Nick came from a poor background living with his mother (his father is never seen or mentioned). As a child, Nick had a dream of joining the local Junior Ranger Scouts, for the goal of receiving genuine acceptance. When he was 8 or 9 years old, his mother scraped up enough money to buy a brand new scout uniform, allowing him the opportunity to join the division. Though he was the only predator there, the only fox, Nick attended his initiation with confidence and zeal, unknowingly walking into a trap. The "initiation" turned out to be a hazing and Nick was ridiculed, brutally beaten and muzzled by the other scouts for being a fox (as foxes are considered amongst the most vile and untrustworthy species of mammals in Zootopia). After running outside to escape his tormentors, Nick broke down in tears, developing a triggering fear of muzzles and dislike towards prey, and bigoted mammals. From that moment forward, Nick vowed to never expose his true vulnerability to others, resulting in the fox presenting himself as stoic and unreachable.
As a result of this experience, Nick declared that if the world viewed foxes as nothing more than sly, vile and untrustworthy scoundrels, he should not only accept it, but embrace it, subsequently doing so by becoming a successful con artist.
At some point during his status as a con artist, Nick fell in with Mr. Big, a feared arctic shrew crime boss, developing a stable partnership with him. Mr. Big liked and trusted the fox, welcoming him into his home and even introducing him to his beloved grandmother. However, Nick later took advantage of Big's trust by selling him a very expensive wool rug secretly made from the fur of a skunk's rear end. Feeling betrayed and disrespected, Mr. Big turned Nick away, threatening to kill him if they ever met again.
By the start of the film, Nick appears to be well-off, claiming to have made $200 on a daily basis since the age of twelve (though the accuracy of these claims is questionable). He often works and splits the day's earnings with his quick-tempered partner and fellow fox, Finnick.
Nick is generally charismatic, sociable, wise-cracking and highly intelligent. A shifty, sly, mischievous and cunning fox, traits supposedly common to all foxes, Nick is easygoing and slick, easily conning and tricking others through his charm and friendly demeanor. He nearly always has a sly smile on his face and seems unfazed throughout most of the events.
Due to his troubled history, Nick grew to be cynical, devious and prejudiced himself. Unlike Judy, he viewed the world of Zootopia as an abysmal place, where dreams are nothing more than far-off fantasies, and those who strive to become something more than they're stereotyped to be, are simply wasting their time and energy. Nevertheless, he kept a somewhat positive aura by embracing and exploring his strong points, which were his wit, intelligence and ability to con practically everyone he came across. He also maintained a strong sense of humor, as he often uses wisecracks as a coping mechanism when found in a troublesome situation. As a result of his past, Nick grew to be uncaring towards the opinions of other mammals, no matter how cruel, giving him a sense of strength and independence. These traits would ultimately play a crucial role in solving Zootopia's deadliest conspiracy, and would lead Nick to understanding that it is possible to become something more than you're stereotyped to be.
Though he appeared to be uncaring to those around him, Nick was sympathetic towards those who experience prejudice, like he did in the past. Witnessing firsthand the trials and tribulations that Judy was wrongfully forced to endure while fighting to prove her worth on the police force, Nick became a firm supporter to the bunny, subsequently proving himself to be quite fearless and protective, when it comes to those he cared about.
However, Nick's admiration and love for Judy would also act as his weakness, bringing about his vulnerability and rendering him capable of becoming strongly affected by the viewpoints of someone else. He is quite resentful towards those he held a personal trust towards, particularly the ones he personally believed to have accepted him. Said anger was present when Judy publicly stated the feral disease to be due to the predators' biology, which caused Nick to feel betrayed towards their apparent friendship when she had essentially reinforced prejudice of predators, foxes included. Even so, his laid-back nature makes him a quick forgiver, as his care for others ultimately overrides his occasional bitterness.
As collected as he appears to be, Nick doesn't handle intense situations particularly well, compared to Judy (a trained officer, granted) who generally maintains her composure and takes charge of situations when things go haywire. Contrast to this, Nick often goes into immediate panic when in danger, becoming anxious, cowering in fear, and pessimistically jumping to the conclusion that he'll soon meet his demise, seen several times throughout the Otterton case. Nevertheless, he was unwilling to abandon Judy in these situations, against her wishes, and even before their relationship matured; this would hint at Nick's selflessness before his true nature was revealed to Judy.
Nick is a fox with a trim build. He's covered in red fur with a cream underbelly up to his muzzle. He has dark auburn fur on his feet, his hands, the tips of his ears, and at the tip of his tail. He has green eyes and a dark purple nose.
Nick's wardrobe consists of a light green Hawaiian shirt, a dark indigo necktie with red-and-blue stripes, and a pair of brownish-gray pants. While helping Judy during her investigation, he wears a junior ZPD badge sticker over the pocket of his shirt, originally a gift from Judy for Finnick before the latter humorously passed it onto Nick. The sticker is removed after Judy's press conference when Nick feels betrayed by her.
After Nick graduated into a police officer, his fox-size uniform is navy blue with sleeves, a peaked cap, a high collar and pants with a gold aiguillette and the ZPD insignia on his shoulders, along with having a black tie and a utility belt filled with various paraphernalia. He's also shown wearing police sunglasses.
- Fox Physiology: Nick is an anthropomorphic fox.
- Animal Smell: Nick has an excellent sense of smell.
- Night Vision: As foxes are nocturnal, Nick can see in the dark.
- Anthropomorphism: Along with all animals in a world without humans, Nick evolved to the point he walks on his back legs,
uses human resources like technology, and partakes in human-related activities.
- High Intellect: Nick is highly intelligent and cunning. Nick uses his wits to survive in the streets of Zootopia, however, he
can be outsmarted as proven by Judy.
- Skilled Deception: Nick, living up to being a "sly fox", uses his charms and friendly demeanor to trick others. This first
appeared when Nick pretended to be a father for a fennec fox which led Judy into buying him a Jumbo-pop.
- Business Savvy: Nick was a con artist who conned others for money. Nick also has permits to transport and sell goods, even
coming up with a way to avoid false advertising.
- Street Smarts: Growing up in the streets of Zootopia, Nick developed wits to survive in the city. This proved to be useful, as
Nick was able to find out where Manchas was taken when the wolves took a secret passageway through the tunnels which lead to the Cliffside Asylum.
- Marksmanship: Nick has displayed a high skill in marksmanship, being able to fire a .44 magnum revolver one handed very accurately. And is a crack shot with a DL-18 Blaster pistol, and skilled rifling skills with his rifle. And at most occasions, Nick is seen hip-firing a shotgun with deadly accuracy.
- Lightsaber/Electro-staff combat: Nick has also been seen to wield a Lightsaber as good as a Jedi, despite not being Force Sensitive, and has shown to be able to hold his ground against Sith Lords or Dark Jedi. But in most cases, Nick will use an Electro-staff to fight Saber wielding beings.
- Heckler & Koch XM8 Assault Rifle
- DL-18 Heavy Blaster Pistol
- S&W Model 29 Revolver
- Charter Arms Off Duty Revolver
- Despite not being Force Sensitive, Nick has proven to wield a Lightsaber as good as a Jedi Knight.