Ben Barber

Ben Barber

    Ride Along
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living... in Atlanta with his girlfriend, Angela. However, more often than not, one can find Ben living in a fantasy world, engaged in a Call of Duty-style video game. That’s where he goes by the moniker “Black Hammer” and smack-talks with other strangers playing the game.

Profession... high school security guard with big dreams of joining the Atlanta City Police Academy. First, however, he's got to get through his girlfriend’s brother, Atlanta police officer James Payton, who does not think that Ben has what it takes to be a cop – or Angela's potential husband. James offers to take Ben on a “ride along,” where Ben can shadow James during a regular day on the force. Soon, however, Ben discovers that James is trying to sabotage both his career and relationship aspirations, which only magnifies his need to prove himself.

Interests... playing video games and becoming an officer. As interested in his virtual world as the real world, he explains to Angela, “You've got to understand how easy it is for me to get caught up in that world. I feel like I've been fighting in Pakistan for the last eight hours!”

Relationship Status... dating, and soon-to-be engaged. That’s the plan, anyway. Ready to take care of “his girl,” Ben seeks James' permission to marry Angela. But Ben finds that it's a little harder to get James’ approval than anticipated, especially since he set James on fire that one time...

Challenge... getting through the “ride along” unscathed. Never mind having to deal with the disapproving brother-in-law, Ben is also tasked with handling all the 126's – that is, the annoying situations that no other officer wants to deal with. For a guy with no actual police experience, predictably it doesn’t go well at first, which is precisely James’ plan. Though clearly unqualified and ill-equipped to deal with the nuisances of the streets, Ben hopes to use the skills he does have – especially those gained from his video-gaming experiences – to get through the trying day and ultimately win Angela’s hand.

Personality... fast-talking, funny, and stubborn. Determined to prove himself to James, who describes him as that “clown that’s been datin’ my sister, little man smurf,” Ben does not let his failures stop him from persevering both professionally and personally. For someone who is often looked down upon (literally and figuratively), Ben does not have a chip on his shoulder. Rather, as he tells James, he's simply ready “to show you that I'm twice the man you think I am.” You’ve got to admire his determination.


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