Former cop and current private investigator Derek Strange has been doing background checks, trailing cheating spouses and locating missing children under the banner of “Strange Investigations” for over 25 years (he’s especially proud of the logo he designed himself, where half the letters are bigger than the rest on account of the picture of the magnifying glass laid over the words). He drives a white-over-black ’89 Caprice for work and a ’91 black-over-black Cadillac Brougham (a V-8 with a chromed-up grill) when he’s off the clock. At just under six feet tall and about 195 pounds, Strange cuts an imposing figure. In his fifties, he has grey hair and a grey beard and despite the fact that he hasn’t been a cop since 1968, he still walks like one, head up, shoulders squared, aware of the activity around him on the street. A graduate of Roosevelt High, where he played football, he still lives and works in Petworth, the neighborhood in which he grew up. He only buys Craftsman tools because they’re guaranteed for life and he is rough on his equipment. He always wears a Leatherman tool-in-one, a Buck knife and a beeper on his belt. He doesn’t own a gun.
Strange loves funk and soul music from the sixties and seventies (no Motown for him), but has a secret passion for the music of old westerns. He considers the title song of the soundtrack to Once Upon a Time in the West to be the most beautiful piece of music he owns. He keeps his collection of western music in his office at home. He also has a weakness for PayDay candy bars.
You’ll rarely find Strange without his dog, a tan boxer named Greco, named after the dog of a childhood friend. He has also been romantically involved with his assistant, Janine Baker, for the past 10 years and acts as a kind of surrogate father to her son, Lionel. (Although he also has a soft spot for the women in out of the way massage parlors.) His father, Darius, was a grill man at the Three Star Diner, now owned by Strange’s friend Billy Georgelakos. His mother, Althea, died with Strange at her side. Strange carries a torch for a woman he loved in the early seventies and has fond memories of his brother, whose life came to an untimely end in 1968.
Terry Quinn, a former cop who occasionally works for Derek Strange, is Irish, medium height (about 5’9 and 160 pounds) and has green eyes, freckles across his nose and brown hair. When he’s not working for Strange, he works at a used book and vinyl store on Bonifant where he can find an unlimited supply of the paperback westerns he loves to read. He drives a blue-over-black fastback ’69 Chevelle with Cregar mags and can’t get enough of Bruce Springsteen.
Quinn, born in 1969 grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland and went to the University of Maryland where he got a degree in criminology. He was a cop in DC for 8 years before he left the force after he killed another officer, Chris Wilson, in a late night mishap.
Quinn met Derek Strange when Strange was investigating the Wilson case, trying to get to the bottom of the incident and to clear Wilson’s name for his mother (see Right as Rain). Quinn helped on the investigation but did little to clear his own name, he is often looked down upon by DC cops who know what he’s done.
In addition to helping Strange with his investigations, he also coaches Midget and PeeWee football with him over at Roosevelt.