Hello, RPD Series readers! This is the fifth installment in a series of questionnaires or interviews – character profiles, if you will – answered by the men and women of the Riverdale PD and Calera County Crime Lab themselves.

This time, we are joined by the Mistress of Ballistics herself, Miss Robin “Shots” Dorian:

NameRobin Elaine Dorian

Age: I just celebrated my 32nd birthday on May 3rd, 2013

Height: 5’9″

Weight:  I already told you my age, do you really think I’m going to answer that?

Occupation: I am the Ballistics technician for the Calera County Crime Lab.

About: First, I want to say that I LOVE the new nickname – Mistress of Ballistics! It makes me sound like a superhero or something. I love it, I love nicknames in general, you know.

[JIO: Yes. You already have a pretty impressive moniker. Wanna tell us how you earned it?]

Oh, that. [Laughs] There’s not much to tell, really. It was all just a silly initiation sort of a deal. Okay. When I first moved to Riverdale, the others held a little welcome party for me. One of the boys, Jake, challenged me to a game of darts, thinking that since I’m a ballistics tech, I should be an expert marksman with all projectiles – cuz that follows, right? But, he was the resident darts champ, so he felt like he had to defend his title. And to make matters more… interesting, I had to drink a shot of some horrid stuff he picked out for every bullseye I scored. Okay, I don’t drink. Can’t stand the stuff, but I’m new here and wanna fit in, right? So, I agree. And after winning two rounds – and being told I have to take two shots for winning the second round – I’m already a little… unsteady. So, instead of aiming at the board the next round, I sent the dart flying at Jake, or rather, at the barstool seat Jake was sitting on, and I guess you could say it hit a little too close to home for his comfort level. [Laughs] Of course, I apologized profusely for my bad aim. But I was stuck thereafter with the nickname “Shots” Dorian, in honor of the occasion.

[JIO: And you earned a spot in the inner circle of that otherwise testosterone-heavy club with that move. Do you get along well with the guys at the lab now?]

Yes. Conrad is a dear friend, and a very good guy, though he’s too mock-proud to admit that he’s such a softy. Jake and I still kinda have this underlying vibe of competition, but I think, at least on my part, that it’s rooted in mutual respect. 

[JIO: And then there’s Neil…]

[Huge Smile] Yes. That kinda took me by surprise, to be honest. I mean, he and I sort of clicked right away, but I just thought he thought of me as a colleague and maybe a friend. But we started discussing Christianity – I’m a Christian, by the way – and he had all these questions and was really… searching for peace. He won’t really talk about it, but I know what happened to Noah’s parents still haunts him. That’s how it all started, just these really good, deep discussions. And then, on the day Cal announced he was leaving, he kissed me, and we’ve been together ever since. And it’s just amazing, perfect.

[JIO: Any plans to make things more official?]

[Laughs] Oh, I don’t think we’re there yet. [Holds up finger] Yet.

[JIO: But you see it headed that way?]

Let me just say that I love being with Neil and we’ll see what God has in store for us.

[JIO: Fair enough. Now for the standard questions: favorite music, films, books, etc?]

People think that because I’m a ballistics tech, that I must be this butch, tomboy girl that likes to blow things up or go hunting and kill stuff all the time, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m a girly girl in a lot of respects. I love bubble baths and curling up with a blanket on the couch and drinking hot tea or spending time with my family and, of course, Neil. I’m pretty simple, really.

I will admit that I read up on guns and ballistics technology, not just because it’s my job, but I just really am fascinated by the science of it. Physics just blows my mind! I know that is an extremely nerdy thing to say, but it’s true. I mean, I just love that I get to marvel at God’s handiwork in such detail – at least in this one aspect. People always seem to think that God and science are mutually exclusive. I just can’t begin to wrap my mind around that mentality.  I mean, there’s God, who created this vast and wondrous universe, and you think He can’t exist because of the laws of nature. Do you see how backward that is?  I mean, God created the natural world and all the forces at play in it. If anything, science – the study of these natural phenomena and laws – should prove to you God’s existence. 

I’m sorry, sometimes I get a little carried away about this. But I really do just love all the things God has made and think it’s so ridiculous how we, limited little humans, stumble about struggling to understand this world around us, that is SO beyond our comprehension, and have the audacity and arrogance to think that because we uncovered this minute portion of truth, that we must know everything and therefore, God cannot exist because we can’t quantify Him…

Anyway, besides ballistics literature, I love to read some of the classics. Like I said, I’m a girly girl in a lot of ways, and one of those ways is that I love Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. Wuthering Heights is one of my favorites, but Jane Eyre is my ultimate favorite. I’m a hopeless romantic, I admit. I love fairy tales, too, and I use my neice and nephew as an excuse to read them all the time. 

Movies are kinda the same thing: I like fantasy and sci-fi, chick flicks and comedies. Actually, I sort of like just about any movie. But I don’t really get to watch much with work, family and now Neil. Frankie fills me in on what’s good enough to spend those precious few free hours on watching. So far, he hasn’t steered us wrong yet, though I don’t absolutely love noir and stuff as much as he does.

I don’t listen to a lot of music, and when I do it seems like I’m hopelessly behind the times. I seem to gravitate toward those musicians who are straddling the line between rock and country. 

[JIO: Like…?]

Oh, I don’t know…like Sheryl Crow and Ryan Adams…oh, and Frankie told me about that A.A. Bondy guy, and I’m really starting to get into his stuff. I like music with a country, southern gospel or Christian aspect to it, too. I like Carrie Underwood, Matt Kearney, Augustana, Switchfoot, Tenth Avenue North…I can’t really think of anyone else right now, but I know I have more than that in my CD collection!

[JIO: Do you have any favorite cases?]

[Shakes head] The cases I work on, just by the nature of my work, are all usually pretty tragic. I don’t have any cases that I’d call favorites, but there have been a few times when I get to use some pretty fun or impressive toys to gather evidence.

[JIO: Such as?]

I love using the lasers to determine trajectory. There’s something infinitely satisfying to follow that red line and know, without a doubt, that the shooter was in this precise spot. I love incontrovertible proof like this that I can take to court. Um…I like using the ordnance gelatin blocks to recreate wound patterns… That can be really helpful in determining what type of weapon was used, how close of a proximity the shooter was to the victim and things like that, but [Grins] it’s also just really good fun.

[JIO: Have you ever testified in a case and ended up proving the defendant innocent? Or freed an innocent person from jail because of new evidence?]

Where I lived and worked previously, I was one of the techs who testified in a case where it quickly became obvious that the main suspect was either the victim of really bad luck and happened to fit a lot of the perpetrator’s profile, or was being set up. The jury is still out, so to speak, on which exactly was going on, but the evidence we found and presented in court did clear the wrongfully accused man and lead to the arrest of the actual killer. 

[JIO: That’s fantastic!]

Yes, it was pretty incredible. It felt good to be part of that.

[JIO: On the flipside of that, have you ever testified against anyone but it still wasn’t enough to put them away?]

[Takes a deep breath] You want to talk about Noah’s case.

[JIO: You caught me. But only if you do.]

No, it’s okay. It does happen sometimes. I’m not brushing it off like it’s no big deal or anything, but the fact is that sometimes there just isn’t enough evidence to convict someone, or the jury just doesn’t understand or accept what we present to them, no matter how hard we try. I failed to convey what the evidence proved and the man who injured Noah – the man who ended a good cop’s career – got a slap on the wrist, essentially. 

[JIO: How did you feel about that?]

How do you think? I was crushed. And not because I hadn’t done my job as best as I could, but because I felt like I had let Noah, and the whole precinct, down. I replay that day over and over sometimes and think of all the different ways I could have said things, all the different ways I could have answered the questions, but I’ll never know if it would have made any difference to the outcome. I mean, I believe everything happens for a reason. And maybe, in this case, the reason was so that Bobby Avalon could have been where we needed him to be for the Barrett-Turner case.

[Shrugs] Who can say? But that is one thing I do regret. Noah and I have talked about it, and he says that he never blamed me, but I know that the thought had to have crossed his mind at some point. All those what ifs rattle around in your head when something like that happens, and I’m sure it was no different for him. But at least we’re past it now, and we’ve gotten some closure since, so it’s good now.

[JIO: Good to hear. Well, I’m sure you probably have a city to save, so I’ll let you get back to work.]

[Strikes superhero pose] Indeed, citizen, the city is calling me. [Laughs] Thanks for the new cool nickname – I’m definitely going to have fun with this. The boys may not thank you for it by the end of the day, though.

[JIO: Nah, they can get over it. Thanks for letting us peek behind the curtain today.]



Thanks again to Shots for stopping by. Hope you have enjoyed these little chats with the men and women of Riverdale. Be sure to check out Impact and Indiscriminate to read more about these brave defenders of the law.

-J.I. O’Neal