Raymond Vecchio was portrayed by American actor David Marciano.
Ray Vecchio was raised Catholic in the city of Chicago with his two sisters Maria and Francesca and a brother who is only mentioned once and never named or seen. The Vecchio family lived at 2926 North Octavia Avenue, a Victorian-style house in Chicago's Norwood Park neighbourhood. Ray's father was a gambler who would drink and constantly belittle his son; he spent most of his time playing pool at Fanelli's local pool hall and would come home late or not at all. His mother was a generous homemaker and a good cook who did not approve of her husband's pool addiction. Ray Vecchio's father died of unknown causes in 1989 at the age of 68 and bequeathed his house to Ray, who then became the family patriarch.
It is mentioned that Ray drowned Francesca's pet hamster when they were children, only one incident in a long pattern of sibling rivalry between them. Nonetheless, Ray remains very protective of Francesca well into their adulthood.
In high school, Ray played on the basketball team; as an adult, he is still a basketball fan and plays the game on occasion. He had many love interests in his teenage years, including Anne MacRae who would become a nun, and Irene Zuko. Irene Zuko was the sister of high school bully Frank Zuko, son of a mafia don and a classmate of Ray's with whom he did not see eye to eye. They played pick-up basketball together after school until Frank Zuko beat up one of Ray's friends for losing a game. Zuko would grow up to become a Chicago mob boss.
Raymond Vecchio was hired by the Chicago Police Department's 27th district in 1985, and was still a beat cop in June of 1986. His Italian culture allowed him to understand the Mafia's inner workings and he would often pretend to be part of the Mob to get information. His relatives were sometimes of assistance in his investigations. It is unclear when he was promoted to detective, though he notes that his first supervisor, Lieutenant William Kelly, thought enough of him to attend his promotion. His supervisor Lieutenant Harding Welsh is tough but fair, either rewarding or reprimanding Ray as appropriate for his work.
Vecchio's detective work took an interesting turn in 1994 when he met RCMP Constable Benton Fraser who had come to Chicago as liaison officer on the trail of his father's murderer. The two men often worked together and Fraser's extensive knowledge and unique abilities would be of great help in their investigations. Ray habitually mispronounces the Mountie's surname "Frazier" and often calls him "Benny." Though Fraser's odd habits and unorthodox style tend to annoy Vecchio profoundly (to the point where he once calls him "the most irritating man in the world"), they became close friends as well as partners. Despite several references to the slow progress of Vecchio's career, he was promoted to detective first grade in 1995.
In 1997, Vecchio moved to a deep undercover assignment in Las Vegas, impersonating Mob lieutenant Armando "the Bookman" Langoustini who had recently died in a car crash, and whom Ray strongly resembled. Detective Stanley Raymond Kowalski would take his place at the Chicago police station and masquerade as him in order to protect the actual Ray Vecchio's identity from being discovered by mob operators.
Vecchio took part in a final investigation alongside Fraser and Kowalski in a weapon smuggling affair involving Langoustini in 1999, during which he intercepted a bullet meant for Fraser in a lengthy gun battle with the smugglers. This turned out to be his "golden bullet", allowing him to retire from the police force with full pay. During his recovery, he met Kowalski's ex-wife Stella. They fell in love, moved to Florida and opened a bowling alley together.
Investigation Methods EditRay Vecchio's favoured method for obtaining information is the undercover method; he either assumes a criminal's identity for a long period of time as he did from 1997 to 1999 in Las Vegas, or lets the underworld believe he is one of them by hiding his true identity as a detective in the district he works in. Benton Fraser once declared: "I'm not as familiar with the art of subterfuge as you are." Vecchio also claims he has the ability to recognize offenders' noses by remembering each nose's distinctive shape. Vecchio initially shows great impatience and disgust regarding Benton Fraser's methods, but comes to trust him after obtaining success from this unusual approach.
Personal Life Edit
For several years Ray was married to a woman named Angie (played by David Marciano's real-life wife, Katayoun Amini), though they grew apart and divorced some time before the start of the series. Angie appears twice, showing that she and Ray are still friends and still care for one another. He has tried on and off to find a suitable woman since then, amassing a great many names and outdated phone numbers in his black book. In 1995, Vecchio falls in love with a woman who saves his life after a traffic accident; he is then forced to investigate her connection to an arms dealer until she turns out to be an undercover ATF agent, and she never appears again.
One bone of contention between Ray and Angie was Ray's $5,000 purchase of his dream car, a rare 1972 Buick Riviera (which is incorrectly called a 1971 model in most episodes). He is interminably fond of the vehicle; even though he claims it to be "irreplaceable," he nevertheless finds an exact replacement on two occasions when the car is blown up. In 1995, Fraser forces him to sacrifice the first to end a gunfight; the second was destroyed by a car bomb in 1996 in an attempted mob hit on Ray.
Ray still lives in his father's house with his mother and sisters, along with Maria's husband Tony and their children. He sometimes plays poker with his friends, either for actual gambling, or simply to kill time on a stakeout.