!!Richard Chance
->'''Played by:''' William Petersen

* AntiHero: A SociopathicHero at best and an arguable VillainProtagonist at worst.
* BadCopIncompetentCop: Change screws up multiple times in the film, gets multiple people killed [[spoiler: including himself, and is effortlessly manipulated by Masters]].
* [[spoiler:BoomHeadshot]]
* [[spoiler:TheHeroDies: If he can be considered as one, that is.]]
* IdiotHero: Chance never thinks about the consequences of his actions at the best of times, but taking the handcuffs off of Cody is ''astonishingly'' stupid.
* {{Jerkass}}
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Chance is an extremely abrasive risk-obsessed CowboyCop, but he strongly believes in friendship and partnership, and is sympathetic when Cody claims his daughter is sick in hospital. [[{{Deconstruction}} These values bring Chance nothing but misery.]]
* MeaningfulName
* PoliceBrutality: Prone to doing this.
* PsychopathicManchild: His genuinely scary glee after the car chase [[spoiler:and during his rape of Ruth]] reeks of this.
* RabidCop: A particularly rabid ''Secret Service agent''.
* RevengeBeforeReason
* SociopathicHero
* VillainProtagonist
!!John Vukovich
->'''Played by:''' John Pankow

* ByTheBookCop: To a certain degree.
** After meeting Chance at his house following the discovery of Jimmy Hart's murder, he agrees with Chance's statement "I'm gonna bag Masters, and I don't give a shit how I do it", not knowing that it's NotHyperbole.
** He chastises Chance for stealing Max Waxmans little black book after the Pasadena P.D responds to Waxmans murder by Masters for attempting to rip him off, stating that the police would have let them copy it after it was booked into evidence.
*** He does state however that he is not a snitch in response to Chance questioning his resolve as his partner.
** During the chase and shakedown of two small time credit card thieves, Vukovich gives the thief he was chasing a nasty kick in the back after forcing him against a chain link fence for questioning.
** He vehemently objects to Chances proposal to rob fence[[spoiler: and undercover F.B.I. Agent]] Thomas Ling of his $50,000 in order to get the front money to pay for Masters counterfeit money, but eventually agrees after being bullied into it by Chance.
** [[spoiler:He initially picks up and slaps Masters back to the ground before drawing Chance's gun and aiming at him, but still can't bring himself to shoot Masters in cold blood. This give Masters the opportunity to grab a plank of wood and beat Vukovich to the ground with it. He then covers Vukovich in shredded paper with the intention of setting him on fire but is shot in the gut by Vukovich before Masters has a chance to, causing him to drop the lit piece of paper into the puddle of gas that Masters happened to be standing in.]]
* HeroicBSOD
* [[spoiler:TookALevelInJerkass: The botched robbery and Chance's death traumatize him to the point that he ends up killing Masters, completely pushing him over the edge into becoming the same kind of rabid cowboy cop that Chance was.]]
!!Rick Masters
->'''Played by:''' Creator/WillemDafoe

* AntiVillain: Keeps his word, and never breaks a contract. Woe to those who fail to do either.
* BadBoss: Tries to have Cody killed in prison.
* [[spoiler:CruelAndUnusualDeath: An exceptionally gruesome example in that Vukovich shoots Masters in the gut with Chance's revolver, causing Masters to drop the lit piece of paper he was holding into the puddle of gas he happened to be standing in. This causes Masters to be engulfed in flames, as Vukovich empties the remaining five shots of .357 Magnum into Masters, '''yet Masters doesn't die from the gunshots and continues to scream in pain until he FINALLY falls over dead.''']]
* DeathSeeker: A common interpretation of his motivations.
* EvilVirtues: Takes extreme pride in his level of crafstmanship, and his reputation.
* TheUnfettered
!! Bianca Torres
->'''Played by:''' Debra Feuer
* BiTheWay
* {{Moll}}
* MsFanservice
!! Bob Grimes
->'''Played by:''' Creator/DeanStockwell
* AmoralAttorney
* [[spoiler:DoubleReverseQuadrupleAgent]]
!! Ruth Lainer
->'''Played by:''' Darlanne Fluegel

!! Carl Cody
->'''Played by:''' Creator/JohnTurturro

!!Jim 'Jimmy' Hart
->'''Played by:''' Michael Greene

!!Thomas Bateman
->'''Played by:''' Robert Downey Sr.

!!Jack, Masters' bodyguard
->'''Played by:''' Jack Hoar

* CastTheExpert: Actor Jack Hoar was a decorated LAPD officer who served as a Professional Consultant and liaison for the production.
* TheDragon
!!Jeff Rice
->'''Played by:''' Steve James

!! Max Waxman
->'''Played by:''' Christopher Allport

!! Thomas Ling [[spoiler: AKA F.B.I. Agent Raymond Fong]]
->'''Played by:''' Michael Chong