Richard Woolsey is a lawyer and civilian with high level clearances who has worked within the United States military establishment throughout his career. He claims to be very concerned with the secretive nature and potential for cover-ups in covert military operations. From the evidence to date, this concern is genuine and not a mask for other, less pure motives. This desire fueled his joining the NID to audit some of the secret military projects, including the Stargate Program. Later, he was appointed as liaison to the SGC by the International Oversight Advisory (IOA) and served as a "civilian watchdog" for the Stargate operations–handling both SGC and Atlantis reports. Later, the IOA determined they wanted Woolsey's particular skill set to manage the Atlantis Expedition full time, and he was appointed leader of the Pegasus Galaxy base, replacing Colonel Samantha Carter.
Updated through Stargate: Continuum/SGA 5.20 "Enemy at the Gate"/SGU 2.15 "Seizure".
Richard Woolsey is a very traditional man in many ways, and tends towards stiff formality in social interactions. Before fully settling in as commander of Atlantis, he confessed his most comfortable outfit was his business suit (SGA 5.03 "Broken Ties"). For relaxation, he listens to classical music and enjoys a glass of wine (SGA 5.03 "Broken Ties"). One of his first actions to put his own stamp on Atlantis was to replace the conference room set up with a twelve foot mahogany conference table shipped from Earth (SGA 5.02 "The Seed"). After emerging victorious from a difficult diplomatic situation, Woolsey joined Col. Sheppard on Atlantis's balcony, where he offered to share cigars and tumblers of a dark liquor (SGA 5.13 "Inquisition"). For personal background, Richard Woolsey is divorced with no children (SGA 5.03 "Broken Ties"). He was very attached to his pet Yorkie, but lost the dog in an acrimonious divorce. (SGA 5.03 "Broken Ties"). He kept a picture of the dog in his office (SGA 5.14 "The Prodigal" and others). Richard was also very attached to his father, visiting often when his dad suffered from Alzheimer's in his last years (SGA 5.06 "The Shrine"). He kept his father's pocketwatch with him, even on missions offworld–using it as a bribe to set up a meeting with a corrupt alien threatening the premiere Atlantis team (SGA 5.13 "Inquisition").
Woolsey has both an MBA (Masters degree in Business Administration) and an LLB (advanced law degree) from Harvard (7.18 "Heroes Part 2"). His initial law degree (J.D.) was likely from Harvard as well, since he took great pride in being on the Harvard Law Review. (SGA 5.13 "Inquisition"). He was a litigator, specifically appellate advocate for Hartshorne & Slaughter, "one of the most prestigious litigation boutiques in all of New York City" (SGA 5.13 "Inqusition"). He was lead counsel for the Army Corps of Engineers for a decade, and then moved on to be on the Defense Policy Board (7.18 "Heroes Part 2", SGA 5.13 "Inquisition"). He had to step down from the policy board role when it was revealed that he had financial ties to a large corporation that had been awarded over $800 million in private sector defense contracts by the Pentagon. Woolsey then moved on to the NID (7.18 "Heroes Part 2").
First Encounters with Stargate Command
While at the NID, Woolsey wrote an internal memo on the economics of the SGC (7.18 "Heroes Part 2"). In it, he expressed concern about the millions of dollars spent training men and women to fight a war kept secret from the American public and of which they were getting little if anything in return. Hammond later obtained a copy of the memo through Carter's contact with NID Agent Malcolm Barrett, and was horrified to see a dollar value attributed to an SG team member. Woolsey was insulted by the characterization of his pegging a value of a person's life. He threatened Hammond with imprisonment if he ever released information about either the memo or the investigation Woolsey was running.
This investigation was an audit of the $27 million rescue operation of wounded SG-13 team member Senior Airman Simon Wells on P3X-666. The mission turned out to be a Goa'uld ambush where others were wounded, including Col. O'Neill. Dr. Fraiser was killed. Before even the preliminary reports were filed to the Pentagon, Woolsey had orders from Senator Kinsey to investigate the mission. Woolsey was greeted with open hostility by the uninjured SG-1 members and Gen. Hammond, who were still grieving for Janet and in the planning stages for Fraiser's memorial service.
This mission report became a damning piece of evidence in a later report of Woolsey's. As it turned out, the audit and preliminary report were a mere rubber stamp to the outgoing President. Woolsey was gathering evidence at the behest of incumbent Vice President Kinsey for an airtight case to cause a complete changeover of personnel at the SGC (7.20 "Inauguration"). Less than a month later, Henry Hayes was sworn in as President with Kinsey as his vice president. Kinsey scheduled a meeting with Woolsey and the President to convince Hayes to switch the Stargate program to NID control. Woolsey was a willing participant in the plan because he strongly believed in civilian oversight of top secret military operations. As he later explained to Hammond:
- I take great pride in my work, General. My job demands meticulous research, and above all else, impartiality in its execution. My aim is to present an air-tight argument, a point of view for consideration by those I serve with no personal agenda whatsoever.
Woolsey attempted to present such a case to President Henry Hayes. Hayes, however, was suspicious of Kinsey's meeting and called in the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Francis Maynard, to attend as well. Woolsey presented his damning evidence of the careless, insubordinate and emotionally vulnerable General Hammond and SG-1. Maynard countered his every charge. Hayes expressed his own skepticism that the personnel were cracking under the pressure of an admittedly unusual job.
Dejected, Woolsey approached the Vice President to apologize for not being able to convince Hayes. It was then the alcohol imbibed Kinsey let slip that Woolsey's report was a mere formality. The President would be able to use the report for cover to see things the Vice President's way. When Woolsey wondered aloud what would happen if the President didn't follow Kinsey's advice, the dark response was: "Things happen."
Woolsey went to Maynard with his concern about Kinsey's threats. Maynard advised Woolsey to find the evidence. Woolsey used his meticulous research skills to investigate the Vice President. The trail led back to General Hammond. Woolsey remembered Hammond's temporary retirement and inexplicable return to the SGC (see 4.15 "Chain Reaction"). He approached Hammond with his theory, and the General reluctantly handed over a disk containing the evidence linking Kinsey to several rogue NID activities (7.20 "Inauguration"). Hammond warned Woolsey there were other copies of the disk and admitted he never knew, and still didn't know, who to trust with this explosive information. Using this evidence, Woolsey was able to link Kinsey to the cabal of businessmen behind the rogue NID. He suspected the Vice President was still linked to this group. Woolsey provided the disk to President Hayes.
Over a year later, when the Senate Appropriations Committee cut the SGC budget by two-thirds, General Landry was forced to consider other alternatives in receiving the needed funds (9.04 "The Ties That Bind"). Under the President's authorization, he turned to the international committee in charge of the Atlantis expedition. They agreed to fund Stargate Command, but only if someone they appointed had full access to the facility and input into the command decisions of the SGC. Woolsey returned to the SGC in his new role of civilian “watchdog.” He was appointed by the International Oversight Advisory (IOA) to represent their interests and insure their “investment” in the SGC was being most efficiently spent.
Woolsey arrived in-person to the SGC to oversee the actions taken with regard to Khalek, an artificially engineered creation of Anubis, containing both the Goa'uld's pre-ascended DNA and genetic memory as well as the Ancient gene (9.09 "Prototype"). Daniel Jackson's prior experiences with Anubis caused him to forcefully argue that the clone should be destroyed before it was too late. However, Woolsey wanted to study the clone and oversaw what he believed to be sufficient safeguards. He was shocked when Khalek easily broke free of the restraints. Boasting to Khalek of additional steps, he was disturbed when Khalek mocked "Dick" and escaped a second time, this time killing at two airman. Col. Mitchell and Dr. Jackson eventually killed Khalek. Feeling remorse after this incident, Woolsey made a point to approach Dr. Jackson, assuring Daniel that he would personally make sure the families of the two killed airmen would be taken care of financially. Dr. Jackson coldly acknowledged Woolsey but did not forgive Woolsey for not heeding his warnings.
Woolsey still apparently had a say in other SGC missions. He approved SG-6's mission to P2X-885 (later called 656 by Landry) for reconnaissance on the Priors' actions (9.11 "The Fourth Horseman Part 2"). This mission led to Earth's exposure to the Prior plague which was rapidly becoming a pandemic. The IOA coordinated with Gen. Hammond's office to meet with Landry and discuss this dire situation. Although Woolsey did not attend this meeting, his report was referred to by both Landry and the French Representative, LaPierre. LaPierre questioned whether Woolsey was provided with enough information to make an informed decision, but conceded that Richard stood by the SGC's actions in this matter.
The IOA requested an offworld tour through the Stargate, and Woolsey acted as liaison to both organize and oversee the mission to the science outpost Gamma Site (9.17 "The Scourge"). The IOA delegation was made up of LaPierre, the Chinese Representative Shen Xiaoyi, and the British Representative, Chapman. Woolsey acted as host and middle-man between the delegation and the SGC personnel. SG-1 acted as their escort. When the collapse of a scientist, Dr. Myers condition led base commander Col. Pearson to lockdown the base, Woolsey protested and insisted the delegation be allowed to leave on time, especially since Myers was being sent to Earth in a quarantine capsule. Woolsey and Pearson were still bickering when Myers's body exuded insects which began to overrun the base. Pearson sent the IOA delegation to an unmanned research outpost ten kilometers away from the base. Woolsey insisted SG-1 be among their escort to the location. The insects continued to overrun the planet.
The delegation had differing reactions to this crisis, LaPierre, especially, did not handle the situation well. Woolsey had a heated exchange with Lt. Col. Carter insisting she reassure the delegation and how poorly these events would reflect on the SGC. Carter countered with how dire the situation was and reminded him that her team's focus was on their continued survival. Woolsey took up the reassurance banner for himself. Later, during the climax of the crisis, Woolsey finally snapped and yelled at the French representative to shut up and let her work, earning Carter's gratitude. The delegation and SG-1 were beamed away before the scourge could overtake them. Woolsey attended the post-mission debrief with Landry and SG-1, explaining that there would be minimal repercussions regarding the incident and that, off the record, the IOA praised the hard work the SGC did under extraordinary conditions.
Neither Woolsey nor the other IOA delegates were aware when Chekov and Shen, the Russian and Chinese delegates, visited the SGC (9.19 "Crusade"). Russia announced they were not renewing the lease of the Russian owned Stargate and were starting their own program. An infuriated Landry immediately ordered a call be placed to Woolsey, but it is unclear whether they ever spoke because Chekov interrupted. The USA and Russia eventually renegotiated the lease and the Stargate remained at the SGC.
Richard Woolsey apparently comes to Stargate Command biweekly, according to what General Landry told Elizabeth Weir (SGA 3.01 "No Man's Land Part 2"). He arrived with an IOA delegation made up of Shen Xioyi and Russel Chapman to debrief Dr. Weir in person. The meeting was more of a dressing down of Weir by the IOA representatives for the decisions which led to Wraith on their way to the Milky Way Galaxy. Woolsey also met with Landry in person regarding the status of the Ori invasion (10.01 "Flesh and Blood Part 3"). In both cases, he acted as liaison between the IOA bureaucrats and Weir and Landry.
When determining if Vala Mal Doran could be trusted by Stargate Command to go offworld, Woolsey exaggerated the sometimes antagonistic relationship between the IOA and SGC to offer Vala a chance to spy for the IOA (10.02 "Morpheus"). She refused, but it was later revealed Woolsey's offer was a ruse. Vala got her revenge on the deception by offhandedly accusing Woolsey of making unusual sexual advances. Woolsey was horrified at the insinuations and sputtered protests to Landry.
Woolsey again got to go offworld when he traveled with Dr. Weir on an Asgard ship to Atlantis (3.02 "Misbegotten Part 3"). His role was IOA auditor to determine if Weir should maintain command of the Pegasus Galaxy base with the threat imposed by the Wraith. Although cautious and apparently his thorough self, Woolsey was sympathetic to Weir, and he took the heretofore unusual step of falsifying a report. He would explain to the IOA upon his return that Weir's tough decision to kill all the Wraith turned humans hopefully eliminated the threat to Earth, even though the offworld team was incommunicado, and Weir herself was never appraised of the situation, nor voiced any such orders. His vague insinuations leave it unclear if this was Woolsey's choice, or unofficial orders by the IOA. In any case, he seemed to personally approve of Weir remaining in charge.
Woolsey returned to Atlantis with General O'Neill when a Lantian (Ancient) ship returned to the city (3.10 "The Return Part 1"). The negotiations mainly consisted of the Lantians giving the Atlantis expedition enough time to pack and leave. However, one member was asked to stay as a liaison between Earth and Atlantis. Woolsey was picked by the IOA to remain. Somewhat out of his depth, he requested General O'Neill return for more talks with the new residents of Atlantis. (Apparently, the Ancients found Woolsey "a bit trying"). Both O'Neill and Woolsey were present when a Replicator ship attacked and invaded the city.
Woolsey and O'Neill hid from the Replicators before being captured (SGA 3.11 "The Return Part 2"). His mind was probed by the Replicators, who discovered the rescue plan of Sheppard's team. Woolsey was fed false information during an aborted second rescue attempt, which he relayed during yet another torture/mind session with his captors. The misinformation was successful, and Sheppard's team defeated the Replicators. Although feeling used because of the ploy, Woolsey was grateful for the rescue, and anxious to return home to the Milky Way Galaxy where he presumably supported the reinstallation of Dr. Weir and her entire team to Atlantis.
Richard Woolsey and the IOA intervened when SG-1 kidnapped Daniel Jackson, who had been captured by the Ori, and was now working as a Prior (10.14 "The Shroud"). Daniel claimed he was only pretending to follow Origin. Remembering well his experiences with Khalek and Dr. Jackson's warnings from that incident, Woolsey as IOA representative, recommended to the President that Daniel be killed. After Gen. O'Neill and Landry's strong protests, he finally acquiesced to SG-1's plan based on Dr. Jackson's intel, since only the team would be at risk until it was determined Daniel was credible. Still concerned about Daniel's motives and powers, Woolsey determined Dr. Jackson should be put into stasis in the Antarctica pod. Out of respect for Daniel, Woolsey went to Odyssey to deliver the news personally. Understandably, Daniel disagreed with Richard's assessment. By this time, Daniel had overcome the anti-Prior device. He trapped the terrified Woolsey and held him against the wall telekeinetically before beaming him safely down to Stargate Command.
According to another NID agent, James Marrick, Woolsey's efforts in supervising the Atlantis missions became such a large responsibility that Marrick was sent to be watchdog for Stargate Command ("Stargate: The Ark of Truth"). It's unclear whether or not Woolsey resumed his responsibilities at the SGC after Marrick's death, but he clearly remained the IOA liaison to the Atlantis expedition.
Richard Woolsey visited Atlantis to conduct an evaluation of Colonel Samantha Carter after she was in charge of the facility for three months (SGA 4.08 "The Seer"). He revealed he had recently underwent his own evaluation, where he was told he tended to get too involved when he should observe. His intention was to merely observe, but he could not resist giving his opinion when there was a possibility the wraith had found the new Atlantis planet. As the danger became more immediate, Woolsey countermanded Colonel Carter's orders, at which time she ordered him to stop or he would be forcibly removed. Her instincts of the action to take proved correct, and an abashed Woolsey returned to report to the IOA.
When Colonel Carter was recalled to the SGC for an "evaluation" after a year of commanding Atlantis, Woolsey was there to greet her and regretfully inform her they wanted someone with a different "skill set" running Atlantis now–namely, him (SGA 5.01 "Search and Rescue"). Woolsey dreaded taking the job (5.15 "Remnants"). Woolsey took the office without fanfare, barely acknowledging anyone and requesting reports immediately of anything and everything that happened on Atlantis for the three weeks he was on Daedalus (5.02 "The Seed") He immediately tried to put his own stamp on the base. He replaced the briefing room setup of multiple tables with one long mahogany one from Earth (SGA 5.02 "The Seed"). On his fourth day, he had a briefing with all away team members, insisting that everyone, not just scientists and team leaders, file mission reports with him (SGA 5.14 "The Prodigal").
Immediately, Woolsey was tested as base commander when a pathogen infected Dr. Keller and everyone who was on the search and rescue mission to M2S-445 (SGA 5.02 "The Seed"). Later, Woolsey confessed to Sheppard feeling failure at violating half a dozen safety protocols, even though the end result was successful and the IOA was satisfied. He told Sheppard: "The rules are there for a reason, Colonel. If I can't trust them, then…I'm not sure I can do this job."
Woolsey dealt with own share of crises on Atlantis, learning through trial and error. Against his better judgment, he allowed the consciousness of Replicator infected Weir and other Replicators infecting the base computers to retake human android form, then when he realized their danger, betrayed them by sending them through a space gate, where they shut down in the cold vacuum (SGA 5.05 "Ghost in the Machine"). After Sheppard's team was caught in a flood going on a search and rescue mission, Woolsey considered sending MALPs out before every mission, despite the drain on resources (SGA 5.06 "The Shrine"). This forethought seems a galaxy away from his report on the mission that killed Janet Fraiser so many years ago.
He went on a Daedalus mission to meet the Wraith known as "Todd" to try and make an alliance to use the retrovirus against other hives. Unfortunately, the meeting was thwarted when Todd mistakenly believed the Atlantis expedition activated the Attero device–an Ancient machine that destabilized Wraith warp engines and coincidentally, made active Stargates explode (SGA 5.10 "First Contact"). Todd took over the Daedalus and threatened Woolsey's life to get Sheppard to reveal the location of the Attero device. After the crew regained control of their ship, Woolsey ordered the Attero device destroyed (SGA 5.11 "Lost Tribe").
Woolsey also began to earn the respect of some of the top people in Atlantis. Sheppard and he gained some understanding after the Keller pathogen incident (SGA 5.02 "The Seed). After Woolsey successfully rescued Sheppard's team in an inquisition of their efforts in Pegasus, he greeted Sheppard with cigars and drinks to celebrate the victory (SGA 5.14 "Inquisition").
He tried to relate to Teyla in his own awkward manner by relating her love for her son with his own affection for his lost dog (SGA 5.03 "Broken Ties"). He tried to be understanding, but was still pressuring for a decision. Teyla's own torn nature ended up making her leave her son entrusted with Woolsey during an urgent crisis–instructing the Atlantis commander to give her son to Kanaan in the cafeteria.
Woolsey's interactions with Ronon Dex were interesting because of their paradoxical personalities. He tried to brag about his prowess as a lawyer, but the references made meant nothing to the Satedan (SGA 5.14 "Inquisition"). He later insisted Ronon follow his rules regarding mission reports, giving Ronon a dictaphone to facilitate matters (SGA 5.15 "The Prodigal"). After a base crisis, Ronon tried to help in his own way and filed a report–consisting of three sentences.
When Rodney McKay was infected with a parasite affecting his brain functions, Woolsey facilitated McKay's sister Jeannie Miller's arrival at Atlantis to say goodbye (SGA 5.06 "The Shrine"). He also, despite his doubts, allowed a team to follow Jeannie's request to find a Pegasus Galaxy shrine said to give the infected a dignified time as themselves before dying.
By the time of his IOA evaluation nine months later, Woolsey had become attached to Atlantis (SGA 5.15 "Remnants"). He was still often a loner in eating and socialization--his favorite spot was an out-of-the-way balcony. However, he liked it in the city; the Atlantis uniform became a more comfortable fit than the business suits he normally loved. Besides, Woolsey never liked to leave a job unfinished, and was bristling at evaluator Shen Xiaoyi's news he may sent home to be chair of Earth's new "environmental initiative". He realized to his chagrin he wasn't appointed for his qualifications, but because the IOA thought he would be their "yes-man". Unwittingly influenced by talking with an alien avatar, Woolsey decided to fight for his job. The avatar ended up influencing Shen to give Woolsey a fantastic evaluation, leaving him in charge of Atlantis.
One of the most pivotal decisions Woolsey made as commander was when Todd revealed an advanced hybrid ship, powered by ZPMs, was on its way to Earth. Woolsey ordered the city-ship head to Earth to help defend their home planet. En route, the stardrive hit mechanical problems. When Atlantis contacted Earth and discovered the Wraith were already in orbit with a "superceding" Stargate--he ordered one team in for a surgical strike at the Wraith as well as okaying Zelenka to enact a risky experimental wormhole drive that could destroy the city. The bold plans were a far sight from the methodical and risk-averse man who first joined Atlantis. The risks paid off—Earth was saved and Atlantis, while damaged, remained intact enough to land cloaked off the San Francisco Bay.
Diplomat Deja Vu
Woolsey acted as diplomat in Homeworld Security's negotiations with Langara (SGU 2.15 "Seizure). On Earth, he acted as liason with Langara's Ambassador Ovirda, trying to convince him to listen to Dr. McKay's plan on how to use the naquadria base of Langara to dial the ninth chevron and reach the stranded crew on Destiny without endangering the planet. After Ovirda left unconvinced, Woolsey was convinced by Col. Telford that Langara had made a deal with the Lucian Alliance, who also wanted to reach Destiny for their own purposes. Woolsey agreed to go along with a ruse where they came to Langara, and two Destiny crew members, using the Ancient communication stones, swapped with a Langaran leader and a security chief to allow McKay's experiment to go forward. Their ruse was discovered, but not before Woolsey uncovered evidence that the Lucian Alliance had approached Langara several times, but the planet refused to assist because it did not want to destroy its alliance with Earth. Woolsey and the others were released from Langaran custody.
- 7.18 "Heroes Part 2"
- 7.20 "Inauguration"
- 9.09 "Prototype"
- 9.17 "The Scourge"
- 9.19 "Crusade Part 1" (by reference only)
- 10.01 "Flesh And Blood Part 3"
- 10.02 "Morpheus"
- SGA 3.01 "No Man's Land Part 2"
- SGA 3.02 "Misbegotten Part 3"
- SGA 3.10 "The Return Part 1"
- SGA 3.11 "The Return Part 2"
- 10.14 "The Shroud"
- SGA 4.08 "The Seer"
- Stargate Atlantis: Season Five
- SGU 2.15 "Seizure"
- Col./Gen. Jack O'Neill
- Dr. Daniel Jackson
- Maj./Lt. Col./Col. Samantha Carter
- Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell
- Gen. George Hammond
- Dr. Janet Fraiser
- Gen. Hank Landry
- Dr. Carolyn Lam
- Col. John Sheppard
- Dr. Elizabeth Weir
- Dr. Rodney McKay
- Teyla Emmagan
- Ronon Dex
- Dr. Carson Beckett
- Dr. Jennifer Keller
- Major Altman
- Agent Malcolm Barrett
- Russel Chapman
- Col. Chekov
- President Henry Hayes
- Senator/Vice President Robert Kinsey
- James Marrick
- Jean LaPierre
- Gen. Francis Maynard
- Dr. Myers
- Col. Pearson
- Col. David Telford
- Sr. Airman Simon Wells
- Shen Xiaoyi
- Anti-Prior Device
- Alternate Realities
- Ancient Communication Stones
- Gamma Site
- International Oversight Advisory (IOA)
- Priors of the Ori
- Prior Bugs (R75)
- Prior Plague
- Stargate Command (SGC)
- Stasis Technology
Other Episodes Mentioned
- 4.15 "Chain Reaction"
- 9.04 "The Ties That Bind"
- 9.11 "The Fourth Horseman Part 2"
- Stargate: The Ark of Truth
--Aurora 11:35, 24 February 2006 (PST)