As independent work has grown in popularity across the country, pop culture entertainment has been quick to take notice. In recent years, movies and television shows have been giving independent consultants the spotlight as integral characters – and in many cases, lead roles. Whether assisting law enforcement or working for civilian clients, these ten fictional independent consultants have put their skills and expertise to use in creating exciting and entertaining stories.
1. Peter Bishop (Fringe) A multitalented jack-of-all-trades, Peter Bishop serves as a “fringe science” consultant to the FBI and DHS along with his father, Walter, of whom Peter has legal custody. Peter’s skepticism, genius, and logical mind pair with Walter’s background as a brilliant scientist to bring new perspective to cases and occurrences dealing with their niche field of supernatural science, which are outside the scope of what the FBI is equipped to deal with.
2. Sherlock Holmes (Elementary) The classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle character, Sherlock Holmes, worked as a consulting detective, assisting law enforcement and private clients alike. In this modern iteration, Sherlock Holmes is portrayed as a former consultant to Scotland Yard who, after moving to America, uses his investigative background to assist the NYPD as a consultant in cold cases. His sober companion, Dr. Watson, serves as an assistant and consultant in her own right, with her medical background and knowledge put to use in solving crimes.
3. Patrick Jane (The Mentalist) Former con man Patrick Jane uses his background as a fraudulent psychic to his benefit as he works with the fictional California Bureau of Investigation as an independent consultant. The abilities he honed in his past career, including cold reading, observational skill, and insights into the human psyche, add valuable skills to assisting in investigations.
4. “The Bobs” (Office Space) When faced with cutbacks, technology company Initech hires consultant Bob Slydell and his associate, Bob Porter – “The Bobs” – to evaluate productivity and to recommend management and personnel changes. Though the comedy film portrays them as somewhat detached from the impact of their decisions on those laid off, they are able to read between the lines in interviews to recognize potential where others saw failure.
5. Richard Castle (Castle) After being brought in for questioning after a murder mimics a scene from one of his books, mystery novelist Richard Castle joins the NYPD in helping to solve the case. He begins shadowing a detective under the pretense of shadowing her for his next novel, but his creative theories developed through his writing career – as well as the contacts he has amassed – prove him to be a valuable asset, and he continued on as a consultant on mysterious cases.
6. Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Bones) A forensic anthropologist with the Jeffersonian Institute and best-selling crime fiction author, Dr. “Bones” Brennan was hired as a contractor by the FBI to assist in identifying remains to help solve homicide cases. She often enlists the help of her colleagues at the Jeffersonian Institute to apply a wider range of skills and knowledge to investigations.
7. Charlie Eppes (Numb3rs) FBI Special Agent Don Eppes turns to his brother, Charlie, a genius in mathematics, to help solves cases. Charlie’s mathematical background proves useful not only in solving complex mathematical formulas, but in recognizing patterns and encrypted messages or codes, making him a valuable consultant to both the FBI and NSA.
8. Stanley Motss (Wag the Dog) After an unnamed United States president is caught in a scandal with just two weeks until the election, political spin-doctor Conrad Brean hires Stanley Motss, a Hollywood producer, as a consultant to orchestrate a plan to create a distraction with a fake war. Motss’ movie background gives him the expertise and eye for detail to create incredibly thorough and convincing stories.
9. Robert Langdon (The Da Vinci Code) When a Louvre curator – and secret society grand master – is killed under mysterious circumstances, Harvard Professor Robert Langdon is summoned by police. As clues begin to emerge in the form of puzzles, Langdon’s background as a professor of religious iconology and symbology lead the police to request his assistant as a consultant on the case.
10. Olivia Pope (Scandal) A former White House Communications Director, Olivia Pope now runs a small crisis management firm, where she works as a consultant for powerful clients who need her skills and expertise to cover up scandals and hide embarrassing secrets.
As an independent consultant it's important to know what exactly soft skills are, why they matter, and how you can improve yours.
News and notes for independent professionals and their clients. This is the September 19, 2016 edition.