Gwynevere1 (gwynevere1) wrote in het_reccers,

Character Manifesto: Carlton Lassiter


Fandom: Psych
Character: Carlton Lassiter
Pairings Included in Manifesto: Mainly Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara; brief mentions of Carlton Lassiter/Joy Guster, Carlton Lassiter/Abigail Lytar, Carlton Lassiter/Victoria Parker-Lassiter, and Carlton Lassiter/Jo Lupo (Crossover with Eureka).

Blurb: When we first meet Santa Barbara Police Department Head Detective Carlton Lassiter, he's emotionally repressed, verbally abrasive, and socially awkward, but he has earned his high-ranking position through confidence, diligence, and determination. Over the course of five years, we've witnessed Carlton slowly but surely evolved into a better man. He's become kinder and more outgoing. He's now willing to talk about his and his friends' personal lives. He actually *has* friends. As the actor who plays Carlton, Timothy Omundson, has explained it: "His heart's grow three sizes—much like the Grinch."

Moreover, he's become a better person without losing his original good qualities: his sense of duty, his work ethic, his dedication to protecting and serving. He can still be grouchy, but it's increasingly obvious that his external crankiness is often a defense mechanism. For example, while, granted, he is a curmudgeon who is doubtful that anyone can actually find happiness in a romantic relationship, when he thinks that his partner and her old college boyfriend might be the exception to his "all romance ends in despair or death" rule, he encourages her to pursue the relationship. Carlton runs a thorough background check and unauthorized blood test on said boyfriend, because he doesn't want his partner to get hurt in the long run. Carlton is hoping that she will find a happiness that he's largely given up on for himself, especially after his drawn-out separation and divorce from Victoria Parker, the only long-term relationship he's ever had.

Carlton can still be crusty on the outside at times, but he's become more and more gooey on the inside. Basically, Carlton is a s'more.

Which brings me to the aforementioned partner and the reason for Carlton's metamorphosis:


Junior Detective Juliet O'Hara. As firthgal put it, in her reaction post to the episode where Carlton finally signs his divorce papers:

He's a changed man, and the change happened gradually, and he changed mostly because of his partnership with Juliet. . . . His admiration for Juliet, and his pride in being her partner/mentor/friend has softened him and he notices things now and he just... he's learned from her. He's learned about what should be important to him and what shouldn't, he's learned to be selfless, and, basically, he's learned to actually care for someone other than himself.

During the years of their partnership, they've developed a mutual respect, and they clearly care about each other. They hug. A lot. More precisely, Jules originally had to force hugs upon Carlton, but now he's the one offering comfort. Their affection isn't just shown in the obvious gestures, however; there's also a day-to-day affinity of shared glances and proud smiles.

This current tacit communication also reflects just how far their relationship has evolved. When they were first partnered up, they couldn't comprehend each other when they were both speaking in complete sentences. Now, they can understand one another with a mere look across a room. Each anticipates the other so much by now that they speak in union or finish each other's sentences. Basically, they've developed into an old married couple. Even when they argue nowadays, their fights essentially boil down to: "You can't lie to me, and you can't pretend with me! I know you too well!"

They care for each other, too. They're protective of one another (but not in a condescending way), and they provide each other with emotional support. Both know that each of them is kind of crazy and a little screwed-up. They have no delusions each other, but they adore one another, anyway.

They physically rescue each other, as well. In the Season Four finale, "Mr. Yin Presents . . . ," when Jules is kidnapped, tied up, and dangled from a high clock tower, about to be dropped when the clock strikes the half-hour, Carlton broke protocol *and* went against the Chief's direct order to rescue her. Carlton jammed his gun into the clock's mechanism—and he *loves* his gun.

Beyond it's normal Freudian implications, Carlton's service weapon also represents his authority as a law enforcement official. At the beginning of Psych, the only thing Carlton was passionate about was his career. By now, he's willing to sacrifice his vocation both literally by defying the Chief and symbolically by sacrificing his gun for another person—for Jules. He stopped time for her.

Even if you don't ship them romantically and only see them having as platonic friendship, Jules is still the most important relationship in Carlton's life, and he's been the greatest influence on hers. That's why the majority of this recs set is Carlton/Jules.

"Of course you fell for him. He was your partner. He shared his problems with you. He confided in you. He trusted you."

For more discussion of the Carlton/Jules 'ship, please see my essay on them for ship_manifesto.

If you're interested in opinions on them that aren't mine, check out this fantastic Jules & Lassie Picspam by liviapenn and laurelsing's meta essay Blowing off some steam, good and bad!.

There have also been two previous sets of fic recs for Carlton/Jules in het_reccers: here and here. I won't be repeating any of those earlier recs in this entry.

Screencaps by rawr_caps.

Fic Rec #1: Comforts of the Miserable
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara
Author: piecesofalice
Rating/Warning(s): Mature

Why This Must Be Read: This story has an achingly sensual quality, as Carlton and Jules let down their defenses. Also, there's sex in a desk chair.

Fic Rec #2: Easy As a Sunday Afternoon
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara
Author: daria234
Rating/Warning(s): K+

Why This Must Be Read: This story is so sweet and funny! It depicts Carlton's tendency to say the right thing 85% of the time--and then put his foot in his mouth the other 15%. My favorite line, though, is the one he unintentionally gets right:

He said, "That's what I love about you, you're so easy!"

Her smile flattened.

"No," he amended, "I mean it's easy that - you're not - I just meant that-"

She rolled her eyes. "Would you like to come in and help me find a vase?" she said.

He smiled and said, "Yes. And what I said-"

"I know what you meant, Carlton -"

"I meant that I can't believe how easy you are to love."

Fic Rec #3: Eyelashes
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara
Author: jesshelga
Rating/Warning(s): PG

Why This Must Be Read: jesshelga is the Queen of Carlton/Jules Fanfic. Her fanworks journal is finefoxyladies.

"Eyelashes" shows the shift in Carlton's personality, as the same incident plays out in different ways at different times in Carlton and Jules's relationship. He's transformed from not even being able to comprehend Jules's sense of whimsy to embracing it.

Fic Rec #4: Five Times Lassiter Was In Love and One Time He Really Was
Author: darkshrew
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara, Carlton Lassiter/Joy Guster, Carlton Lassiter/Abigail Lytar
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13. Technically, this fanfic consists of six stand-alone stories: three het and three slash. Each story can be read without reading the others, and the pairing for each is clearly labeled. Obviously, I am only reccing the het portions for this community (although I liked all six parts). Also, there's a lot of food porn.

Why This Must Be Read: As I explained in the warning, this fanfic is a series of six potential Carlton pairings. The first is a wonderful Carlton/Jules. They would totally sit up all night watching romcoms (even if Lassie would never admit it the next morning); and Jules would wake him in the morning by yanking off the covers. Lines like -- "Oh, I'm making your favorite breakfast so you should come out and get some before I eat them all" she said, leaning down and brushing a kiss on his cheek before leaving the room wearing one of his button-up shirts and nothing else -- are a nice mix of sexy and domestic. Also, how have I never heard of raspberry pancakes before?

My favorite section, though, is Carlton/Abigail (to my own surprise). It's a pairing I've never seen anywhere else, but the author make it feel natural. Plus, that pairing is worth it for Carlton with Abigail's kindergarten class and thinking about Shawn's reaction:

Maybe he would buy him a coffee tomorrow as a thank you, it would be worth it to see his face when he told him why.

I'm amused at the idea of Shawn's brain exploding when he learns of it.

Fic Rec #5: Forms of Address
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara
Author: rise_your_dead
Rating/Warning(s): General Audiences. This story was written as a gift for my 2010 fandom_stocking.

Why This Must Be Read: A short, sweet Carlton/Jules story. I love the character detail that Carlton *still* has issues with using Jules's first name, even after they're married. I giggled at his reasoning: It didn't feel like proper procedure. I kind of want to pet Lassie.

Plus, Carlton/Jules hugs are always good.

Fic Rec #6: how shawn learned to knock before entering
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara
Author: _harmlessthings
Rating/Warning(s): Unrated. This story was written for my prompt at The Perfect Drug multi-fandom comment fic-a-thon.

Why This Must Be Read: A Carlton/Jules story from Shawn's POV. This fanfic makes me so happy. I'm bouncing in my chair! I can hear Shawn's voice when reading this, and I adore Shawn's Saturday morning routine: Cap'n Crunch and CatDog are the perfect choices for him.

I also like that this author placed the story at some unspecified point in the future, when Lassiter and Jules are no longer superior/junior partners, to remove any power issues or sexual harassment squick. I love how _harmlessthings writes Jules handling the boys in this story--all sweetness and venom (heh!)--and how Shawn unknowingly talks to himself out loud. Plus, yes, Gus *is* Shawn's wife. They really should just make it official. (Now, I'm wondering why exactly Shawn started out in this story passed out on Gus's floor!)

Fic Rec #7: Hugging Theory and Shell Rot
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara
Author: jesshelga
Rating/Warning(s): G

Why This Must Be Read: jesshelga's writing is so strong, that even if you are not a fan of the ship she's focused on, you can still appreciate the quality of her storytelling. Also, Carlton's Mommy Issues in this story WOULD EXPLAIN EVERYTHING!

“What?” O’Hara said into his chin. Her breath on his face made his muscles freeze and his heartbeat accelerate uncomfortably. This situation had gotten entirely out of control. This was why his mother had put a time limit on hugging. This was why he had always failed to make his ex-wife feel better about anything, but especially being married to him.

But he had to commit to this. Power through. “Shell rot. Maybe he only had days to live and he…chose to end it quickly. Or it could have been late-onset tortoise dementia.”

Sometimes, it really *is* the thought that counts.

Fic Rec #8: If You Knew My Infinite Charm
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Victoria Parker-Lassiter
Author: onefeythought
Rating/Warning(s): Teen and Up Audiences. There is a "remix" of the epilogue at the end that becomes slashy (Shawn/Lassiter), but you do not have to read it enjoy the complete story.

Why This Must Be Read: Carlton's ex-wife comes to Shawn&Gus with a case. At it's core, this multi-chapter fic is a good casefic. I kept using variations on the word "intrigue" when I commented on this story as each chapter went up (it's now complete), but it's really the best description of this story! There is also a great red herring.

From a het perspective, I like the background the author gives Carlton and Victoria. Since we only ever saw the end of their relationship in canon, it was never clear why they would have married each other in the first place. This author's explanation makes sense: he rescued her from a stalker, leading to her hero-worshipping him and to him putting her on a pedestal. Both their perspectives were skewed, which also explains why they wouldn't have worked out over the long term.

Fic Rec #9: It Can Happen
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara
Author: texasartchick
Rating/Warning(s): T. Sensitive Material, Attempted Rape

Why This Must Be Read: I like how texasartchick parallels Carlton and Jules at their most vulnerable -- even as their personal definitions of "vulnerable" are completely different. It's important to Jules that she come across as physically strong and respected, so to lose that control hurts her more than words could (although the argument in Chapter 2 was also very raw and, hence, realistic). Whereas Carlton would probably rather be drugged and beaten than actually show his feelings or *admit* needing emotional support. They see each other at their weakest, and it doesn't diminish or change their opinions of each other.

Fic Rec #10: It's Just a Little Friendship Envy
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara
Author: angel-dawes [LJ?]
Rating/Warning(s): K+

Why This Must Be Read: Juliet realizes one day, out of the blue, that she wants a best friend. A Gus to her Shawn. Which would be a lot easier if she actually paid attention to the romantic comedies she claims to hate: it's always the one right in front of you.

I really like how this author writes Jules; I connect a lot to this Jules. I mean, I'm about a year older than Jules, and I've felt many of the same things the author has Jules going through in this story. All my former friends are married, child-rearing, far away, and/or have moved on with their lives, and I'm searching for that sort of connection. Um, not that I want to turn this rec into my own personal therapy session, but I wanted to express how *genuine* and *relatable* I find the way angel-dawes writes this character. She(?) does it without making Jules seem OOC; I can imagine this fanfic a Jules-centric episode (or, at least, a B-plot).

Fic Rec #11: It's Rilly Hot
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara
Author: piecesofalice
Rating/Warning(s): Unrated, maybe PG-13

Why This Must Be Read: Chronicles the author's attempt (and failure) to write this coupling for the Porn Battle. Equal parts fic, meta about Psych, *and* meta about the writing process, the result is hilarious.

Fic Rec #12: A Partner Thing
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara
Author: rispacooper
Rating/Warning(s): NC-17. "Smut, language, naughty thoughts that make us blush"

Why This Must Be Read: In which Carlton and Jules address the subject of sexual tension between partners, are handcuffed to a bomb, have active imaginations, and probably don't want to know why Shawn and Gus are dressed as sailors. I like how this is somehow Porn Without Plot, but without any actual sex, with a bit of plot, and completely in-character.

I also now seem to have a lump in my throat—and I may need a cold shower.

Fic Rec #13: Tempus Fugit
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara
Author: kasuchi
Rating/Warning(s): PG-13

Why This Must Be Read: Set post-"Mr. Yin Presents . . .", this story has beautiful double meaning. On one hand, it can be read as a friendship fic, about a police detective wanting to help his partner heal after her trauma but not being sure how to go about it. On the other, it can be read as a shipper fic, about a man who is in love but has no clue how to express it, while also realizing that the other person is too damaged to more forward right now and may be in love with someone else.


"First, you said it yourself - Yin was targeting Spencer as much as any of us, and we were all caught up in it. He gave all of us a part to play, and none of us realized it until it was too late and we'd already played right into his hands. Even Spencer."

She nods slowly.

"Second, this bastard is a serial killer. I'm reasonably sure that makes his opinion irrelevant."

She flashes him a ghost of a smile.

"Third," he says, standing and moving to perch on the edge of her desk. "Third, you survived. Yin didn't win, you're alive, and believe me when I say that no one is happier about that than Spencer." He pauses and looks away. "Except maybe me."

Fic Rec #14: Til Death Do Us ... Oh Look, You're Dead
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Juliet O'Hara
Author: dollsome
Rating/Warning(s): Unrated, maybe PG-13

Why This Must Be Read: I debated whether to include this fic, because it's a WIP that looks like it will never be finished. However, it left me with such a big, silly grin on my face when I read it, I had to mention it! After discovering that a number of wives who've murdered their husbands had attended the same marriage counselor and rehab clinic, Carlton and Jules go undercover as spouses . . . as do Shawn and Gus. It's funny, because it's true that both couples are *so married.*

Fic Rec #15: Weapons
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Jo Lupo
Author: libco
Ratings/Warning(s): Unrated. This story was written as a gift for my 2010 fandom_stocking.

Why This Must Be Read: Carlton/Jo is my favorite crossover pairing for both characters, and this fic is so much fun! I adore Carlton and Jo bonding over big damn guns and target practice! Carlton canonically likes strong women, and the fact that Jo has a shooting range in her basement alone would probably be enough to make him fall in love. They're also both dedicate to law enforcement and are used to being surrounded by crazy geniuses (and having to clean up after them). They'd make a wild couple. Plus, they both deserve better than what canon gives them.
Tags: fandom: eureka, fandom: psych, ship: crossover, ship: juliet o'hara/carlton lassiter, special: manifesto

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