Alex Cross

Alex Cross

Alex Cross is a fictional character in a series of books by novelist James Patterson.

Character overview

Cross is a detective and psychologist living and working in the Southeast quadrant of Washington, D.C. He works in the homicide division of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD), but eventually becomes an Senior Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). After his stint with the FBI, Alex returns to private psychology practice, but continues to consult for the MPD and the FBI as needed, ultimately rejoining the MPD as a special consultant to the Major Case Squad.

Patterson portrays Dr. Cross as a lonely individual, yet he is a model father and is quite empathetic in dealing with the public. Despite the fact that he is well educated and makes a decent living, he chooses to continue residing in the Southeast quadrant of D.C. He is very involved in the community, most notably volunteering at St. Anthony's Parish in his neighborhood.

Character biography

Cross' mother died of lung cancer a year after his father died. He was sent to Washington to live with his grandmother, whom he calls Nana Mama. He received a doctorate in psychology from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Upon graduation, he worked as a migrant farm worker for a year. He started a private practice and worked as a psychologist for two years. He eventually decided to become a police officer after he became disillusioned with the politics of the medical community.

Cross joined the police because the people in his neighborhood could not afford his services, while white people would not see a "black shrink". He never expected to like it, but he became hooked on solving crimes. He remembers the first case he solved was that of two men who were shot in Southeast Washington, and their killing was written off as drug-related. Alex knew the men and began to investigate on his own. One of the men was dating a woman the local drug dealer thought he owned and had the men killed. Once he solved that case he left private practice.

He lives with his grandmother and three children Damon, Janelle (Jannie), and Alex Jr. (Ali or Little Alex). His wife Maria Simpson Cross, a social worker, is deceased. Alex fathered Damon and Jannie with Maria. He fathered Ali with his ex-girlfriend Christine.

Cross carries a Glock and likes no other gun. He drives a 1974 Porsche and recently bought a Mercedes-Benz R350 as a replacement for Maria's old Toyota, which served as the family car. He plays the piano to relax. He owns an Abyssinian cat named Rosie, who showed up one day and never left. In "Jack and Jill", villain Gary Soneji telephones Cross saying that it was he who left the cat.

Cross volunteers at St. Anthony soup kitchen frequently, where he is known as the "Peanut Butter Man". He began doing this with Maria. His partner in the MPD, John Sampson, also volunteers there. Sampson calls Cross "Brown Sugar" as a term of endearment. Cross calls Sampson "Man-Mountain" or "Two-John". They have been best friends since the age of 10. Sampson is portrayed by Bill Nunn in the "Kiss the Girls" film.

Alex has had bad luck with women. His wife Maria was murdered. 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. His girlfriend, Christine Johnson, was kidnapped for almost a year by Geoffrey Shafer. An FBI agent that he had been partners with, Betsey Cavalierre, was murdered by a serial killer called The Mastermind. He also developed a deep friendship with Dr. Kateyla "Kate" McTiernan, whom he met before Christine. There were strong hints of a possible romantic relationship, but they preferred to remain friends. Later he met a San Francisco Police Department inspector, Jamilla Hughes, with whom he struck up a relationship. They have since parted company. He began a new relationship with Dr. Kayla Coles, a resident at a local hospital in Southeast Washington D.C. They were both born in North Carolina but raised in Washington D.C. She has since moved back to North Carolina. His latest romatic involvement is with a rising star in the MPD, Det. Brianna (Bree) Stone.

Maria was originally thought to have been killed in a drive-by-shooting. In one of Patterson's most recent novels, "Cross", Cross learns that his best friend John Sampson and another detective, Rakeem Powell, killed Maria's murderer. Sampson couldn't bring himself to tell Cross because he knew that he wouldn't be able to deal with the fact that he never did it himself. Cross teaches his two elder children boxing at his home's basement.

When Cross needs to talk to someone about his problems, he meets with another psychologist, Dr. Adele Finaly, who works for him as an analyst.

Appearances in the Alex Cross series

In "Along Came A Spider", he deals with the kidnapping of two wealthy children at the hands of Gary Soneji.

In "Kiss The Girls", Cross battles the serial killers Casanova and The Gentleman Caller, who "collect" beautiful women, including his niece Naomi.

In "Jack & Jill", Cross goes up against three killers: two who kill high-profile people and one who kills children.

In "Cat and Mouse", Cross engages Gary Soneji again and after dealing with him crosses paths with another killer, Mr. Smith.

In "Pop Goes the Weasel", Alex matches wit with a serial killer named Geoffrey Shafer, who happens to be a British man with diplomatic immunity.

In "Roses are Red", Alex goes against a criminal calling himself The Mastermind, who commits several brutal bank robberies.

In "Violets are Blue", Alex goes against a cult of vampires and learns the true identity of the Mastermind, whom he takes down.

In "Four Blind Mice", Alex and his friend John Sampson investigate three killers who are framing seemingly innocent soldiers from the Vietnam War.

In "The Big Bad Wolf", Alex, now a member of the FBI, tries to stop a Russian mobster known only as the Wolf.

In "London Bridges", Alex tries to stop the Wolf once and for all, but the Wolf has enlisted the Weasel, Geoffrey Shafer, to help him take Cross down.

In "Mary, Mary", Alex tries to stop Mary Smith, a psychopathic killer targeting Hollywood stars and powerbrokers.

In "Cross", Alex, who has left the FBI to open up a private psychology practice, and John Sampson try to stop The Butcher, a serial rapist/murderer who may be somehow connected to the murder of Alex's wife Maria in 1993.

In "Double Cross", Alex, still in private practice, rejoins the MPD as a special consultant to the Major Crimes Squad and is joined by John Sampson and new love interest Det. Brianna Stone in an effort to stop the DC Audience Killer, a serial killer with a flair for showmanship who may also have some connection to a previous Cross nemesis, The Mastermind.

Portrayals in other media

Cross was portrayed by Morgan Freeman in the films "Kiss the Girls" and "Along Came a Spider".


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