Characters / The Strain

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    Goodweather Family 

Ephraim Goodweather

Head of the CDC's rapid-response team, the Canary Project, Eph is a newly divorced father attempting to balance the custody battle over his son Zack with his duties as an epidemiologist. He and his Canary team are first-responders to the Boeing 777 disaster, and are tasked with solving the mystery of the mass casualty.


  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Twice. First after he sees Kelly as a vampire, he relapses into alcoholism. And again when Zack is abducted. This drives him deeper into depression and using drugs to cope. He even tries to betray his friends by giving the Master the Occido Lumen in exchange for his son. He gets better, though.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Blows up himself and Zack, along with the Master's origin site.

Kelly Goodweather

Eph's estranged wife and current opponent in a drawn-out custody battle over their only son.


Zack Goodweather

The young son of Ephraim and Kelly.


  • Face–Heel Turn: After the Master feeds him some of his own blood to treat his asthma.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Only re-acknowledges Eph as his father when it's too late.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: The end result of him being fed the Master's blood and spending two years under his care.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Arguably a milder example than the show, but over the course of the second book, he grows to resent Eph for trying to kill Kelly — who had been turned — and eventually ends up under the Master's tutelage, killing animals and being groomed to become his new host.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: While still somewhat naïve, Zack is shown to be rather resourceful for his age, teaching his father how to upload footage to prove the existence of vampires.

    The Vampire Hunters 

Prof. Abraham Setrakian

A Romanian Jew who escaped the Treblinka extermination camp during the Second World War, Professor Setrakian has been a dedicated (and perhaps fanatic) vampire hunter for over six decades.


  • Heroic Sacrifice: Allows the Master — unaware of the blood-thinners he took — to feed on him, forcing him to switch bodies with Bolivar.
  • Sword Cane: His signature weapon.

Nora Martinez

A skilled epidemiologist, Nora is second in command of the Canary Project. She and Eph have been attempting an office romance with mixed success, complicated by their high-stress medical careers and Goodweather's lingering melancholy over his looming divorce. Nora quickly dedicates herself to uncovering the vampire conspiracy, and is determined not to be relegated to doing the "woman's work".


  • Action Girl: Shows that she's more than competent at dispatching vampires.
  • Traumatic Haircut: In The Night Eternal, her head is shaved when she's taken into the blood camp.

Vasiliy Fet

An exterminator working for the New York City Bureau of Pest Control, Fet's occupation soon leads to his discovering the truth about vampires in a derelict building. Reaching Eph through a professional connection at the CDC, the exterminator lends both his skills as a vermin hunter and his powerful physique to Setrakian and Goodweather's cause.


Mr. Quinlan

The Ancients' chief headhunter, Mr. Quinlan is a massive, enigmatic vampire devoted to eliminating the Master's bloodline. Once the remaining Ancients had been wiped out, he teams up with Setrakian's team to aid them. He's revealed to be the Master's bastard son, transformed by the disease while in his mother's womb and becoming a dhampyr.


  • Anti-Hero: Somewhere between Type IV and Type V. On one hand, despite being a ruthless killer, he's completely justified in his actions. On the other, he makes a point to show the heroes that he could very easily betray them.
  • Badass Baritone: Described as having one.
  • Badass Grandpa: He was born sometime after Caligula's reign and has killed countless humans and strigoi.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Subverted. Despite being a dhampyr, Quinlan is not immune to sunlight. He can be out in it for a little longer than most vampires, but it will eventually kill him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It's "Ozy" now, is it?
  • Death Seeker: Quinlan knows that by killing his father, he'll die, too, but he doesn't care.
  • Dhampyr: He's the half-man, half-vampire spawn of the Master.
  • Genius Bruiser: Is well-versed in ancient knowledge and effortlessly kills many, many vampires and humans.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He's not necessarily a bad guy, although he has boasted about killing more humans than he has vampires. And he hates his father for killing his mother and making him into what he is.
  • Expy: Of Blade. He's a dhampyr devoted to hunting other vampires with silver weapons, and shares a similar backstory. He also has a few similarities to Jared Nomak, which del Toro had previously worked on.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Comes with being the Ancients' chief headhunter, and someone incredibly pissed at the Master for ruining his "life".
  • It's Personal: The Master killed his mother, and later the family that the Ancients gave him. It's completely understandable why he'd hold such a grudge against him.


The Master

One of the Ancients, the seven original vampires, the Master now inhabits the body of Jusef Sardu, a 19th century Polish nobleman afflicted with gigantism. While Sardu was a gentle giant in life, and greatly infirmed by his condition, the Master has imbued his form with unnatural power and ferocity. Breaking the territorial truce between himself and the other Ancients, the Master sets into motion a series of events to remake the world in his own dark image.


  • Ax-Crazy: The Master revels in death and suffering, whether or not he's the direct cause of it.
  • Badass Grandpa: Manages a particularly cool moment where he escapes the main party out a window into direct sunlight, where (while burning) he calmly removes his cloak, gives a roar, and escapes. Granted, it took a while for him to heal, but damn.
  • Body Horror: Even more than the other vampires, since his host was suffering from gigantism.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Is described as having a deep, guttural voice, "thickened and lubricated by blood."
  • Faux Affably Evil: While he is persuasive and cunning, he maintains civility only as a means to an end.
  • I Am the Noun: I am the occultation and the eclipse.
  • I Lied: Seems to enjoy pulling this one on people, with Eldritch Palmer being a good example. He even notes that if Ephraim had betrayed the humans, he would not have honored his end of the deal with him.
  • Puny Humans: Clearly, he's not fond of the human race. A good portion of his dialogue involves him calling them "pigs" or "animals".
  • Smug Snake: His contempt for humanity only ends up holding him back in the long run.

Gabriel Bolivar

A handsome and charismatic shock rocker.


  • The Brute: Acts primarily as muscle to the Master.
  • Expy: His appearance and shock rocker mannerisms, coupled with his popularity and use of a stage name are clearly based on Marilyn Manson.

Thomas Eichhorst

The former Nazi commandant of the Treblinka extermination camp.


  • The Dragon: The Master's right-hand man. He sets up appointments for him, and is the brains behind his operation.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Is a former Nazi camp commandant, and makes a pretty nasty anti-Semitic comment to Setrakian near the end.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Was a the camp commandant at Treblinka in life, and still holds onto Nazi ideologies in undeath, to an extent.

    Other Characters 

Augustin "Gus" Elizalde

A Mexican gang member fresh out of juvenile hall, Gus is attacked by a newly turned vampire on the streets of Times Square, and is arrested by the police after throwing the creature under a truck. Learning the truth about vampires from a temporarily incarcerated Setrakian, Gus escapes confinement and finds himself to be a natural vampire slayer on the streets of his tenement neighborhood.


  • Badass Normal: For a street punk, he does a pretty good job surviving the vampire plague.
  • Cain and Abel: His relationship with his brother, Crispin, is not a good one, but this trope is played more straightforward when Crispin is turned into a vampire and Gus is forced to kill him.
  • Unwitting Pawn: In the sequel, The Ancients manipulate him into becoming their agent.

Eldritch Palmer

One of the richest men in the world, Eldritch Palmer craves the one thing that all his money cannot buy: immortality. The elderly tycoon's fear of death leads him to make a pact with the Master, trading his vast fortune, political influence, and the fate of the human race in exchange for an undead place at the vampire king's side.


  • Off with His Head!: The Master rips his head off just when it looks like he's going to turn him.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: As someone who sold out the human race just so he could become a bloodsucking monster, he earned his gruesome death.

Dr. Everett Barnes

As the Director of the Centers for Disease Control, Barnes is Eph and Nora's direct superior. Skilled in the politics and media aspects of the medical industry, he is a shrewd bureaucrat who carefully maintains a quaint, "country doctor" image.


  • Beard of Evil: Sports a very satanic goatee in The Night Eternal.
  • Karmic Death: Shot by Nora and left to the mercy of a horde of hungry vampires.

Jim Kent

A member of the CDC and assistant to Dr. Goodweather.


  • The Mole: He's working for Stoneheart and pretending to be friends with Nora and Eph.

Matt Sayles