Hodges, a lab technician with a B.A. from Williams College, was transferred to the Las Vegas crime lab from the Los Angeles crime lab, where his superiors felt he had an attitude problem. In Las Vegas, Hodges has annoyed his co-workers and superiors, and in the season 3 episode, "Play With Fire", he is one of the employees initially suspected of causing an explosion in the lab where co-worker Greg Sanders was working and, as a result, injured. Despite being accused of causing the explosion by Catherine Willows and Warrick Brown, he vehemently denies responsibility to the point of promising to call his lawyer if taken to case on the incident. He is ultimately cleared when it's discovered that Catherine caused the explosion. In the April 9, 2007, edition of TV Guide, Langham described his character as a "pain in the ass" who "kisses up" to his superiors. Langham said Hodges considers himself superior to the other laboratory technicians and wants to be like Gil Grissom. While Grissom was on a sabbatical during the seventh season, Hodges used an alias to sign up for an online class that Grissom was teaching. Grissom, however, appears to find Hodges annoying and often tells Hodges to report his findings to other CSIs or asks him to leave his office. Yet Hodges seems to be under the impression that he's held in much higher regard by the senior CSIs than he truly is and doesn't note his own character flaws (He once told co-worker Wendy "no one likes a kiss-ass," truly oblivious to how he acts the same way). In "I Like to Watch", Hodges contacts the reality television crew that is following the CSI crew while they investigate a case so they can video tape when he gives his report to Sara. While doing this, he uses as many complicated terms as possible, and Sara asks if he is all right. Also, at one point during the episode, he sees them filming the DNA lab and says that they should be in his trace lab because DNA is so overrated. These traits become less apparent during season 9, though they are still used for comic relief and he is more often portrayed as someone with poor social skills than a genuinely annoying character.
Despite his attitude, Hodges sometimes redeems himself. In the fifth season finale, "Grave Danger", he saves the entire CSI team when he calls them seconds before they are about to open the container that has trapped Nick Stokes and notifies them that Semtex charges are rigged at the bottom.
In the seventh season episode "Lab Rats", Hodges persuaded his fellow laboratory technicians to surreptitiously work with him in an attempt to identify The Miniature Killer. Hodges concluded at the end of the episode that bleach might be a common factor linking all four murder scenes. Grissom found Hodges in his office inspecting one of the miniatures and, after Hodges explained his conclusions, praised Hodges for his work. Then, returning to form, Grissom again asked Hodges to leave his office.
During this covert investigation, a phone number, linking the four Miniature Killer victims and previous suspect Ernie Dell, was dialed using Hodges's phone (reaching an answering service); Hodges is then concerned that the actual Miniature Killer has his phone number.
At the beginning of the eighth season, David Hodges becomes a main cast member. In the episode "The Case of the Cross-Dressing Carp", he tells Grissom he misses working with him on The Miniature Killer cases; Grissom says he misses it, too.