Kommissar Sebastien Berger
- Played by: Tom Wlaschiha
A former officer with the Berliner Polizei, Sebastien Berger is an archetypal computer geek, who relies on advanced technology to solve crimes. Excitable and eager to please, Sebastien often berates himself for not doing enough to help the team, and constantly seeks to update his computer files in order to better do his job. He has a gambling addiction, which has caused him difficulties in the past.
- Badass Bookworm: Despite being mocked by Tommy for his obsession with high-tech solutions, Sebastien's perfectly capable with a gun, taking out Mafia hitter Gian Carlo in a single shot.
- Functional Addict: So far Sebastien's gambling has not caused too many problems for him or the team.
- Gadgeteer Genius: It is not to Batman levels or anything like that, but Sebastien is very good with - and perhaps overdependent on - technology, including his ScanGen, which can recreate a holographic image of any crime scene. He is also trying to come up with a camera that can be inserted into a hostage situation after the cameras on the spot are taken out.
- Oblivious to Love: He is totally unaware of his ex's continued interest in him, until it is pointed out by multiple people.
- The Smart Guy: Nobody on the team is dumb, but Sebastien is the resident technowiz, with gadgetry the others could only dream of having.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: With his former partner, whose son may actually be his. It's revealed towards the end of the second season that the boy is his after all. He immediately vows to clean up his act and support the kid as best he can.
Inspector Marco Constante
- Played by: Goran Vinjić
- Supporting Leader: Marco often ends up acting as the de facto leader on cases, especially when in the field, while Carine Strand (who is supposed to be the actual leader) stays in the office and directs everyone around. A bit like pieces on a chess board.
Detective Arabela Seeger
- Played by: Lara Rossi
Recurring in season one, and became main in season two. Formerly a member of the Rotterdam PD until her boss attacks her and allows Genovese to escape, Arabela is selected by Louis to replace Anne-Marie after she dies.
Detective First Grade Carl Hickman
- Played by: William Fichtner
The viewpoint character of the series, Carl Hickman is a former NYPD detective, who held the city's record for most arrests. That was before Phillip Genovese shot him in the hand, leaving him crippled and dependent on morphine to get through the day. Bitter, emotionally damaged, and viewing himself as a failure, Hickman is recruited onto the team by Louis, who briefly worked with him in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. After the events of the season two finale he leaves the team to settle down with his former ex-girlfriend.
- Archenemy: Of Phillip Genovese, who crippled his hand and then escaped his custody - twice.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: His forte is picking up on tiny psychological tells and pieces of physical evidence that others miss.
- Failure Knight: Letting Genovese get away the first time will always haunt Hickman.
- Functional Addict: Hickman is reliant on heavy doses of painkillers, although they do not generally impact his ability to do his job.
- Handicapped Badass: Losing his hand has not stopped Hickman, although it has slowed him down (and completely destroyed his aim).
- It's Personal: With Genovese, who started out by crippling his hand, and later tries to frame him for murder and force him to overdose on cocaine.
- The Lancer: To Louis, acting as the team's second-in-command, and a sounding board for most decisions. Fans speculated that he would become the new leader, but this was not the case, as he presumably left the team to move back to New York City after the events of the second season finale.
- The Mentor: Was one to Anne-Marie alongside Louis.
- Old Cop, Young Cop: The old cop to Anne-Marie's young.
- Supporting Protagonist: He is the main character, but it is Louis' team.
Sergeant Eva Vittoria
- Played by: Gabriella Pession
A former officer with first the Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza (NCOS, a special forces unit in the Italian state police) and then Europol, Eva Vittoria is a fiery woman with a loathing of organized crime. Having served as part of the NCOS' anti-Mafia task force, Eva is a specialist in undercover operations, who frequently acts as the team's den mother. Left the team between seasons two and three, probably because of her actress' going on maternity leave.
- Action Girl: Probably the best fighter on the team after Tommy, which is saying a lot.
- Fiery Redhead: The most aggressive girl on the team, and a redhead.
- Green-Eyed Redhead
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Typically favors this look.
- The Infiltration: Her specialty in her anti-Mafia days, and the reason she was recruited to the team.
- It's Personal: With Nicola Conti, and any other Mafia-style organization for that matter.
- Mafia Princess: Eva's father was a Mafia investor, and a business partner of Nicola Conti. This is the reason why she hates organized crime as much as she does.
- Parental Abandonment: Her mother and father were blown up by a car bomb set by Conti. Apparently her father is still alive, and she goes missing at the end of the second season after she attempts to locate him.
- Team Mom: Constantly tries to take care of the others' mental health, worrying about everyone from Tommy on up to Louis himself, and is hit hardest by Anne Marie's death.
Detective Tommy McConnel
- Played by: Richard Flood
A heavy weapons specialist from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Tommy McConnel has the most checkered past of any member of the SCU. Part of a sprawling clan of Irish criminals, Tommy was excommunicated from the family after he joined the police. Angry and with a chip on his shoulder the size of Belfast, Tommy has the shortest temper and the meanest hook of anyone on the team. Left the team between season two and three, as Richard Flood had just become the father of Gabriella Pression's baby.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Inspector Pride.
- The Big Guy: He is present for his fighting skills and his shooting, not his charming personality.
- Boxing Battler: Tommy's a bare-knuckle boxer and falls back on it whenever he is unarmed.
- David vs. Goliath: In a confrontation with Genovese's Giant Mook, he is the David, much to his own annoyance.
- Genius Bruiser: He is just as smart as his teammates - if lacking in their specialized knowledge - even if his main proficiency is with his fists.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Downplayed. Tommy's certainly abrasive, and angry is his default mode, but he is not as explosive as some examples of the trope.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Classic example. Tommy is aggressive and at times downright mean, but he cares deeply about his teammates.
- Made of Iron: He takes a hell of a beating in the season one finale, but is up and mobile moments later.
Detective Major Louis Daniel
- Played by: Marc Lavoine
The leader of the International Criminal Court's Special Crimes Unit, and a former Parisian police officer, Major Louis Daniel is a driven man, haunted by the death of his son and the impending collapse of his marriage. He puts saving people's lives ahead of everything else, regardless of personal cost, and has the respect of everyone who works for him. He is shot and killed at the end of the second season as a result of the writers retooling the show.
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys/French Jerk: Averted on all fronts. Louis is a capable, dedicated, badass police officer, who is well-liked by his European and American colleagues, and constantly puts himself in the line of fire.
- It's Personal: With Alexander Dimitrov, who murdered his son.
- The Leader: He was a Type I/IV cross, leading on a combination of brains, experience, and force of personality.
- Married to the Job: The cause of his marriage's failure.
- The Mentor: He and Hickman both served as mentors to Anne-Marie.
Inspector Sienna Pride
- Played by: Genevieve O'Reilly
An interrogations expert from Scotland Yard, Sienna Pride is the daughter of rich, influential politicians who never had time for her. Despite their very different backgrounds, she strikes up a rapport with Tommy. She is killed in the second half of the pilot.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Tommy, whom she alternatively snarks at and sympathizes with.
- Parental Neglect: On the part of her parents. Her mother, at least, clearly regrets this and is obviously saddened at her funeral.
- Sacrificial Lion: Killed in order to establish the show plays for keeps.
Detective Sergeant Anne-Marie San
- Played by: Moon Dailly
A former sergeant with France's Police Nationale, Anne-Marie was the youngest member of the team, and the one who most sought the approval of the others. Possessed of an eidetic memory, and specializing in border crimes and human trafficking, Anne-Marie was nevertheless unsure of herself, and looked up to both Louis and Hickman as mentors. She is killed in a car crash at the end of season one as a result of her actress wishing to leave the show.
- Action Girl: She is not at Eva's level, but she tries and she is getting better as the show continues.
- Ambiguous Disorder: She may have had OCD or been somewhere on the autism spectrum. A case of it being ambiguous in-universe and out, as Anne-Marie knew her behavior was slightly off, but was not formally diagnosed. In fact, Hickman mentions her mother had her genetically tested for autism as a child, although he did not say what the results were.
- The Chick: Easily the most feminine member of the team, and the one all the others felt responsible for looking out for.
- Distressed Damsel: In the pilot when she is captured by a Serial Killer.
- Old Cop, Young Cop: She was the young cop, Carl the old cop.
- Photographic Memory: Possessed perfect recall.
- Played by: Donald Sutherland
A political activist and war crimes investigator working for the ICC, Michel Dorn is an old friend of both Louis and Rebecca Daniel, and acts as the SCU's contact with the Court, issuing them their mandates and getting the wheels rolling. Despite his advanced age, he remains an active field agent, investigating Alexander Dimitrov on behalf of Louis and Rebecca.
- Badass Beard: An almost Santa Claus-ish beard and he is certainly looking for the naughty among the nice.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Usually favors one.
- Good Is Not Soft: Dorn is a pleasant guy, but absolutely single minded when it comes to punishing crimes against humanity. Given the choice between saving the lives of two of his friends and making sure that Russian war criminal Bartov remains in jail, he takes the second option, regardless of consequence.
- Man in White: Dons an all-white outfit while in Russia.
- The Mentor: Both a mentor and friend to Louis and Rebecca Daniel.
- Nazi Hunter: A variant. Michel Dorn has spent his life hunting down war criminals of all kinds, no matter what their national affiliation.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Dorn can always be counted on to do the right thing.
- Seen It All: Dorn has witnessed more violence - and worse violence - than anybody else on the team. Mass murder, institutionalized rape and torture... there is not much that can surprise Dorn anymore.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: He is implied to be at least a mild variant of this, given his numerous flashbacks.
- Played by: Eddie Jemison
The very first criminal pursued by the team, Gerald Wilhoit was an advance agent for the US State Department. He was also a serial killer with a pathological hatred of women, who dressed his victims up as his mother, then bled them and made them run, leaving the corpse in the capital city of whichever country he was visiting.
- Abusive Mom: Heavily implied, given his utter hatred of, and fixation on, his late mother.
- "Ass" in Ambassador: Gerald's a case of both Diplomatic Impunity as well as this trope since, in addition to his murderous streak he's also an obviously disturbed man with a decidedly unpleasant personality who is just barely holding it together. How he's lasted as long as he has in his job is an open question.
- Axe-Crazy: Dangerously unhinged and prone to talking to himself.
- Diplomatic Impunity: Gerald's main defense against investigation is his status as an advance agent for the American diplomatic corps. Very few police officers are prepared to detain a man with diplomatic status—a good thing for Gerald, given that even the briefest conversation with him quickly exposes his damage.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Hates his mother, hates his female boss, and takes out his rage on the women he captures and hunts.
- Knife Nut: Gerald's knife is his Weapon of Choice, and the one with which he first wounds and then kills, his victims (including Sienna).
- The Mentally Disturbed: Gerald is not a well-man, and is regularly shown monologuing to his dead mother, as well as experiencing mood swings and bouts of homicidal rage.
- Mood-Swinger: Gerald swings from calm to screaming in seconds, and it's clear that despite his best efforts he has little control over his temper.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Gerald's never really grown up and still seems to be trapped as an emotionally damaged teenager.
- Sadist: To the point where if his victims aren't feeling fear, Gerald can't harm them. He needs to know he's scaring someone.
- Serial Killer: Killed at least three women that we know of, and possibly more, all in the same ritualized fashion.
- Played by: Marcel Iures
An ex-colonel in the Russian Army, Alexander Dimitrov is the head of a vast organization with tendrils throughout Europe. He was the man responsible for blowing up Louis Daniel's son, Etienne, and continues to harbor a vendetta against the Daniels, which he pursues throughout season one.
- Big Bad: Of season one.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: Phillip Genovese makes his move against the team at the same time that Dimitrov comes after Louis. If the two even know of one another, it was never demonstrated.
- Colonel Kilgore: Dimitrov thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Chechen Civil War, taking revenge on the people he blamed for killing his wife and daughter.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His late wife and his daughters. Subverted with his brother-in-law, Bartov, whom he wants out of prison so he can murder him himself.
- Fake Nationality: Alexander Dimitrov is Russian, while the actor is Romanian.
- Former Regime Personnel: Ex-Russian military and possessed of an axe to grind.
- Insane Admiral: A brutal Russian officer who sees mass murder as an appropriate response to political revolt.
- It's Personal: With the Daniels. Initially it seems like Louis is the target, but we later find out it is Rebecca, who convicted his brother-in-law, who he is gunning for.
- The Mafiya: Heads up a Russian crime syndicate that includes many former soldiers.
- Played by: Kim Coates
An American human trafficker with a history of selling children into slavery, Phillip Genovese operates out of a traveling carnival, snatching up kids and then vanishing along with the other carnies. A crass, thuggish man who revels in his criminal status, he is the one who shot Carl Hickman in the hand, ending his time at the NYPD.
- Archenemy: To Carl Hickman who pursues him across two continents. Genovese for his part, initially claims he has no idea who Hickman is, but comes to take it personally after Hickman shoots him in the head in the season one finale.
- Beard of Evil
- Big Bad: Along with Dimitrov, he is the main antagonist of season one, serving as the focal point of Hickman's arc.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: He and Dimitrov likely do not even know of one another's existence. Genovese ends up outlasting Dimitrov, serving as the Arc Villain for the first season and a half.
- Boxing Battler: We have not seen him get physical with anyone yet, but Tommy's examination of Anika's corpse implies that this is the case.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Gloats about being the first "real bad guy" the Dutch police have ever seen.
- Circus of Fear: Runs a carnival that kidnaps children.
- Complexity Addiction: Genovese's need to dominate everyone around him, and his belief that he always holds all the cards ensures that his plans to ruin Hickman are incredibly over complicated.
- Evil Is Petty: A smug, petty, crass dick who enjoys kicking dogs every chance he gets.
- Frame-Up: Framed Hickman for killing Anika.
- Hard Head: Gets shot in the head but does not die in the season one finale.
- It's Personal: It was personal for Hickman from the start. Following his shooting and arrest at Carl's hands and subsequently narrow brush with imprisonment, it is personal for Genovese as well.
- Jerkass: Is introduced yelling at Hickman (who is pretending to be a garbage collector at the carnival) to clean up a Port-A-John that was knocked over. This serves as an excellent introduction to his overall personality.
- Kick the Dog: When Genovese isn't trafficking women and children or framing Hickman for murder, he's calling women offensive slurs, accusing the Dutch of screwing farm animals, or bragging about beating a girl to death. And then there's the attempt at getting Hickman to overdose, which was just an added layer of unnecessary cruelty in an already gratuitously evil plan.
- Narcissist: A thoroughly malignant one, combining the sadism and proudly antisocial behaviour of The Sociopath, with an all-consuming sense of his own importance. Even when arrested, all Genovese can do is boast about is how meeting him must be a huge deal for the Dutch police.
- Sadist: To the point of trying to arrange Hickman's death by drug overdose so he can watch.
- Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Genovese didn't have the highest onscreen bodycount of anyone on the show, but the disgust with which he and his one-time partner and fellow slaver Alex Robak are treated is evidence that this trope is in play, and the series made it clear just how great the collateral damage from his human trafficking ring is. In the end he's charged with murder, assault, and human trafficking in America...and Crimes Against Humanity in the Hague.
- Smug Snake: Good God yes!
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Invokes the trope himself, explaining that he won't kill Hickman himself because he'd rather leave him alive and miserable, or get him to OD of his own volition.
- Would Hit a Girl: Killed one girl, beat another to a pulp, and knocked a third out, all in the space of two episodes, and that's ignoring the fact that he's a human trafficker, and his later attempts at murdering Amanda.
- Would Hurt a Child: Would sell one into slavery anyway.
- You Fight Like a Cow: Taunts Hickman throughout both their gunfights.
- Played by: Duccio Camerini
An Italian Mafia don with connections to Eva's past, Nicola Conti tries to mask his viciousness behind a facade of geniality. He and his henchman, Gian Carlo, act as the main threats of the episode "Desperation & Desperadoes."
- The Don: A pretty classic example.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Conti actually seems to care for his daughter.
- Evil Old Folks: Appears to be somewhere in his sixties.
- The Mafia: Heads up a branch of it and is the reason why Eva enrolled in an anti-Mafia task force in the first place.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Always well dressed, totally evil.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Leaves the killing to his right-hand man, Gian Carlo, who is well-suited to the task.
- Smug Snake: Far too overconfident and full of himself.
- Villain of the Week: Of "Desperation & Desperadoes".
- Played by: Luigi Di Fore
A Mafia hitter who acts as chief of security for Nicola Conti, Gian Carlo is an absolutely ruthless killer, who believes in leaving no witnesses behind. Pursuing Conti's kidnapped daughter, Angela, across Italy and Slovenia, Gian Carlo leaves a trail of human wreckage behind him, including forty-two dead.
- Bad Boss: Kills two of his men over the course of the episode, one for failure, and one for suggesting that murdering the boss' daughter might be a bad idea.
- Cop Killer: Guns down two Slovenian police officers at the hospital and dies while trying to shoot Tommy In the Back.
- Crime After Crime: Each shootout that Gian Carlo involves himself in inevitably triggers the next slaughter as he tries to cover it up.
- The Dragon: To Nicola Conti.
- Dragon-in-Chief: It is Gian Carlo, not Nicola Conti, who is the main threat of "Desperation & Desperadoes."
- Lack of Empathy: Gian Carlo has no sympathy for his victims, his henchmen, or even the girl he's supposed to be rescuing.
- Leave No Witnesses: Gian Carlo's insistence on this results in three separate massacres - one at an Italian marketplace, one at a Slovenian gas station, and a third at a Slovenian hospital - as he tries to make sure there's nobody who can recognize him or his hit squad.
- The Mafia: A card-carrying member of it.
- More Dakka: Favors the submachine gun as a Weapon of Choice, as do his men.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: A henchman fails you? Shoot him. Witnesses to your crimes? Shoot them. The police get in your way? Shoot them. The girl you are trying to rescue does not want to be rescued? Shoot her. A henchman questions this? Shoot him too. Gian Carlo does not seem to have ever encountered a problem he did not think he could slaughter his way out of, which is what results in him butchering forty-two people over the course of an afternoon.
- Professional Killer: Kept around as a bodyguard and bagman alike.
- The Resenter: Hates Angela Conti, for having the safe life he never will.
- Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: From the perspective of the Slovenians, although the audience and the SCU know he is just as awful on his home turf, in Italy.
- The Sociopath: It's not immediately apparent, given his lack of overt sadism, but there are parts missing in Gian Carlo. His immediate reaction to any problem is to start dropping bodies, and he never displays a hint of remorse, ratcheting up the death toll without batting an eye or even reconsidering his course of action.
- Trigger Happy: See Murder Is the Best Solution. Gian Carlo's instinctive reaction to any problem seems to be the use of overwhelming firepower.
- Villain of the Week: The Heavy of "Desperation & Desperadoes", doing all of the killing and advancing of the plot while his boss hangs back.
- Would Hit a Girl: Would murder his boss' daughter, despite having orders to bring her back alive.
- Would Hurt a Child: There were two children among the twenty-five dead at the marketplace massacre.
- You Have Failed Me: Executes one of his henchmen for allowing Antonio and Paulo to rob the warehouse and kidnap Angela.
- Played by: Noortje Herlaar
A computer hacker with a grudge, Anka specializes in tracking her victims online and convincing them to commit suicide. All four of her targets are eventually revealed to have done the same thing to her younger brother. The main antagonist of the season two episode, "Everyone Will Know."
- Asshole Victim: All four of Anka's victims were dreadful people. It is very hard, for instance, to have any sympathy for Amelie, whose dark secret was that she had seduced her mother's boyfriend. And that is before we find out about what they did to Anka's brother.
- The Cracker: Anka breaks into people's personal computers, stealing their information, or even using computer webcams to record her victims' activities.
- Driven to Suicide: Her specialty.
- Expecting Someone Taller/Hackette: The team never say what they were expecting the hacker to look like, but the six foot blonde knockout clearly was not it.
- Evil Genius: Quite possibly the smartest antagonist on the show, given her ability to get away with everything.
- Freudian Excuse: Her younger brother committed suicide after Stefan, Amelie, and their compatriots turned him into an online joke.
- Karma Houdini: Suicide is not illegal in Germany, which means that convincing somebody to commit it is not illegal either. The most Anka can be charged with is harassment and invasion of privacy. She is unlikely to do any prison time, and will almost certainly go after Stefan, the surviving victim, again.
- Manipulative Bastard: Plays on her victims fears and emotional vulnerabilities in order to get them to kill themselves.
- Motive Rant: Gives a speech to the arresting officers about what her four victims did to her brother.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Anka's four victims turned her shy younger brother into an online joke, resulting in his suicide. Her goal is to do the same to them.
- Revenge: Anka's objective.
- Villain of the Week: Of "Everyone Will Know."
Louis' wife, who blames him for the death of their son.
- It's Personal: She does not know it, but her prosecution of Dimitrov's brother-in-law is why he is coming after them.