Why not let your supporting cast get a little?

I once saw a sketch on the show In Living Color. They were satirizing Lethal Weapon and making fun of the fact that Danny Glover’s character was two dimensional and because he was African American his character wasn’t allowed to have three dimesions–and especially wasn’t allowed to be sexual.

It got me thinking.

I’ve been reading James Lee Burke lately and he has Batiste.

Poor Danny...

Robert B. Parker has Hawk.

Dennis Lehane has Bubba.

John D. MacDonald has Meyer.

Of these sidekicks only Hawk ever has a girlfriend. When Hawk has a date she’s always depicted as a trophy and not as a real relationship.

Only the lead seems to permitted to have a relationship. If the sidekick is a minority that especially seems to be true.

Perhaps giving a sidekick a relationship would detract from the plot. After all, a plot can only go so many places.

Still, an allusion to a girlfriend/boyfriend/partner might round out a character and give the story line another dimension.

My  protag’s best friend Kelley has a girlfriend in my latest, Out Cold.

It doesn’t take up a lot of the storyline but it makes Kelley more than just a stone faced cop.

I’m a big believer in characters. I do my best to make them real, complete people.

Giving them relationships helps that along.