Little is known about Dave's background, other than he began working for the Federal Investigation Bureau at an unknown point in time. At another unknown point in time, Dave married an un-named woman, though they have since divorced. According to Lester Crest, Dave's career with the FIB had been "unremarkable" until 2004, when he discovered the whereabouts of bank robber Michael Townley in Ludendorff, North Yankton. Dave made a deal with Michael to surrender his accomplice Trevor Philips to the FIB, whilst Michael would fake his death after being "shot" by Dave, in turn boosting Dave's career for taking down the "most wanted man in America".
Grand Theft Auto V
In 2004, during the events of "Prologue," Dave ambushes the heist team as they make their escape. Using a sniper rifle, he attempts to shoot Trevor Philips but accidentally shoots Brad Snider instead, and feigns a shot at Michael. Trevor manages to escape and Brad later dies, and Norton allows Michael to provide information to the Bureau in exchange for a new identity, a pension and a relocation to Los Santos. To aid this, Brad is buried in Michael's grave.
Some time later, Dave intercepts a letter to Brad who is believed by the public to be incarcerated. The letter is unnamed but was sent from Sandy Shores, and Norton deduces that it was written by Trevor. Assuming Brad's identity, Norton begins corresponding with Trevor as a means to keep track of him.
For the next nine years Michael has been living in Los Santos under the surname De Santa, with Dave keeping in contact with him. Norton arrives at Michael's mansion after Michael and his protege, Franklin Clinton, robbed a jewel store, warning the former that this act will attract Trevor.
Working with Michael
- Dave: "Some of the government... some of it is pretty corrupt."
- Trevor: "Not your bit, right?"
- Dave: "Yes, but we're corrupt in a good way."
- —Dave to Trevor.
Norton's boss, Steve Haines, learns about Norton's dealings with the trio. As a result of the Vangelico's store robbery, Haines starts looking into Norton's old case files and, seeing this as an opportunity, Haines uses his position as Norton's superior to coerce him into persuading Michael, Franklin and Trevor to work for the FIB in their battle against the International Affairs Agency to secure more government funding. Norton begrudgingly accompanies Haines while he briefs the trio about their assignments and even participates along with Steve during a raid on an IAA chemical development facility.
As their work against the IAA progresses, Haines becomes increasingly paranoid at the prospect of failing to cover his tracks. After Michael and Franklin break into the FIB Headquarters to eliminate incriminating files, Haines betrays Michael and Norton and attempts to have Andreas Sanchez arrest them, but he is interrupted when they are all surrounded by a crew of IAA agents, a rival FIB team and a battalion of Merryweather soldiers. Haines kills Sanchez and leaves Michael and Norton to die, but they manage to shoot their way out with Trevor's help. After clearing their way to escape, Dave takes a car and drives off, telling Michael not to contact with him until he will be sure he is not followed by any of the organizations.
Dave later meets with Haines, who wants to have all three protagonists killed, but Dave manages to dissuade him from having Michael and Franklin killed, but he insists that Trevor must die. Dave and Haines meet with Franklin, who is ordered by Haines to kill Trevor, while Haines' associate Devin Weston also tells Franklin to assassinate Michael.
If Franklin chooses to kill Trevor, he phones Haines after the mission to inform him of Trevor's death. During the phone call, Haines claims that Norton is close to being discharged without his pension.
If Franklin chooses to kill Michael, Dave emails Trevor informing him that he wrote all the letters and emails from Brad. He assures Trevor that his secrets are safe, but warns him to stop causing trouble and to never contact him again.
If Franklin chooses to alert both Michael and Trevor, the trio will kill all of their major enemies: Haines, Weston, Wei Cheng and Stretch. Although Trevor suggests killing Dave, Michael convinces Trevor to spare him so that no one comes after them later. After the mission, Dave emails Trevor and Michael. He informs Trevor that he wrote all the letters and emails from Brad. He assures Trevor that his secrets are safe, but warns him to stop causing trouble and to never contact him again. He asks Michael to stay out of trouble and also informs him that he has replaced Haines as host of The Underbelly Of Paradise. He later phones Michael and asks about his family, before informing him that his work is "good" and that he has had a few "lucky breaks". Both men tell each other to look after themselves and part on good terms.
Characters killed by Dave
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Complications (Post-mission phone call)
- Mr. Philips
- Fame or Shame (Post-mission phone call)
- Dead Man Walking (Boss)
- Three's Company (Boss)
- By The Book
- Blitz Play
- Paleto Score Setup
- Monkey Business
- Bury the Hatchet (Voice, only if started by Michael)
- Cleaning out the Bureau (Semi-Boss)
- The Bureau Raid (Post-mission phone call)
- The Wrap Up (Boss)
- Lamar Down
- The Time's Come (Option B/Post-mission e-mail)
- The Third Way (Option C/Post-mission phone call)
- His favorite radio station is Los Santos Rock Radio, discovered in the mission, Three's Company, after Dave and Michael talk to Steve and Sanchez.
- His name at one point during development was "Calvin North".
- In the Xbox 360/PS3 version of Prologue, Dave wears sunglasses at Michael's funeral. In the enhanced version, he wears a ski hat instead, similar to what he was wearing when he shot Brad.
- In his concept art, Norton has a thick goatee. In the game, however, he has light stubble instead. His concept art also depicts him driving a blue second generation Oracle instead of the FIB Buffalo depicted in the illustration.
- Unlike all the other deuteragonists, Dave doesn't appear in The Third Way (Lester "gives" the mission, Lamar helps in the shootout at the foundry and Trevor contacts Ron while driving to his assigned location). Though he is mentioned briefly by Trevor as a person to assassinate, this idea is dismissed by Michael.
- Also unlike all other deuteragonists, Dave never makes an appearance in Grand Theft Auto Online.