Deckard and his wife, Iran, were gifted a sheep named Groucho by Iran's father when he emigrated. However, around 1991/2020, the sheep died from tetanus and Deckard quietly replaced it with an electric one.
On January 3, 1992/2021, Deckard was woken by his Penfield mood organ's alarm. He urged his wife to wake despite her reluctance, ultimately leading to a bitter argument in which she questioned the morality of his career. The brief argument came to an end once Iran threatened to set her mood organ to a significantly hostile state.
As Deckard went over the schedule for the day, his wife revealed to him that she had scheduled herself six hours of self-accusatory depression. She reasoned that such a setting was appropriate for their situation, as they remained on Earth while many others had emigrated. Baffled by this revelation, Deckard implored her to not go through with it, urging her to dial something else, such as watching television.
After setting Iran's mood organ, Deckard ate breakfast and ascended to his roof to tend to his electric sheep. There, he visited with his neighbor, Bill Barbour, who proudly announced that his horse was pregnant. Reasoning that Barbour would soon have two horses – which he saw as a violation of Mercerism – he offered to purchase one. However, Barbour resisted this, deeming it to be immoral to sell his horse and unwilling to sell the colt. He then revealed to Barbour that his sheep was electric, explaining the death of his real one and the maintenance required to keep up the electric animal's charade. As Deckard turned to leave, Barbour promised not to tell anyone about the electric sheep, recommending cheaper animals to replace it with. Deckard then realized that the retirement of five androids would provide him with enough money to buy an animal and hoped such an opportunity would occur.
On his way to work, Deckard stopped at the Happy Dog Pet Shop, checking the price tags on an ostrich. Late for work, he made his way there, greeted by his superior, Inspector Harry Bryant. Bryant commanded Deckard to meet him at 9:30, informing him that his colleague, Dave Holden, had been injured on a job and hospitalized. Deckard attempted to inquire further about Holden's predicament, but Bryant left the room preferred to wait until their meeting.
Deckard's secretary, Ann Marsten, then informed Deckard that Holden had been shot by a Nexus-6 android and detailed a vidcall between Bryant and the Russian W.P.O. In the call, Bryant wished to file a formal complaint against the Rosen Association, wishing to take the Nexus-6 off of the market. This prompted Deckard to recall the controversial history of the Nexus-6 and the T-14 android. Marsten offered to relay the Russian policeman's response to Bryant, but Deckard preferred to learn this from Bryant himself.
Deckard went to his desk, examining a folder containing information about the Nexus-6 android, causing him to ponder the nature of empathy and how it applied to his job. To him the androids' apparent lack of empathy and an application of Wilbur Mercer's tenet "you call kill only the killers" justified bounty hunting.
Deckard called the Happy Dog Pet Shop, inquiring on the price of the ostrich he had looked at earlier. Finding it too expensive, he attempted to haggle with the employee, who justified their asking price with Sidney's Animal & Fowl Catalogue, which valued such an ostrich at one thousand higher. Deckard told the salesman he would think it over, providing a fake name and address before hanging up. He then dialed an artificial animal shop and asked about an electric ostrich. However, Deckard hung up before finalizing the order, noticing it was 9:30 and made his way to Bryant's office.
There, Bryant informed Deckard that Holden had been hunting eight replicants in Northern California, having retired the first two before being shot. Deckard offered to take over the case, with Bryant approving. However, because the Voigt-Kampff test had yet to be proven to definitively identify a Nexus-6, Bryant ordered Deckard to first go to Seattle, to the headquarters of the Rosen Association, the company responsible for the manufacture of the Nexus-6 androids. Bryant intended to have Deckard test several humans alongside androids, noting that a schizoid or schizophrenic human could theoretically fail the test.
At the Rosen headquarters, Deckard was greeted by Rachael Rosen, who immediately expressed distaste for him, based solely on the fact he was employed by the San Francisco Police Department, an establishment she perceived to be opposed to the Rosen Association. Shortly after, Deckard took notice of the Association's animals, in particular a raccoon Rachael said the company acquired from a subsidiary. She then showed him the company's owl, which she said was real, much to Deckard's surprise, due to the species being listed as extinct in Sidney's. Curious, he asked how much Rosen would be willing to sell it for, but she said they would not and were searching for another owl to mate it with.
Rachael led Deckard inside, where he was introduced to Eldon Rosen, who informed Deckard that it was difficult for the company to summon Nexus-6 androids for the test due to their manufacture on Mars. Upon entering the room they had arranged to test in, he noticed they had the February Sidney's catalogue supplement several days before its scheduled release and took one for himself. He then set up the Voigt-Kampff apparatus and explained to Rachael its workings and how it functioned. Rachael then asked him to test her, Eldon revealing she had been selected as his first subject.
Deckard began the test, which measured eye muscle and capillary reactions to questions concerning hypothetical situations. Quickly, the test began to confirm that Rachael was a Nexus-6 android, much to both Eldon and Rachael's frustration, both insisting that she was not. Believing this meant the test had failed, Deckard began packing up the Voigt-Kampff as the Rosens explained Rachael's history, her early life aboard a spaceship being the apparent reason for her lack of human empathy.
Wanting Deckard to return to his superiors with the conclusion that the Voigt-Kampff test was ineffective, the Rosens attempted to bribe Deckard by offering him the company's owl, Scrappy. Their offer was on the condition that if it were to successfully mate, they would acquire the offspring and that when Deckard died, the owl would be returned to them. After Deckard resisted, they allowed him to bequeath the owl to an heir. Allowing him thirty minutes to think over the deal, Deckard asked Rachael one more Voigt-Kampff question before they left him alone. The question consisted of Deckard stating his briefcase was made from babyhide. Her reaction was too late for a human, convincing him fully that she was indeed a Nexus-6 and prepared to leave. Knowing the facade was up, Eldon confirmed to Deckard that Rachael was indeed an android and programmed to be unaware of the fact so that she could be used as a sales device for those emigrating from Earth. On his way out, Deckard asked if the owl was real, to which Eldon confirmed that it was artificial.
Deckard returned to the precinct and although he wished to speak to Holden first, he was given the assignment to retire Max Polokov, the android who attacked Holden. Bryant informed Deckard that Soviet policeman Sandor Kadalyi was to meet with Deckard to accompany him on his assignment, as the Soviets wished to learn more about the Nexus-6 line. Retrieving the poop sheet on Polokov as well as Luba Luft, Deckard set out to Polokov's place of employment, the Bay Area Scavengers Company.
Learning from the company's personnel manager, Ackers, that Polokov did not show up for work that day. He then traveled to Polokov's apartment building. Inside, he used a Penfield mood organ to put anyone else in the vicinity into a state of catalepsy. This precaution was in vain, however, as Polokov was not inside. Concluding that Polokov was long gone, Deckard decided to move on to Luba Luft.
Deckard went to his hovercar on the roof and reported to Bryant, who then sent Kadalyi to his location. As he waited, he studied Luba Luft's file until receiving a call from Rachael, who offered to join him on his assignment, reasoning that a Nexus-6 might let its guard down if greeted by another Nexus-6. Giving a noncommittal response, he hung up the phone.
Kadalyi soon arrived and got into Deckard's car, showing him his unusual laser tube from Mars. He handed it to Deckard, but kept the triggering unit, explaining that he could control the weapon with it. This made Deckard realize Kadalyi was actually Polokov and set off a sine wave in his car, disabling laser weaponry. A brief struggle occurred, with Polokov strangling Deckard until Deckard managed to fire his .38 magnum into Polokov's head, killing him.
He reported Polokov's retirement to the precinct then called his wife, who had redialed into her scheduled state of depression. He began to inform her of his assignment and the money it would earn them, but met with her lack of enthusiasm, he hung up. While beginning to reconsider Rachael's offer, he decided to wait and call her back after eliminating Luba Luft, who had found employment as an opera singer.
Deckard made his way to the opera house where Luba Luft was performing in a rehearsal of Mozart's The Magic Flute. Quite familiar with opera, he watched the show and quickly took notice of Luba Luft, who was playing the role of Pamina. After the act, Deckard went backstage to her dressing room to administer the Voigt-Kampff test. However, as he set up the test, she began to insist she was not an android and suggested that perhaps Deckard himself was an android outfitted with false memories, asking him to take the test first. Explaining that she knew not how to administer it, he proceeded to test her.
While attempting to deconstruct the Voigt-Kampff questions, Luft eventually detached the test's adhesive disk from her face. As Deckard picked it up for her, she brandished a laser tube, aiming at him, saying she believed he was not a bounty hunter, but rather a sexual deviant, due to the nature of his last question. Viewing the rest of Deckard's questions, she took note of more questions relating to sex and called for a harness bull. Officer Crams answered the call and, upon seeing Deckard's identification, claimed to have no knowledge of Deckard or Inspector Bryant. Deckard concluded that Crams was also an android and was allowed to call the police department. Reaching Bryant, he turned the call over to Crams, but Bryant disappeared from the other end of the line. Deckard attempted to redial, but received no answer.
Crams called his precinct, confirming the non-existence of Deckard or Bryant. With Luft's statement, he decided to arrest Deckard and take him to the precinct. As he frisked Deckard, he noted that his service pistol had recently been fired and Deckard told him of Polokov, whose remains were still inside his car. On the roof, Crams investigated the corpse and called for it to be picked up before putting Deckard in his patrol car.
Early in the journey, Deckard noticed that Crams was not going in the direction of the precinct. Bringing this up to Crams, the harness bull insisted that Deckard's familiar precinct on Lombard Street had not been used in a number of years and was instead taking him to a new precinct on Mission Street. Deckard accused Crams of being an android, but Crams suggested the same of Deckard and ignored his requests to see the Lombard precinct,
At the Mission precinct, Polokov's remains were taken for a bone marrow exam and Crams passed Deckard off to an official named Garland. Garland examined the contents of Deckard's briefcase and suspected that he might be an android. Being allowed a phone call, he attempted to call his wife, but was instead greeted by a woman he did not recognize and he hung up. Garland then took Deckard to his office and inquired about the Voigt-Kampff test, being unfamiliar with it. Then, Garland noted Deckard's files, pointing out that he was his next target after Polokov and Luft.
Garland summoned one of the department's bounty hunters, Phil Resch, to compare Deckard's files with. Resch soon arrived, examining the files as Deckard and Garland filled him in on the situation, he too also being unfamiliar with the Voigt-Kampff test. Soon, a woman's voice appeared over the intercom, confirming that Polokov's bone marrow test verified him as an android, despite Garland's insistence that he was human. With this, Deckard and Resch suggested that Garland be subjected to the Boneli test, this precinct's tool for android identification.
As Resch left to retrieve the test, Garland took a laser tube out of his desk and trained it on Deckard, who pointed out that killing him was useless, as a bone marrow test would prove he was human, thus making Resch more likely to suggest the test. Garland then admitted to Deckard that he was familiar with the androids in Deckard's files that he had yet to retire, as they had all escaped Mars on the same ship, but then added that Resch was also an android who escaped a week later. He then explained that Deckard had been unable to reach his wife earlier because the vidphone lines all looped back to the precinct, which was entirely isolated from the rest of the city and entirely staffed by androids.
As Resch returned with the test, Garland suddenly aimed a small laser tube toward Resch, prompting Resch and Deckard to dive to the floor as Resch shot Garland in the head, killing him. Deckard explained to Resch what Garland had told him, but held back Garland's statement that Resch was an android. Suggesting Deckard pose as Resch's prisoner in order to leave the precinct discreetly, Resch advised they go back to the opera house to catch Luba Luft. After posing Garland's body, Resch handcuffed Deckard and the two bounty hunters made their way to Resch's hovercar without incident.
As Resch struggled aloud with the realization that he worked alongside androids for three years, Deckard hesitantly told Resch that the androids had not been there for years, but rather mere months. This prompted Resch to figure that either Garland had replaced a legitimate Garland or that he had been given false memories, which would mean he was indeed an android. Reaching Resch's car, they took off for the opera house, with Resch asking Deckard to give him either the Voigt-Kampff or Boneli tests after they deal with Luft.
Upon arrival, Deckard and Resch learned from a stagehand that the rehearsal had ended and Luft had gone to a local museum to view an Edvard Munch exhibit. While they searched for her, Resch asked Deckard if an android was capable of owning an animal, to which Deckard responded that in the two cases he knew of, the animal eventually died. As Resch became fascinated by a painting, Deckard spotted Luft and the two approached her, holding her by the shoulders. Deckard introduced the surprised Luft to Resch, whom she also insisted was an android. In front of a witness, Luft asked Deckard to purchase a print of a painting she had been looking at. Deckard complied and Luft pointed out to Resch that an android would not have done such a thing. As they entered an elevator, Luft continued to provoke Resch, who drew his laser tube, saying they did not need to test her. Deckard attempted to stop Resch, but was unsuccessful in getting the laser tube from the other bounty hunter. Resch then retired Luft.
Deckard then burned the book containing Luft's painting, confusing Resch. However, Deckard was confident he could afford it, as he planned on claiming the bounties on Garland and Luft himself, as Resch could not do so for his own department or Deckard's. Faced with remorse over Luft's death, Deckard expressed distaste for his job, wishing to quit once finished with his assignment. Once the elevator arrived at the first floor, Deckard left Resch with Luft's body as he called for a car to retrieve her remains. Noting Resch's cold-blooded killings of Garland and Luft, he openly wished that Resch would test positive as an android.
On their way back to the car, Resch gave Deckard his laser tube for Deckard's own safety, saying that if he tested positive as an android, he would kill himself by holding his breath, pointing out that while impossible for an android, whose vagus nerve differed in structure. In the car, Deckard set up the Voigt-Kampff apparatus to be used on Resch and began the test.
After Resch passed the Voigt-Kampff, Deckard pointed out that Resch had a lack of empathy when it came to androids, to which Resch responded that it was a benefit, that without it, one was unable to defend their self. Deckard then used the test on himself to demonstrate his own response to Luft's death, indicating that it was a perfectly human response for him to be empathetic towards Luft. At the same time, he pondered the fact that he felt more empathy for Luft, an android, than for Resch, a human. Resch reasoned that Deckard being this way was due to him having a sexual attraction to Luft. Resch suggested that if Deckard were to find himself again attracted to an android, that he sleep with it before retiring it.
After work, Deckard traveled to an animal shop where he purchased a black Nubian goat with the reward money from Polokov, Garland, and Luba Luft. Returning home, he surprised Iran with the goat. The ownership of a real animal appeared to bring Deckard's wife out of her depression and Bill Barbour congratulated them.
After his wife took him back to their apartment to fuse with Wilbur Mercer, Deckard told Iran about his day, noting that he was beginning to empathize with androids and wished to quit bounty hunting. Faced with the monthly payments on the goat, he stated that he could be transferred to another desk or extend their payment contract. Bryant then called Deckard, informing him that the trail had been picked up on the remaining androids. Reluctantly, Deckard agreed to head back out to retire the replicants, saying that he would buy a sheep with their reward money. When Bryant pointed out Deckard already had a sheep, Deckard admitted it was electric and hung up the phone.
Deckard went to the empathy box and fused with Mercer. Mercer urged him to complete his assignment, stating that everyone must do immoral things in their lives. Deckard was then hit in the ear by a rock and let go of the empathy box handles. Heading out to finish his job, Deckard figured that he would be unable to take on three androids at once, so called Rachael Rosen. After some convincing, Rachael agreed to meet Deckard at the St. Francis Hotel.
As he waited for Rachael, Deckard looked over his files on Roy and Irmgard Baty, the former being the android group's leader. Once Rachael arrived, he updated her on his assignment, letting her examine the files on the Batys and Pris Stratton. As they opened a bottle of bourbon, Deckard noted Rachael's state of unease, which stemmed from the fact that Pris was the same type of android as her, identical in appearance. She then admitted that she was sent by the Rosen Association in order to research the Nexus-6s imperfections that led to it being caught, which would be taken into account for the company's next android.
Claiming to be inebriated and fearful for her own life, Rachael suggested they stay at the hotel and sleep together rather than go after the androids. As she stripped to her underwear and settled into the bed, she directed Deckard to a device she had in her purse that would temporarily stop an android's respiratory system. Deckard then began to undress, but became apprehensive about going to bed with her, as he would later have to retire Pris. Rachael then stated she would kill Pris for him. Thankful for this gesture, Deckard got into bed with her and they had sex.
Hours later, they boarded Deckard's hovercar and took off to find the androids. Shortly into the journey, Rachael asked Deckard about his wife, to which he admitted that if she were not an android, he would marry her. Rachael then told Deckard that she had slept with several other bounty hunters, none of which – except Phil Resch – continued their jobs after being with her. Suddenly, Deckard veered the hovercar towards the ground, saying that he was going to kill her and take on the three remaining androids by himself. Witnessing the way Rachael then seemingly gave up, Deckard changed his mind, deciding to take Rachael back to her car and continue alone. Rachael then pointed out that the previous bounty hunters had done the same, threatening to kill her, then not following through with it, strengthening her belief that Deckard would be unable to retire the androids. She then taunted Deckard, implying that he loved his goat more than he loved his wife, but he gave no response. After sitting in silence, Rachael turned on the radio, where Buster Friendly was preparing to present a much-anticipated exposé. Deckard turned it off, but Rachael immediately turned it back on.
Deckard made his way to a mostly-abandoned apartment building, where he met the special John Isidore, who immediately told Deckard he was harboring the remaining androids in his apartment. Unable to learn from Isidore which apartment they would be in, Deckard headed inside to find them. As he searched the building, he saw a figure who identified itself as Mercer and told him that he must complete his task. He then warned him of Pris running toward him and Deckard quickly retired her.
Finding the apartment, he knocked on the door. As he pretended to be Isidore, the door opened and Irmgard said he would have to test them. However, when Deckard noted it was too late due to Pris's attack, Roy began opening fire on Deckard and ran to another room. Deckard noted a laser tube in Irmgard's hand, as if ready to shoot him in the back if he pursued Roy, so Deckard retired Irmgard. Roy then cried out and Deckard retired him as well. Deckard then found Isidore's phone and called Bryant.
Deckard made his way home to find his wife distraught, as their goat had been pushed off of the building by Rachael Rosen. Also bothering his wife was Buster Friendly's revelation that Wilbur Mercer was a fraud and asked Deckard to be with her. However, he got into his car, flying to an uninhabited region near the Oregon border.
Upon landing, he attempted to call Holden, but was informed that he was not yet taking calls. Exiting his car, he reflected on his day and began ascending a nearby hill and began to be hit by falling rocks, an experience eerily similar to that of the martyr Mercer. He called for Mercer, but saw only his own shadow.
Returning to his car, he tried to call Bryant, who he learned was neither in his office or in his car, as he was at the scene where the last three androids had died. Speaking to Ann Marsten, he told her about his goat and when she noticed his face bleeding from a rock, Deckard told her he had permanently fused with Mercer.
As he prepared to call his wife, Deckard found a thought-to-be-extinct toad, an animal Mercer found particularly sacred. Finding a box from his car, he took the toad home to Iran. To his disappointment, Iran quickly discovered the toad was actually electric. While disappointed, Deckard conceded that he was satisfied with knowing the truth, remarking, "the electrical things have their lives too, paltry as those lives are." Assured by his wife that he had done no wrong in his assignment, he made his way to bed and went to sleep.
Behind the scenes
In the loose film adaptation, Blade Runner and its sequel, Blade Runner 2049, Deckard is portrayed by Harrison Ford. In Edward Einhorn's stage adaptation, he has been portrayed by Alex Emanuel and Eric Curtis Johnson. The BBC's radio adaptation featured James Purefoy in the role.