Numb3rs – Reflection

Disclaimer – I don't own them, I just borrowed them. All programs and characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended.

"Freeze, FBI!"

Don thought back over this afternoon's operation. That was the side of police work that everyone saw, that everyone believed in. Agents running around, guns drawn wearing Kevlar vests, helmets and goggles; bad guys being dragged out of the house in handcuffs and lined up on the lawn. Black SUV's blocking the street. Sirens sounding as the local police turn up to assist with transporting the prisoners and securing the scene for forensics to do their thing. Television programs glorified this side of police work, made it look like fun, exciting.

"Hmph." Don looked at his desk in disgust. The reports were several inches thick, photographs, forms and folders. But that was only the start of it. In front of him was the computer loaded up with more forms and indices that had to be completed. His team were in the interview rooms interrogating the offenders whilst he was out here sorting through this mess. He rubbed his hands over his face and wondered where to make a start.

He stared at this empty cup and suddenly stood to go to the meal room for a refill. He knew that this part of the job, the paperwork, was in fact more important that any 'bust'. If any single form was not filled in correctly, or an index not completed then things would fall apart rapidly. It sometimes really did come down to such a minor thing for a whole case to fall apart. Never mind that the offenders were caught red handed, or made full admissions. If an 'i' goes undotted or a 't' uncrossed they could walk away scott free. At least it sometimes felt that way.

He thought of all the shows on TV, CSI (three of them!), Law and Order (who knows how many of them there were), Crossing Jordan, Criminal Minds, NYPD Blue and there was even a show centred around the FBI just to name a few. They didn't show the hours of interviews, the research, boring surveillance, the arguing with judges to get a search warrant or a wire tap or the mountains of post arrest paperwork and the days spent guarding crime scenes. The hero always made a spectacular break through at the last minute, there were never any interruptions from phone calls relating to other jobs or the interminable questions from junior staff trying to sort out their own work. They all managed to resolve a case no matter how complex over a single hour, DNA results came back almost magically and best of all they only worked on one case at a time. He didn't even want to think of his current case load which now had to wait until today was finished.

His lip curled into a slight snarl. Television always made it look so easy, the flash technology making people believe that it was possible to get forensic evidence off anything, fingerprints off carpet for god's sake! It was simply ridiculous. You couldn't talk to a complainant now without them complaining about the 'delay', 'why wasn't their case solved yet?' To be judged on the basis of a made up television show, designed to attract ratings and be entertaining was extremely frustrating. Don shook his head as he added milk to the coffee.

Real police work was nothing like entertainment and certainly not as interesting as that shown on television, at least not in the same way. The drop out rate at Quantico certainly reflected that. He'd gone there only a few weeks ago to speak to a new intake group about what the FBI was really like. He'd spoken to the instructors and found out that the drop out rate was some phenomenal percentage, he couldn't remember the exact figure, between the first week and graduation. Most drop outs occurred after the field experience block where trainees went out to a field office for a few weeks to trail around with a team, assisting on investigations. It was during this time that they learnt what real police work was, all illusions shattered.

"Hey Don." A cheerful voice interrupted his increasingly darkening thoughts as he headed back to his desk. "Good result today."

Don looked over the edge of a partition to see another team leader waving at him. "Yeah, thanks Andrew."

"Now the fun begins." Andrew then said ruefully, waving at his own desk covered in files from his last closed case.

"Yeah, fun." Don replied grumpily. "Better get to it I suppose."