Study Guide

Crash Detective Graham Waters (Don Cheadle)

Detective Graham Waters (Don Cheadle)

Crash Into Him

Detective Graham Waters is a racially insensitive police detective who is sleeping with his partner, Ria, another racially insensitive police detective. These two should be perfect for each other—except for the fact that he makes insensitive comments about her race, while the racist remarks that come out of her mouth are directed toward Asian people. So it's not quite an equal partnership.

We see these two argue when Waters says that Ria is Mexican. She explains that her father is Puerto Rican, while her mother Salvadoran. He snaps at her:

WATERS: Ah. Well then I guess the big mystery is, who gathered all those remarkably different cultures together and taught them all how to park their cars on their lawns?

How Ria can continue associating with this guy after such a remark, we have no idea. (On the other hand, we never see them reconcile, so maybe she doesn't.) She rationalizes his behavior like this:

RIA: Why do you keep everybody a certain distance, huh? What, you start to feel something and panic?

We think she's right. Waters has a distant relationship with his mother, a woman who thinks her younger son, Peter, is a saint, even though Peter is a carjacking criminal. She constantly begs Waters to find him and save him, as if Peter were his responsibility, and she blames Waters for not doing so. No wonder he puts people at a distance, right?

Despite his mother's disdainful attitude toward him, Waters secretly puts food in her fridge and keeps her life tidy. She, of course, thinks Peter is the one doing it. Why doesn't Waters tell her that he does it? Is it her fault for misunderstanding if he fails to tell her? Maybe he wants to preserve his mom's ideas about Peter; it's not like she would be thrilled to find out the truth. But still, it's a bit of a mystery.

As a detective, of course, the safety of others is also a priority for him, so it might be easier to deal with people if he isn't close to them. As wise man Nick Jonas said, "Space was just a word made up by someone who's afraid to get close." It's this space that inspires Waters to make the following remark:


WATERS: It's the sense of touch. […] Any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.

That's at the beginning of the movie, but in the movie's timeline, it's actually at the very end of the story. Do you think the guy is on to something, or is he only talking about himself? It seems to us like he wouldn't have to crash into people if he were open and honest about his feelings—but maybe that's too much to expect of an Angeleno?

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