La noire cast

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Who's Who in L.A. Noire

"Team Bondi takes us into new territory with its use of extraordinary facial performance capture," said Oli as he worked his way towards an 8/10 verdict, "This results in spooky facial animation which really does make it possible for actors to communicate more of their performances, using eyes, tics and expressions."

L.A. Noire represents an incredible step forward in performance capture, finally allowing the subtle facial movements and mannerisms of an actors' performance to make it through the development process intact.

While it's easy to marvel at what the technique can do, the realism of the characters means it's also easy to be distracted by the nagging tip-of-the-tongue feeling that you recognise some of them already. And you probably have.

Here's our guide to the stars of L.A. Noire and where you might have seen them before.

995

The actor: Aaron Staton

In the game: Our priggish boy scout hero, Cole Phelps - a decorated war hero whose rise from beat cop to the LAPD's star detective forms the background of L.A. Noire's seedy yarn.

Previously: Hotshot advertising executive Ken Cosgrove on HBO hit Mad Men. One of the main characters on the cult show, it's Staton's biggest role to date; whether the high mainstream profile of L.A. Noire will lead to bigger parts remains to be seen.

final

The actor: Michael McGrady

In the game: Finbar "Rusty" Galloway, Cole's gruff no-nonsense partner on the homicide desk. Fond of booze, not so found of dames, he and college boy Phelps eventually reach a grudging mutual respect.

Previously: Still patrolling the streets of LA, this time in the modern day, as Detective Salinger on the slow-burning US cop show Southland which enters its fourth season this year. McGrady is also a regular face on lots of other shows, putting in appearances on Lie to Me, Bones, Prison Break and CSI: Miami among others. He can also be seen in Terence Malick's star-studded arty war movie, The Thin Red Line.

101

The actor: Adam Harrington

In the game: Roy Earle, Cole's smarmy and sleazy partner when working the vice detail. Described as the movie star cop, he's clearly more in love with the perks of the job than seeing justice served.

Previously: Agent Walker in season five of serial killer thriller Dexter, who abandons his investigation into Dexter's crimes to work as a bodyguard for the family of another serial killer and this show doesn't make any sense any more.

110

The actor: Keith Szarabajka

In the game: Slovenly and cynical Detective Herschel Biggs, who reluctantly partners with Phelps on the arson desk.

Previously: This gravel-voiced Polish-American actor has been a common sight on US TV going back to the 1980s. Today, he's probably best known as Daniel Holtz, the Bruno Brookes lookalike vampire hunter in Buffy spin-off Angel. He stole Angel's baby son and returned him as an irritating teenager after some dimension-hopping nonsense. Szarabajka can be seen in law enforcement mode as one of Jim Gordon's loyal cops in The Dark Knight.

102

The actor: Andy Umberger

In the game: County coroner Dr Malcolm Carruthers, the man who prods corpses and waits patiently for Cole to ask "So...what have we got?"

Previously: Another medical role, though one involving far fewer naked dead women, Umberger features as Mad Men's resident psychiatrist Dr Malcolm Wayne. He's the guy who gets to listen to Don Draper's wife, Betty, as she catalogues the mental anguish of being married to an arrogant womanising ad man.

Sours: https://www.eurogamer.net/

‘L.A. Noire’ Turns 10: Cast of the Video Game Made Up of Several ‘Mad Men’ Alums Looks Back at Making the Imaginative Title

Detective Cole Phelps. Badge No. 1247.

In May 2011, the groundbreaking video game L.A. Noire was released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Set in 1947 Los Angeles, the open-world, neo-noir crime adventure put players in control of a hardnose gumshoe, solving notorious crimes one intricate interview at a time. (An enhanced version of the game was released in November 2017 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.)

Of course, players were not just any flatfoot. They traversed the seedy underbelly of Hollywood and beyond as newly minted LAPD detective Cole Phelps, a World War II hero who quickly made a name for himself as a solid case man before becoming a pariah in his work and personal life. Shootouts, explosions, brawls, car chases, foot pursuits — all just a part of the daily routine for Det. Phelps. Collecting clues (sometimes at truly grisly crime scenes via the homicide desk) and meticulously interviewing suspects to close cases is what made the game stand out.

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Aaron Staton, best known as fan-favorite Ken Cosgrove on Mad Men, played the role of Phelps, lending his voice and likeness via motion capture and the then-newly developed facial MotionScan technology. In fact, several Mad Men actors and actresses had roles peppered throughout the meticulously re-created 1940s Los Angeles, including Michael Gladis (Paul Kinsey), Myra Turley (Katherine Olson), Rich Sommer (Harry Crane), Kate Norby (Carol McCardy), and Patrick Fischler (Jimmy Barrett), among a sprawling cast that also included John Noble (The Lord of the Rings, Fringe), Adam J. Harrington (Bosch) and Michael McGrady (Southland, Ray Donovan).

Directed and written by Brendan McNamara, L.A. Noire was announced in 2005 and developed by the now-defunct Team Bondi (the studio’s first and only title) and published by Rockstar Games. An instant hit with gamers, L.A. Noire received high marks from critics for the storytelling, MotionScan technology, and its 2012 BAFTA-winning original score. L.A. Noire was also the first game to be named an Official Selection of the Tribeca Film Festival. Of course, it was not without some criticism (South Parkpoked fun at aspects, such as the fact that blowing an interview does not necessarily impact a case being successfully closed.) Still, the game holds a score of 89 (PS3 and XB360) on review aggregation site Metacritic.

Now, a decade later, cast from the game (all with the Mad Men connection) pull back the curtain to share how they became involved with the iconic title, what it was like to work with the technology, and how being involved with the AMC series was a performance asset, as well as marvel at the game’s legacy, among other topics as The Hollywood Reporter opens a new case on L.A. Noire.

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File No. 11-0810: Aaron Staton (Detective Cole Phelps)

[L.A. Noire casting directors] Laura Schiff and Carrie Audino, who also cast Mad Men, are the link. My name was brought up. I am not sure about the entire conversation, but I was grateful it happened that way. At the time, I was playing a lot of video games, like Call of Duty and Halo. I found the project really interesting and exciting. Mad Men was on hiatus, so it was like a field trip. 

There were two separate technologies being used; one was motion capture, which is the wetsuit with the little balls all over it. On day one, we did an assortment of motion activities like running, sprinting, jumping and crouching for a movement palette. And we did the stunts, like scenes of kicking in doors and holding prop guns. The first three months were for motion capture. And what was supposed to be another three months for the MotionScan ended up taking another year.  

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With MotionScan, there were 36 cameras all around. You’re in this white room and I spoke every line. I had 5,000 pages of text, which I delivered straight ahead to a red X. I could move my head 45 degrees in either direction and up and down. But they really wanted me to sit completely still. And we did an hour and a half long sessions. I would say each line three different ways and then we would move on to the next take. 

I know I said my name and badge number a lot. “Phelps. Badge No. 1247.”  And I do remember, “You’re being economical with the truth.” One thing that ended up being different than how we shot it in the game was the entire interrogation tactic called “doubt.” When we filmed it, that tactic was called “force.” It was not physical, it was a forceful intention, like, “Cut it out! Let’s get to the facts!” There was an intensity that was meant to shake up the moment. 

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The soundtrack is amazing and the gameplay is so classy, just driving around, listening to the music. I only played through half of the first desk because I was distracted with my performance — and I was just terrible at the game. (Laughs.) I found it really frustrating. I couldn’t figure it out. And there was a level of story intensity that I knew was coming. 

I never heard a word about a sequel. If there was another story, I would be curious what they would tell since Cole Phelps died. I do get recognized from time to time from the game, which always makes me think how incredible the MotionScan technology was.

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File No. 11-0830: Michael Gladis (Dudley Lynch)

I actually ended up replacing another actor. Whoever they hired originally to play the bartender didn’t work out, so they called me in to do the face-voice acting. I never got to do the greenscreen ping pong ball body motion capture. They just stuck my head on that other actor’s body. The actual face-voice performance was one of the stranger filming experiences I’d ever had.

When I started on Penny Dreadful: City of Angels last year, both the lead, Danny Zovatto, and the director of the pilot, Paco Cabezas, came up to me independently and said, “Holy shit! You were in L.A. Noire?!” They were both playing it to get a feel for L.A. in the ’30s, which I thought was funny.

I think TV, film and video games are gonna merge into these immersive alternate reality experiences. And as long as the writing is good, I’d love to do another game. I especially think of video games as having short life spans. They get played out and everyone moves on. But, there are some — Portal springs to mind — they have legs, and that’s really great. It’s a testament to how well designed and written they are.

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File No. 11-0425: Myra Turley (Barbara Lapenti)

Laura and Carrie asked me if I wanted to do it, and I thought, “That would be a hoot!” I had two different times coming in, 18 months apart, so that was strange but fun. What I remember was being told to move some part of your body at all times, which is remarkably different from film where you hit your mark and stay still. There was no set. There were outlines of doors and chairs. They had to do a hairstyle where there was no hair that was stray — not one hair. It was really weird. 

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It was like nothing I had ever done; it’s fun and a challenge because you’re trying to make this work but thinking “I don’t know what the hell I am doing, but just give it a go.” (Laughs.) And another good while later, it was released. I was in Palm Springs and so excited to find a mall where I bought it the first day it was out. It was fun! It was tricky! My family is in Ireland and they all got it, so they were all very excited. And through emails, we would share clues because I didn’t want to cheat. I wanted to see if I could do it.

I had done the Clint Eastwood film Flags of Our Fathers (2006), which took place during World War II, so that was close to the [L.A. Noire] period. I love doing period pieces. It is my favorite stuff to do.

The game was a class act. Their vision for it, how they presented it upfront, was really compelling. And I think they didn’t cut corners. They made it happen without selling out, which is why it took so long.

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File No. 11-0202: Rich Sommer (John Cunningham)

Carrie and Laura asked if I would like to do it, and I said, “Yes!” L.A. Noire preceded Firewatch, so it was my video game introduction. And it was quite an introduction because putting on the suit with ping pong balls and sitting on painted crates is a far cry from what I have since done in video games. 

I only worked two days on the game; one day in the full-body mocap and one day in the facial capture, which is when we got all of my audio. It was a very trippy thing to be making a game with Aaron when we had been acting together for a few years at that point. I dug the writing. I would love to see more games go down this road: more cerebral, less focused on action than on thinking your way through it. And that is what made the acting of it so fun. 

Having been so immersed in the Mad Men world for as long as we had at that point, it did some of the work for us. But when it came down to it, it was sitting across from another human being and trying to do a scene. It was very familiar and very unfamiliar at the same time.

I did play the game, but I did not finish it. That is no knock on the game! I have finished very few games in my time that didn’t star Mario as the lead character (Laughs.) But I really dug it. It was hard. I never wrapped my head around how to be good at it. And I didn’t spend enough time with it to learn how to become good at it. I did enjoy it on a thematic level and likely more than a layman as 75 percent of the characters were played by people I personally know. So, even walking down the street and being yelled at by Julie McNiven as she walked by was a total trip. It feels like a time capsule. I got a Nintendo Switch maybe a year and a half ago, and L.A. Noire was one of the first games I got for it, even though I already had it on Xbox.

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File No. 11-0801: Kate Norby (Lorna Pattison)

It all happened pretty quickly. It was like, “Can you come and do this in a few days? We’ll send you the script tomorrow and then come in for makeup and hair the next day.” I didn’t even know what it was, but I love and trusted Carrie and Laura. I called my dad, who is a huge film buff, especially of older films, so he was like, “You need to go get The Big Sleep, The Postman Always Rings Twice, anything with Lana Turner and Lauren Bacall.” I spent the whole day just watching those movies. 

I got the script and it was a lot of the same lines, just slightly different, which is really hard to memorize. Normally I have really long hair and not a strand could be out of place. So my hair was shellacked into this ’40s style, which would normally be poofy. The makeup had to be very specific because of the way the cameras picked it up. Then I was in the room all by myself with cameras all around. It felt like AClockwork Orange scenario. (Laughs.)

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Brendan McNamara was really great, really specific. He would call out the lines he wanted me to say and have me do it all sorts of different ways with different intentions. And we went through every single line like that. Lorna was interesting because it was like she was mean but then not.

It was a blast! Everyone there was really fun. I was like, “Oh, hi! Oh, hello!” to all the cast from Mad Men. They were a great group of people. I watched it on YouTube because I’m really bad at video games. (Laughs.) I can’t get the character to move anywhere; I just run into the wall over and over again. Maybe I just don’t have very good eye-hand coordination. I didn’t want to try it and fail in front of my friends. I thought the game was so cool, but kind of creepy to watch my expressions. At the time, I had no idea that it would look so real. It’s surreal! And after 10 years, it still looks great!

It’s a happy accident for me because I was really ignorant of what was happening. When I was there, the director was talking about all the new technology they were using and how excited they all were. It sounded like something big.

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File No. 11-1229: Patrick Fischler (Meyer Harris “Mickey” Cohen)

I got a call from my manager asking if I wanted to do this game playing Mickey Cohen, and I was like, “Uh … sure.” I am not a gamer. I was in my teens. But I knew this was a big deal, and I knew Aaron was leading it. So I was a yes. And I had an utter blast. It was so weird. I treated it like I was doing a scene and tried to ignore everyone was in tights covered in styrofoam balls. The weirdest part is when we did the face stuff, which was in that room I thought I might never come out of. (Laughs.) It was super intense.

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It’s the only video game I have ever done. I am not big on doing them, but this one was a different story because of everyone involved — and I got to play Mickey Cohen. I love that time period. I love doing stuff like that. It’s my favorite. I did some research, but I didn’t overwhelm myself with it. I got a sense of who that guy was and how to play those scenes.

I am that guy: I have never played the game. I have seen screenshots of it over the last 10 years. I would like to play it and probably should at some point. The reception to the game was amazing. I have done a lot of stuff and had a lot of people reach out over social media or stop me in the street, and L.A. Noire is in my top five of the stuff people recognize me for. It makes me laugh. And it happens to this day; it was pretty recent someone mentioned L.A. Noire to me. It’s become historic in its own way.

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List of L.A. Noire characters

Wikimedia list article

Artwork of five detectives. They all wear brown suits, with ties of varying colours. Four of the detectives sport a hat; the detective without a hat has very short, brown hair.
The five main detectives in L.A. Noire, from different pieces of promotional artwork. From left to right: Cole Phelps, Stefan Bekowsky, Rusty Galloway, Roy Earle, Herschel Biggs.

L.A. Noire, a neo-noirdetective video game developed by Team Bondi, focuses on police detective Cole Phelps and his partners as they investigate and solve various crimes. Previously a U.S. Marine Lieutenant in the second World War, Phelps's experiences during the war left him scarred, and inspired him to join the Los Angeles Police Department.

Cole Phelps is the primary playable character of the game. He is accompanied by a number of characters, notably his partners: Ralph Dunn, Stefan Bekowsky, Rusty Galloway, Roy Earle, and Herschel Biggs. Throughout the course of the story, Phelps falls in love with German singer Elsa Lichtmann, with whom he has an extramarital affair. For a small part of the game, the player controls Jack Kelso, an investigator who fought alongside Phelps during the war. Despite the similarities of their past, Phelps and Kelso behave in an antagonistic nature toward each other.

A team at Team Bondi designed the character appearances, and Brendan McNamara was the main writer of their personalities and mannerisms. The team wanted players to connect with the game's characters, and the actors tried to make their performances appear as realistic as possible. The actors' facial mannerisms were recorded with the newly developed MotionScan, while their physical movements were mostly recorded using motion capture technology. The characters received praise from several gaming publications. The acting has also received acclaim, including a nomination at the British Academy Video Games Awards.

Creation and conception[edit]

A close-up image of bald man, who is looking to the left of the camera while speaking at a conference.

Brendan McNamara worked as the writer and director on L.A. Noire, writing the game's story and developing the characters.

L.A. Noire has over twenty hours of voice work,[1] and over 400 actors performed for the game.[2] To cast the characters, the team held secretive auditions.[1] Many actors from the television series Mad Men are featured in the game;[3] game writer and director Brendan McNamara explained that this is due to the casting agency, Schiff/Audino, which also casts for Mad Men. When casting actors for the game, the team simply sought "quality actors", as opposed to well-known actors.[4] During their performances, the actors attempted to appear as realistic as possible. Director Michael Uppendahl said, "I try to monitor the performances to make sure we're getting the human element that's going to make it compelling and interesting."[5]

L.A. Noire is notable for being the first game to use the newly developed technology MotionScan, developed by Australian company Depth Analysis. MotionScan is a motion capture technology that records the face of an actor at over 1000 frames per second.[3] This technology is crucial to the game's interrogation mechanic, which requires players to use suspects' facial reactions to questioning to judge whether or not they are lying.[6] The actors' facial performances were recorded using MotionScan, while their physical movements were mostly recorded using motion capture technology.[7]

McNamara felt that the game's technology allows players to connect with the characters in a way that video games have not achieved before.[8] One of his primary goals throughout development was to develop the characters in the game's story. McNamara felt that video game characters generally maintain their traits and personalities from the beginning of a game to the end; with L.A. Noire, he aimed "to go on a personal journey with characters".[9] "What we're adding to the mix is the cinematography of a film and the characterisation and character development of a TV show," said McNamara.[10] He also set out to develop the gameplay "based on human interactions", and to create characters that players care for.[11]

Lead characters[edit]

Cole Phelps[edit]

A 27-year old, dark-haired, bearded man, smiling to the left of the camera.
Aaron Statonportrayed Cole Phelps in L.A. Noire. Writer and director Brendan McNamara was initially hesitant about the casting of Staton, but was later convinced into agreeing.[8]

Cole Phelps (Aaron Staton) is the playable character of L.A. Noire. Phelps was a U.S. Marine Lieutenant in the second World War, in which he witnessed many terrible and traumatic events, such as the Battle of Okinawa. He was honourably discharged from the War, later receiving the prestigious Silver Star medal, and joining the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).[12] Phelps is initially depicted as a low-ranking police officer in the LAPD, with a background involving traumatic events in the war, which he rarely speaks about. As he solves cases at the Patrol desk, alongside Ralph Dunn, he is depicted as a highly intelligent investigator, and is promoted to the Traffic desk.[13] Phelps's tenure at the Traffic desk, partnered with Stefan Bekowsky, results in the solving of multiple cases of murder and fraud.[14][15] Six months later, Phelps is promoted to the Homicide desk and partnered with Rusty Galloway.[16] Together, they investigate various cases that contain similarities to the Black Dahlia murder, arresting numerous suspects.[17][18][19][20] However, Phelps is doubtful that they are arresting the actual murderers; his theories are ultimately proved correct, and they eventually track down and kill the real murderer, unbeknownst to the public.[21]

Promoted to the high-ranking Administrative Vice desk and partnered with Roy Earle,[22] Phelps is tasked with many investigations relating to drugs and murder.[23][24] It is during his tenure at the Vice desk that he uncovers that many of the officers in the LAPD are corrupt, including Earle. It is also on this desk where Phelps begins an affair with Elsa Lichtmann, which Earle reports to the chief,[25] resulting in Phelps's demotion to the lowly Arson desk. Partnered with Herschel Biggs,[26] Phelps uncovers and investigates various arsons, before suspecting that the fires are being set by the members of the Suburban Redevelopment Fund, who are prominent practitioners of prestigious professions, to receive insurance money.[27] With help from Jack Kelso, enough evidence is found to support the suspicions,[28][29] but before they can prove them to the public, they are sidetracked by the kidnapping of Lichtmann. They find her in the River Tunnels, which are rapidly flooding. After helping Lichtmann and Kelso escape the tunnels, Phelps is swept away by the current and dies.[30]

Staton described Phelps as a "war hero ... on a mission to right some wrongs".[31] McNamara described Phelps as "a character with a moral code", but noted that he also has flaws.[32] Staton was convinced to join the project after McNamara showed him the game world, the character of Phelps, and uses of the MotionScan technology. He was particularly intrigued in the "incorporation of the physical performance in a game, combined with some of the stylistic elements and the story".[33] Prior to performing, Staton received a 12-page document that outlined the story, and the history of Phelps. He has said that he received the document as there wasn't enough time to read the 2,200-page script before filming began.[34] He joined the project after the story was written and most of the world was developed.[35] Staton worked on L.A. Noire for about eighteen months in total. He said, "Consecutively I think I worked six months, and then for the next year here and there picking things up, adding, changing and tweaking things".[36] Staton called the MotionScan process "an isolating experience", as he was acting in a room alone.[33] Staton claims that it took about 90 minutes to prepare his hair before filming, due to the precise requirements of the technology, and that he "never wore a single fedora" during production, despite Phelps's appearance.[37] Initially, McNamara was not keen about the casting of Staton, but Rockstar Vice President for Creativity Dan Houser convinced him into agreeing. "[Cole Phelps] is conflicted and has quite a bit of depth and [Staton] is great at conveying those things," said McNamara.[8]

Jack Kelso[edit]

A 35-year old, dark-haired, bearded man, talking into a microphone and looking to the left of the camera.
Gil McKinneywas cast as Jack Kelso, the second playable character in L.A. Noire. The player character change, from Phelps to Kelso, was done in order to realistically advance the story.[38]

Jack Kelso (Gil McKinney) is the second playable character of L.A. Noire. He was a U.S. Marine in the Second World War, in which he developed a rivalry with Cole Phelps. After the war, Jack became a claims investigator for California Fire and Life Insurance Company.[28] He was approached by Courtney Sheldon, whose stolen Army surplus morphine had been obtained by Mickey Cohen and given to drug addicts, causing them to overdose. Sheldon asked for Jack's help to avoid prison and more deaths. Jack reluctantly helped Sheldon negotiate with Cohen. However, Cohen struck first by sending hit-men to kill off Jack's old unit who were involved in the morphine heist. Jack was later approached by Elsa Lichtmann, who planned to reject an insurance settlement; Elsa expressed her suspicions that Elysian Fields Development were attempting to cover up something that was more than just an accident. Jack began his investigation at the housing development site, where he discovered that the houses were made from inferior materials, and later discovered a connection to the Suburban Redevelopment Fund.[28] Jack also discovered that his own boss was involved, along with Leland Monroe and other influential and political figures. He later discovered that, through Jack, Elsa was helping Phelps. Despite his rivalry with Phelps, Jack promised to continue his investigation.[29]

Jack deduced that Leland Monroe's plan was to burn some of the substandard houses for the insurance money, while other housing developments were built in the intended path of freeways, such that the government would exercise eminent domain and purchase the land at artificially-inflated prices.[29] Shortly afterwards, Jack learned of Elsa's kidnapping. He discovered that the arsonist of the housing developments was a fellow Marine and former flamethrower operator Ira Hogeboom, and that Elsa was likely holed up with Ira in the river tunnels. After being escorted to the river tunnels, Jack and Phelps reached Ira, with Elsa under his protection. Phelps arrived to take Elsa to safety as Jack performed a mercy kill on Ira. Elsa and Jack exit the tunnel, but Phelps was killed by a violent torrent of water. At Phelps's funeral, Elsa stormed off and angrily. Jack asked Phelps's former partner Herschel Biggs to console her; as he left, he made it clear to Jack that Phelps was never Jack's friend, but confirmed that he believed Phelps knew that they were never enemies.[30]

Towards the end of the final desk, players assume control of Kelso, and alternate between him and Phelps; although different in appearance and personality, the characters are controlled identically. When discussing the player character change near the end of the story, from Phelps to Kelso, McNamara explained that the narrative "got to the point where [Phelps] couldn't really do much more, and you have to go outside the realm of being a cop to bend the rules".[38]

Secondary characters[edit]

Stefan Bekowsky[edit]

Stefan Bekowsky (Sean McGowan) is the partner of Cole Phelps while on the Traffic Desk. Bekowsky was partnered with Phelps following the latter's promotion from the Patrol department. While their relationship began antagonistically, they soon became close. Bekowsky helped Phelps to investigate and solve many crimes, uncovering acts of conspiracies,[15] fraud[39] and murder.[40] Phelps was later promoted to the Burglary department.[15] Following Phelps's eventual promotion to the Vice desk, Bekowsky was promoted to the Homicide department, and partnered with Rusty Galloway.[41]

When McGowan auditioned for the role of Bekowsky, he felt an instant connection to the character, which made him enthusiastic about the role; McGowan called Bekowsky "a hoot to play".[42] When discussing his character, McGowan felt that Bekowsky was initially jealous of Phelps, but eventually warmed up to him. "Like a good older brother he'll always have his back but will never take shit from him," he said.[43] McGowan describes Bekowsky as "a sarcastic, outspoken cop who loves a good fight and a good joke",[42] stating that "he's a wise crack but he's not a total dick".[44]

Rusty Galloway[edit]

Finbarr "Rusty" Galloway (Michael McGrady) is the partner of Cole Phelps while on the Homicide Desk. Galloway was initially partnered with Floyd Rose, but following Rose's retirement and Phelps's promotion, he was partnered with Phelps.[16] Galloway initially disliked Phelps, treating him with arrogance, but became more friendly over time. The two were immediately tasked with solving a murder case with similarities to the Black Dahlia murder. After solving the case, Galloway and Phelps received several similar cases, which appeared to be committed by the Black Dahlia's killer, but ultimately led to other suspects being arrested through strong evidence.[17][18][19][20] With strong cases and convictions, Galloway dismissed the similarities between the murders, refusing to admit a connection. However, when clues were discovered connecting the crimes, Phelps and Galloway discovered that all of the murders were connected, and eventually track down and kill the real murderer, unbeknownst to the public.[21] Phelps was then promoted to the Vice department, and Galloway was eventually partnered with Stefan Bekowsky.[41]

McGrady was impressed by the amount of detail and research put into the game, as well as the way in which Galloway's character was written, which convinced him to play the role after reading the script.[45] McGrady said his own introverted personality helped him connect to the character. "I am a classic introvert but I can hold court when I need to. I think Rusty is that way too," he said.[43]

Roy Earle[edit]

Roy Earle (Adam J. Harrington) is the partner of Cole Phelps while on the Administrative Vice Desk. Earle played a part in Phelps's promotion to the Vice department, having realised his growing fame and success.[22] The two investigated several cases regarding morphine distribution in Los Angeles,[25][41] as well as busting a marijuana distribution ring[23] and a prize fight racket.[24] Earle was involved in a scandal with the rest of the Vice department, which threatened to ruin the current administration if it became public. Earle approached other superior officers involved in the scandal with a story to distract the press—Phelps's affair with Elsa Lichtmann—in exchange for being part of the syndicate. This ultimately led to Phelps's demotion to the Arson department.[25] Phelps, along with Jack Kelso, continued to investigate the syndicate, putting the administration at risk.[27] However, Phelps's death prior to any evidence going public allowed Earle to conceal his corruption and involvement with the syndicate.[30]

Harrington described Roy as "jaded, tough, mean, cruel, brutally honest and ... very funny".[43] Both Harrington and McNamara felt that Roy was "one of the truest characters to the genre"; his actions and opinions, including his racist and misogynistic attitudes and sense of entitlement, were reflective of those in the time period.[46] Harrington took credit for all of Roy's facial expressions, but said that all of the dialogue was scripted, as opposed to ad-lib.[43] Harrington felt that the motion capture performances felt akin to a live performance, whereas the MotionScan process felt "a little restricting".[46]

Herschel Biggs[edit]

Herschel Biggs (Keith Szarabajka) is the partner of Cole Phelps while on the Arson Desk. Like Phelps, Biggs is a former Marine as well, having served during World War I. Biggs was partnered with Phelps following his demotion from Vice to Arson. Initially unfriendly towards Phelps, due to his distaste for partners, Biggs showed him little sympathy due to his affair. While investigating house fires, Phelps suspected that the fires were connected, which Biggs dismissed as weak attempts to restore his personal glory.[26] Biggs became visibly distraught while investigating another house fire, which he attributed to his experience during the Battle of Belleau Wood in which a barn that his unit was trapped in was destroyed. After investigating a housing development that burned down, Biggs and Phelps began to suspect a connection between the arson and Elysian Fields Development. After questioning Leland Monroe, Biggs and Phelps were threatened (by Captain McKelty and Roy Earle, respectively) to stop them from investigating Monroe's affairs, and they decided to close the case. The two began to work more cooperatively, and trust each other.[27]

Their investigation was then halted due to the corruption and Monroe's influences, but Jack Kelso helped them discover more evidence of the conspiracy behind Monroe and the Suburban Redevelopment Fund.[28][29] When Biggs and Phelps were investigating the murder of Harlan Fontaine, they discovered that the Suburban Redevelopment Fund was committing extortion through eminent domain. They arrived at the river tunnels to help Kelso save Elsa and apprehend the arsonist behind the fires, Ira Hogeboom. Biggs pulled Kelso and Elsa safely out of the tunnel, but Phelps was killed by a violent torrent of water. At Phelps's funeral, Biggs tells Kelso that the latter was "never [Phelps's] friend", though admitted that he was "never his enemy".[30]

Elsa Lichtmann[edit]

Elsa Lichtmann (Erika Heynatz) is a German singer at The Blue Room nightclub. Lichtmann first met Phelps after his promotion from Traffic,[15] after which he developed an interest in her and frequently visited the club to watch her perform.[16][19] When Elsa becomes a witness in an investigation, Phelps tails her to her hotel, and the two begin an affair. This ultimately leads to Phelps's demotion,[25] and his interest in the LAPD's corruption. Elsa seeks help from Jack Kelso, who uncovers more information regarding the corruption, and the syndicate of the Suburban Redevelopment Fund.[28][29] When Elsa confronted psychiatrist Harlan Fontaine about the syndicate, due to his involvement, he attacked her; she was rescued by the intervention of Ira Hogeboom, who took her to the river tunnels and protected her. Phelps and Kelso soon take her from the tunnels, but the former is killed by a violent torrent of water. At Phelps's funeral, Roy Earle claims that the accusations against Phelps of an affair with Elsa were false, which causes her to walk out in a fit of sorrow and rage.[30]

Heynatz described the MotionScan process as "other-worldly".[47] Elsa's musical performances were played by German singer Claudia Brücken.[48]

Leland Monroe[edit]

A 63-year old, dark-haired man, smiling at the left of the camera.
Australian actor John Nobleportrayed Leland Monroe in L.A. Noire.

Leland Monroe (John Noble) is the founder and CEO of Elysian Fields Development, and played a large role in the creation of the Suburban Redevelopment Fund, an organisation of private investors to develop houses for returning servicemen in Los Angeles. While he had a strong investment in the organisation, he developed a plan to extort millions of dollars from the government: to build fraudulent, and thereby cheap, houses along the path of the new freeway, which the government would then purchase as eminent domain, repaying Monroe and the investors. Gaining the support of several high-ranking figures of the city, Monroe effectively turned the Suburban Redevelopment Fund into a criminal syndicate. While Monroe bought out several estates, he faced the predicament of some holdouts; as a solution, Monroe and Harlan Fontaine ordered Ira Hogeboom to burn down the houses, allowing Monroe to acquire the states.[30]

When Arson detectives Cole Phelps and Herschel Biggs suspected Monroe's involvement in the house fires, they questioned him; Monroe denied all allegations.[27] Meanwhile, private investigator Jack Kelso also became close to discovering the truth of the Suburban Redevelopment Fund,[28] and Monroe personally phoned him to offer a settlement. Suspecting a trap, Kelso fought his way through Monroe's protection and raided his mansion, discovering evidence in his office such as the payroll of corrupt figures, Fontaine's criminal report, and the list of holdouts. Kelso shot Monroe in the leg and left him to bleed to death.[29] He managed to survive, and it is suggested that he was later sent to prison.[30]

McNamara contacted Noble early in development, in about 2005. Throughout development, Noble regularly visited the studio and performed tests with the MotionScan technology. The team eventually approached him for a role in the game,[4] which he accepted the role due to the advancement of the technology, as well as his fondness for McNamara. Noble eventually began performing in early 2010. He described Monroe as "such a different character" than his usual roles.[49]

Harlan Fontaine[edit]

A man with ginger hair and a ginger beard looking to the left of the camera.
Peter Blomquist portrayed Harlan Fontaine in L.A. Noire.

Harlan J. Fontaine (Peter Blomquist) is a clinical psychiatrist in Los Angeles. Following one of his psychology lectures, Fontaine met former Marine Courtney Sheldon, and offered him a part-time job at one of his clinics.[50] The two formed a close mentor–student relationship, and Sheldon eventually turned to Fontaine in a moment of crisis: Sheldon and his fellow Marines had stolen army surplus morphine following the end of the war, and had reached a predicament regarding the distribution of the morphine. Fontaine made a deal to take the morphine, promising to distribute it legally to medical facilities, in return reinvesting the money into building houses for returning G.I.s;[24] in actuality, Fontaine discreetly sold the morphine to addicts. He used the profits to invest in the Suburban Redevelopment Fund, becoming part of a criminal syndicate to extort millions of dollars through insurance claims. When Sheldon confronted Fontaine after discovering evidence of the Suburban Redevelopment Fund, Fontaine killed him.[29] He was later confronted by Elsa Lichtmann, one of his patients, about the same thing. As he prepared to kill Elsa, Ira Hogeboom arrived and killed Fontaine.[30]

Courtney Sheldon[edit]

Courtney Sheldon (Chad Todhunter) is a former Navy Corpsman, serving with the United States Navy and Marine Corps. As his unit was returning on the SS Coolridge to the United States after the war, Sheldon suggested that they steal the ship's cargo of surplus morphine, and sell it upon their return.[51] After doing so, the drug trafficking operation resulted in the death of addicts;[19] Sheldon tried to halt the operation, to the displeasure of gangster Mickey Cohen and his organisation.[15][22] Sheldon sought assistance from psychiatrist Harlan Fontaine, with whom he had developed a close relationship. Fontaine agreed to take the morphine and distribute it to medical facilities;[24] in actuality, the morphine was sold on the streets, and the profits were used in the Suburban Redevelopment Fund, a syndicate set up to extort millions of dollars through insurance claims. When Sheldon confronted Fontaine after discovering evidence of the syndicate, Fontaine killed him.[29]

Mickey Cohen[edit]

Mickey Cohen (Patrick Fischler) is a gangster, and a member of the Jewish Mafia. Friendly with many other members of the Vice squad, Cohen encountered Phelps on a number of cases,[24][25] accompanied by his bodyguard Johnny Stompanato. Cohen is in control of prostitution, illegal gambling, racketeering, narcotic distribution and several murders.[52] He offered to purchase stolen morphine from Courtney Sheldon; when Sheldon refused, Cohen ordered the death of him and the rest of his military unit.[25]

In L.A. Noire, Cohen is the fictional version of gangster Mickey Cohen (1913–1976), who was involved in similar situations as depicted in the game.[52] Fischler described the experience as "a real thrill", particularly due to Cohen's real reputation, and Fischler's recurring interest in the gangster genre.[53]

James Donnelly[edit]

James Donnelly (Andrew Connolly) is the captain of the LAPD Homicide Department. He first met Phelps during a murder investigation on the Patrol desk; Donnelly was impressed by his initiative, and requested Phelps's promotion to Detective.[13] When Phelps was promoted to the Homicide department, Donnelly partnered him with Rusty Galloway.[16] He briefed Phelps and Galloway during their time on the department, assisting in many of their later cases.[21] When Phelps was charged with adultery, Donnelly expressed his disappointment.[25]

Captain Donnelly is loosely based on both LAPD Captain Jack Donahue, as well as Brendan McNamara's father.[54]

Reception[edit]

The characters received positive responses. Justin McElroy of Joystiq found that the characters and the script combined to place L.A. Noire among the "most compelling video game stories ever".[55]Giant Bomb's Brad Shoemaker praised the juxtaposition between Phelps and the "atmosphere of corruption, paranoia, and opportunism".[56] Mikel Reparaz of GamesRadar felt that Phelps is initially "a robotic douche", but becomes more likable as the game progresses.[57]Kotaku's Stephen Totilo was fascinated by the depth of the characters, particularly by how little was known about Phelps by the story's end.[58] Steve Boxer of The Guardian stated that the events in Phelps's life increased the game's immersion.[59] Oli Welsh of Eurogamer wrote that, although the game's plot helps with "bringing the characters to life", characters such as Phelps felt "dry".[60]

The character performances also received praise. Edge praised Staton's "solid" performance, but wrote that the supporting cast—such as Connelly's performance as Captain Donnelly—"stands out".[61]IGN's Hilary Goldstein commended all elements of the performances, including the mannerisms and expressions of the actors.[62]Game Informer's Matt Helgeson described the voice acting as "high quality" and "superb".[63] Giant Bomb's Shoemaker wrote that the performances "range from good to stellar".[56] IGN's Anthony Gallegos wrote that the performances evoke genuine empathy and emotion, and command the attention of the player.[64] Some of the actors were awarded for their performances: Staton received nominations from the British Academy Video Games Awards[65] and The Daily Telegraph.[66]

References[edit]

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