Josie MacDonald's brother, Raymond, disappeared when she was still a child. Police were never able to find him or give the family any answers about the disappearance. After this tragedy, Josie developed a psychic ability to read objects. It was as if objects would call out to her. She used this talent to find things people had lost, becoming a little local hero in her Gotham City neighborhood.
Josie's trick worked only with inanimate objects and not people, so when one of their neighbors lost her child, there was nothing Josie could do for her. The woman was enraged, saying horrible things about Josie and the family in her grief. After that, Josie's father began turning people away who came asking her to find things for them, saying she could no longer do that trick.
Years later, Josie's mother died, presumably from cancer, while she was training to join the Gotham City Police Department. This left only her and her father, who was proud of his daughter but also feared losing her too.
Josie MacDonald was created by Judd Winick and Cliff Chiang as the star of the backup feature in several issues of Detective Comics.
Major Story Arcs
Josie MacDonald's path to detective grade was momentarily derailed when she accidentally intruded on a politically powerful woman in the middle of an extra-marital affair with a male stripper. As punishment, she was transferred from the special anti-crime unit she had been a part of and dumped into the missing persons unit. Her new parter was Oscar Castro, a tired officer just waiting out the final years to his retirement.Before Josie even sat down at her new desk, a bombshell of a case dropped in her lap. The son of a major figure in organized crime had gone missing. It was a complete mess of a situation that threatened to sink Josie's career even further, but because of her lost brother, she could not let a missing child case go. Even Batman tried to warn her off. Two attempts were made on her life with the second injuring her partner. Then the worst happened. Her father was murdered to scare her off the case.
Rather than give up, Josie worked closely with Batman to solve the case. She realized Two-Face was the kidnapper and helped rescue the boy. However, Two-Face admitted to having nothing to do with the attacks on her. It was the lawyer of the kid's father, who wanted to ruin the man and take over the business. In the confrontation, Josie shot and killed him when he reached for a weapon. Oscar tampered with the scene to make it appear that the lawyer fired first to make sure no one could twist the shooting against her.
Half a Life
When Oscar finally got his retirement, his going away gift to Josie was to let her know that she was finally getting her detective promotion and being transferred to the Major Crimes Unit. She became Crispus Allen's temporary partner as Renee Montoya was currently being investigated for crimes Two-Face had framed her for. There was immediate friction between Josie and Cris due to Cris not giving up on Renee. However, Josie agreed with that and helped him clear Renee's name.
Since Renee was in no shape to return to duty immediately, Josie remained Cris' temporary partner for the next few months. He consistently gave her a hard time, though they worked well together. Other detectives also began hazing her by hiding her coffee mug every morning. Much to their frustration and disbelief, she was always able to find it right away.
After Renee's return to duty, Josie became the partner of Marcus Driver, whose former partner had been murdered by Mr. Freeze before Josie's transfer. A hostage situation that turned into a suicide prompted Marcus to reopen a cold case involving a bombing that killed a Gotham high school's baseball team. Josie's secret psychic talent allowed her to not only find the case's lost evidence but find a hidden clue that implicated the Mad Hatter in the crime.
Looking for more answers, she and Marcus sought old the former detective who originally worked the case, namely Harvey Bullock. Josie had heard of him, but this was her first time meeting the man. She was less than impressed. He had descended into alcoholism and depression since leaving the force. When the case was successfully closed, Bullock had to be talked down from killing the Penguin and then from killing himself. Josie was instrumentally in stopping Bullock's suicide and helped cover for his attack on the Penguin, having begun to sympathize with the former detective.
On the Freak Beat
When Catwoman was framed for a murder, she blackmailed Josie into clearing her name by threatening to expose Josie's secret power. Josie was able to figure out what had really happened and get a confession from the real killer. Catwoman kept her secret, and the experience encouraged Josie to finally share it with her partner Marcus.
Josie had been sexually involved with the corrupt crime scene investigator named Jim Corrigan, though she did not realize at the time that he was dirty. In fact, she was his primary defender in the M.C.U. when other detectives would slander his name. However, his corruption eventually became too obvious for her to miss.
When Crispus was murdered by Corrigan, Josie and Marcus took on the case and felt sure they would be able to nail him for the crime. Josie used her psychic gift to find the gun that was used to kill Crispus. However, Corrigan's friends in the force had tampered with the evidence, making the gun seem not to be the murder weapon despite Josie knowing for sure that it was. Corrigan walked free of the charges.