Blade Runner, also known as Rep-Detect, was a police unit organized to hunt and kill fugitive replicants on Earth, referred to as "retiring" them. As of 2019, Blade Runners would employ the Voight-Kampff test to identify replicants.
One Blade Runner unit was employed by the Los Angeles Police Department, with divisions operating under Captains Harry Bryant and Lydia Wojciech as of November 2019, by which month Rick Deckard had quit the job. For a portion of that month, Bryant was away on sick leave, with Edison Guzza taking over his duties.
After a group of replicants hijacked an Off-world transport and escaped to Earth, Dave Holden was assigned to test new Tyrell Corporation employees to find the replicants among them. He was shot while administering the Voight-Kampff test to the Nexus-6 Leon Kowalski.
After this incident, Bryant sent Gaff to retrieve Deckard to return to the job and retire the escaped replicants. Also active with the unit during this time were Crystal Steele, Ray McCoy, Aahna Ashina, and Lelas.
Behind the scenes
The term "Blade Runner" originates not from any works by Philip K. Dick but from a little known 1974 novella by Alan E. Nourse. This novel was called The Bladerunner and in the novel, the reason for the term is given. Bladerunners (the term is one word in this novel) are black market medical suppliers for underground physicians. The term appears to refer to the scalpel blade, a picture of a medical scalpel is prominently on the book cover illustration.
Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human states that the term "Blade Runner" was derived from the German phrase, "bleib ruhig," meaning, "remain calm."