Study Guide

The Terminator Lieutenant Ed Traxler (Paul Winfield)

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Lieutenant Ed Traxler (Paul Winfield)

According to the commandments set down by the gods of cinema, the cop in a horror movie will have the most thankless job ever. His will be a typical day until he will have to solve a string of unexplained murders. He'll do his job and maybe even solve the mystery, but then he'll die a painful death to protect the teenager protagonist who will just kill the villain in the end, anyway.

Even the luckiest of horror-movie law officers have it rough—think Deputy Dewey in Scream, who, you'll recall, hooks up with Gale but only after being gut-stabbed. Then he is gut-stabbed again in the sequel. Yeesh.

Sadly, Lieutenant Ed Traxler falls victim to these cinematic laws. Not only does he die in a manner unbefitting an excellent officer, but he doesn't even get to hook up with anyone before that happens. Bummer.

The senior officer on the Sarah Connor case, Traxler, is more sensitive and thoughtful than his younger partner, Vukovich. When they are unable to contact the third Sarah Connor in the phonebook, rather than just shrugging his shoulders in acceptance like his partner, he has the idea to use the news media to get the word out in the hope that she'll contact them.

When Sarah is at the police station, Traxler shows his mature, fatherly side in his interactions with her. He doesn't let her see Matt's and Ginger's bodies, likely feeling she's been through enough. And when they are watching Dr. Silberman's interview with Reese, he doesn't laugh like Silberman or Vukovich but has the doctor turn off the tape when he realizes that Reese's comments could scare Sarah.

He also has Sarah sleep in the police station while she waits for her mother to arrive. As he offers her his jacket as a blanket, he says, "It may not look it, but that couch is very comfortable. You'll be perfectly safe. We got 30 cops in this building." And is that not the most fatherly thing ever?

Unfortunately for Traxler, the cinema gods will not be denied their police sacrifice. He is shot and killed when the Terminator attacks the police station. In true horror fashion, though, it's likely that his sacrifice slows the Terminator's rampage just long enough for Reese and Sarah to escape.

R.I.P., Traxler. Your sacrifice was not in vain.

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