Top 25 Fictional DC Resident: #12 Derek Strange

Name: Derek Strange
Occupation: Private Investigator & Owner, Strange Investigations
Age: 62 (born in 1944)
Musical taste: “Nothing worth listening to, you get past seventy-six, seventy-seven”

Born in the DC area in 1944, Derek Strange had loving parents that couldn’t quite keep him from sowing some oats as a teen. Crime didn’t suit him, however, and when he was pinched for shoplifting he got pushed onto the straight and narrow by his older brother. After cleaning up his act he graduated from Roosevelt High and by 1968 he’s a DC police officer. Not an easy job, it requires dealing with a city that has poor race relations, constant conflict over the war in Vietnam and, soon enough, a whole lot of grief and anger over the slaying of Martin Luther King. Before the year is out Strange is no longer on the force. Asked about it later the extent of his description is “I was a cop and then I wasn’t. Just like that.”

After the force, Derek Strange went into the business of private investigation and the personal quest of redeeming the city’s black youth. It’s a difficult line to walk, taking jobs from convicted criminals looking to exonerate themselves just enough to avoid the death penalty on the one hand and coaching Pee Wee football on the other. His relationship with girlfriend and office manager Janine is exactly serious as he wants it to be and much less than she wants. That kind of uneasy relationship is part for the course for Strange – just because he partners up with Terry Quinn doesn’t mean the two always see eye to eye on race or much of anything else. He’s devoted to the truth and his clients, however, and above all, his city.

First Appearance: Right as Rain by George P. Pelecanos.
Also appears in Hell to Pay, Soul Circus and Hard Revolution

Other Fictional DC Residents

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