The Postcard Killings: Is Dessie Lombard an Actual Journalist?

Directed by Danis Tanovic, ‘The Postcard Killings’ depicts the story of an American Detective who is hellbent on catching a dangerous serial killer. After Jacob Kanon’s daughter falls victim to a murderer, who stages her body into an art piece like their other victims, the seasoned New York Detective becomes obsessed with avenging her death. As such, he follows the killer’s trail across several European cities as they continue to drop bodies in increasingly grotesque crime scenes. The expansive nature of the murders compels various local police departments to join forces and open a shared investigation.

However, given Jacob’s lack of jurisdiction, the man often finds himself struggling to access certain resources and information. Nevertheless, his less-than-official investigation still manages to get him closer to the truth, especially after he pairs up with Journalist Dessie Lombard, who becomes instrumental in the cop’s hunt for the killers. Therefore, due to her significant contribution to the narrative, viewers might be wondering about Dessie’s connection to real life.

Dessie Lombard is a Fictional Character

No, Dessie Lombard, the journalist from ‘The Postcard Killings,’ is not based on an actual person. The character’s defining characteristic comes from her assistance in catching the titular killers in the film. However, considering neither the killers nor their crimes are based on reality, the character herself is rendered fictional as well. Much like most of the characters and plot points employed by the movie, she is also a work of fiction whose inception can be traced to literary origins. Tanovic’s Detective-drama film is an on-screen adaptation of a 2010 novel, ‘The Postcard Killers,’ written by James Patterson and Swedish crime writer Liza Marklund.

The pair of writers created their thrilling crime fiction novel, a collaborative effort, without basing the story on any particular criminal or crime. Consequently, none of the characters within their fictionally-crafted world hold any tangible relations to real-life individuals. Similarly, once the story entered cinematic adaptation into a screenplay, it retained its roots in Patterson and Marklund’s work.

Therefore, even though the development processes unfolded over a long period of time and witnessed a few direction/screenwriting changes, the final product remained faithful to the source material in most significant aspects. For the same reason, Actress Cush Jumbo’s journalist character, Dessie Lombard, is rendered a fictional addition. For the most part, Dessie’s significance within the narrative emerges from her inability to ignore the circumstances unraveling around her.

As a struggling American journalist in Sweden, Dessie only gets roped into the investigation against the Postcard Killers after receiving an ominous message from them in Stockholm. However, instead of allowing herself to be one of the numerous journalists who received signature postcards from the killers as an omen of their upcoming crime, Dessie decides to intervene by allying herself with Jacob and his rogue investigation.

Although Dessie’s storyline lacks a basis in reality, her presence within the story helps in rapid and entertaining plot progression by lending Jacob Kanon a compatible case partner. Furthermore, once her amateurish involvement in the case inevitably lands her in a dangerous situation, her character seamlessly increases the emotional stakes of the storyline. As such, she becomes an integral cog in the film. Still, considering the film’s overall fictional nature, her character remains tied to the same fictionality.

Read More: The Postcard Killings: Are Mac and Sylvia Based on Real Serial Killers?