Dr. Skoda is a psychiatrist who works with the New York Police Department. In addition to his own private practice, he often testifies for the prosecution as an expert witness on whether a defendant is legally sane to stand trial. He also profiles suspects and offers advice to the District Attorneys regarding witnesses' and suspects' mental states.
Skoda has appeared in three of the five American-based incarnations of Law & Order: the original series, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He has also made a crossover appearance on New York Undercover, another series produced by Dick Wolf and set in the same fictional universe.
Unlike his predecessor, Dr. Elizabeth Olivet, almost nothing has been revealed about Skoda's personal life. One exception occurs in the episode "Burned", in which he compares a teenage suspect to his own son and admits that he enjoys rollerblading and Nintendo.
Skoda is also far more skeptical than Olivet of defendants pleading insanity, and quicker to believe they were faking to avoid prison. In more than one episode, both Skoda and Olivet are hired to evaluate a suspect, and argue over the appropriate diagnosis. The two doctors have radically different training and education: Olivet is a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. earned through graduate studies and a research-based dissertation; whereas Skoda is a physician, a doctor of medicine specializing in psychiatry. Skoda also has differences in philosophy with Captain Donald Cragen, with whom he argued passionately on cases.
As has often taken place in the Law & Order franchise, Simmons first appeared as a different character—Jerry Luppin in the Season 4 episode "Sanctuary". Simmons also played another character in Law & Order continuity—Colonel Alexander Rausch in the Homicide: Life on the Street Season 4 episode "For God and Country", a continuation of the Law & Order Season 6 episode "Charm City".