Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods


The Profiler

Dr. James Brussel
Dr. James Brussel

The sharp-witted, pipe-smoking Dr. James Brussel had casually considered the Mad Bomber case. Like most New Yorkers, he had read about the case in the papers and wondered what kind of person would commit such an act. Being a criminal psychiatrist, he theorized a bit about the mysterious culprit. Who was he? What motivated him?

With no access to the case file and no reason to come up with solid conclusions, thoughts and theories flitted in and out of his mind without care.

That changed when Inspector Finney visited his office with the case file. Dr. Brussel had agreed to meet with the Inspector as a favor to his old friend Cronin. Primarily in private practice, Dr. Brussel also served as the Assistant Commissioner of Mental Hygiene for the State of New York a position that led to numerous consultations with police forces and appearances at police conferences. At those conferences, he had both impressed and befriended Captain Cronin.

In is memoir, The Casebook of a Criminal Psychiatrist, Dr. Brussel admits he doubted he could be useful to Finney's case. Despite being confident of his profession and his own abilities, he didn't believe that he could add anything that professional detectives had already discovered.

Dr. Brussel's self-doubts were a bit misplaced. If anyone could effectively profile a criminal, he could. Prior to his private practice, Dr. Brussel had served in the military as chief of Neuropsychiatry at Fort Dix during World War II and then as the head of army Neuropsychiatry for the entire army during the Korean War. During that time, he had done counterintelligence profiling work for the FBI and the CID.

Dr. Brussel also admits that Finney intimidated him. He believed the old cop wouldn't settle for anything but solid conclusions and would dismiss the psychiatric profession entirely if he proved wrong. From the amused glances and rolled eyes of Finney's detectives, Dr. Brussel knew that those men had already dismissed him.

With the pressure firmly on, Dr. Brussel read through the case file and came up with a profile of their culprit. The main conclusion: the bomber was most certainly mad.

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