Badass Writer Moment: David Simon Becomes Dirty Harry

David Simon

David Simon

Starting with this post, Badass Writer of the Week will acknowledge a single badass moment in writing once a month. Feel free to makes suggestions in the comments section or tweet us at @WritersBone.

By Sean Tuohy

Most writers spend their work day at a desk typing out stories.

No thrills. No bang. No pop.

But every once in a while something happens to a writer during his work day that turns him or her in to a badass.

David Simon is considered to be a genius because, well, he is one. His television shows "The Wire" and "Treme" have changed the television landscape and his nonfiction books The Corner and Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets have won every major award. Simon will be the first to admit that writing is not a thrilling job, but that doesn't mean it’s a complete snooze fest.

Simon's first book Homicide was written while he spent a year observing a homicide detective squad in Baltimore. For a year, Simon was a fly on the wall as he followed detectives to crime scenes, sat with them in the office, and ate doughnuts with them. During that year, Simon became very close to the detectives, but always kept himself away from the real danger. That is until one December day.

Simon writes in his author's note in Homicide that while riding with two detectives he "went native" and helped them during a shake down. The detectives spotted suspects on the street. They jumped from the car to stop them, but one detective got stuck in his seat shouted at Simon, who had his notepad and pen in hand in the back seat, "Go!" Simon jumped from the car and as one detective was busy with one suspect, Simon took the other, shoved him against a car, and then searched him. Yes, a reporter threw a citizen against a car and then searched him and did not get in trouble.

For that brief moment, David Simon, professional writer, became David Simon, tough guy cop.