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Characters / Alias

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Characters in the TV series Alias.

Due to the insanely ambiguous nature of every and all characters involved, they will simply be listed under very broad "Good Guys" and "Bad Guys" - some more, some less obvious than others.

The Organizations:

  • CIA: The Central Intelligence Agency - The most obvious "Good Guys" in the series, since most of the main cast are affiliated with them.
  • Alliance of Twelve: An organized crime collective formed of elite veteran intelligence operatives. They mainly deal with weapons, intelligence and occasional blackmail. The Alliance operates individually via twelve "SD" cells, with only the leaders of each cell acting as "senior partners" of the Alliance itself.
  • SD-6: The Alliance SD cell headed by Arvin Sloane. The cell poses as an elite CIA black-ops division, and it's this ruse that Sloane uses to recruit new operatives.
  • The Man: A mysterious crime organization headed by the mysterious "Man", they seek to apparently destroy all competition (Alliance of Twelve included) as well as oppose the CIA.
  • The Covenant: A terrorist organization formed by former KGB and Central Committee operatives following the fall of the Soviet Union. They are followers of Rambaldi, albeit extremists of the worst kind.
  • APO: Authorized Personnel Only - a covert black ops joint task force created by the CIA and Arvin Sloane to put a dampen on international terrorists. In truth, the organization was truly formed for the sole purpose of capturing Elena Derevko, the true leader of the Covenant.
  • Prophet Five: An extremely powerful organization compromised of twelve individuals, they are essentially a "step-up" of the Alliance of Twelve. Their influence is nearly limitless as it their power. Much like the Alliance, they too operate through individual cells posing as covert CIA installations.
  • The Shed: One of Prophet Five's fake CIA cells, led by Gordon Dean and Kelley Peyton.
  • K-Directorate: A criminal society founded by former members of the KGB and the Russian Mafia. They are in direct competition with the Alliance of Twelve and FTL.
  • FTL: A criminal organization founded by members rooted in Chinese intelligence and the Triad. Despite competing with the Alliance and K-Directorate for nearly as long as the two organizations existed, the entirety of FTL was destroyed single-handedly by Sark.
  • Followers of Milo Rambaldi: Anyone who bears the "Eye of Rambaldi" (a tattoo) on their body is a devotee of the prophet and inventor Milo Rambaldi. There are followers of him found in all of the above organizations, but most of them are part of the Covenant.
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     The Good Guys: 

Sydney Bristow

Portrayed by: Jennifer Garner

Affiliations: SD-6 / CIA / APO

The main character. Looking for a sense of "self-fulfillment" in her life, she was recruited from grad school into what she believed was a CIA black-ops unit called SD-6, but was actually a terrorist organization. Upon learning the truth she joins up with the real CIA to bring down the Alliance from within as a double-agent.

  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Sydney spends a lot of the first half of season 3 about the murder she's been told she committed during the two years she doesn't remember, and considerably less angsting about the one that she did commit.
  • Babies Ever After: Although Sydney's first child, Isabelle is a crucial part of the show's last season, the series finale episode adds another child for kicks.
  • Badass in Distress: She is captured and tortured a lot.
  • Broken Bird: Mostly in season one, when she's avenging the death of her fiance and dealing with the double-agent lifestyle.
  • Cain and Abel: Sydney and Nadia, who do their best to avert the prophecy that claims this. Unfortunately, it sort of comes to pass in "Before the Flood", when Nadia is infected by the tainted water and zombified. Sydney doesn't kill her though, and eventually, she recovers.
  • The Chosen One: Despite doing her best to tell Destiny to go screw itself.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Even under torture. A good example is her line in the pilot to Suit and Glasses:
    Okay, this is important. Write this down. E-M-E-T-I-B. Got that? Now reverse it.
  • Deep Cover Agent: The show's original premise, which had her being a double agent for the CIA inside SD-6.
  • Double Agent: As mentioned, she's a double agent for the CIA inside SD-6.
  • Hurting Hero: A frequent state of being, for various reasons—the discovery of her parents' secrets; the return of her mother, her Laser-Guided Amnesia...
  • In the Blood: Sydney has inherited her extreme amounts of badass from both her parents; she has all of Irina's fiery temper and unpredictability, but tempered by Jack's pragmatism and ability to forgive.
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: Has had hair every color under the sun, thanks to dye and wigs. One of Sydney's most iconic looks is her blue hair and fetish getup from the season one finale.
  • Manchurian Agent: Along with the rest of the kids in Project Christmas, Sydney was programmed to have certain skills and intelligence levels.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Literally, with her fiance, Danny. Figuratively with her and Vaughn, before SD-6 is taken down.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Played straight, subverted, zigzagged, and weaponized in any given episode. Sydney uses her good looks to distract or outright seduce her targets, and she is frequently shown wearing revealing clothes or just lingerie. This is sometimes played for straight fanservice, sometimes a necessity (if she is forced to change clothes or discard clothing), sometimes part of her undercover identity, and sometimes used for seduction purposes.
  • Omniglot: *deep breath* Is at least conversant in Russian, German, Greek, Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Swedish, Romanian, Hungarian, Hebrew, Uzbek, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Indonesian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Vietnamese, Polish, Serbian, Czech, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian.
  • Pretty in Mink: Has worn a few furs when going undercover, often as a socialite.
    "Don't touch the fur... all right, you may touch the fur, once.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Sydney is pregnant in season five because Jennifer Garner was.
  • She-Fu: Especially in the first season.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: This is her default state. She's always being forced to work with somebody that she'd really, really like to kill.
  • They Do: With Vaughn.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: For unexplained reasons, Sydney is very reluctant to use lethal force during the first few seasons, although this changes as the series goes on.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In "Nocturne," she gets exposed to a hallucinogenic drug and conceals her condition from the rest of APO because she doesn't want to be removed from the field. As a reasonable person would expect, this puts her and the rest of her field team in danger when the drug's effects start to get worse.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Her usual approach to disguise.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: She's still The Chosen One.

Jack Bristow

Portrayed by: Victor Garber

Affiliations: SD-6, CIA, APO

Sydney's father and Sloane's "former best friend", also a double-agent for the CIA. A legendary game-theorist and strategist, Jack is excellent at espionage but crap at personal relationships - this has led to a rather soured social relationship with her. The one thing that will always be true however is that he has Sydney's welfare at heart, and be damned if anyone gets in the way of him protecting her.

  • Action Dad: Despite his initial aloof personality, he is eventually revealed to be this.
  • Anti-Hero: In contrast to Sydney, who in the early series is presented as downright angelic, for a spy, Jack is presented as the person who does what it takes to get the job done.
  • Badass Bookworm: The best game-theorist and strategist in the world. Will totally wring your scrawny neck and beat the snot out of you, should he feel the need. He wears a Badass Longcoat
  • Brutal Honesty: As a hilarious scene in the pilot first demonstrates.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Centering on his wife, who she was and what she did.
  • Dating Catwoman: Between seasons two and three, when Irina was a traitor and Jack was suspected of it too. It was really all about teaming up to find their daughter.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It comes out of nowhere, and is usually directed toward people he doesn't like. Basically, if he's cracking jokes, you're four ways fucked - or already dead.
  • Disappeared Dad: Emotionally, not physically. After Laura's death, he didn't know how to deal with a small child and being a spy, so he kept Sydney at arms' length.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Jack ostensibly works for the CIA while keeping tabs on SD-6/whatever Sloane is up to/whatever Irina is up to. Ultimately, he's out for one person: Sydney.
  • Friendship Moment: Any time he figured out that Vaughn or Will or Marshall wasn't just a waste of space.
    • One of the most heartwarming is his hugging Will in return after trading a Rambaldi artifact for Will's life and saving Will from torture. It's still awkward and Jack doesn't quite like the guy, but he's important to Sydney and worth saving.
    • He and Sloane occasionally had these. There was a great one that zigzagged the trope all over the map in season three, when Jack helps Sloane fake his own death and they share a bottle of the same wine Sloane used to fake his wife's death two years ago.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: What he tried to do for Sydney. He later tells Sloane that the moment Sloane recruited Sydney into SD-6 was the moment he decided to betray Sloane.
  • No Social Skills: Although he does possess them, he's long since fallen out of the habit of using them.
  • Not So Stoic: When it comes to his daughter, and to a lesser extent, his wife.
  • Overprotective Dad: As Vaughn is constantly finding out, there isn't a limit to how far Jack will go to protect his daughter.
  • Papa Wolf: Never ever harm Sydney. He once shot his own wife because he believed they were trying to kill Sydney.
  • Perp Sweating: Don't make Jack interrogate you. Just tell him what he needs to know.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes into kill mode when someone threatens Sydney.
  • The Spymaster: Occasionally falls into this role, with his stint as APO director in season 5 being his longest.
  • Taking You with Me: His now-iconic response to Sloane attaining immortality.
    You beat death, Arvin. But you couldn't beat me.
  • The Masochism Tango: Irina marries Jack for his secrets, he brainwashes their kid, she fakes her own death, he becomes a bitter shell of a man, she betrays him to Sloane and is doubled, he shoots her double in the head, she gets better and comes after him, he forces her out of a building at gunpoint . . . and so it goes.
  • The Stoic: Most of the time.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Perfectly willing to murder and torture to get the job done, particularly if the job involves protecting Sydney.
  • Torture Technician: A rare heroic example. His talent for torture is never presented as anything less than the vicious, horrible thing it is. When you really have to worry is when he's cracking jokes right and left.
    Jack: I'm actually hoping you don't tell us what we need to know. There's a 50/50 chance Sydney cuts the right wire. I'm willing to take those odds if it means I can stand here and watch you turn into an animal.
    Elena: You're not a gambling man, Jack.
    Jack: I didn't used to be, but it's been a rather interesting year for me. It's lead me to reevaluate my life. I'm trying to have more fun these days.
  • Triang Relations: #9 with Irina and Katya (but not at the same time), #8 with Irina and Sloane (but not a triad situation, Irina was married to Jack but had an affair with Sloane, who was Jack's best friend).
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: We're told that Jack was extremely distant as a father, after Laura Bristow's death.

Michael Vaughn / Andre Michaux

Portrayed by: Michael Vartan

Affiliations: CIA / APO

Sydney's CIA handler, who very quickly falls for her. Vaughn's father was also an agent, killed by Irina Derevko on a mission he didn't even agree with. It's later revealed this is only a half-truth. His real name is Andre Michaux, and both he and his father have been working all their lives to bring down Prophet Five - the real reason for his father's death.

  • Babies Ever After: Sydney's kids are his kids.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier if French: Technically he's Creole, but he's fluent enough in French to come off as a native.
  • Faking the Dead: In Season 5.
  • The Handler: During the first season.
  • Heroic BSoD: Lauren's betrayal and double-agent status pushes Vaughn over the edge. He becomes obsessed with hunting her down, and in the S3 finale, kills her in cold blood..
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: With Sydney in S1 to "Phase One".
  • Nice Guy: His default state. Although the series sometimes attempts to give him an edge, it never lasts long.
  • They Do: With Sydney.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Being betrayed by the woman you thought was your wife and a fellow agent will do that to you. Luckily, when your co-worker and future father-in-law has been through the same thing, he can help with the coping mechanisms and provide excellent weaponry.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Weiss, to Ho Yay levels.

Marcus Dixon

Portrayed by: Carl Lumbly

Affiliations: SD-6 / CIA / APO

Sydney's field partner at SD-6 and one of her closest friends, she struggles with lying to him the most when she becomes a double agent. When SD-6 falls, Dixon reluctantly joins the real deal, and rises through the ranks to become Director of the CIA's Joint Task Force.

  • Achilles in His Tent: His initial attempt to cope with the truth about SD-6 and Sydney's double-agent status is to cut off all ties with his former team, the intelligence world and Sydney in particular to the point of refusing to get involved even when his personal knowledge is vital for a mission. Only when Sydney gets captured trying to replace him does he throw off his anger and save the day.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Dixon should provide the page image.
  • Cool Old Guy: Does pretty well for himself as a field agent.
  • Happily Married: Is the resident family man of the show.
  • Heroic BSoD: After the death of his wife at Sloane's hands, Dixon goes rather spectacularly off the rails. He starts popping Vicodin, almost tortures a man to death, and then tricks the entire CIA into thinking he's going to blow himself and a mook up to get Sloane's whereabouts. He gets better, though.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Sydney.
  • The Mentor: To Sydney.
  • Omniglot: Speaks nine languages, but "techno isn't one of them".
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: In season 3, where he's the one boss Sydney doesn't have friction with.
  • The Spymaster: Upon his promotion to JTF Director.
  • Token Minority: Given the fate of most other characters of color, he sometimes edges into this territory.
  • Tragic Mistake: In "Truth Takes Time", Dixon serves as a CIA sniper on the assault on Sloane's villa. He accidentally shoots Emily Sloane, who had been helping the CIA, instead of her husband. Later, Sloane takes revenge by having Diane Dixon killed.

Marshall Flinkman

Portrayed by: Kevin Weisman

Affiliations: SD-6 / CIA / APO

The resident technical wizard for SD-6, and later, the CIA. Marshall's gadgets and knowhow make him a good guy to have around . . . if you can get him to stop babbling.

  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Always comes through when you need him, whether it's hacking into a government facility at gunpoint or taking on a solo mission to save Sydney from being buried alive.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Tuesday" (the episode in which the mission to rescue Sydney mentioned above takes place).
  • Gibbering Genius: The Q of this universe, complete with Motor Mouth tendencies out the wazoo.

Eric Weiss

Portrayed by: Greg Grunberg

Affiliations: CIA / APO

Vaughn's best friend, and later Sydney's. A CIA agent great with a sarcastic quip in a crisis, he's also one of the most reliable guys on the team.

  • Ascended Extra: Was only meant to have a nonspeaking bit part in the pilot as a favor to Grunberg from his best friend, J. J. Abrams. He eventually became a recurring character in the first two seasons, and a full-fledged regular in seasons three and four.
  • Badass Normal: While he is a CIA agent, Weiss is usually on backup support. Doesn't mean he can't or won't kick your ass.
  • Beta Couple: With Nadia in season four.
  • Foil: To Vaughn, for much of seasons one and two.

Will Tippin

Portrayed by: Bradley Cooper

Affiliations: CIA

Sydney's best friend, a reporter who begins piecing together the strange circumstances surrounding Danny's (Sydney's fiancee) death. He eventually becomes an analyst for the CIA after Vaughn picks up on his talents.

  • Commuting on a Bus: Goes into Witness Protection after Evil Francie / Allison Doren tries to kill him, returns once in season three and once in season five to go on one-off missions with Sydney.

Assistant Director Kendall

Portrayed by: Terry O'Quinn

Affiliations: FBI / Department of Special Research

In charge of the Joint Task Force and Operation "Bring Down the Alliance", he's something of an antagonist to Sydney due to his by the book approach. Turns out he's the best kind of guy, going out of his way to protect Sydney for nearly two years after she was captured and brainwashed. It was then revealed that he was not just a FBI agent, but the director of the Department of Special Research, specializing in keeping many of Rambaldi's artifacts safe. It was through his and Sydney's combined efforts during her two "missing years" that they uncovered most of his artifacts and kept them safe.

  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Not nearly as big as Jack's, but still a very decent guy given his complete asshole facade.
  • Mr. Exposition: Nigh constantly. An entire episode is devoted to Kendall interrogating Sydney and recapping what we know about the series.
  • No Name Given: We never learn his first name.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: On the surface.
  • Same Character, But Different: His season three appearance.
  • Took a Level in Badass: After the events of season two. A couple years and a demotion drive him to save Sydney and do what no one else in the series is apparently capable of - tell her the complete truth about who he is, who he works for, and what happened to her during those missing two years.

Nadia Santos

Portrayed by: Mia Maestro

Affiliations: APO

Sydney's long-lost sister, who grew up in an orphanage in Argentina and was secretly watched over by her Aunt Elena. Worked for Argentinian intelligence before joining APO. She is in fact Sydney's half-sister, with her father being Sloane. And for some reason, she's the key to unveiling one of Rambaldi's endgames through the injection of "Rambaldi fluid" as well as a key to one of his prophecies - the one in particular where she and Sydney are forced to fight.

Rachel Gibson

Portrayed by: Rachel Nichols

Affiliations: The Shed / APO

A young analyst who worked for The Shed before learning that it was really a branch of Prophet Five. She was then rescued by Sydney and brought into APO with Sydney as her handler.

  • Plucky Girl: Probably would have morphed into a full Action Girl (like everybody else) if the show had lasted long enough. As it is she's not much of a fighter, but she does her best.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A twenty-something girl approached by what she believes to be the CIA but is actually a terrorist organization headed by an evil mastermind. She then joins up with the real CIA to bring her former employers, who have hurt people she loves, down. Remind you of anybody?
  • Took a Level in Badass: Starts out as a mousy analyst, and eventually becomes a field capable agent.

Renée Rienne

Portrayed by: Élodie Bouchez

Affiliations: None

A terrorist and the eighth most wanted individual on the CIA's blacklist. She once worked with Vaughn to investigate Prophet Five. Occasionally teams with Sydney to help take them down, but makes it clear that she's not a part of their team, and never will be.

  • Aloof Ally: Regarded widely as a loose cannon. She also refuses Sydney's invitation to join APO, stating that she prefers to be her own boss.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's a hardcore terrorist with murky allegiances at best, but if Vaughn or Sydney need her she's always there for them.

Carrie Bowman

Portrayed by: Amanda Foreman

Affiliations: NSA

An NSA agent assigned to CIA headquarters. She eventually married Marshall and becomes the mother of his son.

  • Locked Out of the Loop: Not informed of the existence of APO.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: It's a short debate:
    Marshall: I love you, Mrs. Flinkman.
    Carrie: I'm keeping my name.
    Marshall: Okay.
  • Retired Badass: Is instrumental in rescuing her husband from Sloane well after she retires from NSA work to raise her son Mitchell.

Thomas Grace

Portrayed by: Balthazar Getty

Affiliations: APO

Brash, snarky agent who joins APO after Weiss leaves. His wife was killed years ago by an enemy agent, and seeing APO as golden resource decides to chase after revenge.

  • Combat Pragmatist: He has no interest in fancy martial arts, and states with no shame that he fights dirty.

     The Bad Guys: 

Arvin Sloane

Portrayed by: Ron Rifkin

Affiliations: The Alliance of Twelve / SD-6 / APO / Prophet Five

The ultimate Big Bad of the series. An SD-6 cell director and member of the Alliance, then allied with Sark and Irina, then headed up APO. An obsessive devotee of Milo Rambaldi, Sloane will do anything to further his own endgame, which for years was unknown, until it was revealed to be immortality.

  • And I Must Scream: His fate is eternal life, but trapped alone and underground, unable to die. That's what you get when you try to out-gambit Jack Bristow.
  • The Atoner: He genuinely becomes one of the good guys (if not completely distrusted) at the start of the fourth season, and does what he can to atone and find the Greater-Scope Villain Elena Derevko. Unfortunately, it just wasn't meant to be.
  • Benevolent Boss: He is genuinely fond of his employees, and still regards ex-ones like Jack and Sydney with respect even after he finds out that they really were CIA and had been working to bring him down.
    • In one early episode Sark compliments him on the genius of running a fake government agency and having duped pretty much everybody working for him; Sloane is offended and warns him to never insult his people again, or take them for idiots.
    • In another, he advocates going after The Man with everything the Alliance has got mostly because The Man attacked SD-6 and killed some of his people.
    • On the other hand, sometimes harshly subverted, as when he is perfectly willing to abandon Marshall to be tortured to death when he's captured by Sark's men.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: If you want Arvin Sloane to work for you, just put him in charge of your organization and kill yourself now. It'll just save everyone time in the long run.
  • The Comically Serious: This man has absolutely no sense of humor whatsoever. He can't suffer the core group's shenanigans for more than a few seconds. That said, the other characters are more than happy to poke fun at him whenever they feel they can get away with it, much to his distaste and displeasure.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's not as combat capable as he was in his younger days, but he's still one tough old bastard, as McKenas Cole discovers.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: The series' best example. He ends up running three or four NebulousEvilOrganizations in a row.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Dearly loves his wife, Emily.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Jack. After 4 seasons of supremacy, he is Out-Gambitted rather magnificently.
  • Evil Former Friend/Fallen Hero: He and Jack were best friends when working at the CIA.
  • Falsely Reformed Villain: During seasons three and four.
  • Fate Worse than Death: He becomes immortal literally moments before Jack Bristow sacrifices himself to trap Sloane in an underground chamber under several hundred feet of rubble.
  • Friendly Enemy: He tries mightily for this, but Sydney and Jack shut him down at every opportunity.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: He works for everyone at some point or another. (Except the Covenant. He was just undercover on that one.)
  • Hero Killer: Although, admittedly, it does take him until almost the series finale to kill someone listed in the opening credits.
  • It's Personal: With The Man for attacking SD-6 and killing some of his people.
  • Joker Immunity: To the extent that he survives his own execution in Season 3.
  • Klingon Promotion: He (somehow) assumes control of Prophet Five's assets by having Kelly Peyton assassinate the Twelve.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Extraordinarily skilled in this regard, rivaled only by Irina.
  • The Mole: Or so he claims to be, in regards to his apparent Face–Heel Turn of teaming up with Elena in season four. He says he only allied himself with her to save Nadia and undermine Elena, but Jack doesn't particularly care for the details.
  • Mole in Charge: Of APO. No one really believes his intentions are good, but poisoning the world's water supply in the name of keeping his cover is a bit too much devotion.
  • Moral Myopia: Regarding his wife's death.
  • Not Me This Time: He had nothing to do with Sydney's disappearance and had no involvement in the Covenant until he was recruited to infiltrate them for the CIA. Doesn't stop Sydney from constantly accusing him of being the secret mastermind behind it all.
  • Offing the Offspring: He accidentally kills his own daughter.
  • Pet the Dog: Any of his scenes with Emily, whom he truly loved, and a few times with Nadia.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Dixon accidentally kills Emily, so Sloane has someone rig Diane Dixon's car with a bomb and has her killed.
  • Sanity Slippage: After accidentally killing his own daughter, he starts hallucinating that she's still alive and talking to him.
  • The Spymaster: Inarguably the best in the business: as he is pardoned and hired by the CIA to lead a covert branch that resembles SD-6
  • The Starscream:
    • When the Alliance orders him to kill his wife, he fakes her death, scams them out of $100 million, manipulates the CIA into taking them down, then goes off to start his own crime syndicate.
    • He decides to get out ahead of Prophet Five's inevitable exercise of You Have Outlived Your Usefulness by sending Kelly Peyton to wipe out the Twelve.
  • Tragic Villain: He was a complete bastard until he became The Atoner. Following Nadia's death, he became this.
  • Why Are You Not My Son?: He served as Sydney's guardian angel during Jack's long absences while she was growing up, and he considers her to be a substitute for the children he never had. She...does not take this attitude well.

Julian Sark

Portrayed by: David Anders

Affiliations: The Man / SD-6 / The Covenant / Prophet Five / Followers of Rambaldi

The mysterious and cultured young lieutenant to "The Man." A clever criminal and "businessman" with self-described "flexible loyalties," he'll switch several different sides at the drop of a hat. No one's really sure what he wants, but according to him, he just wants to be on the "winning end."

  • Affably Evil: He is usually polite and almost never raises his voice. He even says "please" and "thank you" during very tense situations.
  • Amazon Chaser: He is very attracted to action girls. He was romantically involved with badass females such as Allison Doren and Lauren Reed, plus he has a long-running crush on Sydney Bristow. The more these ladies showcase their skills, the more turned on he is.
  • Anti-Villain/Noble Demon: Depends on the year, month, week, day, and hour.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: It's part of his professional, no-nonsense image.
  • Bastard Understudy: He considers Irina Derevko to be a mentor.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Lauren Reed.
  • Beta Couple: With Allison Doren. He also has an on-again, off-again relationship with Lauren Reed.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Due to a severe case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, Sark very easily comes off like the least trustworthy person in the entire series. That being said, he does have a code in there somewhere, and there's an entire episode ("A Man of His Word") devoted to showcasing him to be a person, who at the very least, keeps to his promises.
  • Breakout Villain: Sark was supposed to be a one-off character, a gofer for K-Directorate or Irina or the Alliance. Fan reaction to David Anders was so great that he became more and more high-profile, eventually taking over the Big Bad mantle in the series finale flash-forward.
  • Cool Shades: Stylish sunglasses are his favourite fashion accessories.
  • Cultured Badass: His appreciation for the finer things in life doesn't make him any less dangerous.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Even when he's weaponless, he's still armed with plenty of quips.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: He tries to be one, but even when he becomes a Dragon Ascendant, he never really rises above being the top lieutenant to someone bigger than he is.
  • The Dragon: To Irina mostly, and to a lesser extent Arvin in Season 2. And later, Dragon Ascendant.
  • Drink-Based Characterization:
    • He prefers the pricey and rare Chateau Pétrus 1982 (a fact that the Covenant is aware of), which is a strong indication of his sophisticated tastes.
    • He also has a fondness for high-end champagne. He even nonchalantly pops off the cork from the bottle while completely surrounded by numerous agents with lots of guns.
    • When he adopts the alias of Bob Brown, an American, he orders beer at the bar. This choice of drink is supposed to hint that Bob is middle-class, unlike Sark's posh Englishman routine.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He finds Bomani's cavalier exercise of You Have Outlived Your Usefulness to be "extravagant."
  • Even the Guys Want Him: In "No Hard Feelings," an Italian prisoner (who is presumably experiencing Situational Sexuality) licks his lips at the sight of Sark, and tells the young man that he will be very popular here. When Sark fakes a seizure, the Italian cell mate then calls out for help by shouting, "The beautiful man is dying!"
  • Evil Counterpart/Foil: To Agent Vaughn. Just as Michael was Sydney's handler, Julian also served the same role to Allison; both men then developed a romantic relationship with their charge. Vaughn and Sark are also attracted to the same two women (i.e. Sydney and Lauren), which resulted in a "love square" in Season 3.
  • The Handler: He is this to Allison Doren in Season 2.
  • The Heavy: In both Seasons 2 and 3.
  • I Am Very British: Very posh, but not once does he ever come across as forced or unnatural.
  • Improbable Age: Becomes the head of a multi-billion-dollar international crime syndicate while still in his early twenties.
  • Joker Immunity: It's a Running Gag.
  • Karma Houdini: Still free and pulling capers as of the Distant Finale.
  • Last-Name Basis: He's always Sark or Mr. Sark. His first name isn't even revealed until Season 3.
  • Manly Tears: He visibly and audibly sobs after he sees Lauren's corpse.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: He's impeccably groomed and enjoys wearing elegant, tailored suits along with expensive shoes.
  • Mouth of Sauron: For "The Man" in Season 1.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He appears shirtless in a few scenes, which is no doubt for the benefit of his numerous fangirls.
    • In Season 3's second episode, Sark speaks to Sydney from a CIA cell. Is a form-fitting black t-shirt really standard prison garb for international terrorists? Probably not, but it's Sark.
  • Nerves of Steel: He handles most situations with cool professionalism and a few choice quips. A few scenes go out of their way to show his obscene self-confidence:
    • In Season 2, Sydney sees him standing behind some (bulletproof) glass and shoots at him multiple times. He doesn't even flinch.
    • It happens again in Season 3.
    • In Season 4, he lures a CIA assault team to an empty building in order to make a deal. Facing nine very tense men aiming rifles at his head, he calmly pops the cork off a champagne bottle.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Sark is very efficient when he carries out his own or his employers' plans.
  • Not Me This Time: He didn't have anything to do with Sydney's disappearance.
  • Pretty Boy: Lampshaded by Daniel Ryan in "Facade," who had never met Sark face-to-face, but was informed that the young man was a pretty boy.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: In Season 2.
  • Self-Made Orphan: After discovering that his father is not only alive but working with Sydney, he has the Covenant assassinate him.
  • Shirtless Scene: His toned chest is always bare whenever he has a bedroom scene.
  • The Stoic: He possesses a calm, controlled demeanour, and rarely displays his emotions in an overt manner.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: Sark's loyalties are to the highest bidder or Irina, whoever gets there first.
  • Villainous Crush: He has a thing for Sydney (which he makes clear when Lauren dresses up as her in Season 3) and continues to flirt with Rachel long after she makes it clear that she's no longer interested.
  • We Can Rule Together: The first time he meets Sydney, he offers her a job.
  • Wild Card: His loyalties are self-described as "flexible." He admits in the series finale that all he ever wanted was to come out on the winning side.
  • Wicked Cultured: He is always well-dressed, eloquent, and is a connoisseur of fine wine and champagne.
  • You Killed My Father: He's quite cross with Sydney about it. Until he learns that he's still alive. Then he kills his father himself.

Irina Derevko / Laura Bristow

Portrayed by: Lena Olin

Affiliations: The Man / Prophet Five / Followers of Rambaldi

Sydney's mother, who isn't quite as dead as everyone thinks. She shows up in season two as a prisoner of the CIA and gains Sydney's trust. Irina will always be out for herself, though. She's the real face of "The Man", with Khasinau as her decoy. Despite appearing KIND of benevolent to Sydney, she's arguably the other Big Bad in the series, seeking the same thing as Sloane and destroying anyone who gets in her way - be it Sydney or Jack.

  • Action Mom: One of the most badass characters in the whole show.
  • Agents Dating: With Jack. Any time they have to be Undercover as Lovers (or just married), it's hilarious, due to the inherent awkwardness of her having betrayed him.
  • Back from the Dead: Twice. Once in "Almost Thirty Years", and again in "The Descent".
  • Becoming the Mask: Part of the reason she faked her death the first time is because she was too attached to her family. And really, how much of her marriage to Jack was a lie?
  • Better the Devil You Know: Jack comes to regard her in this way - better her than Sloane or the Covenant or other assorted terrorists.
    Irina: We both know how this is supposed to play out. You bring me back to the States, turn me over to your superiors.
    Jack: I thought you could reach the border by daybreak.
    Irina: What about the Agency, what will you tell them?
    Jack: What I think they already know - that no one can hold on to Irina Derevko for too long.
  • Big Bad: As the true power behind "the Man," she was this for Season 1.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Arvin Sloane in Season 2 and Season 5.
  • Boxed Crook: For the CIA in Season 2.
  • Cloning Blues: Was "doubled" as part of Project Helix. Luckily, the Irina that Jack executes over her attempts to kill Sydney isn't the real one.
  • Deep Cover Agent: Practically the personification of the trope.
  • Deliver Us from Evil: Subverts and lampshades the trope. Getting pregnant was an accident, but Irina claims she kept her child because it gave her a greater hold on Jack. She also claims - to Sydney's face - that she could have easily terminated the pregnancy or killed Sydney, but she realized her daughter was innocent. She claims to love Sydney, but that doesn't make Sydney immune from danger at Irina's hands.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Becomes one whenever she's in the "Heel" section of the Heel–Face Revolving Door.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Double!Irina and Jack. Subversion, too, as it's Jack who shot her. Tear Jerker, too.
  • Evil Mentor: To Julian Sark. She taught him much of what he knows about the criminal world.
  • The Hecate Sisters: The Mother, to Elena's Crone and Katya's Warrior/Maiden, despite being the youngest of the Derevko sisters. Due to the importance of Sydney in both the show and to Rambaldi, Irina is definitely coded as the Mother.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Irina is out, first and foremost, for herself.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Almost literally, since she, and not Khasinau, is truly "the Man."
  • Manipulative Bitch: Has to have been, considering she lived a lie for eight years and then continued to twist just about everyone, up to and including world governments, around her little finger.
  • The Masochism Tango: Irina marries Jack for his secrets, he brainwashes their kid, she fakes her own death, he becomes a bitter shell of a man, she betrays him to Sloane and is doubled, he shoots her double in the head, she gets better and comes after him, he forces her out of a building at gunpoint... and so it goes.
  • Missing Mom: Well, until she comes back.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Have you seen her biceps? S2 had her in tank tops, but her bra-and-panties scene in "Passage Pt. 1" and the leopard-print minidress from "A Dark Turn" definitely qualify as well.
  • Parental Substitute: Sark considers her to be a mother figure of sorts.
  • Shipper on Deck: In Season 2, she openly encourages the Sydney/Vaughn 'ship.
  • Thanatos Gambit: "Laura" fakes her death because her superiors at the KGB are growing suspicious of how attached she is to her fake family, Jack and Sydney.
  • Triang Relations: #9 with Jack and Katya, #8 with Jack and Sloane (but not a triad situation, Irina was married to Jack but had an affair with Sloane, who was her husband's best friend).
  • Trojan Prisoner: Played with. Irina was the CIA's prisoner for an entire season, and Jack suspected her of precisely this motive - however, she's really playing her own endgame and never overtly betrays the CIA while she's there or uses her intel to harm them after she escapes.

McKenas Cole

Portrayed by: Quentin Tarantino

Affiliations: SD-6 / The Man / The Covenant

A former SD-6 top operative who has a major bone to pick with Arvin Sloane - one of the many reasons he chose to become an agent of "The Man." Despite getting apprehended by the CIA after his successful infiltration of SD-6, he somehow managed to get out and become the second most powerful man in The Covenant - the details of which are a "good story."

  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Which may look familiar to Tarantino fans.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The guy is downright efficient in his methods, and plans for nearly everything. If it wasn't for Vaughn showing up out of nowhere, he would've completely won.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The first time he fights with Sydney, she doesn't manage to get a single hit in on him.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He tries to come off as pleasant as Sloane or Sark, but he just can't keep his inner sociopath from coming out when things aren't going his way.
  • Genius Bruiser: The only man who successfully managed to bring SD-6 down to a screeching halt - partly in thanks to his unorthodox Badass Crew.
  • It's Personal: He has a grudge against Sloane, and clearly allows it to get in the way of his mission.
  • Knight of Cerebus: His appearance marks the point where both Sydney and Sloane discover they've got major competition in the intelligence world.
  • Large Ham: Noted in-universe.
    Sloane: I can't be the first person to have difficulty taking you seriously, can I?
  • Motor Mouth: Like pretty much every Quentin Tarantino role ever, the man just can't shut up.
  • Noodle Incident: When Sark asks him when he was released from CIA custody, all he replies is "That's a good story."
  • The Man in Front of the Man: Trope Namer, but not an example himself. He simply refers to himself as this once as a joke because he literally worked for "The Man", although in context he was referring to his status as the Number Two of The Covenant.
  • Torture First, Ask Questions Later: He keeps torturing Sloane long after it becomes clear that, first, Sloane isn't going to talk and, second, he doesn't need Sloane's information anyway.
  • Torture Technician: And a pretty damn good one - too bad Sloane's really good at withstanding torture.
  • Unexplained Recovery: No one knows how he got out of CIA custody to become a leader of the Covenant. He doesn't like sharing the details either.
  • Unholy Matrimony: His relationship with Toni is a subversion on both ends. They seem like Sickening Sweethearts, but she's a Deep Cover Agent using him to penetrate the Man's network and he cares so little about her that he hardly blinks after killing her in a fit of rage.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In the second half of "The Box," when his men start disappearing and it becomes clear that Sloane isn't going to break, he throws a temper tantrum that ends with randomly killing his girlfriend.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After his appearance in Season 3, which established him as a major player in the Covenant, he was never seen or even mentioned again.

Kelly Peyton

Portrayed by: Amy Acker

Affiliations: The Shed / Prophet Five

The ultimate Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. She was an agent of The Shed, and Rachel's supposed best friend. In truth, she was Dean's dragon and was just as manipulative - if not way more ambitious - than he was. After Dean was taken out, she became a member of Prophet Five and served Irina alongside Sark.

  • Action Survivor: She's described being as much of a survivor and opportunist as Sark. She's just not nearly as good as him.
  • Smug Snake: Hilariously ironic, as she's afraid of snakes as revealed in her final scene.
  • The Starscream: To both Gordon Dean and, eventually, the Twelve.

Gordon Dean

Portrayed by: Tyrees Allen

Affiliations: The Shed / Prophet Five

The leader of The Shed, and a member of Prophet Five. Like Sloane, he too used his installation as a ruse for the CIA. Unlike Sloane, he could not keep the deception up as efficiently and was quickly exposed and forced on the run.

  • Bad Boss: When he finds out that the Prague cell of the Shed has been compromised, he blows up the building...with all of the agents except Peyton still inside.
  • Big Bad: For the first half of the final season.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Dean, you aren't even close to Sloane's caliber.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Not nearly as much as he thinks he is.
  • Mind Rape: In one scene, Marshall pumps him full of hallucinogenic drugs and cranks up heavy metal music while tied to a chair. Dean completely freaks out as a result.

Lauren Reed

Portrayed by: Melissa George

Affiliations: NSC / The Covenant

NSA agent who marries Vaughn during Sydney's two-year absence. Is later revealed to be a double agent in league with the Covenant and Sark.

  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Sark.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The first half of the season presents her as the sort of person that doesn't really deserve being hated by Sydney. The truth is rather different.
  • Dark Action Girl: Like Anna and Allison before her, she is "what if Sydney, but more sexual and murderous"?
  • Deep Cover Agent: Is actually a double agent working for the Covenant, tasked to marry Vaughn to keep an eye on him, which makes her a foil for Irina. In contrast to Irina, Lauren doesn't have any feelings for her husband and nothing keeping her from trying to kill him.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Sydney, like most of the female villains on the show. Very much Sydney's visual opposite, blonde-haired and blue-eyed and appearing very warm and friendly until she reveals the killer underneath. Additionally, her status as a double agent, with Sark as her partner / love interest, working with a parent against the other one recalls Sydney's prior story arcs.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: Seen most clearly in "After Six".
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Fandom called it her omniaccent.

Elena Derevko

Portrayed by: Sônia Braga

Affiliations: The Covenant

The eldest of the Derevko sisters and the leader of the Covenant, she is widely regarded as the worst and most ruthless of them all. Elena watched over Nadia in Argentina because she knew Nadia would become important. She also poisoned the water supply in Svogda to activate a giant Mueller Device, but her plan (somewhat) failed and was eventually executed by Irina.

  • Cain and Abel: With Irina, though they're a double-villain example. Irina is shown to be ''less' villainous than Elena.
  • The Chessmaster: Gaining Nadia's trust, setting up Irina (or, who she thought was Irina) to be killed by Jack, creating Arvin Clone, building the city-wide Mueller Device? Yeah, this woman is five steps ahead of everyone else.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: She gains access to Sydney's house by having herself beaten up and manipulating Nadia into offering her a place to stay.

"Arvin Sloane" / Ned Bolger

Portrayed by: Joel Grey

Affiliations: The Covenant

The ultimate Big Bad of the series. A Covenant cell director, then a member of... Wait, what?

His real name is Ned Bolger, and he was a U.S. Army corporal with a brainwave pattern staggeringly similar to that of Sloane's. This made him the ideal test subject to clone Sloane's brain onto a another person. Thus, Bolger actually became Arvin Sloane. He was programmed as such for several reasons: To access many of Sloane's resources to aid Elena in developing a giant Mueller Device, to frame the real Sloane for many of his activities, and to distract APO and Vaughn long enough to finisher her plan. He was ultimately caught and exposed for what he was - possibly becoming a vegetable.

  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Practically acknowledged in-universe. Pretty much no one knows what the hell to make of him. Sloane in particular is not amused.
  • Casting Gag: Both Joel Gray and Ron Rifkin portrayed the Emcee in different versions of Cabaret - Gray won an Academy Award for his portrayal in the 1972 film version while both Gray and Rifkin were given a Tony award for the 1966 and 1998 Broadway revivals, respectively. In short, if anyone other than Rifkin was to portray Sloane, it would've been Joel Gray. And he does...kind of, in a weird surreal sort of way.

Calvin McCullough

Portrayed by: Angus Scrimm

Affiliations: SD-6 / The Covenant

A senior operative at SD-6, McCullough was one of the few agents privy to the truth behind Sloane's operation. He was primarily in charge of psychological examination, mental interrogation, and lie detecting. Everybody loves McCullough.

In truth, he was something of a Dirty Coward playing both sides for his own survival. After he escaped Sloane's dissolution and destruction of the Alliance of Twelve, he allied himself with Elena Derevko and created "Arvin Clone" for her using his own brain scans of Sloane from his days at SD-6. When Sloane discovered he was behind the experiment, he hastily poisoned his own coffee and committed suicide.

  • Action Survivor: Not exactly, but any time something bad was happening at SD-6, he was conveniently not around for it. It's no coincidence either.
  • Jerkass: He makes Sloane look like a jolly old man.

Anna Espinosa

Affiliations: K-Directorate / Prophet Five / Followers of Rambaldi

A rival spy who works for K-Directorate and who is acknowledged to be Sydney's equal, if not superior, in the field. A fanatic follower of Rambaldi, like Sloane she too will go to any lengths to claim his endgame. Including shifting her own body to be the same as that of Sydney's.

  • Grand Theft Me: Anna purposefully becomes Sydney's double. It doesn't quite work out for her.
  • Omniglot: Like most of the other spies in the show. Anna speaks Spanish, Russian, and Italian, although she's presumably fluent in other languages as well.
  • Racial Transformation: She undergoes gene modification created by Project Helix, transforming her into a physical-genetic clone of Sydney Bristow.
  • The Rival: To Sydney.

Zhang Lee

Portrayed by: Ric Young

Affiliations: FTL / The Covenant

Dr. Zhang Lee, more commonly known as "Suit N' Glasses" or the "Sadistic Dentist of Asian Persuasion", he was a "communications expert" for FTL before lending his expertise to The Covenant. Despite being very good at his job, his luck of late has been rather bad as his latest torture subjects were Sydney, Will and Marshall. Things just got worse and worse for him.

  • Villainous BSoD: After getting beat up twice by Sydney and permanently disabled by Will, he went from a Soft-Spoken Sadist to a total wheelchair-bound wreck doing pointless chemical experiments in his basement. Needless to say, he doesn't really endure torture as well as he dishes it out.

Allison Doren

Portrayed by: Merrin Dungey

Affiliations: Sloane/Irina alliance / The Covenant

The assassin who took on Francie's appearance before assassinating her and posing as her. After being exposed, she returns as a member of the Covenant.

Yekaterina "Katya" Derevko

Portrayed by: Isabella Rossellini

Affiliations: K-Directorate

The middle Derevko sister. She is just as morally ambiguous as Irina, but not nearly as ruthless as Elena. She and Jack have an...interesting relationship.

  • Triang Relations: #9, with Jack and Irina. Katya starts somewhat of a relationship with Jack in "Crossings", though she knows he's still in something over Irina.

Kazari Bomani

Portrayed by: Djimon Hounsou

Affiliations: The Covenant

A wealthy African Arms Dealer who once did quite a bit of business with Arvin Sloane. When Sloane defected back to the CIA during the Time Skip, he provided the intel that brought Bomani down. Early in Season 3, Sark and the Covenant break him out of jail and he soon achieves a nebulously high-ranking position within the organization.


Portrayed by: Michael K. Williams

Affiliations: None

A professional thief and contract mercenary hired by "Arvin Sloane" (actually Ned Bolger) to steal a number of items for a Rambaldi device. In addition to this job, he was also hired to string Vaughan along with bogus information regarding his father's death.

  • Manipulative Bastard: While it was "Sloane" who put Roberts to the task, he was the one who staged everything to trick Vaughan.
  • Mind Screw: He thought he was working for the real Sloane all along. Then he was asked to ID the real Sloane. It was weird.


Portrayed by: Oz Perkins

Affiliations: The Covenant

Elena Derevko's right-hand man and hacker, a mysterious mook who carries out her dirty work while she plays the part of "Sophia." Very arrogant, to say the least.

  • Hollywood Hacking: He just happened to know Nadia's laptop password as soon as he opened it up?

Alexander Khasinau

Portrayed by: Derrick O'Connor

Affiliations: The Man

The true identity of "The Man" - the elusive leader of the mysterious organization opposing everyone and everything. He seeks to usurp the Alliance of Twelve and control all weapons and intelligence trade routes. In truth, he's The Dragon to the real "Man", Irina Derevko. In the past, he also served as her handler in the KGB when she infiltrated the US as "Laura Bristow".


Francie Calfo

Portrayed by: Merrin Dungey

Sydney's best friend growing up, and eventual roommate.

  • Back for the Finale: Via flashback.
  • Moment Killer: A non-romantic version. Francie had horrible timing, and would constantly be calling Sydney at the most inopportune times - like the pilot, during an assassination attempt.
  • Out of Focus: After obtaining a fair amount of focus during the first season, including a romantic subplot lasting most of the season, she becomes far less prominent in the second, all the way until the end.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Dies on the same episode where she learns her restaurant is making a profit, and has begun a romance with Will.

Emily Sloane

Portrayed by: Amy Irving

Affiliations: None

Arvin Sloane's beloved wife and a mother figure to Sydney who is dying of cancer. She reveals to Sydney that she's always known Sloane wasn't a businessman and knows about SD-6. After faking her own death with Sloane's help, she ultimately decides to act as an informant to the CIA on his illicit activities, no longer able to keep it to herself. At the last minute, however, she retracts the decision and decides to stay with Sloane - right up until Dixon accidentally shot her.

  • Broken Bird: She's introduced as she's dying of stage-four lymphoma, and later, we learn her and Sloane's daughter died in infancy.
  • Faking the Dead: She has her death staged by Sloane after he's ordered to kill her for uncovering the truth behind SD-6.
  • Hidden Depths: Turns out Emily isn't just a Broken Bird victim of Sloane: she helped Sloane fake her death, cut off her own finger, and was prepared to betray him in exchange for his not receiving the death penalty. She stays loyal to him at the end, but can you really blame her?
  • Morality Pet: For her husband. Every good thing Sloane ever does is either for or about her.
  • Parental Substitute: Sydney says that she has always regarded Emily as a mother to her.