Characters: The Dresden Files Chicago PD And FBI

Characters from The Dresden Files, Chicago Police and FBI.

WARNING! Due to the books relying heavily on mystery and surprise, the pages would be virtually unreadable with excessive spoiler tags. Therefore, all spoilers except for the most recent novel (Skin Game) are UNMARKED. Tread carefully.

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     Collin Murphy 

Murphy's dead father. A police captain in life, he ran the Black Cat squad, the Special Investigations of his era. He died from a gunshot wound that might have been from a suicide attempt. After his death, he sends Harry back to the land of the living, and works for Uriel.

     Karrin Murphy 

"The law isn't perfect. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to make it work."

Murphy looks like someone's favorite aunt. She's five feet even and has blond hair, blue eyes, and a cute nose. Unfortunately for the bad guys, she's a lot more dangerous than she looks; she's a cop with some serious martial arts skills and enough stubbornness and ingenuity to really inconvenience anyone who annoys her. When she was reassigned to the Special Investigations department, a political death sentence, she responded by taking the department and helping it to become a lot more effective. Since SI got all the cases involving, say, vampire attacks, trolls eating people, or the results of some other sort of magical mayhem, this meant her most effective step was probably hiring Harry. Initially distrusting of Harry (albeit considering him a capable asset to her unit), the two of them eventually became close friends (with a heaping helping of Unresolved Sexual Tension).
  • Action Girl: She attacked an ogre with a chainsaw.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: She dates Kincaid, a dangerous mercenary who is implied to not even be human, for a while.
  • Badass Normal: The scariest mortal in a fist fight is five ft. and 100 lbs.
  • The Big Guy: Often fills this role, despite aforementioned stature.
  • Broken Bird: In Ghost Story. Harry's death hit her hard.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In Skin Game, Murphy uses Fidelacchius for the wrong reasons, while she had Nicodemus helpless on the ropes, and ends up breaking the sword and becoming horrible injured.
  • By-the-Book Cop: A lot of her early drama with Harry is that he really is lying to her while she's trying to investigate a homicide. When Harry tells her about the full extent of the supernatural world, she starts to make a lot more allowances for his behavior.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Murphy doesn't have magic. She makes do with ruthless exploitation of her enemies' weaknesses instead. In Aftermath, for example, she deals with an enemy sorcerer by shooting him in the head, while he's focused on different things.
  • Conflict Ball, Mixed with Idiot Ball: In the first two books, she was practically married to it for the purpose of giving Harry a bit more conflict in the current plot, which reached its horrible zenith in Fool Moon where she arrests Harry for some ridiculously trumped-up charges, with a side of Police Brutality. She gets better, though.
  • Cute Bruiser: Sanya sums her up as "Tiny.. But fierce"
  • Dye or Die: As part of a disguise/"makeover" in Aftermath.
    "If I hear montage music playing, I'm cutting it short."
  • Fair Cop: Harry often notes she looks like an adorable favorite aunt than an expert monster ass kicker.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: After taking up Fidelaccius.
  • Heroic BSOD: After Grave Peril, when a supernatural nasty pretending to be Harry mind raped her. It took her several books to get back on her feet—and kicking—again.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The tiny to Harry's huge.
  • Inspector Javert: Has shades of this in the first couple books, largely because Harry refuses to tell her pertinent information regarding supernatural cases out of a misguided need to "protect" her. She gets better, as soon as she gets info and some perspective on the limits of mortal law and weapons.
  • Kill the God: She is the one to finally kill Winter Lady Maeve with a bullet to the brain.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Karrin is a born cynic who fights her absolute hardest Justice. She so embodies this trope that she actually appears to Harry as a bloodied angel with his Sight.
  • The Lancer: She grew into this with Harry. in Changes when they were at the Red Court base, Harry told her to take the lead if something happened to him and later took over as a top defender of Chicago. In Skin Game Harry picked her to be his back-up over Thomas.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: A small variation. While she knows her father was a policeman in his life, Karrin's mother and his comrades didn't tell her he was in charge of the Black Cats, the Special Investigations of his era.
  • Noodle Incident: She and Kincaid had some sort of adventure during their Hawaiian vacation.
  • One of the Boys: To her fellow police officers. After Changes, she becomes this to a gang of immortal Viking warriors.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: In Changes. Implied to be an Archangel speaking through her due to her wielding Fidelaccius at the time.
    False gods! Pretenders! Usurpers of truth! Destroyers of faith, of families, of lives, of children! For your crimes against the Mayans, against the peoples of the world, now will you answer! Your time has come! Face judgment Almighty!
  • Properly Paranoid: She learned the hard way about beings looking like her friends and hurting her when her guard was down. When Mort comes to see her in Ghost Story the minimal test to enter her home is to bleed.
  • Supporting Leader: The leader of Justice League Chicago, in Ghost Story.
  • Survival Mantra / Madness Mantra: "I can't believe he's dead."
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: As a cop Murphy was trained in proportionate response, to never go beyond the attacker's danger, but after learning about the supernatural world and the powers some forces have, this trope applies. For that reason in Aftermath she adds a suppressor to her P-90 and goes for upper body and head shots. And after the turtlenecks were down and dead, she used her SIG and put a few more in their heads just to make sure.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Although it's not her fault - she inherited the decor from her grandmother - tough-as-nails martial arts expert Murphy's home is full of frilly tablecloths and lace doilies, which she easily could pack up in the attic if she didn't like them.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Not that she was weak to begin with, but Changes takes things to a whole new level once she agrees to 'borrow' Fidelacchius, and amongst other things, proceeds to One-Hit Kill a Physical God.
    • In the six months between Changes and Ghost Story, she formed and headed an underground alliance of Chicago's lesser magically-talented individuals, and managed to kill two warlocks who were at Council-level strength, as well as lesser talents under Fomor command. For an ordinary human with no magic, that's a big deal.
  • Tsundere: Type A, usually towards Harry, but implied to be part of her interactions with Kincaid as well. We just don't see enough to really know in that case.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Harry. In Changes, they were going to resolve it, but Harry caught a bad case of sniper.
    • Resolved as of the end of Skin Game. Well, once she's out of the hospital and healed up a bit, anyway.
  • Vague Age: Her age is never mentioned, but she and Harry are supposed to be "of an age". This is fine, until you consider that by the time we first meet her, she is a police lieutenant running her own unit and has two divorces under her belt already. According to Word of God, Harry is twenty-five years old in Storm Front, which, presumably makes Murphy anywhere from roughly 23 to 29. Kinda young for a twice-divorced police lieutenant.
    • There are hints that her promotion to lieutenant and assignment to Special Investigations was more of a "get her out of the way" move because as a detective she was the type to ask uncomfortable questions of powerful people in the notoriously corrupt Chicago Police Dept. Still, at younger than 30 she shouldn't have even been a detective yet, nor in any position to be asking those questions in the first place.
    • Her first marriage was while she was still in high school, and it didn't even last a year. Plenty of time between age 18 and 25 for there to be another unsuccessful marriage. But yeah, her already having been a detective and now a lieutenant is a bit of a stretch.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend:
    • While Harry and she are not boyfriend-girlfriend (yet), harming Harry will always incite a response from Karrin. The sight of Maeve preparing to shoot Harry caused Karrin to shoot first and then think about what would happen to Maeve's mantle.
    • This is also her flaw as Nicodemus invoked her rage in Skin Game making her wield Fidelaccius in a moment of anger and tried to kill the unarmed and fallen-less Nicodemus. It worked and depowered the blade.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Considering the amount of snarkery that she exchanges with Harry, dear God yes. It helps that they've saved each other's lives plenty of times.
  • Waif-Fu: A realistic version—Murphy is tiny compared to the things she ends up fighting.
  • The Watson: Harry frequently ends up expositing, usually about magic, to her. "Egad, Holmes."
  • Weak, but Skilled: In Aftermath, she uses tactics and brains to do what Harry would have done with brute force.
  • Weapon of Choice: For serious encounters Murphy packs her P90 submachinegun, which is tiny, but fierce, like herself. She calls it George.

    Agent Phil Denton 

A no-nonsense FBI agent from Fool Moon and also the Big Bad of the book. He's obsessed with maintaining law and order at any cost, even to the extent of becoming a werewolf (specifically, Hexenwulf) to hunt down criminals who escaped justice. Gradually goes off the deep end.
  • Fallen Hero: He was a genuinely good man and honest agent before years of disillusionment and despair drove him to do the whole Hexenwulf thing for what he thought was the power to make things right. Then its poisonous influence destroyed everything good left in him.
    • It's implied in Cold Days that he might have also been influenced by Nemesis.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: He took on a magical talisman to be able to fight drug dealers and other people which cannot be touched, like Marcone, but ended up corrupted by the power and driven to make an innocent man the scapegoat for his and his peoples' crimes.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Thanks to using Black Magic.
  • Knight Templar: He is a firm believer that he who breaks the law should be punished, and that anyone who gets in the way is a "necessary sacrifice."
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: he needs a belt possessed by a demon wolf spirit to transform; which someone gave him. Later books hint it was either agents of Nemesis, or the Black Council, or possibly both if they are working together.
  • The Stoic: His intense self-control helps him resist the sanity-sapping effects of the belts for longer than any of his comrades... though not to completely ignore them.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Another Black Council pawn, though the memory of his kneeling to receive the belt implies that it might not have been totally unwitting.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Although in Cold Days it is implied that Nemesis drove him to it.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: The most horribly twisted version ever. His continued rationalization for using the belts, long after he cannot fail to notice the horrible effects they are having on himself and his men, is that they have a duty to use them to kill Marcone, and any innocent deaths in-between are "necessary sacrifices."
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Genuinely believes that what he is doing is right. After Harry points out that he is as monstrous as his enemies Denton essentially denies it.


A police officer in Special Investigations who ended up there for sleeping with the wrong councilman's daughter. Bears a grudge against Harry and the rest of SI, refusing to believe in the supernatural and sucking up to anyone who will get him out of SI. Eventually joins Internal Affairs.
  • Dirty Coward: When given the chance in a bad situation, he will run to cover his own ass.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Rudolph is introduced in Fool Moon as a rookie justifiably scared by the loup-garou rampaging around in the next room. In Grave Peril, he gives Harry a If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... regarding Murphy. However, by two books, he's tranferred to Internal Affairs and become the Rudolph we love to hate.
  • In-Series Nickname: SI refer to him as "Rudolph The Brown-Nosed Cop Cop".
  • Inspector Javert: This guy loves to try and screw up whatever Harry's case is in any way he can.
  • The Quisling: Indicated to be in the pocket of the Red Court in Changes.
  • Rabid Cop: He attempted it in Changes to get Harry to confess to blowing up his own building. It... didn't work, and only resulted in Harry laughing his arse off.

     Special Agent Tilly 

FBI agent working at the Chicago FBI office. Heads the investigation into the destruction of Harry's office building, but unlike a lot of government officials and police, he is willing to listen to Harry and pay attention to what's really going on.
  • Death Glare: He gives a really good one to Rudolph. Dresden describes it as being a glare that, when it's focused on you, you see a little bit of old man Death.
  • I Believe That You Believe It: Once Harry recognizes the below-mentioned gift, he outright tells Tilly that it was vampires that are responsible. Tilly just about mentions this trope by name, saying that while Harry is telling him what he believes to be the truth, that doesn't mean he's right about it.
  • Living Lie Detector: He says he's got a talent for always knowing when someone's telling the truth. Harry recognizes this as a minor magical gift.


Chicago police officer and former detective who has encountered the supernatural in the past, and thus is willing to believe the resident crazy wizard. Has a history with Murphy; apparently her father saved his life from a monster while he was on patrol long ago. Eventually is forced to join SI due to politics within the CPD, due to his issues with authority.
  • Badass Grandpa: Rawlins is getting up there in years, but he can still hold his own. Giant scarecrow monsters and hook-claw-wielding serial killers who are Immune to Bullets don't even make him flinch.
  • Cool Old Guy: Snarks almost as much as Harry, but with a lot more cheer.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Rawlins is an honest cop, so honest it got him thrown into SI. However, that doesn't keep him from sitting back and watching when Harry and Murphy need to bend the rules on a deserving suspect. In fact, he asks them to wait so he can make popcorn.

     Ron Carmichael 

Murphy's original partner, killed by the loup-garou in Fool Moon. As of Ghost Story, he's now employed by Uriel.
  • Agent Scully: Very sceptical towards the supernatural, even outright calling Harry a fraud to his face.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: Now that he's dead, he works for one under the direction of Captain Murphy, who is under the purview of Uriel.
  • Fat Slob: Part of his Obfuscating Stupidity. Fat, unkempt, suit looks like he sleeps in it, and his ties all have permanent coffee stains.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Averted. When he appears in Ghost Story he looks younger and physically fit with fitting clothes, not the blood-stained apparel he died in.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He dresses like a slob and acts like a boor, which Harry is quick to point out belies his razor intellect.
  • Pet the Dog: Previously portrayed as a severe Agent Scully who didn't trust Harry. Immediately before his death, it's revealed that he does believe Harry's one of the good guys, and that he keeps stuffed animals in his desk to give to children brought into the precinct.
  • Posthumous Character: After Fool Moon anyway.
  • Sacrificial Lion: To the loup-garou.