Det. Nicholas "Nick" Mendoza
Newly christened Miami detective Nick is from the wrong side of the tracks, the first legitimately employed member of his family for generations. Nick's a loner, a crusader, and is determined to make his way to the top of the pile. His making detective is validation that he's left behind the man he feared he might become.
- Abusive Parents: His father was a Cuban secret policeman who was apparently a bit of a Torture Technician. Nick at one point states that he liked to bring his work home with him.
- Beware the Honest Ones: Nick is honest to a fault. Which is exactly why Stoddard and Dawes frame him up as a Dirty Cop and get him shipped off to prison— he won't fit into the rampant corruption in the Miami P.D. and he can't be controlled.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Generally polite and approachable in person, but he's perfectly willing to shoot first and ask questions later.
- Berserk Button: If you're a criminal, do not try to invoke Not So Different on him.
- By-the-Book Cop: In spades. He becomes a little less orthodox over time.
- Disappeared Dad: Mendoza's father didn't make the trip to the U.S. with his wife and son evidence in the final level confirms that he is dead. Nick doesn't mind, as his father was evidently quite a bastard.
- The Hero
- He Who Fights Monsters: In the second half of the game.
- He's Back: After three years in prison, courtesy of a frame-up by Stoddard and Dawes, he breaks out to go after those who wronged him.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Dawes and Stoddard screw Nick over, he'll stop at nothing to get some payback.
- Tranquil Fury: Doesn't lose his temper— he's more of a "quietly seething with rage" type of guy.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: Downplayed. He will, but he hates it.
Miami Police Department
Captain Julian Dawes
Known for picking young cops out of the ranks and shaping them into star detectives, Dawes's office has been a place of tutelage and gentle idolatry for a generation of Miami's finest. Blessed with a politician's charisma and a forensic scientist's eye, Dawes is clearly grooming himself for the top brass.
- Armor-Piercing Question: "How's your mother, Nick?" Cue Double Tap from an unamused Nick, whose mother they both know had died while he was framed in prison.
- Ascended Fanboy: Discussed Trope. Nick says that Dawes probably read a lot of comic books as a kid when he found a button to open the way to a safe inside of a bust of a person.
- Big Bad: The real head of the protection racket.
- The Corrupter: As Khai says, he's a "ruiner— he ruins people."
- Da Chief
- Die Laughing: He's so incredulous that Nick shot him in cold blood that he can't stop giggling as he dies.
- Dirty Cop: His plan was to put the different cartels and gangs against each other and take over as the new kingpin of Miami and after succeeding, he frames Nick with the help of Khai and Stoddard.
- Famous Last Words: "How's your mother, Nick?"
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He's mellow, wise, and praises Nick and Khai when they make significant progress in their case. Which is why it comes out of nowhere that he's also crooked.
- Walking Spoiler: He has a major role in the twist that occurs at the end of Act I of the story, making it hard to talk about his role without spoiling big plot points.
- You Are Already Dead: Inverted to "I Am Already Dead." When Nick confronts him at the end of the game, he's unarmed and writing a letter. Nick guns him down, and begins to read the document, which is addressed to him. It begins:Tell me, Detective: when you shot me, did I look surprised?
Det. Khai Minh Dao
A first-generation Vietnamese-American who hails from outside LA, Khai turned her back on the west coast and a rebellious youth to put a star on her chest. Rising quickly through the ranks, she's established herself to her fellow officers and the usual underworld suspects as a smart, able detective who isn't afraid to let her temper take over.
- Action Girl: Well, it's Kelly Hu.
- All Asians Know Martial Arts: Played with. Khai does know martial arts, but it's not a traditional Asian martial art like Karate or Kung-Fu. Krav Maga is her fighting style of choice.
- Big Damn Heroes: Saves Nick during the shootout in Roark's mansion, passing up a chance to get Stoddard in doing so.
- Cowboy Cop: More pragmatic and flexible with the regulations than Nick is. In an early mission, for example, she drops a serious Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique on a perp.
- FaceHeel Turn: She betrays Nick when Dawes reveals himself as the new drug Kingpin of Miami and helps in framing him. While she does regret it later and frees Nick from prison, it came more out of desilusioment with Dawes than ruining Nick's life.
- Fair Cop: She's a lot more pragmatic than Nick but still a decent person. However: she sides with the corrupt Dawes out of both greed and the belief that one can only defeat crime by crushing them, not waiting for evidence or warrants.
- HeelFace Turn: She joined Dawes when he became the new drug kingpin of Miami, but as soon as she realized just how bad he really was (as he wanted to privatize law enforcement to enrich himself), she abandoned him to break out Nick. Unfortunately, that took three years of Nick's life in prison.
- Ms. Fanservice: She wears tight jeans most of the time and later wears a tight shirt with a sleeveless leather vest that accentuates her figure and shows her cleavage.
- Pragmatic Anti Hero: Khai believes less in "rules" and more in "results." She's still a fundamentally good person, though, with a desire to see justice done in the end. She was initially complacent to Dawes' ethically-ambiguous scheme and frame-up of Nick because she believed that Dawes is genuinely pacifying Miami's criminal elements and that Nick is too stuck-up with rules for his own good.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: She herself admits she used to be a far nicer cop which is how Stoddard and Dawes manage to get to her and cause her to have a HeelFace Turn.
Det. Carl Stoddard
Former college ball hero Carl Stoddard loves his city, his country, and his badge, though probably not in that order. Hes not without looks and charm and coasted his way to detective after joining the force as an alternative to joining the army.
- Cutscene Boss: At the beginning of Chapter 9.
- Dirty Cop: It's not long before Mendoza (and the player) realize that he's on the take. The first act is all about building a case against him to take to Internal Affairs until it's revealed just how deep the corruption goes.
- The Dragon: Stoddard does most of the legwork, convincing assorted criminals to buy into the protection racket, but he answers directly to Dawes.
- Enemy Mine: Convinces Nick to delay his arrest until after they can save Khai from a shootout with a local gang. As it turns out, a large part of this was a setup to save him and frame Nick.
- Faux Affably Evil: Stoddard acts buddy-buddy with everyone, but it's just a front to cover how ruthless he really is.
- Smug Snake: Stoddard thinks he's a lot more untouchable than he actually is. He's much less secure when Nick busts out of prison and comes after him.
Tyson spent his youth slinging cocaine, but has evolved into an upper middle-class criminal who spends more time with spreadsheets than scales and gram bags. His job is to make sure the drugs get to where theyre supposed to go; after that its somebody elses problem. When hes not working, Tyson imagines himself taking up golf.
- Butt-Monkey: Whether it's an ambush, a breaching charge, or a booby trap, Tyson finds himself on the wrong side of a lot of ugly surprises. He usually manages to get up and walk away, though.
- Deadpan Snarker: Hardly anything comes out of his mouth that isn't dripping with sarcasm or condescension.
- Expy: Adam John Harrington has all but replicated his role as the snarky Detective Earle from L.A. Noire.
- Token Evil Teammate: He's really not that bad of a guy, all things considered, but he's completely unrepentant about his criminal activities. It's implied the only reason he joined up with Nick and Khai's revenge crusade was to be able to resume his operations in Miami, with the fringe benefit of possibly robbing Dawes' operation and getting rich.
- Tough Love: He sets up his old friend Tap to get arrested— partially to help break Nick out of jail as an inside man, and partially because he knows going to prison is pretty much Tap's only chance to kick his cocaine addiction.
- Undying Loyalty: Despite his criminal activities and a non-personal motive for taking down Dawes, he fully jumps into danger alongside Nick and Khai on some missions and his loyalty is never questioned by any of the other characters.
A drug dealer who's trying to make his name in the Miami drug trade.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Neltz is referred to as this; he dumped harmless food additives with scary-sounding names into a Florida swamp then used political connections to have the land condemned as a toxic hazard so he could use it to run drugs, then used an anime company to launder the proceeds, even going so far as to serve as the voice actor for the company's mascot. On multiple occasions characters take all this as a sign that he's both creatively brilliant and also completely nuts.
- Crazy-Prepared: He did make recordings to him speaking with Stoddard as proof in case he gets arrested.
Marcus "Boomer" Boone
After a few tours in Iraq as an intelligence analyst, Boomer came home and started applying the skills he learned from Uncle Sam to the criminal trade, acting as an IP specialist for a variety of nefarious characters. Though he's a gray-hat hacker, Boomer really wants to be one of the good guys and his old friend Khai gives him that chance.
- Action Survivor: Ex-Army, and appears to be moderately competent with a gun, but prefers to avoid fighting if at all possible.
- Black and Nerdy
- Dangerous Deserter: Subverted. Boomer is a deserter (he went AWOL from the Army some years ago) but is actually a pretty nice guy and not really a physical threat to anyone, except under extreme circumstances.
- Distressed Dude: The first time Nick meets him, he's locked in the trunk of a car, courtesy of Kang.
- I Just Want to Be Badass: Despite panicking just about every time bullets start flying, Boomer gripes more than once about being "the guy in the van."
- Mr. Fixit: Is able to repair a Vietnam War era warplane to working condition in a rather short period of time. And fly it out of what is pretty much a warzone in one piece!
- The Smart Guy
Once a promising developer of anti-piracy software, Neil Roark took his millions (if not billions) and began to wage war against the loss of American opportunity. In his case, this means hes holed himself up in a Hollywood mansion where he films rambling webcasts about the importance of privatization.
- The Don: One of the few criminals in L.A. high-ranking enough to call a meeting between Stoddard and other local crime bosses.
- Karma Houdini: Yeah, Nick and Khai did 3 million dollars worth of damage to his house, but he's still active (and marrying Kang's wife).
- Politically Incorrect Villain: His response to seeing Nick in his house?"Well, you look Mexican, so I'll assume you're a burglar."
- Wrong Genre Savvy: As noted above, he thinks Nick is trying to steal from him, not investigate him or his associates.
A separatist quasi-cult leader who leads a commune of like-minded individuals in the middle of the California desert, Tony Alperts stomped out the ideals of his hippie roots and replaced them with hate.
- Badass Boast: When he shows up in a ZTZ-99 MBT to confront Nick after the latter commandeers an M1A1 from his arsenal.Tony: So here's the deal. You titwizards are all out of options. Which means I'm gonna kill you, chop off your heads, and piss down your necks!
- Corrupt Hick: Lives in the middle of nowhere, and it's mentioned he's amassed a sizable fortune through running drugs.
- Overprotective Dad: To an extreme degree. He disapproved of the relationship between his daughter Dune and Boomer, so he essentially ran Boomer out of town. He also monitors Dune's phone calls and has her wear a tracking bracelet.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: The majority of his cronies are, though Tony himself seems to subvert this. He assures Boomer, with whom he has a colorful history (and whom he is currently holding at gunpoint), that the enmity between them is not racial, but strictly personal.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: He and his men are mostly-racist, reactionary, heavily-armed isolationists who constantly talk about things like impeaching (and/or assassinating) the President. It's like they were going down a checklist.
- Tank Goodness: He hoards old military equipment, up to and including helicopter gunships and tanks— one of the latter of which he rides into battle against Nick and Boomer.
A young woman raised on a desert commune by gun-loving hippies, Dune is a badass blend of sunshine and survivalist. After she nearly eloped with Boomer a few years back, her father's kept her on a shortened leash.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Appears to be nothing more than a bubble-headed young woman, but she helps Boomer and Nick escape from the compound— and manages to patch herself up when she's got a broken leg, at least one bullet wound, and multiple cuts and bruises.
- Daddy's Girl: Tony dotes on her. He also screens her phone calls and tracks her every move.
- The Ditz: She's... not that bright.
- Reckless Gun Usage: Pulls a gun on Nick and Boomer in a moving car as a prank. This takes Nick's eyes off the road (Nick is the driver), and could have easily been a case of I Just Shot Marvin in the Face (as she was wrong about it not being loaded). Cue the ambush and subsequent car crash.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Drives off into the sunset after helping Nick and Boomer escape.