Characters / Heat

Character Sheet depecting the main traits of the characters from Heat. Needs Wiki Magic Love.

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    Los Angeles Police Department 

Lt. Vincent Hanna

Played by: Al Pacino
"I gotta hold on to my angst. I preserve it because I need it. It keeps me sharp, on the edge, where I gotta be."

An experienced LAPD lieutenant that becomes obsessed with finding Neil McCauley.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Hanna is the most capable shot in his unit and the toughest in close quarters. Just ask Cheritto, Hugh Benny and Neil.
  • Determinator: Nate warns Neil to be careful with Hanna, because he's unstoppable.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: The scene wherein he drink coffee with Neil.
  • Hero Antagonist: From Neil's POV.
  • Hot-Blooded: He's a Rabid Cop who's brash, passionate and hot-tempered.
  • Large Ham: His dialogue can get bombastic on occasions. In the original screenplay he was intended to be a cocaine addict, which Pacino retained in his performance.
  • Married to the Job: What Justine considers Vincent to be and he has been divorced 3 times because of this. Vincent justifies himself that he doesn't want to share with his wife all the horrendous crimes he has seen through his career.
  • No Indoor Voice: He is played by Al Pacino, after all.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: He acts like an eccentric Rabid Cop towards his suspects until he scares/confuses them into telling him something useful
  • Rabid Cop: He is a particularly hot-tempered LAPD lieutenant when he gets his dander up.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: When Neil finds out Hanna and his men are watching him, Hanna tells the SWAT not to intervene as it would be useless to arrest the thieves for a simple burglary.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Neil's blue.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: He is a foul-mouthed cop who speaks in shrill profanities when he gets riled up.
  • Tranquil Fury: When he found a scared Ralph, Justine's lover, at home. Except when he mentions his television.
    Vincent: I'm angry. I'm very angry, Ralph. You know, you can ball my wife if she wants you to. You can lounge around here on her sofa, in her ex-husband's dead-tech, post-modernistic bullshit house if you want to. But. You. Do. Not. Get. To. Watch. My. Fucking. Television. Set!
  • Worthy Opponent: He considers Neil this, as he states he will feel sorry if he kills him. At the end, he shares a hand with a dying Neil after shooting him.

Det. Sammy Casals

Played by: Wes Studi

One of Hanna's team members. He always informs Vincent about the latest news.

Sgt. Drucker

Det. Mike Bosko

Played by: Ted Levine

  • Badass Mustache: He sports one hell of a fluffy brown mustache, in the same level of badassery as Trejo.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: He gets shot in the throat at the start of the bank heist shooting, giving him a quick but gruesome death.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Shot in the throat by Shiherlis during the bank shootout.
  • Sacrificial Lion: The only one of Vincent's unit to die.

Danny Schwartz

Played by: Jerry Trimble

    Neil's Crew 

Neil McCauley

Played by: Robert De Niro
"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."

A criminal mastermind and thief from Los Angeles.
  • Affably Evil: A ruthless bank robber who's not above polite conversation even with people he says he would murder if he had to, as witnessed by his genial encounter with Vincent.
  • Arc Words: The quote above. He learned that from a fellow inmate and considers it a valuable lesson. To the point he had to leave Eady and escape from Vincent.
  • Bank Robbery: The last job he plans with his gang.
  • Beard of Evil: The movie's a bit more complex than straightforward good vs. evil, but symbolically it's no coincidence that the violent Noble Demon bank robber sports a natty little goatee.
  • Big Bad: Of Vincent's story, as the career criminal who Vincent is trying to take down.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He is disgusted with and furious at Waingro for killing the guards during the armored car robbery when it isn't necessary.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: He swore he was never going back to prison. He ultimately keeps his word.
  • Gentleman Thief: A Deconstructed Character Archetype. He has the charm and all the connections, but he's a painfully lonely man, and won't get close to anyone for fear that the cops will be right around the corner.
  • Honor Among Thieves: Despite some bad habits, his team of robbers usually watch out for each other. Except for Waingro, who is too inhuman to count.
  • One Last Job: He plans himself one last bank heist before his retirement.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: To Waingro: "Look at me!"
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Hanna's red.
  • The Stoic: Unlike his chaser, Vincent, he doesn't chew up the scenery and is cold and calculating, though he has a few Berserk Buttons like Waingro or Charlene meeting with her lover.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: He makes sure that Waingro is really dead by giving him a Boom, Headshot after shooting him in the heart. Twice.
  • Villain Protagonist: A bank robber who is a main character, but he has an equal role with Lt. Hanna, the cop trying to catch him.

Chris Shiherlis

Played by: Val Kilmer

Neil's most trusted man. He is also in trouble with gambling and drug addiction, which trembles his marriage with Charlene.
  • Cold Sniper: During the drive-in shootout.
  • Cop Killer: Guns down Bosco in the bank shootout.
  • The Dragon: Neil's right-hand man.
  • The Gambling Addict: The main problem he has, which is the reason his marriage with Charlene is on the rocks.
  • Important Haircut: He gets one when he was trying to disguise himself from the police spot check and get back with Charlene and Dominic.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: He has the longest hair of Neil's crew and quite a looker.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He was quite the looker of the group.
  • Oh, Crap!: When he sees Casals and Drucker as the gang walks out with the money.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Gets shot in the shoulder by Casals during the bank shootout.
  • Sole Survivor: The last surviving member of Neil's crew at the end of the film.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: With Charlene. Though it's technically his fault for living his criminal lifestyle in the first place.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Has a brief one when he loses his temper during his argument with Charlene and when he storms out of his house.
  • Tattooed Crook: Sports two tattoos on both his arms.

Michael Cheritto

Played by: Tom Sizemore
"Yeah, stop talking, okay, slick?"

A veteran acquaintance of Neil.
  • Blood Knight: The only reason why he still does heists, despite being in a stable financial position (unlike Chris), is because it's fun for him; "it's the juice", in his words.
  • Boom, Headshot: Shot in the head by Hanna.
  • The Brute: Cheritto's a big guy who's usually put in charge of keeping hostages in check (i.e. intimidation) during heists.
  • Dramatic Slip: Trips and falls in a fountain during the shootout.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Cheritto has a wife and children, neither of whom has any idea what he does for a living before he gets killed by Hanna.
  • Failed a Spot Check: He thought he was free by using a little girl as a human shield, but forgot to look behind...
  • Happily Married: Unlike most of the other members of Neil's group.
  • Human Shield: He uses a little girl as a shield while running away from the police. Unfortunately for him, he was unaware that Hanna was pointing at him and got shot.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Uses a shotgun to take out the driver at the drive-in theater.
  • Tattooed Crook: Richard Torena tells Vincent that Cheritto has a peacock tattoo on his left arm.


Played by: Danny Trejo

Another of Neil's main team members.


Played by: Kevin Gage
"I had to get it on. He was making a move, I had to get it on!"

A vicious criminal with killer tendencies that joins up with Neil for one heist job.
  • Alone with the Psycho: All the prostitutes that spent time with him and got killed.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Neil, particularly after he raped and murdered Trejo's wife, while leaving Trejo alive only to be killed by Neil out of mercy.
  • Asshole Victim: His dirty tendencies and lack of honesty won't leave any remorse for his death at the hands of Neil.
  • Barbarian Longhair: He's got long hair and is a vicious psychopath.
  • Beard of Evil: He has a large mustache and less standards than Neil.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: He teams up with Van Zant to spoil Neil's plans.
  • Boom, Headshot: Neil shoots him in the head to make sure he is really dead if he ever had a heart.
  • Dirty Coward: He acts pretty tough whenever he's threatening and killing people who can't fight back, but when Neil has him cornered he's a whimpering mess.
  • Hate Sink: Easily the most hateful, vile, depraved and despicable character in the entire film. He lacks any kind of Evil Virtues or sympathetic qualities, being a petty, sadistic jerkass who is not particularly smart. And for bonus, he's also a Dirty Coward.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: During the armored car heist, he has a differently shaped hockey mask than the rest of the crew and his long hair sticks out of it.
  • Psycho for Hire: First time by Neil, though he pushed his Berserk Button for killing one of the van's guards. Second time by Roger Van Zant as both shared a common enemy in Neil.
  • Serial Killer: A coroner says that his prostitute killings are going serial.
  • Smug Snake: He clearly thinks he's a badass, but in reality he has no guts or brains.
  • The Sociopath: He doesn't seem to have any feelings for anyone.
  • The Starscream: After the armored car heist, he escapes getting killed by Neil and later works with Van Zant to eliminate Neil and his crew. He even rats out the crew by informing the authorities (Hanna's unit) about Neil's bank robbery plan by tracking down Trejo and compromising his position with Neil's crew by luring him near a police checkpoint, coercing him to sell out critical information about the bank heist plan, and forcing Neil to hire a new getaway driver for the bank heist, who happens to be an ex-convict and isn't as skilled as Trejo is in that field, contributing to the heist going down badly.
  • Weapon of Choice: Favors a Star Megastar semi-automatic pistol.


Justine Hanna

Played by: Diane Venora

Vincent's third wife. While she still loves him, she is growing a bit tired of Vincent's workaholism.

Lauren Gustafson

Played by: Natalie Portman

Justine's daughter from her other marriage and Vincent's stepdaughter. She's driven to depression because of her father's neglection.
  • Driven to Suicide: Vincent found her in his hotel room's bath with some cuts in a wrist and a leg. She survived just in time.
  • Parental Neglect: By her natural father, which drives her to the aforementioned.

Charlene Shiherlis

Played by: Ashley Judd

Chris' wife who is getting tired of his difficult life. She has a little son with him named Dominic.

    Neil's Associates 


Played by: Jon Voight

An old associate of Neil that provides him with key information for his schemes.

Donald Breedan

Played by: Dennis Haysbert

A young man on parole that works in a restaurant with a nasty boss.
  • Black Dude Dies First: For Neil's team. He dies before Cheritto.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: He is presented as a man on parole with a new job at a restaurant with no clear signs of relation to the plot. But after Trejo leaves because he is supposed to be chased by the police, Neil, who met him at prison, finds him in the restaurant and proposes him to be the runaway driver.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Breedan gets character presence and importance on the same level as Neil, Vincent or Chris. Then, he's suddenly shot and killed driving the car after the bank heist.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Gets shot in the head by Hanna, Casals and Drucker. All at once. And keep in mind that Drucker has a shotgun.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: After getting out of prison, he's working a dead end job with a Bad Boss. Then he gets brought back into the criminal life when Neil needs a getaway driver. This leads to him getting shot in the head while driving his new comrades away from a bank.

    Roger Van Zant 

Roger Van Zant

Played by: William Fichtner

A money launderer who holds a grudge on Neil for robbing him and re-selling his stolen bonds to him.
  • Asshole Victim: He tried to mess up with Neil only for the master thief to shoot him in the chest.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: He teams up with Waingro to spoil Neil's plans.
  • It's Personal: He backfires Neil with an assassination attempt and fake money for trying to re-sell his own bonds to him. Then it backfires on him horribly when Neil later found out about his plans and had him killed personally.

Hugh Benny

Played by: Henry Rollins

Van Zant's bodyguard and the one who informs the police that Neil was planning a bank heist.



Played by: Amy Brennaman

A graphic designer and Neil's love interest.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Averted. She didn't know Neil was a criminal and master thief, and is quite shocked after learning the truth.
  • Break the Cutie: She was shocked when the news talked about the bank heist and Neil's involvement in it though she gave him a chance. Then the poor girl is completely speechless when Neil abandons her when Vincent chases him.
  • Love Interest: For Neil.
  • May–December Romance: She is quite a deal younger than Neil.
  • Stalker With a Crush: She tells Neil that she saw him various times in the bookshop where she works.

Alan Marciano

Played by: Hank Azaria

Charlene's lover from Las Vegas.
  • Jerkass: Living with Chris is a hell for Charlene. But with Alan? He insults her and he clearly only wanted her for sex.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Along with the Torena brothers and Vincent's Large Ham, he also provides the funniest moments of the film.