AN IMAGINARY DETECTIVE SERIES STARRING DECCA

 In Irrepressible I refer to a vague idea I have about a BBC-type TV show featuring Decca as a P.I. in Oakland, circa 1940. In her terrific blog "Thinking Too Much" Sigrid Ellis honed in on the concept and ran with it.  Here's a repost of her commentary. Thanks Sigrid!

https://sigridellis.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/mitford-in-oakland/

 Mitford in Oakland

Posted on by Sigrid Ellis
I’m reading Irrepressible, the biography of Jessica Mitford. I’m not done with it yet, I’m just up to the 1940s. But I want this part to be made into a tv series.
See, in the 1940s and early 1950s, Jessica — Decca — lived in Oakland, CA, with her lawyer husband and three kids. They were members of the Communist Party, which was an increasingly dangerous thing at the time. Decca’s husband, Bob, specialized in defending blacks who had been victimized by the Oakland police. Oakland at the time recruited its police officers from a pool of southern ex-pats who had migrated west to escape increasing rights for blacks in their home states. Decca got a job with the CRC, the Civil Rights Commission, working to defend blacks and communists who were harassed by officials.
Decca conducted interviews, using her charm and energy and British manner to put people at their ease. She got countless victims of assault to go on the record with their experiences. And on many of these interviews she was accompanied by Buddy Green, a young black reporter from rural Mississippi. Irrepressible says, “The combination was effectively disarming, like a BBC mystery set in a West Oakland bar.”
Oh, my goodness, I want that. Buddy and Decca would get information from Bob, they would head out to interview victims. There would be confrontations with the police, and with hostile residents of the poor neighborhoods. Subplots would include trouble for the Communists party, and investigations of Bob’s office by HUAC flunkies, or a visit from Decca’s mother, Sydney, or Bob’s mother Aranka. There would be the constant mess in the house, and jokes about the laundry, and about the random people who stayed with Decca and Bob. Ezra Pound could visit! There could be an episode about Unity’s death.
Maybe Tim Minear could take it on. (I think it would only really be good as a one-season show, anyway, so no harm when it inevitably got cancelled.) Or, you know, this would make a great HBO series.
I don’t even know, y’all. I want to see this show SO VERY MUCH.

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