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Characters: The Following
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Ryan Hardy

Played By: Kevin Bacon

A former FBI agent and the man who captured the elusive Serial Killer Joe Carroll, and subsequently wrote a True Crime book called, "The Poetry of a Killer". He was badly injured while taking down Carroll, requiring him to wear a pacemaker. Hardy is called back to service as a consultant after Carroll escapes prison, and stays on to help tackle Carroll's cult.

Dr. Joseph �Joe� Carroll

"We've barely started. I have so many surprises for you."
Played By: James Purefoy

A professor of English literature, budding novelist and infamous Serial Killer. Obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe, he brutally murdered 14 female students before being captured. While inside, Carroll was able to gather a cult of followers willing to jump at his every word to help him execute his revenge on FBI agent Ryan Hardy.

  • Abusive Parents: Implied. In Season 2, he is revealed to have had a neglectful father who regularly cheated on his mother and had children out of wedlock.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Ryan Hardy.
  • Attention Whore: The core of his personality disorder. As a pathological narcissist, Joe desperately seeks idolization and fame in order to overcompensate for deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy. Consequently, he has no qualms brainwashing weak-willed individuals and ultimately becoming a mass murder in order to insure his "immortality" in others' memories. Additionally, it is this same insatiable craving for idolization that make him possessive of followers such as Emma who are fanatically devoted to him and his cause.
  • Ax-Crazy
  • Beard of Evil: Upon being revealed to be alive in the Season 2 premiere. It doubles as a Beard of Sorrow given that he is lost everything of value to him after being defeated in Season 1.
  • Berserk Button: Don't ever criticize him as a writer or family man. Deriding Poe in front of him is not a good idea either.
  • Big Bad
  • The Chessmaster: Zig Zagged. Despite consistently displaying an uncanny ability to discern others' insecurities and exploit them to his advantage, his plans range from being meticulously plotted gambits to ludicrously implausible schemes whose success depends entirely on dumb luck and/or police incompetence.
  • Control Freak: He encourages his followers to "write their own chapters" (ie. carry out murders in their own style), but the overall story will unfold his way...or there will be consequences.
    • In season 2, he flat-out tells Lily that "I will not be controlled".
  • Cool Teacher: Before the truth emerged.
    • Hot Teacher: Many of his female students apparently thought so.
  • The Corrupter
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: And yet he somehow missed the (glaring) flaw in bringing a bunch of like-minded people together. Namely, they're all psychotic or sociopaths
    • Wrong Genre Savvy: In a very Meta way. Carroll treats his followers like characters in the story that he is writing. It doesn't occur to him that these characters are real people - Ax-Crazy people, to boot - with their own delusions and ambitions that undermine his ability to use them as pawns.
  • Dark Messiah: From the perspective of the cult. Complete with comparisons to (by the police) Charles Manson and (by the followers) Jesus Christ himself (itself a parallel to Manson's image in his "family"). In "Unmasked", he directly stated he was like Jesus Christ himself during a video he had sent to the news to show that he was in-deed alive again.
  • Dragon-in-Chief / The Starscream: In Season 2, he briefly becomes this to Micah before taking over the Korban.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite being a sadistic narcissist who callously preys on psychologically unstable and/or weak-willed individuals, he seems to care for his wife and son in his own twisted way. He also appears to harbor an unusual affinity towards his archnemesis, Ryan Hardy.
    • He shares a great bond with Emma as well, going as far as wanting to kill the Korban members holding him back after Emma had been mock-sacrificed.
    • Later in Season 2, he is also visibly saddened by Mandy's death.
  • Evil Brit
  • Evil Mentor: Sometimes merges with The Svengali.
  • Faux Affably Evil
  • For the Evulz
  • Hypocrite: In Season 2, he decries televangelist Kingston Tanner as a hypocrite for preaching against Joe to drum up publicity for himself. While he may have a point there, Joe basically did the same thing by preaching false beliefs (including comparing himself to Jesus) in order to gain new power and followers—and unlike Tanner, Joe is an atheist. A hypocrisy within a hypocrisy, really.
  • I Surrender, Suckers
  • It's All About Me: While not entirely devoid of feelings for others, no one in Joe Carroll's mind takes precedence over himself.
  • Kick the Dog: Season 2 has him murder a cat for no real reason beyond hammering it home to us (and Mandy) that he's not a good guy.
  • Killed Off for Real: Implied. According to the news reports in the finale of the first season, he finally meets his end in the exploding boathouse where he and Hardy fought to the death.
    • Subverted when he is revealed to be alive in the season 2 premiere.
  • Knife Nut
  • Large Ham: As a self-proclaimed "romanticist" , his speech and demeanor is very pretentious and melodramatic. However, unlike most examples of this trope, these traits mostly serve to enhance his creepiness..........except when he loses his cool.
  • Mad Artist: Carroll is a published writer but also considers each murder to be an art piece. Hardy (and his plan for the eventual murder) is his ultimate art piece, but also in this whole scheme of things since Hardy wrote a book on him, Carroll is writing a "book" about Hardy.
    • Mad Doctor: Of English Literature, but still counts.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The entire show relies on his trope.
  • Meta Guy: He is the main source of the show's Meta Fiction vibe, saying each attack is a "chapter" on the new novel he's writing, making constant comparisons to The Hero's Journey, e.t.c
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All
  • Misaimed Fandom: In-Universe. His followers believe him to be a great writer, while most literary critics dismissed his book as derivative garbage; they also think he's a great visionary and even a religious leader, but nearly all of his ideas are plagiarized from other faiths. When he finally meets up with his cult and starts running the show directly, everything starts to fall apart, because he's more concerned with writing his new book, getting back his family and obsessing over his enemy than he is carrying out the cult's vaguely defined Evil Plan. Its also clear that followers like Roderick and Emma are jealous for his attention and resent having to share it, and like to think that they are close to Joe when he's really just using them to carry out his plans and feed his ego.
  • Morality Pet: His father like relationship with Mandy in season 2 seems to be this. He also seems to genuinely care about Emma.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate
  • Narcissist: A malignant example. As a megalomaniac with delusions of being a Nietzchean bermensch, he considers himself entitled to unwavering loyalty and praise despite being little more than a serial killer with an uncanny talent for emotional manipulation. It is strongly implied that his entire reason for building a cult is out of spite because his book flopped. Additionally, while he is revealed to care for his family as well as a select few "friends" to some extent, he is nonetheless willing to harm or sacrifice even them in pursuit of his own twisted goals.
  • Retired Monster: Played with in the second season. Upon being revealed to be living in Arkansas as a bearded hermit named Daryl, he is mostly seen wallowing in depression over the loss of his family and his defeat by Ryan Hardy. Later subverted when his bloodlust resurfaces after hearing of the subway murders carried out by his acolytes and he begins a new killing spree.
  • Sadist: He considers his murders to be a deeply personal and even magical experience; when he tortures and murders someone, he alternates between a glazed, lustful anticipation and cold, sneering contempt. He also delights in tearing Ryan Hardy's life apart and getting even with people he feels have wronged him. And he clearly enjoys all the notoriety and infamy that his evil deeds have brought, and revels in the attention it brings him.
  • Sanity Slippage: As a sadistic serial killer who views murder as an art form, he never was sane to begin with. However, after his fortunes take a turn for the worst in "Havenport", he drops all pretense of sanity and grows increasingly delusional and unstable right up until the season finale.
  • Serial Killer
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist
  • Smug Snake: He is very good at attracting followers and admirers because he has a talent for identifying and pretending to fill some void in their lives (whether it be their teachers, parents, etc.). However, as Ryan tells him in the season one finale, he really is nothing more than a pompous academic who lacks the sophistication and literary talent to become the groundbreaking visionary he fancies himself to be. Even as the leader of a murderous cult, his lack of focus and inability to provide a long-term vision for the organization lay the seeds for its downfall.
  • bermensch: From his narcissistic point of view anyway. As a teacher he encouraged his students to "find their own morality" and as a cult leader preaches that murder is a deeply personal experience that transforms the killer.
  • Villainous Breakdown: He begins to show subtle signs of this as events steadily begin to deviate from his script. By the end of "Havenport", he makes a full 180 degree turn from an eerily calm mastermind to a visibly unhinged madman.
  • Villainous Friendship: with Roderick, and with Emma. Which by "Havenport" turns very sour for the both of them.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Before being arrested.
  • Wicked Cultured: He thinks so anyway. Despite being a highly charismatic orator and a talented essayist on Romantic literature (if his prior employment as a literature professor is any indication), his own attempts at writing fiction are almost universally derided as being mediocre at best.
    • He eventually even acknowledges that he is a terrible writer.

Agent Mike Weston

Played By: Shawn Ashmore

A young FBI agent who serves as the resident impartial expert on Carroll. Weston wrote his thesis on Joe Carroll while in training, and is a fan of Ryan Hardy.

Debra Parker

"We all want to belong. It's a primal need."
Played By: Annie Parisse

The head of the FBI's investigation into Carroll and his followers, as well as a specialist on cult behavior.

Dr. Claire Matthews

Played By: Natalie Zea

Joe Carroll's ex-wife and mother of his child. Like her ex-husband, she's a college professor and was briefly in a relationship with Ryan Hardy following the divorce from Joe.

  • Butt Monkey
  • Cat Fight: with Emma in Episode 12 of Season 1.
  • Damsel out of Distress: In Season 1, she does not make being Joe's captive easy on him, or his followers.
  • Good Parents
  • Guile Hero: Originally, she had her moments when it comes to outrunning and avoiding others. Episode 5 has her fooling one of the US Marshals by shoving the ladies' restroom door open far enough for her to leave for the back exit and make it appear as if she went into the restroom. By the time the officers realizes it, Claire's already long gone.
    • Episode 6 has her trying to flee Charlie, only to be caught shortly after hiding.
      • She also beats the crap out of Emma of all people.
    • However, she ups all of this by giving Joe a false sense of hope that she is now on his side and stabs him in the side.
  • Happily Married: to Joe, before the truth came out.
  • Hot Teacher
  • I'll Kill You!: To Emma in Episode 12.
    • She finally makes good on it in Season 2.
  • In the Back: If the cliff-hanging finale has anything to say about it, she is shanked from behind by Molly.
  • Killed Off for Real: Subverted.
  • Mama Bear: Emma learned this the hard way.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: Subverted.
  • Took a Level in Badass: This woman beat the living daylight out of The Heavy (Emma) and threatened to kill her if she even goes near Joey again.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Averted. She only dates Hardy after she gets a divorce.

Emma Hill

"What if I told you that your dad wasn't a bad man?"
Played By: Valorie Curry

One of Carroll's first, and most trusted, followers. She takes charge while Carroll is imprisoned, kidnapping Joey with her cohorts. In the second season, she is the only member of the "original" group of followers to reunite with Carroll and assist him in his new plan.

  • Abusive Parents: A psychologically abusive mother.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
  • Boyish Short Hair
  • Cat Fight: with Claire. It starts as a slapping match, and quickly turns into Claire choking her.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: She is clearly annoyed that she has to share Joe with the rest of his cult and that she isn't as highly-ranking in the hierarchy of his cult than she imagined; she's also clearly jealous of Claire, even though Claire wants nothing to do with Joe, since Joe still considers Claire his wife. Come season 2, she is the only original follower that Joe has left- and for the most part, she is delighted, since now she is Joe's right-hand girl, despite a few hiccups where things aren't in their control.
    • Even in season 2, she makes Joe promise her to include her in all of his decisions, and finds his new follower Mandy extremely irritating as she is the one who knew Joe in his time faking his death; the fact that Mandy is similar to her in many ways (murdered her mother, jealous of Joe's attention herself, had a love interest who died because he wasn't close enough to Joe, etc.) seems lost on Emma.
  • The Dragon: Believes herself to be this to Carroll while he was locked away. In reality, she's more or less The Dark Chick while the mysterious Roderick is Carroll's actual right hand and Emma was in-charge of her own part of the cult. However, come towards the end of the season, she becomes his latest Dragon after Roderick tries to screw over Carroll.
    • Played straight throughout Season 2.
  • Dark Chick
    • Faux Dark Action Girl: She's not really combat-savvy; episode 8 has her almost taken out by one of Carroll's follower at the auto shop, and episode 12 has Claire choking the hell out of her after backhanding her across the face. As Roderick breaks up the cat fight, Emma runs away.
      • However, a year later, she has proved to be a bit more savvy, using more guile then combat skills though.
  • Easily Forgiven: Subverted. She seems to think Claire will forgive her for kidnapping Joey, as they lived together for two years. Claire of course does not, calls her a "sad sick little girl", tells her to stay the hell away from Joey, and then tries to kill her.
    • Played straight with Joe, of course. She's mad at him for a few episodes of season 2 for not telling her that he was alive, but even after his entire cult is killed and when he keeps getting them into dangerous situations, she'll let it slide the moment he starts paying her just enough attention.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • She seems to genuinely care about Joey, and was highly against Paul's willingness to smack him around a few times.
    • Even she thinks Lily and her "family" are complete whackjobs.
    • She is also freaked out by The Korban, even before their leader Micah cut her wrists as part of a ritual. Subverted later though when Joe starts taking the Korban over, even though he's actually trying to make them crazier. In both cases, you could easily argue that Carroll's cult was as bad or much worse, so her "standards" cross over into Jerk Justifications.
  • Evil Mentor: to Joey.
  • Knight Templar
  • Mommy Issues: And how.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Despite her realization that Joe Carroll is hardly the bermensch he fancies himself to be, she nonetheless remains devoted to him and his cause regardless of the consequences.
  • Rasputinian Death: Stabbed with a knife, thrown out a second-story window, and stabbed again with a wooden stake.
  • Self-Made Orphan
  • Serial Killer
  • Shrinking Violet: Prior to her indoctrination.
  • Smug Snake
  • Threeway Sex: With Jacob and Paul.
  • Un Dying Loyalty: To Joe Carroll even upon her realization that he's a highly insecure madman with delusions of grandeur. She later reveals in Season 2 that her unwavering devotion stems from her misplaced gratitude to him for inspiring her to kill her abusive mother.
  • Yandere: To Joe.

Max Hardy

Played By: Jessica Stroup

  • Action Girl: She has her moments, being a trained FBI agent.
  • Badass Family: She's Ryan Hardy's niece, and she is almost as Badass as he is.
  • The Cracker: She is part of the NYPD's Intel Division for a reason.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Becomes this during her abduction in "Sacrifice."
  • Determinator: Kind of runs in the family.
  • Fair Cop
  • Morality Chain: She tries her very best to keep her uncle on the right side of the law, and frequently encourages him to help the FBI in their pursuit of Joe Carroll (not that he listens to her). Notably, when Ryan tries to strangle Giselle to death because she's refusing to give up Lily (and therefore Joe's location), she pulls a gun on him to get him to stop. Turns out they were doing a good cop/bad cop routine, and Ryan wasn't really going to strangle a helpless woman to death...probably.
  • Ship Tease: With Mike.
  • Undying Loyalty: To her uncle. She will risk her life and her career to help him, because he's all she has.

Joey Matthews

Played By: Kyle Catlett

The young son of Joe Carroll and Claire Matthews.



     Law Enforcement 

Scott Turner

Played By: John Lafayette

Deputy Lopez

Played By: Ivan Hernandez

  • Death Is Dramatic: One of the few minor characters to receive this treatment.
  • Mauve Shirt
  • New Meat: He certainly acts like it, with how apprehensive he was once he and Hardy found the farm Joey was being held at and prepared to rescue him. Not to mention how he failed to shoot Hank despite the fact he kept threatening to kill him if he didn't stay still, which he didn't.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye

Agent Troy Riley

Played By: Billy Brown

Agent Gina Mendez

Played By: Valerie Cruz

     The Followers/"Carrollism"/"Carrollers" 

The Followers, also known as Joe's Friends, are the supporting antagonists of the series. They are a group of people who follow along in Joe Carroll's footsteps and decide to act as serial killers themselves, continuing his legacy.

  • Cult: Naturally.
  • The Heavy
  • In-Series Nickname: Despite having a large cult, Carroll himself didn't bother to name his following, though calls them "his friends". However, FBI agents Parker and Weston have called the cult Carrollism and Carrollers, respectfully.

Season 1

Jacob Wells

Played By: Nico Tortorella

Emma's boyfriend and a follower of Carroll. He posed with Paul as a gay couple to keep an eye on Sarah Fuller, only for the ruse to become real.

  • Affably Evil: Really doesn't want to do the whole killing thing, but still puts on a show nevertheless.
  • Anti-Villain: Type I. Easily the nicest member of Carroll's cult and clearly doesn't have it in him to be a cold-blooded killer except for a brief period or craziness after he mercy-killed Paul. Still, he is more than complicit to multiple murders and doesn't mind kidnapping a child or trying to be friends with homicidal maniacs, so he's not exactly innocent. He just can't decide if he actually wants to be evil.
  • Bi the Way
  • Bury Your Gays
  • Depraved Bisexual: Averted. His conflict and sexuality is one of the few humanizing aspects of him. Likewise, Paul.
  • Evil Mentor
  • Friend to All Children
  • Heel Face Door Slam: He was ready to leave the Cult and stop killing people, but before anything could come out of it, his throat was slit.
  • Nice Guy: Probably the only cultist to seem nice.
  • Only Sane Man: He is, quite literally, the only sane person in the entire cult.
  • Serial Killer: Subverted when it turns out he's never killed anyone. The first person he ever kills is Paul, which is a Mercy Kill.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Near the end of Season 1, he wants to get out of dodge as everything starts to go to hell for the cult, and tries to take Emma along with him. She agrees, but only to get him off guard so she can kill him.
  • Slashed Throat: By Emma.
  • Threeway Sex: With Emma and Paul.
  • Token Good Teammate: It's very, very relative. Only compared to Emma and Paul.

Paul Torres

"No more lies, Jacob. This is about trust."
Played By: Adan Canto

A follower of Carroll and cohort of Emma and Jacob. He posed with Jacob as a gay couple to keep an eye on Sarah Fuller, only for the ruse to become real.

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Allows Jacob to smother him while he lies dying of his wounds, both so that he can repay him for keeping his secret about not having killed for so long, and so that he can meet up with the rest of the cult without him slowing him down. He even tells Jacob he loves him.
  • Ax-Crazy: He's more kill-happy then Jacob or Emma, and more unpredictable.
  • Bi the Way
  • Depraved Bisexual: Averted. His conflict and sexuality is one of the few humanizing aspects of him. Likewise, Jacob.
  • Faux Affably Evil
  • Jerkass
  • Sanity Slippage: Not that he was all there to begin with.
  • Serial Killer
  • Threeway Sex: With Emma and Jacob.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He mentions to Emma and Jacob that he hates kids and that he would be willing to smack Joey a few times. Of course, this may have been his anger over Jacob and Emma's relationship talking.

Charlie Mead

"I wanted my life to mean something."
Played By: Tom Lipinski

Jordan �Jordy� Raines

Played By: Steve Monroe



Rick Kester

Played By: Michael Drayer

Maggie Kester

Played By: Virginia Kull

  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite being a bloodthirsty Serial Killer even before joining Carroll's cult, she is nonetheless revealed to lover her husband, Rick, when she becomes visibly griefstricken after he is killed by Ryan Hardy.
  • Serial Killer: Apparently was one before she even met Carroll.
  • To the Pain: What she wanted to do Ryan's sister, by seeing Ryan slowly die.

Louise Sinclair

Played By: Annika Boras

Roderick / Sheriff Tim Nelson

Click here to see "Roderick" 
Played By: Warren Kole

  • The Dragon: As of episode 6, he had been revealed to be this. He had been with Carroll since the start of his killings, too.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Subverted with Louise; he's sexually violent with her when frustrated (though since she is a psychopath, she finds this more annoying than traumatizing) and when Joe asks him if he's bothered about her death, he says he isn't. Played straight though when Joe decides to murder one of their allies, a militia nut who helped the cult get their weapons- he was a friend of Roderick's family and Roderick is upset that Joe wants him dead enough that this becomes one of the reasons Roderick turns against him.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Friendly as he may sound, he's at least as ruthless as Carroll himself. This becomes clear when he doesn't give a damn about Louise's death nor while tormenting Emma over leaving Jacob and Paul right in front of a party for Carroll, and near by him no less.
  • The Ghost: Until his appearance in episode 8.
  • The Heavy: He is responsible for directly overseeing the cult's activities until Joe escapes.
    • He still has a presence in season 2, even posthumously. Despite being dead and a traitor, Joe still relies on plans and connections he owes to Roderick to stay ahead of the law.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Sometimes, sometimes not.
  • In the Back: How he meets his end at the hands of one of Carroll's followers.
  • Mood-Swinger: In one scene he literally goes from pissed off, to laughing, to back to pissed off in less than ten seconds. He even acknowledges this to Hardy, after he had been caught.
  • Only Known By His Nickname: Roderick is not his real name. His real name is Tim Nelson.
  • The Sheriff: Of the county where the cult's mansion is located.
  • Smug Snake
  • The Starscream: He seems to have some issues with his decreased authority over day-to-day operations now that Carroll is back,note  especially since Joe doesn't seem particularly proactive after returning to the house. He's already defied Joe's orders more than once, and gotten viciously beaten for it, so you know there's resentment building. He's also recruited his own group of cult members in Carroll's absence, and it seems they may be more loyal to Roderick than Carroll. In the event, they aren't- he opts instead to abduct Joey from the cult and try to trade him to the FBI in return for immunity and freedom. It doesn't work, and he just makes enemies of both sides, culminating in his death.
  • Villainous Breakdown: His recent disagreements with Joe have lead to some very erratic behavior from him.
    • Goes into full VB mode when his cover gets blown, going so far as to kidnap Joey in hopes of making a deal.
  • Villainous Friendship: With Joe.

Season 2 (spoilers)

Carlos Perez

Played by: J.D. Williams
  • Butt Monkey: In his first episode, he gets beaten up by Hardy, slapped around by Luke, and berated by Giselle. It's been made clear to him that his only value to the group is the fact that he's the only one Joe knows well enough to trust if and when he comes out of hiding.
  • Mook Carryover: One of the few surviving members of the original Carrollers, he somehow fell in with the Gray Family when they started their killing spree.
  • Secret Keeper: Before Mark and Luke got to him, he was the only one who knew Joe Carroll is still alive.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Gets stabbed in the neck by one of the twins, after Emma joins their group.

Mandy Lang

Played By: Tiffany Boone

  • Being Evil Sucks: Like Jacob in the first season, she's starting to realize that this whole murderous cult thing isn't really all it's cracked up to be. And that Emma is a total bitch.
  • Cute and Psycho
  • Daddy's Little Villain: More like Adopted Father Figure's Little Villain, but the principle is the same
  • Parental Substitute: Joe Carroll is the first real father figure in her life. She doesn't even know who her biological father is.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: by the end of "Freedom" she's grown so disillusioned with Joe and what he's doing with the Korban that she packs up and leaves, and tries to make contact with the Gray Family.
  • Self-Made Orphan: She kills her mother, Judy, to be with Joe.
  • "Well Done, Daughter" Girl: She's not a bad person, really. She just wants Joe to love her like a daughter and take her away from her going-nowhere life. And if she has to become a murderer to do it, well...
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Appears to have gotten smitten with one of the members of the Korban cult, only for him to die from the cult leader's poison drink.

Jana Murphy

Played By: Leslie Bibb
  • Ax-Crazy: It wasn't known that Jana was mentally unstable until it was mentioned in "Unmasked", after which she showed it...by stabbing her ex-wife in the stomach multiple times.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
  • Blondes are Evil: Her switch to full-on villainy coincides with changing her hair color.
  • Driven to Suicide: When Ryan exposes her as Carroll's mole and corners her, she chooses to shoot her brains out.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Genuinely terrified for the life of her children until she realizes that it was Joe who was with them.
  • The Mole: She is ex-FBI and has been feeding Joe information.

     The Gray Family (spoilers)/ "International House of Psychos" 

Though not related to the Followers, Lily Gray and her adopted family enforced a similar code in-order to bring Joe Carroll out of hiding. They do, but not without incident.

Lily Gray

Played By: Connie Nielsen

  • Big Bad Ensemble: She wanted it to be a Big Bad Duumvirate, but Joe had other ideas. Even so, despite losing most of her family, she remains a significant and separate threat. Several characters comment that she is a much more sophisticated threat than Joe is, as well; unlike Joe, she isn't out to publicly kill as many people as she can in order to be famous (in which sense, Joe is still the more dangerous), but her followers / family are much more disciplined and well-trained, and her attacks are much more organized and daring.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's the nicest person in the world�until she's mad.
  • The Chessmaster: So far, she has run rings around Hardy and the FBI; for the most part, she does so because she's just that damn smart, rich, well-connected and well-prepared.
  • Distaff Counterpart: She's basically the female version of Joe Carroll. She's gathered together a bunch of people who don't fit in anywhere and given them a home and family to belong to. And said people are all varying degrees of insane, herself included.
    • On the other hand, she's generally portrayed as much more competent than Joe is. Her family is much more loyal to her and each other than Joes' followers were, and they are also all much better armed and much, much better trained. Unlike Joe, she isn't that interested in being famous / infamous either- she just wants to find "talented" people (ie. killers) and help them nurture their gifts and make them part of her family.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She genuinely does care for her adopted children, and when she believes Luke is killed she goes right into a Villainous Breakdown.
  • Evil All Along: Ryan realizes she's a villain after poking a hole in her victim story.
  • Evil Matriarch: She's got an entire clan of adoptive children, Mark and Luke being the most murderous.
  • Hidden Depths: Once her cover is blown, she makes her getaway with all the precision and professionalism of a trained assassin.
  • Karmic Death: Is killed by Mike while unarmed and defenseless, much like Mike's father was when she had him killed.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: According to Luke, she pursued Joe because she wanted to take him as husband; apparently, she also seduced several other homicidal maniacs looking for her perfect soul mate as well, but none of them were up to scratch either.
  • Mad Artist: Well, Mad Art Patron. She tells Joe that part of her job is to find and nurture talent, and that she wanted to meet him because she wants to nurture his talents- namely, writing and murder.
  • Moral Myopia: Hell bent on revenge for the killing of her children....whom she raised to be a bunch of homicidal maniacs like herself.
  • Out of Focus: She and her sons disappear for a few episodes in the middle of Season 2, as the story's focus moves on to the Korban. They return before the end though.
  • Parental Favoritism: She clearly favors Mark over Luke, which makes him...unhappy.
  • Replacement Goldfish: She's definitely Hardy's type: blonde, intellectual, artistic, and empathetic. This is all an act to get inside Hardy's head.
  • Rich Bitch: A very extreme example.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: She has wealthy and powerful friends all over the world who are still willing to protect even after being exposed as a murderous psychopath and with a Federal warrant out for her arrest.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Apparently her net worth is just shy of two billion dollars.
  • Team Mom: A very twisted example. While just as controlling and manipulative towards her followers as Joe Carroll, she appears to sincerely care for their well-being as opposed to viewing them as expendable assets for her own ego.
  • Villainous Breakdown: A big one at the end of "Fly Away," after her Evil Plan crashes to the ground.
  • Woman Scorned: Joe kills one of her children and abandons her for trying to control him. She completely freaks out, but for the moment is more concerned with going after Ryan and Mike, who killed the rest of her children (sans Luke, but she doesn't know that).
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: She sets herself up as the sole survivor of the subway massacre in order to get close to Hardy. Even her wounded arm isn't as bad as it seemed.

Mark and Luke Gray

Played by: Sam Underwood

  • Acting for Two: By the end of Season 2, Luke had died, leaving Mark to be the Angsty Surviving Twin.
  • Ascended Fanboys: They weren't part of the original cult, but they're big fans of Carroll's work, which is why they want to join him.
  • Ax-Crazy: Definitely Luke, but Mark seemed to the more reasonable of the two.
  • Boom, Headshot: How Luke is ultimately taken out, by Max.
  • The Chessmasters: So far, they've run rings around the FBI and Ryan Hardy using tactics that are plausibly effective.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: They inflict this on Mandy in order to find Joe's location.
  • Creepy Twins
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Apparently, they won't kill children. When they kill a couple they make a point of leaving their young son alive and unharmed.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Luke is actually quite chatty, always speaking with a pleasant, friendly, casual tone�while he's doing horrible things.
  • Final Boss: In the finale of Season 2, both resort into becoming this after their mother had been killed and by kidnapping Clarie Matthews, thus forcing Joe and Ryan to undergo an Enemy Mine.
  • Hates Being Touched: Mark has haphephobia, an almost pathological aversion to physical contact (unless he initiates it).
  • The Heavies: In the first few episodes of Season 2, their scheme to draw out Joe Carroll from hiding serves as the driving force of the plot.
  • Lack of Empathy: Mark says that he doesn't feel or understand emotions like fear. He can recognize the signs of it in others, but he doesn't experience it himself.
    • Although this conflicts with his terror of being touched.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: After their mother's death, Mark is too devastated to keep up his and Luke's usual habit of conversing with their dead victims.
  • Out of Focus: They disappear for a few episodes in the middle of Season 2, as the story's focus moves on to the Korban. They come back with a vengeance once Lily had been killed and kidnap Claire, setting up the season finale.
  • Pretty Boys
  • Psychopathic Manchildren: Two for the price of one.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Mark is the relatively more sane, serious one. Luke is basically The Joker.
  • The Unfavorite: Luke gets a lot more criticism and a lot less affection from their mother than Mark does, which may be why he's the more violent of the two.
  • We Love The Dead: An oddly platonic version. They re-enact charming domestic scenes with the bodies of their victims, interacting with them as though they were beloved family or friends. They don't seem to show any sexual desires whatsoever, toward the living or the dead.

Giselle

Played by: Camille De Pazzis
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Everything's Sexier in French: Played with. Half the words out of her mouth are telling Carlos how much he sucks and how much she's going to enjoy killing him when he outlives his usefulness. It just sounds nicer when she says it.
  • Killed Off for Real
  • Mission Control: She was the one holding down the fort and preparing the burner cell phones for Mark and Luke, not really participating in the killing spree until being ordered to get rid of Lily's business partner.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist
  • The Unintelligible: Speaks almost entirely in French, though she understands English perfectly well.

Serena

  • Redshirt: She survives long enough to help Luke escape from the hospital before getting shot dead.

    The Korban 

The Korban

A seemingly peaceful cult that Joe sent one of his Followers to infiltrate. Run by the seemingly laid-back hippie Micah, Joe thought it could be turned into a source for new Followers. He thought wrong (until he managed to take over the cult himself).

  • Blood Lust: The Korban welcome Joe, Emma, and Mindy to their ranks by tying Emma to a big frame, slitting her wrists, and then drinking the blood.
  • Cult: The Korban make the Followers look like a social club.
  • Path of Inspiration: There is no afterlife, there is only pre-life. And it awaits the faithful on their new home on Pluto.

Micah

Played By: Jake Weber
  • The Alcoholic: Constantly seen with a drink in his hand. Either the reason for, or a contributing factor to, his overall nuttiness.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: He wants to be the Big Bad of the story, but he lets Joe play him to make that happen.
  • Control Freak: The Korban aren't big on individuality, and Micah makes it pretty clear to Joe that he doesn't intend to let Joe take over.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Very friendly and cheerful to members of his cult, but much more sinister and unstable in private.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Joe gives him the idea to kill off the dissenters in his cult by using a poison that makes it look like they're having some kind of divinely-induced seizure. Guess how Joe does him in later?
  • Large Ham: Easily the hammiest character in the entire show.
  • Loony Fan: He doesn't trust Joe at all (at first), but he's a big fan of what he did with his cult. He also compares himself fondly to Jim Jones, David Koresh and Charles Manson.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Its not clear if he really believes the stuff that he's spouting or if he just gets off on controlling other people. The fact that he explicitly refers to his cult as a cult suggests the latter.
  • Narcissist: Joe calls him this based "on his own personal experience." Much like Joe himself, he craves fame and adulation but has no qualms sacrificing even those fanatically devoted to him to further his ambitions.
  • Psychopathic Manchild
  • The Purge: Kills off the minority of his followers who didn't completely submit to his will (except Julia, who he merely locks up).
  • Smug Snake
  • Unwitting Pawn: Takes Joe only one episode to start playing him like a violin. He actually fully expected that Joe would try to manipulate him, but it happened anyway.

Julia

Played By: Jacinda Barrett.
  • Behind Every Great Man: Says that Micah is in charge, but that it's she who actually runs things.
  • The Dragon: She's in charge of security at Korban and is Micah's right-hand man.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Distrusts Joe and doesn't like Micah's fascination with him, or the idea of taking their cult down a murderous path (though the latter is partly because she's just happy with the way things are, rather than any moral horror).
  • Love Makes You Dumb: She's a pretty good judge of character in general but when it comes to her husband, she gives him too much leeway and blames Joe for making him a killer- partly true, but Micah is clearly nuts and sadistic in his own right.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Jacinda Barrett's Australian accent creeps out every so often.
  • Unholy Matrimony: She is Micah's wife.

Robert

Played By: Shane McRae

Lucas

  • Beard of Evil: Has a goatee.
  • Character Death: Killed by Weston in the season 2 finale after the FBI raid the church Carroll was broadcasting from, killing any Korban members with him.
  • Red Baron: One part of the "Anointed Ones", having proven himself as a "warrior" by successfully killing at least 4 people.
  • Pet the Dog: Gives one to Tilda who he shares a more romantic connection.

Tilda

Played By: Mackenzie Marsh

  • Berserk Button: Do NOT call Tilda fat.
  • Character Death: Dies in the season 2 finale after the FBI raid the church Carroll was broadcasting from, killing any Korban members with him.
  • Fat Girl: Tilda is unusually large for a Korban.
  • Red Baron: The other part of the "Anointed Ones", having proven herself as a "warrior" by successfully killing at least 4 people.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Holy shit, is she ever not smiling like a psycho.

Carla

Played By: Kristina Klebe

  • Sacrificial Lamb: Carla is one of the few who objects to Korban's new direction. So naturally, Joe picks her to be a sacrifice.

Patrick

  • Redshirt: He dies on his first mission under the Korban's new management.

Lance Tierney

  • Fall Guy: Becomes one, after Emma and Robert ditch him at the bookstore. Even Carroll seemed to be impressed.
  • Stupid Evil: His attempts to rack up more kills during the bookstore attack results in him getting killed.

Mallory Hodge

  • Heel Face Door Slam: Her attempt to abandon the plan and reveal Joe's location to Ryan is what gets her killed.
  • It's Personal: Mallory's undoing comes from choosing a restaurant where she used to work as the site for her attempted killing spree. Ryan realizes what she's planning and gets there before she's able to kill her intended target.
  • Vengeful Widow: Mallory joined the first random killing spree to avenge Lance, her boyfriend.

     Other Characters 

Olivia Warren

Played By: Renee Goldsberry

  • Amoral Attorney: Subverted. Joe says she was ambitious and without a conscience before he got his hooks into her, but we never see any evidence of it. The rest of the world sees her as this for representing Joe, even though she's being threatened.
  • Butt Monkey
  • Fingore
  • Guilt Ridden Accomplice
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Carroll finally escapes from being locked up, he kills her since she had been the one helping him get out of there (albeit under the intent of being killed).

Meghan Leeds

Played By: Li Jun Li

  • Action Survivor: She is eventually freed in "The Fall".
  • Break the Cutie
  • Butt Monkey: They are just having a field day with the poor girl.
    • The Chew Toy: Within her first appearance, she has her head bashed against Paul's car several times. The next day has Jacob help her escape, but she's then corned, stabbed, and wrestled to the ground by both Emma and Paul, and finds herself back in the basement. In "The Fall", she's tased by Emma and choked by Jacob.

Sarah Fuller

Played By: Maggie Grace

Judy

Played By: Carrie Preston

Dr. Arthur Strauss

Played By: Gregg Henry

  • Bigger Bad: He's the one who seduced Joe Carroll to embrace his sadistic urges and become a serial killer.
  • The Corrupter: To Joe Carroll, who in turn became one himself. Based on his relationship with Cole in Season 2, it is strongly implied that he has played this role with countless impressionable (albeit insane) youths and facilitated their transformation into completely remorseless murderers.
  • Evil Is One Big Happy Family: He's the one who saved Joe's life, and taught him how to cleanly remove eyes from his victims.
  • Evil Mentor: He's the one who taught Joe how to kill (or how to kill right, anyway). However, he admits to Ryan that he largely views Joe as a disappointment due to his counterproductive fondness for theatricality as well as his craving for public recognition.
  • Evil Old Folks
  • Mad Doctor: He's a doctor and a serial torture-killer. Worse, he teaches other killers.
  • The Sociopath: By his own admission, he derives immense gratification from being responsible for the deaths of countless innocents as well as moulding several budding serial killers in his image. Moreover, despite taking on several young pupils like Joe Carroll who revere him and crave his approval, he appears to harbors little (if any) emotional attachment to them. This is evidenced in a flashback in "Teacher's Pet" when he shows no emotion aside from annoyance towards a critically wounded Joe Carroll when he shows up at his home for emergency medical attention following the events of Season 1.
  • Torture Technician
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Until Season 2, he was viewed as a well-respected professor and surgeon despite secretly being the mentor of a murderous cult leader and countless other serial killers. Even Ryan initially wrote him off as uninvolved with Joe, swallowing the story that he hadn't seen Joe since his graduation.

Carrie Cooke

Played By: Sprague Grayden

  • Asshole Victim: She starts poking around Dr. Strauss's house, and gets threatened with a horrible death for her troubles. It's hard to feel sorry for her. Downplayed in that she survives the incident.
  • Butt Monkey: Being Joe Carroll's favorite reporter is not a good thing. She is repeatedly attacked by his followers and given messages to relay to the general public.
  • Easily Forgiven: Somehow, Hardy was able to forgive her for all of her misdeeds to him, and they began to establish a somewhat romantic relationship.
  • Manipulative Bastard: She gets Hardy blind stinking drunk and pumps him for information on Havenport to write her bestseller. She continues to angle for information whenever she sees him. We never know when she's being sincere.
  • Paparazzi: Was a tabloid reporter before she became a bestselling novelist. She's still sleazy.
  • Pet the Dog: For all her sleazy manipulativeness, she was the one who convinced Hardy to finally get some help for his alcoholism.
  • Smug Snake: Almost always has a hateful smirk on her face.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Downplayed and later subverted. After Hardy rescues her from the above-referenced horrible death, she tries to blackmail him for more information; however, she soon shows some gratitude, and the two even begin a relationship.

Kingston Tanner

Played By: Tom Cavanagh

An influential preacher who has chosen to take on Joe Carroll directly, believing him to be a false idol.

  • Bullying a Dragon: Tanner has chosen to pick a fight with the leader of America's most feared cult in order to build his own following.
  • Expy: Of any number of strong minded televangelists.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Joe tries to force Kingston to kill his own son on camera. Kingston opts to cut his own throat instead.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He goes down refusing to play Joe's game.
  • Papa Wolf: Although he doesn't quite show it a lot, the man was willing and give his life to save his son.
  • Sinister Minister: Downplayed. While he isn't really evil per se, he is one towards Joe Carroll, as he is targeting Carroll and his cult of friends.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: He kills himself so that he doesn't have to kill Preston, or force his son to kill him. In the first minute of the next episode (which is probably less than ten minutes later In-Universe), Joe shoots Preston anyway.

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