The fugitive and PSR


Just a question about PSR and The Fugitive.
I understand that every act has PSR related to it.
How can it then be that in the analysis ( is said that Dr Kimble his passion is to save human lives.
He does that in RS/SS SP1 by saving the guard’s life.
But the second time is also mentioned in the SP1 signpost and happens in the SP2 or SP3.
So the second and third signpost has a different PSR

Why is this?


Hi Jeri,
Those analyses were written a long time ago and understanding of the theory has improved since then. This illustration:

Relationship Story Signpost 1
Dr. Kimble’s passion to save human lives causes him to twice save the guard’s life—once on the bus and the second time at the hospital. This is in direct conflict with Gerard’s feelings about fugitive behavior—fugitives only think about escaping from the law—period.

Sounds like it was more considering the RS as the “MC vs IC” or “passionate argument” throughline which is no longer believed to be accurate.

Since I don’t think Gerard & Kimble even meet or have any awareness of each other in the first act, I’m guessing that RS Signpost 1 of Subconscious has more to do with Kimble’s relationship with his wife. The last moments before her death which I think are also flashed-back to during the trial, sort of showing a once-happy marriage overcome by grief? (If you’ve seen it recently, look for that kind of thing.)

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Hi Mlucas,

Yes, I recently saw it, and yes there are the flashbacks of the party and the murder of his wife.
I understand that the IC can be a player in dramatica terms, meaning filled in by more than one person.
So I can understand that Gerard and Dr Kimbles’s wife can be both the IC.

If it is his wife, then I don’t understand her being an IC. As she is not against her husband.
Or is that suggested as the proof when she replays the phone message in court identifying her husband as the killer?


Hi @Jeri

Two points:

  1. The IC doesn’t have to be “against” the MC and often isn’t – rather the IC represents a different perspective on the central inequity.

  2. I agree that Kimble’s wife is probably not an IC. The IC player doesn’t have to be part of the RS and vice versa, and there can be handoffs in both. So in Back to the Future, George McFly is clearly the IC; while the RS is between Marty/George, Marty/Lorraine and Marty/Doc.

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I know putting it this way probably won’t be that helpful, but as i was watching a YouTube video on relativity it struck me that I can never measure myself as nearing the speed of light-not even a little bit. I can only measure others as nearing the speed of light because of how light/perspectives works. Here’s how that applies to this conversation.

Imagine that what we are viewing is a spaceship leaving the earth.

The OS throughline is kind of like taking a God’s eye view where we step outside of the universe and say that the spaceship is objectively traveling at X miles per hour through the universe.

The MC throughline is like being someone on the ship and saying that the spaceship is not moving at all. Rather the earth and the universe seem to be moving past the ship.

The IC throughline is like being someone on the ship and being told by someone on the earth that the spaceship is traveling at 17000 miles per hour in relation to the earth and deciding that maybe it isn’t the universe moving around the ship, but the ship thats moving through the universe.

The RS might be something like traveling away from earth and feeling more connected to someone on it.

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Can you expound on this?

@Prish Here are a couple of resources from Jim (pocast episode and article):

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Hi Lakis,

Thanks for making thic clear. This helps me, as I was always trying to combine these, and that is not always working. But I now understand that you CAN combine them but that you CAN ALSO seperate them or distribute them over other players.


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Then another question about the PSR:
Has the PSR any connections to the “elements of the character, in which I mean the Purpose, Evaluation, Motivation and Methodology” or has these two nothing to do with each other?

As Example SP2 of The Fugitive:

  • It’s RS / MC&IC is in Fixed Attitude/Mind
  • Signpost 2: Impulsive Responses.

Say that I was writing the RS SP2 for The Fugitive, should I then look at all of the character elements of Dr Kimble and Sam Gerard in combination with the PSR to come to such a text as currently?
(Character elements are for the length of the story I guess).

> While in the bowels of the dam, Dr. Kimble’s behavior doesn’t jive with what
> Gerard expects. When Dr. Kimble gets Gerard’s gun, Gerard expects to be
> shot immediately. Instead, Dr. Kimble turns and runs (after some exchange of
> words). When Gerard corners Dr. Kimble at the exit of the sewer, Dr. Kimble
> unexpectedly jumps to an apparent death.

Signpost 2 PSR: Fact, Security, Threat, and Fantasy

As a reference:
Dr Kimbley Purpose Elements are: None
Dr Kimbley Evaluation Elements are: Theory
Dr Kimbley Motivation Elements are: Consider, Pursuit and Help
Dr Kimbley Methodology Elements are: Reaction and Possibility

Sam Gerard Purpose Elements are: None
Sam Gerard Evaluation Elements are: None
Sam Gerard Motivation Elements are: Reconsider
Sam Gerard Methodology Elements are: Certainty and Proaction

Helen Kimbley Purpose Elements are: Chaos


I don’t think there’s an obvious connection. In terms of plot, Character Elements can be related to the OS Goal – e.g. the Protagonist is Pursuing the Goal and the Antagonist is trying to Prevent/Avoid it. However, the consensus here seems to be that it’s not worth spending too much time on the Character elements at the beginning.

Regarding the PSR – I’m not sure how productive it is to try to work through it for each throughline for movies that have been analyzed (especially the old analyses). It can be hard to pull apart the different throughlines, and I doubt you’ll find every PSR variation for every throughline clearly illustrated (though the example you point to is a pretty good one). Also you might see variations occasionally repeated, etc.

In terms of learning how to apply the PSR to writing your own work, the very best resources are Jim’s Subtext service and Armando’s book Dramatica for Screenwriters.