Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick
Harrison Ford (film) James Purefoy (radio)
Police officer / bounty hunter
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049
Roy Batty, Pris, Zhora, JF Sebastian, Eldon Tyrell
Rick Deckard is a fictional character and the protagonist of Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.
He was portrayed by Harrison Ford in the 1982 film adaptation Blade Runner directed by Ridley Scott and by James Purefoy in the 2014 BBC Radio 4 adaptation directed by Sasha Yevtushenko.
Rick Deckard is a specialist plainclothes police officer with the San Francisco Police Department in the early 21st Century, who goes after "andys" as they are called. In the film adaptation (see below), he was/is with the Replicant Detection Division (i.e. Blade Runner unit) of the Los Angeles Police Department. In this version the apprehension and termination of such renegade androids (here known as replicants) is euphemistically referred to as 'retirement'. Given the nature of this role he could also be considered an officially sanctioned bounty hunter (In the original novel the bounty hunter nature of the position is made more obvious). In both novel & film versions, he begins the story as a selfish, self-involved cop who seemingly sees no value in android life. His experiences within the novel cause him to develop empathy towards androids and all living things. In the film it is implied that he had already begun to undergo this sea change prior to the start of the film, causing his original resignation some time (around May 2019) before its opening.
Deckard is married to Iran who is one of the more empathetic characters in the novel. She is able to allow herself to go into a depression and sadness with others over the state of humanity, and is able to find the empathy necessary to care for an electric toad at the end of the novel.
In the film, the bounty hunters are replaced by police "Blade Runners", the androids are called "replicants", terms not used in the original novel. The novel depicts Deckard as obsequious and officious "little man", so much so it is interesting to note that Dustin Hoffman was involved in the film production for a short time. However it is not documented as to how Hoffman was going to play the character. In the novel Deckard is human and has a wife but because of the many versions of the film and because of script and production errors, the backstory of the movie version of Rick Deckard becomes unclear. The viewer has to make up their own mind as to whether Deckard is a replicant or not and therefore whether he has a past or not. The voice-over in the theatrical release indicates Deckard is divorced, as it mentions an ex-wife. However the voice-over has been removed from subsequent versions and so this detail is not mentioned. If the viewer takes the perspective that Deckard is a replicant then the "ex-wife" only becomes an implanted memory. Philip K. Dick approved of Harrison Ford's performance, saying that Ford had brought to life "a genuine, real, authentic Deckard."
Before he resigned from his position just prior to the events of the film, Deckard had amassed such a reputation as a Blade Runner that he had gained the nicknames Mr. Nighttime and the Boogeyman.