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Due to many liberties taken with the original material, this character page is distinct from that of Psycho. BEWARE OF SPOILERS. TROPE NAMES ARE NOT WHITED OUT.

The Bates Family

    Norman 

Norman Bates

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/23da5afd46bf1056388b2ea0d5ec80a3.jpg
"You don't just walk away from your parents."
Played By: Freddie Highmore

"Maybe some people don't get to start over."

A smart, quietly funny, handsome and sometimes shy seventeen-year-old boy with an intensely close bond to his mother. Norman is resistant to starting over in a new town, but begins to change his mind as he spread his wings a little.


  • Adaptational Heroism: Begins showing signs of a noble side in the final season. Unlike his film counterpart, Norman feels tremendous guilt for killing people and actually turns himself in to the police to face punishment for his crimes, whereas his film counterpart carried on his murders until he eventually got discovered and arrested.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: He catches onto his blatant insanity and how Mother is clearly evil much faster than his film counterpart ever did. Of course it doesn't take until the final season for him to realize this, but it's still better than his film counterpart's track record since he never realized his mental illness until he was arrested.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Although he's still a teenager, this Norman has a lot more villainous issues than his teenage counterpart in Psycho IV. In the film, young Norman was horrifically abused by his mother and when he lashed out at her it was more justified. The show's version has Norman holding the Jerkass Ball a lot more often.
  • Adorkable: Norman is awkward around others but means well. As long as you're not trying to hurt his mother that is...
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Norman eventually dies getting shot dead by Dylan in self-defense, but he acknowledges that his brother did the right thing killing him since he couldn't go on anymore as a monster.
  • All Guys Want Bad Girls: He easily falls for morally ambiguous women. The longest relationship he kept with one of them was Cody.
  • The Aloner: He eventually finds himself all alone by the season 4 finale.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Norman suffers paranoia, anti-social behavior, Ax-Crazy tendencies, a Split Personality, black outs, hallucinations, and many more issues for his undiagnosed mental problem.
  • Archenemy: Sheriff Romero becomes his Archnemesis Dad by season 4.
  • Ax-Crazy: When the mother side of his personality is in control.
  • Bad Liar: Whenever he tries to lie, he avoids eye contact, stammers and even becomes outright aggressive. However, his more assured Split Personality starts to help him out and even helps him pass a polygraph test ordered by Sheriff Romero.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Fully acknowledges that he despises going along with immoral deeds and eventually turns himself in when Mother's influence affects him for too long.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: It isn't until the season 4 finale where Norman truly believes that his mother is still alive after her death.
  • Beneath the Mask: During a serious therapy session, Norman finally lets out how unsure he is of his mother and his mental instability.
  • Berserk Button: Insult Norma in front of Norman, just try it. If you're lucky, you'll be able to defend yourself from a killing blow. The same goes for anytime a member of the opposite sex shows interest in Norma in front of him.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Norman is polite and nice to most everybody he meets. Most characters don't realize that this shy momma's boy is who they should be worried about angering.
  • Big Bad: Of Season 4 and 5, being the last villain of the series.
  • Big Bad Slippage: At the end of Season 3.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: See the picture.
  • Black Widow: A Rare Male Example but every woman who wants a piece of him tends to die or get hurt.
  • Break the Cutie: The death of his mother and the loss of all those who're close to him in the season 4 finale causes Norman to slowly descend even closer to his original counterpart's villainy.
  • Broken Pedestal: His mother slowly becomes this to him as he frequently feels betrayed by her.
  • Bungled Suicide: When he tries to kill himself and Norma, Sheriff Romero appears on the scene and disrupts his attempted suicide. Sadly, Norma ends up dead while Norman is alive and well.
  • Byronic Hero: Norman is a tragic character, but his mental disorder prevents him from living a normal life.
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to Dylan's Abel.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: He chews out his mother for getting secretly married to Romero behind his back.
  • Character Death: Dies in the series finale at the hands of his own brother in a final confrontation.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: For whatever reason, every woman seems to want a piece of Norman. Emma, Bradley, Ms Watson, Cody...even Annika shows some attraction to him. His mother has to point out that he attracts so many women. Unfortunately, this has a bad outcome for most of them.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: With regards to his beloved Norma. Do not get between him and his mother.
  • Crisis of Faith: In Norman, he questions why God would take his mother away from him.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: He steals his mother's best dress and wears it when his split personality takes over.
  • Cute and Psycho: He's well-mannered, a little shy and even-tempered...but when you hit one of his buttons, he'll do his utmost to ruin you.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Death Seeker: Norman slowly loses his strength to continue on his life and sadly wishes for death to come to him some day.
  • Death by Adaptation: To a degree. Instead of being sent to the institute like the original novel and film, he is instead shot dead by Dylan. However Norman has died in other Psycho media (abeit much later), such as the sequel novel by Robert Bloch Psycho II as well as the 1987 TV Movie also named Bates Motel.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The death of his mother has finally caused Norman to snap into his Ax-Crazy Broken Bird personality for good. He nearly commits suicide before visualizing the return of his mother to make himself happy again.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: In the final episode, after being shot, he died in Dylan's arms.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father dies prior to the show.
  • Driven to Suicide: In the Season 4 finale, he attempts to shoot himself after he realizes that Norma is truly gone. He stops when the Norma hallucination comes back.
  • The Dutiful Son: In contrast to disobedient rebel Dylan, Norman is usually at his mother's beck and call. As the show continues, however, their roles are slowly reversed.
  • Dying as Yourself: As he's dying in Dylan's arms, he thanks him.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: The show took cues from Anthony Perkins' appearance in the original film and cast the tall, pale, dark-haired Freddie Highmore.
  • Et Tu, Mother: He eventually comes to the belief that his mother has turned against him and is out to ruin his life.
  • Extreme Doormat: Mostly when it comes to his mother. Norman has a hard time saying no to her though he tries sometimes when he believes Norma has really crossed the line. He also goes along with most things others ask him to do as well.
  • Famous Last Words: "Thank you..."
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: He gets very hurt when he realizes that his own mother's attempts to keep him away from girls while she gets married behind his back causes massive unfairness in his life.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: When Dr. Edwards reveals that Norman's mother has not been frequently visiting him all this time, Norman begins another Freak Out!.
  • Gollum Made Me Do It: During his blackouts, he believes his mother is killing people and only covers them up to keep her safe.
  • Grave Robbing: In the Season 4 finale, Norman digs up Norma's corpse and takes her home convincing himself that Norma is Faking the Dead.
  • Hates Being Alone: Because every time he's alone he has to return to Mother.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Much like his film counterpart, Norman switch between acting like an adorkable Nice Guy into an Ax-Crazy jerkass every now and then. The final season has him leaning more towards the noble side after spending too much time with Mother begins to take a toll on him.
  • Hidden Depths: It turns out that Norman is actually a believer of Christian faith due to questioning God for all his hardships and hosting a Catholic funeral for his mother.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Norman really does want to overcome his mental illness, but life seems to find a way to make his situation all the more worse when he tries progressing for the better.
  • Incest Subtext: Norman has a deep sexual attraction to his mother, checking her out through a window while she's getting dressed. He's in denial about it, but it becomes so overt and intense that it becomes noticeable to others and eventually he realizes it himself.
    • In episode 2.10 Norma kissed Norman.
    • In episode 3.08 Norman confessed to his mother that he had sexual attraction to her.
  • In the Blood: Every living member of the Bates family has murdered at least one person in a rage.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Norman's mental problems indirectly cause him to come across as a jerk to some people.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: He becomes friends with the local Cool Old Guy Chick.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Romero interrupts his attempts to kill himself and his mother.
  • Irony: He's worried about his mother's mental state. No matter how crazy Norma may be, Norman is leaps and bounds above her in the batshit-crazy department.
  • Jerkass Ball: Norman's prone to lashing out at others due to his Sanity Slippage.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Calls out his mother for her selfish behavior in a rude way, but he's entirely correct about Norma avoiding her problems and running away from them.
    • He later calls her out on how hypocritical she was for keeping him away from girls and all to herself, while she eventually gets married behind his back.
  • Kick the Dog: As the series progresses, Norman becomes a lot more actively malicious even without the aid of his murderous Split Personality. His irrational jealousy, possessiveness and outright selfishness leads to him threatening to rat out Dylan and frequently throwing harsh words at his mother.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • In "The Convergence of the Twain," Norman finally beats up Caleb, who previously gave him a beat-down, after he breaks into his house and finds Norma's corpse.
    • In "Inseparables," he finally bitch-slaps Mother when he's had enough of her chewing him out.
  • Kill the Cutie: Murdered Bradley in the third season finale. He later murders his own mother in the fourth season finale.
  • Klingon Promotion: This was how he got the job as motel manager after killing the previous manager his mother.
  • Kubrick Stare: Does this whenever he's in his trance, much like his original counterpart.
  • Love Martyr: He loved his dad despite all the abuse he caused on his family. He even imagines his father as a friendly Spirit Advisor warning him to kill Norma before she causes his downfall.
  • Madonna–Whore Complex: Aided by Norma's somewhat possessive influence, Norman has a very immature and simplistic view of what a woman should be. He's very attracted to beautiful women like Bradley, Ms Watson and Annika who are in control of their sexuality but also seems to hate them for it. He wants to split the women of the world into virgins and whores while only being attracted to the 'whores'.
  • Manipulative Bastard: After learning that Norma and Sheriff Romero got married in "There's No Place Like Home", he orchestrates his discharge from the Pineview mental institution just to be with Norma.
  • Manly Tears: Breaks down crying during his first therapy session in a real institution.
  • Mask of Sanity: Norman tries to be stable, but he can't always succeed at hiding his inner demons.
  • Matricide: He eventually kills Norma.
  • Mercy Kill: He ends up killed by Dylan when his brother realizes that he can't be helped anymore.
  • Momma's Boy: He's practically the poster boy. Norman can't help but act like a jealous, possessive lover with her...and she's the same with him. They both seem to want some measure of freedom from each other, but won't allow the other to have it.
  • Mommy Issues: After Norma gets raped, Norman keeps the rapist's tool belt as a memento of it. Even he is unsure of why he did this.
  • Morality Pet: Has a literal one inside of his head, called Juno.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He appears nude at least once every season. He's also a Chick Magnet.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: He literally has his mother's corpse at the dining table to eat with him.
  • Murder-Suicide: Norman tries to kill his mother and himself by carbon-monoxide poisoning, but only Norma ended up dying while Norman lives on.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Norman is pretty much the show's most disturbing character.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • While in a mental institution, he forms some kind of friendship with an inmate named Julian Howe.
    • The final season has him befriending Chick and becoming business partners together.
  • Oedipus Complex: He hates it when men show attraction to his mother, and is fiercely protective of her even when she doesn't need it. His jealousy even twists into a bizarre resentment of Norma for daring to have a healthy sexual relationship with someone.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: Played for Drama. His obsession with keeping his mother's corpse preserved and acting like it's alive is played entirely seriously.
  • Patricide: Norman killed his father while he was in a trance.
  • The Peeping Tom: Much like his original counterpart, he checks out one of the hotel guests undressing. He does it again in "Unfaithful" to spy on Norma and Sheriff Romero having sex to confirm his suspicion that they've been sleeping.
  • Please Wake Up: Goes into a long breakdown, asking his mother to please come back from the dead.
  • Primal Fear: Norman's greatest fear is being alone. Which sadly comes true after the death of his mother.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: The entire show is basically this for him.
  • Psychotic Love Triangle: He gets into an intense rivalry with Romero over his mother's affection.
  • Reluctant Psycho: He absolutely hates doing things he's unaware of, but he's still under the delusion that his mother is making him do so.
  • The Resenter: He begins to dislike Romero after he gets married to his mother.
  • Sanity Slippage: Well, duh. Season 3 is where the shit hits the fan with the "Mother" in his head being completely formed. He's partially aware it's happening and none too happy with it.
    • It got worse big time in the final episode. After the Mother persona leaves him, he goes into a delusional state where he's reliving the events of the first episode.
  • The Scapegoat: Subverted. Norman thinks he's this for his mother, but he's actually seeing his Split Personality of his mother performing all of his villainous actions.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Norman killed his own father. By the season 4 finale, Norman has officially killed his mother as well.
  • Split Personality: Norman gradually develops a split personality that takes over whenever Norma is in trouble. Afterwards, Norman can't remember what he did but when he gets into these states he's always violent, refuses to talk to anyone, and very, very dangerous.
  • Stalker Shrine: Built a whole elaborate copy of Norma's room to preserve his mother's frozen corpse to talk and interact with in order to pretend she's still alive.
  • The Starscream: Unfortunately, to his mother due to being Wrong Genre Savvy. He alerts the authorities that his mother is at fault for all of the murders he committed.
  • Stepford Snarker: He'll usually use sarcastic jabs at others to feel less horrible about himself.
  • Taxidermy Is Creepy: He spends a lot of time creating art of dead animals in his basement, which everyone finds massively fucking creepy.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Norman takes a lot of long looks into dead space.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: You'd never guess how many mental illnesses he has since he looks like an average guy.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: In the fourth season finale, Norman sees his dead mother alive and well playing the piano as Christmas decorations light up the entire motel. This is taken Up to Eleven in the final season where not only is he imagining an alternate version of his mother, but he also doesn't realize that his own house is in shambles and falling apart since he imagines he's living in his own perfect world alongside his imaginary mother.
  • Together in Death: Norman tries to invoke this trope for him and his mother through murder-suicide, but his attempt only killed Norma and not himself. In the series finale, his body is finally laid to rest besides his mother's tomb.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Norman fares much better in his second fight with Dylan, so much so that one wonders if he's been secretly attending wrestling school.
  • Tragic Villain: Throughout the series you tend to feel sorry for him because of the harsh world he's living in. Norma's poor parenting is one of the biggest contributing factors to his Sanity Slippage.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The series finale is all about Norman finally going completely insane.
  • Villain Protagonist: The entire show is based around him before he became a Serial Killer; essentially, his Start of Darkness is the show.
  • Villainous Friendship: One way of looking at his newfound friendship with Chick.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He readily calls out Norma and Dylan on their less-than-ethically-pristine actions, although he's hardly one to talk.
  • When He Smiles: He sure looks innocent when he's happy.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Despite his murderous impulses, it's hard not to feel a little sorry for Norman due to his upbringing and mental health issues.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Norman truly believes that his mother is the villain corrupting him, when in actuality it's his Split Personality attempting to take control over him.
    • Then when Norma ends up killed by him, Norman absolutely refuses to believe that she is truly gone, theorizing that Norma is merely Faking the Dead.
  • Yandere: Sympathetic example. Becomes one for his own mother, due to her constricting control over his life. Although Norman does desire a girlfriend of his own, his mother's closeness to him has caused him to feel that she's the only one he has in his life.
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    Mother 

Mother

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mother_5.jpg
Played By: Vera Farmiga & Freddie Highmore

Norman's alternate persona that both appears to him and controls him.


  • Abusive Parents: She emotionally manipulates Norman into serving her every command.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The show provides time for her to grow into a more well rounded character than the films did.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: She looks much better than being either a decayed corpse or Norman in drag thanks to Vera Farmiga portraying her in Norman's viewpoint.
  • Age Lift: In the films, Mother was always portrayed as a really old lady, but here she manifests within Norman while she's still in her prime.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Aside from her disturbing possessiveness over Norman, she enjoys it when a stripper comes onto her while in Norman's body and proceeds to make out with her.
  • Ax-Crazy: She kills Emma's mother on a random whim without warning. The final season takes this Up to Eleven when we learn that she's been killing a large number of people and dumping their bodies in the lake without telling Norman at all.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: By the season 4 finale, she eventually has Norman all to herself. Taken Up to Eleven in the series finale where she succeeds at driving Norman completely insane and departs forever.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Norman is alone with a stripper in a private room while Mother possesses his body it appears that she intends to kill the girl coming on to Norman, but instead she enjoys it when the girl makes out with her and sits back enjoying the moment.
  • Bi the Way: When she and Norman enter a strip club, Mother enjoys it when a stripper makes out with her while in control of Norman's body.
  • Big Bad: She's the one who is influencing Norman and will cause him to become the main villain in the first place.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She appears as Norman's only friend, but she's manipulating him throughout the whole series.
  • But Now I Must Go: After Norman killed Romero, she leaves him saying that he knows everything and he no longer needs her.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: She's obsessed with Norman, to the point of murdering potential rivals.
  • Co-Dragons: She and Chick both become Norman's cohorts in the final season.
  • Control Freak: She is obsessed with watching Norman.
  • The Corrupter: She's controlling Norman.
  • Dark Action Girl: Although Norman's really doing all her attacks, she's the one shown killing Bradley by a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Depraved Bisexual: She's a monster and revealed to be into both men and women.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Without much of an explanation, she departs from Norman in the series finale after stating that her job is done.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Norman thinks that she's following his lead, but in reality it is her who's controlling him.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: She works with Norman, but it's all because she desires to keep him all to herself.
  • Evil Counterpart: To the real Norma. While Norman's actual mother was a seriously flawed woman, she at least tried to be a noble person and do everything to raise Norman properly. This Mother is an obsessive control freak who never wants Norman to leave her side and is willing to murder anyone who gets between them.
  • Evil Matriarch: She wants to be both Norman's mother and his controller.
  • Evil Mentor: She's trying to manipulate Norman into trusting her leadership.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Talks like a gentle, nurturing woman despite the fact that she's very eager for blood.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: She's definitely the bad angel influencing Norman while Dr. Edwards is the good angel trying to help him recover from his mental instability.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: In the final season, whenever Norman imagines her as angry, she lights up a cigarette to immaturely get back at him.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Of the series as a whole, she's the main antagonist working behind the scenes.
  • Hypocrite:
    • She chastises women for giving in to their sexual pleasures, but enjoys it when a stripper makes out with her while controlling Norman's body.
    • She also calls Norman creepy for being a guy with Oedipus Complex, when she's driving him towards this of her own free will.
  • Imaginary Friend: She exists only inside of Norman's head. Though how much of a friend she really is remains debatable.
  • Invisible to Normals: Only Norman can see her Through the Eyes of Madness.
  • Karma Houdini: Pretty much gets away with everything she did in the end, never getting punished for her actions. Though you can argue that this might be played with since she's just a split personality and with Norman dead, technically she is too.
  • Kill the Cutie: She murdered Bradley.
  • Knight Templar Parent: She looks out for Norman, but at a huge cost.
  • Lack of Empathy: If Norman isn't concerned, then the lives of others are like useless trash for her to dispose of.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She's attempting to convince Norman that she's right in her decisions to kill others.
  • Mood-Swinger: She can go from a caring, compassionate woman into a violent psychopath very fast.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: If anyone gets between her and Norman in their lives then the first idea that comes to her is always murder.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: She killed Miss Watson and Bradley to have Norman all for herself.
  • My Beloved Smother: Much more than the actual Norma. She proclaims to never let Norman out of her watch.
  • Never My Fault: A very odd example since she exists inside of Norman's head. Whenever Norman struggles away from her control or when she kills somebody, she shifts blame completely onto him, despite being the one controlling his entire life.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: She just doesn't know when to back off from Norman and even crawls into the same bed as him while he sleeps.
  • Obviously Evil: Every time she appears things get very unsettling, even for the show's standards.
  • Offing the Offspring: Tries to murder Dylan when she views him as an obstacle between her and Norman. Fortunately, she fails.
  • Parental Incest: She is the entire hallucination of Norman's deep-rooted desire to have a woman similar to his mother.
  • Parental Substitute: She grows into Norman's real mother after the original Norma passed away.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: She's very immature and throws hissy fits whenever Norman has a disagreement with her. She's also not above murdering any competition for Norman's entertainment.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: She succeeds at turning Norman insane in the end, but Norman dies in the series finale, rendering her actions moot.
  • Replacement Goldfish: In a way, she becomes Norman's replacement for the real Norma after her death.
  • Serial Killer: The final season makes no attempt at hiding that Mother has murdered multiple people behind Norman's back.
  • The Snark Knight: When she's not obsessing over Norman, she's being really snippy with him.
  • The Sociopath: Nobody matters but her Norman.
  • Spirit Advisor: An odd and villainous case. She's a Split Personality of Norman, but he and the audience clearly see her interacting with him numerous times.
  • Split Personality: Mother often appears to Norman just before his blackouts, and then takes him over completely to the point where he dresses like her.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: Takes control over Norman multiple times, which triggers his blackouts.
  • Stalker with a Crush: She never wants to let Norman out of her life and will always be there for him. Always.
  • Villain Has a Point: She's actually right about warning Norman to stay away from Bradley since she has had a lot of trouble in her life and shouldn't expose Norman to it. However, she still crosses a line when killing the poor girl herself.
  • The Woman Behind the Man: Despite being the personification of Norman's inner demons, she appears as the one making him perform his evil actions.
  • Yandere: Never get between her and Norman. As poor Bradley found out the hard way.

    Norma 

Norma Bates (née Calhoun)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/96894e7d7381d0a8af8186b020f35ae7.jpg
"We came here to start over, I am starting over!"
Played By: Vera Farmiga & Madyson Parsons

"Parents do not have needs. You ever read the book The Giving Tree? It's about a tree, and this kid keeps coming and taking stuff from it his whole life, until there's nothing left but a stump. And then the kid sits on the stump. That's being a parent."

The resilient, intelligent, beautiful, complicated and mercurial mother of seventeen-year-old Norman Bates. A contemporary single mother, she is emotionally complex and utterly devoted to her son, constantly juggling her own needs and some hardcore baggage while trying to create a new home in a new town for herself and Norman.


  • Adaptational Attractiveness: She' the show's resident Ms. Fanservice, whereas in the original film she was a disfigured corpse and in flashbacks she wasn't as beautiful as Vera Farmiga.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Sorta. All we see of her in the original film is the version of her that exists in Norman's mind and we're led to believe she was like that and is solely responsible for Norman becoming a serial killer. On this show, she's much more complex and sympathetic. It's also shown while she made his situation worse, Norman's problems existed regardless of his mother.
  • Alas, Poor Jerkass: Norma wasn't always the best person, but her death certainly was a bit depressing. Especially for Romero and Norman.
  • All for Nothing: Her attempts to save her son Norman's sanity will eventually fail due to the Foregone Conclusion.
  • Ambiguously Evil: She's willing to cover up murder and emotionally blackmail her sons to get what she wants, but she's also motivated by love and devotion. So far, she hasn't intentionally sought out an illegal situation.
  • Badass Pacifist: She's able to get Chick to lay off of her by simply giving him an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Her possessiveness of Norman has come back to bite her in season 4. After she has finally found happiness after marrying Sheriff Romero, Norman wants him to leave and have her all to himself.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: For a woman who's dead and embalmed, she sure looks well enough for Norman to kiss. Then again, her corpse hasn't had enough time to fester like her original counterpart's. Very much averted by Season 5.
  • Berserk Button: Anytime a member of the opposite sex shows interest in Norman in front of her. Their jealousy goes both ways.
  • Broken Bird: Norma is practically the poster girl for this trope. Her past is filled with trauma, sexual and physical abuse, betrayal, cruelty and mental health issues. Hell, since coming to White Pine Pay she's been raped by Keith Summers, betrayed by Zach Shelby, threatened with death by Jake Abernathy and frequently had her family endangered.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: With her older brother. According to her it was non-consensual, and the details of their relationship is very much He-Said She-Said with neither of the conflicting accounts coming from trustworthy people.
  • Byronic Hero: She wants a better life with her son, but her obsessive parenting is what will cause her to screw up Norman even more.
  • Character Death: She ends up poisoned by carbon monoxide Norman was purposely maneuvering into their bedroom in a Murder-Suicide attempt that only took out her own life.
  • Companion Cube: Her corpse becomes one for Norman.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Norman has built a shrine for her body to stay in and talk to.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Norma has an exasperated wit.
    "Who is going to book a room in the 'rape slash murder' motel?"
  • Deal with the Devil: Every season she has made a deal with the Big Bad in order to avoid more problems. It never works and she goes through more hell than before.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the original films, Norma and her new husband were poisoned by her own son while they were living as a family together and while he was still a young teenager, who killed her for revenge against all the abuse he suffered. In the show, she ends up poisoned by carbon monoxide by her young adult son in a twisted Murder-Suicide attempt.
  • Death Glare: A literal one after Norman recovers her corpse. When Norman tries shifting her eyes open, she now has a permanent, cold scowl of a look whenever Norman looks her in the eyes.
  • Determinator: Nothing, not a rape and murder, sex slave business or police corruption will stop her from 'starting over'.
  • Doomed by Canon: If you're familiar with the classic film's twist...
  • Evil Matriarch: Subverted, to everyone's surprise. Norma wants the best for her sons, and even though she does cross moral boundaries it's due to her deep, psychological damage as opposed to any active malice.
  • Failure Hero: Her attempts to help Norman get over his sanity slippage are for naught when she ends up killed by him.
  • Freudian Excuse: She came from an abuse home and possibly got raped by her older brother, which resulted in her getting pregnant with her first son, Dylan. She had a strained relationship with him and married a man who was abusive and kept her isolated. Her second son, Norman, was the only person in her life whom she had a good relationship with and she latched onto him.
  • Good Is Dumb: She's very protective of Norman, but also refuses to acknowledge any of his faults like his mental illness.
  • Genre Blind: She doesn't seem to realize that her son's mental health is taking a turn for the worse. This tragically leads up to her own death.
  • Heroic Wannabe: She wants to be Norman's protector, but even she admits that she doesn't know how to handle the situation.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Towards her own son no less. She absolutely refuses to acknowledge that Norman is insane and views him as a good boy without a problem in the world. This only provokes his Sanity Slippage even more.
  • Hypocrite: Norman accuses her of being one in "Unfaithful". See Be Careful What You Wish For above.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: All she wants is to live a normal, happy life with her son Norman.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: She has some cold, blue eyes. Which only appear worse when Norman takes her corpse and attempts to keep her pale eyes open to show that she's alive.
  • Incest Subtext: With Norman, who she imagines having sex with Bradley...and that's just the tip of the terrifying, incestuous iceberg.
  • Karmic Death: Admittedly, Norma did bring her demise upon herself. She absolutely refused to see Norman as the mentally unstable person that he was and attempted to deny all evidence of his insanity. This unfortunately resulted in him eventually killing her in a Murder-Suicide, which he accidentally survives.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Keith Summers had it coming.
  • Kill the Cutie: She tragically meets her end at the hands of her own son.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Her refusal to acknowledge that her son is becoming evil eventually leads up to him trying to kill them both, with only her ending up dying.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The final season trailer pretty much gives away that she's dead and now a corpse in Norman's taxidermy collection.
  • Let Them Die Happy: Invoked by Norman. He attempts to comfort her while secretly performing a Murder-Suicide attempt so they'll be Together in Death. However, only Norma perishes in his plan.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She isn't exactly The Chessmaster, but Norma is capable of manipulating others into doing what she wants them to with guilt trips and carefully placed lies.
  • Mama Bear: To Norman, and to a lesser extent, Dylan. She'll do anything to protect them, even kill.
  • Mask of Sanity: She's almost as emotionally unstable as Norman.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She gets her fair share of negligee scenes.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: In Norman, her son steals her corpse and acts as if she's still alive.
  • My Beloved Smother: To Norman. She inserts herself into every aspect of his life.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: By refusing to heed Dylan and Romero's warnings about Norman, she dies as a result of ignoring the truth that was right in front of her.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Norma has spent the entire series going to extreme lengths to help her son conquer his sanity slippage and she's rewarded with a tragic death by his hands.
  • Odd Couple: She and Sheriff Romero get married and she grows feelings for him.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Seems to have started to develop one with Emma.
    • She also forms one with Chick. Sadly, this one comes into conflict when he reveals his revenge plan against her brother Caleb. However, Chick does view their friendship as genuine.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: Played for Drama. Norman has gone to extreme lengths to maintain the illusion that she's still alive with him.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Most of her problems with Norman result from her refusal to tell him the truth.
  • Psychotic Love Triangle: Unfortunately, she finds herself caught between choosing her own son or Romero's affection.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives an epic one to her former friend Chick for manipulating her.
  • Rape as Drama: She was sexually assaulted by her brother, and is later raped by Keith Summers in her own kitchen.
  • Sanity Slippage: Unless, of course, the sanity slipped long ago. Still, Norma is capable of keeping it together but her mind is a psychological mess.
  • The Scapegoat: Norman blames her for all of his problems when in reality his Split Personality of his mother is misleading him.
  • Ship Tease: With Sheriff Romero, after their extremely rocky start. They even form a fake marriage before developing actual feelings for each other.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Tired of Norman's complaints of change in "Unfaithful", she finally tells him off.
  • Stepford Smiler: She tries her utmost to be this, and actually manages to succeed from time to time. Her family aren't fooled.
  • Teen Pregnancy: She had Dylan when she was a teenager.
  • Together in Death: Subverted. Norman tries to poison them both together, but only Norma kicks the bucket.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Her Undying Loyalty to her son prevents her from seeing him as the mentally unhinged psychopath that he really is and it eventually results in her death.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: She absolutely refuses to acknowledge the fact that her own son is suffering a Sanity Slippage when the evidence is growing clear. This leads to her death.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: By Season 3, she's become more and more crueler to others, including her own son.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Her whole life's story is nothing but suffering all her life, which sadly ends with her death.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Although Chick isn't exactly a hero, she calls him out on using her and betraying her trust.
  • When She Smiles: She shows genuine happiness whenever she's giggling and laughing.
  • Widow Woman: Her husband died prior to the series.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: In spite of her less-than-ethical acts, Norma is still massively sympathetic. All she wants is a normal, happy home with a family she loves... but the trauma that's been inflicted on her, the toxic criminal environment of White Pine Bay, Norman's increasing mental health issues, her own desperate denial and the way events seem to conspire against her mean that she'll never get her wish.

    Dylan 

Dylan Massett

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bates_dylan.jpg
Played By: Max Thieriot

"Can I give you some advice? You gotta cut that shit out. "Mother?" Seriously, it... it's just weird."

Norma’s son by her first marriage and half-brother to Norman, Dylan is an edgy outsider in the Norma/Norman tea party. He’s a lost soul and a drifter who finds himself, by necessity, drifting back into the troubled lives of his mother and brother.


  • Aloof Big Brother: To Norman. Though honestly it's probably just a "played with" example since Norman really isn't looking for any closeness with him, at least at the start.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: He asks Norma if it's seriously okay to let Norman be released from the mental institution despite the fact that he has a violent side and correctly assumes that he murdered Emma's mother.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: He gives Norman a final hug before departing from the Bates family for good.
  • Babies Ever After: He and Emma now have a daughter.
  • Bullying a Dragon: How much of a dragon Norman is at this point is up for debate, but he's definitely willing to go at you if you talk about his mom, as Dylan does incessantly.
  • Cain and Abel: The Abel to Norman's Cain.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Dylan is more than willing to call Norma out on her various manipulations and guilt trips.
  • Car Fu: He runs over the guy who shoots Ethan.
  • Cassandra Truth: He strongly urges Norma to consider the possibility that Norman murdered Emma's mother while they were alone together. Sadly, his suggestion falls on deaf ears.
  • Characterization Marches On: In his first couple of introductory episodes Dylan was far more hostile to Norma and Norman, saying cruel things and twisting the knife a lot. But eventually he mellowed out and became very protective of Norman and more civil to his mother.
  • Child by Rape: He's the unintentional son of Norma and her brother Caleb, during Norma's teenage years, when Caleb would rape her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: It seems that biting sarcasm runs in the family.
  • Demoted to Extra: The second half of Season 4 has Dylan moving away to Seattle. He doesn't come back until the second half of Season 5.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: In the final episode, Dylan warns Norman of this as Norman grabs a knife.
  • The Drifter: Dylan moved from place to place, although for the time being he's settled in White Pine Bay.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all the hell and trauma he's been through, especially his Mercy Kill of his insane brother and seeing the dead body of their mother, the show ends with him building a happy life with Emma and their daughter.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: He has blond hair and is the moral compass of the Bates family.
  • Heel–Face Turn: He officially departs from the drug ring and desires to become a better man.
  • Heroic Bastard: He's the illegitimate love child between Norma and her brother Caleb. He's also the only noble person in the Bates family so far.
  • Hidden Depths: He isn't the rebellious punk jerk he first appears to be; Dylan is actually a thoughtful and considerate young man who is very loyal.
  • Hunk: He gets a Shirtless Scene in Season 4 where he shows off his scars to Emma in her bedroom.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: He has such charming baby blue eyes.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: When we first meet Dylan, he's abrasive, disrespectful and outright insulting toward Norman and Norma. However, when the situation calls for it, Dylan is fiercely protective of his family. It becomes clear that he does love his family dearly and without condition.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: It's eventually him who kills Norman out of mercy.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: He was unaware that Norma was dead for two years until Emma told him.
  • Mercy Kill: He shot Norman out of self-defense in the final episode. Norman saw his death as this by thanking him.
  • Mommy Issues: Despite the distance he tries to create with Norma, Dylan can't get past his issues with her either.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He gets a Shirtless Scene where he shows off his scars for Emma.
  • Only Sane Man: Within the Bates family, alhough compared to Norma and Norman, that isn't saying much. In "Unfaithful", he's become aware of this and confesses to Emma that he wants to get away from them.
  • Scars Are Forever: He shows Emma all the scars on his chest that he earned over the series.
  • Ship Tease: He gains one with Bradley which ultimately goes nowhere, and then forms a more promising one with Emma.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: He's grown into a mature adult trying to get his life together after forming a loving relationship with Emma.
  • Troubled, but Cute: He has a lot of issues but also serves as Mr. Fanservice.
  • The Un-Favourite: He and Norma have a very difficult relationship; it's clear that she prefers the more submissive, polite Norman. Gradually, this changes and a strange love triangle forms between Dylan, Norma and Norman.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: His relationship with Norma is strained, to say the least. He's torn between wanting her approval and wanting to distance himself from her influence.

    Sam 

Sam Bates

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bates_sam_7468.jpg
Played By: David Cubitt

The late husband of Norma Bates and father of Norman Bates. He died six months prior to his family's move to White Pine Bay, and his death was the main reason why they moved.


  • Adaptational Villainy: According to Psycho IV, Norman's father was originally the family's Morality Chain. In the show, he's pretty much an unsympathetic monster.
  • The Alcoholic: As seen in flashbacks, he's usually drunk or on his way to drunk.
  • Asshole Victim: He was an abusive, alcoholic jerk so it's hard to say he didn't deserve to meet his fate.
  • The Cameo: He makes a surprise appearance as a spirit to Norman, trying to convince his son to kill Norma because she's been manipulating him all along.
  • Character Death: He dies prior to the start of the series. Norma eventually reveals that Norman killed him during one of his black-outs.
  • The Corrupter: When Norman sees his father as a spirit, he convinces Norman that his mother is the bad guy and tells him to kill her.
  • Domestic Abuse: His abuse of Norma seems to be what prompts Norman to kill him.
  • Hate Sink: Given that he's a domestic abuser, the audience is supposed to hate him.
  • Jerkass: As is to be expected of a domestic abuser with a Never My Fault attitude.
  • Marital Rape License: Illustrated in "The Vault".
  • Mythology Gag: Sam shares his first name with Sam Loomis, the hero of Psycho.
  • Never My Fault: Sam has this attitude, blaming everyone but himself.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: The Bates' speak of him in fairly neutral terms, with the mild exception of Dylan.
  • Posthumous Character: His death kicks off the beginning of the show and he's only seen in flashbacks.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He raped Norma frequently as punishment for trying to leave him.
  • Spirit Advisor: He tries to convince Norman to kill his mother as a spirit only he can see.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He attempted to kill Norman if Norma ever tried to leave him.

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The Calhoun Family

    Caleb 

Caleb Calhoun

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/calhoun_caleb.jpg
"I'm an optimist at heart."
Played By: Kenny Johnson & Travis Breure

"You can't help who you love."

Caleb is Norma's estranged brother. At once menacing and heartbreaking, Caleb is a train wreck of a human being looking for something even he doesn't understand.


  • Ambiguous Situation: What exactly happened between Caleb and Norma is very much a case of he-said she-said. Neither one of them are reliable when it comes to the truth; they did have a sexual relationship, that was either consensual or non-consensual. From how Caleb tells it, it was a relationship that was consensual that turned non-consensual.
  • Anti-Villain: He was a monster who sexually abused Norma all her life during their childhood, bit since growing up, he's become The Atoner and wants to make peace with his family after discovering he had a son with his sister and realized what a terrible human being he was. Despite making amends with Norma and Dylan, he's still seen as an enemy by Norman for beating him and causing harm towards his mother in the first place. The feeling is mutual, since Caleb looks at his nephew as a demented freak and still harbors negativity towards him.
  • Archenemy: Becomes one towards both Chick and Norman. He hates Chick for nearly getting his son Dylan killed and blames Norman for getting his sister Norma killed.
  • The Atoner: In Season 3, he returns to town and attempts to form a genuine bond with Dylan while seeking Norma's forgiveness. He feels genuinely terrible about what he did to Norma as a child.
  • Berserk Button: Never harm his sister Norma or his son Dylan or he'll hurt you. It's one of the reasons why both Norman and Chick are on his enemy list.
  • Big Brother Bully: He was sexually abusive toward his sister Norma since she was thirteen.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Caleb can appear affable and even banal, but underneath he's a terrible human being with a streak of sadism as evidenced when Norman confronts him, and after disarming the kid Caleb needlessly kicks him when he's down.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: He raped his little sister Norma every day for years. Norma remembers it as rape, but Caleb speaks of it as if it were consensual. In his twisted mind, it could be how he actually sees events. The final season implies that he might still have these disturbing feelings for her lingering in his mind.
  • Character Death: Dies getting accidentally ran over by Chick in the final season.
  • Death by Irony: Despite burying the hatchet with Chick, he ends up getting accidentally ran over by him as he tries escaping from Norman's house.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Breaks into Norman's house to exact revenge on him for Norma's death while completely drunk and alone in the dead of night. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't work out in his favor.
  • Disappeared Dad: To Dylan, in addition to being his uncle.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: He regrows into an antagonist towards Norman in the final season after Caleb discovers that his nephew murdered his sister Norma and comes after him. However, he doesn't make it halfway through the final story arc since he ends up accidentally ran over by Chick, killing him.
  • The Drifter: Caleb tends to move around from place to place, doing odd jobs for whoever is willing to hire him and never quite settling in one place.
  • Easily Forgiven: In all honesty, Norma and Dylan were very okay with allowing him back into their lives despite the fact that he raped, bullied, and abandoned Norma and left his own son behind. To be fair, it did take a long time until he was allowed back into the family by gaining their forgiveness, but he still crossed some serious lines.
  • Evil Uncle: Becomes this to Norman in "The Convergence of the Twain" when he declares vengeance on him for Norma's death.
  • He Knows Too Much: In "The Convergence of the Twain," Norman knocks him out and keeps him locked up in the basement when he finds out about Norma's corpse being kept in secrecy. He eventually ends up killed completely by accident with Chick and Norman keeping it a secret.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Aside from his childhood sins, Caleb was a any-dirty-job-there-is criminal who may or may not have killed someone. In Season 3, he still has a criminal bent but is attempting to make up with Norma and tries to keep his temper in check.
    • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Despite turning over a new leaf and making peace with Norma, Dylan, Chick, and Norman, Caleb ends up ran over by accident while escaping from "Mother."
  • Idiot Ball: In "The Convergence of the Twain," despite suspecting that Norman is a deranged psychopath who killed Norma, Caleb decides the best idea is for him to take the law into his own hands by breaking into Norman's house to kill him instead of calling the police. This results in Norman beating him up and taking him captive.
  • It's Personal: He hates Norman for causing Norma's death.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He quite bluntly warns Norma that he thinks of Norman as a danger to himself and others.
  • Karmic Death: He dies getting accidentally ran over by Chick, a former partner in crime who he crippled for life.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After delivering a brutal beat-down on Norman in their first encounter, Norman does the exact same thing to him in season 5 after he discovers his sister's corpse in his basement.
  • Odd Friendship: He seemed to be forming one with his Ambiguously Evil neighbor Chick, but it comes to a screeching halt due to Chick's actions.
  • Oh, Crap!: Has this reaction when he sees what's in Norman's basement.
  • Papa Wolf: He's very protective of Dylan, and threatens Chick if their "job" for him goes wrong and causes Dylan trouble.
    Caleb: Just between you and me, if anything happens to him, I'm gonna come back, and I'll kill you.
    Chick: Maybe that's a little dramatic, but sure.
  • Put on a Bus: Departs the family in the third season finale after making peace with everyone.
    • Commuting on a Bus: He pops in and out of every season unannounced. Sometimes he'll have a major role or just be given a cameo before getting right back on the bus.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Caleb returns to town hoping to turn over a new leaf, but only Dylan is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He eventually gains Norma's tentative forgiveness and tolerance once she sees how genuine he is. Norman, however, views him as another obstacle between him and his mother.
  • Revenge Before Reason: His bloodthirsty desire to get revenge on Norman for killing his sister ultimately results in his own demise.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He completely blames Norman for the death of his sister and breaks into his house to kill him out of vengeance.
  • Sanity Slippage: He begins slowly going insane after getting locked up in Norman's basement, hallucinating that Norma is still alive and flashing back to his childhood.
  • Say My Name:
    Caleb: Norman! I know what you did! NORMAN!
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: His whole story to turn over a new life and find his purpose in the world comes to a crash when he ends up accidentally killed by Chick, with nobody the wiser about his disappearance.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Leaves in the third season finale after hearing the police are coming to the town in search of certain criminals involved in the drug trade.
  • Too Dumb to Live: When he escapes from Norman's basement he tries running towards a car to get help, while charging right into it while sprinting in the middle of the street. Naturally, he dies getting rammed when the car fails to stop in time before the driver even sees him.

    Frannie & Ray 

Frannie & Ray Calhoun

Played By: Johanna Marlowe & N/A

The parents of Norma and Caleb Calhoun.


  • Abusive Parents: Ray, to Norma and Caleb. They both describe him as the most violent person they'd ever known.
  • Broken Bird: The abuse she endured at the hands of her husband led to Frannie ending up in a self-medicated daze for the remainder of her life.
  • Flat Character: Frannie doesn't get any character and Ray's only given characteristic is that he's abusive.
  • The Ghost: Frannie is never seen.
  • Killed Offscreen: The 2 are never seen killed onscreen.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Frannie's off-screen expiration at the beginning of Season 3 sets up Caleb's return to White Pine Bay.
  • Posthumous Character: Ray is long-dead by the time the events of the series begin.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: It's because of their poor parenting which causes Norma to be screwed up to begin with. And this would all eventually lead to her child, Norman, becoming the Serial Killer he was destined to become.
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