Dave Holden is the 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. He has an excellent reputation as a Blade Runner. However, Holden underestimates the Nexus-6 Replicant; new replicants are difficult to detect even with the Voight-Kampff test. During the test, Leon becomes noticeably agitated at Holden's questions. He pulls out a gun and shoots the officer, who is left in critical medical condition. Leon escapes. Close examination shows that despite presumably being injured by Leon's first shot, Holden managed to draw his pistol, before Leon's second shot crippled him and sent him crashing into a desk.
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.
Blade Runner 2
In Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human, Holden is kidnapped from his hospital by the human template for Roy Batty (which is his name as well). Even though hospital surgeons claimed it to be impossible, Roy put an artificial heart and lungs into Holden, keeping him alive. Batty has been hired by the LAPD to find and kill the sixth replicant (an inconsistency in the film fixed by the Final Cut), and he believes that Holden was set up to be wounded by Leon, and Leon was assisted by the police in incapacitating Holden - how else could he have successfully smuggled a gun into Tyrell's headquarters? Batty goes on to claim that all blade runners are replicants, and shows Holden the replicant that was killed by a security system while breaking into Tyrell Corp - a female version of Holden. Batty says that Deckard is the sixth replicant. Holden is reluctant to believe all this, and says that he could be the templant for a line of replicants based on him.
They travel to Deckard's apartment and Holden attacks Batty and handcuffs him to a pipe in Deckard's bathroom. Holden goes to watch Deckard and Sarah Tyrell (the templant for Rachael) at a dilapidated safe-house for Blade Runners and makes a number of hypotheses about the conspiracy. He is forced by his failing artificial organs. to return to Deckard's apartment and confront Batty, and makes a correct guess that Batty has no idea whether Deckard is the actual sixth replicant and only had a hunch. They then wait for Deckard at the blade runner safe-house and attack him when he arrives. Batty and Deckard battle briefly and Deckard states that Batty must be the sixth replicant because he is so strong, and Batty claims that it does not matter whether either of them is a replicant, because Batty will just kill Deckard and get his reward. Hearing this, Holden shoots and kills Batty.
Later, Deckard and Rachael attempt to escape the burning Tyrell Corporation building, and Holden rescues them in his spinner. After they gain false identities and go live off-world, Holden (who is still unsure if he is human) goes to the shack Deckard hid in with the model of Rachael seen in the film - and finds her dead. Holden then goes to the police station to get better artificial organs. He correctly surmises that Deckard actually left with Sarah Tyrell (who wanted to replace Rachael as the one Deckard loved) and wonders whether Deckard did not know this or did and just went along with it because he got what he wanted.
Blade Runner 3
In Blade Runner 3: Replicant Night, Holden tries to sneak onto the filmset Deckard is having a hand in which is based on his days as a Blade Runner in order to deliver a package to him, just as Deckard learns that the "person" playing Leon is actually a replicant. Holden is caught by security and brought to the scene being filmed - Holden's interview of Leon and at its end the replicant shoots Holden with live ammo, killing him. The scene was all planned by a man named Marley and the package Holden was trying to deliver was a persynth (living image of a person derived from records of their actions and personality) of the templant for Roy Batty.
In other media
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.