Donna was an only child. Her father, Tony, was a cop. Her mother, Amanda, was a seamstress.
Tony was a narcotics detective. Donna watched him as he risked life and limb every day to clean up the streets of Philadelphia.
Her father's work had a tremendous impact on her. For one, it was made clear to Donna at a very early age that drugs and alcohol were dangerous to say the least. He and his work were also very inspirational to Donna. She saw all of the good that he did, and she wanted to emulate that. Most importantly, it showed her that nothing in life was guaranteed; to savor every moment, and always tell loved ones how important they are.
Following in her father's foot steps, she studied criminal justice at Chestnut Hill College before attending the Philly Police Academy.
She did well in her class. Studious and focused, Donna was one of the top students.
Father's Day came, and as was the tradition, Donna took her parents out to eat at one of their favorite restaurants in the city. Donna and her parents had a wonderful holiday dinner together.
At the end of the evening, her parents drove off back home, and Donna went out to her apartment. It was the last time she'd ever see her parents.
On their drive home, Tony and Amanda were hit head on by a drunk driver.
Losing her parents meant losing her life. Everything was cold, dark, and empty. Nothing made sense, nothing had meaning. Suddenly, Donna's only way of coping was to drink at home, or to try to numb her pain with one night stands. She didn't know of any other way to forget the pain. She couldn't function, no matter what she did.
She went through the motions of life, like she was supposed to, but it was all a facade.
One year went by, and everything stayed the same. Donna was still completely devastated. She continued to search for peace in alcohol and women. Graduation wasn't anything important. Life was still meaningless.
She started to get some reprieve from her depressive state when she began her field training. Her FTO (Field Training Officer) was tough with her. He tested her and he pushed her. At times, he drove her insane. At others, he was her best friend.
Two days before her field training was to end, Donna was shot when they went out to an armed robbery.
Donna was shot in the back, and lost a kidney as a result of her wounds. She survived, though. In the hospital, she was painful, angry, and depressed. Once again it seemed as though nothing could go easily for her.
She recovers, and much to her surprise, was given glowing ratings from her FTO. Normal protocol would have had her on patrol for three years before she could go into narcotics. Between her father's reputation, and the recommendations from Kirkpatrick, her FTO, some strings were pulled and Donna went right into Narcotics. To make the deal even sweeter, she was teamed up with John, her father's old partner.
Donna excells as a Narc. She does so well that she receives the highest award a police officer in Philadelphia can receive: the George Fencl Award. Donna hates being the center of attention, but she deserved this award (and she knew it).
Life continues on status quo, until Donna's birthday. Once again, she seeks out a woman to help ease her loneliness. But this time, something's different. Heather was beautiful, alluring, addictive. One night of passion lead to two, which lead to more. Donna suddenly found herself in a relationship. She had always been afraid to open her heart to anyone after she had been so devastated by her parents' death. But Heather was worth it.
Or was she?
The relationship had been going well, or so Donna thought. Donna was madly in love with her, she assumed Heather loved her. There had never been a sign to indicate otherwise. Until one night when Heather tells Donna that she had accepted a new position, and would be moving to Chicago. Donna was floored. Especially when Heather suddenly became very cold, and said some horrifically cruel things to her.
Once again, Donna's heart was shattered.
Donna had met a gal named Linda through Heather. Out of desperation and loneliness, Donna sought her out for some support. Thus began an incredible friendship for the two women. Linda introduces Donna to Liz and Jen, Maria and Stephania. Donna went from being a loner to being a part of a group - a family of sorts.
Liz and Jen bring Taffy, a little calico kitten, to Donna for more companionship. Donna's entire world opened up thanks to her connection to Linda. She had friends - people who genuinely cared about her. Now she had a little roommate to boot.
What Donna receives in acceptance from the group, she gives back in time. She always makes herself available to them. When Jen falls down a flight of stairs, Donna is the person she calls. When Linda's shop is vandalized, she knew she could call Donna. Later on, when Katie is kidnapped by her own parents, Donna is right there to save her.
Katie's rescue came with a price, though. Donna had gone to bed early because she and John had a sting early the next morning. Katie called her in the middle of the night, and to come to a section of town that was quite a bit away. It took a while for Donna to arrive with two patrol officers. Then, they needed to find Katie. After Katie is safe, Donna brings her back home, only to drive her and Linda out to one of the hospitals for much needed medical treatment.
Donna finally crashes in the break room at the precinct.
She only naps for a short while before going off to her raid with John.
Her exhaustion gets the best of her, and she flubs the operation. John gets shot as a result. It seems that once again, the people closest to Donna get hurt.
In a sick twist of irony, John loses a kidney, like Donna did, from his injury. He, too, recovers. His is a tad more lengthy, but he survives.
Dedicated completely, Donna works diligently to get the guy that shot John. Her work leads her to Brynn, a cop in Doylestown. Brynn and her family are friends with John and his wife, Beth. John had wanted to set them up for a date. Now, they were working together.
Between her concern for John, and her attraction to Brynn, working this case became difficult for Donna. She and Brynn, though, are able to bring justice to John's assailant.
The most terrifying moment, though, comes when Brynn asks Donna out. That night, Liz was premiering as the new principle dancer for the Pennsylvania Ballet, so Brynn asks Donna if she can join her. Although she is petrified, Donna agrees.
Thus begins a wonderful romance for Donna. Her story ends with a happy ending, but Brynn reminds her that life isn't perfect. That their friends' relationships aren't impeccable. That Donna's quirks and insecurities are just like anyone else's. And that a real life, flawed relationship is even better than fiction.
Donna is such a rich, deep character. She is chock-full of heart, emotion, courage, and humanity. She is a wonderful woman, someone we can all connect to.
Favorite quote from Donna: "I gotta say, it really is an honor to be up here. I never expected to win an award like this. That’s not why I go out and do what I do. I’m a cop because…I’m a cop. My father was a police officer, I had to become one!
“I do what I do because of my father. He instilled good morals into me. He taught me about honesty, integrity, doing the right thing, fairness. All the things that a police officer is meant to encompass.
“And I work in the department that I do because of my father. Not only because I am following in his footsteps. But because of how he died. A drunk driver hit and killed both of my parents on Father’s Day. It was a drug related crime as far as I’m concerned. And I don’t want other people to suffer through what I went through. I want to make the streets cleaner and safer by getting rid of the chemicals that cause people to lose their sound judgment and their humanity.
“I do what I do because I love it and because it’s important to me. Thank you.”