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William Hinks is a character in the American television series The Practice. Hinks is introduced in the eighth episode of the fifth season as a client of Lindsey Dole who is accused of serial murder and later starts stalking her.

He is portrayed by Michael Emerson, who also played Benjamin Linus in Lost, Zep Hindle in Saw, and The Joker in The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1 and 2.

History

Background

Prior to the series, Hinks lived alone with his mother who was emotionally abusive towards her son which led him to be consumed with hatred toward women. He later went on to become an accountant and committed nine brutal murders of women where he mutilates the bodies including but not limited to, beheading them, incising their hands and feet, and ripping out their fingernails post-mortem. Hinks took advantage of the fact his victims had dogs to meet and interact with them in dog parks and public streets while walking his dog. He later calls them from a public phone booth and either arranges to meet them or go on a date with them and when is let into their homes, he would kill them with one blow. Hinks would then behead his victims, extract their fingernails and leave the murder weapon behind, all without leaving any physical evidence behind.

He is caught fleeing the scene of his latest murder victim after she tripped a silent alarm and confesses to the killings confident he will beat the charges. A.D.A. Roland Hill is assigned to prosecute the case while Steven Banks represents Hinks and Dr. Jean “Jeannie" Reynolds is appointed as his psychiatrist. Dr. Reynolds attempts to put him under hypnosis where he claims that he didn’t kill those women, only wishing he did and he has a police radio and arranged for the police to find him in a nearby cellar. Hinks fires Banks after he suggests Hinks made up his confession and John Moore takes over the case.

Season 5

When Hinks fires him for the same reasons, Reynolds reaches out to her friend Lindsey Dole to represent him thinking Hinks is innocent. In a meeting between Reynolds, Lindsey, and her associate Jimmy Berluti, Lindsey instructs him on courtroom procedures and his upcoming trial preparation for him to plead insanity. When Lindsey suggests pleading straight not guilty, Hinks says no and says in a hospital he will get the help he needs, despite the fact he will never see the light of day again. At another meeting Lindsey agrees to his insanity plea and tells him he will probably have to testify and hear things he may not want to hear.

After he listens to the detective who took his confession testify, Lindsey calls Dr. Reynolds to the stand and she tells the court she doesn’t believe Hinks committed the crimes he has been accused of. Hinks stands up and immediately moves to have Lindsey disqualified as counsel on the grounds she is soliciting false testimony for Dr. Reynolds, doesn’t represent his true interests or the truth but is ordered by the judge to sit down. When Lindsey changes his plea from not guilty by reason of insanity to straight not guilty Hinks shouts that she is lying and the judge orders Hinks to be removed from court while he sees counsel in chambers. After the judge orders them all to stay on his case, Hinks furiously tells them he wants them all discharged and claims he was lying under hypnosis. He then states that he will be testifying and while Lindsey tells him he won’t Hinks says she doesn’t have a choice in the matter.

He later listens to Dr. Reynolds testify further and later the prosecution’s own psychologist who say Hinks is the killer, to which makes Hinks smile. When Hinks takes the stand brings up inconsistencies his confession, like how he claimed to have burned the gloves he would wear during the crimes when they weren’t, he didn’t know his second victim had cancer, how the killer never removed his fifth victim, Angela Barton’s fingernails, even though it was stated he did by himself and the news outlets, and that he couldn’t remember the details from their houses. Lindsey then brings up a supposed tenth victim the police never tied him because she died of a gunshot wound to the head where the others were stabbed. Hinks confesses to killing her to only for Lindsey to reveal she was lying to trip him up. Hinks then rants on how is the killer, how famous he has become, and she can’t change that. A.D.A. Hill’s closing arguments argues that Hinks manipulated all the events that happened after his arrest to work in his benefit. He specifically left things out of his confession, fooled Dr. Reynolds into thinking he was innocent under hypnosis and firing his two previous attorneys to sell it, and hire a attorney who would sell it.

After that Lindsey realizes everything Hill said was true, Hinks did kill those women and Hinks smugly confesses that she is right. Hinks reveals he knew she would yank his insanity defense when she wouldn’t reveal their defense strategy and mentioned him testifying. He further reveals if she didn’t he would have faked a mental breakdown to force a mistrial and he couldn’t let them talk him into a straight not guilty plea because Dr. Reynolds would have seen through his act too soon and he needed her to testify in his defense. When she asks why he didn’t just take medication and claim he didn’t do it, Hinks responded that would have been too self-serving and reveals he really did burn the latex gloves in the fireplace, the police just couldn’t find them. Berlutti tries to get him to say he will kill again to remove attorney-client privilege, Hinks sees through this and doesn’t answer him directly. The jury ultimately finds Hinks not guilty and he thanks his attorneys. When Dr. Reynolds asks Hinks to get treatment, Hinks tells her he will think about it and call her when he has made a decision.

Hinks later calls Lindsey at her office and when her firm’s secretary, Lucy Hatcher, tells Hinks she is unavailable he leaves her a phone number to contact him. Hinks later gets Lindsey’s private office number, stands outside the front door of her office and calls her asking her to help him overturn his acquittal. Lindsey tells him no and hangs up and attempts to leave through the front door before seeing Hinks is there and screaming in shock. Hinks says she came by the office to go over some probate work he would like her to take care of. When Lindsey says she doesn’t do probate work he subtly implies he will commit another crime to get her attention. When Dr. Reynolds comes by Lindsey’s office to argue his case Hinks surprises both of them and subtly threatens Lindsey by asking her if she knows a good place to walk his dog and if she owns a dog. Hinks later tells a returning Berlutti he could just kill himself or others because she won’t take his business. Lucy tells him she already called the police as a result of his actions and tells him to “pick a fingernail.” In response to this he lists Lucy’s address and Jimmy warns him that if he doesn’t leave he will make him so Hinks leaves.

The police later bust down his door and arrest for criminal assault. When Hink claims he didn’t do anything, A.D.A. Helen Gamble, Lindsey’s best friend, tells him a threat is considered assault and subtly mentions she will have him accidentally shot by a police officer if he doesn’t leave Lindsey alone without actually saying it. When Helen and Hinks’ new attorney argue the case before a judge, she drops the criminal complaint but issues a restraining order towards Hinks warning him he is not to go near Lucy or Lindsey and later Helen when he mentions getting to go to see her. Hinks says “goodbye” to Lindsey as she is walking away. He buys a dog and sends it to Lindsey’s office with a note saying ”To Lindsey with affection.”

Hinks tracks Lindsey to a coffee shop, enters to buy some coffee and feigns knowing she would be there. When Lindsey brings up the puppy he sent her, Hinks angrily asks her what puppy she is talking about. Hink later steals a cab and picks Lindsey up and when she notices it is him she runs away screaming. Hinks later breaks into Lindsey’s law office and kills the dog whom Lucy calls Chopper and stuffs him into Lucy’s desk for her to find. Hinks is called in for questioning on the cab and puppy murder and jokes how he will admit killing those women would never drive a cab. Hinks claims to have been walking his dog at the time Lindsey was in the cab with no one seeing him.

After talking with her about Lindsey, Hinks breaks into Dr. Reynolds’ home, poisons her with liquid nicotine killing her, and plants somebody’s hair as her place to implicate someone else. Hinks goes to the ER where they were treating her and observes Lindsey trying to convince Dr. Reynolds’ mother to let the police autopsy her body. When Lindsey sees him she walks over to him and Hinks says the restraining order didn’t apply since he came to see Dr. Reynolds and didn’t know she was here. She asks Hinks point blank if he killed her and he responds by threatening to sue Lindsey which she dares him to do. Hinks is interrogated after they find out Dr. Reynolds was murdered and says he was home alone watching Taxi at the time of her murder. Hinks then turns around to the one-way mirror and tells Lindsey he knows she is watching him and she should know the feeling and smiles. When the police can’t physically tie him to the murder he is let go. Coming home from work one day he finds a guy hired by Bobby Donnell, Lindsey’s husband, named Alan Neal to scare him sitting on his couch and smiles at him. The police later find Hinks' body on his floor with his head stuffed into the freezer with the implication being Alan Neal killed him.

It is later revealed that Hinks had surveillance cameras around his home and activated his phone machine which recorded the conversation before his murder where Alan outright says Bobby ordered Hinks’ murder. The police use this to arrest Alan for Hinks’ murder and get him to turn State’s evidence against Bobby for first-degree murder.

After Bobby is acquitted at trial a cassette recorder is sent to the law offices with Lucy and attorney Rebecca Washington to play it. Hinks’ voice is heard on the tape and reveals the tape was to be sent to their law offices in the event of his death so he could kill Lindsey from beyond the grave. Rebecca tries to push Lucy out of the way just as the recorder explodes. Both women are taken to the hospital with Rebecca having more severe injuries. Both women do eventually get better but Rebecca takes longer to recover.

While dead, Hinks is repeatedly mentioned in the series as his actions haunted the firm, particularly Lindsey.

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