- "I'm just a man trying to do what's right."
- —Bill Henderson[src]
Chief William "Bill" Henderson (September 12, 1976 - February 8, 2020) was the police chief, formerly an inspector and deputy chief of the Freeland Police Department. Henderson also was the best friend of Jefferson Pierce.
Return of Black Lightning
Henderson gave statements to press after a rough protest against The 100. He later headed to a fundraiser at Garfield High School. He ran into Jefferson Pierce, who thanked him for helping his daughter from lockup. Later that night, Henderson attended a crime scene at Club 100. The following day, after Anissa and Jennifer Pierce were kidnapped, Henderson went to Garfield High, reassuring Jefferson that he would do his job. Eventually recovering the girls, he took them to their mother's house, where Jeff met them.
The following day, Henderson stood with a group at Garfield High School as Jefferson assured a group of parents that their children would be safe from The 100, only for him to be interrupted by Lawanda White. Following that, he walked the halls with Pierce, the latter scolding the former for letting the Seahorse Motel reopen, Henderson claiming there was only so much he could do. He also told Pierce of how Will had escaped, but assured him they were looking for him. That night, Henderson stopped by Jefferson's house with his dog, checking in on him and letting him know about Lawanda White having stationed herself outside of the Seahorse Motel. The following night, Henderson and the police found Lawanda's dead body, and he called Pierce so he could find out from him before the news. The night after, Henderson burst in on Black Lightning, but the vigilante escaped. He then took in a beaten Lala, who he told of his guilt through recordings on Lawanda White's cell phone.
Henderson attended Lawanda's funeral, watching as Reverend Jeremiah Holt encouraged others to join him on a march against The 100's tyranny. After the service, he and Jefferson implored Holt to call off the march, claiming it to just be endangering them all. The following day, Henderson went to Garfield High to inform Jefferson that only police car could work the march.
Visited by Black Lightning while off-duty, the vigilante told Henderson of Joey Toledo's re-emergence. He gave the police inspector a phone, asking him to call when he'd found a location on Toledo. He eventually did, having found the location of Caroline Brown, the supposed girlfriend of Toledo, and a person matching Toledo's description, sending these details to Black Lightning.
The police department having been tipped off as to Black Lightning's location, Henderson led two squads down MLK Street, but they were unsuccessful in catching him. When Henderson asked Deputy Chief Cayman who he'd received his tip from, he didn't answer, instead walking off to take a call.
After Bowman College was broken into and Lynn was hurt, Henderson questioned her and Jefferson in the hopes of finding some suspects. Following up on the report of a metahuman at the scene, Henderson called Black Lightning, asking if there were any others like him in the city, but the vigilante denied knowledge of any. Henderson was subsequently told of Tobias Whale's appearance back in Freeland, having not aged at all. Some days later, after an attack at Blackbird Funeral Parlor, Henderson attended the scene, believing the deaths there to be the work of Black Lightning. He called the vigilante, telling him he'd gone too far, before hanging up.
Later, he received a call from Black Lightning claiming he'd found the body of Lady Eve's killer, along with the weapon. However, this evidence was quickly destroyed.
Black Lightning was soon able to convince him that he did not kill Lady Eve and asked him to look into evidence of the real killer. Henderson agreed and risked his life to prove his innocence. During his investigation, he found out Deputy Chief Cayman along with A.S.A. was behind this and took photos as evidence. Henderson was able to track down the A.S.A.'s laboratory and decided to take them down. He went to the laboratory and found that Black Lightning and Thunder had already taken down most of them. Henderson helped by arresting the chemist.
Sometime later, after Cayman brought in a handcuffed Jefferson Pierce, Henderson angrily requested to see the search warrant, which Cayman produced. Henderson interrogated Pierce, but the two were interrupted by Cayman who told them of a national security directive requesting Pierce's transfer. Due to this, Henderson visited Jefferson in his cell, asking him if he knew why such a high-reaching request was made, but Jefferson feigned ignorance. Believing Jefferson to be innocent, Bill began digging, discovering Detective Glennon to have procured a large amount of money, forcing him to reveal his association with the A.S.A. and Cayman's role as a dirty cop. Glennon admitting to planting the drugs that had Jefferson incarcerated, the inspector allowed Jeff to go, giving him some food. Cayman entered the room and Henderson arrested him, allowing two other police to read him his rights and take him away. With Cayman in custody, Henderson was promoted to deputy chief and spoke to the press about his intention to keep Freeland safe.
Henderson manages to deduce that Black Lightning is Jefferson and that Thunder is Anissa, which Jefferson confirms having grown tired of lying to his friend for so long with Henderson becoming the first person outside of Black Lightning's team to discover his true identity.
During the A.S.A.'s takeover of Freeland, Henderson feigned loyalty to them but in secret, was the leader of a resistance group which also had Blackbird, Jeremiah Holt and Two-Bits. Henderson believed that Jefferson's recorded assault by A.S.A members and the death of Tavon Singley were the sparks needed to get the revolution going.
During the Anti-Monitor Crisis, Bill as well as everyone in the multiverse except for the seven Paragons, was killed in an antimatter wave by the Anti-Monitor on December 10, 2019, only to be restored a month later, after the Paragons and the Spectre created a new universe.
Before the War for Freeland, Bill taught and befriended police officer Hassan Shakur; Bill told Hassan to trust Black Lightning, though the latter was a costumed vigilante. Bill wrote a letter and told Hassan to deliver it to Black Lightning should he die.
War for Freeland
- "Thank you for saving my life, man."
"Seemed like a good idea at the time."
- —Black Lightning and Bill Henderson[src]
During the War for Freeland, Bill was present and brought a shotgun. As he and Two-Bits were escorting citizens to safety, a Markovian squad attacked their position. Bill and Two-Bits would have been overwhelmed if Lala and Devonte Jones had not led a group of well-armed thugs into the battle. The policeman and the gangster nodded heads, acknowledging the help.
Later, Bill went to where the Meta-humans were hidden and communicated with Peter Gambi who told him not to engage Gravedigger in battle. By sneaking up on a sniper, Bill was successful at preventing the death of Black Lightning. However, he was later shot by a Markovian soldier using a pulse cannon. As he laid dying with a massive hole in his chest, Bill Henderson and Black Lightning said their goodbyes, with Jefferson telling Bill that he was his best friend.
Even after a year had passed since the conflict, Jefferson continued to constantly mourn the death of his best friend, whom he called his "brother". The mourning felt by Jefferson became so intense that he went to counseling with Lynn as it strained his marriage and Jefferson stopped wearing the Black Lightning suit because he saw no point in being a vigilante.
On the anniversary of Bill's death, Jefferson visited his grave and imagined arguing with his father about how he could not save the ones he loved, including Bill.
Hassan Shakur attempted to meet with Black Lightning to deliver a letter for Bill after a year of holding it; when Hassan called for Black Lightning, he used Bill's phone that specifically had the hero's phone number for secret contact, prompting Black Lightning to answer, wondering who was calling in Bill's name after a year.
Henderson is a law embodied man, who still believes in the justice system.
- Peak human condition: Due to his training in Freeland Police Department Henderson is in peak human condition.
- Expert hand-to-hand combatant: As the police chief, Bill is an accomplished hand-to-hand combatant, as he had received training, as all Freeland Police Department members do.
- Expert marksman: Bill skilled in the use of firearms.
- High-level intellect: He was also shown to be incredibly intelligent.
- Expert detective: Bill is a capable detective. He showed this ability when he exposed the crimes of his fellow officers. He was able to deduce that Jefferson is Black Lightning.
• Shotgun: Henderson used a shot gun during the battle for Freeland.
• DEG: at one point Bill used a D.E.G
• Glock 17 : at on point Bill used a Glock 17
Behind the scenes
- In the comics, Inspector Henderson was a character from the 1940s radio series "The Adventures of Superman" and the 1950s "Adventures of Superman" TV Show before making his way into Superman and Black Lightning comics in the 70's. At one point he became Metropolis' police commissioner.