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Buffyverse Wiki

Yeah. It happens. But what happened to [Cheung]... it's what got the department to support a task force to deal with these monsters. That's why a patrol officer was able to save that girl from becoming a walking blood bank.

Robert Dowling was a detective of San Francisco Police Department and founder of the Supernatural Task Force.[1][2] He was an ordinary homicide detective until a case involving vampires brought him into contact with the Slayer Buffy Summers.[3]


Homicide detective[]

Have you been watching reality T.V. lately? 'Cause I was thinking... what if these bodies belonged to vampires?

While Dowling and his partner, Miranda Cheung, were investigating a series of murders, in which the bodies were unmarked and unwounded,[4] Dowling himself theorized that the bodies were those of vampires. Dowling and Cheung then came across Buffy Summers and arrested her after witnessing her stake a vampire. However, Buffy escaped police custody and thus became the target of a manhunt.[3]

When Buffy fought Severin, the real culprit behind these deaths, Dowling received an anonymous tip to Buffy's whereabouts. Dowling arrived just in time to stop Buffy and Spike to be drained of their powers by Severin, saving them by shooting Severin three times in the chest. In the aftermath, Dowling told Buffy that, while she would not get a public apology for the misunderstanding, she was nonetheless cleared of all charges.[5]

Curious to know more about vampires and demons and how to defeat them, Dowling approached Spike to come on a ride-along with him. During their conversation, Spike suspected that Dowling was attracted to Buffy and told him about his own past relationship with her. Buffy then called Spike for help, so Dowling drove Spike to her house and, realizing that Spike still held a torch for Buffy, encouraged the vampire to talk to her about his feelings.[6]

Later, Dowling and Cheung investigated a massive nest of zompires; Cheung was killed but Dowling was rescued by Buffy and Spike, and managed to slay his first zompire.[7] Later, Cheung reanimated as a zompire herself.[8] With the help of Xander Harris and Dawn Summers, Dowling managed to overcome his grief at his partner's death and stake her.[9] Afterwards, he decided to resign from the police force, unable to face his colleagues and planning to join Buffy as a freelance vampire hunter.[10] Instead, his sergeant convinced him to lead their new task force dedicated to hunting zompires.[1]

Supernatural task force[]

These things are becoming a big problem, Dowling. Finally turning the tide of public opinion on the goddamn vampires. The mayor's talking to us about a new task force to deal with them. About time, you ask me. Y'know, it occurs to me we'll need someone to take point... you got any ideas?
―Dowling's sergeant[src]

As part of the task force, Dowling began routine patrols for zompires,[1] often aided by Buffy and sixteen-year-old trainee vampire hunter Billy Lane.[11] When Buffy's friends started to gossip about them, Buffy seemed to express some attraction to him. He, in a roundabout way, asked her out on a date. She remained slightly cautious but agreed to "breakfast later."[12]

While on one of these patrols, Buffy was magically whisked away from San Francisco. Dowling was shocked and immediately slightly panicked. Seeing this moment of weakness, he was quickly bit by a lurking zompire.[12] Rescued by the Vampire Task Force,[13] he woke up at the hospital. Allied with Billy Lane and the Slayer Anaheed, he discovered that the zompire was a sired Slayer Tessa Freer, a result of Simone Doffler's experiment to become a Slaypire herself.[14]

After the return of magic on Earth, Dowling was visited by Buffy, telling him that she didn't desire a romantic relationship with him due to the danger of her life. He respected this decision[15] and continued to work in partnership with the Scooby Gang in the Supernatural Task Force, such as searching for information on the whereabouts of the Mistress[2] and the Sculptor.[16]