||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Due South. (Discuss) Proposed since January 2014.|
|Due South character|
|Last appearance||Call Of The Wild Pt. 2|
|Created by||Paul Haggis|
|Portrayed by||David Marciano|
|Title||Detective First Grade|
|Family||Carmine Vecchio (father, deceased); Mrs. Vecchio (mother); Francesca Vecchio (sister); Maria (sister)|
Al Grosso (cousin)
Detective First Grade Raymond "Ray" Vecchio is a fictional character in the television series Due South. He is a detective with the Chicago Police Department, on the force for approximately 14 years by the end of the series, serving with the 27th Precinct. He lives at 2926 North Octavia Avenue, a Victorian-style house left to him by his father, in the Chicago suburb of Norwood Park. He frequently works with RCMP Constable Benton Fraser, deputy liaison officer of the Canadian consulate in Chicago, to get to the bottom of crimes; though aggravated by Fraser's unorthodox style (which contributes to the comic side of the show), he is usually satisfied with the results. Ray is portrayed by actor David Marciano.
Ray was born and grew up in Chicago, raised as a Roman Catholic. He is the patriarch of a large family - including his mother, sister Francesca Vecchio, sister Maria and her husband Tony, many nieces and nephews and a brother who lives outside of Chicago. His father, with whom Ray had a strained relationship, died in 1989 and did not care for police officers, which might explain by way of rebellion why Ray became one. The senior Vecchio did, however, bequeath his house to Ray, although this is most likely by dint of Ray being his firstborn. 
Sibling rivalry aside, Ray is very protective of Francesca and attempts to discourage her from pursuing a romance with the relatively unemotional Fraser. In episode 3.09, "Dead Guy Running", Francesca speaks of an incident in which Ray violently threatened an abusive man she was dating; when the man was found dead in the police station, Ray, undercover at the time, was suspected (but later cleared) of killing him.
Ray is a fan and occasional player of basketball, having played on his high-school basketball team; he refuses to believe Fraser's anecdote of the game's invention by a Canadian minister. His inability to skate contributes to his criticism of hockey, which he derides as "figure skating with clubs." On rarer occasion, he plays poker, either for actual gambling or simply to kill time.
Ray is divorced from ex-wife Angie (played by Marciano's real-life wife Katayoun Amini), and has been involved with a few women since, including a suspected arms smuggler who turned out to be an undercover ATF agent. Ray has had an antagonistic relationship since childhood with a neighborhood mafioso, Don Frank Zuko, and an on-and-off relationship with Zuko's sister, Irene (Carrie-Anne Moss). His best friend and de facto partner is a Canadian Mountie, Constable Benton Fraser, who is assigned to the Canadian Consulate in Chicago, and the two often help each other solve crimes and right wrongs in the city of Chicago (and, on rare occasion, in Canada itself).
Fraser is Ray's polar opposite in many ways - whereas the Mountie is polite, well-mannered, and obeys the law to the letter, Ray is loud, brash, and will often bend or break the rules to solve a case. Much of the comedy of the show is derived from their differences. The two also have much in common. Both care deeply about their communities, both had troubled relationships with their deceased fathers, and both can be highly tenacious investigators (once Ray can be motivated to become involved with a case) with a strong sense of justice. Ray habitually mispronounces his partner's name "Frasier" and often calls him "Benny."
Ray is obsessed with mint-condition green 1971 Buick Rivieras. He has currently owned at least three of them - the first was blown up during a gunfight to save Vecchio and Fraser's lives, the second was destroyed by a car bomb, and the third was also fitted with a bomb and was driven into Lake Michigan.
During the first season, Ray often wore loud, garish clothes and was criticised by his colleagues for his wardrobe. He did, however, wear tasteful suits as well (Fraser believed his name to be "Detective Armani" at their first meeting), and wears them much more frequently during the second season. He openly despairs that Fraser has caused a great many of them to be ruined by digging for clues in garbage and other filth.
Ray is unskilled with computers, preferring instead to use a typewriter (although he is a poor typist). He relies heavily on Civilian Aide Elaine Besbriss to do much of his research for him, and will occasionally have Fraser type for him. He also has a black book full of various officials he has blackmail information on, though most of it proves to be outdated and useless by the time he ever finds a reason to use it (often to help Fraser with a legal matter). He is acrophobic, and highly dismayed whenever Fraser jumps out of a window or from some other great height in pursuit of a suspect. In spite of all of that, and his large back-log of cases, he is a skilled and effective detective.
Ray has been a Chicago police officer since at least 1985 and was still a beat cop in mid-1986. It is unclear when he was bumped up to detective; his first supervisor, Lieutenant William Kelly, thought enough of him to attend to his promotion. His present supervisor, Lieutenant Harding Welsh, is somewhat less enthusiastic, but nevertheless fair; he has shown great reluctance to take disciplinary action against Ray, and defended him before higher-ranking officers. Ray's relationship with his brother detectives, particularly Jack Huey and Louis Gardino, is at some times cordial and other times downright competitive and antagonistic.
In "The Promise" (#2.05), Ray mentions that he spent six years in the vice squad prior to his present stint in the violent crimes division. Before meeting Fraser, Ray worked mostly alone; "The Duel" (#2.16) was the only episode in which he encountered a former partner. Despite several references to the slow progress of Ray's career, he was promoted to detective first grade shortly before "Juliet Is Bleeding" (#2.07).
More than once, Ray has been severely injured in the line of duty. In all on-screen incidents, he voluntarily sustained such an injury acting as a human shield to Fraser. In the pilot movie, he pushed Fraser out of a window ahead of a bomb blast; took a bullet for him in "Letting Go" (#1.22); and took another, final bullet in "Call of the Wild: Part 1" (#4.12, see below). In "Victoria's Secret: Part 2" (#1.21), however, he accidentally shot Fraser in the back while attempting to prevent him from coming to harm by Fraser's femme fatale, Victoria Metcalf, with crippling results.
Ray has also been suspended from duty on occasion, though one such suspension was no fault of his own, and not ahead of his colleagues and supervisor going to bat for him. A curiosity of his on-screen suspensions is that Lt. Welsh did not relieve him of his service weapon along with his shield, normally necessary when removing a police officer from active service.
Ray had to suddenly leave Chicago at the start of the third season. It turned out he had an uncanny resemblance to Armando 'the Bookman' Langoustini, a Mob lieutenant in Las Vegas. After the Bookman died in a car crash, Ray was sent undercover to replace him. Episode 3.08 "Spy vs. Spy" hinted that Langoustini might have been discreetly murdered to allow Ray's insertion by federal officers. To protect his identity, Ray himself was impersonated by Detective Stanley Ray Kowalski, who posed as Ray Vecchio for the next year until Vecchio's return in the series finale.
In the finale, Vecchio is shot during a protracted gunfight, and the bullet proves to be his "Golden Bullet", allowing him to retire. He moves to Florida with Detective Kowalski's ex-wife, an Assistant States Attorney named Stella.
- William & Elyse Rydbom (March 1997). "Detective Raymond Vecchio: Character sketch". Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- "It's Due For Success, But Can This Series Overcome Dead Caribou Karma?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
- trinityslash.com. "Season 1 Due South Transcripts". Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- trinityslash.com. ""Heaven and Earth"". Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- trinityslash.com. ""Dead Guy Running"". Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- trinityslash.com. "Season 2 Due South Transcripts". Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- trinityslash.com. "Season 3 Due South Transcripts". Retrieved 31 January 2013.