The Big Sleep

Chief investigator at the L.A. police department, Bernie Ohls is a long-time contact of private detective Philip Marlowe. Ohls puts Marlowe him in touch with General Sternwood. He also offers Marlowe information about and receives his assistance in investigating the deaths of Sternwood’s blackmailer Arthur Gwynn Geiger, Sternwood’s driver Owen Taylor, and the grifter Joe Brody. Chandler portrays Ohls as a competent and straight cop, focused on his cases.

Bernie Ohls Quotes in The Big Sleep

The The Big Sleep quotes below are all either spoken by Bernie Ohls or refer to Bernie Ohls. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Big Sleep published in 1939.
Chapter 11 Quotes

“You ought to stop some of that flash gambling,” I said.

“With the syndicate we got in this county? Be your age, Marlowe.”

Related Characters: Philip Marlowe (speaker), Bernie Ohls (speaker)
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 18 Quotes

I’m kind of glad that Taylor kid went off the pier. I’d hate to have to help send him to the deathhouse for rubbing that skunk.

Related Characters: Bernie Ohls (speaker), Philip Marlowe, Arthur Gwynn Geiger, Owen Taylor
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
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Bernie Ohls Character Timeline in The Big Sleep

The timeline below shows where the character Bernie Ohls appears in The Big Sleep. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
...it to the papers, suggesting the police don’t know about it yet. Chief Investigator Bernie Ohls—the man who had initially put General Sternwood in contact with Marlowe—calls the detective on his... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Ohls informs Marlowe that one of the Sternwoods’ Buicks has been found in the sea, with... (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe meets Ohls at the Hall of Justice, where the policeman confirms the body is not Regan—it’s a... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Ohls and Marlowe drive down to the pier on the coast highway, about 30 miles away.... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Ohls asks the men on the scene for an update. The boy had driven the car... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
The policemen, Ohls, and Marlowe are unsure whether it is suicide or murder, as the boy has a... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Ohls and Marlowe decide to head back into town. As they drive, Marlowe tells Ohls the... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Ohls says he must go tell the Sternwoods now. Marlowe asks him to “leave the old... (full context)
Chapter 11
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Alone, Marlowe calls Ohls on his office phone. Ohls has told the Sternwood butler, Norris, about Owen, and checked... (full context)
Chapter 17
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Marlowe calls chief investigator Bernie Ohls. The private detective asks the cop if they had found a gun on Owen Taylor’s... (full context)
Chapter 18
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Ohls stands in Geiger’s house, looking at Lundgren. They don’t need a confession from the boy,... (full context)
Masculinity Theme Icon
Ohls tells Marlowe they will all have to drive over to District Attorney Taggart Wilde’s place.... (full context)
Wealth, Status, and Social Mobility Theme Icon
...is smoking a cigar and drinking coffee as “cold-eyed” Captain Cronjager looks at the group. Ohls introduces the captain and Marlowe. (full context)
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Ohls asks Cronjager how he’s progressing on finding Joe Brody’s murderer. The police have picked up... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Ohls tells Cronjager he has the suspect in his car right outside, and puts the gun... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
Helping Cronjager catch up on the situation, Ohls explains the dead man was a driver for a wealthy family who were being blackmailed,... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Ohls explains further that the dead man (Owen Taylor) had killed Geiger the night before. Lundgren,... (full context)
The Corruption of Society Theme Icon
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...police if the whole story came to light. Cronjager takes that moment to leave, and Ohls follows him to hand over Lundgren. (full context)
Chapter 20
Cynicism and Survival Theme Icon
...Attorney Wilde. Marlowe explains he’s an ex-cop who used to work for Wilde, and knows Ohls well. Gregory calls Ohls’s office and confirms this, and asks for a physical description of... (full context)