This is a list of characters from Manhunt and Manhunt 2. Spoilers ahead!
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James Earl Cash
The unwilling protagonist of the game, who is freed from death row by Lionel Starkweather and set loose in Carcer City to be the "star" of a snuff movie. Starkweather attempts to have him killed in his last "scene", but Cash escapes the assault, vowing to get revenge. After slaughtering his way through the director's mansion, killing all of the guards and Piggsy, Cash finally kills Starkweather. It is unknown what happens to Cash after the events of the game, though the "J.E.C. & Sons Construction" sign you can spot in Manhunt 2 hints that he may have opened the company after escaping Carcer City.
Anti-Hero / Anti-Villain: Depending on the view and how you play the game. He's a death row convict who has no qualms about playing along with a snuff film director and brutally killing everyone he meets - all of his victims are way worse than him, though. They range from pedophiles to neo-Nazis to drugged-up Satanist cultists to corrupt police officers. He also is shown to care about his family, and goes to great lengths to guide an innocent journalist to safety, even after she witnessed him killing several policemen. While he's not a saint, he's certainly better than the scum he's up against. And it is possible for the player to kill everyone as quickly as possible, defying Starkweather (who wants you to kill the hunters more brutally).
Ax-Crazy: If you make him do the more brutal executions he comes off as this. Bonus points if the player actually uses the ax to kill hunters in "Drunk Driving".
Badass: He goes up against several murderous gangs, lunatics with revolvers and shotguns, corrupt cops, S.W.A.T. teams, a small army of mercenaries with assault rifles, and several other psychos. He kills them all.
Bald of Evil: He is a death row convict and knows how to kill people efficiently. Even moreso if the player makes him do more brutal executions, as opposed to the quick ones.
Berserk Button: He shows little emotion throughout the game, but when Starkweather reveals that he had the Innocentz kill Cash's family, Cash flips out and demolishes the TV he just watched it on.
Chainsaw Good: He uses a chainsaw to kill Lionel Starkweather at the end of the game. He can also use one in the bonus level "Time 2 Die".
Improbable Weapon User: How is Cash this good at killing others with improvised weaponry? That's when Fridge Brilliance sets in: Besides his survival instincts, this might be why he ended up on death row in the first place.
Offstage Villainy: He apparently did something that landed him on death row in the past. What it is we'll never know.
One-Man Army: Cash kills easily over a hundred people during the events of Manhunt, be it with plastic bags, knives, bats, pistols or rifles.
Pet the Dog: We're not given a whole lot of reasons to like Cash, but (trying) to save his family has to count for something. And later on he does help the journalist reach her apartment safely and urges her to leave the city, even after she witnessed him possibly murder several police officers. Though he also tells her that she is his "backup" in case he doesn't make it, so it's debatable how much of it was genuine kindness and how much simple pragmatism.
The Quiet One: He only talks in five levels, and has very little dialogue in all but one: An "Oh, shit!" when he first faces the Cerberus mercenaries at the end of "Road to Ruin", when he tells his various family members to escape in "Strapped for Cash", when he tells the Tramp to either stay put or follow him in "Drunk Driving", during the cutscene at the end of "Divided They Fall", and finally directs most of his dialogue, the same as with the Tramp and in cutscenes, at the journalist in "Press Report".
Revenge Before Reason: He goes through great lenghts, including fighting a lot of gung-ho corrupt cops, to make sure the journalist gets the evidence she needs to put Starkweather into jail, but declines her offer to comes with her, telling the journalist that she is his "backup" in case he dies, and ultimately decides that he wants to kill Starkweather on his own. Though this is understandable, as Starkweather killed his whole family, tried to kill him, and forced him to fight for his life even before that, causing him to slaughter dozens of people.
The Stoic: He shows little emotion throughout the game, except when his family is killed and when he first encounters Piggsy. When he first encounters the Cerberus mercenaries he also seems surprised and/or frightened.
Unstoppable Rage: When his parents and siblings are killed. Crosses with Roaring Rampage of Revenge, as what started as being in a sick game for The Director becomes a Punisher-like motive for Cash, especially for the players.
A female reporter who helps Cash in the later stages of the game.
Even Evil Has Standards: He has a low opinion of the Skinz gang, and tells Cash to slaughter them since he's fed up with their racism. Though considering he has random people slaughtered for his own sick amusement, this is more of a case of Moral Myopia than anything else.
Expy: In a file photo of him, he looks like Orson Welles. The actual character model though looks more like Michael Moore. A possible Take That, maybe.
Faux Affably Evil: Shifts between this and jerkassery cutscene-wise, speaking to Cash in a friendly manner and acts as if they were buddies, though his tone is usually mocking. He is this gameplay-wise when Cash performs up to his "standards", complimenting him on his kills and reacting with glee at the more brutal executions.
In Love with Your Carnage: Gets very excited when Cash kills the hunters in more brutal ways, and is heavily implied to actually masturbate to them.
Mad Artist: Fancies himself as a great director and artist, and went nuts when his movies started to flop, eventually resorting to filming snuff films, still seeming to believe he is a great director in his insanity.
Mission Control: Sometimes he actually goes through the effort to give Cash some advice, but most of the time he really just urges him to murder people creatively and throws childish tantrums whenever Cash takes too long.
Sadist: He literally gets a hard-on from watching people suffering and dying.
Fed to Pigs: ...They're usually the victims of Starkweather's games.
Made of Iron: He gets stabbed in the back three times and is still kicking.
Mad Man In The Attic: For whatever reason, Starkweather has this thing chained up in the floor below his office.
Pig Man: Not a real one, but he wears the flesh of a pig head over his own.
Puzzle Boss: Killing him involves backstabbing him several times and then tricking him into falling into a hole.
Psychopathic Man Child: The game's own fan wiki describes him as a mentally broken down man who've been brought down to the state of a animal- and child-like psyche. Due to how he looks and how he acts, it may be true.
Co-Dragons: With Ramirez. While the Leader is in charge of Starkweather's own personal mercenary unit and drags Cash from one set to the next, Ramirez rallies the various hunter gangs for Starkweather and is the first one Starkweather tells to catch Cash after the latter escapes the "scene" supposed to kill him.
Dragon-in-Chief: As Starkweather mostly sits around in his room and watches all the Gorn from his security cameras, the Leader is the one who actually does stuff. He is also much tougher to beat than the Big Bad himself. Though unlike most examples, he also appears to be completely loyal to Starkweather.
The leader of the Wardogs. He is also seen giving orders to the Skinz and the Innocentz, seeming like Starkweather's primary go-to guy.
Authority Equals Asskicking: He can take way more bullets than his fellow Watchdogs and beats the shit out of Cash at the beginning of "Divided They Fall".
Co-Dragons: With the Cerberus Leader. While Ramirez rallies the various hunter gangs for Starkweather and is the first one Starkweather tells to catch Cash after the latter escapes the "scene" supposed to kill him, the Cerberus Leader is in charge of Starkweather's own personal mercenary unit and drags Cash from one set to the next.
The chief of the Carcer City Police Department, highly corrupt and in Starkweather's pocket.
Dirty Cop: Starkweather bribes Schaffer to cover up his crimes, and to give him access to various areas in Carcer City to film his various... projects.
The Evil Genius: In a sense. He is competent enough to cover up Starkweather's projects and even give him access to quite a lot sections of Carcer City. His involvement with Starkweather would have likely never been known if Cash hadn't helped the journalist get the evidence she needed.
The Ghost / The Unfought: He only appears in one scene, as the voice Starkweather talks to on the phone in the beginning of "Press Report". Naturally this also means he is the only antagonist Cash never fights.
Karma Houdini: Possibly. Cash never even meets him, but at the end of the game his involvement with Starkweather's crimes and his corruption are mentioned in the news, though he pleads "not guilty". Ultimately, his fate remains unknown.
Cowardly Boss: Runs away into a tower and hides behind several Cerberus mercenaries when it's clear that Cash will come after him.
The Dark Chick: He's some guy in a bunny costume who spends most of the time running away from Cash. His only role is essentially leading Cash into a death trap. Hilariously enough, he actually comes off as one of the more... "sane" characters.
Dirty Coward: He lures Cash in an ambush supposed to kill him, but still begs Cash for mercy and cries out for his mother when about to be shot.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:Both Manhunt 2's website and the game itself showcase the horrible things that the Project does to people for science; Before volunteering as their guinea pig, Daniel used to work for them as a researcher. Daniel can be considered The Woobie, but one can't help but wonder if he's also a Karma Houdini.
Dark and Troubled Past/Freudian Excuse:Implied. The Manhunt 2 website has files on several of the Project's experiments. One of them is one where a anti-social individual is subjected to disfiguring and horrifically painful surgeries to see if the pain and subsequent ostracization by the other patients would make him violent. It works. At the end of the file is a medical chart displaying all the surgeries performed. That chart is in Leo's file in the game manual, implying that he was the subject of that experiment.