DS Ray Miles: Don’t give me a hug.
DI Joseph Chandler: I wasn’t going to.
DS Ray Miles: You were thinking about it.
It’s a J…really it is. So why did I choose Joe? The creepy and clever storytelling of Whitechapel and the unusual mental health problem associated with the character are huge reasons. Initially Joe Chandler is a university boy, who coasts past older, more experienced and to be honest more competent coppers, chiefly his DS, Ray Miles, not just due to his education, but more due to his name. His father pulled strings to get him protected and promoted within the service, before his suicide. This earns him a very negative label. He is a plastic policeman, no beat time, just a warrant card (very rare, most plastics would be expected to put in at least a year wearing out their shoes)
Below be spoilers…
However following Joe’s failure to capture the 21st century ripper at the end of series 1 when the officers are forced to decide between saving the life of the last victim and catching the killer and while Chandler is not alone, Miles has been a wee bit stabbed and is not in the position to leap up and give chase, the killer then takes his own life in the Thames to preserve his legend as uncaught just as the ripper was, Joe is cut loose by his higher power promoters and is doomed to remain a DI forever.
But this character is about more than murderers. It is about Joe, socially awkward, but handsome and posh enough to be viewed as threatening by your average cop. He arrives at his first scene, a re enactment of the Ripper’s first murder, in a dinner suit and bowtie having been pulled from a black tie dinner. He has never before seen a dead body, let alone an eviscerated one, and is nearly sick in the forensic tent.
He goes on to piss off his team by accusing them of not getting anything from the door to door because they didn’t look authoritative enough and then not taking the time to talk to anyone to realise that the ball is already rolling, and bringing in a consultant ‘Ripperologist’ Edward ‘Ed’ Buchanan, against the wishes of the others . He has his authority questioned and undermined, which leads to blazing rows with Miles.
These rows do however lead to a grudging acceptance of each others personalities and ideas, and Miles becomes a kind of father figure to Joe, who works hard to change and fit in with people he struggles to understand or even concentrate around.
Joe has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which is initially fairly mild, more of an obsession with cleanliness, smells and rescue remedy than something utterly debilitating. However as Joe sees more horrors and tries to let more people into his life, it becomes worse and worse, interfering with every aspect of his life. The only person who seems able to help him is psychologist Morgan Lamb, who he meets during the course of an investigation and who is later murdered, pushing him into an even darker place.
The show itself also explores some supernatural elements as well as pitting the wits of Whitechapel’s finest against a number of psychopaths. This is highlighted by three things, the dark and indefinable presence within the station, the fact that Joe has never bought in a suspect alive and finally, on a visit to a psychic, Joe gets a message from his father, which he refuses to be told and has written down and placed into an envelope. He ignores it and loads a cult who are killing people for a divine prophecy into a single police van, the van explodes and all die. When Joe returns and remembers his father’s message from the week earlier, which reads. ‘Don’t put them all into the same van.’
When I first started reading the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series (and the first series of ‘Game of Thrones’) I never thought that I would come to like this character. Ser Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer – a title he earnt from stabbing the last King (Aerys II ‘the Mad King’ Targaryen) of Westeros in the back – is first introduced as the Queen, Cersei’s twin and member of the Kingsguard. A cock-sure man with no morals nor honour with the golden hair and good looks of the Lannisters.
Shortly after – through the POV of Bran, the seven year (ten on the show) old son of Eddard Stark – we witness the incestous relationship between the Lannister twins and Jaime pushes Bran from the tall tower which, instead of killing him – like Cersei wanted – leaves the boy a cripple. Which made me firmly dislike the Kingslayer.
The things I do for love.
~ Jaime Lannister, A Game of Thrones
However, George R. R. Martin doesn’t really like black and white, clear cut characters (except maybe Joffrey, the evil f***er). So, after Ned loses his head and when Jaime is taken prisoner by Robb Stark, he promises Catelyn Stark that he would send her daughters (who were reportedly prisoners of the crown). Suddenly we are thrown into Jaime’s POV, where we learn why he killed the Mad King – sounded like a good reason to me – and that he has only ever loved one woman (yes, she happens to be his twin sister but he is certainly the more romantic and loyal of them). We also learn that he’s not perfect, his father pushed him to read despite his dislike for it due to his dyslexia, something that is hinted at throughout the books.
The further through the series I got, I started to realise – disturbingly to begin with – that I liked Jaime, eventually beginning to even worry about him.
The greyness of the characters and the way one that I hated but then liked and can call a favourite is a huge reason I love the series. I just hope Jaime doesn’t lose more than his fighting hand by the end, although who knows with George.