|Played by||Chi McBride|
Laverne Winston is a former police detective with the San Francisco Police Department with a history of disciplinary problems. He rather naturally goes by just Winston, and very few people know his full name. Jaded with the system and wanting to do some good, he partnered with Christopher Chance and the two currently operate a private security service out of Chance's apartment/office in San Francisco. He prefers to be known by his last name only, with only a few people being aware of what precedes it.
Winston is a skilled detective who has also built a lifetime's worth of connections in various corners of law enforcement, politics and the private sector. Winston serves as the public face of the business, meeting with prospective clients to determine if it is a case worth taking on.
Not much is known of Winston's past aside from his first meeting with the man who would come to be known as Christopher Chance. Winston was a detective for the San Francisco Police Department and had been with the force for more than a decade. He had a history of disciplinary problems, though the specifics and reasons for these problems have not been revealed. He also has a history with drinking.
Winston met a man at a bar who identified himself as Assistant U.S. District Attorney Conrad Hall. At the time, Winston was in charge of the detail assigned to protect a woman named Katherine Walters, a material witness in the death of a man named Bruner. Hall, who was really an assassin known by the name Junior, attempted to gain access to Katherine through Winston to kill her but the veteran detective would not offer up her location and left the bar.
When Junior had a crisis of conscience and helped Katherine escape the police custody to protect her life, Winston headed the investigation to track the two down. He was able to discover that the final words Bruner had said to Katherine prior to his death, "Leonor Fortier" were in reference to a ship called Leonor docked at the Port of San Francisco. He called Katherine to get her to come in to discuss the information but the call was intercepted by Junior. Winston tried to convince Junior to work together but the assassin told him he would not work with someone with a badge.
Winston ended up at the dock as Junior and Katherine came to investigate the Leonor. He witnessed Junior retrieve a case from one of the shipping containers and fight with another assassin named Baptiste over its contents. When the case was knocked into the water and sunk, Winston watched helplessly as Baptiste set off an explosion on the power boat where Katherine waited for Junior, killing her. Feeling responsible for her death, Winston called off police units sent in response to the gunfire and explosion.
The organization that hired Junior to kill Katherine and retrieve the case attempted to locate the sunken case but could not. It is believed that Winston might have had the case recovered and hidden it.
Laverne Winston is a serious man who feels he has to suffer through the antics and senses of humor of his associates, Christopher Chance and Guerrero. He does appear to have his own subtle and sly sense of humor, often making deadpan remarks in regard to the actions of others.
Though he became jaded with the system of law enforcement he had devoted his life to, Winston still holds himself to a high moral standard to protect the innocent or those that have gotten into situations above their heads. While he understands that - and even allows for - their business must operate in some gray areas of legality, Winston will bristle at some activities he considers to be too far outside the lines.
Winston frequently finds himself working with Guerrero, who he has serious reservations about, while recognizing his usefulness. The two personalities clash but find that they are able to work well together to help Chance accomplish his cases.
Winston also plays a sort-of father figure, big brother role for Chance. He is often concerned about the risks Chance takes on his cases. He is fiercely loyal and will do anything to protect Chance.
Methods & Abilities
Winston serves as the public face of his partnership with Chance. He will meet with prospective clients first and determine if their situation falls within Chance's skill set. He often finds that Chance will supersede his recommendations and take cases anyway.
Having spent more than a decade on the San Francisco Police Department force, Winston has built a handy collection of contacts and collected a number of markers that allow the group to better handle their cases. Despite his history of disciplinary problems while on the force, Winston appears to be a master administrator and deft at personal and professional politicking.
Winston was trained in police hand-to-hand combat as well as small firearms. While he prefers to work behind the scenes, Winston will occasionally accompany Chance on cases and play an active role.
In the Comics
Laverne Winston has not previously appeared in the DC Comics title that inspired the show. It is possible the Laverne & Shirley link is deliberate.