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Detective Robert Goren: A Fine Line Separates Me From Those I Interrogate

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This series is a form of creative writing known as fan fiction. Detective Robert Goren is a regular character on the Dick Wolf television show, Law & Order: Criminal Intent. What follows is one longtime viewers’ breath of life into an already popular character.

Everything Is Blurry

I’m not too sure about this whole blogging thing. I just know that I need an outlet, a place to put my emotions that is safe. I spend eighteen-hour days climbing into the heads of the worst criminals imaginable and I have to keep my cool then. My day ends, I get home and I’m just wiped out. But my head, it keeps running. The faces, images, crime scenes, words spoken — they all run through my brain over and over again. It’s like my physical body sleeps while my mind keeps running, never quite able to shut down. My whole life is about work, figuring out the bad guy and catching him at his own game. Sometimes I wonder, do I obsess about work so much that it keeps me from having a normal life? Or is it that I don’t have a normal life for a man in his mid-40’s, so I wrap myself in my job? I don’t have a wife or children. Not even a girlfriend at this point. My job, it makes me feel connected to something. Someone. Like I’m not floating in space all alone.

There are times though, when I relate too much to the wrong people. What is it that draws me towards people that are off-kilter? I don’t need to fix people or even try to. I know that I can’t do that. Sometimes I really feel like I relate to someone locked up – either in prison or a psych ward – better than I relate to anyone “normal.” It makes me wonder, were a lot of these people always so out of control, or were they once exactly as I am now?

What is it that causes a person to just finally break inside and how do you know how close you are to the other side of crazy?

There was a woman a year or so ago that killed a man. She was divorced for like six years but couldn’t let go. She still wore her ring, called herself a married woman. The ex didn’t help things at all. He agreed to let her still do everything for him. Prepare meals, laundry, cleaned his bachelor pad. Over those years she probably went from hoping for a reconciliation to being plain obsessed. The situation obviously skewed her thinking, but when you look at it from a distance, was she really wrong to have hope? He gave her reason to hold on until something broke. She killed someone that she perceived as a hindrance.

One would think that this lady was the mildest woman on the planet. So calm, thoughtful, she truly did care for people in general. Her heart was huge and yet she still got to a point where a plotted, perfectly executed murder was the only way she saw to stay in touch with her ex. When someone with that much inner kindness becomes sick enough to do harm to others, well it made me really think. I genuinely liked her. Could have quickly fallen for her, was probably obviously affected by her. I still did my job, but I hated arresting someone like her.

If I connect so easily with someone like her or like Nicole Wallace, how close am I to completely breaking myself? When is empathy no longer empathy but a sign of being seriously screwed up? Getting into the head of a bad guy can be a lot of fun. I love figuring out what makes people tick and then using that to unravel their own crimes. It feels good to profile someone and then when we catch the perp, the profile fits. I did my job and my instincts were right. Nice bit of ego stroking there.

But sometimes I end up in places I’d rather not be. Sometimes I understand what drives them too much and it frightens me. One guy still haunts me. “John” was the stereotypical shy guy. He’d watch guys try to pick up girls — a thirty-something-year-old man still stuck in adolescence. He didn’t know how to interact with women and resorted to drugging them and performing homemade lobotomies on them. Desperate measures to make them stay with him. A sick, twisted man and yet, it was all about loneliness. He didn’t want to be as alone for the rest of his life as he had been for the beginning of it. Desperate, depraved actions for a tiny bit of normalcy. Perceived love. A warm body to cuddle up to at night.

He said something that struck such a deep nerve, that we never get used to being alone. It’s true. Here I am in my 40s, with no one to go home to and nothing to get me up in the morning but my job, really. Some days I just want that warm body to come home to. Someone to take care of and to take care of me. Such a simple thing and yet to many of us it feels completely unattainable.

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  • ann

    wow…great show, greater character, awecome blog. Law & Order CI is one of the most underrated shows on television and Goren is one of the most intriguing characters.

  • Carly

    FINALLY! Goren hits the mainstream. I’ve been a cultlike admirer of him for ages and have been waiting for his appeal to become more widespread.

  • Trinket

    I agree Ann. Goren is far to interesting not to be more of a mainstream character!

  • susie

    I love this series:-) Its refreshin3 to see someone focus on the Nicole/Bobby relationship dynamics.Those two are brilliant to3ether.Ive always thou3ht That Bobby would see her as the person he mi3ht have been,you know,”there but for the 3race of 3od,” and all, and Ive wondered how that would influence his actions towards her.There are a million oppurtunities for intri3ue with these two.Thank you for writin3 what NEEDED to be written, and for writin3 it well.Keep em comin3:-)