Characters: The Following
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Played By: Kevin BaconA 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.
- The Alcoholic: Bounces on and off the wagon. Is sober for most of Seasons 2 and 3 and then hits the bottle hard after Joe's death.
- Anti-Hero: Working in such gruesome and sinister circumstances, as well as a rough family history have made him quite cynical and brooding.
- The Atoner: He feels he should have caught Joe sooner, and takes every successive death because of Joe VERY personally
- Badass: He never loses the advantage even with a gun trained on him in a room full of enemies.
- Took a Level in Badass: After faking his death at the end of the series.
- Berserk Button: Joe pushes down on it hard. If other police officers hadn't arrived after he'd caught Joe, he very well may have strangled him to death...as Joe was surrendering. In their first interaction after this Ryan snaps several of Joe's fingers and again needs to be pulled off of Joe. Now any time they interact there need to be several police officers also in the room to make sure it doesn't happen again.
- Combat Pragmatist: As of "The Fall", after his gun was taken away from him, Hardy manages to crack Emma, Jacob, and Paul by acting like The Gadfly to them. The plan actually works, allowing him in taking hold of a knife, cutting himself loose from his bounds and then stabbing Paul enough times to possibly mortally wound him.
- Handicapped Badass: Because of his pacemaker.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Just about every episode has him slip a little further into the abyss.
- Hypocrite: He repeatedly pleads with Mike not to go down the same dark path that he himself has gone down. He is also aware of this and tries to justify it by telling Mike, "You're better than me."
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Can get very creative while interrogating a suspect.
- Memetic Badass: In-universe, as far as Carroll's followers are concerned. Even when they've got him captured they are absolutely terrified of the man...with good reason, it turns out.
- Only Sane Man: Hardy and his team seem to be the only people dealing with this crisis who have more than half a braincell between them.
- Properly Paranoid: You'd think the FBI would listen to him by now, but nooo´┐Ż
- Samaritan Syndrome: when it comes to Joe and his cult. One of the Followers manages to use this against him by leaving behind a wounded hostage, knowing that Hardy would stop to help her and give him time to escape.
- Sanity Slippage: Gets progressively worse as the series goes on. By the third season, he's having vivid hallucinations that play on his self-doubt. Seems to have reached its peak now that Joe Carroll is dead, as he sees Joe everywhere and is becoming much more violent in dealing with his enemies.
- Sherlock Scan: Very good at this.
- Troll: Hardy sometimes plays this image to screw with people's heads, leading them to make mistakes.
- The Unfettered: Becomes this after faking his death, severing his ties to his allies, and becoming a vigilante. Nothing will get in the way of him hunting Eliza and her organization down.
- You Killed My Father: Hunted down the drug addict who gunned his dad down robbing a convenience store, and forced him at gunpoint to OD on the drugs he bought with the money.
Dr. Joseph "Joe" Carroll
Played By: James PurefoyA 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.
- 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 murderer 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Dies Wide Open: He's still staring at Ryan when the chemical cocktail enters his bloodstream, killing him.
- Dragon-in-Chief: In Season 2, he briefly becomes this to Micah before taking over the Korban.
- Faking the Dead: 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. He is revealed to be alive in the season 2 premiere.
- Hot Teacher: Many of his female students apparently thought so.
- 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.
- Karmic Death: Oh, so very much. After three seasons of elaborate scheming and staying one step ahead of everyone else, Joe finally dies to his scheduled lethal injection, helpless and paralyzed in agony.
- 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.
- 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.
- Love Makes You Dumb: While he was clearly insane long before he meets Ryan, it's meeting Ryan that sets off the events that lead to his initial capture.
- It's his need to regain his family and bring Ryan to him that's a large part of his starting his cult, however by doing this it leads to his Villainous Breakdown because he genuinely doesn't understand why neither Claire nor Ryan want nothing to do with him and keep trying to kill him at every opportunity.
- Every time he and Ryan cross paths he refuses to kill him or let his followers kill him. As Emma puts it, 'When it comes to Ryan Joe loses the ability to think clearly'
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Posthumous Character: After his death in "Evermore," his influence lasts through the next few episodes, as Ryan continues to imagine/hallucinate Joe and steadily go off the deep end.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spirit Advisor: Takes this role in the last episodes of the third season. He's dead, but Ryan still sees him and is starting to take his advice.
- Stalker with a Crush: From the moment they meet Carroll seems to find Ryan fascinating. When Ryan's stops him in the flashback Carroll's every action from that moment on is to draw Ryan back to him: the cult; the book; even his ex-wife are all bait to bring Ryan to him. He even goes so far as to set up one of his cultist to be Ryan's friend with benefits; has her report to him about Ryan's well being and has her bug EVERY room of Ryan's home so when he escapes he has video of everything Ryan has done that he can watch at his leisure. Including having sex.
- ▄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.
- 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.
Agent Mike Weston
Played By: Shawn AshmoreA 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.
- Ascended Fanboy: He was a great fan of Hardy.
- Determinator: The boy sure can take brutal punishment without giving in.
- Foil: His idealistic nature (at least in the first season) clashes with Hardy's cynicism.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Starts down this path halfway through Season 1, coming to a head when he kills Lily Gray in Season 2.
- Made of Iron: Survives a beating and a serious stab wound in Season 1, numerous gunshots throughout the series, and Mark Gray's final attack, which lands him in the hospital for a long, long time.
- Military Brat: According to himself.
- Name's the Same: His name is homophonic to (and just one letter off from) that of a certain other Determinator government operative. Though he's not quite as Badass...yet.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Gives one to Lily right before he shoots her.Mike: I know this isn't going to fix anything for me...but it will fix you.
- Secret Keeper:
- In the episode "Welcome Home," he is the only one who knows Claire's location. Carroll's followers kidnap him and try to get him to talk. They fail.
- After the events of Season 1, he lies for Ryan to cover up the fact that he murdered a Follower in cold blood in revenge for Debra's murder.
- In Season 2, it turns out that he knows Claire is alive in witness protection, and has been keeping it a secret from the public, including Ryan.
- Ship Tease: With Max Hardy.
- The Smart Guy: Deals with the hacking in general, and acts as Hardy's partner most of the time.
- Took a Level in Badass: However, as of Season 2, he seems to be an active field agent now.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: In contrast to Hardy's Knight in Sour Armor (at least until Mike starts being pushed too far).
- You Killed My Father: Lily and Mark Gray murder his father because they wrongly believe that he killed Luke; worse, they recorded it and sent him the video, so he saw his father die before his eyes.
Played By: Annie ParisseThe head of the FBI's investigation into Carroll and his followers, as well as a specialist on cult behavior.
- Action Girl: Does very well in taking out several cultists during the massacre in "The End Is Near", but is kidnapped and buried alive in the end of the same episode. She was also taken out and then tied up Jacob in "The Curse" as well.
- Buried Alive: In the end of "The End Is Near". She eventually runs out of oxygen and meets her end before Mike and Ryan could find her.
- Cult: Was raised in one.
- Rape as Backstory: By the head of the cult she was raised in.
- Sacrificial Lion: Practically an In-Universe example, as her death is used by Carroll to show Hardy that all the stops have been pulled.
- The Strategist: A skill demonstrated in "The Fall", by correctly predicting almost every move of The Followers.
- Warrior Therapist: A great one at that.
Dr. Claire Matthews
Played By: Natalie ZeaJoe 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Episode 6 has her trying to flee Charlie, only to be caught shortly after hiding.
- Happily Married: to Joe, before the truth came out.
- 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.
- Mama Bear: Emma learned this the hard way.
- 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.
Played By: Valorie CurryOne 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.
- 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 as 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.
- Jealous of Ryan once she realizes that she will never be as important to Joe as he is and of Mandy's relationship with Joe. It's the latter that starts her downward spiral:
- 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.
- 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.
- Faux 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. Her first extended fight scene in the penultimate episode of the second season ends with her Rasputinian Death.
- Hypocrite: She claims her mother was a slut and would have loud sex with different men in the house. However, Emma herself has shown that she is no better; She's slept with Jacob, had a threeway with Jacob and Paul, had sex with a member of Korban, almost had sex with Mark (Though they didn't due to his fear of being touched), and has even slept with Joe, who is probably old enough to be her father, more than once.
- 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.
- Shrinking Violet: Prior to her indoctrination.
- 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.
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.
- Damsel out of Distress: Becomes this during her abduction in "Sacrifice."
- Determinator: Kind of runs in the family.
- Fair Cop: Being played by Jessica Stroup, she's quite easy on the eyes.
- Hollywood Hacking: She is part of the NYPD's Intel Division for a reason.
- 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.
- Undying Loyalty: To her uncle. She will risk her life and her career to help him, because he's all she has.
Played By: Kyle CatlettThe young son of Joe Carroll and Claire Matthews.
- Action Survivor: Even as a young kid, Joey is kinda of a badass.
- Enfant Terrible: What Carroll's cult was planning on turning him into. It didn't work.
- Put on a Bus: After being rescued.
- Snooping Little Kid: He isn't nearly as oblivious to what's going on as his keepers would hope.
Played By: John Lafayette
- Just A Flesh Wound: In "The End is Near", he manages to take a stabbing to the upper chest area with stride and just shrugs to Hardy after being treated for it.
- Stoic Spectacles: Always has a calm and collected face, even while giving orders or watching over Claire.
Played By: Ivan Hernandez
- Death Is Dramatic: One of the few minor characters to receive this treatment.
- 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
- Famous Last Words: "Damn it." as he is stabbed in the neck.
- Mauve Shirt: Got some characterization and backstory prior to his death.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Dies in only the third episode of the series.
Agent Gina Mendez
Played By: Valerie Cruz
- Da Chief: In charge of the task force investigating the new murders. Does not approve of Loose Cannon Hardy, and never misses an opportunity to tell him so.
- Married to the Job: Her work has cost her her marriage and custody of her children.
- Put on a Bus: Is built up to be a credible Hero Antagonist to Ryan Hardy's Anti-Hero Vigilante Man status. However, part way through the second season, she's stabbed by her ex-wife and left to be treated by her injuries. She then replaced by another agent in charge.
- As of the third season, she's been brought back, her injuries have healed, and she's happily married to a saner woman.
- Then she returns in the penultimate episode, where she and her family get held hostage by Theo and Daisy. They survive.
- Straight Gay: And her ex-wife is Jana, Carroll's Mole in the FBI.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Bears more than a passing resemblance to Debra Parker.
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.
- 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.
Played By: Nico TortorellaEmma'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.
- Depraved Bisexual: Averted. His conflict and sexuality is one of the few humanizing aspects of him. Likewise, Paul.
- 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.
Played By: Adan CantoA 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.
- Depraved Bisexual: Averted. His conflict and sexuality is one of the few humanizing aspects of him. Likewise, Jacob.
- Sanity Slippage: Not that he was all there to begin with.
- 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.
Played By: Tom Lipinski
- Affably Evil: Due to being a Noble Demon, and seemingly somewhat less psychopathic than Joe's other followers.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Dies trying to please his idol, smiling all the way.
- Gun Nut: And ex-military, to boot.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Kills the sadistic mercenary Bo (thus ensuring Dana's survival) simply to please Joey.
- Please Kill Me If It Satisfies You: Willing and eager to die at Joe's hands, for disappointing him so much.
- Serial Killer
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Gives off this vibe.
- Stalker with a Crush: Towards Claire.
Jordan "Jordy" Raines
Played By: Steve Monroe
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Choking himself to death on his own bandages is... pretty disgusting.
- Fat Idiot: He is reported to have a "very low" IQ. While he proves to be more competent than expected, he's clearly the most mentally lacking of Carroll's followers.
- Jack the Ripoff: The only member of Carroll's followers to actually follow with the eye stabbing M.O.s and not create his own.
- Kickthe Dog: Before becoming a full-blown Serial Killer, he literally butchered countless canines to prove his devotion to Joe Carroll.
- Slasher Smile: A master of these.
- Villainous Breakdown: After realizing the cult has abandoned him, he wails hysterically for Joe's forgiveness and begins eating his bandages until he chokes to death.
Played By: Michael Drayer
- Ax-Crazy: Even when compared to the rest of the cult, he's definitely one of the more mentally unstable and violent of Carroll's followers.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He and Maggie do seem to genuinely love each other in spite of the fact that they both are Ax-Crazy serial killer.
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.
Played By: Annika Boras
- Evil Gloating: She does this to Ryan Hardy. He just shoots and kills her even after warning her to toss away her weapon, which she didn't.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: In "Welcome Home", she and Roderick are both revealed to derive sexual gratification from sadomasochism.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: And in one of the show's awesomest moments.
- Knife Nut: She's revealed to be pretty skilled with a blade in "Let Me Go."
- Lackof Empathy: Aside from Joe Carroll and Roderick, she shows hardly any concern or loyalty towards her comrades. In "Welcome Home", she admits with a chuckle that Charlie's death didn't faze her at all.
- Too Dumb to Live: She has the really dumb idea to tell Ryan she doesn't think he has the balls to shoot her. He doesn't even let her finish her sentence
- Villainous Lover: To Roderick.
Roderick / Sheriff Tim Nelson
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.
- 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.
Season 2 (spoilers)
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.
Played By: Tiffany Boone
- Being Evil Sucks: Like Jacob in the first season, over the course of the second season she comes 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Lily's adopted family consists of multiple people of different nationalities; they didn't get their In-Series Nickname for nothing...
- In-Series Nickname: Lily doesn't bother to call her family a name, but Joe has called them "the International House of Psychos."
- True Companions: Lily treats her adopted family like she would an actual family, and acts Mama Bear accordingly.
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.
- Apparently Ryan was on her 'list' as well, according to Luke, she 'really liked' him. It's unclear if him being a 'present' to Joe was for Joe to kill him or for them to keep him.
- 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.
- 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
- Angsty Surviving Twin: By the end of Season 2, Luke had died, and leaving Mark to become this and also become a wreck.
- 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. Season 3 shows him to be even worse.
- 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: Luke's very creepy, while Mark was not. Mark levels up the creep factor after Luke's death.
- 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's death by kidnapping Claire Matthews, 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 Back: How Mark attacks Mike just before he's killed.
- Karmic Death: Mark gets shot multiple times by Mike, whom he just attempted to murder.
- 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.
- Happens to Mark again for a few episodes in the middle of Season 3, as the story shifts to Theo Noble.
- 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.
- Split Personality: In Season 3, Mark has developed one as being both himself and Luke, a year after the latter's death. He even speaks like Norman would with his mother.
- Split Personality Takeover: After nearly drowning during Strauss's escape, the Luke personality takes over completely. "Luke" insists that Mark is dead, though he still has his characteristic haphephobia.
- 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.
Played by: Camille De Pazzis
- 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.
- 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.
- The Unintelligible: Speaks almost entirely in French, though she understands English perfectly well.
- Redshirt: She survives long enough to help Luke escape from the hospital before getting shot dead.
The KorbanA 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 Mandy 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.
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?
- 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.
- The Purge: Kills off the minority of his followers who didn't completely submit to his will (except Julia, who he merely locks up).
- 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.
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.
- Played By: Shane McRae
- Mook: He's not really important except that he introduces Joe to the Korban.
- Mook Carryover: Tried to join Joe's cult but didn't quite fit in, so he went and joined The Korban instead.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted. Helps Joe get into the Korban and is hardly seen again, until "Unmasked" where he seems to be Carroll's Mook Lieutenant within Korban, as Emma is his Dragon.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Emma does this to him in "Silence", shooting him twice.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Redshirt: He dies on his first mission under the Korban's new management.
- 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.
- 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.
Joe Carroll and his Followers, it turns out, were only the tip of the iceberg. Carroll's mentor has a following all his own. And it's even worse.
Dr. Arthur Strauss
Played By: Gregg Henry
- Big Bad: For the first half of Season 3.
- Bigger Bad: He's the one who seduced Joe Carroll to embrace his sadistic urges and become a serial killer.
- The Chessmaster: After his arrest, he used his followers to sow distrust of Ryan Hardy in the public while convincing both law enforcement and Mark Gray that the latter was in charge, and cleanly erased enough key evidence (and killed enough witnesses) to get himself exonerated.
- The Corrupter: To Joe Carroll, who in turn became one himself. It would seem 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.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His "best student" ended up killing him.
- Karmic Death: Garroted by Theo Noble, whom he considered his best student.
- Mad Doctor: He's a doctor and a serial torture-killer. Worse, he teaches other killers.
- Man Behind the Man: Mark's followers actually work for him.
- 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.
- 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.
Kyle and Daisy Locke
Played by: Hunter Parrish and Ruth Kearney
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: They're monsters, but they're very much in love.
- Extreme Melee Revenge: After Kyle is killed, Daisy takes a two-by-four to Max's head, putting her in the hospital.
- In Love with Your Carnage: Violence turns them both on.
- Made of Iron: Kyle. He soldiers on even after being shot, and still manages to pull off one of Strauss's plots. Doesn't save him in the end, though.
- Master of Disguise: They have a seemingly-endless supply of wigs and outfits, and never look the same twice.
- Outlaw Couple: A pair of sociopaths that love each other.
- The Mole: They insinuate themselves into Mark Gray's circle on the pretense of helping him get his revenge; but they've got other plans.
Played by: Glenn Fleshler
- Abusive Parents: He claims his father was just a strict disciplinarian, but he's clearly pretty messed up.
- The Dreaded: He creeps out Daisy and Kyle; they only call him in when they have no other choice.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Cares very much for his senile old father. When a nurse accidentally lets him wander out of the house, he decides to...dismiss her.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: He never so much as raises his voice while doing horrible, horrible things.
- Torture Technician: Oh so very much. He likes to work with boxes. Very small boxes.
Played by: Anna Wood
- Amoral Attorney: Part of Strauss's legal team, and hires Kyle and Daisy to discredit the prosecution's case.
- Guilt Ridden Accomplice: She's in way over her head with all these psychos, and she's the only one of them who has anything approaching a conscience.
- Mission Control: For Kyle and Daisy. She gives them instructions and equipment.
- Too Dumb to Live: The plan to discredit Hardy hinged on Mark Gray not figuring out that he was being set up as a patsy and coming for revenge. It's like she didn't know he was an obsessive monster or something...
Theo Noble / Terrence Jackson
Played by: Michael Ealy
- Abusive Parents: His mother apparently hit him when he was a child.
- Badass: Potentially the biggest one on the show. He has completely mastered all forms of murder, is skilled in direct combat, and uses elaborate hacking to run circles around everyone pursuing him. He doesn't even need a cult to accomplish his goals.
- Big Bad: For the second half of the third and final season, making him the Final Boss of the show.
- The Cracker: He's just as good at computer hacking as he is at murder, if not better.
- Disney Villain Death: Is last seen falling off a bridge and into a waterfall (although whether or not this actually killed him is unclear).
- The Dreaded: Strauss considers him the best killer he ever trained. For reference, Strauss is responsible for training Joe Carroll.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- His adoptive sister, Penny, is apparently the only person for whom he genuinely cares.
- Subverted regarding his wife and children; it turns out they're just a ruse for him, and he readily kills the former to cover his tracks.
- Hollywood Hacking: His speciality.
- I Have Many Names: Has many aliases. His real name is Terrence Jackson, although "Theo Noble" is the name he most commonly goes by, and appears to be the person he most enjoyed being. Hardy speculates that since this is the persona he adopted when he started a family, he considers that one "sacrosanct" and will not kill as Theo. He seems to show some genuine regret about having to destroy that life after being discovered.
- Ironic Echo: When Strauss first meets him, he calls Theo a shark, and tells him he shouldn't apologize for being what he is. After helping Strauss forces Theo to make himself known to the authority, he kills his mentor, saying, "I'm a shark, and sharks need to stay under the water!"
- Kill It with Fire: Uses a blowtorch for his first onscreen kill.
- Made of Iron: In the series finale, he gets back up after taking a bullet to the forehead.
- One-Man Army: Of a sort. He manages feats of deception and murder entirely on his own, whereas Joe Carroll and Lily Gray needed huge cults of followers.
- The Sociopath: Almost emotionless when he talks about killing, or when he actually does the deed. Although he initially appears to love his family, he is almost completely remorseless about endangering his children and killing his wife to cover his tracks.
- The Starscream: To Strauss.
- Start of Darkness: Convincing a local home invader to kill his family.
- Taking You with Me: After being gravely wounded, he attempts to tackle Ryan over the side of the bridge.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: As of the show's end, it's ambiguous whether or not he died after falling into the water.
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.
- 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).
Played By: Li Jun Li
- Action Survivor: She is eventually freed in "The Fall".
- 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.
Played By: Maggie Grace
- Dead Guy on Display: What Carroll does to her body after her death.
- Final Girl: The only survivor of Carroll. Atleast until the Pilot anyway.
Played By: Carrie Preston
- Monster Fangirl: She was one of Joe Carroll's groupies while he was in prison, writing him fan letters. She took him in after he faked his death.
- Morality Chain: She tried to be this to Joe, thinking she could change him. It almost took.
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.
- Dropped A Bridge On Her: is unceremoniously killed off-screen by Daisy and Kyle before she was set to testify against Dr. Strauss.
- 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.
- Played By: Tom Cavanagh
- 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.