An affair that blossoms in his 40s and is quickly squelched by a departmental rival serves as his single true illumination.
Maybe it has to do with a departmental culture that downplays sexual assaults—an attitude that seems to start at the top.
1791, "pertaining to a French department," from French départmental, from département (see department). Meaning "of departmental systems generally" from 1832.
mid-15c., "a going away, act of leaving," from Old French departement (12c.) "division, sharing out; divorce, parting," from Late Latin departire (see depart). French department meant "group of people" (as well as "departure"), from which English borrowed the sense of "separate division, separate business assigned to someone in a larger organization" (c.1735). Meaning "separate division of a government" is from 1769. As an administrative district in France, from 1792.