We promised you a post about how incredibly badass Hank is over the course of the show, and though this will by necessity not be everything, here's an overview!
first portrait of Hank isn't entirely flattering - he's a loyal
partner, a good cop, but also it sounds like something of a womanizer.
Best case, he's a serial monogamist with commitment issues. However,
unlike a number of other shows where a cop's first characterization is
cracking jokes about the number of his ex-wives, Hank is a good cop.
He's not an asshole to the women he deals with on cases, he's senior to
Nick and seems to confine his mentoring to his strengths, and he
really, really loves his job.
many ways, for those of you familiar with Criminal Minds, Hank's
ex-wives are passed off in much the same way Rossi's are: sure, the guy
has issues in the romantic department, but so do a LOT of cops. Doesn't
make him a bad person, just gives him a relatable flaw - that he
compartmentalizes from his work. It's an impressive feat of
characterization, and one both the writers and Hornsby pull off well.)
the first few episodes, we see Hank being a solid, reliable cop. You
can say what you want about how easily Nick distracted Hank from all the
things going on with Grimm and Wesen stuff - that's because Hank trusts his partner,
at base, and believes him when Nick says "oh, I'm going to go chase
down a lead" or "I'm going to run this thing to this place." Probably
this is aided by Nick actually doing those things he says he will, all
the little odds and ends of procedural paperwork type crap? Those are
the things the junior member of a partnership is expected
to do more of and random gruntwork on the streets is exactly what
Nick's role has probably consisted of in the past. Not least because
Hank knows Nick has the ability to get people to talk to him, sometimes
where Hank might not. And starting with BeeWare, we see how Hank is very
chivalrous but also very careful of boundaries, with women being
threatened on a case. Adalind is the one who has to make the first move,
setting Hank up to "save her" from being stood up - a clever move on
her part, given how it plays on his sense of being a protector.
never told for sure, but I would lay good odds that Hank's the kind of
cop who really did go into the job in order to protect people. He may
have had a knack for certain kinds of police work - would have had to,
in Renard's precinct, to get promoted to detective. But his first cause
is to protect civilians; and we just saw him expand his definition of
civilians as his understanding of the world he lives in expanded. It
really, really makes me wonder what happened to him as a child or a
of Hank's S1 plotline revolves around losing his sense of self. He's
whammied by the coins in 1x13, and then by Adalind with the blood magic
cookies. Let's start with the coins. It's very interesting that his
worst instinct is to essentially become a bully. He's in a position of
power over a suspect, and he's furious about the murder scene he's come
from, and he will have answers by god.
Fortunately Renard (and to a lesser extent Nick) stops him from
brutalizing the suspect(s), but Hank's is a very direct, blunt approach.
They won't talk? Well, he'll fix that. Might, in Hank's worst nature,
makes right. Which suggests some other interesting things about why he
might have become a cop - recognizing those tendencies in himself, he's
put himself in a position where he can do good and has a number of
external checks to his behavior - Renard and other superiors, Nick and
other partners, and his fellow officers. I rather doubt this was a
conscious decision, though perhaps it was nudged consciously by someone
Hank respected as a teenager. But it's a very significant decision, to
be in a position of power where in a best-case scenario he has other
people to watch his back in multiple senses of the phrase.
know from Game Ogre and Organ Grinder a couple of things, and I'm
picking these eps because as Kitty gets caps together for finishing up
the backlog of already-written posts those are prominently on my mind.
One is that Hank's just as capable of holding a grudge as a Siegbarste.
Two is that Hank has a pretty good memory for detail - even a horrific
case like Stark's, some of those details would have fogged over for most
people over five years. Not Hank. He's got excellent long-term data
retrieval ability, a good trait in a cop. He takes extremely poorly to
being told what to do when others are getting hurt and he believes he
can stop it. He knows that some seriously weird shit is going down in
Portland, but he doesn't know the extent and he doesn't know what it all
means. He is, in short, a damn good detective who's choosing to keep his mouth shut about what he's seeing until he understands the patterns he's looking at.
(It should be no mystery why I like him. Ahem.)
long after Hank gets back on his feet after the weirdness of Organ
Grinder and the mind-whammy of the coins, he then gets whammied by
Adalind. I still don't fully understand what Renard hoped to accomplish
by tying Hank to her with such a drastic personality change - breaking
the spell would have consumed a great deal of Nick's energy. Unless the
point was to have a more tractable partner assigned to Nick, possibly a
Wesen one, so he didn't have to deal with... well, with what happened to
Hank at the end of last season and the beginning of this one.
At any rate, Hank gets whammied, and there is an enormous personality
change. I would bet you any sum you care to name that the reason Hank's
previous marriages failed was because he was already married to the
job. Suddenly, he's shoving work off on Nick so he can have dates with
Adalind, taking personal calls in the middle of the day, and obsessing
about what Adalind likes rather than the case. This is... not the Hank
we've come to know. At all. And Nick knows it, too. Unfortunately, the
actual backstory on Hank is incredibly thin (still is; that Convenient
Coyotl Family was awfully convenient) and a great deal of his
characterization has been subtle. We don't know what his relationship to
his family is, we don't know if he's still in touch with any of his
exes, if he has kids by them, if he wants kids someday... in short,
other than the job we don't really know what makes Hank Griffin tick.
I know that there's a lot to cram into a single episode, let alone a
first season. I've just been quietly annoyed at how criminally
underutilized Hornsby's acting ability is - because believe me, I've
watched some of his other stuff. He HAS the ability to do a lot with
limited material, and I hope that as the writers relax into having a
second season that they start giving him some more that isn't just cop
exposition. Mostly I just wish that there had been a little more in the
way of anchor points for Hank in the first half of S1, so that when he
got whammied by Adalind it was more emotionally gutwrenching and a
little less "oh EW that's rapetastic." Which it was, of course. Not that
Hank will ever outright use the r-word, because he is a Manly Cop who's
good at his job, though he did at least mention another word in
passing: roofies. Still, given Hank's previous behavior, it's a safe bet
that he engaged in all kinds of self-blame as a result of Adalind's
he's teetering on the brink of some serious mental instability before
he ever see the Wildermann and gets run over by a blutbaded-out Monroe.
And DESPITE all of this, he's taken no leave of absence that we know of.
Hank simply does his job, and will continue to do so until he is
literally incapable of it. You would think that several days (weeks?) of
insomnia and high pressure cases would lead to that, but you would be
wrong. Because, you see, Hank Griffin is just that badass. He doesn't
get an aunt whispering deathbed confessions, or a trailer full of
esoteric journals and weaponry. All he gets to handle the increasing
insanity of his daily life with are his wits, his gun, and his badge.
We interrupt this broadcast for another episode of NICK YOU ARE AN IDIOT. Because really,
the man is so, so bad at asking questions. When he asks Monroe about
what happens to people who see a Wesen in game face, does he ask what
happens if a Grimm helps them believe they're not going crazy, that they
really saw something? HE DOES NOT. No, no, he just keeps running around
lying to Hank (and to Juliette) and not thinking about
what this does to them. About whether or not this person who's his
partner, who's been his partner for, what, several years now? And is a
cop, can learn to protect himself from the supernatural boogeymen. About
whether or not his partner and his girlfriend have a right
to try to protect themselves, especially after Hank starts going crazy.
No, no, he just blithely assumes that eventually Hank will give it up
and, I dunno, regain sanity somehow. Nick? You're a moron.
the powers that be force the issue when Hank has a Wesen friend turn up
looking for help. I really don't know when Nick would've gotten around
to it otherwise, but I will give him marginal credit for taking
advantage of the opportunity that drops in his lap. Yes, these people
aren't human. No, that doesn't make them not worth protecting. Except
Hank barely even needs that reassurance; mostly what he needs is someone
to stand between him and his own jittery, sleep-deprived reflexes. And
as Carly morphs back to human-seeming, Hank very obviously pulls himself
together and remembers that this is a terrified young woman, that he
knows her father well, and that like anyone cornered and terrified she
reacted instinctively. These are all things Hank can relate to, both on a
personal level and with his more detached cop instincts.
on top of that, he can tell that whatever Nick was hiding, he's not
trying to hide it anymore. Oh, Hank may not believe he's not going crazy
yet (if he ever will; time will tell), and he may not know the details
of the new world that's just opened up before his eyes. But his partner
believes him, and his friends who apparently aren't human aren't
Coyotl-ing out on him and trying to take chunks out of his arm, so at
least that much
is going right. It's probably also an enormous source of relief that he
can talk to Nick now, ask questions, and stop going to the shrink. (Who
is, I suspect, a shrink outside of the usual police psychiatrists, due
to her unfamiliarity with Hank in general and her absolute stupidity in
touching him when he wasn't all there in specific.) He is by nature
fairly insular, preferring cop life to civilian life. While this
precinct culture is a little more self-aware of the mental dangers as
well as the physical, compared to other cop shops on TV, it's still cop
culture, with all the posturing and fake-it-till-you-make-it that that
implies. And because of these things, Hank would have hated having
to go to an outside mental health professional. Hated it enough that at
the beginning of the ep he was talking about giving up his badge.
And this, Nick, is why you're a dumbass, because you could've had your partner firmly at your back for ages
if you'd just bothered to try and explain the new weird to him. Because
Hank is loyal, and trusting, and willing to give his partner room to do
what he needs to, and enough of a badass to put all of this together
and temporarily accept that Nick's insane too. I'm hoping tonight we get
to see Hank figuring out that he's not actually crazy at all, in fact!