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Played by: Michael EalyA Muslim FBI agent of African-American descent, Darwyn infiltrates the LA sleeper cell using the name of Darwyn al-Hakim. A former Army Ranger, he quickly wins the cell's trust, though the stress of his job threatens to compromise his mental health.
- Becoming the Mask: Both Darwyn and his handlers are concerned that this might happen to him, especially in Season 2.
- Deep Cover Agent: For the FBI, spending time in prison in order to fabricate an appropriate backstory.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Invoked. Darwyn is, of course, a very good guy, but he pretends to be a terrorist with standards in order to convince Farik to take out a child prostitution ring.
- The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Given that he's an FBI agent pretending to be a terrorist pretending to be a reformed ex-con, it's not surprising that his relationship with Gayle comes under a lot of strain.
- Scary Black Man: How he looks to his "allies" in the cell.
- Sixth Ranger Traitor: To the LA terror cell.
- Western Terrorists: He's pretending to be an American Islamic extremist.
- Where Da White Women At?: Played with. Nobody really has a problem with Darwyn's romance with Gayle on account of his skin color (or hers). The fact that he's a Muslim, however, worries her sister and brother-in-law, while Gayle being an "infidel" has Farik urging him to break it off.
Played by: James LeGros
Played by: Sonya WalgerThe FBI agent who takes over Darwyn's case after Ray Fuller left the series. A hardline cop who follows procedure to the letter, she clashes with Darwyn, who prefers to improvise his plans as he goes along. Eventually they win one another's respect and trust.
Played by: Oded FehrBorn Saad bin Safwan, Farik is the charismatic and brilliant leader of the LA sleeper cell. A former Saudi national currently masquerading as a Sephardic Jew in his civilian life, Farik is a fanatical, but cold-blooded zealot, who thinks nothing of mass murder so long as it meets his political ends.
- Archenemy: To Darwyn, though he doesn't know it.
- Bad Boss: In the first episode he has Bobby Habib executed for bragging to an uncle about their operation. He later murders Eddy Pangetsu (whom he forced into joining up with the cell in the first place)
- The Big Bad: Of both seasons of the show. Yes, the rest of al-Qaeda is out there somewhere, and Farik takes his marching orders from their higher-ups, but he's the one driving all the action in Sleeper Cell.
- The Chessmaster: Farik has multiple back up plans, and never lets any of the members of the cell know all the details for any of them. He typically gives each member of the cell a job to do, while keeping the master plan all to himself.
- Diabolical Mastermind: A terrorist variant.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His wife and daughter.
- The Fundamentalist: An Islmamist lunatic.
- The Heavy
- The Leader: Of the LA sleeper cell. He's a combination of Type I and Type IV, running the cell through brains and sheer force of personality.
- Manipulative Bastard: Excels at playing the various members of the cell against each other, and preying on their insecurities in order to keep them in line.
Played by: Henri LubattiA Bosnian Muslim who saw everyone he knew butchered by Serbs during the Yugoslavian Civil War, Ilija grew to hate the United States for not intervening in the conflict. Having been rescued by Farik's team of mujaheddin during the Civil War, he is now Farik's right-hand man. He spends his days undercover as a substitute math and science teacher.
- Beard of Evil
- Child Soldier: A former one.
- Doomed Hometown: His town was massacred by Serbs.
- The Dragon: To Farik.
- Freudian Excuse: He's got the most tragic backstory of any member of the cell. Given everything he's seen, it's not surprising he turned out the way he did.
- The Fundamentalist: An Islamist terrorist fundamentalist.
- Karma Houdini: As of the end of Season 1
- Mad Scientist: He handles the technical side of Farik's plans.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: In addition to his religious fanaticism, he's got serious racial problems with Serbs and Croatians.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: The Bosnian War broke Ilija in every way. He's still carrying all the pain around, and that's what drives him.
- Undying Loyalty: To Farik. It's his main trait.
Season 1 Cell Members
Played by: Alex NesicA French skinhead who converted to Islam after falling in love with a Moroccan woman, Christian simply exchanged one form of extremism for another. A brutal thug, Christian is a deeply troubled man, who regularly seeks out one-night stands, even while bemoaning the failure of his marriage.
- Bald of Evil: Still has his skinhead haircut.
- The Brute: He's the muscle for Farik, and is regularly used to hurt or kill people the cell needs dead.
- The Casanova: Of a particularly predatory variety. He uses and discards women, typically blaming them for his own failings in the process.
- The Charmer: Christian can still turn on the charm when he needs to
- Drowning My Sorrows: After his wife leaves him.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Uses this to try and impress women.
- The Fundamentalist: An Islamist terrorist fundamentalist. Though unlike the others, he may just see it as an excuse to hurt people.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Regularly blames the women he has sex with, referring to them as whores, and declining any personal responsibility for having slept with them.
- Hypocrite: He's an Islamist radical who nevertheless sleeps around, drinks, and otherwise violates even his own moral code.
- I Banged Your Mom: And brags about it to Tommy's face.
- Irony: An Islamist terrorist named "Christian".
- Kick the Dog: Joins Tommy in beating up a street preacher who annoyed them. And that's without getting into the time he slept with Tommy's mother.
- Neck Snap: Darwyn kills him this way
- Not So Different: Despite his claims to the contrary, Christian hasn't changed from his skinhead days, a fact that's pointed out to him by some white separatists they meet.
- Really Gets Around: If she's moving, Christian will try to have sex with her.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Was a Neo-Nazi before becoming an Islamist.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Tommy. They may bicker constantly, but spend all their time hanging out anyways.
- Western Terrorists
Thomas Allen Emerson
Played by: Blake ShieldsThe son of two liberal college professors, Tommy Emerson seems to have converted to radical Islam just to spite his parents. A loose cannon who possesses all the maturity of an enraged teenager, Tommy is simultaneously violent and unsure of himself, which causes the cell some problems.
- Affably Evil: For all his poor social skills and anger issues, Tommy's probably the member of the group who tries the hardest to befriend the rest.
- Berserk Button: Pretty much anything having to do with his mother, honestly.
- The Brute: Like Christian, he's largely there to be the muscle.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Does this to his mother in the episode "Family". How fair he's being, we don't really know.
- Driven to Suicide: Blows himself up to avoid capture
- Even Evil Has Standards: He's not a racist, and calls Christian out on it whenever his old Neo-Nazi tendencies flare up.
- The Fundamentalist: An Islamist terrorist fundamentalist.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Setting Tommy off takes basically no effort.
- Kick the Dog: Beating up a Christian street preacher springs to mind.
- Mommy Issues: Loathes his mother, but won't hesitate to hit her up for money.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Based on John Walker Lindh, right down to the three names.
- No Social Skills: Tommy has a flat effect, speaks in a monotone, and avoids eye contact.
- Parental Neglect: His parents left him alone to be raised by their housekeeper, Theresa.
- Psychopathic Manchild: At the end of the day, Tommy's little more than a spoiled brat rebelling against his mother.
- Rebel Without a Cause: Used to be one. Now he's found a cause.
- Too Dumb to Live: Repeatedly has to be saved from his own stupidity. Even Christian is smarter than he is.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Christian. They argue and fight constantly, but spend all their time together anyway.
- Western Terrorists: He's American born and raised.
Season 2 Cell Members