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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Matrix: A Detective Story The Matrix
"A Detective Story"
Animated short
Written and directed by Shinichiro Watanabe


A private eye is hired to track down an elusive and mysterious hacker named Trinity.


Read the story summary at the Matrix Wiki


Didja Know?


"A Detective Story" was an animated short that appeared on the Animatrix video released in 2003 with seven other animated shorts. It is presented in black-and-white like a 1940's-'50s film noir detective movie.


The character of Trinity is voiced by Carrie-Anne Moss, the actress who portrays her in the Matrix films.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story




Agents (unnamed)




Didja Notice?


The sign outside Ash's P.I. office has a large model pistol as part of the signage. It is a Colt Police Positive revolver.


At 0:38 in the video, the wall clock in Ash's office has Roman numerals on it with the number four represented by IV. However, the tradition on Roman numeral clocks is to use IIII as four instead of the normal IV.


The city the story takes place in is not named, but the map on the wall of Ash's office shows locations named Gowanus Bay and Greenwood Cemetery. These names and the contours on the map appear to represent Brooklyn, a borough of New York City. Of course, this would be a version of Brooklyn inside the Matrix.


Ash remarks that he used to think being a private detective was cool, "like Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe." Spade and Marlowe are both private eye characters in hard-boiled detective fiction. Both characters were also famously portrayed by actor Humphrey Bogart in films.


Ash's office is seen to have address 201 on the door. The "2" would tend to imply it is on the second floor of the building.


Ash's cat is named Dinah. In Lewis Carroll's 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass, a sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice's cat is also named Dinah.


At 1:53 on the video, flashing signs for Pop City, Holyday, and Birdie are seen in the city background. As far as I can tell, these are fictitious businesses. At 2:28, signs for Mopar, Lighthouse, and Chry Cafeteria are seen outside the passenger window of Ash's car. Mopar may be a reference to the parts, service, and customer care division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (though it is associated with, generally, auto dealerships and repair shops, not a stand-alone business in itself). Chry Cafeteria may be another reference to Chrysler but, of course, Chrysler is not known for its cafeterias! Lighthouse may refer to various charitable organizations for the blind that use "Lighthouse" in their names.


Though not named in the story, the P.I. who went crazy in his search for Trinity is called Clarence in the closing credits of The Animatrix.


Clarence has the phrase "Find the Red Queen" painted on the wall of his flat. Trinity turns out to be the Red Queen, a title borrowed from a character in Through the Looking-Glass. The man also mumbles that Trinity doesn't exist, that "he's" a Jabberwocky. "Jabberwocky" is a nonsense-verse poem by Lewis Carroll which first appeared in Through the Looking-Glass.


At 5:51 on the video, Ash's cat Dinah is on the fire escape and has Ash's hat gripped in her mouth, tossing her head to throw it to him on the sidewalk below before he can race off into the snowy night in his quest for Trinity. Awfully smart and talented cat! In the Matrix, pets are merely programmed digital constructs; are all cats in the Matrix designed as more intelligent than the real world animal? Or is something else in the Matrix helping Ash? 


Trinity uses a relatively small, pistol-shaped device to remove a "bug" from Ash's eye. The bug is a cybernetic implant placed by the machines, allowing Agents to track him as he closes in on Trinity's location. In The Matrix, Neo has a bug removed as well, but his bug is larger and was implanted in his naval. The device Trinity uses to remove Neo's bug is much larger than the one seen here. So, why the differences? Does Neo's larger bug do more than Ash's did? It doesn't seem like it. And why would Trinity need to use such a large device to remove Neo's bug when smaller, more easily portable ones are available? Of course, it's probably just something we have to chalk up to artistic license.
bug remover pistol   bug remover
Bug remover pistol in "A Detective Story"   Bug removal device in The Matrix


The Agents who track Ash and Trinity to the train fire Desert Eagle pistols at them. The Agents typically carry Desert Eagles in all their appearances. Ash wields a Colt Detective Special, while Trinity uses a Beretta 92FS Compact pistol.


When Ash is in the throes of being transformed into an Agent, Trinity shoots him the chest. This stops the transformation and allows her to escape even though Ash is still alive after the gunshot (though it's implied he died shortly after).


Memorable Dialog


flattery will get you everywhere.mp3

I think you could've handled the truth.mp3

a case to end all cases.mp3 


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