Chief Byron Hadley is the second antagonist in Shawshank Redemption behind Warden Norton. He was played by Clancy Brown who is best known for voicing Mr. Krabs in the hit Nickelodeon TV show SpongeBob SquarePants.
Byron Hadley has been working in the state prison for a presumably long time. By late 1940's, he is the chief prison guard, next to Warden Norton in authority. Hadley is a cruel, wicked, and sadomasochistic prison guard who frequently abuses his authority. He is first seen in 1947 when Andy arrives at Shawshank. He punches one of the new arrivals when he asks 'When do we eat?' Later that night he beats up a new inmate named 'Fat Ass' for crying in sorrow. Fat Ass dies due to his wounds the next day.
Hadley continues his violent rule of terror. In 1950, his estranged brother dies, leaving him $35,000 in his will. Hadley is seen complaining about this to his fellow guards, saying that he will be charged heavy taxes on the inheritance. Andy Dufresne offers to help him legally shelter the money. This successfully gets him his money and he repays Andy by getting him and the inmates beer. Also, this starts to get Andy more privileges as other guards and the warden get more financial help.
Hadley learned that Bogs had been assaulting Andy and he was severely injured in the infirmary. Realizing Andy was too useful, Hadley later beat up Bogs Diamond and left him crippled for the rest of his life.
After Andy escapes Shawshank, he has the police arrest Hadley for his abuse and corruption with Norton. It is most likely he will be incarcerated in either Shawshank or another prison and has to endure retaliation from the prisoners who he has terrorized and brutalized for many years.
- When cast for the role, Brown declined the offer to study real-life prison guards as preparation for his role, because he did not want to base it on any one person.
- In the movie, Hadley was the lead guard until the end, whereas, in the novel, lead guards come and go. Also in the movie, Hadley was arrested, whereas, in the novel, he retired after a heart attack.
- According to Red, "he cried like a girl" when he was getting arrested as he understands very well what the prisoners are going to do to him afterward.