Deuteragonist. The second guy. No, not the Sidekick
, who follows the main character around. Not the Supporting Protagonist
, who is the main character yet not the focus of the story. Not the Decoy Protagonist
either. The second person the show revolves around.
The deuteragonist (from Greek: second actor) is the second important character in the story; the first is, of course, The Protagonist
. This person can be either with
, or against
the protagonist - thus sometimes pulling double duty as a main antagonist, though they are rarely the
primary antagonist in these scenarios. We can see how their actions drive the plot just as much as those of the protagonist. If there's another example of this trope in play following the previous one, then that character is the Tritagonist
An important aspect is that we see quite a bit of the story from this character's point of view, and that they get a good amount of screen time/pages.
Subtropes include Supporting Leader
. The Sidekick
or The Lancer
can become a deuteragonist if given enough focus on their own. In a romance story, the Official Couple
will usually be the protagonist and deuteragonist. If a character seems like a deuteragonist but doesn't get as much screentime, they're likely the Hero of Another Story
. Compare Two Lines, No Waiting
, where the plots don't actually intersect.
calls this character the Impact Character, while The Hollywood Formula
refers to this as the Relationship character.
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Anime and Manga
- Alphonse Elric from Full Metal Alchemist.
- Bleach switches the role of deuteragonist to several different characters, namely Rukia Kuchiki for the Soul Society arc and Orihime Inoue for the Hueco Mundo arc. The latest, and final arc, is seemingly setting up for Uryu Ishida to take over.
- Suzaku Kururugi from Code Geass. There is at least one interview from the creators stating that Code Geass was intended as a double narrative of Lelouch and Suzaku's stories. He even gets a spin-off "Suzaku of the Counterattack".
- C.C. and Kallen, the female leads, are the Tritagonist and the Tetragonist (though which is which is debatable).
- In Death Note, the deuteragonist is L, then later Mello and Near, all of which are also the antagonists. Misa Amane, Ryuk the shinigami, or both is the Tritagonist.
- Takamura Mamoru from Hajime No Ippo could also be considered one.
- With Itagaki Manabu and Miyata Ichiro as tritagonists.
- Batou of Ghost in the Shell. Long-time partner of The Major, he even becomes The Protagonist after The Major vanishes. Fits the role in the TV series too.
- In the first season, Togusa might be this or the tritagonist, given that he does a lot of the actual legwork in investigating The Laughing Man and tends to have more Days In The Limelight. He's also used as a foil to the rest of the cast, being more down to earth and much more of a newcomer (having been recruited recently as a police officer and having virtually no cyborg implants until the third movie). Not to mention he's almost always Locked Out of the Loop to set up The Reveal of unspoken plans (the best example being the final episode of the first season, which recaps on the events entirely from his perspective and avoids revealing the team survived and he's the last member to be brought back and debriefed until the end).
- Yang Wen-Li in Legend of Galactic Heroes, with Reinhard von Lohengramm being the protagonist.
- Jounouchi/Joey in Yu-Gi-Oh!, according to Word Of God. In the anime adaptation, Kaiba is made deuteragonist and Joey is the definite tritagonist.
- Madlax and Margaret Burton in Madlax, though it's difficult to say who is the main girl and who, the second, since technically, they are the same person in two separate bodies.
- Fate Testarossa in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.
- Depending on whom you think is The Protagonist of StrikerS, Nanoha or Subaru, the other one would be the deuteragonist.
- From Full Metal Panic, Kaname Chidori is this to the series' protagonist Sosuske Sagara. One might even say she's even the main protagonist of Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu.
- Ja Wangnan in the second season of Tower Of God.
- Krillin held this position in the first half of Dragon Ball. He lost it to Tenshinhan from the 22nd Budokai, to the end of Part 1. Master Roshi was the Tritagonist.
- Gohan in Dragon Ball Z, with Vegeta as the tritagonist. But, by the end, these positions were swapped.
- The very first Dragon Ball arc had Bulma as the deuteragonist and Yamcha as the tritagonist.
- The movies in particular are in love with switching this around. Goku himself even gets to serve in the deuteragonist role in a few of them (mainly movies 9 and 13 to Gohan and Trunks respectively) rather than his usual one of protagonist.
- Athrun Zala in the Cosmic Era timeline.
- Disputed in Destiny. Before POV shift, Destiny had Shinn as protagonist, Athrun as deuteragonist, and Kira as triteragonist. At the end, Kira is the protagonist, Athrun still deuteragonist, and Shinn is the triteragonist. On average, and in the Special edition anyway, Athrun is the main character (which is odd because he always pilots a red Gundam, while the hero's Gundam has to be white/blue/red).
- Saji Crossroad during Gundam 00's second season.
- Sasuke Uchiha develops into this near the end of the first half of Naruto. Shippuden has had some full length arcs with Sasuke as the lead character and he plays a very important role in Naruto's motives.
- In Busou Renkin, Tokiko, and to a lesser extent, Papillion.
- To Aru Majutsu no Index has Accelerator (eventually) as the deuteragonist and much later Hamazura as tritagonist..
- Homura Akemi of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
- Sayaka would be the Tritagonist and Kyouko the Tetragonist.
- The deuteragonist shifts in Weiss Kreuz. Omi holds the title for Kapitel, Sena does for Gluhen, and Ken takes over for Side B. Youji, meanwhile, only ever gets as high as the tritagonist in Gluhen.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has a different one depending on what part of the story you're in. The first part it's Kamina (who is also the Decoy Protagonist), the second it's Nia, the third it's Rossiu and then Viral.
- Ryohou in the first half of Scryed. In the second half, he's a true joint protagonist with Kazuma.
- Detective Conan— in Osaka arcs Heiji is often this, while in Non Serial Movies deuteragonists has become a common scene—some use recurring characters, but some used One Shot Characters.
- Zatch Bell's book owner Kiyo Takamine definitely counts.
- Blood+ has Kai as the deuteragonist to Saya's protagonist. David is the tritagonist.
- In Ranma ½, Akane Tendo is the deuteragonist with Ryoga as the tritagonist.
- In Tiger & Bunny, Barnaby is the Deuteragonist to his partner Kotetsu's Hero Protagonist. Their screen-time division is about 40% and 60% respectively; Barnaby's past and involvement with the show's Big Bad is what leads to Kotetsu being drawn into the main plot. Kotetsu is effectively the catalyst for the emotions, ideals and philosophies that the story tries to put across while Barnaby provides the drive for the plot.
- Meeting, and subsequently providing shelter to, Tokito Minoru from Wild Adapter is the reason Anti-Hero protagonist Kubota Makoto becomes involved in the plot proper. Page-time division is something like 45% and 55%, especially later on in the story where Tokito becomes more and more involved with Kubota's life and vice-versa.
- The Steel Ball Run arc of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has an interesting variant. Johnny Joestar and Gyro Zeppeli share the protagonist role equally for the first 21 volumes, but Gyro dies at the hands of the arc's Big Bad after failing to defeat him, leading to Johnny taking the spotlight completely in the last 3 volumes.
- Another anomalous example can be seen in Get Backers. Due to the anime being produced while the manga was less than halfway through its storyline, Ban, who's past and personality is explored much later on in the manga than his partner and best friend Ginji's, appears to be a cross between the Deuteragonist and The Artifact. In the manga he is the Deuteragonist during the first 12 or so volumes, but is later promoted to share the protagonist role with Ginji.
- Makise Kurisu in Steins;Gate, but more so in the second half.
- Chrono in the manga version of Chrono Crusade, while Rosette Christopher is the protagonist.
- Reki from Haibane Renmei. Initially she serves as a mentor to protagonist Rakka, but it soon becomes clear she has a whole story of her own.
- Starting from the Advance Generation series onward, Pokémon isn't just about Ash Ketchum anymore. His female companions (May during the aforementioned AG saga, and later Dawn) also get their focus by having a quest running concurrently with Ash's.
- In Pokémon Special, Sapphire in the RS chapter, White in the BW. In the Sinnoh-based chapters, it's a little hard to say who among Dia, Pearl, and Platinum have this role seeing how the focus is on all of them near equally.
- Griffith from Berserk plays this role, as well as being the main antagonist of the story.
- Kotomine Kirei from Fate/Zero is the Deuteragonist to Emiya Kiritsugu's Protagonist, with Waver Velvet being the Tritagonist.
- In 3-gatsu no Lion, the narrative implies early on that it would be either of the two eldest Kawamoto sisters, Akari and Hina. Once the character gets their own story arc well into the series run that does not intrinsically involve Rei until he steps in to help with their problems, the deuteragonist is made clear. It's Hina, who begins to go through some rather nasty bullying problems, leaving Rei to prevent her developing trauma.
- Syaoran Li gradually evolves into one in Cardcaptor Sakura, especially in the anime adaptation where he gets numerous spotlight episodes and almost as much Sympathetic P.O.V. and Character Development as Sakura herself.
- Killua from Hunter × Hunter.
- Ookiku Furikabutte is just much about Abe Takaya as it is about the main character, Mihashi Ren.
- Medaka Box: Kumagawa Misogi to the Official Couple. As the Arch-Enemy, his storyline has continued to be linked with Medaka and Zenkichi as well as expanding on his character.
- Destro from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. Although to be honest, the old Larry Hama comics are chock full of deuteragonists and tritagonists. Destro was the villain who wasn't so villainous, who had a code of honor, and who we very often see stories told through his Point-Of-View, so much to the point where we have two views of the evil Cobra organization - first through the eyes of the G.I. Joes, and second through the eyes of Destro, the arms dealer.
- In Batman Year One Jim Gordon is the deuteragonist of the story along with Batman. Although as the story is essentially a retelling of Batman's origin with a large amount of focus put on Gordon's first year as a member of the Gotham City Police Department, the two are optional for both positions.
- In the Knights Of The Old Republic comic, Zayne Carrick is the protagonist and Jarael is the deuteragonist. Particularly noteworthy is that the comic's arcs come to center as much around Jarael's personal journey as Zayne's, and while the main villains of the first major arc are Zayne's Evil Mentor and Evil Countperpart, the main villains of the second major arc are Jarael's. The third main character, Marn Hierogryph, is by contrast defined mostly by his interactions with Zayne.
- Star Wars
- Darth Vader is this in the series as whole (though Lucas disagrees), serving as the Tragic Hero of the first trilogy, while the second trilogy charts his time as The Dragon up until his final redemption. Ultimately Luke Skywalker is the protagonist of the whole series, with the first trilogy ending at his birth and the second trilogy ending with his heroic triumph.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequel trilogy, with Yoda as the tritagonist.
- Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story films, with Woody as the main protagonist and Jessie is the tritagonist.
- Old Man Marley in Home Alone, The Pigeon Lady in Lost in New York, and Mrs. Hess in 3, with Kevin as the protagonist in 1 & 2 and Alex in 3, and their parents as the tritagonist.
- Jack Sparrow was originally supposed to be the Deuteragonist in the original Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy, with Will as the Protagonist, but Jack's popularity just took off. In the end, Jack became the Protagonist, Will the Deuteragonist, and Elizabeth the Tritagonist.
- Lois Lane in Superman I, II and Returns, Gus Gorman in III and Lacy Warfield in IV, with Superman/Clark Kent as the main protagonist of the series.
- Zaltar is Supergirl, with Kara/Supergirl as the main protagonist and Ethan as the tritagonist.
- Robin in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, with Chase Meridian as the tritagonist in Forever.
- Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins, Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, and John Blake in The Dark Knight Rises, with Batman/Bruce Wayne as the main protagonist and James Gordon as the tritagonist.
- Will Rodman in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Caesar is the real protagonist.
- Thao in the Gran Torino, as the character who develops alongside Walt.
- Annie Hall in Annie Hall, despite being the title character. She is the protagonist's Love Interest.
- Ellis Boyd Redding in The Shawshank Redemption, also serving as Supporting Protagonist.
- Flynn Ryder in Tangled.
- Doc Brown is this to Marty McFly in the Back to the Future films.
- Vanellope Von Schweetz in Wreck It Ralph, with Fix-It Felix as the Tritagonist and Sgt. Calhoun as Tetragonist.
- Sam Gamgee in Lord of the Rings, with Aragorn as the tritagonist.
- Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit, with Gandalf as the tritagonist.
- Edward Cullen from Twilight. He is the main love interest of the heroine and protagonist, Bella.
- Bella is the main protagonist, Edward is the deuteragonist, and Jacob is the tritagonist.
- The Social Network: Eduardo Saverin to Mark Zuckerberg's Protagonist.
- In Double Take, Freddie Tiffany is the obvious Deuteragonist to Daryl Chase's Protagonist, being the titular Double.
- Brian O'Conner serves as this to Dominic "Dom" Toretto in The Fast and the Furious films beginning with the fourth installment; an inverse of their roles in the original movie where Brian was clearly the protagonist and Dom was the deuteragonist. Luke Hobbs serves as the tritagonist to the two of them in films five and six. The second and third movies change things up a little, since Dom is not in 2 Fast 2 Furious and Brian is not in Tokyo Drift (Dom only briefly appears). In the second, Roman Pearce is the deuteragonist to Brian while in the third film Twinkie is the deuteragonist to protagonist Sean Boswell.
- Loki moves the plot along in Thor as much as his brother as for most of the movie he is wrapped up with his own story that doesn't intersect with Thor's perfectly. At the end everything converges and Loki must bear the consequences of his actions.
- Spock in Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. While Kirk is still the protagonist, McCoy's role in the Power Trio is downplayed in favor of focusing on Kirk and Spock's friendship and growth.
- Holly Short from the Artemis Fowl series, especially in the first two book before she teams up with Artemis, she acts as a Hero Antagonist in contrast to Artemis's intial role as Villain Protagonist, during this period the story revolves around her almost as much as with Artemis and the readers are made to sympathise with her. It is more evident in the Graphic Novels where she serves as the second narrator in the stories.
- Will Parry in the His Dark Materials trilogy shares the spotlight with Lyra when he's introduced in the second book.
- Melanie Stryder in The Host
- Thirteen Reasons Why switches between Hannah Baker, who's narrating a series of tapes, and Clay, the boy who listens to them, responds to them, and confronts the people mentioned in them. Oh, and the tapes are Hannah's suicide note to the people who convinced her to kill herself. The book is as morbid as it sounds. It sold extremely well, met rave reviews, and is getting a film adaptation.
- Mikael Blomkvist in The Millennium Trilogy. He and Lisbeth Salander are developed quite a bit as separate characters, but once they team up the plot centers around them both.
- Edward Cullen in Twilight
- Bella is the protagonist.
- Jacob Black is the tritagonist.
- In the first Mistborn book, Kelsier is the deuteragonist (while he's actually introduced first of the main characters, and is the Big Good, most of the POVs end up revolving around his protege Vin). After he dies, Vin remains The Protagonist while Elend takes up the role of deuteragonist and Sazed gets promoted to tritagonist.
- In the same author's Elantris, Prince Raoden is The Protagonist, Sarene is the deuteragonist, and Hrathen is the tritagonist.
- All of Brandon Sanderson's fantasy books utilize this trope, such as Warbreaker, where Vivenna is the protagonist, Siri is the deuteragonist, and Lightsong is the tritagonist, and The Way of Kings, where Kaladin is the protagonist, Shallan is the deuteragonist, and Dalinar is the tritagonist (the latter two get about the same amount of pagetime, but Shallan is introduced first).
- Discworld has a number of perennial deuteragonists, including Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson (in the stories featuring Sam Vimes as the protagonist), Nanny Ogg (in stories focusing on Granny Weatherwax), and even Death himself (in the stories primarily centered around his granddaughter, Susan).
- In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Jim plays this role to Huck, with Tom Sawyer as the tritagonist.
- In PC Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, Torisen is the deuteragonist to Jame's protagonist from the second book and onwards.
- Kahlan Amnell in the Sword of Truth series, with Richard as the protagonist and Zedd as the tritagonist. In the seventh book, Oba Rahl becomes this.note In the Chainfire Trilogy, it is uncertain who is what, given the shifting of roles, but the top three are definitely Richard, Kahlan, and Nicci in some order.
- Roran Stronghammer in Inheritance Cycle, with Eragon as the protagonist and Murtagh as the tritagonist, according to Word Of God. Other possible interpretations include Eragon > Saphira > Roran, Eragon/Saphira > Roran > Murtagh, and Eragon > Roran > Nasuada.
- Skulduggery himself in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, with Stephanie/Valkyrie as the protagonist. The tritagonist is swiched between the books.
- The Wheel of Time has several tiers of this going on, owing to its sprawling nature and Loads and Loads of Characters:
- Rand is the main character and obviously the protagonist.
- Perrin, Mat, and Egwene, peers of Rand from the same village who follow parallel story arcs, are clearly deuteragonists.
- Nynaeve, Elayne, Aviendha, Min, and Lan also hold down their own subplots, but get less focus than the above, making them more solidly tritagonists.
- Pretty much everyone else is either a supporting character or antagonist to at least one of the above.
- Fisk, in the Knight and Rogue Series, since he's 'just' the squire while Michael is the knight.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is the protagonist, Sam is the deuteragonist, and Aragorn is the tritagonist.
- In Tolkien's The Children Of Hurin, though Niënor isn't introduced as a major player until about two thirds of the way through, owing to the approx. ten year age gap between herself and her brother Túrin (the protagonist), once she does show up, she slips into this role.
- The eponymous unicorn in Cerberon is a very close second to George, who is the protagonist for most of the story. After George and Margaret are betrothed, and especially once they leave Aeronweyir for America, Cerberon becomes the protagonist, with George taking on a secondary role.
- Lt. Vincent D'Agosta in the Agent Pendergast novels, serving as the one to protagonist Margo Green in Relic and Reliquary with Pendergast himself as the tritagonist. D'Agosta serves in this role as well for the other novels he appears after Pendergast takes over as the protagonist.
- Additionally, other characters have also served in deuteragonist/tritagonist roles in the books. In The Cabinet Of Curiosities Nora Kelly is the deuteragonist, with William Smithback as the tritagonist, in the novel Thunderhead Kelly was the protagonist and Smithback was the deuteragonist, and in Cemetary Dance Kelly is the tritagonist to Pendergast and D'Agosta. In Still Life With Crows Corrie Swanson serves as the deuteragonist with Sheriff Hazen as the tritagonist. In Brimstone Laura Hayward serves as the tritagonist to Pendergast and D'Agosta. Constance Greene acts as the deuteragonist in The Wheel Of Darkness.
- Septimus Heap: Jenna Heap. Especially in Physik she does get the major plot-driving role.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden is the protagonist and Karrin Murphy is the deuteragonist, being the only other human character to be a substantial presence in every book in the series (even Dead Beat, where she barely appeared, still had her actions in the previous book as the impetus for a subplot). The tritagonist position tends to vary from book to book, but after book eight or so it tends to be either Thomas Raith or Molly Carpenter.
- In the Mediochre Q Seth Series, Mediochre is the protagonist and Charlotte Johnson is the deuteragonist. The positions of tritagonist and tetragonist go to Joseph Carrion and Dhampinella respectively.
- Song at Dawn': Estela and Dragonetz share the spotlight because the story follows the former but the plot is centered on the later.
- In Brimstone Angels, Word Of God explicitly describes Lorcan (the devil who heroine Farideh made a pact with) as the deuteragonist. Who fills the tritagonist position isn't as explicitly described, but it's probably Farideh's twin sister Havilar.
Live Action TV
- Sarah on My Babysitters A Vampire. She's also the love interest of the protagonist.
- 24: Depending on who you ask, either David Palmer or Tony Almeida serves as the Deuteragonist in the first four seasons, with the other being the Tritagonist. In the latter four seasons, however, things get more mixed up:
- In Seasons 5 and 6, the Deuteragonist is Chloe O'Brian, with Bill Buchanan as the Tritagonist.
- In Season 7, Renee Walker becomes the Deuteragonist. Either Tony and Allison Taylor share the role of the Tritagonist with Chloe as the Tetragonist, or Chloe and Tony share the role as the Tetragonist with Allison Taylor as the Tritagonist.
- In Season 8, Chloe is back to being the Deuteragonist, with Allison Taylor as the Tritagonist and Cole Ortiz as the Tetragonist. Renee shares a role with either Cole or Taylor.
- Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock, with Tracy as the Triagonist.
- Londo in Babylon 5. Word Of God has even said the story is almost as much about Londo as about Sheridan.
- Jesse Pinkman is the deuteragonist to Walter White's protagonist in Breaking Bad.
- Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer for its first three seasons, before he spun off to his own show.
- Debra Morgan in Dexter
- In Doctor Who, the Doctor's companion (when there's only one of them, anyway) fulfills this role.
- When there's two companions the second will always serve as the tritagonist, such as Harry Sullivan to the Fourth Doctor (protagonist) and Sarah Jane Smith (deuteragonist) in season 12 of the original series or Rory Williams to the Eleventh Doctor (protagonist) and Amy Pond (deuteragonist) in series 5-7 of the revival.
- Gwen Cooper in Torchwood.
- River in Firefly, as a substantial number of episodes in the series' short run centered around her. It became much more clear that River was the second protagonist during Serenity.
- Fringe has Peter Bishop and Walter Bishop respectively acting as the deuteragonist and the tritagonist to protagonist Olivia Dunham.
- Game of Thrones has Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen both engaged in their own stories that are almost completely independent of the eponymous game of thrones.
- In Grimm we have Captain Sean Renard.
- Depending on who you view as the protagonist, either Lorelai or Rory on Gilmore Girls.
- Spencer in iCarly
- The Inspector Lynley Mysteries has Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, in a rare example of an Inspector's partner being this. Unlike most non-protagonist detective sergeants in British mystery fiction, Havers' storyline gets almost as much focus as the titular protagonist's right from the get-go. In addition, though she frequently acts as The Watson to her partner, it isn't uncommon for him to act as The Watson to her (for instance, the majority of "Natural Causes", or the caravan site in "One Guilty Deed"). This very trope has been cited as one of the things that sets this series apart from other Detective Dramas of its kind, and as one of the best aspects of the show.
- In Justified local gang boss Boyd Crowder is the deuteragonist to U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens' protagonist.
- In Jyuken Sentai Gekiranger the villains Rio and Mele are just as important to the story as the main heroes.
- This really is a staple of the more recent Kamen Rider series as to date, all of them have a secondary protagonist who provide as much if not more importance to the storyline as the titular character from their respective series. These second protagonists aren't necessarily the Second Riders that are another staple of the franchise and many aren't even Riders in the first place.
- Prince and later King Arthur from Merlin had his journey from being a Jerk Jock “Well Done Son” Guy to The Wise Prince and later The Good King parallel Merlin's development from his Hypercompetent Sidekick/Beleaguered Assistant to The Good Chancellor.
- Morgana is the tritagonist as well as antagonist. A big part of the plot is about her rise from a young person who struggles with her magic in a kingdom hostile to her kind to High Priestess, which parallels Merlin's rise in power but is on the opposite side of the conflict.
- Angela's parents in My So-Called Life.
- Noob has the eponymous low-level guild as the protagonist ensemble. The only other full team from their faction ever seen is the main roster from the high-level Justice guild, that is used to depict the elite's gaming life and have enough importance in the story to have their own rivals be semi-regular characters.
- Gus in Psych is a wonderful example.
- Which would make Juliet the tritagonist, and Lasseter the... qua...tragonist?
- Turk in Scrubs, along with Elliot as the tritagonist.
- John in the BBC's Sherlock; he doubles as The Lancer.
- Shane Vendrell to Vic Mackey's Protagonist on The Shield.
- Spock emerges as the deuteragonist of Star Trek: The Original Series fairly early on; David Gerrold has said that the show was originally supposed to be about "Kirk and X", where character "X" would alternate every week, but Spock was repeatedly placed in that position, and it stuck. This trend was amplified in the movies, and especially in the reboot. (In fact, in the reboot, Spock can be said to be the deuteragonist and the tritagonist). McCoy, on the other hand, despite being the third member of the Power Trio, is defined largely by his interactions with Kirk and Spock.
- Though Star Trek: The Next Generation seemed to establish Riker as the deuteragonist at first (Kirk-ish personality, expy of would-be Star Trek: Phase II deuteragonist Willard Decker, and Jonathan Frakes having star billing alongside Patrick Stewart), he was quickly usurped by Data. This was readily apparent in the movies, which amounted to Picard and Data having grand adventures among talking set-pieces.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager both introduced their deuteragonist in the fourth season: Worf and Seven of Nine, respectively. In both cases, this resulted in the previous deuteragonist (Kira and the Doctor, respectively) being demoted to tritagonist.
- Dean Winchester from Supernatural. He was originally the deuteragonist to Sam, who was the focal character and protagonist, especially from Season's 1 to 6.
- John (Sam and Dean's father) was seen as the tritagonist in Season's 1 to 2;
- Bobby was the tritagonist in the later seasons (Season's 5 to 7)
- Castiel can be seen as a tritagonist in the current seasons after Bobby's death (Season's 7 and 8).
- Joseph Bede from The Shadow Line. His drug deal gets a lot of focus over the entire series, despite only rarely intersecting with protagonist Jonah Gabriel's investigation into Harvey Wratten's death. In addition, Gatehouse is a tritagonist.
- If you can apply this to a group of people, then the focus of each season apart from the Major Case Squad: the dock workers (season 2), Bunny Colvin and his people (season 3), the middle-school kids (season 4), and the newspaper people (season 5).
- You can also make a good case for Frank Sobatka and Stringer Bell being the Deuteragonist for seasons 2 and 3 respectively.
- D'Angelo Barksdale in the first season of The Wire.
- Arguably, Sam from True Blood. In the third, fourth, and half of the fifth season, his storylines didn't intersect with Sookie's at all.
- Ultraman has this example before even Kamen Rider. Ultraman Agul/Hiroya Fujimiya from Ultraman Gaia is the first and most notable. Later Ultraman Nexus would have Himeya Jun, later replaced by Senjyu Ren.
- Yuukou Minami in Ultraman Ace, until she left TAC.
- Captain Dan Moroboshi in Ultraman Leo with Tohru as the tritagonist. In Episode 40, Commander Black becomes the Deuteragonist.
- Stefan Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries is more of a deuteragonist to Elena, who is the protagonist of the series. Stefan is also the hero as well as the narrator of the series (he's the one telling the story) while Elena is the heroine of the series. Damon can be seen as the tritagonist (as well as the anti-hero) of the show.
- Elena is the main protagonist, Stefan is the deuteragonist and Damon is the tritagonist.
- Niles Crane in Frasier, especially after the early seasons.
- It's pretty safe to say Barney becomes this in later seasons of How I Met Your Mother when he starts recieving a massive amount of Character Development.
- Allison Argent from Teen Wolf. She is the main female character and serves as the love interest of the hero and protagonist of the series, Scott.
- Scott is the main protagonist, Allison is the deuteragonist and Stiles is the tritagonist. Although some fans would argue that Derek is indeed the tritagonist.
- Nathan Scott from One Tree Hill served as this to Lucas' protagonist in the first 6 seasons. Later on in the series after Lucas left, Nathan became The Hero and protagonist.
- From Season's 1 to 6, Lucas is the main protagonist, Nathan is the deuteragonist and Peyton is the tritagonist.
- From Season's 7 to 9, Nathan is the protagonist, Haley is the deuteragonist and Brooke is the tritagonist.
- Joey Potter from Dawson's Creek. She was the main female character. She also served as the main love interest of the series protagonist, Dawson. In fact, she was the only character to appear in every single episode of the show's six-season run; not even the title character has that distinction.
- Dawson is the main protagonist, Joey is the deuteragonist and Pacey is the tritagonist.
- Ally from Austin & Ally is the central character of the tv show, but the in-universe plot revolves around the Austin character becoming a famous musician. While Ally continues to have stage fright and stick to the shadows to write the songs for Austin she will be an in-universe deuteragonist to his protagonist.
- Booth is the deuteragonist of Bones, with the title character as the protagonist. He's also the Love Interest.
- Ryan O'Reily is the deuteragonist to Tobias Beecher's protagonist and Miguel Alvarez's tritagonist on Oz.
- In Monk, Sharona Flemming serves as the deuteragonist to the title character for the first two and half seasons, with Natalie Teeger serving in the role for the remainder of the show. Leland Stottlemeyer is the tritagonist and Randy Disher is the tetragonist.
- The Arbiter (Thel 'Vadam) in Halo; He's the main character in several levels of Halo 2, and fights beside Master Chief in Halo 3.
- Alyx Vance in Half-Life 2.
- Almaz in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice.
- Zero in the Mega Man X series, especially starting at around X4. He even takes over as the main character in the Sequel Series, Mega Man Zero, after X disappears.
- Axl, debuting in X7, is the X series' tritagonist. Notably, X7 and X8 are (more) focused on him than X or Zero.
- In the Tokimeki Memorial series, and if discounting the main male protagonist:
- 1 : Yukari was planned as this to Shiori in the initial development stages of the game, but the idea was ultimately scrapped, and Shiori remained the sole main heroine ;
- 4 : Yuu (to Maki) ;
- Drama Series Vol. 3 : Tabidachi no Uta : Miharu (to Shiori), if going the Miharu route ;
- Substories 1 : Dancing Summer Vacation : Kaori, or the Shirayuki twins (to Miyuki), depending on which one you choose as Miyuki's DDR partner.
- Rena or Claude in Star Ocean The Second Story, depending on which of the two you choose as the main character at the beginning.
- Luigi fits this role in many Super Mario games, especially in the early ones, where he was playable as a sprite recolor of Mario. He still has that role in many of the recent Mario games, having just as big of a role as Mario in the Mario And Luigi games, and even appearing in both Super Mario Galaxy games as an alternative to playing Mario. It's not called Super Mario Bros without a reason, y'know. Bowser is another recent example, strangely enough, having his own separate storyline in Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door and technically being the the real hero of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story.
- Princess Zelda for the most part is this in The Legend of Zelda series naturally. In some games, however, she's the Tritagonist, while characters like Midna or Linebeck serve as the Deuteragonist.
- Riku in Kingdom Hearts has progressively become this, starting with Chain of Memories, where he takes over as the playable character in his own story once Sora's story finishes, and cemented past Kingdom Hearts II.
- Miles Edgeworth plays an important role in the plot of the first two Ace Attorney games (as well as a minor role in the third), and the fifth and sixth games feature him as the player character. The series' face, however, will forever be Phoenix Wright.
- In Final Fantasy VI it's hard to tell who the primary protagonist is among Terra, Celes, and Locke. But there is a pro-, deuter-, and tritagonist, make no mistake.
- Final Fantasy VII had Aerith in this role, while Barret and Tifa were pretty evenly tied as the tritagonists. Once Aerith dies, Tifa steps into the deuteragonist role, leaving Barret as the sole Tritagonist.
- Final Fantasy VIII has two major candidates for this trope, depending on perspective.
- On one hand, Square officially considers Laguna Loire to be the deuteragonist. The manual emphasizes this as his role, with its summary of the storyline placing special note on how the story is of his and Squall's fates intertwining with each other (it's heavily implied that Laguna is Squall's father), as well as listing the two on the same page. In addition, Laguna is responsible for and involved in many crucial aspects of the game's backstory, and he was added as the new VIII representative in Dissidia Duodecim. The creators made him with the intent of his being an "alternate protagonist".
- On the other hand, among fans it is usually Rinoa who is considered the deuteragonist, due to her prominence in the game itself as the heroine, her and Squall's romance being a major part of the storyline, as well as her overall popularity. It also helps that she is a permanent party member, unlike Laguna who is only playable during the flashback sequences.
- Final Fantasy IX has Garnet and Vivi. Which one is the Deuteragonist or Tritagonist depends on your point of view.
- Yuna is this to Tidus of Final Fantasy X. She even tells him, "It's your story, but it's my story too."
- While formerly The Big Guy of the Five-Man Band, Augustus Cole is promoted to this at the start of Gears of War 3. The second half of the first Act is played from his perspective, and is the only time in all three campaigns that player 1 isn't controlling Marcus Fenix.
- Touhou is a bit odd with this. Theoretically Reimu is the protagonist and Marisa the deuteragonist, but Marisa actually gets more appearances outside of the main games (while they're tied in the games). Reverse-wise, the games put Sakuya and later Sanae as the tritagonist, but this hasn't extended to the side material (where most of the story is).
- In Final Fantasy Tactics, it's Delita Heiral, the former best friend of Ramza Beolve who's actions play a major part in shaping the plot. The story is his as much as it is Ramza's, with them taking divergent paths that nonetheless criss-cross throughout the game from start to finish.
- Dragon Age
- Dragon Age: Origins has Alistair and Morrigan as possible Deuteragonist and Tritagonist, which is which is naturally open to debate.
- Varric Tethras of Dragon Age II prefers to masquerade as an ordinary party member and The Ishmael to Hawke, but if you think about it, his impact on the plot is almost as significant as Hawke's own.
- This is because while Varric is part of the story, he acknowledges that he doesn't make a very good leading man, which is crucial to him as a storyteller.
- Liara T'Soni, Tali'Zorah, and Garrus Vakarian all arguably share this role in the Mass Effect trilogy, especially in Mass Effect 3, though Liara probably slightly more so than the other two because she has about equal importance in the game more importance in the Expanded Universe due to getting her own comic and briefly appearing in Paragon Lost. There's also another way to interpret it:
- Liara is the Deuteragonist and Garrus shares the role of the Tritagonist with Tali, since both of them are the only squadmates who can be with Shepard the entire time and his closest and most loyal friends. The Tetragonist, if there is one, is completely up for debate (Wrex, Illusive Man, et cetera)
- Ashley/Kaidan is also open to debate (in the first game for example, the one who doesn't die is clearly supposed to be the deuteragonist), and despite a reduced role in part two has as much an important role as Garrus and Tali in the third. Liara is indeed the most common case of the deuteragonist role, but depending on the player's actions and relationships she can arguably be usurped from it and bumped down to tritagonist. A lot of this really depends on how the player plays the game.
- In the Modern Warfare series, John Price, "Soap" MacTavish, and whoever is the "other" player character frequently switch off depending on the game; it is generally easiest to tell who is the protagonist by whomever you control in the final level. In order:
- In the first game, Soap was the protagonist, with Price playing deuteragonist and Sergeant Jackson playing tritagonist.
- In the second, Soap was again the protagonist, with Price again playing deuteragonist and Roach and Ramirez playing tritagonist.
- In the third, Price became the primary protagonist, with Yuri being the deuteragonist and Soap and Frost serving as tritagonist.
- In Call of Duty: Black Ops, Mason is the protagonist, Hudson is the deuteragonist, Woods and Reznov are the tritagonists.
- In Call Of Duty Black Ops 2, in the flashback, Woods is promoted to deuteragonist since most of the past is narrated by him, but you still play all save one of the missions as Alex Mason.
- For the 2025 story, David Mason is the protagonist, Mike Harper is the deuteragonist, Javier Salazar and Admiral Briggs (probably Crosby too) are the tritagonists.
- Bentley from the Sly Cooper series. Especially by the third game, Honor Among Thieves. He's even the only other character aside from Sly to have a voiceover narration in the cutscenes.
- Jack and Leo from Anarchy Reigns. Both gets an equal amount of focus, and you have to play both sides of the single player campaign.
- Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite after Booker frees her from captivity early in the game.
- The Metal Gear Solid games are pretty complicated in this respect:
- The first game the deuteragonist is either Liquid Snake, Meryl, or Otacon, with the other two serving in the roles of tritagonist and tetragonist.
- The second game is an interesting case, as Raiden is the Protagonist while Snake is the deuteragonist... at least that should be the case. Hideo Kojima actually states that Raiden is really a Supporting Protagonist while Snake is still the main hero.
- In the third game, Naked Snake is the protagonist, The Boss is the deuteragonist, and EVA is the tritagonist.
- In the fourth, Snake is the protagonist, Otacon is the deuteragonist, Liquid Ocelot is the tritagonist, and Raiden is the tetragonist.
- Fate/Stay Night's Kotomine Kirei is a pretty obvious villain from the moment he first appears. However, it is not clear until Heavens Feel just how much he has truly shaped the plot of the series. Following slightly behind him as the tritagonist, Rin Tohsaka is one of the primary heroines (though not necessarily love interest). She's the only character besides Shirou who gets first-person P.O.V. scenes, and plays a major role in every route of the game (unlike the other villains and supporting characters, whose role may be significantly downplayed).
- Houzuki in Sharin No Kuni is Kenichi's mentor figure and guides him along from point to point in the story while forcing Kyousuke to confront his own past and his future. While he's Kenichi's boss, supervisor and even a father figure of sorts, he's also clearly the antagonist of the story due to his harsh methods and later even becomes the villain. The identity of the tritagonist is much less clear: The main heroine that the story is focused around is Natsumi, but the person who really shaped Kenichi into who he is is his sister Ririko who has been following him around the whole time.
- Kyousuke is the protagonist of G Senjou No Maou followed by main heroine Usami Heroine and antagonist Maou. Usami is almost a second protagonist and her introduction to the story starts off the plot with her obsession with both justice and revenge with Kyousuke acting as something of an actor for her. Maou, the tritagonist, is the villain of the story and is a criminal mastermind who killed Usami's mother and has a suspicious connection to Kyousuke. There's even a tetragonist: Azai Gonzou, Kyousuke's badass yakuza father, who is the primary target of Maou's schemes.
- Faye from Questionable Content.
- In The Order of the Stick, Haley and Elan more or less take turns as deuteragonist and tritagonist.
- Start of Darkness fits this perfectly: Redcloak is the protagonist, Xykon is the deuteragonist and antagonist, and Right-Eye is the tritagonist.
- According to Word Of God, Karkat is the Deuteragonist in Homestuck to Protagonist John, as he takes the role of John's foil when the focus shifts off of the kids and onto the trolls. When the series shifts yet again to a second set of kids, Jane becomes the series' Tritagonist.
- Arguably, Meenah is the tetragonist of the Openbound arc.
- Minx, daughter of protagonist Battlecat, is the deuteragonist of Night Life in the Big Easy.
- Red vs. Blue has several characters who play the role of Deuteragonist to Protagonist Leonard Church depending on the season:
- The Recollection Trilogy (Seasons 6-8) has Agent Washington.
- Revelation (Season 8) has Agent Texas, with Agent Washington serving as a villainous Tritagonist for most of it.
- Seasons 9 and 10 have Agent Carolina, with Agent Texas serving as the Tritagonist.
- Jake is this for Finn in Adventure Time.
- Buena Girl is this for Rikochet in ˇMucha Lucha!
- Zuko and Katara from Avatar The Last Airbender are both the deuteragonists of the series, with Sokka as the tritagonist.
- You could equally argue Katara and Toph share a position of tritagonist with Sokka.
- Riley Freeman on The Boondocks, with his older brother Huey as Protagonist and their grandfather Robert as Tritagonist.
- Daria: The titular character's sister Quinn serves as the deuteragonist of the series.
- Daria's best friend Jane is probably a better example, with Quinn as the tritagonist.
- Helga on Hey Arnold!, to Arnold himself.
- Dib to Invader Zim, of the opposing kind.
- Rufus and Amberley of The Dreamstone, much like Dib, flip flop between being this or Hero Antagonists to the Urpneys depending on the episode.
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders are collectively the deuteragonist cast of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. As far as the primary cast goes, Twilight is the protagonist, while the remaining five are equally deuteragonistic (with Spike following closely behind as the tritagonist).
- Oliver & Company: Dodger to Oliver.
- Teen Titans tended to focus on one character per seasonal arc as the protagonist, but a couple of them had Deuteragonists as well- notably, Beast Boy was the Deuteragonist to Terra's Protagonist in season 2, and Robin was the Deuteragonist to Raven's Protagonist in season 4.
- Trevor Goodchild of Ćon Flux.
- In Gargoyles, Goliath is clearly the protagonist (Word Of God even describes him as the prism through which all of the other characters were viewed), with Elisa Maza and the deuteragonist and Brooklyn as the tritagonist (except during the Avalon World Tour arc, when Brooklyn is Out of Focus along with the other non-Goliath clan members and Angela takes over as tritagonist).