|Viv Martella||Service Record|
Viv Martella joined Sun Hill as a uniformed officer, an attractive dark-haired, dark-eyed girl with an Italian grandfather, a sharp cockney mouth and a determination not to get swamped in a male-dominated world. She never did. She shrugged off the chauvinism she found round every corner, and resisted all prying male attempts to find out about her love-life. She found a way of turning down the chat-ups with a smile and a witty word that didn't leave the up-chatters feeling too knocked-back. ('Not while there's a phone-book!' she told Roach when he suggested a date.) There were plenty of chatters. Burnside had a go, so did staid Sergeant Penny, so did Reg Hollis if you'll believe it, and so did Lennie Powell, a villain-turned grass Viv had to guard in a safe house one night. Viv always had a civvy boyfriend on the go - nothing too heavy - but she was determined that she wouldn't get involved with anyone in the job. The only time she came close was when charming DS Hooper arrived at Sun Hill. Viv fancied him and was stunned when he turned out to be a divorced wife-beater, once married to another woman officer. What did happen was that DC Tosh Lines became a close friend. She felt she could talk to Tosh unofficially, and more than once he cried on her shoulder - or came as close as Tosh could ever get to crying.
CID took to using Viv Martella every time they needed a woman to work undercover, and after a time her title changed from WPC to WDC. Her career as a detective didn't start too well. She'd bought herself a stunning new suit - hardly plain clothes and she was sent out on her first job to pick up a prostitute needed as a witness. The girl gave Viv the slip a couple of times and was only finally caught after an exhausting chase, during which Viv fell over and tore her new outfit. She arrived back at Sun Hill triumphant but dishevelled, and reacted angrily when the male CID establishment laughed at her scarecrow appearance and told her the girl she'd brought in was no longer needed. But they praised her, too. She'd become, said Burnside, 'one of the boys'.
When she joined up Viv Martella saw the job as just a job. She wasn't ambitious, she didn't have a burning social conscience, she just thought it would be an interesting life. But as she got involved in police work Viv began to care more and more about the victims and sometimes about the villains, too. Her generous heart was easily touched by a hard-luck story, and other officers sometimes accused her of being too soft on criminals. At the same time her quick temper with a wife-beater or a child-molester or a rapist sometimes made her blow an interview because she couldn't keep her cool. But that was Viv, a girl who cared and who couldn't always stop it showing. She applied for a position in the Bermuda police force on one occasion, but after being punched during a fight, then failing to prevent a suicide jumper, felt she wasn't up to the job and withdrew the application. When Sun Hill was challenged to a football match with a local youth team, Viv went in goal. She let in five, and Sun Hill lost, of course. She didn't care. She'd done her best.
Tragically, Viv was shot dead in the line of duty when approaching a gunman's car. For the station her death was a tragedy. For PC Tony Stamp, himself wounded in the same incident, it was a trauma so deep it took him months to get over it. Sun Hill conducted its own bitter inquest into how Viv, a girl everyone loved, was allowed to approach a car unarmed when it was strongly suspected that the thieves inside had guns. That day, Sun Hill lost of one of its liveliest characters.