Eric Wardle is a detective sergeant for the Metropolitan Police in The Cuckoo’s Calling and a detective inspector in Career of Evil. He first appears in the series in the prologue of The Cuckoo’s Calling, where he’s at the scene of the murder with Detective Inspector Roy Carver. Wardle enjoys the attention from the paparazzi and spends longer than necessary outside of the tent, in full view of the press.
He is described as “boyishly good-looking, with thick, wavy brown hair.” He has the kind of hair that Cormoran Strike envies in other men. When Robin first meets Wardle in Career of Evil, he is described as “a handsome man with a thick head of chestnut hair and chocolate-brown eyes, who was wearing a leather jacket and jeans.”
Throughout the Lula Landry case in The Cuckoo’s Calling, Wardle helps out Strike with a few things. He exchanges the case file for information Strike receives from a friend (who we later can identify as Shanker). By the end of the book, Wardle is able to take some of the glory for catching Lula Landry’s killer.
In Career of Evil, Wardle has gone from being detective sergeant to detective inspector. He is the authority Strike calls when the leg arrives at the office. Meeting Robin for the first time at the office, Wardle is impressed by her and tells her that he should offer her a job with the police. Strike isn’t happy about this.
On several occasions Wardle and Strike meet in The Feathers, a pub close to (the old) New Scotland Yard headquarters. In Career of Evil, Strike meets in the Old Blue Last; here, Strike also meets Eric’s wife April.
April Wardle is described as being “a young woman with pale blue hair and crimson lips.” In the Old Blue Last, when Cormoran meets her for the first time, she is wearing “a leather jacket over what looked like a forties summer dress.” Strike thinks she is very pretty and is surprised by the appearance of Wardle’s wife and for “reasons he was too tired to analyse, it made him like Wardle better” (Career of Evil, Chapter 13).
In Lethal White, Wardle is working “deep in anti-terrorist stuff for the Olympics,” but Strike relays tips and information to the Met through Wardle. Wardle also gives Strike a few names of missing children, which Strike hopes will help begin his search into Billy Knight’s claims.
It’s nice to note that the friendship between Strike and Wardle appears to have grown and become genuine. Strike describes Wardle as his “mate” and they banter, with Wardle teasing Strike on a regular basis. It is at Wardle’s birthday where Strike meets his girlfriend Lorelei (Lethal White).
In The Ink Black Heart, Wardle is further established as a useful contact to Strike and Robin when Strike contacts him asking for information they need during the Anomie case.
In the TV adaptation, Eric Wardle is portrayed by actor Killian Scott.