Law and Order

William Dodds is the former Deputy Chief of the Special Victims Unit, until he is replaced by Christian Garland.


Dodds is first introduced as the new Deputy Chief of SVU divisions citywide during the crime spree of Holden March. He is first seen hounding then-Sgt. Olivia Benson to find the perpetrator and she claims it is their job to find out if a single suspect or multiple ones are responsible. He then arrives at the precinct where waits for Benson. When she does arrive, he badgers them on their progress, wants a CompStat meeting, and demands that they solve the case fast. He is later seen when Benson is briefing the squad on Holden and later follows her to her office. He later tries blaming Benson for letting Holden go when they had nothing to hold him on, and Benson makes that very clear, while Detective Nick Amaro points out that the recent stop-and-frisk lawsuits would make that practically impossible. Benson then explains that she did everything she legally could as far as Holden's situation goes, but he refuses to hear it and even blames Holden's recent murder victims on Benson. After Benson gets a phone call, he rudely comments that he will wait "again". When she comes back, she informs him that Holden's parents have arrived. When Holden takes four girls hostage, he pushes for Holden to be taken out with strong objections from everyone present. However, Dodds gives the go-ahead and Holden is shot in the head as Detective Amanda Rollins was about to convince him to surrender. (SVU: "Holden's Manifesto")

When a Hudson University student and pornstar named Evie Barnes accuses her fellow students of rape, Dodds appears with a newspaper headlining the investigation and demands to speak to Benson and Detective Odafin Tutuola. He accuses Benson and her unit of shoddy police work and they defend the accusation by stating they just caught the case and were just starting to vet Evie. He later states there isn't a case and that Benson is just issuing this to push an agenda and advises her to drop the case. He later comes to accost Benson for going to Hudson to help let Evie back in after she was expelled and demands that she drop the issue. (SVU: "Pornstar's Requiem")

He later comes to oversee the investigation of the Pattern 17 Rapist. At the squad room, he asks if there are any matches to his DNA in CODIS. Dodds is unsatisfied with the answer and continues putting pressure to check country-wide for similar M.O.s and match DNA samples from the rape kits. Benson explains the backlog of rape kits could make that impossible and asks about the victims in Atlanta where Rollins says the rapist likes church songs and he may have a pager. Dodds is unimpressed with their progress and informs Benson that she is to report to a CompStat meeting tomorrow because she is in the hot seat. At the CompStat meeting, Dodds joins the other members of the administration in trying to blame Benson and points out the gaps in the rapist's crimes sprees, where Benson points out he may have been incarcerated. Dodds then brings the meeting to a halt when he reveals the rapist has struck again. After SVU arrests Dr. Joseph Conklin on suspicion of committing the rapes, he congratulates them until none of the victims are able to identify Conklin. As a result, Dodds puts pressure on the detectives to get a confession. He then tells Benson the meeting time of the next CompStat meeting after she catches the real rapist and waits for her for the next day. She arrives barely on time and Dodds, unlike last time, actually gives Benson a chance to explain the main problem with this case: the backlog of untested rape kits. (SVU: "Pattern Seventeen")

When Atlanta Deputy Chief Charles Patton is accused of raping his subordinate Detective Reese Taymor, he meets with Benson and Fin to review the situation. Dodds seems to favor the conclusion that it was consensual sex while Benson supports the rape accusation. As a result, Dodds calls Rollins into Benson's office for her opinion, since she worked for Patton. Dodds asks her if there were any rumors of skirt-chasing and harassment, and Rollins dodges the question. Dodds later decides to interrogate Patton himself. Patton claims to have been having a consensual relationship with Taymor, though Dodds remains skeptical. When the interview is over, Dodds tells him not to leave town. He is later present with Benson and A.D.A. Rafael Barba as Rollins explains she is not surprised that Patton has been accused of rape and believes Taymor. Dodds asks Barba what he plans to do now, and he decides to file charges if Taymor will file a complaint. When Rollins convinces Taymor to come forward, Dodds arrives with Fin and Amaro at a restaurant to serve Patton with an arrest warrant. After the arraignment, he and Barba meet with Patton and his attorney John Buchanan to discuss an agreement. Patton and Dodds exchange insults with each other as Barba strikes down any chance for a plea. He is later present when Patton allocutes to the rape in open court as a part of his plea deal. (SVU: "Forgiving Rollins")

When Skip Peterson airs Heather Peterson's story of being gang-raped, he calls Benson and demands that she investigate. When the allegations are proven to be partly false, he and the mayor leave her and the rest of the SVU to handle the press on their own. (SVU: "Devastating Story")

Dodds later escorts Sergeant Benson to an evening event and after it is over and Benson expresses her surprise enjoyment he informs her that she passed the Lieutenant's exam. He politely suggests choosing her own command, but Benson says she is happy where she is. Dodds brings up who her new Sergeant will be, but before she can answer she gets a call and Dodds drives her to the crime scene. They meet up with Detective Tutuola and local precinct detectives Dumas and Campesi. When they inform them they are dealing with a stray kid, Dodds implies their Sergeant is just trying to pass the buck but after hearing the whole story, relents. Dodds eventually let SVU work the case and call frequently for updates on the case. When Bruno's sister Keisha is revealed to be dead and the squad suspects that Child Protective Services was negligent in the care of both children, Dodd arranges a briefing between Benson, Barba, and Deputy Commissioner Hank Abraham.

During the meeting, Abraham tells them to let this case go and to hand it over to the Department of Investigation (DOI) while Benson and Barba protest. After things get heated, Dodds calms everyone down and tells them that the case isn't a police matter. Barba interrupts him to say that they will let him and Benson know if that changes. After Benson and Barba leave, Dodds leaves as well, but is later blind-sighted when Barba makes an announcement that CPS is under investigation for homicide. Dodds storms into the SVU's precinct, demanding to talk with Benson. Dodds criticizes Benson for disobeying Abraham and points out Rollins' pregnancy. He then tells her that as of tomorrow, Rollins is on desk duty and Benson begrudgingly obeys Dodds. After the case workers are convicted, Dodds visits Benson at her office and informs her that One PP or City Hall have agreed to regulate the system more carefully. Benson assumes her promotion is derailed but Dodds informs her he cut a deal in which she will still get promoted to Lieutenant but her new Sergeant will be someone One PP and City Hall trusts. Benson is not happy about this, but Dodds informs her that he recommended his son Mike for the position and they accepted the idea. On his way out, he asks Rollins how she is feeling; she says she is fine and that the case was tough. Understanding her reaction, he tells her the they can't save them all and leaves. (SVU: "Institutional Fail")

Dodds later escorts Mike into Benson's office and introduces the both of them to each other. He then lists Mike's qualifications and expresses his pride in Mike being his son. When Rollins comes in with a rape case at a four-star hotel, Dodds suggests Benson take Mike with him and she agrees. As Mike is leaving, Dodds tells him to "sink or swim". (SVU: "Maternal Instincts")

When Mike is shot by Greg Yates during a manhunt, he gives him space to recover and eventually visits him during physical therapy. He informs him that the Joint Terrorism Task Force is interested in having Mike join them. While Mike is reluctant to say that he was heroic during the manhunt, Dodds presses him that this is his chance to jump ship and focus on his career. Mike is reluctant to leave SVU, especially since he only just arrived, but Dodds states that SVU was always just a stepping stone to a five-year plan and that he wants Mike to eventually make Lieutenant and to not get comfortable. When Hank Abraham's online activities as a pedophile are exposed, Dodds expresses his relief that his son wasn't near the incident, claiming, "He took a bullet and managed to dodge another." Later, he and Mike go out to a bar, where they see Counselor Heller on the news talking about Teddy Hawkins' conviction. As they watch the story, Mike comments on the differences in Teddy and Abraham's sentences and Dodds mentions that Hank tried to commit suicide. He then asks about the task force, and Mike tries to tell him that he wants to stay at SVU. Dodds warns him that if he doesn't jump on this opportunity, someone else will. (SVU: "Collateral Damages")

Dodds later gets involved in a case involving a sex trafficking ring whose members, all priests, are raping young teenage girls. He wants SVU to drop the case so they won't get hung out to dry. He also wants to press charges against IAB Captain Ed Tucker for indirectly causing the murder of one of the victims by revealing her cooperation and having Benson suspended because of it. Fortunately, Detective Dominick Carisi, Jr. encourages Tucker's cousin Eugene O'Hanigan to pinpoint the location of the photos of the girls being raped, allowing all of the criminals involved to be arrested and Benson and Tucker to return to work. (SVU: "Unholiest Alliance")

Mike is later shot by corrupt prison guard and serial rapist Gary Munson in the Munson home while wrestling a gun away from Munson. Mike eventually dies from his injuries, much to Dodds' grief. (SVU: "Heartfelt Passages")

Dodds is cold towards Benson during the investigation into a terrorist plot and possible rape. When Benson sides with the alleged rape victim, who is also a terrorism suspect, Dodds yells at her, saying that her doing her job cost his son's life, shocking and upsetting both him and Benson. (SVU: "Terrorized")

After he finds out that SVU is investigating Harold Coyle, Dodds visits Benson and suggests they go talk to him together. Coyle is angered at the possibility of an investigation and threatens to allege that NYPD covered up how Mike actually died. However, Dodds has Benson continue the investigation and apologizes for his outburst months ago over Mike's death; Benson forgives him and the two reconcile. He also mentions how he had avoided visiting the Manhattan SVU precinct because of Mike. (SVU: "The Newsroom")

Dodds shows disgust during the investigation into a hate crime involving a Muslim family that were assaulted, resulting in a death. He later shows sadness when the case is closed and a firebombing subsequently occurs at a local mosque. (SVU: "American Dream", "Sanctuary")

When Noah Porter-Benson is abducted by Sheila Porter and Juan Ortoli, Dodds gives Benson strict orders to not get involved with the case and tells her to stay home and puts Tutuola in charge. However, Benson ignores him and gets involved regardless. Dodds later visits Tutuola in the aftermath of Noah's recovery and asks him if Benson was involved, but Tutuola lies, claiming Benson was at home. Dodds praises Tutuola and leaves, while Tutuola makes a derisive comment behind his back. (SVU: "Gone Baby Gone")

Dodds gets heavily involved in a possible rape case involving two pilots. He is quick to point out the media attention towards the case and warns the Special Victims Unit to tread carefully. He also revealed to Tutuola that he was going to consider replacing Benson because he wasn't sure if she would back to SVU after Noah's abduction. (SVU: "Flight Risk")

Dodds introduces Benson and Rollins to defense attorney Rob Miller at a police charity ball. Miller eventually rapes fellow attorney Nikki Staines that night. At first, Dodds has trouble believing Miller is a rapist, but soon comes to his senses when Miller is arrested. (SVU: "Blackout")

When Miller is released from prison on bail, Dodds warns Benson and Stone to tread carefully. (SVU: "Assumptions")

After a complicated case involving rape allegations against film mogul Tobias Moore, which left top officials in the NYPD and other offices unhappy, Dodds is transferred to the Traffic and Safety Task Force in Staten Island, thereby leaving his position as Deputy Chief of SVU. Although Benson offers to fight for him, Dodds refuses her offer and reveals that as a condition of his exile, he got Benson promoted to Captain. Benson and Dodds part ways, wishing each other the best of luck in the future. (SVU: "I'm Going To Make You a Star")

Relationship with SVU

Dodds' relationship with the Special Victims Unit started off very intense and quite conflicted. The detectives didn't take a liking to him, particularly Tutuola and Rollins, and Rollins has shown general concern when his son Mike becomes sergeant of the unit, fearing he will tell his father what goes on within the squad as well as Tutuola frequently insulting Dodds behind his back. Dodds is very harsh to the detectives at first, even berating Benson when Noah has health problems and saying that doing her job cost Mike his life, although the latter statement was made out of grief and Dodds apologized to Benson later on, saying he was way out of line. He does have a soft side and does care for the detectives' well-being and mental health, particularly Benson. Upon departure, Dodds and the detectives relationship had gotten remarkably better since they first met, mostly between Dodds and Benson, with Benson telling Dodds he was a good man after he told her he was leaving. Benson even offered to fight for Dodds, but he rejected the offer and revealed he had made Benson get a promotion as a condition of his accepting his exile.