Arthur Lawson

Arthur Lawson
FBI Special Agent
Kovics porn empire
Deceased, suicide by hanging
Mrs. Artie Lawson
Played By

Special Agent Arthur Lawson (1946-1984) was an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who was assigned to investigate pornographer Sam Kovics. While undercover within Kovics' operation, Lawson fell out of contact with his superiors and was thought to have gone over.

He ultimately helped to bring Kovics down, but committed suicide while being debriefed by Agents Doyle and Russo.


Sam Kovics case

In 1983, Lawson was assigned to bring down Sam Kovics' porn empire, which mainly consisted of underage "kiddy" pornography distribution. Assuming the alias Artie Rollins, he worked his way up to being Kovics' right-hand man, coordinating Kovics' dealings with distributors such as Jimmy Conway. Lawson compiled records, recordings and photographs of Kovics' activities, including extortion, child porn and possibly murder, but refrained from closing the case because, as he later told Crockett and Tubbs, he wanted Kovics to "go down so hard he'll never come up". However, Lawson was also becoming seduced by the lifestyle in which he found himself immersed -- he moved out of the apartment the FBI set him up with, stopped filing reports, and even stopped contacting his wife for extended periods. His erratic behavior led the Bureau to believe Lawson had changed sides, and so Agents Doyle and Russo were assigned to bring him in.

Working with Vice

After Crockett and Tubbs stumbled upon Lawson during their own investigation of Kovics, they found worrying evidence that the FBI's theory about his turning was accurate -- Lawson was seemingly planning to leave for Mexico with his mistress (one of Kovics' porn actresses), coinciding with Kovics' own plan to move his entire operation outside of the United States to escape prosecution. However, when Lawson revealed that he knew they were undercover police officers, they were reluctantly forced to work with him to finally bring Kovics down. Lawson described the undercover assignment as like "running an adrenaline high", and that he doubted he go back to his wife after his 18 months in deep cover. After aspiring actress Penny McGraw was murdered on Kovics' orders, Lawson admitted to taking a chauffeur to her apartment, but claimed to have no knowledge of the killing.

Lawson eventually helped Crockett and Tubbs arrange a deal with Kovics that would close the case, but when Tubbs' wire malfunctioned their identities were uncovered. Lawson joined Kovics' other goons in pulling guns on them, but when Kovics asked him to kill the two cops himself, he threw his weapon to Crockett and helped the Vice cops gun down Kovics' men. When Kovics jumped into his limo for cover, Lawson emptied a sub-machine gun into the car, killing Kovics (despite the fact he did not appear to pose a threat at the time, and did not seem to be resisting arrest).


After Kovics was killed, Agents Doyle and Russo took Lawson in for debriefing. During a break in their discussions, Lawson called his wife, then went to the men's room and hung himself; presumably, he simply could not face a normal life again.

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