Spenser
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Quotes for
Spenser (Character)
from "Spenser: For Hire" (1985)

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Spenser: Small Vices (1999) (TV)
Spenser: I need some information from Pemberton College. My name is anathema there, so we need to use a little trick.
Lila: What kind of name is Anathema?
Spenser: Greek.

College secretary: What did you say your name was?
Spenser: Anathema. Pervis Anathema, Refund Enactment agent.

Hawk: You're the detective. I'm just a thug.
Spenser: You're too modest.
Hawk: Didn't mean to say I wasn't a great thug.

Hawk: Let me see if I got this right: Ellis borrows or steals a car one night, an inconspicuous old pink Caddy. He drives out to Pemberton - in this inconspicuous pink Caddy - where there ain't no black folks, and the cops pay attention to any that they see. Not only that, but he cruises around in this inconspicuous pink car until he spots a white woman on a busy street. He drags this white woman into his car in front of witnesses, drives her somewhere, takes her clothes off, strangles her - though he doesn't rape her - dumps her body in the middle of the Pemberton campus and rides on back home with her clothes in his new inconspicuous pink car, coming from an all-white neighborhood just in case the cops want to stop him. And one of the eyewitnesses went to school with the victim, and the other went to school with the victim's boyfriend.
Spenser: Your point?
Hawk: Exactly!

Dean Evans: You are a private detective?
Spenser: Yes, ma'am.
Dean Evans: How does one get to be a private detective?
Spenser: I hesitate to generalize. I was a cop, found myself restless with the hierarchy, decided to go private. I was helped to that decision by getting fired.

Dean Evans: You speak rather well.
Spenser: You too.
Dean Evans: [smiling] Good for you. I was patronizing, wasn't I?

[Spenser eyes Rita Fiore's legs as she walks into his office]
Spenser: Rita Fiore. Still got the wheels.
Rita Fiore: Yeah, and I'm still spinning them.

Rita Fiore: Oh, yeah. Professionally, I'm a big damn success, but am I married?
Spenser: Gee, wish I could help.
Rita Fiore: You still seeing Susan, the psychiatrist?
Spenser: Psychologist.
Rita Fiore: Whatever.

Rita Fiore: So who shows up here last spring at my firm? My old adversary, Marcy Vance. And as soon as we're reintroduced, she starts in on me about Ellis Alves. He was framed. She was too green to conduct a proper defense. He was the victim of racial discrimination.
Spenser: If she's right, somebody else did it. And got away with it.
Rita Fiore: Uh-huh.
Spenser: So there's more to this than flashing your legs at me to remind me of what I missed.
Rita Fiore: Well, that's the primary purpose.

Spenser: And if I find out he didn't do it?
Rita Fiore: No, let's be clear on this. The firm's not hiring you to clear this guy. The firm is hiring you to establish the truth.
Spenser: And you a lawyer.
Rita Fiore: [smiling] I know, I'm not comfortable with it, either. But there it is.

Spenser: My name's Spenser. Been hired to find out if you did what you're in jail for.
Ellis Alves: Sure. And who is this? This your butler?
Hawk: We know you bad, Ellis. Don't have to keep showing us.
Ellis Alves: What's your name, man? Huh? Tom, maybe?
Hawk: My name is Hawk.
[Alves looks him in surprise]

Ellis Alves: I heard 'a you.
Hawk: Mm-hmm.
Ellis Alves: [pointing to Spenser] You, ah, you trust him?
Hawk: Mm-hmm.
Ellis Alves: Well, you ain't got a prayer, bro. They going to land on you like a truckload of sludge. Bury you, like me.
Spenser: Probably not.

Spenser: What I need is a list of the students who at the time of the murder were in the dorm overlooking where the body was found.
Dean Evans: Do you have some sort of, I don't know the proper terminology, some sort of legal empowerment that requires me to give it to you?
Spenser: No, ma'am.
Dean Evans: Oh, then I will not.
Spenser: You academics are so evasive.

Dean Evans: My memory is that the man that was convicted of this crime was a career criminal who preyed on women.
Spenser: So no harm in putting him away, even if he didn't do this one.

Captain Healy: Whaddya need today, Spenser?
Spenser: Maybe I just dropped by to say hi, Captain.
Captain Healy: Okay, hi.
Spenser: Maybe to ask what you know about that murder in Pemberton about eighteen months ago.
Captain Healy: Maybe that too, huh?

Detective Tommy Miller: Captain Healy says I should talk with you.
Spenser: Healy tell you why?
Detective Tommy Miller: Something about that nigger that did the broad in Pemberton. You're trying to get him off.
Spenser: Nicely put.

Spenser: Lila. Lila! Time to pay me back for letting you leer at me through the office door.
Lila: You see me leering, you'll know it.

Rugar, the Grey Man: I heard you were a tough guy. They sent a local guy. You took him like he was a cabbage.
Spenser: Actually, it was three cabbages.
Rugar, the Grey Man: Well, don't let it go to your head. I'm not a local guy.

Rugar, the Grey Man: I have something to tell you.
Spenser: I thought you might.
Rugar, the Grey Man: Drop the Ellis Alves case.
[looks at Susan Silverman]
Rugar, the Grey Man: You both been told.

Spenser: [referring to the Gray Man, who has just threatened them both] We're both safe until I make another move on the Alves case.
Susan Silverman: How can you be so sure?
Spenser: What makes him deadly is he says what he means, and he means what he says. It would be his trademark. He warned me off the case. If I'm off, he takes his money and goes home. If I'm not, he kills me.
Susan Silverman: You know this man?
Spenser: Not specifically.
Susan Silverman: But you know people like him.
Spenser: Yeah.
Susan Silverman: He's like... Hawk.
Spenser: Yeah, he is.
Susan Silverman: And he's like you.
Spenser: Maybe some.

Spenser: [Spenser tells Susan about an attempt on his life by the Gray Man] I don't think he expected to miss.
Susan Silverman: But he did. And you charged him. And now, he knows a little more about you.
Spenser: And vice versa.
Susan Silverman: What do you know about him?
Spenser: That he's not caught up in macho games. He took a shot at me and it didn't work out so he walked away from it. There'll be another time. He'll look for it. He's not interested in who's tougher. He's interested in who's dead.
Susan Silverman: You are a piece of work. The Gray Man thinks he's chasing you... and you think you're chasing him.
Spenser: I AM chasing him. What I don't want is for him to know it.

Parisi: [Spenser and Hawk are confronted by Bruce Parisi and two thugs] You Spenser?
Spenser: I am he.
Parisi: You're working on the Ellis Alves case.
Spenser: Day and night.
Parisi: I was told to make this plain to you. You leave that case alone from here on.
Spenser: [Spenser balances an empty styrofoam cup on the back of his hand in front of Parisi] You know what I can do with this cup?
Parisi: Cup?
Spenser: [Spenser punches Parisi in the groin with the other hand, as he and Hawk pull out their weapons before anyone can react] You should have been prepared for the off chance that we wouldn't be paralyzed by fear.

Spenser: [Spenser approaches the victim's former boyfriend at a tennis court] We need to talk.
Clint Stapleton: No we don't. I need to hit for another half hour, and you need to get lost.
Spenser: Nope.
Clint Stapleton: Maybe I could wrap this racquet around your head.
Spenser: No, you couldn't. I'd take it away from you and play "Steamboat Willie" on it.


Walking Shadow (2001) (TV)
Spenser: Because you're on the board of the Port City Theater, and because the director thinks he's being stalked, I have to endure two hours of lousy drama?
Susan Silverman: No. Because Jimmy Christopholous is a friend, because you are my honey, because sleuthing is your business, and because you will enjoy the ultimate theater party for two this evening.

Susan Silverman: Do you know how much this means to me?
Spenser: [pause] : Damn!
Susan Silverman: I'll double your usual fee.
Spenser: Remind me, what is my usual fee?
Susan Silverman: Two nights of ecstasy.
Spenser: So double would be four. Payable in thirty days?
Susan Silverman: I'll halve the time. Four nights of ecstasy in two weeks. Deal?
Spenser: Deal.
Susan Silverman: Sucker.
Spenser: What, am I charging enough?
Susan Silverman: You're charging enough... but you'd've gotten it anyway.
Spenser: I know.

Spenser: Hey, I'm willing to tell you all I know.
Chief DeSpain: You haven't told me squat.
Spenser: True, but it's all I know.

Jocelyn Colby: [meeting Spenser] Way to go, Susan! Hunk city!
[She leaves.]
Spenser: You think she has designs on me sexually?
Susan Silverman: Almost certainly.
Spenser: Because I'm hunk city?
Susan Silverman: Because you're male.

Spenser: This may not be a routine murder. Most murders don't happen in a crowded theater.

Spenser: So the killing might be connected to the play, so I need someone to... tell me what the play was about.
Lou Montana: Ahem. Lou Montana. I directed. And, uh, your question is absurd.
Spenser: No; an actor getting shot on stage wearing tights while singing "Land of Love" is absurd.
Lou Montana: Ah. And what was your response to the play?
Spenser: I found it a pretentious mishmash about appearance and reality.
Lou Montana: Well, art isn't "about"
[makes air quotes]
Lou Montana: anything. It *is* movement and speech in space and time.
Spenser: Thank you!
Lou Montana: I didn't expect you'd understand.
Spenser: Me either.

Spenser: Could you arrange for me to have lunch with her?
Susan Silverman: I'm not sure she'd be willing to meet with you.
Spenser: Mention to her about me being hunk city!
Susan Silverman: That ought to do it.

Spenser: [narrating] Rikki Wu was sex. She was spoiled, self-centered, shallow, maybe cruel, certainly careless about other people. But she was sex.

Lonnie Wu: It is unseemly for her to be having lunch with a lo fan.
Spenser: Is "lo fan" a term of racial endearment?
Lonnie Wu: It means "barbarian". Someone who is not Chinese.
Spenser: So you don't fully subscribe to the melting-pot theory?
Lonnie Wu: I'm not here to make small talk. It would be best if you stayed out of Port City.
Spenser: Is it okay if I retain my U.S. citizenship?
Lonnie Wu: What you choose to do outside of Port City is your business. But if you choose to come back, we will make it our business, and I will not be able to protect you.
Spenser: Protect me from whom?
Lonnie Wu: From me.


Thin Air (2000) (TV)
Spenser: How come it takes you so long to pick a doughnut?
Chollo: No two doughnuts are exactly alike. You had Indio blood, you'd understand.

Frank Belson: My wife is gone. I don't know why, I don't know where.
Spenser: Tell me about it.


Spenser: Ceremony (1993) (TV)
Spenser: How old do you think she is, anyway?
Hawk: Middle aged, babe. She'll be dead by the time she's thirty.

April: He has a gun...
Spenser: ...but is he pure of heart?


Spenser: Pale Kings and Princes (1994) (TV)
Felipe Esteva: Do you know who I am?
Spenser: Ricardo Montalban? I loved you in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.


Spenser: A Savage Place (1995) (TV)
Spenser: What do you know about credit cards?
Hawk: I know once you get one, you're in debt for the rest of your life.
Spenser: What about fake ones?
Hawk: They are all based in illusion.