How often does the average person sit around wondering why their social life sucks? I suppose if you are married, you don’t spend too much time thinking about this, though from what I’ve heard, most married people don’t have much of a social life anyway. Maybe I’m just talking to the wrong married people.
When it comes to a character such as MacFarland, I have to understand what kind of a social life (okay, I’ll be a bit more explicit – sex life) does he have. Or what kind does he want? I suppose being a guy, he does want the occasional fling, though he is getting up there in years. If these stories were comedies or romantic novels, I assume that he would be thinking about his sex life fairly frequently. Since it’s a detective story, his sex life is not such a hot topic.
Or is it? MacFarland is a more than a detective. He is a living, breathing man with normal appetites. I am pretty sure he wants a meaningful relationship, though right now in his life he is still comparing every possible companion to his murdered wife, Nicole. The problem is, his memory of his relationship with Nicole is really out of whack. He remembers their life together as the great love of his life, when in fact, it was a pretty shoddy relationship. MacFarland neglected his wife, putting his work first and foremost. Even when the signs were there, he ignored them.
It was only after she was gone that he realized what he had and what he lost.
In that sense, MacFarland is like a great many men and women. He takes for granted what he has. He doesn’t have his priorities set properly (who among us actually does?), and one way he will develop as a character is to get those priorities straight. What are those priorities? So far, we can see some of them:
- Staying sober
- Caring for the homeless
- Protecting the innocent
As MacFarland solves case after case, he regains some of the self-esteem he lost when he became an alcoholic and got kicked off the police force. And as he becomes more successful at solving crimes, he begins to realize that he is getting a second chance at being the kind of person he should have been when he was married to Nicole. The question for MacFarland is, has he learned his lesson this time? Will he be able to have a relationship with someone who he won’t relegate to the back burner every time there’s a mystery to be solved.