Wisdom can be found in all kinds of places. Whether it’s a sage monk, an old manuscript or even an offhand comment from a friend, you can also find little nuggets that can really help your life. So, here are some key life lessons gained from a seasoned detective from the NYPD; Walt Merlino. Here experienced the tumultuous and changing landscape of 1950’s New York and the lessons he learned from it.

Don’t Judge People At Their Worst

In one case, Walt needed to deal with a domestic abuse case. A large man had gotten drunk and abused his poor wife believing that she had been unfaithful. The man was much bigger than Walt and was drunk and violent. Once it was clear that the situation was beyond negotiation, Walt needed to take action and had to use his weapon.

Despite firing multiple times, the man survived and was apprehended and jailed. But despite his violent past, once he had served his prison sentence, he was able to reintegrate into his community and become an upstanding citizen after his release.

Life Isn’t Always Fair

One New Year’s Eve, Walt was on patrol when he was ambushed. A group of young drunk people, he had told to quieten down, became angry and attacked him. After this senseless beating, Walt was lucky because another officer arrived on the scene and helped control the situation. 

But once the offenders were apprehended, things took a turn for the worse. As it turned out, one of the young men was the son of someone very high up in the New York government and so all charges were dropped. It was an experience that changed Walt but also taught him a valuable lesson.

But Sometimes Life Smiles On You

In the winter of 1951, Walt was stationed outside the residence of a Chinese consulate. It was so cold that Walt may have frozen to death. After hours of waiting outside, he decided that he needed to do something and broke into the pantry to get some warmth. Unfortunately, he was caught and soon was brought before the Chinese diplomat asking why he was there. He realised that the situation was pretty dire and so it was best not to lie.

The diplomat didn’t react angrily and instead had some tea and breakfast made for Walt. He took mercy on a freezing man and ensured that he didn’t get reprimanded or lose his job. It taught Walt that while there are plenty of bad people out there, sometimes you can find kindness in the unlikeliest of places.


Life can be challenging and that was absolutely the case with Walt as an NYPD officer in 1950’s Harlem. But it also taught him a lot of lessons that hopefully you can learn from too.