He was played by Joe Don Baker
While Fletch is investigating Los Angeles's drug trade and Alan Stanwyk. He's brought in the police department, on Chief Karlin's orders and heroin falsely planted on him. First Chief Karlin tries to intimidate Fletch outta of writing his story on the drug trafficking of the beach. But as Fletch uncovers the truth about Chief Karlin and his connection to Alan.
Chief Karlin sicks a troop of cop cars after Fletch, yet fails in arresting him. It turns out that he's forcing dealers, Fat Sam and Gummy, into smuggling and selling his and Stanwyk's drugs on the beach. Close to the end, Chief Karlin finds out that Alan has turned on him and plans to go to Rio, with his 2nd wife Sally Anne, along with $80,000, Chief Karlin gave to him. Furiously he kills Alan and is about to shoot Fletch and Gail.
But Gail knocks the chief unconcious, with her tennis racket. Chief Karlin is eventually arrested for his crimes.