Wendy Graf, Private Investigator

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Playwright's "day job" came in handy when creating the character of an Israeli P.I. in "Behind the Gates."

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You have to know what you're doing or the evidence could become tainted. I had to complete five years of supervised work before I could take what is an extremely challenging licensing exam.

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An accomplished, multiple award-winning playwright by night, Wendy Graf investigates crime scenes and tracks down witnesses by day. A graduate of the Nick Harris Detective Academy and a California state-licensed private investigator, Graf's 15 years of experience came in handy when she created the character of Ami, an Israeli P.I., in her new play, "Behind the Gates."

"Behind the Gates," set to premiere May 15 - July 3 at the Lee Strasberg Creative Center in West Hollywood, is Graf's gripping mystery in which a troubled American teenager vanishes while on a school trip to Israel. Her parents fly to Jerusalem in a desperate attempt to search for their daughter. There, they find themselves lost in an alien city of conflicting cultures and politics.

"In addition to studying techniques like surveillance and fingerprinting, doing investigative work requires extensive legal training," says Graf. "You have to know what you're doing or the evidence could become tainted. I had to complete five years of supervised work before I could take what is an extremely challenging licensing exam."

Graf spends her time photographing crime scenes, interviewing witnesses, finding missing persons, and doing background searches. For this production, she's furnished real bills and reports for use as props. "But don't worry," she laughs. "I've blacked out all the names!"

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Lucy Pollak
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