Writing about William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday yesterday put me in mind of the time more than fifteen years ago when Patrick Stewart came to Washington to play Othello at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. I had met Patrick when I was filming my documentary Discovering Hamlet in England, and we soon became good friends. Patrick narrated that film, then I asked him to narrate the PBS-Nova program Mind of a Serial Killer, during which production I met John Douglas.
One of the most accomplished actors of his generation, the classically trained Stewart is a veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company and has always been a rigorous explorer of character and motivation. Many people have said that the classical gravitas he lent to the character of Captain Jean Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation was one of the elements that made the series so successful. So when Othello rehearsals began, Patrick called me and asked what insights my study of criminal investigative analysis might offer as he developed his approach to the title role.
I suggested getting him together with John Douglas, and that’s where the Othello murder case began.