Due to many liberties taken with the original material, this character page is distinct from that of Psycho.
"Maybe some people don't get to start over."
Played By: Freddie Highmore
A smart, quietly funny, handsome and sometimes shy seventeen-year-old boy with an intensely close bond to his mother. Norman is resistant to starting over in a new town, but begins to change his mind as he spread his wings a little.
Adorkable: Norman is awkward around others but means well. As long as you're not trying to hurt his mother that is...
Bad Liar: Whenever he tries to lie, he avoids eye contact, stammers and even becomes outright aggressive.
Berserk Button: Insult Norma in front of Norman, just try it. If you're lucky, you'll be able to defend yourself from a killing blow.
Anytime a member of the opposite sex shows interest in Norma in front of him.
Beware the Nice Ones: Norman is polite and nice to most everybody he meets. Most characters don't realize that this shy momma's boy is who they should be worried about angering.
The Dutiful Son: In contrast to disobedient rebel Dylan, Norman is usually at his mother's beck and call.
Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: The show took cues from Anthony Perkins' appearance in the original film and cast the tall, pale, dark-haired Freddie Highmore.
Extreme Doormat: Mostly when it comes to his mother. Norman has a hard time saying no to her though he tries sometimes when he believes Norma has really crossed the line. He also goes along with most things others ask him to do as well.
Fake American: Norman is played by British actor Freddie Highmore.
Incest Subtext: He checks out his mother through a window when she's getting dressed.
In the Blood: Every living member of the Bates family has murdered at least one person in a rage.
Momma's Boy: He's practically the poster boy. Norman can't help but act like a jealous, possessive lover with her...and she's the same with him. They both seem to want some measure of freedom from each other, but won't allow the other to have it.
Mommy Issues: After Norma gets raped, Norman keeps the rapist's tool belt as a memento of it. Even he is unsure of why he did this.
Oedipus Complex: He hates it when men show attraction to his mother, and is fiercely protective of her even when she doesn't need it.
Patricide: Norman killed his father while he was in a trance.
Split Personality: Just like in the original movie, Norman seems to be developing a split personality that takes over whenever Norma is in trouble. Afterwards, Norman can't remember what he did but when he gets into these states he's always violent, refuses to talk to anyone, and very, very dangerous.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: With a manipulative mother and a town that keeps threatening to kill him, it's hard not to feel sorry for him even if he killed his father and most likely killed Miss Watson.
Norma Bates (née Calhoun)
"We came here to start over, I am starting over!"
Played By: Vera Farmiga
"What's important is that we're together. As long as we're together, nothing bad can really happen. Right, Norman?"
The resilient, intelligent, beautiful, complicated and mercurial mother of seventeen-year-old Norman Bates. A contemporary single mother, she is emotionally complex and utterly devoted to her son, constantly juggling her own needs and some hardcore baggage while trying to create a new home in a new town for herself and Norman.
Ambiguously Evil: She's willing to cover up murder and emotionally blackmail her sons to get what she wants, but she's also motivated by love and devotion. So far, she hasn't intentionally sought out an illegal situation.
Badass: She's more than willing to take care of things, even if she's frightened. She was ready to kill or die in a confrontation with Abernathy.
Berserk Button: Anytime a member of the opposite sex shows interest in Norman in front of her.
Broken Bird: She's had a horrible past, and terrible things keep happening to her. She was sexually abused by her brother, abused by her husband, raped by Keith Summers, betrayed by Zach Shelby and threatened with death by Jake Abernathy.
"Can I give you some advice? You gotta cut that shit out. "Mother?" Seriously, it... it's just weird."
Norma’s son by her first marriage and half-brother to Norman, Dylan is an edgy outsider in the Norma/Norman tea party. He’s a lost soul and a drifter who finds himself, by necessity, drifting back into the troubled lives of his mother and brother.
Aloof Big Brother: To Norman. Though honestly it's probably just a "played with" example since Norman really isn't looking for any closeness with him, at least at the start.
Badass: Dylan shows himself to be very competent and skilled; he becomes the unofficial 'muscle' of the Bates family.
He kills the man who shot Ethan. With a car.
He manages to kill Shelby even after being shot himself.
Fights Remo to a standstill while still in recovery from a gunshot wound.
Bullying a Dragon: How much of a dragon Norman is at this point is up for debate, but he's definitely willing to go at you if you talk about his mom, as Dylan does incessantly.
"You and I have no connection. We're not on the same playing field. Don't ever assume that we are."
The Sheriff of White Pine Bay, Romero is the “moral” center of the town, although morality is often a shifting line here. Imposing and discerning, he gets involved in Norma Bates’ life after an unfortunate incident at the motel.
Badass: He successfully kills the very dangerous Jake Abernathy.
Dirty Cop: After Shelby's true nature is revealed, he covers everything up to make himself appear competent.
It's Personal: He and Keith Summers were best friends before his murder.
I Never Said It Was Poison: When questioning Norma she mentions Keith disappearing, but Romero never mentioned anything of the sort.
Jerkass: Romero is cold and uninterested. He treats others with mild disdain or outright contempt.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Possibly, given that he covers for Norma even after finding out that she killed his best friend, and when he goes out of his way to protect Norma and her family from Jake Abernathy. His methods are certainly questionable, and he's not a friendly guy, but he seems to have good intentions.
Team Switzerland: He is very concerned about maintaining the peace between the two rival drug families in town.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives a small one to Norma when she tries to procure his help. He makes it very clear that they are not friends.
"Are you trying to say that you have something on me? Is that it? Because if you did, that really wouldn't be good for you, okay? I mean I might have to burn you down to the ground, you know? Don't ever try to intimidate me. Don't walk into my office and ask me for political favors based on nothing. You and I have no connection. We're not on the same playing field. Don't ever assume that we are. You don't know what you're doing. Go home, Mrs. Bates."
"The people in this town, they deal with things in a different way... but it gets dealt with."
The young, handsome, clear-eyed deputy of White Pine Bay. He has an immediate attraction to Norma and finds himself drawn into her life and wanting to take care of her.
Character Death: When the Bates family discovers his secrets, Shelby tries to kill them all. Fortunately Dylan manages to outsmart him, shooting him. Shelby stumbles out of the house before collapsing dead on the steps to the motel.
Creepy Basement: Shelby keeps his sex slave Jiao in his basement. His decoration is unsettling.
Dirty Cop: He was the business partner of Keith Summers and Jake Abernathy.
Disc One Final Boss: He becomes the main villain for the first half of the season, before being killed by Dylan.
Faux Affably Evil: Shelby is charming and kind, but that's just a disguise for the violent rapist he really is.
Nice Guy: Shelby has an easy smile and accommodating manner, especially in contrast to the cold Sheriff Romero.Except it's only surface; he's actually an unhinged Dirty Cop with a sex slave in his basement.
Lawman Gone Bad: Although it's unclear if he was ever 'good' to begin with.
The father of Bradley Martin and an employee of Gil Turner.
Character Death: Jerry turns up to the series driving a car while on fire. He later dies of his injuries, and the mystery of his death drives part of the plot. It's eventually revealed that the killer was Gil.
Your Cheating Heart: He was having an affair with Miss Watson, who was already dating someone else.
Played By: Terry Chen
An accomplice and friend of Dylan Massett who introduced him to the drug business in White Pine Bay.
Affably Evil: Ethan is a criminal involved in a very shady business with dangerous people, but he's also a pretty genial guy who takes Dylan under his wing and is more of a Punch Clock Villain than anything.
The Resenter: He hates that he's treated with no respect and has to work for the much younger, less experienced Dylan.
Played By: Keenan Tracey
"You want some?"
A marijuana trimmer in Dylan Massett's crew. The crew stays at the Bates Motel, where Gunner gives Emma Decody a marijuana cupcake.
Grand Romantic Gesture: To some extent, the cupcake he leaves on the desk for Emma; it was wrapped nicely for her along with a letter next to it, saying that he hoped he didn't get her in trouble, signed with his name and a peace sign.
Meet Cute: The way he and Emma first interact; even worse, when you see the way he looks at her as she goes back to the office.
Ship Tease: With Emma, since he's pretty nice to her and Norman is a lost cause.
"I'm not some moron like Keith Summers. He was the bottom rung, I'm on the top. You understand?"
A mysterious guest at the motel who appears to be looking for Keith Summers. He's later revealed to be a gangster and leading figure in an international sex slave industry, and the boss of Keith Summers and Zach Shelby.
Small Role, Big Impact: After dying in the first episode, he looms over the rest of the season. He causes Romero to get on Norma's back, and was part of the whole sex-slave town conspiracy. He's mentioned pretty much every episode.