Dave Holden was a Blade Runner assigned to test new employees at the Tyrell Corporation on the premise that the escaped replicants might try to infiltrate the company in the hopes of extending their four-year lifespans.
Despite having an excellent reputation as a Blade Runner, Holden underestimated the Nexus-6 replicant, as they were difficult to detect even with the Voight-Kampff test. While testing Leon Kowalski, the subject became noticeably agitated at Holden's questions before pulling out a gun and shooting Holden. He was able to draw his pistol after Leon's first shot, but the second crippled him and sent him crashing into a desk.
Behind the scenes
There were two hospital scenes with Holden and Deckard in the film, but these were cut out, explained by director Ridley Scott as being extraneous and perhaps distracting. The scenes have been included in the latest DVD editions of the film released in December 2007. Here additional background info and insight into Holden's character is provided, as Holden is shown reading Treasure Island while in hospital, an old favorite of his. He is also shown to use the derogatory term "Skinjob" in conversation with Deckard and expresses his fear of Replicants becoming almost human, going so far as to accuse Deckard of sleeping with Zhora when Deckard expresses doubts about hunting them. He also reveals that he had tested 26 other Tyrell employees, explaining his short patience when dealing with Leon. He correctly predicted that the replicants were on Earth searching for "God" - to them, Eldon Tyrell.
Another deleted scene shows Bryant and Gaff reviewing recordings of Deckard's visits with Holden; Bryant is shown thinking of both Blade Runners derisively as "two old men trying to grapple with metaphysics" and is confused at Holden's statement that the Replicants are searching for God. Gaff, on the other hand, understands perfectly.
In the Blade Runner (video game), it is revealed that Leon stole Holden's badge and left it in the apartment the replicants were using. Fortunately, rookie Blade Runner Ray McCoy found the badge when investigating the scene. Additionally, it is shown in the game that Holden is the third best shot in the Rep-Detect department, behind only Gaff and Crystal Steele. The game also says he buys custom-made armor-piercing rounds from Bullet Bob, a gunstore owner.
In the Blade Runner comic book adaptation, Holden's interrogation of Leon is shortened, with Leon rising and shooting Holden from across the table as opposed to firing from under it. Here Holden is blown into the wall as opposed to through it by Leon's shot, nor does he draw his weapon (though he is described as attempting to do so) and is presumably killed by Leon's first shot, Leon's second shot being either to confirm the kill or just a sadistic pleasure on Leon's part. Thus as opposed to saying that Holden is in hospital, Bryant comments "He's no good now...For anything."
In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Holden is essentially the same character as presented in the film, but is mentioned to own a sports-car type model spinner. However it is clearly stated that Holden will eventually fully recover. No such assurances are given in Blade Runner.