David is a doer more than a thinker; being meticulous is not for him. At the first crime scene, he goes for the most obvious answer – this fatso ate himself to death, it’s not murder. It’s only when they find physical evidence that he had gun pressed to his head that he changes his mind. He pokes and prods around in crime scenes, discovering things he would rather not, and leaving any insights to his partner. He often scoffs at ideas that aren’t immediately apparent and gives them little credence until the physical evidence accumulates enough to support Somerset’s predictions (late in the game, he finally admits that he’s right, and John Doe is ‘preaching at us’). Somerset is also the more rational of the two detectives; David argues against being emotionally disengaged, claiming that it his emotions ‘fuel him.’ And indeed, he makes emotional decisions even when he knows better and it would be more rational to hold back – he breaks into an apartment without a search warrant, then bribes a random person off the street to give false testimony to the police to corroborate his story; he knows that if he kills the man who murdered his wife, it will forever ruin his career, but he does it anyway. David uses Te in his tendency to head for rapid solutions, his disinterest in understanding (he just wants to close the case), and his overall bluntness. Where Somerset has a much more nuanced view of the psychopath in the back of the car, David calls him a ‘nutjob’ to his face.

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David is a confident go-getter who also has a temper, and doesn’t mind breaking the rules. He ignores Somerset’s advice to take things slow, because he becomes highly impatient with waiting around, so he proactively does things that speed up the case but also runs the risk of them not having any evidence to present at court (let’s not wait for a search warrant, let’s go in right now!). John Doe accurately senses that his sin is going to be Wrath. He’s angry about a lot of things, a lot of the time – often swearing at people and telling them to eff off. The film climaxes with him unable to control his rage and shooting a suspect in the head, and then another dozen times for good measure. His wife says of him that she loved him immediately, because he’s the “funniest person I ever met.” He has a charming, persuasive side who likes to crack the occasional joke and doesn’t want to take things too seriously, but he also has to be in charge, he begs the captain to give him the most important cases, and he can’t escape his own optimistic attitude. He thinks Somerset is unnecessarily negative and that they will solve the case, not that it will haunt them for years to come. That’s not good enough in his mind.