Image Illustration
  • Diligentia Group is a boutique investigative firm dedicated to providing law firms, financial institutions and decision makers with comprehensive background investigations, due diligence investigations and legal investigation services.
  • Investigative Porn

    by Brian Willingham

    Post image for Investigative Porn

    A few years ago, I was working on a case with a large investigative firm in New York.

    It was a big case with big implications.

    While the investigative team had some big breakthroughs during the course of the investigation, one of the key elements of the case was the surveillance video.

    And we’re not just talking about one camera covering one position. We’re talking hundreds of hours, covering more than 20 cameras in a massive office building.

    The surveillance video, which tracked the movements of everyone in the building, was a critical component of the case. But sloshing through hundreds of hours of video would take hundreds upon hundreds of man hours. Time that we didn’t really have and an expense that the client didn’t want to pay for unless there was some compelling reason.

    At first we tried the easy way, like looking at key moments and video taken from key camera positions. But we couldn’t find that smoking gun.

    One late night, about 10 p.m., the lead investigator and I were looking at the surveillance video together. I found what I thought seemed like something interesting.

    I asked her, “Take a look at this. Do you see what I see?”

    For the next 10 minutes, we sat in near silence, watching the video over and over again—forwards, backwards, and from different angles and speeds, all of which effectively showed the exact thing that we had been trying to find all along.

    Then she turned to me and said, “This is about as close to investigative porn as you can get.”

    It was. Not in a Jenna Jameson sort of way, but it was a moment of pure joy. Totally exhilarating.

    I can literally remember it like it was yesterday.

    That night, after watching the video, we packed our bags and headed home.

    That moment helped convince the client that we needed to analyze every single movement of every single individual in the video and catalog their whereabouts and locations, who they were meeting with and other critical details.

    We spent the next few months looking at the hundreds of hours of surveillance videos and conducting interviews, surveillance and investigations on everyone and everything involved, ultimately gathering some valuable facts and evidence to obtain a favorable settlement for the client.

    While that “investigative porn” moment didn’t turn out to be the most critical piece of evidence in the end, it didn’t really matter.

    It was still unforgettable. It literally turned the case on it’s head.

    I just wish moments like that happened more often.

    • Call to Action!

    { 9 comments… read them below or add one }

    private detective southport February 9, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Investigative porn? I like it. Always hoped someone would coin a phrase to explain that buzz you get when you break a case wide open.

    Reply

    Ruben Roel January 6, 2014 at 5:06 am

    Amazing piece, like always. Cases like this one need to happen more often. But if you really think about it, we all need to think of our surveillance assignments like Investigative Porn.

    Waiting for the perfect money shot moment. Often times we get distracted and miss the perfect opportunity.

    I also like the fact that you felt it necessary to link us to Jenna’s wikipedia page… My wife was sitting next to me and I was scared to know what was going to come up after I clicked on it :P

    Reply

    Brian Willingham January 6, 2014 at 5:13 am

    I try to keep this as PG as possible … sorry to disappoint you with the Wikipedia link ;)

    Reply

    Keith Owens January 4, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    That moment when you find the piece of information that changes everything. Great story… it made me feel the butterflies of the moment. I love that moment!

    Reply

    Brian Willingham January 5, 2014 at 6:08 am

    Thanks Keith. I love that moment too…

    Reply

    Doug Wolfe January 4, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Well written. “Then she turned to me and said…..”

    So many possibilities. “I’m hungry.” “I gotta pee.” “You gotta pee.” “This is boring.”

    Perfection happens rarely. It must be savored, then shared to give the rest of us hope.

    sigh

    Reply

    Brian Willingham January 4, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Funny thing is that I am pretty sure I had to go pee, Doug…

    Thanks for the comment.

    Reply

    Mark Kusic January 3, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    That’s a seductive title! A real great feeling to have when working on a case and all the pieces start fitting together. I’ve been there before. Such a rush.

    Reply

    Brian Willingham January 4, 2014 at 5:45 am

    It is indeed Mark.

    Reply

    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: