What is the Reid Technique?

The Reid Technique is typically a method of questioning and interrogation that the police would use against you. It is important to be aware of these tactics and how to be best prepared for them. Each interrogation is different but they follow a blueprint which is laid out by the Reid Technique.


A detective will lay out the charges against you and the evidence against you. The charges may be real or fabricated. You may feel your stress level increase and this is exactly what a detective wants to see from you. The detective will portray an act of confidence.

Theme Development

As the interrogation progresses, the detective will try to create a theme around your involvement in the crime. He/she will try to look to create a theme that will excuse or justify your involvement in the crime. By reading your body language, he/she will either continue with the theme or try to create a new one. The purpose of this tactic is to appear non-threatening and have you fall into a false sense of security.

Stopping Denials

Detectives will not let you admit denials, so be prepared for interruptions. Denials build your self-confidence and that is not the goal of an interrogation. Also, by interrupting you, this limits the amount of time you can ask for an attorney. The less denials that a detective hears, the more likely a confession is imminent.

Overcoming Obstacles

A detective may encounter a logic-based objection rather than a simple denial. An experienced detective may approach this differently. This logic-based objection may be turned against you and be another step in you admitting your guilt.

Getting Your Attention

At this point in the interrogation, you may feel a sense of exhaustion and looking for a way out. The detective is going to capitalize on this opportunity. They will become even more sincere in their tone and try to establish some physical contact. They will try to establish that confessing is the only escape from this situation.

You Lose Your Resolve

Once you have loss your resolve, the detective will begin to transition into the next phase of the interrogation. Instead of focusing on theme development, they will begin to establish motive alternatives that will force you into giving a reason for committing the crime. At this specific moment, the detective will try to establish eye contact and would interpret crying as a sign of guilt.


The interrogator would suggest two motives for committing the crime. One motive will appear socially acceptable and the other explanation would be morally repugnant. The detective will contrast these motives against you and will read your body language to determine which motive best fits you.

Bringing You into the Conversation

Once you choose an alternative, the confession has begun. The detective will possibly bring in another detective to witness the confession. This introduction of a new person will increase your stress levels and make you more likely to confess in order to leave the room. The point of this method is to reassure that the confession is a done deal.

The Confession

The final step of the Reid Technique is to get you to sign a written statement or state it on videotape so it will be admissible in court. You may be willing to sign or state anything to get out of this situation


At any point of an interrogation you can ask for a lawyer or invoke your right to silence, the interrogation has to stop immediately. Always remember your options and rights.