True crime fans, do we have a treat for you! We spoke with Paul Maleary, the UK-based former police officer who serves as one of the experts in the true crime series The Interrogation Room which you can stream now on Tubi, The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Samsung TV Plus and FilmRise’s own free streaming apps. The Interrogation Room is hosted by actress Vivica A. Fox and showcases detectives who are seen breaking down suspects’ lies and gathering that the information to bring justice to victims and their families. Maleary discusses his former life as a UK police officer, working with Fox, and shares how the police and the media can come together to encourage ethical coverage of crimes. Read on to learn more about Paul!
Culturess: I did a little bit of research on you, but I wanted you to explain what your professional background is and how you got into police work.
Paul Maleary: Okay. My name is Paul Maleary and I am a former police officer with Essex Police. Now, Essex is a county. Our counties are built different to the States, but there’s 1.7 million people live in Essex. We border the Metropolitan Police District. So London and what have you. And my father was a police officer, so as a very small child, that was an influence. My brother went on to be a police officer, senior officer. I was in the police, I was a senior detective. So policing was always in my blood, my uncles, my cousins. It was the most boring Christmas dinners that you’d ever have because it was all about police work and what a tough time we were having. It was great. To be honest with you, if I had my chance to do it again, in the immortal words of Gladys Knight, “Yeah, of course I would”, because that’s all I ever wanted to be, was a police officer. I didn’t want to be any police officer. I wanted to be a police officer that dealt with violent criminals, criminals of all types. I wanted to be a detective. I went on to become a murder squad detective.
Paul Maleary (CON’TD): I spent eight years investigating homicides. I interviewed 36 people for the offense of murder in that period. I oversaw once I’ve been promoted and took on a more senior role. I oversaw suspicious deaths, attending post mortems, attending deaths at the time. In this country, once a homicide has been declared, it would then be passed over to a homicide team of which I wasn’t part of at that time. So that’s really how I got into policing. It was born into me and I’m still passionate about it. I still absolutely love the police service and what they do. I don’t like the bad things, which we can’t tolerate, the poor behavior and those people need to be dealt with. But there are so many great people that are doing such a great job, that are putting their lives on the line on a daily basis. The handful of bad apples undermine the great work that’s being carried out.
Culturess: It sounds like it. It’s cool that you say that. You were born into it because I feel like, especially when it comes to policing, a lot of people find that when they’re in school. I went to a criminal justice school and know people personally who studied it, but a lot of kids were wanting to go in to be a police officer. Some of them changed their minds halfway through. It’s cool to kind of hear from someone who grew up in that world. It’s so interesting.
Paul Maleary: I met some amazing people during that time that when I finally joined the police; I joined the police in December 1986 because there were people in the police that had served my dad. My dad had left the police by that point. I was bumping into all these old guys that they knew my dad. That was how it was. You learn so much from the older members of staff. I find it really funny now when I work in different places and I’m walking around, I see these young people, and it’s beautiful to see lovely young people taking up the role of police officer because it’s such an honored job, I think. I look at them and I think, “This gray, bearded, bald, fat bloke looking at these young people” and you think, “Well, how on earth they’re doing such a great job?” Given the circumstances that they’re under, the media can be their friend or their foe. I think that the police are very negative in the way that they deal with the media unnecessarily. At the end of the day, the media are trying to get to the bottom of a story in the same way as the police are. They just do it from a different angle. The media has less rules. The police are confined with rules, but if they work together in a more cohesive approach to investigations and the media, then there’d be a lot more positivity would come out of it.
Culturess: I agree. I totally agree. So when it comes to The Interrogation Room, specifically, you’re an expert on the show. What was it like working with the host, Vivica A. Fox?
Paul Maleary: To be honest with you, I rarely get starstruck. I’ve interviewed some very high-profile people in this country [The U.K], but to meet Vivica Fox was absolutely superb. I had the opportunity to speak to her, spend some time with her, and it’s absolutely brilliant. I’m a massive fan. She’s a cult heroine. She is absolutely everybody that I speak to, when I tell them what I’ve done, they’re like, “Wow”. Yeah, I’m very lucky that’s awesome to hear.
Culturess: Yeah, Vivica is such a powerhouse. So to hear that from an expert on the show and to hear that you’re a fan is so fun. I wanted to ask you, and it’s right behind you, up on the wall, about Ex-Job. Can you give me some more details about that?
Paul Maleary: Sure. So my wife and I, we set up Ex-Job and our prime function is to find former police officers and military personnel work. We run a recruitment company. People all over the world, they’ll come to us and they will look for credible or incredible people for credible jobs. And that’s what we do. We do a number of different things. I do my podcasting, but everybody on there has got a police or military connection background, whether that’s criminal justice, so, judges. I’ve got a lady next week that used to work in the Metropolitan Police Police Museum in London. In there, they’ve got the ropes that were used in the hangings. [They were called] the death masks. They’ve got all the artifacts from very high-profile murders that took place in London, where, for instance, they’ve got an enamel bath that was used to burn a body, put a body in and they put acid on top of the body. So I’ve I’ve got her next week. You know, as I say, I get incredible people that I deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Culturess: Since you do have a podcast, you’re considered a media personality. So what’s it like going from policing to being a media personality?
Paul Maleary: Well, it’s interesting because I actually occasionally I know I look like Father Christmas, but I occasionally get recognized. I was at an event the other day and at the Tower of London where I’m a volunteer and you’d be more than welcome. If you ever come to London, I will gladly take you on a tour to meet all my lovely friends and go to the great places. I’m there and this chap kept looking at me, a bit old fashioned. I’m thinking I’ve either arrested him or I don’t know. He comes up, he said, “I know you”. So I said, “Oh, do you?”, [he said], “I’ve just seen you on the television”. I was taken aback when I started doing some of these projects. One of the TV producers from an E!, he said to me, “You know, there will be people that will recognize you because we’ve got such an avid following around true crime”. I don’t know if I feel a bit uncomfortable being in the media media or anything. I sing in a band as well, which is another part of showing off, I suppose, but, yeah, it’s quite a surreal experience at times.
Culturess: That’s so funny.
Paul Maleary: No autographs, though. No autographs yet. I’m still waiting for that day when someone comes and asks me for an autograph. You’d be surprised.
Culturess: I know here in the US, true crime is one of the major genres. I mean, it’s obviously worldwide, but definitely here. I’m actually really into true crime myself, so it’s not surprising that you have people in the UK coming up to you.
Paul Maleary: Well, it is weird, but, yeah, one day I’ll be back in the States, hopefully by the end of the year, and who knows, I might be recognized then.
Culturess: That’s actually leading into one of my other questions when it comes to this show specifically, but also, maybe in the future, do you see yourself continuing to try and bring your expertise to television?
Paul Maleary: Yeah, I hope so. I’ve just been asked to do some more work for another company, another television series. I’m now starting to write things as well, so hopefully I can get commissioned on those. I’m an old bloke learning new tricks. There are things that are taking place that I’ve got no idea how it happens. I have to phone my 32-year old son up and ask him what to do next. So, yes, I really hope so. I hope that I’ve got a future. How long I’m going to live, I don’t know, but I’ve got a future. Taking part in different television projects. I absolutely love it. I love meeting nice people and it’s just a completely different world, but I do enjoy the media side.
Paul Maleary (CONT’D): I’m looking forward to watching the series with Vivica. I think that the stories on there are absolutely outstanding. Some of the people, the most cold hearted people I’ve ever had the privilege of watching, and I have met quite a few cold hearted people. I will tell you one quick story. The first murderer that I ever met had been in the police hardly any time at all. There was a few months, and this man killed his wife because he wanted rabbits and she cooked him chicken, so he stabbed her through the heart.
Culturess: That is gruesome.
Paul Maleary: You know what? It makes the world go round. That’s why the police service are there and if the police service weren’t there, it would be ‘The Purge’ every single day and we can’t go through that for sure.
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