Dr. Dennett Norton is a scientist and a pioneer in the field of cybernetic robotics. He is also a main character and secondary protagonist in RoboCop (2014).
Dennet Norton is a lead scientist of the Omnicorp Rehabilitation Center, specializing in cybernetic prosthesis. Raymond Sellars, the OmniCorp CEO, convinces Norton to be the head developer of the RoboCop program, saying that his ideas were 'underutilized' and that he would be saving lives plus bringing in revenue for his research. Sighting the psychological strain and the need to be scientific, Norton chooses police officer Alex Murphy - critically injured in a violent car explosion and near death- as the ideal candidate for the RoboCop program. Norton plays an important role in convincing Clara Murphy, Alex's wife, to sign the consent forms allowing OmniCorp to turn Murphy into the experimental cyborg.
Alex first meets Doctor Norton in a remote OmniCorp facility in China, where he wakes up confused by the robotic suit and panics, running away. Seeing no way to convince Alex to stop after numerous tries, Norton orders him shut down and taken back. Asked by Alex to be shown what remained of him, Norton complies. To Alex's horror, he discovers there is nothing left (only his head, altered brain and spinal cord, larynx, lungs and heart behind glass casings), he asks to die and that Norton lie, telling his family that the procedure didn't work and that he tried everything. Norton pleads with Alex, asking him to be strong for his family and take the second chance given to him.
Norton then works with Rick Mattox, Omnicorp's military robotic expert, in testing Alex's combat effectiveness, which turns out to be much lower than a standard EM-208 due to the fact he's a man not a robot. Norton, ordered by Sellars to make him perform better, tampers with Alex's brain, installing a combat-oriented program that delivers the police officer an illusion of free will, sending signals to his brain and making him believe that the tactical decisions the machine makes are his own. Successful in the following combat tests, Alex and Norton return to Detroit, where the doctor drives Alex home.
The following day, in the OmniCorp laboratory, while preparing for a public press conference to unveil RoboCop, Norton uploads the police database into Alex's brain, including the footage of the car explosion that nearly killed him. Alex, however, sees the footage and becomes emotionally overwhelmed, to the point of suffering a seizure. Pressed for immediate results, Norton is forced to tamper with Alex's brain chemistry, reducing his dopamine levels until he cannot display any emotion, at all. The effort is successful, and though suffering regret for his actions, Norton is told not to allow Alex to see his family. During a standard patrol, however, Clara manages to confront Alex, telling him he needs to see his son. At first attached to his system's priorities, he overcomes it as he drives back to his house and reviews the CCTV footage of the explosion, all with Norton watching from the background. Despite the clear orders, however, he does nothing and allows Alex to pursue revenge against crime boss Antoine Vallon and expose the corruption within the Detroit Police Department. RoboCop is only shut down at the last moment by Mattox, and OmniCorp uses this turn of events to their advantage, exposing the corruption factor in human police officers, while covering up their own, telling the press that Alex was in critical condition.
Knowing this to be a lie, and seeing Clara Murphy's public protest that OmniCorp would not allow her to see her husband, Norton confronts Sellars, who exposes his intent to use Alex as a martyr. Disgusted, and aware that Sellars wasn't intending to fulfill his end of the bargain anyway, he lies pretending to agree to a ten-year funding with a handpicked research team, and that Alex's familiy be taken care of 'beyond their wildest dreams'. Norton then rushes to the OmniCorp laboratory, locked down by OmniCorp security personnel sent to terminate RoboCop. Using his assistant Jae Kim as distraction, he manages to get inside the locked laboratory and awaken Alex just in time, removing his transmitter so he wouldn't be shut down again. He then proceeds to tell Alex of Sellars' intentions, who heads off to the OmniCorp building to arrest him. Norton tries to stop him, but is ignored given Alex doesn't trust him any longer. Norton then heads to the Detroit Police Department, seeking help from Alex's partner Jack Lewis and fully intent on exposing OmniCorp's schemes concerning RoboCop. After he and his friends from the Police manage to infiltrate the heavily protected Omnicorp building, Robocop executes Sellars, but sustains heavy damage.
Afterwards, Robocop reunites with Norton, who reassembles him in his 1.0 body and brings his family to him. Norton is next seen on a public inquiry where he testifies to the atrocities committed in the RoboCop program, forcing the President to veto the repeal of the Dreyfus Act, thwarting OmniCorp's goal for the RoboCop program in the first place.
Norton is, majorly, a moral-oriented scientist that believes his field of research can do the most good. At first he refuses to work the RoboCop program, stating that his work did not include military ends, only rehabilitation, before being swayed by Sellars, making him see he was not only rehabilitating a police officer, but that also his research would save lives.
Over the course of the movie, especially due to the orders given to him and the fact that Alex was being driven away from his family, Norton starts to question the price of the RoboCop program and even protests on OmniCorp's apparent cold view on Alex's needs, only seeing him as a pubilicity weapon. Forced to prevaricate to Clara, to flatten Alex's affect to almost utterly emotionless, Norton seems almost pleased at Alex's undoing the emotional-tampering, Alex resisting where he could not.
He knows to tread carefully, because for one thing, Alex's life is at stake: Sellars makes no bones about the fact, even when Alex fails the first test against the EM-208, that Alex's "life depends on" Dennett's playing the game. So he plays. When Sellars explains to him the "necessity" of Alex's death, he gets Sellars to agree to ten years of full funding, and his own staff, and then immediately calls Kim to put into motion resistance to making this happen, saving Alex's life once again.
He comes clean before Congress, a mea culpla testimony about the entire RoboCop program, which is the lever that convinces the President to uphold the Dreyfus Amendment, before returning to Alex, trying to make the best of the moral stew he's created.