He had an affinity for creating origami figures.
Gaff was relatively new to the Los Angeles Police Department Blade Runner unit in November 2019. He was sent by his superior, Captain Harry Bryant, to retrieve Deckard in order to give him the assignment. He presented his compulsory invitation to Deckard in Cityspeak, which Deckard pretended not to understand. Upon hearing that Bryant wished to see him, Deckard reluctantly joined Gaff on a flight in his spinner to the LAPD. Along the way, Gaff complained to Deckard, telling him that he'd argued with Bryant about trying to convince him that Gaff alone could find the replicants and kill them all one by one, but Bryant had insisted, citing Deckard's expertise. Gaff also criticized Deckard on the way he looked and how it reflected upon the department.
Upon arrival at the LAPD, Deckard and Gaff take a seat in Bryant's office. Deckard learned of the escaped replicants and his job to retire them before word got out to the public that there were replicants on Earth. Gaff, meanwhile, constructed an origami chicken.
After leaving the Tyrell Corporation and introducing Deckard to Rachael, Gaff and Deckard went to the replicant Leon Kowalski's apartment at 117 Hunterwasser to investigate his whereabouts. While Deckard explored the bathroom, finding several scales (belonging to Zhora), Gaff created more origami. This time, he made a man with an erection from a matchstick.
He met Deckard shortly after his final fight with the replicant leader Roy Batty, complimenting him on a job well-done. He mockingly noted, referring to Rachael, "It's too bad she won't live, but then again, who does?"
Later, while Deckard retrieved Rachael from his apartment and they made their escape, he noticed one of Gaff's origami unicorn. After recalling Gaff's enigmatic final words, Deckard left.
In 2022, in the midst of the human supremacy movements, Gaff and another officer researched five Nexus-8 replicants who had escaped from Calantha, though Gaff stated that this affair was the military's concern, not theirs.
By 2023, Gaff was a lieutenant with the department. At some point he fashioned a small origami figure of a howling wolf which he placed upon his own desk. When Blade Runner Harper was ambushed and knocked unconscious by a group of replicants, Gaff wrote a small note in a get-well card that the department arranged for Harper's benefit. Gaff then went to his location, learning from Harper that they had mentioned "Night Owl" and someone named Nakayama, both of which Gaff intended to research.
Thirty years after Deckard's disappearance, Gaff had retired and was living in a care facility. Officer K met him during his investigation into the whereabouts of Deckard and Rachael's child, where the two talked about Deckard. Enigmatic as always, Gaff remarked that he knew Deckard was not long for this world because of "something in his eyes." Gaff remarked that Deckard probably got to be alone, implying that was what he wanted. Gaff placed an origami sheep on the table in front of K.
Behind the scenes
Katherine Haber suggested Edward James Olmos for the role. Olmos wore blue contact lenses for the role, created by Dr. Morton Greenspoon. Ridley Scott allowed Olmos to create a background story for Gaff, deciding that the character was primarily of Mexican-Japanese heritage, with his American lineage going back at least five generations. Les Martin's novelization identifies him as Japanese.
Olmos also created the cityspeak on his own, using a variety of his own extensive language experience. For preparation, he visited the Berlitz School of Languages in Los Angeles, where he learned phrases in Hungarian, German, and French. One of the words Gaff speaks in 2049 is "nyugdijas", the Hungarian word for "retiree".
In a draft of the film, dated February 23, 1981, it is Bryant rather than Gaff who appears on the rooftop after Roy Batty dies. Another draft included Gaff chasing Deckard and Rachael as they fled the city.
The video game Blade Runner: Revelations shows Gaff's nameplate in the LAPD as "E. Gaff" seemingly confirming that the name Gaff is his surname.
During the events of both films, Gaff leaves several origami figures representing different animals. Each has its own meaning, and there are many interpretations:
|Chicken||Gaff leaves a chicken on Captain Bryant's desk right as Deckard is about to refuse Bryant's demand that he return as a Blade Runner.||Calling into question Deckard's courage, implying he is running away from his fears instead of facing them.|
|Man||While investigating Leon's apartment, Gaff leaves a man with an erect penis on the dresser after Deckard finds the scale in the bathtub. Made from a matchstick.||Deckard's impending romance with Rachael, what his mind is focused on.|
|Unicorn||Before Deckard and Rachael flee LA, Deckard picks up an origami unicorn that Rachael nearly steps on in the hallway.||The unreliability of memory; Gaff's knowledge of Deckard's true identity.|
|Sheep||When K is wrapping up his interview with Gaff, the retired cop reveals a sheep he was making during their conversation.||Implying K's status as another cog in the machine; nothing special, only following orders. Also a reference to the source novel.|
- Blade Runner: Revelations
- Blade Runner – U.S. theatrical version
- Blade Runner – international theatrical version
- Blade Runner – all versions
- A Marvel Comics Super Special: Blade Runner
- Blade Runner Black Out 2022
- Blade Runner 2049
- Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner – Revised & Updated Edition
- Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner