- "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 Hartshorne & Slaughter, one of the most prestigious litigation boutiques in all New York City."
- —Richard Woolsey
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. He also had a father, who was suffering from Alzheimer's. (ATL: "Broken Ties", "The Shrine") He was also a 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. (ATL: "Inquisition")
He was assigned by Vice President Robert Kinsey to investigate SG-1. His investigations were adversarial and condemning of SG-1 and Stargate Command as a whole. However, 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. (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. (SG1: "Prototype")
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. They were beamed aboard just as the bugs were about to overrun the research station. (SG1: "The Scourge")
After the Battle of P3Y-229, he meet 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 they 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. (ATL: "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 the Lt. Colonel John Sheppard team's rescue, 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. (ATL: "The Return, Part 1", "The Return, Part 2")
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. (ATL: "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. (ATL: "The Seed")
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 favor of Atlantis, earning it a place in the military alliance of the Coalition and upsetting the Genii plans to dominate it. (ATL: "Inquisition")
He later came under evaluation of his command by Shen Xiaoyi that 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. Apparently they 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. (ATL: "Remnants")
- 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. He ordered all the resources the expedition pulled back to protect Atlantis. (ATL: "The Last Man")
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 the SGC 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 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 (SG1: "Inauguration") (ATL: "No Man's Land", "The Seer").
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 that 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's courage despite the other man's typically anti-authoritative nature (ATL: "The Seed", "The Shrine", "The Prodigal").
- 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.
|Commander of the Atlantis expedition|
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