Vanessa Ekwensi is a detective sergeant in the Metropolitan Police. When we first see her in Career of Evil, she is described as a “thin black female whose hair was smoothed back in a bun”. She is later described as having “finely pencilled eyebrows.”
From what we’ve seen of her, she appears to be a calm and collected individual, with a law enforcement veteran’s sense of dark humour similar to that of Strike.
She is partnered with Detective Inspector Eric Wardle in the Shacklewell Ripper investigation in Career of Evil. Robin looks up to her as somewhat of a role model, and is comforted by the presence of another female.
Ekwensi, later on in Career of Evil, arrives at the hospital to interview Robin after she was attacked by the Shacklewell Ripper.
During the period between Career of Evil and Lethal White, Robin and Ekwensi become close friends. She allows Robin to stay at her house and provides her with support during her rocky marriage to Matthew.
Ekwensi attends Robin and Matthew’s house-warming party in Lethal White, and is one of the few people Robin is looking forward to seeing there.
As a valuable contact for Robin, Ekwensi gives her slightly more independence from Strike. In Lethal White, she gives Robin the contact information for her boyfriend, Oliver Bargate, who is a forensics expert working on the Chiswell case. Strike and Robin meet Oliver in the Corner Cafe, where he reluctantly surrenders forensic information to Strike and Robin about the murder.
In the Strike TV series, Vanessa Ekwensi is portrayed by actress Ann Akin. You can find our interview with her here.