- "It was your district attorney that denied me furlough so I could visit my dying sister one last time, say goodbye to her in person. That's time I'll never get back! So however long I have in this life, I promise not one second more will be spent in a prison cell."
- —William Tockman[src]
William Tockman (born March 11, 1965), also known as the Clock King, is a bank robber and former employee of Kord Industries. He suffered from MacGregor's Syndrome, a terminal illness, but instead of using the money he stole to ameliorate his own condition, Tockman spent it to help his sister, Beverly Tockman, who had cystic fibrosis.
However, after failing to obtain the money needed upon being apprehended by Team Arrow, Beverly succumbed to her illness and Tockman was denied the opportunity to be present in her last moments. Now dying and with nothing left to lose, Tockman decided to use his skills to stay out of prison for his crimes as long as he could before eventually succumbing to his own illness.
William Tockman was born on March 11, 1965. Not much is known of his early life, other than William having a degree in computer science and worked as an encryption engineer at Kord Enterprises. At some point, Tockman was diagnosed with MacGregor's Syndrome, a rare and terminal disease. When his sister Beverly had cystic fibrosis and needed a lung transplant, William turned to a life of crime, stealing the money for his sister.
Criminal activities in Starling City
- "You don't even know why I'm doing this. The money's not for me! I'm doing this all for her!"
"Doesn't make it right. "
- —William Tockman, The Canary, and Felicity Smoak[src]
In Starling City, William Tockman hired two criminals, Eddie Walczak and Certo, to steal the Skeleton Key from Kord Enterprises, with Tockman giving them instructions via communications. However, Eddie Walczak compromised the mission by ignoring Tockman's instructions, thereby bumping into a guard he would then kill. This complication forced Tockman to find them another route out. After the two delivered the key, William murdered Walczak for disobeying and disrespecting him.
Later, Tockman had Certo and another criminals to steal as much money as possible from a bank, but was challenged by The Arrow and The Canary, and caused a diversion that would ram a train into an oncoming bus. Despite Felicity Smoak's efforts to stop him, the Arrow was forced to physically stop the collision himself, while the Canary attacked Tockman and got his DNA on her bo-staff. It was by this victory Tockman was given the nickname "Clock King" by the media. Later Arrow and Canary found the trailer Tockman was operating from and, although they didn't find him, they heard him on his communications system. Tockman used their own comms and his computer to cripple the Arrowcave's systems.
After learning Oliver Queen had moved money into his bank account, Tockman attempted to rob him, unleashing the gas flow which would destroy the building, forcing John Diggle to stop it, the Arrow to stop Tockman's associates, leaving only the Canary to go after Tockman himself. Tockman attempted to kill the Canary, but Felicity took the bullet and she reversed his own scheme and blew up his phone, knocking him out. Defeated, Tockman was arrested.
Transferring to Central City
- "They call you the Clock King, right?"
"A somewhat florid appellation, but I've grown to see the humor in it."
- —Iris West and William Tockman[src]
Months after his crimes in Starling, Tockman was transferred to Central City, where the city's district attorney denied Tockman furlough so he could visit his sister Beverly succumbed to her illness and Tockman was denied the opportunity to be present in her last moments. It was then Tockman promised himself he wouldn't spend another second in a prison cell. As he exited an elevator, Tockman complimented Barry Allen's watch on his walk into the police department.
However, during the citywide blackout caused by Farooq Gibran, he took advantage of the situation and managed to take the entire station hostage, killing two police officers and holding everyone else, including Joe West and Iris West. Tockman requested a getaway helicopter from the police outside but Eddie Thawne who managed to evade Tockman when he took the station hostage made a shot at him, but Tockman, having anticipated this, was wearing a bulletproof vest and shot Eddie in the shoulder. He then applied a tourniquet to his wound and wrote the time on Eddie's forehead "an old army trick" so that the paramedics would know when the tourniquet was applied. When his helicopter arrived, Tockman grabbed Iris as a hostage, but let her say goodbye to Eddie, since he never got to say goodbye to his sister. Iris took Eddie's spare gun he had in his boot holster however, and when they reached the roof, Iris shot Tockman in the leg. Tockman was taken into custody again and once again and passed Barry when he was coming out of the police station.
- "'The strongest of all warriors are these two—time and patience.'" [...] It's from War and Peace. 1,440 pages. It takes a while, but it's worth a read. Tolstoy knew that patience was the epitome of strength. It takes fortitude to stand still. Just as it is a sign of weakness or cowardice to move when you should not!"
- —William Tockman to Eddie Walczak[src]
William is not only precise, calculating variant factors to fractions of a second, seemingly in his head, he has an entirely ruthless disregard for human life, making a point of killing Eddie Walczak, who failed to follow his orders with a clock part to emphasize the essential nature of timing in any venture. He has a psychopath's detachment from the suffering of others with the sole exception of his sister. However, he did display some sympathy when he let Iris West say goodbye to Eddie Thawne when he was taking her out of the police station as his hostage, although only after Joe West pointed out explicitly the parallel with the D.A.'s refusal to let him say goodbye to his sister.
- "Whoever killed Walczak, in addition to finding creepy uses for clock parts, is very good at covering his tracks."
- —Felicity Smoak[src]
- Expert marksman/Firearms: Tockman is an expert in firearms, likely due to his previous military service. He was almost able to shoot Sara Lance before he got taken out by Felicity. He was even able to shoot two police officers and take ten others hostage not allowing a single one to draw their firearm and engage him.
- Expert computer hacker: Felicity Smoak said Tockman had a degree in computer science, with which he is an expert in computers and was able to hack networks to perform his crimes.
- Expert tactician: Tockman is an expert tactician, he plans his robberies with precision and uses exact time to successfully rob banks.
- Internal clock: Tockman has an innate sense of time, knowing exactly how long ago he did something down to a tenth of a second, such as when he told Singh he shot Eddie 9.2 seconds prior to continuing his phone call with him.
- "That's a quality time piece, young man."
"Oh, uh, thanks."
"They took mine, all of them."
"I guess you shouldn't have done whatever it is you did."
- —William Tockman and Barry Allen[src]
- Customized glasses: Tockman wears customized glasses with a frame made out of two wrist watches.
- Guns: Tockman used firearms to protect himself and threaten his hostages.
- Bulletproof vest: During a hostage situation in Central City Tockman was seen using a bulletproof vest.
- Clock parts: Tockman had clock parts scattered all over his base for some reason. He used a clock hand to kill his henchman.
- Tockman is the first villain to have crossed over to another Arrowverse series. In his case, he first appeared in Season 2 of before appearing in Season 1 of later on.
- Tockman lived at 52 Nelson Way, North District, East Starling, 9122.
- Tockman is 5'11" tall, making him 1 inch taller than his actor, Robert Knepper.
Behind the scenes
- There are two different characters called the Clock King in DC Comics. The original, William Tockman, first appeared in World's Finest Comics in 1960 as a villain of Green Arrow and was created by France Herron. He has a genius-level intellect, incredible skills of planning and uses clock-themed gadgetry. The second Clock King was Temple Fugate, a character created for Batman: The Animated Series who was introduced into the comics (debuting in Teen Titans Vol. 3 #56) as a member of the Terror Titans and enemy of the Teen Titans. Fugate has the ability to see four seconds into the future, allowing him to anticipate his opponent's every move.
- Tockman is ill with MacGregor's Syndrome. This is the same disease that the Batman villain Mr. Freeze's wife, Nora Freeze, has that originated in the 1997 film, Batman & Robin.