I have a love for damaged heroes. I’m not interested in characters who always land on their feet. I think it’s far more interesting for a character to have a few skeletons in his closet, to have done something he’s ashamed of. That way when that character does something heroic, that act has value and depth. I suppose I’m attracted to the concept of redemption when it comes to a hero. It’s easy to hide from our mistakes, but it takes a special person to face up to them and do something about it. and what makes redemption even more attractive to me is that in a lot of ways redemption is a fool’s errand because it can never truly attained. A wrong can never be righted. Forgiveness can never illuminate guilt. A mistake can never be undone. However, it’s something distinctly human to try because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the damaged hero succeeds or fails in his quest, because it’s about their growth as a person. It’s why I just love the folly of the damaged hero.
In THE SCRUBS, Michael Keeler is my quintessential damaged hero. We meet him as an inmate of Wormwood Scrubs prison. He’s weighed down by his crimes. He’s resigned himself to his life sentence handed down to him. It doesn’t matter that his crime was one of an accidental nature, the crime and its outcome is ugly, tragic and incapable of being undone. He knows he can never make up for the misery he’s caused others, but when he’s offered the chance to volunteer as a guinea pig for a dangerous mission, he sees it as a chance to do something selfless and possibly do something redeem himself in his own eyes, even he can’t in those of his victims. His journey changes him. He starts out as a man trying to save his soul, but by the end, he’s a selfless man willing to make any sacrifice for others.
I suppose my fascination for damaged heroes comes from my belief that with few exceptions, no one is truly good and no one is truly bad. We all have the potential for both. I doubt any one of us can claim to be perfect. We’ve all done something we’re ashamed of or embarrassed by. Even the best of us. What’s truly interesting is how we react to our mistakes and wrongdoings? That’s why a damaged hero will always be interesting to me and hopefully to you.
This concludes the Book of the Month postings for THE SCRUBS. I hope you check out Michael Keeler in THE SCRUBS. You can read the opening chapter here.