TV Tropes Needs Your Help
View Kickstarter Project
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here
and discuss here
Characters: Supernatural Dean Winchester
This page lists tropes associated with Dean Winchester from Supernatural
See also the character page for Sam Winchester
, and the rest of the Winchester Family
The main character page for this series is here
Portrayed By: Jensen Ackles, Ridge Canipe, Nicolai Guistra, Dylan Everett, Brock Kelly, Chad Everett
"I got a GED and a give-em-hell attitude."
open/close all folders
- Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: A somewhat lighter version. Dean is known for subverting masculinity tropes and ideals of machismo, and some of his traits and things he likes are things traditionally considered feminine. However, while he's surely not a misogynist, he does have a habit of accusing others (mostly Sam) of being girly/liking girly stuff - as if femaleness equalled weakness - likely due to his own insecurites and internalized feelings of shame. As of season 8, he seems to have started being a little more at peace with himself, though the projection on Sam hasn't stopped.
- Emotional Bruiser: Dean appears tough on the outside, but he's quite soft and emotional on the inside.
- Ethical Slut: Dean is highly promiscuous and loves women, although he doesn't get too attached to any females, considering the dangerous job he commits to for a living.
- Even the Guys Want Him: In addition to hitting on and being appreciated by all females in the area, has had several... suspect interactions that generally end with "I don't swing that way." Also, in “My Heart Will Go On” Balthazar states "Sorry, you have me confused with the other angel. You know, the one in the dirty trench coat who's in love with you," meaning Castiel.
- Expy: According to the Word of God, Dean was modeled off of Han Solo of Star Wars.
- There are some fans who think that Dean shares similarities with Obi-Wan Kenobi (also from Star Wars). They often compare Sam to Anakin Skywalker as well.
- Dean is also implied to be similar to Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings (Sam is Frodo Baggins). This one was lampshaded in "Goodbye Stranger" when Dean tells Sam, "But I can carry you." He then defensively says, "Rudy hobbit always gets a pass."
- Extreme Doormat: When it comes to his family, Dean is so like this it's scary. He thinks he deserves the verbal abuse or blame from just about anybody, and is so needy when it comes to Sam that he sells his soul to bring Sam back from the dead. He's saved from living here by being opinionated and obstinate in everything else.
- Fantastic Racism: Dean seems to be skeptical of pretty much all supernatural creatures and beings. That includes demons, angels, vampires, spirits, ghosts, etc. Dean is so untrustworthy of supernatural creatures, especially demons in particular, that Dean has even admitted that Sam, who is part supernatural, scares him and makes him uncomfortable at times, especially when Sam's demonic abilities and powers were prominent. However, Dean's dislike for the supernatural is highly understandable and justifiable considering that he is a hunter for a living and he is meant to hunt and kill supernatural creatures, plus he actually proves to be right most of the time.
- The Fatalist: Sometimes.
- Fatal Flaw: Dean has a few:
- The Alcoholic: Dean is prone to alcoholism and using alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with his issues and problems.
- Brutal Honesty: Dean can be extremely blunt to the point where his words can be very hurtful to others.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome/Martyr Without a Cause: Dean is sometimes too selfless and self-sacrificing, almost to the point of extreme martyrdom. Most of it has to do with Dean's low self-esteem and lack of self worth.
- Control Freak: Dean can be highly controlling, bossy and domineering. It's his way or the highway.
- Crazy Jealous Guy/Green-Eyed Monster: Dean has been shown to be prone to jealousy, envy and suspicion, especially regarding Sam and his (Dean) possessiveness over him. Dean has pretty well instantly hates nearly every woman Sam has ever gotten close to (and killed at least one of them himself), and flipped at the idea that Sam had a romantic relationship while Dean was in Purgatory (Dean interpreted this as Sam taking up with a girl instead of trying to get Dean back, when the reality was probably closer to Amelia piecing Sam together after his Heroic BSOD, with multiple comments in flashbacks about how wrecked Sam was at the time).
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Dean has a short temper and is prone to violence and lashing out at others.
- Holier Than Thou: Dean is prone to being rather self-righteous and displaying holier-than-thou behavior.
- Hypocrite: Dean can be very hypocritical at times, especially with regard to the free will of others. Y'know, the same free will he tries to hold onto in Season 5 when the angels are hounding him and Sam to submit to being Michael and Lucifer's vessels.
- Love Hungry/Desperately Craves Affection: Dean needs constant affection, love and affirmation from others to feel worthy. Because of their general isolation from society and Dean being raised to protect him at all costs, Sam bears the brunt of this, trying to be everything to Dean, being the focus of Dean's often-smothering devotion, and talking Dean back from his worst moments of self-loathing and self-destruction.
- Love Martyr: Dean is a highly codependent individual to the point where he lets people walk all over him without doing anything about it.
- Really Gets Around/Anything That Moves: Dean is highly sexual by nature, and has a tendency to sleep around.
- While Dean's slutty ways are occasionally played for drama (see Season 2), most of a time they are simply a part of his character. Ironically, it's Sam who tends to have far more trouble with love interests.
- Father to His Men: As de facto leader, Dean often takes this role. He's always ready to reassure others when there spirit is wavering, and is constantly looking out for his friends' welfare. Particularly the younger ones, such as Kevin or Krissy.
- Fearless Fool: Dean can be rather brash, reckless and impulsive at times.
- The Fettered: Although Dean can be highly morally grey and has made plenty of morally questionable deeds, Dean still has a strong conscience and strong morals. Dean believes in doing the right thing as much as possible.
- Flat Earth Atheist: While Dean very easily believes in the supernatural (hence the name of the show) and Hell, he simply flat-out refuses to believe in things like angels, Heaven, and God. "Gods" are simply very powerful monsters, but you can still "gank" them. Dean is forced to face his lack of belief after he returns from Hell, when faced with the angel Castiel. Cas becomes a regular on the show, as does their "prophet" Chuck. Even the demons (re: Lucifer) end up stressing the fact that God exists—He might not be there, but He does exist. Lucifer goes on this long-winded schpiel about his devotion to his Father (God) being the reason for his falling from Heaven. Dean, while eventually admitting to the fact that God exists, never fails to ruffle the feathers of all the angels he comes across, simply for the fact that they are, as he puts it, "dicks." This is where at least 60% of the humor from season 5 onward comes from, still managing to question the core accuracy of the Bible, or just religion in general.
- Friendship Moment: Most of his scenes with Castiel.
- The Power Of Trust: In relation to this, they both try to do this with each other more than once. Sometimes they succeed - it's basically the way Dean convinces Cas to perform his first overt act of rebellion - sometimes they fail, but when they fail it's always because of their individual traits or motivations rather than because they don't trust each other.
- Friend to All Children: Dean loves children and he seems to have a strong paternal/big brother instinct. This is probably because he has always taken on the role of protector and caretaker since he was a child himself. Dean raised Sam and was considered to be both his big brother and his father at the same time. So for him, kids (human ones, anyway) seem to be a pretty big soft spot for Dean.
- And as is evidenced in season's six and seven, this applies to monster kids too.
- Future Badass: The Dean we know and love may be already be quite badass, but his future self in 5x03 in the year 2014 takes it to a whole new level. He's also a total douche bag.
- Future Me Scares Me: In 5x03, Dean is disturbed by his future self's propensity for violence, torture and willing sacrifice of innocents.
- Genius Bruiser: As well as being a brilliant fighter, Dean is also incredibly intelligent, he was able to turn a Walkman in to a EMP detector, pretty much rebuild the Imparler after it was wrecked, and is also highly knowledgable about the supernatural. Dean's also a brilliant strategist and is very good at assessing his opponents weaknesses. He's proven to be a master at OutGambitted as well.
- Genre Savvy: See Genius Bruiser.
- Good Is Not Nice/Good Is Not Soft: He can be a jerk, but believe or not Dean is still a good man. He won't hesitate to kick your ass or kill you if you hurt him, cross him, manipulate or hurt anyone he loves and cares about, especially Sam.
- Grease Monkey: Dean loves working on cars, namely his Impala.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Dean has a jealous streak. Especially in regards to anyone who manages to get close to Sam or tries to "replace" Dean in regards to Sam in any way. That includes men and women. Ruby is the most obvious example in seasons three and four.
- Green Eyes: Dean's most distinguishing physical feature.
- Guile Hero: Dean is capable of resorting to manipulating during the hunt, although this is more of Sam's expertise.
- Guilt Complex: Dean feels guilty for everything. Everything bad that happens, he blames himself and believes that he is in some way responsible.
- The Gunslinger: Dean is extremely skilled with guns, firearms and other weapons. He is a skilled hunter after all and guns are a major part of his job. He uses them for fighting, hunting and killing monsters and supernatural beings.
- He tends to use a Colt 1911. In addition to which, he also uses a sawed-off shotgun on occasions where greater firepower is required. He has also been seen with an M SG 3 sniper rifle in "Simon Said."
- Throughout season five, he uses a Model 1887 shotgun against hellhounds and zombies.
- Guttural Growler: Dean has become increasingly gruff over the seasons (seriously, listen to season one compared to season six).
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Dean can be rather quick-tempered and easily angered, especially when he is provoked.
- Handsome Lech: Dean is a very handsome man and he flirts with anything in a skirt. The man's first thought upon returning from the dead? He had to re-lose his virginity. Anytime he's shown on a computer or with a magazine, it's invariably open to Busty Asian Beauties.
- Hates Being Alone: Dean has a fear of everyone leaving him or abandoning him. Part of the reason why he took Sam taking off for Stanford so hard and why Dean is rather clingy and needy towards Sam.
- Sam gets the brunt of this issue with Dean, as between being raised to look after/protect Sammy, and their general isolation from society, Sam is pretty well all that ever stands between Dean and profound loneliness. It has become a double-edged sword for Dean, as by this point he pretty well can't maintain other close relationships if Sam is around.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Virtually every single episode of Supernatural features some little scene or line of dialogue for Dean to assert his heterosexuality/masculinity. Dean gets more than all other male characters on the show combined, often at the expense of his brother, who despite being shipped around in fandom is still by far the less slashable of the two. Funny, that.
- In 'Sex and Violence' Dean declares his glee over working a case involving strippers. Later in the episode, we see him in a strip club devoting all his attention to bonding with a very male FBI agent. All the more amusing since the agent turns out to be the siren they're hunting and Dean was oblivious.
- Turns out the male siren was actually supposed to be Dean's brother (the siren tells Sam specifically Dean wanted him), which is more Incest-y subtext than anything.
- In "Let It Bleed" we also get "I was too busy having sex with women." (Naturally, fans have often interpreted this as Suspiciously Specific Denial for Dean.)
- The Heart: Dean is the emotional character of the show, whose primary purpose is his connection with others and bringing people together at a time of importance.
- Subverted as of Season 10, as Dean is now a demon. Sam has now taken over the role as he is the sole human lead and is the only human aspect of the show.
- The Hero Dies: At the end of season three, when Dean is dragged off to Hell by hellhounds after selling his soul to save Sam.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Dean, along with Sam, has repeatedly made the FBI's most wanted list.
- Heroic BSOD: Someone dies to save him in a season one episode, John dies to save his life in the season two premiere, season two completely breaks him down in as many ways as possible and all of it prompts a suicidally guilty breakdown in which, after Sam dies, Dean ends up selling his soul in an incredibly poor and desperate bargain to bring him back.
- Heroic Fatigue: Can you blame Dean? Between constantly having to save his brother Sam and trying to save the world and innocent people, it is no wonder that Dean is emotionally and psychologically exhausted from it all.
- Heroic Second Wind: In the season two finale, Dean engages in a fight with Azazel, the Yellow Eyed Demon while the gates to Hell are open and spirits and demons are escaping. Azazel telekinetically tosses Dean into the air and he hits his head on a headstone (and his bloody forehead indicates that he has sustained a concussion at the very least). His dad's spirit breaks out of Hell, wrestles with Azazel, and then Dean aims the Colt (the magical Kill Anything Gun) at the Yellow-Eyed-Demon and shoots. It hits YED in the chest and he dies. When the rest of the battle is over, Dean walks over to the corpse of the Azazel's host.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Dean has serious and real issues with self-worth, self-esteem and he frequently takes this to suicidal lengths.
- Heroic Spirit: Dean has it in the sense that he is a fighter and doesn't quit, even when things get rough.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Dean was like this this after John died and he had that big-secret-that-totally-wasn't weighing on his shoulders, and has had such moments of ruthlessness every time his family leaves him or lets him down or he's really freaking out about his brother. Such as when he encounters Gordon in season two after his father dies; when he so loses faith in his brother that he agrees to the angels' plan in season five even though it will destroy most of the world; and in season seven when he kills Amy Pond (not that one) because he can't trust a monster not to kill again, complete with a Beatrix Kiddo moment with the woman's son afterward.
- Future Dean in "The End" (5x04). After losing his brother to the devil and failing to stop the apocalypse, he becomes heartless and unsympathetic, willing to sacrifice all of his loyal friends for a chance to kill Lucifer.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Jensen Ackles can sing and carry a tune quite well. Dean, on the other hand can't sing to save his life.
- Honor Before Reason: In regards to Sam, in "Born Under A Bad Sign." But of course, this show being what it is, they do their best to try and break him because of it.
- Hot-Blooded: Dean can be rather hot headed and impulsive.
- Human Mom Non Human Dad: Dean is part of an inverted example in "The Slice Girls". Dean sleeps with an Amazon, she has his daughter in a few days and the daughter grows into teenage years quickly. She then tries to kill Dean, who hesitates to fight back, but Sam shoots her dead and saves Dean.
- The Hunter: Dean hunts supernatural creatures for a living.
- Hurting Hero: Dean always goes through so much pain, tragedy and chaos. He can never catch a break. Even though he constantly saves people, nothing ever good happens to Dean in return. In fact, pain and tragedy just keep on piling on for Dean. From losing family, to friends, to allies, to having to stop his own younger brother becoming going Dark Side and becoming evil, there is just no happy times for Dean. And even when he does get some happiness or normalcy, it is taken away from him sooner than later.
- Iconic Item: The Samulet aka Dean's amulet. He even wore it while he was in Hell.
- Idiot Ball: Dean has had his fair share of stupid and idiotic moments throughout the series. One example is Dean in "Swap Meat." They live in a world full of demons and shapeshifters (granted, the tattoos block out the demons) and have angels hounding them to say yes to being possessed by Lucifer, in Sam's case, and yet Dean goes almost the entire episode without realizing that Sam is not Sam. Particularly glaring when Sam noticed Dean wasn't Dean in "Skin" immediately from a minuscule hint.
- Incest Subtext: With Sam consistently throughout the Kripke era, and occasionally later. In fact, Sam and Dean could be the Trope Codifier. Dean and Sam are frequently mistaken as a gay couple by outsiders and observers. Dean has a very obsessive and codependent-type devotion to Sam to abnormal and even unhealthy levels (almost on Romeo and Juliet levels of obsession, unhealthiness and codependency). Not to mention that Dean gets either noticeably or subtly jealous, suspicious or envious of almost every single female character who shows an interest in Sam (i.e. Ruby, Becky, Amelia, Amy, Cara, Meg, even Jessica in earlier seasons). In Season 6, Dean quickly lost interest in Lisa, his only ever serious girlfriend, when Sam showed back up (and Lisa pointed out that the brothers have an incredibly screwed up relationship and that Dean will never manage to be happy as long as Sam's around). Dean's hang-ups were particularly emphasized as Sam was soulless at that point, and while he seemed to want Dean around, admitted to not feeling much of an emotional connection to him.
- At Comic-Con 2013, show creator Eric Kripke admitted to making "unstated homoerotic subtext" between the brothers while simultaneously lamenting his apparent obsession with putting straight men in close relationships.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Dean appears overconfident and even brags sometimes, but in reality, he has serious self-esteem issues.
- Interspecies Friendship: With both Castiel and Benny. Dean is a human while Castiel is an angel and Benny is a vampire.
- I Am Not My Father: A variation when Bobby tells Dean he doesn't have to be like John and let his relationship with Sam be ruined because he is too proud to forgive him.
- It's All My Fault: If anything can be slightly linked to him in any way, expect him to shoulder the burden and expect that burden to break him. Just see how the whole back-from-Hell thing worked out for him in season four.
- It's Personal: If you hurt Sam or anyone that he loves, Dean will hunt you down.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Both played straight and subverted with Sam, depending on the occasion. Dean has always sacrificed a lot of his own happiness, comfort, and well-being to put Sam and his needs first. Yet, because of his fear of being left alone and co-dependency issues with his brother, he'll occasionally end up trying to control Sam's life so much - believing he knows "what's best" for Sam, his behavior becomes more egoistical than selfless and ultimately detrimental to Sam himself.
- Played straight with Cas in 9x06. While the immediate reason he can't ask Cas to come back to the bunker is because of the Gadreel situation, it's also clear he's not just doing it because it's convenient when he tells Cas to go live a normal life and experiment and be happy, even though he wishes Cas could stay with him.
- Jerkass —> Jerkass Façade: Dean can be a jerk to others from time to time, especially towards those whom he's skeptical or suspicious of. But this mostly has to do with Dean's serious trust issues. However, Dean's future self in 2014 is a real douchebag.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite the fact that Dean has a lot of dick-ish ways, he still has good intentions and has strong compassion for others.
- Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Dean's 2014 self is a total ruthless and cold douchebag.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Dean spent over 40 years torturing souls in Hell, which did not help his Knight Templar instincts. Then, starting at the end of Season 7, he spent a year in Purgatory, which is filled with the menagerie of abominations that God felt best to lock away for the sake of the world. It does not help his grip on sanity. And then again in Season 9 after absorbing the Mark of Cain.
- Jumped at the Call: Though this might be less "jumped" at and more "picked up and pitched forward at" instead.
- Keeping Secrets Sucks: Every single time Dean has to keep a secret from his brother (granted, that's mostly because he only keeps secrets about his brother's fate or things he's done that Sam wouldn't like).
- Is keeping the biggest and most extreme secret of all as of season nine, when Dean gave an angel the permission to possess Sam without Sam's knowledge and true consent so that Sam could be alive and eventually heal internally. This secret that Dean is keeping from Sam could prove to be highly destructive and detrimental to the brother's relationship shall Sam eventually find out, in which he will.
- Yeah. Sam found out. It wasn't pretty.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Especially in the first couple of seasons.
- Knight Templar: Dean could be the classic Trope Codifier. However, the title of Knight Templar Big Brother suits him even better.
- Knight Templar Big Brother: Dean is basically the Trope Codifier. Dean will basically kill or hurt anyone who so much as harms Sam in any way, shape or form. Note to others: DO NOT hurt or harm Sam. Dean will come after you big time.
- Ladykiller in Love: He was like this during his 10-Minute Retirement with Lisa and her son Ben, and for as long as he could manage after Sam came back.
- La Résistance: 2014!Dean is the "fearless leader" of some of the few remaining humans.
- Large Ham: Dean can be a rather larger than life character at times. With Dean, sometimes the larger, the better. Especially when it comes to Dean's food.
- The Leader: Dean often takes the lead in most missions and plans. He also has the ability of bringing people together for a common purpose and goal.
- Like an Old Married Couple: With Sam. People, notably Bobby and Charlie, frequently comment on how Dean and Sam's interactions are like they are a married couple.
- Limited Wardrobe: Dean doesn't have a particularly vivid and varied wardrobe, mainly because the hunter lifestyle demands practicality and few possessions.
- Lineage Comes from the Father: The Men Of Letters legacy comes from the paternal Winchester lineage, meaning that it is a legacy that Dean can follow. His paternal grandfather, Henry, was a Man of Letters, which means that John was also a part of the Man of Letters legacy as well.
- Living Emotional Crutch: To Sam. Without Dean, Sam has been shown to become an emotionless robot who is similar to Soulless!Sam. Sam also makes many costly mistakes and acts rather impulsively and rashly without Dean's influence. Dean has mentioned that he and Sam keep each other human.
- Long Lost Sibling: To Adam. Dean is the older paternal half brother to Adam since he and Adam share the same father (John).
- Love Hungry: See Desperately Craves Affection, Extreme Doormat, Love Makes You Crazy, and Love Martyr.
- Loveable Rogue: Dean is incredibly rough around the edges, but you can't help but root for him.
- Loveable Sex Maniac: Dean is known to be a highly sexual and promiscuous person. See Really Gets Around.
- Love Martyr: In regards to basically everyone, but primarily Sam in season four. Despite Sam turning into a demon blood addicted junkie who was turning to The Dark Side, Dean still couldn't quit Sam and walk away. He still loved Sam regardless of what he was turning into and he did nothing but try to help Sam overcome his issues in season four, even though Sam was constantly sneaking around his back. Likewise, Dean always forgives Castiel, no matter how angry he may be with him in the short-term, and always wants Cas to come back to him.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Dean, in regards to his brother. When it comes to Dean's devotion to Sam, love doesn't just make him crazy, it makes Dean extremely co-dependent, depressed, self-destructive, and suicidal.
- Loving a Shadow: Dean's relationship with Lisa as a case of this, seeing as he decides to have a long-term live-in relationship with her after seeing her three times in ten years. Dean's actor has stated that Dean was more in love with the idea of having a long-term relationship, an adoptive son, and a stable home than he was with Lisa herself.
- Machine Empathy: Dean seems to have this in regards to his Impala. This concept becomes very important as the show goes on.
- Made of Iron: Dean got pistol-whipped, shot in the shoulder (and later had a thumb digging into his bullet wound. Ouch), nearly got beaten to death and was left to drown in icy water. And after all that, he still manages to drive?
- Man Child: Dean is this whenever the writers decide to take a break from angsting him. For example, he gets super-excited about classic monsters like a proper werewolf, and makes movie references non-stop.
- In a season three episode, while his run of luck allows him to have incredible reflexes and aim, Dean says "I'm Batman" after taking out an assailant, and looks genuinely disappointed/hurt when Sam responds with a "Yeah right, you're Batman".
- In a season six episode, Dean also shows his childish excitement of classic Western movies and the opportunity to go to the good ol' West.
- In Season 8, he gets really into LARPing, despite his initial balking at the sheer geekiness on display.
- Manly Men Can Hunt: Dean hunts supernatural beings for a living.
- Manly Tears: Dean sheds his fair share of tears.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Although it's portrayed as not always a good thing. Hilariously, he concludes in season four's Monster Movie that, thanks to full body regeneration after being pulled out of Hell, he is a virgin again. (By the end of that episode he's not.)
- Mangst: Yes, Dean is constantly marinating in man-pain. No, he does not want to talk about it! Even though everyone in his proximity can sense it.
- Married to the Job: Unlike Sam, Dean's occasional desire for a normal life is mitigated by the knowledge that he's been a hunter for so long now, he simply cannot go back to a normal life even if he wanted to; even admitting to Sam in Season 8 that he's accepted that he's unlikely to ever settle down and raise a family. He cannot stop being a hunter, since it's an intrinsic part of his nature and who he is.
- Martyr Without a Cause: Dean is easily willing to sacrifice himself without hesitation for his family and those he loves, especially Sam.
- Meaningful Name: The name Dean means "leader".
- Memento MacGuffin: The Samulet aka Dean's amulet/necklace.
- Mistaken for Gay: Constantly with Sam. So much that it has become a Running Gag of the series. See Incest Subtext. In one episode, they pretend to be interested in buying a house, and two realtors, on separate occasions, mention that "we accept homeowners of any race, religion, color, or sexual orientation." Also happens in the one episode with the little girl at the old hotel: when they go to check into the hotel, the owner mentions that "We get a lot of gay couples down here because of the great antiques shop." Happens again in the fourth season premiere: when Dean comes back from the dead and proves to Sam it's really him they embrace tearfully and the girl Sam was with earlier says "So you guys are..." before Dean interrupts her with "Brothers." And of course the lovely episode when Dean asks for "two queens" at the motel and the lippy kid, Michael, behind the counter mutters "I bet." In a recent fifth-season episode, Sam and Dean do some ghost-busting at a Supernatural convention with two guys who dressed up like them... At the end of the episode, it's revealed that the duo was gay. It's no wonder, since much of the in-show fanbase are constantly exploring homoerotic subtexts between the brothers. In the season 8 episode "Bitten", the college students the episode focuses on assume that Sam and Dean (who they think are FBI agents) have a "workplace romance" going on. In a season 9 episode, the boys go undercover at a spa (Dean in the kitchen and Sam as a yoga teacher) and one of Dean's co-workers asks him to "stop flirting with the trainer". And these are only a few examples.
- He has these occasionally with Castiel as well, but it's more in a joking manner. "Ask your angel boyfriend." Although Dean is less quick to deny these ones...
- Mood-Swinger: Dean can alternate between enthusiastic and engaging to sullen and withdrawn, sometimes so abruptly that others have trouble keeping up. Sam is accustomed to it, but it is a common source of tension between them. Castiel doesn't understand it, and his attempts to cope with it just lead him into doing things that cause still more mood swings.
- Moral Myopia: Dean's attitude towards the possibility of Sam turning into a monster or otherwise being abnormal; he's perfectly willing to kill strangers who might go darkside, but simply refuses to do so with his brother even when presented with clear indications of this happening, because he couldn't bear to live without him.
- Taken a turn for the destructive where Sam is concerned. Dean has always had a "Watch out of Sammy!" directive playing in his head since childhood, but by the end of Season 8, he couldn't abide Sam dying even though (they thought at the time) his sacrifice would prevent countless other deaths. As of Season 9 Dean has saved Sam in a way that Sam was pretty well guaranteed to flip out over, resulting in Kevin's death and two bad guys walking free— and Dean still said he'd do it again. By this point in the series, keeping Sam alive has pretty well overtaken any other moral compunction Dean has.
- Morality Chain: In later seasons for Sam AND Castiel.
- Mr. Fanservice: Dean is appealing to the female fans and non-straight male fans of Supernatural.
- Mr. Fixit: Dean seems to be rather mechanical and likes to fix things, especially his car.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Dean is a thief, a conman, and a habitual liar. He's also crude, flippant, promiscuous, and violently cynical. He still manages to be pretty damn heroic on a regular basis despite all of this though.
- My Greatest Failure: Most of Dean's failures or situations where Dean feels like he failed badly revolve around Sam. One was not being able to save Sam from dying at the end of season two. Also, not being able to prevent or stop Sam from using his demonic abilities, becoming a demon blood junkie, succumbing to his darkness and starting the apocalypse in season four.
- Pretty well anytime anyone dies, Dean finds a way to blame himself for it, and on occasion even half-jokes that unemployment and the Lindbergh baby are on him too.
- Narrator/First-Person Peripheral Narrator: Supernatural is primarily told from Dean's P.O.V. The story is seen through Dean's eyes, therefore, the audience tends to sympathize with Dean the most.
- Naytheist: Dean is a non-believer and was strongly against religion; he was a card-carrying atheist. He didn't believe in God, angels or any other religious deities concerning faith, yet he hunts demons and many other supernatural beings. This is more out of his need to rationalize God's noninterference with all the evil he sees in the world than any philosophical problem, however.
Dean: If he doesn't exist, fine. Bad crap happens to good people. That's how it is. There's no rhyme or reason, just random, horrible, evil, I get it, okay. I can roll with that. But if he is out there, what's wrong with him? Where the hell is he while all these decent people are getting torn to shreds? How does he live with himself? You know, why doesn't he help?
- It's somewhat telling that whenever Dean is desperate enough to resort to using prayer, it's always directed towards Cas. Rather than ask an indifferent God for help, Dean would rather pray to someone he actually does have complete faith in.
- The Nicknamer: Dean frequently comes up with nicknames for other characters on the show. But the most common nickname that Dean uses is "Sammy" for Sam. Apparently, only Dean gets to call Sam "Sammy".
- His nickname for Castiel - Cas(s) - stuck to the point barely anyone calls him by his real name anymore.
- In season 9, Dean calls the angel possessing his brother, Ezekiel, "Zeke" for short.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Sometimes.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: In the earlier seasons, Dean was the Roguish Male to Sam's Noble Male.
- The Not-Love Interest: To Sam. Although Sam is his brother, Dean treats Sam is if he is the Juliet to his Romeo or the Romeo to his Juliet.
- The Obi-Wan: To Sam who could be seen as the Jedi Padawan in Star Wars analogy, primarily regarding hunting and the hunting world. Dean was seen as somewhat of a mentor to Sam in the first few seasons in regards to the hunting world and getting Sam to embrace the hunter's lifestyle.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He built an EMF out of a walkman, has a (correctly applied) movie or tv show reference for every occasion, is usually the one to come up with a plan on the spot, has more than once proven that he can memorize anything in just a few seconds. Despite this, he's repeatedly claims that he's not the smart one.
- He exemplifies this to an almost insane degree. The way he comes off at times it seems a miracle he's not dead. Then he goads a demon into attacking him in order to get it to walk under a devil's trap, Figures out that the Trickster is the Archangel Gabriel, and defeats one of the Knights of Hell by carving a devil's trap into a bullet and shooting her in the head with it. These aren't just Indy Ploys either, Dean is just that good at hunting.
- Odd Couple: With Sam. Many outsiders often refer to them being like an old married couple.
- Odd Friendship: With Castiel. They really have nothing in common and it can even be described as an awkward friendship. This could be because Dean is a human and Castiel is an angel.
- Older Than They Look: Downplayed Trope. Thanks to the Year Inside, Hour Outside going on, Dean spent forty years in Hell during the four months that he was dead on Earth, making him (mentally) well over 70.
- Our Hero Is Dead: Subverted. At the end of season three, Dean dies and goes to Hell after selling his soul to bring Sam back from the dead. However, Dean is resurrected by Castiel after spending four months in Hell.
- Papa Wolf: To Sam, Ben, and any children you try to hurt.
- Parental Abandonment: Dean had serious abandonment issues in regards to John growing up. Because John wasn't often there for Dean and Sam during childhood, Dean ended up not only being Sam's older brother, but also Sam's father figure as well.
- It's revealed in season 9 that John once refused to bail Dean out of jail after Dean had been arrested for stealing food for Sam. (Dean was later taken to a boy's home, but John apparently didn't care either way.)
- Parental Issues: Dean had some serious daddy issues growing up and his mother died unexpectedly when he was just a kid.
- Parental Neglect: Oh so much. It took a while for Dean to come to terms with John's abandonment of his father growing up.
- Parental Substitute: To Sam. Growing up, John was never in Sam (or Dean's) life. Dean was the one who practically raised Sam since he was a baby. At times, Dean appears to be more of a father figure to Sam than an actual older brother. As a result, Sam and Dean's dynamic can come off as more parent-child dynamic than that of a older brother/younger brother dynamic.
- Perma Stubble: Dean seems to have a permanent five-o-clock shadow. However, in the earlier seasons, he appeared to always be clean shaven. It's obvious that Dean is much too busy hunting and saving lives to shave. Or maybe it's the ongoing chaos and stress that is always overtaking his life.
- Platonic Life Partners: With Sam, even though they are brothers.
- Castiel could count as well, despite the ambiguity of the relationship.
- Please Don't Leave Me: Dean says this when Sam is dying in his arms in the first part of the season two finale.
- Please Wake Up: The first part of the season two finale had a variation of this trope (in that of course Dean understands death, he just doesn't want his world to come crashing down around him), where Sam is dying in Dean's arms and Dean is in childlike denial.
Dean to Sam: "Sam, Sam, Sam. Hey, hey... Come here, come here, let me look at you. Oh, hey look, hey look at me it's not even that bad. It's not even that bad, alright? Sammy, Sam! Hey, listen to me, we are going to patch you up, okay... You'll be as good as new. Huh? I'm going to take care of you. I'm going to take care of you. I gotcha. It's my job, right, watch out for my pain-in-the-ass little brother.... Sam... Sam.... Sam! Sammy! No.. no-n-n-n-n-no. Oh god... Oh god... Sam!"
- Plucky Comic Relief: Dean is known to be the character who is the source of comedy on the show.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Dean curses quite a bit and uses words like "bitch", "whore" and "skank".
- Of course, most of those tend to be used in reference to demons who happen to be inhabiting female bodies at the time, not the actual women themselves. Dean just really hates demons.
- In fact, Dean saying "Look at me, bitch!" to a male vampire as he's beheading him is odd enough that Sam comments on it, and is used as a sign that the Mark of Cain is starting to affect Dean's mental state.
- The Pornomancer: Collects numerous porn magazines and even sometimes watches porn.
- Porn Stash: Dean is heavily into skin mags and porn magazines that it is not that unusual to think that Dean has always had a stash of skin magazines hiding somewhere everywhere he goes.
- In a season eight episode, Dean opens a folder in the archives of the Men of Letters to find a first edition of Voluptuous Asian Lovelies. Perhaps Dean's interest in Busty Asian Beauties is part of the Men of Letters legacy.
- The Power of Love: Dean's love for Sam is so powerful that it has saved the world in many ways. To quote Dean himself, he and Sam have a "deep, abiding love for each other."
- Pretty Boy: Dean has classic "feminine" pretty boy features. His large green eyes, his long lashes, his freckles and of course his full lips. Although he'd rather be thought of as a Hunk.
- Promotion to Parent: Deconstructed with Dean for Sam: it left him with a whole ton of issues—not the least of which is his lack of a spine when it comes to family—and an unhealthy need to keep Sam alive and safe.
- Properly Paranoid: Of Ruby in the third and fourth season. Turns out he was right. But really, Dean gets this way towards anyone that gets close to Sam.
- Proud Scholar Race Guy: Dean seems to have accepted his legacy as a Man of Letters and takes pride in it.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Dean similarly has long-since accepted that he's a born Hunter.
- Race Fetish: Since Dean seems to be obsessed with Busty Asian Beauties, it could be assumed that Dean has a secret thing for Asian women.
- It's implied in one episode that it is something which runs in the family.
- Really Gets Around: Crosses into Ethical Slut territory. Frequently. He even got it on with an angel. No, not that one.
- Real Men Hate Affection: Dean often acts like this, rather to Sam's annoyance, mostly because Sam is more straightforward about his emotions, whereas Dean is notorious for wallowing in Mangst and then denying it.
- As of Season 4 onwards, this is subverted. Dean is now the more affectionate of and touchy between himself and his brother, and is often the one who initiates hugs with Sam.
- Actually, as of Season 8 (and before the increased stoicism from his emotional state and the Mark of Cain in Season 9), Dean had started initiating hugs with everyone.
- Real Men Cook: Dean seems to have taken up the hobby of cooking for everyone.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Dean is a badass demon hunter who watches Oprah, Dr. Sexy MD and Black Swan, cooks and secretly enjoys wearing women's underwear.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Sam's Blue.
- Rise from Your Grave: In the first episode of the fourth season, Dean is seen coming out of his grave.
- Rounded Character: Dean has become a much deeper, more complex character than he originally started out as.
- Sad Clown: Dean often uses humor to cope with his sadness, depression or any issues that he is dealing with.
- As Season 1 progressed, Dean went from pure comic relief to being a sad, lost little boy who really wanted his family back together and who wisecracks only to mask that nasty pain.
- Screw Destiny: This is Dean's motto in regards to everything in life.
- His mission too in the fifth season, when he, Sam and Cas nickname themselves "Team Free Will."
- Screw the Rules, It's the Apocalypse!: Goes with Screw Destiny.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Dean and Sam, with Dean as the Manly Man to Sam's Sensitive Guy.
- Arguably subverted, as Dean tends to be more nurturing and emotional than Sam, who is seen to be more stoic and calm. Not to mention that Dean has far more emotional moments throughout the show than Sam does.
- Shipper on Deck: Dean's OTP seems to be Sam/Sarah.
- Hence his apparent disappointment in "Clip Show" to learn that, despite Sarah's lingering attraction to Sam, she's since married and had kids. When Crowley kills her simply to spite them, he takes it almost as badly as Sam does.
- Sibling Team: With Sam. They are brothers who are hunting partners; they fight and they battle monsters together.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: With Sam. While Dean is more impulsive, hotheaded and reckless, Sam is more calm, collected, practical and logical. See Cain and Abel, Bromantic Foil, Red Oni, Blue Oni and Manly Man And Sensitive Guy.
- Single Tear: He sheds them constantly. It's made its way into a drinking game!
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Dean curses quite a bit, and he uses a lot of derogatory words and terms from time to time.
- The Snark Knight: Dean is all-too-willing to take potshots at anyone and everyone—himself included.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: He pulls this whenever he uses anger and being rude to cover up for the fact that he's broken.
- Spear Counterpart / Good Counterpart: For Ruby. They're both snarky, determined, very sarcastic, hot-headed, incredibly badass, have a passion for fighting and battles, both are fierce soldiers who won't back down from a fight or battle, both are loyal to achieving their missions, both have been caretakers to Sam, both have been mentors to Sam, both have been very protective of Sam and also, both have Undying Loyalty to Sam. Both Dean and Ruby also seemed to be strongly devoted to their respective "fathers" and carrying out their mission (John for Dean, Lucifer for Ruby). Not to mention that both Dean and Ruby have sold their souls, with Ruby becoming a witch and selling her soul to Astaroth and Dean selling his soul to a Crossroads Demon (in order to bring Sam back from the dead). Since both Dean and Ruby sold their souls, they both ended up going to Hell and suffering as a punishment where they were tortured (Dean was not only tortured, he became a torturer under Alastair's guidance).
- One fan theory is that Ruby deliberately took on some of Dean's characteristics to make a bigger impact on Sam (at that point in the midst of a Heroic BSOD because Dean was dead) and make Sam more willing to work with her and trust her.
- Stepford Smiler: Dean comes off as a version of this trope in the supposed lighter moments of Seasons 2 (the season where everything leads up to him making the demonic pact) and 3 (when he has done so). Whether it's the Daddy Issues or Survivor Guilt or his impending death/suicide, he loves to pretend that everything is perfect when it's really, really not.
- Stepford Snarker: Dean makes with the witty remarks to cover up his major self-esteem issues.
- The Strategist: Though he does just charge into situations when he feels there isn't time to plan, Dean comes up with the majority of there plans to defeat the enemy or gain some advantage, Dean's proven on multiple occasions to be a practically genius level strategist, and is very good at assessing his opponents weaknesses and exploiting them to his advantage. He's also very good at Out Gambitting and quite often if it looks like what ever he's facing is winning, he's only moments away from snapping his trap.
- Straw Nihilist: Dean is a rare heroic example of this, although with everything that he has been through throughout the series, it's not entirely unjustified why he feels this way.
- Street Smart: Dean possess a lot of real world intelligence, and is very sharp. He often uses this to his advantage, making it easier to blend in when hunting.
- Subbing for Santa: Dean became Death for a day in the sixth season episode "Appointment at Samarra."
- Supreme Chef / Team Chef: Dean seems to have taken up cooking and seems to be cooking for everybody these days. Not to mention that, according to Sam, his cooking is good.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: When Dean's separated from Sam, he often forms intense emotional relationships with men who can act as "brothers" to him. Most obvious was the Siren Nick in S&V who deliberately acted as a hero-worshipping younger brother when Dean and Sam were fighting in order to ensnare the former. In FTBYAM in Season 5, while Sam was taking a 10-Minute Retirement, Dean took Castiel under his wing in a very little-brother way, teaching him how to hunt and trying to get him laid. With Benny it was even more overt, with Dean calling him "brother" on more than one occasion.
- Survivor Guilt: Dean's been feeling this since "Faith," but it was ramped to 1000 when his father died. Season 2 bends and damages him so much that, by the time "All Hell Breaks Loose" rolls around, he's been reduced to a broken, martyred little boy who has a pathological need to keep Sam (who, contrary to his and his dad's belief, is actually a big boy now who might have been at peace) alive.
- Sycophantic Servant: He just has to think his dad sent a cryptic message, and he'll jump. He makes Lugnut look like an independent thinker. Later in the series, he comes to resent his dad. Oh, the magic of Character Development.
- Take a Third Option: Dean frigging specializes in this.
- Team Dad / Team Mom: Dean not only has a paternal instinct in regards to Sam (or just people in general), but he also has a rather maternal instinct towards Sam. It's pretty obvious when Dean tries to get sick!Sam to eat and tries to take his temperature with a thermometer. Classic motherly traits and qualities.
- After the death of Bobby in Season 7, he's apparently inherited this role.
- Comes across increasingly as this in Season 8, acting like an older brother towards Charlie and Kevin and being very protective towards Krissy, being downright furious when he discovers that she's hunting again.
- 10-Minute Retirement: In "What Is and What Should Never Be," Dean wants so badly to stay in his Wish!Verse, even after he realizes that Alt!Sam can't stand him. But the call knows where he lives and after a heartbreaking scene at his father's grave, he's back in as the Tragic Hero.
- In "Yellow Fever," Dean contracts a ghost sickness that makes him terrified of everything and he decides to stop hunting. Of course, in the end, he's cured.
- They Killed Kenny: Especially in "Mystery Spot." Oh, ye gods, "Mystery Spot!"
- Thicker Than Water: With his brother Sam, to obsessive and co-dependent levels.
- Interestingly, only with Sam (and John, when he was alive), and to a certain degree honorary family members such as Bobby and Castiel. Dean is untrusting or outright hostile to other relatives the brothers encounter, such as the Campbells and Henry Winchester, and took relatively little interest in half-brother Adam.
- Those Two Guys: With Sam, of course.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Dean loves pie. Too bad for him Sam keeps forgetting to buy it, or people just keep taking it from him, or...
- In the first main instance of this (the start of the Season 2 finale), he sends Sam into a diner, reminding him "Don't forget the pie." He hears a crash and rushes inside to find everyone eviscerated, Sam kidnapped AND no pie.
- Tragic Bromance: Dear. God. If it isn't Sam, it's Cas. And now, if it's not those two, it's Benny. Dean just cannot catch a break bromance-wise.
- Tragic Hero: Dean in many ways fits the archetype of a tragic hero, no matter how many people he saves, he'll never be able to have a normal life, settle down or have a family.
- Troubled, but Cute: Boy howdy, does Dean fit this trope to a T.
- True Companions: With Sam. Even through all the cluster-fucks they face together, at the end of the day, the two still have each others' backs.
- Now in doubt as of Season 9, after Sam declares they're no longer brothers
- Re-established at the end of Season 9, when Sam declared that he had every intention of fighting Metatron alongside Dean, and Dean wound up dying in Sam's arms.
- Trying Not to Cry: It often looks like he's about to burst into tears, but instead he just keeps on doing whatever it is he's doing looking epically broken all the way through it.
- A particularly tear-jerking example is "Reading Is Fundamental." He manages to look like this for an entire episode while interacting with an out-of-mind Castiel.
- Not So Stoic
- Broken Tears
- Tyke Bomb: Dean was trained to be hunter since his childhood by his father. While this Parental Neglect and training was part of demonic plans to groom generally nice Sam into becoming a powerful Anti Christ, Daddy Winchester seems to have worked Dean harder, having him shooting at the age of 6.