Blair as a Cop

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When The Sentinel's last episode suggested that Blair Sandburg may go to the police academy to become a cop, rather than continue with his disgraced dissertation, many of the show's fans experienced a deep rift: those who were fine with Blair becoming a police officer, and those who felt it was wrong and a betrayal of his character.

An Early Opinion from the Actor Who Portrayed Blair

In a July 1997 interview that was printed in a semi-official club newsletter, Garret Maggart talked with a fan about Blair:

Interviewer: " ... one thing people like to know is what do you see your character, you know, how do you interpret him?"
Garrett: “Blair is uh, very, very, just outgoing, to get involved in whatever’s going on, um, and is really into things for the experience, otherwise he would have written his paper along time ago...”
I: (laughter) "Yeah, thank God, uh!”
G: "...and just gotten out, but, this blowing things up, man. This is scaring me.”
I: "He’s kind of getting more involved in the police aspect of it.”
G: "Yeah, yeah, he has delusions of grandeur.”
I: “He’s not going to become a cop, is he, we don’t want him to become a cop.”
G: “No. I don’t want him to either.”[1]



Fan Comments

I must admit I always felt that all the attributes for which people love Blair best—his holistic academic interests, his ability to nurture and teach, his love of new experiences, his ability to think quickly and be resourceful in a crisis, his generally non-confrontational nature and his deep interest in understanding other people and cultures and non-traditional ways of life—were not because he was an "anthropologist", but because he was "Blair". And the things he was doing with his life were not ALL that he was, but were instead stepping stones along the path of what he was to BECOME, as you say, a destiny of "great purpose". That was the ongoing journey of these characters.

These things are part of who Blair *IS* and are not related to his job or the way he earns his living.

Anyway, we've all been over this a hundred times and I have no desire to go for the double century! <g>

However, I'd just like to point out while people seem to be firmly entrenching themselves in the "I like Blair as a Cop" "I hate Blair as a Cop" camps, that there has been a fandom-wide misapprehension about Pet Fly's considered direction for the character of Blair.

Granted it may have undergone some changes, and granted we may never get the chance to see it realised, but we were fortunate enough to have a number of long conversations with Danny Bilson about his thoughts about the characters, their strengths and weaknesses, their destinies, fan perceptions etc. and his most insistent comment about Blair was that he was such a popular character with viewers because he was an "academic" sort of hero. He considered this to be the primary attribute of the character.

As such, Blair wasn't going to the Academy to become a Cop. There were four episodes planned with an Academy theme, and then Blair was basically gonna flunk out upon some kind of moral/ethical dilemma. At the same time, he was gonna continue working on his dissertation, but he was just going to be writing it for Jim, because that was how he chronicled Jim's Sentinel abilities.

These were just outlines, but I feel that the fan outcry against Pet Fly's intentions for the characters, and a general accusation that they were interested only in cops and robbers and shoot 'em ups, does the producers a great disservice from my way of thinking, and it seems to spring from nowhere in particular.

An earlier idea that Pet Fly was working on was that Jim and Blair would leave for Peru and have some adventures there—but from a practical point of view it would be difficult to find locations or involve the support cast in any meaningful way, it wouldn't make use of standing sets and therefore would not be financially viable. As you know, before that they had intentions of filming at the actual Mayan pyramids in Mexico, but a lot of changes had to be made to accommodate a delayed shooting schedule and Jeri Ryan's availability during some very inclement weather in Vancouver over a number of weeks.

Fanfic writers of course have none of these restrictions placed on their imagination and they are free to explore, but practicalities do unfortunately step in on a prime time network show which employs hundreds of people and works to a budget. But they did have many of these exciting directions in mind.

Anyway, if the show never comes back we will never know, and the door will always be open for authors and posters to explore the future of these characters in a variety of different ways. I don't see that the ending of TSbyBS left everything as black and white as many commentators have apparently interpreted.

Indeed, it was meant to open doors, not close them.

Kaz [2]


  1. ^ from The Cascade Quarterly #1
  2. ^ originally posted to the Raft, posted at Fwd: Fwd: Raft/ Pet Fly's plans for BS (was: a hypothetical) with permission, August 11, 199