It seems as though many of the brilliant detectives of the film noir genre share numerous qualities that make each one of them special in their own ways. Among these qualities are: cleverness, dedication, perseverance, and passion. However, there remains one more quality that the likes of Sam Spade, Jefferies, and Sherlock Holmes share with the new-age detective, Veronica Mars, and that quality is isolation. Each detective, in their own way, remains isolated from those around them either by personal choice or by other external circumstances. One can argue that the success of these detectives could have derived from their outsider statuses.
In Sam Spade’s case, he constantly has people around him interacting with him, but he manages them in a way that isolates himself so that others don’t interfere with his work. For instance, almost at all times, Spade is interacting with one of his many women, Brigid, Effie, or Iva, or any of his foes, Gutman, Cairo, or Wilmer. However, though he is interacting with these people, he remains independent of their influences. When making the ultimate decision on whether to protect Brigid or turn her in, Spade used this isolation to do what was legally correct, thus, completing his job.
With Jefferies, he is physically isolated from the world as he is confined to his wheel chair in his room. The only connection he has with the world outside is through his window. This isolation allows him to get an angle on crime in a manner in which no one else can. He is able to see everything that is going on from his window and has the time to come up with logical deductions from that point.
Sherlock Holmes is mentally an outsider. His quirky personality and detachment from normal social and emotional reactions allow him to free himself of any of the many distractions he may face while allowing himself to view the case as logically and unbiased as possible. This detachment is evident in the interactions between both he and Irene Adler. Adler is extremely sensual and attempts to use the emotional reactions she gets out of men to her advantage. However, this attempt doesn’t work on Sherlock Holmes because he has essentially transcended the emotional component of human beings.
Veronica Mars, a typical high school student, faces the isolation that high school students are often known for going through, however, her case is an extreme. With all of the struggles in her life, especially in her rape, Veronica is forced out of her natural comfort zone and into almost complete isolation. This sudden fall from grace in her life attests to the fierceness and spitefulness of her personality. During all of the adversity that she had been faced with, Veronica never got help; no one was on her side, and no one was there for her. This isolation has driven Veronica to a state where her only goal was to get the job done at whatever the cost. Her exile from her group of friends allows her to get to observe them in a way that she previously would not have been able to. This isolation, in turn, leads to her improvement as a detective and problem solver in general.
The isolation that each of these great detectives go through at some point in time does not always stem from the same causes. However, it can be heavily argued that a view from the outside, isolated from the world around ones self, can give a detective a new and unique perspective that eventually classifies them as great.
Veronica Mars Sitting Alone at Lunch