Vanessa Ekwensi

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”.1 She is later described as having “finely pencilled eyebrows.” 2

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.3

Ekwensi and Wardle (

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.4

Ekwensi, later in Career of Evil, arrives at the hospital to interview Robin after she is attacked by the Shacklewell Ripper.5

Strike: Career of Evil (from

During the period between Career of Evil and Lethal White, Robin and Ekwensi become close friends.6 She allows Robin to stay at her house and provides her with support during her rocky marriage to Matthew.7

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.8

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.9 Strike and Robin meet Oliver in the Corner Cafe, where he reluctantly surrenders forensic information to Strike and Robin about the murder.10

Robin remains good friends with Vanessa Ekwensi in Troubled Blood. While celebrating her birthday with Vanessa and Ilsa, Robin learns that Vanessa is now engaged to Oliver.11 Vanessa also gives Robin a place to stay when hiding out from the press.13

In The Ink Black Heart, Robin tells Strike that Vanessa is encouraging her to join the dating app Tinder (Ch 1), and we learn that the potential new subcontractor recommended by Vanessa at the end of Troubled Blood, Michelle Greenstreet, has been hired by the agency (Ch 2).

In the Strike TV series, Vanessa Ekwensi is portrayed by actress Ann Akin. You can find our interview with her here.

Strike: Career of Evil (from

1, 2: Career of Evil, Chapter 3
3: Career of Evil, Chapter 21
4: Career of Evil, Chapters 3 & 21 
5: Career of Evil, Chapter 52
6: Lethal White, Chapter 7
7: Lethal White, Chapter 57
8: Lethal White, Chapter 7
9: Lethal White, Chapter 39
10: Lethal White, Chapter 40
11: Troubled Blood, Chapter 15
12: Troubled Blood, Chapter 65
13: Troubled Blood, Chapter 72