Writing Fictional Police Interrogations
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Writing Fictional Police Interrogations

Learn from a real homicide detective about Miranda law, the interrogation, body language analysis and so much more!
5.0 (14 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
143 students enrolled
Last updated 6/2016
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  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Write an authentic interrogation scene!
  • Understand when to include Miranda!
  • Create believable characters!
View Curriculum
  • Have a thirst for knowledge!
  • Novice and experienced writers and students welcome!
  • Be prepared to learn that some of your favorite cop shows have it ALL wrong!

This course is for novelists, screenwriters and general audiences who want to learn how to write authentic police interview and interrogation scenes. You will be taught by a retired, 22-year veteran of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, who spent 6-years in one of the busiest homicide divisions in the country. Having worked nearly 200 murders, Sgt. Derek Pacifico will teach you what you need to know to write the most authentic and technically correct interrogation scenes.

Included in this course are video lectures, slideshow presentations and the answers to a common set of frequently asked questions the sarge has been asked from writers from around the world. This course will span several hours, starting with Miranda Law and ending with the interrogation. You will learn about the preparation that goes into interviewing a murder suspect, the process of building rapport, the correct interrogation room set up, body language analysis and so much, much more.

Take advantage of the opportunity to hear from a real cop, with real experience without having to fly across the country or around the world to take one of his seminars. You are in for a real treat!

Who is the target audience?
  • Fiction Writers
  • Novelists
  • Screenwriters
  • Anyone wanting to learn about real police interrogation systems, laws and practices
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Curriculum For This Course
12 Lectures
Introduction and Initial Comments
1 Lecture 01:53

Welcome to Interview and Interrogation for Writers. Regardless of your writing style or genre, if you are including a police scene, especially an interview or interrogation scene, then you need to take this course to better prepare you and provide you with the realism and authenticity of how cops really speak to suspects, use Miranda and get real crooks to confess to real crimes.

Preview 01:53
Miranda Law
2 Lectures 31:08

This quiz should be taken prior to viewing the course material to gauge your current understanding of the laws of interview and interrogation. Then, it can be taken afterward to confirm your mastery of the information received from the lecture materials.

Miranda Law Pre-Test
10 questions

In this chapter, you will learn about the legal issues with regard to Miranda. When it is necessary to be used and when it is not. You will be able to prepare screenplays or scenes of police arrests and interrogations with authenticity to the law. You will learn that Miranda is NOT automatic and has many subtleties and nuances that even many street cops are not familiar with. Your Miranda scenes will be accurate and lend to more authentic uses of the law.

Preview 15:26

Miranda Law 2 of 2
Interview Preparation and Rapport Building
2 Lectures 32:20

In this chapter, you will learn the behind the scenes activity of detectives prior to engaging in the interview and interrogation process. You will have more detail to add to your interrogation scenes to build drama and suspense by learning what goes into building rapport with a hardened criminal suspected of committing the most heinous of crimes. You will learn some methods of better character development for both your protagonist and antagonist because this chapter will teach you about the human condition that goes into the rapport building phase.

Interview Preparation and Rapport Building Part 1 of 2

Interview Preparation and Rapport Building Part 2 of 2
Interviewing Mechanics
2 Lectures 21:37

Learn how to conduct a proper interview, not an interrogation. Not only will you learn what detectives are doing during a properly conducted interview, you will be able to take these skills into the real world, not just the fiction world, and use them yourself wen conducting research or on your daily life in your professional careers. These skills are the art of communication and the basis for an negotiation, interview, fact-finding mission, or human interaction. 

Interviewing Mechanics 1 of 2

Interviewing Mechanics 2 of 2
Body Language and Deception Indicators
2 Lectures 21:05

Don't jump ahead to this chapter just because you see the title and it is what you've been searching for to write better character development scenes. You need to watch the previous scenes first otherwise you will not completely understand how to use any of these methods here that will teach you how a cop becomes a human lie detector. 

In this chapter I will discuss with you some of the body language, voice and other indicators we look for when talking with a suspect, witness or victim to gauge their honesty, or determine for certain a suspects deception. These skills will work for you as well in business negotiations and other interpersonal communication at home or work. (But be careful, it can ruin your perception of people around you if you aren't careful.)

Body Language and Deception Indicators 1 of 2

Body Language and Deception Indicators 2 of 2
The Interrogation
3 Lectures 49:43

In these last segments which make up the final chapter in this course, you will learn how detectives get the suspect to confess. You will learn how taking a bathroom break is an essential part of the process and how making a specific accusation statement is crucial to the success of the rest of the process. You will learn what makes a good interrogator and how using space, time and empathy are so very effective. 

The Interrogation 1 of 3

The Interrogation 2 of 3

The Interrogation 3 of 3
About the Instructor
Chief Derek Pacifico
5.0 Average rating
14 Reviews
143 Students
1 Course
Chief of Police

Chief of Police for the Harriman Police Department and former 22-year veteran of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Chief Pacifico spent nearly a third of his career in a Southern California Homicide Division, working nearly 200 murders, officer involved shootings and other suspicious deaths. He has consulted with local, state and federal officers, delivering his interrogation training to the United States Secret Services, US Marshals and countless police and sheriff's agencies across the country.

Aside from being the Chief of Police of the Harriman Police Department in East Tennessee, he is also a consultant with novelists, screenwriters and filmmakers delivering his highly acclaimed "Writers Homicide School" a two-day lecture that has drawn audiences from Australia, Finland and from writers across the country.

He is now a University of Tennessee instructor, providing his non-credit fictional writing courses at the UTK conference center in beautiful downtown Knoxville.