Earlier this month, at the constant urging of a few co-workers (grin!), I started watching the TV show Prison Break on Netflix.
Spoilers for Prison Break coming, so be warned. If you have any inclination of watching the show, do it now. In fact, much of what I'm about to say is a culmination of the first four episodes (I am currently through season 1 only) so at least watch the first few episodes and then we can still be friends.
Okay, ready now? Good.
As I watched the first few episodes--this came about even after the first one--I noticed a glaring discrepancy when it comes to writing about those with type one diabetes. Jodi Foster's movie Panic Room portrays type one diabetes completely wrong. I won't dissect why here, but on Prison Break the main actor, played by Wentworth Miller, goes to prison. As he is brought in, he informs them he has type one diabetes. Now, the show doesn't give a minute-by-minute account of his day, but it is implied that he gets tested once a day and also receives a shot then (once a day) if needed.
I have two children (and a wife) with type one diabetes. At best, he would need a cell next to the infirmary, because managing diabetes is a constant battle. But it wouldn't fit the premise of the show, so be it.
The second glaring discrepancy is in Miller's tattoos. He has the prison map (and then some) all over his body. Sorry, prisons meticulously document and photograph tattoos of all inmates. It's possible they wouldn't know what the massive tattoo was, but again they'd have documentation on it.
Okay, this being said, the show is great and well-worth watching. This is a case where story trumps facts.
In my third book in the Shadowkill trilogy, a team of ex-military infiltrates the White House, using its protective measures against the good guys. I have definitely taken liberties with the story. I've never even been to Washington DC, and one can only gain so much information from Google Maps without making someone in the NSA nervous. But again, story trumps facts. I make it feel as realistic as possible without dragging one down into the weeds with useless facts.
Does it work? Time will tell.
Back to Prison Break. The show is interesting, and even with some minor discrepancies when it comes to life in prison to add on top of it, one sees past it all.
Are there cases where you need the facts first? Of course. But don't get caught up in the weeds of research before telling your story.