William Henry "Will" Pope is the Chief of Police of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) during Major Crimes.

During The Closer, Pope held the rank of Assistant Chief and was the Director, Office of Operations (also known as Assistant Chief of Operations). As the Director of Operations, Will was responsible for managing and coordinating all matters related to field law enforcement, special operations, and detective operations throughout the city.

In Season 7, Will was appointed as the Interim Chief of Police after Chief Delk suddenly died of a brain aneurysm, although he still served concurrently as the Director of Operations for budget reasons. He was confirmed as the new Chief of Police for the beginning of Major Crimes.

Character Information[edit | edit source]

The Closer[edit | edit source]

Chief Pope is responsible for bringing Brenda Leigh Johnson to head the LAPD's Priority Murder Squad (later renamed as the Priority Homicide Division and even later the Major Crimes Division). He states that he wanted her for the job since the squad was not providing prosecutors with cases they could win (“The Closer (Pilot)”). He is again her boss, previously being so in Washington, D.C. where they first met and became involved in an affair together while Pope was married and working as the Deputy Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC) and Brenda was the US Department of State liaison officer to the MPDC. Pope convinced Brenda to her to leave her job at the State Department and she subsequently joined the MPDC. (“Help Wanted”)

In “The Big Bang”, the LAPD headquarters moved from the Parker Center to the new Police Administration Building which Pope noted to be "at the cutting edge of every technology in the world." Brenda disagreed with Pope, stating that whoever designed it had no understanding of police work. When Brenda began modifying the building, for instance changing their visitors conference room to a interrogation room, Pope was less than pleased and told Brenda to adapt to the building, not adapt the building to her. Pope's "wise words" were somewhat ironic as Brenda noted that Pope himself had removed a wall separating his conference room and his office. Pope told Brenda that there was going to be a big announcement and because of that, Brenda and Major Crimes should act like the building is perfect in every way. At the end of the episode, Chief Edward Thompson announces his retirement from the department and the Major Crimes squad believes that Pope is going to be the new Chief of Police, which is most likely the reason he likes the new building so much.

Starting in “Help Wanted”, Captain Sharon Raydor starts interviewing Pope's direct subordinates, including Brenda, as a background check for the job as Chief of Police. During this time, Pope also asks Brenda to investigate the disappearance of a nanny as a personal favor for the Mayor, which Pope notes to be a huge opportunity, though Brenda notes that it's only that for Pope himself. Unbeknownst to Pope, Capt. Raydor interviewed Brenda because the Mayor and the Police Commission want a strong female candidate in the search for the new Chief, and as Brenda is the highest ranking female in the LAPD, she is being given the opportunity to run for Chief. In “Jump the Gun”, Pope is devastated to hear that his name is not on the shortlist for the new Chief but Brenda's name is, even though he has worked his entire life for the opportunity.

In “Executive Order”, Deputy Chief Thomas Delk is appointed as the Chief of Police and Pope is going to be demoted to Captain and assigned to the Valley Bureau's Traffic Division, which leaves him considering whether to leave the force. However, Delk dies of an aneurysm and Pope is named as the Interim Chief, much to the surprise of many within the LAPD, and even himself, having only been told the fact on the car ride over to the burial (“Repeat Offender”).

Pope does not know that upon selection of the position, Delk offered Pope's position to Brenda. She declines, showing her support to Pope in continuing to fight to stay in his position.

Pope appointed Brenda Leigh Johnson as the Acting Director of Operations when he was officially appointed as the Chief, and when she retired from the LAPD, he promoted Russell Taylor to Assistant Chief and appointed him to the position.

Major Crimes[edit | edit source]

During Major Crimes, he is officially the Chief of Police and transferred Captain Sharon Raydor to head the Major Crimes Division with a promise of a promotion to Commander, if she took the job. However, this was a lie as Taylor told her that the job was the promotion due to a budget freeze and she should be happy with it. (“Before and After”) When Lt. Provenza wanted to transfer out of the Major Crimes Division, Pope and Asst. Chief Taylor ordered him to stay in MCD or else he would be forced to retire. (“Reloaded”)

In “Cheaters Never Prosper”​​, it was mentioned that the MCD was assigned the investigation of a man murdered in a nightclub because the club owner is a good friend of Pope's and called him, rather than 9-1-1.

In “Intersection”​​, it was mentioned that Pope was holding interviews for all of the potential candidates to Assistant Chief of Operations. Pope wanted to know from the candidates what they think is the biggest problem confronting the future of the LAPD, but it was actually rumored to be a trick question. What he really wanted to know was what the candidates biggest problem was with the way the department is currently organized and what would they do differently than Russell Taylor as the Assistant Chief of Operations.

In “Shockwave, Part 1”​​, he is mentioned to have sent Acting Assistant Chief Fritz Howard to a leadership conference in Charlotte, NC and thus assigns Deputy Chief Winnie Davis, a contender for the Assistant Chief position, to coordinate between divisions. In “Shockwave, Part 2”​​, after the bombing in the cemetery, Pope recalls Fritz to L.A. and sends Davis to take his place. Pope ultimately promotes Leo Mason to the rank of Assistant Chief after the arrest of Cristian Ortiz. In turn, Mason goes on to give Raydor the promotion to Commander which Pope and Taylor had denied her when she took over Major Crimes.

Pope was approved for his second and final term as the Chief during the break between Season 5 and Season 6 of Major Crimes. As the Chief of Police can only serve two 5-year terms, Pope would have to retire from the LAPD by August, 2022, at the latest.

Personality[edit | edit source]

Authoritative, commanding and interchangeable in his support, Pope commands authority and generally earns respect from the departmental detectives. His primary goal to close cases and convict criminals sometimes sees him straining under pressure from his superiors to follow the rules, make budget cuts and create greater synergy between the divisions of the LAPD.[1]

Unlike Brenda, Pope gives in to pressure to keep an active role in law enforcement politics in order to keep the department running smoothly. Such a feature is seen in Russell Taylor in the earlier seasons.

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Brenda Leigh Johnson[edit | edit source]

Pope had an extramarital affair with Brenda when they worked together in Washington, D.C. After he ended it, he divorces his first wife (who remains unnamed) to marry a woman named Estelle, who eventually divorces him. This history causes some personal tension between the two of them, yet Pope asks Brenda to attend his deposition to gain custody of his kids as a character witness (“The Other Woman”).

When Brenda first transfers to Los Angeles, Pope readily defends her against the other detectives' complaints, and he is often fiercely protective of her.

Pope seems to still harbor feelings for Brenda, and acts jealous of her relationship with Fritz Howard. His relationship with Fritz is somewhat awkward and uncomfortable since Fritz knows about Brenda and Pope's previous affair.

Brenda discovers that Pope was later having an affair with Marguerite "Maggie" Scott, a financial crime investigator from the Department of Homeland Security, who had been auditing the LAPD. He asks her to keep him informed of her case, after she is found murdered by her car (“Lover's Leap”).

Estelle Pope[edit | edit source]

Pope divorced his first wife to marry Estelle. She later divorces him in Season 2.

Pope gains custody of his children after asking Brenda to appear at his deposition. Estelle, furious at Brenda for her testimony at the deposition, forces her way up to the Squad Room and yells at Brenda, in front of everyone, that "she better not find out that she is sleeping with Pope again". Everyone present in the squad room, including Commander Taylor, learn that Brenda had previously had an affair with Pope because of this. They all begin to ask themselves the inevitable question, "was she transferred here and given such a high rank due to her relationship with Pope?" (“No Good Deed”). Following this, Commander Taylor later makes a statement in front of the entire squad about Estelle's behavior and discredits her accusal towards Brenda, thus saving Pope any embarrassment.

Career information[edit | edit source]

When in uniform, Pope wears wears six service stripes on his uniform. Each stripe represents five years of service in the LAPD, meaning he has served with the LAPD for 30 to 34 years. (“The Last Word”)​​

Medals and service awards worn by Chief Pope: (“Repeat Offender”)

Ribbon Award name and description
LAPD-Democratic-National-Convention-Ribbon.png 2000 Democratic National Convention Ribbon

Given to any LAPD officer who saw service during the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

LAPD-Police-Medal-for-Heroism.png Police Medal

The Police Medal is an award for bravery, usually awarded to officers for individual acts of heroism in the line of duty, though not above and beyond the call of duty, as is required for the Medal of Valor.

  • Goof: Colors were the wrong way round, white on the left and red on the right.
LAPD-Human-Relations-Medal.png Human Relations Medal

The Human Relations Medal is awarded to officers who have in their day‑to‑day activities shown great compassion and have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their response to fellow human beings.

LAPD-1984-Summer-Olympics-Ribbon.png 1984 Summer Olympics Ribbon

Given to any LAPD officer who saw service during the 1984 Summer Olympics from July 28 to August 12, 1984.

LAPD-Police-Meritorious-Service-Medal.png Police Meritorious Service Medal

The Police Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to employees who distinguish themselves by performing exceptional service in a duty of great responsibility or of critical importance to law enforcement, but to a lesser degree than required for the Police Distinguished Service Medal.

LAPD-1987-Papal-Visit-Ribbon.png 1987 Papal Visit Ribbon

Given to any LAPD officer who saw service during the September 1987 pastoral visit of Pope John Paul II.

LAPD-1994-Earthquake-Ribbon.png 1994 Earthquake Ribbon

Given to any LAPD officer who saw service during the 1994 Northridge earthquake from January 17 to January 18, 1994.

LAPD-1992-Civil-Disturbance-Ribbon.png 1992 Civil Disturbance Ribbon

Given to any LAPD officer who saw service during the 1992 Los Angeles riots from April 29 to May 4, 1992.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Squad Profiles - Will Pope at TNT.com. Retrieved on 14th April 2013.
Characters — The Closer
Brenda Leigh JohnsonSharon RaydorFritz HowardWill PopeRussell TaylorLouie ProvenzaAndy FlynnMichael TaoDavid GabrielJulio SanchezIrene DanielsBuzz WatsonDr. Fernando Morales
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