- The Ace: Has an immense amount of skill at just about whatever he does.
- Broken Ace: It doesn't prevent him from getting into way, way more trouble than he should. Sometimes it's his fault, sometimes not.
- Antihero: Verging on Nominal Hero at times.
- As the Good Book Says...: He has this attitude towards the writings of Quell.
- Big Brother Instinct: From killing off their abusive father permanently, to betraying the Protectorate once they find each other again on opposite sides of an operation, Takeshi's first instinct is always to protect his little sister Rei. This carries over to the time when the series is set: once he realizes how depraved and twisted Rei has become, Takeshi's goal is to put her stack into storage until she regains her humanity.
- Bomb Throwing Anarchist: An interesting variant as the Quellists have this reputation while Takeshi is a brutal Antihero.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Grew up in an abusive home living in abject poverty, killed his father to save his sister when the man murdered their mother, served as a torturer for the government and an elite soldier in nasty conflicts, then deserted and joined a revolutionary group who were wiped out with him being the Sole Survivor.
- Deconstruction: Of the standard alpha male detective/soldier archetype. Hes written with a very straight face, but for all Takeshi's strength, willpower, and sexual prowess, it gradually becomes clear that his reliance on force has stunted him in other ways.
- The Determinator: ...Yes.Poe: Mr. Kovacs has a singular force of will.
Mickey: What does that mean?
Ava: He's a suicidal idiot who never gives up.
- Did Not Get the Girl: He proves that Ryker was framed, meaning that Ryker will get his old body back and take up with Ortega again.
- Genius Bruiser: Is definitely one of these thanks to his Envoy training.
- Guile Hero: While he can definitely handle himself in combat, he just as often handles a situation by playing his enemies against each other.
- Has a Type: As his sister sarcastically points out, Kovacs' past love interest Falconer and current love interest Ortega have a lot in common, both of them being passionate, idealistic women with a self-destructive streak. They also both start out hostile to him because of his background and he ultimately has no future with either of them, something that this person also claims is part of the appeal.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Kovacs performs one in Season 2, taking the Elder's essence into his stack and calling down angelfire upon himself (killing himself for real), in order to spare Quell from having to do the same thing.
- I Hate Past Me: Kovacs has this reaction upon meeting the version of himself that has been spun down from a copy of his UHF made nearly 300 years previously, largely because this version is still loyal to the Protectorate, and has had none of the Character Development that the real Kovacs endured over the centuries. He eventually gets over it following the other Kovacs' HeelFace Turn.
- Knight in Sour Armor: A lot of his indifference stems from having lost everything he ever loved. However his insistence that he doesn't care about anyone runs increasingly hollow as he forms new attachments.
- Last of His Kind: He is the last of the Envoys. Or is he?
- Manipulative Bastard: Part of his Envoy training.
- Mixed Race: Reveals he is originally of Slavic (probably Serbian, as the surname Kovacs/Kovač doesn't appear in any other Slavic language) and Japanese descent, hence his disparate names and being bilingual in at least English and Japanese.
- Mirror Match: A different take on the concept, as it's not a physical, but mental mirror match. Season 2 sees Carrera spin down a copy of Kovacs that he had kept in storage for 300 years, and resleeves him in Kovacs' birth sleeve, before setting him after the older Kovacs. When the two finally meet in combat for the first time, they anticipate each other's moves, despite the differences in sleeves and mental age.
- Multi-Ethnic Name: Attributes his name to his Slavic father and Japanese mother.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Part of his problem is his Envoy training inclines him to do this, no matter what the problem is.
- Nominal Hero: Sways between this and Pragmatic Hero.
- The Nth Doctor: Same character, four different actors.
- Private Eye Monologue: Played with as his thoughts have little to do with the case (except when he has a crucial "Eureka!" Moment) and have more to do with philosophical musings on the society he lives in. Season 2 pretty much abandons the concept, with only the first episode featuring Kovacs' monologue.
- Red Baron: Had several nicknames during his prior lifetime, including the Icepick, One Hand Rending, and Mamba Lev.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After being tortured in the Wei Clinic, he Real-Deaths everyone in the building.
- Self-Made Orphan: Takeshi to his father, after the man murdered their mother and was about to do the same thing to Rei.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Played with. Takeshi is certainly affected by his past but his training keeps him from feeling the worst of it.
- Sherlock Scan: One of his Envoy abilities is a Downplayed Trope version of this.
- Sole Survivor: According to public records, Kovacs is the last living Envoy, the rest having been killed. Despite this, they are still credited as The Dreaded.
- Spider-Sense: His introduction has him sensing a squad of Praetorians sneaking up in the corridor outside, right down to the weaponry they're carrying.Sarah: You can see through walls now?
- Super Soldier: Through a combination of mental and physical conditioning coupled with a bioengineered sleeve.
- Tranquil Fury: When he is well and truly enraged past the point of reasoning, he tends to show it via being cold, collected and killing everything in his way.
- Unscrupulous Hero: Goes on an bloody rampage of revenge after getting out of virtual interrogation.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: No-one stays at the Raven because AI hotels are like a Stalker with a Crush, and that creeps people out.
- All Men Are Perverts: Is entirely willing to cater for a guest's needs for The Oldest Profession; in fact that's why Kovacs picks the Raven in the first place.
- Artificial Intelligence: And even part of a Weird Trade Union of AI's.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Whether AI or human hitman, you mock him or threaten his guests at your peril.
- Canon Foreigner: In the book the hotel is Jimi Hendrix-themed, but Hendrix's estate won't allow his likeness to be licensed to excessively violent projects.
- Character Tics: In Season 2, Poe grins and chuckles nervously whenever his glitch causes him to forget what he was doing while in the middle of helping someone.
- Genre Savvy: Studies Film Noir as befits an investigation involving a private eye, and realises that the partner's sidekick has a limited life expectancy.
- Hard Light: Can hold and use a shotgun and other objects (apparently through some kind of nanotech) yet can also instantly dematerialise and then rematerialize anywhere in his hotel.
- Season 2 confirms and elaborates on it - while Poe spends most of the first episode as a conventional hologram projected from a small emitter, he quickly connects himself to a nanoswarm in a disused hotel Kovacs takes up residence in before using the nanoswarm to both give himself a physical body like he had in season 1 and reconfigure the hotel's interior to resemble the old Bay City establishment. From that point through the rest of the season, Poe has a physical presence either via the hotel's nanoswarm or a smaller portable one the protagonists pick up.
- Mission Control: Although Kovacs rejects the idea of Poe becoming his sidekick, he fulfils this role excellently.
- More Dakka / Schizo Tech: Has Gatling Sentry Guns with laser sights installed in the lobby ceiling.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Justified; when Poe needs the license and skills of a psychiatrist to treat Lizzy, he simply downloads them.
- Note to Self: While suffering Trauma-Induced Amnesia in season 2, he begins writing Post-It Notes of important developments that he learns throughout the season.
- Pinocchio Syndrome: Is fascinated by humans, to the disdain of his fellow AI's who regard themselves as a more advanced form of life.
- Protectorate: Is absolutely dedicated to protecting any guest at the Raven.
- Touch of Death: After his data got corrupted at the end of season one, he is slowly dying, but can deliberately spread his data corruption to enemy virtual constructs.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: A mild form; after being brought back online in season 2, Poe begins suffering glitches that sporadically wipe his short-term memory, with his efforts to contain the problem forming a major part of his story arc.
- Trigger Happy: Ends up shooting a man that Kovacs is trying to interrogate.
- Two Shots from Behind the Bar: Poe carries and is entirely willing to use a pump shotgun. Sure, it's purely cosmetic, the real firepower comes with his sentry guns, but the idea is still there.
- You Talk Too Much!Poe: What are your preferences?
Kovacs: For now? Non-verbal.
- Action Girl: She's the leader of the Envoys, and is the one who trained them. Among her abilities are catching a knife thrown at her, manipulating virtual realities, a very powerful Spider-Sense. Reileen couldn't beat her in fair combat, which is why she had to use an orbital strike against her to kill her sleeve.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: In-Universe; is she a dedicated revolutionary trying to save humanity from domination by a corrupt immortal elite (Kovacs' view) or an insane terrorist manipulating her followers into a doomed uprising (Reileen's view).
- And I Must Scream: Rather than killing her, Rei froze her body down for centuries on end, leaving her for long stretches in a semi-conscious state where she still was vaguely aware of the passage of time, only to occasionally unfreeze her in order to taunt and gloat over her. She was eventually freed, however, with help from the Elders, setting the stage for return in Season 2, as their avengers, but the experience left her quite traumatized.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: She has spent her entire life pushing the boundaries of the human mind. Not only is she able to defeat sleeve sickness and the risks of defrag, but she is able to turn any random sleeve into a weapon capable of defeating a Super Soldier. She passed these teachings onto her Envoys, but she was by far the master.Quell: This sleeve does not control me; I control it.
- Combat Pragmatist: As taught by her, Envoys take what is offered and weaponize it, whether Improvised Weapons or manipulating people into becoming loyal Cannon Fodder.
- The Lost Lenore: For Kovacs, who still loves her and sees her as a hallucination centuries after her Real Death. By Season 2, she is not so lost any more.
- Meaningful Name:
- Preaches an ideology of forcefully resisting the current ruling order, with her followers called "Quellists." The word "quell" (pronounced like "k-well" instead of like "kell") means to subdue or forcibly put an end to something.
- In Season 2, it's revealed that "Quellcrist" is not Quell's real name. She took the name from a type of seaweed on Harland's World, which dries up and turns to dust, but immediately grows back a hundredfold when exposed to water.
- A Mother to Her Men: She cares for the Envoys she teaches, though her teaching methods are harsh. She's not even upset when Reileen attempts to shoot her when she has Takeshi pinned to the ground during training, even advising Reileen that she had the right idea, she just needed to move faster. She's horrified by the loss of her Envoys.
- Spider-Sense: Like all Envoys, she has one, but her's is noticeably more powerful than any other Envoy, so powerful that her body automatically responds to all attacks, even those she can't see or even suspects. For example, when Reileen attacks her in the ship after betraying the Envoys, Quell deflects it and beats her but is still initially shown to be surprised by Reileen's betrayal.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: With Takeshi.
- Training from Hell: In all aspects, her teaching to teach one to become an Envoy is one hell of a trial of endurance, and mental/physical prowess.
- Warrior Therapist: Her Envoy training combines mental and physical abilities.
- Accidental Murder: Killed a prostitute while drugged by a business rival.
- A God Am I: He believes he and the Meths have killed and replaced God. Seemingly immortal, he deliberately chooses to live in a middle aged body so he can mimic elderly gods such as Zeus.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: A pervert who uses his money to get whatever he wants. A Downplayed Trope example as he's actually got an idealistic streak and killed himself over an accidental murder.
- Driven to Suicide: What the cops believe happened. They're right.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- He's a sadistic libertine hedonist straight out of Marquis de Sade, but he's extremely proud that he has never permanently murdered anyone and has absolutely no desire to do so. Finding out he actually did is the cause of his suicide; someone set him up with a Catholic prostitute — who can't be re-sleeved — and didn't tell him until after he killed her. Turns out that is the one line he couldn't cross, so committing suicide was the only way he could erase the memory of that act.
- Subverted in the end — the fact that he does have standards is just used to convince himself that he's a fundamentally decent person with some Byronic flaws. He has a Heel Realisation after being confronted with just how weak and hypocritical he is.
- Evil Virtues: Loads. he never breaks a promise. He never murders. He makes generous deals, does not skimp on money (double upgraded sleeves for his fighters), fulfills his promises with not a single moment of hesitation, and loves his family in his own way (he would rather destroy a clone of himself in a fit of rage than hurt his son: he actually has a lot of hidden rage, which is probably why he lost it under the influence of the drug). Compare Bancroft — who doesn't even bother about paying for two upgraded sleeves for his fighters; who pays for any prostitute sleeve he killed; who doesn't give a shit about Ortega's fancy new arm that was charged to his account — to Rei Kawahara, who despite being rich as hell, sleeves Ava Elliot into a man and sends to Kovacs, via Leung, the message that her money is not to help Takeshi's "stray pick ups" (AKA friends). When he decided to punish Ortega for her harassment, instead of typical "rich and connected villain" antics like killing her, destroying her career or getting her fired, he uses the entirely legal means of outbidding her mortgage of Ryker's sleeve and putting Kovacs in it. When he punishes Oumou, he does the same: hits where it hurts, but in a legal way. However, he never turns his "archaic streak" upon his libertine lifestyle and sadistic perversions; after all, he pays cash on the barrelhead and his "victims" are resleeved the next day no worse for wear. Finding out he's been tiptoeing the line so closely all it took was a few micrograms of chemicals and an altered file to make him both a liar and a murderer drives him first to suicide and then to confessing his crimes before surrendering to the authorities.
- I Gave My Word: One of his few virtues. If he makes a promise, he keeps it, no matter what it costs him.Reileen Kawahara: He has an archaic streak. You'd call it "honor".
- MadonnaWhore Complex: Hoo, boy. He has a very extreme case. On the Madonna side, he adores his wife, sees to her every need and desire, and would do anything for her to the point of completely ignoring her constant infidelity. On the Whore side, he's so sublimed his attraction towards her that he can't respond to her, and takes it out on prostitutes by paying for their new sleeves in advance so he can kill them after sex.Bancroft: Your limited life experience cannot possibly encompass what it is to love another person for over 100 years. You achieve something close to veneration. How does one match such respect with the basest desires of the flesh?
Kovacs: So, you love your wife too much to fuck her?
- The Patriarch: An Invoked Trope; because he can never die he has no incentive to groom his children to take over his empire. This means they are Not Allowed to Grow Up, while at the same time he has the hypocricy to complain about them not living up to his own view of himself.
- Pride: He refuses to accept that he would be weak enough to commit suicide. This sets off the entire plot, as he hires Kovacs to find out Who Dunnit To Me.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: His attitude to the world.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: He mocks Kovacs for his past as an Envoy, noting that Kovacs has led entire armies to slaughter and slagged the stacks of countless enemies, while he himself has never permanently killed anyone. Turns out discovering he did do so is why he actually committed suicide.
Lt. Kristin Ortega
- Action Girl: She's a cop. Only becomes tougher when she gets a bionic arm.
- Always on Duty: Is seen investigating day and night.
- Cowboy Cop: When griping about the Raven's use of lethal force, her partner points out that she's shot people for less. She also has no problem antagonizing a very rich man powerful enough to influence the leader of a One World Order.
- The Determinator: She is essentially just a cop without Kovacs' Envoy training or any other special abilities (at least until she gets her cybernetic arm), yet she continues to fight even when half her body has literally been torn apart and she's close to dying of blood loss.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Is an intelligent, tough and strong-willed cop, but she can't quite keep up against Takeshi's envoy training or the enhanced bodies of the upper crust. Midway through the story, she loses her organic arm and Kovacs uses Bancroft's credit to purchase her a synthetic top-of-the-line new one. It apparently feels similar to her real one, but it's almost invulnerable and super-strong — she repeatedly uses it to block sword strikes and gains the upper hand against the Ghostwalker by grabbing his ankle and crushing it one-handed.
- Fantastic Racism: Has this against Meths and Neo-Catholics (for their anti-sleeve beliefs).
- Hot-Blooded: In fairness she has a great deal to be angry about, though it's a while before we find out why.
- Hypocrite: Hates Catholics for being against re-sleeving but hates Meths for being immortal.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Kovacs/Ryker simply towers over her.
- Loving a Shadow: As the series goes on, it's pretty clear that Ortega's feelings for Takeshi are... complicated, due to the fact that he's sleeved into her lover's body. Takeshi himself seems to realize this, and makes the decision to return Ryker's sleeve to its original owner, so Ryker and Ortega can be together.
- Ms. Fanservice: You see her naked more than once and she looks fantastic.
- Noble Bigot with a Badge: Catholics piss her off for protesting sleeves. Doesn't mean she's at all tolerant of spree-killers who perma them because they know their victims won't name them.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: In the novel she has hatesex with Takeshi after finding a video with him having sex with Miriam Bancroft, and reacting instinctively as if she'd seen her boyfriend cheating on her.
- Spicy Latina: Argues with everyone, including people she loves, while still being fiercely protective of them. While her mother is a bit older than is usual for this trope, she's very much the same.
- Took a Level in Badass: Is shown to be a competent hand-to-hand fighter, but she holds her own against an Envoy and a high-priced assassin — and even slays The Dragon — once she gets her bionic arm.
- Tsundere: Is definitely hot and cold to Takeshi. Doesn't help (and is likely caused by) the fact that Takeshi is wearing her lover's sleeve.
- You Need to Get Laid: She has been avoiding relationships ever since her boyfriend got put on ice. It's implied this is why she eventually throws herself at Takeshi.
- Above Good and Evil: She believes laws and morals simply don't apply to Meths, whether resleeving a rapist in a snake For Science! or trying to seduce her brother while wearing his lover's sleeve.
- Absolute Cleavage: Not just for fanservice but to draw audience attention to the necklace of her mother she always wears.
- Adaptational Heroism: She's still a villain but she's far more sympathetic in the show where she has a genuinely tragic backstory and an (extremely twisted) love for Tak.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: Kovacs accuses her of this when he realizes what she's become while he was under, noting she turned from a sweet innocent girl into a ruthless killer and the very thing they joined the Envoys to prevent from coming into existence: a Meth. Turns out she never shared Quell's ideals anyway.
- Cain and Abel: With Tak in the show, where she's his sister.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Acts like this towards Kovacs and drifts ever deeper into it as the plot progresses, which gets an additional layer of disturbing by him being her brother. She's deeply hurt by Kovacs' relationship with Ortega, going so far as to have Ortega's entire family brutally murdered simply out of spite. He's predictably put off by her behavior, but no matter how openly he shows it, she never seems to get the hint that almost everything she does only serves to drive him further away from her.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: As her brother points out, all her problems could have been avoided if she'd just approached him directly at the start.
- Dark Action Girl: Can kick serious ass and wipe the floor with people in combat. Makes sense since she's an envoy. She's also the main villain.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Subverted. She initially claims to honor her late mother's memory by keeping her necklace along with a picture of her, despite having becoming an immoral immortal over the centuries. She later admits that she actually hates her for not fighting back, and keeps it as a reminder never to let herself become like her mother.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Ultimately this is what drives her brother away from her. 250 years as a Meth have given her a complete Lack of Empathy for any normal person, so she cannot comprehend her brother's attachment to anyone other than herself.
- Evil Is Petty: Ortega kills several of Reileen's cloned sleeves, in self-defense. Reileen has the Ghostwalker brutally murder Ortega's entire family, and then has Ortega tortured by replaying their deaths over and over again in her head.
- Family of Choice: Rejected; her brother attaches himself to the Envoys for this reason, but the only family she accepts is her brother, so she's entirely willing to betray them.
- Freudian Excuse: In the show. Tak was forced to kill their abusive father to save her life and than Jaeger sold her to the Yakuza.
- Killed Off for Real: Takeshi makes sure this happens. Using a grenade. In the show it's a shot to the throat.
- Love Makes You Evil: Her love for her brother and desire for them never to be separated again cause her to betray the Envoys to the Protectorate to prevent him going on a suicide mission. She then ruthlessly assembles wealth and power over centuries until she's in a position to have her brother freed, by which time he's horrified at the person she's become.
- Manipulative Bitch: Rei Kawahara, who will do and say anything to convince Takeshi to stay by her side, whether it's using the only photo she has of their mother (who she spitefully calls 'weak' and whom she hates) or telling him that she uploaded Quellcrist just before Stronghold was attacked, revealing that she can be brought back.
- The Mob Boss Is Scarier: She regularly makes examples of her goons to make the remainder fear her.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: She's the one who suggests to Bancroft that he employ Kovacs in the first place.
- One-Woman Army: Reileen is introduced in the present slaughtering her way through Carnages mooks with Gun And Sword.
- Related in the Adaptation: Is Tak's sister in the show.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: A darker version of Laurens Bancroft's own attitude.
- Torture Technician: Runs the Wei Clinic as a highly profitable niche market for Virtual Reality Interrogation.
- Tragic Keepsake: The necklace that Rei wears belonged to her and Takeshi's mother, before their abusive father forced her to relinquish it and then murdered her. Subverted as Rei coldly tells Takeshi in Episode 10 that she only wears it so that she won't be 'weak' like their mother was.
- Tragic Villain: Is ultimately this in the show due to her Freudian Excuse and altogether tragic backstory.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The flashbacks show her as a sweet little girl. Adult Rei calls her young self pathetic.
- Villainous Rescue: Saves Tak and Ortega from Carnage's goons in her first non flashback appearance.
- Virtue Is Weakness: She's a prevalent believer in this, to the point of outright mocking Bancroft's steadfast refusal to break promises or Real Death people. In the show it stems from the fact that Tak only killed their father to save HER life, thus convincing her that the only way to be "strong" was to step on others.
- We Are as Mayflies: Refers to Grounders as 'fireflies', who burn brightly but are then quickly extinguished. And she is entirely willing to help with the latter.
- Birds of a Feather: He and Ortega have the same fiery temper that brought them together.
- Cowboy Cop: Much like Ortega, he's willing to go beyond the protocol to get info from perps.
- Covered with Scars: His body bears the marks of injuries he's sustained in the line of duty.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: He gets his sleeve back after Kovacs ends his investigation, becomes acquitted of his crime and ends up back together with Ortega.
- Smoking Is Cool: He is a life-long smoker whose tendencies force Kovacs to light one up.
- Badass Normal: He can't take on an Envoy, but handles himself well enough during The Caper against ordinary security mooks.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Ends Season One with his daughter returned to sanity and his wife pardoned and returned to her original sleeve.
- I'll Kill You!: Kovacs tracks him down after he sends a death threat to Bancroft, thinking that he was responsible for his daughter being driven insane.
- Outlaw Couple: With his wife, though as a hacker.
- Papa Bear: His sole motivation is to protect his daughter. However this ultimately stops him getting revenge, as it would mean Lizzy would have no-one to protect her if he was killed or sent to prison. Kovacs exploits this to make him his sidekick, by agreeing to fund Lizzy's treatment.
- True Companions: Exploited by Kovacs, but ultimately played straight.
Elizabeth 'Lizzy' Elliot
- Action Girl: Poe's psychosurgery to heal her trauma caused by the Wei Clinic turns her into one that can keep up with Ghostwalker. It helps that she downloads herself into a synthetic body.
- All Up to You: The Plan has gone wrong with her family and friends captured or killed. But as Poe's AI program is being destroyed, she gets him to upload her into a synthetic body in Head in the Clouds, and she's able to turn things around for our heroes.
- Composite Character: Combines the book's Elizabeth Elliot, who was in storage the whole time, with another one of Bancroft's mistresses ( who was paid off after Miriam beat her into miscarrying 50 years ago), and Trepp, a synth-wearing assassin Kovacs "befriended".
- The Dog Bites Back: Starts as a mad Disposable Sex Worker dumped in an alley crawling with rats. She returns to kick tremendous amounts of ass and cause the downfall of those who put her there.
- Driven to Madness: Was tortured in the Wei Clinic until she went insane.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: Is caught in a mental trauma loop that gets worse every time her father spins her stack up. Poe places her into a more soothing virtual environment to coax her out of her shell.
- Imperiled in Pregnancy: Lizzy became pregnant with Laurens Bancroft's child. Miriam tries to bribe her to have it aborted, and when she refused beat her in a rage, causing the Real Death of her child. To cover up this crime, she had Reileen torture Lizzy in the Wei Clinic until she went insane.
- Look What I Can Do Now!: Proudly shows off her abilities with pistol and edged weapon to her parents, who are horrified at what their daughter seems to be turning into. However it's just what's needed for her to pull a Big Damn Heroes in the final episode.
- Mad Oracle: Thanks to becoming transhuman she appears to have Prescience by Analysis. She even lampshades her similarity to Cassandra.
- Percussive Therapy: Poe encourages her to overcome her fears by attacking him (as he can't feel pain) and learn self-defense skills to raise her confidence.
- Took a Level in Badass: Thanks to being trained in a Year Inside, Hour Outside virtual environment, she quickly accumulates skills in unarmed and armed combat.
- Transhuman: She exceeds even Poe's abilities when she uses his tutoring to spread her consciousness across the Array. In the end she keeps her synthetic body because she's not really human.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Once downloaded into a synthetic sex doll, she morphs it into her own appearance, wearing a black leather S&M catsuit that makes her look incredibly hot while kicking ass.
Dimitri 'Dimi' Kadmin
- Ax-Crazy: He's a violent psychopath who often goes out of his way to inflict as much pain on others as he can.
- Body Surf: He abuses this as much as he can, and frequent re-sleeving contributes to his psychosis.
- Bullying a Dragon: One of the Dimis makes a fatal mistake of assaulting Kovacs inside The Raven and ends dead at his hand.
- It's Personal: The surviving Dimi hunts after Kovacs for murdering his "brother".
- Me's a Crowd: He has his consciousness copied into another sleeve, essentially becoming two people with an identical personality.
- Torture Technician: Dimi puts Kovacs through an unimaginable amount of pain in a VR torture session, and only his Envoy training allows him to endure it.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: May be tolerant of her husband's philandering, but she won't tolerate him siring a child with another woman.
- Femme Fatale: Beautiful, deadly, and seductive.
- Not So Different: Is just as prone to violent rage as her husband. As seen when she beats Lizzie Elliot in anger.
- Silver Vixen: Miriam Bancroft is one of the beautiful women in the world. She's also as old as Laurens.
- Vapor Wear: Is introduced dressed this way. It's pretty much her entire wardrobe. It's not as if Kristin Lehman is hard on the eyes.
- Villainous Breakdown: In the show when confronted with both Lizzie's testimony and her lawyer (who arranged the torture) publicly testifying against her.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Has some regrets about her immortality.
- Younger Than They Look: Looks to be in her thirties or early forties instead of three hundred years old.
Ghostwalker / Mister Leung
- Blind Obedience: He believes that those who use Cortical Stacks to achieve immortality are divine, and devotes himself to further their cause.
- Camera Spoofing: Has a technology that allows him to erase his presence from all forms of electronic surveillance, leading to him being dubbed the "Ghostwalker."
- Dirty Coward: Is revealed as this, killing dozens with the smug belief of faith making him superior, yet when his own death is threatened he immediately starts to beg for his life, to no avail from Ortega who takes revenge for her family.
- Holy Hitman: He's a man with deep pseudo-religious convictions that asks his victims if they're believers.
- Have You Seen My God?: He argues that the "old" gods were silent and that the Meths have earned the title of gods. Unlike the old gods, Meths are beings that can be seen, touched and "answer prayers", and so he quite literally worships them.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: If he asks you "Are you a believer?"... well, hope your will is up to date.
- Villains Want Mercy: Once Ortega has him on the ropes, he starts desperately pleading for her not to kill him. She does it any way for what he did to her family.
- Weapon of Choice: A stabbing weapon that opens up inside the body, tearing out a large chunk of flesh (or a person's stack) as it's withdrawn.
- Would Hurt a Child: Has absolutely no reservations about murdering children if ordered to do so.
Bay City Police Department
- Broken Pedestal: When Ortega find out he's on the take, she loses all respect for him and refuses to obey his orders. Tanaka is forced to fire her to protect himself, though he's also trying to stop her from getting killed.
- Da Chief: In the traditional role of trying to keep a Cowboy Cop in line, whether Ryker or Ortega. As per this trope, he eventually demands that Ortega Turn in Your Badge.
- Dirty Cop: Is on the payroll of a Meth called Hemingway. Actually one of Reileen's sleeves.
- HeelFace Turn: He finally takes action against Reileen and the Bancrofts after Prescott gives him the means.
- Pet the Dog: He is genuinely trying to protect Ortega, though naturally she doesn't see it that way.
- Police Are Useless: The reason he's gone on the take is because Meths run everything anyway, and so he thinks the police have become irrelevant.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When his actions indirectly lead to police and innocent civilians being killed.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Threw up when he saw the corpses of Ortega's family that Leung murdered on Reileen's orders.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Throws himself in the path of a bullet meant for Ortega, destroying his own stack in the process.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Is well aware that Ortega and Kovacs are getting too close for comfort, and threatens to kill Kovacs if he hurts her emotionally. He does this knowing full well just how difficult Kovacs would be to kill.
- Only Sane Man: Tries to stop Ortega's short temper and Cowboy Cop tendencies from getting out of control.
- Parental Substitute: Is on a First-Name Basis with Ortega's mother, and some of their interactions imply they might be having a relationship despite being from different cultures and religious faiths.
- All Men Are Perverts: Nearly got fired for saying he could see Ortega's areolae beneath her shirt.
- Geeky Turn-On: Is quite enthusiastic about having discovered a genuine invisible man, and comes up with the name 'Ghostwalker' from one of his favourite computer games.
- Ignored Enamored Underling: Seems quite taken with Ortega and may actually be in love with her, either platonically or romantically.
- Love Cannot Overcome: Regardless of the above, he's unwilling to risk his job to help Ortega after he's told to Turn in Your Badge. However he changes his mind when her life is in danger.
- Lovable Nerd: He's genuinely fond of Ortega, and helps her out as much as possible. Ultimately he gives his life trying to help with The Caper to rescue her.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: They are portrayed as decadent, corrupt, and arguably insane from too much money mixed with too much time.
- A God Am I: Laurens says he and other Meths like them have replaced God. More interestingly, there are other humans who agree with them, noting that for the first time, humanity has gods that may answer.
- Conspicuous Consumption: Meths live towers rising above cloud cover, keep vaults full of specially cloned sleeves, and can needlecast themselves into bodies lightyears away or even just the other side of the planet to save on travel time. Laurens Bancroft even hosts a party where roast tiger is on the menu.
- Immortality Immorality: The fact that they are virtually immortal, seeing how most of them can back-up themselves up digitally, which allows them to survive even their stack getting smashed, have led many of them to develop rather twisted views on life and death, the value of human lives, and delusions of grandeur.
- Really 700 Years Old: The Methuselahs, or "Meths" are all super wealthy and each is centuries old. Bancroft is over 300 years old and has been married to Miriam for 100 of them.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The Meths are almost completely above the law, even able to publicly flaunt violating it. Their immunity has limits, however.
- Amoral Attorney: Of the Smug Snake and Social Climber variety.
- Boomerang Bigot: Looks down on non-Meths despite being one herself, though openly plans on becoming a Meth. Since the only thing separating Methuselahs from those who aren't can be boiled down to age and money, her plans are technically achievable, but will be next to impossible without the support of somebody like her employer, Bancroft.
- Break the Haughty: After she's framed by Kovacs and loses everything she has. It prompts her Heel Realization.
- The Fixer: She fixes all legal issues the Bancroft family faces due to their reckless behavior.
- Ambiguously Gay: Is often seen with a male companion named Brevlov whose gestures towards him seem protective and affectionate, but the nature of the relationship is never stated.
- Canon Foreigner: None of the Bancrofts' children appear in the book. The only one who is even named is a daughter who's mentioned to be in psychosurgery after finding Laurens' headless corpse.
- Inadequate Inheritor: Laurens regards him with disdain because he doesn't measure up as a worthy successor, despite the fact that Laurens has no intention of allowing any of his children to succeed him. After his arrest Laurens has a Heel Realisation and hands over his business empire to Issac, acknowledging that he should have done so long ago.
- Impersonation Gambit: Secretly clones a sleeve of his father and uses it to close a 400 billion credit deal to prove he can do his father's job. Laurens had been unable to close the deal for months, but instead of being impressed he responds with outrage, brutally assaulting Issac and later destroying the clone.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Invoked Trope. Laurens keeps Issac in a younger body even though he himself wears on older one specifically to make people respect him. A large part of the problem is that Laurens doesn't need to groom Issacs to succeed him like a mortal father would.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: While a Red Herring suspect for Bancroft's murder, it turns out all he wants to do is prove to his father that he's worthy of him. He eventually gets the respect he wanted when Laurens is arrested. Laurens tells him to take care of the family without him.
Colonial Tactical Assault Corps (C-TAC)
- Child Soldier: Kovacs is recruited while still a child, and is placed straight into an adult sleeve for his training. As a boy with an abusive childhood, he's quite tempted by the idea of becoming instantly badass.
- The Dreaded: Particularly for their ruthlessness. Kovacs is able to invoke this to scare some Torture Technicians into releasing him, by pretending to be an undercover C-TAC officer.
- Faceless Mooks: Wear protective helmets that cover their entire face.
- Trading Bars for Stripes: Takeshi is on ice for Real Deathing his father, as he can't prove he was acting in defense of his sister. Recognising that he has useful traits of ruthlessness combined with loyalty that he can exploit, Jaegar recruits Takeshi for C-TAC, promising him that he'll be protecting his sister in the process.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: They are supposedly well-trained troops but miss hitting Kovacs at every turn.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Their eyes glow red in combat.
- Super Soldier: The C-TAC Spec Ops Praetorians are made up of these, with Power Armor to boot and a mix of reflex enhancing cocktails in their system. However, they're still outclassed by the Envoys. Kovacs is especially valuable as an Envoy because he is able to combine both sets of training.
- Recruiters Always Lie: Jaegar tells Kovacs that if he volunteers for C-TAC, his sister will be placed in foster care with a good family. Whether Jaegar is responsible for selling her to the Yakuza is unknown, but his insistence that Kovacs never contact Reileen, ostensibly to protect her from retaliation, implies that he knew about it.
- Surprisingly Good German: His few German sentences contained no grammatical or stylistic mistakes and even his pronunciation was only a little bit off.
- Action Girl: Naturally, given her profession. Her reputation as a bounty hunter is legendary, and she shows that she's earned it.
- Action Mom: A total badass, and loving mother to her son, TJ.
- Determinator: Her mission is to find her missing brother, and no-one can stop her from finding the truth.
- Electronic Telepathy: She has a group of highly-sophisticated implants, known as "Coils", that allow her to wirelessly hack into computer systems and surveillance feeds, and track electronic signatures. It turns out to be one of the most useful pieces of tech in the entire series.
- Heroic BSoD: Undergoes one after discovering that her father has been Real Death'd by C-TAC, which prompts her to immediately rescind her assistance and tell Kovacs and Quell to fuck off. She eventually manages to come around in order to help the others in their efforts to stop the Elder from destroying Harlan's World.
- I Will Find You: Her entire motivation throughout most of the season is to find her missing brother Anil. She even takes out a bounty on him (and uses the money from her own bounties to up the amount) in her attempts to find him.
- Race Lift: Trepp's sleeve in the novel is white, while here, she's African-American.
- Adaptation Expansion: The Harlan family mostly exist in the shadows during the events of Woken Furies, the novel from which season 2 takes most of its plot, and give orders through subordinates. Here, Danica is the only living Harlan seen, and is more directly involved in the plot.
- Ambition Is Evil: Her father was known as one of the most ruthless and ambitious Meths that ever lived. Danica seems to make it her life's mission to out-do him in every way.
- Big Bad: Of Season 2.
- Corrupt Politician: Par for the course given what we know about Meths, but Danica takes it to even greater extremes by staging an entire war with a revolutionary army headed by a man that works for her, all so she can increase the price of the alloy used to make stacks.
- Didn't Think This Through: Danica sentences Kovacs to die in "The Circle", a ritualistic execution where the victim is killed by soldiers wearing sleeves resembling their loved ones, and televise it to the entire planet in order to make an example of the so-called "Meth Killer". It DOES seem like a pretty terrifying way to go... except, as Carrera tries to impress upon her over and over, she wants to do this to Takeshi Kovacs, a legendary Envoy who has been conditioned against psychological warfare, trained in myriad forms of hand-to-hand combat, and, oh yeah, is currently wearing a highly-advanced combat sleeve. Sure, he is nearly defeated, but the fact that she wants to stage such a drawn-out televised execution, instead of just shooting him in the stack like Carrera suggests, allows the actual Meth Killer, Quellcrist Falconer, to get in and rescue him.
- Evil Brit: She has quite the posh accent.
- Mayor Pain: Type 1. Although Danica is officially the governor of Harlan's World, there seems to be only a single major settlement on the whole planet, which basically turns her into a glorified asshole of a mayor.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Naturally, considering she's a Meth. She relies on Carrera and her own planetary forces to do her dirty work for her.
- Patricide: She killed her father, Konrad, in order to usurp his position as Governor.
- Villain Ball: In the season 2 finale, she, along with Quell and Kovacs, manage to convince the Elder possessing Carrera of Konrad Harlan's death, getting the Elder to stand down its plan to destroy the planet with angelfire, and even possibly find some measure of peace. Then she decides to shoot it. Which promptly causes the Elder to go back to attempting to destroy the planet again.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Presents a caring "woman-of-the-people" persona in public. In reality, she's as corrupt, ruthless and amoral as they come.
- "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Invoked. A lot of her drive seems to come from her attempts to prove herself worthy of her father's position as Governor. Ultimately subverted by the reveal that she actually murdered her father, and spun a cover story about his absence, in order to take over the planet for herself.
Colonel Ivan Carrera/Jaeger
- Adaptational Villainy: Colonel Carrera in Broken Angels is a hardass mercenary and one of Kovacs' major antagonists, but he's respectful of Kovacs at first and arguably commits fewer evil actions than Kovacs himself. Here he's a total psycho from the get go, and combining him with the show-only character of Jaeger, giving him and Kovacs an extensive backstory they didn't have in the novels, also makes him responsible for a bunch of other terrible actions over the years.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: He is a firm believer in this, seeing himself as the "alpha dog" of his pack. It also why he despises Danica Harlan; to him, she is nothing but a Spoiled Brat who did nothing to earn her power through proving her strength and skills in combat, but cheated her way into it through inheriting it. But it is also why he gains a sort of grudging respect for her, as he comes to realize how grand her scheme is over the course of Season 2's story, and has to acknowledge that she is actually a pretty good schemer and had to work both hard and smart to overthrow her father.
- Ax-Crazy: Both played straight and subverted. Carrera is definitely willing to get his hands extremely dirty in the course of his duties, and has no compunction about RD'ing someone in the name of the Protectorate. However, he's also pragmatic enough to recognize the value in keeping targets with valuable knowledge or information alive (albeit so that he can subject them to torture later).
- Beard of Evil: Has a glorious one that helps to sell his gruff badassery.
- Canon Character All Along: An interesting case, in that Carrera is a character from the novels, but season 2 reveals that he is actually Canon Foreigner character Jaeger in a new sleeve, thus giving him a far more personal connection to Kovacs than the original book version had.
- The Dragon: Is forced to act as this to Danica Harlan for most of the series, especially after she invokes martial law. To say that he doesn't appreciate the role is one hell of an understatement.
- Evil Mentor: Acted as one to Kovacs, until Kovacs met Quell and realised the path he was starting to take.
- General Ripper: Starts off simply investigating the murder of a high-profile Meth, but he makes it extremely personal when he discovers that the main suspect is Takeshi Kovacs...
- It's Personal with the Dragon: Kovacs and Carrera have a very complicated history together, which drives Carrera's pursuit of Kovacs.
- Like a Son to Me: He had this relationship with Kovacs, who he raised and trained into the Protectorate.
- Noble Top Enforcer: Despite his General Ripper Blood Knight tendencies, he actually has shades of this. In particular, he's absolutely disgusted by Danica's actions in attempting to cover up the fact that she engineered the war with Kemp's revolutionaries in order to drive up the price of stack alloy, and knows that Danica being granted martial law will just cause the population to revolt against her faster.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Carrera is a very practical-minded soldier who focuses on accomplishing the job at hand, and doesn't allow things like distractions or petty grudges to get in his way. Notably, he's not above sparing someone if he feels like they can be of use to him (although he usually plans to kill them later). He also tries to talk Danica Harlan out of subjecting Kovacs to the Circle, a flashy, brutal, publicly-televised method of execution, because he recognizes the risk of Kovacs escaping, and suggests just shooting him in the stack instead.
- The Reveal: He is actually a re-sleeved Jaeger, the man who recruited and trained Kovacs into C-TAC.
- Benevolent A.I.: Like Poe, Dig is very helpful in assisting Poe and Kovacs.
- Meaningful Rename: In the final episode of season 2, she takes the name Annabel Lee, after the Edgar Allan Poe poem. The poem is about a love which cannot be severed by death, and was inspired by the death of the real-life Poe's own wife. It's very suggestive of Dig's potential feelings for Poe.
- Mind Rape: A downplayed example. When Kovacs 2 tries to get Kovacs' location from her, he activates her command over-rides in an effort to force her to reveal the location against her will. She attempts to hold back as much as possible, but the command over-rides break down her will. It's only because she dumped her memory that he doesn't get the information he needs (although he does get enough to set him on to Trepp's father).
- My Greatest Failure: Her actions in helping Poe and Kovacs partly stem from this, as she reveals thet her archeologue team were all murdered, and she did nothing to prevent it.
- You Are Number 6: Her "name" is actually the designation of the archeological site that she was created for.
- Lipstick Lesbian: Downplayed, but she's presented as being somewhat more feminine than Trepp.
- Reluctant Retiree: She used to be a talented archeologue, but the government's pogrom against archelogues forced her to retire. It's strongly implied that Trepp is the only reason she wasn't killed with the others.
- What the Hell, Hero?: She calls out Trepp, who had agreed to take the bounty on Kovacs, for deciding to work with him in order to find Anil, despite not trusting Kovacs, and the two desperately needing money for T.J.'s sleeve payments.
- Wet Blanket Wife: All she wants is for Trepp to cash out her bounties so they can pay off T.J.'s sleeve. Trepp's quest for Anil, which leads to Trepp becoming involved in Kovacs and Quell's adventures, causes a huge amount of tension between them.
- Accomplice by Inaction: While he did not participate in the slaughter of the Elder children, he wasn't able to stop the other founders, and never revealed the truth to the world. The guilt has clearly been weighing on him for centuries. The Elder guardian still kills him, but unlike the others she makes sure the process is painless.
- The Atoner: The main reason that he allows the Elder-possessed Quell to kill him.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's the leader of the Yakuza on Harlan's World so we can assume he has some dirt in his ledger, but he doesn't commit any overtly villainous actions, and is overall a decent person. He was absolutely horrified by the massacre of the Elder children, and felt guilty for being unable to stop it.
- Face Death with Dignity: Once the Elder-possessed Quell comes for him, he just calmly accepts his inpending real death, seeing it as his and the other Founders' sins finally catching up with him.
- Founder of the Kingdom: One of the original founders of Harlan's World.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Has this reputation among Harlan's World Meths, probably due to his disgust over the other founders' willingness to slaughter the Elders found at the Songspire.
- I Owe You My Life: The reason why he gave Kovacs the full rights as a member of his family, above even his heir. Kovacs was captured and tortured in the worst ways imaginable, but he never gave Hideki up.
- My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction when the founders discovered the Songspire, and killed all of the Elders attached to it.
- Warrior Poet: Despite being a crime boss, he spends his time in quiet contemplation, tending to his small Songspire trees. He is also the only person except Quell to truly understand Kovacs, better than even Kovacs himself, and several times is able to talk Kovacs out of cruel or unnecessary actions with a few firm words.
- Yakuza: Is implied to run this on Harlan's World (in the book, it was stated outright, while in the show, it's more implied with his great-grandson Yukito's activities).
- Adaptational Wimp: Was a genuine threat to the planet of Sanction IV in the novels, where he was also a charismatic megalomaniac.
- Ascended Extra: Is mentioned during the events of Broken Angels, but never actually shows up in the novel. Here, he actually appears onscreen, and plays a small, but key, role in the story.
- False Flag Operation: Kemp's uprising turns out to be this, as it's revealed that he was hired by Danica Harlan to stage a war, in order to drive up the price of stack alloy.
- Founder of the Kingdom: Although he was one of a handful of men who founded Harlan's World, he was their leader, hence why he was the one who got to slap his name on the planet.
- The Ghost: Is dead long before the events of season 2, and only appears briefly in flashbacks.
- The Unfettered: Has zero qualms about wiping out the Elder's children worried his hold of the planet would be taken by them.
An Elder entity hunting meths.
- Body Surf: It can jump between bodies via cortical stacks without any technology. It just jumps from one deceased host to another.
- Cruel and Unusual Death:
- It invokes this on all of its victims, painfully killing them by destroying their stacks and any and all backups they may have. It does not do the same for Tanaseda who was horrified by the actions of his former friends. It rewards him with a painless death.
- It suffers this fate at the hands of Kovacs in order to stop it from killing anybody else.
- Final Boss: Of Season 2.
- Outliving One's Offspring: It's children were all murdered by the founders of Harlan's World.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes on one across all of Harlan's World, exterminating various figures who were involved in the massacre of its children.
- Tragic Villain: The creature lost its entire family thanks to the founders of Harlan's World massacring them. It seeks retribution as a result, and is even close to calming down until Danica attempts to betray it for her own purposes.
- Walking Spoiler: It's hard to talk about this thing without spoiling many of the major plot points of Season Two.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: It's fate at the hands of the founders of Harlan's World was brutal, and so it understandably seeks revenge and mows down anyone who dares to get in the way. In the Season Two finale, it almost literally became a World Destroyer.
Takeshi Kovacs (Prime)
- The Ace: Just like Orginal!Kovacs he has an immense amount of skill.
- Fearful Symmetry: Kovacs Prime and Kovacs match each other move for move, until Kovacs starts using his Envoy training and gains the upper hand.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes on a small one when he finds out that Original!Kovacs killed Reileen by Carrera. He ends up killing Trepp's father.
- HeelFace Turn: Betrays the Protectorate just like the original after hearing how Jaeger/Carrera left Reileen to be sold to the Yakuza, as well as some persuasion from Quell. By the end of Season 2 he's still a part of the Protectorate, but now he's a mole for The Uprising.