Bob Rickman aka The Persuasive Salesman, was a major antagonist in Season One of Smallville.
He appeared as the main antagonist in the episode "Hug".
He was portrayed by Rick Peters.
Bob Rickman and his partner Kyle Tippet were trapped in their car during the 1989 meteor shower and were given the ability to manipulate people by handshake or touch. Seeing the opportunity with his new ability, Bob began using it to advance in life and become successful.
Together they became successful salesmen for years but the ability started to corrupt Bob and Kyle became frightened by the power and departed ways from Bob. Bob went on to fund his own company, Rickman Industries, and used his powers of persuasion to manipulate the government into granting him permits for his pesticide plants.
Bob later met with Paul Hendrix, from the Center for Environmental Protection (CEP) and was concerned about Bob's intentions to build another plant in Smallville because his last plant contaminated the groundwater. When Paul threatened a restraining order and an investigation against him, Bob relented and went to leave.
Before departing Bob shook hands with Paul and their handshake glows green and Paul seems dazed. While in this dazed state, Bob persuades Paul that he is in pain and the only way to end his pain is to end his own life. By the time Bob gets to the lobby, Paul has jumped out his window and fell to his death. Bob then made his way to Smallville.
In Smallville, Bob Rickman hosted a reception with Victoria Hardwick and Lex Luthor attending. Bob reveals that he has chosen the Kent Farm as the site for his new pesticide plant, but Lex is sure that Bob will never convince the Kents to sell their farm.
Lex met Clark at the Beanery and warns Clark that Bob Rickman is after his farm. After the reception, Kyle finds Bob and warns him to get out of Smallville or he'll expose him. Apparently they made an agreement nine years ago, that Bob would leave Smallville alone.
Kyle then stated he filed a complaint against Bob to which he scoffed at Tippet's threats, saying he had practiced his power for years, while Kyle denied them, and they refused to touch Tippet's hands. After Kyle's supposed attack on Lana, Clark felt that Kyle did not intend to hurt her but Whitney became overprotective again and warned Kyle to stay away from Lana.
Witnessing this, Bob used Whitney's dislike of Kyle to his advantage and used his meteor power of persuasion to make Whitney attack Kyle. Whitney's murder attempt failed due to the heroic intervention of Clark.
Rickman intended to build his new plant on the Kent family's land. He went to the farm to persuade Jonathan Kent to sell it but he refused. His super handshake doesn't work at first because Jonathan is wearing work gloves, but Bob finds another way after Jonathan takes his gloves off. Jonathan found himself inexplicably selling the farm without an idea of how it happened.
Nevertheless, Kyle was arrested for attacking Whitney. A few hours later, Bob persuaded a deputy to eliminate his foe once and for all but Clark saved Kyle's life for the second time. Bob later approaches Lex at the Beanery, but Lex won't shake his hand. Clark comes in and asks Bob how he got his dad to sign that contract. When he shakes Bob's hand, he shows uncanny resistance to the handshake and nearly crushes Bob's hand.
Bob Rickman arrives at the Luthor Mansion to tell Lex that he is no longer pursuing the Kent farm as a proposed site for his plant, but wants the chance to shake his hand. Lex finally shook his hand and Bob used his powers to persuade Lex to kill Clark and Kyle. Under Bob's influence, Lex met Clark and Kyle at a gas station and tried to kill them by setting the car on fire.
Clark zooms away with Kyle just as Rickman arrives to give Lex an automatic weapon. Lex catches up with Clark at Frank's Auto Shop and shoots him with the automatic weapon. When Lex approaches to finish him off, Clark kicks him across the room, effectively snapping him out of his trance. Rickman seems to know his plan has failed. He is waiting outside, but decides just then to pull a gun from his jacket and go inside.
Before he can enter the building, Kyle Tippet comes up behind him and grabs his hands. Bob himself had a final encounter with Kyle, as the two clasped hands while wrestling for control of a gun. They are locked for a moment in a double handshake. Despite Bob's greater practice, Kyle's powers won out, and he was able to order Bob to kill himself.