- "I was Harvard Law Review. I was chief counsel of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Prior to that, I was an appellate advocate for Hartshorn and Slaughter, one of the most prestigious litigation boutiques in all New York City."
- ―Richard Woolsey[src]
Despite being against the program at first, Woolsey later gained respect for Stargate Command and the SGC's flagship team, SG-1, becoming an essential ally.
Not much is known about his past life. What is known is that he was married to someone and had a pet Yorkie, a small breed of dog. He said that he loved the dog, but that his wife got the dog in his divorce. He regretted being unable to say goodbye to his dog, which he never saw again. His father suffered from Alzheimer's disease and had died by 2008. He holds an MBA and an LL.B. from Harvard University, even though Harvard stopped offering the LLB on April 7, 1969, switching to a J.D., or Juris Doctor instead,and was also on the Harvard Law Review, Chief Counsel of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and an appellate advocate for Hartshorn and Slaughter, a prestigious litigation boutique firm in New York City. (SG1: "Heroes, Part 2", SGA: "Broken Ties", "The Shrine", "Inquisition")
He was assigned by then Senator Robert Kinsey to investigate SG-1. His investigations were adversarial and condemning of SG-1 and Stargate Command as a whole. However, after the election, upon learning of Kinsey's association with The Trust, Woolsey went to Major General George S. Hammond to seek his help in implicating Kinsey, saying that while he disapproves of how Hammond runs the SGC, he always does what he believes to be right. As a result, Hammond entrusted him a disk which contained information about Kinsey's illegal activities, which Woolsey later passed on to president Henry Hayes. (SG1: "Heroes, Part 2", "Inauguration")
Woolsey was later appointed the United States ambassador to the International Oversight Advisory. He was in charge of deciding the fate of Khalek, the "son" of Anubis. Instead of putting him in a Stasis pod, or killing him like the rest of the team wanted to, he and the IOA felt it would be necessary to study him, as his evolutionary state was similar to the Priors of the Ori, reasoning that studying Khalek might allow them to figure out a means of fighting against the Priors in the field. However, Woolsey's actions cost the life of several SGC personnel, and they were only able to kill Khalek at the last minute as he approached Ascension. He approached Dr. Daniel Jackson for his forgiveness, but Jackson didn't give it to him. Woolsey would later admit that while working as the IOA's ambassador to the United States, he was greatly frustrated with their refusal to make decisions themselves and that when they did, it took a long time. (SG1: "Prototype"), (SGA: "Legacy: Homecoming")
He accompanied International Oversight Advisory members Shen Xiaoyi, Jean LaPierre, and Russel Chapman on a tour of the Gamma Site. After a carnivorous species of insect called R-75 escaped, he demanded that SG-1 escort the IOA members to the Gamma Site research station until Colonel Stewart Pearson and his men dealt with the situation. When it was clear that the Gamma Site had fallen and the bugs were chasing them, they headed for a nearby cave. After a night in the cave, they headed for the research station to get a signal to the Odyssey to inform them they were still alive. When one of the representatives was bothering Carter in her work, Woolsey told him to shut up. They were beamed aboard just as the bugs were about to overrun the research station. Later, Woolsey discussed the events with the team and General Landry, saying it had been an eye-opening experience for him and that while the IOA officially complains a lot, they have nothing but good things to say about the team unofficially. (SG1: "The Scourge")
After the Battle of P3Y-229, he met with Major General Henry Landry about the situation. He informed Landry that the International Oversight Advisory was considering bringing the Zero Point Module from Atlantis back to Earth to use in the Antarctic outpost but Landry told him it would take three weeks for the ZPM to arrive on Earth with Landry also believing that the IOA were wasting their breath. (SG1: "Flesh and Blood")
During Vala Mal Doran's Psychiatric evaluation, he offered to make sure she passed in exchange for her spying on Stargate Command for the International Oversight Advisory. Fortunately, she refused as his offer was just a way to determine if she was trustworthy. (SG1: "Morpheus")
When a pair of Wraith Hive ships learned of the location of Earth, Woolsey was among the delegation that debriefed Dr. Elizabeth Weir on her actions leading up to the predicament. He was then dispatched to Atlantis to review Weir's competence as leader of the Atlantis expedition. While there, he aggressively questioned each one of Weir's decisions, and made a poor impression on the expedition members (Lt. Colonel John Sheppard expressed a rather strong desire to assault Woolsey). However, Woolsey's report concluded that Weir was qualified to remain as leader of the expedition with him even altering it somewhat so it put her in an even better light. (SGA: "No Man's Land", "Misbegotten")
He later returned to Atlantis to negotiate with the newly returned Ancients. They forced the team to leave the city but allowed him to stay on as a liaison. The Ancients quickly grew tired of Woolsey, and recalled Major General Jack O'Neill to help. Woolsey was there when the Asurans captured Atlantis, but managed to escape into a damaged section of the city with O'Neill while the Ancients were murdered. He remained hidden with O'Neill and worried that he was going to die due to his inexperience. He later remained behind whilst O'Neill went to drain a Jumper bay of water for Sheppard's team, and when the Asurans arrived to capture them, Woolsey put up a surprisingly good fight - as indicated by the number of shell-casings strewn around the area in which he was captured - but was captured and later interrogated. Unlike O'Neill he was unable to resist the mind-probe interrogation, and the Asurans got the team's plan from his mind, but it was later revealed that the team had used his vulnerability to the mind-probe to pass on deliberate misinformation about their plans to the Asurans. As a result, the Asurans were caught off-guard by the real plan- they believed the expedition were planning to blow up Atlantis' shield generators when in fact they had reprogrammed the shields to generate a Replicator disruptor wave- and were destroyed. Woolsey was annoyed to be used in that manner, but O'Neill comforted him with the fact that he was actually useful for something during the crisis. (SGA: "The Return, Part 1", "The Return, Part 2")
Shortly after Carson Beckett's death, Woolsey discovers a video of a woman acting like a Wraith and apparently feeding on his cousin Mark Payton who had recently died. Woolsey alerted the SGC which led to them uncovering the existence of the Lilith cult. Daniel Jackson later learned that the woman, Hanan, had actually been keeping Woolsey's cousin alive as he would've died as a child from a genetic disorder had she not used her Wraith-like abilities on him. After the destruction of most of the Lilin, the IOA ordered the destruction of M1M-316 and Woolsey was sent to ensure it happened. When the time came, the expedition made Woolsey detonate the bomb himself, but had really fooled him into believing that he'd destroyed M1M-316 when he instead blew up a dead world. (SGA: "Blood Ties")
After Dr. Daniel Jackson was turned into a Prior, Woolsey decided that they would place Jackson in stasis, attempting to avoid the same mistakes he made when dealing with Khalek, despite Jackson telling him and Stargate Command that he had a plan to wipe out the Ori by using the Sangraal and an Ori warship to send the Sangraal through the Supergate to the Ori Galaxy to wipe out the Ori. He came up to Jackson, informing him of his plans, but Jackson overcame the effects of the Prior disruptor before Woolsey could put him in stasis, beaming Woolsey down to Earth while Jackson commandeered the Odyssey to complete his mission. (SG1: "The Shroud")
Later on, Woolsey returned to Atlantis to write a three-month review of Colonel Samantha Carter's command. He promised not to interfere this time, and admitted that his own personal review revealed that he could be overzealous with his job. He expressed distrust of the Wraith and attempted to take command of the base to force Lt. Colonel John Sheppard to destroy the two Hive ships in orbit. Carter countermanded his order, and ultimately the two Hive ships destroyed each other. This experience caused Woolsey to realize that he was in the habit of including too much into his reports, and subsequently apologized to Carter, agreeing that he wouldn't report Carter's decision to not have Sheppard fire due to her acting upon a hunch. (SGA: "The Seer")
Commanders of the Atlantis expedition
| Dr. Elizabeth Weir (2004-2007) |
One of his first things he did was replace the table in the Atlantis conference room with a 12 foot long mahogany table. He went to Atlantis to do things by the book. However, during his first week on the job, he broke half a dozen basic safety protocols, just to save Dr. Jennifer Keller's life. He wondered if he was to remain commander. After learning that Woolsey could also break the rules, Lt. Colonel John Sheppard shook his hand, and welcomed him to the Pegasus galaxy. (SGA: "The Seed")
When Ronon was kidnaped by Tyre, Woolsey was still trying to adjust to living in the city, accidentally locking himself in the conference room after a meeting. Woolsey allows the team to search for Ronon and talks with Teyla about her rejoining Sheppard's team, showing sympathy with her situation. When the team finally gets Ronon's location out of Tyre, Teyla is with Woolsey and asks him to bring Torren to Kanaan and tell him where she's went. Woolsey agrees, but gets nervous around the baby once she leaves. After the mission, Teyla visits Woolsey to inform him of her decision to rejoin Sheppard's team. To her surprise, she finds Woolsey listening to classical music and wearing his old suit since he'd told them he was going to relax. Woolsey explains he feels his suit is the most relaxing clothing he has and accepts her return to duty before going back to his music. (SGA: "Broken Ties")
When Rodney McKay got infected with Second Childhood, the team requested permission to undertake a dangerous mission to the Shrine of Talus to give him a final day as himself. Despite the danger, Woolsey ultimately agreed, sympathetic with McKay's situation due to his father's Alzheimer's and his own wish for such a final day with him. Before the team left, he asked them to give McKay his own goodbyes if the idea worked. (SGA: "The Shrine")
Woolsey's background in law has proven instrumental when Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team members were arrested and put on trial by the Coalition of Planets council for inadvertently unleashing the Wraith and the Asurans on the humans of the Pegasus galaxy. Taking on the team's defense at the trial, Woolsey managed to get the council to rule in favour of Atlantis, earning it a place in the military alliance of the Coalition and upsetting the Genii plans to dominate it. (SGA: "Inquisition")
Woolsey got annoyed by Ronon Dex's failure to do mission reports and even gave him a digital recorder so he could do them verbally. However, Atlantis was invaded by Michael Kenmore and Woolsey was knocked out by the Stun bubble. He came to after Ronon and Amelia Banks broke out of the room and took care of the guard and joined Ronon in rescuing Teyla Emmagan despite Ronon's orders to stay behind. Woolsey managed to get Teyla out of the room while Ronon was attacking Michael, but got knocked out by the Stun bubble again trying to get to safety and fell down some stairs. After Michael was finally defeated and killed, Woolsey, his arm in a sling, visited Ronon in the infirmary and told him how he had inspired him with his courage. Ronon gave him the recorder with his mission report on the invasion and Woolsey was amused to discover it was a quick verbal summary of what happened, but seemed to accept it. (SGA: "The Prodigal")
He later came under evaluation of his command by Shen Xiaoyi who was told if she got him fired, she'd get his command. Apparently, at first, he didn't like the idea of commanding Atlantis, but had come to enjoy it and wasn't going to give it up without a fight. The IOA apparently wanted to get rid of him as he no longer did things completely by the book. He also became friendly with Dr. Vanessa Conrad, a new member of the expedition that had arrived recently on the Apollo and had to make a decision whether or not to take the database of the Sekkari seed carrier, which would doom the race that could be rebuilt from it, or transport it to another planet where it could rebuild its race. Ultimately he learned that Conrad was in fact a manifestation of the Sekkari artificial intelligence who wanted to evaluate the kind of man he was and then ask for help. She explained the history of the Sekkari race and pleaded with him to transport the carrier to another world as it was the Sekkari's last hope to rebuild. He ultimately decided to have it transported by the Apollo to a suitable world and as a thank you gift, the AI helped save his job. (SGA: "Remnants")
When Todd contacted Atlantis with news of the Super-hive, Woolsey dispatched the Daedalus to check out and deal with the threat. After the ship returned home from a disastrous attack on the Hive ship, Woolsey played a message from Colonel Abraham Ellis on the Apollo revealing that and the Sun Tzu also failed to take out the Hive. He was surprised by the fact that Todd so willingly gave up two more Zero Point Modules to power Atlantis and decided to have them checked out in case they were booby-trapped before sending Lt. Colonel John Sheppard to Earth to work the Control chair there. During the flight to Earth, Woolsey offered to drop Ronon Dex and Teyla Emmagan off and was touched by the fact that they refused saying Atlantis was their home. When the city dropped out of hyperspace too early, Woolsey dialed Earth to inform them of what was going on and upon getting the Hive ship, sent Dr. Rodney McKay, Ronon, Teyla and Major Evan Lorne to sabotage it, expressing concern that he should have sent more men. Woolsey agreed to Dr. Radek Zelenka's suggestion of using a Wormhole drive despite how dangerous it was and warned Dr. Jennifer Keller of the danger. The plan worked and Atlantis arrived in time to engage the Hive ship as it was about to attack Earth. Atlantis was no match for the Hive and despite the threat of being destroyed if they didn't pull up, Woolsey ordered Dr. Carson Beckett who was flying the city to keep firing. As Atlantis was about to be destroyed, the Hive ship was finally destroyed by Sheppard who managed to sneak on board via a F-302 fighter-interceptor and detonate a Nuclear warhead while escaping through the Stargate with his team. Woolsey warned Stargate Command that Atlantis had to attempt to land when Colonel Samantha Carter attempted to congratulate them and that they might not have enough power to survive. The city did survive and managed to land near San Francisco Bay cloaked which Woolsey alerted Carter to. Woolsey was later joined on the Control Room balcony by the senior staff and Amelia Banks and commented on how beautiful the view of the Golden Gate Bridge was. (SGA: "Enemy at the Gate")
- In an alternate reality, he was likewise the leader of the Atlantis expedition in 2009. He posed as an FBI agent and questioned Detective John Sheppard about the string of murders in Las Vegas. After Sheppard discovered the motel where the Wraith had been staying, he took Sheppard to Area 51 and allowed Dr. Rodney McKay to explain the situation. After Sheppard discovered where the Wraith was setting up a transmitter, he sent in two A-10 Thunderbolt IIs to destroy it. (SGA: "Vegas")
- In an alternate timeline in which Michael Kenmore succeeded in taking over the Pegasus Galaxy, he stepped in as the leader of the Atlantis expedition, after Colonel Samantha Carter killed herself in a kamikaze run against Michael's fleet in 2008. He ordered all the resources of the expedition pulled back to protect Atlantis. (SGA: "The Last Man")
Personality and traitsEdit
When he first appeared, Woolsey appeared to be simply another example of the usual political adversaries faced by SG-1, apparently more concerned with making sure Stargate Command remained within its budget and helped Earth benefit without giving any apparent thought to the lives they had saved throughout the galaxy. However, as time went on, Woolsey has developed beyond his original role; he quickly showed that he was willing to question Vice President Robert Kinsey's motives rather than blindly accepting his perspective of events, and has more than once edited his reports to show events in a more favourable light for the benefit of those concerned. He later admitted that while he worked for the bureaucrats of the IOA, their method of taking a very long time to make decisions and passing the choice off to someone else always frustrated him very greatly. (SG1: "Heroes, Part 2", "Inauguration") (SGA: "No Man's Land", "The Seer", "Legacy: Homecoming")
During the Asuran takeover of Atlantis, Woolsey was shown to be the weak-link of the humans involved, greatly nervous to the point of annoying General O'Neill. However, when O'Neill was gone and the Asurans went after him, he did apparently put up a fight after psyching himself up given the number of shell casings where he had been captured. Unlike O'Neill, his mind was an open book to the Asurans who stated they got everything they needed from him very easily. He fell for McKay's trick and was shocked to realize that the team had used him for their own ends, having not seen that coming which was useful in tricking the Asurans. However, he seemed to be slightly mollified by the fact that O'Neill pointed out that in the end, he was good for something. (SGA: "The Return, Part 2")
Since becoming Atlantis's commander, although selected because it was felt to be time for Atlantis to withdraw from its role in affairs in the Pegasus galaxy, he has continued to develop as a person, more than once agreeing to potentially risky plans simply for the sake of helping the individual rather than making the more 'expedient' decision that would have resulted in people dying. He has also admitted to having developed some admiration for his new associates, such as commenting that he admired Ronon Dex's courage despite the other man's typically anti-authoritative nature. He didn't start out like this, trying to do things by the book right off the bat, but after dealing with a crisis in his first day as commander unconventionally and finding that the IOA supported his decisions, he seemed to realize he didn't need to be so rigid with his leadership and relaxed a bit. He has also started displaying courage in the face of danger such as when he risked his life in an attempt to help Teyla escape and when given the choice between fighting with the Wraith to the death to protect Earth or saving himself and the city, he chose to continue fighting. His dedication went as far as him conspiring with General O'Neill and Colonel Carter to get Atlantis back to the Pegasus galaxy despite knowing in doing so, he chose sides and his career with the IOA would be over after Atlantis. However, by that point he didn't care and thought it worth it. In doing so, he showed himself to be incredibly shrewd as no one saw what he, O'Neill and Carter did coming or even suspected the truth about their plan. (SGA: "The Seed", "The Shrine", "The Prodigal", "Remnants", "Enemy at the Gate", "Legacy: Homecoming")
- Woolsey was called "Dick" by Khalek, after he read Woolsey's mind. Presumably it's a rude nickname which Woolsey doesn't like to be called. (SG1: "Prototype") In Stargate Atlantis: Legacy, Woolsey actually gives Teyla Emmagan permission to call him this, suggesting that perhaps because it was Khalek calling Woolsey, " Dick", that he didn't like it.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- Woolsey is one of only eight characters to appear in all three series, the others being Jack O'Neill, Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter, Rodney McKay, Bill Lee, Walter Harriman and Kevin Marks.
- In an interview with Gateworld, Robert Picardo said the character was originally created as "filler material" when the episode "Heroes, Part 1" ran long and was split into two parts.
- He is one of twelve regular Star Trek actors to have a role in the Stargate franchise. The others are:
- Marina Sirtis ("Watergate", "Deanna Troi" on Star Trek: The Next Generation)
- Armin Shimerman ("The Nox", "Quark" on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
- René Auberjonois ("The Other Side", "Constable Odo" on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
- Connor Trinneer (Michael, "Charles 'Trip' Tucker" on Star Trek: Enterprise)
- John Billingsley ("The Other Guys", "Dr. Phlox" on Star Trek: Enterprise)
- Colm Meaney (ATL: "Underground", "The Storm", "Coup D'etat", "Miles O'Brien" on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
- Nicole de Boer (ATL: "Whispers", "Ezri Dax" on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
- Jolene Blalock ("Birthright", "Sacrifices", "T'Pol on Star Trek: Enterprise)
- Gwynyth Walsh ("Cure", "B'Etor" on Star Trek: The Next Generation)
- Tony Todd ("Babylon", "The Fourth Horseman, Part 2", "Arthur's Mantle (episode)", "Kurn" on Star Trek: The Next Generation)
- Dwight Schultz ("The Gamekeeper", "Reginald Barclay" on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager)
- Picardo ("The Doctor" on Star Trek: Voyager) is the only Star Trek alum with a regular role on a Stargate series, and also the one with the largest role (in terms of cumulative screen time). The second most-represented Star Trek actor on Stargate is Connor Trinneer and the third is Colm Meaney, with Blalock only appearing twice and the rest having just one-episode roles on Stargate.
- Woolsey's initial profession as a lawyer parallel's Robert Picardo's role on the series "Smallville" as "Edward Teague".
|Commander of the Atlantis expedition|
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