» alex cross · in-depth bio
Alex Cross is an African American detective and psychologist based out of the Southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. He started in the homicide division of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPDC), but eventually becomes a Senior Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Alex returns to private psychology practice, but continues to work with the police as needed, ultimately rejoining the MPDC as a special consultant to the Major Case Squad.
As portrayed by Patterson, Cross is a hopeful, but rational man of generally deep emotions. He is a model father and quite empathetic in dealing with the public. He is very involved in the community, exemplified by his volunteerism at St. Anthony's Parish. Despite the fact that he is highly intelligent, well educated, and makes a decent living, he chooses to live in the Southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., an area notorious for poverty and violent crime.
At eight his mother died of lung cancer and a year later his father died of alcoholism, so he was sent to Washington DC to live with his grandmother, whom he calls Nana Mama. He eventually received a doctorate in psychology from Johns Hopkins University and then worked as a migrant farm worker for a year. Afterwards, he started a private practice and worked as a psychologist for two years, but eventually decided to become a policeman after he had become disillusioned with the politics of the medical community (Violets Are Blue). Cross joined the police force because the people in his neighborhood could not afford his services. His first case involved two men who were shot and whose killings were written off as drug-related. Since he knew both men, he began to investigate and found one of the men was dating a woman who was also dating the local drug dealer. He was still living with Nana Mama and his children, Damon, Janelle (Jannie), by his wife Maria Simpson-Cross and Alex Jr. (Ali) from his fiance Christine Johnson. In Roses are Red, social worker Maria is murdered. Cross teaches his two elder children boxing in his home's basement (Pop Goes the Weasel).
Cross carries a Glock 9mm pistol. He drives a 1974 Porsche and bought a Mercedes-Benz R350 to replace Maria's old Toyota. He plays the piano to relax and owns an Abyssinian cat named Rosie, who showed up one day and never left.
Cross volunteers at St. Anthony's soup kitchen frequently, where he is known as the "Peanut Butter Man". He began doing this with Maria. His partner in the PD, John Sampson, also volunteers there. Sampson calls Cross "Sugar" as a term of endearment while Cross calls Sampson "Man-Mountain" or "Two-John". They have been best friends since the age of 10 (Pop Goes the Weasel).
Alex has bad luck with women. His wife Maria was murdered before the series began. His lover in Along Came a Spider, Jezzie Flanigan, is involved in the kidnapping of two children, for which she is executed by lethal injection. In Kiss The Girls, Cross develops a deep friendship with Dr. Kateyla "Kate" McTiernan. There were hints of a possible romantic relationship, but they preferred to remain friends. In Jack & Jill, Alex meets Christine Johnson for the first time and falls in love with her by Cat & Mouse, in which they start dating. In Pop Goes the Weasel, Christine accepts his proposal. Christine is then kidnapped for almost a year by Geoffrey Shafer, during which time she is pregnant with Alex's son "Ali". After finding her at the end of the book, Alex meets his new son for the first time. By Roses Are Red, Christine has changed. She breaks off the engagement and moves to Seattle, leaving Ali with Alex. Detective Patsy Hampton then shows interest in Alex, but she is killed by Geoffrey before anything serious could happen. An FBI agent with whom he had partnered in Roses Are Red, Betsey Cavalierre, showed possible romantic interest in Alex and the two began a relationship. She was murdered by a serial killer called "The Mastermind". It was later revealed, by the Mastermind himself, in Violets Are Blue, that Betsey really liked Alex, even more than just a friend. Later he met a San Francisco Police Department inspector, Jamilla Hughes, with whom he struck up a relationship in Violets Are Blue. They remained together for a few books, but due to living far apart and Alex's commitment to his job, they parted company in Mary, Mary. After breaking with Jamilla, Alex meets Jeanne Galleta, who shows some interest, but the two never officially start a relationship, going out only once.
He next begins a relationship with Dr. Kayla Coles, a resident physician at a hospital in Southeast Washington, D.C. The two meet in Four Blind Mice and start dating in Mary, Mary. Both Alex and Kayla became close in Cross. They were both born in North Carolina and raised in Washington, D.C. Kayla has since returned to North Carolina. In Cross Country, it is revealed that Alex dated a woman named Eleanor Cox in college. It is believed that she was Alex's first love, before Maria. Eleanor is killed by The Tiger, which causes Alex great pain. Also in Cross Country, Alex meets a reporter from The Guardian newspaper, Addanne Tasni, in Nigeria. They share a kiss and show romantic interest in each other, but prefer to remain friends. Addanne, too, is killed by the Tiger.
His next romantic involvement is with a rising star in the PD, Detective Brianna "Bree" Stone, who is introduced in Double Cross. Deeply in love with Bree, Alex proposes to her in I, Alex Cross, and she happily accepts. They marry in Cross Fire, finally ending Alex's bad luck.
Maria was originally thought to have been killed by an antagonist named Michael "The Butcher" Sullivan. However, in Cross, Cross learns that his best friend, John Sampson, and another detective, Rakeem Powell, had killed Maria's real murderer, Jimmy Hats Galati. Sampson couldn't bring himself to tell Cross because he knew that Cross would be unable to deal with the fact that he had not done it himself. Alex finally comes to terms with Maria's death at the end of Cross and is able to move on, hoping that he may find love again in the future.
His mother died from lung cancer when he was nine and his father died of alcohol abuse a year later. The series does not describe his relationship with his parents. However, in the movie, Alex Cross, Alex told his daughter, Janelle, that his parents loved him, even when they died.
Alex was raised by his grandmother, Regina "Nana Mama" Cross. The two have a strong relationship with each other. Regina raised Alex by using tough love to build his character. She allowed Alex and best friend Sampson to be held in a jail cell after they robbed a store, to teach them a lesson. She expressed her love for him from time to time, extending into his adult years. She comforted Alex when his wife died, having him move back in with her and helping him raise his children. She worries for Alex as he pushes on his cases. She tells Alex that she doesn't want to see his children become orphans. She also worries about Alex's lonely life, wanting him to be happy with someone special like he did with Maria. She would reach her limit with him when his job crossed certain boundaries. She left him and his family in Cross, when Alex is almost killed while on a case, only to change her mind when she realized how wrong it was of her. She cried in Merry Christmas, Alex Cross when Alex was called away on Christmas Eve, worrying that he might not return. Despite occasional arguments, they consistently show support for each other.
Alex has three children, two by Maria, and the other by Christine. Janelle and Damon were part of the story from Along Came A Spider to Pop Goes the Weasel, when "Ali" appears. Both Damon and Janelle were too little to remember Maria. Alex makes time with them whenever he can. He takes them to the movies or for ice cream. He also trains them to box. Damon attends boarding school in Cross Country. A homeless girl named Ava is adopted by the family in Kill Alex Cross, but she is killed in Alex Cross, Run.
Alex is best friends and partners with Detective John Sampson. They met when Alex moved to Washington DC after his parents died and became great friends. They were constant companions, even robbing stores together. They view each other as brothers. Regina would take John in when his parents got in trouble with the law. They separated for a period, but later become detective partners for the Metro Washington DC Police Department. In Four Blind Mice, they do have a fight over a friend's death, who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to die by lethal injection. John has protected Alex throughout a lot of his life, he discovered Maria's murderer and killed him, to spare his friend from the trauma of vengeance when he has two kids. When Alex finds out in Cross, he forgives John and thanks him for everything he has done to protect him. This relieves John's guilt of keeping the secret. Alex has also helped John out as well, by killing Geoffrey Shafer, who had killed John's former love interest, Nina Childs. When John is kidnapped by the Audience Killer in Double Cross, Alex worries deeply for his friend and later rescues him. Even when Kyle Craig, the Mastermind returns for revenge against Alex, John protects his family.
Alex's brother is Blake Cross. It is revealed in I, Alex Cross, that Blake was on drugs and had fatally overdosed. His death put a huge strain on Alex and Blake's wife, who blames him for not helping Blake. Blake rejects Alex's attempts to help. Blake's wife cuts ties with the family, although her daughter Caroline moved into his neighborhood.
Caroline is Blake's daughter. Despite their proximity, Caroline didn't see or talk to Alex, mostly because she worked as a high-end "escort". After her murder by a serial killer and rapist named Zeus in I, Alex Cross, Alex eventually discovers Caroline's killer and closes the case. When Alex solves Caroline's murder, he informs her mother, hoping to ease her pain.
Alex's other niece is Naomi. When Naomi is kidnapped by a killer named Cassanova, in Kiss the Girls, Alex leaves his jurisdiction to find her, eventually finding and rescuing her. In Pop Goes the Weasel, Naomi makes a brief appearance to comfort Alex when his fiancee Christine is kidnapped.