Howard Kurlen (b. 1955) is a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department's Van Nuys Division. He was in the Marine Corps for 10 before joining the LAPD in 1987. He was first assigned to the Foothill Division and later transferred to the Van Nuys Division. He has crossed paths with both Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller a number of times.
In the early 2000's he was partnered with Don Grafton. In April of 2003, he and Grafton investigated the death of Martha Renteria, and arrested Jesus Menendez for the murder. In that case Haller defended Menendez and got him a plea agreement.
In 2008 he was partnered with Cynthia Longstreth, a relatively inexperienced detective. They investigated the murder of Mitchell Bondurant and arrested Lisa Trammel for the crime. Both Kurlen and Longstreth testified during the trial.