John Brooks, a former crime-scene investigator with the Fayetteville Police Department and a criminology instructor in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas, was chosen as a Police Technical Advisor on True Detective Season 3.
The popular television crime drama was filmed on location in Northwest Arkansas and starred Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali. Brooks spent much of 2018 working on True Detective. The third season aired on HBO in January 2019.
In an interview with the University of Arkansas's Research Frontiers Magazine, Brooks described some of his experience working with the crew. "They would ask questions procedurally. In one scene, there’s the ransom note and with the ransom note, 'would they wear gloves, would they not wear gloves'? The FBI in 1980 would have been wearing gloves," Brooks said. "But sometimes it’s more dramatic to use a pen and a handkerchief rather than putting on silly gloves.”
"If you found an open door, you wouldn’t just walk in that room. You’d have your weapon out and be prepared to defend yourself,” he said of another scene he advised on.
Early on in the production process for True Detective Season 3, the team told Brooks they may not always follow his expert guidance. "If you tell them something, and they don’t take your advice, don’t get your feelings hurt, because that’s just not the way this works," he said.
Brooks also told the Fayetteville Flyer the show’s producers went out of their way to find unique shooting locations.
“The person that scouted all of this did a fantastic job of finding places that I didn’t even know existed,” Brooks said. “I think people around here will be very happy and there will be a lot of pride [about how Arkansas is portrayed].”
Listen to John's interview about his experience on Short Talks From the Hill, a podcast from the University of Arkansas: