Characters: Agents Of SHIELD Team Coulson
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Phillip J. "Phil" Coulson
"With everything that's happening, the things that are about to come to light, people might just need a little old-fashioned."Warning: Major unmarked spoilers for The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier below.
An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Nick Fury's right-hand-man. He was first introduced trying to debrief Stark of his captivity by the Ten Rings, and later assisting him in pursuing the Iron Monger and curing his poisoning. Some time later, he was assigned with excavating Mjolnir, and bumped heads with Thor and his new human companions. Those efforts paid off in recruiting the Norse god to the Avengers, and once assembled he remained a major figure in escorting the heroes.
During the events of Loki's raid on the Helicarrier, Coulson was mortally wounded in an attempt to attack him. He was reported as dead to the Avengers and most of S.H.I.E.L.D., who promised to honor his memory and stop Loki for him. However, only those Level 7 and above knew what really happened to Coulson, and soon after these events he was given a new job in assembling a team to investigate strange events and rogue supers around the world.
- Action Survivor: Agent Coulson seems like an average government agent with no outstanding abilities shown so far beyond basic Badass Normalcy, yet he's managed to survive attacks from both Iron Monger and The Destroyer practically unscathed. Also, he knows kung fu.
- Adorkable: On the job, deadpan and stoic. Off the job, a goofy teddy bear of a man who collects superhero trading cards and squees over antique spy gear.
- Affectionate Nickname: Fury calls him "my one good eye" when lamenting his "death".
- Arc Words: Whenever his recovery in Tahiti comes up he says, "It's a magical place." Implied to be connected to the Dark Secret related to his resurrection. After finding out, when Agent Sitwell asks how Tahiti was, he simply says, "It sucked." Afterwards, he doesn't say anything about Tahiti when it's brought up.
- Ascended Extra: Originally an MCU-only side character, possibly for comic relief. Clark Gregg took the role mostly as a favor to Jon Favreau, but the character proved to be popularnote that Coulson became an official part of the comics, Peter Parker's principal, and the lead character in a TV serial in the MCU, to Fury's successor as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and in Fury's opinion, one of the Avengers in his own right.
- Ascended Fanboy: From a devoted SHIELD agent and a fan of Fury and Rogers to Fury's successor!
- Ascended Meme: "Coulson Lives" is sometimes seen hidden in episodes of the Stan Lee-sponsored Bad Days cartoon, then Coulson himself does in Episode 12. Then when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s teaser was revealed, Marvel announced tweeting said slogan would unlock a longer trailer.
- Badass: It takes a particularly special kind of badass to go up against an Asgardian single-handedly, even if he was wielding an experimental weapon based on alien technology.
- He does it again on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. by attempting to take on Garrett and a group of Centipede-fueled soldiers on his own. It doesn't go so well, but he gets back up and tries again.
- We get our first glimpse of Coulson's physical abilities in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer, when he takes care of two armed robbers with only a bag of flour and martial arts. All because he couldn't decide on chocolate or powdered doughnuts.
- Badass Adorable: There's a huge contrast between how much of a badass Coulson is and how NICE and lovable his personality is.
- Badass Boast: When meeting Raina, she, rather deceivingly politely, states that she hasn't had the pleasure of meeting him. His response? "Lucky for you."
- Badass in a Nice Suit: The man can dress as well as he can kick ass when needed. His closet on the bus is nothing but dark suits and dress shirts.
- Back from the Dead: In "The Magical Place" it's revealed he wasn't dead for eight seconds, he was dead for days, but Director Nick Fury did everything possible, no matter how ethically abhorrent, to bring him back.
- Berserk Button:
- Don't ever betray Coulson's trust. Ever. Whereas Skye, who had simply hidden something from him, got off with a scolding and having to wear an electronic bracelet for the next six episodes, he points a gun at May and breaks off their friendship after finding out she was reporting on him to someone (who turned out to be Director Fury, but he was still hurt by the revelation that May would report on him to anyone).
- When Agent Ward is finally in custody, after receiving a well deserved beat down from May, Coulson seems pleased that Melinda may have broken his larynx and flat out tells him that he's going to invent new ways of ruining the young man's life.
- Don't jeopardize your own well-being. He explodes at Agents Ward and Simmons in "FZZT" for jumping out of the cargo bay in midair. He considers especially Agent Simmons to be irreplaceable.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- BFG: He loves these. He uses one (a prototype reversed engineered from the Destroyer) in The Avengers and several times in Ultimate Spider-Man.
Coulson: [points a prototype gun at Loki] Even I don't know what it does. [activates it] Do you wanna find out?
- The Destroyer gun makes a return in "Beginning of the End".
Coulson: [activates gun] I know what it does.
- Big Good: His new position as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. marks him as this.
- Break the Cutie: Coulson's faith in S.H.I.E.L.D. is tested repeatedly throughout the series: The truth and circumstances about his resurrection are kept hidden from him by both his superiors and his close friend. S.H.I.E.L.D. itself no longer exists due to HYRDA's infiltration, and he finds out that S.H.I.E.L.D experiments on rogue gifteds in their custody to enhance their powers, not rehabilitate them. However that faith is ultimately rewarded as Fury picks him to be the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and to rebuild it .
- Breakout Character: Very much so. He started out as a random suit, but around Iron Man 2 and Thor, his current characterization began to emerge. Once his popularity reached its peak in The Avengers, he then received his own show. And to top it all off, he has been promoted to the (arguable) position of Big Good: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Came Back Wrong: His revival is implied to have missed or changed some things, such as finding his muscle memory doesn't quite work the same when he can't field-strip a pistol. May assures him it's just Resurrection Sickness. "The Magical Place" reveals that he was dead for days and required extensive surgery and memory manipulation to get him back to normal, which apparently missed a few spots. Furthermore, the GH serum used to bring him back, distilled from an alien's blood, had severe psychological side-effects which Coulson seems to have mostly avoided, though the stinger to "Beginning of the End" shows him writing out alien script on a wall.
- Canon Immigrant:
- Finally made his debut to the main Marvel Universe on the miniseries Battle Scars. He isn't revealed as Coulson until issue #6. He later shows up in the Deadpool ongoing series and his TV team is now going to get their own title within the main Marvel Universe.
- He's also Peter Parker's school principal in Ultimate Spider-Man, voiced by Gregg.
- He's a full-fledged NPC in Marvel Avengers Alliance as of Season 2.
- In addition to being Fury's go-to guy, he's the voice of Mission Control (read: hints on how to not die) in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (again voiced by Gregg), and is an unlockable character.
- Character Tics: Whenever Coulson is talking, he has a tendency to keep his arms folded. Sometimes even when he isn't talking.
- When anyone mentions "Tahiti," he automatically responds, "It's a magical place." As of "Yes Men", he's broken that compulsion.
- The Chessmaster:
- Rewatch Iron Man 2, Thor, and the shorts starring him. It becomes apparent that he knows exactly how people are going to react, but feigns ignorance to confirm it and make them think they had a choice. Nick Fury is the same, but Coulson augments it by managing to seem remarkably inoffensive to those who don't know any better.
- In "0-8-4", he was able to pin down that Reyes was gonna turn on them and used that to motivate the team into working together. He also may know about Skye being The Mole for the Rising Tide, when Fury asked him whether Skye could be trusted in The Stinger.
- Cloud Cuckoolanders Minder: Though he was joking when he said it, "Super Nanny" is an apt description of his relationship with the Avengers, or at least with Tony Stark.
- The Comically Serious: He's quite snarky and sarcastic, but you'd never pick up on that from his demeanor.
- Cool Car: He gets one named "Lola" in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Don't touch her. It's revealed to be capable of flight by the end of the first episode and later on it's revealed to have a pair of machine guns hidden behind the headlightss.
- Cool Shades: Dons a pair on occasion.
- Death Faked for You: According to Coulson, Fury faked his death on board the Helicarrier to help motivate the Avengers. Coulson claims that he "died" for forty seconds; Hill corrects him to eight, but mentions that he keeps extending the time each time he re-tells it. The truth is that he really was dead and it was for days but Director Fury "moved heaven and earth" to revive him.
- Defiant to the End: Even when mortally wounded by Loki, Coulson refuses to let the son of a Frost Giant talk him down.
...so that's what it does.
- He still has this in the series, as shown when The Clairvoyant has him facing down a firing squad and is trying to recruit him.
"I would die before serving HYDRA, you sick son of a bitch."
- Despair Event Horizon: What had really happened to him after he died; he lost the will to live. It took that memory of Tahiti to pull him back.
- Disney Death: While seemingly killed by Loki, the knowledge that he survived was kept secret to all but Level 7 agents.
- Don't Explain the Joke: It seems Coulson likes hanging lampshades on his jokes. In he pilot, he makes a dramatic statement while stepping out of the shadows, then apologizes for it and says he thinks a bulb's burned out (which ended up making up for his surviving his fateful encounter with Loki being spoiled before the series was even broadcast). In episode 8, he puns on the fact that they have to dig for an artifact, then immediately points it out.
Coulson: See what I did there?
- Dork Knight: He's what happens if your stuffy and uptight math teacher decides to go out and become a secret agent.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- In Iron Man 1, we don't see much of him in the first few scenes he pops up, but he's very polite about setting up an appointment with Stark and Pepper. Later on, when Pepper hurriedly brings him along to arrest Stane, he and he stands very cool and collected while deploying a secret agent gadget to break the door lock.
- In case you missed that, his first appearance in Iron Man 2 is warning Stark that if he tries to leave that he'll "taze [him] and watch Supernanny" while Stark drools into the carpet.
- In case you missed that, in Thor, he hands Jane Foster's crew a blank check while taking her notes.
- In the unlikely event that viewers missed The Avengers, his first scene in Agents is him Emerging from the Shadows, saying something dramaticnote , and then saying that the corner he just left was really dark and saying that he couldn't help himself. It probably needs a new bulb.
- Fanboy: Of Captain America. He even has the trading cards. Also, he watched Rogers while he was sleeping.... we-we mean, he was.... he was present, while Rogers was unconcscious.... from the... ice.
- A Father to His Men: Coulson cares a great deal for his team and would do anything to protect them, even if it means going into the field alongside them. Skye in particular seems to look to him as a Parental Substitute.
- Flat "What.": In "Nothing Personal" after finding out he was responsible for Project T.A.H.I.T.I. all along.
- Genre Savvy: His most defining trait.
- His reaction to an unidentified mecha opening its face and bellowing a flame up from within? "Oh, here we go..."
- In "Girl in the Flower Dress" when learning of Scorch's name: "Ah crap. They gave him a name..."
- After finding out about Ward's true allegiances in "Nothing Personal", he realizes that Skye had been kidnapped and, judging from the footage of the two of them leaving Providence together, that she's trying to beat Ward at his own game–the name of the game being "Deception"–and knowingly risking her own life in the process.
- Good Is Old-Fashioned: This is exactly what Coulson believes that the world needs right now in Avengers. The TV series continues this theme, with Coulson commenting to Reyes that "with the world changing so fast around us, we need some anchors to the past". The room they're talking in is filled with such things as a first-edition walkie-talkie wristwatch in perfect working order.
- His belief seems to be proven in the field when the team uses Trips' grandfather's Howling Commando spy gadgets to assist them in taking down Centipede to great effect against vastly superior tech.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a vertical scar on his chest from when Loki stabbed him through the chest.
- Guile Hero: Coulson is incredibly adept at throwing opponents off kilter with his deadpan affability. If it wasn't for the fact that he is a truly friendly person who tries to see the best in everyone, he'd be a Manipulative Bastard on par with Nick Fury.
- The Heart:
- Fury considers him to be this to S.H.I.E.L.D., calling him his "one good eye." Fury later states this verbatim in the episode "The Beginning of the End".
- Also functions as this to his team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Compared to Melinda May and Grant Ward, he tends to be more compassionate and favors nonlethal solutions to the problems they face whenever possible. Although Skye seems to be edging toward this role as well.
- Word of God in the "Building a Universe" documentary confirms that he's deliberately set up to be this for the Avengers.
- Heartbroken Badass: While he's hidden it very well, it's revealed in "The Magical Place" that the loss of his relationship with his cellist girlfriend post Avengers hit him pretty hard. You can see it practically kills him to be near her and not be able to tell her he's alive.
- Hero Antagonist: In Thor, he leads the S.H.I.E.L.D. group trying to investigate Mjolnir. To keep it hidden from outsiders he screws the protagonists in all ways possible, but thankfully once Thor gets his powers back, he acknowledges both him and S.H.I.E.L.D. are fighting the same cause.
[confiscating Jane's stuff] Sorry, maam, we're the good guys!
- In-Series Nickname: Skye calls him "A.C." because it's 'cooler' than "Agent Coulson."
- Irony: He was the agent in charge for Project T.A.H.I.T.I., as revealed in "Nothing Personal". However, he was so horrified at the side effects of the procedure, he threatened to quit if it wasn't shut down. After his death, Director Fury subjected him to Project T.A.H.I.T.I., complete with the memory alteration process.
- The Knights Who Say Squee:
- He's very fond of Captain America. He's got the trading cards, plus he designed Cap's modern-day outfit.
- He has a love of classic spy gear. When Tripplet shows off his collection of his grandfather's Howling Commandos gear, Coulson goes full fanboy on the spot.
- Last Name Basis: In The Avengers, Tony Stark snarks that Coulson's first name is "Agent", as opposed to "Phil". But after the agent's mortal wounding, Tony has a change of heart and when boasting to Loki about the various Avengers who are going to be coming for him, he finishes by referring to him by his first name. (See Sacrificial Lion.)
- The Leader:
- He's in charge of The Team, and for all that he's a very nice, very good man, he never forgets his position. After SHIELD goes defunct in "Turn, Turn, Turn" Simmons points out that he's technically no longer in charge and things go more democratic. However, the team still follows him into the middle of nowhere.
- As of the season 1 finale, the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., officially his team and Agent Billy Koenig.
- Limited Wardrobe: He's almost never seen wearing anything other than a collection of dark suits. One episode has him choosing between two different shades of gray.
- Living Legend: Not as instantly recognised as May or Fitz-Simmons, perhaps, but it's clear that since the Battle of New York everyone in S.H.I.E.L.D. knows his name and what he did. (Though not many of the rank-and-file know he's still fulfilling the "living" part of the trope.) See Memetic Badass, below.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Despite believing he didn't die in The Avengers and just faked his death to motivate the team, it appears there's more to it than that. Maria Hill cryptically says to Dr. Streiten that Coulson can't ever find out the truth. During "A Magical Place" Coulson confronts him and the truth is... he's still a human being. He had simply lost the will to live, so they had to put that memory of Tahiti in his brain.
- However, inverted for another instance of the trope in "Providence": Agent Koenig reveals to Coulson that Nick Fury's alive, but to keep it to himself, hence making Coulson the only member of his team in the actual loop.
- Memetic Badass: "Providence" confirms that he's become one In-Universe to other high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. He's even acquired his own Fanboy, in the form of Agent Eric Koenig. Eric's brother Billy seems to have just as much affection for Coulson when they meet.
- Mission Control: Plays this role in the LEGO Marvel Superheroes video game; he's even voiced by Gregg.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When he finds out that he was the one in charge of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. and that he recommended that it should be shut down or he would quit S.H.I.E.L.D. because there were too many ill side effects on the test subjects. His haunted expression says it all.
- Nice Guy: One of the nicest S.H.I.E.L.D. agents there is.
- Not So Different:
- He was outraged when he learned the lengths that Fury went to for his revival, and yet, when one of his own subordinates was in critical condition he makes the same decision. However, he's incredibly conflicted about it, breaking down when he admits to Skye what he knows about the GH325 used to save them.
- In a heroic version, he, like his idol Captain America, is officially a vigilante ex-SHIELD agent working against HYDRA after it began the civil war within SHIELD, a state he finally acknowledges fully in "Ragtag".
- Only Sane Man: Trapped among prima donna superheroes and morally ambiguous world security leaders.
- OOC Is Serious Business: As mentioned below, Coulson is almost-perpetually calm. Thus, if he ever raises his voice, you know something must be very, very wrong.
- Order Reborn: At the end of Season 1, Nick Fury entrusts the rebuilding of S.H.E.I.L.D to Coulson.
- Original Generation: Retroactively; see "Promoted to Opening Titles" below.
- Papa Wolf: He's very protective of his protégés, as seen in "Eye Spy". After learning the identity of the person who was controlling Akela, he immediately springs into action in order to arrest the crook.
- Parental Substitute: Given Skye's history of being continually passed between foster homes, Coulson's probably the closest (and certainly the longest running) thing to a father figure she's had in her entire life.
- Perpetual Smiler: A part of his persona that he uses to help guide conversations. He's almost never seen without his serene, calm smile on his face, even during otherwise morose or trying situations. Since he never loses his cool, he never drops the smile.
- In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson seems to feature a more stoic and serious demeanor. This is more than likely due to him coming back wrong. When the situation demands it, whether it's resolving a conflict within his team, or dealing with the shadier aspects of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson has proven that you shouldn't handle him lightly.
- Popularity Power: After Coulson's death in The Avengers, Twitter and Tumblr exploded with support for him to come back, campaigning the slogan #CoulsonLives. Their attempts were so successful that not only did Marvel bring Coulson Back from the Dead, but they even made tweeting #CoulsonLives unlock a trailer for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Promoted to Opening Titles: He started off as just a standard suit in the first Iron Man movie, but his role was greatly expanded by Thor. Now, he's deeply entrenched into the Marvel lore, even getting his own comics, short films and TV series.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He is extremely tolerant of the antics his team sometimes gets into and in some cases even encourages them.
- The Reveal: Battle Scars #6 reveals that "Cheese", Marcus Johnson's soldier friend, is actually the 616 counterpart of Agent Coulson.
- Seen It All: Hints of Type 1, as is typical of MIB. He also has Type 2's Genre Savviness as he orders his men to let Thor try and lift his hammer, and realized just in time that Destroyer's head opening and glowing is a very bad thing. When he calls Black Widow, who's been captured but then subsequently beats the tar out of her captors, his expression is of complete boredom as he listens to the resulting scuffle as if it were hold music.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Season 1, Episode 6 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the first time he's seen without a suit. His suits get progressively sharper as we learn more about him.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: His behavior is a little more erratic post-Avengers as seen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Coulson eventually admits this to himself and May, who tells him that dying is going to change someone no matter who they are. The series also implies there's a Dark Secret about Coulson's death he's unaware of, so it's unknown how much of his behavior is due to that, and how much is due to this.
- Silent Snarker: He doesn't even have to say anything (which delighted Joss Whedon to no end). His reactions are pure gold.
- Stoic Spectacles: Part of his disguise as Simmons's "father" in "T.R.A.C.K.S." and as a Fitz Expy in "Ragtag", right down to the cardi and tie.
- Team Dad: Whenever the team gets into an argument, expect Coulson to be the one to break it up. Skye even refers to him as such.
- That Came Out Wrong: Coulson's fanboy love of Captain America intersects with some unintentional awkwardness when talking to the man himself.
Coulson: I watched you while you were sleeping. [awkward silence] I-I mean... I was present when you were unconscious from the ice.
- Tomato in the Mirror: He was the one calling the shots on Project T.A.H.I.T.I. all along. His reaction? A Flat "What."-like reaction in the form of a stunned "Huh".
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In the second half of the season toward May when he finds out that Fury told her about his resurrection and was ordered to keep him in the dark about it. Justified, because that's not something you forgive so easily, and even then he realizes he's been acting as such and wants to apologize for it within two episodes.
- True Companions: He sees his team as his family, with himself as the father. When a surgeon told him and the rest to gather Skye's family before she died, he said it was already present.
- Undying Loyalty: To SHIELD and Nick Fury. His Heroic BSOD in "Providence" reflected that even though SHIELD his disbanded, he still sees himself as a devoted agent that still means something. Phil was the only one who believed Fury sent him the co-ordinates of the base too.
- Unfazed Everyman: There really isn't anything that can surprise him, be it thunder gods, men clad in flying wearable tanks, or superhuman WWII vets who were frozen for the better part of a century. note Justified in that this is the sort of thing S.H.I.E.L.D. does. Thunder gods aren't special, they're Thursday. This makes what he sees in T.A.H.I.T.I all the more serious as it drives him into a Heroic BSOD.
- Unwanted Revival: In "That Magical Place", we finally see the details of his "resurrection", and it's horrifying. His skull was split open and a robot operated on his brain while Coulson begged "Just let me die" over and over again. Dr. Streiten says, because of the procedures, Coulson completely lost the will to live and the Tahiti memories were an attempt to give that will back.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Gives Skye two of them. The first is in "Girl in the Flower Dress" after she betrays his trust (see Berserk Button and Beware the Nice Ones above). The second is in "The Hub" after he catches her prying into something about the mission of the episode meant for Level 8 eyes; this earns her a good talking-to and an explanation as to why secrecy is important in certain situations. He then uses what Skye told him about what she saw in those files (that nobody had been assigned to extract their teammates after they completed their mission, and that nobody had told them that before sending them in) to give another one to Agent Hand.
- May receives one from him when it is revealed that she'd been informing on him to Director Fury and knew all about his resurrection the entire season. Fury eventually gets one of his own, but the only bit of it we hear is a flustered sounding Coulson telling him, "Stupid, stupid, stupid! And cruel. And very stupid."
- He's also on the receiving end of two. First, from Skye after she finds out about the mission in "The Hub". Second, when he's disguised as Simmons's estranged father in "T.R.A.C.K.S.", he gets lectured by Stan Lee himself on good parenting.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: His belief in heroes, old-fashioned notions, and in the Avengers to work together as a team can be seen as this. In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, he manages to talk down an enraged Mike because he believes people are good.
- With My Hands Tied: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer. Coulson doesn't need his gun to bring down petty thugs.
- Wolverine Publicity: The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has a story in the comic series in which Maria Hill recaps the first season, with help from Nick Fury's records. Coulson joins her in examining the records, despite the fact he never shows up in either season of the cartoon. This also extends to Ultimate Marvel, where he showed up in Cataclysm: Ultimates without any warning, and went on to be The Leader of the Ultimate Future Foundation.
- Would Hit a Girl: Camilla Reyes, his former flame. Justified as she started it and can dish it out as well as she can take it.
- You Are in Command Now: In "Beginning of the End", Nick Fury gives him the resources to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D., with Coulson as the new director since he himself is officially dead.
Melinda Qiaolian May
"People believe what they want to believe to justify their actions."
Portrayed By: Ming-Na Wen
A highly experienced agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who is an Ace Pilot
and weapons expert. She is a member of Agent Coulson's team that is assembled to investigate strange events around the world.
- Berserk Button:
- So far, the only things that have made her lose her cool is someone seriously injuring a member of Team Coulson and someone betraying them. Interestingly, she's not much angrier at Skye in episode 5 because she figured it might've been typical of Skye to do so, but when Ward does it? She explodes.
- To a lesser degree, she doesn't like being called "The Cavalry."
- Big Damn Heroes: She earned the name "the Cavalry" due to rescuing people right in the nick of time. She's done a lot of that so far in the series.
Fitz: Is that the extraction team?
Ward: No, it's the Cavalry.
- Blunder Correcting Impulse: Played With; the team does fine, but May's frustration with serving as Mission Control and having no ability to influence the action as it happens leads her to return to combat in spite of her trauma and misgivings.
- Broken Bird: The backstory that was somewhat revealed in "Repairs" shows she's a textbook example: whatever she had to do during that one mission changed a rule-breaking, fun-loving, kind woman into a stoic, cold and somewhat ruthless agent.
- Canon Foreigner: She has no comic book counterpart.
- Cutting the Knot: Will often take the direct brute force solution when others are discussing what to do.
- In "0-8-4", the team tries to figure out how to get into the lab with the doors sealed. May jumps into a S.H.I.E.L.D. SUV and rams it through the doors:
May: You guys talk a lot.
- In "FZZT", while Coulson and Ward are trying to figure out how to get the locked and barricaded barn doors open, May just kicks in the nearby regular door.
- In "Repairs", Coulson tries to calm down Hannah enough so she can trust her, but with the crowd getting more agitated, May shoots Hannah with the Night Night pistol.
- In "The Magical Place," Skye tries to shut down the machine Coulson is plugged into. May just unplugs it.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Enough to not make her want to work on the field and want to work in a dark, boring office.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: She is not a completely defrosted one. More like going from Arctic to "chilly."
- Doesn't Like Guns: Not that she isn't willing to use one, but she doesn't like to carry them if she thinks it's unnecessary. This may simply be an extension of not wanting to be brought into combat. The one time it comes up, someone goes at her with a gun and she disarms him, steals it, and uses it. May later discusses this when Fitz is showing off the ICER guns, and she picks one up.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Inverted. She's fine with being addressed by her given name, it's her old moniker of "the Cavalry" that she doesn't like to hear anymore.
- Drowning My Sorrows: After her encounter with the Berserker Staff and post-action in "Girl in the Flower Dress", she reaches for alcohol.
- Easily Forgiven: Averted. Although May is still on the team, Coulson is still mad for hiding the the truth about his resurrection from him and keeping him Locked Out of the Loop. He point blank tells her she's not his friend anymore, although they eventually reconcile.
- Emotionless Girl: She's not big on expressions.
Skye: Which non-expression is this?
- Empowered Badass Normal: The Asgardian Berserker Staff makes her effectively unstoppable, when she gets a hold of it.
- Exact Words: When questioned if Skye's presence on The Bus would help the team, she gave her professional opinion, "No." What she didn't tell Agent Hand was that she knew Skye would help them more off The Bus. She even tells Ward "don't assume the worst about me."
- She says that if she needs a gun, she'll take one, not that she doesn't like guns.
- Expy: With her dress sense and Dark and Troubled Past, she's basically the producers' way of putting Black Widow in the show.
- Friends with Benefits: "Friends" might be pushing it but the benefits are certainly there with her and Ward. It's a case of Fire-Forged Friends; since she and Ward both were affected by the Berserker Staff, they are the only ones who truly can help each other cope. Despite what she might think, he really respects her fighting skills.
- Generation Xerox: It turns out her mother is an intelligence agent too, though not for S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Usually seen wearing a leather vest or jacket. When Skye impersonates her in "A Magical Place" she chooses a leather jacket for her costume.
- Ice Queen: She and Skye tend to clash a lot as a result.
- Inscrutable Oriental: She's a woman of few words, which is often lampshaded by Skye, a woman of many words.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She is blunt and seemingly cold towards people, but she's obviously a very moral person who cares for her teammates.
- Just Following Orders: Her justification for keeping Coulson in the dark about his resurrection. Coulson call her out on it. Hard.
- The Lancer: Reluctantly stepped into this role because she can see that Coulson isn't what he used to be and is clearly the one in charge after him.
- Living Legend: "The Cavalry" is well known among S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
Fitz-Simmons: [simultaneously] She's the Cavalry!
May: I told you never to call me that.
- Made of Iron: At one point, May is thrown into a brick wall with enough momentum to shatter a normal human's spine. Despite being briefly knocked out and slightly battered, she just walks it off. She also dislocates and then relocates her wrist like it's nothing.
- Mama Bear: When you've got the Team Mom and Badass tropes, this is bound to show up sooner or later. It turns up in "T.A.H.I.T.I.", when she beats Ian Quinn bloody for shooting Skye. Coulson interrupted her less than a minute in, so who knows how badly she'd have hurt him.
- May-December Romance: Punny Name aside, if we go by actor ages May has almost 20 years on Ward.
- Meganekko: Part of her disguise as a businesswoman in "Ragtag".
- Memetic Badass: In-Universe. Students at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy add twists to her personal legend as a way of pranking the incoming freshmen. It's gotten to the point where nobody remembers the real details any more, except for Coulson who was there.
- The Mole: Selected the team at Nick Fury's request to keep an eye on Coulson and deal with any complications that arose from his resurrection. She reported to Fury from the beginning until Fury's supposed death.
- Not so Above It All: Seen a couple times. In "The Well," she echoes Skye's assertion that Thor is "dreamy," and not simply handsome, and at the end of "Repairs," she pulls a prank on Fitz.
- Not So Stoic: Quinn shooting Skye got under her skin, which was lampshaded by Ward after the epic beating that ensued.
- One Woman Army: Her nickname is "The Cavalry". The implication is that she is a one person cavalry (a cavalry being a group of mounted soldiers).
- Perpetual Frowner: Mostly because she's extremely peeved about being brought out of retirement and getting into combat situations she was promised would be avoided.
- The Quiet One: She's not too talkative, to say the least.
- Red Baron: "The Cavalry", and she doesn't like being called that.
- Reluctant Warrior: She only joins the team after Coulson assures her she will only act as the team's pilot/wheelwoman. Otherwise she tries to avoid combat situations when she can.
- Retired Badass: A former field agent so famous that Ward knows who she is just by seeing her, but she has no desire to do field work again. She brings herself out of retirement at the end of "The Asset", after sitting on the sidelines like she supposedly wanted.
- Sarcastic Devotee: Much of what she says to Coulson in the early episodes is sarcasm, backtalk, or otherwise disrespectful but she left her desk job because he asked her to. In later episodes, though, she grows into his confidante.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Fed up with Coulson refusing to trust her after finding out she spied on him for Fury and excluding her from team missions, Melinda takes off in "The Only Light in the Darkness". It saves her life, keeping Ward from outright executing her.
- Sexy Mentor: To Ward. He looks up to her as a more experienced and skilled operative, she sometimes gives him advice and they hooked up at the end of "The Well". "Repairs" implies that it wasn't their first night together.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Seems to have high-functioning Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Manages to pull this on Tobias despite his ghost-like teleportation powers.
- The Stoic: She can dislocate her wrist, slip the ropes, knock someone out, and then reset her wrist without showing a hint of emotion. Even a completed Berserker Staff can't get more than a Battle Cry out of her.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: She may be more of the ice than the sugar, but Coulson states that part of his reason for wanting May on the Bus is to return her back to the kind-hearted woman she used to be.
- That promo clip for "The Magical Place" of her telling Agent Hand that Skye's of no use on the plane? Agent May did it so that Skye could do her part in the mission unhindered.
- Also, in "Yes Men", she's revealed to be The Mole for someone. Said someone happens to be Director Fury himself, who is unambiguously heroic (even considering all the details about Coulson's resurrection).
- Team Mom: Designated as such by Skye when she compares an argument between her and Coulson as "mom and dad fighting."
- Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: The Berserker Staff has no (noticeable) effect on her, since she hasn't repressed the trauma that drove her to her desk job. note However she is noticeably less stoic in battle then normal. She changes her facial expression.
- Town Girls: The (aggressive if stoic and calculated) Butch to Simmons's Femme and Skye's Neither.
- Tranquil Fury: It's suggested that this is why she can handle the Berserker Staff; unlike Ward, whose rage is locked away, May and all her rage and darkness are one.
- In "Ragtag" we have this conversation between May and Skye:
: Yes, I'm furious. But I'm sure as hell not gonna waste it on a tantrum. I'm gonna mine it, save it... and when we find Ward
, I'm gonna use every bit of it to take him down. Skye
: Wish I knew how to use that hate-fu
: I'm usually up around 5:30.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Fury told her about about Coulson's resurrection and ordered her to keep tabs on him in case he came back wrong but not let Coulson know about it. When Coulson found out, he was understandably pissed off and gave her the cold shoulder for quite a while afterward.
- Woman Scorned: She seems to enjoy beating up Ward a bit too much.
Grant Douglas Ward
"An ounce can be the difference between a good shot in the wind and rain, or a miss."
Portrayed By: Brett Dalton
An anti-social Level Seven (formerly a Level Six) agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a strong (or is it?) moral foundation. He is a member of Agent Coulson's team that is assembled to investigate strange events around the world.
"Are you mental? I did explain what I meant using the Queen's bloody English!"
Portrayed By: Iain De Caestecker
A Level Five S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who is an expert engineer. He works alongside Jemma Simmons, with the two of them sharing a close friendship. He is a member of Agent Coulson's team that is assembled to investigate strange events around the world.
"I can't be a part of your bad-girl shenanigans! I like following the rules and doing what's expected of me! It makes me feel nice."
Portrayed By: Elizabeth Henstridge
A Level Five S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who specializes in biology and chemistry. She works alongside Leo Fitz, with the two of them sharing a close friendship. She is a member of Agent Coulson's team that is assembled to investigate strange events around the world.
- Admiring the Abomination: She's inappropriately excited to learn that Centipede has managed to keep its super-soldiers from exploding.
- Adorkable: Especially when it comes to biological mysteries. See Nightmare Fetishist below.
- Agent Scully: In "The Well", she doubts any magical elements in their investigation and prefers to look for scientific reasoning instead. This is pretty heavily shown when the explanation she choses is that the Berserker staff causes the release of anger-causing chemicals in the brain... which just means that the staff causes anger, the exact problem she wanted to solve in the first place.
- All-Loving Hero: She's the only one on the Bus with any sympathy for the Centipede soldiers. Then she plays Rochambeau with Fitz over which one of them gets to torture the prisoner, so this trope is downplayed.
- Badass Bookworm: Explicitly averted, the first thing we learn about her and Fitz is that they're not combat-capable. Her first level in badass was in T.R.A.C.K.S., when she does what most of Steve Rogers' training platoon didn't have the cojones to do and jumps on a grenade to save Skye and Fitz's lives. Granted, it wasn't a lethal grenade, but she didn't know that, and neither did Steve.The Season 1 finale sees her taking another level in badass, when she refuses to let Fitz pull a Heroic Sacrifice to save her life, and instead manages to save them both.
- Bad Liar: A Running Gag. Nearly every episode starting with "The Hub" has at least one incident.
- When Agent Sitwell catches her helping Skye get into the Hub's database in "The Hub", her hilariously inept attempt at deceiving him starts with trying to convince him she's looking for a bathroom, heads on through an amazingly bad attempt at flirting/seduction, and ends with shooting him with the Night-Night gun because she talked to Skye over the earpiece right in front of him. All the while, Skye pleads with her to stop talking.
- In "T.R.A.C.K.S.", she tries to compensate with an overly-elaborate backstory. It fools Stan Lee.
- In "Turn, Turn, Turn," Triplett lampshades it, saying that if they're ever interrogated she should just let him talk.
- Town Girls: The (lovely, idealistic and adorkable) Femme to May's Butch and Skye's Neither.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Despite her total fearlessness when in close proximity to insects, reptiles, rodents, dead bodies, and carriers of infectious disease, in "Providence" she's anxious at the prospect of there being bears anywhere within scanning range.
- After nearly falling to her death in "FZZT", she mentions an increased fear of heights once or twice, which becomes a minor difficulty in "The Well". It doesn't really come up much later, however, possibly because she was making a conscious effort to avoid letting it develop into a full-blown phobia.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Simmons likes following the rules. It makes her feel nice!
- Later Averted: Simmons becomes massively disillusioned with S.H.I.E.L.D. following the "Uprising" arc, and after learning of Ward's betrayal, she's ready to accept that some people are inherently evil, while Fitz is the one arguing that no-one is simply a bad person for no reason.
- Women Are Wiser: Subtly Subverted. Simmons often hints that she thinks this (especially of herself in relation to Fitz), but while it's sometimes true (even he's forced to admit she's probably the more intelligent of the pair), he's more capable of adapting quickly to tasks outside of his comfort zone, and is generally better at dealing with people who aren't helpful allies.
"With great power comes.... a ton of weird crap you are not prepared to deal with."
Portrayed By: Chloe Bennet
A civilian hacker who draws the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D. and is tracked down by Agent Coulson's team. Despite the objections of both his subordinates and superiors, Coulson makes her part of The Team
- Action Survivor: She's not quite an Action Girl yet, but she can survive against standard mooks when the situation calls for it.
- Adorkable: Shows delight in talking to Mike about his powers, and is confirmed to have cosplayed in front of Stark Tower. In the episode "Eye Spy", Ward alleges that she says "bang" when firing a gun.
- Ambiguously Brown: Chloe Bennet is half-white and half-Chinese. As Skye is an orphan, her ethnic background is unclear. "Seeds" implies that her heritage is at least partially Chinese, like Chloe herself, as baby Skye was found in Hunan Province in China.
- Ambiguously Human: Since she's been revealed to be a 0-8-4, she could conceivably be anything. She might not even be human.
- The Atoner: After being outed as The Mole, she works at regaining the team's trust. "FZZT" shows her listing them off: memorizing S.H.I.E.L.D. protocols, "yes sir, no sir" and wearing the bracelet.
- Audience Surrogate: She's a superhero fan and the only main character who starts out as a civilian.
- Beauty Inversion: Averted. In the pilot, she's homeless (living in her van), yet she's perfectly clean, her hair and makeup is immaculate, and there's not so much as a wrinkle in her clothes. This is possibly justified by the fact she had a boyfriend who did have a place to stay at the time.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: As noted above. Look at her picture: does she look homeless?
- Later Averted in "T.R.A.C.K.S." where she bleeds profusely after being shot in the stomach by Quinn. Subsequently Averted even harder in "T.A.H.I.T.I." as a direct result - she's unconscious, slowly dying in a hospital bed, with greyish skin and tubes sticking out of her, and generally does look like someone fighting for their life without much consideration for the aesthetics of the thing.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: She tried to get Mike to embrace his powers. He did. Just not in the way she expected. In "Girl in the Flower Dress", Coulson warns her that the truth about her parents may be worse than not knowing.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Definitely hinted at with Ward in their interrogation scene.
- Canon Foreigner: She has no comics counterpart, though she does share her name with a minor War Machine character.
- Chekhov's Skill: The first episode shows that she encrypts all of her computers with location-based keys. She uses this same encryption on the backup drive of The Bus' files.
- Covert Pervert: It's implied in the stinger of "Eye Spy" that she used the x-ray glasses to see Ward naked.
- The Cracker: She isn't malicious, but she was deliberately causing trouble for an international security agency. Quinn even calls her a "black hat," which is the term for this in the hacker community.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Enough to make her erase her identity at least once. As the episode "Girl in the Flower Dress" reveals, so did S.H.I.E.L.D. at one point; the one document Skye was able to dig up from her past was a S.H.I.E.L.D.-redacted paper concerning her. It turns out that she was dropped off at the orphanage by a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. "Seeds" reveals that she's an 0-8-4. Some unidentified party killed everyone connected to her in an attempt to get to her, including her family, her entire hometown, and her S.H.I.E.L.D. protection detail. The last surviving members unpersonned her and arranged for her to get randomly shuffled to a new foster home every few months in an apparently successful attempt to hide her.
- Easily Forgiven: Played with. After the blow up in "Girl in the Flower Dress", Simmons was sympathetic to her from the beginning, Fitz has forgiven her by the start of the next episode, Coulson is midway (having imposed her Restraining Bolt punishment yet keeping her on board), Ward has not, and May (who didn't trust her in the first place) hasn't changed.
- Embarrassing First Name: She chose the name Skye because she hated the name given to her by the orphanage, which is Mary Sue Poots.
- Everyone Has Standards: After joining S.H.I.E.L.D. as The Mole, she explicitly forbids the Rising Tide from hacking the organization, as seen in "Girl in the Flower Dress", and she breaks up with Miles for doing just that. That said, when she does hack S.H.I.E.L.D. in "The Hub", it's for a selfless reason, and she's upset to find out that there isn't an extraction plan for Ward and Fitz (what she doesn't know is that she and the rest of Coulson's team are being trusted to pick up Ward and Fitz themselves once the two have completed their mission).
- The Face: Coulson says she has the potential to become this for his SHIELD team; talking to people, building rapport, acquiring information without being scary, etc.
- Foster Kid: Part of the reason she seeks to fit in with the S.H.I.E.L.D. team; she wants a real family.
- Foil: To Ward. In the beginning, Skye was the one shown to have ulterior motives for joining SHIELD, but when her plans go awry, she undergoes some much needed Character Development and sticks with SHIELD until the bitter end. Meanwhile Ward is a true blue Agent of SHIELD but not really, since he's been playing the whole team right from episode 1. When his true colors are shown, he doesn't change allegiances like Skye, but sticks with HYDRA, until the end.
- Genki Girl: Whenever she meets a superhuman, she's all squees.
- Genre Savvy:
- When told that there's no such thing as ESP, she mentions that just a while ago, she would have lumped that together with aliens attacking New York.
- She immediately connects Koenig's death to Ward and pins him as a HYDRA agent, then plays him to find out what he wants from her.
- She displays two moments of this in "Nothing Personal".
- First, she stalled for time by pretending to decrypt the hard drive at the restaurant where she and Mike first met when in fact she was using her laptop to call the cops on Ward.
- Later, towards the end, she reveals that when it comes to encrypted hard drives and the off-chance that the bad guys would be going after it, she thinks of everything. And not just by programming the hard drive to self-destruct should its security be breached, either.
- Groin Attack: She uses one against a random guy in the pilot and pretends Mike made her do it, causing the guy's friends to attack Mike. This allows her to escape.
- Guile Hero: First demonstrates this in "The Asset" when she infiltrates Ian Quinn's party, then takes it Up to Eleven in "The Magical Place" where she finds a way around the Restraining Bolt (and even uses the Restraining Bolt itself to her advantage at one point) and locates the place Coulson is being held without SHIELD's resources.
- Hand-Hiding Sleeves: She wears these when relaxing on The Bus. It's a combination of "quirky" and "cute", with a touch of "deceptive".
- The Herald: Based on her conversation with Mike, she saw herself as the one delivering the call to adventure and inspiring him to fully embrace superheroing.
- Humanoid Abomination: She's an 0-8-4 but as revealed in "Ragtag", there was more to the legend. Story goes that the village was attacked by monsters, and the monsters were the 0-8-4's (Skye) parents.
- Ill Girl: After getting shot by Quinn in "T.R.A.C.K.S". She remains one throughout "T.A.H.I.T.I." (the team finding a cure for her provides the main plot of that episode) and is still bed-bound but slowly recovering in "Yes Men".
- Impersonating an Officer: A heroic example. In "The Magical Place", she poses as Agent May to get a lead from a businessman as to where Coulson was being held.
- The Knights Who Say Squee: She's a skilled hacker who turns into a giggling fangirl in the presence of metahumans.
- Meaningful Name: Her legal name is revealed to be Mary Sue, a Fandom Nod to the viewers who felt she received an unreasonable amount of Character Shilling during the series.
- Minored in Asskicking: Mostly a Guile Hero and hacker, but she's gotten some combat training from Ward and is particularly good at disarming enemies.
- The Mole: For the Rising Tide. It seems to be an open secret, at least between Ward, Coulson, and the higher brass. After being outed in "Girl in the Flower Dress" and forced to wear a Walking Techbane bracelet for several episodes, there's been no indication she's still reporting to Rising Tide.
- Morality Pet: For Ward, who claims his attachment to her is genuine. He exploits this as it allows him to beat the lie detector.
- Ms. Fanservice: Provides the female eye candy in the main cast. Ward comments on her beauty under truth serum. She exploits this to make Ward squirm while she interrogates him. Towards the end of "The Asset", she's seen running around in a wet dress, and bare feet. She has an underwear scene in "Girl in the Flower Dress".
- New Meat: Not only is she the most junior member of the team, as of "End of the Beginning" she is the single most junior member of S.H.I.E.L.D. Given what happens in the following episode, she's likely to keep that status for quite some time. When working in her primary strength (Hacking and data analysis), she doesn't make rookie mistakes, but she does tend to make them when working in the field which is an area she freely admits she needs more training in, especially after one of those rookie mistakes gets her shot.
- No Name Given/Only Known by Their Nickname: Currently, there's nothing else known about her name other then Skye. S.H.I.E.L.D. unpersonned her as a child to hide her from whoever killed her family, her entire home town, and virtually every single member of the team sent to protect her.
- In "The Only Light in the Darkness" we find out what Skye's real name is... the name she was given in the orphanage, that is. It's Mary Sue Poots.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Initially, Skye accepted to join SHIELD to keep on the search for her parents. She fully commited to SHIELD as time advanced.
- The Not-Love Interest: To Coulson. As the naive newcomer she fulfills the stereotypical role of the Love Interest for The Hero, but their relationship is firmly established as substitute father-daughter within the first couple of episodes.
- Number Two: After breaking off his friendship with May, Coulson turns to Skye, who is the only member of his team that he truly picked himself and who looks up to him as a surrogate father, as his confidant.
- Old Shame: In-universe example. Skye was once one of the "sweaty cosplay girls" that hang around Stark Tower.
- Only One Name: "The Only Light in the Darkness" confirms that Skye is her full name.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: The little data drive she keeps stashed away, containing all the info she could gather on her parents' identities.
- Panty Shot: Shows up in the promo for "The Asset", as she jumps out of a window and into a pool. The television broadcast cut to the next scene earlier to avoid it. Her underwear scene in "Girl in the Flower Dress" makes up for it.
- Recruiting the Criminal: She's part of an anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. movement called "The Rising Tide" to reveal their cover-up of the world's superheroes, but is quickly caught by them and hired.
- Restraining Bolt: As of "Girl in the Flower Dress", she has been given a bracelet that will monitor her and restrict her use of electronics as well as other unnamed properties. Coulson disables it at the end of "The Magical Place".
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: This is her biggest strength. SHIELD agents are bound by the rules and bureaucracy of the system, but Skye isn't an agent and thus often ignores the rules in the name of doing the right thing. This is also the reason that May lets Hand kick Skye off The Bus in "The Magical Place." She knows that Skye will work much better when she doesn't have a bunch of by-the-book SHIELD agents looking over her shoulder.
- Security Blanket: Having lived in her van, she'll crawl into one of the Bus's vehicles when she feels a need for safety or solitude. She seems a little surprised when Coulson first finds her there.
- Sixth Ranger: She's recruited from the Rising Tide during the pilot while the other members of the team are already S.H.I.E.L.D. agents working for Coulson, and has to be convinced to join them.
- The Spook: In the words of Coulson, "We know nothing about her. Do you know how often that happens? It never happens."
- Stealth Insult: "Hail HYDRA." Spoken to Ward after revealing she had called the cops on him using her laptop.
- Techno Wizard: Managed to hack into S.H.I.E.L.D. databases, as well as gain some information about Centipede before they were able to. Oh, and did we mention she did this from a van that she was living in? The girl's impressive.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Much like Mjolnir and the device from the second episode, Skye is a 0-8-4. As a baby, many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were mysteriously killed trying to protect her, forcing S.H.I.E.L.D. to put her into hiding to protect her.
Antoine "Trip" Triplett
Portrayed by: B.J. Britt
: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Episode 14: "T.A.H.I.T.I.")
, (Episode 16, "End of the Beginning")
, (Episode 17, "Turn, Turn, Turn")
, (Episode 18, "Providence")
, (Episode 19, "The Only Light In the Darkness")
, (Episode 20, "Nothing Personal")
, (Episode 21, "Ragtag")
, (Episode 22, "Beginning of the End")
A Level Six S.H.I.E.L.D. agent working with Agent Garrett since Ward's promotion. He and Garrett assist Coulson's team in several missions during the hunt for the Clairvoyant.
- The Ace: Aside from being a bonafide badass, he's smart enough to understand every word that Fitz says. He can also fly a plane and anything else Coulson needs him to do.
- Always Someone Better: Fitz is starting to see him as this due to his closeness with Simmons and his status as The Ace.
- Badass: His fight with Ward basically comes to a draw.
- Badass Family: See Famous Ancestor below.
- Bald of Awesome and Badass Beard: They highlight each other to make him all the more awesome.
- Big Brother Instinct: Seems to have inherited Ward's attitude towards FitzSimmons in this regard. When the gun turret in "Providence" starts firing into the group, Triplett can be seen covering Simmons's retreat and then pulling Fitz out of the way before diving for cover himself.
- Canon Foreigner: Unlike many other major recurring characters on the show (particularly S.H.I.E.L.D. agents), but like the main cast members, Triplett has no comic book counterpart.
- Cultured Badass: Much to Fitz' consternation.
...but I'm telling you, he's chasing the white whale. Fitz:
Okay, have you even read Moby-Dick
Yeah, have you? [beat] Fitz:
That's not the point.
- Deadpan Snarker: Snarks to Ward about the Bus being tricked out and how he'll probably find the brig "between the Jacuzzi and the Squash Court". He and Fitz, who also employs this trope a lot, trade insults more or less every time they talk to one another. It helps that they share a Love Interest.
- Dead Partner: His partner in Garret's team was Damon Rowe, who was killed by Ian Quinn's men thanks to information provided by the Clairvoyant. Triplett had to tell Rowe's six year old son about his father's death and wants to kill the Clairvoyant for it.
- Fake Guest Star: He appears in all but one episode in the final run of Season 1, has as much screen-time as the leads and is a full member of Coulson's team (essentially replacing Ward) by the end, but is still billed as a guest star. "Beginning of the End" implies he's due for promotion to lead cast in Season 2.
- Famous Ancestor: His grandfather is one of the Howling Commandos. Quite possibly where he gets his Cultured Badass from.
- Good Counterpart/Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For Ward; he joins Team Coulson as the replacement Big Guy while Ward turns out to be HYDRA. Also, both of them worked under Garrett, but Triplett is a loyal SHIELD agent.
- The Good Guys Always Win: Espouses this belief in "The Only Light in the Darkness". His grandfather kicked HYDRA's ass back in the day and he's going to do the same thing now.
- Genre Savvy: How to defuse a situation where he's locked in a room with Simmons, who may be a HYDRA agent, and if she's not, she also suspects him of being one? He reasons that he's the far better fighter of the two, and gives her his knife.
- Hidden Depths: Fitz repeatedly makes the mistake of treating Trip like Dumb Muscle and is continuously flustered whenever he tries to explain something only for Trip to already know it, or even show him up.
- The Knights Who Say Squee: Like Coulson, he's very enthusiastic about his grandfather's old SHIELD gear.
- The Medic: He has medical training, which is why he stays aboard The Bus to assist Simmons in treating Skye rather than accompanying the other field agents into the Guest House.
- Mexican Standoff: Has one with Hand and several of her agents after HYRDA came out of hiding within S.HI.E.L.D. and making Triplett and Jemma believe she was a HYDRA plant, which in-turn makes Hand state that he was now the 7th person she could trust.
- Not So Stoic: All stocism is dropped once he drags out his grandfather's SHIELD kit. See The Knights Who Say Squee above.
- Ship Tease: Has had quite a few scenes with Simmons that hint that they may become involved. Fitz is certainly jealous.
- Sixth Ranger: Technically seventh, but he's the first new character to join Team Coulson after the initial six are introduced in the pilot. And his joining coincides with Ward's exposure as a HYDRA infiltrator, so Triplett is the sixth of six good guys on the team.
- Soul Brotha: "I bring the noise and the funk where-ever I go."
- The Stoic: While he is cool headed and reserved, he is more personable then other standard agents. He even snaps once he sees his mentor having turned traitor. In "Nothing Personal", even when unemployed, disavowed, and hunted by various intelligence agencies, Trip considers their stay at a hotel a vacation until he gets his next set of orders.
Coulson's car that he brings with him on The Bus.