Dundurn Homicide Detective Superintendent MacNeice is a man whose passions include music – he was once asked by a colleague to explain why he had a collection of jazz and classical CDs in his unmarked Chevy. He answered, “Because it skims off the top layer of consciousness and allows me to think clearly and intuitively.” But perhaps it is his love of birds and nature that most informs his remarkable strength of observation. And, because he cannot turn his observation skills off with the lights, the only way he can sleep every night is with the help of a fine grappa.
The first Doctor of Criminology to serve as a Detective Inspector, Aziz is also a Muslim and a feminist. Born in Lebanon, she grew up in the UK and brings a European sensibility to her work as a detective on MacNeice’s homicide team. What she doesn’t know about jazz, classical music, birds, and observation, she is keen to learn, partly because her education demands that she comprehend intangibles, but also because she is fascinated with her senior officer’s methodology and seemingly disconnected leaps of imagination that appear to propel his investigations.
Son of Italian immigrants from Calabria, Vertesi is singularly proud of being the first cop in his family’s history. As an All-Canadian running back at Brant University, Vertesi never knew an obstacle he couldn’t knock down, overrun or outrun. When he chose to be a beat cop, his friends thought he was crazy, and they weren’t reassured by his response, “You kidding me? I’m Italian and I’m carrying a weapon out in the open.” When he was qualified as a Detective Inspector he was asked if he had any placement preferences, “I have three: MacNeice, MacNeice, and MacNeice.” Vertesi joined MacNeice and Aziz the next day.
A university graduate and former improv comedian—who bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Michael Jordan – Williams rose through the ranks to become a Detective Inspector through study and hard work, and not by cracking jokes. MacNeice, however, suspects that his training in improv is an invaluable asset, allowing the detective to make spontaneous creative leaps in logic that on several occasions led to breakthroughs in the division’s homicide cases. Currently assigned to DS Swetsky, Williams is the newest member of a homicide team known for being the finest in the region.
While coming up through the ranks with MacNeice, his approach to homicide investigations couldn’t be more different. Swetsky, a bear of a man, uses intimidation when necessary, but is otherwise a carbon copy of cops from the fifties and sixties—a by-the-book bloodhound. Mind you, Swets is the last person most people want on their tail. Whether true or not, he appears to be more thug than cop. “That,” he told Williams, “is my charm.” To Swetsky’s credit, he has never complained about assignments or MacNeice’s apparently mysterious abilities. To the contrary, following the death of MacNeice’s wife Kate, Swetsky became, and remains, protective of his colleague.