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Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke
Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke (Emily VanCamp)
- "For the truly wronged, real satisfaction can only be found in one of two places: absolute forgiveness, or mortal vindication. This is not a story about forgiveness."
- Action Girl: She is a black belt in karate, and quite proficient at kicking ass.
- Unscrupulous Hero: Although her motives are understandable and sympathetic, she is far from a morally upstanding protagonist, and causes her share of collateral damage. To her credit, she shows a surprising amount of restraint for this level of Anti-Hero.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Character Development, the clearing of her father's name and defeating the Graysons has her wishing to start anew as of Season 4 and lead a more honest life. Too bad fate, as well as an archnemesis who refuses to accept defeat gracefully, have other things in mind for her.
- Battle Couple: With Aiden.
- Bad Dreams: In the finale she has one about her near death experience. It's ambiguous whether it's real or not, but the dream suggests she had Victoria's heart transplanted into her in order to save her life.
- Bed Trick: It's debatable if Daniel would have consented to having sex with her if he knew she was really Amanda.
- Big Sister Instinct: She earns one after a revelation.
- Blue Oni: Controlled next to most people; compared to the other Amanda/Emily, she's practically dead.
- Break the Badass: Season 2 hasn't been particularly kind to her.
- Broken Bird: Where to start: her father has been framed for terrorism, she ends up permanently separated from him, is sent into foster care, and is institutionalized throughout the rest of her childhood. Oh, and her father has been murdered while in prison. By the time she returns to the Hamptons, she's out to get even with anyone and everyone responsible.
- Byronic Heroine: Basically an expy of Edmond Dantes; comes with the territory.
- The Chessmaster: Succeeds in out-manipulating pretty much everybody.
- Childhood Friend Romance: The man she ultimately ends up with in the end is her childhood friend Jack Porter.
- Daddy's Girl: This, combined with shades of Broken Bird and a big dose of Magnificent Bastard, makes her a force to be reckoned with where her father's memory is concerned.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Part of the show is uncovering it.
- Death Glare: Known by the cast as "The Croc".
- Defrosting Ice Queen: To Aiden.
- Determined Expression: Most of the time when she's with Daniel she has this facial expression on.
- Emotionless Girl: Tries to act like it anyway.
- Everyone Has Standards: While she will stoop to serious lows to get what she wants, there are lines she will not cross when she doesn't have to, namely, if not explicitly, killing outside of self-defense.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: For everyone she meets.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She does demonstrate a softer side, having shown affection for Nolan, Jack, Charlotte, and Amanda in the past, not that she wouldn't risk putting all of them but Jack into danger in order to further her aims. That said, she has ultimately felt remorse for using them, and felt sorrow in the case of Amanda.
- Kill It with Fire: Is implied to be a pyromaniac, or at least favour using arson to eliminate evidence.
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Out of all her love interests, Jack Porter was the only one she never had an explicit romantic relationship with. There was Unresolved Sexual Tension, but besides a few kisses together they never dated because Emily continually refused to let him get involved in her plans. Her other two love interests were either essential to her plans (Daniel) or knew of them and were going to involve themselves either way (Aiden). It's only after her revenge is over and her other two love interests are no longer viable (one hating her guts, the other dead), that she and Jack finally consider the possibility of pursuing a serious relationship with each other. Come the series finale, they marry and sail off into the sunset.
- Manipulative Bitch: The entire show is about how she manipulates the Hamptonites that were involved in framing her father. Victoria is the only one that doesn't fall for it and believes Emily is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing from the beginning.
- Meaningful Name: Emily Thorne, which is lampshaded by Nolan. Emily itself comes from the latin word "aemulus" which means "Rival" while her birth name Amanda means "loved" or "worthy of love". Both names fit perfectly. Amanda who was loved by her father and the name she adopts Emily, as she takes on those who destroyed her family. Word of God has confirmed both these names and meanings were intentional.
- Minored In Ass Kicking: Emily was a Little Miss Bad Ass in juvie, but now using her brains to get revenge in the Hamptons.
- Missing Mom: Though it turns out that her mother is still alive.
- Must Make Amends/The Atoner: In season 4, for hurting Charlotte.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Realizes she was too focused on revenge after Charlotte chews her out for using her.
- Not So Stoic: In the season 1 Finale where you can see all she's done finally catches up with her. She's slightly less stoic in season 2 and its finale.
- Pet the Dog: One she learns the truth that Charlotte is her half-sister she has some tender moments with her, and it doesn't even involve her plans for the Graysons.
- Revealing Hug: Practically her Signature Move.
- Revenge: Obviously.
- Secret Identity Identity: She identifies so strongly as "Emily Thorne" that she refers to the real Emily as Amanda, even when they're alone together.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: To Victoria, who tries to convince her that she would have to answer for the people she had hurt, including Victoria herself, and the possibility her father would reject everything she had done on his behalf. Emily rebukes her by reminding her that she had her falsely committed when she was a child, estranging her from her father and ruining her childhood, on top of other assorted crimes, and will have to answer for her own crimes as well. Emily goes even further by stating that while she's willing to go the extra mile by facing the consequences, she can tell that Victoria, by comparison, refuses to do the same, and is secretly afraid of losing the only man she has left.
- Stepford Smiler: Constantly hides her sociopathic nature under a caring, gentle facade.
- The Sociopath: Nolan has canonically called her as one. Although it is uncertain whether she qualifies psychologically, she certainly displays behaviors consistent with sociopathy.
- A Taste of Their Own Medicine/Fate Worse Than Death: Is very fond of inflicting this on those who betrayed her father.
- Tranquil Fury: At least during the first half of the first season she keeps her anger at the Graysons a secret, at least until Daniel decides to join the Grayson corporation.
- Took a Level in Badass: Following Season 2.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Amazingly, following the beginning of Season 2 she becomes remarkably more ruthless.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Sets out on becoming a more honest person in season 4.
- The Unfettered: Initially, but ends up caring about quite a few people (to different extents) entirely against her will.
- Tsundere: A very dark Type A for the most part. She does show affection for a few, namely Jack, Nolan and Declan. Just don't get in the way, or worse, be the target of her revenge, or you'll meet the business end of her tsun.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: As little Amanda. Needless to say, her ruined childhood left her incredibly damaged.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: To both Daniel and Jack, after getting the identity of the man that attacked Jack and beat Daniel unconscious, she seduces and then unleashes a world of hurt upon the thug.Emily: (seductively in his ear) This is for Jack... (Beats the ever loving shit out of him, then kicks him repeatedly in the stomach with full force) And that was for Daniel!
- A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: She's the main character in a story entirely about her getting revenge. She puts on a sociable facade to blend in inside the Hamptons while scheming against those who wronged her and her father.
- You Killed My Father: To the White-Haired Man, and for his role, Conrad Grayson. Except her father isn't really dead, though she doesn't find that out until season four.
David Clarke (James Tupper)The main impetus for his daughter's conquest, David Clarke was a Grayson Global employee who was framed for the Flight 197 explosion and killed while in prison. Later revealed to be alive and in hiding.
- Berserk Button: Don't even think about hurting his daughter.
- Broken Bird: A male example; his years running criminal errands for Malcolm have taken their toll on his inner self.
- Clear My Name: Bides his time hiding until his name his cleared. The first thing he does is kill an escaping Conrad.
- Death Faked for You/He's Just Hiding: He was really broken out of prison following the assault and had his death faked for him by Malcolm Black, who then put him to work laundering money for him.
- Forced into Evil: Forced by Malcolm Black into laundering money for him to keep the latter from killing Amanda.
- Forgiveness: One of the key lessons he tried to teach his daughter even while in prison. Turns out he changed for the worse after everything that really happened after the prison assault.
- He's Back: At the end of season 3, he begins his re-emergence by killing Conrad.
- Like Father, Like Son: Like daughter, specifically. Both incredibly cunning and willing to go to varying extremes, and incredibly protective of each other and their circle of friends.
- Papa Wolf: Would do anything for his daughter.
- Posthumous Character: Subverted with the season 3 finale.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: When a few of Emily's old enemies show up in an attempt for payback and tell her she will have to answer what she has done, David counters that they had it coming for what they did, and warns them to stay away from her.
- Took a Level in Cynic: Before being nearly killed in prison and forced into working for Malcolm (see Forced into Evil), believes in forgiveness. Afterwards, not so much.
- The Unfettered: When he comes out of hiding. He makes his daughter look downright restrained in comparison. But then, considering the acts he's been committing for Malcolm, it's no surprise.
- Walking Spoiler
- Your Days Are Numbered: In the final episodes, he's revealed to have terminal lymphoma, which claims his life in the epilogue of the final episode.
Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann)
- "Don't do anything revenge-y until I get there."
- A Friend in Need: Nolan is the only friend of Amanda's father who does not abandon him. When Amanda turns 18 he comes to her and tells her of her father's innocence and gives her her father's 49% worth of shares of Nolan's company (worth billions of dollars) since her father was Nolan's first investor and Nolan believes he would not have succeeded without him. He also is determined to help Emily in her quest for vengeance, even when she doesn't want him to.
- In a more present sense of the word, Nolan is more than willing to help Jack out, though like Emily, Jack doesn't want him to.
- Adorkable: Holy shit.Nolan: Throw me a token and put me in front of an arcade cabinet... And I turn into Bruce friggin' Lee!
- The above line is absolutely sold by his gestures.
- Ambiguously Gay/Bi the Way: He says he's "a 3 on the Kinsey Scale" but has dated more men than women.
- Big Brother Instinct: Since David was a father figure to him and the only man to believe in Nolan's dream, Nolan promised David that he would always protect Emily. In "Justice," Aiden convinces Nolan to hand over control of his company to Grayson Global to prevent the discovery of the origin of her wealth; Nolan says that the only reason he is doing this is to protect her and then asks Aiden what his motives are, Aiden then says he is trying to make up for having hurt Emily in the past and Nolan, in possibly his single most serious moment in the series, threatens Aiden saying her better no ever hurt Emily again.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Tyler, and depending on who you ask, both Ashley and Jack.
- Berserk Button: If Nolan's around: don't hurt Jack. It's healthier that way.
- Buffy Speak: Besides being The Nicknamer with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness going on for him, he tends to put words together as he pleases. 'Revenge-y' and 'revengenda' are two examples...
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Weird, socially awkward and eccentric. He's also a computer genius who has more money than God.
- Color Contrast: The first time we see Nolan is in the flash-forward to the Fire and Ice Ball five months in the future; the dress code is red for women and white for men, with Victoria specifying that the color theme represents the love between a man and a woman. Nolan is the only guest at the party wearing both colors, possibly an early hint as to his bisexuality.
- Covert Pervert: In "Justice," Nolan drops in on Declan the night before he testifies in Daniel's trial to make sure everything is okay and that he tells his story as planned. Nolan finds Declan kissing Charlotte, who came to try and convince Declan to tell the actual story, while wearing a short, sexy nightdress and heels and she walks out shortly after Nolan shows up, Nolan does a spin around so he can checkout Charlotte while she walks out, and quickly turns back around when she looks back and sees him looking her up and down. Even Nolan isn't immune to a 17-year-old girl flaunting her sexuality.
- Cowardly Sidekick: Has shades of this with the decidedly badass Emily. While he is willing to put himself in danger indirectly and risk his safety for the sake of his own morals, he is beyond terrible at physical/hand-to-hand combat. If he senses any threat of immediate violence, his standard reaction to freeze, curl up in terror, and beg not to be hurt.
- The Dandy: Is consistently decked out in loud, rather bizarre fashion statements.
- Distressed Dude: Is beaten/tied up more than his fair share. Not that fans are complaining. In fact, this, combined with his snarky personality, Woobie status, and bisexuality, seems to render him a Fetish Fuel Station Attendant for quite a few viewers.
- The Dragon: Nolan is more or less this to Emily. Whether she likes it or not.
- Expy: He's basically a nice, kind version of Chuck Bass.
- Friendship Moment: Has a few surprisingly sweet ones with Ashley, despite the fact that they generally despise each other. Nothing says "bonding experience" like finding out that the guy you both slept with is a psychotic murderer.
- Hollywood Hacking: And how. Can apparently access any website with a few clicks of his keyboard.
- Idle Rich: Possibly a deconstruction of this trope; he possesses insane amounts of money, but is still lonely, awkward, and socially inept.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Pretty much everything he does is in an attempt to win and keep either Emily or Jack's approval.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Emily, in an odd, rather codependently unhealthy way. (He is simultaneously terrified of her and desperate for her approval and friendship, while she claims not to need him while calling in favors from him every five minutes.) At the same time, the two of them are probably the only people in the world who know each others' secrets, and they share some moments of genuine affection.
- Mood Whiplash: Makes frequent and startling swings from intimidating to flippant, from determined to panicked, from cold to emotional, etc., at the drop of a hat. His loyalty to Emily and David keeps him on board with the revenge plan, but how committed and involved he is varies from day to day based on his personal reactions to Emily's methods.
- Morality Pet: Despite his cold, snarky persona, he manages to be this for Emily when her actions cross lines that he isn't willing to condone.
- Nerds Are Sexy: He's an uber-techno genius, with a handsome face and, surprisingly, a pretty well toned and nicely built body!
- Never Hurt an Innocent: He's all for taking people down but doesn't like going after others who weren't involved. Sadly, Emily does not share this view.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: His "Burt the cable guy" costume in the season finale; a uniform, beanie, and rather wispy mustache are his only concessions to concealing his identity. It doesn't work.
- Parental Substitute: His aunt Carol, and maybe David Clarke.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Emily.
- Poisonous Friend: Nolan is an inversion of this: while he is fanatically loyal to Emily/Amanda and assists her in her revenge scheme, he also points out that she would probably be happier if she just dropped the whole thing and went off somewhere to enjoy her wealth.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Though this occurred sporadically to him throughout Season 1, his status as this reaches a figurative height when Emily, Aidan, and Daniel's machinations in the first half of Season 2 set Nolan up to lose control of his company and hand it over to Grayson Global. Nolan is more than willing to allow this to happen though, if it means 'helping the closest thing to family he's had'.
Nolan: Mm... Sacrificial lamb, reporting for the slaughter...
- Later on, it seems he's very aware of his place as this, as he enters an episode saying this:
- Secret Keeper: For Emily.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Normally uses a rainbow of a vocabulary to describe situations. Often drops this when he's panicking about something.
- Shipper on Deck: For Jack and Emily. Considering his close friendship with Emily and considerable amount of HoYay with Jack, this veers into OT3 territory for some fans.
- Spoiled Sweet: Despite being a Deadpan Snarker, and the richest character in the series, he is incredibly empathetic, often looking in the best interest of Jack, Declan, and Emily.
- Stealth Parody: His hilariously over-the-top preppy outfits could be, particularly when you take into account Nolan's sarcastic personality and hatred of the Hamptonites, and that he dresses much more casually in flashbacks.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Snarky and awkward on the outside, sweet and kind-hearted on the inside. In Nolan's case, it may be justifiable to protect himself from people who would use that against him.
- Technical Pacifist: Aids Emily in her plans to ruin the lives of those who destroyed David Clarke, but dislikes violence and is terrible at any sort of physical combat, preferring to wage war from behind the screen of his iPad.
- Undying Loyalty: To David, Emily, and Jack.
- In the episode "Lineage," set in the year 2006, it tells the story of how Nolan's ex-boyfriend, Marco, Nolcorp's former CFO, found out that $500 million was missing from an account that he had set up for Nolan back in 2002, when Nolan tells him that he gave it to Amanda Clarke, the daughter of their first investor, David Clarke, Marco tells Nolan that they can't be associated with a man like him, Nolan says that he couldn't screw over Emily after everything she had been put through and then breaks up with Marco because he didn't accept Nolan's loyalty to the Clarke family as the first investors of Nolcorp.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Nolan's relationship with his father is revealed to be an inversion of this: while he apparently became estranged from his father after the latter kicked him out for refusing to go back to college, after his father's death Nolan discovers that his dad was proud enough of him to have collected every article ever written about Nolan, as well as keeping a massive box of early business documents from the beginning of NolCorp's founding. As Nolan says in his typically Deadpan Snarker way, "turns out he loved me."
Jack Porter (Nick Wechsler)
The son of a local bar owner, and later owner himself, Jack Porter was childhood friends with Amanda Clarke and adopted her dog after she was taken away by social services. Jack Porter remembers her fondly as a reminder of better times and named his boat after her. Nolan Ross encourages him to try and date Emily Thorne as a means of salvaging her soul.
- A Boy and His X: Is pretty much inseparable from Sammy, the dog Amanda bequeathed on him years before.
- Break the Cutie: Holy crap does the second season screw him hard. His father's involvement in a murder years ago comes back to ruin his life when the Ryan brothers show up to try and take over Jack's bar as a means of avenging their father. Nate Ryan's later conversation with Conrad Grayson leads to the death of fake Amanda during their honeymoon. Jack's attempt to get revenge for this leads to Conrad's attempt to assassinate Jack in the form of a bombing. The bombing takes Declan's life instead. After all that, can you really blame him for the inevitable?
- Butt-Monkey: Nothing ever seems to go right for Jack.
- Childhood Friend Romance: With Emily/Amanda.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Boy, does he.
- First Guy Wins: He's the one who ends up with Emily in the end.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: After Amanda's death, his temper becomes so bad that it's arguable who's got a worse rein on his anger between him and Daniel. After the aforementioned event, he's shown to be increasingly irritable towards Nolan and Emily for their secrets as well as whatever involvement they had in the events between the current summer and the previous one.
- Idiot Hero: The guy is genuinely one of the nicest and most responsible characters in the show, but dear God is he not the sharpest tool in the shed, with a dash of Gullible Lemmings to the point that he could almost be a hindrance to Emily and Nolan's many schemes due to their concerns for his safety.
- Nice Guy: Could be the poster boy for this trope, especially in comparison to the other characters...
- Parental Abandonment: Jack and Declan Porter's mother abandoned her family when the boys were very young and they were raised by their father.
- Perpetual Poverty: By the time the show begins, all the Porters have left to their name is the bar their father owns and Jack's boat. The boat is sold to Nolan in season one, though because Nolan understands what the boat means to Jack, he does return it eventually. The bar gets enough for the Porters to get by, but their conditions never improve, so maintenance problems with the bar is enough to make them panic. Nolan and Emily are willing to support them whenever the situation becomes too drastic, though Jack's pride keeps him from accepting help from either of them. In Season 2, Jack and Declan's inability to manage the bar pushes them into debt with another pair of brothers that have a score to settle with Jack's now deceased father.
- Promotion to Parent: When their father dies from a heart attack, the adult Jack becomes Declan's guardian.
- Revenge: After a season and a half of decidedly attempting to stay away from the Graysons, Amanda's death puts him on the same warpath that Emily's been on for most of her life. His amateur attempts at joining the revenge game ends up ruining his life further than solving anything. Declan's death drives him to the brink of executing an assassination on Conrad, to the point where it takes Emily revealing her true identity to him to stop him.
- Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: The poor suitor in the triangle between him, Daniel and Emily.
- Secret Keeper: Emily revealed that she was really Amanda Clarke to Jack in the Season 2 finale to keep him from assassinating Conrad. It worked, but come Season 3, he's realized that everything that's happened, including Declan's death, was as a result of Emily's actions. That said, he's given Emily a deadline to finish her business in the Hamptons and then disappear, and threatens to reveal her identity to everyone if she doesn't.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Amanda's death has him out for Grayson blood, but his disdain isn't entirely aimed at them; he begins to openly show contempt towards anyone that might be involved during the incident and makes it very clear that he's sick of Emily and Nolan for keeping secrets from him and trying to keep him out of the way of the Graysons' sights.
Amanda Clarke/Emily Thorne (Margarita Levieva)A child of the foster system and institutionalized for most of her life, her life changed by becoming cellmates with (the real) Amanda Clarke. Emily Thorne traded names with her after befriending her. Having become a stripper after her release, she is intrigued by the life her cellmate has created for it.
- Defeat Means Friendship: When Amanda first met the real Emily in juvie, they got into a brief but brutal fight; now, they seem rather close, enough for Emily being willing to switch identities.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: In Emily's.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: She's crazy, but still intently devoted to anyone gives her love and acceptance. She panics at the thought that Emily doesn't love her, and briefly sides with Tyler when he plays with this doubt of hers.
- Red Oni: She is quite manic, especially when compared to her composed Emily/Amanda counterpart.
- Undying Loyalty: To Emily/the real Amanda. To the point where she panics at the thought that Emily might not be as loyal to her. She briefly sides with Tyler in an attempt to try and fix her connection with Emily.
- Yandere: She has shades of this in regards to Emily/Amanda.
Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe)Victoria Grayson is the wife of Conrad Grayson and "Queen of the Hamptons." She is the master of the socialite circle, richer than God, and seemingly possesses a perfect life. This mask hides a scheming and vindictive manipulator who is willing to destroy anyone who stands in her way.
- Abusive Parents: Her mother is a heartless, abusive Gold Digger and murderer.
- Alpha Bitch: During the first season rules the Hamptons with an iron fist.
- Anti-Role Model: Told her own daughter to not regret seeking Revenge, while she was crying and in a dark moment, implying things DON'T get better, even if she does try.
- Anti-Villain: From the end of the first series. At least until season 3, when she is simply a lighter shade than her husband.
- Arch-Enemy: To Emily. In season 3, the feeling is mutual.
- The Atoner: Victoria, of all people, starts coming off as this in the last few episodes of the season, as she dedicates herself to taking down Conrad for what happened to David Clarke, no matter the cost. When all is said and done though, this is the only thing she feels badly about; her other family aside, she's pretty shameless about who she has to walk on to get what she wants.
- Baby Trap: Victoria got Conrad to marry her by faking a pregnancy. After the wedding she had a fake Convenient Miscarriage.
- Broken Bird: In the final episode, Victoria admits that she (figuratively) died long before Emily/Amanda was born, and that her actual death is just a formality.
- The Chessmaster: She's obviously the brains behind the Grayson empire.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The one redeeming quality Victoria has is that she genuinely loves her children.
- Despite helping to destroy David Clarke, she genuinely loved him and even refused to let Conrad sell or bulldoze the beach house for several years, as it was her one last connection to the man she loved.
- Evil Matriarch: There's a reason she's known as "Queen" Victoria.
- Faux Affably Evil: She can smile politely while plotting on destroying you.
- Foil: Can be considered one to Emily. Both had troubled if somewhat different in nature childhoods. Victoria could be considered a more purely self-serving counterpart to her archnemesis.
- Freudian Excuse: Her mother was responsible for her becoming a ruthless schemer, going so far as to kick her out of the house, believing she could make it on her own. She definitely succeeded.
- Gold Digger: The reason she married Conrad.
- Hannibal Lecture: Tells Emily that she will have to answer for all the damage she has caused.
- Heel–Face Door-Slam: She eventually decides to try to overcome her differences with Emily for the sake of her relationship with David, and even admits her own role in framing him. The result is both Clarkes wanting to kill her.
- Hypocrite: Calls Emily a sociopath. Fits the description without even trying better than Emily ever could.
- Karmic Death: In the final episode. None of her living children visit her fake funeral. The one person who genuinely cared for her betrays Victoria when she realized she isn't the good person she thought she was and finally one of the few men she genuinely loved ends up killing her to protect his daughter and foils Victorias final revenge scheme.
- Lack of Empathy: See The Sociopath.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The end of season 3 finds her committed to an asylum by Emily in the same fashion she did to Emily years ago.
- My Beloved Smother: To Daniel.
- Not So Different: With Emily, a point she makes frequently.
- Parental Favoritism: Obviously prefers Daniel to Charlotte, and now seems to prefer Patrick to both of them.
- Really Gets Around: Implied to have been such from her younger days as a gold-digger, and in the present day has slept with the largest pool of characters out of the cast, including an affair or two.
- Revenge by Proxy: Kills Aiden after suspecting Emily was responsible for Pascal's murder.
- Revenge Myopia: Wants payback against Emily in season 4 for having her locked up in the asylum, even though it was retribution for the very thing she herself did to Emily that ruined the lattter's childhood and left her a broken young lady.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: As a young teenager she was pursued by her mother's suitors. When her stepfather molested her, her mother threw her out of the house.
- The Sociopath: While Emily has traits of one, Victoria, by contrast, has barely any sense of decency.
- Stepford Smiler: Actually tells people that her smiles are fake.
- A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Gets committed to the asylum in the same manner she got Emily committed years ago, by Emily herself.
- Villain Protagonist: After Emily succeeds in her revenge, she takes over as the one seeking revenge in season 4, down to taking on the show's narration.
- Woman Scorned: Her actions after finding out are terrifying.
Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny)The patriarch of the Grayson family, Conrad is a hedge fund manager with billions to his name. Unfortunately, he is deeply unhappy with his current life and living in a sham of a marriage. Conrad Grayson, along with a vertible army of conspirators, arranged for the arrest and conviction of David Clarke.
- Arch-Enemy: He and Jack seem to have become this after season 2.
- The Apprentice: To his father before he too over the company.
- Coincidence Magnet: From his perspective all of this is coincidental.
- The Charmer: Despite the nepotism which gave him his title, he has had his way with many women and can make a good first impression.
- Graceful Loser: Surprisingly enough, he's quite cordial to Emily after she exposes his crimes and gets him thrown into federal prison, and wishes her good luck with the rest of her plan. It helps that she's now focused entirely on Victoria, who he despises.
- It's All About Me: He will do anything to get ahead, including murder.
- Man Scorned: He's furious about Victoria's infidelities (though he's quite the adulterer himself) and hates that she loved David and Dominic more than him.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: How many people have called him out on his decisions.
Daniel Grayson (Joshua Bowman)The son of Conrad and Victoria Grayson, Daniel is the over-privileged "Prince of the Hamptons." Daniel was only a boy when David Clarke was arrested for treason but has bought completely into his parents lies about the man. A former party animal and recovering alcoholic, he has his own secrets.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Victoria works very hard to keep his issues a secret.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: In Emily's arms to be precise, after taking a bullet in the abdomen while shielding her during which the two do admit that they did love each other, despite everything they both did to one another.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Subverted. Conrad argues that Daniel wouldn't go anywhere in the world without the Grayson name, which might have been true if his parents' machinations didn't place him as the CEO of Grayson Global. Now, Daniel's just concerned with not becoming the nightmare that he's fully aware his parents became a long time ago.
- Hypocrite: Invoked when after a little pressure joins his father's company, after spending months telling Emily that he didn't want that.
- Lonely at the Top: He is one of the youngest CEOs and lost his girlfriend for his decision. He also alienated his sister and his family with his actions.
- Mood-Swinger: As his world falls apart he goes from mood to mood.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Joining his father, hitting his mother, being cold to his fiance within a few episodes. Gets worse in the second season. Oh, and let's not forget shooting Emily in the stomach.
- Though it goes back to Kindness when Conrad is killed, forcing Daniel out of his lifestyle with his family name ruined. He admits to Emily how wrong he was about everything and declares himself completely out of the rest of the power games. Unfortunately, Redemption Equals Death.
- Your Cheating Heart: Both Ashley and Emily.
Charlotte Grayson (Christa B. Allen)Charlotte Grayson is the daughter of Conrad and Victoria Grayson except not biologically on Conrad's part. The Spoiled Sweet seventeen-year-old "Princess of the Hamptons", she is bored with her rich Hamptonite boyfriends and intrigued with young Declan Porter.
- Big Brother Worship: Charlotte seems to adore Daniel, turning to him rather than her parents when she gets in trouble.
- Break the Cutie: Though not directly involved or targeted by Emily, an impressive amount of crap has happened to her over the course of the series (attempting to commit suicide, losing her boyfriend and baby, and being kidnapped to further Emily's plans just to name a few).
- Butt-Monkey: If they want anything bad to happen to any character it's usually her.
- The Conscience: Her crimes are little things in compared to her families and is arguably the most conscience one in the set.
- Disappeared Dad: Due to the situation with the real Amanda's father. Not so disappeared anymore,due to David Clarke being alive and they finally meet in "Ashes".
- Daddy's Girl: Before the revelation that David Clarke is her biological father. Once she gets over this, she becomes Genre Savvy enough to use her status as this to Conrad to manipulate his decisions, on behalf of her mother or brother (whichever one of them is manipulating her that week).
- Disproportionate Retribution: Her speech to Emily was pretty warranted, given that Emily should have never used her. Inviting her over to supposedly talk it over (given Emily had good reason for her actions, revenge aside; Conrad was a bastard) only to knock her out from behind, and set the place on fire intending to leave her to die, though? Uncalled for. Emily never resorted to murder unless she absolutely had to, for Pete's sake.
- Functional Addict: Gets on well despite her addiction to pills.
- Fragile Flower: Towards the end of the first season. Attempts suicide as a result of her mental fragility, though it didn't take, and she gets better throughout season 2 and 3.
- Genius Ditz: If the impressive array of AP courses she's taking are any indication.
- Idiot Ball: Um... Charlotte dear, don't you think an invalided and invalidated Emily telling you David Clarke is her father might be something you'd want to pick up on the second you hear it?
- Interrupted Suicide: Of the overdosing on pills variety. Her father finds her in time to save her though.
- Morality Pet: To everyone in her family, but most especially Conrad, at least until she confronts him about the Flight 197 bombing in "Impetus".
- Not So Harmless: Needless to say, she did not take the revelation of Emily's true identity and reasoning for her actions.
- Spoiled Sweet: She's nice enough at the beginning of the series, though any revelation of her parents' actions, in the past or present, tend to cause her to follow in their footsteps.
- Token Good Teammate: To her family, especially now that Daniel's become more and more involved with the Grayson Global company.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: It appears she's taken one with her reaction towards Emily. See Disproportionate Retribution for more.
- The Unfavourite: Despite what Victoria has said she always felt frozen out by her.
- White Sheep: Ends up as this at the end and is the reason she's Driven to Suicide in the finale, although she gets better.
Associates of Grayson Global
Ashley Davenport (Ashley Madekwe)Ashley Davenport is the party planner and reluctant (unofficial) personal assistant of Victoria Grayson. Ashley Davenport wishes desperately to be a part of Hamptonite social life but doesn't have the money or connections to truly belong. Ashley is also, seemingly, best friends with Emily Thorne.
- The Danza: One of three (see also Emily Thorne and young Emily).
- I Just Want to Be Special: And rich. And a society queen.
- The Resenter: To Emily. In good humour at first, but turns ugly as their friendship is left behind in the wake of the plot.
- She's Got Legs: This also applies to other female characters on the show, but no one symbolises this trope here as much as Ashley.
Tyler Barrol (Ashton Holmes)The Harvard Business roommate of Daniel Grayson, Tyler Barrol shows up soon after Emily Thorne to spend the summer with his old friend. It quickly becomes apparent he is not what he seems.
- Ax-Crazy: The only thing stopping him from losing it completely is his medication. When he's off them, he crashes Daniel's birthday party with a gun.
- Depraved Bisexual: He dates Ashley and tugs on his former connection with Daniel to get closer to the Graysons, but sleeps with Nolan on the side. Needless to say, there's nobody he won't manipulate to get where he wants to be.
- Evil Is Hammy(crashing Daniel's birthday party with a gun) "How about a party game, huh? Something we can all play. I call it TRUTH OR DIE."
- Faux Affably Evil: Especially when he snaps.
- Jerkass Has a Point: His advice to Ashley about not letting herself be a doormat for Victoria is actually rather sage. He was also technically right about Emily.
Mason Treadwell (Roger Bart)An Intrepid Reporter who wanted to prove David Clarke innocent with a tell-all book. Unfortunately, Greed betrayed him and he made a fortune backing up the Grayson's lies about him. This makes him a target for Amanda Clarke/Emily Thorne.
- Back for the Dead: Subverted. Victoria starts to visit Mason in jail to find out what he knows, and Mason blackmails Emily into getting him out. The next day, Mason "dies" in his jail cell, making it seem like Emily orchestrated the whole thing so he wouldn't tell anyone what he knows. By the end of the episode it's revealed that Emily was responsible - for slipping an herb into Mason's salve that simulated death for 12 hours so that Nolan could drive him out to the airport.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Like everyone else in the Hamptons...
- Deadpan Snarker: Rivals with Nolan and Conrad.
- Heel–Face Turn: After Emily convinces him that it was Victoria who burned down his house.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He has a very "Truman Capote" vibe to him.
- Secret Keeper: As per Penance, he is fully aware of Emily's identity, and is allied with her... but in a way that is completely in Emily's control.
- Spanner in the Works: Actively tries to be this to both Victoria and Emily in the series, partially for his own gain, but mostly For the Lulz. To his credit, goading Emily actually works out well for him, which is more than what can be said for most of her other victims.
- Taking You with Me: His new way of operating since coming back to the Hamptons;"It's a small price to pay for the regain of my soul".
- The Unfettered: Will do anything to get the truth and be the one to report it.
The White-Haired ManA figure who terrifies Conrad Grayson, the White-Haired Man is a contract killer and saboteur with ties to the American Initiative. The White-Haired Man is later revealed to to have killed David Clarke and to have married Kara Clarke.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: It's helped along because the Graysons are as untrustworthy as Benedict Arnold.
- Evil Albino: Not really, but he's referred to as such.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He's a terrorist and assassin but seems to hate the Graysons as much as Emily.
- Known Only by Their Nickname: Called the white-haired man for a while until his name is revealed after his death. It's Gordon Murphy.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Or step-father, in this case.
- The Man Behind the Man: Although it would seem that there are other men behind him, too.
- Manipulative Bastard: Tries to play games with the Graysons and Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke. They don't work out very well since all of them are Manipulative Bastards.
- Secret Keeper: As of the first season finale, he hasn't disclosed Emily's true identity to the Graysons.
- You Killed My Father: Killed David Clarke.
Declan PorterDeclan Porter is the younger brother of Jack Porter. A young townie, Declan aspires to life better than the one he's always grown up with and harbors feelings for Charlotte Grayson.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Towards Charlotte. See Morality Pet.
- Morality Pet: To everyone, but mainly towards Charlotte. Her interactions with him keep her from going down the Graysons' path of moral darkness earlier than she needs to. Jack's concern for Declan also keeps him from getting involved with anything too dangerous before he gets killed.
- Odd Friendship: With Nolan - they both share a fierce protectiveness towards Jack.
- Parental Abandonment: Jack and Declan's mother abandoned her family when the boys were very young and they were raised by their father.
- Promotion to Parent: He and Charlotte are the ones that take care of baby Carl Porter when Jack and Amanda are unable to, which happens more often when Amanda dies and Jack goes after the Graysons. Ironic, considering that Jack had to do the same thing for him when their father passed away.
- Uptown Girl: Is attracted to Charlotte for most of the series despite their differing economic levels.
SammyAmanda Clarke's dog when she was a child. It was taken by Jack Porter when she was institutionalized.
- Really 700 Years Old: At least in dog years.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: The writers allowed the dog to live to see Amanda despite there being no realistic way it could still be alive after seventeen years.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: We're not sure to what extent since his status as an executive may more or less be a cover, but is willing to agree to business transactions with Daniel for Emily's sake.
- Evil Mentor: And how! He was raising Aiden and Amanda for his personal revengenda rather than helping them towards their own goals, and tried to kill Aiden when he tried to nudge Emily off her path.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He's perfectly fluent in English, but pretends not to speak a word so he can avoid talking to people.
- Old Master: To Emily and Aiden.
- The Other Darrin: Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa replaced Hiroyuki Sanada for Season 2 because of scheduling conflicts.
- They Were Holding You Back: His reason for abducting Amanda and framing Daniel for murder.
Aiden MathisA student of Takeda and a former lover of Amanda Clarke. Aiden Mathis joins the group in Season 2, trying to assist Amanda in gaining her revenge while pursuing his own agenda. He remains largely mysterious in his motivations.
- Battle Couple: With Emily in their fight against the Graysons.
- Break the Badass: Watching Emily return to Daniel while Aiden's still very much in love with Emily (despite the knowledge that she's in love with Aiden and is only using Daniel for appearance's sake) isn't sitting well with him. Finding out his sister's really been dead all these years gave him a BSOD that made him leave Emily on her own for a while. His realization that revenge doesn't bring any sort of fulfillment causes him to try and redirect Emily off the path of revenge, but she refuses his offer to run away with him. He's forced to kill Takeda, who was raising him and Emily to fight against the Initiative. He also might have been killed by Daniel in the season 2 finale... except he wasn't. He did, however, get killed by Daniel's mom in the season 3 finale.
- Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Introduced as one of Emily's co-conspirators and fellow disciples of Takeda. Gets a job with Grayson Global as a mole for Emily, then reveals he has his own agenda and ends up working against everyone for a bit. Currently both Victoria and Conrad believe him to be a double agent for themselves and each other, but he's actually still on Emily's side.
- The Dragon: To Takeda and to a lesser extent Emily.
- Dragon with an Agenda: No one really knows which side he is on. As of the penultimate episode of the second season, he is revealed to have been on Emily's side the entire time, going so far as to kill Takeda.
- Heel...er...Face...? Realization: Him being neither a complete hero nor a complete villain makes him hard to classify what this is, but after killing Trask, Aiden realizes there's no fulfillment after revenge and thus tries to push Emily towards abandoning her vendetta to save her from the emptiness that he himself is feeling.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: After discovering that the tape of his sister was over 15 years old and she'd been Dead All Along.
- Idiot Ball: Hitting the button that releases Carrion onto the city that cements his place as another fallguy for the Graysons/The Initiative and leads to him and Nolan getting arrested definitely qualifies as this...
- In Season 3, knowingly entering into a relationship with Takeda's daughter, despite being the man responsible for her father's death, was an incredibly foolish move on his part.
- The Millstone: Occasionally falls into this whenever he decides to veer off-plan or juggle the Idiot Ball.
- Meaningful Name: The name Aiden means 'protector,' which fits in well with his actions over the course of Season 2.
- Sacrificial Lamb: The Graysons plan on turning him into the next David Clarke.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Taller than Daniel or Jack and definitely morally darker than Jack (and he's arguably morally as dark if not darker than Daniel too, but that's debatable). And where he stands on the handsome scale... That's really on a scale of personal subjectivity given the amount of beautiful men in the series...
- Third-Option Love Interest: Is Emily/Amanda's third major love interest, competing with Jack Porter and Daniel Grayson for her heart. Had he not died, he would've been the one to end up with Emily in the end.
Kara Wilkins Clarke Murphy
- Put on a Bus: After being told the truth about her ex-husband, she's convinced to leave the Hamptons without exacting the revenge she planned on taking on the Graysons.
- Bastard Bastard: Every bit as ruthless as his mother, if trying to kill his stepfather is any indication.
- Bi the Way: Was previously married, and is Nolan's love interest as of Season 3.
- Deadpan Snarker: He manages to outsnark Nolan in his first scene with him.
- Fish out of Water: Being abandoned by Victoria as a baby means that he doesn't share any of the grudges that his mother and her family have towards other people in the Hamptons. As a result, he has absolutely no idea as to what he's walking into when Victoria invites him to move into Grayson manor.
- Driven to Suicide: Due to Daniels marriage.
- Actually averted; Sara's roommate made Daniel think she was trying to commit suicide when in fact Sara just slipped in the tub while she was drunk out of her mind.
- Spanner in the Works: Daniel's other option. Charlotte is intentionally setting up Sara to be this to Daniel and Emily's marriage.
- Daddy's Little Villain: She's Takeda's daughter and is as ruthless as he is in training and motivating Emily in her quest of revenge against the Graysons.