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The Botwin Family
Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker)Nancy is a widow who turns to drug dealing when she can't support her family on her own. Then things get worse...
- Cartwright Curse: If you marry Nancy you will die, simple as that.
- Even Evil Has Standards: She makes it clear that her product will never be sold to children.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Subverted. She keeps saying she wants a normal life for her family but does nothing to achieve it. In fact she plunges back into the drug life at the first opportunity whenever she's pushed away from it.
- Mama Bear: Flawed she may be, but hurt her kids and she will end you.
- Pornomancer: Sometimes, her life is like a gender-reversed Axe commercial. In season 7, she has sex with her old cell-mate, then has sex with her cell-mate's brother in the next room.
- Villain Protagonist: Comes with the territory of being a drug dealer.
Silas BotwinNancy's eldest son.
- Aloof Big Brother: To Shane and especially Stevie.
- Big Brother Instinct: He does love them when the chips are down and will protect them when he has to.
- Happily Adopted: He finds out Judah isn't his biological father in season six, but his feelings for him don't change.
- Happily Married: The series finale shows him married to his high school girlfriend, Megan.
- High School Sweethearts: He dates Megan in series 1 when they are in high school. She's one year older than him.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Played straight, especially in later seasons. He's tired of their family drug business.
- Not So Different: Has more in common with his mother Nancy than he'd like to admit.
Shane Botwin (Alexander Gould)Nancy's second son.
- Break the Cutie: Losing his father, being bullied, his mother's increasingly distant behavior, his brother's troubles, and everything else that happens is bound to wear a kid down.
- Child Prodigy: He's very smart for his age, and is the one who set up the security cameras around the home in the third season.
- Children Are Innocent: Has no idea of his mother's double life initially. He begins growing out of it more in the second season.
- Deadpan Snarker: Don't let his age fool you; he has a pretty sharp wit.
- Kidanova: Gains a girlfriend in the second season.
- Odd Friendship: Develops one with Isabelle in the third season.
Andy BotwinNancy's brother in law.
- Agony of the Feet: Loses two toes to a dog bite.
- Cool Uncle: Tries to be this to Silas and Shane. He's fun at least.
- The Casanova: Manages to bed quite a lot of women.
- The Chew Toy: If something embarrassing, painful, or weird is about to happen, expect Andy to suffer.
- Dogged Nice Guy/Love Martyr/Hopeless Suitor: To Nancy.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He genuinely cares about his family and wants to help. He's just very bad at it.
- Only Sane Man: He and Silas take turns being this.
- Supreme Chef: He is shown to be a good cook, even doing odd jobs on porn sets cooking food for the cast and crew.
Judah Botwin (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)Nancy's deceased husband.
- Good Parents: From the home video clips we see of him, he was a loving father.
- Plot-Triggering Death: His sudden and unexpected death is what makes Nancy sell pot in the first place.
- Posthumous Character: His death kicks off the series. His widow Nancy turns to selling weed to maintain their life standard.
Lenny BotwinAndy and Judah's father.
- Abusive Parents: Of the emotional kind towards Andy. He was also a frequent gambler and it seemed even Judah didn't exactly have fond feelings over him despite the obvious Parental Favoritism going on.
- Jerkass: Towards Andy (see Parental Favoritism below) and Nancy (he always wished Judah married someone else).
- Mama's Boy: He still changes his very old and bedridden mother's diapers and feeding tubes. Nancy remarks that Lenny ought to just spare the old woman some dignity and let her die in peace.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: He calls Nancy "Not Francie" because she's not the woman he wanted Judah to marry.
- Parental Favoritism: He clearly favored Judah over Andy. He claims he always suspected Andy was not actually his son, and thus kept an emotional distance from him.
Celia HodesNancy's on-again, off-again Rich Bitch friend.
- Abusive Parent: Isabelle gets the worst of it. Celia's own mother was not mother of the year either.
- The Alcoholic/Lady Drunk: Shane points this out during her campaign to make Agrestic a drug-free neighborhood.
- Butt Monkey: A cheating husband, getting cancer, going to prison, being openly hated by her kids. Things rarely go right for Celia. She'd be sympathetic if she weren't such a colossal Jerkass.
- Deadpan Snarker: Passive-aggressively snarks at her own daughter for her weight.
- Jerkass: Celia is a bitch, plain and simple. Yet she manages to be one of the show's most popular side characters.
- Put on a Bus: Never seen again after the fifth season. Word of God on the final episode commentary says that Celia went down to Mexico for a drug deal after Season 5 and was killed, however they didn't include it in the finale episode due to the darker tone.
- Rich Bitch: She's clearly well-off, and she is the show's biggest Jerkass.
- Scars Are Forever: Has scars on her breasts from where she had surgery for her cancer. It's shown to be a source of insecurity for her, but Sullivan doesn't mind.
- Smug Snake: Seems to believe she's better and smarter than everyone else, and by God, does it show.
- Stepford Smiler: She lives a shallow and materialistic life that has led to some feelings of deep unhappiness for her.
- Took a Level in Kindness: When she thinks she's dying of cancer. When she learns otherwise though, she returns to her horrible jerk ways.
- The Topic of Cancer: Had breast cancer in the first season.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Nancy. Emphasis on vitriolic here.
- Your Cheating Heart: Slept with Conrad and Doug.
Dean HodesCelia's husband. Works with Nancy and separates from Celia early on.
- Butt Monkey: His wife is a domineering Control Freak, his oldest daughter doesn't appear to respect him, his younger daughter is constantly being abused by said wife, and that's not even getting to his life outside of his home!
- Chew Toy: As detailed above, Dean gets abused a lot. He even got peed on by wild animals in the third season after trying to take his new motorcycle out for a spin!
- Extreme Doormat: Sometimes. He tries not to fuss too much, even when he's in pain (be it physical or emotional). Isabelle even calls him out on this in the third season finale.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: He and Doug may have their spats, but they're friends through and through.
- Midlife Crisis Car: Buys himself a nice motorcycle after receiving a hefty check from Isabelle's modeling contract.
- Pet the Dog: He might not be the nicest guy out there, but he is disgusted with Celia's fixation on Isabelle's weight and calls her out on putting laxatives in Isabelle's food.
- Your Cheating Heart: Celia discovers (via hidden camera) that he's been knocking the boots with his secretary.
Isabelle HodesDean and Celia's daughter.
- Daddy's Girl: She gets along with her father far better than she does with her mother. It helps that Dean doesn't put Isabelle down like Celia does.
- Hollywood Pudgy: Invoked. Celia constantly puts her on diets and puts her down on a constant basis, even though Isabelle at best is just a little pudgy and can grow out of it.
- Little Miss Snarker: She's had to develop quite the wit thanks to her screwed up home life.
- Odd Friendship: Develops one with Shane during the third season while they're stuck attending the same Christian summer school together.
- Only Sane Man: Only Sane Girl more accurately, but she definitely is far more down-to-earth than both of her parents, if not most of the other adults in Agrestic.
- Schoolgirl Lesbian: She kisses one of her female friends on the lips, is seen dancing with another girl at her graduation party, and gets excited over seeing two women kissing each other on TV.
- Weight Woe: Thanks to her vain and superficial mother.
Quinn HodesDean and Celia's eldest daughter. Was dating Silas at the start of the series until her mother shipped her off the a reform school in Mexico.
Other Agrestic Residents
Doug WilsonNancy's accountant. Works with her selling drugs.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He does a lot of idiotic things, from stealing, committing fraud,etc. However, when he gets dangerous, he gets dangerous.
- Genius Ditz: He may make a lot of stupid decisions, but he's a very competent accountant.
- Incompatible Orientation: Quite possibly. His wife Dana supposedly hated sex but loved him as a person, implying she may be asexual.
- Jerkass: Like many of his neighbors, he's pretty smug and can be mean spirited.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Occasionally will show a nicer side every once in a while.
- Your Cheating Heart: Slept with Celia.
Sanjay PatelThe final member of Nancy's initial operation. Began the series harboring a crush on Nancy only to come out as gay early in the third season.
- Bollywood Nerd: Is of Indian descent and is skinny and awkward.
- Camp Gay: After coming out.
- Nice Guy: One of the nicest people in this whole series.
Megan GravesSilas' deaf girlfriend and later wife.
- Official Couple: With Silas.
Miscellaneous characters (seasons 1-3)
Conrad JamesNancy's supplier. Worked with her as a grower in series 2.
- Only Sane Man: He sometimes plays this role to the other characters.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Constantly had to tell U-Turn and his cronies that he was not in a relationship with Nancy.
- UST: Quite often with Nancy, culminating with them kissing at one point and later on, starting a relationship in season 3.
- Where Da White Women At?: He slept with Celia once and has a lot of chemistry with Nancy.
Heylia JamesConrad's aunt and Nancy's chief supplier.
- Apron Matron: She's held the fort down herself for years and is tougher than nails.
- Sassy Black Woman: One of the snarkiest characters in the series.
Vaneeta JamesHeylia's daughter.
- Sassy Black Woman: She doesn't take kindly to being patronized by Heylia's Muslim crush.
Sullivan GroffCorrupt real estate developer who had pursued Celia and Nancy at the same time.
- Blonde Guys Are Evil: Well, he's not evil per say, but he certainly isn't a shining pillar of morality either.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: He goes around communities to set up useless buildings and homes and whatnot, then leaves once he gets what he wants.
- The Casanova: Beds Celia and Nancy at the same time.
- Pet the Dog: He does occasionally have his moments of showing genuine kindness, such as soothing Celia's insecurities over her surgical scars and giving Nancy a job because he can see she needs it really badly.
- Demoted to Extra: Granted, she wasn't exactly a central character to begin with, but as Nancy gets deeper into the drug world and the plot focuses on the other characters' relationships, Lupita gets pushed further and further into the background.
U-TurnRival dealer who trained Nancy to be his enforcer.
- Bad Boss: He treats his employees like utter crap. It comes back to bite him in the ass big time.
- Evil Mentor: Tries to train Nancy to be his enforcer.
- Faux Affably Evil: He can crack a joke here and there, but he's also a ruthless gangster.
- Killed Off for Real: Dies from his high blood pressure becoming a problem and Marvin smothering him as payback for treating him badly all the time.
MarvinU-Turn's overweight and incompetent enforcer.
- Fat Idiot: He's pretty rotund and isn't the brightest crayon in the box.
- Punch Clock Villain: He's really not a bad guy, but he will still do his job.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: He smothers U-Turn while the latter is keeling on the ground from a high blood pressure problem and Nancy is away trying to get help.
Peter ScottsonDEA agent who Nancy married.
- Dating Catwoman: He's a DEA agent who genuinely likes Nancy and even gets into a business arrangement with her. Then it all goes south.
- Despair Event Horizon: Upon finding out Nancy is using him and doesn't return his feelings.
- Killed Off for Real: Is killed by the Armenians to stop him from exposing Nancy and Conrad.
- Nice Guy: He's an earnest, if bumbling man at times.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Keep in mind, he is a trained federal agent.
Valerie ScottsonPeter's ex-wife, a radiology technician. Befriends Nancy after Peter's death.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's pretty funny and nice when you're on her good side. If you're not, watch out.
- Doctor Jerk: A downplayed example, but it's clear her problems have worn her down a bit.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Instead of trusting Nancy to pay her back Peter's pension, she hires a private investigator that Nancy's forced to pay off, depriving Valerie of her own money.
- The Woobie: In-Universe for Nancy, who takes sympathy upon Valerie after Peter's death and reaches out to her with a sympathetic hand.
Kat Wheeler (Zooey Deschanel)Andy's mentally unstable ex-girlfriend.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Frequently does odd and irrational things, hooks up with strange men and loves the strange.
Tara Linderman (Mary-Kate Olsen)Silas's fundamentalist girlfriend.
- Erudite Stoner: Often talks about religion and God while she's high.
- The Fundamentalist: She's a devout Christian and as a result, has views that Shane personally finds ridiculous.
- Granola Girl: She smokes pot plenty herself and has a very relaxed view of the world.
- Nice Girl: She's is generally sweet and well-meaning.