"Stay away from my case, Max. Stay away for your own good!"
―Valerie Winterson

Valerie Winterson is an NYPD Homicide detective. A co-worker of Max Payne, strict, diligent, and devoted to her work, she is described as one of the best detectives on the force. However, her romantic relationship with the Inner Circle rebel Vladimir Lem and her role as a double agent for him ultimately cost her her life.

Personal life

Valerie Winterson is divorced and a single mother raising her only blind son. She is hinted to have once had a crush on her colleague Max Payne, but later starts seeing another man, doing her best to hide his identity from her co-workers. Her romantic interest proves to be the Russian Mob boss and an Inner Circle member Vladimir Lem. According to her, Lem has been affectionate and caring with her son and is a generous financial donor of the Brooklyn School for the Blind, which her offspring attends.

As a detective

Valerie Winterson, a Homicide detective for the NYPD, is first seen arriving with police backup at Annie Finn's warehouse where Max Payne is engaged in a firefight with the Squeaky Cleaning Company hitmen having called for assistance earlier. She saves Payne from being run over by one of the cleaner vans by pulling him to safety.

Later that night, at her lieutenant Jim Bravura's office at the police station, after she and Payne are debriefed about the warehouse shooting, Winterson receives a murder case of Senator Gates. A lone witness identifies the prime suspect as Mona Sax. Unbeknownst to Winterson, Max Payne saw Sax at Finn's armory that same night killing a trio of cleaners, but Max decides to withhold the fact for the time being and does not reveal it to his colleague.

The very same night Vladimir Lem is assaulted in his club Vodka by Italian mobsters led by Vinnie Gognitti, and Winterson talks on the phone with him. The Russian Mafia boss assures her everything is going to be fine as Max Payne has arrived to his aid.

Sometime later, again at night, Valerie Winterson receives a call from Payne informing her his apartment complex is being stormed by the cleaning company commandos, including a sniper being positioned outside his window. Payne ends up killing most of the attackers on his own and the rest flee before any of the police sent for help arrive.

That same night Winterson meets a survived Max Payne at the police station, but he suddenly leaves for a secret meeting with Mona Sax, following a note with her address left at his desk. Winterson is quick to warn Payne not to do "anything stupid" as she starts suspecting her colleague might be in communication with her murder suspect. Her suspicions prove to be true as, some hours later, she personally arrests Mona Sax and finds Payne with her in the luxurious Upper East Side apartments where the two had been engaged in a firefight with, and killed, more cleaners.

Bringing the two to the station, Winterson is furious at Max for compromising her case and demands Bravura to punish Payne accordingly. She later has the witness of Gate's murder identify Sax as the killer in a line-up. After the procedure, Max Payne catches the detective talking on the phone with a third party (most likely Vladimir Lem) about the case and mentioning that both Sax and he would be "taking the fall." Payne accuses her of disclosing classified information, but his colleague angrily denies it and storms into the lieutenants office once again.

Max Payne and Mona Sax escape from the police station when the cleaning company fighters launch a daring assault on it. That night, Winterson gets a tip-off about their possible location at the Castling construction site. She quickly drives to the location, talking on the phone with Lem on her way. The detective accepts to murder both Sax and Payne for Vlad when she gets the chance. Arriving at the site before any other police officers, Winterson indeed finds the couple there in the aftermath of their offensive on the major cleaner hitmen operating base. The detective points her handgun at Sax and demands her immediate surrender while the fugitive tells Payne Winterson is only there to kill her. Max tries to mediate calm between the two, but the situation gets more tense, and, when Valerie appears to be about to fire her weapon, he instinctively shoots his Homicide colleague first. All three of them are shocked as Winterson collapses. Shaken, Payne shouts for Sax to run before other police forces arrive. A mortally wounded Winterson suddenly fires at him; the man gets hit and, injured, tumbles down into a pit over a ledge. Policemen arrive at the scene shortly after that and call for an ambulance, but Winterson is pronounced dead-on-arrival at the hospital. Her killer, though, is resuscitated.


Winterson's body is delivered to the hospital's morgue and put on its table. This is where a freshly awoken Max Payne soon finds it when a gas tank explosion makes his elevator crash land to the building's basement when more cleaner hitmen invade the structure looking to kill him. Max remorsefully looks at the late detective's cadaver. He is prevented from staying there any longer, though, as an enemy gunman corners him in the room and Payne is forced to flee.

Haunting Max Payne

Ever since meeting Mona Sax at Annie Finn's gunshop and withholding this information from his Homicide colleage, Max Payne feels remorseful and betraying his department. Valerie Winterson appears in one of his nightmares where she and Bravura are both interrogating him, trying to find out what he is "hiding" from them. However, Payne stands up against their protests, picks up a 9mm pistol and shoots both of his co-workers dead, choosing to side with Sax in his mind.

Even more is Max Payne guilt-ridden after he kills Winterson, pronouncing himself "a murderer" after he witnesses her corpse. Neither does his regret disappear even when he finds out Valerie was working for Vladimir Lem and out to kill him herself.

Appearance and characteristics

Valery Winterson is seen wearing a burgundy suit or a long coat over it when in rain (as she appears at the construction site). She is in her mid-thirties to early forties and has blonde hair.

Professional and working by-the-book, Winterson is a tragic figure. She is constantly frustrated by Max Payne's unorthodox and, in many ways, contrasting-to-her-own-style of work undermining her murder case against Mona Sax. Winterson finally accepts to betray the police force for her lover Vladimir Lem, who she sees as a caring father-figure for her blind child, only to get killed.


"Back off, Payne"
―to Max Payne

Behind the scenes



See also

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