned Lucifer variety, Lorne had the ability to read a person’s soul and know their fate, after hearing them sing.

Lorne joined the team after Caritas was destroyed, during one of AI’s cases.

Winnifred “Fred” Burkle: Played by Amy Acker.

A cute as hell (in the nicest possible way) Texan gal, with super-genius IQ.

Fred’s Astro-Physics research got her zapped into a demon dimension, for several years. When Cordelia Chase was ported to the same place, Angel and the gang followed, eventually rescuing both.

Fred stayed on, to lend her considerable intellect to the team – and to charm the socks off of everyone, with her persona.

Fans were devastated, when Fred was killed off – her soul obliterated, to make way for the demon goddess…

Illyria: Played by Amy Acker.

Whose essence had been trapped in an alternate Universe by her enemies, since the dawn of civilization.

Smuggled to Earth in an ancient artifact, her soul was freed, to inhabit a new host body.

Illyria looks a lot like Fred, only with blue hair and eyes, metallic gray skin, and a Clive-Barker’s-Hellraiser-Cenobite-esque black rubber body suit.

She has a formidable range of super-powers (which once included the ability to slow down Time), and occasionally uses them to help the team.

Spike (a.k.a. William the Bloody): Played by James Marsters.

William the Bloody was part of Angelus’ vampire “family”. He was sired by Drusilla (actress Juliet Landau), a loopy psychic who had been turned years earlier by Angelus.

Spike (as in, railroad spike; his favored instrument of torture) was a fearsome and skilled combatant, responsible for the deaths of two Vampire Slayers.

He took the hero’s route after falling in love with Buffy Summers (girl had vampire issues, clearly), and undergoing an ordeal to restore his soul.

After sacrificing himself to save the world, Spike was resurrected by Wolfram & Hart (them, again…), to be a thorn in Angel’s side.
He thwarted this plan, by actually proving an asset to the team.

Connor: Played by Vincent Kartheiser.

The unlikely son of two vampires.

Connor was conceived when Darla was resurrected from Hell as a mortal, by Wolfram & Hart, to seduce Angel.

Even after becoming a vampire again (by her own cunning), Darla’s pregnancy went to term, and Connor was born as his mother “died”.

Kidnapped soon after by the vampire-hunter Daniel Holtz (actor Keith Szarabajka), Connor was taken to an alternate dimension. There, the super-powered youth was raised as a warrior, his mind systematically poisoned against Angel / Angelus.

Returning to Earth as a teenager, Connor joined the ranks of AI. Always borderline: in both his sanity, and his feelings toward his biological father.

Connor’s memory was altered, and he was relocated to a normal family, as part of the deal Angel made to take over Wolfram & Hart. Speaking of which…

The Devil’s Advocates

Any legendary investigator needs a nemesis.

For Angel Investigations, the law firm Wolfram & Hart, was it.

In every dimension where Evil exists, the society of the Wolf, Ram, and Hart (Wolfram & Hart; get it?) is there, aiding and abetting.

In one Universe, they might be a religious order. A warrior sect, in another.

On Earth? They’ve set up as lawyers. The Senior Partners of the practice are High Lords of Hell.

And throughout the 5 years of “Angel’s” run, Wolfram & Hart was dedicated to making the heroic vampire’s life a misery – and advancing the course of the latest Apocalypse.

How Come I Never Knew About This?

The thing with “Angel”?

It was one of those shows that not too many people knew about. But those that did, were instantly hooked.

The stories deal with complex issues of temptation, conscience, and redemption. With wisdom, and enough wit to make you laugh out loud. Often.

If you get the chance, check it out, on DVD.

Time for me to go.

I’ll see you, for our next tale. I hope.

Till then.

Peace.

Detectives, Great and Good

Detectives, Great and Good

Cop. ‘Tec. Gumshoe. Shamus. Investigator. Private eye.

Many names. One mission.

When a heinous crime has been committed, you’ll find them.

The intrepid men and women of literature, movies, and television. Always at hand, to unmask the evildoer. With a brilliant deduction, a vital clue, or simply a smoking gun.

I’m talking fictional detectives, here.

And that’s what I’ll be discussing, in a series of blogs, during the coming days, and weeks.

Months. Years, maybe. Because there’s an awful lot of them, out there.

Now, a formal discourse might split the topic into logical classifications, like:

the amateur detective (Miss Marple, Jessica Fletcher, Lord Peter Wimsey)
the private investigator (Holmes, Marlowe, Spade, Poirot, Magnum, etc.)
the police detective (Dalgliesh, Kojak, Morse, Columbo, Clouseau);
the forensic specialists (Scarpetta, Quincy, Cracker, CSI, John Thorndyke).

But me? I’m not that logical.

So, I’ll be going alphabetically.

And subjectively.

I’ll consider those characters who have influenced me over the years. Or generated a global following. Or made a notable impact, in some other way.

Spanning all kinds of media, and covering fictional investigators of all stripes.

There’ll be visual aids, too. Like this tribute to detectives and hired guns, from misterplasticman, on YouTube:

Just to get you in the mood.

Be kicking off, soon.

I hope you’ll join me.

Till then.

Peace.