Dennis Maxwell was a personnel manager who worked for the Mark Brittain Warehouse, moving to the Weatherfield branch in May 1971. One of his first acts was to reverse the decision of M.J. Pollard who had set the operation up in Coronation Street and employ Elsie Howard as checking supervisor. Pollard had been ready to offer Elsie that same position but Hilda Ogden had informed him of the 1969 court case when Elsie had been prosecuted by her then employers, Miami Modes, for shop-lifting and he had told her the job was no longer available. Annie Walker and Maggie Clegg, furious at Hilda's maliciousness, had told Maxwell the true circumstances of the 1969 case - that Dot Greenhalgh had been the true culprit - and he took her on after checking personally with Mr Maddox-Smith of Miami Modes who back up Elsie's innocence.

Maxwell showed a keen interest in Elsie's work, something eagerly noticed by checking staff Ivy Tilsley and Edna Gee. He invited her for a lunch, strictly business only, but she made sure that husband Alan knew everything that was going on. Alan was unnerved though when he heard Ivy and Edna gossiping in the Corner Shop and after being introduced to Maxwell in the Rovers, invited him to No. 11 for a drink which, in turn, unnerved Elsie.

Maxwell then invited her out for an evening meal, again with Alan's permission, where his true character came out into the open: ruthlessly ambitious, he was not married as he had been so involved in his career that by the time he started looking round all the good-looking women had been taken. He flattered Elsie by telling her she was decisive and didn’t burst in tears when she couldn’t get her own way, unlike a lot of women he had worked with. He told her he had a rule of always look for the personal advantage in anything. He had also born in in a background of terraced streets and had conned a selection board for officers in the war to get a commission by dropping working class accent in a first step of getting away from his working class roots. He then calmly outlined an illegal scheme for the two of them to make money at the warehouses's expense. Elsie was stunned but also sickened at his hypocrisy the next day when he sacked worker Sally Turner for trying to walk out with four swimsuits under her clothes. Elsie accused him of overturning Pollard’s “sacking” because he thought she had committed the 1969 theft and thought she would be a perfect partner in crime. She refused his offer but he turned nasty when it was announced that Marcus Berlin, the owner's son, would be visiting the next day and suspected that it was to investigate him, Elsie having reported him. However at a drinks reception, Berlin took the opportunity to announce that Maxwell had been promoted to head the services division and would be leaving Weatherfield. Maxwell said his goodbyes to Elsie, telling her that she was playing safe with Alan who was a loser. She retorted that he was nothing but a crook.

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