Robert Hawkins is the mysterious newcomer to Jericho, Kansas, who conceals mysterious connections to the bombs.

In the pilot episode, it is revealed that Hawkins and his family moved to Jericho only very recently. In the seventh episode, Gray Anderson says Hawkins arrived only three days before the attack, and paid cash for the "Thompson house". These are considered unusual circumstances, and there is gossip about them around the town.

As with Jake Green, Robert Hawkins’ true background and motives are shrouded in mystery. His wife is named Darcy, and their two children are named Allison and Samuel; at least, those are the names presented in Jericho. Allison is a teenager, and Sam is in elementary school. Allison's nickname is Ally. The series indicates that Robert has been estranged from his family for several years, and although they are still legally married, Darcy was involved with at least one other man during his absence, Hawkin's is shown to be incredibly skilled at all forms of hand to hand combat.

In "Fallout", Hawkins states that he was a police officer in St. Louis, Missouri, and received Department of Homeland Security training after the September 11, 2001, attacks. He was able to decode a Morse code message that revealed the names of at least five – and possibly eight or more – cities in the United States that presumably suffered nuclear attacks, but he kept the information to himself.

Although Robert openly identifies himself as an ex-cop from East St. Louis, IL conversations with his wife and daughter in the seventh episode reveal that the family has actually just moved to Jericho from Washington, D.C. An FBI badge bearing Robert's name is found during an interrogation and search of his home in the eighth episode, and he claims that he is working undercover and was relocated to Kansas to learn more about "suspicious contacts in this area" – however, the Morse code clue played over the episode’s title card ("Rob not FBI") implies that this is, in fact, a false ID.

Unknown to the rest of the town, Hawkins is deeply involved in clandestine activities. These include secret communications with unknown persons through a locked laptop computer (which remains charged since he has his own generator but unaffected by the electromagnetic pulses (EMP) following the blasts), the monitoring of shortwave radio messages, and the storage of a large unmarked barrel containg the 20kt Nuclear Device he was instructed to detonate. This veil of secrecy extends to his own family. After his wife asks him to tell her what he knows about the upheavals outside Jericho, he denies having any knowledge. This is, of course, a lie that Darcy plainly sees through.

Still, his family helps Robert to conceal their past and true identities. The family keeps a low profile and constantly rehearses their cover story of how Robert was transferred from Memphis, Tennessee, to St. Louis after Darcy's mother died from multiple sclerosis. The family gave memorized details, such as the schools they went to, the specific suburb of St. Louis they lived in (Kirkwood), and that it's located near Powder Valley with lots of trails, nature, and hiking (they supposedly enjoy hiking).

In "Four Horsemen", Hawkins is shown donning a yellow protective NBC suit and a gas mask so he can venture out during a storm laden with radioactive fallout. Stepping out into the rain, he takes a truck to a storage unit. Inside the storage unit, he moves aside a rectangular box, which falls open, revealing a small collection of M4 Carbines. He is shown removing a barrel(oil drum type), with a duffel bag covered in duct-tape. Later, Hawkins begins to construct a cinderblock wall in his basement, while most of the townspeople attend a cookout; the barrel is seen next to this wall. The barrel is assumed to be placed inside the newly-constructed wall. Using the appearance of the nuclear devices used by the terrorists from episode 12, coupled with Hawkins’ failure to deliver his own assigned device, make it likely that this barrel is in fact the functional weapon intended for Columbus, Ohio.

In "Walls of Jericho", Hawkins helps in the interrogation of Victor Miller, a man dying of radiation poisoning. Victor clearly recognizes Hawkins, and moments before he dies, they have a cryptic conversation concerning an unidentified "traitor" involved in a scheme both are privy to.

In episode six, Hawkins is shown editing himself into a family photo. The photo he takes himself out of appears to be a group of men who have gone through, or are going through, some sort of military training.

In the episode "Federal Response" he accesses a Department of State database and finds Jake Green’s passport. He also accesses a website that appears to be of Russian origin. In the episode "9:02", he implies that he is a U.S. government operative when he tells his daughter that his laptop is "ruggedized" and "given out by the government".

This belief is furthered during episode eight, when, during an interrogation by Gray Anderson and Jimmy Taylor, he is discovered in possession of an FBI badge. It's not known, however, if this is a real badge. Robert tells Gray that he is working undercover for the Bureau, and that he came to Jericho to investigate a series of suspicious telephone calls and money transfers that may have been linked to the terrorist nuclear attacks.

Robert and his colleagues' purposes and goals, if any, remain nebulous. Whether it's a government or an independent group has yet to be definitively revealed. So far, it appears to be an underground network of some kind, where members communicate with one another over the Internet and via Morse code radio broadcasts. They also seem to have been pre-selected for survival. Victor was also a member, which explains his cryptic deathbed conversation with Robert in episode four.

An apparent bond has developed between Hawkins and Jake, perhaps since they recognize each other as "kindred spirits", due to their similarly-murky backgrounds. Although Hawkins' true motives have yet to be revealed, he is shown on numerous occasions (including at least once using deadly force) helping to protect the town. He has also been shown trying to cultivate a more normal family relationship, trying to make amends with his wife and children.

In the episode "Vox Populi", Hawkins receives an e-mail message from his unidentified contacts indicating that a traitor has been located, and that he is to contact his associates immediately. Hawkins, after some consideration and the clear start of reconciliation with his family, replies that he is "compromised. Proceed without me". In reply, Hawkins is e-mailed a detailed satellite image of Jericho, in which he is shown playing football with his family, with an accompanying message: "We need to discuss why you are lying to us. See you soon."

In the episode "A.K.A.", Jake becomes suspicious of Hawkins and sneaks into his home to investigate. In addition to the F.B.I. badge, he discovers four other IDs:

  • Robert Ellis, Columbus Police Department
  • Robert Richmond, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (as Naval Intelligence)

When confronted by Jake, Hawkins claims that he is actually a CIA officer. He had been part of a task force set up to recover a shipment of stolen Russian warheads. Those warheads had been converted to bombs and distributed to various extremist groups within the United States. Hawkins also states that he attended Georgetown University.

Hawkins leaves his family and goes undercover with Sarah as his handler. He spends time in prison in an effort to become part of the group. Hawkins' job with the group was to provide them with fake IDs. He also proves his "loyalty" by killing an FBI informant who was about to out his identity. Before he has to kill the informant, Hawkins tells those in charge of the task force that he and Sarah will likely get their hands on 1/3 to 1/2 of the bombs. Sarah successfully pushes for more time so they can get all of them.

Someone tips off the terrorists, so they move up the attack. Hawkins is able to contact the CIA and they stop the bomb(s) destined for New York City. However, this part of the story might be inconsistent with Hawkins surprised response that "New York made it?!" in "Long Live the Mayor" upon learning the news from Gray Anderson. However given his later revelations about being an undercover CIA officer, it is possible Hawkins may have reacted in this manner in order to maintain his cover persona.

All of this information, however, (regarding Hawkins' CIA involvement) is as told by Hawkins to Jake, meaning that it may omit several key truths, or be completely fabricated. One aspect that supports Hawkins story being true, is the use of flashbacks in the episode, which would be unlikely to be shown if it was a fabrication. However, it is possible that the use of such flashbacks is the result of the "unreliable narrator" device, used successfully in films such as "The Usual Suspects".

The "package" being sought by Hawkins' stalkers is a bomb that Hawkins was supposed to deliver to Columbus, Ohio. It is buried under the tool-shed in his backyard.

In the season finale, Hawkins uses a satellite to gain intelligence on New Bern's movements. However, someone (Hawkins presumes this is Thomas Valente) begins to trace his location through the uplink. Later, at Camp Liberty in southwest Nebraska, Valente informs Colonel Hoffman that they have tracked a "high-profile terrorist" within 200 miles of Jericho.

At the beginning of the second season, Hawkins encounters another one of his team members. Chavez, who has infiltrated the military and goes by the alias Parker, arrives in Jericho with Major Beck's forces. The two take advantage of President Tomarchio's visit to Jericho by infiltrating the mobile White House and downloading files. Chavez later travels to Texas to convince them not to side with Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Hawkins later establishes communication with 'John Smith' by means of a cell phone. Smith apparently knows about Project Red Bell and that Robert has the package. He later lets Robert in on who's behind the attacks, but turns out to be the mastermind all along.

After a failed attempt to deliver the bomb to Texas in which the bomb is seized by government forces, Rob enlists Jake Green to help re-acquire the bomb. In Cheyenne, he and Jake meet up with another one of Rob's team members, Cheung, who is later killed by John Smith while re-acquiring the package. Though Robert is shot, they manage to get the package to Texas, which imminently leads to Texas rejoining the United States government based in Columbus, Ohio and starting the second American Civil War. In an ambulance, Rob asks Jake,"How does it feel, making history?"

Character conception

In February 13, 2008, Lennie James gave an interview on BuddyTV about his character. The character is supposed to be from Missouri and he had to adopt an American accent, even if he himself has an English accent. According to what he said to the interview, this is one of the things that surprises the fans when they meet him.

'I've got friends who have been in other shows from England doing kind of American accents, and everybody deals with it in very different ways. I have one particular friend who, whenever he meets fans of his particular show, he always speaks in the accent of the show, because he doesn't necessarily want to let the fans down. But I am an English guy, and I don't really think about it as me putting on an accent. Just as I wear different clothes when I'm Robert Hawkins than I do when I'm myself, Lennie James, he also just speaks in a different way. He has a different mind set, he has different principles, he has different rules of engagement, so for me it's not about putting on an American accent. It's about being Robert's character and speaking in his voice, and that just happens to be his voice.[1]
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In another interview, in IGN in February 11, 2008, he stated that he shares some similarities with his character.

'I'm comfortable with the vocabulary of screen fighting, and all that kind of stuff. That being said we do have very good trainers and experts on the Jericho set that kind of keep us real. Really so it's one of those things it's like if you're not careful and you don't show it its due respect, all of the stuff you build up as your character could just be lost if all of a sudden you're in a physical situation with your character and people look at you and kind of go, "Oh no, I don't believe this guy couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper bag." You can't let your character slip in those moments, so you have to give them the respect they're due.[2]
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Characters of Jericho
Main Characters Jake Green · Robert Hawkins · Gail Green · Emily Sullivan · Mayor Johnston Green · Heather Lisinski · Eric Green · Dale Turner · Gray Anderson · Bonnie Richmond · Stanley Richmond · Mimi Clark
Supporting Characters Darcy Hawkins · Mary Bailey · Jonah Prowse · Mitchell Caffrey · Shep Cale · Gracie Leigh · Allison Hawkins · Samuel Hawkins · Phil Constantino · Major Beck · John Goetz · Russell

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