Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Detective Montalbano

  1. Aug 26, 2016 #1

    Stephen Tashi

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I've been watching episodes of "Detective Montalbano" on DVDs and I (as a USA resident) have some questions.

    To which of Italy's police forces does he belong ? From http://www.understandingitaly.com/profile-content/italian-police.html, I'd guess the municipal police, but the description indicates they investigate "petty" crimes - which don't include murder, I assume.

    Sicily is described as an an autonomous part of Italy. In what sense is it autonomous and in what sense is it "part of" Italy ?

    Is the architecture shown in the episodes actually typical of Sicily or particular parts of it? All the buildings look old. No McDonalds or Taco Bells.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 27, 2016 #2
  4. Aug 27, 2016 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Sicily is entirely different from mainland Italy. There really is a mafia and it really does hold a tight reign. That's all I can say, my ex-fiance lives in Sicily and had to work for the mafia as part of his deferment from military service. Can't go into it. Palermo is run by the mafia they even have their own language.

    There is a McDonald's in Palermo, I've been there.
  5. Aug 27, 2016 #4

    Stephen Tashi

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    It's worth a look, although the DVDs (for region USA) aren't cheap. I find it as interesting as "Morse" and "Inspector Lewis", better than "Taggart", and a bit below "Foyle's War". Since I live in the USA, some of my interest in each of those series is seeing a different culture portrayed.

    Ok, "sort of" :) . It doesn't really answer any of my questions.
  6. Aug 27, 2016 #5

    Stephen Tashi

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Does the buidling look like a typical USA McDonalds ?
  7. Aug 27, 2016 #6
    "Finds he must investigate" says to me that, regardless of what branch of the police he belongs to, the job lands on his plate, there being no one else there to do it. This happens in the US in very rural areas where game wardens are sometimes called on to help local police or state police due to the general scarcity of all law enforcement in those places. Regardless of official job descriptions whoever is on scene with a badge gets the job.

  8. Aug 27, 2016 #7

    Stephen Tashi

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    To that theory, we can add the facts that (in the TV series) Montalbano (in the English subtitles) refers to "the carabiniere" and "the tax police" as different police than his group. When he takes prisoners to jail, they are taken to a different building that his offices, so he is not in the prison police. HIs authority seems be confined to the town of Vigata, so he's probably not in the "state" police unless a town in Sicily can also be a state. The petty crimes that his group investigates are (in my viewing so far) urban crimes, so he is not in the forestry police. That leaves the municipal police as the only possibility, which contradicts the statement on http://www.understandingitaly.com/profile-content/italian-police.html that says the municipal police (also called local police or provincial police) are responsible for "enforcing local regulations, traffic control and investigating petty crimes". Of course neither that website nor the TV series may be authoritative.

    However, in lieu of pure logic (which leads to confusion like the Blue Eyes Paradox thread) it would be nice to hear from a Detective Montalbano viewer who is Sicilian.

    Yes, the wiki mentions places where the series was filmed and if we knew about the architecture of the places it was filmed, we could answer questions about architecture.

    If there are no Italians present, perhaps we can find a reader of the novels by Andrea Camilleri that are basis for the character detective Montalbano. The novels might explain more that the TV Series does.
  9. Aug 27, 2016 #8


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    There are so many McDonald's. It seems there are four of them. Here are pictures.

    https://www.google.com/#q=McDonald's palermo, Sicily&tbs=lf:1,lf_ui:4&rflfq=1&rlha=0&rllag=38109023,13369829,4161&tbm=lcl&rldimm=16209329632385607538&rlfi=hd:;si:16209329632385607538
  10. Aug 27, 2016 #9


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    He is in the State Police all right, which is under the Ministry of the Interior, and those are its uniforms you see. Vigata is not a State but the State is present there as everywhere in Italy, in principle. There is in some episodes a question of him getting a transfer to Genoa to be with Livia, the only character Camilleri does not manage to make interesting IMHO.

    I don't know what your question is about the architecture, but I would say that Sicily now benefits from two facts that were the opposite of beneficial in their time. Firstly disastrous earthquakes just before 1700, which however were followed by reconstruction of the Cathedrals in the finest Baroque style you can find anywhere, as you will have noticed; secondly inherited from the Spanish occupation an obsession with visible prestige and display led the aristocratic classes in particular to put their resources into competitive building in excess of real needs, which even percolated down so you will notice these stylish palazzi or villas, but also apartments, with vast rooms and low habitation density.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2016
  11. Aug 27, 2016 #10


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    From the understandingitaly.com//intalian-police link, I like the cars that the Highway Patrol has.

    Attached Files:

  12. Aug 27, 2016 #11
    I just remembered something it's hard to believe I forgot, but, the Italian criminal justice system is radically different than the American, as I learned from this book (a true story, not fiction) I read a few years ago:


    As I recall, what we in the US would separate into three different parties, 1.) police investigators (detectives), 2.) district attorneys, and 3.) judges, are all combined into one in Italy. The judge/prosecutor/investigator will usually appoint investigative helpers, though, from any branch of law enforcement he likes.

    Unfortunately (for the purposes of this thread), I wasn't interested in really sorting all that out when I read it and didn't pay close attention. Regardless, as you can see from that Amazon ad, copies of this book can be had for the cost of shipping plus a penny. It would probably be of great help in your quest to understand how criminal cases are handled over there, and should shed much light on Montalbano. It's co-authored by an American and an Italian.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted

Similar Discussions: Detective Montalbano
  1. Detecting Energy (Replies: 10)

  2. Forensic detective (Replies: 2)