MBTI: Detective Somerset- INFJ
If there were one man going around your rotten city, solving crimes with a heavy sigh, giving each case his concentrated, undivided, ever-increasing attention, only to end his day with throwing switchblades at his dartboard and flickin’ a metronome, wouldn’t you want it to be Morgan Freeman?
The answer is “Yes” and his depiction of Detective William Somerset in Se7en is a great view through the eyes of an INFJ that’s seen it all and hasn’t given up.
From the opening scene to the last, Somerset is shown to understand the meaning behind things, much to the annoyance of his partners. When a wife destroys her husband with a double barrel shotgun, Somerset sees a kid’s drawing’s on the refrigerator and asks “Did the kid see it?” The detective asked gets pissed, and tells him everybody will be glad when Somerset is gone, reminding him that it’s not their job to worry about the kid or anybody else, they’re just there to do their job and that’s it.
INFJs have a unique view of the world and take the time to understand the people in it in a way other types just don’t want to take the time for. This is probably what makes the leaders that are thought to be INFJ so intriguing and so well-liked. While the other cops are doing clean-up and getting out as fast as they can, Somerset paces himself, taking in everything around him, and focuses on the things (and people) everybody else has pushed to the side.
The detective in question of this scene could easily be seen as the rest of the world; in a hurry, aggravated, focused on business, but forgetting the little things that matter. So while it’s true that it’s not their job to worry about the kid, a simple answer or a slight show of sympathy wouldn’t have hurt. Somerset’s personality is set to the opposite of that.
INFJ’s first function is Ni. His Intuition being preferenced above all else is partly what makes him so stubborn (quietly) in so many scene’s with Pitt’s character, Detective Mills. In the above scene, their discussion about the world is well-written, relatable and gives us the impression of an INFJ worn down over the years. The younger detective is headstrong and believes that the world still has plenty of good people and things to fight for. Somerset has been doing this longer however and has accepted things the way he sees them- decaying, violent and selfish.
This is an interesting look at Sensing and Intuition among other things. Mill’s Sensing says “I’ve seen some bad things, but I see good things too.” He’s much more in the moment and takes the present bad with the present good. Somerset’s Intuition says “I’m not saying there’s no good, but there’s enough bad to break a man down and that’s not a criticism of that man.”
Intuition’s message is of course bigger picture and tells Sensing that it’s too simple, not looking at the grand scope of things, while Sensing views Intuition’s process as overly-complicated, and so in-the-clouds that it’s ignoring what’s going on right in front of them. INFJ’s also have the tendency to dismiss others input before really considering it, like when Somerset tells Mills, “You can’t afford to be this naive.”
It’s this attitude of “What do you know?” that they might have in more stressed out times that keeps them from reaching their full potential by shutting others out, writing them off, and refusing to make any changes that could be beneficial to their overall character. This is also what might give others the impression that they’re ISFJ- quiet, reserved, and can be quick to dismiss.
An INFJ I know is guilty is this. You can see it on her face when she’s turned off to the conversation, or is uncomfortable with the subject matter. The difficult thing is knowing what’s off limits for her, as so many topics are free-roam for her while you’ve suddenly said the wrong thing and she seems done with the conversation altogether.
But there’s a reason INFJ’s are as different as they are and much of it has to do with behind their long-range Ni, there’s Extraverted Feeling to back it up. When Mill’s wife, Tracy, finds out she’s pregnant, she goes to Somerset instead of her own husband with confusion on what to do about the baby. There’s also a deleted scene where she’d went to him once before that meeting. These scenes show that Somerset is clearly a more complex man than those around him, as he tells her that the world is cruel enough that an abortion doesn’t need to be out of question, but to keep the child should result in her spoiling them “every chance they get.” It’s rarely the simple answer of “Here’s my answer, now do it.”
INFJs with a more developed Fe function could lead to them being more wise than they generally give off, making it more obvious than any other type that wisdom and intelligence are two different things. The most intelligent person in the world may tell their spouse that they look stupid in what they’re wearing, believing their honesty to be valued because you’re supposed to be honest in a relationship. The wise person may not feel it necessary to be as blunt or to even say anything unless they’re asked or the right time approaches.
Somerset didn’t seek out Tracy to give her advice on her baby, but when asked, he gave the best answer he could but in the somber, quiet tone INFJs that often come with their advice.
By the final scene, when the truth has come out about “WHAT’S IN THE BOX??” Mills want to shoot John Doe so bad, you can see him shaking. It’s the simple solution, isn’t it? But Somerset is intent “winning” in the grand scheme of things, not what feels best right now. He argues that shooting John Doe will make him the winner and to show mercy proves him wrong.
As we know, Mills doesn’t listen and we get a brief hint of satisfaction as he dies. We’ve gotten a better picture of Somerset’s character and we know he’s right. But man, staying quiet and doing the right thing doesn’t come as easy for most of us.