|Out of universe information|
James Coolidge was appointed a member of the International Oversight Advisory.
To this end, he ordered all alien members of the respective projects to report to Earth for individual interviews. This, combined with his xenophobic and sexist tendencies, earned him the distrust and hatred of many on Atlantis, and further lowered the IOA's place in their eyes. Nevertheless, the interviews proceeded, until Ronon Dex's. Before it could proceed, the Wraith attacked the Midway space station and dispatched a horde of Wraith warriors to Stargate Command on Earth, rendering all personnel, including Coolidge and other IOA officials, unconscious with a Wraith stun bomb. Teal'c and Ronon, battling the invaders corridor by corridor, found Coolidge, groggy but reviving.
Refusing to trust the alien warriors to defeat the Wraith, he ordered them to bring him to a radio in the Stargate Operations room. As Teal'c and Ronon escorted him, Coolidge cowered behind them, terrified of the gunfire. After Ronon saved him from narrowly being killed by a Wraith warrior, Coolidge fled into the control room and contacted the military to destroy the base with a nuclear strike. He then urged Ronon to escort him to the escape hatch rather than help Teal'c stop the Wraith. Coolidge's complaints and demands to help him escape finally caused Ronon to snap, and he yelled at him to save his own skin while he risked his life to save Teal'c and defeat the Wraith. Though Coolidge made a cowardly retreat to an escape hatch, he called off the strike when the invaders were defeated. Apparently resolving to turn over a new leaf after this incident and possibly humbled by what he went through, Coolidge appeared to become more open-minded and trusting of alien team members. Coolidge passed Ronon's review after simply asking Ronon if he felt that he could follow orders to assist in the defence of Atlantis and Earth's interests. According to Ronon, Coolidge and the IOA members told him that he was exactly the kind of person they wanted fighting the Wraith. (SGA: "Midway")
The Sekkari AI device told Shen Xiaoyi (whilst impersonating an IOA member) that if she managed to get Richard Woolsey off Atlantis's command then James Coolidge would get the job as commander instead of her. This prevented her from filing a negative report against Woolsey as she was previously told she would get the job if she got him fired. The AI did this as a thanks to Woolsey for saving her people. (SGA: "Remnants")
Coolidge was shown to display potentially xenophobic behavior by his reaction to alien members of the Stargate Program. He was also apparently chauvinistic given Teyla Emmagan's description of his behavior towards her and was described as being worse than Richard Woolsey who was greatly disliked by the Atlantis expedition at the time. Teyla noted a great desire to hit him after spending a short time in his presence which is remarkable given her restraint and political experience as leader of the Athosians.
During the Wraith attack on Stargate Command, Coolidge displayed a great deal of cowardice, hiding behind Teal'c and Ronon Dex and literally cowering in fear from their gunfire. After Ronon narrowly saved him from being killed by a Wraith warrior, Coolidge went as far to call for a nuclear strike on the base rather than attempt to organize an attack to kill the remaining Wraith or rely on Teal'c and Ronon and demanded Ronon escort him to safety rather than help Teal'c, who was in trouble, fight back, drawing great disgust from Ronon.
Following the Wraith attack, Coolidge appeared to become humbled by the experience and his own reactions to it. In the IOA meeting with Ronon, he dropped his confrontational attitude and his previous xenophobia and was satisfied with Ronon's simple answer to whether or not he could fulfil the role of an SG team member rather than going for protracted questioning as he appeared to do with Teyla.