Friday, January 25, 2019

The Expanse Profiles: Detective Josephus Miller

At right is a picture by an artist called "Acedhampir" of Detective Josephus Miller, who is a crucial character in James S.A. Corey's The Expanse. If you like the art, you can see more of it HERE

You first get introduced to Detective Miller (who is described looking pretty much as the artist as pictured here) in the first book of The Expanse called Leviathan Wakes. It also happens at about that same point in the television adaptation.

As far as heroes go, he's a bit of a Sam Spade (from The Maltese Falcon). He's a tough talker straight from the pages of a 1930's noir pulp fiction. He's got that same kind of tough personality that you get from Humphrey Bogart's character (in that famous film), and in a different time, he'd be smoking cigarettes constantly and calling women by the names "dame" and "broad."

Pretty early on, he gets hired to track down a missing rich girl by the name of Juliette Mao. In doing so, he ends up falling in love with her even though he's never met her. Going through all of her private things gives him a mental image of this "ideal woman" and he kind of tortures himself trying to unwind what exactly happened to her. Because of this, he starts seeing her when he's alone and even has conversations with her "ghost."

Eventually, he tracks Juliette to an apartment on Eros station, and in so doing he also joins up with Captain Holden of The Rocinante. This sets off a chain of events where they are attacked by forces friendly to a corporate interest that is doing experiments on the alien protomolecule (of which Julie is an unwilling participant). When they find her in her apartment, the protomolecule has already overrun her body and is exploding outward in black tendrils that quickly endanger the station. But (unbeknownst to Holden and Miller), the corporation has determined that Eros station and its fifteen million inhabitants would be a perfect test area for the protomolecule. Miller and Holden barely escape the station alive while most of the other inhabitants suffer the most gruesome deaths at the hands of the protomolecule (which turns them into a kind of undead).

Shortly after that, Miller returns to Eros Station and convinces what remains of Juliette Mao (which is at the center of the station and in control of the entire thing through the protomolecule network) to crash the station into Venus instead of Earth. In a strange kind of dream, Juliette Mao was going home and taking the protomolecule with her, which would have wiped out all life on Earth.

With Miller's death, the protomolecule somehow co-opted his image and his personality and mixed it with its technology and used the image of Miller to contact Holden and give him advice and instructions. These came in particularly useful in Nemesis Games, even though a lot of what happened in Nemesis Games was a direct result of The Rocinante having a small amount of protomolecule on board (that the crew didn't know about). This small sample started to awaken all the alien technology on the planet Ilus, to the point that it endangered the lives of every living thing on the planet.

In The Expanse television adaptation, Detective Josephus Miller is played by actor Thomas Jane. He's pictured at left. I think the actor does a great job of portraying Detective Miller, because he successfully channels the 1930's gumshoe detective pretty well. 

Coming up on Monday: Profile of Clarissa Mao


  1. That actor really does look the part. The TCM channel has a weekly feature on noir films, and a couple of the presentations has really gotten me interested in the genre. Now you're showing me how sci fi is blending with it too, so it looks like I'll have to start checking out The Expanse.