Ray Vecchio

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Name: Ray Vecchio
Occupation: police detective
Relationships: ex-wife Angie; partner Fraser; the ghost of his dead father; sister Francesca (Frannie); mother; sister Maria (and her husband Tony and their children); Frank Zuko
Fandom: due South
Other: Italian-American
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Ray Vecchio is a main character in due South.

Canon Background

Canon strongly implies, but doesn't make explicit, the idea that Ray's father was an abusive alcoholic. He was an excellent pool player and may have been a small-time hood. He was also known to gamble, but never won.

Ray grew up trying to protect his family. He was friends with Frank Zuko, the son of the local crime boss, who grew up to take his father's place. In contrast, Ray, who wanted to be as different from his father as possible, became a cop. He was working a beat in 1986 and worked his way up to detective sometime between 1988 and 1994. He spent some time in Vice. Growing tension between Ray and Frank Zuko was exacerbated by the fact that Ray had been romantically involved with Frank's sister, Irene, in high school.

He married Angie, but was divorced some time before the pilot episode. No reason is ever given for the divorce, and Ray doesn't tell Benton Fraser he had an ex-wife until Fraser sees her.

Ray is the oldest son in a large, Italian-American family, including a cousin Al who runs a garage. When his father died (circa 1989), Ray inherited the house he'd grown up in and lived there with his mother and his sister Francesca (Frannie) (after her divorce); his other sister, Maria, her husband Tony, and their children were often underfoot as well.

Ray's pride and joy is his 1971 green Buick Riviera (license plate RCW-139), also known as "the Riv". During the first two seasons, it gets blown up and subsequently replaced several times until Ray Kowalski drives it into Lake Michigan in the third-season premiere.

Ray sees and talks to his late father's ghost in three episodes ("Gift of the Wheelman", "Victoria's Secret", and "North"), but, unlike Fraser, does not witness any other supernatural occurrences.

Belmanoir has compiled a timeline of Vecchio's backstory, listing events mentioned in canon.

Canon or Fanon

Vecchio is mean to Fraser: This interpretation first appeared during the height (or depths) of the Ray Wars; some RayK fans decided that Ray Vecchio's sometimes acerbic comments meant that he was "mean", specifically to Fraser. The idea took hold in the early days of RayK fandom, to the point where newbies coming in during those years would simply assume it was true, despite never having watched any RayV episode and despite canonical evidence to the contrary provided by RayV fans.[1]

Bad cop: In the pilot episode, Ray has 41 unsolved cases on his desk, uses questionable methods to try to get a criminal to confess, and appears to be not especially well-liked among the other cops. These facts are taken by some fans as evidence that Ray is at core a bad (or at least poor) cop. A corrupt Ray Vecchio is featured in some Fraser/Kowalski fanfics [example?], although this fanon trend is subverted in a few others (e.g. Surviving by lalejandra).

Devout Catholicism: On screen, Vecchio wears a small cross and is clearly presented as Catholic. Some fans assume that he's devout.

  • This assumption led directly to the Due South Religious Wars of '96, when the main listowner decided that as a devout Catholic, Ray would never use profanity, including taking the Lord's name in vain to any degree (despite canonical evidence that Ray used some of the words the listowner claimed he wouldn't). She forbade stories that portrayed Ray using those words, causing the first list-split in the fandom.

Slash and Ships

Ray Vecchio is usually paired with:


Vecchio authors

Vecchio-centric stories

Vecchio-centric art

Vecchio-centric vids

Fannish Resources


  1. ^ Personal memory of far too many list posts and IRC conversations where RayK fans asserted this. --Arduinna, October 30, 2008.