P is for Penelope Garcia and Peter Grant



Oracle of Quantico. Speak if you deign to hear truth.

Penelope Garcia has always been my favourite character in the TV show Criminal Minds. She is the self certified tech kitten of the FBI Behavioural Analysis Unit, often less mobile than the rest of the team due to being tied to the systems, though this has lessened in more recent seasons. She is the reassuring and constant voice on the other side of the phone or the screen.

Not an official profiler, Garcia was picked up as a superhacker and given the choice to come into the law or go to prison. She joined the BAU and found the family she lost when her own parents died. She is an upbeat person who fills her world with bright colour and childlike images in order to counter what she sees in her job. Her wonderful relationships with those around her, particularly SSA Derek Morgan, also make things easier, not just for her but for those she knows and loves.

Derek is her key relationship within the group, flirty, loving and the closest relationship that it appears either of them have ever had and for Garcia in particular may ever have. They know everything about each other and have each other’s backs through everything.

Garcia is also more than just her job, always giving of herself, even in her spare time choosing to run a support group for the victims of families and almost getting herself killed trying to help them to achieve closure by flagging up unsolved cases, and taking part in plays with the local armature dramatics society.


I gave the prescribed Metropolitan Police “first greeting”.
“Oi!” I said “What do you think you’re doing?”

Today I have to write about a character after meeting his creator earlier in the day. It feels a little bit daunting, if I think about it too much.

Peter Grant is the protagonist of Ben Aaronovitch’s ‘Rivers of London’ novel series. Peter is a young officer in the Metropolitan Police who is expected to do paperwork, after having completed his mandatory probationary period. After a strange and unexpected encounter with a ghost, Peter finds himself recruited into a small (there’s only Peter and his Guv, Nightingale), special branch of the Met that deals with magic and the supernatural.

Peter becomes the first English apprentice wizard in over seventy years and is thrust straight into two different, but actually interrelated, cases – to find what is possessing people and turning them into killers, and broker a deal between the two warring gods of the River Thames.

The ‘Rivers of London’ series is set in a world where the rivers are people that walk and interact alongside ordinary people, whilst wizards, vampires and who knows what else lurking around the corner above and under London. It’s told in the first person vernacular of Peter and really allows you to delve into the mindset of the character and it certainly helps that his narration can be very humorous. And hearing straight from the author’s mouth that Aaronovitch’s characters ‘talk’ and ‘whine’ and ‘complain’ in his head while he’s writing (or sees something that might be used in a book) certainly makes me, as a writer, feel a little less, well, nutty.


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