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|Name||Samson Benedictus "Sam" Hodiak|
|Birthdate||Unknown yet, probably 1910-1930|
|Family Members||Son: Walt Hodiak|
|Occupation||Detective Third Grade LAPD Hollywood Division|
|First Seen||Everybody's Been Burned|
|Last Seen||Old Ego Is a Too Much Thing|
|Played By||David Duchovny|
Samson Benedictus "Sam" Hodiak is a homicide detective working out of the Hollywood Police Station of the LAPD in Los Angeles, California. Known as a gruff but capable investigator, Sam is contacted by old flame Grace Karn regarding the disappearance of her daughter Emma. Emma's father Ken asks that Hodiak's investigation be kept quiet with respect to his political affiliations, but the longer he is on the case Sam finds himself tangled further into events surrounding Charles Manson.
Hodiak attempts to find Grace Karn's missing daughter Emma, as a favor to her. Though both are now technically married to others, there remains a palpable attraction between Grace and Hodiak. Determined to locate Emma, Hodiak is forced to use more subtle methods once his traditional techniques fail to sway young inhabitants of the 1960's counterculture movement, where his investigation deeply leads. To circumvent the brick wall he has met in the case, Sam partners with young narcotics detective Brian Shafe, and recruits the sharp young Officer Charmain Tully to assist him by infiltrating various levels of the Los Angeles hippie scene. In turn, Sam occasionally assists Shafe in an ongoing but troubled narcotics case, as well as providing opportunities for Tully to prove herself as a police officer and shake the misogynistic treatment she receives from most of the precinct. In the midst of his police work, Hodiak learns that his son, Walt, has gone AWOL from the Army and returned stateside with help from Sam's estranged wife Opal.
A former alcoholic, now recovered, Sam is a seasoned police officer, and efficient detective. It is mentioned by Sam and others that he is a combat veteran of World War II, though exact details of his service have yet to be revealed. He admits to Shafe that his first beat as a cop in Los Angeles occurred some time in 1947. Some time in his early life, Sam met Grace and the two shared a passionate but brief romance. Sometime later, he eventually married Opal for reasons he claims he "can't remember" and together they conceived a son, Walt who later joined the U.S. Army when the Vietnam War broke out. Though not officially divorced, it is made clear by this time that Sam and Opal have long been separated with little love lost between them. This was likely due in large part to Sam's drinking, which at the time of their separation had become so severe he physically abused Opal on at least one occasion. Sam now goes to great lengths to avoid alcohol, a posturing which at first surprises Grace when she realizes how much he has changed.
Raised as a Catholic, Hodiak no longer practices religion, and his former priest Father Mack alludes that his choice to be a cop might have been an attempt to understand the world from a different perspective. Though socially conservative in many ways, Hodiak has displayed behavior that departs from the norms of traditional values. His first assignment as a rookie police officer happened to be in a predominantly black neighborhood of Los Angeles, through which Hodiak made many black acquaintances in the community, several of which he refers to as friends even if the feeling is not mutual. Additionally, Hodiak seems at least tolerant of Shafe's marriage to a black woman when this is first revealed, and even assists Shafe when his family is menaced by racist vandals. Despite this, Hodiak still jokingly refers to himself as a "racist" and does not argue with others who also label him that way. Additionally, during a murder case involving homosexual suspects, Hodiak actually gently rebukes Shafe's outrage toward the concept of gay men, explaining that all people share similar passions and motivations regardless of their persuasion or creed.
Blunt and wry in his speech, Sam pretends not to take himself too seriously, evoking a cynical sense of humor and witty mannerisms, though often these serve to mask his skill as a highly observant investigator. His somewhat old fashioned ideals often seem to clash with the more holistic attitudes of the mainstream 1960s, though Sam frequently seems to take these conflicts in good humor. He is not however above violent coercion to get his way, occasionally employing brutality and intimidation to obtain confessions and evidence from witnesses and suspects, even going so far as to casually shrug off Shafe's warnings that he is sometimes knowingly breaking the law. Despite this, Sam is shown to have a personal code of ethics with a deep respect for the spirit of the law, even if not the letter of it. Sam is also willing to back down from investigations which are impossible to conclude especially when powerful entities like the police commissioner or the Black Panther party threaten dire consequences, such as that concluding the case could lead to something worse than the crime which created it. Sam has needed to persuade both the idealistic Shafe and the highly determined Tully to abandon certain investigations for similar reasons, insisting that "They don't all pan out the way you want them to" and encouraging them to fight the battles they can win rather than risk their lives or careers for a case. Additionally, though he was at one time an abusive alcoholic, Sam expresses remorse for this behavior and does not even attempt to defend himself when confronted with his past actions.
Sam Hodiak is played by David Duchovny.
- Series creator John McNamera has said of Hodiak “I thought of this idea of an older cop during the 1960s and how a 45-year old would see hippies. Then, what if he was paired with a Narc who is 22?”
- Though surrounded by many historically prominent figures of the mid '60s, Hodiak is not himself a historical character, and was invented specifically for the TV series.