February’s Theme: Obsessions
First, a brief remembrance: As you probably know, the iconic private investigator Jack Palladino died last week after a brutal attack in his San Francisco neighborhood. An obit writer asked us for a comment. It’s hard to know what to say about such a giant figure in our industry.
Here’s what our managing editor emailed the NYT reporter:
“I’m no expert on the life and times of Palladino, but what I can say is this: a lot of PIs seem to have strong opinions about him, for good or ill. He doesn’t evoke feelings of neutrality, let’s say, especially in a profession that values privacy and behind-the-scenes maneuvering—some folks in the investigative community can be pretty skeptical of PIs who become celebrities in their own right. Still, there’s no question he made his mark on the field, as part of that tradition of myth-busting Bay-Area sleuths who rejected the trenchcoat stereotype and modernized the profession (pioneered by Hal Lipset and handed down to a new generation of investigators who worked with him).
“The controversial part of his reputation and legacy, as I understand it, is a question of whether his tactics at times maybe moved past finessing and leaned toward strong-arming. That’s just a general sense I get about how he’s viewed by some. I might compare him to certain big-name defense attorneys whose client list and methods might seem distasteful to some, but who you’d probably want sitting at your table if you were accused of a crime.”
RIP to a larger-than-life figure in our profession, one whose obsessive advocacy for clients made him both reviled and revered. Here’s the obit in full:
In the briefing (below), Hal offers his own remembrance of Palladino and segues into his own tendencies toward obsession, minor and major. It’s a double-edged sword for anyone in a profession that values persistence. Obsession, in the form of laser focus and stubbornness, can be a driving force in your investigative work. Taken too far, it can also be a spoiler that knocks your life off balance.
Is there a case you worked obsessively that still haunts you, years after the fact? Click here to submit your story to Pursuit.
And now, here’s the briefing: