Bill Tench

Bill Tench

Photo Credit: Netflix

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living... in Fredericksburg, Virginia in the late 1970s. It’s near his work at the FBI Academy in Quantico.

Visiting... anywhere his work takes him—from Buffalo, New York to San Diego, California.

Profession... FBI Special Agent. Specifically, Bill founded the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, which focuses on the newly developed field of criminal psychology. Bill travels the country sharing new FBI techniques with local law enforcement. It’s a big undertaking, so he’s excited when upstart young agent Holden Ford inquires about joining his team.

Interests... golfing and swapping horror stories with his FBI coworkers.

Relationship Status... happily married. He and his wife Nancy have a loving relationship, although the secrecy of Bill’s job sometimes causes stress between them. Their other biggest source of stress is their six-year-old son Brian, whom they adopted when he was 3. Brian refuses to speak and they aren’t sure why.

Challenge... profiling the mind of a serial killer. Bill wants to update the FBI’s old-fashioned investigative methods by using psychology, which is a bold new idea for the time. That work gets a boost when Holden joins his team. Together, they develop an interest in “sequence killers” (a.k.a. serial killers). It’s a subject no one has studied before, so Bill and Holden set out to interview incarcerated serial killers in order to establish a psychological profile that might help law enforcement solve ongoing cases. As Bill puts it, “The question is not only why did the killer do it, but why did the killer do it this way?” It’s brand new work and many in the FBI are skeptical that it’s anything more than a distraction.

Personality... dependable, practical, and open-minded. Bill has worked at the FBI for a long time and he isn’t easily swayed by something flashy or novel. Yet he’s not stuck in his ways either. If someone can make an effective fact-based case, Bill will listen. He’s observant, curious, and open to new ideas, but he always makes sure to keep one foot on the ground too. Bill is incredibly pragmatic, and he understands the importance of separating his gruesome work from his personal life.


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