Benton Fraser

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Character
Name: Benton Fraser
Occupation: Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Title/Rank: Constable
Location: Chicago, Ill.; Northwest Territories
Status: alive
Relationships: the ghost of his dead father
half-wolf Diefenbaker
partners: Ray Vecchio, Ray Kowalski
Victoria (ex-lover)
Fandom:
Other: Born in 1960 or 1961.
Fraser's name is pronounced fray-zer, but often mispronounced by other characters as fray-zher (like the title character of the American sit-com Frasier).
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Constable Benton Fraser is the main character on the Canadian television show due South. He is played by Paul Gross, a Canadian actor.

Canon

Benton Fraser grew up in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories, raised primarily by his grandparents after his mother was murdered when he was six. His father, Bob Fraser, was a legendary Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. For reasons that were not explored in canon, Benton Fraser also joined the RCMP and became as dedicated to his career as his father. He is ruthless in his pursuit of criminals, yet unfailingly polite to strangers (holding doors open, giving food, helping people across the street). His reason for moving to Chicago ("I first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of my father and, for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, have remained, attached as a liaison with the Canadian consulate") becomes an oft-repeated mantra and in-joke during the show's third and fourth seasons.

In the first two seasons, Fraser lives in a run-down apartment building in the slums (address: 221 West Racine Street, Apt. 3J). This apartment is a popular setting for fan stories (it also gave its name to the now-defunct Racine Street Archive). In the third season, the apartment building is burnt down by a performance arsonist, [1] and Fraser moves into his office in the Canadian Consulate (which fans have mapped and explored in great depth, often creating additional chambers; we know there is an upstairs suite for the Queen.)

Fraser has a pet half-wolf, Diefenbaker, but claims not to own him. They first met when they fell into the same mine-shaft. After helping Dief out of the shaft, the half-wolf returned to help rescue Fraser.[2] Later, Dief saved Fraser's life by dragging him out of the ice.[3]

Meta

There has been much meta discussion about inconsistencies in Fraser's characterization; many fans have remarked that there is a big shift between the first two seasons and the last two seasons, etc.[4]

Fraser's ambiguously defined socio-economic class is also discussed. See comments on the 2008 ds_meta post Fraser lower-class?.

Fanon Traits

Name

Fraser's name takes more than one form, and what name a fan writer uses to describe him can be seen as politically inflected. Canonically, people who knew him in Canada call him Ben. Ray Vecchio calls him Fraser most of the time and sometimes Benny, so to call Benton Fraser "Benny" in a story is typically to evoke the RayV era of the fandom. Ray Kowalski simply calls him Fraser.

Stetson of Invulnerability

Also known as the Stetson of Invincibility. Relatively early during the show's initial run, fans noticed that the only time Fraser ever seemed to get hurt was when he wasn't wearing his Stetson (particularly if he'd been wearing it and it had come off somehow), and thus the Stetson of Invulnerability was born.[5]

Sexual experience

Fraser's only confirmed sexual encounter occurred with Victoria Metcalf in the first season episode "Victoria's Secret." They had met ten years before, but canon doesn't provide conclusive evidence of sexual relations during their first encounter. According to series creator Paul Haggis, "They did not make love until she returned, in Fraser's apartment."[6] Fraser himself does not volunteer much information on the subject in canon. Consequently, there's a fair amount of fan debate on Fraser's sexuality: whether he's gentlemanly and/or repressed enough to be a virgin or whether his unrepressed avatar, Diefenbaker, more accurately represents the man inside the Mountie suit. Some fanfiction even ignores "Victoria's Secret" and posits a Secret Virgin Fraser. Characterization veers between these two extreme poles.

There is a particular question as to whether or not Fraser slept with Francesca Vecchio, which the gentlemanly Fraser refuses to confirm in canon. Stories where he either did or did not sleep with her abound.

Lifestyle

When a temporarily amnesiac Fraser enters his own, extremely spartan apartment, he asks, "Am I being punished?"[7] The question of why Fraser chooses to deny himself comfortable living arrangements is variously answered in much of Fraser-centric fanfiction:

  • The RCMP doesn't pay him enough
  • He's waiting to be reassigned somewhere in Canada and doesn't want to put down roots in Chicago
  • Yes, he is punishing himself
  • No, he was brought up in an anti-materialistic household and doesn't notice how barren his lifestyle is

In her extrapolation of dS canon from reading fanfic, TheFourthVine describes Fraser as "permanently in waiting – in waiting for his life"[8]

Profanity

There's debate about whether or not Benton Fraser would curse or use profanity or even blasphemy, even in his own head. These debates tend to be part of larger characterization issues about whether or not Fraser was a fairly normal child (albeit one with all sorts of parental issues) who chooses to enact a wry performance of the perfect Mountie, or whether he really is the unworldly, almost alien person he often presents himself as. In "Flashback," an amnesiac Fraser uses the word "hell" three times (most notably, to inquire "What the hell kind of name is Benton anyway?" [9]) but since this was a relatively late episode in the RayV era, much Fraser fanon was already well-established.

Skill with languages

Canon tells us that Fraser's grandparents helped set up an English-language library in China before "the revolution." They taught him Cantonese and Mandarin when he was young, but "I'm afraid I've forgotten almost all the Fuchow and Amoy-swatow that I knew."[10] Fraser also speaks French and Inuktitut, he can understand Greek and Latin, and he can sign in Semaphore. It was implied in one episode that he knows a little Russian (he said his Russian was a little rusty.)[11]

Fraser the reader/brought up in a library

Because Fraser's grandparents were librarians, canon often allows him to know really esoteric things. Fans have done a lot with Fraser's bookishness; in canon, we see Fraser reading music scores so well that he can hear symphonies in his head.

Scars and other markings

Fans have obsessively tracked the various scars and injuries Fraser has gotten in canon, including the bullet in his lower back from where Ray Vecchio shot him, as well as "bowed knees (5/8th of an inch), left leg broken and reset twice (the second break was from a nasty fall 57 feet off a cliff), a scar from a seven-inch serrated knife, small laceration scar on his left cheek from a tempered glass door, and lots of scar tissue around his right clavicle from an otter when he was ten years old." [12] The landscape of Fraser's body is obsessively mapped in fanfiction.

Drag and Genderfuck

Fraser is canonically skilled in drag (see "Some Like It Red"), so many stories extend this in fanonical ways.

Romantic Liaisons

Benton Fraser is at the center of all major pairings (both slash and het) except RayV/RayK, and he's a frequent third even to them. Fraser pairings include:

Inspector Maggie Thatcher: Fraser has canonical UST with Inspector Thatcher, and the pairing is extremely popular among fans.

  • Notable Stories:

Francesca Vecchio: While Frannie Vecchio's attraction to Fraser does not seem to be reciprocal in canon (though Fraser refuses to confirm whether or not he ever slept with her, see below), many fans have used fanfiction to give Frannie her wish.

  • Notable Stories:

Ray Vecchio (See pairing page).

Ray Kowalski (See pairing page).

Fraser/Vecchio/Kowalski: (also known as F/V/K) threesomes, for those who can't decide on a Ray. (See pairing page).

Victoria Metcalfe Fraser/Victoria is a canon pairing; many stories retell their thwarted earlier relationship or reunite them in canon. This rarely ends well. Some of these stories are kidfic whose premise is that Victoria got pregnant with Fraser's child during the events of "Victoria's Secret." This pairing has spawned more than its share of songvids -- the two-part episode that Victoria appeared in was filmed beautifully, and the range of emotion shown in it is high.

Mark Smithbauer: Fraser is sometimes slashed with his childhood friend Smithbauer (seen in the episode The Blue Line), who became a famous hockey player as an adult. Fraser is sometimes described as having had an unrequited teenage crush on Smithbauer. Other stories indicate a sexual relationship based on casual experimentation, while still others portray a romantic relationship.

However, Fraser/Smithbauer is usually not the primary pairing in the stories where it appears. The pairing is most often used by the author to establish that Fraser is gay or bisexual, after which the story usually focuses on Fraser/RayV or Fraser/RayK. Fraser/Smithbauer is also commonly written as part of Five Things stories that explore Fraser's romantic or sexual history.

  • Notable Stories:

See also Viciouscats' Master list of due South fanfiction: Mark Smithbauer fic (slash only)

Fanworks

Fraser is both the star of the show and the fan favorite of the fandom; there are more Fraser-centric fanworks than there are for any other character of the show.

Fraser-centric stories

Fraser-centric art

  • Examples needed

Fraser-centric vids

References

  1. Burning Down the House; the 3rd season premiere episode
  2. Red, White, or Blue. Due South Transcripts. (Accessed 7 December 2008)
  3. Pilot Episode. Due South Transcripts. (Accessed 7 December 2008)
  4. Thinking about Fraser (Due South meta) by China Shop
  5. For examples of usage, see Due South Drinking Game, Due South trivia page on IMDB, Chinatown transcript on the Real due South website, Constable Benton Fraser: Character Sketch webpage, and the alt.tv.due-south newsgroup
  6. Paul Haggis Drops by the Due South Newsgroup November 16 - December 10, 1999. William & Elyse's Due South Page. (Accessed 28 October 2008)
  7. Flashback. Due South Transcripts. (Accessed 29 October 2008)
  8. thefourthvine's livejournal. Fandoms I have loved 4: Due South, 2004-05-08. (Accessed 29 October 2008)
  9. Flashback. Due South Transcripts. (Accessed 28 October 2008)
  10. Chinatown. Due South Transcripts. (Accessed 28 October 2008)
  11. http://members.tripod.com/melisandeb/benton.html
  12. Loryn's Due South Shrine. See also Letting Go. Due South Transcripts. (Accessed 28 October 2008)
  13. [1] Kat Allison. Roots Rain. June, 2000. (Last accessed January, 2009.)