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Bill Maxwell is one of the two main protagonists from ABC's 1981-83 televison series The Greatest American Hero.

Played By: Robert Culp.

Also Known As: Do or Die Maxwell

Occupation: FBI Agent

First Appearence: Pilot


Bill Maxwell was a "mediocre" FBI agent, who was currently in a career slump, perharps near being fired. His partner; John Mackie, went missing after being killed. Unaware that he was dead Bill went in search of him. While having a meal at a diner he meets Ralph Hinkley, who is taking his class on a field trip. He has an encounter with Tony Villicana, who insults Bill, and then draws a switchblade on him when Bill threatens him. Bill draws his gun, and Tony backs off. Some time after that his car breaks down and he comes across Ralph again. Together they encounter an alien ship and the aliens who he calls “ the little green guys” give Ralph the suit, after he meets the revived corpse of his partner John, who explains its use. They use the suit to take down the organization responsible for John‘s death and afterwards continue to fight evil with Pamela Davidson Ralph's attorney, girlfriend, and later, wife, whom Bill refers to as "the counselor."


Bill can be arrogant, hardheaded, and impulsive. He has a tendency to deny having ever been wrong, and even when it was really Ralph with his suit who solved a case, he likes to give credit to his instincts. He will badger literally anyone who he suspects in a crime (everybody), and sometimes even says "Open in the name of the law," which is often greeted by confused stares. He has a very bad relationship with his superior, Carlisle, who hates him for some reason, despite his incredible 98% success record (thanks to Ralph, of course). He really hates the aliens. James J. Beck, billionaire industrialist, and former holder of the suit, (and a man who has a tendency to be blunt) outright insulted Bill, saying he was a "Very average, middle-level Federal agent, with a record of mediocre service." He then went on to say that Bill was "Hardheaded, uninspired, sure to drone, with a limited service record for 30 years." This actually sums up Bill Maxwell pretty well. But, despite all this, he is still a pretty good guy, and definitely one who gets the job done. He (despite what he would like you to believe) is actually very close to Ralph and Pamela. He has gone out of his way to save them, even when it goes against his own interests, and Ralph could probably get it done himself. The idea that seems to scare him the most is either dying and being revived and living in space with the aliens, or being discovered and captured by the Federal government and kept in a "rubber room" for the rest of his life.


Bill is said to be a good shot. He was also in the army so he most likely received basic training. His record within the FBI is very good with a rating though a large part of that is the help he gets from Ralph. He also can be said to have good leadership skills having led a revolution in a South American country. (Vanity Says The Preacher) He isn't a very good fistfighter, and isn't much of an FBI agent on his own. He does have an ability to recover from wounds extremely quickly. Despite his bad service record, pre-super suit, he is actually quite an excellent investigator.


Bill's ID

Bill's FBI ID


Bill in fishing gear



Gives people nicknames.

Has gone through 6 cars throughout the series. They keep ending up wrecked for various reasons.

His family were sharecroppers (The Best Desk Scenario)

Was married some time in the past. (Lilacs, Mr. Maxwell)

Often wears a fishing hat, but dosen't seem to like fishing all that much.

Usually pronounces "pistol" as "pistola"

Claims that he never drinks in the pilot, but is often shown drinking throughout the series.

Really, really, really, bad at being stealthy. Has probably never successfuly hidden from the bad guy in the entire series.