The Investigation Guru – Jodi Arias

Jodi Arias

This is Episode 9 of The Investigation Guru podcast. The Investigation Guru is the official podcast for Red Door Investigations. Please stay tuned for more exciting content on the world of true crime and private investigations. You can also subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. We are available on all of the major platforms.

This episode examines the case of Jodi Arias and the brutal murder of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

In the summer of 2008, Jodi Arias made national headlines after she was charged with murdering her 30-year-old ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, who was working as a motivational speaker and insurance salesman. The shocking and horrifying brutality of the murder (committed by a female), along with Arias’s bizarre behavior when she was arrested, makes this one of the most unusual cases we’ve examined thus far.

This post is also on our YouTube channel! Come check us out!

Make sure you tune in to The Investigation Guru podcast regularly for more true-crime and private investigation content. Next time, we will be discussing the intriguing case of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, who, at the tender age of 19, and

Make sure you tune in to The Investigation Guru podcast regularly for more true-crime and private investigation content. Next time, we will be discussing the intriguing case of Elizabeth Holmes, who, at the tender age of 19, and having just dropped out of Stanford University, convinced some VERY big players to invest in her startup company Theranos. She did this by convincing them that her team was on the cusp of developing the technology to test for a full suite of physical ailments with just a single drop of blood. The trick was…none of it was true.

You can subscribe to this podcast by heading to our Subscribe to Podcast page. The Investigation Guru podcast is hosted on Blubrry and is available wherever you get your podcasts. You can visit the podcast’s page by going to our Blubrry site.

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The voice actor for our intro and outro is Jake Phillips. He has the voice of a Roman God and we were so happy to have him. He insisted on us not crediting him, but we’re going to do it anyway. He can be found at jakephillips.net.

Our intro and outro music was composed by Zach Striefel.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The Investigation Guru podcast and we will see you next time!

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5 Things to Know Before You Hire a Private Investigator

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you hire a private investigator

When a person finally makes the decision to hire a private investigator for help, things are usually not in a good place. Something (very) bad has happened (or is happening) and they just want a professional who knows what they are doing to give some relief. Many clients are desperate and vulnerable. And this vulnerability can make them prime targets for fraud and abuse.

Although most private investigators are professional and ethical individuals, there are, unfortunately, some people in this profession who are more than willing to bend the rules and the law for the promise of a quick buck. This fact is not unknown to much of the general population.

However, there are a couple of things you can do to protect yourself from some of the less-than-savory members of our profession. This will also help ensure that the investigator and agency you are hiring is ethical, professional, and will handle your case and private information with care.

The information in this list should help you weed out much of the riff-raff and increase the likelihood that you hire a private investigator who is professional and who can actually HELP you and not someone who is only out for a quick buck.

1. Beware of Guarantees

We’re gonna shoot straight with you–we provide no guarantee as to the results of any investigation. And you shouldn’t believe anyone who does. There are many factors that go into an investigation and many of these are outside the control of the investigator.

For example, following a subject on a mobile surveillance. Following someone in a vehicle is one of the strictest and most difficult factors of any surveillance. So many things can go wrong. Any private investigator who tells you differently is trying to sell you a bill of goods. This is not the movies. Even seasoned investigators with years of experience will lose subjects from time to time. Things come up. Difficulties arise. Subjects get tipped off. It’s the nature of the business.

The only thing we “guarantee” is that we will do our very best to get you the information. Sometimes, the information we obtain runs counter to the client’s best interests or there is simply no information to get. You should be prepared for both possibilities.

2. Are They Licensed and Insured?

All Private Investigators in the State of Texas must go through a series of steps to earn their license. First, they must apply with the state. This application process ensures they possess the needed educational and experience requirements. Second, they must pass a rigorous written examination. This examination allows the state to ensure that all private investigators know the applicable state laws regulating investigation services. Finally, they must undergo a comprehensive FBI background check before they earn their license and can practice. This background check helps weed out those applicants with criminal records.

Private investigators have a great deal of latitude and access to sensitive and confidential information. In the wrong hands, this could be disastrous to the general public. Protect yourself and make sure that when you hire a private investigator, he or she holds a current license and is adequately insured before you hire them to work for you! You can check the license status of any private investigator and/or agency in the state of Texas on the Department of Public Safety website.

3. Do They Specialize or Do They Try to be Everything to Everyone?

There are many things that a private investigator can do for you and much of what we do takes a great deal of skill and expertise. As with any other expert service contractor you hire (surgeon, marriage counselor, trial attorney, auto mechanic, etc.), it’s usually better to go with one who specializes in the field and area of expertise for which you are hiring them as opposed to someone who tries to be everything for everyone.

Many in this field may advertise that they can do anything for anyone and that they are a one-stop-shop, but it’s usually better to choose a professional who has devoted his or her career to specializing in one or two things over someone who tries to be everything all at once. Even if they say they specialize in surveillance, there are many forms of surveillance (from insurance fraud to infidelity to worker’s comp claims). Make sure you pick the right man or woman for the job you are needing.

4. Price Isn’t Everything-You Get What You Pay For

Private investigators are not cheap. And you wouldn’t want one who is. What we do takes time, effort, and experience. You are paying us for our time and our expertise. Much like anything else in this day and age, you get what you pay for. Ethical and legal investigators know the value and worth of what they can provide to their clients and charge accordingly.

If you are in the middle of a divorce proceeding that could potentially cost thousands (or even millions) of dollars, a private investigator can provide you with incredible value and, with good evidence, could possibly cut your potential liability to zero. That is an amazing value!

5. Have a Definite Goal or Outcome in Mind

And convey that to your investigator during your initial consultation or as early on in the investigation as you can. An ethical investigator will listen with compassion and try to understand EXACTLY what you are needing from him or her and plan your case accordingly. The more questions your investigator asks during your (hopefully free) initial consultation, the better.

In line with #4 above, it would help both you and your investigation team to have a ballpark budget in mind and communicate that clearly to your investigator during your initial consultation. An ethical investigator will respect your budget, formulate a plan, and work within your established budget as best as he or she can.

And that’s 5 things you should know before you hire a private investigator to work for you. Keeping these suggestions in mind can potentially save you a great deal of headache and money.

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Top 10 Greatest Private Investigator TV Shows Ever Made

Here’s Our Picks for the Greatest Private Investigator TV Shows Ever Made

Not only have we “made it big” in the movies, but private investigators have enjoyed a great deal of exposure from the small screen, as well. Although perhaps not as pervasive and iconic as in Hollywood, there are several shows on television that have shed the spotlight on our iconic profession.

As with many lists of this type, there is bound to be some disagreement. We bounced around on this one and it took several drafts to get the order “right.” I’m gonna show my age with this post (many of these shows are OLD SCHOOL), but here it is, our list of the greatest private investigator tv shows of all time.

10. Charlie’s Angels (1976-1981)

Charlies Angels 1976
Image courtesy of IMDB

Tagline: “A wealthy mystery man named Charlie runs a detective agency via a speakerphone and his personal assistant, John Bosley. His detectives are three beautiful women, who end up in a variety of difficult situations.”

This Aaron Spelling-produced show was extremely popular in the late-70’s and early-80’s. During its five seasons on the air, it went through multiple casting changes and writer shakeups. Jaclyn Smith was the only Angel to remain until the end and many lamented the fact that Farrah Fawcett left the show in the midst of its heyday. Either way, the show’s unusual premise and beautiful cast made this show an instant success.

Interesting fact: Drew Barrymore owns the screen rights to this series.

9. Spenser: For Hire (1985-1988)

Spencer for Hire
Image courtesy of IMDB

Tagline: “Mystery and suspense series based on Robert Parker’s “Spenser” novels. Spenser, a private investigator living in Boston, gets involved in a new murder mystery each episode.”

A classic. Robert Urich plays Spenser, a Boston-based private investigator who, along with his sidekick and best friend, Hawk, played by Avery Brooks, conveniently solves a murder in a single hour every week. Oh, and he never gets paid…he works for “favors.” Not the most realistic of storylines, but it was certainly entertaining in its day.

Interesting fact: During the first season of the show, Spenser lived in an old, abandoned firehouse off of Charles Street. This same firehouse, the “real-world” Engine Company 10, was also used for the set of the Boston season of the MTV show The Real World.

8. Murder, She Wrote (1984-1996)

Murder She Wrote
Image courtesy of IMDB

Tagline: “Professional writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher uses her intellect, charm, and persistence to get to the bottom of every crime she encounters.”

During its 12-season run, this amazing whodunnit show features novelist Jessica Fletcher and her endless array of friends and acquaintances following clues and hints to nicely and neatly figure out who killed that week’s victim. I used to watch this show every week with my grandmother, who would, almost without fail, figure out the twists and turns every week. Plus, there’s just something wholesome and charming about the way that Angela Lansbury portrayed the main character. This is a great show and very nostalgic for me.

Interesting fact: This show was in a shared universe with our #1 pick, Magnum, P.I. Two episodes show Jessica travelling to Hawaii on vacation and embroils her in an effort to exonerate a wrongly-accused Magnum at the behest of Higgins, whose attempted murder Magnum was framed for committing.

7. The Equalizer (1985-1989)

The Equalizer
Image courtesy of TV Guide

Tagline: “A retired Intelligence Agent turned private detective helps various threatened clients to equalize the odds.”

This one is more serious than others on this list. The Equalizer is a dark and smoky show about the nature of revenge and fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves. It centers on the main character, Robert McCall, who “equalizes” the wrongs perpetrated by others, usually against the innocent. Someone commits a crime or hurts someone else, McCall comes in and figures out what happened, who was responsible, and pays them a visit. The Antoine Fuqua-directed movie adaptations starring Denzel Washington are also well worth a watch.

Interesting fact: Stewart Copeland, the former drummer for The Police, wrote the theme song for this show.

6. Jessica Jones (2015-2019)

Jessica Jones
Image courtesy of IMDB

Tagline: “Following the tragic end of her brief superhero career, Jessica Jones tries to rebuild her life as a private investigator, dealing with cases involving people with remarkable abilities in New York City.”

Jessica Jones is Marvel’s contribution (they have their finger in everything) to the genre. Krysten Ritter plays Jessica, a failed superhero who suffers from PTSD and self-loathing and can no longer “fulfill her duties.” Battling her demons, she uses her extraordinary abilities to help those in need…especially if they can cut her a check.

Interesting fact: Luke Cage’s bar in the show is the same bar that was owned by the Rosato Brothers in The Godfather: Part II.

5. Simon & Simon (1981-1989)

Simon and Simon
Image courtesy of IMDB

Tagline: “Two brothers of disparate tastes and manners run a private detective agency.”

Imagine if The Odd Couple ran a detective agency. That is the premise here and it is totally awesome. Gerald McRaney and Jameson Parker portray brothers Rick and A.J. Simon who couldn’t be more different, but who set aside their differences to solve crimes in San Diego. Hilarity ensues. This is much less serious than others in this list, but is still very tongue-in-cheek and an off-the-wall romp.

Interesting fact: The show was scheduled to run head-to-head against Magnum, P.I. and was almost canceled in its first season. Ratings skyrocketed after it was rescheduled to follow Magnum and not compete with it.

4. Sherlock (2010-2017)

Sherlock
Image courtesy of IMDB

Tagline: “A modern update finds the famous sleuth and his doctor partner solving crime in 21st century London.”

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, respectively, this modern take on the iconic duo is, frankly speaking, excellent. Cumberbatch is fantastic as the borderline-autistic Holmes and Freeman is perfectly cast as Watson. The two play off of each other brilliantly and their chemistry is undeniable. Why this show works so well is a little hard to describe. This is one that really has to be experienced first-hand.

Interesting fact: Benedict Cumberbatch is distantly related to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the original Sherlock Holmes books. They are 16th cousins twice removed.

3. Monk (2002-2009)

Monk
Image courtesy of IMDB

Tagline: “The series follows Adrian Monk, a brilliant former San Francisco detective, who now consults the police as a private consultant who battles with an obsessive-compulsive disorder.”

Ah, Monk…the adorable and brilliant former detective (portrayed by the most-excellent Tony Shalhoub) who suffers from crippling OCD is one of my favorite detective shows and it’s not really even a detective show in the strictest sense of the word. It’s more of a character study of vulnerability and mental illness set against a backdrop of orderliness and social anxiety. This show is not only one of the best private investigator tv shows, it’s one of the greatest television shows ever made.

Interesting fact: Tony Shalhoub auditioned for the role of Kramer on Seinfeld (1989), and Michael Richards was considered for the title role on this show. Richards passed on Monk, and Shalhoub took the role. Richards won three Emmys for playing Kramer, while Shalhoub also won three Emmys for playing Monk.

2. Moonlighting (1985-1989)

Moonlighting
Image courtesy of IMDB

Tagline: “The quirky cases of a former model and a smart aleck detective who manage a private detective agency.”

“Aaaadddddiiiisssssssonnnnn!!!!!” If you’ve seen this outstanding and hilarious show, you can almost hear that in your head right now. Cybil Shepherd and a young Bruce Willis star in this hilarious private investigator (dare I say it?) romcom. This show is so good and the chemistry between the two stars is so spot-on there were even lists that put this one at #1. It’s a very good show and, if you were watching tv during the late ’80s, this was more than likely on your list.

Interesting fact: Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was named for the character of David Addison Jr. The award-winning baseball player’s mom was a big Moonlighting fan.

1. Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988)

Magnum PI
Image courtesy of IMDB

Tagline: “He’s a Wisecracking, Fun-Loving, Freeloading, Freelance Private-Eye.”

Here it is, folks. The cream-de-la-cream. The one to beat. The one against which all others are judged. In our opinion, Magnum, P.I. is the greatest private investigator television show ever made. The dreamboat fantasy of middle-aged women everywhere (just ask my mother), Tom Selleck is perfect as ex-Navy SEAL Thomas Magnum, who, along with his buddies Rick and A.J., solves crimes and does everything he can to annoy Higgins, the prim and proper manager of Mangum’s benefactor, Robin Masters. The iconic red Ferrari and gorgeous setting (Hawaii) don’t hurt, either. This show is the gold standard and should not be missed at any cost. Tom Selleck’s mustache is worth the price of admission on its own.

Interesting fact: Orson Welles provided the voice of Robin Masters, whose face was never seen on this show. Producers eventually wanted Welles to be revealed as the face of Robin Masters too, but he died before the series ended its run.

And that’s it, our list of the top 10 greatest private investigator tv shows ever made. I’m sure many of you are screaming “You forgot this one! It’s the best!” or “How can anyone think this show was even decent, much less one of the best!” There’s bound to be disagreement, but for my time and money, these shows take the cake. Let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree with us.

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Top 10 Greatest Private Investigator Movies Ever Made

Here’s Our Picks for the Greatest Private Investigator Movies Ever Made

Private Investigator movies have culturally shed an air of mystery and “cool” to our profession and private investigator stories are rich fodder for entertainment. Few cultural symbols have been as mythologized as that of the private detective. In fact, few things have done more to elevate our brand than Hollywood. From Philip Marlowe to Ace Ventura, private investigators have had more than our fair share of representation in film, for good or bad. Here is our list of the 10 greatest private investigator movies ever made.

10. Night Moves (1975)

Night Moves
Image courtesy of imdb.com

Los Angeles private investigator Harry Moseby is hired by a client to find her runaway teenage daughter. Moseby tracks the daughter down, only to stumble upon something much more intriguing and sinister. Directed by Arthur Penn and starring Gene Hackman in the title role, this tense and gripping story of a detective giving his all to find his subject while trying to save his own crumbling marriage will have you sitting on the edge of your seat all the way until the very end. This was also Melanie Griffith’s first credited role.

9. Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Murder on the Orient Express
Image courtesy of imdb.com

Skip the 2017 version with Kenneth Branagh (although good, it’s fantastically outmatched), and see this genius adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel directed by Sidney Lumet. This is the one you want to watch. This version has an all-star cast, including Albert Finney in the lead as the fastidious Hercule Poirot, Lauren Bacall as Mrs. Hubbard, Ingrid Bergman as Greta, and the always excellent (and soreley missed ) Sean Connery as Colonel Arbuthnot. Seriously, give it a go. It’s awesome. Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for her work on this film and this is reportedly the only film adaptation of her work with which Agatha Christie was satisfied.

8. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 1
Image courtesy of imdb.com

Directed by Shane Black and starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer, this tongue-in-cheek romp is a wild ride from start to finish. More entertainment than substance, this flick is filled with witty one-liners and tangy dialogue that keeps the movie going and never looking back. Robert Downey, Jr. is a thief who unwittingly gets a starring role in a movie where Val Kilmer is the PI who serves as the film’s technical advisor and, once it starts, the action doesn’t stop. We’ll return to Shane Black later on this list when we discuss The Nice Guys, another detective film he helmed.

7. Angel Heart (1987)

Angel Heart
Image courtesy of imdb.com

Wow! What a gritty gut-punch. This is a very dark and disturbing movie. Mickey Rourke stars as New York PI Harry Angel who is hired by Robert De Niro to find a man who has gone missing owing him money. The search leads down the grim and grisly trail full of everything ranging from murder to voodoo. This one is not for the faint of (angel) heart.

6. Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Devil in a Blue Dress
Image courtesy of imdb.com

Denzel Washington stars as Easy Rawlins, an unemployed WW2 veteran, who, for his first case as a private investigator, is hired to find a missing woman and gets mixed up in a political scandal of crooked cops, corrupt politicians, and murder. The excellent Don Cheadle and Tom Sizemore also star.

5. The Nice Guys (2016)

The Nice Guys
Image courtesy of imdb.com

I LOVED this movie! Shane Black directed this hilarious and perfectly cast comedic look at 1970s Hollywood. Russell Crowe plays a gruff “enforcer” for hire and Ryan Gosling plays a drinking, hapless PI with an adorable relationship with his precocious daughter, Holly. This movie runs the gamut from murdered porn stars to government conspiracies. This is easily one of the most accessible films on this list and is, at its core, a hilarious character study of buddy films and teamwork.

4. The Long Goodbye (1973)

The Long Goodbye
Image courtesy of imdb.com

Elliott Gould joins a distinguished lineage who have portrayed Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled detective. The movie opens with Marlowe driving his friend to the Mexican border. When he returns home, he finds that his wife has been killed and things go downhill from there. Former MLB pitcher Jim Bouton plays Marlowe’s friend Terry Lennox. Arnold Schwarzenneger also makes an appearance, his second in a major motion picture. Roger Ebert also included this movie on his “Great Movies” list.

3. Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out
Image courtesy of imdb.com

Daniel Craig stars as Benoit Blanc, a cheeky homage to Agatha Christie’s fastidious detective Hercule Poirot. This movie has a Clue-like feeling, as Blanc does battle with an entire eccentric and combative family to solve the apparent, but not likely, suicide of the family patriarch (played by Christopher Plummer). Jamie Lee Curtis, Frank Oz, and even Don Johnson appear in this quirky twist on the common detective movie.

2. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

The Maltese Falcon
Image courtesy of Movies Anywhere

We flip-flopped between this one and Chinatown for the #1 spot. This is THE definitive detective noir story. It centers around Sam Spade and the beautiful and mysterious Mary Astor, aks Miss Wonderly, who wants Sam and his partner, Miles Archer to protect her sister, or so she says. The day after she walks into their office, Miles is dead. The death of Miles and another mysterious man, Floyd Thursby, leads Sam down a twisted thread centered on three criminals and their relentless search for the statuette of a bird: The Maltese Falcon. No other film captures the noir detective story quite like this one. It is the gold standard of that genre.

1. Chinatown (1974)

Chinatown
Image courtesy of imdb.com

This is it, boys and girls. The greatest private investigator movie ever made. In 1937 Los Angeles, private detective Jake Geddes (played by the brilliant Jack Nicholson) is hired by a woman named Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) to follow her husband. Of course, the husband ends up dead and the REAL Evelyn shows up to sue Jake for getting involved. As Jake begins to investigate the apparent double-cross, he gets tied up in governmental red tape with the Los Angeles Water Department and runs smack-dab into a love triangle that is only hinted at until the final legendary plot twist. This is director Roman Polanski’s masterpiece. You owe it to your life to see this movie at least once.

So, there ya go. These were our picks for the 10 greatest private investigator movies ever made. Did your favorite get included? Let us know in the comments if we forgot yours or you think we need to expand our cinematic education in some obvious way. There are MANY other excellent movies that we weren’t able to include here, so we won’t take too much offense if your opinions differ from ours. Well…maybe a little.

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How To Become a Private Investigator in Texas

So, you want to be a man (or woman) of mystery?

Have you ever wondered how to become a private investigator? The Texas Department of Public Safety, Private Security Bureau (PSB) is the single-best resource for information, as it is the agency responsible for regulating private investigations agencies, agency owners, and the PIs that work for them. Being able to legally conduct investigative services in the State of Texas requires an individual to be affiliated with a licensed agency or to open an agency of their own. For those individuals who do not yet possess the education or experience requirements to open their own agency, becoming affiliated with another licensed agency and working under their supervision is one way to get the experience you need to open your own firm.

If you are interested in becoming a private investigator but don’t have any active job prospects with established PI agencies, you may consider going into business for yourself.

In this post, we will go over the necessary steps to get your license or endorsement to legally work as a private investigator in the State of Texas. Consult the laws in your state for more specific requirements where you live.

Step 1. Make Sure You Meet the Minimum Basic Requirements

Whether you want to start out working for an established private investigations agency or you are ready to branch out and establish one of your own, there are a few fundamental requirements you must meet in order to become registered in Texas.

Consult this checklist to ensure you meet all the basic requirements:

  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You have never been convicted of a felony in any jurisdiction
  • You have not been convicted in the past five years of a Class B misdemeanor in any jurisdiction
  • You are not currently charged with or under indictment for a Class A misdemeanor or felony
  • You are not currently charged with a Class B misdemeanor
  • You have never been found incompetent due to mental defect or disease by a court
  • You are not required to register in Texas or any other jurisdiction as a sex offender
  • You have never been dishonorably discharged from U.S. military service

If you consult the Texas Occupational Code, it states that:

RULE §35.121 Investigations Company License (a) Pursuant to the Act, the department has determined that an applicant for licensure as a private investigations company or the prospective manager of the applicant company must meet one of the qualifications detailed in this section: 

  • Three (3) consecutive years of investigation related experience; 
  • A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or related course of study; 
  • A bachelor’s degree with twelve (12) months of investigation related experience; 
  • An associate degree in criminal justice or related course of study, with twenty-four (24) months of investigation related experience; 
  • A specialized course of study directly designed for and related to the private investigation profession, taught and presented through affiliation with a four (4) year college or university accredited and recognized by the State of Texas. This course of study must be endorsed by the four (4) year college or university’s department of criminal justice program and include a departmental faculty member(s) on its instructional faculty. This course of study must consist of a minimum of two hundred (200) instructional hours including coverage of ethics, the Act, and this chapter;
  • Other combinations of education and investigation-related experience may be substituted for the above at the discretion of the department or its designated representative. (b) The degrees referenced in subsection (a) of this section must be affiliated with a college or university recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or other accreditation organization recognized by the State of Texas.

Step 2. Ensure You Meet the Education and Experience Requirements

If you plan to work for a private investigation company:

You must be sponsored by a private investigations agency licensed in Texas before you can apply for registration as a private investigator. This either means that you must be employed by or have a firm job offer from a private investigative agency licensed in Texas.

Employers will always look for the most qualified candidates, so in the absence of law enforcement, military or investigative experience, you may consider earning an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or a related field.

Degree options available at schools in Texas include:

  • Bachelor in Business Administration – Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science-Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice- Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Human Services

Private Investigations work is VERY competitive and the more education and/or experience you can bring to the table, the better off and more competitive you’ll be. Depending on the agency and what services they offer, some skills will be more in demand than others.

If you want to work for an agency that specializes in surveillance, for example, then photography and videography skills will be in very high demand, as well as the ability to speak and write clearly. An agency that specializes in skip traces and background checks will be looking for applicants with skills in computers and OSINT. So, make sure you research the agency you apply to and that your skills line up with the kinds of investigations they do.

If you plan to start your own private investigation company:

If you wish to open your own licensed private investigative agency in Texas, you must meet the qualifications to become a private investigation company owner/manager. This means you must meet ONE of the following combined education and experience requirements:

  • Three years of private investigation experience
  • Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field
  • Bachelor’s degree in any field, plus six months of investigative experience
  • Associate degree in criminal justice or a related field plus one year of investigative experience
  • Specialized private investigator training (200 hours minimum)

Step 3. Register your New PI Agency or Become Registered with an Existing Agency

If you plan to work for a private investigation company …

If you are applying for initial private investigator registration in Texas, your employer will gather your personal information, have you complete the Original Registration Application Supplement and use the online application system to submit an application for your registration with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Private Security Bureau (PSB) as an employee of the agency. Becoming registered involves submitting fingerprints that will be used for an FBI background check.

After completing the online registration process and paying the application fee, your employer will be issued a receipt with instructions on how to go about getting your fingerprints taken along with a list of third-party locations approved for electronic fingerprinting in Texas.

When your FBI background check clears and you have been approved by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Private Security Bureau, your private investigator license will be mailed to your employer’s place of business.

If you plan to start a private investigation company …

If you are registering a new PI company, you will need to submit a PSB-01 Company License Application Form. This will involve having your company name approved to ensure it isn’t being used by another business in Texas. You are allowed to simply use your own name, and may choose to do so whether working independently or hiring employees.

The company license application also involves identifying all owners/partners/shareholders and the ownership structure of the company (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, LLC or LLP). The application fee for a new business registration is $350.

If submitting online, you must wait 24 hours after completing your company application before submitting your individual owner/manager application. As the owner of the PI company, you must submit the Original Owner/Manager Application or apply online and submit the Online Owner/Manager Application Supplement.

You will then need to submit:

  • $33 owner/manager application fee
  • $25 FBI classification fee and two completed fingerprint cards or a receipt from electronic fingerprinting (Use these instructions for fingerprinting and consult this list to find electronic fingerprinting sites in Texas)

If sent by mail, payment must be made by check or money order payable to the Texas Department of Public Safety. All applications and fees submitted by mail must include a PSB-50 form. If applying online, fees are payable by credit card.

If you are applying by mail, send all of the above to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Private Security MSC 0242, P.O. Bo 15999, Austin, TX 78761-5999

You must also pass the Qualified Manager Exam within 90 days of submitting your application. This exam is administered at various DPS facilities around the state about three to five times each month. It is a two-hour, multiple-choice and true-false exam made up of 100 questions. You must get at least 70 questions correct to pass the exam. Your results will be sent to you about 30 days after you take the exam. Do not take this exam lightly. Many people fail it the first time because they underestimate how thorough the exam is.

As company owner, you will also be required to show proof of adequate liability insurance using the Certificate of Liability Insurance Form. Liability insurance will run you about $550/year and is mandatory to renew and maintain your business license.

Step 4. That’s it. You are now a Registered Private Investigator or PI Agency Owner in Texas

Well done! You have met all the requirements and completed the process to become a registered private investigator with an established agency, or a private investigative agency owner/manager!

Your agency registration must be renewed online each year and a fee of $350 must be paid.

As an employee of an established PI agency, your employer will handle the registration renewal for you using the Request for Renewal of Employee form PSB-17.

If you are the owner/manager of the PI agency, you will use the Request for Renewal of Owner/Manager form PSB-18.

As a PI employed with an established agency or agency manager/owner, you will be required to complete continuing education (CE) requirements in order to renew your registration and continue working legally in Texas.

As a registered private investigator employed with a licensed agency, or a participating owner/manager that has been registered for LESS than 15 consecutive years, you are required to complete 18 total hours of continuing education:

  • 14 hours must be related to investigations
  • 2 hours must be specific to ethics
  • 2 hours must be in review of the Texas Private Security Act

As a registered private investigator employed with a licensed agency, or a participating owner/manager that has been registered for MORE than 15 consecutive years, you are required to complete 12 total hours of continuing education:

  • 8 hours must be related to investigations
  • 2 hours must be specific to ethics
  • 2 hours must be in review of the Texas Private Security Act

You must receive your CE from a PSB-approved provider.

And that’s it! If you follow these steps, you will be in full compliance and can legally work as a private investigator in the State of Texas. Now, go out and do what you do, you man (or woman) of mystery.

Much of the content in this article was from an article that appeared elsewhere. Credit where credit is due.

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The Investigation Guru – Jim Jones

Jim Jones

This is Episode 8 of The Investigation Guru podcast. The Investigation Guru is the official podcast for Red Door Investigations. Please stay tuned for more exciting content on the world of true crime and private investigations. You can also subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. We are available on all of the major platforms.

This episode examines the case of Jim Jones and the events that transpired in Jonestown, Guyana on November 19, 1978.

Jim Jones was an American cult leader, mass murderer, political activist, and self-professed faith healer who led the People’s Temple, a new religious organization which existed between 1955 and 1978.

Jones founded the organization that would become the People’s Temple in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1955.

In 1965, he moved the Temple to California, where the group established its headquarters in San Francisco and became heavily involved in left-wing politics through the 1970s. 

Jones then left the US to establish Jonestown, compelling many of his followers to live there with him.

By 1978, media reports had surfaced of human rights abuses at Jonestown. Deciding to investigate these reports, US Representative Leo Ryan led a delegation to the commune in November of that year.

While boarding a return flight with some former Temple members who had wished to leave, Ryan and four others were murdered by gunmen dispatched from Jonestown. Jones then ordered and likely coerced a mass murder-suicide that claimed the lives of 918 commune members, 304 of them children, almost all by cyanide-poisoned Flavor Aid.

San-Francisco-Chronicle-Article

This post is also on our YouTube channel! Come check us out!

Make sure you tune in to The Investigation Guru podcast regularly for more true-crime and private investigation content. Next time, we will be discussing the disturbing case of Jodi Arias, who was convicted of killing her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, after stalking him for months.

You can subscribe to this podcast by heading to our Subscribe to Podcast page. The Investigation Guru podcast is hosted on Blubrry and is available wherever you get your podcasts. You can visit the podcast’s page by going to our Blubrry site.

If you have a podcast, you might want to keep up with your reviews. A great resource we have found is My Podcast Reviews. If you want to keep tabs on how your podcast is doing, I’d like to invite you to check them out!

We have merch! Check out our teepublic store and get some guru merch on your person! We have tee shirts, mugs, masks, hoodies, and tumblers, among other things. If you’d like to support the show, please consider becoming a Patron! You’d not only be helping the show, but you can also get some pretty sweet swag in the process.

The voice actor for our intro and outro is Jake Phillips. He has the voice of a Roman God and we were so happy to have him. He insisted on us not crediting him, but we’re going to do it anyway. He can be found at jakephillips.net.

Our intro and outro music was composed by Zach Striefel.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The Investigation Guru podcast and we will see you next time!

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The Investigation Guru – Maura Murray

Maura Murray

This is Episode 7 of The Investigation Guru podcast. The Investigation Guru is the official podcast for Red Door Investigations. Please stay tuned for more exciting content on the world of true crime and private investigations. You can also subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. We are available on all of the major platforms.

This episode examines the mysterious disappearance of Maura Murray. Maura disappeared on the evening of February 9, 2004, after a car crash on Route 112 near Woodsville, NH. There are many mysterious events surrounding her disappearance and her current whereabouts remain unknown to this day. This is an older case and there has been a lot of coverage on this case in many media outlets, including this podcast episode. I would urge you to check out the many YouTube videos and podcast episodes out there that examine this case, as they may have additional material that we didn’t cover.

112dirtbag’s video
Faith-Westman-911-Transcript

Butch-Atwood-911-Transcript

Faith-Westman-Police-Report

John-Monaghan-Narrative

Fred-Murrays-Lawsuit-Against-NH-to-Release-Documents

FMurray-Lawsuit-Transcript-1

FMurray-Lawsuit-Transcript-2

This post is also on our YouTube channel! Come check us out!

Make sure you tune in to The Investigation Guru podcast regularly for more true-crime and private investigation content. Next time, we will be discussing the intriguing and sad story of Jim Jones and Jonestown, where 918 people were coerced into committing mass suicide on the word of a single man.

You can subscribe to this podcast by heading to our Subscribe to Podcast page. The Investigation Guru podcast is hosted on Blubrry and is available wherever you get your podcasts. You can visit the podcast’s page by going to our Blubrry site.

If you have a podcast, you might want to keep up with your reviews. A great resource we have found is My Podcast Reviews. If you want to keep tabs on how your podcast is doing, I’d like to invite you to check them out!

We have merch! Check out our teepublic store and get some guru merch on your person! We have tee shirts, mugs, masks, hoodies, and tumblers, among other things. If you’d like to support the show, please consider becoming a Patron! You’d not only be helping the show, but you can also get some pretty sweet swag in the process.

The voice actor for our intro and outro is Jake Phillips. He has the voice of a Roman God and we were so happy to have him. He insisted on us not crediting him, but we’re going to do it anyway. He can be found at jakephillips.net.

Our intro and outro music was composed by Zach Striefel.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The Investigation Guru podcast and we will see you next time!

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The Investigation Guru – Lori Vallow

Lori Vallow-Daybell

This is Episode 6 of The Investigation Guru podcast. The Investigation Guru is the official podcast for Red Door Investigations. Please stay tuned for more exciting content on the world of true crime and private investigations. You can also subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. We are available on all of the major platforms.

This episode examines the horrifying case of Lori Vallow-Daybell, whose children, J.J. and Tylee, went missing in 2019 and were eventually found dead later that year. Their remains were found on the property of Lori’s fifth husband, Chad Daybell. Their bodies had been dismembered and buried in the pet cemetery on site. Lori then tried to cover up the crime and fled to Hawaii with her new husband. Fueled by her end-times beliefs, she thought that her children were “dark” and had been possessed by Satan. Very sad stuff. How heartless can someone be?

I am also including some pictures of the main players to help you keep them straight.

Lori Vallow
Lori Vallow
Lori and Chad Daybell
Lori and Chad Daybell
J.J. and Tylee
J.J. and Tylee
Alex Cox
Alex (Lori’s Brother)
Charles Vallow
Charles Vallow
Chad and Tammy Daybell
Chad and Tammy Daybell
Lori and Joseph Ryan (Husband #3)
Lori and Joseph Ryan (Husband #3) on their wedding day
Melani (Lori's neice) and her husband, Brandon
Melani (Lori’s neice) and her husband, Brandon
Kay and Larry Woodcock
Kay and Larry Woodcock (J.J.’s grandparents)

This post is also on our YouTube channel! Come check us out!

Make sure you tune in to The Investigation Guru podcast regularly for more true-crime and private investigation content. Next time, we will be discussing the disappearance of Maura Murray, who disappeared on the evening of February 9, 2004, after she crashed her car. If you haven’t heard of this case, get ready because it’s quite unnerving.

You can subscribe to this podcast by heading to our Subscribe to Podcast page. The Investigation Guru podcast is hosted on Blubrry and is available wherever you get your podcasts. You can visit the podcast’s page by going to our Blubrry site.

If you have a podcast, you might want to keep up with your reviews. A great resource we have found is My Podcast Reviews. If you want to keep tabs on how your podcast is doing, I’d like to invite you to check them out!

We have merch! Check out our teepublic store and get some guru merch on your person! We have tee shirts, mugs, masks, hoodies, and tumblers, among other things. If you’d like to support the show, please consider becoming a Patron! You’d not only be helping the show, but you can also get some pretty sweet swag in the process.

The voice actor for our intro and outro is Jake Phillips. He has the voice of a Roman God and we were so happy to have him. He insisted on us not crediting him, but we’re going to do it anyway. He can be found at jakephillips.net.

Our intro and outro music was composed by Zach Striefel.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The Investigation Guru podcast and we will see you next time!

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The Investigation Guru – Chris Watts

Chris Watts

This is Episode 5 of The Investigation Guru podcast. The Investigation Guru is the official podcast for Red Door Investigations. Please stay tuned for more exciting content on the world of true crime and private investigations. You can also subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. We are available on all of the major platforms.

This episode examines the sad and shocking case of Chris Watts, who murdered his pregnant wife Shanann and their two young daughters, Bella and Celeste in 2018. The coldness and inhumanity with which Chris carried out these murders is truly disturbing and really began to bother me personally. His total and complete lack of remorse and the endless lies that he told during the investigation are haunting.

Here is the police report, as promised!

Chris-Watts-Police-Report

This post is also on our YouTube channel! Come check us out!

Make sure you tune in to The Investigation Guru podcast regularly for more true-crime and private investigation content. Next week, we will be discussing the case of Lori Vallow/Daybell, who participated in the murder and subsequent cover-up of the deaths of her two children, Tylee and J.J. If you haven’t heard of this case, get ready because it’s quite unnerving.

You can subscribe to this podcast by heading to our Subscribe to Podcast page. The Investigation Guru podcast is hosted on Blubrry and is available wherever you get your podcasts. You can visit the podcast’s page by going to our Blubrry site.

If you have a podcast, you might want to keep up with your reviews. A great resource we have found is My Podcast Reviews. If you want to keep tabs on how your podcast is doing, I’d like to invite you to check them out!

We have merch! Check out our teepublic store and get some guru merch on your person! We have tee shirts, mugs, masks, hoodies, and tumblers, among other things. If you’d like to support the show, please consider becoming a Patron! You’d not only be helping the show, but you can also get some pretty sweet swag in the process.

The voice actor for our intro and outro is Jake Phillips. He has the voice of a Roman God and we were so happy to have him. He insisted on us not crediting him, but we’re going to do it anyway. He can be found at jakephillips.net.

Our intro and outro music was composed by Zach Striefel.

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The Investigation Guru podcast and we will see you next time!

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The Investigation Guru – 5 Things a PI Can Never Do

5 Things a PI Can Never Do

This is Episode 4 of The Investigation Guru podcast. The Investigation Guru is the official podcast for Red Door Investigations. Please stay tuned for more exciting content on the world of true crime and private investigations. You can also subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. We are available on all of the major platforms.

This episode closely follows a recent blog post series we did on the legalities of being a private investigator and the bounds and constraints that are placed on us by our governing agencies. In this episode, we discuss five things that a private investigator can NEVER do. For more information, please head over to our blog and read the post titled Five Things a Private Investigator CAN NOT Do Under Any Circumstances.

This post is also on our YouTube channel! Come check us out!

Make sure you tune in to The Investigation Guru podcast regularly for more true-crime and private investigation content. Season Two starts very soon. First up will be the shocking and disturbing case of Chris Watts, who murdered his pregnant wife and their two young daughters. If you haven’t heard of this case, get ready because it’s quite unnerving.

You can subscribe to this podcast by heading to our Subscribe to Podcast page. The Investigation Guru podcast is hosted on Blubrry and is available wherever you get your podcasts. You can visit the podcast’s page by going to our Blubrry site.

Please be patient with us…this is the final episode in Season One. We will be completely re-branding the show in Season Two and will be focusing more on true crime content and less on the PI stuff (although we may put in a PI episode here and there if it fits in with the more true-crime vibe we are going for). We are completely re-doing our intro and outro and getting some custom music for the channel that is more appropriate.

This season, we have really been trying to get everything set up and get our feet wet. We have made our share of mistakes (and have learned from them). We have bought some new equipment and will be dedicating a lot more of our time to this area of our business. So, thank you so much for your extreme patience. Better things are coming out very soon, we promise.

If you have a podcast, you might want to keep up with your reviews. A great resource we have found is My Podcast Reviews. If you want to keep tabs on how your podcast is doing, I’d like to invite you to check them out!

We have merch! Check out our TeePublic store and get some guru merch on your person! We have tee shirts, mugs, masks, hoodies, and tumblers, among other things. If you’d like to support the show, please consider becoming a Patron! You’d not only be helping the show, but you can also get some pretty sweet swag in the process.

The temporary intro music for this episode was composed by Kevin MacLeod. It is available on the incompetech website:

Anguish by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3373-anguish
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The Investigation Guru podcast and we will see you next time!

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