Although Mars and Jeffries are both capable observers and detectives, they are both hindered by disabilities; for Mars, her social isolation and unlucky position as the daughter of a publicly shamed shamed ex-police chief act as hinderances in her pursuit of truth (namely her pursuit for the case of her missing mother the death of her best friend). Jeffries has the obvious physical obstacle of his broken leg. The two protagonists, however, are not entirely hindered and their supposed weaknesses are, in fact, advantages that allow them to better fulfill their duties as observers and detectives.
Jeffries broke his leg during a photography job at a racetrack and, because of his injury, he is required to wear a waist-down cast extending down his left leg. This physical representation of Jeffries’ immobility not only causes him to be incapable of leaving his perpetual position next to his rear window, it causes him to form an addiction to observing the goings-on of his neighbors. This addiction causes the serving of justice to a deserving criminal and the reignition of his passion towards Lisa, his girlfriend. He is ultimately better off due, transitively, to his broken leg.
Mars is seen as an outsider due to her fall-from-grace from the top of the social hierarchy. Not only is she an social leper, she is an outcast in her own city due to her involuntary position as the daughter of the disgraced ex-police chief. Her identity as an outcast allows her to act as a third party observer to the goings-on of the town, giving Mars an advantage and allowing her to be a better detective. This behavior manifests itself when Mars cuts Willis down from the flag pole, completely disregarding social restrictions about interacting with the publicly humiliated teen. That, coupled with her ability to trust no one due to her belittling at the hand of her father’s replacement for her unsolved rape causes her to become a more cold hearted detective, concerned only with her pursuit of justice. The use of her father’s loyal followers to accomplish tasks is another added windfall of her relation to the ex-police chief, such as the fire chief’s cooperation in Mars’ VHS replacement operation.
Not only are Jeffries and Mars’ detective abilities improved by their disadvantages, the products of their past that supposedly act as obstacles actually place the two in better positions to accomplish solid detective work.