The newly-appointed Head of Communications. An American who was previously employed at Instagram, Liz garnered attention for her TED Talk on transparency. She believes that a modern police force has to be more forthcoming with information and more willing to admit when it makes mistakes. The challenge is convincing her co-workers, especially since she isn't being entirely truthful herself.
- Audience Surrogate: As an American PR manager working for London's police force, she occasionally needs to have operational or cultural things explained to her.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: While usually pleasant and well-meaning, she can be manipulative and downright acidic.
- Broken Ace: She's found success at a young age following her TED Talk, and she's confident she can bring change to the Met. She's intelligent, conventionally attractive, and talented at Communications. But Liz is soon revealed to have issues connecting with people on a personal level. In Episode Two, her self-esteem is so bad that she takes cocaine on a worknight, after being mildly peer-pressured by an ex-boyfriend whom she contacted out of loneliness.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: She has an unconventional mix of personality traits and policies, but when she's not overwhelmed by her emotions or poor decisions in her personal life, she's actually good at her job. Her seemingly counter-productive stances on Jason Delgado and Karl Jeffries would've lessened further damage.
- Characterization Marches On: In the pilot, Liz came off as somewhat cold, opportunistic, and prone to fakeness. In the first episode, shes warmer, more socially awkward, and is shown to genuinely believe in her transparency policy.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Earlier, it's her habit of going on work-related tangents to acquaintances and declaring plans without any prior context, like asking Sharon to get tased. It gets worse as the series progresses, as she more frequently struggles to get her point across.
- The Conscience: Views herself as Richard's.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Richard's suicide and its subsequent fallout causes her to take personal liberties with her policy of transparency.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Based on her impassioned ranting to Mia's friends in Episode One, Granger in Episode Two, and Sharon in Episode Five. This is also part of her temporary Broken Pedestal for Richard - she's looking for purpose through reforming the system, not just being paid to cover up mistakes.
- Determinator: When Liz wants something, she pursues it wholeheartedly and as quickly as possible, often to a fault. For the first half of the series, it's Metwork and firing Finn. In the second half, it's surviving the tables being turned on her.
- Hero-Worshipper: Towards Richard. Even after his nastier qualities have come to light and he kills himself, she wants to protect his legacy.
- Honesty Is the Best Policy: Firmly believes this, on an institutional level. Whether she actually adheres to it in her personal life is a different matter.
- Honor Before Reason: When it comes to operational details. Liz frequently suggests releasing unconfirmed or potentially dangerous information to the public, in keeping with openness towards civilians.
- Hypocrite: Oh, Liz...
- She claims to be an advocate for upfront honesty, but she's shocked to discover that her high pay has been disclosed to the rest of the department.
- She criticizes Finn's handling of the Jeffries shooting for its anti-black implications, yet she encourages Sharon to challenge Charles in running for Commissioner. This particular example is especially glaring, because it also takes place in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, and because Liz plays on the progressiveness of having the first female Commissioner. His superior rank aside, Charles is black. When Sharon points this out, Liz dismisses it as an 'angle', and not a potential step in the right direction for a historically (and currently) racist institution.
- In the pilot, she tries to fire Finn for insubordination when he leaks information to the press without consulting her first. In Episode Five, she leaks the TSG's deployment numbers to the press in order to undermine Charles.
- It's All About Me: Not always, but she has tendencies. Her advice to Richard is often more ethical than Finn's, but it seems like she's more offended by Richard rejecting her ideas than the moral implications behind what he's doing.
- Karma Houdini: Contrary to what Finn says, the events of Episode Six cant be blamed on any one person, but Sharon did only apply for Commissioner because Liz urged her to out of fear of losing her job. Liz switches sides when she realises that Sharon is capable of abusing her power, and ends up supporting Charles instead, with the promise that she'll quit if he doesn't want her. When he gets the job, Charles keeps Liz as his Head of Communications, with no apparent repercussions for her.
- Machiavelli Was Wrong: Dislikes Finn and Charles for their defensive attitude towards the public.
- Naïve Newcomer: In the pilot, with hints of it in Episode One.
- Oral Fixation: Not to Finn's extent, but she has a habit of biting her lower lip and raising her fingers to her mouth.
- Save This Person, Save the World: More like 'Save Richard, Save the Met'.
- Socially Awkward Hero: For someone in Communications, Liz is surprisingly susceptible to foot-in-mouth moments.
- Statuesque Stunner: She's 5'8 and played by the gorgeous Brit Marling.
- Trauma Conga Line: Liz has a near-breakdown in almost every episode. The time lapse between them is short.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: May come across as one, although she's more savvy than most examples.
The current Head Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service. Richard does his best to keep the police efficient and honest, but he faces constant pressure from City Hall, plus worries over his own tumultuous private life. He's hoping that Liz's ideas will help.
- All There in the Manual: According to the Sundance TV page, he's been the Commissioner for a long time.
- Berserk Button: Having his character called into question.
- Cool Old Guy: He's open to Liz's ideas about transparency, and seems to have less trouble with tech-related things than Charles. In his good moods, he's charming and cracks jokes around his staff.
- Driven to Suicide: At the end of Episode Three, after a journalist discovers his affairs and decides to run the story the next day, on top of a bomb going off on his watch.
- Kick the Dog: He rarely has an interaction with Tom which doesn't involve Richard yelling or giving him a withering glare.
- In Episode One, Liz counters Finn's reasonable criticism by unleashing a series of insults about Finn's competence, ending by asking Richard to back her up. Richard nods.
- In Episode Three, Richard agrees to Liz's plan to give Caroline Carey the story about Charles accidentally shoplifting in place of the one about Richard's own affairs. He decides not to, in the end.
- Mean Boss: His treatment of Tom, which is played for laughs. He's more subtle in putting down Charles and Finn, and a comment made by Finn implies that Richard is known for verbally abusing subordinates.
- Officer O'Hara: He's Irish. In Northern Ireland, he saved three people from a firebombing in Cookstown.
- Pet the Dog: In the pilot, he insists on personally doing 'the knock' for the widower of the PCSO killed in action, despite Liz and Charles advising him not to.
- An offscreen one told at his funeral: he once spent a Sunday morning fixing a broken fence which kept causing fights between two neighbours.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Zig-zagged. Richard is one of the few characters who recognises that Both Sides Have a Point about transparency. However, his fragile ego occasionally leads to bad operational decisions. There's also his handling of his staff, such as quietly stroking the flames of the rivalry between Liz and Finn, or his Double Standard of loyalty with Charles.
- Supporting Leader: In Episode Three, he tells Liz that this is his role in her implementation of transparency.
The Deputy Commissioner, Richard's second-in-command and old friend. Charles is ambitious, but he knows that Richard probably isn't going to give up the job anytime soon, and he doesn't plan on fighting him for it. He's later the Acting-Commissioner, and eventually the new Head Commissioner.
- A Father to His Men: Demonstrated in Episode Six, during his speech to Armed Response. He's both stern about their sense of duty and compassionate towards their frustration. Out of all the people sent to speak to them, he's the one who inspires their return to work.
- The Fettered: Most obvious in the last two episodes, where he repeatedly shows restraint in his bid for Head Commissioner. Unlike Finn and Sharon, he has clear lines he won't cross, like using Karl Jeffries for publicity or taking advantage of the chaos in Episode Six to help his campaign.
- Good Is Not Nice: He describes himself as 'basically unlikable'.
- Knight in Sour Armor: His speech to Armed Response implies that he's an idealist at heart.
- Not So Above It All: In Episode Three. He's charged with shoplifting after he gets distracted by a phone call from his wife, and nearly walks out of a store while carrying a bottle of shampoo.
- Odd Friendship: With Finn. Charles has been considering switching to the private sector, which is Finn's primary Berserk Button. Charles is straightforward, usually calm, and less concerned with image than doing the right thing; Finn is crafty, short-tempered, and considers everyone a Slave to PR. They genuinely get along, although Charles has to call Finn out numerous times.
- Pet the Dog: He refuses to publicize his sit-down with Karl Jeffries' mother, even though doing so would be the perfect counter to Sharon's PR strategy.
- In contrast to Richard, Finn, Sharon, and even Liz, he treats Tom with respect.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Starting from Episode Four, when he tries to cooperate with Sharon by trusting her with the search for the bomber. By the end of the finale, he's demonstrated that he's able to listen to both Liz and Finn without worsening their rivalry the way Richard did.
- Token Minority: Discussed. He worries that bringing up his race during his bid for Commissioner will cause accusations of this.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He does take an 'us vs. them' view on how the police relate to the public, which Liz points out.
The longtime Deputy of Communications, functionally Liz's second-in-command, really a constant thorn in her side. Finn has it out for Liz from day one, since he was next in line for Head of Communications when Richard chose to hire her instead.
- Character Tics: See Oral Fixation. He tends to pop more gum in his mouth when he's stressed.
- Control Freak: Shortly after his Establishing Character Moment, he insists on attending a meeting with Liz, then tries to direct her and Mia on how to handle the first shooting.
- Crazy-Prepared: He's spying on everyone.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: According to Mia, Finn has hit the arse ceiling, which is the point in your career where you cant get promoted anymore because "everyone thinks you're an arsehole". That said, Richard's reluctance to fire him suggests he's viewed as Necessarily Evil.
- Graceful Loser / Unsportsmanlike Gloating: In the same episode, no less. He begins Episode Five taunting Liz at the funeral of their boss, the man he believes was her lover, including references to her metaphorical head on a pike. He ends it admitting that she and Sharon have Out-Gambitted him.
- Finn: Sometimes you just have to hold up your hands and say 'well-played'.
- Hypocrite: He's extremely resistant to privatising the police, but he defends Charles deploying some of the TSG on private contracts as part of "a period of transition", with the justification that "we have to appear flexible."
- ...which is another point of hypocrisy, seeing as in the pilot, he criticized Liz for changing her mind about something fairly minor.
- Informed Attribute: His love of procedure, in Episode Six. There are hints of it in Episode One, but afterwards he repeatedly flouts procedure to undermine Liz. His alleged rigidity is only brought up when he mentions Professional Standards.
- Insufferable Genius: He can list the exact figure of the previous year's gun crimes and homicides off the top of his head, plus rattle off the numbers of London's languages, embassies, and potential high-value moving targets. He's also hit the aforementioned arse ceiling.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Why he doesn't come off as entirely unsympathetic, usually regarding Liz's inflated self-worth and the danger of picking a fight with the private sector.
- Not only is the mere idea of Metwork not well-received by the media - they want to retaliate for it.
- Liz wasn't having an affair with Richard yet, but they may have been heading down that path.
- Kick the Dog: His largest one is his response to the fatal shooting of a Karl Jeffries, a possibly-unarmed black teenager: take an unapologetic tone, and imply that Jeffries was an dangerous, unruly youth on drugs. On an interpersonal level, there's his treatment of Tom, though that's Played for Laughs.
- Loyal to the Position: Mere hours after Richard's body has been found, Finn suggests using him as a scapegoat in order to distract the media from Acting-Commissioner Inglis. Finn even tells Liz that their job is to protect the head of the police force, regardless of who that is.
- Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: Post-Episode Three, his job description turns fuzzy. Finn becomes Charles' de facto adviser, and clearly isn't taking orders from Liz anymore. But there's no official adviser position in the Met - presumably, he's still only Deputy of Communications, though the infighting means that he spends most of his time at Charles' side rather than with the PR department. The series ends with Finn and Liz as seemingly equals.
- Only One Name: Seems like it in the American airing, especially since most of the other main characters have had their last names mentioned at least once. It's 'Kirkwood' - Finn only gives his last name once, briefly, in the pilot.
- Oral Fixation: Almost constantly has something in his mouth, usually gum.
- Pet the Dog: He seems to genuinely care for Richard and is distraught over his death. Although that doesn't stop Finn from letting the press go after Richard as a distraction.
- After verbally ripping Liz to shreds for the umpteenth time, he wishes her good luck on the search for a missing child, without any vitriol.
- Sarcastic Devotee: To Charles - not so much vocally, but he does roll his eyes a lot behind his back.
- Smug Snake: Finn takes special joy in undermining Liz's authority. After Episode Three, he has multiple opportunities to get rid of her for good, but he never supervises her activity or pushes his advantage. He chooses to just taunt her instead, possibly trying to goad her into quitting on her own, which only fuels her survival instinct. This happens twice within days, and he still follows her into a lift in an attempt to out-psyche her.
- The Spock: Despite Liz's criticisms in Episode One. He's just a particularly aggressive example.
- Stalker Without a Crush: Towards Liz. He claims it's part of his job.
- The Unfettered: He's willing to do almost anything to maintain whatever image the Met has left, including exploiting minors on two separate occasions and allowing the media to criticise his recently deceased boss.
The Assistant Commissioner, the third-highest ranking position in the Met. Unlike Richard and Charles, Sharon is content to stay out of the limelight, though her underlying tension with Charles may change that.
- Badass Bookworm: Based on her philosophy references and journal pieces.
- Bad Boss: In Episode Six, she plans to use traffic wardens to arrest the police who are on a legal sort of strike.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Towards Liz, who makes a special effort to increase Sharon's visibility in order to combat Charles. They quickly bond during the aftermath of Richard's death.
- Drunk with Power: She's hardworking, reasonable, and modest, until she starts getting a taste of the power she'd have as Commissioner. As Liz puts it:
- Liz: Some people, when they get up high and the air's too thin, they start throwing stuff out of the balloon.
- The One That Got Away: Seems to regard Richard as such.
- Pet the Dog: Her attempt to comfort Liz at the end of Episode Five.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: In Episodes Four and Five. She ignores Charles' command to charge into a potential bomber's home, choosing to evacuate the area instead. Later, she sees the logic in Liz's advice on how to raise awareness about a missing child.
- Socially Awkward Hero: Has difficulty with public speaking and intentionally spends the first half of the series out of the public eye.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In Episode Six, when she wants to resort to unnecessarily underhanded tactics. She also starts talking down to her subordinates more often.
- Working with the Ex: Richard once cheated on his wife with her.
The Commissioner's Aide. Meek, kind, and perpetually terrified.
- All There in the Manual: If you're wondering how such a timid person ended up as a senior police officer, it turns out Tom never actually served on the ground. Instead, he was part of a graduate trainee program, which might explain why Finn hates him so much.
- Does Not Understand Sarcasm: He thanks his weeks-long workplace bully, Finn, after Finn sarcastically tells him, "Good question."
- Ignored Enamored Underling: He has a crush on Liz. When he tries to ask her out, she turns him down without pause.
One of Liz's high-ranking subordinates. Her exact role is unknown, though she seems to be next in rank after Finn.
- All There in the Manual: She's become jaded in the process of reaching a top position in the Met's PR department. She's torn between Liz's idealistic vision and Finn's cynical realism.
- The Conscience: Liz's, in Episode Six.
A Specialist Firearms Officer. Warwick recently shot a toy gun-wielding man who was attempting a robbery. As a result, he's experiencing PTSD, and he's finding it difficult to pull the trigger.
- Shirtless Scene: Gets one in the first episode.
Neil 'Banjo' Bancroft
A Specialist Firearms Officer. He's married to Davina.
- Hypocrite: He advises his teammates to stick together during the Jeffries inquiry, but he's the one who ousts Warwick's PTSD.
A Specialist Firearms Officer.
- Being Good Sucks: At the end of the series, he is the only remaining member of the close-knit Specialist Firearms Command unit the show has been following. Tony turns in the recording which incriminates Robbie for tampering with evidence, leading to the arrests of Robbie and Banjo. Warwick has been placed on probation; Tony urges him to try to get reinstated, but he refuses.
- By-the-Book Cop: Compared to his squadmates, anyway.
- Properly Paranoid: He worries about how Warwick's PTSD is affecting his mental state and ability to do the job. He also seems to suspect that Banjo is capable of acting dishonestly during the inquiry process two episodes before he actually does.
- Straight Gay
A member of the Territorial Support Group who undergoes weapons training in Episode Two, and joins Specialist Firearms Command in Episode Three.
- Ambiguous Disorder: He isn't malicious, but he has poor impulse control and often makes bizarre comments.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Of all the people he knows, he chooses to go to Matt to confide that he moved the gun from Jeffries' pocket to his hand.
- Token Minority: He's Turkish.
A member of the Territorial Support Group. She's married to Banjo, but it's revealed in Episode One that she's cheating on him with Clarkey.
- Love Triangle: She may be cheating on him, but she still cares for Banjo.
Damien 'Clarkey' Clarkson
A member of the Territorial Support Group.
- The Smart Guy: He's a history buff.
A member of the Territorial Support Group. While his team members are busy getting embroiled in personal and professional drama, Nobbo serves as the comic relief.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's crude and obnoxious, but operational scenes have shown that he does his job as well as any other TSG officer.
- Pet the Dog: In Episode Six, when Davina reveals that she and Clarkey are an item, he's happy for them. Later, he protects Clarkey from Banjo, and expresses concern for him.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Davina and Clarkey.
A director who's shadowing various police officers for an officially-sanctioned documentary. Matt doesn't care for the police, and he dislikes that his company is sucking up to them.
- Anti-Climax Boss: Throughout the series, it's set up that his renegade documentary will pose a threat to the Met's image. Then, in Episode Six, Specialist Firearms Command raids his home, arrests him, and confiscates all of his footage. Officially, he's charged with marijuana possession.
- Bystander Syndrome: Robbie accuses him of this.
- Flat Character: Unlike the ground forces and the police higher-ups, he isn't presented sympathetically at all. His sole purpose in the plot is to film Robbie's confession without his knowledge.
The Deputy-Mayor, presumably for Policing and Crime. Grant isn't exactly Richard's boss, but he's a powerful figure with influence over the Met's direction and budget. And he and Richard happen to hate each other.
- Affably Evil: He's friendly towards Liz after she helps him out of a tricky PR situation, offering her a warning about Richard and eventually a job.
- The Dragon: To the unnamed, unseen Mayor, who seems to clash with the Met even more than Grant does.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In Episode Six, he offhandedly mentions Sharon's plan to arrest police officers to Liz, which is the final push Liz needs to switch sides. He probably isn't hoping for the destruction of the Met or anything, but he did say that the Mayor preferred Sharon.
- The Alleged Boss: Alongside Miles, for Matt.
- The Alleged Boss: If their slap fight is anything to go by, Matt doesn't respect him very much.