A young woman trying to make it on her own, Betty Suarez is the main protagonist of the show. She lives in Queens with her widowed father Ignacio, older sister Hilda and nephew Justin, and works as an assistant to the Editor In Chief at Mode Magazine. She quickly learns working at Mode will test the very fibers of her character, yet she remains resilient and excited in spite of all the conspiracies, drama and heartbreak she suffers. She hopes to be a journalist someday and will often take the chance to pursue her ambition. A role model for all girls everywhere in the view of the show's writers, she's liable to both give and receive Aesops. By the way, she's not so much ugly as she has a really bad/strange fashion sense.Associated tropes:
Animal Motifs: Butterflies, symbolic of Betty's own metamorphoses.
Spicy Latina: Averted. Though there are moments where she reminds Marc that she's from Queens and will hit him.
Team Mom: Betty consistently attempts to be this to pretty much everybody around her.
Daniel Meade (Eric Mabius)
Betty's somewhat incompetent boss, though he does try sometimes. The Unfavorite of the Meade family (which owns the company) he often spends his days Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, leaving a trail of broken hearts behind him wherever he goes, his own included. He and Betty tend to take turns being each other's rock and evolve from simple boss/assistant relationship into close friends. In the show's finale the relationship was left open-ended, though various hints throughout the episode possibly imply that they Hooked Up Afterwards, the most obvious being that Daniel decides to stay in London for no discernible reason other than that Betty happens to be there. It remains unclear, however, if Betty feels the same way, though she does smile at his arrivalAssociated tropes:
Head Creative Assistant and daughter of a Senator, she's a woman of quick wit and versatility which she uses for selfish reasons. Her ultimate desire is to run a magazine and attempts to take over Mode Magazine numerous times. One of the most complicated characters, she performs the role of a Card-Carrying Villain yet is not above the occasional Pet the Dog moment. She has an estranged daughter named Nico and is Marc's manager.Associated tropes:
Villain Decay: While still a danger at times, her backstabbing and scheming wanes significantly as the series goes on. She undergoes the Heel-Face Revolving Door several times per season due to personal hangups, familial conflicts and the old "my career" vs "my soul" conflict.
Visionary Villain: She really, really cares for and loves MODE and will do anything to have a permanent share of it. As of Season Four, she has succeeded and has an equal 50% control with Daniel. At the end of the series, she has complete control, but not by treacherous means.
Yes-Man: Until about season 3 and 4 where he becomes more vocal about his discontents.
Amanda Tanen (Becki Newton)
A Sassy Secretary (technically a receptionist) at MODE who serves as Marc's Fag Hag and tags along with him whenever it involves pranking or demeaning others. Though she's conniving and catty she's not too intelligent (i.e. not knowing what wrath means) and is highly impulsive. Despite this she is not completely bitchy and, like every other main character, has plenty Pet the Dog moments. In more recent episodes, she, Marc and Betty seem to have formed some kind of loose Power Trio.Associated tropes:
Betty's fatherly dad. He's an illegal immigrant from Mexico, but not one who was just looking for a better life. No, that would be too boring. Instead, he was on the run after having killed a man (a rather unpleasant man, though, who later turned out to be not-quite-so-dead).Associated tropes:
Day Time Drama Queen: Ignacio seems to have nothing else to do but hang around watching telenovelas.
Doting Parent: Almost overwhelmingly so to his girls, to his grandson Justin, and usually to Betty or Hilda's love interests.
Hilda's son and therefore Betty's nephew. Justin is Ambiguously Gay for most of the series, but he eventually comes out as The Twink when he hits his teen years. Largely used as a plot device for the Marc character, who serves as a mentor for the kid.Associated tropes:
"Well Done, Son" Guy: After his father died, he temporarily tried to become a beer-drinking girl-chasing basketball player in his memory.
Claire Meade (Judith Light)
Daniel and Alexis' mother. Originally introduced as Lady Drunk, she now just wants her family back together and serves as a reluctant mentor for Betty, who often is scared of Claire's cold-blooded side. In the first season, she admitted to murdering Fey Sommers and was sent to Cardboard Prison, which she escaped from, of course. Later on, it was Ret Conned that she hadn't meant to kill Fey, enabling the others to Clear Her Name.Associated tropes:
Betty's best friend at work, Christina is a Funny Foreigner from Scotland, which means she drinks a lot and uses all that hilarious Scottish slang. Her purpose on the show was originally being Betty's only friend among the Modies, making her The Artifact from the days when the show was more of a Fish out of Water comedy. As a result, Christina was Out of Focus a lot in later episodes. She was Put on a Bus at the end of the third season, and returned in the third-to-last episode when Betty, Hilda, and Amanda visited London.Associated tropes:
The Artifact: Christina doesn't really fit into the show during her last few episodes. Granted Betty doesn't either, but she has more reason for being there.
Formerly Daniel's transsexual brother and now his sister. She was The Woman Behind The Woman in early episodes, but then had a Heel-Face Turn, leaving Wilhelmina to pick up the evil slack. Alexis is not very consistently written and as a result her personality seems to repeatedly switch between "loving sibling with a competitive streak" and "evil bitch". Put on a Bus at the start of the third season. Not seen after that, but occasionally mentioned.Associated tropes:
Daniel and Alexis' dad who died in the second season. He was the one who hired Betty in the first place, under the twisted logic that since Betty was ugly, his son would not have sex with her and actually get work done.Associated tropes:
Character Death: Died in the second season, but appeared as a vision to Betty later on.
A Posthumous Character who died shortly before the pilot. Bradford was having an affair with her, but Claire found out and murdered her - or at least that was the story until it turned out it wasn't Claire's fault. At the end of the first season, Amanda discovered Fey was her biological mother. After this occurred, Becki Newton, who plays Amanda, started portraying Fey in Flash Backs.Associated tropes:
Henry Grubstick (Christopher Gorham, late season one through season two) - An adorkable nerd and Betty's first real love. At first a breath of fresh air after Walter, but then it turned out he got some other girl pregnant and things went downhill from there. He's had at least four tearful goodbyes with Betty where he was moving back to Tucson "forever", but still proceeds to show up in NYC whenever the writers need some pointless drama.
Gio Rossi (Freddy Rodriguez, season two to early season three) - Immediately formed a Henry-Betty-Gio Love Triangle when he first appeared on the scene, and the season finale forced Betty to choose between them. She chose neither, and he was Put on a Bus only to make one last appearance in the final season. His main purpose is to criticize Betty and remind her of her original dream. Some consider him a fan-favorite for Betty's love after Henry turned annoying, while others dislike him for being a condescending mansplainer.
Jesse (Val Emmich, early season three) - You know that sensitive, self-absorbed musician you dated in college? THIS GUY. Fortunately, this didn't get very far.
Matt (Daniel Eric Gold, late season three to mid season four) - A Lonely Rich Kid with a Corrupt Corporate Executive for a father and a Rich Bitch for a mother. His main character trait was never finishing what he started and constantly changing his life's ambition. He and Betty were getting really serious when Henry inexplicably dropped in for an episode and gave Betty another farewell kiss right when Matt happened to inexplicably be watching from afar. He promptly became her Jerkass boss and attempted to make her life a living hell, before getting back together with her for a few episodes and then deciding to move to Africa. Detty shippers noted the similarities to Daniel and dubbed him "Daniel-lite".
Sofia (Salma Hayek, season one) - Strong, sexy, career woman who won Daniel's heart by rejecting him. She was the first woman he ever truly loved and he proposed to her after only two months. Turned out to be a publicity stunt for her new article, "Fling to Ring in 60 Days", which she revealed to him on live TV.
Renee (Gabrielle Union, season two) - Wilhelmina's sister, who found out her evil plans and thus had to be taken out. As she suffered from mental illness, Wilhelmina had Marc mess with her medication, thus making her go crazy with jealousy, attempt to kill Betty, and light Daniel's apartment on fire. In the end she was committed to an asylum, which for some reason meant Daniel could never see her again. She and this storyline were never mentioned again.
Molly (Sara Lafleur, season three) - Elementary school teacher and the first "normal" girl Daniel was attracted to, who was considered "Betty-lite" by the Detty shippers. Drama came from her being the fiance of his friend and CFO, Connor. After some endless pining and angst, she broke up with Connor, got together with Daniel, and died of cancer.
Santos Reynoso (Kevin Alejandro, season one) - Knocked Hilda up in High School, resulting in Justin. Starts to make amends in the first season, but dies.
Coach Tony Diaz (Eddie Cibrian, late season two to early season three) - Justin's gym teacher. Hilda continues to date him after finding out he's married, but don't worry he's leaving his wife. Really, honestly!
Archie Rodriguez (Ralph Macchio, season three to season four) - A city councilman and the lone respectable guy in Hilda's dating history. Yes, the most respectable guy she's dated is a politician.
Bobby Talercio (Adam Rodriguez, season four) - An old flame who got Hilda pregnant while she was supposed to be dating Archie. It later turned out the pregnancy failed, but nevertheless Hilda ended up marrying Bobby in the Grand Finale. Well, actually the second-to-last episode, but close enough.
Connor Owens (Grant Bowler) - Happily Engaged to Molly (see above) when he first appeared, but the show's soapy antics fixed that soon enough. When Daniel went for Molly, Wilhelmina went for Connor. Later he robbed the company and went on the run, causing Wilhelmina to angst about whether to join him or to try to save the company. Ultimately ends up in prison.