"So, anyways, I just want to get off on the right foot, and I figured if anyone could help me with that..."
Fritz could only smile at the younger agent's clear nervous fear. The poor kid had just started his FBI career and already he had been assigned to work on a case with the Major Crimes division. Fritz was impressed by his initiative though. He clearly was trying to find out everything about Major crimes, and Deputy Chief Johnson, before being thrown into the deep end.
"So basically you want a cheat sheet on how to avoid pissing off my wife?"
The kid started to splutter, "No, sir, I didn't... I just wanted..."
Fritz held up a hand, "No, I'm sorry, I was just messing with you. I'm really not sure how much I can help you though. Honestly she's not that bad, the stories you hear around here are pretty exaggerated. I'm sure you'll be fine"
The kid's eyes were wide and pleading, and against his better judgment Fritz found himself caving.
"Alright, fine. Look, I can't promise you'll have an easy time, but if you keep a few things in mind maybe it'll go smoother. One, and I cannot emphasize this enough, do not underestimate her. That's her main tactic for getting what she wants. Don't be fooled, if she's being overly sweet or acts kind of ditzy, watch out, she's just trying to disarm you. Oh, and if she says, "thank you, thank you so much," that's a really bad sign."
"What? Thank you is bad?"
"Unless she's saying it really absently and dismissively, it's southern for 'fuck you'. Oh, and speaking of southern-isms, if she ever tells you, 'bless your heart' you might as well just leave, you're done with her. For context, even in our ugliest fights where we've said some truly unpleasant things to each other, she's never said that to me. That is pack-your-bags-and-change-the-locks-on-the-door-level-of-anger for her."
"Uh... ok" The younger agent already looked confused, while Fritz was really just getting started.
"Also, two, despite the clueless act, she has amazing instincts when it comes to figuring out suspects. Sometimes she'll be heading in a very weird direction, but trust her, I've never seen her be completely wrong. The agents she's had the most problems with are the ones that have dismissed her instincts just because they didn't see the angle she saw. Don't make that mistake. Who are you working with on this one?"
Fritz winced, "Oh, she does not like him. Well, that might work in your favor, if she sees you as the agreeable one she might be more cooperative. She thinks he's a pretentious ass."
The younger agent tried to keep his face neutral, but it was clear he agreed with Brenda's assessment. Now Fritz had gotten a clearer picture of why the kid was in his office in the first place. Obviously being mentored by Donovan wasn't going so well, and the kid had figured he needed to make his own professional connections. He suddenly felt bad about his initial reluctance.
"Third, She's very one-minded, and she's competitive. I don't know the specifics of your case, but I can tell you the only thing she really cares about is murder. She will not care about a larger picture, no matter if it's drug trafficking or organized crime, or whatever. It can be really frustrating, but it can also be a useful tool, at least you know she won't try to horn in on your case. Play up your common interest in getting the murderer, and make your interactions with Major Crimes about that."
Fritz looked up to see that the kid was now actually taking notes, like a tenth grader. Oh boy, he thought.
"Fourth, Brenda likes getting confessions. It does not matter how iron clad your evidence is, she will not be satisfied with an arrest if she doesn't get to interrogate anybody. To go along with that, if you want a suspect let Major Crimes go at him first so Brenda can get her confession, then negotiate to get him in FBI custody."
"Negotiate? With what?"
Fritz cocked an eyebrow. "Ok, let's make this number five: She plays dirty, so so should you. Information should really be on a need-to-know basis. Always have something in your back pocket, just in case. I promise she's doing the same thing to you"
The kid looked like he was having difficulty processing this information.
"Sixth, her squad will go out of their way to make you miserable, don't take it personally. They still act like asses to me and they were at my wedding. Just try not to take yourself seriously and they might not go too rough on you."
By now the younger agent looked completely overwhelmed. Fritz remembered being new to law enforcement and ending everyday feeling more stupid and lost than the day before. He decided to give the kid the most effective tip he knew in dealing with Brenda.
"I've saved the most important tip for last. Offer to make the take out run on late nights, and bring back something chocolate for dessert. It will make her will love you forever. You can never bring back too much chocolate."
At this the kid looked suspicious. "Are you hazing me now?"
"I swear to god, that's the most important tactic dealing with her, keep her in chocolate and you'll be fine."
"Well thank you sir, I really do appreciate it. I just want this to go well. I have one last question, is there anything I can do to make her forget being angry at me if I mess up?" The kid looked completely terrified.
"There's only one tactic I know of, but if I found out you tried to do that with my wife I'll have to kill you." Fritz's attempt at humor worked, the other agent cracked a smile at that.
"Look, really, don't be worried. You seem nice, and obviously you're pretty bright if you realized you needed to get additional info beyond Donovan's knowledge of Major Crimes. If you need help again, you're welcome to come ask me, anytime."
He stood, and shook the kid's hand before walking him to the door.
"Oh, just one more thing,"
The kid smiled at Fritz, clearly feeling better about this conversation. "Yeah, sir?"
"If any part of this conversation ever, ever, gets back to my wife in any way, shape, or form, I will find you, and then you will learn the real meaning of the word "misery". Well, have fun with Major Crimes!"
The kid's newly terrified expression was the last glimpse Fritz had of the kid before his office door slammed shut.
Yeah, Fritz thought, he'll be fine.