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    Cormoran Strike 

Cormoran Strike

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/13855059_low_res_strike_career_of_evil_dceff95.jpg
Played by: Tom Burke

A former military police investigator who became a private detective after losing his leg in Afghanistan.


  • An Arm and a Leg: He lost part of his right leg to an improvised explosive device while on a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Even after the Lula Landry case makes him mildly famous, many people still can’t get his name right. "Cameron" tends to be the most common corruption of his first name. You'd think people could at least get "Strike" right, but people often end up on "Strick."
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: "Cormoran" (a Cornish giant) and "Strike".
  • Child Hater: A downplayed example. He definitely never really wanted to have children, even when he still had a girlfriend. He can make a decent pretense of getting along with them when he has to, and has a godson, but throughout a dinner with his godson's family (which has recently grown) is somewhat secretly uncomfortable and the screaming and antics of the children reminds him of exactly why he never wants to have any.
  • Defective Detective: Only to a certain extent. While Strike is a war-wounded amputee with a tempestuous on-and-off relationship, death threats from a former client, and debt up to his eyeballs, he still manages to retain a remarkably level headed personality, free of self-destructive impulses.
  • Defector from Decadence: His father, rock star Johnny Rokeby, was very keen to bankroll his life, but he turned it down and went in the army instead.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: Whether he's interrogating witnesses, setting up information swaps with the police, or simply relaxing, Strike will order a pint of Doom Bar, a Cornish ale that reminds him of home.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: It's Blue. His mother named him after the band Blue Öyster Cult, because she was obsessed with the lead singer.
    • In the traditional Chinese translations released in Taiwan, "Cormoran" is transliterated as 柯莫藍 (romanised as "Ke Mo Lan") right from the beginning. 藍 means "Blue".
  • Handicapped Badass: Missing part of his right leg, but still a highly capable fighter as well as highly intelligent.
  • Heroic Bastard: Strike is the illegitimate child of a famous rock star, who for his part has a positively Victorian attitude towards Strike's existence.
  • I Have Many Names: Each one of Strike's many friends and acquaintances seem to know him by a different name. Robin is bemused when during her first day on the job, she receives calls for "Oggy," "Monkey Boy" and simply "Mr. Strike." Detective Inspector Richard Anstis calls him "Mystic Bob," and his ex-girlfriend Charlotte Campbell calls him "Bluey" because of his middle name being "Blue." Shanker calls him "Bunsen," although he's not sure why. A complete list can be found here. At one point, Robin jokingly asks him if, among his many names, anyone has ever called him "Lightning."note 
  • Innocently Insensitive: Frequently, especially around Robin, such as when he manages to miss several hints that she wants to be regarded as an equal partner. May possibly be as a result of his military background, due to the strict hierarchies in the armed forces.
  • Kavorka Man: Cormoran Strike looks like a boxer who’s had his nose broken too many times, is incredibly hairy, lost half his leg, and at the start of The Cuckoo's Calling, he is overweight. And yet, his on-again, off-again girlfriend Charlotte is described as supermodel gorgeous and over the course of his debut story he has sex with an actual supermodel without even trying. In fact, he never has a single love interest (no matter how brief) who isn't gorgeous.
    • Interestingly, a throwaway line from Lady Bristow in The Cuckoo's Calling, implies that Johnny Rokeby also qualifies as this.
  • Mama's Boy: Justified in that he never knew his father, but he adored his mother, unlike his sister Lucy.
  • The Masochism Tango: seems to be a good description of his long-standing, off and on relationship with Charlotte (especially since some of his flashbacks to their relationship imply she was also emotionally abusive to him).
  • Meaningful Name: Both his name and surname…
  • Sesquipedalian Smith: "Cormoran Strike".
  • Standard Cop Backstory: Cormoran has almost every single one.
    • His mother was a wild drug user and, while his father was famous, he never knew him. Leda committed suicide in what he believes to be an unsolved murder, but which he was never capable of proving, hitting a lot of these categories at once. They moved around a lot and only avoided Social Services due to this nomadic lifestyle.
    • On top of his My Greatest Failure feelings about his mother, he also saved lives (and failed to save several) while in the army, and he has a string of failed relationships.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Despite all the difficulties Strike is experiencing, he maintains some degree of discipline in confronting his demons. It’s notable that most of his struggles are external, while his internal conflict is somewhat minimal.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Cormoran to a mild degree in The Cuckoo's Calling. He gets over it by the time of The Silkworm.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: "Cormoran Blue Strike" — justified given his mother's... eccentricities.
  • Will They or Won't They?: The main element of his Unresolved Sexual Tension with Robin.
  • Women Drivers: He is biased against them due to several past bad experiences and knows it. He reluctantly allows Robin to drive him in The Silkworm and is surprised but pleased to have his biases challenged when Robin turns to be a hypercompetent driver who has taken advanced driving courses.
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     Robin Ellacott 

Robin Venetia Ellacott

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ps_cormoranstrike_animagos_5_683x1024.jpg
Played by: Holliday Grainger

Cormoran’s secretary. Recently moved to London from Yorkshire, she becomes fascinated with detective work.


  • Author Avatar: Robin has shades of Rowling in her. Being a woman in a masculine dominated profession, a victim of rape as a young adult, and a failed marriage in her twenties.
  • Badass Driver: She is a highly trained driver and has several opportunities to show off her skills.
  • Damsel in Distress: She is distressed several times; she was one in the past when she was raped while at university, then she is attacked by the killer in Career of Evil and needs to be rescued after being attacked by him again, then in Lethal White, she is kidnapped by the killer and is on the brink of being killed when Strike saves her.
  • Deuteragonist: The narration focuses on her almost as much as it does on Strike and has increasingly done so as the series has worn on.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: She's not overly fond of the name Venetia, and who can blame her? Despite this, though, she still uses it twice when going undercover.
  • Fiery Redhead: Downplayed. Robin is strawberry blonde, not all the way red, but she becomes increasingly feisty and assertive over the course of the series.
  • Girl Friday: Robin is this for Strike, providing an astonishing level of support and doing a lot of legwork.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Robin has Strawberry-Blonde hair and is firmly on the side of the angels.
  • Hidden Depths: There's the expert driving skills listed below; also, Robin's pov implies that detective work was actually a dream of hers since childhood, but this was discouraged by her mother (who was worried about the danger it would put Robin in) and Matthew (probably because he didn't want her becoming so obviously more interesting than him). This comes out in the aftermath of her rape; Robin was the last of a chain of victims, because her innate talent for detection let her to remember details that the other victims didn't, which enabled the police to catch him.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Robin exhibits traits of this right from the get-go, and she only becomes more competent as the series progresses. Unlike many other examples of this trope, Strike recognizes and appreciates her competency and is fully aware how lucky he is to have her around.
  • I Have Brothers: Robin has a lot of brothers, which she accounts for her tomboyish nature.
  • Meaningful Name: "Robin" is a singularly appropriate name for a great detective’s sidekick.
  • Plucky Girl: Robin is very clever, resilient, and determined.
  • Plucky Office Girl: In The Cuckoo's Calling, although she later hates being regarded as Strike's secretary.
  • The Power of Acting: It's repeatedly noted that Robin is very talented whenever she has to go undercover, something which she often volunteers for.
  • Rape as Backstory / Rape as Drama: Robin dropped out of university after being raped on campus. While she had a so-called "good ending" as she both identified her attacker and testified to bring him to justice, the trauma has had a continuing effect on her life: her planned career was derailed after she had to drop out of university, and in Lethal White she comes to the realization that if the rape hadn't left her feeling that Matthew was the only man outside her family that she was safe with, they never would have stayed together so long, or embarked on their doomed marriage.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Robin is very tomboyish in dress and in hobby, but she is also very attached to beautiful things and, of course, She Cleans Up Nicely.
  • Took a Level in Badass: By the second novel, Robin turns out to be an expert driver who has taken advanced driving courses and has practiced those skills. Cormoran compares her skills to the combat-trained drivers he's met in the Army.
  • Will They or Won't They?: The main thrust of her Unresolved Sexual Tension with Strike.

Recurring Characters

Family Members

     Matthew Cunliffe 

Matthew Cunliffe

Played by: Kerr Logan

Robin’s fiancé. An accountant in an important firm.


  • 0% Approval Rating: While drunk at one point a coworker who Matthew treats poorly rants that Matthew is in fact widely disliked at their office.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Played with. The first novel paints him as one of these, but Robin and him are still together for the following books and eventually get married at the end of Career of Evil. But she finally does leave him a year into the marriage in Lethal White.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Intensely jealous of Strike, whom he believes is trying to have an affair with Robin. Given his own affair, Psychological Projection likely factors into it, too.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Complains a lot about the long hours Robin keeps at her detective work, even though he does the exact same thing in his accounting job.
    • His constant paranoia over Robin's relationship with Strike becomes even more outrageous after it's revealed he cheated on her. When confronted with this, he has the nerve to claim it's not "like for like".
  • Informed Attribute: Robin seems to think that Matthew is a wonderful human being who is utterly deserving of her love and devotion til death do them part. All the reader ever sees of Matthew is an overly jealous, paranoid, egotistical, short-tempered, and emotionally manipulative man-child who definitely sees his own happiness and goals as more important than Robin's. She finally starts to get wise in the third book, Career of Evil, and leaves him for good in Lethal White after having been married to him for over a year only to discover that he's again cheating on her. She realizes that she no longer loves him and tells him to his face.
  • Ill Boy: Temporarily. During their off-screen honeymoon in Lethal White, Matthew cut his foot on some coral, which became infected and put him in hospital with a dangerous fever. Robin had intended to annul the marriage once they returned to England, but Matthew's illness made her reconsider, leading to her spending just over a year fruitlessly trying to make their dead relationship work.
  • It's All About Me: He has the singular ability to reframe every single problem or situation as a function of how it will affect or inconvenience him.
  • Jerkass: To the point where you wonder just what Robin sees in him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While his Stay in the Kitchen attitude is deeply unpleasant most of the time, he's not wrong to be angry with Robin for not prioritising him when his mother died.
  • Malicious Slander: After he and Robin break up, he tells some of their friends she was cheating on him with Strike.
  • Never My Fault: Basically an extension of the "it's all about me" above. Pretty much any problem in his and Robin's relationship is, in his mind, her fault, no matter what it might be.
  • Pet the Dog: After a long and ugly marriage and divorce process, he and Robin do have a brief exchange of somewhat kind words and manners after they finally sign the papers and say goodbye.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Although he is a lot more subtle about it than most, this attitude of his comes more to the forefront when Robin starts working with Strike.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Although it occurred in his Back Story, the revelation that he cheated on Robin while she was recovering from her rape makes him irredeemable.

     Lucy Strike 

Lucy Strike

Played by: Sarah Sweeney

Cormoran’s younger sister on his mother’s side.


  • Adult Fear: In Lethal White, when one of her children suffers a burst appendix while she and her husband are on vacation, and a lost passport keeps them from getting home right away.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Is viewed by her brother as a bit pestering, although she has a point about Strike's lifestyle.
  • Demoted to Extra: Her role is significantly smaller in the show, only having appeared in the first series.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: She sees herself as the responsible one because of Cormoran’s lifestyle and because he hasn’t settled down yet.
  • Like Mother, Unlike Daughter: She is the polar opposite of her flighty, Cloudcuckoolander groupie mother. She values stability and family life above all else.
  • Promotion to Parent: Judging by the way she treats Cormoran you would be justified in thinking she was his mother, constantly encouraging him to settle down and start a family.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: The "serious child" to Leda's "wacky parent".

    Leda Strike 

Leda Strike

Played by: Kierston Wareing

Cormoran's mother, a semi-famous groupie who died of an overdose.


  • Celeb Crush: She was obsessed with Eric Bloom from Blue Öyster Cult, but she never managed to get him in bed.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: She was a professional groupie, so this trope is to be expected, and it's played to the fullest.
  • Posthumous Character: she is long dead by the time the novels take place, but her influence in Strike's life continues to be profound nevertheless.
  • Really Gets Around: Leda was quite promiscuous for most of her life, giving birth to three children from as many parents.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: She lived this lifestyle to the fullest, to the point that near the end of her life she had become a minor icon of the British music scene.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: The "wacky parent" to Lucy's "serious child". Cormoran is in the middle.
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     Charlotte Campbell 

Charlotte Ross née Campbell

Played by: Natasha O'Keeffe

Strike’s former fiancé and on-again off-again girlfriend of many years.


  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Strike's aristocratic ex is also extremely manipulative, physically violent, and unstable. In Lethal White Cormoran's POV says outright that Charlotte has spent her whole life trying to cause as much trouble and conflict as possible to everyone around her.
  • Bastard Girlfriend: Emotionally and (on at least one occasion) physically abusive to Strike.
  • Mood-Swinger: Described as login from funny to erratic and as of the end of the fifth book she's made three suicide attempts.
  • Rich Bitch: She seems nice, but this is what she is at heart.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Her first appearance in the flesh is when Robin bumps into her at the beginning of the first book, but her presence weighs heavily across the following books, until she reappears in Lethal White.
  • What Does She See in Him?: The question in everyone’s mind when they see her and Strike together. If they really knew what she was like, they would be asking the opposite question.
  • Yandere: This woman is as insane as she is hot. Unfortunately, while Strike is fully aware of it, he still can’t let go of his obsession with her.

     Jonny Rokeby 

Jonny Rokeby

Strike's father and a famous rockstar.


  • A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: The fifth book reveals that he and Leda conceived Strike in the corner of a room where a party was happening.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Is Jonny a deadbeat dad who only showed interest in his son out of fear that Cormoran would sell his story to the tabloids, or is he genuinely interested in forming a relationship with Cormoran that Cormoran doesn't want? Jonny's behavior since Cormoran left the army is difficult to understand, not helped by Al and Cormoran's very different opinions of their father.
  • Disappeared Dad: Even after a DNA test proved he was Strike's father, he didn't make any attempt to have any kind of relationship with his son. Strike has only met him twice in all his life.
    • It's implied in The Silkworm that Strike may be deliberately perpetuating this (although who could blame him?). Strike's half-brother Al claims that Rokeby is actually quite proud of his detective son and would like to meet him, and that it's Strike who keeps making sure that doesn't happen.
    • In Troubled Blood Strike mentions that one of his meetings with Rokeby was when his mother took him to surprise Rokeby at a concert and Rokeby called him a mistake, and the second meeting involved a discussion about college money. Strike also notes that Rokeby never reached out to him except for a single card while he was in the hospital and (although it's unclear if he's right) feels that Rokeby is only interested in reaching out to Strike because he's earned fame and success from his detective cases.
  • Kavorka Man: Implied by Lady Bristow in The Cuckoo's Calling, which would make Cormoran's ability to pull beautiful women genetic.
  • The Ghost: He is mentioned in every novel, but he has yet to make an appearance in the flesh. although he briefly talks to Strike on the phone in the fifth book.
  • Really Gets Around: He has fathered 7 children from 5 different women, only 3 of whom he was married to at the time.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: While he didn't get quite far enough to elaborate (Strike insults him and promptly hangs up), he certainly seems to have been headed in this direction about Leda in Troubled Blood, referencing her number of sexual partners.

    Alexander 'Al' Rokeby 

Al Rokeby

Strike's half-brother on his father's side (from Rokeby's third, and current wife). The only person on that side of the family with whom Strike keeps in regular contact.


  • Demoted to Extra: while he does show up in The Silkworm adaptation, his role is significantly reduced - his part in the climax is given to Robin.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: He is first mentioned in the The Cuckoo's Calling alongside all of Jonny Rokeby's children when Robin reads the rock star's Wikipedia page, before playing a supporting role in The Silkworm.
  • Jumped at the Call: When Strike asks for his help with the Quine case, he is all too happy to help.
  • Nice Guy: The only one of Jonny Rokeby's many children to make any attempt to have a relationship with Strike, even visiting when he was in the hospital with a missing leg (although two of their half-sisters did send flowers then).
  • Rudely Hanging Up: His last scene in Troubled Blood has him hang up on Strike in mid-conversation, although this was in response to Strike launching into a particularly angry tirade about Rokeby which Al was distressed by.

    Prudence Donleavy 

Prudence Donleavy

Another of Rokeby's children, illegitimate like Strike. She is mentioned in passing in the first book and reaches out to Strike in Troubled Blood trying to help mediate Strike and Rokeby's difficulties. Little else is known about her, although she is presumably married, as her surname isn't the same as either Rokeby's or her mother (an actress named Lindsay Fanthrope)'s, and in the fifth book Al makes a passing mention of the "families" throwing a party for Rokeby in a way which implies that at least some of Strike's paternal half-siblings have families of their own.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Al calls her Pru.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: In the first book Strike mentions that only three of Rokeby's legitimate children (Al, Gabi and Dani) did anything when he was in the hospital with his leg blown off. Prudence isn't legitimate making it ambiguous if she also sent a card, flowers or anything (although since Strike explicitly says they've never met before, this means that she didn't visit in person).
  • Commonality Connection: Attempted when she tries to contact Strike in the fifth book. She's the only other one of Rokeby's children born out of wedlock and also had a troubled relationship with him in the past. Strike actually finds himself being interested in this overture and acknowledging some desire to connect, just not right then, with so much on his plate.
  • The Ghost: She's yet to appear in person, although Shrike reads a few texts messages from her in the fifth book.
  • Vague Age: It is unclear when she was conceived in relation to all of the other Rokeby children, aside from Strike commenting that she isn't either the oldest or the youngest of them at one point.

    Luke, Jack and Adam 

Luke, Jack and Adam

Lucy's sons and Strike's nephews.
  • Adapted Out: Have yet to appear in the show although Lucy does mention them in the first series.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Luke is selfish, often petulant and a big part of the reason Strike is such a Child Hater. Adam is less bad but is described as "whiny" by his uncle.
  • Distressed Dude: Jack is hospitalized for a few chapters of the fourth book from a burst appendix.
  • Generation Xerox: Luke reminds Strike a lot of his father, who Strike dislikes.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Jack bears a resemblance to his grandmother, Leda.
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    Gabriella and Daniella Rokeby 

Gabriella and Daniella Rokeby

Rokeby's daughters from his second marriage. Their mentioned in the first book and then never referenced again until Troubled Blood.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Gabi (or Gaby, sometimes) and Dani.
  • The Ghost: Neither has made an in-flesh appearance yet.
  • Nice Girl: They sent Strike flowers in the hospital and Gabi is mentioned as trying to do something nice for their father on his bands anniversary in the fifth book.
  • Noodle Incident: Based on dialogue in Troubled Blood about which of his siblings he's never seen in person, Strike apparently met the two in the past at one point. He doesn't reflect on them at all across the series and describes Al as the only member of his father's family he's quasi-close with, but Strike does refer to them by their nicknames, and they did send flowers when he was in the hospital.

    Ted Nancarrow 

Ted Nancarrow

Strike's uncle, Leda's brother.
  • Generation Xerox: Strike strongly resembles him and became a military policeman largely due to Ted's example.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: He and his wife could never have children of their own.
  • Parental Substitute: Ted saw to a lot of Strike's upbringing when Leda was lacking in the area and after her death.

    The Ellacott Family 

The Ellacot family.

Robin's parents and brothers.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Martin, one of Robin's brothers, punches Matthew for messing with her phone to delete a message from Strike.

    Joan Nancarrow 

Joan Nancarrow

Strike's aunt and Ted's wife.
  • Ill Girl: She's dying from cancer for most of the fifth book.
  • Parental Substitute: She helped raise Strike and Lucy. Strike is grateful but spent a long time conflicted that she was replacing Leda. Lucy embraced it wholeheartedly, openly saying she sees Joan as more of a mother than Leda, and having her sons call Joan "Granny".
  • Turn the Other Cheek: She encourages Strike to let go of his issues with Rokeby and maybe reach out some. He doesn't take he advice.

Friends, Acquaintances, and Business Associates

     Shanker 

'Shanker'

An old friend from Strike's past with an entrepeneurial view of the law.


  • Breakout Character: Shanker's most definitely a fan favourite.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: It's J.K. Rowling, what were you expecting? Shanker is mentioned early on in The Cuckoo's Calling as someone Strike knows who works on the other side of the law. He's finally introduced in Career of Evil and his and Strike's backstory is more fleshed out.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Shanker's off-page appearances in Cuckoo made it on-screen in the tv adaptation, mostly due to his Ensemble Dark Horse status.
  • Face of a Thug: Subverted. Shanker looks like a terrifying criminal, and he can be. However, he's quite civil to Robin, appears to respect women generally, and acts protectively towards a young child who's being sexually abused.
  • Genius Bruiser: While Shanker is not as big as Strike, he's a nasty fighter who doesn't hesitate to put suspects into headlocks, when he's not pulling knives on them. However, Strike describes him as sharper and more sober than many businessmen.
  • Knife Nut: His favourite means of dealing with problems.
  • Missing Mom: His mother disappeared when he was quite young and he clung to Leda as a result.
  • Morality Pet: Leda was one to him.
  • My Greatest Failure: He regrets buying drugs at a time when Leda was dying, and believes that his absence is what allowed Whittaker to murder her.
  • Restraining Bolt: He acts as a version for Whittaker. Whittaker is a violent man; so is Shanker. Shanker loves Leda, and sees Whittaker as a threat to her. However, he lacks the same self-restraint that's keeping Cormoran, Leda's son, from flat-out murdering Whittaker.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Explicitly identified as why Shanker has spent half his adult life in jail, he's had multiple relatives and friends die by violence and doesn't tend to take it well.

    Dave Polworth 
  • Affectionate Nickname: Strike call him "Chum", both as a reference to their friendship and how Dave once had a scare with a shark while swimming.
  • Ascended Extra: He has some minor appearances in earlier books before being more prominent in Troubled Blood
  • Awful Wedded Life: He and his wife don't sound like they get along very well (although they've been married for a long time with two kids), largely because of his tendency to make important decisions without asking her.
  • Childhood Friends: Strike describes him as his oldest (although not quite his closet, due to people in his life like Robin) friend.
  • Jumped at the Call: In the second book he's eager to contribute to Strike's catching of the culprit mainly for the fun of showing up the cops.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Dave is keen on the idea of Cornwall becoming independent as the European Union weakens.

    Nick and Ilsa Herbert 

Nick and Ilsa

Close friends of Strike who also befriend Robin.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: They've been trying to have a baby for a while, eventually resorting ti inverto fertilization. Ilsa miscarries in the fifth book, and implies that it's happened before and they won't have another chance, straining her relationship with Nick.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ilsa isn't afraid to call Striek a dickhead for forgetting Robin's birthday.

     Sam Barclay 

Sam Barclay

A former soldier investigated for drug offences by Strike during his army days. Barclay uncovered contractors defrauding the British taxpayer, who then planted drugs in his possession. Strike saw the charges against Barclay dropped, but could not prevent his court martial. He later hires Barclay as a freelance investigator and has him infiltrate Jimmy Knight's gang.


  • Family Man:He has a wife and baby daughter he seems concerned about spending time with.
  • Funetik Aksent: Barclay has a very heavy Scottish accent, which is rendered this way on the page.
  • Hidden Depths: During their first encounter Strike realized that the simple squaddie with a taste for drugs also had the natural instincts of a first-rate investigator for gathering thorough evidence on his superiors corruption without being asked.
  • Reverse Mole: He doesn't just keep tabs on Jimmy Knight in Lethal White, he so successfully infiltrates his group that Jimmy brings him along to search Flick's apartment.

    Andy Hutchins 

Andy Hutchins

An ex-policeman hired by Strike between the third and fourth books at the recommendation of Eric Wardle.
  • Career-Ending Injury: He had to retire from the force due to MS that left him with a limp.
  • Family Man: He has a wife and children.
  • Older Sidekick: "Sidekick" is probably overstating his plot importance, but Hutchins is about decade older than his boss.
  • Out of Focus: Hutchins has the least characterization and plot importance of Strike's employees so far and most of his conversations with Strike and Robin are described second hand rather than being given verbatim.
  • The Quiet One: He's described as quiet by Strike's point of view and its supported by the story.
  • The Reliable One: He isn't infallible (losing a tail at one point in the fourth book) but he's a practical, efficient man who Strike generally trusts to leave to his own devices.

    Pat Chauncey 
A new secretary at the agency.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Morris calls her Moneypenny in one scene, which Pat finds amusing
  • Awful Wedded Life: Hinted when she says Strike reminds her of her first husband in a way which (along with the fact that their divorced) suggests it's a negative association.
  • Guttural Growler: She has a raspy voice from several decades of smoking.
  • Sassy Secretary: She doesn't seem to like Strike that much, although she does bring him some hot soup on Christmas when he's sick.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Robin and new detective Morris, to Robin's chagrin. She is disappointed when it becomes clear this won't happen (and when Morris is fired) until Morris's previous poor behavior is explained.
  • You Remind Me of X: Pat eventually says that Strike reminds her of her first husband.

    Sarah Shadlock 
An acquaintance of Robin and Matthew who seems to have more than platonic feelings for him.
  • The Mistress: To Matthew, before and after his marriage, eventually becoming is new fiancee after he and Robin split up.

    Tom Turvey 

Tom Turvey

Matthew's co-worker and Sarah's fiancee.
  • Alliterative Name: Tom Turvey.
  • Butt-Monkey: He gets mocked a lot for his baldness, and his fiancee is cheating on him And ultimately leaves him a month before their wedding.
  • Misplaced Retribution: He seems to partially blame Robin for Sarah leaving him due to Matthew and Sarah giving him the false impression that Maatthew left Robin because she had affair with Strike. This causes him to make an angry phone call.

    Dominic Culpepper 

Dominic Culpepper

A journalist specializing in scandal and stories about the rich and powerful.
  • Immoral Journalist: Culpepper is eager for scandal on the rich and powerful, tries to convinced Strike to resort to illegal methods like wiretapping to do so, and is later described as "one of those journalists who had most enthusiastically raked over Strike's personal life" out of bitterness that Strike won't do him any special favors.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: A minor example. He's initially introduced as a client of Strike but goes on to be the author of some harassing and/or derogatory stories about him after Striek won't give him advance notice on his murder investigations.

    Max Priestwood 

Max Priestwood

Robin's flatmate beginning in the fifth book, an actor.
  • Manly Gay: As Robin puts it, he isn't Camp at all, doesn't like musicals and plays rugby.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Treats Strike having a drunken blow out as this, merely being interested in it as character research for a policeman he'll be playing in a show.

Metropolitan Police

     Roy Carver 

Detective Inspector Roy Carver

The detective with the Metropolitan Police who led the Lula Landry case and later becomes involved with the Shacklewell Ripper case.


  • Adapted Out: Carver doesn't show up in the tv adaptations of The Cuckoo's Calling or Career of Evil, his parts in those instead being given to Eric Wardle. No one misses him.
  • Fat Bastard: Carver is an unmitigated asshole who also happens to be quite paunchy.
  • Fat Slob: His shirts are usually ringed with sweat around the armpits and his shoulder covered in dandruff.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Even the other policemen detest him, to the point that Anstis refers to him as a cunt.
  • Humiliation Conga: While it's mostly off-screen, its implied that he undergoes this in both instances when Strike does solve the case instead of him. The first book mentions him being chased down the street with reporters, and their photos capturing the sweat stains on his jacket. The third book has him locking himself in his office and refusing to see Strike.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: He takes an instant dislike towards Strike and refuses to even consider any leads coming from him.
  • Police Are Useless: In contrast with his colleagues who are portrayed as simply misguided, Strike considers Carver downright incompetent.

     Richard Anstis 

Detective Inspector Richard Anstis

Played by: Sargon Yelda

A detective with the Metropolitan Police who was involved in the incident that cost Strike his leg. The lead detective in the Owen Quine case.


  • Fatal Family Photo: Specifically averted, with Strike reflecting on how he saved Anstis's life instead of a third soldier who was in the vehicle with them (someone it is hinted that Strike may have liked better than him) and wondering if that instinctive decision was influenced by the fact that Anstis had been skyping with his pregnant wife earlier that day.
  • Friend on the Force: He starts off as this, but becomes more antagonistic towards Strike when Leonora Quine is arrested for the murder. At the end of the second book Strike acknowledges that their remaining on civil terms because of his being the father of Anstis's godson, but their friendship is not what it once was and in the three books since, Strike has only mentioned Anstis twice in passing.
  • Inspector Lestrade: He has shades of this. Strike considers him a competent investigator, but lacking in imagination.
  • I Owe You My Life: Strike saved his life in the Middle East, and a grateful Anstis made Strike the godfather of his son.
  • The Nicknamer: the giver of one of Strike's many nicknames; in Anstis' case it's 'Mystic Bob'. The story behind this nickname has yet to be revealed.

     Eric Wardle 

Detective Sergeant (later Detective Inspector) Eric Wardle

Played by: Killian Scott

A detective in the Metropolitan Police. The lead detective on the Shacklewell Ripper case.


  • Adaptation Expansion: Wardle plays a bigger parts in the tv adaptation of The Cuckoo's Calling and Career of Evil than in the novels, due to Roy Carver being Adapted Out.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Wardle never passes up a chance to get a good look at a pretty lady.
  • Fair Cop: He is boyishly handsome, his good looks being one of the first things we learn about him.
  • Friend on the Force: He is a lot friendlier towards Strike and Robin than most of his colleagues in the Met. By the end of Career of Evil, he is the only policeman in London on speaking terms with Strike, though this changes at the end of Lethal White after Strike and Robin call in the police on their case, realizing it's likely the only way to prevent a second murder.
  • Happily Married: To April.

    Vanessa Ekwensi 

Vanessa Ekwensi

Wardle's partner during the Shacklwell Ripper Case, who befriends Robin.
  • Fair Cop: She's a fair-minded and intelligent cop described as having the body of a model.
  • Friend on the Force: She is willing to hear out Strike and Robin and give them information within reason, while also being friendly with Robin socially, outside of work.

    George Layborn 

George Layborn

A detective who first appears near the end of Lethal White.
  • Attention Whore: In the fourth book Robin describes him as straining to impress the detectives and being disappointed when Wardle arrives to take this away from him.
  • Characterization Marches On: Possibly. He comes across as a bit posturing and socially awkward in his first appearance, but more straightforward and vaguely insightful in his second.
  • It's Personal: Layborn's father was one of the detectives who investigated the serial killer Dennis Creed in the fifth book's backstory, leaving him with a personal interest in giving Strike some aide and information about it.
  • Jumped at the Call: He's quick to contact Strike and offer help in the fifth book despite not even being among the police contacts Strike had asked (as they've only met one time at that point).
  • Mr. Exposition: So far he's had just one scene in each of the books he appears, which involves telling Strike, Robin and the audience information.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Layborn has a foul mouth, dropping bits of casual profanity in a conversation and then apologizing in a way that Robin finds patronizing.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Quite a bit of his dialogue in Lethal White is complimenting Strike's efforts in the investigation while claiming that the police would have figured it out on their own eventually.

Characters from The Cuckoo's Calling

For characters introduced in The Cuckoo's Calling, see here.

Characters from The Silkworm

For characters introduced in The Silkworm, see here.

Characters from Career of Evil

For characters introduced in Career of Evil, see here.

Characters from Lethal White

For characters introduced in Lethal White, see here.

Characters from Troubled Blood

For characters introduced in Troubled Blood, see here.

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