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The Rayburn Family


John Rayburn

Played By: Kyle Chandler & Zachary T. Robbins

The second son; a detective and local deputy with the Monroe County sheriff's office.

  • Big Brother Bully: To Kevin, when they were kids.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Initially.
  • Cain and Abel: He's the Abel to Danny's Cain...or so it seems. In reality, both John and Danny play Abel and Cain to each other in what amounts to a game of rugby or football passing.
  • Determinator: Don't let his folksy, almost bumbling, ways fool you: when he puts his mind to either getting or finding something, he goes at it like a bulldog. It's why he's actually good at his job in law enforcement, when he's not trying to hide stuff.
  • Hidden Depths: He's a calm, amiable, responsible and, occasionally, put-upon chap on the surface. But, rub him enough the wrong way and he gets beyond stubborn by both quietly and openly digging his heels in. Will go out of his way to undercut others, if he can't see another way to get what he needs — but, tends to break this tool out as last resort.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Has this going on when it comes to both Sarah and Danny. Had he made other choices, Sarah might be alive. Had he stepped in in some way, Danny might not have left after having been so savagely beaten. Yet, at some level, he's also aware that little he could have done would have prevented what was a horribly perfect storm of events. Still beats himself up about fence-sitting, though... even while fence-sitting.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After killing Danny in a fit of rage, he almost has a heart attack out of shock and guilt.
  • Not So Above It All: Of all the Rayburns, John is the one who seems to be the most responsible one who has his personal life in order. The most conflict he seems to have is his high blood pressure and the occasional work issue, but as the series progresses we steadily learn that there's a lot more darkness in him than there appears to be.
    • Like most of his siblings, he's also played a part in the deliberate ostracisation of Danny and anything to do with him. Unlike most, however, he's painfully aware of the cost... even though he has limits in how far he'll go when contemplating redressing them.
  • Not So Different: From Danny. Both are self-aware hypocrites, both are aware of how much the family sucks and both have very strong tempers hiding beneath the various masks they wear.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Most of the time, he's an approachable and competent man who deals well with the realities of his job.
  • Oh, Crap!: He gets a few of these — mostly understated ones. But, the slowest-burning, and arguably the biggest, one finally bloomed when he found out about the extent of his brother's long-term issues with chronic pain. He'd always known the beating was overly vicious as well as physically and mentally scarring, but had never put together just how much the continued physical effects had driven Danny's downward spiral into drugs. Until the X-ray evidence hit him in the face.
  • Unstoppable Rage: In spite of appearing to be level-headed and in control, John has a deep reservoir of anger within him. When he reaches for it, it's dangerous for everyone...including John.
  • Villain Protagonist: Increasingly flirts with this in season 2.


Daniel "Danny" Rayburn

Played By: Ben Mendelsohn & Owen Teague

The oldest son and black sheep of the family.

  • Abusive Parents: When Danny was a child, Robert beat him so badly that chronic pain plagues him in his adult life.
  • Affably Evil: He might be a crook and a ne'er-do-well as far as others are concerned, but he's an extremely charming crook. When he starts helping out at the Inn, the best parts of him are seen in his interactions with guests.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Danny is constantly being forced to appeal to his family
  • Anti-Villain: He might be a petty criminal who can be downright murderous, but he's not had an easy life and his family hasn't exactly been there for him. He actually comes across as more honest than his self-righteous family.
  • Best Served Cold: It's played with on and off just how much he's returned to get this. Answer? Quite a lot, actually — but, it's a bit more complex than that. He basically wants to force the bulk of the family to acknowledge just how much they've undeservedly screwed him over, and doesn't mind returning the favour when individuals refuse to take the outs he offers them. So, it's a dish that's both hot and cold: and, spicy all over.
  • Big Bad: He's essentially this in season one; from the point of view of the other Rayburns, that is. From his, they've been his as a group for years and he's just got into a position to be able to get payback.
  • Black Sheep: Of the Rayburns. And, on the surface, he looks like a classic case. Except, it's not that clear-cut.
  • Cool Uncle: To John's kids. And, it comes across as utterly genuine. Sure, he's not above using them to troll his brother with and is more than willing to lift some of the wool from their eyes, but he actually goes out of his way not to hurt them when doing so.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His wit is both dry and dark. He's not slow to call others out on their foibles in some of the most cuttingly passive-aggressive ways, either.
  • Defiant to the End: In no way, shape or form is he willing to let the rest of the family continue to belittle or undermine him unimpeded or unchallenged — even while building up to being drowned.
  • Lean and Mean: He looks exactly like you'd expect a guy with a hard life with drugs and drink behind him to look.
  • Troll: Oh, man — is he ever. His rocking up back home is essentially one big trolling session after another from the first episode.
  • The Scapegoat: What he was, in effect, turned into — repeatedly. By heaping all the blame for Sarah's death on him, his parents both avoided asking themselves too many questions or getting to many being asked of them, while hiding it all under the communal rug in record time with the rest of the county to save face. Repeatedly undermining his attempts to stand on his own over years just cemented his status as the failure and flake in other peoples' eyes. The long-term effects of this short-term gain in ostensible family unity have been devastating. And, not just on him.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Danny might be a criminal and even the Big Bad of the first season, but he's had a terrible past and his own family was turned against him.


Kevin Rayburn

Played By: Norbert Leo Butz & Samuel J. Dixon

The hot-headed youngest son; he refurbishes boats at Indian Key Channel Marina.

  • Berserk Button: As is fitting, he shares a Berserk Button with his father, whom he idolizes.
  • Hot-Blooded: Kevin is an extremely angry man, and he shows it.
  • Like Father, Like Son: On the surface, Kevin is the son who is most like his dad, if nowhere near as cunning or business-savvy. When he's in a good mood, he's fun to be around. But, when that temper goes off (which it often does), he's unbearable. Just like his own father, he's basically also internalized the various abuses heaped on him and others and has no means of coping except through escapism or lashing out.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: To a fair extent. From the start, he's not fully aware just how much Danny's bitterness towards the family is justified, as he was too young when some of the worst was happening to take it in for what it was. And, he's been lied to or blocked from seeing so much, it's twisted what direct memories he does have.
  • Manchild: Kevin is immature and impulsive at the best of times. His stunted emotional growth has made a mess of his personal life.


Megan "Meg" Rayburn

Played By: Linda Cardellini & Karrigan Powers

The daughter and youngest sibling; an attorney and family peacekeeper.

  • Always Second Best: No matter how much she throws herself into excelling, or even when she deliberately holds her career back by working for the family above other prospects... in her father's eyes, she'll never be as bonny, blithe, good or gay (old meaning of the word) as the lost sister she only has second-hand memories of. Eventually, she starts to admit to herself that this is never going to improve.
  • Crusading Lawyer: Can come off this way, yes. Or, as a slightly overcompensating lawyer. When she can justify throwing herself into work that isn't, on the face of it, directly family-related, she goes ballistic.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Of all the siblings, she knew the absolute least of what happened in and around Sarah's death, for all it's heavily affected her entire life. All she's basically got to go on are the things she's been told or managed to pick up despite nobody talking about it... and, most of it is twisted. As a result, all Danny is to her is "our waste-of-space brother", who she barely even knows as he left when she was really small.
  • The Unfavorite: She feels that she's this to her father, who largely ignores her in favor of her dead sister's memory.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Despite being in a committed relationship with Marco, she has an affair with Alec.
  • You Remind Me Of Sarah: To add insult to injury, she looked similar enough to Sarah when she was a kid for people to comment. Which didn't help her self-esteem one bit when she kept getting compared to her.


Diana Rayburn

Played By: Jacinda Barrett

John's wife; she runs a plant nursery.

  • Happily Married: To John, though by the end of the second season it's not nearly so happy.


Robert Rayburn

Played By: Sam Shepard & Tony Demil

The patriarch.

  • Abusive Parents: When Danny was only a child, Robert beat him so badly that he still suffers chronic pain in his adult life. His own father was a Domestic Abuser who cut Robert with a steak knife.
  • Berserk Button: Danny, full stop. Robert despises Danny and can barely contain his hatred when he so much gets a whiff of his oldest son's name. It stems from Sarah's death, which he unfairly blames Danny for.
  • Chick Magnet: In his younger days, according to Lenny Potts.
  • Happily Married: To Sally. Their marriage is largely a happy one, although Robert is a domineering presence.
  • Not So Different: From Danny, for all their difficulties. Like Danny, he was a poor student and prone to trouble-making.
  • Self-Made Man: He didn't finish High School, but still went on to build a highly successful business from the ground up. He was so successful that his family became an institution.
  • Tranquil Fury: Robert's difficult early life has left him with a great deal of unresolved rage. For all his affability, he's an extremely angry man with a vicious hidden temper.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: All his children are this to him, to some degree. They all yearn for his approval, but he's sparse with actually giving it. Danny is ostracized, Meg feels like she's The Unfavorite and Kevin considers himself a disappointment. The only child of Robert's that he seemingly approves of entirely is his dead daughter, Sarah.


Sally Rayburn

Played By: Sissy Spacek & Sarah French

The matriarch.

  • Cool Old Lady: She's played by Sissy Spacek, after all. She isn't shy about lighting up a joint with her kids. In the second season she's the only one in the family to get past Nolan's bitter, sarcastic exterior (something John and Kevin fail spectacularly at.
  • Happily Married: To Robert, although it's more strained than it appears.


Belle Rayburn

Played By: Katie Finneran

Kevin's estranged wife.

  • Amicable Exes: She tries to be. Belle does her best to be accommodating and even-tempered, but Kevin makes it difficult.


Sarah Rayburn

Played By: Mia Kirshner & Angela Winiewicz

  • Imaginary Friend: Danny imagines an adult version of her who comments on his attempts to move on from her death.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: She died thirty years before the series begins, leaving a gigantic hole in the family and changing all of them for the worse.


Ben Rayburn

Played By: Brandon Larracuente
John and Diana's son.


Jane Rayburn

Played By: Taylor Rouviere
John and Diana's daughter.

The O'Bannon Siblings


Eric O'Bannon

Played By: Jamie McShane

Danny's friend; a parolee.

  • Affably Evil: He might be a lowlife, but on the whole he isn't such a bad guy. He feels strong loyalty toward his family and friends.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: He gives one to Kevin with a baseball bat.
  • The Scapegoat: The Rayburns frame him for the murder of Marco Díaz.


Chelsea O'Bannon

Played By: Chloë Sevigny

Eric's younger sister; a nurse.

  • Little Sister Instinct: She spends much of the second season trying to protect Eric, and is willing to pull a shotgun on someone threatening him.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Chelsea is blonde and very easy to sympathize with, since she lacks Danny or Eric's criminal tendencies or the Rayburn family's self-righteous denial. By the end of the second season she may well be the only character not to have done anything really harmful to anyone.
  • Hospital Hottie: She's a nurse, and Danny certainly finds her attractive.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Chelsea has the skimpiest wardrobe of all the female characters.
  • Love Interest: For Danny.
  • Promotion to Parent: Her mom is still around, and Chelsea's the younger sibling, but she's basically the only responsible one in the O'Bannon family. She has to nag her mother to take her medication and is constantly trying to keep Eric out of trouble.
  • She's Got Legs: As her outfits frequently show off, contributing to her status as Ms. Fanservice.

Other Characters


Marco Diaz

Played By: Enrique Murciano

Meg's fiancé; a detective with the Monroe County sheriff's office and John's partner.

  • Hero Antagonist: Becomes this to the Rayburns in season 2.
  • Not So Different: In the second season it becomes clear that he's got some skeletons in his closet, just like the Rayburns.
  • Only Sane Man: Of all the cast, he's the most put-together and reasonable. At his worst, he's a little clueless.


Wayne Lowry

Played By: Glenn Morshower

A local drug distributor who owns a bait shop.

  • Big Bad Wannabe: He's built up as a main antagonist for the second season but is dealt with very quickly.
  • Expy: Arguably a bit of one for Gus Fring.


Alec Wolos

Played By: Steven Pasquale

Meg's legal client and lover.


Rafi Quintana

Played By: Gino Vento

Lowry's employee.

  • The Dragon: To Wayne Lowry.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Very low standards, but all the same, he feels very guilty about killing boatloads of smuggled immigrants on the orders of his boss.


Lenny Potts

Played By: Frank Hoyt Taylor

An old friend of Robert's and a retired Monroe County detective.


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