Writerpedia discussion

advice requests > Police Procedural Help

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Karen (new)

Karen (karen_anders) | 4 comments Hi -

I was wondering if anyone knows the procedures in LA for a family member to identify a Jane Doe. This is for a proposal I'm writing for a miniseries of police procedurals.

Just a little bit about myself. I write for Harlequin Blaze and have recently been heading more towards romantic suspense.

Best, Karen

message 2: by Kristin (new)

Kristin I am not sure what exactly you mean, some will do a sketch, some will hold the info, depends on the case. Do they have an idea of the family???


message 3: by Karen (new)

Karen (karen_anders) | 4 comments Kristin -

No, the police do not know the victim's identity. The only clue they have is a business card for a design business. Once they go to the business, the owner thinks it might be his partner. I'm not sure what happens after that. Will they go to the morgue to identify the body and how is that set up? A viewing room? Will they get the family involved?

Thanks for the help.


message 4: by Dana (new)

Dana | 14 comments Just a wave to Karen from another Harlequin author. I write romantic suspense for their Steeple Hill/Love Inspired Suspense line. Nice to see another Harlequin author in this cyber forum! Dana


message 5: by Karen (new)

Karen (karen_anders) | 4 comments Hi Dana -

Same here. It's always so nice to cyber meet fellow Harlequin authors. Karen

message 6: by Kristin (last edited Oct 03, 2008 11:56AM) (new)

Kristin Karen,
I am guessing it depends on the condition of the body. Just a thought usually, they would have it identified, our science is too good. finger prints, dental records, ect... They might have a photo. I am not sure if the next of kin has to be the one to identify the body. I would contact them to verify procedures. I believe depending on the part of La they would show the body on a monitor/ screen. Depending on where you live, you might be able to do a ride along with the police in your local area. They would know more exact details.


message 7: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 109 comments I suggest you go to the local library and look for a procedure manual. Make sure you specify the year because procedure has changed over the years.

message 8: by J. (new)

J. Yandell (jbelindayandell) | 7 comments I have watched far too much CSI and Law and Order. It gives me the illusion that I know this stuff. Your audience may feel the same. It sounds terrible, but these days, I think you can get away with a great deal if you follow something you've seen more than once on TV or movies. I don't think it's so much about being technically correct as being plausible.

So far I haven't written anything that needed such detailed procedural help. I did have a question about burial laws/regulations, so I just called a funeral home out of the phone book and asked. They were happy to explain it to me.

I have been considering a murder mystery, and searched profiles on Yahoo and AOL for people with occupations in criminal justice. I contacted a couple, told them what I wanted, and they both said, sure, they'd be happy to answer questions via email. Just a thought.

message 9: by Karen (new)

Karen (karen_anders) | 4 comments J -

Thanks for the insight. I did write the scene and went with a viewing room, metal table, white sheet and left the other details vague since what I wanted to get out of the scene was more emotion than procedure. I think you're right. People (me included) think that what happens on t.v. is close to real life, so I'm probably safe in portraying my morgue scene the way I did. I'm almost done with the proposal, so we'll see how it goes with getting it published. Wish me luck. Karen

message 10: by Kevin (last edited Dec 15, 2008 01:45PM) (new)

Kevin | 6 comments Edna Buchanan knows that scene well. You might want to get a copy of her nonfiction account of reporting on real crimes for the Miami Herald.

back to top