Remember Spoilers Are For Current Season only.
The Pierce Family
Played By: Cress Williams
Appearances: Black Lightning
A former vigilante turned high-school principal. He is forced back into heroics when the gangs he once fought target his family.
Jefferson can absorb and manipulate electricity.
- 100% Adoration Rating: Jefferson is said to be extremely popular (in his civilian identity) among the people of Freeland for his work with kids and the school. He's even nicknamed "Black Jesus". As for Black Lightning, except among cops and criminals, the people of Freeland hold him in awe.
- Action Dad: A father of two and a superhero.
- Almighty Janitor: In Season Two, where he's forced to step down as principal, but stays on as history teacher.
- Amicable Exes: With his ex-wife Lynn. There's still sparks of attraction between them and part of why Jefferson is reluctant to become Black Lightning again is that he believes there's a possibility of them getting back together.
- Angry Black Man: He usually tries to avoid being this, but when he's reached his limits, it'll be played straight. It's not natural, being a side effect of the serum that gave him his powers.
- Armor Is Useless: Averted—his new armor goes a long way in keeping him from getting full of bullet holes. However, it has its limits; getting shot at close range with a pistol is enough to give him a large cut (though that may have been from hitting an unarmored area).
- Badass in a Nice Suit: As a principal, he's almost always dressed in a suit and tie, and can both fight and stand up to aggressive cops and the 100 with nary a blink while wearing it.
- Badass Teacher: A high school principal who can shoot lightning bolts. He refuses to have metal detectors in his school because he doesn't want his pupils treated like criminals. Harm his students, and he will make you regret it.
- Bald of Awesome: Before giving up his vigilante activities, Jefferson sported this while wearing his older costume as part of the greater Mythology Gag to his character's look in the comics.
- Brought Down to Badass: Even when Tobias Whale prepared a countermeasure for his powers, Jefferson was still strong and skilled enough to take down the villainous albino in pure hand-to-hand combat.
- Clark Kenting: A justified example. It is mentioned that he does something with his powers that makes it hard for people to look directly at his face; it also disrupts cameras, though of course this doesn't show on screen.
- Cool Teacher: He's very supportive towards all his students, not just his current ones, but also the adults in the city who were his students at school years prior. He worries and cares about them, supports and encourages them and doesn't treat them like kids, but rather like young folks ready to take the first steps into adulthood and all they can achieve with it. In return, the majority of the students greatly respect him for this, working hard to achieve and exceed his expectations for them, and as seen in episode 11, they will not hesitate to confront the police when Jefferson gets accused of a crime, firmly believing in Jefferson's innocence.
- Dented Iron: His powers allow him to recover from injuries faster than most people, but his Healing Factor is not as good as it used to be.
- Double Standard: Called out as a victim of this on the news; though other superheroes are confirmed to exist, Black Lightning is the only one treated as a vigilante, which is speculated to be because of his race. Though, as noted, he tends to lay out racist cops (not that they wouldn't have had it coming), which doesn't make him look good to the local police.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Despite being a well-loved pillar of the community, he's the suspect of racial profiling a lot — and he's fed up with it.
- Electric Black Guy: Duh, given that his comics counterpart was the origin of this trope.
- Elemental Punch: He can channel electricity into his fists in order to make his punches more effective.
- Energy Absorption: Jefferson takes most of his powers from external sources. He is also immune to electric shocks, as Looker and her Sanges in Season 2 find out: Wrongly assuming that Black Lightning's powers come from his suit, they accidentally charge the drained Jefferson with electricity (to torture and kill him), allowing him to fight back.
- Experienced Protagonist: In contrast to other DC Comics superheroes on The CW, he's in his late 40s and long past his origin story.
- Famed In-Story: Jefferson is famous not only as an Olympic medal winner, but as one of the best, if not the best educator in the country.
- Flight: As of "And Then the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light", he can use his powers for short bursts of flight.
- Force Field: A new trick of his is to create a field of electricity that deflect bullets.
- Friend to All Children: He is a teacher so it's a given.
- Glowing Eyes: His eyes turn light blue and spark when his powers activate.
- Good Is Not Nice: As Black Lightning; while a civil, model citizen, well-respected school principal and loving, dedicated father and family man, he is aggressive and relentless in his vigilante guise, shown to brutally beat up and electrify suspects to get them to give him what he wants.
- Healing Factor: Jefferson's abilities also allow him to regenerate faster than a normal human.
- He's Back: The whole point of the first season is that he's ending his retirement from being Black Lightning in order to take on the threats to his community. Indeed, the excerpt from Godholly's "Black Lightning", used for the opening title card, includes these lines:I saw a superhero and he was black
He said "This is for the streets: Black Lightning's back!"
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Does this a lot. While not The Alcoholic, he's pretty quick to reach for a drink when he's upset or stressed about something.
- Jive Turkey: Invoked and downplayed; much like the 70's comics, Jefferson in-character as "Black Lightning" acts more cocky and self-assured, uses more AAVE and slang, and has a thicker drawl than when he's out of costume, in order to disguise his identity further. But by the same token, his specific vernacular plays the trope back up; as an older man, he's not as in tune with what modern slang is. He drops the act whenever he's alone with somebody that knows.
- The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: After one too many brushes with death, his wife divorced him and is part of the reason why Jefferson gave up being Black Lightning.
- Messianic Archetype: There's a reason he's called the "Black Jesus" of Freeland.
- He's never overtly harsh, extremely forgiving and patient, and dedicated to making the city a better place. As Black Lightning he's by and large seen as the city's savior.
- In Season 2, he steps down as principal in order to convince the school board to keep Garfield open knowing that the price to pay will be to have his name and his reputation dragged through the mud.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When he realizes he just unknowingly beat up Anissa.
- Never My Fault: Jefferson tends to blame everyone else for problems he is also partially responsible for. Anissa is frequently the one who calls him out on it.
- Overprotective Dad:
- Played for Laughs in Season 1, when he intimidates Khalil, who he knows is a guy Jennifer wants to sleep with.
- He is not happy at first that Anissa is running out as Thunder, and tries to rule her in because of her inexperience. While he does have a point, he sometimes overdoes it in Season 2, as his daughter has learned from her mistakes and he can't treat her like a child forever.
- In Season 2, he forbids Jennifer from going to school, as her powers start running out of her control. He and Lynn then decide, after no apparent improvement, that Jennifer should receive in-home tutoring. Jennifer eventually elopes with Khalil, after being fed up with her parents' strict parenting and Jefferson is being called out by Anissa.
- Papa Wolf: To his daughters. He comes out of retirement when his daughters are threatened.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Subverted as one would think a simple mask isn't enough to keep either his best friend or his daughters from recognizing him up close. However, it's stated that his electrical aura makes it "hurt to look directly at him" and thus no one is able to get a really close look.
- Parents as People: Played With — he loves his daughters, but he can be overly harsh especially on Anissa, who has a tendency to court controversy in doing what she believes is right, often lecturing her like a teenager even though she's a college student and technically an adult. It's played with because he almost always turns out to be right.
- Powered Armor: Jefferson got a less bulky form of this through Gambi. There's an exoskeleton frame under all those plates of armor and that seems to give him a boost in strength, as he easily lugs around large thugs. The armor also gives him better control over his powers and requires a control module to fully work.
- Power Incontinence: Going years without using his powers means he has less control over them when he's angry or upset. When two police officers terrorize him and his daughters and refuse to apologize, nearby electronics go on the fritz until he calms himself down.
- Power Perversion Potential: Turns out that being able to stimulate your partner's nervous system directly with low-level electrical discharges makes sex memorable, as he and Lynn demonstrate.
- Prepositions Are Not to End Sentences With: Jefferson incorrectly informs a young boy that sentences shouldn't end with prepositions.
- Psychoactive Powers: Jefferson's rage, even when he appears outwardly in control, messes up nearby electrical devices. And the more he uses his powers, the angrier he seems to become. This is because they came from a vaccine that was supposed to make people docile but instead made them into metahumans, making them angrier and irrational as a side effect.
- Real Men Love Jesus: He's a devout Christian who honestly believes that his powers are a gift from God. Turns out they're due to the ASA's experiment with an illegal vaccine. However, he is the only one given that vaccine who didn't die, so perhaps it was a gift from God after all.
- Retired Badass: Introduced in the series having been out of the superhero game for years, having given it up due to the toll it took on his marriage and family.
- Save Our Students: He thought he could make more of a difference by ensuring his students have a decent education and be kept away from the One Hundred's toxic influence. He even relinquishes much of his authority over disciplinary matters just to save one student from being expelled.Vice Principal Fowdy: I mean, you do everything you can to help them succeed, but the students still have to do their part. If they don't, then those students choose for you.
Jefferson: If my teachers had taken that approach, I never would've made it.
- Secret Identity Vocal Shift: He gives his voice an echo at times (often in front of his daughters) to cover his identity. According to Jennifer, Black Lightning also does something with his powers that makes it hurt to look at him directly.
- Shock and Awe: His powerset. Lynn compares him to a battery — he draws electricity out and then redirects it.
- Shooting Superman: Or in this case, tasering the guy with electrical superpowers. When two officers try it, he just grabs the lines and returns the electricity.
- Supernatural Martial Arts: Uses his powers to supplement his already formidable martial arts skills. He seems more inclined to fighting up close and personal than just zapping people from a distance.
- Super Toughness: He may have a problem with bullets, but Black Lightning can jump from three or four stories up to the street with no effect.
- Telekinesis: He can use his lightning to draw enemies in and lift them in the direction he wants. In the first episode, one punk found this out when Jeff lightning-lifted the guy over a motel banister and hurled him into his car.
- Thou Shall Not Kill: Subverted — he became Black Lightning so he could kill Tobias Whale for killing his father. Nonetheless, his general rule is to not use lethal force unless it's necessary.
- Totally Radical: Black Lightning uses a lot of antiquated mid-90s to early 00s slang when acting as a superhero. For instance, he opens a conversation with "Wassup?"
- Voice of the Legion: Heroic example. Jeff can turn his voice into this at will.
- Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: Blue, with his chestplate referencing both kinds.
Anissa Pierce / Thunder
Played By: Nafessa Williams
Appearances: Black Lightning
Jefferson's eldest daughter. She is a medical student, who also works at his school as a part-time teacher when not at college, and is much more politically active than her father would like.
Anissa can manipulate the density of her body, gaining superhuman strength and toughness when she holds her breath.
- Achilles' Heel: Anissa's powers are tied to how long she can hold her breath. A surprise attack when she is off-guard or waiting until she tires out are ways to harm her.
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Inverted. In the comics, Anissa coming out as a lesbian to her father caused friction between them. Here, she's already out and her family is shown to be perfectly fine with it.
- Affectionate Nickname: Jennifer affectionately calls Anissa "Harriet", after Harriet Tubman.
- Beta Outfit: Her first costume that she assembles herself is a flashy, form-fitting spandex outfit complete with blonde wig and heavy makeup, a Mythology Gag to her original costume in the comics. She later gets a proper costume resembling her Outsiders incarnation provided by Gambi when she starts partnering with her father.
- Big Sister Instinct: Judo flips a gang member who harasses her sister at school.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Whenever an injustice or someone in trouble catches her eye, Anissa cannot stop herself from jumping in to save the day. According to Lynn, she's been like this since she was a little girl.
- Composite Character: The comic version of Thunder has the ability to manipulate her density, but that's it. The Super Strength is her girlfriend Grace's power.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Her encounters with gang members and criminals become this, with nearly fatal results during one such encounter, but it becomes literal in "Black Jesus".
- Daddy's Girl: Is close to her dad and do not even think about insulting her father or his superhero identity.
- Die or Fly: Anissa's powers activate for the first time when a store robber threatens her with his gun and she starts to hyperventilate.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Jennifer has given her the nick-name "Harriet Tubman" due to her political activism. On the other hand, it can also count as an Affectionate Nickname, since Jennifer really adores her elder sister.
- Expy: In a show full of Biblical motifs, Anissa represents the disciples of Jesus Christ. She has a whole-hearted faith in Black Lightning as Freeland's salvation and wants to follow his example by becoming a vigilante, too; a decision which, due to her human flaws, has mixed results.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The responsible sibling to Jennifer's foolish sibling. However, when it comes to Anissa's attempts at being a superhero, she is clearly hotheaded and doesn't consider the bigger picture of what her powers can do to the innocents around her until after she's used them.
- Girly Bruiser: She's very feminine and her civilian outfits tend to be very fashionable and brightly colored. However, her default fighting style, due to her power of Super Strength, involves a lot of direct punching and brute force.
- Gone Horribly Wrong:
- Anissa's first attempt at being a hero in "Black Jesus", after encountering two drug dealers, she later finds them and punches them out with her super strength, but she quickly realizes to her horror that she seriously injured one man and nearly killed the other. And such things keep happening; moral of the story is... super-charged strength takes an awful lot of getting used to using, and is impossible to practice getting to know and stay private for more than five minutes. Until you do get it right, you'll keep accidentally putting either too much or too little into it.
- In "Three Sevens: The Book of Thunder", she destroys a statue of Robert E. Lee in response to a protester who had been killed. The statue explodes and the fragments end up injuring several nearby civilians who had gathered to mourn.
- Healing Factor: She heals from bruises and concussions rather quickly, as an implied metahuman trait.
- Immune to Bullets: Anissa is bulletproof so long as she keeps her power activated, but when she starts exhaling, she is vulnerable again. Gambi makes her suit bulletproof, fixing a fatal weakness of hers.
- Jumped at the Call: About a week after discovering her powers, Anissa is raring to suit up and be a superhero. Unfortunately, this show doesn't beat around the bush that heroism and recklessness are a bad combination.
- Lipstick Lesbian: You wouldn't realize it until it's casually mentioned in the second episode that she and Chenoa have been together for a year. She seems to have a new hairstyle or outfit in every single scene she's in.
- Most Common Superpower: Hilariously subverted, as her first attempt at a superhero costume quickly breaks a seam due to "too much ass." And then her derriere becomes a Running Gag.
- Ms. Fanservice: The first and second episode spend quite a bit of time with her in just her underwear, she's shown post-sex next to her girlfriend, and her early attempts at a superhero costume are deliberately skintight and revealing comics-accurate outfits. Of the female cast, she seems to be the one with most Male Gaze.
- Nigh Invulnerable: When her powers are activated, she's immune to small arms fire, concussive blasts and explosions, kinetic force and can shrug off bolts from Black Lightning unless he ups the voltage.
- Politically Motivated Teacher: Often is seen at protests. Unfortunately for her they often turn violent (due to the 100) and her father chews her out even though what results isn't her fault.
- Poor Communication Kills: Or gets you severely concussed by your own father and outed as a super to both your parents. Admittedly, clamming up instead of coming clean at every possible point before that to discuss the whole "I'm super-strong when I put thought into it, sometimes — and I think it has something to do with Granddad" thing is very understandable.
- Psychoactive Powers: Anissa's metahuman abilities only activate when she takes deep breaths to calm down and focus. Syonide deduces this as her Achilles' Heel, taking advantage of her respiratory cycle to gain the upper hand in their fight.
- Primary-Color Champion: Her first outfit◊.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: These words may as well be Anissa's life mantra; There is no boundary this woman won't close or risk she won't take to do what she feels is right.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After her father tries to control her too much and brings up that she should do as she is told so long as she's living under his roof, she declares that she's leaving the house. They eventually make up, but Anissa still stays out of the house.
- Secret Keeper: One of the few people who know that Jefferson is Black Lightning.
- Second Super-Identity: Aside from being the heroine Thunder, she also sneaks around at night in dark hoods, brutally beating up criminals and stealing money for those in need. The streets label her second alias "The Black Bird".
- Shockwave Stomp: Like her counterpart in the comics, Anissa can generate a localized shockwave, throwing her opponents off their feet, by stomping hard on the ground via Super Strength; the same effect is present when she claps her hands together.
- Smug Super: Anissa has the makings of one as of "Black Jesus" - her desire to save Freeland from the 100, combined with inspiration from Black Lightning, drives her to punch the crap out of criminals with powers she barely understands and hardly a thought to the consequences. When Jefferson takes Anissa under his wing, a frequent lesson in his vigilante curriculum is that she can't be this.
- Soapbox Sadie: As noted, she's very political. She quotes civil rights leaders, goes to protests, and films the police when Jefferson is pulled over. It leads her to conflict with Jefferson, who believes she's taking unnecessary risks.
- Superpowerful Genetics: While she doesn't inherit her father's Shock and Awe powers, Anissa's abilities far out-class Jefferson's on a physicality level, with Nigh Invulnerability as her greatest asset.
- Super Strength: She learns about this when she accidentally breaks the bathroom sink at the end of the pilot episode.
- Super Toughness: She has super strength, so having the toughness is par for the course (both her strength and toughness are the result of her being able to increase her mass while keeping the volume of her body). So long as her powers are activated, she has Nigh-Invulnerability.
- Traumatic Superpower Awakening: The trauma from being kidnapped and threatened is what awakens her latent powers.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Is often the one who calls out her father or Gambi for keeping things from her. In Season 2, when her father tries to partially blame her for Jennifer's elopement with Khalil, Anissa is fed up with her father's tendency to always see the fault in everyone but himself, and calls him out for his overprotectiveness that pushed both his daughters away.
Played By: China Anne McClain
Appearances: Black Lightning
Jefferson's youngest daughter, who resents having to be the model student at school because her daddy's the principal.
Like her father, Jennifer can manipulate electricity, but her ability to generate electricity far outweighs Jefferson's.
- Affectionate Nickname: The people that are close to her sometimes shorten her name to "Jenn". Khalil also calls her "J".
- Alpha Bitch: Subverted; though she acts rebellious in school (including smoking weed and drinking in school), and the "Queen of Garfield" nickname would infer this, it's apparent she's doing this to try and avoid bullying for being the principal's daughter, with the Queen of Garfield nickname being used in jest. In the fifth episode, she has to defend herself from two rivals, and she admits to her dad that she's a "target" at school.
- Badass Adorable:
- Even Lala is amused in the pilot, when Jennifer lets Will know what she thinks of him - with her knee.
- In "And Then the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light" two rivals from school attack, and Jennifer effortlessly takes both of them down, demonstrating that Jefferson and Lynn made sure both their daughters could handle themselves in a fight.
- Being Good Sucks: Her attitude towards life at this point in time.
- Big Sister Worship: Jennifer really looks up to Anissa. In Season 2, when Anissa has a falling out with their father, causing her to move out, Jennifer is disappointed, especially since she is basically in confinement and has no one to talk to who can understand her other than her sister, which is why she is drawn back to Khalil.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: She's at the age when she wants to act out — her dad also being her principal doesn't help.
- Die or Fly: Sort of. Jennifer burns her phone and the poster in her hands, when her friend, Kiesha, starts to fall from a high place and Jennifer reacts in panic.
- Elemental Shapeshifter: In "Shadow of Death: The Book of War" she appears to briefly turn entirely into electricity, as she does in the comics.
- Elopement: In Season 2, she decides to run away with Khalil, after fearing to be locked in her house forever and seeing how Khalil can no longer work for Tobias.
- Eye Color Change: When Jennifer's powers flare up, her eyes turn the same orange of her lightning.
- Foil: To her older sister Anissa, when it comes to how they deal with their superpowers. While Anissa almost immediately decided to go out and find some bad guys to beat up, Jennifer wants no part of it and would make her powers go away if she could.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The foolish sibling to Anissas responsible one in all ways except in their discovery of superpowers. While Anissa wants to use hers to crush the first wrong she sees, Jennifer would much rather her life remain safe and crime fighting-free, thank you very much. It's one thing to crash a club you're not supposed to be in to add spice to life, but powers are a whole other barrel of danger. It's probably because of her history of being a bit of a screw-up that she immediately spots how suddenly getting powers isn't going to be automatically a fantastic thing or become a universal solution to her life's problems.
- Hidden Depths: She wants to be just a normal teenager, and so tries to act like one; however, even without her abilities, thanks to her exceptional parenting, she's clearly not average—she can defend herself against multiple targets in unarmed fights, has good enough grades and extracurriculars to apply to Harvard, is the one who figures out how Issa's powers work, and occasionally says things so profound that it takes Anissa aback.Jennifer: [Anything] can turn bad real quick if it becomes your only joy.
Anissa: ...that's actually deep.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: She's horrified when she discovers she has powers, seeing it as ruining her chance for a normal life.
- Like Parent, Like Child: Jennifer inherited electricity-based powers similar to Jefferson's.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Jennifer was the last one of the family to learn about her own and their father's powers. Anissa eventually reveals it to her, soon after Jennifer asks Anissa for help after burning her phone with her powers.
- Phoneaholic Teenager: She spends way too much time on her phone.
- Power Incontinence: It suddenly becomes an issue in Season 2, as her powers start to randomly activate with no way to turn them off. She floats in her sleep.
- Psychoactive Powers: Like her sister, she gets power fluctuations. Except in her case, the more she tries not to use them and the more into denial she gets... the more of it she builds up and stores, until just getting frustrated, hyped or relaxing her guard too much = zappy-zap.
- Refusal of the Call: In direct contrast to Anissa, Jennifer has no desire to be a hero. She just wants to be normal. Though she seems to have changed her mind when she discovers that her powers basically heals her dad.
- Secret Keeper: One of the few people to know who Black Lightning is.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: In Season 2, Jennifer struggles more and more to control her powers. Her parents forbid her from going to school and eventually decide that getting an in-home tutor for her would be best. Jennifer is not amused about this, and then runs away with Khalil.
- Shock and Awe: Discovers she has the power to shoot electricity from her hands in the episode "The Book of Revelations." However her powers aren't exactly like Jefferson's — Lynn compares his powers to a battery; Jennifer is a generator since her cells produce pure energy.
- Superpowerful Genetics: Mixed with Lamarck Was Right, Jennifer inherits her father's metahuman traits, but it's implied she's potentially more powerful than Jefferson by the ability to generate electricity rather than having to absorb and store it like he does.
- Telekinesis: Like her father, Jennifer can use her powers to make others float and throw them in the air.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: A large chunk of what happens in the premiere happens because she was stupid enough to sneak into the One Hundred's local club.
- Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: She dispels yellow-orange electricity, same as her comic counterpart.
Played By: Christine Adams
Appearances: Black Lightning
Jefferson's ex-wife, a neuroscientist who left him because of his Black Lightning activities.
- Adult Fear: When she finds out Anissa has powers and is actively trying to follow in her father's footsteps, Lynn is obviously terrified of what might happen. Note also her face when she realizes that if one daughter has inherited it (and that it's gone to her head)... What about the other, more reckless one? Yeah: that right there? That's dread.
- Aesop Amnesia: How she feels about Jefferson being Black Lightning varies from episode to episode. One episode, she's unhappy but understanding that the city needs Black Lightning, the next she's berating Jefferson for putting himself in danger. However, this is well within character. She started out actively supporting Jefferson being Black Lightning, only souring on it over time as his injuries started stacking up. At the same time, she is still the activist fire-brand she's always been. The "protect my own" instinct clashes with itself more than once, because her family is not the only thing she is protective of. Note how she reacts if somebody tries to do unethical medical research near her, or tries to steal her research to do unethical things with.
- Amicable Exes: She still loves Jefferson and there's still sparks between them; Jefferson hopes they can get back together. They make a point of having a family dinner every week. In episode 12 she outright seduces Jefferson, calling him to her place for a fake emergency only to be waiting for him wearing lingerie. He...didn't take much convincing. She moves back into the house in Season Two and she and Jefferson are more or less a married couple, without the actual marriage part.
- Good Parents: Loves her daughters very much and has joint custody of them.
- Heroism Addict: Discussed; Lynn believes, or has at least convinced herself, that Jefferson is addicted to his powers. Gambi, however, believes that his addiction wasn't to his powers at all but to her. Jefferson himself, on the other hand, disagrees with the whole idea of him having an "addiction" in the first place.
- Jerkass Ball: Grabs it whenever she's around Gambi, whom she blames for Jefferson's vigilantism.
- The Last Straw: Made Jefferson promise to give up being Black Lightning because Lynn could not stand him coming home bleeding in the bath-tub every night. Jefferson went back on that promise, and Lynn divorced him after a very bloody battle with Tobias.
- The Medic: Reluctantly to her husband when he suffers injuries too severe for Gambi to treat.
- Only Sane Man: Played With. Her husband and daughters all have super-powers and inevitably find themselves in dangerous situations, leaving Lynn in an almost perpetual state of Anger Born of Worry. On the other hand, she almost always turns out to be wrong.
- Not Quite the Right Thing: She meant well when she made Jefferson promise to give up the hero gig, but it led to utter disaster. Sure your husband will no longer put himself in danger (at least, for a while), but the bad guys ended up basically taking over the city, which in the long run put everyone of it's citizens in danger, including Lynn and the girls.
- Secret Keeper: One of the few people who know that Jefferson is Black Lightning.
- Token Good Teammate: Literally the only one at the ASA who sees the pod kids as human beings worthy as respect instead of disposable assets.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Again, her making Jefferson promise to give up super-heroics allowed The 100 to take over the city.
- Wet Blanket Wife: Played for Drama, as she insisted that Jefferson stop being Black Lightning. It smoothed out his relationship with her and their kids, but it also allowed crime to flourish in Freeland for years. She eventually comes to terms that Black Lightning is needed again, whether she likes it or not.
Played By: Keith Arthur Bolden
Jefferson's father, who was an investigative reporter. He looked into Tobias Whale's corrupt dealing when he was city leader that got him killed. But he also uncovered another secret, one that was much more dangerous than a crooked politician's dealings.
- Education Papa: A rare positive example. What does he do when Jefferson got suspended for breaking another kid's nose during a fight for self-defense? Have him study the Constitution rather than waste his time watching TV and then quiz him before dinner.
- Good Is Not Soft: When Gambi tried to get him to stop his very detailed articles about Tobias and the ASA's experiments less he get killed, Alvin's response was give him "The Reason You Suck" Speech for trying to use him as a way to assuage his guilt without putting his own life on the line.
- Good Parents: A stern, but affectionate father who ultimately wanted his son to have a good future, and not to squander away his opportunities.
- He Knows Too Much: His reports about Tobias Whale's corrupt dealing as a civic leader got him killed; the latter literally shoved his articles down his throat until he died. He also uncovered a Dark Secret about kids who were experimented on and disappeared. His editor buried the story after he was murdered. In truth, his death was orchestrated by the ASA, the government agency responsible for experimenting on those kids; Tobias was just a smokescreen and an enforcer.
- Honor Before Reason: He knew that his articles would anger the wrong people and get him killed. He saw it as a necessary sacrifice to make Freeland a better place for his son.
- Intrepid Reporter: He had a knack for uncovering things people wanted kept secret. It got him killed.
- Like Father, Like Son: His relationship with Jefferson is exactly like the one Jefferson has with daughters now.
- Papa Wolf: Part of his motivation for his reports was for what the ASA's vaccine did to Jefferson.
- Plot-Triggering Death: His murder by Tobias Whale is what inspired Jefferson to become Black Lightning. However, it turns out Tobias was just the cover for the ASA.
- Posthumous Character: He's been dead since long before the series began.
Deputy Chief Bill Henderson
Played By: Damon Gupton
Appearances: Black Lightning
A friend of Jefferson's and a high ranking officer in the police force, who tried for years to arrest Black Lightning, unaware he was chasing his friend. Currently, he's overwhelmed as the One Hundred throw Freeland into chaos.
- The Commissioner Gordon: Becomes this late in Season 1. He starts out as a high-ranking cop that will grudgingly work with Black Lightning if the situation warrants it, though he'll also try to arrest Black Lighting (and talk badly about him in public) if the opportunity arises. When certain events transpire, and Henderson must put his money where his mouth is, he hits a Rank Up as a reward. Later, when he finds out about Gambi, he secretly calls on him for technical and investigative support.
- Everyone Has Standards: He may be black and frustrated with the rampant racism in the department, but he will not tolerate any attack on racist officers.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: In the black community, he's more or less become their scapegoat for everything wrong with the police. His dislike of Black Lightning also puts him at odds with the rest of his community who see him as their savior.
- Friend on the Force: Eventually becomes this, after he figures out Black Lightning's identity.
- Inspector Javert: A more sympathetic example than most but he spent most of his career trying to arrest Black Lightning despite the good he was doing — he wasn't being personally vindictive, he was just doing his job (though Black Lightning's tendency to attack racist cops might have something to do with it) . That said, he will accept Black Lightning's help in an off the books type-manner, but he's not overtly enthusiastic about it.
- Police are Useless: Played with; he's treated sympathetically and Jefferson considers him a friend, but he's unable to either combat the 100 effectively or prevent his officers from engaging in racist abuse. His priorities are also called into question as his department is seemingly able to arrest protesters with no problemnote , and he spent his career hunting the only man capable of making a difference against the 100, while being useless in actually combating them without him. However, the second episode reveals that there are cops on Whale's payroll meaning that Henderson isn't as impotent as he seems — merely under siege from all fronts and trying to make the best of a bad situation. Averted in a later episode when he saves Black Lightning with old fashioned police work, while a flashier plan using super powers and advanced technology fails.
- Race Lift: The Superman version of Henderson is white.
- Rank Up: At the beginning of the show he's an Inspector. But near the end of season one, after he uncovered Deputy Chief Clayman's corruption in the police force and him trying to frame Jefferson Pierce, Clayman is arrested and Henderson becomes the new Deputy Chief.
- Secret Keeper: In Season 2, he deduces on his own who Black Lightning is, after linking Black Lightning's return to Jefferson Pierce's daughers' abduction. He quickly realizes then that Thunder must be close to Jefferson too.
- Transplant: Played with; in the comics, Henderson is a supporting Superman character, a member of the Metropolis Police Department, but he also had run-ins with Black Lightning when the latter had his first comic book run.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Early in Season 2, he confronts Black Lightning, having deduced that it's Jefferson Pierce. He is not happy about how many times Jefferson has lied to his friend.
Played By: James Remar
Appearances: Black Lightning
A tailor and Jefferson's oldest friend and confidant. He made the Black Lightning costume and actively encourages Jefferson to go back to heroics. There is more to him than meets the eye.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the comics, he was a mobster who killed Alvin Pierce, grew remorseful and helped Jefferson become Black Lightning to atone for his sins. In the show, it's complicated - Gambi's a former ASA agent who grew disgusted with their mission, so he leaked info about their illegal experiments to the press via Alvin Pierce, which got him killed. It's unclear what he did and didn't do as an agent. Nevertheless, he becomes Black Lightning's mentor for the show just like the comics.
- Ambiguously Evil: He's done things like delete footage of Tobias Whale and lie to Jefferson about Anissa's presence at a crime scene. He's also a friend and ex-mentor to Lady Eve. However, it becomes clear later that he's on the side of good, and he's worried about Jefferson's vendetta against Tobias.
- Anti-Hero: Outside of Black Lightning, Gambi has a very complicated mindset in terms of dealing with things. He straight out kills Joey Toledo and when investigating the weapon that framed Black Lighting for the murder of Lady Eve, he injects someone with snake venom, all the while calmly asking them for information before giving them the antidote once Gambi had gotten what he needed out from them. He's also the one who kills Martin Proctor in the season one finale.
- The Atoner: He was part of a government agency that was doing illegal experiments with a vaccine to try and keep people docile. When he found out what they were doing — and more importantly, that the vaccine was killing people or making them metahumans — he quit and leaked the project to Alvin. When Alvin got killed, Gambi trained Jefferson as his way to atone.
- Back-Alley Doctor: He uses his tailor skills to stitch Jefferson up.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Well, 'former bad guy turned Anti-Hero', but the trope still applies. He sees himself as a monster for his past deeds and insists that Jefferson should not cross the line and leave the morally ambiguous stuff to him instead, like killing Proctor.
- Broken Pedestal: Jefferson saw Gambi as a mentor and father figure. This starts breaking down when Jefferson became suspicious of how Gambi keeps stalling him about dealing with Tobias Whale. It ends completely with the revelation that Gambi was an ASA agent who had a role in the experimental vaccine to pacify the population and that Gambi's whistle-blowing also got Jefferson's father killed. It becomes a something of a Rebuilt Pedestal when Jefferson realizes that Gambi will never betray him; he might not be able to forgive Gambi for what he did, but knows he's a loyal friend who deeply cares for him and his family.
- The Confidant: For Jefferson and has become one for Anissa, too.
- Dark and Troubled Past: It's implied he is or was connected to Freeland's underground as Jefferson relies on him to find out what's going in the city and to be alerted by any new criminal activity. He was actually an agent for the ASA who quit when he found out their illegal experiments to keep people docile were either killing people or turning them into metahumans. He leaked the project to Alvin Pierce, who got killed by the ASA. He trained Jefferson to be Black Lightning as his way to atone.
- Decomposite Character: His role as the man who killed Alvin Pierce is given to Tobias Whale.
- Deep Cover Agent: To Freeland, he's a much-loved tailor whose shop helped revitalize down town. In reality, he's an agent for the ASA assigned to find metahumans, so he became a tailor to integrate himself into the community. He's actually stopped working for the ASA, having become disgusted with their mission, but his superiors don't know that.
- Faking the Dead : In the opening minutes of "Requiem" he's attacked by hitmen and his SUV explodes as he's trying to escape. We don't see a body / remains, and sure enough he's alive and well. He jumped out of his car and exploded it himself, so he can lay low and figure out who ordered the hit.
- Gadgeteer Genius: He's the one who designed Jefferson's new hi-tech costume.
- Hollywood Hacking: Another of his specialties — it wouldn't be a CW superhero show without it.
- Honorary Uncle: Jefferson's daughters affectionately address him as "Uncle Gambi".
- I Am a Monster: He says this word for word, right before he kills Martin Proctor in the season one finale, and then disposes of the body.
- I Have Many Names: Peter Gambi is an alias. His name is actually Peter Esposito.
- Keeping Secrets Sucks: He learns this the hard way when events spiral so out of control that he can no longer keep his past with the ASA a secret from Jefferson. Jefferson's reaction is what you would expect — he tells Gambi to stay away from his family and makes it clear that they're no longer friends. However they are semi-reconciled when Jefferson realizes no matter what Gambi will never betray him or his family.
- Like a Son to Me: After the death of his father, Gambi pretty much acted as a Parental Substitute for Jefferson.
- Living Legend: Amongst the ASA. He's able to use his connections to have Lynn examine the kids in their custody in Season Two.
- Made of Iron: The ASA tortures him to try to get him to give up Black Lighting. It doesn't work.
- Minored In Ass Kicking: He easily wipes out Joey Toledo's thugs before assassinating Toledo himself.
- My God, What Have I Done?: While he was always remorseful for his ASA actions, the sight of the metahumans he identified thirty year ago being kept in stasis is what really drives the point of he was part of something downright monstrous.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Gambi has a bad tendency of doing things with good intentions that blow up in his face and have unforeseen consequences that often make things worse.
- After learning the truth about the ASA's illegal experiments, he leaked the knowledge to the press via Alvin Pierce, hoping to expose them. Instead Alvin got killed, with Tobias apparently killing him for exposing his corruption being a convenient cover.
- He kills Joey Toledo with Lady Eve's approval, hoping it will get the increasingly cocky and reckless Tobias to back down and go back into the shadows (and get Jefferson to abandon his vendetta). Instead, Tobias sees it as The Last Straw in Lady Eve's mistreatment of him, so he has his men kill Lady Eve and frame Black Lightning for it. Not only does this turn the community against Black Lightning for killing a much-loved public figure, it also compels the ASA to order a hit on Black Lightning for what they see as his unknown interference with their operation.
- Playing Both Sides: He pretends to be an ally of Lady Eve and the ASA, when in truth he's working with Jefferson to fix the damage they've all done to Freeland. Deconstructed as events spiral out of his control and his delicate balancing act of helping Jefferson without raising suspicion from Lady Eve and the ASA is thrown out the window when Tobias has his men frame Black Lighting for Lady Eve's murder means the ASA wants to take him out, and Gambi is powerless to stop it.
- Parental Substitute: He's known Jefferson since he was twelve and is the closest thing to a father Jefferson has had ever since his father was murdered.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: He's supposed to be a tailor, but sure spends a lot of his time spying on people and working the streets while Jefferson's at the school.
- Rebuilt Pedestal: After keeping Jefferson's secret safe from the ASA (Cold-Blooded Torture be damned) and helping to free him from jail, Jefferson doesn't know if he can forgive Gambi's past misdeeds, but he does consider Gambi fully a friend and a part of the family.
- Secret Keeper: One of the few people who know that Jefferson is Black Lightning. He was originally the only one, before Jefferson met Lynn.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Justified, he's a tailor.
- Token White: Sole white character in the main cast.
- Undying Loyalty: Despite his shady past, he's 100% loyal to the Pierce family. When the ASA tortures him to find out who Black Lighting is, Gambi does not give him up.
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: For a tailor, Gambi has a ton of hi-tech computer gear in his basement, not to mention whatever the Black Lightning suit is made of. Turns out he's a former spy, and his boss still thinks he's working for them, so all of his equipment is part of that job.
- Would Not Hurt A Child: The whole reason he turned against the ASA, experimenting on and killing kids was just too much for him. It's also why he kills Proctor with not a hint of remorse.
Grace Choi / Shay Li Wylde
Played By: Chantal Thuy
Appearances: Black Lightning
A bartender and librarian who strikes up a friendship with Anissa.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Her hair is (presumably dyed) red in the comics, but brown here.
- Adaptational Curves: Inverted; Grace Choi in the comics stands at a whopping 7' tall, a masculine-looking (literal) Amazon with a muscular frame. Chantal Thuy is neither 7' tall or muscular, nor does she look even remotely Amazonian.
- Adaptational Personality Change: The comic book version of Grace is a more physically aggressive than Anissa, whereas the TV version is not even a fighter. Justified because Grace isn't a metahuman in the latter. Or at least hasn't discovered her powers yet.
- Bi the Way: She's openly bisexual and says as much to Anissa in the fourth episode. She's also a bartender at a local lesbian bar.
- Closet Geek: She enjoys reading comic books such as The Outsiders and admits that reading them is cool, advising Anissa that their powers might help her understand her "research on genetic mutation".
- Hot Librarian: She works as a librarian where Anissa ends up researching her latent powers on.
- Out of Focus: Despite being a vital character in Anissa's arc, Grace hasn't been since the early episodes of Season 1 and had been largely out of Anissa's life, especially once she becomes Thunder. She starts becoming prominent again in season 2.
- Rape as Backstory: She was sold to a child prostitution ring at 16, disappeared after it got shut down, and reappeared as Grace Choi.
- What the Hell, Hero?: She is visibly hurt when she sees Anissa again, flirting with a celebrity. She is hurt because she thought she and Anissa's relationship was more than just a fling and Anissa suddenly stopped contacting Grace after she discovered her powers.
Reverend Jeremiah Holt
Played By: Clifton Powell
Appearances: Black Lightning
The local reverend of Freeland United Methodist Church.
- Badass Preacher: While he prefers peaceful protests, he is not shy to draw a gun on unwanted intruders in his church.
- Good Shepherd: A very moral and brave man.
- Handicapped Badass: In Season 2 he is shown needing a cain to walk around after being shot. Not that this keeps him down.
- Honour Before Reason: Him organizing a peaceful protest against The One Hundred in the light of Lawanda's death might have been noble, but also quite foolish. Indeed, it is only Black Lightning's interference that prevents any casualties and both Khalil and Jeremiah himself get critically wounded nevertheless.
- Not Afraid to Die: When Khalil tells him he's on Tobias' hit list and needs to leave Freeland, Holt isn't scared telling the young man he's not afraid of Tobias and that his fate is in God's hands.
- Not Quite Dead: He's apparently killed by Cutter on Tobias' orders with a poisoned handkerchief. However, he reappears in the Season finale, just having been put into a coma.
- Static Character: Only appears in a few scenes, acting the same in all of them.
Played By: Erika Alexander
A metahuman therapist, whom Lynn and Jefferson enlist to help Jennifer learn how to control her powers.
- Beware the Nice Ones: A kind, compassionate woman, but she can inflict a vicious Mind Rape if she needs to defend herself.
- The Empath: One of her powers.
- Mind Rape: She inflicts this on a couple of Markovia agents who tried to kidnap her.
- Warrior Therapist: She's specializes in helping metas who struggle to control her power.
A mysterious government agency with decidedly malevolent motivations.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Thirty years ago, they created a vaccine to make people docile. Instead, it either killed them or gave them powers.
- Greater-Scope Villain: They are the ones responsible for everything bad happening in Freeland. They were the ones who ordered the hit on Alvin Pierce, and the ones who made the Green Light drug to be distributed via the 100. They're also responsible for giving Tobias and Jefferson their powers; it was completely unintended. They made a vaccine meant to make people docile, but instead, it gave them powers... if it didn't kill them; Jefferson was the only one to survive into adulthood.
- Hate Sink: They manage to achieve this in their debut episode. They decided to use a city with a large African American population as guinea pigs to experiment with a vaccine to make the populace docile in a "very politically-explosive environment" — in other words, drug black people so they won't fight back against racism and oppression. Then they discovered that their vaccine was instead turning kids into metahumans, if it didn't kill them. They responded by refining it into Green Light and releasing it into the city via the 100, hoping to create more metas without a care for how many people are killed, lives ruined, or families broken as a result.
- For Science!: They've been using the people of Freeland as unwitting guinea-pigs for sick experiments in social engineering and eugenics for thirty years.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: They chose a city with a large African American population, notorious for racial tension, to do experiments to make people docile; there's no way they would've chosen a white city to do that. The obvious implication is that they don't want black people to fight against injustice subjected upon them.
- Pragmatic Villainy: When they realized that only one kid became a metahuman they did the math and stopped their experiments; Proctor's experiment is a rogue operation.
- The Sociopath: They thought that a powder-keg city like Freeland, filled with racial tension, was a great place to run an illegal experiment on how to make people — particularly African Americans — docile. This tells you all you need to know about them. Thirty years later, they're hoping the Green Light drug will turn people into metahumans for experimentation, not giving a damn how many people it kills or lives it ruins.
Played By: Gregg Henry
The director of the ASA's Freeland operations.
- Asshole Victim: Gambi shoots him dead at the end of season one, knowing Proctor will not stop his rogue operations.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Using deductive reasoning skills, he is able to figure out that Gambi has betrayed him and is working with Black Lightning, and later that Black Lightning and Jefferson Pierce are one and the same.
- Big Bad: He's the real main antagonist of the first season, and the one behind all of the problems in Freeland.
- Big Bad Wannabe: He gets pretty much reduced to this in the Season 1 finale. All of his schemes to get Black Lightning utterly fail, Tobias Whale betrays him and forces him to flee, and in the end he is left without a single one of his men, at the mercy of the Pierce family and Gambi, while still babbeling on that his actions were justified. Then, when Jennifer zaps him after one too many of his racist taunts, he has the audacity to actually try and beg his way out of it, while stil acting condescendingly. All that it earns him is a quick death at the hands of Gambi.
- Canon Foreigner: There is no Martin Proctor in any DC Comics Continuity.
- Dirty Coward: What does he do when Black Lightning confronts him in the Green Light lab? Take one of his own scientists hostage and threaten to shoot him. Black Lightning's response is to point out that since the scientist's creation has been killing scores of lives, he'd be doing everyone a favor.
- Faux Affably Evil: At first, he seems pleasant enough, at least to Gambi. This quickly evaporates as he reveals himself to be a downright sadistic piece of work, ordering Gambi's torture to suss out who Black Lighting is — and he considers that "asking nicely".
- Jerkass: He's a racist murderer who's hiding behind the illusion of power, being a rogue ASA agent who continued operations after the Freeland operations were shut down (for which he blames Political Correctness Gone Mad).
- Knight of Cerebus: The situation in Freeland becomes far more frightening when you realize that all of its troubles are actually caused by a corrupt and extremely racist government organization that has been continually operating for decades, and this creep is at the head of it.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Makes a point of how he wants to kill Black Lightning's "black ass", and in the season one finale every other line out of his mouth expresses his bigotry for black people, while quoting "Make America Great Again".
- Rogue Agent: His operations isn't known or sanctioned by the government.
- Smug Snake: Despite all the resources at his disposal, he's nowhere near as competent or scary as he thinks he is. Best exemplified in "The Book of Pain" where he has a Villainous Breakdown over the idea of Black Lightning being dead. In "The Book of War", he throws everything he's got at the Pierce family ... and still loses.
- Stupid Evil: Oh dear lord yes!
- The first ASA experiment ended in failure since all the teens who developed metahuman abilities died ... except Jefferson. Yet Proctor decides to start it again without the knowledge of his superiors and the results are exactly the same. He's convinced all he needs is Black Lighting'a DNA to make his test subjects to make them stable and live. It's unclear if this would actually work or not.
- In the finale, he throws the full force of his agents against the Pierce family... and it all it does is attract the attention of the police who quickly arrest the agents, thereby exposing him.
- Too Dumb to Live: In the Season 1 finale, when confronted by Gambi and the Pierces he makes racist remark after racist remark. It's like he was begging to be killed.
- Villainous Breakdown: When things don't go according to his plan, he quickly loses his composure and devolves into hysterical yelling.
- Villainous Legacy: Despite being dead his actions are still being felt in Season Two: the real ASA takes custody of the kids in stasis, and refuse to release them to their parents or have any outside scientist examine them. Plus there are scores of teens with latent powers thanks to Green Light — so called "Green Light Babies" and their existence is adding fuel to the fire in Freeland causing an uptake in police shootings and Fantastic Racism beginning to ferment.
Played By: Bill Duke
The ASA agent put in charge of cleaning up Proctor's mess. He's very no-nonsense and very obstructive.
- Ambiguously Evil: It's hard to tell where his moral compass lies given what agency he works for and his general demeanor. "Original Sin" crosses out the ambiguous part. He subjects Wendy to a grueling test that could've killed her, it's revealed he's had cameras planted in the Pierce house and then proceeds to murder all the agents who've been monitoring them on his behalf — it's all but stated that the wants to blackmail Jefferson and possibly the girls into ASA service; at the end of the finale he does just that .. so they can take down Markovia agents.
- Jerkass: It's made abundantly clear that he was little sympathy for the teens who were given powers against their will, seeing them as potential weapons at best and dangers at worse instead of being human beings. Even his interactions with Lynn are at the best of times dismissive, and he refuses to share any information with her if he doesn't have to.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: He initially denies Lynn's access to examine the kids in the pods, and is none too happy when Gambi pulls strings to have him overruled.
- Secret Secret-Keeper: Implied very strongly to know more about the Pierce family than he lets on. At the very least it's known that he keeps a close enough eye on Lynn to save her life from would-be hitmen, and tells Lynn on multiple occasions that he's tired of her lying to him. "Pillar of Fire" seemingly confirms he knows that Jefferson is Black Lightning since he makes a point to tell Lynn that no metahuman even one who throws lightning bolts would be safe from Markovia. It's outright confirmed he knows at the end of "The Omega".
- The Sociopath: It's much more low-key than Dr. Jace, but in "Original Sin" he makes clear he only sees people in terms of their usefulness and nothing more — he goes so far as to compare the pod kids to dogs — not as pets but animals who can be trained to be useful creatures.
- The Stoic: He has all the emotion of a rock. It's very unnerving.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Man will do anything to protect his country (and the world) from Markovia's aggression. This takes him down some very dark places.
Dr. Helga Jace
Played By: Jennifer Riker
A brilliant, but insane scientist that Agent Odell brings in to help Lynn with the kids in the pods.
- Boxed Crook: She's criminally insane but she's the only scientist brilliant enough to help Lynn with the pods.
- Dirty Coward: She'll switch allegiances at the drop of a hat to ensure her own survival. This backfires spectacularly in "The Omega". In her desperation to avoid the ASA's wrath for secretly working with Tobias, she makes a deal to give Black Lightning intel on Tobias in exchange to being brought into police custody, where she's quickly found and captured by a metahuman bounty hunter working for Markovia.
- Double Agent: The Markovia Government invited her to work on their metahuman program; in truth the ASA sent her there to undermine it on their behalf.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Absolutely nobody likes her, given her insanity. Even Agent Odell seems to regard her as a Necessary Evil at best since he agrees to Lynn's request to keep Dr. Jace away from her and only keeps her around because if anything happened to Lynn she's the only one who could save the pod kids.
- It's All About Me: She's only interested in her own well-being and will side with anyone she thinks can guarantee that, and will happily sell out her current employers if a better offer comes along.
- Lack of Empathy: She doesn't understand why Lynn would refuse to use a serum that would save some of the kids in the pods, but kills the rest. She then lies to her about coming up with a solution to get Lynn to take action ... and Lynn is not happy with the results.
- Mad Scientist: Even Tobias acknowledges she's absolutely crazy.
- Older Than They Look: She's the one who gave Tobias his anti-aging serum and took it herself and she hasn't aged a day.
- Restraining Bolt: She's outfitted with one to keep her in line.
- Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Traditionally she's a Batman and the Outsiders villain.
- The Sociopath: Her unethical experiments resulted in 10 people losing their feet and one dying; she's unrepentant.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Lynn really doesn't want her around since she's insane, but Agent Odell forced her hand. She's taken off the project after lying to Lynn about a serum that ended up killing half the kids.
- Walking Spoiler: The audience has always known she's a Mad Scientist but "Prodigal Son" reveals that she was the architect of the original ASA vaccine program and the one who created Tobias' anti-aging serum.
The One Hundred
- Gang Bangers: Their whole shtick, although Tobias is more refine in his choices and talks down to those who does the ghetto life.
Played By: Marvin Jones III
Appearances: Black Lightning
The boss of the One Hundred, formerly a city politician who killed Jefferson's father which set him down the path of being Black Lightning.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: He's not morbidly obese like his counterpart in the comics.
- Affably Evil: It is hard to pin-point if Tobias is genuinely nice to his co-horts or just a snake in the grass. While he is a Bad Boss to his men, he did loved his sister, cared about Syonide, and is willing to break his father's spinal cord without a moment's notice. Essentially, if you play your cards right for him, Tobias will end up taking care of you, as if you were family to him. As long as you don't double-cross him.
- Arch-Enemy: For Black Lightning ever since he killed his father, an Intrepid Reporter, by literally shoving his articles down his throat. However, it turns out in "The Book of Revelations" that the ASA apparently ordered him to.
- Bad Boss: He does not take failure kindly.
- He feeds one man to a tank filled with piranhas and impales Lala with a harpoon in the pilot episode.
- He treats Painkiller harshly throughout his "apprenticeship", verbally and psychologically abusing him at almost every turn to mold him into a better employee. Taken Up to Eleven when Khalil can't go through with murdering Rev. Holt; after deciding that his teaching has failed because he was too lenient and friendly with the boy, Tobias proceeds to beat Khalil half to death and punch his head against the piranha tank until the reinforced glass shatters, while ordering him to kill his own mother as further punishment. Ironically, he had no idea that the reason for Khalil's betrayal is because he knew Tobias was the one who shot him.Whale: You done broke my damn fish tank.
- He predominantly employs black people, and owing to his intense dislike of black people, he rarely lets a moment pass when he doesn't throw slurs at them like they're going out of style.
- Cavalierly approves of Cutter killing Todd, despite the young man having been his most competent and loyal employee in awhile simply because he's no longer of any use and he'd be a loose end otherwise.
- Benevolent Boss: He is actually a pretty cool and reasonable boss if his men don't disappoint him. When Painkiller goes a little overboard, Tobias forgives him with no issue and tells him not to apologize.
- Berserk Button: He doesn't like "church-singing negroes" on the basis that they all want to go to heaven, but none of them want to die.
- Big Bad:
- Initially of Season 1, being the leader of the One Hundred gang and the murderer of the hero's father. However, the ASA gradually proves itself to be the true threat of the season, with Martin Proctor serving as the actual Big Bad. Once Proctor is dead and the ASA's experiments are revealed to the public, Whale is right back on top. Emphasized when he declares himself "the king of Freeland" at the end of the season.
- He is back into the position full time in Season 2, being more powerful than ever due to Proctor's suitcase.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With Lady Eve, though he seems to be at the lower position, until he upstages her.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Is an absolutely terrible person, but he's more than happy to hold press conferences and pass himself off as a well-meaning citizen of Freeland who abhors violence. Nobody actually believes this (him being a murderous gang leader is an Open Secret) so he mostly just does it to Troll the police.
- Boomerang Bigot: He really doesn't like black people and says some pretty heinous things, even though albinism aside, Whale himself is African-American. This is because his albinism makes him an outcast in the black community — his father abused him for it.Whale: "Squeeze these darkies till they crack."
Lala: "...Damn, boss. You really DO hate black people."
Whale: "No, I love black people. I hate incompetent, thick-lipped, scratch-where-it-don't-itch Negroes like you. Y'all keep us acting like newly-freed slaves."
- Character Tics: The man loves adjusting his suit.
- The Corrupter: According to Gambi he has a long history of bringing out the worst in people. Within the show, he pulls this on Khalil and Todd, and it's mentioned that Lala was a straight-A student before he met Tobias. Additionally, Tobias took in a homeless Syonide and molded into an assassin.
- Corrupt Politician: Used to be one until Jefferson's father exposed him. His response to that was to murder him and then become the most feared gangster in they city.
- Demoted to Dragon: After his devastating encounter with Black Lightning, the ASA nurses him back to health and Martin Proctor takes direct command of him. However, see Dragon with an Agenda below.
- Dragon Ascendant: By end of the Season Finale, Proctor and Lady Eve have been taken out, leaving Tobias as the last villain standing and apparent Big Bad of Season 2.
- Dragon with an Agenda:
- He's the subordinate and occasionally the enforcer for Lady Eve. However, he's sick of being middle management and running a gang of thugs. Instead, he wants to have a seat with the Shadow Board and be approached as an equal. Then he succeeds in offing her...
- He is also this to Martin Proctor, after the latter provides him with medical care and orders him to bring in Black Lightning alive. He does as he is told, but plans to overthrow Proctor soon.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: He really chafes at how, despite all the money he makes for Lady Eve, she regards him as little more than another one of her minions; he used to be a city politician and he really resents being kept in what he considers a menial position instead of being allowed to move up the ranks in Lady Eve's organization. It's implied his current position is a result of a past disgrace, possibly Alvin Pierce's articles exposing his corruption.
- Entertainingly Wrong: He initially doesn't consider Black Lightning's return too worrisome as he thinks he killed the "original" Black Lightning and this is just a new person taking on the role who isn't as intent on fighting him. He eventually realizes his error.
- Evil Albino: He's the evil man who controls the 100 and is played by an actual albino actor.
- Evil Sounds Deep: He has a deep and booming voice, and commands quite a bit of respect from his subordinates and associates.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- He loves and trusts his sister, Tori. She's the one person in the world he is willing to be vulnerable around. When she is shot and killed, he does not take it well.
- He seems to regard Syonide as a surrogate daughter, in his own twisted way. When Fowdy kills her, Tobias' response is to send a harpoon through her stomach when she's dumb enough to break into his office, and his subsequent abuse of Khalil is because he didn't try to protect her like he should've.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He's not happy about Lala killing Lawanda, although this is partially because he reasons that a man who's willing to murder "somebody's mama" is capable of anything — including "turning rat". He again shows that he does not try to get Revenge by Proxy on someone's mother, after Khalil runs away from him.
- Evil Mentor: To Khalil.
- Foil: To Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, as far as their relationship with their fathers. Jefferson had a very loving father whose death (at Tobias hands) inspired his heroics. Tobias had a very abusive father who inspired his villainy, and who Tobias himself kills later on in life.
- Freudian Excuse: He had a very unhappy childhood - his father was abusive because he was sickly and an albino and would beat his sister, too. At his sister's suggestion, he resolves his issues in a very villainous way.
- The Heavy: Even after it turns out he's not the true Big Bad of Season 1, almost all of the major running plots of the show are connected to him in some way or another. The activities of Lala and the 100 in general (with him being the behind-the-scenes leader), the murder of Jefferson's father, the streets being flooded with Green Light, the shooting that injured Reverend Holt and crippled Khalil, Gambi keeping secrets from Jefferson, etc., can all be directly or indirectly traced back to him. Basically, if something bad is going on, it's a safe bet that Whale was involved.
- Hero Killer: Subverted; he believes he killed Black Lightning when, in reality, Jefferson finally gave up after his wife divorced him after a particularly bloody fight. He believes Black Lightning's resurgence is just somebody living up to his legacy. He isn't too happy to find out the truth, and for good reason - he built his reputation as "the man who killed Black Lightning" so it seems like he "lied on his resume" so to speak. The medical examiner who lied to him about seeing Black Lightning's corpse ends up dead.
- He Knows Too Much: One of Tobias' most frequent reasons for killing people, as he absolutely hates "loose ends".
- Karma Houdini: Commits heinous acts on a very regular basis, and always gets away with them because of his money and connections. Him being a murderous gang leader is an Open Secret, but he always destroys any evidence that could directly prove it.
- Locked Out of the Loop: He's oblivious to the fact that the 100 is being used by the ASA to move Green Light in the hopes of creating metahumans. Proctor doesn't let him until the finale.
- Older Than They Look: He was given a serum along with his sister years ago that keeps him from aging, so his actual age is indeterminate. In the Flashback for "And Then the Devil Brought the Plague: The Book of Green Light", his father is sporting 1970s-era sideburns, so if Tobias was a teenager at the time (implied by the dialogue), it puts him in his 50s or even early 60s in the present. Jefferson explicitly states he hasn't aged in thirty years.
- Open Secret: "Officially" he's been missing from Freeland ever since Black Lightning retired and only now has just recently returned. But Rev. Holt tells a city councilman in "The Perdi", everyone in Freeland has known that Tobias was still in town and running the One Hundred for decades.
- Out of Focus: After the Enemy Civil War that results in the deaths of both his sister and Lady Eve, he remains out of the picture for the next few episodes, with the ASA taking center stage as the antagonists. That isn't the case in season 2 where he firmly takes the helm as Big Bad.
- Parental Substitute: To Syonide - he found her malnourished and abused in an orphanage and then took her in. Problem is he trained her to be an assassin too and then had a procedure done on her that turned her into something more than human.
- Playing Gertrude: Krondon was a mere 35 when the first season aired, yet Tobias was already an established adult villain in flashbacks 30 years ago, meaning he must be at least 50. Subverted when it's revealed later that he takes a serum that keeps him from aging.
- Pragmatic Villainy: He eventually decides to stop selling Green Light since it kills too many junkies, reasoning the dead can't be repeat customers. He's completely unaware of Green Light's true intention — to turn people into metahumans.
- Red Herring: The audience is led to assume that he's the mastermind behind Freeland's woes, until "Lawanda: The Book of Burial" reveals that Lady Eve is the true mastermind and Whale is merely running the 100 on her behalf.
- Satanic Archetype: If Jefferson is the "Black Jesus" of Freeland, than Tobias is its Devil; he was a city leader like Jefferson, but his corrupt dealings got him cast out. He also tries to turn the people against Black Lightning. He comes to Khalil after he's been paralyzed (by a bullet fired at his own order) and poses as a sympathetic benefactor by paying off his medical bills and giving him expensive gifts, then tries to convince him to blame Black Lightning for his current state. Sadly, it works, as Khalil turns against his former friends at Garfield and falls further under Tobias' influence with the promise to walk again.
- Scary Black Man: Played with; what Tobias lacks in skin tone he makes up for with an intimidating presence.
- Smart People Play Chess: He shows off his planning skills in a match with Khalil, specifically admonishing him for throwing his pieces too far ahead and letting Tobias chip away at his defenses.
- Super Strength: Tobias is strong enough to lift a grown man by the neck with one hand, choke him to death, and break his father's spine just by squeezing him hard with a hug. Gambi confirms it's due to the same serum that is keeping him The Ageless, and it's making him stronger as he gets older; currently he's three times stronger than a normal human.
- Trauma Button: Whale experiences a vivid Flashback at the mention of his father. This comes complete with him repeating the words aloud from the memory, and flinching at his remembered violence.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Had his henchman Dwayne killed after the latter saved his life, for supposedly leaving his sister for dead.
- Unknown Rival: Played with as he doesn't know the reason Black Lightning came after him in the first place is because he killed Jefferson's father. For a short time, he also doesn't realize this is actually the original Black Lightning and not just a successor.
- Wild Card: He's rather unpredictable, which makes things harder for the villains and the heroes alike. Killing Lady Eve makes things difficult for Black Lightning and the ASA. It makes the community think Black Lightning has gone rogue, while the ASA loses their liaison to Freeland's underworld and their primary way of moving Green Light.
Played By: Jill Scott
Appearances: Black Lightning
A funeral parlor owner connected to Tobias Whale, backed by a secretive underground criminal group in Freeland.
- Aborted Arc: Her group, the Shadow Board, was hyped to be a major influence behind the scenes in Freeland, as Lady Eve had backed Tobias and was seemingly pulling his strings. With her death, the plot went nowhere afterwards. Although, this was because Tobias made sure he wasn't anywhere near her death as the Shadow Board would go after him.
- Character Death: Is assassinated in the mid-season by Whale's hitmen.
- Deep Cover Agent: She was a former agent of the ASA and previously a protege of Gambi. After retiring to be a crime boss, she still has links to the ASA with her death triggering the ASA's kill order on Black Lightning.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Whatever organization she's leading it's much more sophisticated than the 100 (which seems to be only a smokescreen for her enterprise). For starters they have enough pull to hire semi-truck drivers to deliver drugs amongst other things.
- Disc-One Final Boss: She's initially introduced as "the greater threat behind Tobias Whale", but is Killed Off for Real half-way through the first season.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Lady Eve appeared in the pilot during Jefferson's award ceremony.
- Expy: Fitting with the show's Biblical motif, Lady Eve parallels Lilith, an unpredictable individual who absolutely refuses to be subservient to any man. She used to work with Gambi at the Agency, but left for a life of organized crime. She has an arrangement with Gambi that she won't go after the Pierce family, while Gambi promises to leave Tobias be, but she breaks that promise by having her goons attack Lynn's lab to stop her from researching the Green Light drug.
- Faux Affably Evil: She sends out thank-you notes when people give her gifts, but she's a remorseless crime lord that even Tobias is intimidated by.
- The Man Behind the Man: To Tobias Whale.
- Minored In Ass Kicking: She shows her agent combat skills during an attempted assassination by evading and takes down her attackers, including snapping one goon's neck with his own weapon. Too bad she didn't know there was one last killer hidden in a coffin.
- Odd Friendship: Had one with Gambi, who's Black Lightning's foremost ally. Gambi still looks out for his protege when it doesn't harm the Pierces.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: She makes a few digs at Tobias's albinism, telling him how albinos used to be killed and then grounded up for magic powder. One gets the impression that if Tobias wasn't albino, she'd let him move up in her organization.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Eve has a very soft, lilting voice that she maintains even when she's subtly threatening Tobias, or embalming someone alive.
- Torture Technician: She embalmed a cadaver in "Black Jesus" while he was still alive.
- The Unfettered: As she herself says, she'd take out her own mother if she had to.
- Villain with Good Publicity: To Freeland, she seems to be a wealthy funeral parlor owner who likes to give back to the community, when in reality she's the one responsible for all of Freeland's woes. Tobias exploits this by having his men murder her with stun guns — that way, it appears she's died of electrocution and Black Lightning has gone off the deep end.
Four criminal metahumans who were put into pods, revived by Tobias Whale and forced into his service.
Marcus Bishop / Shakedown
Played By: Hosea Chanchez
Appearances: ''Black Lightning'
The first Master of Disaster released by Tobias. He has vibrational powers.
- Race Lift: This is the first Shakedown that is African American. The previous versions were white.
Darryl Robinson / Coldsnap
Played By: Derrick Lewis
Appearances: ''Black Lightning'
A Master of Disaster released by Tobias. He has cryokinetic powers.
- An Ice Person: His powers.
Rebecca Jones / New Wave
Played By: Brooke Ence
Appearances: ''Black Lightning'
A Master of Disaster released by Tobias. She has hydrokinetic powers.
Joe / Heatstroke
Played By: Estaban Cuete
Appearances: ''Black Lightning'
A Master of Disaster released by Tobias. He has pyrokinetic powers.
Latavius "Lala" Johnson
Played By: William Catlett
Appearances: Black Lightning
A former student of Jefferson's. He is now a high ranking member of the 100.
- Achilles' Heel: Tobias had failsafes should Lala revolt against him post resurrection. The first is the phrase "The Devil deals the cards" which hypnotizes Latavious to do his bidding. The second is the phrase "E Pluribus Unum" (Out of many, one); which causes the tattoos in Lala to revolt and incapacitate him.
- Asshole Victim: Gets murdered by Whale; even when resurrected, Lala is still under Tobias' thumb and is forced to do his bidding.
- Back from the Dead: He comes back to life at the end of "Equinox: The Book of Fate". Tobias spent a million dollars to do so. Season 2 reveals that the newfound gift of life when combined with a curse that keeps reminding him and haunting him with the people he's killed, makes him completely miserable to the point of being a Death Seeker.
- Came Back Wrong: Along with the obvious, hallucinating his murder victims and being under Tobias' control, Lala's demeanor noticeably changes with his resurrection. Pre-death, Lala was a Large Ham, with almost every scene he was in yelling at someone or making threats. Post-resurrection, he shifts to being more soft-spoken, both in conversation and in conversing with his hallucinations.
- Canon Character All Along: He's the show's version of DC Comics villain "Tattooed Man".
- Character Death: Killed by Tobias at the end of "Lawanda: The Book of Hope"; Subverted due to his resurrection.
- The Chew Toy: Is constantly being beaten up and abused by Tobias, who admits that he just loves messing with Lala. Considering he's a murderous gang leader though, it's hard to feel very sorry for him.
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": He really doesn't like to be called Latavius.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Averted; when the supply of Green Light dries up after Black Lightning and Thunder destroy the factory, Lala decides to corner the market on old-school illicit drugs by buying vastly more quantities than he used to. His supplier is suspicious it's a setup...so as collateral, Lala tells him where his mother lives, to let him know he's serious.
- Faux Affably Evil: When talking to Will about getting his money back, he's deeply amused when Jennifer sucker-punches Will. He acts polite when he speaks with Jefferson at first, and pretends to keep the gangs out of the school out of respect for his old teacher but this quickly crumbles when Jefferson interferes with his abuse of a kid and he pulls a gun on Jefferson.
- Miles to Go Before I Sleep: Hates the reanimation and being back alive due to the guilt he's got to live with. He's hoping that once he kills Tobias, he'll finally get to rest in peace again.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Lampshaded, as Lala's first response to almost any problem is to put the problem down permanently.Will: "You always murking somebody. Just like how you killed me."
- The Oldest Profession: As a high ranking member of The 100, he is in charge of the Seahorse Motel which is used as a brothel.
- Only Known By His Nickname: No one really calls him by his first name, only Jefferson does.
- Pragmatic Villainy: The only thing stopping him from targeting the Garfield students is that he knows that trying to attack the "Black Jesus of Freeland" would be the only thing that would properly galvanize the cops to take action. This doesn't stop them from ordering the Pierce sisters deaths so they can hide the bodies so they can't testify.
- A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: Jefferson's former student turned gang banger.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Lala's Large Ham tendencies seemingly died with him, and he almost never raises his voice after his resurrection.
- Starter Villain: Lala's the driving force of Jefferson's torment, Will's actions and has connections to the antagonists but after Black Lightning puts him in jail and Whale kills him, his status places him as that.
- Talking to the Dead: To Lawanda and Will after he comes Back from the Dead, but only he can see or hear them. According to Tobias, this is a side-effect of the "reanimation" process - that Lala will encounter all the people he's killed, with images of them literally tattooed to his body.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He was a straight-A student before he met Tobias, and Jefferson seems to have had some regard for him before he became a criminal.
- Wild Card: In Season 2, being wildly unpredictable due to constantly hearing voices. He first assaults Jefferson, but then decides to go after Tobias instead. He later saves Black Lightning's life, saying that he's only interested in stopping Tobias' plans.
- Would Hurt a Child: Is seen beating a boy probably no older than twelve for playing video games instead of dealing weed. He was also perfectly willing to kill the Pierce sisters and have them "disappear".
Played By: Dabier
Appearances: Black Lightning
Lala's cousin and a low-level thug in the 100.
- Asshole Victim: Lala absolutely believed he deserved to die - a coward and misogynist who was willing to force Jennifer into prostitution to fix his issues.
- Character Death: Brutally executed by Lala in "Lawanda: The Book of Hope".
- Entitled to Have You: Seems to think he still has a shot with Jennifer, even after he almost got her trafficked into prostitution.
- Evil Is Petty: Kidnaps the Pierce sisters after Anissa came to Jennifer's rescue and Will couldn't take the hint to leave.
- No Respect Guy: Every scene Will is in has him being beaten, insulted, or otherwise humiliated.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: He gets his ass handed to him so much, that it's a sobering shock when he busts into the school with his armed cronies to kidnap the Pierce sisters.
- Stalker with a Crush: Jennifer references this trope by name when he reveals he followed her to school after using her social media to find out where she attended.
- Stupid Evil: Kidnaps Jefferson's daughters right out of the school in front of dozens of witness and security cameras which results in the cops bringing real heat against the 100 — which is exactly why Lala never targets the school.
Played By: Edwina Findley
Appearances: Black Lightning
Tobias' younger sister, who comes from Miami to Freeland to help him kill Black Lightning.
- Canon Foreigner: Created exclusively for the show as the comic book version of Tobias Whale never had a sister.
- Character Death: Dies in "Equinox: The Book of Fate" due to a stray bullet.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She's just as ruthless as her brother is, but genuinely cares about him since they were both abused by their father.
- Freudian Excuse: Her father was verbally and physically abusive.
- Older Than They Look: She and Tobias were given a serum along years ago that keeps them from aging, so her actual age is indeterminate.
Played By: Eric Mendenhall
Appearances: Black Lightning
One of Tobias's top lieutenants. He's been around since Black Lightning's first crusade.
Played By: Charlbi Dean
Appearances: Black Lightning
Tobias's right-hand woman, who trained her to become an assassin when he took her from an orphanage when she was eight-years old.
- Absolute Cleavage: Prone to this when not Baring Her Midriff.
- Awesome by Analysis: Syonide is the first person to deduce Thunder's Psychoactive Powers and exploit them to her advantage during their fight in one of Garfield High's classrooms.
- Bare Your Midriff: Seems to have a preference for this type of outfit, even in combat. Justified with having armor plates grafted beneath her skin and not really needing protection anyway.
- Co-Dragons: To Tobias, alongside Joey Toledo and later Khalil.
- Composite Character: She is based on the same-named DC Comics villain, the second "Syonide" who was an unnamed female assassin. However, she carries the first Syonide's background of working for Tobias Whale.
- Cyborg: She has armor plates grafted beneath her skin that enhance her durability and strength.
- Dark and Troubled Past: According to Gambi, she was found in the trash as a baby with its umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. She was abused and malnourished at an orphanage until she was eight. Then Tobias got ahold of her and he fed her, clothed her, augmented her, and turned her into an assassin 100% loyal to him.
- Dual Wielding: She prefers to go Guns Akimbo; in close-quarters, Syonide will whip out a pair of nightsticks.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Doubling with Pun, her name is pronounced as "cyanide".
- The Quiet One: To the point she was The Voiceless until the season one finale.
- Made of Iron:Tobias had carbon fiber armor grafted to her body beneath the surface of the skin.
- Sadist: She enjoys the tasks her boss gives her; Gambi states Tobias trained her to inflict pain unto others.
- Shout-Out: Compare Syonide's Dark and Troubled Past to the same origins of the eponymous character from The Chronicles of Riddick.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Dies a few minutes into the Season 2 premiere, after acting as a recurring secondary antagonist throughout the first season.
- Tyke Bomb: Taken by Tobias as a young child to be molded into a deadly and ruthless assassin.
- Undying Loyalty: No matter where Tobias goes, Syonide is almost always seen with him, defending and carrying out his orders.
- The Worf Effect: Is killed off in "The Rise of the Green Light Babies" by Kara Fowdy of all people.
Khalil Payne / Painkiller
Played By: Jordan Calloway
Appearances: Black Lightning
Jennifer's ex-boyfriend, a high-school track star until he got paralyzed thanks to a gunman from the 100. Tobias comes to to him after his accident to try and turn him against Black Lightning.
- Adaptation Origin Connection: As a new enforcer for Tobias following reconstructive spinal surgery (courtesy of the ASA), Khalil's Dreadlock Warrior Scary Black Man appearance, who has Super Strength and forearm bracers that fire anethestic syringes, he becomes the show's version of the super villain "Painkiller" from the Black Lightning comics.
- All for Nothing: He joined up with Tobias because Tobias gave him gifts and the use of his legs. In the end he can't go through with being an effective criminal and Tobias rips his artificial spine out, making him a cripple once again.
- Apologetic Attacker: Played with: when confronted by Jennifer about his "killing" Black Lightning, he admits he actually likes Black Lightning and didn't want to kill him but that he was and still is under Tobias's thumb.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Once he begins to lash out at everyone following his paralysis, Jefferson speculates that's who he is truly after he lost everything.
- Canon Character All Along: He's actually the Black Lightning Rogues Gallery member Painkiller.
- Character Death: Dies in episode 11 of season 2.
- Co-Dragons: Becomes this to Whale alongside Syonide after becoming enhanced.
- Disabled in the Adaptation: As far as the comics go, Painkiller never suffered any kind of spinal surgery.
- Dreadlock Warrior: As Painkiller. They are cut when he runs away with Jennifer.
- Dream-Crushing Handicap: He had plans to become a professional athlete, but those plans got derailed when he got shot in the spine, leaving him unable to walk.
- Dude, Where's My Reward?: As part of his fall from grace he gives Jennifer a vicious rant on how he spent his entire life "doing everything right", and then God decided to take away the use of his legs.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Even at his worst, he still loves his mother.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Starts out clean cut, but he has relatively long dreads when he reappears as one of Tobias' enforcers after getting reconstructive spinal surgery. The In-Universe explanation is that his hair grew extremely fast as a side effect of the drugs he took to recover, but it's ultimately meant to symbolize that he's no longer the straight edge student he used to be.
- Expy: As a reference to Biblical motifs, Khalil represents Job, a good, prosperous man whom Satan (with God's permission) beset one disaster after another on Job's life in order to test whether he abandons his faith in God. Unlike Job, Khalil doesn't have the strength to continue keeping his faith when events turn his life against him, thus succumbs to Tobias' temptations.
- In Season Two, when he finally leaves Tobias he becomes the Prodigal Son.
- Forced into Evil: He doesn't actually want to work for Tobias, but feels he has no other choice since Tobias would kill him if he tried to leave. This eventually happens.
- Foreshadowing: Although it wasn't apparent that he becomes the show's version of Painkiller, the first meeting between him and Tobias Whale contains the following dialogue.Tobias: If you'd like, I can show you how to kill your pain.
- Heel Realization: When Tobias orders him to kill Reverend Holt, Khalil begins to regret his choice of working for him, as he's known the reverend for years and his mother goes to that same church. When he realizes Whale himself was the man behind the shooting that caused his paralysis, Khalil tries to find a way out.
- Meaningful Name: His surname "Payne" foreshadows his transformation into the super villain Painkiller].
- Named by the Adaptation: Painkiller in the comics never had a given name; instead, this version of the villain is named Khalil Payne.
- Nice Guy: He's sweet, respectful, has a good head on his shoulders, and deeply cares about Jennifer. Subverted following his paralysis.
- Poisonous Person: The implant used for Khalil's spinal surgery has given him an additional paralytic substance that he can extract and weaponize into syringes fired from his forearm bracers.
- Redemption Equals Death: He eventually revolts against Tobias, and despite his and Jennifer's best efforts to stay ahead of the villain, is ultimately killed by him.
- Sadistic Choice: In Season 2, he is forced into one, when Tobias orders a hit on Reverend Holt. Either he kills the man who has supported his mother's community for years, or Tobias will retaliate against him and his loved ones. He decides to Take a Third Option and runs away with Jennifer.
- Secret Keeper: He is the only one besides her family, who knows about Jennifer's powers.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: After his accident and thanks to Tobias' toxic influence, he blames Jennifer for his current state and God for punishing him even though he did everything right in life.
- Tragic Villain: A promising student with a bright athletic future ahead of him whose life ends up destroyed because of the harsh reality of Freeland, then ends up being manipulated into becoming a thuggish enforcer for the group that ruined his life to begin with.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Was a genuine Nice Guy before suffering a Dream-Crushing Handicap and then being subjected to Tobias' influence.
Played By: RJ Cyler
A brilliant computer and robotics student who after burning his bridges at his college falls in with Tobias.
- The Corruptible: Some flattery and $100,000 was all it took for Todd to sign up with Tobias.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Todd's an undisputed genius, but he always had doors slammed in face because of his background and lack of connections.
- The Dragon: To Tobias after Syonide dies and Khalil goes rogue.
- Hates Being Touched: As displayed when being escorted out by two guards in his debut episode, he shakes them off and insists they stop touching him when they have his arms grabbed, then later when Tobias is recruiting him, he has two ladies sit at each of Todd's sides and be flirty with him, and though not hating the attention, Todd is clearly uncomfortable with the ladies being so close and having their hands all over him. Tobias takes notice of this, as in a later episode, he simply gives a light tap on Todd's arm while complimenting him on a job well done, which Todd appreciates.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Unlike Khalil, he adapts to working for Tobias very well, able to do anything the man asks efficiently and without any twinge of a guilty conscience.
- Foil: To Khalil, both are promising students who had their dreams shattered — Khalil because of his injury and Todd because of racism and classism. But unlike Khalil, Todd adapts extremely well to working with Tobias, and shows no hesitation for any of the illegal activities Tobias asks him to do. For emphasis, Khalil was a physical threat, whereas Todd is a Techno Wizard.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: Finding out he lost a research grant to some rich kid, whose dad made a sizable donation really set him off, especially after the Grant Board complimented on his extraordinary work the past year.Todd: The same Garett Tortolani whose rich white dad just donated a new wing to the research center?Board Member: Quite frankly, I resent the implication, Mr. Green.Todd: Well, you can resent it all you want. That doesn't make it any less true.Board Member: Good day, Mr. Green. The panel's decision has been made, and that decision is final.
- Reality Ensues: His little outburst at the grant board results in him being escorted out of the building by security and, as implied by the Cardboard Box of Unemployment he's carrying, expulsion.
- Tragic Villain: A promising student with a bright future in robotics gets his research grant denied because of blatant favoritism upon the Board's part — they gave it to a rich white kid whose dad make a sizable donation the week before, then ends up being corrupted by Tobias.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He was a hopeful and optimistic kid in science before Tobias got his hands on him.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Todd does all he can to help Tobias with the pod kids, he's of no more use, so Cutter lets him go with a new car ... that's rigged to explode.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: They hate all black people, and are not above lynching to make it known. Though how much of it is due to their own hatred or the Looker's control is unknown.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Once they're free from the Looker's control they end their feud with Black Lightning.
- Super Speed: What seems to be their only power.
Played By: Sofia Vassilieva
- The Looker: I'm a proud White American.
Black Lightning: You're a racist.
The Looker: Now, how did you jump to racist so quick?
Black Lightning: Nice flag. [eyes the Confederate Flag on the wall]
The Looker: The joys of minority privilege. It's okay for you to wear a shirt saying, "I'm black, and I'm proud," but if I wear one saying, "I'm white, and I'm proud," I'm a racist?
Black Lightning: No, your T-shirt would say, "I kill and hang Perdi from trees".
A mysterious white woman with mind controlling powers who took over the Sange, after the ASA's original vaccine experiment ended and rules South Freeland like her own kingdom, terrorizing the local black population - the Perdi.
- Adaptational Villainy: Because of In Name Only, the Looker becomes this on the series. She was Black Lightning's team member in "Batman and the Outsiders", here she's a full blown villain.
- Ambiguous Situation: It's presumed she's another survivor of the ASA vaccine, but it's never explicitly proven.
- The Assimilator: The "Element", a metallic substance she emits, allows her to do this to the white population of South Freeland, making them a part of her Hive Mind.
- Bad Boss: Mind controls the Sange and punishes them severely.
- Bad Powers, Bad People: She emits a mysterious liquid metallic substance that can make other people part of her Hive Mind, and she uses this horrific power for evil purposes.
- Brought Down to Badass: Even without her mind controlling powers, she gives Thunder one hell of a fight.
- Cruel Mercy: Jefferson opts to hand her over to the ASA, indifferent to the inhumane experiments that she'll undoubtedly go through.
- Femme Fatalons: Through which she channels her powers.
- Filler Villain: Her side-plot is completely unrelated to Jefferson's main feud with Tobias Whale in Season 2.
- Hate Sink: Blatantly white supremacist, she's the only villain who Jefferson hates more than Tobias — not even he hangs black people from trees.Black Lightning: I'm going to enjoy taking you down.
- Mind Manipulation: She controls people via some liquid silver element she admits.
- No Name Given: We never find out her real name.
- Not So Different: She tries to claim this between her and Black Lighting claiming they just look after their own. He shuts her down pretty quickly; Jefferson doesn't discriminate against race, only hate and that's not even going into how she uses her powers to force the Sange to be her slaves.
- Older Than They Look: She's mentioned to have come to South Freeland 30 years ago, but looks in her 20s.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Has black people lynched from trees, enough said.
- Smug Snake: Her entire behaviour oozes of smug superiority.
- Rich Bitch: Uses her powers to enrich herself but not her minions.
- There Is Another: After Jefferson, she's the only one who survived the ASA's vaccine experiment.
- You Don't Look Like You: The Looker in the comics was a psychic vampire model (or just a vampiric one in the New 52). Here, the character only shares the name of the Looker and nothing else more.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: When she has Jefferson captured, she firmly believed that Black Lightning's powers came from the suit, and not from himself or anything electrical.
A belligerent Eastern European nation, who wishes to start their own metahuman program; Dr. Jace used to work with them.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: In the last quarter of Season Two, where they send intelligent agents to Freeland to try and kidnap scientists and metas for their own program.
- Ruritania: Located somewhere in Eastern Europe.
- Take Over the World: Well it's not their explicit goal, but as Lynn points out if they did realize their goal of creating a metahuman army nobody else in the world would stand a chance against them so the implications are obvious.
- With Us or Against Us: As Odell explain to Lynn, to Markovia any metahuman who isn't on their side is considered a threat to them.
Vice Principal Kara Fowdy
Played By: Skye P. Marshall
The vice principal of Garfield High, whom Jefferson often takes for granted.
- Armed Legs: Fights Syonide in Season Two with Combat Stilettos that have literal stilettos that extend from the heels.
- Being Evil Sucks: She wants out of the ASA in Season Two when the whole ugly truth of Proctor's operation comes to light.
- Beleaguered Assistant: Despite being the vice principal, Jefferson treats her like his secretary.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She seems like a harassed if nice lady, but is actually an ASA spotter - she turns in her own students who exhibit metahuman activity. Worse, she's completely aware they're being kept in stasis, and doesn't so much as bat an eye.
- Character Death: Dies a painful but inevitable as a result of her internal injuries from jumping out of Tobias' window plus the harpoon in her stomach.
- Dark Action Girl: She reveals herself as this Season Two displaying previously unseen combat and espionage skills — she's proficient enough to kill Syonide...but not enough to kill Tobias Whale.
- Deep Cover Agent: She's uses her job as vice principal to look for students who exhibit metahuman activity after taking Green Light then sell them out to the ASA.
- Determinator: Shows a borderline superhuman tolerance for pain in season 2; after being harpooned in the gut, maintains enough self-control to run through a plate glass window and jump off a building to avoid being killed by Tobias Whale, even while screaming in agony from, not to harp on it, the harpoon in her gut. Later turns up battered and unconscious but alive at Gambi's; it's unclear if she dragged herself there by sheer force of will before passing out or was left there by persons unknown.
- Dirty Coward: She's clearly not of physical confrontation, but seems completely unwilling to even entertain engaging in fights she knows she can't win: in Season Two, he's desperate to leave the ASA not out of remorse but to avoid her much deserved punishment.
- Expy: Keeping in line with the show's Biblical motifs, Fowdy is Judas Iscariot - not only is she working for the ASA as a "spotter" for metahuman activity, once she finds out that Jefferson is Black Lightning, she sells him out to the cops on their behalf.
- Finding Judas: She's forced to have Jefferson arrested on trumped up drug charges, yet is very uncomfortable with it. Like the Trope Namer, Fowdy comes to regret her betrayal and finds out the hard way that it can't be so easily undone.
- Foil: To Gambi. Both were ASA spotters. The difference is that Gambi shows genuine remorse over his actions and wishes to atone, while Fowdy does not and merely wished to avoid the consequences of her actions.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: Suffers no consequences for kidnapping her own students, even when Proctor's rogue operations are unveiled at the end of Season One. Subverted in Season Two, where she's well aware it's only a matter of time before somebody uncovers her role in Proctor's scheme and is desperate to leave the ASA before it happens. She ends up dead.
- Moral Myopia: She hates how her ASA superiors forced her to betray Jefferson, but shows no sign of guilt for turning her students over to the ASA. She claims to Gambi that she had no idea that Proctor's operation was rogue; Gambi pointedly asks her how much of a difference that's supposed to make.
- Out of Focus: She gets very little attention until "Sins of the Father: The Book of Redemption" when it's revealed she's working for the ASA as a spotter.
- Retired Monster: What she aspires to be in Season Two.
- Walking Spoiler: Certain plot points in season one become difficult to talk about with regards to Fowdy.
The School Board
Played By: ???
The School Board that overseas Garfield High School. Despite Jefferson's success in making a Garfield a model school and his reputation, they often butt heads with him.
- Apathetic Teacher: They care more about Garfield's reputation than the students themselves. As Jefferson point out they always find money for metal detectors and security guards, but never for stuff like computers and books.
- Bad Boss: They could always replace Jefferson as principal with somebody else, and Jefferson knows they would if he butts heads with them one time too many.
- In Season Two, they only agree to reopen Garfield when Jefferson offers them his resignation; he knows too well that they will gleefully exploit the chance to drag his name through the mud.
- Hate Sink: They tried to expel an otherwise model student who screwed up one time by email.
- Jerkass: They look down on Jefferson for being "arrogant" despite his reputation as being on of the best educators in the country and condescend him at every opportunity. Though "arrogant" in this case seems less to mean "prideful" and more "refuses to do do whatever we say without question".
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- While it's understandable they want to take disciplinary action against a student who publicly overdosed in the school, they go too far by avoiding kind any of hearing for the student and by failing to acknowledge that the drug dealers are deliberately targeting the student body.
- They also legitimate security concerns about the kids' safety in Season Two in light of all the gang attacks on it in season two.
- Omniscient Council of Vagueness: We know little about them, save they don't see eye to eye with Jefferson on anything.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: Jefferson is one of the best educators in the country, and yet rather than seeing him as an asset they seem him as a problem for being "arrogant" because he refuses to comply with their racist outlook on how to run the school.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: While not "villains" per say, they are mainly affluent whites (and one black man) who look down on Jefferson as "arrogant", fail to empathize with the black students who make up Garfield's student population and make no secret of how they wish to replace Jefferson with someone who will comply with desires without question. In Season Two they get their wish.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Jefferson has final say on disciplinary matters, but they more or less blackmail him into forfeiting that authority in exchange for letting a student they wanted expelled stay in school.
- Ultimate Job Security: It's really a mystery how they still have their positions especially since by and large the parents and students usually side with Jefferson and not them.
Played By: P.J. Byrne
The new principal that was hired after Jefferson stepped down.
- Apathetic Teacher: In "Just and Unjust" it's made abundantly clear he has no affection at all for his students, and in fact outright resents them for having opportunities in life that he never got at their age.
- Double Standard: Claims to be a victim of this, since his parents were drug addicts and he had to spend time sleeping on the street and eating dog food, yet because he wasn't black nobody felt sorry him (ignoring that plenty of kids black or white would get the same indifferent treatment due to the stigma of poverty and drug addiction).... so he takes out on his black students, who he flat admits he doesn't feel any sympathy for at all.
- Foil To Jefferson. Jefferson is stern, but fair and knows every kid in the building and makes a point of having meaningful discipline policies that are focused more on personal development that punishment. Lowry is apathetic, tyrannical, and doesn't seem to have much faith in his students and favors disastrous zero tolerance policies which cause more harm than good - i.e. kicking kids out to the street for minor infractions and into the hands of predatory street gangs.
- Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: He had a rough time of it when he was younger, but as Jefferson points out, he's still got a lot more benefit of the doubt due to being white, despite his claims to the contrary and it's certainly not a good enough reason to take it out on the students.
- Green-Eyed Monster: He seems envious on how much the students admire and respect Jefferson, while they almost universally despise him. On a personal level he resents how Jefferson had an award-winning journalist for a father, while all he got for a dad was a drug addict.
- Hate Sink: Immediately after becoming principal he starts undoing many of Jefferson's policies, including installing metal detectors at the entrances. Jefferson immediately starts hating his guts, although this evolves into pity when he learns why he acts this way.
- I Reject Your Reality: He doesn't seem to understand or care about the racism his students and faculty face — regardless of their social position; even a famous educator like Jefferson has to put up with the indignation and humiliation of police profiling, which Lowry despite his poor background never has and never will. His refusal to recognize this is one of many sources of animosity between him and Jefferson.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: He wants to prove himself better than Jefferson, despite condescending at him at every turn.
- He's very rude to Jefferson, saying that his changes to school policy that Jefferson had long fought against were necessary because of Jefferson's failures.
- Flat out admits that he refuses to empathize with his students, because nobody showed him any compassion as a poor white boy who had to sleep on the street because of his junkie parents.
- Lower-Class Lout: His parents were drug addicts, and despite managing to become an educator he maintains the general attitude by how he treats his students and Jefferson, believing they've been given unfair advantages he never got and relishing the authority he has as principal over them — he makes a point of Jefferson's dad being an award-winning journalist while his dad was a junkie.
- Manchild: The reason he refuses to reach out and sympathize with his students? Because nobody felt sorry for him and his shitty home life.
- Not Helping Your Case: He hates being called racist, then goes on to explain that since nobody felt sorry him and his shitty home life (allegedly because he was white) he doesn't' feel sorry for his black students at all, and proceeded to disrespect and condescend to them at every turn, which of course makes him come off as racist.
- Not So Different: His parents were drug addicts, something that many of his students can probably relate to. Yet rather than be the stable presence in their lives, he's the exact opposite.
- No Respect Guy: Neither the staff nor students show him much respect due not only to Jefferson's popularity but his own disastrous policies and how he wanted his name to be addressed with Principal isn't really gonna earn him any respect either.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He institutes a zero tolerance policy and expels a student for getting into a fight. While he may think it's to keep the student body safe, such policies generally do more harm than good.
Played By: Robert Townsend
An old friend of Jefferson, who's also an Olympian and the only African-American member on the School Board
- Berserk Button: Don't you dare imply he's the "house nigger" for his white colleagues. When Jefferson becomes upset at him siding with the School Board over possibly closing Garfield for good, he goes on a rant how Jefferson's "arrogance" makes his job harder amongst his white colleagues for constantly having to defend him.
- Friend on the Force: He's Jefferson's main advocate on the School Board.
- My God, What Have I Done?: He accuses Jefferson of caring more about his job than his students. When Jefferson resigns in order to keep the school open, he comes to regret his harsh words.
- Old Friend: For Jefferson and they managed to go to the Olympics together.
- Token Minority: The only black member on the otherwise white School Board. And he doesn't like any insinuation that he's subservient to the white majority.
Frank "Two-Bits" Tanner
A childhood friend of Jefferson's, several years younger than him, who fell into petty crime.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Invoked; he says he's done a lot of things he's not proud of to survive, but when he witnessed a child getting snatched off the street he had to tell someone.
- Friendly Enemy: Tries to take a selfie with Black Lightning. While Black Lightning is beating him up.
- Harmless Villain: By the standards of the show. While he sells Green Light, he's largely a petty criminal just doing what he needs to in order to provide for his family. After the supply of Green Light dries up he's selling (presumably stolen or bootleg) DVDs (in 2018!) off the side of the road. He later reveals he doesn't even carry a gun because he's on probation.
- Meaningful Name: Despite all the heavy crime in the city, Two-Bit was either unable or unwilling to get into anything worse than pushing drugs on the street (though on the other hand, Green Light is not exactly marijuana or ecstasy).
- Motor Mouth: Almost all the time, as if perpetually nervous.
- Odd Friendship: Though they're more acquaintances than friends now, he and Jefferson give off this vibe when they meet again. Two-Bit even specifically calls him out on it, saying he's too bougie to be hanging out at the bar where Two-Bit and his crew do, and deduces that he must want something.
One of the "Green Light Babies" who took Green Light and gained nascent powers. He is killed by the police in the first scene of season 2, but he comes back to life as the ASA is taking custody of his body.
- Back from the Dead: As the ASA drag him away from his funeral in a body bag, he wakes up, to the confusion and horror of everyone present.
- Cannot Tell a Lie: His looking someone in the eye turns other people into this, forcing them to blurt out their deepest, most harmful feelings.
- Legally Dead: Between the fact that he actually died and his family wants nothing to do with him, the ASA has no issues picking him up off the street and keeping him indefinitely. Lynn eventually sets him up with his friend, who had previously been terrified of him.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Since his powers come from Green Light rather than being a natural meta, eventually every cell in his body will simply fall apart, with no way to tell how long he has.
One of the original powered children, created by the same vaccine that created Black Lightning thirty years ago. She has been in a pod for thirty years, and only wakes up when one of the other kids accidentally blows it open.
- Adaptation Name Change: Of Master of Disaster/Outsider/Strike Force Kobra/Suicide Squad member Windfall's identity Wendy Jones.
- Blow You Away: Her power is aerokinesis, allowing her to enhance even the smallest breeze into a hurricane.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: She initially looks for all her old friends and family, unaware that after thirty years most of them are dead, the rest have moved on, and all their old haunts have been closed down.
- Heroic BSoD: As Lynn put it, spending thirty years in a pod and then waking up to a scene out of a horror movie did her no favors. She suffered a psychotic break of some sort, and scenes from her perspective show that she couldn't even comprehend what people were trying to say to her.
- Punny Name: Her name is Wendy and she has wind powers.
- Race Lift: From Caucasian to Hispanic.
Played By: Kearran Giovanni
A hitman who is hired by Tobias to bring Khalil, who ran away, back.
- Even Evil Has Standards: While she may have slaughtered the police trying to get Khalil, she was horrified seeing how Tobias ripped the spinal implant from Khalil's back with his barehands.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Can throw her knives with alarming accuracy. Justified, if she truly has telekinesis powers.
- Knife Nut: Favors all kinds of knives as her weapons. Also uses knives to pin her targets or bystanders down in a Knife Outline, if they are in her way.
- Meaningful Name: She is a Knife Nut who likes to cut people.
- Old Flame: Apparently, she and Tobias were a couple in the past. They hook up again in the present.
- Poisoned Weapons: Some of her blades are coated in poison. She deliberately uses one on Khalil, so he can't run away too far from her.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: [[In the Season Two finale, once Tobias starts getting abusive to her as part of his Villainous Breakdown she leaves him and Freeland.]]
- Telekinesis: According to Gambi, she can throw knives from impossible angles that fly in an arc and that bullets never hit her, which hints at telekinesis powers.