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Main Character Index | Sterling Archer | Main Characters | Recurring Characters | One Shot Characters: 1-2, 3-4, 5-7 | Dreamland
"Lying is, like, 95% of what I do."
Voiced By: H. Jon Benjamin

"I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of my deafening awesomeness!"

The man himself. Despite being one of ISIS's top secret agents, Sterling Malory Archer (Codename: "Duchess") has consistently proven himself to be questionably competent, questionably sane, morally questionable and unquestionably an absolute jackass. He has still kept his job at ISIS (his mother is the boss), but this hasn't shielded him from the ire and scorn of his colleagues or mother.

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  • Acquired Poison Immunity: All the partying and getting poisoned means he can metabolize tranquilizers in a few minutes, as demonstrated in "The Wind Cries Mary".
  • Action Dad: Still a kickass agent after he becomes a father.
  • Adventures in Comaland: Seasons 8 through 10 takes place in his noir-style coma dream after he was shot by Veronica Dean in the season 7 finale.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Deconstructed. Archer never learns his lesson about being a better person, which makes him highly and reasonably disliked among his peers. However, a major recurring issue for Archer in this trope is that he is repeatedly made aware of his faults, and oftentimes doesn't simply blow them off or ignore them, but his efforts to truly change are often stymied as much by his dysfunctional coworkers and family as they are by himself; essentially, any progress he tries to make tends to get shot down because he continues to interact with people who directly feed his issues in the first place.
  • The Alcoholic: Drinks cocktails all the time, among other alcoholic beverages, and has been drinking since before he was 12 (His mother even hinted that she used alcohol as his primary pacifier). Archer often drinks a ton on assignments, really strong stuff too, and has switched out necessary equipment for more booze. The effect the constant drinking does on his job performance varies.
    • It sometimes gets to the point where if he's too drunk, he needs to take lighter drinks, like a Bloody Mary to lower the buzz.
      • One time, when he vowed to give up on drinking for a woman he legitimately loved [Katya], he claims that he needed to ease into his abstinence slowly or else "the collective hangover would literally kill him".
  • Alcoholic Parent: Still drinks even after becoming a dad.
  • Amazon Chaser: The two women that Archer ever truly fell for were Lana and Katya.
    • He also slept (and, according to him, had the best sex of his life) with Pam, although their relationship doesn't progress beyond best friendship (which for Archer, is a pretty big deal).
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Numerous hints throughout the series suggest that Archer has some form of autism: he is often the only character to count bullets during gun fights, including multiple automatic weapons; this coupled with his ability to identify the make and model of firearms allows him to ascertain when enemies are reloading. He is able to identify the make and model of a blender in Fugue and Riffs just by hearing the sound it makes through the phone, and he has an unusual affinity for animals and is able to 'converse' with Babou and Kazak. Archer also shows an inability to pick up on social clues and a lack of empathy on the cognitive level, rather than being void of it entirely, eats baby aspirin, and seems to be unable to dress himself without help from Woodhouse. Another characteristic is his voice, which stays very monotone and changes only in response to strong emotions, particularly rage. The possibility of Archer being on the autism spectrum is directly addressed in the episode Coyote Lovely; when asked if he is autistic, Archer first mocks Lana for suggesting it, but after identifying Border Patrol's Ruger 6s and realising they were out (after being shot in the back) he remarks, "Holy shit, maybe I am autistic?" before collapsing.
  • Ambiguously Bi: To date, he was willing to, and with some liking judging by the finger he held up to Lana during the act kiss Ramon Limon while he was (apparently) dying, and when locked in a cell in San Marcos with Gustavo Calderon two cells down, and his wife in between them, the three of them have been having sex through the bars. When Juliana is taken upstairs by Cyril so she can marry him, Gustavo asks if Archer "wants him to move over one." Archer seriously considers the idea. And in "The Archer Sanction" it is revealed that "Bang Joe Frazier" is on his bucket list. He also had a devil's threeway with Skorpio and Lana in "Skorpio", though he seems to regret it.
  • Anti-Hero: Selfish, vain, childish, but unquestionably a hero.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Archer gets distracted very easily, usually by alcohol, hookers, adorable animals, or anything relating to Burt Reynolds. Sometimes all of the above.
    Archer: What the hell was that?
    Cheryl: Ugh… my stupid pet ocelot.
    Archer: …(with child-like glee) I've never SEEN an ocelot!
  • Awesome, but Impractical: A rare case of a person being this. When in the field he's single handedly captured an entire space station, defeated a KGB hit squad armed with automatic weapons using only Molotov cocktails, an ice scoop and a broom handle, sneaked past an entire armed force of enemy agents while a litre low on blood and drunk. His behavior at literally everything else, however, makes his inhuman abilities wildly impractical, to the point that he's been deliberately shot three times by his own co-workers for how much he irritates, belittles, and berates them.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Sterling Archer.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Probably because he revels in being an Overt Operative, Archer is terrible at undercover work. He tends to use incredibly transparent cover identities (e.g. Col. Lando Calrissiano) and suffers from frequent failure of his fake mustache and tendency towards Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping whenever he tries to disguise his voice.
  • Bad Boss: To Woodhouse. BIG time. Though on a few occasions he has realized how terrible he's been to him and has apologized.
  • Badass Boast: Gives an incredible one to Farooq in "Sitting":
    Archer: So here's the thing, Farooq. I don't know about any stories, but whatever badass shit that you heard I did? You really need some context, because pretty much my whole life, pretty much right up until this minute my default setting has been half-assed. (cracks knuckles) But that was before I had a child. A child you threatened to harm. A child, I just realised, who's probably on her way up to the roof so Aunt Pam can swat at biplanes! So imagine, as I literally beat you to death - Hang on… Yeah, literally - that a giant hand has turned my dial from half-assed to quadruple-assed!
    • Another one, in Russian, from "Fugue & Riffs":
      KGB Leader: Son of a bitch ISIS spy. Even if you kill us, more will come!
      Archer: Good. I'll waste them too.
  • Badass Driver: In "The Kanes", Lana tells her father to let Archer drive his car in a Car Chase as "he's actually pretty great at it". He's able to catch up to the car they're pursuing despite it having a pretty major lead so she's got a point.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Archer is often seen in either a tailored suit or a black tactical turtleneck (a "tactleneck").
  • Batman Gambit: Pulls one on Lana in "Movie Star" when he tricks her into taking his "mission" using a bugged sniper rifle.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Archer grows one for three months after his fiance Katya is killed.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Anything that hints at his mother's out-of-control sexuality. Tying into that, hearing that Woodhouse helped his mother give birth to him, meaning that he saw her no-no square.
    • Don't point a gun at him.
    • Doesn't like anyone other than him wearing a turtleneck on a mission, especially when he feels that he needs it.
    • Don't make fun of him for having breast cancer. You'll either get a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown or a face full of buckshot, as Brett and several members of the Irish mob learned the hard way.
    • Don't threaten his daughter. Archer is dangerous under normal circumstances and has admitted that even during those times he was Brilliant, but Lazy. Try to hurt his daughter and as he puts it "imagine a giant hand reaching down and turning [his] dial from half-assed to quadruple-assed".
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • The Veronica (dangerous, Sociopathic Hero) to Cyril's Betty (mild-mannered, Butt-Monkey) for Lana's Archie.
    • The Archie for Lana's Betty (longest friend, on-and-off lover, usually the Only Sane Woman) and Katya's Veronica (a sultry, Russian spy, who later becomes a Cyborg and more of a jerk).
    • The Archie for Lana's Betty (mother of his child and known for a long time) and Veronica Dean's Veronica (sultry, seductive and mysterious).
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Despite his moronic and buffoonish nature, when the chips are down he can be a deadly force.
  • Big Eater: Not large quantities like Pam but Archer does have a rather large appetite.
  • Born Lucky: Things always seem to work out well for him — or, at least, way better than they should, given his poor decision-making skills, his alcoholism and his tendency to have sex with any woman who shows even a mild interest in him. It's his good luck, combined with his Made of Iron status, that keeps him alive in spite of his own incompetence.
    • Brought to its logical extreme in "Edie's Wedding," where he manages to drive straight to the grain elevator where Barry is holding Pam hostage despite not knowing anything about the area, knocking out the one person who could guide him to the grain elevator, and not even knowing what a grain elevator was. Archer even lampshades how ridiculously convenient it is.
    • A running joke is Archer being completely unscathed when everyone else is injured, or completely clean when everyone else is doused in filth.
    • Ray even points this out when they are trapped in the jungle. Ray says that he resents the fact that Archer expects that everything will just somehow work out for him. Sterling's reply? "It almost always does!"
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: During the car chase in "the Man from Jupiter," the Cuban assassins' vans fly off the road into the water in two identical (save for the vehicles) sequences. Archer notices this, somehow.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: While on the surface, Archer is a brainless egotist, the show makes it clear he genuinely is the world's most dangerous spy. Archer boasts unparalleled skills in almost every field needed to be a secret agent, incredible in-depth knowledge about a wide variety of topics (some quite obscure), and some outright savant-like genius abilities. He's even able to count the number of shots being fired from multiple guns being used simultaneously in a fire-fight and keep track of exactly how many bullets each shooter has left. Unfortunately he's also a selfish hedonist whose concern isn't whatever mission he's supposed to be handling but rather his own comfort and (short-sighted) entertainment. His main motivation for being a secret agent seems to mostly be so he can travel the world getting drunk and bedding women.
  • Broken Ace: Known around the globe as the world's most dangerous spy, and displays almost absurd levels of strength, durability and fighting skill. Also an alcoholic Jerkass manwhore and borderline Psychopathic Manchild who is hated by everyone he knows, is totally incompetent at everything but combat and espionage, has a plethora of mommy issues to the point that in the first episode he gets an erection at the thought of his mother dying, and openly admits that he dicks around whenever he's on a mission due to his crippling fear of his own mortality.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: While Archer is callous and self-centered to almost sociopathic levels, he is NOT emotionless and despite his hard outer exterior, and can have a very soft heart, most notably when he deals with animals, particularly cute animals. He once almost cried recounting a sad story about a little girl who drowned to Lana.
    Archer: That is the third saddest thing I have heard today… Pam told me a story about a little girl who drowned trying to save a puppy.
    Lana: Jesus! What was the second worst thing?
    Archer: (voice cracking) The puppy drowned too.
    Lana: [look of shock and horror]
  • Bully and Wimp Pairing: His dynamic with Cyril is almost identical to a high school bully picking on the class nerd.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
    • He's an extremely talented agent and feared worldwide as the world's most dangerous spy. He's also narcissistic, unprofessional, and all around jackass. When he's not on a mission, he's sleeping with inordinate numbers of women and getting blackout drunk. He also sleeps around and gets blackout drunk during missions, too, but still manages to avoid getting killed. Whether or not he actually completes the mission itself is a whole other issue.
    • Arguably a Deconstruction, as he is a highly skilled agent, but often fails at his missions precisely due to his quirks and unprofessionalism.
      Archer: So I crashed a few cop cars, ran over a few mimes! So I don't play by the rules Mother, but I get results!
      Malory: Well as long as you got Kasparov.
      Archer: Oh, uh, yeah about that.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: He really does love Lana. He can just be shit at expressing it properly.
  • Can't Bathe Without a Weapon: Archer's competence and good judgment are extremely questionable, but he goes nowhere without a weapon, not even a hot tub. Although he does realize how impractical it is.
    Archer: My gun's all soapy. Pretty dumb, taking a bath with it...
  • Catchphrase:
    • Archer's "Danger zone!" said to Lana.
    • "Do you not?"
    • "PHRASING!"
    • "Name! NAME! NAAAAME!!!!!"
    • "What the shit, [whoever's just pissed him off, usually Lana]?"
    • "Oh, that's classic [again, whoever's just pissed him off, usually Lana or his mother]!"
    • "X, he said, Y-ly."
    • "Damn it/I swear to God, I had something for this!" note 
    • "Eat a dick, [insert force of nature here]."
  • Character Development: After the birth of his daughter, Archer's largely half-assed and laid back demeanor when dealing with life-or-death situations became far more serious. When he believed Abbiejean to be in legitimate danger, he became grounded, serious, and downright murderous toward the man who threatened to harm her, stating that for threatening his daughter he would personally beat him to death with his bare fists. Even though it turned out to be an extremely elaborate ruse by Lana, Archer showed a fiercely protective and paternal side to his personality that made him take far less risks and his daughter's safety his number-one priority. He also begins to be more outspoken against his mother's critiques regarding his and Lana's parenting style. One instance being when he threatened to have Malory arrested if she gave baby A.J. diet pills in response to Malory commenting on how fat she was (and not for the first time, either). This shows an increasingly independent side to Archer, who no longer seems to fear his mother's wrath.
  • Characterization Marches On: Archer's love of animals (except alligators) comes up frequently in the series. However, in the pilot episode, he freaks out when he sees that the air stewardess that he brought back to his penthouse also took her dog with her. Four episodes later, he barely bats an eye when a lemur attacked one of his prostitutes.
  • The Chew Toy: In season 2. First he goes through breast cancer and witnesses Katya get murdered by cyborg-enhanced Barry.
  • Chick Magnet: Archer has a lot of women finding him attractive. Just ask Lana, Pam, Cheryl, Katya, Anika Schlotz, Randy Gillette's wife, Moreno, La Madrina, Juliana Calderón, and dozens of other women.
  • Chubby Chaser: He begins having an affair with Pam in Season 3, and claims that it's the best sex he's had in his life.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: To an extent. Most of his dumbassery isn't really him being outright stupid; instead, his brain just makes very odd connections filtered through an obsession with Burt Reynolds movies and Kenny Loggins.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Archer has literally gotten fellow agents maimed or killed, is actively trying to have the same thing happen to Cyril, and when told that the agency has adopted a policy against unnecessary killing on missions, he still goes around casually murdering guards or anyone else who gets in his way for sheer personal convenience. Also, his "sentimental" memories of his deceased valet Woodhouse all involve the horrific physical abuse that he inflicted on Woodhouse on a regular basis.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: Archer is less an expy of James Bond and more a counter to the Gentleman Spy archetype in general. However, Archer has zero gentlemanly traits, is a Psychopathic Manchild who habitually bullies his coworkers, routinely endangers missions (and coworkers) due to his self-centeredness or lack of any useful skills (beyond asskicking), and has had the clap so many times it's more like applause.
  • Counting Bullets: Has a knack for it and finds it weird that no one else seems to try and keep track during a firefight.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Archer didn't bother to hide his extreme dislike over Lana and Cyril being in a relationship, and tried to break them up on a few occasions.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Archer's narcissistic attitude was so dangerous is indirectly caused Barry's descent into craziness.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: He's unbeatable when it comes to combat. When it comes to everything else related to being a spy he's not only nearly useless but also an outright hindrance.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: While being a complete moron, Archer is more than competent at violence when the situation arises.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Wildly gushes over Carol's pet ocelot, loving his "cute little spots!" Archer in general goes nuts over cute animals, including lemurs, adorable pugs, and even tigers. At one point he even gets completely distracted when he thinks there's a zoo nearby. He admits that if not for his bad grades, he'd be working as a vet.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: A firm believer in this, especially after Barry started making his life a living hell whenever he showed up. He also believes that the machines turning against humanity is just a matter of time.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Never knew his father. Mother wasn't in his life for the first five years and when she was in his life, she was the epitome of Parental Neglect. And when he was left with Woodhouse, the butler would get high off of smack. His dream of playing lacrosse professionally was cut short because a madwoman shot him. Needless to say, he had a screwed up childhood.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Malory despises Katya and does everything she can to sabotage her son's relationship with her. She also admits that she doesn't want him to end up with Lana because she's a black… ops field agent.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes.
  • Destructive Savior: And that's on a good day.
  • Dies Wide Open: When he drowns in "Sea Tunt, Part 2". He gets better, though.
    • Seemingly once again after being shot in the chest several times and then being left to float face-down in a pool for a relatively unsurvivable amount of time in "Deadly Velvet Part II". It takes three whole seasons of being in a coma, but he does eventually get better.
  • Disappeared Dad: Has no idea who is biological father is. According to Malory there's three possible candidates, one of whom is the now-deceased USSR general Nikolai Yakov.
  • Does Not Like Men: A very rare male example. Archer is an insensitive lech to women, but typically treats the men in his life with open contempt and disdain. Even male celebrities who he admires like Kenny Loggins and Burt Reynolds usually end up in conflict with him and getting insulted when he actually meets them. He almost always falls into Alpha-male bullying behavior around other men and treating them like weaklings, almost to the point of being the gender inverted version of a Female Misogynist.
  • The Dragon: Sometimes fulfills this role to his mother's Big Bad, often without even realizing he's helping her perform criminal acts. Taken furthest in Season 5, when he becomes a major agent and enforcer to an amateur drug cartel his mother runs.
  • The Dreaded: Surprisingly, Archer manages to live up to his title as the "World's Most Dangerous Spy." A few people have actually hesitated when they realized they're dealing with the infamous Duchess. Note that he's the World's Most Dangerous spy, not the world's most competent, intelligent, or useful spy—he's equally dangerous whether you're with him or against him.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: Archer, being a highly functional alcoholic, will drink moonshine straight out of mason jars, rubbing alcohol mixed with Tang, and even the substandard, off-brand liquor available at an Air Force Officer's Club. But when he pays other people to mix his drinks, God help you if can't make a simple margarita.
    Archer (berating the bartender): Five ingredients. Tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, ice, kosher salt.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Has moments of these. Also, see his Jerkass Has a Point section.
    • In "Skytanic", where he keeps thinking the airship is flammable even though it's full of helium, but his other reason why it's a stupid idea (it's a boring slow ride which can only go between two places) turned out to be completely true.
    • Lana asked him if his rampage against The Irish Mob in season 2 was really worth it. He states that, although his motive was entirely selfish (revenge for selling his hospital fake chemotherapy drugs) he does point out to Lana that his conscience can't rest easy since the gangsters were still selling fake cancer medicine, which is pretty heinous.
      Lana: Still though, you really want to take on the Irish mob?
      Archer: No, I don't, but they've been switching out lifesaving cancer drugs with candy and Zima.
    • In "Jeu Monégasque", while Lana and Ray were right to be angry at Archer for losing their retirement money, Archer points out that while he inadvertently lost the money for the ISIS retirement accounts, his mother was the one who stole it in the first place. Ray even lampshades Archer has a point.
      Lana: Archer! I will put you down!
      Archer: How am I the bad guy?!? Mother's the one who stole our retirement money! All I did was foolishly lose it.
      Gillete: He does have a point.
    • He accurately points out that Lemuel, Lana's father, shouldn't have kept his life's work without any backup. Lana even lampshades that Archer has a point.
      Lana: Archer! You're going too fast, you idiot.
      Archer: Idiot? Who kept his life's work in his frickin' house, apparently without any kind of backup whatsoever?
      Lana: Uh, yeah, that's actually a good point.
      Lemuel: I couldn't keep my work at the lab.
      Archer: It's potentially worth billions! People would literally kill for it! (Fired on with full auto weapons) Case in point.
    • When Lana suspects that Archer cheated on her with Katya, Archer points out to Lana that the fact that even though it would've been easy to have sex with Katya since she was still very attractive and wanted to have sex with him, it makes it more commendable that he didn't sleep with her.
  • Dumb Muscle: He manages to fill this role for ISIS despite actually being very intelligent: he's a phenomenally effective Action Hero but that's pretty much his only relevant talent as a spy.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: When he drowns in "Sea Tunt, Part 2", his last words are "Lana…! I… love… you."
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: His middle name is his mother's first name.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: His codename is "Duchess" after his mother's dead dog.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Gets an erection at the thought of his mother dying in the pilot. Only half of one though. The other half would have really missed her.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: In one episode, his former best friend Lucas Troy turns out to have unrequited feelings for him (although he claims that he isn't gay) and goes into Yandere mode when Lana and Cyril come in and try to save him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Archer has a few lines that he won't cross.
    • Archer may be an utter whoremonger and man-slut, but he won't sleep with Anka, even though she's two years over the age of consent in the country they're currently in.
    • He may be hideously culturally insensitive, and assume that the bomber is "Beardsley McTurbanHead" (actually a Sikh), but if someone starts flat-out using racist slurs or starting a racist diatribe, he'll stop them with a little lecture on why racism is bad.
    • He's downright horrified when Calzado casually shoots a captive Bengal Tiger, calling it murder. So horrified, in fact that it actually puts him out of the mood for sex with Lana.
    • He draws the line at dismembering someone.
    • He even sticks up for Pam against her horrible sister in "Edie's Wedding" and starts to treat her like a true friend.
    • He was horrified when he almost cleaned up pee using Cyril's cashmere sweater vest, emphatically apologizing and stating that he didn't know.
    • When Cyril's plan to betray the agency so he can swoop in and save the day and be the hero backfires, Archer is genuinely appalled that someone could be that stupid.
    • He goes on an enraged rant about how horrible the CIA's MK-ULTRA drugging experiments were.
    • Despite being a shameless pervert, he is pretty horrified and ashamed at himself for misinterpreting the Lana's parents trying to invite him to the family reunion as a proposition for a threesome with them,
  • Expy: Visually, Archer bears many similarities Xander Crews from Frisky Dingo though Archer is way nicer, smarter and less self-centered than Xander was.

  • Failed a Spot Check: Archer's typically a savant at counting bullets, even from multiple guns at once, and calculating how long until an enemy is out of ammo. When Presidente Calderone is holding the ISIS group at gunpoint, Archer botches the count, letting the president hold them all off by bluffing with an empty gun. He's rather embarrassed when he realizes he missed it.
    "Sorry, that one's on me."
  • Fainting: Of the emotional type through complete disbelief (or Squick), usually when hearing about his mother's sexual exploits. So frequent is this that Malory even quips he might as well be half fainting goat.
  • Fan Boy: Huge fan of Kenny Loggins and Burt Reynolds (along with everyone else in the latter case).
  • Fantastic Racism: After the newly-rebuilt Barry murdered Katya at their wedding, and made worse after Katya was herself resurrected as a cyborg and left him for Barry, Archer developed an outspoken hatred for robots and cybernetics (with the exception of the toast-making office robot Milton). He even tried to prevent Krieger from curing Ray's paralysis with bionic legs because of it. One flashback shows that this might date back even further, to when Archer almost castrated himself with a home-made sex robot as a child.
  • Fatal Flaw: His selfishness and egotism has nearly gotten himself and his co-workers killed.
  • Finagle's Law: He will screw up any mission he is given in any way possible. ISIS in general tends to screw up everything but it's most prominent with Archer.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Discussed in the book. Archer mentions that, in spite of his sizeable paycheck, and bonuses, and the fact that he pads his expenses by about fifteen percent, he still lives paycheck-to-pycheck because of his opulent lifestyle. He also seems to be chronically incapable of comprehending that Malory pays for his penthouse. Even though she had Woodhouse lock him out in "Job Offer", he is still shocked when the federal government seizes it along with everything else ISIS owned in season five.
  • Freudian Excuse: Oof. Let's just say that Dr. Freud would have had a field day with Sterling's case. Archer's dysfunction is a result of growing up with a negligent and outright abusive mother, as revealed in a number of flashbacks to his traumatic childhood. She abandoned him until the age of five, then sent him off to 12 straight years of boarding school. Other examples include abandoning him on Christmas Eve with no way to get home, taking all of his Halloween candy from him in a poker game, stealing his unattended bike to "teach" him about responsibility… without giving it back or mentioning it further afterwards and giving him liquor at a young age. After several flashbacks, various characters admit that it "explains a lot" about Archer's personality.
    • There's also the bullying he endured in prep school. One incident nearly killed him and left him in the hospital with pneumonia for a month.
    • He was also (statutory) raped by his nanny when he was 12, which would explain quite a bit about his sleeping around.
  • Friend to All Children: Oddly enough. For all his faults (including misogyny, alcoholism, rudeness, and egotism) he's great with kids, most notably his own.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Except for his mother's former dog and crocodiles, Archer has a major soft spot for animals.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Her mom calls him by his full name if he pisses her off at best and screws up royally at worst. Which is often.
  • The Gadfly: He goes out of his way to tick Lana off. Whether or not he's trying to tick everyone else off hasn't been stated.
  • Gasshole: Again, not to the extent as Pam but Archer burps a lot.
  • Genius Ditz:
    • He's a complete moron 95% of the time and an expert spy the remaining 5% of the time. He also has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture, and knows his way around history and classic literature. He's also surprisingly proficient with electronics, creating increasingly elaborate pranks and even rerouting his answering machine to Cheryl's mansion to set off lights and techno music when full, a feat that impresses Krieger.
    • Sterling is pretty incompetent in most things, but he's the best field agent there is. He's also incredibly slow on the uptake on a number of occasions, but he also displays a surprisingly hefty education, apparently coming from his years at a boarding school. In one exchange that exemplifies the dichotomy, he overhears two mooks on a space station make an Animal Farm reference. Archer knows that Animal Farm is "an allegorical novella about Stalinism by George Orwell," but thought they were talking about an actual animal farm.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Of the Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist variety. Being an agent doesn't mean he is a nice person at heart.
  • Handicapped Badass: Archer is diagnosed with breast cancer in season 2; in one of the episodes, "Placebo Effect", he goes on a rampage when he discovers the Irish mob were using fake chemo medications to make a profit. Even when vomiting and fatigued due to the effects of the real chemotherapy, Archer still proves a threat. He becomes an even better example in Season 11, as while his muscles have atrophied from his three-year coma (on top of moderate nerve damage from being shot multiple times) and he now must walk with a cane, he is given a weaponized "Tactile-Cane" by Krieger with a variety of functions, and once he has it, he starts to become just as badass as he used to be after three years in a coma and an additional three months after that of almost never leaving his apartment made him a lot weaker.
  • Handsome Lech: He's fairly attractive, but a bit of a dick.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?: A Funny Moment for him in "Honey Pot". The Straight Gay Ramone states that he's actually too gay for his tastes. Even the more effeminate Rudy says he's overdoing it.
  • The Hedonist: Obsessed with sex, alcohol and self-gratification but to be fair, some of that is because of the way his materialistic and selfish mother raised him.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Inverted. While Archer doesn't really get along with anyone, his relationships with his male coworkers are considerably worse than with his female ones. In general, if a man doesn't fit his (heavily Burt Reynolds-influenced) concept of masculinity, which none of the major male characters do, he will more than likely interact with them with a combination of schoolyard bullying and indifference. By contrast, he genuinely cares about Lana, considers Pam to be his best friend, and is very tolerant of and amused by Cheryl's insanity.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Zig-Zagged. In the pilot, one of his main rules was not allowing dogs into his apartment. However, he soon comes to love them and only hates his mother's old dog, Duchess.
  • Heroic BSoD: A minor one after he learns that Barry killed Jakov. And a big one when he learns he's become a father.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Despite his questionable competency as a secret agent, he is actually rather knowledgeable, and proves as such to the Irish mob with his knowledge of history when one of the mobsters insults the Honduran janitors about being immigrants.
    • He uses his knowledge of chemistry to improvise bombs out of empty glass bottles, dry ice, and water.
    • And he's apparently a Herman Melville fan.
    • His knowledge of nearly all of the crocodile and alligator deaths in North America. Mainly due to the fact that he's paranoid about them.
    • Lana: "You don't know your own blood-type, but you know the name of the guy who discovered blood-types?!"
    • He understands the metaphor in Animal Farm (not that it's a terribly hard one to get, but still).
    • "Live and Let Dine" reveals that he has an untapped affinity toward cooking.
    • All those jokes of Archer encountering irritatingly understocked bars only to make something drinkable has shown that he has an amazing knowledge of mixology and ability to creatively improvise cocktails.
      • Related to that, when Archer is convinced by his fiance to stop drinking he's smart enough to slowly wean himself off alcohol instead of stopping cold turkey, noting "I'm afraid if I stop all at once the accumulative hangover will literally kill me." Alcohol withdrawal can be legitimately damaging to one's health, especially for someone who's been drinking as much and as long as Archer has.
    • It's also heavily implied that he really does love Lana, but has no idea how to say it.
    • Seasons 8-10 have a lot of allusions to his subconscious for look out for the cues; for example, his rant at himself late in the Dreamland shows that he is apparently subconsciously aware of his tendency to become easily sidetracked from his initial goals, much to the detriment of himself and those close to him. There's also his comments to Poovey in the season finale about how seven shots to the gut are unsurvivable, "even in a parallel universe!", implying he is aware of his own grave condition and his low chances of survival.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Malory's parenting skills are a thing to behold. Highlights include teaching him to play Blackjack and taking all of his Halloween candy because he hit on 17, getting him drunk and then criticizing him for being unable to hold his liquor, stealing his bike to teach him a lesson about responsibility and letting him believe it was stolen. All this happened when he was around 7, by the way. To say nothing of Malory forgetting to alert his boarding school to her change of address, resulting in nine-year-old Archer spending a train journey alone and having to be picked up in tears by the police. On Christmasnote .
  • Honey Trap: Archer claims to love this one (except when he is assigned to seduce a man). Ironically, he himself is exceedingly susceptible to it.
    • In "Coyote Lovely" he completely abandons the stated mission of stopping illegal immigrants from being smuggled into the U.S. upon discovering that the woman in charge was beautiful. Malory planned for this, as she had already been bribed by the smugglers.
    • In "Viscous Coupling", KGB head Katya is able to trick Archer into arranging for Krieger to help Barry escape from the space station Horizon by playing with his affections. She doesn't even need to actually have sex with him!
  • Hookers and Blow: What Archer gets up to in his spare time, though the only drug he abuses is alcohol.
  • Hot-Blooded: Basically the only thing that raises him above the level of Badass Normal agents such as Lana. If he must violate the laws of physics to save her (from a mess he got her in), he'll bend them out of the way.
  • Hyper-Awareness: When not distracted by booze, tits and/or cute fuzzy animals. He manages to constantly keep track of the number of bullets fired by anyone's gun, even to the point where he can track the number of shots fired from multiple weapons at the same time, while he is getting hit by said bullets.
    Archer: Holy shit, maybe I am autistic.
  • Hypocrite: He belittles Ray for receiving a bronze medal in the Olympics, but brags about how he took second place in a minor contest.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    Archer: Forget about Kraus, there's your bomber. That guy, Beardsley McTurban-head.
    Malory: You idiot. That's Sandhu Singh, the billionaire investor. He's a Sikh.
    Archer: Oh, so if he's not a Muslim he just gets a pass? Well that's called profiling, Mother, and I don't do it.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Archer has notably, piercing, blue eyes. And, while he does have a soft side, he's mostly a jerkass.
  • Identical Stranger: With a Cuban official in "Diversity Hire".
  • Idiot Ball: Archer almost always finds a way to screw something up usually due to his own arrogance. Expect him to hold the idiot ball multiple times in an episode. To get an idea of how badly he screws up, in the three part season 3 premiere, "Heart of Archness", Archer manages to cause a seaplane to run out of fuel thinking autopilot follows the flight plan, then when Rip Riley tries to land the plane safely in water Archer lowers the landing gear, causing the plane to crash into the water. Then on the life raft, eats all the rations before Riley wakes up, then manages to get them captured by pirates. This is all happens just barely two thirds through the first episode.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: Is an expert Lacrosse player and has even used his talent there in the field several times (including killing four KGB agents with a makeshift Lacrosse stick and some Molotov cocktails). As he said himself, "The skills are pretty universal."
  • Incest Subtext: In the pilot episode, Lana mentions that he once yelled his mother's name during sex.
  • Informed Attribute: They say he's ISIS' top field agent as if they believe it. While we see that he possesses fantastic combat abilities, he completely fails at everything else related to spying.
  • Insane Troll Logic: His rationale for suspecting a Sikh, above.
    Captain Lammers: Mr. Singh is Excelsior's majority shareholder.
    Archer: So?
    Captain Lammers: If anything went wrong with this flight he'd lose millions.
    Archer: It's the perfect cover.
  • Insufferable Imbecile: Sterling is ignorant, boisterous and reckless narcissist who's callous, abrasive and rude to most people he interacts with and his dumb actions are a result of his arrogant and self-absorbed nature.
  • It's All About Me: Archer is very self-centered and almost entirely focused on himself and his needs and desires. If he aids someone else, it's always ultimately for his own benefit.
  • The Jail Bait Wait: He refuses to take advantage of the underage Anka, but tells her to call him when she turns eighteen.
  • Jerkass: His default personality, especially towards Cyril and Woodhouse. His most defining and often commented on trait is that he is a "giant gaping asshole" to anyone and everyone.
  • Jerkass Ball: Has an almost compulsive need to grab it, though since Archer's already an asshole, this is really more a matter of scaling. How big of an asshole Archer is usually correlates proportionately to how serious/delicate the situation is and whether he's been relatively nice recently.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: A gaping dickhole he may be, but he makes a good point once in a while. Also, see his Dumbass Has a Point section.
    • Archer is usually a jerk to Brett, but his beatdown of the latter in season 2 is understandable as Brett made fun of Archer for having cancer. It doesn't matter how much of an asshole someone is to you, making potshots about them dying of a disease is never okay.
    • Archer goes on a brutal "revenge rampage" against the Irish mob his reasons are hard to argue with: The mob were knowingly using fake chemo medications to make a profit with not caring about the cancer patients who needed said medication to survive.
    • Though he did some legitimately dickish things during the Heart of Archness three-parter, everything that happened to them was direct result of Malory, and by extension Rip, trying to force Archer to return home.
      • He was absolutely right when he explained to Rip that he didn't run away, because he's a grown man and adults can't run away. Adults can go where ever they want. While Archer maybe shouldn't have punched Rip, everything Rip did after that was kidnapping.
      • Considering he was being kidnapped, it was well within Archer's rights to knock Rip out. Sure he nearly got them both killed, but that is a direct result of the aforementioned kidnapping.
      • Lana punches Archer's lights out when she finds out he was being a pirate king voluntarily, but he wouldn't have even been in the position to do that had it not been for the aforementioned mistakes.
    • Demanding Cyril to stop with the nasty comments towards Lana just because she had a baby (that wasn't his) via sperm bank and to get on with his life.
    • Calling out Lana for springing fatherhood on him without discussing it with him first.
    • This forms the crux of his fiery relationship with Lana. As quick as she is to point out his bad decisions, he's just as quick to call her out on her personal failings, bad decisions, and hypocrisy. As seen on her Not So Different page, he's more on the money than she'd ever care to admit.
    • Season 11 culminates in the team having fully regressed to their pre-coma personalities and Lana blaming Archer for their backslide. Archer throws their excuses back in their faces and accuses them of keeping him around as an excuse to be their worst selves, leaving Lana at a loss for words.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he is a reckless, boisterous and impatient douchebag, he does have some compassion… it's just buried deep down.
    • His relationship with Ruth in "Placebo Effect".
    • Being more concerned about Cheryl's ocelot being lonely in his room, despite said ocelot just having destroyed one of his suits, which is normally a Berserk Button for him. In a similar vein he also sympathizes with a shot tiger in El Contador.
    • In "Honeypot", he, for no readily-explainable reason, helped a distraught Dominican man bury his prized rooster in the Everglades after it was killed in a chickenfight. Made all the more heartwarming when it's revealed a season later that alligators are one of his biggest fears.
    • In "Heart of Archness", he's much too sympathetic to actually commit any piracy.
    • He willingly gave up the last scubasuit without hesitation to Lana when he learns she's going to be a mom.
    • Telling Pam that he and the other characters liked her the way she was, and that even though her cocaine use has made her thinner and sexier, the effect it has had on her personality is undesirable and the risk of a fatal overdose is not worth it.
    • When it appeared that Pam was dead after taking a bullet in the chest for him, he cradles over her body and holds her hand, and yells her name in genuine anguish.
    • The amount of concern he shows towards Lana while she was pregnant is actually heartwarming. The instant he finds out she's expecting in "Sea Tunt: Part 2", he gives her his scuba suit, leading to him drowning and almost dying so she and the baby can be safe. He does extensive research on all possible pregnancy complications, and tells Lana to get out with the baby so they won't be separated in prison while Agent Hawley is searching the mansion. In San Marcos, when Lana's water breaks and she starts having contractions, he shows some of the most genuine fear and worry we've ever seen from him, asking her what her bishop score is and revealing he's been certified as a doula, showing how much he cares about her and the baby.
    • In the ending of the Season 6 opener, he uses his sat-phone to track down and call the wife of the elderly Japanese soldier he's been working with through most of the episode so they can reunite for the first time in decades. Archer also used his smartphone to show news reports to inform the soldier that the war was long over. . . but really meant to break the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to him much more gently.
    • And despite the circumstances on how he became a father, Archer is completely devoted to AJ.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: A lot of his more sympathetic moments, particularly with Lana, are immediately subverted by him being an annoying douchebag. He gradually loses this trait. Sort of.

  • Kick the Dog: Does this constantly to Cyril and Woodhouse.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Archer appears to have shades of this, judging by his concern for Babou the ocelot, as well as his surprising empathy for a Bengal tiger.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": He's a huge fan of Burt Reynolds.
  • Ladykiller in Love:
    • With Katya.
    • It bears mentioning that Archer is more than likely actually in love with Lana (as shown in the season four finale where he screamed "Lana! I love you!" right before he drowned), but considering his background, he doesn't actually know how to love anyone or anything.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Seems to have inherited all his mother's personality traits, both bad and good. Lampshaded during "Job Offer":
    Archer: (upon hearing that his mother blacklisted him from every agency in the world because he quit ISIS) Oh, that's classic her!
    Lana: You're both classic her.
  • Large Ham: His frequent screams of "Lanaaaaaaaaa!" are just the icing on the cake.
  • Last-Name Basis: Malory, Jakov and Katya are the only characters who call him Sterling.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Many of his missions would go swimmingly if he didn't choose to make it more exciting.
  • Lethally Stupid: Sometimes.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: He may be an unrepentant playboy with questionable common sense and no skill at or concern over actually staying undercover, but he's an excellent fighter and is surprisingly knowledgeable… when he cares/is threatened enough to display these qualities. He also has a seriously brutal streak towards people who harm or threaten to harm the people he cares about (or feels sorry for) ; in "Placebo Effect" the revelation that The Irish Mob have been selling fake cancer medicine drives him to inflict and threaten some very nasty torture to get to the bottom of things. In "Fugue and Riffs" he single-handed killed an entire KGB hit squad and executed the helpless leader by jamming an aerosol can of canola oil spray into their mouth and shooting it. See the "quadruple-assed" quote under Badass Boast for another example.
  • The Load: His tendency to be an insatiable poon-hound with a planet-sized ego often causes things to go wrong for his colleagues.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: He's a very hypersexual and lecherous person and while he can genuinely charismatic and entertaining, his sex-driven nature can be extremely reckless and self-destructive.
  • Made of Iron: Archer is incredibly tough, surviving among other things a boat loaded with high explosives going up around him, multiple car (and one spaceship) crashes, amateur brain surgery, six .44 Magnum rounds in the chest at point-blank range, and getting shot twice in the back.
  • Manchild: Archer can be pretty immature, such as antagonizing Lana just for kicks. He also tries to drive/pilot literally any vehicle he is on. Not just cars either, he has attempted (often unsuccessfully) to operate airplanes, submarines and even a space shuttle. When drunk (which is often), he has gotten into trouble for trying to storm the cockpit of airliners or trains because he wants the chance to drive them.
  • Mean Boss:
    • To Woodhouse.
    • Also tends to demand that he be agent in command on missions, making him this to his fellow field agents.
  • The Millstone: For ISIS generally. Archer often causes missions that should be easy to complete to fail instead because he is easily distracted, tends to get into arguments with his fellow agents, loses interest in the mission entirely or never even bothered to read the mission dossier in the first place. In "The Heart of Archness", Cyril observes that ISIS has turned a profit for the first time in years during the months that Archer was missing.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In "The Double Deuce", Woodhouse's squadron mate Bishop assumes Archer and Woodhouse are lovers.
    Woodhouse: This is Sterling Archer, my…
    Stinky: None of my business. Consenting adults and all that.
    Archer: Wha… HEY! No one is consenting to anything!
    Stinky: None of my business.
    • Happens again in "The Papal Chase", where the Pope thinks Archer is gay (and offers to absolve him in exchange for saving his life) when Archer tries to apologise for calling Vatican City (and by extension the rest of Italy) gay.
  • Mistaken for Racist: In "Diversity Hire", Conway after revealing himself as an enemy calls Archer racist for asking if Conway slept with Malory. While he can be pretty insensitive at times, he's not actually racist; he's just squicked out by anyone sleeping with his mother, regardless of race.
    • He spends the majority of "The Limited" being called a racist by that week's villain due a mixture of unfortunate-looking circumstances and his usual ignorance.
  • Momma's Boy: Has a very dysfunctional love/hate relationship with his mother. On one hand, he hates everything his mother stands for; on the other, he completely loses it at the thought of anyone having sex with or marrying her. Ron even lampshades this by comparing him to Norman Bates.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He's a very handsome man with chiseled features who is in great shape and is almost always seen in tailored suits. We also see him in his underwear or completely naked pretty regularly.
  • Never My Fault: In season one at least, he had a tendency to yell "Lana did that!", though in a subversion it almost invariably was Lana's fault, like knocking a box of donuts out of his hands, or poisoning guards at a palace.
    • Though really one could lose count of how many times he has blamed others for his actions, sometimes to the point of Self-Serving Memory. Even his apologies seem insincere since he either immediately switches blame or expects to be Easily Forgiven regardless of his actions.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: The noble guy while Archer is the roguish guy. In fact, the main reason Lana dated Cyril was because he seemed too gentlemanly to be like Archer but Cyril is not as noble as he seemed and while Archer may be more roguish in comparison, he still has a sense of nobility.
  • Noodle Incident: His conception. There are at least 4 candidates for his father. Considering his mother Really Gets Around, though, the number may be even higher. Several other ones are mentioned throughout the series, generally sexual in nature, such as the 'Luau incident', which involved a naked Archer and a roast hog.
  • Not Good with People: A rather unusual example for this Trope since Archer is a raging, insensitive jackass rather than the shy and gentle people normally associated here. But at the same time Archer is almost uncharacteristically forgiving and friendly to animals, whom he seems to genuinely love and get along with more so than most people.
  • Oedipus Complex: Inverted. He absolutely despises every last thing about his mother but he seemed to have idolized the image of his father… until he learned that his dad was not who he thought he was. In recent seasons, Lana just right out accuses him of having a subconscious desire to sleep with his mother.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Despite having been raised from infancy by an actual Englishman, Archer is terrible at faking an English accent. Granted, he usually tries to go for an RP accent (which Woodhouse didn't have).
  • One-Man Army: While there have been characters capable of matching or overpowering him in a fight, they are few and far between. Generally when it comes to combat, Archer is the equivalent of a small army.
  • OOC Is Serious Business:
    • See also Let's Get Dangerous!. Ninety-nine percent of the time Archer is a dissolute playboy with an uncommon skill at fisticuffs. However, the one percent of the time when he takes a situation seriously, it's generally a sign either that he is extremely pissed off or things have gone South big time. In "Placebo Effect", for instance, the discovery that the Irish Mob have been selling fake drugs to cancer patients — a category which, at that point, included him and another patient he befriended — was enough to get him to gleefully commit some very nasty torture. But the biggest example is in "Sitting," where he lampshades the fact that most of the time, he's half-assing everything, but when AJ is put into harm's way, he will not fuck around.
    • In "Deadly Prep" when he's suddenly confronted with his school bully who traumatized him and put him in the hospital, he becomes an absolute stammering mess. Even when Lana makes a "phrasing" joke, he doesn't respond. He later recounts the story of how he was mercilessly beaten and aspirated water and urine into his lungs from being drowned in a toilet. It's implied he was assaulted like this many times. It becomes increasingly disconcerting to see him this thrown-off from his usual, jovial self.
  • Overt Operative: He'll tell anybody that he's a secret agent, even though the whole point is to remain secret. Leads to this exchange:
    Malory: Because most secret agents don't tell every harlot from here to Hanoi that they are secret agents!
    Archer: *scoffs* Then why be one?

  • Papa Wolf: To AJ, big time.
    • When Farooq threatens his daughter, Archer gets what is possibly his most badass moment in the show thus far. See Badass Boast above.
    • His anger at being shot at in the house of Lana's parents was mainly because AJ was there.
    • He threatened his mother with jail if she continued to underfeed AJ.
    • After AJ's kidnapping, he momentarily "Rampages" out, before immediately regaining his composure, and cooly going over the facts of the mission. Outside telling AJ's kidnappers he is going to break everyone of their vertebrae, he remains surprisingly even-tempered and intensely focused on getting AJ back, instead of his usual moody, flippant self.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: He's barely holding it together when Lana goes into labor and eventually gets kicked out of the room because his panic is stressing her out. Once outside he tips over a vending machine and punches Cyril in the face to distract himself. Ironically he didn't actually know the baby was his until after she'd been born and they were safely on the way back to the U.S..
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: By far his biggest hangup, he absolutely cannot stand even the slightest hint at his mothers romantic past, which is a problem, as many of the mission he's been on either involved one of Malory's old lovers, or stealing back a sex tape of her.
  • The Perils of Being the Best: Archer is a competent combatant and capable of some surprising feats of intelligence from time to time. His skill and reputation therefore make him a fairly high profile target, and the fact that he's an ass only pisses his enemies off further.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Subverted. The one time he tries to do something nice for Woodhouse by kicking his murderous army buddy off a roof to save Woodhouse's life, it turns out the whole thing was a misunderstanding and what he did was more of an unintended Kick the Dog to Woodhouse.
    • In "Phase Two" Archer thanks Woodhouse for his generosity and hard work, and even half-way apologies for a lifetime of being a dick to him. Admittedly, this moment comes after Archer stole Woodhouse's vacation and got his brother Dickie into legal trouble… but the sentiment's nice.
    • A straight example with Archer's relationship with Ruth, a sweet old lady who happens to be a fellow cancer patient.
    • Also apparently likes ocelots. Seems rather fond of animals in general, except for alligators.
    • Calling Kentaro's wife for him without prompting probably counts.
    • He agrees to go to Edie's wedding with Pam as her date so that she won't be humiliated in Season 6, which initially has adverse effects, with Barry tracking them down, but eventually ends with Pam getting some long-needed revenge on her sister.
  • Phrase Catcher: Goddammit, Archer!
  • Ping-Pong Naïveté: While Archer is usually a Bunny-Ears Lawyer who's able to deal with spy work competently while being a complete moron in every other area, sometimes the stupidity bleeds into his work for the sake of the Rule of Funny; for example, completely missing a parachute drop zone only to land in the wrong country.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: His dialogue is very Reference Overdosed, and often includes references to relatively obscure stuff, such as long forgotten sci-fi shows.
  • Pragmatic Pansexuality: Subverted and Played for Laughs. He attempts to seduce a gay Cuban agent and he is extremely reluctant to do it. And his methods of doing so are even more heavy-handed than his attempts to seduce women and they utterly fail.
  • Promiscuity After Rape: Might be why he has a compulsion to sleep with most, if not every woman he sees, because he was sexually traumatized at the age of 12 by a grown woman.
  • Protagonist Title: His last name is the title for the series.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Extremely self-centered, whiny and abuses his co-workers and Woodhouse for his own amusement.
  • Rape as Backstory: Archer was raped by his nanny when he was 12.
  • Rape as Drama: It's revealed that Archer's best friend Luke raped him while he was sleeping, as Luke confesses to him on his deathbed. It's played completely seriously and ends with Cyril and Lana driving the car back home looking shocked and horrified, and Archer looking completely despondent in the backseat, with zero no background noise besides him meekly asking that the radio be turned on.
  • Read the Freaking Manual: Too lazy, or outright refuses, to read a mission dossier, which often complicates things; though there are few exceptions.
  • Really Gets Around: Spends most of his free time with hookers, and everyone assumed he was the father when Trinette gave birth in Season 2. Has had sex with Lana and Cheryl off-screen, and starts sleeping with Pam in Season 3.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Archer gets a manicure in "The Honeymooners".
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: Archer became considerably nicer in Season 6 after becoming a father, but still retains his reckless attitude and Hair-Trigger Temper.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: In "Skytanic", he slaps a man for lighting a cigar on the Excelsior, thinking it would explode.
    Archer: You want to blow us all to shit, Sherlock?!
    Malory: Sterling!
    Captain Lammers: For the last time, the Excelsior is filled with non-flammable helium! Although this is a non-smoking area, sir.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes on one against a group of Irish gangsters after they give him fake cancer medication. He even films it, and ends up playing it at the office over and over after he recovers.
  • Rule of Cool: Thinks this applies to his life, which often results in failed missions or comedic injuries (to himself or others). However, in some cases, such as "Skorpio", it miraculously does, which only encourages him to keep trying to apply it.
  • Say My Name:
    • Generally, he screams out Lana's name.
    • To Barry at the end of Season 2 after Barry kills Archer's fiancee Katya.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The manly man to Cyril's sensitive guy.
  • Sex for Solace: After Barry murders Katya, Archer "ran away from home for several months to", in Malory's Exact Words, "grief-bang the entire Pacific Rim", to the point where she'd "bet the gene pool of Polynesia is irreparably altered." He also became a pirate king, but that's semi-unrelated.
    Archer: I was emotionally shattered. Which turns out to be kind of a panty-dropper.
  • Share Phrase: "What the shit?" he took from Lana.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: He hates Cyril's guts, but it never goes beyond bullying.
  • Skewed Priorities: Just one example: he's more interested in a pirate lacrosse game than saving Ray's life and escaping the island he's being held prisoner on.
    • He'd also rather let Barry suffer a potentially fatal fall than risk having his clothes damaged. This happens twice.
  • Smug Snake: As Lana puts it, his ego needs its own zip code.
  • Sociopathic Hero: The only time he ever really comes close to acting like a civil person is when he thought he was dying of cancer.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Archer has had lengthy conversations with an English Mastiff and Cheryl's pet ocelot.
  • Spoiled Brat: He gets away with a lot because his mom's the boss.
  • Squick: invoked An in-universe example. He responds to anything sexual involving his mother with disgust and disdain.
  • STD Immunity: Another aspect of his life that got hit by Reality Ensues, Archer is something of an aversion to this trope. They never show him dealing with any STD on the show (Lana impregnated herself with his sperm), but it's often made mention by his friends and mother. Cheryl mentions Archer gave her chlamydia, Slater claims Archer has "Had the clap so many times it's more like applause" and Malory says he at one point got some extremely aggressive sexual disease that was like nothing the doctors had ever seen before.
    Lana: When was this?
    Mallory: Trust me, if you had it you'd know.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Oh so subverted. He has Tinnitus (ringing of the ears) as a result of his fellow agents firing guns near his ear, and one too many explosions. He accumulates more damage to his eardrums each season. On the other hand, he does still use it to his advantage:
    Archer: *having just fired his gun in close proximity to a Yakuza boss' ear* I can keep doing this, I have tinnitus. To me, it sounds like popping bubblewrap.
  • Strong, but Unskilled: He's much worse at espionage when compared to Lana and Barry, but neither can hope to rack up a body count anywhere near his.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Archer is an aloof, jackass who almost always thinks only of himself. But, he does show enough Pet the Dog moments that remind everyone that he's not completely heartless.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: He's a perfect example of this. He's tall, has suave, jet-black hair and is seen as being incredibly attractive by countless women and at least one guy.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: While Archer is extremely handsome, he's also a complete smartass who constantly slings put downs at others.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: His trademark form of pranks involves setting up voicemail messages when anyone (primarily his mother) tries to call him, as if he's responding to them before either saying it's a voicemail, a laugh, a beep, or any combination of the three.
    • On a few occasions, Malory suspects he's pranking her and hangs up. One time she does so while Archer called her. Sterling had to remind her it only works the other way around.
    • Two episodes of Season 5 detail exactly how he creates the voicemails.
    • He actually falls victim to this by Malory in an episode of Season 6.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: He becomes less of an asshole as the series progress.
    • When he was diagnosed with cancer, Archer took the time to apologize to his co-workers for his jerkass moments.
    • After becoming a father, Archer became more serious about his work and started to not to act like an ass on his missions like he did in the earlier seasons.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: After he experiences a three-year coma, it turns out that the Spy Agency were doing successfully without him and with Archer coming back and acting as an obnoxious, antagonistic and impulsive manchild, the rest of the characters start reverting back to their self-destructive and dysfunctional selves.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Not counting alcohol, he's a big fan of Woodhouse's variation on Eggs Benedict, Eggs Woodhouse. He also enjoys fried chicken and waffles when he's been drinking.
  • Troll: Especially in later seasons when he clearly antagonizes people just for shits and giggles. It's even Lampshaded in the "Bastard Chef" episode.
    Cyril: Why do you antagonize him?!
    Archer: Come on Cyril, it's my nature.

  • Undiscriminating Addict: He is incapable of functioning unless he's in a constant alcoholic haze. In order to maintain the haze, he's occasionally had to get creative about sources of alcohol; in one episode, he tries to get loaded on barber's germicide.
  • The Unfavorite: Despite not having any siblings, yes. Flashbacks make it pretty clear Archer was the unfavorite to his mother's pet dog.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: He's a borderline Villain Protagonist at times.
  • Upper-Class Twit: On one occasion he references Bartleby the Scrivener and is surprised that no one gets it.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He really was, before his mother screwed him up.
  • Villain Protagonist: At his worst he can be this.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Gender-flipped and Zig-Zagged. He and Lana aren't an Official Couple until Season 6, but whenever Lana is injured, Archer explodes.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • His relationship with Lana is this plus tons of Unresolved Sexual Tension. He even says in one episode that she's not only his best friend, but his Only Friend.
    • In "Best Friends", Archer's new butler believed Archer and Cyril are best friends due to their Odd Couple-like relationship, and Cyril was the first person he showed off his new office to. While Cyril was touched, Archer rejects the very idea.
    • His relationships with characters that he doesn't outright hate are generally very strong examples of this.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Gender-inverted and downplayed with Katya. She is his type, so it is understandable why he was attracted to her. But of all the women in Archer's life, Katya seems to have the greatest psychological hold on him, getting him to willingly quit alcohol and settle down shortly after they meet. This is remarked on by the other characters, but never really explained.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: His relationship with Malory is… complicated. Even Lana clearly states in season 5 that all Archer wants is to please his mother.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He has no problem attacking women in the course of doing his job, or if they are abusive toward his friends, as seen in "Edie's Wedding" and "Double Indecency".
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Archer's three greatest fears: Alligators, crocodiles, and brain aneurysms; he justifies the latter with his explanation that it can happen anywhere at anytime.
    • His fourth greatest fear is the Bermuda Triangle.
    • He's not overly fond of cyborgs, even before Barry is brought back as one.


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