A while back I made a chart showing how various TV shows and mysteries were indebted to Have Gun Will Travel's Paladin: from Travis McGee to Spenser to the Equalizer to Vengeance Unlimited (Michael Madsen played Mr. Chapel). Since I'd gone to great lengths to pay a really distinctive homage to that show, I pointed out in the chart how my rivals stopped short at the gimmicks: quoting from the classics (all)...love of food (McCall and Spenser)...palatial digs between gigs (The Equalizer)...that famous card (The Equalizer)...black working clothes (The Equalizer/Mr. Chapel)...The heroes, generally, were big men, like Richard Boone (6'1, 180 lbs.), with Jack Reacher topping the charts at 6'4". Interesting trivia: Mr. Chapel stays in the Boone Paladin Motel. And, as for The Equalizer, in one episode of HGWT Paladin was called just that.
In Southern Scotch, I did not ignore the gimmicks: Boss MacTavin has a card that rivals Paladin's, I hope, and he is sometimes based in a San Francisco hotel. But when I riffed on the gimmicks, I made sure these were in character. So, Boss quotes from Lord Byron but also from Mickey Spillane and David Morrell. He loves food--but as a former fattie, he restricts himself to one gargantuan breakfast each day, then nibbles miserably till the next dawn. Paladin's black uniform has already been done unto death. Boss, as a Scotsman who's had the South beat into him, required a different color scheme: shades of gray with a subtle dash of red. Now, then, Paladin's secret weapon had been a derringer tucked behind his belt. Boss' buckle, we learn, is a detachable blade. Size? Compared to the other studs, Boss looks deceptively skinny: 6'1", 162 lbs. And so on.
But the heart of Paladin was far stronger than his gimmicks. And I hoped to tap into that mighty heart, the qualities that fueled it, while allowing Boss to remain his own man. So, like Paladin, Boss loves both life and money, true love and tomcatting, Like Paladin, he can roar in delight or moral indignation.
Meet Boss in SOUTHERN SCOTCH as he sets out for revenge--but performs his first classic Correction instead: