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Cole Phelps and Partners
Actor: Aaron Staton
"Ralph, friends who want to stay friends don't discuss religion or politics. In my case, you can add the war to that."A 27 year old Marine turned cop, born from a wealthy San Francisco family. Cole distinguished himself in the Pacific theatre, earning the Silver Star for his conduct. After the war, he moved to Los Angeles with his family, joining the LAPD. He quickly rises through the ranks, becoming something of a "golden boy", a visually pleasing, talented face that the public can admire.
- The Atoner: Especially during the Arson arc.
- Badass Bookworm
- Cole speaks fluent Japanese (though somewhat accented) to two captured Japanese soldiers during the Battle for Okinawa.
- In one particular Homicide case, he is recalled back to Central Station for the purposes of analyzing a poem left by the murderer. He quickly deduces it is not an original and identifies it as written by Shelley. One of the Technical Services guys even mentions, "That's why we asked for you."
- Boxing Battler: learned to box in the Marines as an officer during WW2. These skills serve him well when subduing suspects as a detective in the course of the game. Of course, as the game takes place in 1940's America, before Eastern martial arts were popularized in the West, most of the NPC's use boxing-style fighting techniques as well.
- Broken Pedestal: Has became this to his colleagues and family following the scandal.
- By-the-Book Cop: Sometimes he is, but he's not afraid to be a cowboy a couple of times, especially near the end.
- Classic Anti Hero: His one Fatal Flaw is Pride and being a Big Damn Hero, when he's not very good at being the latter.
- Cultured Warrior: During his times as a Marine.
- He chides one of his men for not understanding why the Japanese attacked them at Pearl Harbor, citing America's oil embargo against Japan as the primary motivation.
- It turns out he failed miserably at the "warrior" part.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments, such as referring to "Rusty's Law" (see below) as the Lex Ignoramus.
- Driven to Suicide: After seeing what his mistakes during the war had done to Hogeboom and realizing that he was, by extension, responsible for all the people he'd killed, he allows himself to be drowned at the end rather than take Kelso's hand.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Rather abruptly drowned when the sewer floods, letting Kelso take over the drama.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Definitely his reaction when Roy reports his affair with Elsa to the corrupt officials.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: During the "A Slip of the Tongue" case Bekowsky asks him what kind of women he likes, after some coaxing he says he has a thing for blondes.
- Expy: Of Detective Ed Exley from L.A. Confidential. Both of them are Glory Hound war heroes whom saw action in the Pacific during World War II whom initially earn the distrust of their fellow officers. Both of them are By The Book Cops who eventually learn to break the rules a little. And both of them only earned their medals - a Distinguished Service Cross for Exley and a Silver Star for Phelps - because they were the only survivors from their units due to cowardice.
- Fair Cop: Civilians will comment on it.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Cole actually didn't do anything worthy of earning the Silver Star, he merely was the last man standing (or, more accurately, sitting in a foxhole all night in shock from his close friend being indirect-fired to pieces) after a big battle, and the CO in charge just recommended him for the medal thinking he was a badass for managing to live through it. Cole is very much aware of this and knows that many of the men in the battle died because of his orders, so he has a lot of atoning to do.
- Fatal Flaw: His ambition and his inability to take responsibility for his actions. The combination of these two things on Okinawa is what inadvertently sets the entire plot in motion and eventually leads to his death.
- Lieutenant Failure: Most of his men seemed to wish they weren't serving under him in the war. He is perceived as a Bad Luck Charm and overly sympathetic to the enemy. As an officer, Cole is certainly cautious and has a stick up his ass. Unfortunately, Okinawa was the kind of battle in which mediocre leaders got just as many men killed as bad ones.
- Glory Hound: He went into the War as this, and still retains traits of it through most desks, though this time it's about proving himself to be a better cop than he was a Marine. It's not until the Arson desk that he truly wants justice for more than personal gain. He's more concerned with protecting the city than his reputation, though. When the same MO keeps popping up over and over again, although he wants to solve a big case, while Rusty is more concerned about his career during the final murder case, Cole is concerned about putting a murderer in jail.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: He plays the good cop routine with almost all of his partners. In many interrogations, he's both. He responds in a good cop manner if you choose "truth" and a bad cop manner if you choose "doubt" or "lie".
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Thanks to being exposed as an adulterer, Phelps is almost legitimately hated by his co-workers, his family and the entire population of Los Angeles.
- Hyper-Competent Sidekick: To his partners. Phelps is always the one to do 'hard stuff'. The search for the Black Dahlia killer is literally Cole figuring out everything and finding the clues on his own. Funnily, considering all the stuff breaking down in that case, Rusty following close behind likely would have resulted in killing them both.
- I Die Free: Given that his reputation is permanently destroyed by the adultery charges as well as being haunted by his actions during the war that created chaos in Los Angeles, death is probably an option for the best for Cole to be free of his harbored guilt and his irreversibly ruined life.
- Insufferable Genius: Cole is very intelligent and well educated, and seems to consider himself the smartest person in the room, even if he's not usually a dick about it. The wartime flashbacks indicate that he used to be very arrogant, and got all 35 of his own men and a large number of Japanese civilians killed on Okinawa because he thought he knew everything. This still creeps into some of his postwar dialog, though he is now quite conscious of it.
- Lawful Stupid: As an officer, Cole demanded being saluted, despite the front lines explicitly being declared "no-salute areas" so that Japanese snipers wouldn't be able to identify (and shoot) officers, and having orders followed to the letter regardless of the current situation while he was a Marine. Needless to say, his brothers-in-arms found it taxing.
- Medal of Dishonor: Cole's Silver Star, awarded for surviving a night alone on Sugar Loaf Hill after the rifle platoon he led was wiped out to a man. Cole's incompetent leadership got them killed, and he survived by hiding in a hole, unnoticed by the Japanese.
- Meddlesome Patrolman: His willingness to go the extra mile in a few cases that may not actually concern him is what gets him promoted to the Traffic Department so fast.
- My Greatest Failure: He actually has two: seeing his group killed in battle and just sitting there in a state of post trauma shock, and sending in a flame gunner (PFC Ira Hogeboom) to clear an enemy cave that turned out to be a hospital.
- The Neidermeyer: Let's just say that Cole wasn't the best of officers during the war. He's a much better cop, due in no small part to his awareness of exactly how lousy he was as a combat leader.
- Never My Fault: He was infamously known for this during his time in the war where he never took responsibility for his fatal mistakes. During the present where he cheats on his wife, he can only make half ass excuses on why he cheated and never even says that he's sorry.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead:
- He pulls a gun on Earle for mocking Courtney Sheldon after they find his corpse.
- All adultery charges against Cole are dropped and labelled as fraudulent after he dies despite the fact that they clearly weren't fraudulent in the least.
- Not So Stoic: He loses it occasionally during interrogations or when talking to Earle. In a flashback from Okinawa, he is shown to be unusually hysterical for a male Film Noir protagonist (to the point that his voice cracks in the final one).
- No Indoor Voice: When questioning suspects (regardless of who they are), Cole's voice is basically a soft yell.
- Old Cop, Young Cop: With Galloway and Biggs. Cole's the young one.
- Only Honest Cop: He doesn't seem to care whose toes he steps on in his quest for justice. The contrasts is especially pronounced when he's partnered with Roy Earle.
- Precision F-Strike: Demonstrated for dramatic effect in the 12th newspaper cutscene; see Never Speak Ill of the Dead above.Cole: He was a better man than you'll ever know! You say one more word about him and I will blow your FUCKING HEAD OFF!
- Redemption Equals Death: It took his death to finally earn forgiveness by everyone.
- Death Equals Redemption: However, his forgiveness happens after he died.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Kelso's red.
- Semper Fi: He served as a First Lieutenant in the USMC during World War II.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Cole is haunted by the civilian casualties he inadvertently inflicted during the Okinawa campaign, which indirectly led to Ira Hogeboom's breakdown and Courtney Sheldon's motivation for the morphine scheme.
- Sole Survivor: Of his platoon's attack on Sugar Loaf Hill.
- Sympathetic Adulterer: Yes, he did end up having an affair, but given what he has been through and not to mention the manner in which the secret was betrayed by his own partner only makes you feel sorry for him.
- Tragic Hero: He's the most moral and least corrupted character in the game, but in his efforts to be a hero he has the unfortunate habit of making impulsive decisions that have devastating consequences. This isn't just reflected on the player if they chose the wrong answers, but also on Cole during the narrative where he decided to hide on sugar loaf field causing everyone including his friend to die, ordered Ira Hogeboom to clear an enemy cave that turned out to be a hospital full of innocents, and in the present decided to have an affair with Elsa that would later ruin his reputation. It ends up costing his life decided to save Kelso from drown and refusing to take Kelso's hand.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Neither the military surplus heist nor Hogeboom's killing spree would have ever happened if it hadn't been for his actions during the war.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: His relationship with his partners.
- Waistcoat of Style: A hawkshaw, to be precise.
- You Are Number 6: "Phelps, Badge Number 1247" (Almost always said as twelve forty-seven).
Actor: Rodney Scott
"I tell ya, I'm jinxed—I always get landed with this crap."An LAPD patrolman and Cole's first partner.
- The Generic Guy: Ralph's fairly average as a cop and as a character. He lacks many of the stand out traits that make the rest of Cole's partners so distinct.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Doesn't appear in the game after Cole is promoted to Detective. However he does make a brief appearance in the DLC case "Nicholson Electroplating", however, the only interaction he has with Cole is to address him as "detective." This could either be developer oversight, or he cuts his association with Cole after the affair goes public, as others have. Ralph is also present during Cole's funeral.
Actor: Sean McGowan
"I've heard all about you, Phelps. You go easy on me and let me earn the odd citation, then maybe we'll get along."A detective working in LAPD's Traffic Desk, and Cole's second partner.
- Cowboy Cop / Reasonable Authority Figure: Tends to be pretty by the book and honest, even if he's snarky about it, but he's more than willing to insult mafia henchmen to their faces, no matter how life-endangering this is.
- Deadpan Snarker: He's a pretty funny and easy-going guy.
- Handsome Lech: If his (failed) attempts to curry favor with the female suspects/victims are any indication.
- Heroes Want Redheads: In a conversation during "A Slip of the Tongue" he states a preference for redheads. And blondes. And brunettes.
- Likes Older Women: He implies he's like this in "A Slip of the Tongue", when he's drunk, at least.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted. He shows up in two Vice cases having taken Cole's place in Homicide.
Finbarr "Rusty" Galloway
Actor: Michael McGrady
"Rusty's Razor: You blame the guy that's banging her."A seasoned detective working in LAPD's Homicide Desk, and Cole's third partner. Sarcastic, divorced multiple times, rarely completely sober, and more than happy to ignore the rights of suspects.
- The Alcoholic: He claims he does it because of a daughter he made while drunk. One would hope he'd learn from the experience, but apparently not.
- Berserk Button: He really can't stand necrophiliacs. When Ferdinand, one of the witnesses in the "Studio Secretary Murder" case admits that he was kissing the victim's body, Rusty immediately clocks him. And every time Ferdinand brings up kissing her, Rusty does it again. He is even worse with pedophiles as he was ready to kill Eli Rooney in cold blood even if it was yet to be proven he was guilty of the murder.Ferdinand: I'm telling you, it's not illegal! Me and some friends of mine-(PUNCH)Rusty: Clyde, can you get this sack of shit into a cell? I'll deal with him later.
- Book Dumb: Doesn't care for Phelps' more eloquent phrases and terms, and "The Quarter Moon Murders" reveals he doesn't know what an allegory is.
- On top of that, he's rather quick to assume the murders he encounters are the result of domestic disputes, and sticks with that assumption even when evidence begins to mount towards the contrary. This is especially egregious during "The Silk Stocking Murder" where after seeing an absurdly long trail of evidence left by the confident murderer, he can still suggest it was a husband or boyfriend who saw the Werewolf Killer's MO and saw a way out of their relationship.
- Corrupt Cop: Not as bad as some others on this list, but he's okay with beating up suspects and sending innocent men to jail so long as he doesn't get caught.
- Cowboy Cop: He was willing to shoot the child molester Roonie just to avoid the paperwork. Phelps had to physically push down Rusty's gun to stop him.
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": With a name like Finbarr, can you blame him?
- Deadpan Snarker: He likes knocking down Phelps' holier-than-thou attitude like this.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Appears briefly in the first case, leaving the crime scene after it's been handed over to Phelps.
- Embarrassing First Name: The only person he allows to call him Finbarr is Captain Donnelly.
- Hardboiled Detective: While all the Partner's share this tendency, Rust is by far the toughest Egg.
- Hidden Depths: During "The Quarter Moon Murders", he's actually fairly useful when it comes to deciphering the killer's clues.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- During "The Golden Butterfly", when he speaks calmly and reassuringly to the victim's daughter.
- Also he has a small rant in the third homicide case about how Hollywood chews and spits women out.
- Leeroy Jenkins: He prefers kicking down doors and screaming "You're under arrest!" to discretion.
- Meaningful Name: His detective skills are more than a little rusty. He's essentially useless to Cole as a partner.
- Noble Sexist With A Badge: He's bitterly divorced and largely dismissive of women, but admits the killings you investigate with him are horrible and cares about keeping the streets safe, no matter what underhanded tactics have to be used. He also has a daughter whom he loves dearly.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He and Cole constantly bicker and trade insults, but after a rocky start they both respect each other a great deal and save each other's necks numerous times.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted, in that much like Bekowsky, he actively appears during Cole's time in Vice, including one of the DLC cases.
Actor: Adam John Harrington
"Everyone has their vices. Even you, Phelps."A detective working in LAPD's Vice Desk, and Cole's fourth partner. Knows all there is to know about the shady businesses the Jewish Mafia conducts in Los Angeles, and is openly racist towards the city's black and hispanic populations.
- 0% Approval Rating: Just about all of Roy's superior officers are at the very least implied to hate his guts. Anyone who has played the game will understand EXACTLY why.
- Antagonist in Mourning: It seems as such during the ending, but his line delivery clearly implies that he doesn't care about Cole and was just doing so to get Peterson to let him off the hook for being involved in the Suburban Redevelopment Fund.
- Bigot With A Badge: He clearly doesn't think much of African-Americans. He also doesn't seem to like British people judging by his constant use of the word "Limey".
- The Comically Serious: Several characters sarcastically remark about "what a funny man" Earle is.
- Cool Car: Drives a Cadillac convertible, and is really pissed if Cole damages it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Is the KING of this trope. Any lines he has for a suspect is barely masked contempt behind a calm tone.
- Dirty Cop: He's pretty transparent about it. He responds to the day getting late with asking to hurry up and get it over with so he doesn't have to work over-time despite already getting paid like it.
- Expy: Bears a resemblance to Detective Jack Vincennes from L.A. Confidential. Both men are familiar with the Hollywood and Mafia scene and both are Dirty Cops. The only difference is that Vincennes is actually likeable and fairly pleasant.
- Faux Affably Evil: It's obvious he is a slimey trash but tries to be affable to Cole then he backstabs him for quick gain.
- Gone Horribly Right: It's suggested that he pulled strings to have Cole assigned to Vice, seemingly considering him Not So Different based on dialogue early in the game; turns out that while Cole is something of a Glory Hound, he's frequently at odds with Roy.
- Hate Sink: "That Roy Earle seems like a really nice guy" - said no gamer ever. He's the sort of character you just Love to Hate.
- Jerkass: He has a very unpleasant personality.
- Jerkass Has a Point: One of the nastiest things about Earle is how he's the most self-aware partner and has a lot of insight into the true nature of L.A. and the Department. He knows the war on drugs cannot be won and isn't even necessarily a bad thing and points out how useless Rusty Galloway has become as a police detective. Take a look at his listed quote. He knew more than anyone Phelps' true character.
- Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: While always unpleasant to be around, at first he seems to be a nuisance to fellow cops and only outright abusive to civilians and perps. When he reports Cole's affair to help mask his superiors' corruption however, it becomes clear that he's more than a jerk; he's an outright evil bastard.
- Karma Houdini: He gives the eulogy at Phelps' funeral. His handshake with Petersen at the end implies he isn't prosecuted as a result of the Suburban Redevelopment fiasco.
- Kick the Dog: Constantly; his Establishing Character Moment comes when he invites Cole and his current partner to the local blues club, where he puts his feelings for blacks and women on display.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: By throwing Cole under the bus and having him demoted to Arson, he inadvertently sets up the endgame of the Arson cases, and the Suburban Redevelopment Fund being uncovered.
- Pet the Dog:
- Allowing the boxer to escape and agreeing with Cole's cover story directly afterwards, when he could easily have screwed Cole over, had the boxer caught, and gotten his money back. Which arguably makes the way he rats Cole out about Elsa even more of a Player Punch. Sure, he's a Jerkass Dirty Cop, but we thought he was our Jerkass Dirty Cop.
- In reality, this is a subversion. He knew taking out Cole right then and there would've been a stupid move, because then he'd blow open that at least half the department's crooked. Moreover, the press and populace would've turned this into a "little man beats crooked system" story, and raised Phelps' star even further by garnering sympathy. Earle's behavior is incredibly petty throughout the game, but he's also extremely calculated. This moment, he decided to wait to screw over Phelps until not only he had an opportunity for a bigger payoff, which (given his department and Phelps' budding romance with Elsa) wouldn't take long. One could argue that this was what ultimately caused him to sell out Phelps via the SRF.
- He compliments Cole's skills and clearance rate during "The Naked City", albeit in a backhanded kinda way.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Hates black people and tends to be abusive to women.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Early in the game, Cole comments on how he dresses like a movie star.
- Sixth Ranger: In that he does all the footwork for the Suburban Redevelopment Fund.
- Smug Smiler: Always smiling and making snarks at how he'll make sure the judge will lean on his favor.
Actor: Keith Szarabajka
"Go soak your head, Phelps. This hero business is a full-time obsession with you."An old and bitter detective working in LAPD's Arson Desk, and Cole's fifth partner. A veteran of World War I and a long standing member of the police, Biggs has seen just about all there is to see, and has a cynical outlook on his work as well as life in general.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Biggs can barely stand most of his fellow officers, who generally hold him in low regard. Given that heís been a cop since 1919 and the LAPD is shown to be rife with corruption, itís clear that Biggs despises hypocrites like Donnelly and crooks with badges like Earle, and has stayed in Arson to be left alone. He is much more comfortable among LAFD firefighters, and gets along well with them.
- Book Dumb: While not actually all that poorly educated by the standards of the time, the DLC case "Nicholson Electroplating" seems to constantly poke fun at Biggs in particular for being scientifically/technologically/culturally backwards. He mistakes the chemical explosion for a "Ruskie H-bomb", dismisses the idea of television and admits to not knowing what "radiation" means in very rapid succession, as well as believing microfilm has to be read by someone with "very good eyesight" rather than using technological assistance.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: At one point he claims to have never fired his weapon in the line of duty. This is Blatant Lies if you've completed any street crimes prior to him saying this.
- Guttural Growler: We already said "Actor: Keith Szarabajka", right?
- Hidden Depths: Well, nearly everyone in the game is presented three dimensionally, but Biggs in particular seems like a complete Jerk Ass but eventually becomes the Ensemble Darkhorse. He's essentially a burnt out cop whom Phelps gets to actually give a shit once more.
- I Work Alone: He isn't too happy about being assigned a partner.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's not exactly a sociable person but he ended up standing up for Cole in some occasions, despite not particularly liking him, and in the end helped him in the final mission which had them going against the entire LAPD. Generally speaking, Biggs has a strong sense of fairness and canít stand hypocrites.
- Knight in Sour Armor: He clearly thinks his job is a waste of time and isn't doing anyone any good, yet he keeps doggedly trying to solve the case anyway.
- Narrator: He narrates the opening of the game, as well as the intros to all the patrol missions, but for some reason not any others.
- Not So Stoic: Loses it after seeing Mr. Morelli's charred corpse literally crumble apart. Granted, what he saw was incredibly disturbing.
- Private Eye Monologue: He seems to love giving 'em, despite being an actual cop.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: He fought in World War I, and was horrified by what he saw during his time there. He explains this is part of his reaction to Mr. Morelli's charred corpse crumbling apart in front of him.
LAPD Law Enforcement
Actor: Andrew Connolly
- "God's mill may grind slowly, but it grinds finely, son!"
- Affably Evil: While he is likely a corrupt cop, given his Knight Templar tendencies, he always speaks to Cole in a fatherly tone and praises him every time he solves the case.
- Anti-Hero: Of the unscrupulous variety.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's willing to cover up the Werewolf's true identity for the sake of preserving USA face on the global Cold War stage (see Slave to PR below), but doesn't take the easy way out by simply letting the current suspects (several of whom he may hate for a variety of reasons) take the fall for the murders. Rather than allowing a Miscarriage of Justice, he resolves the issue by arranging with the District Attorney to have procedural errors and mistrials in each of their cases.
- Expy: He pretty much IS Dudley Smith from L.A. Confidential.
- First-Name Basis: With Rusty. He is the only person who can call him Finbarr without making him angry.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: For the most part, Donnelly maintains a calm and professional tone, but one wrong sentence is enough to have him yelling in the face of the poor sap (usually Cole or Rusty) who dared to speak up.Donnelly: You disappoint me, Cole Phelps. Get back in there and raise some lumps, boy! I need a confession.
- Knight Templar: When he allows Cole to do his first interrogation at the station, he tells him that if he can't get a confession through questioning, Cole shouldn't be afraid of using violence to extract one. He's also rather enthusiastic about sending men to the gas chamber. In the first Homicide case he encourages Cole to convict their only suspect even though they have a better lead just to get the press off the LAPD's ass, and at the crime scene in the second Homicide case he even tells the journalists that are looking for a story that the LAPD are "doing God's work".
- Further shown in cases where you have a choice of who to convict, wherein he will tend to want the one conviction over another but only on political/religious/moralistic terms. He praises Cole if the latter charges Eli Rooney with the murder in "The Golden Butterfly," but berates him if he charges Hugo Moller; in the case, the evidence points more towards the latter, but Rooney is guilty of child molestation either way. A similar instance happens with Grosvenor McCaffrey in "The Studio Secretary Murder", whom Donnelly wants taken down no matter where the evidence points (although it does end up mostly pointing at him anyway.
- Large Ham: Delivers his every word with the gravitas of a Shakespeare tragedy. Except when he shouts. Then he just becomes frickin' intimidating.
- Officer O'Hara: Played by a native Irishman, who is implied to be one in-game as well.
- Slave to PR: In reality, Donnelly's Knight Templar behavior is mostly show - he wants convictions partly because they make him and the LAPD look good, rather than out of a thirst for justice:
- He pushes Cole to convict suspects of publicly disliked backgrounds in spite of an investigation's findings, encouraging you to charge a pedophile with a woman's murder over another suspect, despite evidence implicating each of the two being roughly equal.
- His Large Ham persona is quite frequently displayed in front of the press.
- In the last homicide case, he forbids word of the Black Dahlia killer's return from leaving the police station, stating that the Department wouldn't survive the scandal of wrongly charging four innocents, unless the true culprit can be found. Later, he refuses to publicly expose Garrett Mason as the Werewolf due to the latter's relation to a high-level national politician.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He gives one to Cole when he learns about the affair.
Actor: Ned VaughnCaptain of the Traffic Desk. Cole starts out as a detective under his watch.
- Hidden Depths: He is once presented completely out of character (yet delightfully narmy) when he is put under pressure by his balls-grilling, frying pan-toting chief. Can be seen here.
- Nice Guy: He's an all-around pleasant guy and is very friendly with the officers in his Unit.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Unlike many other LAPD officers, Leary's an out-and-out good guy.
Actor: Steven RankinLieutenant of the Vice Desk and Earle's former partner.
- Dirty Cop: He's on the SRF's payroll, and has an "arrangement" that lets Victor Sanders off the hook in Reefer Madness.
- Nice Guy: He tends to praise Cole and Roy for doing a fine job on a case, but as the intro for The Black Caesar shows, he's not afraid to get firm when Roy's being his usual douchey self.Roy: We got better things to be doing than wasting our time on two dead junkies.
Colmyer: Did I ask your opinion, Detective? Two men dead on US Army issue morphine. That makes it an Ad Vice case! Beat it!
Actor: Randy OglesbyCaptain of the Arson Desk. Has a low tolerance for failure and a low opinion of Cole.
- I Warned You: When Cole plans on investigating Elysian Fields Developments.
- Jerkass: He never overlooks an opportunity to yell at Cole, and he doesn't treat Biggs much better.
- Pet the Dog: If you aced the arson cases and despite not thinking highly of Cole, he still praises him and Biggs if they do a good job.
Dr. Malcolm "Mal" Carruthers
Actor: Andy UmbergerChief forensics expert for the LAPD. Mal is one of Cole's most useful and trusted allies throughout the course of the game, providing him with forensic evidence and autopsy reports crucial to solving his investigations. The most recurrent character in the game next to Cole himself, since he's present at pretty much every crime scene in the game, and he's most certainly earned his place amongst the fandom.
- Consummate Professional: Mal takes his job DEAD serious. He's most definitely not the typical Deadpan Snarker coroner usually portrayed in fiction such as in CSI. He cracks no jokes, does not make fun of the dead and sees no morbid humor in his profession. He goes in, gets the evidence, provides it and that's that.
- The way he dismisses his personal feelings about Cole's adultery charge in favor of just doing his job and helping him investigate during Cole's time in Arson is also a perfect example of how professional he is. You can't help loving Mal after that moment.
- The Coroner: This is his occupation.
- Dead Serious: The reason he is such a Consummate Professional.
- The Smart Guy: Comes with the job, but Mal is one of the best examples of said job in all of fiction.
Actor: JD CullumAn investigator with Technical Services. He mainly shows up to help Cole handle evidence safely.
William WorrellThe police chief of LAPD.
- Da Chief: Says is right in his title.
- Dirty Cop: Implied that he was in on the entire SRF fiasco and has a hand in covering up Phelps involvement...up to the point of straight-up trying to murder him.
- The Dragon/The Heavy: For the SRF, in a way, considering that the SRF has the entire force in their pocket by extension. During A Different Kind of War, he sends a veritable army of corrupt cops to try and stop Phelps and Kelso in their tracks.
- Karma Houdini: In the end, it is strongly implied that he has struck a deal with the Assistant DA, allowing him to go scot-free from his involvement in the Fund.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Also calls out Cole for his affair with Elsa.
Other Major Figures
Actor: Gil McKinneyA Marine who served under Cole's command in World War II as a sergeant. Currently works for California Fire & Life as an insurance investigator and later for the DA's office as a special investigator.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: Becomes the playable character in three of the six arson cases.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted, as he wears the scars of being beat up by mobsters, much like Jake Gittes wears the nose bandage.
- Byronic Hero: Jack is a handsome Tall, Dark, and Snarky PI whose Dark and Troubled Past consist of experiencing the horrors of WWII first hand. He is known to be openly rebellious towards higher authority, yet has a charisma that earns people's trust and respect, and tries to be charming towards women. He has a cynical outlook on the world around him, but when given a task he is shown to be quite passionate in completing it.
- Cowboy Cop: He is not afraid to mess people up as soon as he gets his hands on that Special Investigator's badge.*BLAM* "That's my opening negotiating position!"
- Determinator: Cole tells Elsa that if Jack sniffs corruption, he won't ever let it go. It's why Leonard Peterson deputizes him to investigate corruption in the LAPD.Jack: (to Curtis) Your California is not the same as mine.
- Deuteragonist: Jack is the most important character in the narrative next to Cole and even replaces him as the Player Character in the last three cases.
- A Father to His Men: During the war, in stark contrast to Cole's approach.
- Foil: To Cole as best described by Herschel Biggs:"Cole Phelps and Jack Kelso. With some people, it's as simple as chemistry. Two guys who should have been friends, but their personalities got in the way. Phelps - a good guy, but wound way too tight. And Kelso- a quiet man who could never walk away from a fight."
- Hardboiled Detective: Jack cultivates this persona during his time at California Fire and Life, and Cole even gently mocks him for it.
- Hero of Another Story: Jack Kelso actually has more in common with the traditional Film Noir hero than Phelps does. He's rough-edged, noble while still being quite cynical, a private detective, and not afraid to work way outside the law to get some justice if he needs to do so. He also has difficulty reading "dames", and is quiet but fierce when provoked. This is probably why he ends up being the primary protagonist for much of the latter part of the Arson desk.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: The closest of any character in the game to this. Jack Kelso never gets tempted by corruption, bribery, and fame, instead living his life as a humble investigator determined to seek out justice no matter what. While he may not be on the best of terms with Phelps, he doesn't show any real hatred towards him (as Phelps had thought) and is more than willing to work with him if it means bringing the corrupt in power to justice.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Kelso spends much of his time feeling frustrated and disappointed in just about everyone, but he tries his best to help them anyway.
- The Lancer: To Phelps during the war with a shade of Beleaguered Assistant; Phelps even acknowledges that Kelso hated his guts. Badly.
- Private Detective: Technically as an insurance investigator, he is one of these.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Phelps's blue.
- The Rival: During his days together with Phelps in Marine Officer Candidate School, until he drops out of OCS after getting frustrated with their numbers approach rather than actually leading. He continues to be this as Phelps's Sergeant, commanding more respect from their men than the officer to whom they ostensibly report.
- Quit Your Whining: Mixed into a Heartwarming Moment. Gives one of these to Cole when he tries to apologize to Jack about his less-than-stellar leadership during the war.Jack: I know you, Cole. You're still beating yourself up over that medal on Sugar Loaf. That medal you think you didn't deserve. But you just don't get it. Nobody deserves a medal, it's just the ridiculous situation you find yourself in and how you react to it. You think you failed up on that hill but courage isn't a tap you can turn on or off. Courage isn't permanent. It's a tenuous and fickle thing. Courage and cowardice exist in every man. Get over it.
- Semper Fi: A Marine as stated, and certainly "always faithful", considering characters' assertion of his devotion to his men.
- Sergeant Rock: He was an NCO in the Marines, and it's clear from the flashbacks that he was an excellent one. Even Hogeboom speaks well of him while asking for a Mercy Kill.
- Supporting Protagonist: While he serves as the player character for much of the second half of the "Arson" Desk, Cole's character arc still winds up being at the center of the game's story.
- Verbal Tic: Frequently refers to young women as "princess" when speaking to them.
- With Due Respect: Defines the relationship between Jack and Cole.
- Would Hit a Girl: Well, if she decided to shoot him in the arm, then yes. Yes, he would."I never was very good at reading women..."
Actress: Erika HeynatzA German nightclub singer and junkie that Cole forms an attachment with.
- Beauty Mark: In keeping with the way she comes off as a Femme Fatale sometimes.
- The Chanteuse: She's the singer at the Blue Room nightclub (even though most of her singing is seen in the background).
- Fake Nationality: She's a German lady played by an Australian actress.
- Femme Fatale: A subversion; she initially comes off as standoffish when Cole interviews her during Manifest Destiny, but in later cases she ultimately helps him out.
- Functional Addict: Is stated to be addicted to painkillers, yet her behavior seems perfectly normal.
- Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Her most common outfit color is purple: one of her club dresses and two of her coats.
- Sexy Walk: Jack can't help but stare as she walks away.
- Simple, yet Opulent: Her singing dresses are subtly fancy, fitting an attraction for such a club.
Courtney SheldonA former Navy Corpsman attached to Cole's unit in Okinawa. He is now a medical student at the University of Southern California under the tutelage of Doctor Fontaine.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Initially set up as a well-meaning but naive kid who gets in way over his head. The last two flashbacks reveal that he attempted to murder Phelps for the blunder in Okinawa, and was the instigator behind the morphine theft that began the whole spiral of events in the first place.
- For that matter, in the flashbacks he's described as charging through oncoming artillery fire to reach injured soldiers as a field medic... so he can take them out of their misery.
- Good Is Dumb: Sheldon is extremely brave, and wants a fair break for his fellow veterans. He also completely lacks common sense. Among his more suicidal actions are mouthing off to a dangerous mob boss, selling easily traceable morphine, and trusting the Obviously Evil Harlan Fontaine.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Dr. Fontaine kills him with his own stolen morphine.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Trusts Fontaine all the way... and then Fontaine kills him.
- Mercy Kill: Does this to a mortally-wounded Marine during the war.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He clearly means for the best. It just always turns out for the worst.
- The Pawn: Gets completely played by Fontaine without even realizing it.
- Token Good Teammate: For the Suburban Redevelopment Fund, albeit unwittingly.
- Too Dumb to Live: This becomes glaringly obvious in the 11th newspaper cutscene.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Courtney's theft of the morphine and his medical career later all have one thing in common: he wants to compensate and alleviate his fellow Marines for all the bad shit they had to go through during the war. He just wants his fellow brothers in arms to have wealth and health he believes they've won twice over. Sadly for him, "the road to hell" and you know the rest.
Dr. Harlan Fontaine
Actor: Peter BlomquistA psychotherapist with an unusual method for treating mental disorders.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With Leland Monroe.
- Chekhov's Gunman: At first, he only appears in the early parts of the game in the newspaper cutscenes. It wasn't until much later in the game, towards the end of the Vice desk, that he was proven to be one of the villains, though it's easy for a player to guess he will be.
- Create Your Own Villain: Fontaine manipulating the sympathetic but mentally unstable Ira Hogeboom for his own ends results in Hogeboom having a complete psychotic break and turning into a serial killer who eventually kills him.
- Deadly Doctor: He both kills people himself (e.g. by injecting Courtney with a lethal dose of morphine) and manipulates his patients into doing some truly horrific things.
- Faux Affably Evil: He convinced many important people to partake in illegal activities and has shown a disturbingly casual willingness to kill people. At the same time, he is shown to be rather soft-spoken and polite.
- The Heavy: While his partner Leland may have come up with the SDF, its Harlan that drives Leland's plot into motion by manipulating Ira into burning down the houses on their behalf. He also makes appearances during each of Cole's desks in some capacity, while Leland doesn't make his official debut until the Arson desk.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Was killed by one of his own patients whom he drove crazy.
- Manipulative Bastard: He convinced Ira that setting fires to houses would help him.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: When you consider how he persuaded the likes of Ira and Courtney into doing some rather questionable things, it really makes you wonder how someone like Harlan became a doctor in the first place
- Non-Action Big Bad: Well, mostly. He does poison Sheldon, and brains Elsa with a crystal ball.
- Overarching Villain: Even before revealing himself to be one of the masterminds behind the SDF, he always made some sort of appearance in each of Cole's desks, whether it be in the present or in a newspaper cutaway, forshadowing his importance in the game's plot.
- Pragmatic Villainy: The fires he had Hogeboom commit all served a purpose Ė financial gain. He didn't need anyone dead, just the houses burnt down so they could buy the land. He's less than pleased when Ira snaps and becomes a serial arsonist because they only needed a certain set of houses burnt and it also creates a loose end.
- Psycho Psychologist: Psychiatrist actually, but the trope's still in play. Fontaine is manipulative, detached, and pushes a number of his patients into doing terrible things.
- Southern Gentleman: He certainly has a way with words.
- The Sociopath: Fontaine is completely incapable of developing emotional attachments to anyone, and his callous disregard for the lives of others is genuinely unsettling.
- The Unfought: Phelps only ever encounters Fontaine once, long before his conspiracy is brought to light. By the time Phelps is in a position to bring him in, he's found dead in his own practice.
- Would Hit a Girl: He tried to kill Elsa by striking her head with a crystal ball.
Ira HogeboomA former Marine who was once part of another platoon in Cole's battalion on Okinawa.
- The Big Guy: One of the reasons he was selected to tote a flamethrower.
- Meaningful Name: "Hogeboom" is Dutch for "tall tree".
- Blue and Orange Morality: He has rationalized his killing as sending the victims to a better place and fighting for God. Inconsistently, however, he saved and protected Elsa.
- Create Your Own Villain: In the rare example of a villain creating someone even more dangerous - Fontaine uses Ira's pyromania to do his dirty work while fooling him into believing that setting innocent fires would help his psychosis. Ira clearly gets worse as a result, and when Fontaine mistakenly sends Ira to houses that still have people in them, the mix of Ira's guilt - which Fontaine does not help, as he wants to keep his own agenda - and his preexisting instability turns Ira from an unbalanced and remorseful Anti-Villain into a fanatical Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds serial killer. The look on Fontaine's face as he realizes this is palpable.
- He may be something of a straight example for Cole, as well. The entire reason he went crazy in the first place was because Cole ordered him to incinerate a cave full of Japanese who turned out to be civilians. His earsplitting scream in the flashback is one of the most haunting moments in the entire game.
- Death Seeker: Wants Jack to give him the Mercy Kill to free him of his trauma.
- Deus ex Machina: Elsa probably would have ended up dead by Fontaine had Ira not appeared to kill him. He also continues to defend her against the thugs sent by the Suburban Redevelopment Fund to kill her for knowing too much.
- Expy: Ira shares a lot of traits with Frankenstein's Monster. He's a big, slow-witted Tragic Monster created by the protagonist that has a complicated relationship with fire.
- Face Death with Dignity: Salutes Jack, his former sergeant, as he shoots him dead to put him out of his misery.
- Fall Guy: Though not directly stated, Ira - a mentally unstable pyromaniacal veteran - was clearly intended to be a guy to take the fall for the fires if anything went bad, in a similar way Courtney was. However, the investigation was done in an unexpected way, making this moot.
- Kill It with Fire: Flamethrower-man during the war, arsonist patsy after it.
- Mercy Kill: Jack shoots him dead, with Cole regarding it doing Ira a favour.
- Pyro Maniac: His psychiatrist actually makes this worse as part of using Ira's acts of arson for the sake of a massive real estate scam.
- Serial Killer: His MO involves setting houses on fire with families still inside them.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Flame gunners had some of the worst experiences of the war, due to the weapon's short range requiring them to get within 20 yards or so of the people they burned alive, and Hogeboom had it even worse than most. He went into a cave trying to kill enemy soldiers. It turned out to be a hospital, and the horror and guilt immediately broke him.
- Still Wearing the Old Colors: In addition to his flamethrower, Hogeboom dons his USMC utilities and helmet for the final confrontation with Monroe's goons.
- Tragic Monster: In a psychological sense, Ira has been driven insane with grief and remorse, to the point where he can no longer be reasoned with and must be killed so that his suffering can finally end.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Mentally-broken veteran manipulated by Fontaine to become another pawn in the SRF scheme, only to completely lose it when he's sent to burn down a house with people still inside.
- Walking Spoiler: Since the last revelations in the game are about him.
Notable Figures in the Patrol Cases
Edgar KalouThe first suspect to be both arrested, interrogated and proven positively guilty by Phelps personally (while still being a beat cop, no less). He was the store owner of Hartfield's Jewellery, Jewish, and had quite a temper problem. Initially, he is accused of shooting and killing Everett Gage, another store owner.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Kalou pulls an inverted Bavarian Fire Drill on Phelps and Dunn as they enter his store for the first time. As the two patrolmen enter, he happens to operate the register at that moment. Therefore, they believe him to be a mere co-worker, and ask him where they could find the real Mr. Kalou. Kalou just plays along and withdraws from the storefront, claiming he wanted to ring Kalou up. Then he starts running...
- Hair-Trigger Temper: One of the more noticeable personality flaws of Kalou.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Gage was an Asshole Victim, but Kalou still murdered him, which is all that Cole really cares about, sympathetic motive or not.
- Insanity Defense: Phelps predicts that Kalou would get the gas chamber, unless his crime would be downgraded to "manslaughter". The latter is implied.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: He is a jewellery store owner, and dresses accordingly. His tie...
- Motive Rant: Goes on one when he loses his temper at the end of his interrogation. It turns out that Everett Gage, the man he killed, was an antisemetic, self-serving and deceitful member of the Chamber of Commerce, deliberately blocking all propositions that Kalou put forward. As Kalou's rage wears off at the interrogation's end, he first notices that he confessed everything, complete with a "My God, What Have I Done?" expression.
- Smug Snake: That is when he isn't enraged.
- Unstoppable Rage: In which he shot Everett Gage five times after Gage slashed at one of his own employees when she was viewing Kalou's exhibits,
- Yiddish as a Second Language: Kalou, alone in a world full of Nebbishes, Schtups, Putznashers, Momsers, Schmucks, and Goy Motherfuckers! Makes great Cluster F-Bomb fuel, though.
Notable Figures in the Traffic Cases
June BallardA fading B-Movie actress Cole runs into after she and her niece drive off a cliff and into a billboard.
- Karma Houdini: Sells out her niece to be molested, then blackmails the molester, then arranges a hit on the guy after he tries to kill her. Receives no comeuppance whatsoever. (It's true that her attempted murder is what the case is about, but the attempted hit, in which the police are targeted as well, removes any sympathy she might have had left).
- White-Dwarf Starlet: A bit of a subversion, as she seems to know her best years are behind her.
Guy McAfeeA powerful mobster based in Las Vegas and June Ballard's husband, who gets involved (albeit indirectly) in the later stages of The Fallen Idol.
Notable Figures in the Homicide Cases
The Werewolf Killer
The Werewolf Killer/The Black Dahlia Killer/The Quarter Moon Killer/Garrett Mason
Actor: Andrew LukichThe perpetrator of the Black Dahlia murder, and believed to still be targeting women in LA.
- Arc Villain: Of the Homicide desk, as he is the original inspiration that inspired the copycats, and he was actually behind all five of the murders.
- Ax-Crazy: He's a Serial Killer, what did you expect?
- Chekhov's Gunman: First seen as the temporary barman in the first Homicide case.
- Early-Bird Cameo: If Cole revisits Ray's Cafe in A Marriage Made in Heaven, Garrett can be seen tending bar.
- "Get Back Here!" Boss: Forces Cole to chase him through the catacombs at the abandoned church.
- The Nondescript: He's described by eyewitnesses as having a very generic appearance. This works to his advantage, as it makes him the last person anyone (including the player) would expect.
- Serial Killer: The five murders Cole investigates weren't his only victims.
- The Sociopath: Feels no remorse for the women he's killed and men he's framed.
- Walking Spoiler: His true identity, at least, as well as the fact that he committed all five murders of the Homicide desk, meaning all the other suspects were falsely accused.
- Wicked Cultured: He's clearly well-versed in Greek mythology and the works of Percy Shelley, as demonstrated in the city-wide scavenger hunt he arranges for Phelps and Galloway.
- The World Is Not Ready: Donnelly's justification for keeping his identity as The Werewolf under wraps, since it turns out he's the half-brother of one of America's most influential politicians.
Notable Figures in the Ad Vice Cases
Actor: Patrick FischlerA Real Life Jewish mobster that Cole encounters during his time in Ad Vice.
- Foregone Conclusion: The real Mickey Cohen died at home, in his sleep in 1976. So, no matter how much you'll want to, you're not going to get to shoot him in the face.
Notable Figures in the Arson Cases
Actor: John NobleA rich and influential real estate tycoon, Monroe is the head of Elysian Fields Developments, a land development firm that has become very prominent in Los Angeles.
- Affably Evil: At first he's fairly polite to Cole and Biggs, and even greets Jack when he's storming his mansion. He slowly becomes less and less polite as the game progresses, however.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With Dr. Harlan Fontaine.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Somewhat unlike Fontaine, Monroe doesn't actually do much beyond planning the SRF. He's more of a figurehead for the whole operation, albeit a knowing benefactor who does have much of L.A. under his thumb.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: An archetypal example. Monroe only cares about making money, and he'll willingly ruin people's lives to do it.
- Even Evil Has Standards: As shown in the last newspaper cutscene, Monroe is taken aback when Dr. Fontaine confesses to murdering Courtney.
- Expy: Of Noah Cross.
- Eyes Always Shut: Or at least very squinty. Which can make reading him a little difficult.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Who didn't cheer when Jack shot him in the leg?
- Shame If Something Happened: Monroe gives a thinly disguised threat to Biggs, telling him he's an advisor on the police pension fund.
- Smug Smiler: Face it, you've wanted to wipe that grin off all those billboards/waybills at one time or another.
- Villainous Breakdown: The moment Jack shot him in the leg.
Curtis BensonVice-President of California Fire & Life, the insurance company that Jack Kelso works for.
Fletcher BowronThe mayor.
- Historical-Domain Character: Loosely inspired by the real-life L.A. mayor of the same name.
Donald SandlerThe D.A.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Calls out Cole for his affair with Elsa along with Donnelly and Worrell.