Formerly an agent with the N.I.D., Richard Woolsey is a bureaucrat who is devoted to the importance of civilian oversight over secret military programs -- especially the Stargate program. Later in his career he was appointed the third commander of the Atlantis expedition.
According to fellow agent Malcolm Barrett, Mr. Woolsey is "sharp as they come." Woolsey was assigned to conduct an investigation at the S.G.C. to find out what went wrong on an ill-fated rescue mission to P3X-666, as well as complete his report on the economics of the gate program. In conducting this investigation in the wake of the death of Janet Fraiser, and because of his ties to Robert Kinsey, early on he made enemies on the base.
Woolsey has an M.B.A. and L.L.B. from Harvard University. He was the lead council for the Army Corps of Engineers and later sat on the Defense Policy Board. He was asked to resign a year before when it was discovered he had financial ties to a large corporation that had been awarded over $800 million in private sector funds by the Pentagon. He worked for several years after that with the N.I.D., and his reports on General George Hammond and the manner in which S.G.C. operations were being managed were damning. He also prepared a memo on the economics of Stargate Command, determining that a rescue team costs the taxpayers $27 million. He grilled several members of the command, including Samantha Carter, Daniel Jackson, and Teal'c, threatening to jail them if they did not fully cooperate with his investigation.
At the request of Vice President Kinsey, Woolsey brought a complete report on Hammond and the S.G.C. to the attention of the newly-elected United States President, Henry Hayes -- complete with proof that Stargate Command had brought Earth to the verge of destruction on more than one occasion. But he soon realized that Kinsey's hopes were to take command of the S.G.C., even if it meant eliminating the President if he stood in his way. As a patriot, and not a criminal, Agent Woolsey acted against the Vice President and obtained information proving Kinsey's involvement with illegal activities from Hammond. Woolsey took the information straight to President Hayes, hoping that he did the right thing in the end. Soon after, Hayes used the information to pressure Kinsey to resign.
Mr. Woolsey later took a watchdog position representing the interests of the International Oversight Advisory at Stargate Command, under Major General Hank Landry. There he had more direct exposure to the challenges that the program faces on a regular basis, and the difficulty of making decisions that are in the best interests of Earth. He even went off-world himself, and was rescued from a perilous situation by none other than SG-1. As an employee of the I.O.A. he also evaluated Atlantis's first two commanders, Elizabeth Weir and Samantha Carter.
Somewhat to his surprise, the I.O.A. opted to replace Carter with Woolsey himself, making him the new head of the expedition for its fifth year. He found himself somewhat a fish out of water, but rose to the occasion and became a capable commander, handling one crisis after another with courage and wisdom.
Woolsey is divorced, and has never had children. His ex-wife won custody of their dog -- a Yorkie.
Heroes, Part 2 - Agent Woolsey arrives at the S.G.C. with the purpose of exposing the dark side of the command, questioning the mission that led to the death of Dr. Fraiser.
Inauguration - Woolsey presents his anti-S.G.C. report to President Hayes. Greatly disturbed by Kinsey's dubious intentions toward the President, Woolsey gains incriminating evidence from General Hammond and places it into the President's hands.
Prototype - The new representative of the international committee overseeing the S.G.C., Woolsey arrives to interrogate the advanced, Goa'uld-human hybrid Khalek.
The Scourge - Woolsey joins SG-1 and a group of representatives from the International Oversight Advisory on a tour of the off-world Gamma Site, only to find himself on the run from a carnivorous alien insect species.
No Man's Land - When Dr. Weir returns to Earth, Woolsey informs her that her command decisions are under close review by the I.O.A.
Misbegotten - The I.O.A. sends Mr. Woolsey to Atlantis to investigate Weir's decisions, and recommends that she stay in command.
The Return, Part 1 - Richard Woolsey joins General O'Neill in Atlantis to help the transition when the Ancients reclaim their right to the city.
The Return, Part 2 - After the Replicators take over Atlantis, Woolsey and O'Neill find themselves alone and on the run -- and eventually captured, their minds probed by the enemy.
The Seer - Woolsey travels to Atlantis to evaluate Sam Carter's job performance as the expedition's new commander.
Search and Rescue - When Colonel Carter returns to Earth, Woolsey informs her that the I.O.A. is replacing her with a new head of Atlantis -- himself.
Ghost In the Machine - Faced with an early crisis in his role as Atlantis commander, Woolsey stands up to a disembodied Replicator named Koracen, using his negotiating skills to save the city.
First Contact - Woolsey leads an envoy to negotiate with the Wraith on board the Daedalus, but is captured when Todd seizes the ship.
Inquisition - Richard puts his legal training to good use by defending the Atlantis expedition's work in the Pegasus Galaxy when a new coalition of worlds puts Sheppard and his team on trial.
Remnants - Feeling his isolation on Atlantis, Richard strikes up a relationship with a friendly and beautiful scientist ... only to learn that she is an alien projection in his head.
Enemy at the Gate - With Earth under siege by an advanced Wraith warship, Woolsey orders Atlantis to leave its planet and travel to Earth -- putting the ship directly between the enemy and the planet below.
Seizure - After negotiations fail Mr. Woolsey participates in an Earth plot to surreptitiously use the Langaran Stargate to dial Destiny.