Holt's age and birthday have never been established but he is described by Det. Peralta as being of "advanced age". He is from Brooklyn and grew up in an upper-middle-class household with his sister Debbie, his mother Laverne Holt; a judge on the ninth circuit court and his unnamed father. An introverted child, Holt largely kept to himself and developed a personality similar to that of his mother. Very little else has been revealed about his upbringing; however he does reveal that when he was seven years old, he would sneak into his father's study and peek at his father's antiqued globes. Holt also kept a diary in his youth.
When Holt grew up, he went on to join the NYPD sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s. He came out as gay in 1987. As a black, gay police officer, Holt experienced an avalanche of discrimination, profiling, homophobia and slander for many years but fought through it all anyway with his head held high and even went on to marry Kevin Cozner, a classics professor. In addition to decades of police work, during which time he arrested over six hundred people and caught a number of very high profile criminals, Holt spent eight unhappy years in the public affairs office all the while fighting to become eligible for a command of his own.
Holt at last got his wish in 2013 when he was promoted to Captain and assigned to command Brooklyn's 99th Precinct following the retirement of Capt. McKinley. Holt immediately made his presence felt on his first day by taking the brash Detective Jake Peralta down a peg and issuing new directives to restore some professionalism in the precinct. Having learned about his staff from Sgt. Terry Jeffords, Holt resolved to curtail some of Peralta's more childish habits, making him a better detective in the process and helping him become more mature, thereby making the 99th even better.
In one episode, we find out that Holt's middle name is Jacob, causing Peralta to say "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT".
After catching The Oolong Slayer, Jake peralta bribes Chief Garmin into bringing him back to the 99th Precinct.
New York Herald clipping, Pilot
- Openly Gay Captain Appointed
- By Karen Mitchell
- Staff Writer
- Captain Ray Holt was just appointed as the first openly gay homosexual active police captain in New York City.
- Detectives at Precinct 99 in Brooklyn New York will now be under Holt's command in what many city officials are calling a brave move towards equality in one of the nations most controversial police communities.
- Capt. Holt began service with the rank of Probationary Police Officer, alternatively referred to as PPO, or informally within the department, as a Probie.
- After six months of training at the Police Academy and after successfully completing various Academic, Physical and Tactical tests Capt. Holt graduated the Police Academy and was promoted to the rank of Police Officer and receive a corresponding pay grade increase.
- [Details about NYPD rank structure]
- "Cap ppointment [sic] by the upper brass of the New York Police Department is definitively a welcome shift in hiring procedures which our city so desperately needs," said Council Member Junita Martin.
- Many critics and proponents of openly gay police officers will be watching Capt. Holt's department closely and he is expected to undergo many departmental reviews over the next month as the city increases inspections.
- Detective-Investigators are the type most people associate with the term "detective" and are the ones most frequently portrayed on television and in the movies.
- "Turner and Hooch, that is my favorite detective movie of all time," said Capt. Holt on Tuesday at a press conference in Brooklyn.
- [More generic text on the work of a detective]
- He saw John William Weichselbraun perform "Bach's oboe Sonata in G Minor" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, before being escorted out for gasping too loudly.
- He is the founder of the African-American Gay and Lesbian New York City Policeman's Association (AAGLNYCPA).
- While he prides himself that he doesn't lie, the corner of his mouth moves when he does. 
- Holt has a tattoo in an undisclosed location. It is also unknown what the tattoo is of Coral Palms Pt. 1.
- He is right-handed.
- He hates the use of the word 'Bone' in a sexual context.
- Holt is a skilled dancer.
- His sidearm is a revolver as opposed to the standard pistols used by his colleagues.
- He requires glasses to read.
- On his first day as a police officer, one of the older officers blatantly asked him if he was there to turn himself in.
- He and Kevin attend a class for Hula-Hooping.
- Holt previously had a gambling addiction.
Holt: "I apologize, Marshall Boone, for Detective Peralta's actions, something I find myself doing quite frequently".