Herman focuses primarily on doing what is right and on the humanity of his job; when he finds out there are two missing Dutch people, he uses his job in the embassy to start asking questions and digging for answers. Other people tell him to let it go, but he refuses—these people need found, they need identified, and they need justice, once he believes they have been murdered. He pieces things together that other people miss, speculating that they were killed, that Sobhraj (under another name) is using their passports to get in and out of the country. He immediately wants to find out how many passports he has, and check to find out if he has been traveling under assumed names to obscure his trail. Herman starts piecing together everything on an instinctive level and feels frustrated that others cannot just operate off his assumptions and instincts; they want “proof” before they arrest or interrogate anyone. This forces him to collect detailed evidence and build up a crime of more than just a trail of suspicious events. Herman is somewhat naïve about how things work, and completely ignores work protocol; even when Paul Siemons warns him pursuing this could jeopardize his political career, Herman insists that the murder victims should come first and receive justice in the form of their murderer’s incarceration. Though not easily able to assemble a case right away, Herman shows inferior Te behavior under stress – he tells off people he works for, he gets angry at his wife for having poorly translated a request to their gardener to clean up the pond (because the gardener removed all the water lilies), and he feels like everyone around him is incompetent! At one point, he stops the car, takes off his shoes, wades into the ambassador’s lily pond, and starts hauling filthy water lilies, out of an angry desire to “take some… since he has so much and we have none.” He doesn’t always make rational decisions or show much awareness of how dangerous some of his actions are, such as allowing Nadine to risk her life in gathering photographic evidence for his files, and flat out refusing to carry a gun on moral principles (or allow Paul to shoot the suspect; when questioned later, after they fear he may have escaped, he still maintains that shooting him would be immoral).

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Herman believes in doing what is right—and that makes him somewhat critical of his coworkers, of the police who seem not to take a serious interest in the case, and the other ambassadors who don’t want to pursue the case for reasons of public exposure and politics. When Herman cannot force them to respond as he would like, he leaks all the information to the newspapers because he’s angry about the wrong story being told; he wants justice for the Dutch victims and their friends, and often when people don’t want to face it, will take out the photographs of dead bodies, charred and burned on the side of the road, to jolt them into feeling something for the victims. His desire to bring Sobhraj to justice consumes his life, jeopardizes his political career, and damages his marriage (due to his workaholic behavior) but he is fine with that, because he knows what he is doing is right, and good, and these people need his help, his advocacy, and to be remembered.