Sarah Connor (Lena Headey)
Aliases: Sarah Reese, Sarah Baum. Mother of John, she was told in the first film that he grows up to be the leader of the resistance against SkyNet. Currently, lives with him, Cameron, and Derek in Los Angeles, trying to stop the creation of SkyNet. Might have or will have cancer - it was what she died of in an alternate timeline.
- Action Mom: One episode even has Sarah saying to the child she saved that while she's not a spy, she is a mom.
- Cartwright Curse : Like John, everyone who loves Sarah dies. Kyle, her parents and roommate in the first film, and Charley Dixon, Sarah's ex-fiancé.
- Drives Like Crazy : Sarah is a terrible driver, because she's usually driving very fast away from a scene, and talking to her passengers. In the season 2 premiere, she's trying to talk to John and crashes the car.
- Fantastic Racism: Doesn't waste an opportunity to express how much she hates Terminators and spends many a episode saying something hateful towards Cameron.
- The Hero \ The Leader: Her name isn't in the title for anything.
- Hopeless with Tech : Justifiable, in that she sees every kind of technology as a path leading to the apocalypse, but she really is hopeless.(To Andy, when buying a cell phone): When I push these buttons, will someone talk to me?
- Jerkass Has a Point: While her treatment of Cameron is in no way nice or appreciative, she does have reason to distrust Terminators, especially the new breed who can fake emotions or glitch and try to kill them as Cameron ended up doing.
- Lethal Chef : Other than pancakes and PB&J, Sarah can't cook.
- Mama Bear: Anything she does is to ensure John survives.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Noticeably compaired to the Linda Hamilton version when it comes to treating allied Terminators.
- Screw Destiny: She has already skipped her cancer death, so this becomes her motto.
John Connor (Thomas Dekker)
Aliases: John Reese, John Baum. Sarah's son, the future leader of the resistance. Not quite a leader yet. Currently, neither his mother nor Cameron entirely trust him because he reactivated Cameron after she tried to kill him.
- Berserk Button: His mother being in danger.
- Big Good: In the future.
- Broken Ace: Future John is a charismatic leader, a powerful fighter and a masterful strategist but no one knows about the awful things he went through to be what he is or the questionable decisions he made in the past to ensure the victory of the human race.
- The Chosen One: Even if he's reluctant to accept this role.
- Cartwright Curse : Alison Young, Riley, his whole family, most of the people that help him along the way...Yes, John is a dangerous person to know.Everyone dies for me.
- Doom Magnet: There are always some time travelling robots or ill-intentioned people arriving to torment him.
- Growing Up Sucks: Particularly if you're going from town to town, surrounded by danger, and with a Bad Future hanging above your head.
- Playful Hacker: Mentioned in the pilot, that he's gotten in trouble and blown their cover a few times because of this.
- Pretty Boy: Has long eyelashes, and sometimes his face is practically shiny.
- Science Hero: Since he's destined to fight the Machines, he's naturally highly skilled on the subject of robotics, engineering and computer technology. All the better to kill you with.
- This also makes him The Smart Guy.
- Tired of Running: Repeatedly states this throughout the series. He just wants to prevent the War so it can be over.
- Took a Level in Badass: Season Two was all about this, but it came with knowing what terrifying sacrifices were made for him and by him.
- Also, as noted by Word of God, the end of the season 2 premiere is the first time we see John with a gun, when he hands it to Cameron to test her loyalty, after her chip malfunctions. Throughout T2 and the first season of TSCC, it was important that John knew about guns but did not use them. After he killed Sarkissian in the S1 finale, the show creators did away with this, because John lost some of his innocence.
Cameron (Summer Glau)
"Thank you for explaining".Aliases: Cameron Phillips, Cameron Baum, Allison Young. The reprogrammed Terminator (rumored to be TOK715) sent back by future John. The most advanced infiltrating unit seen so far - unlike other Terminators, she can eat food and can cry. Acts as John Connor's advisor in the future, much to the chagrin of the other resistance fighters.
- Action Girl: She has Super Strength, is skilled with guns and knives and doesn't hesitate to use any combination of the three. It's like a Slayer had she a complete disregard for property damage.
- Berserk Button: Don't lie to her or wear her favorite leather jacket.
- The Big Girl: Being a Terminator, she's strong enough to take the physical tasks.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Cameron's concept of caring, concern, affection, and morality begins and ends with John Connor.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Even before her chip was damaged Cameron did not seem all there. After, well, she spends her time locating the exact center of the house for no reason in particular, wants to kill birds, and lugs around research assistants and lets them shoot her gun. She is also far and away the most intelligent and battle capable member of the group.
- Came Back Wrong: She survived a car bomb, but was accidentally reset to her Skynet programming. She even told Sarah not to let John bring her back if it happens again.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Comes off as one even before her chip was damaged.
- The Comically Serious: She has No Social Skills, and the results are hilarious.
- Creepy Monotone \ Machine Monotone: A natural for a terminator.
- Cute Bruiser: It's River Tam playing the role so it's a given. She is not played up to be cute, rather the opposite of Cameron being a bruiser is centered on, but simply based on the actress' looks alone the cute part comes out.
- A Day in the Limelight: "Allison From Palmdale" (Cameron's origin) and "Self Made Man" (Cameron's night time activities)
- Deconstruction: "Self-Made Man" deconstructed Cameron as a character.
- Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Helps her machine nature makes her Literal-Minded.
- Emotionless Girl: Cameron is a machine, so she doesn't need to express anything.
- Feel No Pain: Comes with being a Terminator.
- Femme Fatale: Cameron knows how her appearance affects those around her and uses it to great effect, either using it to draw in targets or to derail and distract. She's even willing to use it on John.
- Implacable Man: It's in her programming!
- I Will Protect Her: A gender flipped version where Cameron will do everything to protect John, as well as prepare him for Judgement Day and beyond.
- Lady of War: Has an absolute calm, feminine grace, and physical ability. Though in her case, much of it is due to the fact that she is also a very scary robot.
- Little Miss Badass / Badass Adorable: Played by 5' 6" (1,68 m) Summer Glau, and highly destructive.
- Magical Girlfriend: Deconstructed. She's an unearthly beautiful girl devoted to John but she also lacks empathy towards anyone else and is willing to protect John by any means at her disposal.
- Manipulative Bitch: Cameron is very good at getting the reaction she wants out of people.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: She commonly advocates murdering witnesses or other threats, which is usually objected to by Sarah and John. And more often than not, her recommendations turn out to be right.
- No Sense of Personal Space: She stands too close to people and stares when she evaluates their threat level.
- No Social Skills: To the point John's first advice when arriving at a new school is "try not acting weird". It doesn't work, of course.
- Omniglot: Her programming includes various languages, so she can speak Russian, Spanish, etc. when the situation requires.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Punishes conversational partners who don't make her happy with disturbing revelations.
- Pet the Dog: All the time with John, from reassuring him of his value to acting as a semi love interest. Also towards a researcher who helps her, from helping him move about in his wheelchair to letting him fire her gun. Then she lets slip that he's had a relapse of cancer he thought he had finally gotten cured, causing him to possibly be Driven to Suicide.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: "Born To Run." That's all that needs to be said.
- Robot Girl: To the point she's supposed to pass as a teenager.
- Speaking Like Totally Teen: Her attempts at incorporating actual teenage girls' vocabulary often misplaces the words.I'm a bitch whore.
- Spock Speak: Comparable to Arnie's T-800. When the situation doesn't ask for it, Cameron won't try to sound remotely human.
- The Stoic: Even as trying to be friendly.
- Sugar And Ice Girl: Upon finding John Cameron dials up the sugar part of her personality as part of her infiltrator mode, to try and get into his life so she can protect him. When that's blown the ice part takes over and Cameron's focus is solely on protecting John, but she slips time and time again showing that she has genuine affection for him.
- Tuckerization: She's named after Franchise creator James Cameron.
- Unitard Of Power: She wears a dark red unitard when going undercover as a ballet student.
- Waif-Fu: Comes with being played by Summer Glau.
- Weak, but Skilled: At least in relation to other Terminators. She doesn't have their raw strength and often can't beat bigger Terminators in a straight up fight - which is why she fights dirty.
- Yandere: Very loosely, but there are shades of this in some episodes. She'll protect John, no matter the cost.
- Subverted when Jessie expected her to kill Riley and be destroyed or banished by John, and that didn't happen according to plan.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In "The Demon Hand" to the Russians, after getting what she needed from them. Note in this case she doesn't actually kill them, but simply ignores them once she has what she needs, allowing them to be killed because their survival was then irrelevant to her overall mission.
- Younger Than They Look: Cameron's exact age is never specified, but she's almost certainly younger than her human appearance makes her seem.
- Cameron states in the pilot that she comes from 2027. If Allison Young was born in 2008 or 2009 (Mrs. Young was pregnant), Allison would have been about 18, and Cameron's appearance is based on Allison.
Charley Dixon (Dean Winters)
"He was a scary robot but you, you're a really scary robot."Sarah's former fiance, he's since married someone else until she dies by Cromartie's hands. Eventually dies protecting John Connor.
- The Chick to our Five-Man Band, Charley often provides care and support, and has a soft spot for Sarah at her most crazy.
- Combat Medic : An EMT, Charley patches up Derek after he's shot while escaping, and both John and Sarah after they escape from Cameron.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Has one after his wife dies.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In "To The Lighthouse," Charley dies protecting John from a T-888.
- Hollywood Atheist : At the funeral for his wife, Charley tosses the Bible Ellison gave him into her grave.
James Ellison (Richard T. Jones)
"These are more than machine but I will never make the mistake of thinking them human".An agent of the FBI, he started out trying to stop the Connors...until he started believing them.
- As the Good Book Says: Deeply religious.
- Inspector Javert: Is always seeking the Connors, even after their supposed death.
- Kill and Replace: Not him, but a Terminator who tried to kill and replace him to steal his identity. It's foiled, however, by Cromartie, of all people... I mean cyborg. See Cromartie section below.
- Shout-Out: His name is a dual reference to James Cameron (Original writer) and Harlan Ellison (Who claims to have written it first).
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Avoids ever being an outright villain due to the fact that he had good reason to believe Sarah was seriously dangerous. He was just an officer who ended up in really deep stuff.
Derek Reese (Brian Austin Green)
"We can go back. We can fix all the mistakes".John's uncle from the future, he came back to get a chess playing computer named the Turk and kill its creator, Andy Goode. Eventually is shot in the head by a Skynet Terminator. And now alive again in an alternate future timeline.
- Cool Uncle: And one who acts as a surrogate father given his brother is dead.
- Mr. Fanservice: Gets several Shirtless Scene s and a Shower Scene.
- Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: Subverted in a most spectacular way.
- The Lancer : To Sarah and John's shared role as The Hero.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran : Breaks down crying in a bout of PTSD while watching Cameron dance. The music is the same music he heard while held captive (and probably tortured with the music) by Terminators.
Cromartie (Garret Dillahunt)
"Thank you for your time."The Terminator sent after John at the same time Cameron was. His chip is eventually destroyed, but his body ends up being used as the "face" of the Turk/John Henry supercomputer.
- Kill and Replace: He killed a failed actor and assumed his identity afterwards.
- Losing Your Head: Decapitated while the Connors and Cameron time travelled. Yet both the head and the decapitated body managed to restart on their own.
- Magic Plastic Surgery: Justified in that he's a robot and once he got new flesh put back on his body, he forced a plastic surgeon to make him look like a failed actor (in a procedure that would normally kill a human being).
- The Nth Doctor: Played by Owain Yeoman in the pilot before he gets blown up, Garret Dillahunt in the main seasons after he gets a new flesh covering, and an uncredited stuntman in the interim stages.
- Villainous Rescue: He destroyed a fellow Terminator who tried to Kill and Replace James Ellison, only because his mission is conflicted that he believed James can lead him to the Connors at the time.
Kacey (Busy Philipps)The Connors' new and very pregnant neighbor.
- Comic Relief: Gets most of the funny lines in the first half of Season 2.
- Donut Mess with a Cop : She met her baby daddy when she was working as a pastry chef in a high-end donut shop.
- Feminine Women Can Cook : Kacey is heavily pregnant and a professional cook. In contrast to the badass Sarah and Cameron, who's "not really into food," Kacey is more of an earth-mother type.
- Gag Boobs: Downplayed, but as a result of pregnancy, Kacy is quite well-endowed. She first describes herself as "an Orca with boobs," then wonders if she can keep them if she breastfeeds for a few years.
- Wacky Cravings: She's pregnant, after all.
TrevorKacy's ex, her child's baby daddy, and an LA detective.
- Adult Fear : Trevor needs some "daddy time" after he finds Riley's body.
- Disappeared Dad : At first. Kacy says he "freaked out" when she got pregnant, but it turns out she's the one who left.
- Clueless Detective : To be fair, the Connors aren't his case, but Sarah noticeably clams up when Kacy notes that Trevor is a cop.
- Fair Cop : To Kacy. His cop-ness is what attracted Kacy when she worked in the donut place.
Riley Dawson (Leven Rambin)
"I'm a brave, spooky ninja!"John's new friend at school. Not very well liked by the audience. Actually working with Jessie to manipulate John Connor.
- Bad Liar : When Sarah confronts her, she tells Riley she's a terrible liar.
- Broken Bird: The cracks begin to show early that she's had a troubled past, once it's revealed she grew up during the war with the machines, it becomes clear she's been barely holding it together most of the time. Even her "cover story" is pretty awful: she was orphaned when her parents died in a meth lab accident.
- Tagalong Kid : To our Five-Man Band.
Morris (Luis Chávez)John's other friend at school. Asked Cameron to the prom. Not seen since the first season. (Actually, we see him parking cars in the second season).
- Comic Relief : Gets some funny lines.Your sister is dark!
Dr. Peter Silberman (Bruce Davison)A psychologist who laughed at the idea of the Terminators. After the events of T2, he retreated to a mountain cabin and became an apocalyptic believer.
- Laser-Guided Karma: At the end of "Demon Hand," he gets locked up in the same mental hospital he used to run, in Sarah's own room.
Catherine Weaver (Shirley Manson)
"The project's name is Babylon. It's from The Bible."CEO of Ziera Corp. She had the Turk stolen and set a group of people to work with it on "Project Babylon." Also, is a liquid metal T-1001 Terminator.
- Ambiguously Evil: She looks like the Big Bad of the second season and has no qualms about killing anyone she needs to, but she's trying to destroy Skynet rather than create it.
- Bond One-Liner"Sorry I piss you off, Mr. Tuck. The feeling's mutual.""I bet that's never happened before either."
- Bulletproof Fashion Plate: Although it's easier when your clothes and hair are part of your shapeshifting body.
- Kill and Replace: May or may not be, since it's unclear if the real Catherine Weaver is actually killed in a helicopter crash (that killed her husband) or killed by this T-1001 who assumed her identity.
- Lady of War: She is stoic and calm, and dresses in more graceful clothing. Being a Bullet-Proof Fashion Plate helps.
- Light Is Not Good: She wears a lot of white. Downplayed because she's technically an Anti-Hero, as it is implied that she did consider allying with the resistance to take down Skynet, but turned down the offer in part due to Jessie, and that Project Babylon was also implied to be a means to counteract Skynet.
- Unflinching Walk: After she killed the people at the "air conditioning factory". And then Out of the Inferno as well.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: She had killed everyone involved with Project Babylon and was planning to kill Ellison.
Savannah Weaver (Mackenzie Brooke Smith)
"I want my old mommy back."Daughter of (the real) Catherine Weaver. She becomes best friends with John Henry.
- Creepy Child : Savannah's delivery is pretty innocent, but while she explains John Henry as the man in her basement at her Mommy's work, John looks terrified.
- Disappeared Dad: We know in one episode her parents are technically dead, but...
- Morality Pet : For John. In some ways, she's a reminder of the innocence he's lost.
John Henry (Garret Dillahunt)
"Why is a math book so sad?"The AI built and developed from Andy Goode's Turk supercomputer, using Cromartie's body as a means to communicate with others and manipulate its environment. Extremely intelligent, but almost childlike.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted. Weaver specifically enlisted Ellision to teach John Henry morality and ethics so he develops properly.
- Basement-Dweller: It's not like he has any choice on the matter since his body is permanently hooked up to the computer that's used to run his AI.
- Cain and Abel: John Henry asks which "brother" he is. Weaver's response is he might be neither, and may in fact be God.
Matt Murch (Shane Edelman)The main programmer and tech geek on the Babylon Project.
- Alliterative Name
- Ascended Extra : Was intended to only appear in "Samson and Delilah."
- Hollywood Nerd : Wears glasses, is a skilled computer programmer, and plays Bionicle and Dungeons and Dragons.
- Mr. Exposition : Explains most of John Henry's development.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness : John Henry finds Murch's "resignation" and moving plan. It's not revealed if Weaver actually killed him or not.
Dr. Boyd Sherman (Dorian Harewood)
"Because it has so many problems".A child therapist whose name was found on the blood-stained basement. Weaver hires him as a consultant to help her understand the strange behavior of her AI.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Died of heat stroke after the AI rerouted the power from the air-conditioning to continue powering itself.
- Token Minority: The only other African-American character in the show aside from Ellison.
Jesse Flores (Stephanie Jacobsen)
"Sunset's at 5:47. I'm not gonna miss that sucker."Resistance fighter who traveled back in time to escape the hell of the future. Has an intimate relationship with Derek Reese. Actually traveled back in time on her own with Riley to try and separate John and Cameron, and is also implied to be an alternate counterpart to Jesse from Derek's timeline.
- Alas, Poor Villain : You can't help but feel bad for her after the events in the submarine and Cameron's bad news.You have no idea what they took from us!
- Batman Gambit: Get Riley to threaten Cameron enough to kill her so John would be alienated from Cameron in the first place. If that doesn't work, kill Riley yourself, then pin the blame on Cameron. Unfortunately for her John figured it out before he terminated Cameron.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Revealed herself as this the moment she slapped Riley, and right after Riley admitted to screwing up, was not in good shape and was asking to stay with Jesse for a while.
- A Day in the Limelight: "The Last Voyage of the Jimmy Carter".
- Manipulative Bitch: In addition to the above mentioned Batman Gambit, Jessie's relationship with Riley borders on Domestic Abuse.I took you from hell, and brought you to paradise!
- Ms. Fanservice : Spends several scenes in swimsuits and bikinis.
- The Sixth Ranger : If she can be seen as allied to the group, although she's got her own agenda. She shows up last and ultimately betrays our heroes.
- Wham Line: gets one by Derek before we see the last of her. We don't know if he shot her or not." You're not my Jesse."
Allison Young (Summer Glau)
"I live in a tunnel. I eat garbage for dinner"Resistance fighter in the future. Captured by Skynet, and who Cameron's physical features are based on. Later killed by Cameron for lying to her. Implied to know John Connor personally. And now, most likely alive again in the alternate future timeline.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted; her face is marked by a lot of open cuts and scratches.
- Determinator: She will escape, or die trying. Barring that, she's not gonna do anything to compromise John Connor's safety.
Jody (Leah Pipes)
"I got this necklace at this awesome thrift store in Echo Park."A runaway Cameron befriended in "Allison in Palmdale".
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Along with revenge on Cameron, she decides to follow Cromartie because she found him kind of cute.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Appears harmless, but is an Alpha Bitch.
- Consummate Liar: To the point Cameron gets fed up with all her lies.
- Hipster : Says she wants to go someplace "more authentic," maybe Portland.
- The Load: Once she decides to help Cromartie find Cameron.
- Sticky Fingers: She steals even from her own house.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A non-fatal example. Once Cromartie has had enough of Jody, she's thrown out of the car.
- At the end of "Allison from Palmdale," Cameron nearly kills her, as well.
Rita (Jillian Armenante)Social worker at a youth hostel that Allison/Cameron meets when her chip goes wonky.
- All Therapists Are Muggles : While she succeeds in unlocking some of Cameron's "Allison" memories, the truth would get Cameron thrown in a psych ward.
- Department of Child Disservices : Rita is a social worker at a youth hostel. She's weeks behind on her paperwork, with more cases piling up.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat : In this case, it's a good thing when she tells Cromartie to go to the back of the line.
Chola (Sabrina Perez)Young woman who acts as a lookout for Carlos while he does his business. Pops up a few times throughout the series.
- Back for the Finale : We don't see her for most of the season, then she shows up at the end.
- Chekhov's Gunman:
- Spicy Latina : Downplayed, but wears heavy makeup and acts as a lookout for the gangbangers.
- The Voiceless: Doesn't speak until the last episode.
- Wham Line : Gets one in the finale.
Father Armando Bonilla (Carlos Sanz)Catholic priest at the church where Sarah and John seek sanctuary. He's the only one Sarah can call after she gets arrested.
- Back for the Finale : Along with Chola, Allison Young, and the Reese brothers.
- Crisis of Faith : He's a devout Catholic, but the horrors he sees in his dealings with the Connors are enough to raise many questions. Perhaps if the show had produced a third season, this might have been explored more.
Kyle Reese (Jonathan Jackson)
- The Ghost / Posthumous Character : While he's mentioned many times in the present day, he only appears in flashbacks. During John's cover story, his father is always a dead hero.
- Has a Type : When Derek lets John know that he's aware Kyle was his father, he says that Sarah is Kyle's "type." He doesn't elaborate.
- The Lost Lenore : For Sarah.