|Full Name||Harold Francis Callahan|
|Place of Birth||Los Angeles, California|
|Relatives||Clinton Callahan (father), Margaret Callahan (mother), Jeanne Callahan (sister)|
|Affiliation||Los Angeles Police Department|
Harry Callahan is a Los Angeles police detective who pursues the city's most dangerous and elusive criminal offenders, yet may be be as ruthless as the dangerous criminals he hunts.
Harold Francis Callahan was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, the first-born son of Clinton and Margaret Callahan. He grew up in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley with his parents and his sister Jeanne. After Harry graduated from high school, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, he went on to the School of Infantry at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. There, Harry attended the Marine Rifleman Course. Afterwards, he was assigned to a rifle platoon in 3rd Battalion 1st Marines. Harry eventually rose to the position of automatic rifleman and then fire team leader.
He left the Marine Corps after four years of service and returned to Los Angeles, where he then applied to join the Los Angeles Police Department. After completing the entire application process, Harry went on to the LAPD Academy. Upon graduating from the Police Academy, he was assigned as a patrol officer to the Southeast Community Police Station. Four years later, Harry applied to become a detective. After passing the detective's exam and interview, he was assigned to the Gang and Narcotics Division. Six years later, he transferred to the Homicide Special Section of the Robbery-Homicide Division. In that capacity, Harry investigated serial, high-profile, and arson related homicides.
After a little over two years as a homicide detective, he was assigned to the elite Special Investigation Section. As a tactical surveillance unit, the primary objective of SIS is to determine if suspects under surveillance are connected to the crimes under investigation, and, if probable cause exists to arrest, to locate and arrest the suspects. This responsibility is accomplished by conducting exhaustive investigations involving relentless hours of field surveillance. Most often, SIS detectives assist with investigations involving homicides, serial robberies, extortions, kidnaps, burglaries, sexual assaults and crimes committed against police officers on a citywide basis.
Harry and the other detectives of the SIS are specialists in surveillance and intelligence gathering. They methodically build their cases to maximize the chances of successful prosecution. When their cases are built and the time is right, they apprehend a criminal — often during the act of committing a crime. These "hot take downs" are extremely dangerous and frequently result in armed resistance. Exchanging gunfire with desperate, heavily armed suspects including bank robbers, serial killers, and drug dealers is the norm for Harry.
As a detective in the Special Investigation Section, his primary concern is protecting and avenging the victims of violent crime. Though proficient at apprehending criminals, Harry's methods are often unconventional; while some claim that he is prepared to ignore the law and professional and ethical boundaries, regarding them as needless red tape hampering justice, his methods are usually within the law – he takes advantage of situations that justify his use of deadly force, sometimes almost creating those situations.
While his partners and many other officers respect and admire him, others see him as unfit to serve on the police force. Harry often clashes with superiors who dislike his methods, and judges and prosecutors are wary of handling his cases because of frequent violations of the Fourth Amendment and other irregularities. He has a reputation as someone who does not hesitate to cross professional and ethical boundaries in pursuit of his own vision of justice, especially when the law is poorly served by an inept bureaucracy.
Usually assigned every dirty job that comes along, Harry has been given the nickname "Dirty Harry" by his fellow officers.
- A version of this character appears in the Dirty Harry film series.