Characters: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Team Coulson

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Warning: Major unmarked spoilers for The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Seasons One and Two of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. below.

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Introduced in Season 1

    Phil Coulson 

Phillip J. "Phil" Coulson

Portrayed By: Clark Gregg
Marvel Cinematic Universe Appearances: Iron Man | Iron Man 2 | Thor | The Avengers | Marvel One-Shots | Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
"With everything that's happening, the things that are about to come to light, people might just need a little old-fashioned."

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.

After the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first season he steps up to become the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., tasked with rebuilding the agency after the internal HYDRA threat tore it apart.
  • 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".
  • An Arm and a Leg: Mack cuts off his left hand to stop the spread of the Terrigen crystal he was forced to grab in the Season 2 finale.
  • Arc Words: Whenever his recovery in Tahiti comes up he says, "It's a magical place." This was implied to be connected to the Dark Secret related to his resurrection. After finding out the truth behind "Tahiti", 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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). They later make up and Coulson forgives her for spying on him.
    • When 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 Ward and Simmons in "FZZT" for jumping out of the cargo bay in midair. He considers especially Simmons to be irreplaceable.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • On the surface, he's a pleasant man overall, but he's not called Fury's "one good eye" for no reason. Heaven help you if you betray him.
      Coulson: You have a secret, Skye, and one chance to come out with it—that's now!—or I'm done with you.
    • Coulson's confrontation with Skye is nothing compared to when he finds out May is acting as a mole for Fury, to keep tabs on him if he Came Back Wrong. He's angry enough to point a gun, not an ICER, at her (although at the time he thought she was working for the Clairvoyant). Afterwards, he breaks off their friendship (though they make up not long after).
    • May got off easy compared to Ward; spying for Director Fury is nothing compared to being a mole for HYDRA.
    • His plan to take down HYDRA in Season Two is both ingenious and ruthless: use a high-ranking HYDRA agent that they captured as a pawn by convinving him that there's a faction of the organization that is plotting against each the rest. This convinces HYDRA leadership to kill each other to prevent a coup, so S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Army can take down the leaderless grunts with ease.
  • BFG:
    • He loves these. He uses one (a prototype reverse 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 HYDRA's infiltration. 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:
  • The Chains of Commanding: When he becomes the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D he's the one to make the though decisions regarding saving the importance of the mission of the saftey of his people. And because he's The Spy Master he now has to keep people Locked Out of the Loop since there is some stuff they don't need to know for security reasons.
  • 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.
    • He reaches entire new heights in "Aftershocks", killing the entire remaining leadership of HYDRA in just a few hours, thanks to playing Bakshi like a champ.
  • 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.
      Coulson: [BOOM] ...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.
      Coulson: 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.
    • Providence establishes he's also a gamer.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • In Iron Man, 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 (ok, a bomb) 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.
  • The Everyman: Despite Coulson being called "the most recognizable face in the Marvel Cinematic Universe", he is depicted as an "Everyman" in a universe full of superheroes – "the glue that binds" the characters together. In Thor, Coulson complains that Tony Stark "never tells [him] anything." In an interview with WNBC, Gregg explained his portrayal of the character as 'just a guy grumbling about his job'.
    Clark Gregg: "He's the guy who's tasked - a very disciplined guy in my opinion who possesses secrets that would turn your hair white - but at the same time he's tasked with handling these kind of diva superheroes, you know? Oh, really, Asgard? Dude, just get in the car."
  • 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.
  • Good Is Not Soft:
    • Coulson is one of the friendliest characters in the MCU, but there is a stone-cold ruthlessness hiding behind his grin. Whereas Whitehall and The Doctor crack the normally unflappable Raina with threats of violence, Coulson can have her tearfully begging for her life by just staring at her.
    • Coulson tells Bobbi Morse that he believes S.H.I.E.L.D. exists to protect the innocent and that potential threats should kept out of everyone's hands and not stored away to be studied and turned even more dangerous. He also adamantly states that he doesn't believe in acceptable losses. Yet later, when Mack becomes seemingly possessed and non-lethal approaches prove useless, Coulson unhesitatingly orders lethal action be taken and that Mack be sealed away.
  • 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.
    • As of the second-season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Phil can add... er, subtract, his left hand, thanks to quick thinking from Mack saving Coulson from petrifying due to exposure to Diviner metal.
  • 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.
    • 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 over Jane, Darcy, and Selvig 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.
    Coulson: [confiscating Jane's stuff] Sorry, ma'am, we're the good guys!
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Coulson's choice in facing Loki alone could be interpreted as one, especially given the fact that he thought his death would get the Avengers to stop bickering with one another to avenge him, as it were.
    • At the end of Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., he grabs a falling Terrigen crystal so it won't explode and kill everyone, a death sentence for a non-Inhuman. Luckily, a quick-thinking Mack cuts off his hand before the petrification can spread.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Adopts this moral from Fury more and more as the series progresses much to the shock and frustration of his team.
  • In the Back: Courtesy of Loki and his scepter in the Hulk cell room.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Skye calls him "A.C." because it's 'cooler' than "Agent Coulson."
    • Asgardians tend to have trouble with his name, assuming it means "Son of Coul", which, to be fair, is the literal meaning of the name Coulson, though Midgardian naming conventions make it quite possible that there hasn't been a Coul in his ancestry for quite some time.
  • 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.
  • It's Personal:
    • When Akela is found comitting crimes, he goes after her himself because she was his apprentice.
    • When he hears that someone's popping off T.A.H.I.T.I. patients, he decides he has to get to the only other one of the first six remaining before the T.A.H.I.T.I. killer does because he was the project's director. To do this he locks up Skye in his place to keep her from interfering.
  • 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.
  • 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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 one finale, the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., officially his team and Agent Billy Koenig. He has expanded it quite a bit by the start of the second season.
  • 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 during the procedure to bring him back to life, 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 loop.
    • As of season 2 it's his job as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D to lock everyone else out of the loop. Like Fury said, no one is supposed to know everything, except the guy in charge.
    • Unknown to him, there's another S.H.I.E.L.D. out there - it considers itself to be the real S.H.I.E.L.D. Bobbi and Mack have been acting as double agents for them the enitire season with the end game of aquiring Fury's Toolbox. And they've taken great pains to keep their sectet from Coulson to the point of kidnapping Hunter when he realizes what's going on.
  • Magnetic Hero: Gonzales remarks that Coulson's ability to inspire Undying Loyalty in people, even from mercs who are Only in It for the Money, makes him more dangerous than a Gifted.
  • 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.
    • In season two of the series, he also plays this role because he's the new Director and has to coordinate things.
  • 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 he makes the same decision when one of his own subordinates was in critical condition. 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-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent working against HYDRA after it began the civil war within S.H.I.E.L.D., a state he finally acknowledges fully in "Ragtag".
  • One-Man Army: Not to the extent of Ward, May, or likely even Trip, but he can still single-handedly defeat handfuls of Mooks on his own (even while unarmed), including soldiers from the US military.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Even after Loki seemingly killed Coulson, Clark Gregg maintained he might still be alive, stating that Whedon told him beforehand that Coulson would survive the events of the film (although afterwards he admitted he was lying). Ultimately it was ambiguous until Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was announced, upon which Joss Whedon himself confirmed that Coulson survived his wounding in The Avengers...though as Back from the Dead above shows, not enough to avoid a painful/traumatic resurrection process.
  • 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.
    • He wouldn't lock up one of his own (e.g. Simmons and Skye) unless it was a very serious situation. Ward would be an exception, except Coulson had already decided he wasn't one of his own.
  • Order Reborn: At the end of Season One, Nick Fury entrusts the rebuilding of S.H.I.E.L.D to Coulson.
  • Original Generation: Retroactively; see "Promoted to Opening Titles" below.
  • Papa Wolf: He's very protective of his protégés.
    • "Eye Spy". After learning the identity of the person who was controlling Akela, he immediately springs into action in order to arrest the crook.
    • In "T.R.A.C.K.S." he instantly knocks out Quinn when the latter implies he hurt Skye, mirroring what Skye did to Raina two episodes back regarding Coulson.
    • In "End of the Beginning", he points a gun, filled with real bullets as opposed to nonlethal Icers, at May when she is hunting down Fitz, who has discovered that she is The Mole for an unknown party. To reiterate: he drew down on a member of his own team in order to protect another one.
    • In "Who You Really Are", Lady Sif attempts to capture Skye, believing her newly-acquired superpowers to be a threat. Coulson responds to the Asgardian (read: someone who can easily best him in a fight) with a Go Through Me reaction.
  • 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. This has continued even after Skye finally meets her real father, which is one of the reasons why Cal doesn't like Coulson.
  • 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.
  • Properly Paranoid: As Director he keeps his people Locked Out of the Loop on things they don't need to know for security reasons. Which proved to be justified when he found out that Mack and Bobbi were moles for a splinter cell of S.H.I.E.L.D. who are very hostile to anything assocaited with alien tech or "gifted people."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He is extremely tolerant of the antics his team sometimes gets into and in some cases even encourages them.
  • Resurrection Sickness: After his death during The Avengers, he was resurrected using the regenerative drug GH.325; upon his initial revival, Coulson was in terrible pain and begged to be killed again, forcing the scientists to implant Fake Memories of him going through a peaceful rehabilitation in Tahiti.
  • The Reveal: Battle Scars #6 reveals that "Cheese", Marcus Johnson's soldier friend, is actually the 616 counterpart of Agent Coulson.
  • Room Full of Crazy: After Garrett goes insane from injection of the alien compound and began etching alien writing on walls and other surfaces, Coulson starts compulsively doing the same, starting a couple of times a month, then progressing to weekly, then daily. Once he discovers that the writing is actually a three-dimensional blueprint of a city, the compulsion vanishes.
  • Running Gag: Referring to traitorous individuals as sons of bitches. Done in "Turn, Turn, Turn" to Garrett and in "A Fractured House" to Ward.
  • Sacrificial Lion: All who heard of his loss were motivated to defeat Loki for him. Especially Tony Stark.
    Tony: And there's one other person you pissed off. His name is Phil. (blasts Loki with his repulsors)
  • 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. This trait is a case of Character Development throughout the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. In his first appearance in Iron Man, he was rather nervous and unsure of himself. Each subsequent film added more and more to his confidence.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Season One, Episode Six 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. His revival also took a bit of a toll on his sanity and faith in S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Thor and Sif, as seen when Sif wonders why hearing Thor's name makes her smile:
    Coulson: Who can explain the mysteries of the Asgardian brain?
    May: I can.
  • Silent Snarker: He doesn't even have to say anything (which delighted Joss Whedon to no end). His reactions are pure gold.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: To the Avengers in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Despite not actually appearing in the film, it was he who tipped them through Maria Hill to beat HYDRA and to locate and retrieve Loki's scepter in Sokovia. It's also revealed that the Helicarrier that shows up in the film's climax and saves everyone is "Theta Protocol", which Coulson has been working on for almost a year.
  • 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.
    • Coulson so embodies this trope, there's a blog about it.
    • When Coulson shows up to debrief Jemma about her time with HYDRA, he confronts her about her food choices.
      Sriracha? Beer? That's it?
    • In "...Ye Who Enter Here", Skye has a dream where Coulson and May are acting as parents to a baby (obviously herself). Coulson is white, May is Chinese. Skye's biological father is white, her biological mother Chinese.
    • In "SOS", when Cal confronts Coulson, the latter outright admits that Skye is the closest he's ever had to a daughter.
  • 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.
  • The Spymaster: As the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., part of his job is to handle assets and secrets. Season 2 deals primarily with how acting as The Spymaster is taking its toll on Coulson, though he proves to be excellent at it as seen with the moment Coulson wipes out most of HYDRA's leadership in one fell swoop. However it's because of this that "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. distrusts him and even Simmons and May began to lose faith when they find out to what extent they've been Locked Out of the Loop.
  • Undying Loyalty: To S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury. His Heroic BSOD in "Providence" reflected that even though S.H.I.E.L.D. 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. This is also why Nick Fury calls him The Heart of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • 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. In the central "Earth-616" Marvel Universe, shortly after The Avengers, he became the go-to background S.H.I.E.L.D. agent for people to call upon to help other people, be it for a reason, like having him tag along with a hero or heroine, or for no reason, like having him brought up as someone's friend, with no relevance to the plot.
  • 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.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Yes, even the most Genre Savvy human in the MCU has his fair share of misses. For example, neither he nor Senator Ward nor the FBI agents escorting Grant Ward to his brother's custody anticipated the younger Ward breaking free by dislocating a thumb, even though when handing the bastard to the FBI Coulson specifically ordered the agents in question, "Do not give him one inch."
  • 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.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A heroic example, directed at Grant Ward, in "A Fractured House". The only reason he did not kill Ward back in Season One was because he was useful for HYDRA intel. Now he is more useful as a bargaining tool.

     Melinda May 

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. With Coulson now Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., May functions as his Number Two in the fight against HYDRA.
  • Ace Pilot: She serves as the pilot for the team, though a few team members are skeptical as to whether or not this is all Coulson has planned for her, given her fame within S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Action Girl: Easily one of the strongest characters in the series, female or otherwise.
  • Alliterative Name: Melinda May.
  • Almighty Janitor: It's hinted she's a famous and very experienced agent who decided to step away from the field for a desk job, and now officially is just the pilot of the team's jet. She eventually moves out of this role, becoming Coulson's right-hand and an active field agent again.
  • Anti-Hero: She's firmly on the side of good, but she occasionally does some less-than-heroic things, such as mercilessly beating up the imprisoned and combat-incapable Ian Quinn after he shoots Skye. To be fair, he did shoot Skye.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Downplayed, but there. May is not prone to bragging, but if you place her skills in doubt, she'll gladly tell you how badly you'll get your ass kicked before proceeding to do exactly that.
  • Badass: May is easily the most badass member of the team, shown particularly in "The Well" where she uses two pieces of the Berserker Staff without visible effort when Ward goes Unstoppable Rage with just one.
  • Badass Boast: To Sif, of all people, when the latter warns May about Ward not hesitating to kill her.
    May: He (Ward) won't kill me. He may try to kill me... but he won't.
  • Badass Family: Her mother is a Retired Badass secret agent.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit:
    • She wears a pantsuit in "Ragtag" when she's disguised as a businesswoman.
    • Also in "Melinda" during the incident that earned her the nickname "The Cavalry".
  • Badass Teacher: She takes responsibility for training Skye in the timeskip between Season 1 and 2. Judging from how many levels in badass Skye takes in Season 2 (going from knowing exactly one move and not being able to reliably release the safety from her gun to taking down ten men with a mixture of martial arts and gunplay in one scene), it's pretty clear May's training is more effective than Ward's for Skye.
  • Batman Gambit: Fury knew Coulson would want her on his team, so he got to her first, explained the details of Coulson's resurrection, and asked her to keep an eye on him in case he Came Back Wrong. She came up with a list of team roles she'd need in case things went south, which Fury translated into the mission profile he gave to Coulson: a biologist for looking after his body, a mechanical engineer for the machine for looking after his mind, and a special forces operative for helping May physically take him down.
  • 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."
    • When anyone mentions her mission in Bahrain.
  • 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 Ace: May is cold and reserved because of trauma in the past (which is the reason she initially shunned field work), but she is still easily the most formidable character in the series. She's smart, savvy, and destroys anyone short of superhuman (and even a few who are) in combat.
  • Broken Bird: The mission in Bahrain where she was forced to kill a gifted child whose powers drove her mad to save her agents transformed from a rule-breaking, fun-loving, kind woman into a stoic, cold and somewhat ruthless agent.
  • Canon Foreigner: She had no comic book counterpart before the show started.
  • Canon Immigrant: The S.H.I.E.L.D. ongoing comic begins in December 2014.
  • 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 him, 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.
    • In "Face My Enemy", Coulson and May have infiltrated an auction gala and meet a laser grid. Coulson says he's got it and prepares to go in ninja-style but May just casually crosses the beams, triggering the alarm, because "they already know we're here" (their cover has just been blown, so they're kind of in a hurry).
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Enough to not make her want to work on the field and want to work in a dark, boring office. There's a very good reason she doesn't want to be called The Cavalry.
  • Declaration of Protection: In "Face My Enemy" she tells Coulson that she will take care of him even if the GH-325 takes over his mind like it did with Garret.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: She is not a completely defrosted one. More like going from Arctic to "chilly." She freezes up again when she finds out Coulson kept secrets from her and that Skye knows what happened in Bahrain - because that little girl was an Inhuman like she is.
  • 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.
    May: Never said I didn't like them. I said, if I need a gun, I'll take one.
  • Does Not Like Spam: According to Coulson, she hates coffee. When Agent 33 impersonated her, she didn't know this and it gave her away.
  • 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. Coulson was furious that he hid the truth about his resurrection from him and kepy him Locked Out of the Loop. He point blank told her she wasn't his friend anymore, although they eventually reconcile after awhile
  • Emotionless Girl: She's not big on expressions.
    Skye: Which non-expression is this?
    • Referring to Sif:
    Melinda: She's not a lot of laughs, and when I say that...
  • 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.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Before Bahrain, her hair is curled. After, she loses the curls and ends up with straight hair.
  • Expy: With her dress sense and Dark and Troubled Past, she's basically the producers' way of putting Black Widow in the show.
  • Fantastic Racism: She doesn't hate all gifted people just the Inhumans - the ones who were indirectly responsible for her tramutization in Bahrain.
  • 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. This obviously ends after Ward is exposed as a HYDRA agent, and he later taunts her about being upset he lied to her.
  • Generation Xerox: It turns out her mother is an intelligence agent too, though not for S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Genre Savvy: She knows how to lose HYDRA bogeys and recognizes that Ward had nothing to do with sending them back to blow the Bus out of the sky. They failed thanks to her quick thinking.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: To an extent she loses some of her Undying Loyalty to Coulson because he kept her Locked Out of the Loop about the Theta Protocol (and that he saw Andrew behind her back) and takes a seat on "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D.'s board ostensibly to be Coulson's advocate, but Simmons and Coulson both give her an earful for joining them in the first place. She gets worse when she finds out that Skye knows what really happened in Bahrain.
  • 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.
  • Hypocrite: She gets mad at Coulson for keeping her Locked Out of the Loop about certain things when he becomes Director, mainly the Theta Protocol and that he's been seeing her ex. Coulson is more than happy to remind her that she kept him Locked Out of the Loop regarding his resurrection.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: She'll cite this trope when the team calls her out on some of more questionable actions like using an Icer on a scared gifted who was cornered by an angry mob and she joins Gonzales' S.H.I.E.L.D. as a way to protect Coulson's people....which the team really doesn't approve of.
  • Ice Queen: She and Skye tend to clash a lot as a result of her frigid demeanor.
  • 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 calls her out on it. Hard.
  • Lady of War: Being a veteran Action Girl, she rarely or never falters in any mission obstacles and setbacks.
  • 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.
  • Lethal Chef: According to her ex-husband Andrew.
    May: You hungry? I can cook you something.
    Andrew: I'm not that hungry.
  • 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 Mentor: Season 2 sees her taking on this role for Skye and teaching her how to be a field agent. There are scenes of them sparring, sniping, and also lessons on how to stay in control of one's emotions. This becomes especially important when Skye develops Inhuman powers because every new Inhuman needs a mentor to guide them through the change. It was supposed to be her biological mother but instead it's the Team Mom.
  • 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.
  • My Greatest Failure: The Bahrain mission made May a Living Legend among S.H.I.E.L.D. agents but she still feels enormous guilt over having to kill a little Inhuman girl who was mind controlling and killing people.
  • 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" which she earned after an impressive combat operation she completed alone in Bahrain. The leader of a strike team said that if Coulson's diplomacy failed, he would "send in the cavalry". May ended up saving them by herself.
  • 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. In "Face My Enemy", Skye remarks that she's said more words during a single undercover conversation than she has in a year.
  • Race Lift: The character Melinda May was originally supposed to be a white woman named Althea Rice. However, when Ming-Na Wen gave an impressive audition, the character was rewritten as Asian-American.
  • 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.
  • Secret Keeper: In Season 2, May knows about Coulson's urgings to carve alien symbols because of the GH serum treatment, and helps him cope with it.
  • 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. This goes out the window after Ward becomes exposed as a HYDRA agent.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: As seen in the preview for "Face My Enemy", where she goes under cover with Coulson and dresses up for the occasion. Coulson certainly thought she looked nice.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Seems to have high-functioning Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the incident where she earned her hated nickname, which might be why she hates it.
  • 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.
  • Superdickery:
    • That promo clip for "The Magical Place" of her telling Agent Hand that Skye's of no use on the plane? 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).
    • The summary for "Face My Enemy" states that Coulson finds himself "attacked" by May. Come the episode, and the attacker turns out to be Agent 33 disguised as May, while May's participation in the episode is completely heroic.
  • Team Mom: Designated as such by Skye when she compares an argument between her and Coulson as "mom and dad fighting." In "...Ye Who Enter Here", she has a dream where Coulson and May are acting as parents to a baby (obviously herself).
  • The Promise: Coulson makes her promise to kill him if he deteriorates to the point of becoming Garrett. She's not happy about it.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted she was married to one - Andrew, but the mission in Bahrain traumatized her so much that he couldn't help her and the marriage ended in divorce.
  • 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:
      May: 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.
      May: I'm usually up around 5:30.
    • After Lance turns on the team only to get forgiven, Coulson points out that shooting May in the process was a really bad idea.
      Lance: She's the type to hold a grudge?
      Coulson: Savors it, actually.
  • Two First Names: Her surname is commonly used as a female given name.
  • 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.
    • In Season 2 Simmons and Coulson both give an earful for joining "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D." Skye is particulary offened that she'd trust Gonzales since his men tried to kill her.
  • Woman Scorned: She seems to enjoy beating up Ward a bit too much.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Played for Drama. The infamous Noodle Incident in Bahrain that led to her being called The Cavalry happened when May was forced to go in alone to a building where S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel and local militiamen had fallen under the sway of a mentally disturbed Gifted child who had the ability to control minds and could leach off of other people's emotions. May was forced to shoot the little girl in order to save everyone in the building.

    Grant Ward 
See the HYDRA page

     Skye 

Skye / Daisy Johnson

"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. This changes in season 2.
  • Action Girl:
    • Starting in season 2, wherein she's able to hold her own against Agent 33, who has much more combat experience than Skye does.
    • Forget about Agent 33, this clip of Skye's Oner fight scene from "The Dirty Half Dozen", where she single-handedly takes down nine HYDRA agents with no help from her superpowers looks like something out of John Wick.
  • 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 was unclear. "Seeds" implied that her heritage is at least partially Chinese, like Chloe herself, as baby Skye was found in Hunan Province in China. Season 2 later on confirmed that her father is white and her mother is Chinese.
  • Ambiguously Human:
    • Since she's been revealed to be a 0-8-4, she could conceivably be anything. She might not even be human.
      Skye: [jokingly] Like, what, you think I'm an alien?
      Coulson: Well...
      Skye: Hold on, are you saying that I'm an alien!?
      Coulson: It's a theory.
      Skye: No, a theory is what scientists use to prove things in nature, this is you telling me that I might be an alien! That's not something you just say like it's no big deal!
      Coulson: I was trying not to rattle you.
      Skye: Guess what? Epic fail!
    • She's apparently an Inhuman, which means that she's entirely human until exposure to Terrigen Mists... which happened in episode 2:10.
  • Ascended Fanboy: She's always Squeeing over superheroes, and then becomes a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. Then she gets her own superpowers. Then she becomes the leader of a superhero team.
  • The Atoner: After being outed as The Mole for the Rising Tide, 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.
  • Badass: Her unrivalled hacking abilities make her an excellent asset to S.H.I.E.L.D., and she's also shown to be quite the Guile Hero. With combat training from her superiors, she becomes combat-capable enough to the point that she's able to hold her own in the field.
  • Bad Vibrations: Whenever her Quake powers start to activate uncontrollably.
  • 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:
    • 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 grayish 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.
    • Discussed after her transformation into an Inhuman. Raina is quite upset that Skye's appearance remains exactly the same, while she got stuck with a hideous and painful new body.
    • Also Averted when her mother tries to kill her with her life draining power.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: She tried to get Mike to embrace his powers. He did. Just not in the way she expected. A season and a half later, she gets powers herself - and they freak her out. 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.
  • Berserk Button: Go ahead, try to kill Director Coulson. She'll threaten to kill you without a second's hesitation. Even if you are her father.
  • Body Horror: Her first attempts to control her Quake powers simply redirect them onto her own body, resulting in dozens of hairline fractures in her arms.
  • Broken Pedestal: When Ward is revealed as a HYDRA mole, Skye loses her Love Interest and her S.H.I.E.L.D. mentor in one go, something that clearly hits her very hard.
  • Canon Foreigner: Subverted. Though sharing her name with a minor War Machine character, Skye was not introduced as having a counterpart in the comics. "What They Become" reveals she's a subversion; she's the MCU version of Daisy Johnson AKA Quake, daughter of Calvin L. Johnson AKA Calvin Zabo AKA Mr. Hyde, as confirmed by Word Of God.
  • 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.
  • Cold Sniper: After making her first kill with a sniper rifle, she's surprised to find her heart rate is perfectly steady.
  • 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 (possibly her father and/or HYDRA) 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.
    • Clarified partway through Season Two. Her hometown was raided by a HYDRA team claiming to be S.H.I.E.L.D. and all the residents, including her mother, were taken and used for Whitehall's experimentation. The aftermath left the village dead and her father a madman bent on avenging his wife and recovering his daughter. Then clarified further in the season finale. The village actually survived HYDRA. Jaiyang's healing factor works by draining life force, and she forced Cal to feed the village to her to bring her back. Not only that, but she Came Back Wrong and a Fantastic Racist to boot. Cal's descent into darkness was driven by hers; he became a monster in order to be allowed to remain in her life.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • She's prone to quite a few one-liners when the situation calls for it.
    • She's said "Hail HYDRA" sarcastically twice so far, and she tries to disguise the sarcasm the second time around, thinking it was Whitehall who was calling Bakshi's number (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • 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 Last Name: She chose the name Skye because she hated the name given to her by the orphanage, which is Mary Sue Poots. "Poot" is a slang word for farting.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: She becomes the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Daisy Johnson AKA Quake, so she gets genuine superpowers in the form of vibration.
  • 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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.
    • Several of the families she stayed with wanted to keep her permanently but were under orders to keep her moving for her protection. Skye just thought none of them wanted her.
  • Foil: To Ward. In the beginning, Skye was the one shown to have ulterior motives for joining S.H.I.E.L.D., but when her plans go awry, she undergoes some much needed Character Development and sticks with S.H.I.E.L.D. until the bitter end. Meanwhile Ward is a true blue Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., 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.
  • Gainaxing: A rather memorable example as she runs around in a soaking wet low-cut dress in "The Asset".
  • 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.
    • In season 2 she refuses to let Ward Hannibal Lecture her, telling him that she'll end his interrogation the second he tries to go off topic and sticking to it.
  • 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 S.H.I.E.L.D.'s resources.
  • Gun Fu: Displays a John Wick-esque version of this during the shootout scene in "The Dirty Half Dozen".
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Her mother was an Inhuman. Her father seems to be human... more or less.
  • 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.
  • Heroic RROD: The first method she tries to gain control of her Quake powers ends up with her using them on herself until she breaks her own arm.
  • 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 (Skye)'s parents. Eventually it is revealed that she is an Inhuman, and so far all intents and purposes an ordinary human unless exposed to Terrigen Mists... which happens in What They Become.
  • 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.
  • In the Hood: Does this in the 2nd season in her transition to Action Girl. She wears a gray hoodie.
  • The Knights Who Say Squee: She's a skilled hacker who turns into a giggling fangirl in the presence of metahumans.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: She's quite the looker, and her dad is Mr. Hyde, so there's that. There's also the fact that they don't get along, so the betrayal part comes prepackaged.
  • Married to the Job: Says so in "Heavy Is The Head".
    Skye: S.H.I.E.L.D. is my life.
  • 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.
    • Her birth name, Daisy, is fitting for someone with earthquake producing powers.
  • 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.
  • Mistaken Age: Due to being an orphan, she had her birth year wrong, and is actually a year or two older than she thought. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who dropped her off might have done this intentionally in order to hide her, or they just genuinely made a mistake.
  • 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, at least until Season 2, when it's hinted that Rising Tide may be an ally of sorts to Nu S.H.I.E.L.D. in at least a couple of episodes.
  • 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".
  • Mythology Gag: Skye spends a lot of time wearing wrist-mounted devices, starting with the Restraining Bolt, then the heartbeat monitoring watch during her field training, then the various power suppressing gloves and such she gets to control her powers, and the nullifying cuffs she gets shackled with by Jaiyang. While at first subtle, it becomes pretty clear in hindsight these are a nod to her identity as Daisy Johnson, a character known for her arm gauntlets in the comics.
  • 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. Due to what happens in the following episode, she ends up keeping that distinction until Hunter decides to stop just being a mercenary on contract and fully joins up in the stinger for "One Door Closes", nearly a season later. When working in her primary strengths (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.
    • When she discovers that she is a Inhuman this trope happens a second time as she is the newest member of that group and says that she feels like "the new kid".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: During the season 2 finale, when she knocks a Quinjet carrying a case of Terragen crystals off of a carrier, said crystals contaminates schools of fish, which end up being processed as fish oil caplets for human consumption.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Initially, Skye accepted to join S.H.I.E.L.D. to keep on the search for her parents. She fully commited to S.H.I.E.L.D. 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. Starting in season 2, she shows frustration that he doesn't confide in her anymore.
  • Old Shame: In-universe example. Skye was once one of the "sweaty cosplay girls" that hang around Stark Tower.
  • One Woman Army: "The Dirty Half Dozen" cements her status as this, when she singlehandedly kills ten HYDRA guards in a display of hand-to-hand (and gun) bad-assitude during an epic oner, all without using her powers.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • At first there was 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.
    • "A Hen in the Wolf House" implies that she has a third name, which was given to her by her biological parents. It's revealed in "What They Become" to be Daisy.
  • 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.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Her powers allow her to manipulate the vibrations of all matter. It's speculated that she could grow powerful enough to crack a continent. At present, she's at least powerful enough to flatten a large area around herself and make objects explode, and she has no real training in how to use her powers. While training with the Inhumans, she manages to shake an entire mountain, causing a small avalanche.
  • Playing Gertrude: A mild example. Skye's official year of birth is 1989 and is later revealed to actually be 1988, thusly making her a few years older than the actress who plays her.
  • Power Incontinence: She has quite a hard time controlling her Quake powers, due to her not having any help understanding them like her parents were planning to do.
  • Race Lift: Daisy Johnson is white in the comics, while Skye, her MCU counterpart, is half-Chinese.
  • 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".
  • Running Gag: Anytime she attempts to imitate Fitz-Simmons's British accents, it's terrible and even she knows it. Though she's yet to attempt an imitation of Hunter, she does become the object of his scorn when she refers to him as Trainspotting, suggesting that she can't even hear the differences between quite disparate British accents. (Which still doesn't explain why her impression of Fitz sounded Australian...)
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: This is her biggest strength. S.H.I.E.L.D. 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: When going undercover in "The Asset". She never looked nicer.
  • 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. However, this all happens in the pilot episode, unlike most examples of this trope.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Ward begins her combat training at the start of "The Asset" and she uses it to effortlessly disarm Ian Quinn later on. The episode ends with voluntarily punching out a heavy bag.
    • Her storyline in "The Magical Place" is all about this. She steals the car of a Centipede associate and crashes it with herself inside, just so she can get his roadside assistance to arrange a tow truck to take her to his address. While there, she uses his computer to call his office and pretends to be an LAPD officer, flawlessly coming up with a plausible explanation about why he needs to come home immediately. Once he arrives, she poses as Melinda and effortlessly bluffs him into giving up everything he knows about Centipede's property purchases, even tossing a couple of mooks along the way. This gives S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson's location. Even May seems impressed.
    • By the end of "Nothing Personal", she has taken yet another level of badass during the entire episode. Calmly stalling for time against Ward and making him a well-known and wanted fugitive.
    • As of the season 2 premiere, "Shadows", she's said to have undergone training from May between seasons and even joins her in the field being more than able to hold her own.
    • Training with May is shown to really pay off when she holds her own against Agent 33 in single combat.
    • As of "What They Become", she has taken another level, after her Inhuman powers are activated.
  • Town Girls: The (seemingly plain yet technologically gifted) Neither to May's Butch and Simmons's Femme.
  • Unfortunate Names:
    • Play straight by the orphanage who named her Mary Sue Poots.
    • Averted by her birth name - she considers Daisy Johnson to be a pretty good name, though it remains to be seen if/when she'll start using it.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Raina very subjectively refers Skye as this as a part of her Never My Fault statement in "Aftershocks".
  • Unperson:
    • She can do this on request, and it's implied she did it to herself, hence why she's an unknown to S.H.I.E.L.D. It turns out that this is her reason for learning how to hack in the first place. Her parents themselves have been the subject of this, by S.H.I.E.L.D. no less, as was Skye herself shortly before being put into foster care.
    • In "Providence," at Coulson's request, she does this for every member of Team Coulson so that they can more easily go off the radar.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: She unknowingly brings a HYDRA agent to Providence by chatting on the phone with Ward, who had, in a bit of Dramatic Irony, been with HYDRA all along.
  • We Help the Helpless: Coulson's lessons have sunk in pretty well by the second season.
    Skye: He could hurt people!
    Jiaying: Those people aren't my concern.
    Skye: Well, they're mine. I'm a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: She doesn't like what she finds out about the mission in "The Hub", and she makes it perfectly clear to Coulson when he catches her hacking S.H.I.E.L.D. to learn the truth.
    Coulson: What did I tell you?
    Skye: You told me to trust the system, and the system sent Ward and Fitz in there to die.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: She clearly assumes that she'll be Mike's heroic sidekick or mentor and they'll fight crime together. Instead, she encourages him to embrace his power just as he starts having a case of Sanity Slippage. Before that, she evidently believed that as she could hack into S.H.I.E.L.D., they were powerless to stop her.

     Leopold Fitz 

Leopold Fitz

"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.
  • Action Survivor: Fitz is increasingly becoming this as the episodes go on. For someone who has been the most vocally against being involved in any sort of dangerous adventure or combat, he has proven to be more capable than Simmons of holding his own during one. This is best illustrated in "The Hub" and "T.R.A.C.K.S." where he provides backup to Ward in the former episode and Skye in the latter episode.
  • Adorkable: Acts about machines and physics the same way Simmons does about biological mysteries. He even named his robots after the seven dwarfs.
  • Afraid of Blood: And guts and organs. Especially of cats and especially when left right next to his lunch.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Simmons apparently left the team in favour of a dangerous deep cover mission within HYDRA rather than deal with the fall-out of Fitz's Dying Declaration of Love. Fitz is bitterly hurt when he finds out, especially since he has to learn about it second hand from Coulson.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • Fitz begins to feel this way in regards to Ward after "FZZT". Berserker!Ward even uses it against him when he's raging at everyone in "The Well".
    • From "Providence" onward, he begins to feel this way towards Triplett too: helped by the fact that Triplett, as well as being a total Badass and potential Love Interest for Simmons, is clearly also very intelligent, meaning that Fitz can't even fall back on his role as The Smart Guy around him.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Him and Freudian Slips about Skye seem to go together hand-in-hand.
  • Ambiguously Bi: He doesn't exactly disagree when his projection of Simmons describes Mack as being attractive, since she's technically a part of his own imagination. It should also be noted that well over half of the Ho Yay entries are taken from Fitz's interactions with male cast members.
  • Badass Bookworm: Explicitly averted, the first thing we learn about him and Simmons is that they're not combat capable. A major part of his Character Development halfway through the season becomes his drive to become more of a Badass Bookworm after coming to feel inadequate - which he does quite a bit in "The Hub."
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Poor Fitz falls victim to this a couple of times in major ways. After complaining that the true worth of his work is often overlooked by his superiors, he's finally recognised as a valuable asset by Garrett, who's about to recruit him to HYDRA by force if he has to. And after a whole season of wishing to be heroic on the level of Ward and Triplett, he's finally being called a hero by everyone after pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to save Simmons, which leaves him brain damaged and in a coma.
  • Beard of Sorrow: He's noticeably less than clean-shaven at the beginning of Season 2 due to his traumatic injuries and Simmons leaving.
  • Berserk Button: Nothing freaks Fitz out faster than the thought of any harm coming to Simmons. Unfortunately for him, it's sort of an occupational hazard.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Fitz displays a ruthless lack of concern for the lives of the Centipede soldiers after they kidnap Coulson. Jemma is noticeably disturbed.
    • In "Nothing Personal" he has a rather violent reaction to finding out that Ward is HYDRA which surprises everyone in-universe.
    • In "Ragtag," he uses the pocket EMP device to disable Garrett's mechanical bits, almost killing him. He then shouts at Garrett and says he doesn't feel any remorse and that Garrett deserves to die. As Fitz and Simmons are being carried away by HYDRA agents, Fitz says that he won't rest until every HYDRA agent is dead. Yikes.
    • In "Making Friends & Influencing People," he cuts off the oxygen to Ward's cell, further twisting the knife by saying it's the only way he can make clear what Ward did to him thanks to his aphasia.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • In "The Hub", when Ward tells Fitz to run to safety because Coulson told Ward to take care of him, Fitz refuses to leave and snaps back that Coulson told him to protect Ward too.
    • There's a moment in "Repairs" when Simmons is about to round a blind corner while they're pursuing Tobias along with Ward, and Fitz holds her back to check it out himself before letting her go on ahead.
    • When he's the only one to work out that Skye has developed superpowers, despite his initial fear he fakes her blood test results and promises to protect her from the Fantastic Racism of the rest of the team.
      • When Skye's secret comes out, it turns out he was right to do so, as he's the only one arguing on her behalf.
  • Big Eater: Played with: He frequently complains of being hungry, especially in inappropriate circumstances like during a stake-out or a field mission, and even when trapped at the bottom of the ocean slowly running out of oxygen - but the fact that he never gets to eat anything on-screen is something of a subtle Running Gag. Ward mentions at one point that Fitz has a secret stash of candy under his bunk.
  • Birds of a Feather: Him and Simmons, as pointed out by everyone, thus "Fitz-Simmons".
  • Bleed 'em and Weep: In "Turn, Turn, Turn" he has to struggle to bring himself to pick up a stray real gun that gets slid towards him in a fight, and after he uses it to shoot someone to save May, he starts crying and is clearly not happy about having had to do it.
  • Bond One-Liner: In "Ragtag", after using an EMP disguised as a joy buzzer to take out Garrett's life-support implants:
    Fitz: Looks like the joke's on you.
  • Brave Scot: Averted, if not inverted, as he tends to be a Lovable Coward at times and he's far more cautious and worried about problems compared to Simmons.
  • Break the Cutie: He really goes through the ringer.
    • Season One: Between "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Nothing Personal", every bad thing Fitz has imagined so far happens all at once: He and Simmons get separated during the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D., he's threatened with A Fate Worse Than Death by HYDRA, he's forced to kill someone, Simmons meets someone else who's The Ace...then it turns out that Ward, whom he'd thought of as one of his closest friends and colleagues, has been a HYDRA infiltrator the whole time. Cue the Heroic BSOD. At the end of the season, he and Simmons are trapped in a container underwater, and his Heroic Sacrifice to get the two of them out leaves him brain damaged and in a coma.
    • Season Two: He's become aggressive towards Simmons, jealous of Koenig taking over his job as The Smart Guy, and has difficulty expressing his feelings. And it turns out that he's been hallucinating Simmons the entire time, and his damage is to the extent that he's incapable of doing most of his original duties and doesn't even realize it.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • His relationship with Ward in Season One was often something close to hero-worship, with Ward clearly representing the kind of person Fitz wished he could be himself. Needless to say, Fitz's reaction to Ward being revealed as a HYDRA mole is pretty brutal.
    • His relationship with Simmons: in Season One he clearly adored everything about her; in Season 2, though it seems he's still in love with her, and definitely still respects her intellect, he eventually makes it clear to her in "What They Become" that he doesn't particularly like who she is now, and would rather not work with her in the future. It gets even worse in "Aftershocks" when he explicitly considers her the biggest threat on the team to Skye, due to her superpowers becoming apparent just as Simmons develops a bad case of Fantastic Racism.
  • Butt Monkey: Gets knocked out (or possessed, or kidnapped, or threatened, or shot at, or...) on a regular basis, is often the subject of pranks and snark from the others, has men regularly flirting with his Love Interest, accidentally helps out the opposition a few times... the list goes on.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Towards the end of the first season, he's painfully incapable of telling Simmons how he feels about her, or admitting it directly to anyone else (not that they need telling). He eventually Lampshades this in "The Beginning of the End", when he's still incapable of articulating exactly how he feels about her, but realises that he can show her instead. It certainly gets the point across.
  • Canon Foreigner: He had no comic book counterpart before the show started.
  • Canon Immigrant: The S.H.I.E.L.D. ongoing comic begins in December 2014
  • The Chew Toy: Season 2 is a prime example of how the Butt Monkey becomes one of these: Fitz's frequent misfortunes are no longer meant to be remotely funny.
  • The Charmer: Despite suffering from a bad case of That Came Out Wrong/Cannot Spit It Out around women he cares for, he demonstrates a surprising ability to successfully turn on the charm when he needs to. In "The Hub", a middle-aged matron (who also happens to be an Eastern European mob boss) starts off wanting to kill him and, two scenes later, is affectionately referring to him as her "Little Bear". Usually contrasted with Ward or Simmons, who are both in their own special ways terrible at dealing with people.
  • Child Prodigy: Implied in "Seeds". Fitz mentions that his mother never understood his science talk while he was growing up and he and Simmons are both noted to have been some of the youngest to have gotten into S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy, and must have had one PhD already "just to get through the door".
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Becomes one after suffering brain damage in the Season One finale. As such, it's mostly Played for Drama. His most notable Cuckoolander characteristic has to be relationship with his imaginary version of Simmons after she leaves the team. He gets a little better after teaming up with Mack, from which point on this trope is occasionally Played for Laughs.
    Mack: Half of what this guy says is nonsense.
    Both he and Fitz chuckle
  • Cowardly Lion: Basically Fitz's entire personality in a nutshell. Hence the name "Leo".
  • The Cutie: Unusually he actually becomes more of one as the series goes on, even though Break the Cutie actually takes place first in his case. In Season 1 Simmons is the clear cutie of the duo, with Fitz the more cynical and sarcastic one, but Season 2 sees a gradual reversal of this dynamic, with Fitz the emerging as the more gentle and caring one who's willing to show loyalty to his friends over S.H.I.E.L.D. if forced to make the choice, and generally as one of the most sympathetic characters on the show after many of the other leads Take a Level in Jerkass following the mid-season finale.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Usually at Ward or Simmons's expense, but Fitz is definitely known for firing off a good one-liner.
  • Didn't Want an Adventure: The main contrast between him and Simmons. It's implied that she wanted to join Coulson's team and he reluctantly went along with her.
  • Disappeared Dad: When asked about his immediately family in "Providence", he says his only relative is his mother. This was already hinted at in "Seeds", when it's implied that his mum was his only real companion before he met Simmons.
  • Distressed Dude: In one episode, him being held at knifepoint is enough motivation for Coulson to hand over control of the Bus to an enemy.
  • Ditzy Genius: He comes across as slightly scatter-brained, but he's good with technology.
  • The Dividual: Fitz and Simmons spend so much time together that they're usually just referred to as "Fitz-Simmons."
    • Season One changes this following the HYDRA uprising, Fitz's Love Epiphany towards Simmons, and Simmons's growing closeness to Triplett and uncertainty about her dedication to the new S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • In season 2, Fitz' brain damage and Simmons's sudden departure from the team leads him to hallucinate her presence as an extension of his subconscious in order to maintain this relationship. She tries to guide him on his way to recovery. When the real Simmons returns, this trope is defied; Simmons and Mack each note that Fitz's condition worsens in her presence, leading to more scenes of them apart while they actively avoid each other.
  • Do Not Call Me Paul:
    • Subtly implied to feel this way. He is the last member of the main cast to have their first name mentioned in the show; note  later in the same episode during a friendly introduction he specifically (and somewhat awkwardly) asks to be called by his last name. Furthermore, while he calls Simmons either "Simmons" or "Jemma" more or less interchangeably, she never calls him "Leo".
    • Averted in the comics, where he is usually addressed as "Leo", presumably to remind readers that despite originating in the MCU, the 616 version of his character is part of a different canon entirely.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: He's aware that the others have been walking on eggshells around since his brain damage, and he doesn't like it one bit.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: He's frequently frustrated when his talents go overlooked by the others, especially compared to Simmons and Skye, who are often praised for their abilities. Becomes a case of Be Careful What You Wish For when HYDRA consider him too valuable to execute along with the rest of the team, and instead plan to cripple him before forcibly recruiting him.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: To Simmons, in a Zigzagged sort of way during "The Beginning of the End". He can't bring himself to say it, so instead he shows it via Heroic Sacrifice. In the end he's not dead, but in a coma.
  • The Engineer: Technology is his specialty.
  • Even Nerds Have Standards: He nicknames his custome made drones after the seven dwarves yet he thinks that Simmons is nerdier than he is, because she enjoys doing schoolwork.
  • Everyone's Baby Sister: The reactions of the other team members to his unspecified critical injuries in the Season One finale point to this attitude, probably because he's a non-combatant and relatively young to be a field agent. The fact that his refusal to give up on Ward and unexpressed love for Simmons were both major contributing factors in what happened to him rack up the sympathy levels significantly, too.
  • Exact Words: "I didn't solve this today." It's Mack who finally realizes he's trying to say he's solved it already, but just can't remember how.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: His face is constantly half-covered in shadowed lighting during season two, especially when he's alone, thinking dark thoughts or talking to the hallucination of Simmons - which is most of the time. The show is particularly fond of having him stand alone, staring into space with a half-shadowed face. It rather ominously reflects his fractured state of mind after the incident.
  • Fake American: In-universe, he briefly does this in "T.R.A.C.K.S." and is surprisingly good at it. Skye's Scottish accent, on the other hand... (which is why he went for the Fake American act in the first place; It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: With Simmons, frequently. They also tend to talk over each other mid-sentence, supplying synonyms for what the other's saying, before ending on the same word.
    • This gets a (doubly) grim reprise in the Season 2 premiere: Fitz now relies on Simmons to finish most of his sentences for him, having lost the ability to recall many vocabulary words. This is actually one of the few things that probably isn't wrong with him, since it's his own hallucination providing the "missing" words, but that's not exactly good news overall (not to mention that he isn't even saying them out loud).
    • In "Fractured House" it gets even worse when the real Simmons can't finish his sentences anymore, leaving him completely lost.
  • Friendless Background: Fitz implies that he came from one of these in "Seeds".
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Obviously. It's his whole schtick on the team after all.
  • Graceful in Their Element: Fitz may be socially awkward and a bit of a coward, but put him in a lab or talk to him about technology and he'll leave you in the dust.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Fitz reacts with visible irritation whenever anyone flirts with Simmons, or Simmons shows any interest in anyone else. Understandable given that Simmons seems to have a thing for muscular black men and Fitz is very much not either of those.
    • Randolph compliments her several times in "The Well". Fitz overhears and does not look particularly happy.
    • When, in "The Bridge", Simmons becomes flustered around Mike Peterson's... firmness. Though Fitz protests he's just embarrassed by her.
    • In "End of the Beginning" he notices that Triplett and Simmons seem a little too mutually eager to hang out together at The Hub, though on that occasion he looks more hurt than annoyed. (It helped that he'd just accused her of being a little too happy that he wasn't going with her, something she never outright denied.) By "Providence" it's clear that he's developed a strong dislike of Triplett because of his new closeness with Simmons.
    • In "Shadows", he's jealous of Koenig appearing to take over his role as The Smart Guy due to Fitz still recovering from his brain damage.
  • Guile Hero: Displays this trait most prominently in "The Hub", when he causes a blackout in the bar where he and Ward are being held hostage by people who were trying to watch a game on the television before they showed up. This was done just so he could then fix it and gain his captors' trust and help.
  • Good Is Not Soft:
    • Fitz has spent the mid-season proving this without a doubt. He's a nice, fumbling, socially awkward guy, but he's also arrogant, proud, and if you kidnap his team leader, he will not only be glad to see you dead, he will also compete for the right to torture you for information— and that says nothing for his surprising ability to hold his own in combat situations without being an outright badass like May, Ward, or Coulson.
    • When he finds out they've been hiding Ward in the basement, he gives him a taste of the oxygen deprevation that gave him brain damage.
  • Hallucinations: Simmons only exists to him as one, because she had left him when he woke up from his coma and saw he wasn't getting better at all.
  • Handicapped Badass: Since his Heroic Sacrifice, Fitz has had to deal with the aftereffects of minor brain damage. He has trouble organizing his thoughts, talks with a bit of a stutter, and his right hand is unusable. He is STILL the technical genius of the team and consistently goes past his limitations to prove his worth.
  • The Heart: He's grown into this role during Season 2; partly because he can't fill the Smart Guy role as well as he used to thanks to his injuries but largely because of the way he's formed relationships with the rest of the team. After the midseason shakeup, he's basically the only one openly on Skye's side; defending her to the others and giving her emotional support.
  • He's Back: As of "The Things We Bury", he seems to have overcome the limitations brought about by his brain damage, at least as far as regaining his status as a Gadgeteer Genius is concerned.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    • He briefly goes into this twice: after being involved in the HYDRA uprising at the Hub, and again after learning that Ward has been a HYDRA mole the entire time.
    • It gets worse in season 2: as if brain damage wasn't bad enough, after Simmons left from worry that she was impeding his recovery, he's started talking to an imaginary version of her as his only way to cope with everything that's happened.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Attempted in the first season finale, "Beginning of the End" where he gives the one breathing device to Simmons so she can swim to the surface, since his broken arm will make sure he can't make it. Averted when she just drags him up with her and Nick Fury rescues both of them. Though he doesn't escape unscathed: it's noted that he received brain damage from oxygen deprivation and is not seen again for the rest of the episode. The best Simmons can say to describe his condition is "alive."
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Although initially coming across as meek and fearful, though snarky, intelligent, and deeply loyal, Fitz's character is fleshed out in two important episodes. In "The Hub", he goes on a mission with Ward where he proves that he may not actively seek adventure like Simmons does but he's perfectly capable of handling himself during one, saving Ward's life not only once but twice. In "The Magical Place", he could care less how many Centipede soldiers they have to kill in order to get Coulson back, despite Simmons rightly pointing out that those are innocent men being controlled.
    • Fitz later exploits this trope himself in "Ragtag", when it doesn't take much to convince Ward that the joy-buzzer he's carrying was just meant for a prank, and there's nothing suspicious about him reaching for it during a tense stand-off... except that it emits a powerful EMP that nearly kills Garrett on the spot.
  • Hollywood Homely: Invoked, not through his appearance so much as the fact that he's the only lead character never to have anyone romantically interested in him, and having him unfavourably compared to Ward and Triplett on a regular basis due to their superior strength and physique (often, it's Fitz himself drawing the comparison, but not always). This is probably intentional, though, since Fitz is The Chew Toy, and the universe often seems out to confirm his worst fears and insecurities at every turn. It's worth noting as well that Iain De Caestecker is at least as popular with the Fangirls/Fanboys as Brett Dalton or B J Britt, and if anything the character gets shipped harder than either of them by the Fandom.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: When Coulson orders him to reassemble and install a transceiver in under six minutes in "The Things We Bury", Fitz protests that he's only got one fully working hand due to his brain damage. Coulson then has him practicing non-stop during the early stages of the mission, which does one-handed, and is frustrated that he's unable to trim the time down enough. Finally, when Coulson asks how long the procedure will take him, Fitz replies that he's got it down to just over seven minutes... with his bad hand. With both, he'll be just fine.
  • Ill Boy: He ends Season One in a coma with suspected brain damage, providing a hook for Season Two and significant angst for everyone else, especially Simmons. Season Two still has him in this role, but shows him making a slow but sure recovery.
  • Imaginary Friend: After Simmons leaves the team, Fitz creates an imaginary version of her to both cope with the loss and to help him finish his own sentences. After Mack starts interacting with him, he seems to be aware that she's not actually there, and starts to phase the imaginary Simmons out.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Fitz bonds with Donnie over this in "Seeds". He didn't like being at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy at first because he didn't have any friends and his well-meaning mother could never keep up with his technobabble.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: This is most highlightered by his relationship with Simmons, but Fitz, despite being a do-gooder, is much more cynical and ruthless than one would initially expect. It's seeming more and more like his cautious and cowardly behavior from previous episodes were a reflection of a deep knowledge of how dark the world can get, which makes him more resistant to Break the Cutie than Jemma.
  • Last Name Basis: Even on a show where last names are used as standard, more so than any of the other characters; see Embarrassing First Name, above.
  • Living Legend:
    • In "Seeds", he and Simmons are both revealed to be this to the science and tech students at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy.
    • There's the fact that nearly everyone within S.H.I.E.L.D. - including Dr Stretian and Nick Fury - seems to know them by reputation even before they join Coulson's team, up to and including referring to them by their Portmanteau Couple Name. Only Ineffectual Loner types like Ward and non-agents are ever surprised to discover they're two people. invoked
  • Lovable Coward: Fitz and danger do not mix at all. He had to be strong armed by Simmons into accepting the field assignments, complains bitterly any time they're forced to leave the Bus, is squeamish about everything, can be seen clinging to pillars and hiding in corners when things get crazy, balks when faced with anything remotely actiony, etc. Yet he's always portrayed as cutesy and adorable about it, and he can swallow his fear enough to still pitch in when there's absolutely no other choice.
  • Madness Mantra:
    • His main method of communicating important information with everyone other than his hallucination of Simmons after suffering brain damage, as in his insistent repetitions of "I didn't solve this today!" in "Heavy is the Head". Unfortunately, most of Team Coulson write it off as self-pity at best, meaningless babble at worst; luckily, Mack proves adept at figuring him out.
    • He briefly develops another one in "Aftershocks", due to his belief that he's hallucinating Skye's blood test results due to his stress over Trip's death: "There's something wrong with the data in my brain."
  • Meaningful Name:
  • Men Can't Keep House: Discussed when Fitz sees Donnie's dorm room at S.H.I.E.L.D. academy, and comments that his old room looked exactly the same... except there was more laundry on the floor. Averted in that whenever his bunk on the Bus is shown, it's as tidy as anyone else's, implying that he grew out of this trope at some point; not to mention that it's usually him complaining that Simmons is the one messing up his (their) "pristine" lab space. He also excuses his flat refusal to enter Skye's bunk because "she's a slob, she leaves... lady things everywhere."
  • Morality Chain: Downplayed, but "The Magical Place" implies that Simmons might be this to him, as Fitz sees absolutely nothing wrong with the deaths of any and all Centipede soldiers standing between them and Coulson (or in general) after Coulson gets kidnapped. It is Jemma who points out to him that they are being mind-controlled and can't help their actions and even then Fitz doesn't care.
  • Necessarily Evil: When Coulson was kidnapped he didn't care how many Centipede soldiers had to die to rescue him. When Skye was gut shot he agreed that the proposed methods of treatment sounded "diabolic" but that "you can't argue with the results."
  • The Nicknamer: The first MCU character to say the word "Inhuman," in reference to Skye's impossibly fast heartbeat after becoming Quake.
  • Non-Action Guy: It's made very clear that he has no skills whatsoever with bullets or fists. Lampshaded when he laments not having learned kung-fu to prepare for the job. In "FZZT," this becomes a minor issue for him, hinting that he feels inadequate surrounded by the badass actions of people like Ward all the time.
  • Obfuscating Disability: When promising to act as Skye's Secret Keeper following his realisation that she's developed superpowers, he's able to successfully convince Simmons and May that nothing is wrong by using his usually total honesty, his acknowledged clumsiness, and the fact that he's been suffering from an apparent relapse in his mental health. Despite being two of the people who ought to be most attuned to him lying to them and that there's an atmosphere of almost total distrust around the base, they both accept what he says implicitly.
  • Older Than They Look: Gets teased for this when they visit the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy in "Seeds", when Skye and Simmons tease him for still being believable as a student despite being in his mid-twenties. Fitz counters that he'll still look good when they're "jealous, wrinkly old hags".
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Averted; he's an engineering and tech specialist who has a decent working knowledge of other disciplines, but it's very clear what his role in the team is and what his limitations are in areas like computer sciences and life sciences.
  • Plucky Comic Relief:
    • Though everyone gets a certain amount of this, largely due to the MCU being a World of Snark, Fitz fills this role most consistently due to his status as the Butt Monkey of the main cast. Often involves a Funny Background Event, but he gets a fair bit of deliberate snarking in as well.
    • "FZZT" shows him attempting to fulfill this role In-Universe: while he and Simmons are desperately (and unsuccessfully) searching for the cure to the Chitauri virus she's been infected with, he makes a few jokes and tries to get her to smile. It even sort of works.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: In addition to his unabashed geeking over all things related to engineering, he's shown to be a fan of Doctor Who and Minecraft. And he's revealed as the owner of the Grumpy Cat mug that finds its way into Playground Base in Season 2.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • He's absent for the latter half of "The Beginning of the End" due to suffering severe oxygen deprivation as a result of his Heroic Sacrifice to save Simmons. It's implied that he's in a coma and has suspected brain damage, but he's never seen on-screen again after Fury and Simmons pull him out of the ocean. This means he misses the final V-Formation Team Shot of the season, leaving something of a Cliff Hanger as to whether this trope will stay in effect for Season 2.
    • Ultimately Inverted, after a fashion: Fitz makes a partial recovery and re-joins the Team, but Simmons gets Put On A Bus for real; the version of her seen in the Season 2 premiere is revealed to be Fitz's hallucination of her after she leaves.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Simmons's blue, sometimes they're even Colour-Coded for Your Convenience. Though interestingly, while he has the emotionalness and hot bloodedness of the Red Oni, he tends to be the cautious and worried one of the duo.
  • Running Gag:
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: A Downplayed example with Simmons. It's clear Fitz's only reason for joining the team was so that they could keep working together after Simmons decided to become a field agent, and he's openly apprehensive about going on missions, at least to begin with.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: When falling victim to his own forgotten prank in "Repairs". It makes a particularly amusing contrast to his usual level-headedness when faced with a real crisis.
  • Secret Keeper: He takes it upon himself to keep Skye's becoming an Inhuman from the rest of the team until they've calmed down from the event that caused it.
  • Ship Tease: Initially he's attracted to Skye, but from "FZZT" onward he experiences something of a drawn-out Love Epiphany with regards to his formerly platonic relationship with Simmons.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: The status of both him and Simmons when they join the team. Of everyone on the Bus, they are the least acclimated to the hardships of life and battle.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: He's resigned to his hallucination of Simmons having a crush on Mack, and openly admits this probably means he agrees with her assessments of the latter's attractiveness.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Has an occasional tendency to do severe damage to the surfaces of lab tables when he's really, really upset.
  • The Smart Guy: Shares the role with Simmons because they're The Dividual. He specializes on the technological side of things.
  • The So-Called Coward: After his Character Development in "The Hub", he's more akin to this. His "cowardice" being more a matter of his opinions than his actions.
  • Technical Pacifist: He has no problems with firing ICERs at people, the prospect of helping torture someone, or trying to fight back with fisticuffs to defend himself, but if he has to kill someone, he balks at it.
  • Teen Genius: He and Simmons were both mentioned to have been this back when they were at the Academy.
  • Those Two Guys: With Simmons in Season 1. Starts to become this with Mack in the first half of Season 2. Looks to be about to gravitate back to this with Simmons, though, until "Aftershocks" shows him unable to trust either of them any more. Poor guy.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Considering how things ended for him in Season One, Season Two begins with things not looking too bad for Fitz. He may have some pretty severe nominal aphasia, a touch of paranoia, and be on a string of medications, but since he could have been left brain-dead he got pretty lucky: He's still a capable engineer and Simmons is constantly by his side to reassure and encourage him. Except Simmons left months ago after deciding that her presence was hindering his recovery, but her absence only caused him to disconnect from reality completely, and now he's hallucinating her and unable to work. What Fitz (and the audience) sees as frustrating but gradual recovery, the rest of Team Coulson recognises as a rapid descent into madness. However, in the second episode of Season Two, he shows that he's aware "Simmons" isn't really there despite the hallucination continuing to talk to him, and he's able to come up with a solution to stop Creel, but he needs Mack to essentially help translate his own ramblings to himself first.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: After Coulson describes him as too damaged to ever return to work in the Season 2 premiere, he does a pretty good job of demonstrating he's still valuable to the team in the following episodes, provided Mack can provide the missing words brought on by his aphasia and Hunter can do the physical work he's no longer able to since losing some of the mobility in his hands. Of course, Coulson's gloomy prognosis probably didn't take into account how much Fitz's psychological distress over Simmons leaving was holding back other aspects of his recovery.
  • Took a Level in Badass: His Character Arc in "The Hub" is about adding the 'badass' part to his Badass Bookworm credentials.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • He handles the events of "Turn, Turn, Turn" worst of all, and ever since then he's been generally less sociable and pleasant.
    • Season Two builds on this following the incident that leaves him brain-damaged. He's completely socially withdrawn, except from his hallucination of Simmons, to whom he's frequently irritable and unkind. He also shows a few more violent tendencies which were only hinted at in Season Two, though he limits himself to inanimate objects and Ward.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The very specific sandwich that Simmons makes for him in "The Hub". His relationship with it has mutated into something of a Cargo Ship among the fanbase (and the cast themselves, if the "behind the scenes" photo showing Fitz and the sandwich happily reunited is anything to go by).
  • Tranquil Fury: Fitz doesn't seem quite as furious as his teammates when it's his turn to rake Ward over the coals, but what he does to him... ain't that a kick in the head!
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • To Coulson. When the others begin to think he's acting erratically after HYDRA's return he tells the others to zip it.
    • To Ward. Even after he's revealed to be The Mole, Fitz is the only person on the team who's still convinced that Ward must have a good reason for what he's done. After Ward tries to kill him and Simmons, this goes away.
    • To Skye. When Simmons develops her bout of Fantastic Racism and everyone else is wary of Skye's new powers, he's the only one who doesn't hesitate to be on her side 100%. He's her Secret Keeper for an episode or two, he stands up for her in arguments about her - he knows what it's like to suddenly be "different", and he refuses to treat her as he was treated.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Just as Simmons seems ready to abandon this role towards the end of the season, Fitz takes it up, insisting that no-one is inherently evil, and that Ward must have genuinely cared for them. An unusual case in that this trope comes into effect after Break the Cutie has comprehensively taken place for his character.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Seems to have a genuine fear of dead things and the possible diseases they can carry.

     Jemma Simmons 

Jemma Simmons

"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.
  • Action Survivor:
    • She's becoming one in Season 2. Though far from a fully-fledged Action Girl, she seems to be making a deliberate effort to become stronger and faster, even if it's just to ensure that she can evade her potential captors within HYDRA until her extraction team arrives. It comes in handy in "A Hen in the Wolf House".
    • She later skirts the line between Action Girl and Action Survivor. While she's still the least combat capable female on the team, she proves her skill in "The Dirty Half Dozen," where she's not afraid to jump into active combat situations and even shoots a few HYDRA soldiers on her own. And then she's able to overpower and kill Bakshi.
  • 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 One 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 Bad Acting: As a result of being a Bad Liar.
    • On a couple of occasions she attempts to overcome her inability to lie convincingly by deciding what she's going to say beforehand. Needless to say, it backfires, and she ends up either speaking completely tonelessly or over-doing the emotional delivery.
    • Averted in Season Two: While she still believes she can't handle telling direct lies, she's become very good at evasively delivering half-truths and Exact Words as part of her role as Coulson's Reverse Mole within HYDRA.
  • 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 which fools Stan Lee.
    • In "Turn, Turn, Turn," Triplett lampshades it, saying that if they're ever interrogated she should just let him talk.
    • In Season Two, Skye calls her lying skills "a horror show". In truth, she's gotten much better during the hiatus, because Coulson assigned her to be S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Reverse Mole inside HYDRA.
    • By "One Door Closes" any thought that she is still this is destroyed. When Bobbi and Mack are revealed to be moles, Bobbi visits Jemma, unaware that she was aware. Simmons is able to trick Bobbi into holding two objects that knock her out. To reiterate, she sold a professional spy and one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s best agents on a deception, and both the audience and said agent never saw it coming!
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • When infected with a rapid-acting fatal virus in "FZZT", she becomes increasingly pale and ill-looking, but far from unattractive for it, especially compared to the other sufferers shown early in the episode, who are shown to be haggard by the equivalent stage of infection.
    • Happens again in "Beginning of the End": despite having apparently hit her head hard enough to knock her out for several hours when the medical pod fell into the ocean, she has nothing more to show for it than a slight cut on her forehead.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: When Ward is transferred to his brother's custody, she promises to kill him if they meet again. In "The Dirty Half Dozen" she tries to make good on that promise with the most horrific method available... and almost succeeds.
  • Birds of a Feather: Her and Fitz, as everyone never fails to notice, thus "Fitz-Simmons".
  • Bond One-Liner: A non-fatal example, when Raina gets arrested at the end of "The Magical Place".
    Simmons: I bet there's no flower dresses where she's going.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Downplayed, but since she's the most naive and idealistic member of the team to begin with, it's pretty inevitable that bad events clearly hit her hard. Becomes a plot point after the "Uprising" Re Tool arc. Simmons is so disillusioned by HYDRA's takeover of S.H.I.E.L.D. that she openly admits she doesn't even know why she's staying with The Team any more. Season 2 begins with the revelation that she's left S.H.I.E.L.D. entirely after deciding that she's unable to help Fitz's recovery. When she came back, she told Mack that she already knew her presence made Fitz worse.
    • It gets even worse in "Aftershocks", when Trip's death hits her so hard that she develops a reactionary hatred towards anyone with superpowers, and goes so far as to say that she's partly to blame due to spending her career trying to research and harness said powers rather than just wipe them out. Basically everything she's ever stood for up until this point, and every relationship she's developed within S.H.I.E.L.D., has been turned on its head.
  • The Bus Came Back: In "A Hen in the Wolf House."
  • Canon Foreigner: She had no comic book counterpart before the show started.
  • Canon Immigrant: The S.H.I.E.L.D. ongoing comic begins in December 2014
  • Child Prodigy: She was seventeen when she joined S.H.I.E.L.D. academy, which she did after getting two PhDs.
  • The Cutie: Lovely and adorkable woman who doesn't hold a grudge. Unless you're Ward, in which case she's completely willing to kill. Following Trip's death, she's completely lost this trait and has become very bitter and business-like.
  • Deep Cover Agent: As Coulson's Reverse Mole inside HYDRA in Season 2 but she's only halfway to establishing a true deep cover identity: Coulson notes that while she's no longer in contact with anyone from S.H.I.E.L.D. other than him, she has yet to make any friends within HYDRA.
  • Ditzy Genius: She's undeniably brilliant with biotechnology, but is hopeless at trying to conceal her motivations from others, and can never remember to perform a simple spot-check before she starts talking in front of someone who shouldn't be listening.
  • The Dividual: Fitz and Simmons spend so much time together that they're usually just referred to as "Fitz-Simmons".
    • The latter half of Season One sees Fitz-Simmons dealing with the fallout from the HYDRA uprising, Fitz's Love Epiphany towards Simmons, and Simmons's growing closeness to Triplett and uncertainty about her dedication to the new S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • In season 2, Fitz' brain damage and Simmons's sudden departure from the team leads him to hallucinate her presence as an extension of his subconscious in order to maintain this relationship. She tries to guide him on his way to recovery. When the real Simmons returns, this trope is defied; Simmons and Mack each note that Fitz's condition worsens in her presence, leading to more scenes of them apart while they actively avoid each other.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: In "The Bridge", Mike's physique has Simmons fumbling her way through several cringe-worthy sentences. She also insists on taking Mike's measurements by hand despite Fitz pointing out that they have a machine that could do that.
  • Everyone's Baby Sister: Her near-fatal viral contamination in "FZZT" reveals this attitude among the other team members, most surprisingly May and Ward. This is probably due to her non-combatant status and relative youth as far as field agents go: even May is noticeably distressed at her condition, saying "She's only a kid."
  • Fake Defector: In "Afterlife", she pretends to betray Team Coulson for the "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. and be clueless about how to open the MacGuffin while sending Fitz away with the real deal and his favorite sandwich.
  • Fantastic Racism: Trip's death causes her to turn hard on people with superpowers, right when Skye has developed her own.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: She and Fitz. They also frequently tend to talk over each other mid-sentence, saying the same thing synonymously before ending on the same word. During Fitz's field mission in "The Hub" she starts trying to do this with Skye instead, less successfully.
  • For Science!: Her cover story inside HYDRA is that her loyalty is to science and that as long as HYDRA allows her to perform the experiments she wants, then they can count on her.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: In season 2, she threatens to kill Ward. Later in the same season, she advocates killing Raina - and possibly the other Inhumans as well - rather than bringing them in for study. Then, towards the end of the season, she attempts to murder Ward, despite his nominally working with them, and is utterly unfazed by accidentally having killed Bakshi instead.
  • Genki Girl: She is the most energetic and upbeat member of the team, second only to Skye.
  • Graceful in Their Element: Simmons may be a terrible liar, lousy fighter, and a horrible flirt, but place her in a lab or talk to her about biology and she definitely shows how she earned her place on the Bus.
  • Hallucinations: The subject of them, rather than the one suffering from them: her only presence in several episodes of Season 2 is Fitz's prolonged hallucination of her. The real Simmons left months ago after deciding that her presence was harming his recovery.
  • Has a Type: Seems to be very attracted to physically fit black men, much to Fitz's chagrin. (See Eating the Eye Candy, above.) Amusingly, even Fitz's hallucination of her makes appreciative comments about Mack. In S2, Simmons can also be seen appreciatively eyeing Agent May's ex-husband (played by Blair Underwood).
  • Heel Realization: "Real S.H.I.E.L.D." seems to have made her realize how much of a jerk she's been acting to Fitz and what damage her Fantastic Racism really could do.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jemma seems very prone to these. In "FZZT", she throws herself off the Bus to prevent an alien viral infection from blowing her up and taking the team down with her. In "T.R.A.C.K.S.", she throws herself on a man with a dendrotoxin grenade (in the heat of the moment she assumed it was lethal) to save Fitz and Skye.
  • Heroic Suicide: She attempts this by jumping out of the cargo bay in "FZZT" when she believes a viral infection might cause her to die and take out the Bus. Fortunately, an antiserum had been successfully synthesized, and Ward is able to parachute after her and cure her mid-air.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Jemma's hatred for Grant Ward is so intense that she tries to disintegrate him while his back is turned.
  • Hot Scientist: In true Marvel tradition, the woman with two PHD's in hard to pronounce fields is also attractive.
  • Humble Hero:
    • Played Straight on the only two occasions in Season One where she does something legitimately badass: She either never mentions it again (as when she jumps on a grenade to save Fitz and Skye in "T.R.A.C.K.S.") or refuses to accept that what she did was heroic (when Fury commends her for saving Fitz's life in "The Beginning of the End", she will only answer that "It was the other way around", even though both are technically true). Contrast with Fitz and Skye, who are both shown to be at least mildly impressed whenever they Took a Level in Badass.
    • Usually Averted in that she's very much aware of how brilliant she is at biochemistry, and while not usually arrogant about it, isn't afraid to state the facts of the matter. However, she does berate herself when her shortcomings as The Medic are revealed by her inability to outright save Skye's life in "T.A.H.I.T.I.", despite the fact that she's not a medical doctor and acquitted herself very well under the circumstances.
  • Hypocrite: She begins to develop Fantastic Racism towards people with superpowers in Season 2, but claims that she could never feel that way towards Skye, because they're friends., even though she abandonded Fitz when he started to change for the worse. Fitz quickly calls her out on the Double Standard.
  • I Am Very British: Compared to the more Glaswegian-sounding Fitz, Simmons usually has a RP accent that's similar to Keira Knightley, except when her Yorkshire accent shows through (Henstridge was born in Sheffield). Becomes less pronounced as the series goes on, and Henstridge's natural accent now seems to be more or less the character's as well.
  • Ill Girl: In "FZZT" while infected with the Chitauri virus.
  • Imaginary Friend: After she leaves the team, Fitz creates an imaginary version of her to both cope with the loss and to help him finish his own sentences. After Mack starts interacting with him, he seems to be aware that she's not actually there, and starts to phase the imaginary Simmons out.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Has a tendency to come across as hurtful when she's trying to be nice.
    • Specifically, her remark to Coulson about his fitness level "for a man of your age" makes him feel old.
    • Her attempt to reassure Fitz that "I'm not saying you're weak, I'm saying all men are weak" after he's mind-controlled by Lorelei - which carries a much worse implication that she completely misses because It Makes Sense in Context (to her, anyway).
    • Her treatment of Fitz in Season 2, she can't help treating him like old self, and it just hurts the brain-damaged Fitz even more.
    • Though she doesn't know it, her treatment of Skye in "Aftershocks": she heatedly defends her new Fantastic Racism to Skye, arguing that superpowers are an epidemic and should be wiped out, right as Skye realises that she herself has just developed superpowers. Coming from one of her best friends within S.H.I.E.L.D., it was just about the last thing Skye needed to hear right then.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: After Trip dies she gets more ruthless, upping the stopping power of the ICERs despite potential side effects and taking a more hard-line approach to stopping them. When Coulson teams up with Ward for a mission to raid a HYDRA base, she brings along a splinter bomb to kill him, though she ends up getting Bashki when he takes the bullet for Ward.
  • The Knights Who Say Squee:
    • In Season 2, she's practically giddy with excitement at the fact that she's holding an order signed by Peggy Carter herself, and can't stop gushing to May about how awesome it is that S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded by a British woman.
    • In the episode where she first meets Bobbi, she can't stop telling everyone (including Bobbi herself) how awesome she thinks she is.
  • Living Legend:
    • In "Seeds", she and Fitz are both revealed to be this to the science and tech students at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy.
    • There's also the fact that everyone within S.H.I.E.L.D. - including Dr Stretian and Nick Fury - seems to know them by reputation even before they join Coulson's team. Stretian is shown to be concerned to learn about them joining since he knows they're not combat capable, and Fury knows them at least well enough to realise they'll help Coulson modify the plane's interior in their spare time if he doesn't put a stop to it.
  • Mad Scientist: Just a bit. When Skye wonders how long an Asgardian has been living on Earth, Simmons suggests cutting him open to find out. Skye then suggests the much simpler option of asking him.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: It's pretty obvious from the beginning that Simmons is in love with Fitz - they're Birds of a Feather and Everyone Can See It. Heck, she smothers him in kisses when he finally gets the nerve to tell her how he feels about her. Except that she never thought of him that way, and it was such a shock that she had to go away for a while to clear her head, but she still really does care about him, but just as a friend. Probably. How would she know, since she's never thought about it? Though she doesn't like seeing him happy with someone else, even though it's probably platonic. She tells Bobbi that she's definitely not interested in him that way, and then Bobbi tells her that she's putting out as many as ten signals that say she's lying. Not that it matters, because he kept secrets from her and she hates him now.Then she gets scared and she still desperately wants him to hold her hand, and when it looks like they're going to be separated for another indefinite period she signs her note to him "Love, Jemma x". As if poor Fitz didn't have a hard enough time keeping his sense of reality in check...
  • Master Poisoner: Given her specialty in biology and chemistry, she's the go-to for creating poisons, knock out chemicals, or other drugs.
  • Meaningful Name: "Jemma" echoes "Gemini", the star sign symbolised by twins, as she's one-half of The Dividual, along with Fitz (whose own first name, Leo, is also that of an astrological sign).
  • The Medic: Out of the whole team she has the most medical experience, which she likely picked up during her biology studies. Though it should be noted that she is not a medical doctor, just that she knows slightly advanced first aid. When Skye is shot and almost dies, Simmons identifies a hyperbaric chamber that would keep her alive temporarily, but still stresses that she will die if not taken to a hospital.
  • Meganekko: Part of her disguise as Coulson's "daughter" in "T.R.A.C.K.S."
  • The Mole: In "Making Friends & Influencing People", it's briefly made to look as though she may have been a HYDRA mole all along. Then, it's revealed that she's actually Coulson's Reverse Mole inside HYDRA.
  • Moment Killer: Can be a Type 3 at times, which fits in with her occasional social awkwardness. Is particularly guilty of this where Fitz is involved, managing to inadvertently derail any attempt he makes to discuss his feelings with her. She's also done this at least once to Ward: when he imitates her bad impression of him as an attempted ice-breaker, she ends up correcting it, which leaves him looking confused.
  • Morality Chain: Downplayed, and even mildly Played for Laughs on occasion: Fitz (and sometimes Skye) have to remind her now and again that it's inappropriate to get over-excited about the opposition's success because it advances her own interests, or to discuss dissecting someone who is in fact still alive.
  • Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork: Fitz admits that she's probably cleverer than he is, technically, "but only because she loves homework more than life itself."
  • Nice Girl: By far the sweetest character on the show, though that's been slipping in the second season.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Season 2 opens after Simmons has left, believing that her presence was somehow harming Fitz's chances of recovery. In reality, her absence breaks the last connection with reality he has, to the point where he doesn't even know that she's gone and hallucinates her presence, or his recovery is actually declining alarmingly.
  • Nightmare Fetishist:
    • Every time she encounters something weird, gooey, and dripping, she coos and squees over it like a little kid that just got a new stuffed toy.
      Simmons: Oh wow, it's actually dripping! Fun!
    • In the second episode, this extends to being excited about being in a place with lots of dangerously venomous snakes around, which alarms Fitz.
    • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Her well-meaning attempts to explain to others (especially Skye or Fitz) that something potentially deadly is in fact adorable and fascinating often just makes them more nervous.
    • Toyed with in "FZZT" where she's excitedly detailing to Coulson how a deadly virus spreads as the latter realizes that she's infected. As she rambles on, Coulson quietly quarantines her.
  • No Social Skills: Downplayed when compared to the more pure example provided by Ward, but it's increasingly clear that although she genuinely likes most people, she has very little idea of how weird she occasionally comes across as in conversation. Fitz seems to provide a buffer to some of her more awkward attempts to express herself, and she gets noticeably worse during his absence in "The Hub".
  • Oblivious to Love: As Fitz's feelings for her grow more and more obvious to him and to others, Simmons seems to be more and more clueless that he feels more than friendship for her.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist:
    • Played with; Like Fitz she is a specialist (though different iterations of the character are in slightly different fields: biochemistry in the show, xenobiology in the comics), and has a good working knowledge of other areas, but very clearly defined limitations outside of what she's specifically trained in.
    • She acts as The Medic purely on the basis that she has a Ph.D. in biology, despite most of what she says about her previous work indicating that she's never actually studied human anatomy or medical science, and in fact May seems to have more experience of treating injuries sustained in the field. It's Justified in that she's just good enough at what she does to get by in advanced first aid; she certainly doesn't have the calm response in a medical crisis that an M.D. would, and is shown on occasion to be near to tears if she's forced to work on critically injured patients.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • Jemma is undoubtedly one of the nicest people on Coulson's team, and she probably wouldn't hurt a fly. That's why her firm declaration that she would kill Ward should he ever return is so disturbing.
    • In the second half of Season Two, she rants that the various horrible things that have happened recently are all her fault for wanting to study aliens and superhumans when she should have been trying to eradicate them, and advocates a shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later policy.
  • Put on a Bus: The real Simmons is long gone by the Season 2 premiere, having left S.H.I.E.L.D. in the belief that her presence was harming Fitz's chances of recovery; the version the audience sees is just Fitz's hallucination of her, demonstrating that her plan did not work at all.
  • Proud to Be a Geek: In addition to her open fascination with all things biology and chemistry, she makes fannish references to Harry Potter and Doctor Who, and apparently plays Minecraft.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Fitz's red, sometimes they're even Colour-Coded for Your Convenience. Though interestingly, while she has the Stiff Upper Lip and even-temperedness of the Blue Oni, she tends to be the one of the duo who's adventurous and most excited about new things.
  • Reverse Mole: She's no longer on Team Coulson in Season 2, but the third episode reveals that's because she's infiltrated HYDRA on Coulson's orders.
  • Running Gag:
    • Simmons is a very Bad Liar, which makes undercover work nearly impossible. This becomes significant in Season 2, where she's perfect as Coulson's Reverse Mole because HYDRA are well aware she can't even beat a lie detector.
    • In social interactions generally she often comes across as slightly... odd. A combination of her Innocently Insensitive and Nightmare Fetishist comments often manage to insult, offend, or just freak out the person she's talking to. Chances are about fifty-fifty whether she spots it herself and tries to undo the damage, or if Fitz or Skye have to jump in and stop her talking.
    • Her noticeable appreciation of physically fit black men, usually conducted so that Fitz can't help but notice it. In Season 2, even Fitz's hallucination of her gets in on the act.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: A Downplayed example with her and Fitz. She's the one who wanted to be a field agent and is happy to deal with hazardous materials as part of her work; Fitz Didn't Want an Adventure and is more cautious about what aspects of the work he voluntarily gets involved in.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: She may have flubbed it up, but in "The Hub" Skye has no problem talking Simmons into helping her to hack S.H.I.E.L.D. for information on Fitz and Ward's mission when she plays off Simmons's concern for "their boys", which far outweighs her concern for following the rules.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: When disguised as Coulson's estranged "daughter" in "T.R.A.C.K.S.". Who'd have thought she'd look so good wearing lady clothes? Jane Foster would probably feel upstaged at that point.
  • Ship Tease:
    • She becomes the focus of a Love Triangle with Fitz and Triplett towards the end of Season One, though it's not quite clear to what extent she returns either of their feelings. However, she does respond quite positively to Fitz's Dying Declaration of Love in the Season One finale.
    • She's also quite prone to Eating the Eye Candy whenever Mike Peterson's around, and attracted the romantic advances of Prof. Randolph.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: The status of both her and Fitz when they join the team. Of everyone on the Bus, they are the least acclimated to the hardships of life and battle.
  • The Smart Guy: Shares this role with Fitz because they're The Dividual. She focuses on biological issues The Team encounters. In the words of Coulson, she has two Ph.Ds in fields he can't pronounce.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Bobbi appeals to Simmons very much, particularly once she starts beating down people.
  • Teen Genius: She and Fitz were both mentioned to have been this back when they were at the Academy.
  • Those Two Guys: With Fitz in Season 1. It's being rebuilt in Season 2.
  • Through His Stomach:
    • You know the sandwich Fitz was looking forward to eating in "The Hub"? She made it for him and was very eager to hear if he liked it.
    • In "Nothing Personal", her solution to cheer up Coulson, Fitz and Triplett after their discovery that the rest of the team have gone missing is to make pancakes.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Though still probably the least combat-capable of the team by the end of Season One, she does get a couple of moments:
    • In "T.R.A.C.K.S." she doesn't hesitate to jump on a live grenade to save Fitz and Skye (her only comment before doing so being "Oh bloody hell!"). Luckily it's only a dendrotoxin grenade that knocks her out for a few hours, but none of them knew that at the time.
    • In "The Beginning of the End" she refuses to allow Fitz to pull a Heroic Sacrifice to save her life, and instead of swimming to safety by herself like he wanted, drags him along with her.
    • She takes another major one during her absence between "The Beginning of the End" and "Making Friends and Influencing People". The latter reveals that she's the Reverse Mole for Coulson within HYDRA. It's unclear whether she volunteered for the role or was offered it, but she carries it off much better than she would have done in Season One.
    • In "A Fractured House," Simmons explicitly and boldly tells Ward that if she ever sees him again, she'll kill him herself. Again, Simmons tells Ward that she will kill him without a hint of hesitation. Holy crap.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: More subtly than Fitz perhaps, but in Season Two she's less pleasant than in Season One, partly due to losing her status as the resident Wide-Eyed Idealist of the team.
    • Particularly, her framing of her HYDRA lab partner to save herself (even though he wasn't an innocent bystander), her near-constant verbal sparring with Mack, and her inability to deal maturely with the increasing messiness of her relationship with Fitz, generally make her less unambiguously sympathetic than in the first season.
    • There's also the fact that she threatened to kill Ward, but it's easy to see how her actions on that occasion could be entirely justified.
    • Then she develops Fantastic Racism just as Skye becomes a superhuman herself.
    • Episodes in the second half of Season 2 continues, as she develops new IC Ers, that are more powerful..but also risk permanent damage.
  • Town Girls: The (lovely, idealistic and adorkable) Femme to May's Butch and Skye's Neither.
  • Uncertain Doom: Season 2 ends with her getting abruptly sucked into the Kree weapon from Gonzales' ship, with no idea what this actually means for her.
  • The Unfavorite: The S.H.I.E.L.D. comics give her a brother and sister to whom her father compares her unfavourably.
  • Walking Spoiler: Every trope associated with her role in Season 2 has been thoroughly spoiler tagged for this reason. Between her being Fitz's hallucination for much of her screen-time and promos indicating that the real Simmons defected to HYDRA when she's truly Coulson's Reverse Mole, it's almost impossible to discuss her character with someone who hasn't seen the new season yet.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • In "FZZT", Coulson rakes her and Ward over the coals for jumping off the Bus during the climax.
    Coulson: Don't get me wrong — I'm happy you're both alive, truly, and I realize you were trying to save the team — but what you did today? That was not your call. Just getting you out of the water — do you have any idea what a pain it is dealing with the Moroccan office? Don't you ever pull a stunt like that again! We'd hate to lose you, Jemma.
    • She comes in for one of these courtesy of Skye and Trip in "Heavy is the Head": they're not happy with her for leaving Fitz and the rest of the team. They have to rethink that line of thinking in "Making Friends and Influencing People" when they realize that she didn't in fact just leave them, and Fitz, because she wanted to but to infiltrate HYDRA. At that point they get it - they just don't know if she's going to survive it, considering she's such a bad liar..
  • 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 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. It gets worse after the incident in the Kree city, after which she becomes the one to push hardest for just putting superhumans down.
  • Women Are Wiser: 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.

    Antoine "Trip" Triplett 

Antoine "Trip" Triplett

Portrayed by: BJ Britt
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Introduced in ''Episode 14: "T.A.H.I.T.I.")

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. Trip soon joined the team on a permanent basis after HYDRA's continued existence was exposed.
  • 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: One of the team's more combat-effective members. Despite still recovering from a life threatening wound, Tripp manages to run around and disarm four remote bombs before they detonate and kill everyone in the Underground city.
  • Badass Family: His grandfather is a Howling Commando!
  • 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.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The first member of Team Coulson to die as of "What They Become".
  • 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.
  • Catchphrase: His all-purpose "Damn!".
    • Also according to his team "Come on gurl!"
  • Cultured Badass: Much to Fitz' consternation.
    Triplett:...but I'm telling you, he's chasing the white whale.
    Fitz: Okay, have you even read Moby-Dick?
    Triplett: Yeah, have you?
    [beat]
    Fitz: That's not the point.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: His death turns him into one for half the cast. Simmons's Fantastic Racism comes due to blaming superpowers and the pursuit/study of them for causing Trip's death, Skye is shown to blame herself immensely which likely contributes towards her Power Incontinence, and Mack and Bobbi consider his death (as well as Mack's brainwashing) the final straw that causes them to turn against Coulson's leadership that leads to 'real' S.H.I.E.L.D. shutting him down. As noted the episode following, they're going to laugh a lot less without him.
  • 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.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Downplayed, but it's there. Upon hearing that Coulson and Skye were in the alien city, he immediately jumps back into the city, WITHOUT the hazmat suit he had on earlier. He proceeds to find and disarm the four bombs that he and Fitz-Simmons just set up, when earlier, they had to SPLIT UP for them to make it out with "ten minutes to spare". Finally, he makes it into the room where Skye and Raina are in just before it's sealed, though this proves to be fatal for him. He does manage to break the Diviner before he gets Taken for Granite, thus preventing a widespread catastrophe.
  • Fake Guest Star: He appears in all but one episode in the final run of Season One, 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. This is still the case in Season Two, despite the popular belief that he'd be promoted to lead cast and the fact that he appears in every episode. Justified as he barely makes it to the halfway point of Season Two before carking it.
  • Famous Ancestor: His grandfather is one of the Howling Commandos. Quite possibly where he gets his Cultured Badass from. We never did find out which one, though.
  • Good Counterpart: 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Had Trip not shattered the crystal, the Terrigen Mists would have spread much farther, triggering widespread mutations and chaos.
  • 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 S.H.I.E.L.D. gear.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: After he dies, his body crumbles to pieces almost immediately due to the effects of Skye's new earthquake powers on his petrified remains, presumably so there's no way for fans to speculate that He's Just Hiding or for the writers to back out and claim he got better.
  • 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 HYDRA 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.
  • Nice Guy: A genuinely good and kindhearted man, Trip never let any of the evils he saw in the world shake his belief in good. He's also pretty much the one person in S.H.I.E.L.D. who everyone - from Coulson, to May, to even Hunter - seems to like and get along with; even Fitz couldn't dislike him despite his insecurities. Highlighted by his death - everyone on the team is heavily demoralised and upset by it, and tempers flare in response to interpersonal conflicts coming to the fore.
  • Not So Stoic: All stocism is dropped once he drags out his grandfather's S.H.I.E.L.D. kit. See The Knights Who Say Squee above.
  • The Paragon: As explained by May after his death, Coulson sees in Trip all the qualities on which he feels S.H.I.E.L.D. should be built on.
  • Romantic False Lead: He seems to be this for Simmons, since their implied mutual attraction is never really explored further than how it impacts Fitz and Simmons's relationship, and is usually shown from Fitz's point of view. So far his part in the Love Triangle that got set up in Season One has not even been mentioned again, since the whole Fitz-Simmons arc took a different direction in Season Two. The Love Triangle involving the three of them gets one last minor nod before Trip dies in Episode 2.10, but overall that seems to confirm the use of this trope.
  • Sacrificial Lion: True to form, he's built up as a major yet secondary character for the best part of a season, then becomes the first member of Team Coulson to die in the Season 2 mid-season finale.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Trip spin-kicks the crystal, shattering it, in hopes of freeing Skye from the stone covering her. It fails, and he's hit by some of the Diviner shards, which turn him to stone, thinking Skye died as well. Not so senseless is his Heroic Sacrifice detailed above.
  • Ship Tease: He had quite a few scenes with Simmons, particularly in Season 1, that hint that they may become involved, causing Fitz to go all Green-Eyed Monster whenever the three of them are together.
  • 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 wherever I go."
  • The Stoic: While he's cool headed and reserved, he's 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.
  • Taken for Granite: He dies by being turned to stone after part of the Diviner crystal becomes lodged in his chest while he tries to free Skye from its influence.

     Lola 

Lola

A '62 red Corvette that Coulson helped his father restore. Coulson has since made his own modification to the car.
  • Brick Joke: Remember how Lola can fly? Comes in handy in "Seeds". The ability becomes a Chekhov's Gun in "Nothing Personal," when her flying ability saves Coulson and Skye, likely at the cost of her "life."
  • Cargo Ship:
    • In-Universe: several other characters - including Skye, Maria Hill and Nick Fury - take Coulson's professed love for Lola quite seriously. Skye even echoes Coulson's warning of "don't touch Lola" to a group of visitors when he's not around to do so himself.
    • Coulson eventually reveals that when he was a boy, his father restored a '62 Corvette and had his son help; the young Phil was upset and wished he was out with his friends... until he saw how beautiful the finished product is. Lola is implied to be that car, but either way it's clear she has sentimental value to him because she brings back fond memories of his late father.
  • Companion Cube: Coulson refers to his car the same way he would a member of his team. Nick Fury even once asked how "she was doing."
    Reyes: There's the flying man-cave, the hot red sports car—
    Coulson: Her name is Lola.
    Reyes: Of course it is.
  • Cool Car: A red Corvette that can fly.
  • Flying Car: Lola is equipped with a version of Howard Stark's early repulsor technology as demonstrated in Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Hates Being Touched:
    • According to Coulson, who tells everyone not to touch her.
    • Agent Blake makes a point of loudly running his finger along Lola's side as he walks off the Bus in "FZZT" to piss Coulson off.
    • It's given a Meaningful Echo in "The Magical Place" when, as she's kicked off the Bus on Agent Hand's orders, Skye tells her and everyone else still on board, "Don't touch Lola."
    • Skye is naturally upset when Ward and Deathlok shoot her up as she and Coulson use her to escape the Bus, which Ward had captured.
    • Once Emily VanCamp touched Lola in a Marvel special, the fandom went nuts... but Coulson himself sees no problem. (Lorelei apparently has a pass too).
    • He lets Skye drive her in the Season 2 finale, though this is partly out of necessity, since he only has one hand, which would make driving difficult.
  • Mid Life Crisis Car: Camilla accuses her of being this. Coulson says she's more of an afterlife crisis car.
  • Number One Dime: Is this to Coulson. In Season 2, Coulson explains that its sentimental value comes from the fact that his dad was a car guy, and they together restored a certain red '62 Corvette.
  • Put on a Bus: Rarely seen in Season 2, though occasionally referenced; mostly by Mack, who's angling to do some work on her. Lola reappears in "One Door Closes", when Coulson finally offers Mack a peek under the hood.
  • Weaponized Car: Lola has a pair of Aston Martin DB5-like machine guns that pop out from the front lights, as Ward and Deathlok found out the hard way. According to Fitz, she also has flamethrowers that we have yet to see in action as well as the world's first GPS.

Introduced in Season 2

     Lance Hunter 

Lance Hunter

Portrayed by: Nick Blood
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Introduced in Season 2)

A mercenary who used to work closely with Isabelle Hartley and Idaho. He becomes a member of Team Coulson in Season 2.
  • Age Lift: The comic version of Hunter is an older man who serves as head of S.W.O.R.D.
  • Amazon Chaser: His ex-wife is a kick-ass S.H.I.E.L.D. agent note  and it's implied that he had a crush on Isabelle note  who is also a kick-ass S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Few names are as macho and aggressive as "Lance Hunter". His actor has a pretty cool name as well.
  • Badass:
    • He manages to get the drop on May and Triplett, impressing Coulson in the process.
    • He later fought his way off of the Iliad when the entire crew was trying to stop him.
  • Berserk Button: Don't keep secrets or lie to him to keep those secrets. That's why his marriage to Bobbi ended in divorce.
  • British Teeth: Idaho states that this is the reason why Hunter broke a tooth while eating a meal Idaho had prepared.
  • Butt Monkey: Is increasingly humiliated episode-to-episode for laughs.
  • Canon Foreigner: Played with. He is the first member of Team Coulson to have a comic counterpart before being introduced on the show, but he bears little resemblance to his comic counterpart outside of name and nationality. This leads to a weird bit of Canon Immigrant, as comics Lance Hunter was later reintroduced in the Mockingbird comic, but resembling his TV counterpart far more, including the Age Lift.
  • Cassandra Truth: While his first complaints about his ex-wife Bobbi sound like hyperbole, it's eventually revealed that their relationship problems stem from the fact that Bobbi always has some secret side-job running that inevitably spoils their relationship as soon as Hunter figures it out. By contrast, Hunter, despite being a secret agent, is not a big fan of secrets within secrets and is generally straight with her. This makes it all the more ironic that Bobbi would be working for the supposedly transparent "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. while Hunter sticks by Coulson, who plays things almost as close to the vest as spymaster extraordinaire Fury.
  • Crazy-Prepared: He carries around a hip flask of scotch and two shot glasses in the event that he's stuck somewhere cold. The second glass is for whomever will help "keep [him] warm".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Befitting his Britishness, Hunter can be quite snarky when he wants to be without having to change the tone of his voice.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: A former lieutenant in the Special Air Servicenote .
  • Expy: The television version of Lance Hunter, as a deadpan snarker with a heart of gold who is also Mockingbird's ex-husbandnote , has more in common with Hawkeye than his comic counterpartnote . He's also rather similar to Dominic Fortune, a mercenary who worked with Mockingbird and often flirted with her.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • He's smarmy and sarcastic, but he can also be incredibly loyal and Coulson realizes that, financial considerations aside, Hunter will go to great lengths do what he thinks is right. This leads Coulson to recruit him for S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.0, because the new agency needs people who will do the wrong things for the right reasons.
    • He's also surprisingly kind and supportive of Fitz, insisting that he "buy him a beer" after they work together to repair the Bus and being quite possibly the first person to actively praise his engineering skills since his injury. Later, when Fitz is discussing his unrequited feelings for Simmons during a conversation about ex-girlfriends, instead of making light of it, Hunter reassuringly tells him that it's her loss.
  • The Lancer: Whenever May isn't around to hold the role, Hunter will play the part to Coulson; Lance is the cynical mercenary to Phil's idealistic leader. Especially when the two of them are on the run from "Real S.H.I.E.L.D." and making plans to fight back against them and HYDRA.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • He left the British Army under mysterious circumstances.
    • He's also been helped (read: thrown) out of a helicopter before. He doesn't reveal why.
    • He broke a tooth because of a mysterious and disgusting meal Idaho cooked for him in Budapest.
    • He and Bobbi went on a road trip through Arizona that was so horrible that he can't listen to the Eagles without getting the chills.
  • Only in It for the Money:
    • While he considers Hartley a friend, he makes clear that he's only helping S.H.I.E.L.D. because he's been promised payment. Hartley has to tell Hunter to shut up when he won't stop bringing up the subject of his remuneration. Coulson even puts Hartley's team under surveillance partly because Hunter might decide to run off with cash S.H.I.E.L.D. can't afford to lose.
    • Talbot tries to get Hunter to sell out Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. by letting the mercenary name his own price. Subverted, because although Hunter does ask for an extremely large payday, what he really wants is for Hartley and Idaho to be given respectful burials and not be thrown into paupers' graves like so many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents after the agency's collapse.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: None of his stories about his ex-wife show her in a good light. At their mildest, Hunter's stories show her to be a nagger. At their worst, he says she's not even human. Once Bobbi is actually introduced, it's clear he's exaggerating, but later revelations indicate she really is the problem behind their relationship because she can't step out of the secret agent mentality, a fact Bobbi herself makes no effort to deny despite insisting she does love him.
    Hunter: It didn't work out because interspecies relationships are hard! I was a human whereas she was a demonic hell beast.
    Mack: He doesn't like her.
    Trip: You don't say.
    Hunter: She's pure evil.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He attempts to avenge Hartley and Idaho by stomping into a park while blatantly brandishing a sniper rifle in order to take down Creel. Unfortunately for Hunter, he ends up having to fight a much larger man with superpowers in hand to hand combat.
  • Sex with the Ex: Happens with Bobbi in Season 2 Episode 8, inside a car.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: When he extends the hand of friendship to Fitz, it's holding a bottle of beer. He says he looks forward to working together in the future (and sharing more beer). He later shares scotch with Coulson when the two are on the run from "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He is not happy at having to go out in the field with Bobbi, but he still does his best to watch out for her and it turns out that they are in perfect sync in combat situations.
  • True Companions:
    • While he's very much a mercenary motivated by financial reasons, he genuinely considers Hartley and Idaho as friends. When Hartley is hurt by the original 084, his only thought is to get her out of danger and to the nearest doctor. He even amputates Hartley's arm simply because she asked him to. Later, he makes clear to Coulson that the decision to abandon the mission was his alone and that Hartley remained determined to do her duty to the very end.
    • After Hartley and Idaho are killed, Hunter suffers from survivor's guilt and goes out of his way not just to get revenge, but also to make sure that they get the respectful funerals they deserve. Coulson taking care of the arrangements is partly what motivates Hunter to join S.H.I.E.L.D. permanently and not just as a mercenary because he sees that Coulson cares for the people who work for him.
  • Undying Loyalty: He is incredibly loyal and will stick with whichever side he's on come hell or high water, even if it means turning against the woman he loves.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: It seems as if most of his friendships are like this. He trades barbs and quips with everybody, making it all the more shocking when he lays off on the attitude and shows genuine compassion to those around him.
  • Working with the Ex: He is shocked and decidedly unhappy when he discovers that Bobbi Morse a.k.a. his ex-wife will be joining Team Coulson. To be fair, she wasn't all that thrilled to see him again, either. The rest of Team Coulson, however, find the situation to be hilarious. Making things worse for Hunter is that at least Coulson and May clearly favor Bobbi over Hunter, even though the sniping between the two is mutual.
    Coulson: Play nice.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Hunter has absolutely no problem with punching a female opponent square in the jaw and then knocking her out with a chair when he and Bobbi go up against a group of HYDRA-employed mercenaries. Justified given he was married to an Action Girl so he's well-aware of the fact women can kick ass.

    Alphonso "Mack" Mackenzie 

Alphonso "Mack" Mackenzie

Portrayed by: Henry Simmons
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Introduced in Season 2)

Mack is a mechanic and equipment specialist Coulson recruits for S.H.I.E.L.D..
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: His comics counterpart has gray hair. Here, he is Bald of Awesome.
  • Adaptation Name Change: He goes by "Al" rather than "Mack" in the comics. Ironically, rather than solving any naming issues, the new nickname violates the One Steve Limit, since there was a minor character named Agent Mack in Season One.
  • Age Lift: His comics counterpart is a veteran S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Here, he looks younger.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Mack never specifies a gender when talking about his exes, his only noted relationship with a woman is strictly platonic that borders on Like Brother and Sister, and he's shown to have a particularly close and quickly developed friendship with the Ambiguously Bi Fitz and had something similar with a former colleague who gave his life to protect Mack, something that brought him to tears. It's not specified yet what sexuality he has, but there's strong indication he's possibly the first gay character in the MCU.
  • Ambiguously Evil: He and Bobbi are double agents for Gonzales's S.H.I.E.L.D., which is separate from Coulson's branch and trying to overthrow him. Mack shares their penchant for Fantastic Racism, though he still clearly care about Fitz and tries to protect him, and wanted to avoid conflict with Hunter.
  • Amicable Exes: He claims that all of his exes are "awesome". The worst thing that's ever happened to him in a relationship is that he had to pretend to like quinoa for a year.
  • An Axe to Grind: His weapon of choice in 'S.O.S.'
  • Badass: Holds his own against Gordon with just an axe.
  • Badass Boast: "I'm the one who kills Gordon."
  • Black and Nerdy: When Hartley's team and Team Coulson come back after a violent encounter with Absorbing Man, Mack's primary concern is whether or not the agents managed to retrieve some technology he could play around with. He's visibly upset when Triplett tells him no. He also plays Gears of War and is itching for a chance to get to work on Lola.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Zigzagged: He's set up to be the first member of Team Coulson to die when he becomes possessed in "...Ye Who Enter Here". By the looks of things, Mack survives whatever the alien defense mechanism does to him once it releases its hold. However, as soon as we see Mack is probably OK, Trip falls victim to this trope for real.
  • Black Best Friend: He and Bobbie are close and good friends.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Becomes this after touching an alien defensive mechanism that makes him attack Coulson and the rest along with giving him enhanced strength and durability. It wears off an episode later.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • In a good way, as the imaginary Simmons notes that it's quite refreshing how unlike everyone else, he doesn't walk on eggshells around Fitz. It's enough that Fitz starts to use him as a sounding board rather than the imaginary Simmons.
    • With Simmons herself after she returns. He's the only one who's not afraid to confront her directly about the fact that she apparently abandoned Fitz right after he told her how he felt and nearly died saving her life. As with Fitz, he's still fairly kind in his delivery, even if what he has to say is undeniably brutal.
    • He has no problem telling Coulson to his face that he doesn't trust him after Skye's powers are revealed.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: He takes it upon himself to keep Fitz grounded.
  • Cool Car: He owns a classic Rolls Royce that he restored himself. Coulson still won't let him touch Lola, though.
  • Cutting the Knot: He has the presence of mind to simply lop off Coulson's hand to save him from the effects of the Terrigen crystal.
  • Deep Cover Agent: Along with Bobbi, he is revealed to be working for a separate branch of S.H.I.E.L.D. that considers itself the "real" S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • The Engineer: Mack is a skilled mechanic and loves to play around with technology, allowing him to bond with Fitz. Unlike Fitz, however, Mack doesn't have a natural affinity for technology and requires things like schematics and instructions in order to know how to make and repair things. Mack also doesn't have a formal engineering education like Fitz's, meaning that he can't help Fitz find the exact terminology when the latter's aphasia gets in the way. Despite this, its revealed he was the Head Engineer on the Iliad, indicating his skills are pretty developed.
  • Exact Words: When he was questioned by Coulson (pre-Season) and asked if he was loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D., he said he was. He didn't specify which S.H.I.E.L.D., though, and more importantly he doesn't (or at least didn't, at the time) consider the ship that Coulson's running to be the "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D. in his eyes.
  • Fake Guest Star: He's appeared in every episode of Season Two to date and usually has as much screen time as the lead cast, but is still credited as a guest star, along with B. J. Britt (Triplett) and, later, Adrianne Palicki (Bobbi). Averted in season 3, as he was Promoted to Opening Titles.
  • Fantastic Racism: As Season 2 progresses, he develops a dislike of anything "alien" after Kree technology causes both his temporary brainwashing and Triplett's death. He eventually resolves to leave S.H.I.E.L.D. because he just doesn't trust Coulson. When he changes his mind, Coulson puts him in charge of securing and researching alien artifacts, on the grounds that a man who refuses to trust anything of alien origin will always be careful around them.
  • Fighting from the Inside: Despite being Brainwashed and Crazy, he is able to tell Coulson to run. Mack also temporarily halts his rampage when faced with Fitz begging him to snap out of it.
  • Genius Bruiser: Built like a brick wall, able to hold his own in a fight. He is also a highly skilled engineer and mechanic.
  • Gentle Giant: Tallest member of the team . He prefers to leave the fighting to others and is content to stay behind with his engines and tools.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: He's normally dressed in grease-stained clothing and can usually be found elbow deep in machinery. When he dresses up in a suit and brings out a classic Rolls to sell a cover, he looks like a completely different person.
  • Heel Realisation: Starting with "The Frenemy of my Enemy", it finally starts getting through to him that maybe Real S.H.I.E.L.D. is actually part of the problem when he notices they're more obsessed with taking out Coulson (who is relatively small fry) than stopping HYDRA (who are meant to be their actual enemies). It doesn't stop him from quitting when Coulson comes out on top.
  • Hot Men At Work: Lampshaded when Fitz and hallucination!Simmons discuss Mack's attractiveness, helpfully accompanied by a shot of Mack wearing a muscle-emphasizing undershirt while he works in the garage.
  • Hypocrite: He refuses to trust Coulson because Coulson was revived with the GH serum, believing Coulson is not really in control of his actions. To justify this, he cites his possession by Kree technology when he entered the Kree temple. Not once does he ever consider that he might still be under alien influence, even though by his own logic he is no more trustworthy than Coulson is.
  • Irony: After discovering that Coulson has alien blood in him in "The Writing on the Wall", he expresses some distrust in Coulson's leadership, especially after seeing how crazed he became from the compulsion to carve symbols. Two episodes later, he gets possessed by a Kree defense system that turns him into a superhuman that mindlessly protects the underground Kree city. This experience only hardens his opinion that Coulson shouldn't be trusted.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While his jerkass moments mostly only occur on the topic of alien influence and technology, in "S.O.S.", Mack is immediately proven right on his insistence that "we are not opening that damn box, not in a thousand years."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Originally he was a nice guy who was helping Fitz with his brain damage. Then he began distrusting Coulson due to the alien blood in him. Then came the incident at the Kree City and his Fantastic Racism became his most pronounced trait. He's still a good guy, but perhaps not as nice as we originally thought he was.
  • Minored In Ass Kicking: He's mostly an engineer, but can definitely kick some ass when called upon.
  • The Mole: He's actually loyal to a rival S.H.I.E.L.D. faction and is working to take down Team Coulson from within.
  • Nice Guy: He's friendly and really makes an effort to talk to Fitz and tries to help him out. He even succeeds in recognizing that Fitz knows of a way to take down Creel but is having trouble because of his brain damage.
  • The Nicknamer: Fitz is "Turbo", Skye is "Tremors", Alisha is "Ginger Ninja" and Gordon is "No Eyes".
  • Non-Action Guy:
    • Appears to be this, despite being a big guy with a long history serving S.H.I.E.L.D; his role in Coulson's team is actually much closer to Fitz's. Once he gets possessed by the defense mechanisms of the Kree temple, he gains Super Strength and Super Toughness and viciously battles those approaching the temple who lack Inhuman blood. It's justified, in that as Coulson says, this isn't really Mack.
    • At one point, he directly says that violence isn't his thing. Later in the same episode, he effortlessly renders Lance unconscious.
    • Completely subverted when in flashbacks we see him helping fighting off HYDRA agents with Bobbie back in the day.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted: Not to be confused with the one-off character of Agent Mack from the first season.
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: For season 3.
  • Race Lift: He's white in the comics.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When the S.H.I.E.L.D. civil war ends with Coulson still in charge and "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D. in an advisory role, Mack quits because he still doesn't trust Coulson. He even admits that, in spite of all their assumptions about Coulson being wrong, he still thinks Coulson's pursuit of alien technology is foolish and won't be a part of it.
  • Super Strength: When he's Brainwashed and Crazy from one of the Kree city's defense mechanisms, he's granted superhuman strength. It goes away when the brainwashing does.
  • Take Up My Sword: Does this in a metaphorical way for Gonzales by primairly using an axe in "S.O.S"
  • 10-Minute Retirement: His decision to quit after Coulson becomes the man in charge of the combined S.H.I.E.L.D.s becomes a temporary one when the Inhumans attack.
  • There Are No Therapists: He's clearly suffering some serious PTSD after the events in the Inhuman city, but beyond Fitz and Bobbi no one seems to do much to help him which contributes to his decision to vote to take down Coulson's leadership.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The second half of season two shows him increasingly irritable and hostile, though given what happened to him its not hard to sympathise with him.
  • Translator Buddy: He is the first person to confront Fitz's aphasia head on and make an effort to try and understand what Fitz is trying to express, be it through interpreting the true meaning behind Fitz's words (such as by realizing that Fitz saying "I didn't solve this today!" means "I solved this in the past but I can't remember which design") or by running through lists of words or design schematics until Fitz hears or sees what he's thinking of. It takes a significant amount of effort on the parts of both men, but it does help Fitz to open up in the wake of his trauma.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • He and Hunter bicker a lot, but it's all in good fun.
    • He later pokes gentle fun at Fitz for not making sense, which is pretty bold when talking to someone who's suffered brain damage, but Fitz seems to appreciate it.
  • Willfully Weak: That Non-Action Guy thing is self-inflicted. He is fully capable of easily rendering someone unconscious with a chokehold and can fight alongside Bobbi just fine, but he doesn't like violence and so avoids it as much as possible.

     Bobbi Morse 

Barbara "Bobbi" Morse

Portrayed by: Adrianne Palicki

Bobbi Morse is an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., codenamed Mockingbird, who offers her services to Coulson in between the first two seasons. She appears in "Hen in the Wolf House" seemingly as HYDRA's Security Chief, but in actuality was a Deep Cover Agent assigned to infiltrate them so she can look out for Simmons and help extract her should they need to. She joins the team in the fifth episode of the second season.

Billy Koenig has a pretty unsubtle crush on her, while Lance Hunter is still hung up on her.
  • The Ace: Expert undercover agent, One Woman Army, can interrogate someone to the point that they give up and commit suicide. Coulson even refers to her as one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s best.
  • Action Girl: She wastes no time demolishing people in a fight.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Blonde in the comics, but appears to have dark brunette hair in her first appearance. It's ultimately subverted, as "A Hen in the Wolf House" reveals that she originally was a blonde, but dyed her hair when she went undercover in HYDRA; once done with this, she's blonde before her next appearance.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Her field agent physique is played up; Simmons can't stop gushing about how awesome she is, to the point it appears she has a lady-crush on her. The showrunners have commented on how she's a very sexy character as well.
  • Ambiguously Evil: She and Mack are double agents for Gonzales's S.H.I.E.L.D., which is separate from Coulson's branch and trying to overthrow him. Unlike Mack and pretty much everyone else in the other branch, however, she doesn't automatically label anyone who's Gifted as a threat and treats Coulson's leadership style as the problem, rather than using it as a thinly veiled excuse to dismiss him on the pretense of being affected by Kree blood.
  • Amicable Exes: One-sided example. Bobbi vouched for her ex and appears to not hold any hard feelings about their divorce, but Lance can't stop ranting about her for at least four episodes before she's introduced. When he starts getting pissy, she snarks him back.
  • Awesome by Analysis: She's able to tell a lot about Bakshi's person and mental state through the words he uses and the way he pronounces certain words, and is able to figure out that there's more to Whitehall simply because of how Bahkshi described him, leading the team to discovering the former's past.
  • Badass Normal: No powers, but that doesn't stop her from fighting super thugs when she encounters them. This is best exemplified so far when she's able to keep up with a demonically possessed super strong Mack, who's able to shrug off Icer rounds with ease and tosses the others around rather easily; while she can't take him on in a straight up fight, she's able to use skill to avoid being killed until she can take him down with electrified batons.
  • Becoming the Mask: Despite being a mole for Gonzales she does care for her friends on Coulson's team. She was also previously sent in to get intel from Lance, falling in love with him in the process, although she still left with the intel.
  • The Big Guy: Bobbi is a pretty tough fighter, and is also fairly tall. Besides Mack, she stands taller than most of the cast. Her costume is also the most battle-oriented in terms of design, showcasing this.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Palicki has also played a DC character. It didn't work out very well. Ironically, said character was given a pair of metal battle staves in a departure from the comic, where she primarily fights with a lasso, a sword, and a shield, which is somewhat puzzling in retrospect, but at least give Palicki practice in hindsight for this role.
    • Before she was introduced, Hunter mentioned how she and Hartley (played by Lucy Lawless) were friends; this means that Wonder Woman and Xena were friends. Or Wonder Woman was friends with herself, considering Lawless voiced the character in Justice League: The New Frontier.
    • She travels in an invisible jet.
  • Catchphrase: Sometimes, she'll let out a sarcastic "Hail HYDRA" in response to the possibility that someone had been turned to HYDRA's side.
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Mockingbird. This is only said in the promos and advertising material for Season Two.
  • Cool Big Sis: Simmons thinks that she's "amazing" and gets to be on a First Name Basis with her. "A Hen in the Wolf House" can be read as an older sister babysitting the younger one for their father.
  • Create Your Own Villain: She is ultimately the one responsible for Kara aka Agent 33 going down the bad road, as she, while undercover for HYDRA, gave up the warehouse where Kara was at that time..
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mainly towards her ex, who is more than happy to return the favour.
  • Deep Cover Agent:
    • She'd been infiltrating HYDRA before she's introduced, to the point she got a high position in HYDRA's security forces, assigned to find and detect double agents and moles.
    • Along with Mack, she turns out to be a Deep Cover Agent to Coulson as well, working for a separate branch of S.H.I.E.L.D. that considers itself the "real" S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Didn't Think This Through: She recommended Hunter to Coulson under the assumption that he'd at best stick with it for a few weeks before taking some other job. She never considered he might take the job seriously and develop genuine loyalty to Coulson. Hunter lampshades this.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: When she was working at HYDRA, she was secretly working for Coulson's S.H.I.E.L.D. while secretly working for Gonalzes's S.H.I.E.L.D., while still retaining some degree of loyalty to Coulson's S.H.I.E.L.D. and pretending to come clean to her ex-husband while still feeding him lies on numerous occasions. This sort of multi-layered duplicity is why Lance says they got divorced.
  • Dual Wielding: Pair of dual battle staves.
  • First Name Basis: She insists Simmons call her Bobbi.
  • Fake Guest Star: She's basically been a lead character since joining Team Coulson in Episode Five of Season Two, but Palicki is still credited as a guest star in the season's first half. She's promoted to the leading cast in "Aftershocks".
  • Heel Realization: She begins to regret betraying Coulson as Gonzales grows more and more belligerent.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Justifies her descision to rat out the safehouse for HYDRA that way towards Kara. A reason that doesn't sit well with Kara.
  • The Mole: She's actually loyal to a rival S.H.I.E.L.D. faction and is working to take down Team Coulson from within.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Played with; in the comics, her costume is either black or blue primarily Depending on the Artist, but here its made black with a blue highlight (and thus, incorporating both colours), while the usual white belly-stripe was replaced with grey. The suit also includes a few extra straps for tactical purposes and some protective plating on the shoulders, making it look more like realistic battle gear.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: She convinced Gonzales to take a chance to take back the Illiad instead of sinking it like Fury ordered - thus forming the nucleus for "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D. But as the season goes on she begins to regret it as Gonzales grows more belligerent and hostile towards Team Coulson.
    • In order to maintain her cover at HYDRA, she had to give up the location of a S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house, hoping nobody was going to be in it. Turned out there was someone. Agent 33.
  • One Head Taller: Than her ex-husband Lance Hunter, and for that matter with most of the main cast save Mack (and Ward). Adrianne Palicki is far from a short woman.
  • One-Man Army: She alone takes down every HYDRA soldier they come across with ease, and is able to extract herself and Simmons with almost no trouble or help, save for Trip in an invisible jet, and thus setting her up as a combatant on par with May and Ward. Coulson refers to her as "one of their best agents", putting her on par with Hawkeye and Widow if true.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: She doesn't even like people to use her surname, introducing herself as Bobbi, and so far the only appearance of her full name has been on a transmission.
  • Promoted to Opening Titles: She was made a part of the main cast starting from the second half of Season 2 after a stint as a recurring character.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Hunter's stories about her invariably put her in this light. When she finds out that he's been spreading this image of her as a psychotic hell-beast, she seems more amused by it than anything. It's later revealed, though, that their on-off relationship is actually her fault, as Bobbi can't get out of her secret agent mentality and is always playing mind games. This, inevitably, would drive Hunter away whenever they get together because he wants an honest relationship and eventually gets tired of being manipulated. She rationalizes this by claiming that it's Hunter who's afraid of commitment, though she also doesn't deny her own problems when called on it.
  • Remember the New Guy: While all the Season Two characters get this to some extent, Bobbi is notable as she's introduced and joins the team in "A Hen in the Wolf House", but everyone in the cast already knows her personally and appear to be great friends with the team already, especially Mack. She also counts as New Old Flame for Hunter, save for the fact he wouldn't shut up about her since he was introduced.
  • Sex with the Ex: Happens with Lance in Season 2 Episode 8, inside a car. It wasn't the first time.
  • Shipper on Deck: She seems to support FitzSimmons, repeatedly urging Simmons to talk to Fitz.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She towers over Simmons when they share scenes, and uses this to her advantage to intimidate her in their early meetings.
  • The Tell: When she's frustrated with or stumped by something, she twirls her staves. Hunter notices.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: She and Hunter can't stop taking metaphorical shots as each other even as real bullets are flying. Luckily for them, they know each other so well that they can take on numerically superior opponents with no problem.
  • Token Good Teammate: For "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. She's the only one that doesn't seem to have a Fantastic Racism problem, and she's the only one voicing the opinion that Coulson isn't hoarding Gifted individuals for nefarious ends.
  • Understatement: She considers Raina leaking Simmons's identity to HYDRA, and thus forcing her to extract them early, to be a "curveball" at most.
  • Weapon of Choice: Like in the comics, she primarily fights with her Battle staves; though she's good with a gun and can fight with anything from her fists to a napkin, she generally does most damage with the staves. Though is how her use of them is changed from the comics; generally she'd snap them together as a staff, but here she primarily uses them as dual batons and fights eskrima style.
  • Working with the Ex: She vouched for Hunter when Coulson considered recruiting him, but she is not exactly happy to be working with her former husband or to be within his immediate vicinity. Seeing Hunter immediately wipes the smile off her face and her voice takes on an annoyed tone.