Thoughts on 'Hannibal', Hollywood investigations, serial killers & intuition

Thoughts on Hollywood investigations, serial killers, intuition & ‘Hannibal’

As a professional private investigator and a former Federal agent, it can be very hard for me to watch television. With rare exception, nearly every Hollywood depiction of private investigation and criminal investigation consistently gets it wrong.  (I’ve written a few posts about the Hollywood vs. reality aspect of private investigation: here, here and here.)…

The Martin PI TV show that never was, plus a review of “Cry Wolfe”

I’ve taken part in more than a few television shows as an interview subject. In recent years, I was approached by two of the major studios, as they wanted me to help create and star in a reality-based television show about private investigators. I have ended up turning down many interviews and all of the reality shows – because I insisted upon keeping the reality aspect intact.

Here’s how these things typically go.

Advice on becoming a private investigator

The top 10 things private investigators WON’T do

Our PI firm receives thousands of calls a year. Every day, we have to explain to at least one caller that some of the things they want us to do for them are in fact illegal – and punishable by prison and fines. I decided to compile a list of these requests, and group them into categories. This allowed me to come up with a top 10 list of services we either won’t perform – or will only perform only under very tight restrictions, under the direction in writing from an attorney and/or they meet the severe limitations of the civil and criminal codes of conduct.

Unannounced visits to senior care facilities

Investigation of senior facilities by private investigators

I guarantee you that a visit from a licensed PI for your mom, dad or grandparent will be the talk of the facility that day – for both the staff and the residents. When I walk in and say, “Hi, I’m Tom Martin and I’m a private investigator. I’m here to check on Mary Lou Smith,” with my license in hand, the reaction is priceless – and very telling. Some staff immediately get flustered and literally hold up their hands in front of me, as if to try to bar me. “Whoa, whoa whoa….”