Vampire-footer Spoilers: Serpentine
This article or section contains spoilers for 2018 novel Serpentine.
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In the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, federal marshals are generally in reference to the members of the preternatural branch of the U.S. Marshals Service. The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is a federal law-enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice, and in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, the preternatural branch is created to specialize in lycanthrope and vampire crime.

Anita Blake and several other vampire executioners are grandfathered in as federal marshals when the preternatural branch is created.

Marshal status allows vampire executioners to operate across state lines, and affords them more freedom to perform their duty, although in return there is some more bureaucracy, and the laws keep changing on them. Marshals of the preternatural branch never have official partners, although they often work closely together with other law enforcement in their area. When they don't have a warrant of execution marshals of the preternatural branch have to play more within the regular marshal rules, although that still offers them significant freedom and legal protection in emergencies. As a downside, compared to bounty hunting the Marshal Service pays peanuts. Most marshals kill at least one vampire in their first month in the field, sometimes more, which is more violence than most regular cops deal out in their whole career.

Becoming a marshal Edit

The original marshals of the preternatural branch are old-time vampire executioners like Anita, or bounty hunters like Ted Forrester, who get grandfathered in after qualifying on a shooting range if they have two or more years on the job. Those who don't qualify, or have retired from active duty like Manny, continue as they were without a marshal status and a badge.

Newer vampire executioners, like Larry Kirkland, who were not established yet at the time of original grandfathering, have much stricter entry requirements to becoming marshals, but are still largely trained to the job outside of any official channels, like Anita training Larry.

Third wave of marshals are people who have been regular police officers for at least two years and then trained for preternatural work in classrooms instead of in the field. Anita disapproves of this, because these marshals tend to lack the skillsets required for becoming effective legalized assassins for monsters. The training meets political needs rather than actual demands of the job, and the new marshals tend to be woefully unaware of how far the classroom theory is from the practice.

Lycanthropy Edit

Initially, lycanthropy is automatic means of dismissal for marshals of the preternatural branch, just as it is for other members of law enforcement. However, Anita becomes the first to be allowed to stay after testing positive, because she doesn't shift.

At the time of Hit List, a marshal who lost his badge after catching lycanthropy is involved in a court case worth millions over it, and wins the case by the epilogue. This allows Marshal Laila Karlton, who is infected by a werewolf during the Hit List, to become the first actual lycanthrope to keep her badge after she shifts for the first time. Marshal Otto Jefferies, who becomes a werelion shortly after Laila's attack, technically gets the same deal, although he disappears from the hospital before any decisions can be made. Anita thinks that even Marshal Service agrees that he is considered too dangerous to be left to his own devices, even if he is still in theory a marshal of good standing.

As of Kiss the Dead, Marshal Karlton is still riding a desk, but if she ever gets allowed back to the field it will open the door for other lycanthropes to apply as well.[1]

By the time of Dead Ice, there are still only two officers who have got to keep their badges after catching lycanthropy, both of them members of the preternatural branch.[2] It's unclear whether Otto Jefferies is counted as one of the two. He isn't mentioned in that context in Kiss the Dead, which might indicate that he isn't considered an active marshal anymore. It's possible that Anita is considered one of the two, although Anita doesn't shift.

By the time of Serpentine, Otto Jefferies is back on duty as a known werelion and "a marshal in good standing" as if he was never considered dangerous. He is easy enough to contact that Donna does so behind Ted Forrester's back.[3] This might indicate that Otto Jefferies was indeed one of the two officers referred to in Dead Ice, although it doesn't explain what might have happened after Hit List to make everyone but Anita and Ted Forrester stop worrying about him. It's possible that Anita was wrong about her assumptions at the end of Hit List, or Otto Jefferies has demonstrated good enough control over his lycanthropy since then that Marshal Service no longer worries about him. Marshal Karlton is also mentioned briefly, but not by name, and whether or not she is back to the field isn't addressed.[4]

Known marshals Edit

Preternatural branch Edit


Applied during transition phase:

Classroom trained:

  • Arlen Brice - St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Laila Karlton - unknown
  • Morgan - Atlanta, Georgia. (Deceased)
  • Newman - unknown
  • Tilford - unknown

Unknown training:

  • Tony a.k.a. Wizard - Las Vegas, Navada. (Deceased)

Other marshal branches Edit

  • Finnegan - Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Raborn - Seattle, Washington.
  • Rita Clark - Seattle, Washington.

Unknown marshal branch Edit

  • Ben Carter - unknown

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. Kiss the Dead, chapter 15.
  2. Dead Ice, chapter 06, spoken by Socrates: "The two officers who got to keep their badges after catching lycanthropy on the job are both part of the U.S. Marshals Preternatural Branch."
  3. Serpentine, chapter 37.
  4. Serpentine, chapter 08, Anita speaking to Micah, referencing Laila Karlton: "Socrates was really good with the marshal that got lycanthropy on the job with me. He talked to her family and everything."