Characters: Shameless

A list of characters appearing in Shameless.

The original show

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    The Gallaghers 

Frank Gallagher

Played By: David Threlfall (Series 1-11)

  • Abusive Parents: His relationship with Neville, was, not great to say the least.
  • The Alcoholic/Alcoholic Parent: Originally, turns to drink due to Monica leaving him, leaving Fiona to raise the family. Retconned in later series as him always having been an alcoholic and it being a contributing factor to Monica leaving.
  • Cool Old Guy: Has the odd moment.
  • Country Matters
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Dirty Coward
  • Establishing Character Moment: When Frank first appears in episode 1, he's a wasted and passed out corpse, being carried into the kitchen by police officers at an ungodly hour of the morning.
  • Faking the Dead
  • Flanderization: Becomes much more of a two-dimensional cunt as the series goes by. Compare Frank in series 1, who one could easily imagine oneself knowing in real life, to the series 11 Frank, a caricature of what once was.
  • Freudian Excuse
  • Hidden Depths: Despite being a general waste of space, he's well able to quote Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde in his narrations and can be surprisingly astute and philosophical after the right amount of booze.
  • Kavorka Man: Women all over Chatsworth are all over him, despite him looking like he's homeless. At one point, he's shacked up with Sheila while also sleeping with her daughter, Karen.
  • The Load
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • Never My Fault
  • The Nicknamer: Likes to give out nicknames. Some particular highlights include: Shrek for Norma, Bo'Selecta! for Lillian, and Westlife for Jamie Maguire.
  • Parents as People
  • Pet the Dog: Has his soft side and a few heroic moments, particularly in early series.

Fiona Gallagher

Played By: Anne-Marie Duff, Series 1-2, 11

Frank's firstborn child, Fiona goes through the biggest struggle of the Gallagher family; attempting to hold the family together and raise her five siblings, in the absence of her rubbish parents, all while attending school and trying to better herself. She is devoted to and besotted with her younger brothers and sisters, and often works overtime to ensure they all get the best possible start in life. She barely recognizes the existence of her degenerate father Frank and pours scorn on him at almost every opportunity.

Her life changes dramatically when she meets the Gentleman Thief Steve McBride, who sees the shackles of promoted parenthood, and does his best at every turn to encourage Fiona's independence. She falls deeply in love with Steve and the two of them slowly move up the ladder, getting engaged and acquiring their own house right next door to the Gallaghers.

After Steve flees the UK in series 2, she becomes despondent and depressed, but soon ends up in an unlikely relationship with neighbour Craig Garland - more of Fiona's natural type due to his council estate roots in contrast to Steve. So much so that she actually becomes pregnant with Craig's baby.

However, when Steve returns for Fiona, she realizes that she still deeply loves him. In a whirlwind of emotion and tears, she flees Chatsworth, with the full blessing of her family and friends, to live in the Netherlands with Steve permanently.

Philip 'Lip' Gallagher

Played By: Jody Latham, Series 1-5, 11

Frank's second child and oldest son. Lip is a cheeky twat who gets into a lot of trouble, but is actually a good lad with hardwired morals and ethics, courtesy of his sister Fiona. He bonds the closest with half-brother Ian, but has great relations with all of his siblings in general. By comparison, his relationship with his father is lukewarm at best, with both Lip and Frank seeing each other in a negative light. It can be argued that Paddy Maguire is more of a father figure to Lip, for the short time they are together, than Frank ever was.

Lip goes through many girlfriends and fuckbuddies, long-term and short-term, throughout the series. He accidentally knocks up Mandy Maguire, landing him in a world of trouble with the notorious Maguire gangster dynasty, but he ends up becoming a devoted, loving father to young Katie Maguire at the age of 16.

He eventually leaves Chatsworth and Manchester completely to attend the University of Nottingham.

Ian Gallagher

Played By: Gerard Kearns, Series 1-7

Ian is the third Gallagher child, however we soon find out that he's actually the product of an illicit affair Monica had with another degenerate alcoholic waster, Gary Bennett. His best friend is his brother Lip, who is in the same school year, and is also the first to find out about Ian's sexuality. He also becomes closer to and develops rapport with Carl after Lip leaves Chatsworth.

Out of all the Gallagher siblings, Ian is the one who is the most at odds with adoptive father Frank. Many arguments, headbutts and vitriol are exchanged between the two throughout the series due to various reasons, but Frank reaffirms his love for Ian after he helps to safely deliver baby Stella.

Ian spends his teenage years in a secret homosexual relationship with his employer, Kash Karib. He rarely displays any confusion over his ultimate preference for men, although he does embark on a couple of heterosexual relationships with two different girls, and also maintains a fake relationship with his schoolmate and good friend Mandy Maguire.

After inadvertently killing Joe Pritchard in rural countryside, he drives off with Joe's corpse in the boot and goes AWOL. He is never seen or heard from again.

  • No Bisexuals: Has a relationship with at least 2 different girls (Anna in series 4, and Maxine in series 7, but mostly has sex with men so identifies himself as a gay.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: All of the Gallagher children go through this, but Ian's is definitely the most overt. Being one of the oldest yet lacking the escape routes that Fiona and Lip found (i.e. university or a nice middle-class boyfriend to follow), Ian is the one to stay on the estate longest and constantly question whether life on the Chatsworth is all there is out there.
  • Put on a Bus
  • Straight Gay
  • Who's Your Daddy?

Carl Gallagher

Played By: Elliot and Luke Tittensor (series 1), Elliot Tittensor (series 2-9, 11)

Seasons 1-9, 11

  • Book Dumb: Leaves school with a couple of Cs and a lot of Ds at GCSE. He isn't dumb enough to fall for his family's false encouragement though, and is very self-aware of his mediocre academic prowess.
  • Mr. Fanservice
  • Put on a Bus
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: As much as one can be, living on a council estate.

Debbie Gallagher

Played By: Rebecca Ryan (Series 1-6)

Liam Gallagher

Played By: Joseph Furnace (series 1-2), Johnny Bennett (series 3-8)

Seasons 1-8

Stella Gallagher

Seasons 6-11

Monica Gallagher

Played By: Annabelle Apison (Series 1, 3, 4-6, 8, 11)

    The Fishers 

Kev Ball

Played By: Dean Lennox Kelly (Series 1-4, 8, 11)

Veronica Ball

Played By: Maxine Peake (Series 1-4)

Carol Fisher

Played By: Majorie Yates (Series 1-4)

Marty Fisher

Played By: Jack Deam (Series 1-4, 8-11)

     The Jacksons 

Sheila Jackson

Played By: Maggie O'Neill (Series 1-4)

Karen Jackson (later Maguire)

Played By: Rebecca Atkinson (Series 1-11)

  • Ms. Fanservice: Often walks around wearing a Dangerously Short Skirt and gets naked quite a few times.
  • Really Gets Around
  • Your Cheating Heart: Her affairs always land her and whoever she slept with in deep shit. The first one in series 1 sees her shagging Frank behind boyfriend Lip (and mother Sheila's) back, leading to Lip giving Frank a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in the middle of the street and causing Karen to flee the estate in shame. The second in series 6-7 with Joe Pritchard leads to a feud between him, her, and the entire Maguire clan, and later Joe's death at the hands of Ian Gallagher.

Eddie Jackson

Played By: Steve Pemberton (Series 1)

  • Knight Templar
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He only appears in two episodes very briefly, but his departure from the Jackson home and the conversation he has with Frank about Sheila set the ball rolling for Frank and Sheila's relationship and eventual marriage.

    The Karibs 

Kash Karib

Played By: Chris Bisson (Series 1-4, 6)

  • Asian Store-Owner
  • Faking the Dead
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's implied Chesney leaves him to die in the shop fire when he comes back in series 6, but it's never explicitly stated and just sort of glossed over. The fact that Chesney would commit such a brutal act and the idea of no one investigating the body found amongst the flames (even if Kash was legally dead) is pretty far-fetched in itself.

Yvonne Karib

Played By: Kelli Hollis (Series 1-7, 11)

  • Badass
  • The Beard: To Kash. She even stays with him after his affair with Ian comes out in order to have another child.
  • Berserk Button: Don't mess with her shop.

Chesney Karib

Played By: Qasim Akhtar (Series 4-11)

Meena Karib

Played By: Sarah Patel (Series 4), Sarah Bryne (Series 5-6)

Seeta Desai

Played By: Aysha Kala (Series 8)

Auntie Usma



Played By: Anthony Flanagan (Series 1-3)

  • Affectionate Nickname: The Gallaghers give him the nickname 'helmet'.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Just can't handle Steve and Fiona's relationship.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Loses his virginity to Fiona on a one night stand and takes it as a sign that they should be together, spending all of series 1 and 2 trying to awkwardly pursue her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: His attempts to ruin Steve and Fiona's relationship and make her take notice of him instead sends Steve on the run and later drives her away from the estate permanently.

Stan Waterman

Played By: Warren Donnelly (Series 1-7)

Carrie Rogers

Played By: Amanda Ryan (Series 4-6)

Tom O'Leary

Played By: Michael Legge (Series 4-6)

     The Maguires 

Paddy Maguire

Played By: Sean Gilder (Series 2-7)

  • All Devouring Black Hole Loan Sharks: What do you expect from a gangster moneylender?
  • Ax-Crazy: In the early series. One of his first appearances shows him beating up someone who owes him money. And laughing like a lunatic. Before he even appears on the show, Kev refers to him as a 'violent pisshead'.
    • When the Maguires join the cast proper, we see more sides of Paddy and see he's not actually that crazy, at least when not doing business.
    • He still has his moments when under great stress though. He's seen losing it dramatically in the finale of series 4 when he thinks someone is out for his blood, going so far as to kidnap his son Jamie, stuff him in the boot of his car, and drive him round all day because he thinks he's involved. Also, in one episode Ian remarks that Paddy tied the paper boy to the back of his car and drove him round the estate.
  • Badass
  • Bald of Evil: Keeps his head shaved in later series.
  • Break the Haughty: The whole Maureen plot.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Is a drug-dealing psychopath and gangster, but draws the line at harming children, buys the Big Issue, and values family above all else.
  • Honor Among Thieves
  • Large Ham
  • Papa Wolf:
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome
  • Thicker Than Water
  • The Irish Mob
  • The Stoic
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Maureen turns him into a heroin addict.
  • Your Cheating Heart: His affair with Maureen is what lands him in being captured and forcibly injected with heroin by the psychotic woman and then turned loose on the streets, which leads to his marriage with Mimi breaking down.

Mimi Maguire later Tutton

Played By: Tina Malone (Series 2-11)

Jamie Maguire

Played By: Aaron Mc Cusker (Series 4-11)

  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Averted.
  • Reformed Criminal: At least on the surface. Turns out it's all a facade to slowly bump off a group of men who want Paddy dead without arousing suspicion. Makes a more honest attempt at reform after series 4 and is largely successful but is drawn back into 'the family business' after Paddy is turned into a heroin addict and Mimi goes to prison after taking the rap for assaulting Joe.
  • The Stoic
  • Took a Level in Badass: When the Maguire family temporarily falls apart in series 6, he is forced to take up the reigns of his father and develop the ruthlessness needed to run a drug/gun/miscellaneous contraband empire.
  • Wife-Basher Basher Beats Joe to a pulp for beating his sister Mandy.

Shane Maguire

Played By: Nicky Evans (Series 3-11)

Mickey Maguire

Played By: Ciarán Griffiths (Series 4-9)

Mandy Maguire

Played By: Samantha Siddal (Series 1-6, 8)

Kelly Maguire nee Ball

Played By: Sally Carman (Series 2-11)

Fergal Maguire

Played By: Marc Silcock (Series 1(?)-4)

Donny Maguire

Played By: Warren Brown (series 1-2), Steve Bell (early series 3), Clyve Bonelle (later series 3), Unknown (series 4)

Joey Maguire

Played By: Nathaniel Robinson (series 1), Will Willoughby (series 2), Unknown (series 3-4)

Seasons 1-4

Ruby Hepburn

Seasons 9-10

     The Powells 

Jackson Powell

Played By: Emmanuel Ighodaro

Seasons 8-10

Avril Powell

Seasons 8-11

Letitia Powell

Seasons 8-11

     The Croakers 

Libby Croaker

Played By: Pauline Mc Lynn (Series 7-8)

Aidan Croaker

Seasons 8-11

Patty Croaker

Played By: Valerie Lilley (Series 7-11)


Lillian Tyler

Played By: Alice Barry

Seasons 2-11

  • Band of Brothels: Ends up running a brothel after Kelly and a couple of other prostitutes move in in series 4.

Billy Tutton

Played By: Michael Taylor

Seasons 7, 8-11

Dominic Meak

Seasons 9-11

Kassi Blanco

Season 11


Season 11


Season 11

Steve McBride

Played By: James Mc Avoy

Seasons 1-2

Joe Pritchard

Played By: Ben Batt

Seasons 6-7

Norma Starkey

Played By: Dystin Johnson

Seasons 1, 3, 4-6

  • Butch Lesbian
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Alludes briefly to her past on a few occasions: she mentions she's spent time in prison (which drove her over the edge until she met Monica), and also was a prostitute for a time.

Maxine Donnelly

Played By: Joanna Higson (series 6-7)

  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Meets the Gallaghers through Carl, but is actually more of one to Debbie. She comes to Debbie at a time in her life when she's deciding that she shouldn't be doing Frank and Monica's jobs as parents for them and should be out partying and enjoying herself. When Maxine arrives on the scene, Debbie begins shoplifting, drinking, and pulling guys as an almost daily activity.

Bruce Donnelly

Season 7

Craig Garland

Seasons 2-3


Season 6


Played By: Lindsay Dawson

Seasons 1-4

Sue Garland

Played By: Gillian Kearney

Seasons 2-4

Gloria Meak

Seasons 9-11


Played By: Julia Ford

Season 6

The American series

    The Gallaghers 

Frank Gallagher

Portrayed by: William H. Macy
Seasons 1-present

"The best gift you can give is neglect. Neglect fosters self-reliance."

  • Abusive Parents: Neglects Debbie, Carl and Liam, emotionally abuses Fiona and Lip, and physically abuses Ian.
  • The Alcoholic
  • Altar the Speed: Marries Sheila on his deathbed in season four.
  • Ass Shove: After a drunken bender, he became a drug mule just to get out of Mexico. And became a legend because of it.
  • Bi the Way: Apparently he's had sex with men in the past, apparently even two at a time.
  • The Charmer: A Subversion of one, while he is superficially charismatic, he's such a wastrel that everybody's patience for him has long since evaporated. Though when he really needs something he can turn it on and get people to help him out.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Thank to his "extensive experience," he is barely functional.
    • And he becomes even worse when he's drunk, or wanting to get high.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: He often goes off on nonsensical rants, often about things only tangentially related to what everyone else is talking about.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of his nonsensical rants often come accompanied with a bit of snark, trademark of the Gallagher family.
  • Dirty Coward: Whenever the going gets tough, Frank is the first one out of the door. The example is when Monica attempted suicide you see Jimmy, Kevin, Veronica and Fiona leap into action as Frank shuffled out the backdoor.
  • Faking the Dead: Though it comes to bite him in the ass.
  • Frank Needs A Liver: A major plot point of season four.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Against Ian and pretty much only Ian, he once headbutted Ian because Ian asked him if Frank was wearing his shirt (Frank was).
  • Ignored Epiphany: His Near Death Experience in season 4 should've taught him a lesson not only on not drinking anymore (since he physically can't), but on taking responsabilities seriously… however, he chooses to ignore this, runs away from the hospital and starts drinking whisky by his own on the outskirts of town.
  • It's All About Me: His defining characteristic, everything else stems from his extreme selfishness.
  • Jerkass
  • Joker Immunity
  • Karma Houdini
  • Kick the Dog: A lot, when you think he does something bad he does something even worse that is borderline sociopathic.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Definitely a Bastard but with marginal success on the manipulative part.
  • Momma's Boy: To his mother, he kisses up her ass all the time when she's in town (and when he was a boy too) just to get on her good side, despite her being very abusive of him and preferring Frank's siblings and his children over him.
  • Near Death Experience: Spends most of season four quite ‘’literally’’ dying.
  • Non-Action Guy: Frank gets his ass kicked by everybody.
  • Pet the Dog: He has his moments. Notably when catching Ian and Mickey having sex, he passes no judgement on them despite their fear at what he might do with the information. He'll also occasionally use his schemes to benefit his children- always as a side effect to his own selfish desires, but still. But his biggest moment comes at the penultimate episode of season three where he takes responsibility for a heist he and Carl carried out, saving Carl from going to juvie. This shocks Lip so much that he comments "Hell just froze over."
  • The Load: All the times, but when he does help, its interesting to say the least.
  • The Unfavourite
  • Villain Protagonist: Even though he's a main character, he's the number one source of their problems and one of the most despicable characters in the show.

Fiona Gallagher

Portrayed by: Emmy Rossum
Seasons 1-present

"The minute you kids start following Frank's example is the minute I put a gun in my mouth."

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: She was drawn to Jimmy/Steve over Tony because of this. This is most evident when right after Tony pulls them over (in a stolen car) for speeding, Jimmy/Steve does some illegal plays and Fiona is noticeably turned on by his display of criminal acumen. Hell, Jimmy/Steve won her favor the second time by revealing that he was a car thief.
  • All-Loving Hero: While she has her rough patches, Fiona is one of the most generous and considerate characters in the entire show.
  • Berserk Button: Don't touch any of her siblings. In episode 2 of season one, after Frank headbutts Ian, he warns him that if he ever hits one of "her kids" again, she'll end him.
  • Break the Cutie: In season four. Well, to be realistic, the show's been breaking Fiona since day one (remember that scene where she congratulates herself for a good day work before breaking to tears?), but on season 4 it's made Up to Eleven.
  • Broken Tears: When she takes enough abuse and breaks down enough to cry, this is what they are. Her tears are heart-wrenching, mostly because they're rare and the situations are so miserable.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: While she did this numerous times, special mention should go to her speech to Monica at the end of season 1, when Monica tries to take Liam away. It's ''awesome''.
  • Cool Big Sis
  • Deadpan Snarker: As a Gallagher, she naturally excels at snark.
    Fiona: (to Robbie) You call me when I'm with Mike, text me when I'm with Mike… why don't we just, cut off the middle man which is me and, you can fuck your brother.
  • The Determinator: You cannot stop Fiona Gallagher, especially when her family is involved.
  • Ethical Slut: Sees no shame in being sexually promiscuous in her personal life. Assuming she is a prostitute is a non-family Berserk Button for her. She broke down in tears after having to wear a stomach baring cheerleader outfit for a sleazy sportsbar with handsy patrons, and this is a woman who is comfortable with her dad giving her partners condoms.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: A fair amount of plot stems from this, if the character doesn't have the last name Gallagher, you can assume they are attracted to Fiona. One of the most egregious examples was Jasmine who was set up as a Distaff Counterpart to her boyfriend, Steve/Jimmy, being overly generous, mysterious about their intentions and harboring a desire to sleep with her (and expressing it).
  • Good Bad Girl: Like all the Gallaghers, she is very successful sexually, accruing a wide variety of partners. When teased about sleeping with near a hundred guys, she responds that it's only 95. She's also a responsible guardian to five kids (plus whomever the Gallaghers are sheltering on a week by week basis).
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Despite being the most stable and sane Gallagher, when she gets to go out she usually parties hard.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With her neighbor and best friend Veronica.
  • Knight Templar Big Sister
  • Mama Bear: To her siblings.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: With Jimmy/Steve. It's lampshaded various times, particularly by Frank.
    Lawyer: (looks at Fiona and Steve) Who are these?
    Frank: My daughter and… her girlfriend.
  • Ms. Fanservice
    • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Most of the times when she is naked it's just her changing clothes/getting dressed or walking around in her underwear...
    • Shameless Fanservice Girl: ...though she also enjoys dressing sexily when she goes out or is spending time with her boyfriends.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Her main plot of season four revolves around how badly she manages to fuck up after ‘’finally’’ starting to get things right in her life. She loses her stable job, cheats on her faithful boyfriend with his brother, ‘’accidentally’’ causes her toddler brother to overdose on cocaine, ‘’and’’ goes to prison. All of that over one season.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Seems to attract criminals, cowards or other morally deficient or irresponsible individuals. She has realized it and has gotten pretty used to the men in her life abandoning/disappointing her.
    Veronica: Why are all the men you date pussies?
    Fiona: They are what they eat. (Waggles tongue)
  • Only Sane Woman: Until season four, at least. She "gets her shit together", as she says, by the end of the season though.
  • Promotion to Parent: It seemed at first that since Monica ran off she became this, but it's later shown that ever since an early age she's been taking care of the others, she's been doing Frank and Monica's work since ''she was a toddler''.
  • Really Gets Around: Kev once commented she was nicknamed "First Date Fiona" (she took no shame in that nickname, though).
  • Stepford Smiler: A more positive portrayal than normal. No matter how tragic or terrible the situation is, Fiona keeps on smiling and pretending it's all fine for the sake of her siblings.
  • Tragic Drop Out
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: A rather tragic example, because or her hectic life and lack of an education she pretty much works any job she can find, most of them menial, low-paying and/or degrading.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Cheats on Mike with Robbie in season 4.

Philip 'Lip' Gallagher

Portrayed by: Jeremy Allen White
Seasons 1-present

"I believe the answer to that question, like the answer to most questions, is fuck you."

Ian Gallagher

Portrayed by: Cameron Monaghan
Seasons 1-present

"How can you tell if a guy you've been hanging out with likes you?"

  • A Date with Rosie Palms/Caught with Your Pants Down: The opening sequence features Ian jerking off with a magazine in the bathroom before being abruptly interrupted by Kev who came in to look for something.
  • Armored Closet Gay: In the first season, at least. He hid his attraction towards men from everyone, including his best friend and brother Lip. In fact, the only ones who knew were Lip (he found out on his own, though) and Mandy, and by the end of the season he comes out to Fiona. By season 4, all of the family knows, and they all accept it. Yes, even Frank and Monica.
  • Badass Gay: Headbutts and proceeds to beat down Terry until one of Terry's brothers hits him with a chair. Which just causes him to turn around and tackle the guy!
  • But Not Too Gay: Played straight until around season three, but justified for the first two seasons because the actor was not yet 18, and therefore could not perform any explicit sex scenes.
  • Closet Key: For Mickey.
  • Gay Best Friend: To Mandy.
  • Generation Xerox: Develops manic depression and bipolarity in season four, just like his mother.
  • The Idealist: Especially when compared with Lip. His whole military aspirations are filled with some pretty rosy expectations of life in the armed forces.
  • Informed Ability: Subverted. Ian supposedly knows how to kill people in a hundred different ways, is a good marksman and trains karate, but even armed with a tire iron, Mickey managed to get the upper hand of him easily and most of Ian's problems have been solved by either diplomacy or sex, so there's no much support for his alleged skills.
    • However, Ian beats the living crap out of his brother, proving he does show these fighting abilities but just chooses not to. After Frank headbutts him, Lip tells him to fight back, but Ian says he won't because if he does, he will kill him. AND in Season 3 he knocked down Mickey with TWO fingers!
  • Like Brother and Sister: With Mandy.
  • Love Martyr: Being in love with Mickey Milkovich is no picnic.
  • Mood-Swinger: It is unclear whether this is due to drugs, bipolar disorder or both, but Ian alternates between periods of almost manic enthusiasm and deep depression.
    • Season 4 confirms this: he has a bipolar disorder, just like Monica.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Gives lap dances for a living no less!
  • No Bisexuals: Seems to be a believer in this; he assumes Jimmy's dad is gay and doesn't seem convinced when he claims that he's more Anything That Moves, and also maintains that Mickey's gay and that he only sleeps with women so he can lie to himself.note 
  • Out of Focus: Goes in and out of this over the course of the show, most notably in season two and the beginning of season four.
  • Pretty Boy: Especially when compared with the rougher looking (though still attractive) relatives. Justified, as his real dad is much finer featured than Frank.
  • Put on a Bus: Literally, at the end of Season 3 when he steals Lip's identity to join the Army. He comes back halfway through Season 4.
  • Red-Headed Hero: And boy does it turn Mickey on!
  • Straight Gay: While he can play the gay stripper/club kid, in everyday life he is basically an average guy.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: With Lip and Mandy.
  • Took a Level in Badass: From season 2 onwards.
  • Transparent Closet: While he didn't go flaunting it early on (because in his neightbourhood, homophobia is quite common apparently), in season 4 it's pretty obvious to everyone in the Gallagher house that he and Mickey were in some sort of relationship.
  • Uke: While he fulfills many of the stereotypes of one, being more pretty than handsome, younger than most of his partners, more shy and outwardly romantic, he's usually the top.
  • The Unfavorite: To Frank, for a multitude of reasons. He looks like Monica, who Frank has a troubled relationship with. He isn't really Frank's son. And most damningly he is both A) not a Hero-Worshipper of Frank like Debbie and Carl and B) still young enough to be vulnerable to Frank's crap. Notably he is the only kid that Frank physically abuses.
  • Who's Your Daddy?
  • Yanks with Tanks: He is in the ROTC, and wants to become a Marine. Becomes a full-fledged in the Season 3 finale, with a false ID.
  • Your Cheating Heart: twice in the season 5 premiere

Debbie Gallagher

Portrayed by: Emma Kenney
Seasons 1-present

"I have red hair, freckles, and crooked teeth. I don't need anymore character."

  • Adorkable
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Debbie's a real sweetheart, but Season three proved that you "do not F with Debbie Gallagher!," as she puts it. She nearly drowned a girl who was mean to her at the pool, glued shut the eyes of an abusive foster mother, and claimed Cousin Patrick molested her in order to discredit him and force him to let the Gallaghers stay in the house for low rent.
    • Tries to do this again but only it backfires... severely.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Starts to develop some of the traits in season three, and is a full blown one by season four.
  • Growing Up Sucks: A major plot point for her in season four.
  • Hero-Worshipper: She really idolizes her father and hopes for him to come back to normal. Until season three’s "The American Dream" where she loses her shit at him big time. Of course, by the next episode, Status Quo Is God.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted in season four, when she has her first one.
  • The Pollyanna: Although seems to be subverted as of Season 4.
  • Odd Friendship: She develops this with Mandy in season three, after Mandy teches her to self-defense "Milkovich style". Mandy also serves as a sort of Big Sister Mentor in season 4 when Fiona's too busy with her new job to pay attention to Debbie, specially when Debbie starts reaching sexual maturity.
    • Also, with Sheila Jackson. Perhaps because she reminds her of Karen as a child, when she was young and innocent. Sheila often trusts Debbie with the care of her house or her plants, and would often stay with Carl and her in season 4 when Fiona was working.
  • Stepford Smiler: No matter how shitty Frank and Monica treated her, no matter how much her or her family suffer, she always tries to smile so that others don't concern about her.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Her maturity and responsibility are a running gag. She even gets a stress rash at one point from running a daycare at the house. At one point in the first season she says to Carl, "You're 9, you need to start pulling your weight."

Carl Gallagher

Portrayed by: Ethan Cutkosky
Seasons 1-present

"A shrink at school says I'm one of God's mistakes."

  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Frank explains to him what "masturbate" means in season 4.
  • Ax-Crazy: He is... disturbed.
  • Batter Up: A Running Gag is Fiona taking the family weapon, a bat, out of his hands as he heads to school.
  • Birds of a Feather: With Bonnie; they meet in detention and discover they have a lot in common.
  • The Bully: To the other kids at his school.
  • Comically Missing the Point: He overhears Ian and Jimmy talking about Ian's relationship with Jimmy's dad in season three. This conversation then occurs.
    Carl: Ian's dick was in your dad's mouth?
    Jimmy: (nervously) It's a figure of speech, it's like sayin'… none of your business… your dick's in my dad's mouth, man.
    Carl: Who says that?
    Jimmy: (Pause) Gay dudes.
    Jimmy: No, no.
    Carl: Is that what gay people like to do?
    Jimmy: Jesus, forget it Carl (walks away).
  • First Kiss: Has his with homeless Bonnie in season four.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Perhaps the only Gallagher child who still supports and follows their father. Not that he ignores his true colors though, he does see him for who he truly is after the cancer incident, but because Frank is a Karma Houdini he never calls him on this.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath/Sociopathic Hero: Given the nature of the show as a Black Comedy with frequent dramatic interludes, Carl's...activities are played as either serious issues for the family to resolve (or resolutions to serious issues) or as jokes that the family just shakes their head at.
  • Knife Nut
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Towards Liam. When he hears two kids in school laughing and making fun of Liam, calling Liam retarded, he beats them up to a pulp, despite them being older than Carl!
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Played with in season three, when Frank purposely convinces Carl that he 'caught' cancer from someone for monetary gain.
  • Out of Focus: For part of Season 2, before having several storylines for Season 3 and in Season 4.
  • The Sociopath: He did try to kill Patrick at one point… lampshaded by Fiona, of course.
    Carl: Option four was kill Patrick… why waste an option?
    Fiona: (sighs) I'm raising a sociopath...
  • The Unfettered: Carl's main positive trait is that he is absolutely willing to do anything to achieve his goals, and when his goals were "Save Frank" he proceeded to kidnap dogs to sell for drug money which upon failing led to him stealing drugs, and then cripple Frank when he was unable to do it himself to get the insurance money to pay for surgery.

Liam Gallagher

Portrayed by: Brenden and Brandon Sims
Seasons 1-present

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  • Chocolate Baby Subverted when a DNA test reveals that Frank truly is Liam's biological father. Even Frank had never believed it before, but when the results come in he remembers an old rumor about his grandmother having had an affair with a black musician, and it all suddenly makes sense to him.
  • The Cutie: Pretty much a given from the start. However, the additional scenes and focus on Liam during the fourth season amps his cuteness factor up a few notches.
  • Harmful to Minors: He rather sees a lot of the daily life of the Gallagher clan... and this comes to a head when he accidentally snorts coke, causing him to go the hospital and Fiona getting arrested, causing her own downward spinal.

Peggy Gallagher

Portrayed by: Louise Fletcher
Season 2

Monica Gallagher

Portrayed by: Chloe Webb
Seasons 1-


Portrayed by: Emily Bergl
Seasons 4-


Portrayed by: Kellen Michael
Seasons 4-

    The Jacksons 

Sheila Jackson

Portrayed by: Joan Cusack
Seasons 1-

  • Altar the Speed: Marries Frank on his deathbed in season four.
  • Covert Pervert: Seems like a relatively buttoned-up woman, even though Eddie remarks casually that she does like sex a lot. then the handcuffs and giant dildo come out...
  • Genki Girl
  • Heroic BSOD: In season one she was agoraphobic, but then season two showed how much worse it can be with the stress of Eddie dying.
  • Nice Girl: Only Peggy makes her drop her friendly and helpful demeanor, and Sheila even starts being helpful to her when it's revealed she's dying of cancer
  • Put on a Bus: At the beginning of season four, but comes back a few episodes later.

Karen Jackson

Portrayed by: Laura Slade Wiggins
Seasons 1-3

  • Bi the Way: she casually mentions having experimented with girls in her big confession
  • Broken Bird: During and after season one.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Really didn't think the whole antagonizing Mandy thing through.
  • Dramatic Irony: She is especially contemptuous that her son was born with Down Syndrome (mostly because it makes him undesirable for her to broker to rich families who would pay her), several times referring to Hymie as being "retarded". After being hit by Mandy, she is severely brain damaged and unable to form new memories
  • Fate Worse Than Death: After being ran down by Mandy, she has no short term memory and is very brain damaged because of it.
  • Manipulative Bitch
  • Look Both Ways: Purposefully run over by Mandy towards the end of season three, though she doesn't die.
  • Put on a Bus: At the end of season two, and again in season four.
  • Really Gets Around: She apparently started having oral sex when she was 13, and had vaginal sex in 8th grade.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In Season two.
  • The Sociopath

Eddie Jackson

Portrayed by: Joel Murray
Seasons 1

    The Milkoviches 


Mandy Milkovich

Portrayed by: Jane Levy (season 1), Emma Greenwell (seasons 2-present)
Seasons 1-present

  • The Beard: Ian's in season one.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: She begins to show a warming and loving side to Lip because he was the nicest guy she's ever been with, though it's thoroughly deconstructed.
  • Broken Bird: Due to her horrible life, in particular being raped and impregnated by her inebriated father. Currently with an abusive boyfriend, as of season four.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: When Ian finds out of whom she is pregnant. Again when Kenyatta starts to abuse her and she refuses to let Mickey and Ian intervene.
  • Kuudere
  • No Sympathy: Oddly unsympathetic towards Mickey about his rape by Svetlana, and is even angry at him for not going to be with her at the hospital when she gives birth and he points out that he doesn't even know if the baby is his.
  • Perky Goth: When portrayed by Jane Levy.
  • Really Gets Around: To the point where she likes the idea of having gay Ian as a "boyfriend" because all she does with the other guys she "dates" is have sex.
  • The Stoic: Notice how calm and collected she plays it when impregnated with her father's baby after being molested.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: With Lip and Ian.
  • Tranquil Fury
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: When she got a phone call from Karen about how Lip started sleeping with her again, Mandy ran her over with a car.
  • When She Smiles

Mickey Milkovich

Portrayed by: Noel Fisher
Seasons 1-

  • Armored Closet Gay: No longer, as of episode 4x11.
  • Badass Gay: Is pretty tough and definitely violent.
  • Book Dumb: Considers finishing high school too much trouble since he would have to restart as a freshmen since he never passed any classes.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Don't...just...
  • Coming-Out Story: Spectacularly in episode 4x11. With Terry out of jail, Svetlana relentlessly blackmailing him by threatening to reveal his relationship with Ian to Terry and Ian literally walking out on him because he's "tired of being a mistress", Mickey breaks down and comes out to everybody at the Christening party at The Alibi. This results in a brutal Bar Brawl involving Mickey, Terry, Ian and Terry's brothers.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: An indicator of his relationships. With Svetlana he doesn't care about her still working as a prostitute, even after they're married. But he reacts very badly to seeing other guys hit on Ian, especially in the course of Ian's work giving lap dances.
  • Gayngst: Understandable enough, given the culture he lives in and his father's outright psychopathic homophobia.
  • Gayngster: Originally more of a petty criminal, but due to a well-intentioned but foolish mistake he now finds himself to be a pimp.
  • Heartbroken Badass: When Ian left at the end of season three.
  • It Doesn't Mean Anything: Early on he insisted that this was the case with Ian.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The list of people he genuinely cares about is really short, but when he does care, he cares deeply.
  • Manly Gay: Basically looks and acts no differently than any straight thug.
  • Morality Chain: Ian. Probably the only reason that Mickey is not as bad as, if not worse than, his father Terry is because he loves Ian and is increasingly finding himself having to behave less selfishly for the sake of their relationship.
  • Mr. Fanservice
  • N-Word Privileges: Subverted. Mickey actually is more than a little homophobic, largely due to his upbringing by Terry. But it's not unusual for him to speak this way even when talking to his boyfriend Ian.
    Mickey: Those fudge-packers got so much snow up your beak you're tweaking like a little bitch.
  • Satisfied Street Rat: More so than the rest of the characters, who are often reasonably Street Smart, but not as adapted to the way of life as Mickey is thanks to his upbringing within an actively criminal family. He can also fake being a Cowboy Cop (and has a badge he got from somewhere) and does so in episode 4x07 when looking for Ian.
  • Shotgun Wedding: To Svetlana, whom he absolutely hates.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Fed up with her blackmail, he delivers a blistering one to Svetlana, literally too:
    "Five years from now you're going to be a used up, dried up old whore, sucking guys off on the sidewalk for $5 a pop."
  • Tsundere: Big time with Ian.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Ian. They do, in season four.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Mickey is incredibly violent with men, even hitting Ian, who he loves more than anything, on several occasions. He has unusual reticence about hitting women however. For example, while he verbally threatens Svetlana, he never seems to even seriously consider hitting her and she appears know he won't based on how she goads him.

Svetlana Milkovich

Portrayed by: Isidora Goreshter
Seasons 3-

  • Bi the Way: Has a girlfriend as of the season four finale.
  • The Baby Trap: The only reason Mickey is married to her, and she is constantly using it as a reason why he needs to break up with Ian and be a devoted husband to her.
  • Cure Your Gays: What Terry tries to use her for with Mickey. It doesn't work, and she becomes increasingly frustrated that she cannot seem to get Ian out of the picture.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Although it was at Terry's direction, and she was just an available prostitute. But Mickey was not given a choice, a fact that is treated as having been less of a problem because she got pregnant and he had to marry her than the act itself.
  • Fan Disservice: Dyeing her hair red like Ian's, and opening her robe to reveal her bare breasts and a rather large strap-on as part of her latest attempt to appeal to Mickey could be considered as Squick for the audience. It definitely was for Mickey, who literally flinched at the sight.
  • Hypocrite: Insists on a formal Russian Orthodox baptism for her baby and is quite pushy with the priest, which is ironic considering that she is a prostitute, and even if the baby is Mickey's, it was conceived in an incident of forced sex.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Given her profession, it is not really certain that Mickey is the father of Svetlana's baby. But due to his general shortage of money, a Daddy DNA Test is not something that would be as readily undertaken as would be the case with more affluent characters, so the trope survives.
  • Opportunistic Bitch: Is totally improvising, but is trying to force Mickey to become a submissive husband, generally by threatening to reveal his ongoing relationship with Ian to Terry.
  • Sensual Slavs: A Russian prostitute, and a rather attractive one at that. Unfortunately for her, the one man she really wants to seduce is not interested at all.
  • Suddenly Sexuality: Her revelation that she is bisexual/lesbian comes only after an extended period of trying very hard to get Mickey to become her husband in more than just name only.

Terry Milkovich

Portrayed by: Dennis Cockrum
Seasons 1-

  • Abusive Parents: Holy shit. He isn't willing to raise his hand to teach his kids a lesson, but then we get this little tid-bit.
    Lip: He has this habit of molesting his daughters.
    • It was not intentional, but what he did to Mandy...
    • Is positively brutal towards Mickey over the latter's homosexuality, going so far as trying to kill him.
  • Berserk Button: Homosexuality in general, but especially his son Mickey's.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: In addition to beating Mickey for his relationship with Ian, he also forces Mickey to have sex with a prostitute (while Ian is made to watch at gunpoint) in order to "fuck the faggot out of him". Boasts about beating up "queers" in prison.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: At the receiving end of one from Mickey and Ian during a Bar Brawl. To put the cherry on top Terry is arrested again for getting in trouble not four hours into parole, and Mickey taunts him with the idea of Prison Rape.
  • Offing the Offspring: Is more than willing to do this over Mickey's homosexuality.
  • Parental Incest: Not on purpose, but drunkenness is not much of an excuse.
  • Rape by Proxy: His solution to catching Mickey and Ian together is to beat Mickey until he is helpless and then have Svetlana come in to "cure" him by having her rape him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Mickey coming out in front of everyone at The Alibi sends Terry into a murderous rage.


"Steve"/Jimmy Lishman

Portrayed by: Justin Chatwin
Seasons 1-3, 4-

  • Fingore: Had his finger broken by Estefania's father right-hand after trying to steal a car for profit.
  • Gentleman Car Thief: In the past.
  • I Have Many Names: Has invariably been known on the show as Jimmy, but everyone else knew him from his alias of Steve and as of the season four finale, he's known as Jack.
  • Never Found the Body: Is still up for debate in the third season finale but it is heavily implied throughout the episode that he is Killed Off for Real, only time will tell. Word of God is that Jimmy is dead, the lack of a death scene being due to filming complications. An added gunshot sound effect added to the season four recap suggested he was indeed dead, but…
  • Nice Guy: Yes, he can be a Jerkass but he is still a nice guy (compared to other people) and willing to start anew and become normal for Fiona, even going out of the way to buy braces for Carl with money he barley has. Not only that, he desperately wants to be Fiona's Knight in Shining Armor, if only everything wasn't fucked up for him and her. Illustrated perfectly when Monica slits her wrists, he was the first one to take action, say what you will about the guy but a most people don't have the stomach to step up like that
  • Reformed Criminal: Although not by choice.
  • Shotgun Wedding: To save his life, more then likely. He is married to Estefania, a Cartel leader's daughter.
  • Your Cheating Heart: It's...complicated. On one hand, he's obviously in love with Fiona. On the other hand, he's legally married to Estefania. For the most part he lives with Fiona, but every now and then he sleeps with Estefania. It's hard to say which one he's technically cheating on.

Veronica Fisher

Portrayed by: Shanola Hampton
Seasons 1-

Kevin Ball

Portrayed by: Steve Howey
Seasons 1-

  • Berserk Button: Don't call him stupid.
  • Beta Couple: Him and V.
  • The Big Guy
  • Book Dumb: He is very street smart and has displayed a deep understanding of life, but can barely read due to being dyslexic and didn't do well in school.
  • Catch Phrase: "Fucking Gallaghers!"
  • Foster Kid: When he was younger, which encourages him to foster Ethel and her baby son.
  • Gentle Giant: Kevin is a tall and imposing barkeeper, but he's actually one of the nicer people in the show. After all, he basically subsidizes the Gallaghers living expenses by paying for TV and the phone, they also borrow his appliances.
  • Happily Married: To Veronica, even if their marriage is ‘’technically’ not legal because of an earlier marriage that was never annulled.
  • Innocent Fanservice Boy: He oftentimes walks around the house completely naked, though it's less innocent and more "too lazy to put on clothes".
  • True Companions: Veronica, Kevin and the Gallaghers (well, the kids). He even says they're the closest thing he has to a family.


Portrayed by: Madison Davenport
Seasons 1-2

  • Blue and Orange Morality: Partially from growing up in a polygamous cult, partially from hanging around the Gallagers. She does not consider what was done to her in the cult sexual abuse, and cheerily does almost all of the housework for Kevin and Veronica, something Veronica is fine with but Kevin is distressed by. She also, despite frequently quoting and believing in the Bible, seems to have no problem assisting the Gallaghers or Kevin and Veronica with their criminal schemes
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Again, from growing up in a polygamous cult where she was married to a 65 year old man when she was 11, who had enough sex with her to give her a son
  • Foster Kid: Is being fostered by Kevin and Veronica, at first to get foster care money (and because Kevin himself was a foster kid and wants very much to be a parent), but later because they've become attached to her
  • Green Thumb: She is very good at growing things, helping Kevin to start a garden in his backyard and also helping him to grow a massive marijuana crop in the basement of the Alibi Room
  • Happiness in Slavery: She apparently did a lot of chores and housework in the cult, and is eager to help Veronica and Kevin out, something Kevin is rather disturbed by. She also sees nothing wrong with the essential state of sexual slavery she was in when she was in the cult.
  • Happily Fostered: She's pretty happy being fostered to Veronica and Kevin, although when her husband is murdered in prison and her sister wives try to take her back, she is conflicted
  • Poor Communication Kills: she mentions casually to Malik that she hopes there's someone in prison to "take care" of her septugenarian husband Clyde. She meant it literally, but Malik thinks she meant it more idiomatically, and asks his dad to shank Clyde in the showers
  • Put on a Bus: Literally, as she runs away with Malik and their two children, and is last seen having boarded a bus with the money she made selling the pot Kev buried in his yard.
  • Sexual Abuse As Backstory: She's a 13 year old girl removed from a polygamous cult where she was married to and raped by a 65 year old man named Clyde

Jody Silverman

Portrayed by: (Zach McGowan)
Seasons 2-3

Gail Johnson

Portrayed by: (Regina King)
Season 4

The probation officer of Fiona Gallagher, once she is arrested for child endangerment after Liam accidentally sniffs cocaine.


Portrayed by: (Nichole Bloom)
Season 4

Lip's college roommate's asian girlfriend and now Lips' "something"

  • Asian and Nerdy: she even lampshades this: "I'm even a Math major", and notes her parents expect her to be a doctor she's adopted, so her parents are actually a upper-middle-class white couple
  • Smart People Wear Glasses
  • Nerd Glasses: body, are those some big, bug-eye oval frames. They cover the whole middle third of her face.
  • Brainy Brunette: cute, and with an obvious social life, and good taste in clothes.
  • Genki Girl: as Lips' roommate points out, the only way to get her to be quiet for a couple of minutes is while she gives a blowjob; though she's less excessively over-the-top energetic than some examples of this trope.
  • Ethical Slut: she's saving her cherry for her future husband, but, ho-boy, she's ready for lots of other stuff all the time. Makes sure to put plenty of "BJ Break" time on Lip's schedule.


Potrayed by: (Morgan Lily)
Season 4

Carl's new girlfriend, who he meets in detention. She is a troublemaker like him, and also a homeless girl who lives in a van with several other siblings.

  • Ax-Crazy: Like Carl, their ideas of fun include robing a store and raiding a vending machine.
  • Birds of a Feather: With Carl.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Again, likes to cause trouble.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Implied. She mentions to Carl that she doesn't like sex, and it is later mentioned it had something to do with one of her mothers boyfriends.
  • Delinquent
  • Pet the Dog: Her relationship with Carl, and the fact, she is taking care of several other siblings.
  • Shadow Archetype: To Fiona. Both the eldest sisters responsible for several siblings. However, the state of Bonnie's family is worse considering they live in a van.