The Script Doctor is In

Mark Olmsted
8 min readDec 2, 2022

How I would remake “My Policeman.”

Harry Styles as Tom, David Dawson as Patrick, Emma Corrin as Marion

My Policeman does not deserve some of the negative reviews it has received (particularly those knocking Harry Styles’ perfectly good performance as the titular character, Tom), but it does fall far short of the movie it could have been. The following entails my diagnosis of what didn’t work and what a much better movie could have looked like.

The structure of the film, which alternates between the “present” (the mid-80s? It’s not entirely clear) and the past (the late 50s) is distracting and unnecessary. It also wastes the older Patrick — the most interesting character of the three as a young man — by rendering him mute because of a stroke. There would have been plenty of drama and conflict simply by progressing chronologically over the same time period. I also would not have recast the older characters with older actors, either. Nothing in the story requires a timeline extending longer than 25 years, and the younger actors could have been easily aged via makeup from their mid-twenties to their late forties.

The movie should have started with the first encounter between Tom and Patrick. Their romance is the central story of the film and should remain its focus. (By the way, despite being the term used to market the film, Tom is not “bisexual.” He is a gay man who feels driven by very real societal pressure to lead an…

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Mark Olmsted

Author, "Ink from the Pen: A Prison Memoir" about my time behind bars. See GQ dot com “Curious Cons of the Man Who Wouldn’t Die” for story of how I got there.