Ryan Wolfe, a former patrol officer, is hired after Tim Speedle is killed on the job. He has a strong background in science, majoring in chemistry at a Boston College and now pursuing a master's degree in genetics. His studies take a back seat to his job; he graduated top of his class at the
police academy, well on his way to a promotion.
He catches the attention of Horatio Caine at the scene of a bus crash. There, Wolfe shows great attention to detail and to the
care of his sidearm, reflecting the fixation on minute details emerging from his obsessive-compulsive
disorder. Wolfe's eye for detail wins Caine's respect, since poor gun maintenance led to
the misfire at a critical moment that contributed to Speedle's death (episode 301, "Lost Son").
When he first joins the lab, Wolfe has a difficult time with his
co-workers. Eric Delko, who had been close to Speedle, is still angry over his friend's murder, and resents
Wolfe as an interloper. Calleigh Duquesne, on the other hand, is concerned because Wolfe's first case is a possible vehicular homicide involving her alcoholic father, lawyer Kenwall "Duke" Duquesne (episode 303, "Under the Influence"). Over
time, however, Wolfe has proved his worth to the crime lab, being more concerned with solving cases than with his personal
In the episode 408 ("Nailed"), Wolfe is shot through his
eye with a nail from a nail gun at a crime scene, leaving him with vision problems. He misses a key piece of evidence during
episode 412 ("The Score"), and approaches coroner Alexx Woods for help. She had previously prescribed him an antibiotic (episode
410, "Shattered"), and is concerned that his eye troubles are more serious than previously thought.
During the fourth season, Ryan works to uncover the identity of
the mole in the lab, after reporter Erika Sikes reveales the existence of an informer (special scene at cbs.com [extended scene] following episode 409, "Hellraisers"). In the episode 425 ("One Of Our Own"), while
the FBI is investigating the lab following an anonymous tip about supposed corruption, an agent brings up the possibility
that Wolfe has keratitis, a condition that causes impaired vision, and implies that since Ryan was supposedly
the last to handle the missing money from evidence, he stole it for himself. After this interrogation, Ryan goes to lab technician
Dan Cooper and slams him against a wall, accusing him of being the mole in the lab, as Cooper is the only one aside from Alexx
Woods who knew of his vision troubles. Cooper pleads his innocence, saying he merely let the information slip after one too
many beers. Afterwards, Wolfe helps prove that the lab is not responsible for several thousand dollars in money missing from
evidence, and that the last person to handle it had not been from their lab. There is powder from a latex glove on the re-taped
evidence envelope, but the Miami-Dade Crime Lab doesn't use that kind of glove because it interferes with evidence. This leads
Calleigh to Peter Elliot, of the Treasury Department, who in turn mournfully exposes the true culprit: Elliot's fiancée, State
Attorney Monica West (episode 425, "One of Our Own").
Wolfe does occasionally let his emotions interfere with his job;
in one episode, he stops a family from getting evicted from their home, and shoves the officer forcing the evictions. The
officer files a complaint against Wolfe, which could have damaged his career. Caine convinces the officer to drop the complaint,
but warns Wolfe that he might not be able to protect him next time (episode 505, "Death Eminent"). When colleague and friend
Eric Delko is critically injured in the line of duty, Ryan and Calleigh Duquesne go to the hospital to give him blood, though they learn that it is too late for
transfusions due to the sheer amount of blood loss. Ryan and the others then take turns at his bedside before going out to
catch the perpetrators. Wolfe becomes angry to near-violence when they discover Eric's shooter, but manages to pull himself
together (episode 515, "Man Down").
After Delko returns to work, he experiences difficulty in
the performance of his duties, such as when he unknowingly doubles up evidence markers at a crime scene. Ryan notices this
and sympathizes with him, recalling his own vision issues and frustration following his eye injury of the previous season
(episode 408, "Nailed").
Ryan is fired from the department after lying to Horatio
regarding his relationship to a man to whom he owed $10,000 in poker debts. Yelina Salas, private investigator and former
MDPD homicide detective, observes Ryan meeting the man in a secluded area to pay back the money. She brings her video evidence
to Horatio, who confronts Ryan. At the end of the episode, Internal Affairs Sergeant Rick Stetler informs Ryan that he has
been fired and orders him to leave the building (episode 522, "Burned").
Ryan does not remain unemployed long, however. He finds work
as a consultant for a local television news broadcaster. Using his forensic skills he reveals the face of a suspected carjacker
on television, only to have the man turn up dead only a few hours later, a vigilante claiming credit for the death. Ryan faces
a great deal of hostility from his former colleagues, particularly Calleigh Duquesne, though he does try to help as best he
can by providing the names and numbers of people who called into the station with death threats for the carjacker. Ryan's
cameraman is caught and nearly killed by a trap hidden in the sand to protect a stash of drugs. This, along with other evidence,
helps to reveal the carjacker's true cause of death. Eventually, Ryan realizes that the sensationalism and glamour of television
does not further the cause of justice. He leaves the station and reconciles with Horatio, who warns Ryan that his every action
will be scrutinized closely. Ryan accepts this, and will evidently return to his former occupation (episode 523, "Kill Switch").