Only spoilers from Season 2 are unmarked.
Barry Berkman/Barry Block
A depressed hitman who discovers a passion for acting while on an assignment in Los Angeles.
- Adorkable: In no small part due to being played by Bill Hader, Barry is likably awkward. He has difficulty interacting with people due to how shy he is, and it makes him a fairly endearing presence.
- Affably Evil: Barry does not want to kill people, nor is he especially sadistic, but he's still a murderer who will kill innocents if it means protecting himself and his secrets.
- Alliterative Name: Barry Berkman, and even his actor name, Barry Block.
- Apologetic Attacker: By nature, since he dislikes killing. When it comes to killing Chris, he doesn't apologize, but his expression shows his reluctance and remorse.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Barry's problems really do seem like they're a lot deeper than PTSD.
- Berserk Button: Threatening or even intruding on his "normal life" is a good way to see a much uglier side of Barry. Hurting the ones he cares about also causes him to abandon any logical mindset and lash out, often violently. When his friend was shot in Iraq, Barry disregarded orders to pursue an innocent onlooker he mistook as the attacker.
- The button gets smashed in the Season 2 finale after Fuches takes Gene out to the woods near his cabin to see Janice's corpse, and then calls the police to frame him for it. When Hank texts Barry to tell him that Fuches is at the Burmese safehouse, a rage filled Barry heads over there and proceeds to lay waste to everyone inside of it to get to Fuches while repeatedly screaming Fuches' name at the top of his lungs.
- Better Living Through Evil: Averted. Barry does make good money from murder, but Fuches tends to reap the benefits and is miserly enough to frequently stiff Barry on accomodations for his work.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Barry is a shy, introverted man who doesn't say much, but he's also an efficient, deadly hitman and former marine and he can be very terrifying when angered.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Not in reality, but he tries to act like one at a party with Sally, thinking it makes him look more assertive and cool. It actually ends up sabotaging their relationship.
- The Dog Bites Back: After everything with Chris and Goran, Barry finally has enough and punches the manipulative Fuches right in his smug face.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He does care deeply for Sally, and he considers Gene a friend. It's his love for Sally that prevents him from killing Esther.
- Extreme Doormat: Perhaps Barry's greatest obstacle is his own inability to stand up for himself. Whenever he tries to assert himself, he usually ends up backing down. This is especially apparent with Fuches, who is aware that even when Barry is pushed to the point where he actually yells, all Fuches needs to do is carry on with the assumption that Barry will bend to his will.
- The Fettered: At first, being a hitman was able to distract Barry from his PTSD, but over time it just worsened his depression.
- Freak Out!: After he kills Chris to keep him from ratting to the police, he loses control of his emotions, hallucinates, and eventually starts screaming and smashing furniture.
- Groin Attack: He once stabbed a guy in the balls, which he brings up to Goran as a selling point (at Fuches' urging, of course). Goran is just weirded out by this, and Barry instantly regrets bringing it up.
- Hidden Weapons: He tapes a gun to a tree before dealing with Moss, knowing he will have to kill her if he can't convince her to let him go.
- Hitman with a Heart: Being a Professional Killer doesn't make him any less emotional or sympathetic. It helps that he doesn't like being a hitman and genuinely wants to leave his criminal past behind.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Barry would really like nothing more than to be the well-meaning patriarch of a whitebread nuclear family...although he'd also really like to be an Oscar-winning actor. Really, you could probably sum up Barry's case as being "I Just Want To Be Anything Other than a Hitman."
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- As he interacts more and more with normal people (well, actors) he starts to realize the full scope of his actions. Comes to a head after he kills Chris, prompting a serious Freak Out!.
- Barry has a major one at the end of season 2 after he commits a mass murder of the united Bolivian-Chechen army just to get to Fuches, who manages to escape.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: He believes this is what he's been doing as a hitman, but Fuches is not a reliable handler.
- Professional Killer: Barry is a hitman by trade, and a very efficient one at that.
- Protagonist Title: It's Barry!
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Fuches frames Gene for Janice's murder, Barry finds him hiding out amongst the united Burmese and Chechen mafias. Barry, in a blind rage, ends up shooting and killing every one of them (except for Fuches and Hank).
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: He's a former US Marine, and his main takeaway from his time in Afghanistan was PTSD and depression. He became a hitman, but has started to burn out and his depression has returned in full force.
- Shower of Angst: In the premiere episode he's seen taking a shower, leaning against the wall with his eyes closed, clearly upset about the recent job or maybe just the turn his life has taken.
- Sympathetic Murderer: Barry has killed people, and there are probably some innocents mixed in among the professional criminals, but he's a likable guy and a meek pawn of a stronger, less sympathetic personality. Until he kills Chris and Janice in the process of trying to walk away.
- Villain Protagonist: Starts off as a softer version of this; he's a Professional Killer, but a reluctant one who's trying to walk away to a better life. He becomes a true one after he kills Chris and Detective Moss, both complete innocents who were trying to do the right thing.
Barrys handler, Fuches arranges Barrys jobs and takes care of the business side of their work.
- Big Bad: Although Goran has a great deal of power, it's really Fuches who's the true villain of Barry due to his ruthless manipulations. By the end of the second season, Fuches becomes the primary antagonist, actively trying to ruin the new life Barry has gained out of jealousy and resentment. Killing Fuches ends up being one of the driving motivations for Barry from this point on as well.
- Butt-Monkey: Over the course of the first season, he's beaten and tortured by the Chechens numerous times, and any plan he makes to save his own skin almost invariably goes south. By the finale, Barry has stood up to him, beaten him badly, and only saved him from being killed by the Chechens so he can walk away for good, leaving him nearly powerless. It becomes worse for him in Season 2 and he deserves every single minute of it.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Subverted. When he's told that Barry was killed in the attack on the Bolivians, he has a very public and impulsive freak-out, and he speaks fondly of Barry on the phone to NoHo. Yet he seems more concerned with the job being screwed up and his big lament over Barry's presumed death is that Barry never had the chance to apologize to him. It's later shown that he does have some feeling for Barry, although those feelings are wrapped up in Fuches' own ego. He reacts with vindictive jealousy when Gene tells him that Barry had no meaningful direction when they met.
- Fat Bastard: He's a well-fed monster of a man.
- Fatal Flaw: For all his boasting, Fuches is incapable of performing his own dirty work. It's this flaw the causes him not to shoot Gene, and instead seek refuge with the Chechen mafia, before Barry guns them all down.
- Faux Affably Evil: Fuches acts like he's Barry's best friend, a chummy and genial guy who's looking out for him. It's pretty transparent from the off that he's a manipulative user who views Barry as a tool to make money, and has likely been lying to him for a very long time about the kind of people he arranges for Barry for kill. He shows his true colours in a very chilling moment when Barry excitedly remarks that he wants to be an actor; Fuches becomes serious and stern, straight-up telling Barry that he's a killer and nothing more.
- Gaslighting: He took advantage of Barry's PTSD and depression to turn him into a killer, telling him that the people he's killing are bad people.
- Hate Sink: A psychological abuser who's turned Barry into a ruthless weapon, with few redeeming characteristics that almost all get subverted.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: At first, it seems that Fuches actually has a heart when he breaks down after hearing about Barry's alleged death at the airstrip. However, this is quickly subverted when it turns out he's mostly upset over the fact that the job failed and that Barry never had a chance to apologize to him, despite the fact that Fuches has been using and abusing Barry for his own purposes.
- Kick the Dog: He sadistically makes sure that Gene sees Janice's body, which he really didn't have to do if the goal was to pull a gun on this harmless old acting coach anyway.
- Manipulative Bastard: Fuches isn't the Hannibal Lecter that he brags about being, but he's still very dangerous once he starts talking. He's turned Barry into his tool, for one thing, and it takes about the space of a day for him to go from being locked up and tortured in Goran's garage to sitting at the man's table enjoying a meal and giving advice.
- Non-Action Big Bad: He's a good schemer, not a fighter, and any situation where he's tasked with physically defending himself tends to end poorly. In the end, he can only scream threats at Barry while he's getting punched, and plead impotently with him as he's driving away and when Barry comes to kill him at the end of Season 2 he runs for his life utterly terrified.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Fuches can be pretty damn incompetent, and his run in Season 2 has him repeatedly screw up and get hurt, so it's easy to forget how dangerous he is. The reality is that he should not be underestimated, and he's an incredibly ruthless man who'll do virtually anything to snake his way out of a dicey situation.
- Parental Substitute: An interesting case where's he views himself as such, but if he is, he's an abusive parent.
- Pet the Dog: His sole redemptive moment is when he tries to warn Barry about the wire he's wearing.
- Villainous Breakdown: He's not immune to freaking out when things don't go his way, but he's at his most pathetic as he pleads with a fleeing Barry and especially when Barry goes on a killing spree just to kill him.
An aspiring actress, Sally befriends Barry during Cousineaus class and they quickly start dating.
- Attention Whore: Her core flaw is her ego, which constantly drives her to put herself first and be the center of attention even when it's inappropriate. Barry's tearful line delivery during their Macbeth performance finally moves her to accept that she can't always do this, and she graciously performs in a two-person play with Barry where they will have equal focus.
- Casting Couch: Her agent tries to pull this on her; she rejects him, he tries to play it off as a joke...and subsequently drops her.
- It's All About Me: She is incredibly self-centered and is prone to fixating on her own problems even in situations when she ought to be trying to help others.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's a good person at heart, but her self-centeredness and desperation to make it big cause her to come off far meaner than she is.
- Love Interests: Barry's love interest.
- Morality Pet: Deconstructed. She's one of the key reasons Barry wants to change, but his obsessing over her this way makes her uncomfortable and causes the relationship to fail.
- Playing Gertrude: In-Universe. She's very upset to find that she's having to go for roles that require her to play older characters, including the mother of a character who's the same age as herself.
- Really Gets Around: When warning Barry about the ramifications of sleeping with fellow acting class students, she mentions casually that she's done so "a million times".
- Will They or Won't They?: They start dating quickly and break up soon after, but Barry still pines for her. During the Time Skip at the end of the season, they've rekindled their relationship.
Eccentric and pedantic, Cousineau is a Los Angeles acting teacher who is revered by his students.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Gene is about as strange as you'd expect an old acting teacher to be, often offering bizarre advice or going off on little tangents about his long-past glory days, to say nothing of his aggressive dating strategies.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Cousineau is not necessarily an easy person to get along with. He can be extremely cruel in his criticisms and he's enormously egotistical, but he does generally have good intentions. When Barry is having a minor Freak Out! on stage due to the students mocking him for sympathizing with someone who would commit murder, Gene rushes onstage to calm everyone down and attempt to offer Barry some comfort, though he obviously thinks it stems from the war rather than Barry's Professional Killer job. He also genuinely loved Janice, was heartbroken by her disappearance and was broken completely on finding her body. Also, he truly does care for his son Leo even after he abandoned him.
- MayDecember Romance: With Janice Moss, who's a few decades his junior.
- Oh, Crap!: At the end of season 2, Gene recovers from his breakdown enough to remember that Fuches told him it was Barry who killed Janice.
- Parental Abandonment: The details aren't entirely clear, but it seems he did essentially abandon his young family to pursue his career. When he tries to reunite with his grown son, he's met only with anger and exasperation. By the end of Season 2, his repeated efforts to reconcile with his son Leo seem to have payed off as the two appear to be on pretty good terms.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Subverted. He makes a lot of threats and ultimatums to garner a reputation as this, but the truth is that he's far more forgiving and wants to give his students harsh lessons to help them grow.
- Small Name, Big Ego: His class think the world of him and Cousineau certainly swans around like he's DeNiro, but the truth is far more brutal. He's still struggling to make it, auditioning for roles which amount to being a glorified extra. Although he's been in the industry for some time, it seems that he's mostly been on the peripheral of people with real success and has no real reputation to his name beyond his book (which he hocks at every opportunity).
The leader of the Chechen mob in Los Angeles, Pazar hires Barry to handle an embarrassing situation.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: With Fuches for the first season, though he's far less dangerous due to being a sympathetic Punch-Clock Villain.
- Boom, Headshot!: Barry kills him by shooting him in the side of the head. He doesn't die right away, either, instead floundering for a few seconds as his nervous system goes haywire.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He dotes on his young daughter.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Goran is ruthless, but he isn't excessively sadistic; he's disgusted when he learns that Barry once stabbed a guy in the balls.
- Fatal Flaw: Despite enjoying Pragmatic Villainy, his desire to be seen as a powerful crime boss is what makes him susceptible to Fuches' manipulations. This eventually leads him to order the raid on Cristobal's airstrip and demote NoHo for being too polite and "weak", both of which lead to his death and the near-destruction of his mob.
- Punch-Clock Villain: He's a dangerous mob boss, but he's also a loving father who doesn't let his criminal activities completely rule his life. This is used to humorous effect, such as when he conducts a serious meeting with Barry and Fuches while at his daughter's dance recital.
- Unwitting Pawn: Fuches plays him like a fiddle for most of the season, convincing him that waging war on the Bolivians is better than just killing him for Barry's failure. This eventually results in his death.
A Chechen mobster, NoHo Hank is Goran Pazars right-hand man.
- Affably Evil: NoHo is an immensely likable person, in addition to being the right-hand man to a ruthless mobster. He's genuinely polite, outgoing, considerate, and fun to be around. Even when he's trying to be scary, he's still obviously fixated on being polite. In "The Audition," he admits that his true calling was customer service.
- Ambiguously Gay: He's rather flamboyant and even a little effeminate, and seems to have something of a crush on Barry. He also seems to be halfway in love with Cristobal in Season 2.
- The Dragon: Goran's lieutenant.
- Dragon Ascendant: After Goran's death, NoHo is left in control of the Chechen mob, and uses the opportunity (and his people skills) to befriend the Bolivians and make their two groups even more powerful.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He's pretty weirded out when Barry talks about having once stabbed a guy in the balls; he's also unsettled by Vacha, who he considers too self-consciously creepy.
- Friendly Enemy: He genuinely likes Barry, although that wouldn't stop him from killing him if the need arose. He genuinely mourns Barry's supposed death, speaking fondly of him over the phone with Fuches. And when Fuches learns Barry is still alive and sells him out, NoHo gives him the heads-up that saves him, calling a good guy.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: NoHo is most assuredly not a good guy, but he's generally incompetent and very nice to everyone, including the people he plans to have tortured and killed.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: For virtually all of Season 1, NoHo is an absolute sweetheart who's considerate and sensitive. He's so unthreatening that Barry feels free to tell him right to his face how little he thinks of him regularly, with no fear of reprisal. Come Season 2, when he's facing pressure from seemingly every angle of his life, he shows that even he has limits to what he can tolerate, and exhibits his dark side when he chillingly commands Barry to kill his rival. For all his affable mannerisms, he's still a remorseless criminal who is not to be crossed, especially when he feels cornered.
- White Sheep: NoHo is the only member of the Chechen mob who is friendly, polite, and seems to have interests outside of criminal activity. Goran eventually tires of this, calling him "weak" and demoting him, only for NoHo to come out on top.
Cousineau's Acting Class
A student in Gene's class.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She's fairly nice to Barry and even helps him get a job to support himself, but in private texts she dismisses him as a "jarhead".
A student in Gene's class.
- Large Ham: Of all the students in class (who are all pretty big hams themselves) Natalie is probably the worst of them.
The acting student whom Barry is hired to kill.
- Mauve Shirt: Developed a little before dying at the end of the pilot.
- Posthumous Character: He dies in the first episode, but everyone continues to talk about him and his importance.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Despite only interacting with Barry a few times and quickly getting killed by the Chechens, he introduces Barry to the acting class and spurs on Moss's investigation into said class.
Detective Janice Moss
A police detective who starts seeing connections between Ryan Madison's murder and the activities of the acting class.
- Cassandra Truth: The only one who consistently believes the murderer is one of Ryan's fellow actors, while her fellow cops are content to draw increasingly wilder conclusions about Ryan's criminal connections. She eventually finds the evidence she needs, but is too late to stop Barry from catching up to her.
- Hero Antagonist: She's one of the biggest dangers to Barry, but she's far from a bad person. She's just doing her job, and trying to do it well.
- Killed Offscreen: The camera cuts away as she and Barry exchange gunfire, but his survival and calm attitude afterward indicate that she was indeed killed. In Season 2, Barry confirms that he did in fact kill her.
- Likes Older Men: If her attraction to Gene is any indication.
- MayDecember Romance: With Cousineau, who is much older than her.
- Not So Different: Barry tries to convince her of this after she finds out the truth about him. It doesn't work.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: She delivers a pretty impenetrable response to Barry's assertion that they're Not So Different.Barry: Janice, you can, because we want the same thing. We, we wanna be happy. We want love. We want a life. And we're doing it, Janice. We're the same.Moss: But we're not. We're not the same, Barry. 'Cause I'm a cop and you're a fucking murderer.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: An upstanding woman who just wants to get to the bottom of a few brutal murders. She would be one of the protagonists if the one she was after wasn't Barry himself.
Detective John Loach
Detective Moss's partner, who assists with her in the murder of Ryan Madison and several others, finding a link to one of the actors, Barry Block.
- Asshole Victim: It is not really hard to cheer when Ronnie kills him with a kick to the face, snapping his neck in the process. Considering how much of an asshole he had been at that point, was going to kill Barry and make it look like he had a gun, it was cathartic to watch.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Initially just an amusing and reliable sad sack who seems like a Hero Antagonist, he reveals himself to be a petty, self-absorbed and angry man who's willing to kill to solve his problems.
- Corrupt Cop: Oddly enough, not as corrupt as you might think. He only wants to use Barry to kill his wife's lover... and when he thinks the job is done, he tries to kill Barry to Make It Look Like an Accident.
- Hero Antagonist: In Season 2, he now knows Barry is an assassin but cannot prove it. Becomes less heroic when it's revealed he just wants Barry to kill the man who stole his wife away.
- Neck Snap: In "ronny/lily", he receives a karate kick to the face. The force of which snaps his neck and kills him. Oddly enough, this is not done by Barry but by a judomaster named Ronnie, someone Loach was paying Barry to kill and who was sleeping with his wife.
- Not So Above It All: As it turns out, he isn't the grumpy yet good-hearted lone detective seeking justice for Moss: he's an absolute mess of a human being who only wants to find Barry so he can blackmail him into killing his wife's new lover.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Come Season 2, he's after Barry, but he's just doing his job and he's working alone to get Moss' killer. It's then averted when it turns out he doesn't care about Moss more than he cares about getting Barry to kill his wife's lover.
One of Goran's mobsters, the twin brother of another enforcer Barry killed.
- Revenge Before Reason: His desire to take revenge on Barry ends up getting him killed before he even has a chance to confront him.
One of Goran's mobsters, the twin brother of another enforcer Barry killed.
- Torture Technician: He's very into his torture, and starts to build a stockade for Fuches to torment him psychologically.
Barry's best friend and a fellow ex-Marine.
- Boom, Headshot!: Barry shoots him in the forehead point-blank, staging it like a suicide.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Drops a lot of these in conversations with his military buddies.
- Freak Out!: After being forced to shoot a Bolivian to save Barry's life, he loses it and tries to convince Barry that they should turn themselves in. He quickly backpedals, but it's too late.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: "Wait, wait, WAIT-!"
- Only Sane Man: He's the only ex-Marine on the show not to be visibly suffering from extreme psychological trauma, and the only one to have adjusted well to civilian life. We find out just before his death that he handled logistics, and had never actually killed anyone.
- Sacrificial Lion: The first innocent person Barry kills to protect his new life.
- Walking Spoiler: His true importance isn't clear until very late in the season.
A former Marine who's introduced to Barry through Chris, only to end up causing trouble when he wants in on Barry's business.
- Affably Evil: He's an Ax-Crazy asshole, but he does genuinely like Barry and see him as a friend.
- Arc Villain: The biggest problem for Barry for a few episodes of the first season.
- Ax-Crazy: Due to being a Shell-Shocked Veteran who's too much of a meathead to properly address his issues.
- Bald of Evil: He's a shiny-headed maniac.
- Blood Knight: Very enthusiastic about shooting people. And, provided he doesn't plan the operation,, he is very good at it.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Tends to drop these.
- Dissonant Serenity: His casual mentions of murder in Barry's answering machine messages."Barry, Taylor. You didn't kill those Bolivians yet, did ya? I really wanna kill them with you, so, give me a buzz. Bye."
- Foil: To Barry. Both are ex-Marines with severe psychological problems and a willingness to kill outside of war (and great skill at doing so). However, while Barry is cognizant of his issues, hates his current life, and handles dangerous situations cautiously and tactically, Taylor is an unpredictable Blood Knight who ignores his issues and recklessly charges into danger.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Although he's capable of following strategic orders, he would much rather rush into battle headfirst. He even shouts "Leeroy Jenkins" as he does this. Trying to do this at the airstrip, where there is no cover and the Bolivians can see his van coming from miles away, gets him immediately killed.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: It's mentioned that he was kicked out of his PTSD support group. His incredibly aggressive and nigh-suicidally destructive behavior points to him having some unresolved issues, although he's too dense to really be aware of them.
- Too Dumb to Fool: It's plain as day to him just how toxic and lopsided Barry's relationship (both professional and personal) with Fuches has become, as well as how easily Barry could get out from under Fuches if he really wanted to.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His suicidal bum-rush on the airstrip doesn't just result in his death - it leads to Chris having to kill a Bolivian to save Barry, and thus to Barry having to kill Chris to stop him from going to the police. Had Taylor just listened to Barry, the rest of the show would turn out substantially different.
The boss of the Bolivian cartel that Fuches convinces Goran to wage war against.
- Affably Evil: He's much more like NoHo Hank than Goran, being a genuinely friendly guy who carries on casual conversations about self-help books in the middle of making serious threats. It's this similarity that allows the two of them to unite after Goran's death.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: He reveals that he's a nice enough guy that, had Goran simply asked for an alliance and shared use of the stash house instead of getting Barry involved, he would have gladly agreed.
- Nice Guy: For a vicious kingpin, he's one of the nicest characters on the show.
- Visionary Villain: Cristobal doesn't see any reason why merciless criminals can't get along and share their territory.