Barbara Starkey is a veteran with the SID branch of LAPD, with even more years of service than Harry Bosch. Starkey and Bosch first met when she was assisting in the search for the remains of Patty Hearst in the burned out house where the Symbionese Liberation Army had a shootout with the police. Bosch was a rookie patrol cop who was providing security for the site. As Starkey's career progressed she became expert in various technologies including video. By 2009 she was assigned to the Digital Image Unit.
On 11 September 2009 she assisted Bosch in analyzing a video clip that had been sent to him by his daughter. Starkey showed Bosch how to send her an email with the video as an attachment, which he had never done before. Her analysis of the video showed many details that were not normally visible, enabling Bosch to zero-in on the building where his daughter was being held. She made Harry a print of a key frame so that he could take it with him.