Jenny’s life was planned out for her from an early age – the daughter of sheep farmers in the Conwy hills, her father intended for her to marry the son of the next farm over, uniting their lands and, he felt, securing the family’s future.
Jenny herself had other ideas, refusing her neighbours’ proposal and then, at nineteen, running off to the Army, where she soon joined the Royal Military Police and served two tours of Northern Ireland. Upon leaving the army, she joined the North Wales Police Force and became a detective in the early 90s, working extensively on the hunt for the serial killer known as the Shadow Stalker, and recognising and nurturing the talent of young Paul Quinn as he followed her onto the force.
- Tough as nails, takes no nonsense and no prisoners (metaphorically, not literally).
- Patient with honest mistakes, views the role of a senior officer as helping junior ones along a learning curve.
- Able to make fast decisions under enormous pressure.
- Not cowed by rank or deference, willing to stand up to her bosses when they’re wrong.
- Not willing to tolerate any sexism or discrimination, or downplay her own ability to make men feel comfortable. She’s the best. Deal with it.
- Fully bilingual.
- Knows the words to three versions of Men of Harlech.
- Understands the need for thorough, painstaking, meticulous detective work – having seen so much that wasn’t.
- Secret Billy Ocean fan.
- Brusque, uncompromising manner makes her seem distant and remote to younger officers like Sandi.
- Overly formal manner from her Army days makes her seem stiff and cold at times.
- Sometimes talks so fast she’s difficult to follow.
- Very little understanding of the internet, beyond occasional remarks that if things on Twitter are called Tweets, those posting them should be called Twits. Or Twats.
- Callum Dale was Jenny’s Sergeant in the RMP, but joined the police two years after her, and although by 2007 they are both Chief Inspectors she is eight months senior.
- She never did marry her neighbour’s son. Three years after joining the police she married Emlyn Brown, who at the time worked as a groundskeeper at Conwy Castle.
- Her first promotion, to Detective Sergeant, came partway through the first hunt for the Shadow Stalker. She had impressed her bosses with her energy and thoroughness.
- She and Paul Quinn would not meet until early 2000, when the mutilated body of a woman was found near to an old Shadow Stalker dump site. She brought Quinn, then still in uniform, into the investigation.
- Her first big case after promotion to DCI came in 2004, investigating the disappearance of a young girl. This was also Paul Quinn’s big break – she brought him in specifically to replace an officer who had lost the confidence of the girl’s family.
- Jenny has no ambition to become an Assistant Chief Constable, as she considers the rank to involve too much politics. Detective Chief Superintendent and head of CID has always been her career goal.
- Although her Army days have left her with an ingrained sense of formality (she usually concludes briefings with ‘Dismissed,’) she dislikes being called ‘Ma’am.’ She will often respond to it by saying ‘Don’t call me ma’am, I’m not the bloody Queen,’ which she picked up from Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect.
- She hates the bowler hat issued to female police officers and doesn’t see why they shouldn’t be issued with the same tunic and cap as male ones.