The Evolution of a PI Character.


Humprey Bogart

Thee origins of Drake Darrow are very interesting.  I had been writing a soap opera in college.  In the soap opera I had this character named Drake Darrow.  He was a Defense Attorney.  His story line dealt with helping a troubled kid out of jail.  The Soap Opera didn’t last and Drake was dropped from my mind.  When I graduated from college, I started working in radio and Drake started to speak to me.  His name kept coming back to me.  It was if he was trying to say to me, “Kid, you got the name right, but you were using me all wrong.”  I loved the name and I had to find a way of creating a character around the name.  Once again, Drake spoke to me at the St. Albans Vermont Library.  I found a book on Atlantis.  Atlantis had always fascinated me.  My mind began to race and I came up with a story that revolved around the lost city of Atlantis.  Drake was now a Private Investigator.  He was hired by his ex-wife Harriet Alfredsson, an Archaeologist, to find this stolen Atlantis gemstone from the Florida Antiquities museum.  Now I had something.  I had always been a big fan of Indiana Jones and  the Mike Hammer series.    I wanted the character to be a combination of the two.  It didn’t work out quite the way I wanted, but then again Drake was leading me somewhere.  He became more Sam Spade then Mike Hammer and that was fine with me.  I liked Sam Spade.  He and Sam had a kindred spirit.  He was full of himself and he didn’t take any guff from anyone.  As much as I like the new Drake, the drafts I wrote were crap.  I tossed it and moved onto something else.  Now, what I learned about Drake,  is that he is a determined son of a bitch.  In 1999, that damn PI came knocking at my door again.  “Okay kid, you have the right idea, but you really need to do your homework on your story.  Research kid.  Research.  The Atlantis thing is fine, but you don’t know enough about it.  And for that matter, you have no idea who I am or what I am about.  You need some history on me kid and I’m going to give it to ya, but first research.”  He was right, I needed to do research.  I didn’t have the internet before, but now I did.  I began to research Atlantis so much I was with it.    A website called Crystalinks became my research guide.  Sometimes till 2 or 3 in the morning.  I just kept finding stuff and I kept saying, “Okay, I’m gonna use this and use that and use this….Some of the theories on Atlantis took me to Egypt.  Supposedly, when Atlantis fell into the sea, the survivors moved to Egypt.  A further theory is that they built the pyramids.  Whether I believed that or not, didn’t matter, it was good enough for an awesome story.  I took the next movie to Egypt.  As I am writing this new story, Drake’s talking to me, telling me about himself.  “Kid, I grew up in an orphanage, with a 160 IQ.”  He was raised by a priest, who became like his real father.  Drake became a Physicist.  And there was always this mysterious man who used to visit Father Michael Barry, who wore the ring of the Yale secret society, Skull and Crossbones.  Drake’s mentor was Harriett’s father Dr. Johan Alfredsson, who taught him everything he knew about Quantum Physics and the idea that time travel could exist.  Drake’s work got him a job with Military Intelligence, but during a time travel experiment, there was an accident that almost killed him.  He managed to survive, but the accident suddenly left him with the power of telekinesis.  He was able to read people’s minds, move and bend things, disappear and levitate. I must have written about 8 different drafts of a movie called “The 12 Keys to Knowledge.”  The title came from something I learned about a higher consciousness.  I was happy with it and it really worked.  And the best part is I created a new character along the way.  A character named Kitty Lange, AKA Barbara Faltagio, a former member of the Boston mob, who is in the Federal Witness Protection Program.  She started out as his secretary and now is his partner.  She is secretly in love with Drake.  She is hard-nosed like Drake and doesn’t take any guff.  Her catch phrase, is “Have you got nuts for brains?”  And just to let you know, Kitty speaks to me too.  A lot.  Sometimes she won’t shut up.  After I had gotten a draft I liked, I sensed there was more.  So I started a sequel, but I got blocked.  Drake kept talking to me as I was writing it.  “Do you really want to do this kid.  If you want more of me write a TV. Series.  I’m game for it.  Believe me kid, I am a character that has plenty of stories to keep you going for years.”  So Drake got his wish.  The two of us are stuck with each other.  He’s like a little birdie that talks to me every so often.  I feel I know Drake very well now.  He’s evolved through the years.  Drake has told me things these last two years that are quite enlightening.   He is no longer in Florida, he said it wasn’t right for him, instead he’s in Baltimore Maryland. Through meditation, and his Buddhist faith, Drake now has a third eye.  Which helps him to piece broken parts of a puzzle together.  His third eye helps him to sense when things are not right, or when impending doom is about to happen.  It’s his Spidey sense.  We see his third eye on the screen.  It’s  to let the audience know there is something not right.  Drake’s weakness is any type of drug, which includes Alcohol.  Kentucky Bourbon is his weakness and he drinks that when he is depressed.  Because of his sabotaged experiment, Drake is electrically charged.   There is only one thing that can revive him and it is something odd, water.  The water recharges his batteries. Drake has also toned down some.  He is not so much the Sam Spade type I portrayed him in the beginning and I believe that is a good thing, since times have changed and I want this to be as modern as possible.  He is a very bitter and angry man about his circumstances.  As Drake would sum it up, “The third eye, isn’t something I asked for, it’s my curse.”  Through this series, Drake’s one goal is to know who he really is.  He can’t know who he is until he finds out who is parents are and why he was abandoned.  He will get some help along the way.  Like Michael Weston from Burn Notice, Drake has his own team. A high-ranking Senator from Massachusetts to help stamp out corruption in Washington.  His partner, the tough as nails ex mobster Kitty Lange, his surrogate father Father Michael Barry,  Johan Alfredsson the retired mentor, a no-nonsense Sheriff of Ann Arundel County, named Joe Duncam, originally from Tyband Georgia,  (Don’t look that up on a map, I made it up.)His ex wife, Harriett, a neurotic self-absorbed woman who believes Drake is still in love with her, a mysterious man named named Voice Box, who leaks important government secrets to the Senator, and a strange computer hacker, who goes by the name of Ringer.  He also has his enemies, the chief one a man named Shadow, who has a very strange henchman named Morphine.  As the series moves along, I have a myriad of twists and turns in store.  This is a series that is a little “Burn Notice”, a little 24 and a whole lot of x-files.  So as I continue to write this series I will refer to it from time to time.  And please be kind to Drake if he shows up.  Say hello, he’s had a rough life and he needs some nice cheer.


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