“If you're good at anticipating the human mind, it leaves nothing to chance."
Sid Hoffman is the longest-serving officer in the 13th Precinct and is the ranking Homicide detective there. At age 63, he is almost eligible for retirement, but is unsure if he will quit when his time is up. Sid is something of an oddity among the Homicide detectives. Most officers feel some degree of tension between work and family, but not Sid, who is a devoted husband to his wife of 37 years and a loving father to three grown daughters. His fellow officers marvel at how Sid can handle the grotesqueries of more than 20 years in the Homicide Division without being worn down by the type of cases that send lesser officers to counselling or other jobs. Instead, Sid just keeps on coming in, day after day, dispassionately collecting evidence at murder scenes, gently consoling the families of murder victims and interrogating suspects with such effortless charm that his friends compare him to “Columbo.” His success rate with murder cases is the highest of any Homicide detective in the department.
What Sid’s fellow officers and even Sid’s own wife don’t suspect is that the key to his success lies in his own unique form of insanity. Sid snapped in 1984, when his first assignment as a Homicide detective turned out to be a young woman killed by a vampire during a failed feeding attempt. The vampire attempted to silence Sid, who killed the bloodsucker in self-defense and then watched in horror as the creature disintegrated into dust. Sid’s next conscious thoughts were, This won’t do. How can you arrest a murderer when he doesn’t have a body? So, Sid picked a homeless vagrant at random and framed him for the young girl’s murder. And Sid’s been doing it ever since.
Sid’s madness takes the form of an extreme sociopathic detachment. He doesn’t consider anyone around him to be real, including himself. Rather, Sid views everyone he encounters — victims, suspects, fellow officers and even his family members — as fictional constructs, with him playing a part very loosely based on an amalgam of television cop shows. Consequently, Sid never seems to have any emotional difficulties stemming from his job because he views neither the victims nor their families nor even their murderers as people. When confronted by a mutilated corpse, he is no more horrified than he would be when seeing one in a horror movie. When consoling survivors, he is gentle and compassionate, because according to the script that runs in his mind, police officers are supposed to be gentle and compassionate in such situations. And his success rate stems from his insistent belief that a good cop always gets his man. Thus, whenever he is stumped in a murder case, he carefully assesses which potential suspect (which might include other homeless people) would be the easiest to prove guilty and meticulously frames that person for the crime. Then, Sid goes home to his wife, ready to assume the role of loving husband and doting father, oblivious to the innocent life he has just destroyed. In addition to making him a well-respected detective, Sid’s insanity also makes him a boon to the Masquerade, albeit one even the local vampires don’t know about. The detective is so deeply in denial about the vampire he encountered so many years ago that he conceals any evidence of occult activity he encounters in his work, even to the point of deleting the statements of witnesses to supernatural attacks — or maybe killing them. Anyone who tries to show Sid evidence of the existence of vampires will likely have no idea of what a dangerous enemy she’s made.
Sid is a 63-year-old, non-practicing Jewish man with black-and-gray hair and a slightly receding hairline. He’s just under six feet tall and fairly healthy, though age and good cooking are fi nally starting to catch up to him. He almost invariably wears one of his several identical brown suits except to funerals, when he wears a blue suit. While at the office, he often ditches his suit coat for a cardigan, as he often complains of how cold the detective’s offices are in winter.
No one who knows Sid has the faintest clue of his true nature. To observers, he comes off as a genial, fatherly mentor to younger officers or a sloppy visionary to suspects. Indeed, many suspects conclude that Sid is a fool, right up until they answer some innocuous question with a detail that gives them away. Sid is a preternaturally good liar, especially on the witness stand, and no jury has ever doubted his presentation of evidence against a defendant. To most of his co-workers, Sid’s chief character flaw is his insistence on showing off pictures of his new grandchildren to everyone he meets. Beneath this almost comically placid exterior, however, lies a calculating, ruthless mind. As a sort of intellectual exercise, Sid frequently comes up with contingency plans for how he could frame or kill almost everyone he meets and get away with it. If he thought someone was close to penetrating his secrets, he would not hesitate to put such plans into effect.