Characters: The Andy Griffith Show

Sheriff Andrew Jackson "Andy" Taylor (Andy Griffith)

Opie Taylor (Ron Howard)

Deputy Bernard Milton "Barney" Fife (Don Knotts)

  • And Starring: "Also Starring Don Knotts."
  • Berserk Button: Whenever people don't take him seriously and fix whatever mistakes he insists they have made, which often leads to Disproportionate Retribution.
    • And don't let him catch you chasing after his girl Thelma Lou, neither.
  • Beta Couple: With Thelma Lou.
  • Bound and Gagged: In a few episodes where a scheme to catch a nesting criminal goes awry; he is the one that always gets captured.
  • Bowties Are Cool: Barney, along with Knotts in general, would often touch up his outfit with a bowtie.
  • Breakout Character
  • Bumbling Sidekick: To Andy.
  • Butt Monkey
  • Catch Phrase: "Nip it in the bud!"
    • Also: "Heartaches! Nothing but heartaches!" and "What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a man (performed action) before?"
  • Characterization Marches On: In the first two episodes, he and Andy were cousins, not referred to again later on.
  • Childhood Friends: With Andy.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: At times, whenever he thinks there is an overblown explanation for the situation at hand.
  • Clueless Deputy: Probably the most prominent example, which paves the way for a lot of the show's biggest laughs.
  • The Comically Serious: Whenever he's trying to be intimidating to someone and treat the situation like official police business, they'll automatically assume he's leading them on.
  • Determinator
  • Expy: While Knotts carried his comic persona to most of his roles in general, Ralph Furley of Three's Company was more or less an identical character in personality, albeit with a flashy style of dress and different demeanor towards women.
  • Foil:
  • The Ghost: His waitress girlfriend, Juanita, who never appeared on the show but talked to him over the phone.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Andy.
  • Idiot Ball: Carries this a lot, usually to misinterpreting a situation that seems to be a hard-core federal crime, but later turns out to be something much less than that.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Opie.
  • The Klutz
  • The Lancer: To Andy.
  • Lovable Coward
  • Miles Gloriosus
  • Motor Mouth
  • Non-Action Guy: In WWII, at least, in contrast to Andy. Barney was never allowed to leave his post in office as a file clerk, while Andy was stationed in France.
  • Official Couple: With Thelma Lou at first, but the two call it quits when he leaves Mayberry. In Season 6's "The Return of Barney Fife", Barney discovers Thelma Lou has married someone else. But, in 1986's TV movie "Return to Mayberry", the couple end up getting officially married.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname
  • Plucky Comic Relief
  • Put on a Bus: At the end of Season 5 so that Knotts could work on a movie career, although he returns for a couple of episodes each season until the show's end.
  • Reckless Sidekick: Regardless of the situation and no matter how dangerous it may be, Barney is always ready to nip the problem in the bud.
  • Sitcom Character Archetypes: The Goofball.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Ignoring all that happens under his nose, Barney considers himself an expert lawman, as well as a specialist on women, singing, history, etc. Andy regularly lets Barney carry on as he pleases, although he only allows him a single bullet in his gun for prime safety reasons.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Happens when he expresses discomfort, anger, or surprise.
  • Wacky Guy

Beatrice "Aunt Bee" Taylor (Frances Bavier)

Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors)

Goober Pyle (George Lindsey)

Otis Campbell (Hal Smith)

Floyd Lawson (Walter Baldwin, Howard McNear)

Suspiciously Similar Substitute named Emmett Clark, a fix-it man, was added to fill in the character's absence. In-universe, Floyd was announced as having retired because he had earned enough money.

Thelma Lou (Betty Lynn)

  • Beta Couple: With Barney.
  • Love Interest: To Barney.
  • Nice Girl
  • No Last Name Given
  • Official Couple: After Barney leaves Mayberry, she ends up marrying somebody else, and the episode "The Return of Barney Fife" in Season 6 serves as her last appearance on the show. However, she does return for the 1986 TV movie Return to Mayberry, where she and Barney end up getting married.
  • You're Just Jealous: In the episode where Andy and Barney help a friend of theirs find a bride and he selects Thelma Lou as the girl he wants to marry, Thelma Lou claims this is the reason Barney is so jealous, although she never wanted to marry anyone else in the first place, and she and Barney get back together at the end of the episode.

Helen Crump (Aneta Corsaut)

Warren Ferguson (Jack Burns)

  • Catch Phrase: Not catch phrase, per se, but he did have a habit of asking, "Huh?" after a long succession of questions.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He disappeared without a trace after eleven appearances in Season 6. In the 1986 TV movie "Return to Mayberry", it is mentioned that he became Sheriff of Mayberry after Andy left, and remained at that post until his death.
  • Clueless Deputy: Like Barney, but not to the same hilarious effect.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: For Barney.