The main character and leader of the Strike Team. Certainly not your typical television protagonist, as the character shot and killed a fellow police detective in the pilot episode of the series, without any remorse or regret. Despite this (and more), Vic attempts to do right by his family, the officers under his command, and the people in the community he is sworn to protect.
The Ace: Especially in season 1 and 5 when the captains had a lot less power. Often gave speeches where people supported him, some refused to believe he was stealing drugs, Danny telling Julien he was mistaken in season 1, tough guy, friends with Gilroy, and often getting laid.
Anti-Hero: An unscrupulous example in the first 4 seasons given that he's a Dirty Cop who is nonetheless genuinely committed to ridding Farmington of bloodthirsty drug lords, pedophiles, and serial killers (albeit while lining his own pockets and regularly breaking the law himself). However, as the series progresses, he increasingly prioritizes his own livelihood and desires at the expense of those around him thereby becoming a nominal hero if not a full-blown Villain Protagonist.
The Corrupter: He's the one who draws the other Strike Team members into the cesspool of crime, and also the one who convinces Aceveda to take most of his really immoral actions during the course of the show.
Cowboy Cop: Deconstructed. He begins as a somewhat well-intentioned dirty cop taking something extra for going the extra mile in his job and is acknowledged as a necessary evil at the precinct. As the series progresses, he grows more and more corrupt and amoral, to the point that he becomes a liability for the police force and he starts making so many deals with crooks he can no longer do his job.
Even Evil Has Standards: During seasons one and two, he demands a "no selling drugs to children" pledge from the drug dealers who he's in bed with.
Played straight with his attitude towards child molesters.
At the end of Season 1, he is absolutely aghast that Gilroy deliberately endangered innocent civilians to make a buck.
Subverted towards the end when he is completely willing to murder Shane's pregnant wife and shows no remorse upon hearing that Shane murdered his son as a result of Vic's sadistic threats.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He actually seems surprised that Olivia is no longer willing to work with him or let him operate on the street after he confesses his crimes to her.
Evil Is Petty: Theft, drug dealing, lying and murder are a day's work. Being a complete jerk to Dutch? That's just for his amusement.
A Father to His Men: Deconstructed. Vic is fiercely protective of his team, but at the cost of total subordination. Him playing leader also makes them desperately fight for his approval, which is essentially what kicks off much of the series' drama.
Subverted in the Grand Finale: Vic may like his men, but ultimately, if he has to sacrifice them to save himself, he will.
Faux Affably Evil: He often pretends to be likable and friendly in order to win over people, even those who already know he's dirty. The only one seemingly immune is Dutch.
Friendly Rivalry: Zig-zagged with Dutch. They are outright hostile to each other at the beginning of the series, but they later develop into this after Dutch shows absurdly big balls while cracking a serial killer and even finds the guts to punch Vic. However, they return to hostilities after Dutch begins to snoop around his corruption case and begins a relationship with his ex-wife.
It's All About Me: Initially had this a bit. By the end, it has mutated to the point he doesn't give a damn about anyone but himself. Even his family just seem to be a way of him keeping control over his life.
Jerkass: Aside from being a Dirty Cop, he also displays a highly pronounced sadistic streak and relentlessly bullies officers such as Dutch Wagenbach for his own amusement.
Karma Houdini: Played with, but ultimately subverted. He gets away with his crimes, but loses his family, his friends, and his reputation and — perhaps worst of all for a Control Freak and Attention Whore like him — gets exiled to a desk job with no action, authority, or fame.
Moral Myopia: He can't stand his team or family being hurt, but is perfectly willing to manipulate, brutalize, or outright murder anyone if it suits his needs. He also can't stand any form of betrayal but is happy to betray anyone to suit his own needs.
Not Me This Time: He really didn't have anything to do with Armadillo's murder, but Danny blames him for it anyway.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: At first. However, as the series progresses, he becomes increasingly self-serving and ultimately discards all pretence of morality altogether.
Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: While Vic is normally willing to shoot people who get in his way, there are several times where he lets Shane walk away when the smart thing to do would be to just kill him.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite being an overt bigot who is often ribbed by his fellow officers as a "dumb hick", he is nonetheless a highly resourceful detective whose skills and decisiveness sufficiently qualify him to be Vic's right-hand man.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Shows shades of this. Despite displaying a good sense of humor in the company of his colleagues, he often flies into a blind rage at the slightest provocation while working in the field.
The muscle of the Strike Team, as well as its conscience. Will often remind Vic and the rest of the Strike Team that they are supposed to be cops and try and rein in Vic's more corrupt notions (with various degrees of success). Unfortunately for him, he ultimately becomes a liability for the team and is killed off by Shane, to keep IAD from sending him to jail, where he would inevitably break.
Beware the Quiet Ones: Ronnie flew under the radar but his no-drama approach to his work eventually built him up a reputation as someone you did not want to mess with.
Character Development: Despite being in nearly every episode, his only role in the first few seasons was to get teased by the other Strike Team members. When he got promoted to regular cast member, the show revealed there was a reason he made so little impression: He was the only member of the team smart enough to keep his head down, and beneath his bland exterior he was ice cold — unemotional, ruthlessly efficient, and by far the team member least prone to mistakes.
Even Evil Has Standards: While he was quite vocal about wanting to kill Shane, Vic's proclamation that he was going to kill Shane and his pregnant wife Mara (in front of their two year old son, no less) freaked even Ronnie out.
"Driver" for the Strike Team, Terry Crowley was placed on the Strike Team by then-Captain Aceveda as a means to keep an eye out on the antics of Vic and his crew. Unfortunately for him, when Acaveda approached him about gathering evidence about Strike Team corruption, Terry agreed, only to get a bullet in the face for his trouble.
A young black detective who is placed on the team due to orders from the brass, who want to include one Token Minority onto the all-white Strike Team. Unaware of Vic Mackey's corrupt nature, the skilled rookie detective made a big mistake when he went and told Shane that he was hoping that Vic would take him under his wing as a mentor. One massive brawl later and a car wreck, Tavon was written out of the series.
Trauma Conga Line: He goes from being beaten badly, to almost dying in a car crash leading to months of recovery, to being told he struck a woman and it's all his fault...which he tearfully believes because the accident impacted his memory.
Army sniper who, after a tour of duty in Iraq, returned home and landed a job with the LAPD, where he was partnered with Shane Vendrell. The two got along well, but Shane's corrupt cop ways ended up getting the two in hot legal water. Rather than risk his luck, he ended up resigning from the LAPD and returning to the military.
Veteran detective partnered with Detective "Dutch" Wagenbach. Though positioned as the conscience of the Barn, she's more than willing to turn a blind eye to Vic's brutality and corruption...at least, at first.
The politically ambitious police captain of the Barn and ultimately an influential member of the Los Angeles City Council. Despite being Vic Mackey's archnemesis and by extension the principal antagonist in Season 1, he and Mackey become begrudging allies in later seasons.
Anti-Hero: A pragmatic example in the first three seasons prior to becoming an outright villain.
Badass: Despite being a bureaucrat who primarily involves himself with public relations and soliciting support from LA power brokers, he is no less competent in the field than the police officers under his command.
Fair Cop: Given his lofty political ambitions, he makes a point of supplementing his attractive appearance by being meticulously well-groomed and maintaining an impressive physique. This is acknowledged in-universe given that Vic Mackey often refers to him derisively as a "pretty boy" publicity hound and the vampish con-artist, Deena shamelessly flirts with him every time she sees him (albeit while trying to persuade him to reduce charges against her).
A Father to His Men: During his tenure as Captain in the first 3 seasons. Despite being frequently condescending towards most of his employees and having no qualms using them as pawns to advance his interests, he exhibits genuine concern for his officers' well-being and goes to great lengths to look out for them.
Good Is Not Nice: During the first 3 seasons before becoming corrupted by his ambition. While he genuinely wants to improve the quality of life for Farmington's population, he is also vain, calculating and a covert sexual sadist.
A civilian auditor appointed by the City Council to supervise the Barn's activities following the events of Season 1. She and Armadillo Quintero serve as the principal antagonists in Season 2.
Ambition Is Evil: Implied. She commits some pretty heinous actions just for the sake of scoring points with her superiors in the City Council.
Big Bad: Of Season 2. The whole story arc revolves around the Barn trying to maneuver around her intrusive supervision and subsequently weathering the fallout from her overly damning report.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When first introduced, she acts very polite and respectful towards the police officers of the Barn. However, she quickly turns nasty and overbearing when they are less than prompt in providing her with the information she requests.
Drunk with Power: Upon being appointed by the L.A. City Council to supervise the Barn's activities, she becomes a petty tyrant who routinely coerces law enforcement officers into giving her their unwavering attention and obedience even when they are engaged in vital police work and threatens to use her authority to ruin their livelihoods if they don't.
Kellis::"When I ask for something I ask politely because that's my nature, but when you make me ask a second time I lose my patience....The people I work for want answers. They expect me to get them.I have the power to recommend changes, get people fired, even shut down this entire building if it's warranted! Do you understand what I'm saying detective!?"
Hero Antagonist: Subverted. While she is technically on the right side of the law, she callously impedes the police work of honest officers like Dutch Wagenbach and Danny Sofer before ultimately threatening their very livelihoods merely for the sake of smearing Aceveda's reputation.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: She expects all officers to halt all their work until complying with her "requests" (even when citizens' lives are at stake) and inserts herself into EVERY aspect of Farmington's police business merely for the sake of digging up dirt on Aceveda.
Fallen Hero: Became corrupt when he tried to take down Vic.
He Who Fights Monsters: After being outmaneuvered one too many times by Vic Mackey, he resorts to targeting the Strike Team's family members and conspiring with murderous thugs like Antwon Mitchell to bring Vic down.
Crime After Crime: In the last two episodes of Season 1, he commits a variety of crimes, ranging from blackmail to obstruction to murder, in order to cover up his involvement in a hit and run and the real estate fraud he's working in Farmington.
A prominent L.A. gangsta rapper who happens to be, well, an actual gangsta. In between recording sessions, he calls the shots for the One-Niners. Until Antwon Mitchell gets out of prison, at any rate...
Adam Westing: Sticky Fingaz is a real-life gangsta rapper. (Though, as far as anyone knows, he's never actually killed a man with his bare hands.)
Affably Evil: Despite being a drug trafficking kingpin, he's shown to be a doting (albeit [[Hen Pecked Husband acquiescent) boyfriend who has no affinity for the for the bloodshed attached to his livelihood.
A high-ranking member of the One-Niners street gang and an old enemy of Monica Rawling, recently released after serving a thirteen-year sentence on drug charges.
Abusive Parents: His father regularly beat him and raped his little sister. As an adult, he's hardly a loving family man himself given that he uses his own children as pawns in his criminal activities.
The Chessmaster:While posing as a reformed criminal-turned-community activist, he seizes control of the One-Niners gang and single-handedly transforms it into a well-disciplined and highly sophisticated organization with ties to the Salvadoran Cartel and the Russian Mob.
The Corrupter: To Shane, Aceveda, and ultimately IAD Officer Jon Kavanaugh.
Playing Against Type: Notwithstanding the likable persona he presents to the public, Antwon Mitchell is nothing like the comical, lighthearted roles previously played by Anthony Anderson in films like Kangeroo Jack and Agent Cody Banks 2.
Child Prodigy: He reportedly scored "off the charts" on his IQ at the age of 11.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: He actively recruits minors as drug dealers in order to exploit laws preventing police from turning them into informants who could expose his operations. Similarly, he consciously goads Vic Mackey into maiming him so he can later use the event to blackmail the Strike Team.
Macho Masochism: In addition to being a consummate sadist, he also appears fond of self-mutilation given the multitude of scars on his body as well as the manner in which he views them as testaments to his own masculinity.
Armadillo:"Every scar is a victory. This is just my biggest."
The Sociopath: He seems to have no conscience whatsoever based on his willingness to target children in grade school as a potential narcotics "market" and brutally murder his own brother to protect his gains. He is also quite sadistic given that he is a serial rapist and pedophile who maliciously compounds his victims' psychological harm by leaving a tatoo of a dove on their faces.
Visionary Villain: Upon arriving in Farmington, he begins systematically eradicating all his competitors in the drug market in order to lay the foundation for a massive criminal empire that stretches from L.A. to Mexico City.
A big-time property developer and one of Aceveda's key financial backers in his budding political career. Too bad he's also the front for The Cartel's plan to buy up Farmington and turn it into their new L.A. base of operations...
A highly feared enforcer of the Armenian Mob who begins systematically hunting down and executing all those suspected of being involved in the Money Train Heist at the end of Season 2.
Ascended Extra: He goes from being a highly unsettling yet minor character who appears in only one episode of Season 1 to being the main antagonist of Season 3.
Badass: When a burly cellmate insults him at the Barn, he promptly kills him with his bare hands by snapping his neck. At the end of the same episode, he is ultimately revealed to have escaped from police custody by busting a window on a paddy wagon and leaping out at 40 miles per hour (while still cuffed) . Later, in Season 3, he and a handful of his thugs seem to have no trouble wreaking havoc among the Byz-Lats' hardened ranks.
Foot Focus: He has a foot fetish, to the extent that Dutch almost catches him when he has a murder victim's feet chopped off, packed in dry ice, and mailed to his safe house in Athens.
Hair-Trigger Temper: While he doesn't appear in many scenes, this is strongly implied. When first introduced in "Blowback", he shoots another Armenian mobster for "sampling" a line of cocaine he was preparing for himself during a drug deal. Similarly, while incarcerated, he promptly breaks the neck of one of his cellmates merely for calling him a "faggot."
Psycho for Hire: A unique example. In Season 1, he appears to be merely an Ax-Crazy hitman (albeit a highly feared one) in the Armenian Mob's employ. This is partially subverted in Season 3 when he is revealed to be a high-ranking member of the Armenian Mob who nonetheless personally offers his "services" in order to satisfy his bloodlust.
Psychotic Smirk: He gives a very creepy one while being handcuffed for murdering one of his cellmates in "Blowback."
Moral Dissonance: He has no problems contacting Armenian hitmen to murder two colleagues. However, he is highly offended by the reckless disregard exhibited by a negligent driver who backends him in a fender-bender.
Photographic Memory: He immediately recognizes Lem as one of the men he asked to serve as witnesses for a prospective insurance claim after being involved in a car accident in Season 2. He also remembers the alias given to him by Shane who was driving with Lem at the event in question.