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The main characters of the TV series Defiance:


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Nolan & Irisa

    Nolan 

Chief Lawkeeper Joshua Nolan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/nolan_joshua_5512.jpg
"I'm starting to like this place."
Played By: Grant Bowler

Joshua Nolan is a former lieutenant in the Earth Military Coalition who fought in the alien conflict. Born prior to the aliens' arrival, he saw his comfortable life turned upside down when the war between the humans and Votans began. The conflict took its toll, and in the aftermath of Arkfall, he found himself a wanderer in a dangerous new world. There he was joined by Irisa, a young Irathient he raised as his own, and who served as his lone companion in the lawless badlands. Nolan believes in right and wrong, but administers it by his own code.


  • Anti-Hero: While he is a generally good person, Nolan isn't above milking others for his own benefit (and, by extension, Irisa's). Of particular note is the fact that the crystal taken from him in the pilot was in turn stolen by him from the player character in the tie-in video game.
    • The flashbacks in History Rhymes take him into full-on Retired Monster territory, with casual torture of a captured Irathient, and a very young Irisa forced to execute a helpless prisoner.
  • The Atoner: Although he'd never admit it and remains a die-hard Combat Pragmatist, somewhere during the Pale Wars Nolan went from the kind of guy who committed war atrocities to the kind of guy who stopped battles and rescued orphans. It's strongly implied that this is the origin of his Chronic Hero Syndrome.
    • Taken to a new level in Season 3, where his decision to find the Omec a new home instead of leaving the ship to detonate is strongly implied to be atonement for his failure to save the strike force and his Ax-Crazy actions following.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis:
    • In "A Well Respected Man", Nolan cleverly takes one of Datak's schemes apart. Datak had his men instruct a Castithan snitch not to talk to Nolan so he would get angry, then Datak would swoop in and "gently persuade" the man to talk, making Nolan look like a fool and Datak look like a hero. But Nolan sees through Datak's bullshit, taking note of the fact that the snitch is more scared of Datak than the armed Lawkeeper.
    • In "Painted From Memory", he is able to deduce that the Kenya they found in the previous episode is actually a modified Indogene simply by a common thread in her fragmented memories and a few absent scars.
  • Ax-Crazy: After his grief for the strike force and the Ark tech fragments in his brain cause him to develop a homicidal split personality late in Season 3, leading to him hallucinating bomb parts in a bag, storming into a peaceful party with Guns Akimbo, and fatally shooting the Votan ambassador.
  • Back from the Dead: He is shot by Black Jonah in "Everything is Broken", but was resurrected after Irisa made a deal with Irzu.
  • Badass Beard: Badass Perma-Stubble, but the point remains.
  • Badass Longcoat: Takes to wearing one in the second season onward.
  • Berserk Button: Hurting Amanda, or pretty much anyone he cares about, is a quick recipe for death. When Yewll and Pottinger's copy of Kenya unexpectedly shows up in Defiance, Yewll states in no uncertain terms that Nolan would not hesitate to kill them if he figured out they were responsible.
  • Blood Knight: It's hinted at and later confirmed, that Nolan was one of these during the Pale Wars. That part of him returns after "Ostinato In White".
  • But Now I Must Go: Chooses to depart with Yewll in the Omec ship for the good of its passengers instead of following his daughter back to Defiance.
  • Can't Live Without You: In Season 3, he and Irisa have to stay close to each other (around a mile at most) due to some Votan nanotech stuck in their brains after a shared stay in a stasis pod. At least until Kindzi rips his tech out.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Referenced by Irisa as a reason they can't get ahead: he's always got to stop what they're doing and help save something/someone.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: A side-effect of Chronic Hero Syndrome.
  • Cowboy Cop: Tends to act on what's right without considering the social or political implications. It earns him the enmity of Datak, who's used to a certain amount of leeway in such matters. He's called on this by Berlin, who says he is using the war as an excuse to act out his Han Solo fantasies.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Nolan Used to Be a Sweet Kid. Then the Votan War happened. He joined up with his tough-as-nails sister, who ended up being killed when Nolan fell for an I Surrender, Suckers gambit from an Irathiant. After that, he took his sister's survival lessons to heart and has been pragmatic ever since.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Hinted at with his apprehension to speak of his wartime past. His sister was killed in front of him during a battle, and he was later involved in the Yosemite massacre, where over 200 Human and Votan civilians were killed.
    • He's also one of the people responsible the Arkfall, due to using a copy of the Arc Core to stop a Votan attack on civilians.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Snarks about allowing Datak Tarr and Rafe McCawley to carry weapons when they act as if they're above the law, while he isn't because he's an outsider.
  • Determinator:
    • In "If I Ever Leave This World Alive", he spends the entire episode suffering from hemorrhagic fever, yet he takes longer to succumb than numerous characters who were infected after he was.
    • In the Season 2 finale, he gets shot in the chest with a taser. He drags himself over to the shooter and kicks his ass, then allows himself to fall only after everyone in the room is down.
  • Fantastic Racism: Formerly toward aliens, and currently toward Biomen. Though it may be a Freudian Excuse as Biomen were created as a weapon of war, of which Nolan is trying hard to move past.
  • Friend to All Children: As to be expected of a man whose reputation comes from rescuing children in danger, threatening children is a serious sore spot with him. He helps Alak Tarr after it's clear Rafe intends to lynch him, and the motivating factor for his Conscience Makes You Go Back moment is seeing a bunch of children being ushered to safety.
  • Genius Bruiser: Despite his thuggish appearance, Nolan is a very smart, capable man.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He was perfectly willing to leave Olfin Tennet to die after she orchestrated a scheme to steal Defiance's deposit for a railroad, leading to several deaths. He also murders a Mad Bomber in cold blood to keep the Earth Republic from exploiting his weapon-making talents.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Kenya decides to stop charging him because he's fun to be with.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the third season finale, he flies away in the Omec ship with the intent of redeeming those still aboard, giving no thought to his own prospects of getting home.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: His publicity takes a hit when Datak reveals his not-so-squeaky-clean past, but he recovers it in the second season when he risks his life to disarm a shrill bomb, saving Stahma Tarr in the process.
  • I Am What I Am: In "Brothers in Arms", his old friend points out that he isn't some politician. In his heart, Nolan is a soldier. After a moment to think on it, Nolan agrees and kills Pol Madis in cold blood after learning the weapon maker wasn't going to be executed but used by Earth Republic to make more weapons.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...:
    • Though he doesn't actually use the line, Nolan doesn't seem terribly fond of how the Defiant Few have been idolized. In particular, when Amanda tries to ask him about the actual incident, he only vaguely replies "It was what it was." Given his Chronic Hero Syndrome, it's probably in part due to the fact that before the Defiant Few incident, there was literally a world war going on where countless died and suffered. Glamorizing the reality of war is something he has consistently fought against.
    • The game explains why he's frustrated with the idolization of the Defiant Few: they activated a terraforming device to defeat the enemy forces, obliterating San Francisco and effectively committing a war crime. He's noticeably evasive when events surrounding the incident come up.
    • In episode 4, when Nolan explains the process to make Adreno from human adrenal fluid, Amanda tries to ask if his own unit was involved. Nolan quickly turns her attention back to the matter at hand without answering.
    • "Brothers in Arms" reveals that he got the nickname "No-Man Nolan" during the war, on account of an itchy trigger finger. He also has a fairly large bounty on his head, half that of the Mad Bomber Pol Madis.
    • "Past is Prologue" reveals that he was involved in a massacre and did things during the Pale Wars that border on war crimes.
  • In-Series Nickname: "No-Man Nolan," which he tells Irisa is because he got stranded behind enemy lines and had to cross through no-man's land. In reality, he was given the name due to his tendency to leave no man alive.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Stuck in a dirty job where he doesn't always have all the information he should and pulled this and that way by Town Council politics, he continues to soldier on.
  • Last-Name Basis: To date, only Datak, who did so mockingly, has ever called him "Joshua".
  • Morality Chain: He and Irisa are this to each other. Irisa's violent tendencies are kept in check by her loyalty to Nolan, and Nolan is implied to have been much more brutal prior to adopting Irisa.
  • Papa Wolf: It is a seriously bad idea to mess with Irisa if he's anywhere nearby.
    "Tommy, you hurt my daughter, your questions about God, they're gonna get answered personally."
  • Perma-Stubble: Which serves to accentuate his Anti-Hero demeanor.
  • Really Gets Around: Nolan is something of a man-slut. So far Kenya, Amanda and Berlin have all slept with him. Tommy even lampshades that Nolan has basically no shame, a fact Nolan himself agrees with.
  • Sanity Slippage: Ever since his strike force was wiped out, he's been on a downward spiral. He eventually develops a Split Personality and becomes homicidal.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: In "Brothers in Arms", he murdered Pol Madis in cold blood upon learning that both sides wanted to put him to work designing weapons for them, rather than imprison him for being a mass murderer and general psychopath. His entire justification was "It felt right."
  • The Sheriff: Inherits the title of "lawkeeper" due to being the only qualified person in town after the original lawkeeper bites the dust.
  • Spanner in the Works: The only reason Defiance still exists is because Nolan happened to wind up there just when the villains' plan was set into motion.
  • Spirit Advisor: Gets one in the form of a hallucination of his Ax-Crazy military self.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Young Nolan had a hard time with violence, even in war. Then his sister was killed because he couldn't shoot an Irathiant pulling an I Surrender, Suckers gambit. That hardened him real quick.
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    Irisa 

Deputy Lawkeeper Irisa Nyira

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/irisa_8746.jpg
"You're an idiot."
Played By: Stephanie Leonidas

Nolan: Now, can I trust you to be a good girl and behave yourself while I'm gone?
Irisa: Probably not.
Nolan: There's my girl.

An attractive Irathient woman, Irisa is Nolan's tacit second in command and adoptive daughter. Smart, independent and feisty, Irisa still struggles with the weight of her unusual upbringing. Nolan has encouraged Irisa to leave behind her traumatic past. He rescued her at a young age, and the two have been inseparable ever since. But leaving the past behind is easier said than done - especially when Irisa is cursed with a destructive, powerful entity inside her that threatens everyone.


  • Abusive Parents: Implied about her biological parents. Her parents were part of a cult that tortured her by tying her wrists so tight that they bled and had a venomous snake bite her just to see if she was the cult's messiah..
    • A flashback reveals that Nolan exposed her to death and violence on a regular basis and as a child she was so afraid of him she tried to stab him to death in his sleep, which he just barely avoided by waking up. He doesn't regret teaching her hard lessons but he is horrified by the way she sees him in her memory.
  • Action Girl: More than willing to knife someone holding a gun to her head, and just as capable a fighter as Nolan.
  • Anti-Hero: Even more so than Nolan.
  • Badass Boast: When the deputy claims they're both trapped in the jail, him due to duty and her due to being behind bars.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Her shirt is just a bit too short to get all the way down. Then there's the outfit she wears while performing a kind of 'roided up Tai Chi.
  • Berserk Button: Chains or any similar type of restriction, especially if kids are exposed to it.
  • Broken Bird: Due to the above mentioned Abusive Parents.
  • Can't Live Without You: In Season 3, she and Nolan have to stay close to each other (around a mile at most) due to some Votan nanotech stuck in their brains after a shared stay in a stasis pod.
  • Catchphrase: "You're an idiot." It's usually said in response to people acting more altruistic than necessary.
  • The Chosen One: According to Daigo, who may or may not be batshit insane. Sukar has a similar belief (but for very different reasons) but he's not insane. The fact that she's gotten this treatment twice, once from someone she hates and once from someone she deeply respects, makes her rather uncomfortable. Both the treatment itself and the juxtaposition of the two.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Like father, like daughter.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Whatever Nolan rescued her from, it apparently involved chains and she has scars on her wrists from it. Episode 5 reveals that a cult was trying to make her into a Dark Messiah.
  • Deal with the Devil: She agrees to become Irzu's / The Kaziri's "weapon" in order to save Nolan. In the second season, this causes her to involuntarily convert people to a sort of Hive Mind cult, and ultimately use the Kaziri's terraformers to blow up New York and damage Defiance.
  • Despair Event Horizon: after breaking the Kaziri's control over her, and remembering what she did to Tommy, she immediately begs Nolan to kill her.
  • Driven to Suicide: She tries to kill herself, but Irzu has other ideas and just regenerates her.
  • Emotionally Tongue-Tied: Her catchphrase is usually delivered in this manner, since she can't articulate what she's feeling in a more descriptive way.
  • Fiery Redhead: She's Hot-Blooded and has the same fiery hair color as all Irathients.
  • Good Is Not Nice: She always strives to do what's right, but can be very blunt and abrasive in her efforts. She's also a bit quicker to resort to violence than Nolan.
  • Happily Adopted: She and Nolan really do love each other, despite some friction over his more heroic qualities. Subverted in season three when it's revealed that for much of their association she was terrified of him and almost killed him at one point.
  • Heroic BSoD: After killing Tommy she is incapable of using a gun or killing anyone.
  • Hidden Depths: She appears to be a pretty good artist, if her sketch of Alak in her diary is anything to go by.
  • Human Weapon: Well, Votan, but yes. The exact details are still unclear at the end of the first season, but at least one important person believes it.
    Irzu: You must become.
    Irisa: Become what?
    Irzu: My weapon.
  • In-Series Nickname: The Spirit Riders call her "Little Wolf".
  • Interspecies Romance: With Tommy as of the end of "The Serpent's Egg".
  • Knife Nut: Always has a knife hidden somewhere. She's got four on her back, and at least two on each thigh. When she comes to Alak and Christie's wedding in a dress, Tommy's first observation is that she doesn't have any knives. Irisa then reveals she has them strapped to her thigh.
  • MacGuffin Super Person: The cult implanted the white Kaziri in her, which has bonded with her entire system. This is probably the origin of her visions.
  • Morality Chain: She doesn't act on her more violent impulses thanks to Nolan, and in turn it's implied Nolan was much worse before adopting her and needing to set a good example as a result.
  • Ms. Fanservice: With her midriff baring and her relatively explicit sex scene with Tommy, she's certainly heading this way very quickly.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Her decision to save Elah Bandik from torture results in Datak Tarr killing him.
  • Perpetual Frowner: She's either frowning or giving someone a Death Glare, usually while threatening them with one weapon or another.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: She's quite short short compared to most of the main cast, but still able to put up a hell of a fight.
  • Revenge Before Reason: She wanted to kill the cultist so badly she was willing to kill Tommy until it was made clear the man was a Death Seeker.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: She tries to cut down Elah Bandik, despite his torture being legal and a cultural norm.
  • Seer: She's been gifted with "the sight", a rare ability among her people to see into the past and anywhere in the present.
  • Sociopathic Hero: At times, although Nolan and Tommy act as Morality Chains.
  • That Girl Is Dead: Tells Tommy "The Irisa you love is gone," right before stabbing him in the guts.
  • Trauma Button: Averted; In the first episode, Tommy tries to put handcuffs on her, but Nolan convinces him that Irisa, who had a traumatic experience with being chained up, might flip out and kill him.
  • Tsundere: Most evident in her relationship with Tommy.
  • You Are in Command Now: At the end of the series, she becomes the Lawkeeper after Nolan's Heroic Sacrifice.

The Rosewater Sisters

    Amanda 

Amanda Rosewater

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rosewater_amanda_8557.jpg
"There's always hope. And it's our job to remind them of that."
Played By: Julie Benz

Born in New York in 2011, Amanda shouldered a great responsibility at an early age, serving as a stand-in parent for her sister Kenya when their mother and father died during the Pale Wars. Adrift in a post-war world, Amanda eventually heard of a town where Humans and Votans were attempting to coexist. She traveled to Defiance and accepted a job cleaning the mayor's office. Despite these humble beginnings, she so impressed then-Mayor Nicolette Riordan that, upon her retirement, Nicky appointed Amanda to finish out her term.

Amanda used her political power to maintain peace in the community, an ambitious task in this deadly new world. Losing the Mayoral seat was a blow, but Amanda's strength and determination to do the right thing remain no matter what her position in the community.


  • The Alcoholic: It's subtle - and somewhat understandable, given the huge amount of stress she faces every day - but she seeks solace in the bottle quite a bit. And she prefers the hard stuff; her drink of choice is pre-war scotch.
  • Berserk Button: Insulting her sister will get you a slap to the face.
  • Brutal Honesty: As opposed to inspiring speeches that were seemingly a hallmark of the previous Mayor, Amanda has started her career by being utterly honest in horrible situations. One such example is flat-out telling the townspeople that they're going to die in the Volge attack.
    • Then there's this exchange in Season 2:
    Nolan: Am I a bad father?
    Amanda: Well since you asked... kind of, yeah.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Her first two scenes. Her first scene shows her as the idealistic if unsure of herself mayor, her second scene shows her as an example of Good Is Not Dumb.
  • Fanservice Pack: In Season 2, she now manages the Need/Want and has a Cleavage Window in her outfit.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted. Despite being an overall good character, she had an abortion years ago. The abortion itself is treated as an understandable choice given the overall situation, but her handling of it—not even discussing it with the father, Connor Lang, beforehand, even knowing he would have a problem with it—led to the destruction of their relationship. It's later revealed that her pregnancy was a result of her rape by a stranger, but she refused to admit it because it would have damaged her political career.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: She's an idealist, but is neither stupid nor naive. This is especially made clear by her first interaction with Nolan. She is not overly impressed to learn he is one of "The Defiant Few", musing that that was a long time ago and insists he answer her questions. Also, when he tries to impress on her that he can only work if he has a gun, and needs to work to make enough money to leave town, she casually mentions that the local brothel is hiring. Later, when Stahma tries to convince her to appoint Datak as the temporary mayor when she's incapacitated by a virus, she sees right through the attempt.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Blond and very good-hearted.
  • Missing Mom: She disappeared in the Pale Wars during a bombing.
  • Not So Above It All: She's not above leveraging her position as Mayor to force Alak to play her favorite song on the radio.
  • Parental Substitute: To Kenya after losing their mother, to the point that she slaps a woman for insulting Kenya's mother, claiming it was an insult to her. It turns out that their mother was unwilling to go back into danger for Kenya, so Amanda did so alone.
    • Mama Bear: When the body of Kenya's abusive missing husband is found bricked up inside of a wall, Tommy and Nolan's first suspect is Amanda, and both privately admit that she'd definitely be capable of murder to protect her sister. She's innocent, however.
    • From when Stahma told her that the newly rescued Kenya is a fake.
    Amanda: If you repeat that lie anywhere, to anyone, I will hurt you. It will be painful, and it will be permanent.
  • Rape as Backstory: When she was working in New York in an E-Rep building, she was raped by an E-Rep soldier. This led to her pregnancy and subsequent abortion, neither of which she could properly explain because it would have affected her career. And to make matters worse, the soldier who raped her turned out to be Niles Pottinger.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: She has difficulty with the mayor-ish duties, but is very good at just taking care of people.
  • Took a Level in Badass: She was always intelligent and much tougher than she looks, but by Season 2 she's become even more so. So far we've seen her out-maneuver Pottinger politically and take down an abusive drunk twice her size.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: She unwittingly drives Deidre Lamb to more extreme methods simply by encouraging her to fight for what she wants.

    Kenya 

Kenya Rosewater

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Rosewater_Kenya_775.jpg
"I've never not been able to do my job."
Played By: Mia Kirshner

Kenya is the beautiful spitfire who runs the NeedWant, the town's bar and brothel. Self-assured and dauntless, she has an unwavering devotion to the town that has inexorably woven her into many of its complicated affairs.

Growing up, Kenya rebelled by making trouble and embracing her sexuality. When Kenya arrived in Defiance, she took up residence at the NeedWant, eventually becoming its proprietor.

She has a keen insight into the needs of others, but a blind spot when it comes to her own emotions.


  • Action Girl: Nolan is initially unconcerned that she was wandering around the worst part of town at night, claiming she can take care of herself. She also carries around a knife for self-defense, which unfortunately is completely useless against a bioman.
  • The Bartender: Her first role in the plot is to sit behind her bar and give Nolan advice on where to find some quick cash.
  • Bi the Way: Sleeps with Stahma.
  • Came Back Wrong: In "Painted From Memory", after returning in the previous episode, her memory is oddly fragmented. It's revealed that she's actually an Indogene altered by Yewll to look like Kenya and implanted with Amanda's Kenya-specific memories to create a convincing forgery.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the pilot, when a grimy miner walks in and asks for sex, she gives him a lecture on dressing well before inviting him back after he takes a shower.
  • Ethical Slut: Both in how she runs her business and in her personal relationships
  • Friends with Benefits: She decides not to charge Nolan for their sessions, since he's fun, at the same time insisting that they don't use labels for their relationship. She ends up breaking it off in the next episode because it interferes with her work, and Nolan's a good sport about it.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: She's a prostitute and madame. She also deeply loves her sister and runs a clean establishment.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Her skimpy outfits and numerous sex scenes. There are also a few scenes focused on her running up and down while in a skimpy outfit.
  • Put on a Bus: Amanda thinks this is the case in season 2, which Stahma gently tries to dissuade her of. Stahma actually killed her and hid the body.
    • The Bus Came Back: She returns in "Slouching Towards Bethlehem", cruelly subverted, she hasn't comeback. The person who returns is actually a modified Indogene made to look like Kenya.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Contrasting her sister.

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The Tarr Family

    Datak 

Datak Tarr

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tarr_datak_6669.jpg
"I do these things, endure these painful encounters so our son never has to. This is my gift."
Played By: Tony Curran

Datak Tarr is the primary figure in Defiance's underworld, running everything from gambling to weapons smuggling and organized crime. True to his Castithan ways, Datak is always on the lookout for opportunities that allow him to get his hooks into people so he can later manipulate them to his own ends.

Born into a lower caste on his homeworld, Datak found his way onto an Ark despite his low standing. There he met Stahma, who admired his instincts, and the two became husband and wife. Once they arrived in Defiance, he used brute force and wits to establish a powerful business interest in the town. More than anything, Datak desires legitimacy and a better future for his family.


  • Abusive Parents: He crosses the line into this territory when he scars his own son Alak. Datak also suffered this himself, having a deeply religious and abusive father who is implied to have been worse than even Datak.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: He does beg for his life, but is desperately ashamed of it. He even kills the only witness - the man who literally saved his life from the situation he was begging for it in, five seconds previously - to keep this secret.
  • Ambiguously Bi: He hires a male Nightporter at the Need/Want, and even passionately kisses them, but it's just to get them alone so he can talk about their connections to the VC. However, Castithans, and the Votans in general, don't seem all too bothered by sexuality so its entirely possible he's not completely straight.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Cuts off his arm so that he can escape an explosion focused on a beacon hidden in the arm without sabotaging the mission.
  • Anti-Villain: He's a crime lord, but he doesn't want to be. He much prefers to be honestly respected rather than feared, and his overriding goal is to create a legitimate business empire to leave to his son.
  • Bad Boss: Datak doesn't treat his employees very well, and has even been known to kill them. This bites him in the ass when Stahma takes control, as they're all too happy to beat the living hell out of their former tormentor.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: He is elected mayor of Defiance in the season 1 finale. Datak's victory is short-lived, however, as his E-Rep allies prove that they have no intention of sharing control of Defiance with him.
  • Berserk Button: It's a very bad idea to challenge Datak's pride, even unintentionally.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: At the end of season 1, he and Stahma are left at the mercy of E-Rep soldiers... after Datak killed their commanding officer. In season 2, he's in a prison camp for his crimes with a ten year sentence.
  • Bullying a Dragon: After learning the details of what Nolan was like during the Pale Wars, he decides to reveal this publicly on the radio to everyone in Defiance. A supremely pissed off Nolan nearly beats him to death with his bare hands. And after Irisa gets Nolan to stop, Datak laughs at Nolan for not following through, which borders on Too Dumb to Live.
  • Control Freak: He has to be in control. He has to be in control of his wife, his son, his crime empire... everything. His life would be infinitely simpler if he was willing to let his wife take a more active role, and not force his son to take over the empire while he's in prison. As Alak notes, he actually has very little self-control, and quite a bit of the problems in Season 2 can be laid directly at his feet, as the Earth Republic used his murder of Colonel Marsh as an excuse to take over Defiance.
  • Culture Justifies Anything: Occasionally tries to use old Castithan traditions to get his way, which includes threatening to murder his son for disobeying him. This doesn't earn much points for him, since many of the people of Defiance, both Human and Votan, tend to disagree with their views.
  • The Don: Leader of the underworld in Defiance, and everyone seems to be aware of it.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • He's very annoyed at how much applause Rafe gets as opposed to him, mostly because Rafe deliberately filled the crowd with miners to upstage him.
    • In "A Well Respected Man", he initially refuses to help find Kenya because Nolan drags him out of his house in the middle of the night.
    • In "The Bride Wore Black" reveals eight years ago, he still had this attitude when he was helping bring in quadruple the profits to the town but Hunter Bell refused to give him any respect or more money.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He genuinely loves his wife and son and states that everything he does as a crime boss is to make a better life for them. Possibly subverted when it's revealed that he's more than willing to use his son as a political pawn and even threatens to straight-up murder his wife. He and his wife also care for their servant Jalina, banding together despite recent animosity to track down her killer.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He is disgusted when he sees a man run from the Volge Battle. The next episode reveals that such a show of cowardice is considered damning to the entire Castithan community.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: When Alak offers his own life in place of one of Datak's men, Datak assumes that it was all for show, to prove to the men that he cares about them. It doesn't occur to him that Alak meant it, and really doesn't want his father to murder his own men.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Sentenced to die for treason, he requests that he be executed by a Castithan shaming ritual rather than being hanged. This ultimately saves his life, as it keeps him alive long enough for Amanda to offer him a pardon in exchange for going on a Suicide Mission, which he manages to survive.
  • Fantastic Racism: Shows himself to be rather virulently anti-Irathient in "If I Ever Leave This World Alive". And despite his attempt to appear civil, his barely veiled contempt for Humans is obvious to everyone.
  • Good Feels Good: He initially disdains the cheers that his rival McCawley receives during the founding celebration as merely due to his having stuffed the crowd with mine workers. Later, after he vows to forgive the interest on debts of all those who fight against the Volge and receives a cheer in turn, he is clearly somewhat affected.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He's given the change to make one to destroy Rahm Tak and his army. Datak survives it thanks to some quick thinking while still doing the job.
  • Hot-Blooded: The main thing playing into his Red Oni, Blue Oni with Stahma. And ultimately, why she's so much more dangerous.
  • Hypocrite: Datak is a massive hypocrite, and not just in the usual politician way.
    • He enforces caste-based traditions in Defiance because, in his current position, that makes him top dog. The same traditions on their world had him at the bottom of the barrel.
    • He cheats on his wife with Kenya, but becomes outraged when he finds out she was doing the same thing. It seems to be more of an overall Castithan cultural hypocrisy, since Castithans are mostly patriarchal. It's suggested in one episode that it's cultural tradition for a male Castithan to have sex with a stand-in for their wife-to-be during their equivalent of a bachelor party. On a deeper level the fact he has sex with a human at all is hypocritical given he detests humans as inferior and disgusting, refers to them as smelling bad and claims any Castithan who thinks otherwise has lost their sense of smell.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Having come from the lowest caste of the Castithan, he does his best to come off as this but doesn't always succeed.
  • Papa Wolf: He was ready to kill Rafe for threatening Alak, though Stahma talked him out of it, and killed two Hellbugs that were trying to attack Christie and Alak.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: He avenges Jalina's death by gouging out the eyes of the doctor who harvested her corneas.
  • Pride: Both his driving motivation and most obvious flaw.
  • The Quisling: Jumps in bed with the Earth Republic to help win his bid for Mayor of Defiance, and fully intends to sell out the town for a generous cut of the profits.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red Oni to Stahma's Blue.
  • The Rival: To Rafe McCawley. Datak doesn't particularly like being a criminal, and wants to have the same respect Rafe holds in the town so Alak can have a better life. Of course, it's no big secret that he is one, so this naturally creates some friction.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Claims Nolan deactivating his Bioman was a "low-blow," and confiscates most of his winnings.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: He looks exactly like his father, who is also played by Tony Curran. The only different is their haircuts.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Being ungrateful seems to be a recurring theme with Datak. Humans have saved his life at least three times but he still regards them as inferior and is more than willing to kill the very people who saved him. Connor Lang saves his life...and Datak kills him so nobody knows he shamed his liro.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: He tries really hard to invoke this. Ruthlessly so if need be. With varying degrees of success.
  • Villainous BSoD: After murdering Colonel Marsh, he just stands there, waiting for the inevitable, and even confides in his wife that he misses home (mind you, he was nobody there). It's a very different attitude for the otherwise outspoken Datak.
  • Villainous Valor: When it comes down to it, Datak won't shy away from battle. During the Volge attack, he's right up front with everyone else and is even seen showing others how to shoot.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Or allies, rather, with Rafe McCawley when working against Hunter Bell.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Stahma mentions, off-handedly, how he sometimes visits the Need-Want for Kenya and others. It's seemingly something that Castithan men are expected to do.

    Stahma 

Stahma Tarr

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tarr_stahma_1433.jpg
"The most we can hope for is that what we want is worth the evil we do."

The wife of Datak Tarr, one of the most powerful men in Defiance, Stahma is seemingly the perfect picture of a Castithan wife. Beneath the surface, however, lies a dark side that is ready to break from the traditional roles assigned her by her race. Stahma has her own ambitions and uses cunning and politics to achieve them.

Having met Datak during her voyage on an Ark, Stahma aided him in his business during the Pale Wars. When the fighting ended, the two found themselves among a group of migrant settlers and eventually settled in Defiance.


  • Affably Evil: Stahma is gently charming and very likable on a genuine level, despite the horrible things she does. For example, she cheerfully tells Christie a story which basically implies she murdered her fiancé to be with Datak.
  • All for Nothing: In "Painted from Memory", Stahma is horrified to learn that Datak never expected her to actually kill Kenya like he told her to. He thought Stahma would drug Kenya and have her shipped off somewhere, like the common fan theory. But she did kill her.
  • Appeal to Tradition: Stahma does this twice in "The Bride Wore Black" by understanding Christie's earlier dislike of the Telos, a Castithan wedding device which keeps the bride blinded through the wedding so the first thing she sees is her husband. So before the wedding, even when Christie was willing to wear it, she gives Christie the an old human-style wedding veil, which while not fully blinds Christie, would work here.
  • Bi the Way: She has sex with Kenya, although it's unclear if Castithans have the same labels as humans do.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: At the end of Season 1, she and Datak are left at the mercy of E-Rep soldiers... after Datak killed their commanding officer. Resolved in the second season.
  • Cradling Your Kill: Done by Stahma to Kenya, after she poisons and kills Kenya in Season One.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She loves her husband despite his cruelty, and would do anything to protect her son. She also honestly cares for their servant Jalina.
  • Femme Fatale: Not a traditional one, but she'll use her sensuality and sexuality along side soft and hard words to manipulate the people around her or hide the true strength she has. In "The Bride Wore Black", Datak is briefly amazed when Stahma (relatively speaking) raises her voice at him but she quickly becomes demure and sensual again in order to steer his thoughts back to where she wants them. In this sense, she's a rare successful Western depiction of a Yamato Nadeshiko.
  • Foil: To her son. Much like him, she has come to enjoy human and Earth culture and traditions. Whereas Alak has done so because he considers Earth home, she has done so because it affords her opportunities she could never have on Casti.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: She doesn't love Datak despite his cruelty, but because of it. She considers his cutthroat nature to be proof of his ambitiousness and willingness to do anything in order to succeed. She takes control of the family business away from her son, specifically because she sees him as too merciful.
  • Interspecies Romance: Twice, once with Kenya and again with T'evgin.
  • Lady Macbeth: Seems to be quite a bit more cunning than her husband, and even talks some sense into him when his approach is too unsubtle.
  • Leitmotif: A flute tune.
  • Mama Bear:
    • When Alak is scarred by Datak, she has Datak's men beat him severely and muscles him out of his own business. At least part of the reason was that Datak refused to treat her as an equal, but scarring Alak went over the line.
    • In the following episode, she confronts Rafe over beating Alak for his stunt during the debate in the previous season. However, rather than retaliate, she respects his similar reasons for doing it and even assures him that they both want the same thing for Alak.
  • The Man Behind the Man: After Datak is imprisoned, Stahma becomes the real power behind Alak. She makes him fully aware of this, using him as a figurehead to run the Tarr business successfully. She was also this to Datak, although not as blatantly.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Extremely so. Whether dealing with the townsfolk, her son, her husband, or her lover, Stahma plays everyone around her with relative ease.
  • Master Poisoner: When she has to do the dirty work herself, she favors poison. Just ask Kenya, the wife of Shigustak Kurr, and the Tarrs' treacherous crew.
  • More Deadly Than the Male:
    • She's always been the schemer in her marriage. It takes Nolan until episode 4 to realize it. She'll even manipulate her own husband to achieve her own ends.
      Nolan: I've been watching the wrong snake. You're the dangerous one.
      Stahma: You are very sweet.
    • We've known for a while that her fiancé "accidentally" fell out of an airlock before he could fight Datak in an honor duel. In the first episode of the second season, she implies that originally Datak was going to be the one to stage the accident. Emphasis on originally.
      Stahma: Once again, the strong Castithan male fails to do what is necessary, and it falls to me to open the airlock door myself!
    • And she really makes good on it in "Beasts of Burden". When Datak scars Alak in retribution for his betrayal while Datak was stuck in prison, Stahma takes over his business and has him beaten by his own men to teach him a lesson.
      Stahma: You should have made me a partner.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Played with. In public she wears concealing robes but at home is a very different story where she frequently wears little more than strategically placed jewelry.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: If Stahma's story of how they met is to believed (and one reads between the lines), she spaced her fiancé after he challenged Datak to a duel to the death.
  • Not So Stoic: There are two thngs that break her facade: Kenya's threat to reveal their affair, and the fact that Datak will probably get executed by E-Rep. She also breaks her facade again when telling Alak that she is in charge of the family business now.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: She's the one who came up with the idea of allowing Christie and Alak to marry with an eye on taking over the McCawley mines. She also parleyed Amanda's search for her sister into a Council seat for Datak when he had refused to help them, and used the fact that Christie was sick to tell Amanda's assistants not to bother Rafe about mayoral duties while he was at her bedside, so that Datak could take them over instead. She also realizes the opportunity that Amanda getting sick with the plague provides and sets plans in motion to take advantage of that well before Datak even realizes it himself or the part he's supposed to play.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue Oni To Datak's Red.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Castithans consider bathing a family bonding ritual, and thus she has no problem hugging her teenage son while wearing... necklaces, mainly. Subverted in that publicly she wears flowing robes that cover everything but her head and hands.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Under her smiles and elegance she's every bit as ruthless as her husband.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She is quite possibly the tallest female character in the series so far.
  • Tragic Villain: Stahma may be a villain, but there's a definite tragedy to her. She's a highly intelligent, strong-willed woman who had the misfortune of being raised in an extremely patriarchal society where she was seen as secondary to men. Her hopes, ambitions and dreams were put on halt as she was expected to be a wife, mother and nothing more.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Compared to her husband, most people seem to think of her as merely a soft spoken if occasionally firm wife who's nothing but kind and timid. Only Nolan and arguably Kenya knows otherwise and that's primarily because his cunning is near supernatural. Even her husband seems only partially aware of how manipulative she can be since most of her efforts where Datak are involved revolve around Datak. A good example being in "The Bride Wore Black" where she briefly gets flustered while trying to wrangle in a pissed off Datak.
  • Women Are Wiser: While her husband was willing to kill the entire McCawley in response to Rafe nearly killing his son, she points out that it would just take a few simple assassinations for all the McCawley property to fall under their control through Alak's relationship with Christie.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: She's probably one of the few examples in Western media and of those, probably one of the few that have done it well.
  • Your Cheating Heart: She sleeps with Kenya while married to Datak. Note that while Datak is guilty of the same, it's culturally-acceptable for him.

    Alak 

Alak Tarr

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tarr_alak_1465.jpg
Played By: Jesse Rath

Stahma: Alak is of the new world, he doesn't see the humans the way we do. He sees beauty in them, kindness.
Datak: Then he's lost his sense of smell.

Alak Tarr, the son of Defiance's subversive Castithan power couple, is a young man caught in the middle, chafing against tradition in a world full of new possibilities. Married to a human, Christie, Alak stands at odds with his family's conventional doctrines and the pressures they pose, and the entirely new realm of possibilities open to him as a citizen of Earth.


  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • When one of his friends calls him the Castithan equivalent of a limp dick because he's marrying Christie, he proceeds to beat the shit out of said friend.
    • When ordered to kill Skevur, who managed to slip his restraints, the fight ended with Alak brutally shanking Skevur until he stopped moving. Though that was probably more panic than anything else.
    • Single-handedly escapes the camp of an extremely dangerous General Ripper, then drives home and attempts to kill Stahma for her role in Christie's death.
  • Break the Cutie: Season Two does not start off well for Alak. It gets even worse for him in Season Three when his wife is murdered, Pilar kidnaps his child and leaves him for dead, and he is imprisoned in Rahm Tak's camp.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: He does this to Datak when he attempts to call off the wedding and again when he confronts Datak at the prison camp, calling him (not inaccurately) a 'miserable old bastard'.
    Alak: You're in here because you couldn't control the one thing you needed to—yourself.
  • Character Development: Initially, he was mostly a submissive (though snarky because of who his father was) pretty boy. The influence of Christie and Rafe - particularly when he's engaged - however, have made him more capable of standing up for himself, being his own man, and being a better man than his father. Which, while exactly what his father wants, isn't exactly how Datak would probably want it to happen.
  • Chick Magnet: Over the course of the series, he attracts Christie, Deirdre, Andina and Irisa.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Though in this case, his father puts up with it since his son marrying the mine owner's daughter presents... opportunities. There's also the fringe benefit that Rafe will be far more annoyed with the relationship than he will.
  • The Dog Bites Back: He sells out his parents as VC spies when he escapes back to Defiance, as retaliation for Stahma killing Christie. He finds little comfort in Stahma's reasoning.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: While certainly not squeaky clean (being willing to get in a knife fight with Luke McCawley when provoked), he's practically upstanding compared to his parents. He is even put off by Datak casually suggesting that they murder Rafe when he objected to Alak dating Christie. This is intentional on Datak's part; he does not want his son to be like him. This ends up being a problem in the second season. When Alak takes over the family business while Datak's stuck in prison, he proves too soft for the job and Stahma decides to just drop the pretense and take control herself.
  • Foil: To his own father. Alak is respectful of others because he considers them equals; his father is respectful of others in a mostly condescending way. Conversely, Alak is also respectful of the traditions of his home because he appreciates them... but he considers his home to be Earth; Datak is respectful of the traditions of his home (Casti) but only because it gives him the power of caste over others.
  • Going Native: Much to Datak's chagrin, his son is in love with a human and prefers their culture to his own.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Christie, a human.
  • Klingons Love Shakespeare: He broadcasts Earth oldies from the top of the arch, as well as Votan music.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Christie certainly sees him as such.
  • Mafia Princess: Rare male example. The typically naive/non-villainous version, although Datak doesn't want him to follow in the family business.
  • Non-Idle Rich: He's been shown working as a DJ at the top of the Gateway Arch, even devoting a song to Christie. He also provides useful radio reports, including the weather.
  • Scylla and Charybdis: Because of Rafe, Datak canceled the wedding and fully expects Alak to listen. This trope is in play because Alak genuinely loves Christie and wants to marry her, but he has rarely stood up to his father all his life. So now, he must choose between honoring his father verses the woman he genuinely loves. Rafe, seeing his genuine turmoil, helps him select Christie.
    • After the above example, Datak declares Alak has shamed his liro, and gives him a task to redeem himself. When that goes south, Rafe has him beat up, and declares if Alak ever does anything to shame Christie, he'll be killed. So, to sum up: if Alak doesn't do what his gangster father wants (which often ends in death or at least loss of property), Datak will kill him. But if he does do what his father wants, it's quite likely Rafe will kill him for it.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Goes from a meek Nice Guy whose only kill was coerced to a no-nonsense Badass Normal willing to sell out his own parents as VC spies and nearly kill his mother after witnessing Christie's murder and escaping Rahm Tak's camp.
  • Unwitting Pawn: In his father's scheme to set up Nolan for killing his friend.
  • Your Cheating Heart: He sleeps with Deidre despite being married to Christie.

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The McCawley Family

    Rafe 

Rafe McCawley

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mccawley_rafe_2106.jpg
"I’d appreciate your cooperation. I don’t require it."
Played By: Graham Greene

"Yeah, well, call me old-fashioned, but I believe in a fair fight."

Rafe McCawley is Defiance's richest and most powerful human – a mine owner whose family has been in this territory for generations. Raised by a tough-as-nails father, Rafe disobeyed his father's wishes and enlisted. After the Pale Wars, he took his wife and burgeoning family back to his home of St. Louis, now barely recognizable due to terraforming. He longs for the world as it was before the Votans arrived.

As one of the founders of Defiance, Rafe has amassed a considerable fortune in the mining business. He is not above using it to help shape the Defiance that HE believes is best.


  • The Atoner: His claim for rewriting his will so when he dies the lands the mines are on will be given to the Irathients of Defiance in a trust (since Irathient families originally claimed the land and were slaughtered by the men who sold it to Rafe, unknown to him at the time).
  • Badass Boast: "If you again act in a manner unworthy of my baby girl...your marriage will end. And I do not believe in divorce. Capice?"
  • Character Development: See Fantastic Racism.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After killing his godson Josef.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: He slaughters his way through a whole crew of Votan Collective soldiers after they kill Quentin. Then he gets killed.
  • Fantastic Racism: He's a bit virulent toward Castithans, especially the Tarrs.
    • He's also slightly intolerant towards Irathients.
      • Seems to get better, at least to the Irathients. He left them his mines in his will, instead of, you know, the human population of Defiance.
    • Seeing Alak genuinely love his daughter makes him come around to the young man.
    • He's also said he doesn't like Indogenes, considering their lack of emotion too machinelike.
    • Liberata seem to be one of the few he likes, considering he Bertie, his assistant, is liberata. And when she goes missing, he's genuinely concerned. It's shown that he even has a framed picture of her.
  • Freudian Excuse: The second episode indicates his racism stems from having his life turned upside down (and his hometown destroyed) by the aliens.
  • Guttural Growler: Has a very scratchy, deep voice.
  • Killed Off for Real: Shot multiple times by General Tak's men while trying to rescue Christie.
  • Noble Bigot: Despite his prejudices he's mostly one of the good guys.
  • One-Man Army: Becomes one in the third season opener when he storms the house to save Christie and Luke. It doesn't work.
  • Papa Wolf/Overprotective Dad: He tried to kill Alak Tarr because a: he thought he had murdered his son and b: he found out that he was dating his daughter. Later, when Alak gets himself mixed up in his father's scheme to ruin Amanda's reputation, he has his miners give the kid a beating and warns him not to display such idiocy again.
    • Later, he snaps after Quentin dies and goes on a killing spree to save Christie and Luke from the same fate. It doesn't work, and he winds up getting himself and Christie killed.
  • Pet the Dog: He changes his will to leave the mines to the Irathients, mostly because he doesn't want Datak to get his hands on them, but also because he's deeply ashamed after learning that the original Irathient owners of the land were butchered by the people who sold it to him..
  • The Rival: To Datak Tarr.
  • Taking the Heat: He does this for Quentin, allowing Quentin to sell the story that he tried to assassinate Pottinger and Tennety for revenge because he doesn't want Quentin to go to jail for trying to help his mother.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Toward the end of Season 1 and in Season 2. He loses his sons and his mine, is forced to kill his godson, and gets evicted from his home by Pottinger.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Or allies, rather, with Datak Tarr when working against Hunter Bell.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Had an affair with Nicky Riordan before his wife, Pilar, was institutionalized.

    Christie 

Christie Tarr (née McCawley)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tarr_christie_4839.jpg
"We need to set aside the small stuff and pull together."
Played By: Nicole Muñoz

Christie McCawley is the only daughter of the town's most influential citizen, Rafe McCawley. Christie never had the opportunity to meet her mother - who died shortly after Christie's birth - and from an early age took on her mother's role in the family, acting as caregiver for her father and brothers. Christie faces another challenge: An interspecies marriage to Alak Tarr, the Castithan son of two of Defiance's most influential (and notorious) citizens, Datak and Stahma Tarr.


  • Action Girl: To a point, anyway. When she and Alak find a Hellbug coming at them, the scene cuts away. When it cuts back, Alak is still freaked out while Christie is holding it off with a torch. The Tarrs charitably rework this story as Alak doing the protecting so he can gain some points with Rafe, which Christie doesn't contradict. She also, along with Alak, takes part in the Battle of the Volge.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Christie is a very kind and optimistic young woman, but she's nothing to mess with either. She fights off Hellbugs and wants to make Datak suffer after he burns Alak's hand. She tops herself in "Doll Parts"; Deidre tries to make her miscarry, so Christie throws her from the top of the arch.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: So much so that he's willing to disown her, and that's after trying to kill Alak when he first found out. However, when Alak tells Rafe about his father wanting to cancel the wedding and Rafe sees Alak truly loving his daughter by his conflict between doing the wedding and honoring his father, Rafe comes around to the young man.
  • Defiant to the End: Before she dies she spits a string of Castithan invectives at Rahm Tak that are apparently so vile that even he is disturbed.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When Stahma has to choose between slashing her throat and letting Datak be killed, Christie simply closes her eyes and says that she is not afraid.
  • Genre Blind: When inspirational stories include casual mention of implicit murder, generally they're not supposed to still be inspiring. Even so, Stahma's story has the desired effect on her.
  • The Heart: Of her family, according to Quentin. It's backed up by her actions: she's naturally kind, understanding and genuine.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: She provokes General Tak into having her killed to distract him and his men before they can find Luke, hidden in a nearby closet.
  • The Ingenue: She has shades of this, due to her bright-eyed innocence.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Alak, a Castithan.
  • Killed Off for Real: As part of a Sadistic Choice moments after her father dies in front of her.
  • Mama Bear: Don't threaten her unborn child. Deidre Lamb learned that the hard way.
  • Nice Girl: Christie is kind, considerate, loving and protective.
  • Pregnant Badass: Her Mama Bear moment; given her size, she has to be at least six months in.
  • The Resenter: Has shades of this once she marries into the Tarr household, and still isn't treated like a member of the family because she's not Castithan. Especially after Datak starts to try and make amends:
    Christie: I follow their rules, I dress like them, I cook their nasty food, and they still treat me like an outsider. But he [Datak] gets to "atone."
  • Slashed Throat: Courtesy of Stahma at General Tak's behest.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: To Alak. When Datak burns Alak's hand, she wants him "to suffer".

Earth Republic

    Pottinger 

Mayor Niles Pottinger

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pottinger_niles_7052.jpg
"I am a monster. You have no idea the things I've done."
Played By: Jim Murray

The Earth Republic appointed Mayor of Defiance, Niles Pottinger is shrewd, calculating and charming. He's also power hungry. He does have a soft spot, though. Deep, deep down.


  • And This Is for...: Churchill, whose death he avenges by killing the Gulanee himself.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: He's gay (or at least bi) and stalked Connor for a while, even following him to New York.
  • Character Death: Shot by Amanda repeatedly, after which his death triggers a singularity bomb in the base he'd taken over, eradicating his body. He truly is Deader Than Dead.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Amanda shoots him in every place possible before finishing him off, including his crotch.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pottinger has a lot of snarky comments to go with that smug smirk.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even he is creeped out by Yewll when she goes to her Madness Place.
    Pottinger: Doesn't...it bother you?
    Yewll: I've done worse.
  • Evil Brit
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: His sidearm is a Luger. It suits him.
  • Hidden Depths: Pottinger is an asshole, true, but he's also filled with self-loathing and still carries the trauma of a horrible childhood incident. He's also a surprisingly good gourmet cook.
  • Jerkass: Self-satisfied, callous and a basic smug asshole.
  • Jumped Off The Slippery Slope: Boy HOWDY. He was hardly stable before, but his appearance in season 3 really shows how far he's fallen. During a rescue mission to New York, he kills his commanding officer and takes over the unit, takes over an E-Rep bunker, systematically kills off every other human save one (he probably just hadn't gotten to him yet), and when reunited with Amanda, immediately makes moves to basically make her his Sex Slave. His death is really cathartic by that point.
  • Karmic Death: Gets killed immediately after it's revealed that he was the mysterious masked man who raped Amanda, and that he kept the mask and light.
  • A Man Of Wealth And Taste: Explicitly paints himself as one.
  • Narcissist: Berlin says he's in love with his own reflection.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Helping Amanda find closure about her sister's death is a decent thing to do. How he goes about it - delivering the murderers to Amanda and handing her a gun to do with as she sees fit - is...somewhat less so.
  • Not So Different: From Amanda, with whom he shares a common trauma: They both suffered rape.
  • Pet the Dog: Pottinger is actually very considerate of Berlin and is kind to her. His crush on Amanda is also genuine despite his creepier tendencies. He also saved Churchill from a typical Bioman death on the battlefield, and made him his bodyguard.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He suspends the trade of Blue Devil, an outlawed drug. Though he was getting a cut from Stahma, stopping the local supply forces Amanda to come to him for more, and he claims his soldiers were starting to use it.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Inverted. He goes out of his way to make Viceroy Mercado dislike him. He claims that the Viceroy only respects men he hates.
  • Put on a Bus: No longer in Defiance as of season 3.
  • Rape as Backstory: He was raped by a group of Votan soldiers during the war, as a young man, after they took him and his boarding school classmates in the local church prisoner.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Mercado reassigns him to deal with a labor dispute in Dakota after he fails to secure a crashed Votan ship containing Gulanee in stasis.
  • Scars Are Forever: Pottinger always wears gloves due to the scars on his hands; caused by the glass of broken church windows when Votan soldiers held him down as a teenager.
  • Self-Deprecation: He's hardly a good man, but he does have a genuine Freudian Excuse (see Rape as Backstory) that he could probably work through if he got some real therapy. A hallucination constructed from his memories, however, denies that as the reason.
    Pottinger: Is that why? Is that why I'm the way that I am?
    "Connor": Nah. Some people, when they're born...they just come out wrong.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Due to his official E-Rep uniform.
  • Smug Snake: Pottinger isn't remotely as charming as he thinks he is. At least one of his superiors suggests that letting Defiance fall out of the E-Rep's control might be worth it, just to see Pottinger's smug smile get wiped off his face.
    Mercado: You're a show-off, Pottinger, with your big words, your hand lotion, your TV screens. But I tell you something, I never met a show-off who was quite as smart as he thought he was.
    Pottinger: Well, now that you finally have, you can tell your grandkids all about it.
  • Slimeball: When he's talking to Amanda, the slime practically oozes out of his pores.
  • Stalker with a Crush: To Amanda. He has a video camera stashed in her bedroom, which he watches on a large screen when he's alone. Using blackmail, genetic engineering, kidnapping, torture, death threats and emotional manipulation to get a woman in bed? What the hell happened to flowers and chocolate, Niles?
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Defiance has taken on some dystopic overtones, under the E-Rep's burgeoning leadership.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Begins to crack after he's assaulted by disgruntled miners.
  • Villainous Crush: On Amanda. Implied to be the sublimated expression of his former crush on Connor Lang.
  • You Have Failed Me: When an attempt to capture a Gulanee goes south, Viceroy Mercado pins it on him and has him reassigned to Dakota, taking over the town.

    Berlin 

Capt. Jessica "Berlin" Rainer

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rainer_jessica_5568.jpg
Played By: Anna Hopkins

Jessica - who's gone by the nickname "Berlin" for most of her life - is a soldier in the Earth Republic who makes propaganda films. Although she wouldn't describe her work that way (as she'll tell you in her direct, no-nonsense fashion). Berlin's a firm believer in the ideals of the Earth Republic, seeing the organization as a valuable force that protects and unites people.


  • Act of True Love: While confident , ambitious and having a career that was going places in the Earth Rep. She was genuinely in love with Tommy and would have moved to the backwaters of the Earth Republic to be with him. His death led to her having a mini-breakdown
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: In addition to her hostility towards Irisa, she calls Tommy out on making eyes at his ex.
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
    • When Tommy refuses to leave town with her because Irisa entrusted him with her secret, she gets hammered at the NeedWant then has sex with Nolan.
    • Gets even worse after Tommy's death; she seems determined to down half the Bar at the Need Want.
  • The Dragon: For Pottinger.
  • Fantastic Racism: She's far rougher and ruder to Irisa than she needs to be when the pair rolls into Defiance in the second season. Subverted later, though, when it's implied that she knew Irisa was Tommy's ex (who Berlin is now dating) and was jealous.
  • Freudian Excuse: Her family was slaughtered by Votan troops when she was eight. She supports order and safety so that no other kid has to go through that.
  • Friends with Benefits: With Nolan.
  • Heroic BSoD: Due to recent events - Tommy's death at Irisa's hands, the Kaziri activating and destroying New York, almost getting killed by the E-Rep troops she once trusted - she spends most of the second-season finale in the midst of one of these.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: While having sex with Nolan, she slaps him around a little bit. She may have a bit of Dominatrix in her.
  • I Owe You My Life: Toward Nolan after he takes a bullet for her.
  • Knight Templar: Berlin is an honest and true believer in the Earth Republic.
  • Nice Hat: A nifty beret that she's rarely seen without.
  • Propaganda Machine: Downplayed version. She likes movies, and she likes making movies. Most of these movies make the Earth Republic look good, since she's good at subtle art tricks like keeping a big rock in the background the make the mayor seem more grounded. Propaganda isn't her job, but it's still attracting the attention of high-ranking E-Rep officials.
  • Punny Name: It takes less than a minute for Nolan to make a crack about her nickname. Made worse by the fact that in her first appearance, she's wearing her already Nazi-esque E-Rep uniform with an over-jacket draped over her shoulders in a stereotypical pop-culture image of Nazi commanding officers.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: She gives an impressive and brutal one to Nolan, claiming he's just having fun playing cowboy in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, and doesn't care about the people actually trying to live their lives.
    Berlin: You're not trying to paper over your nasty wartime past. We all have that. You're trying to hide the fact that you like where it dumped you out. Driving around in that busted-ass roller with your hot Chewbacca, chupping whores. Shooting people who cause you trouble. Call that hand cannon strapped to your side a blaster, and you've got the complete picture. You're living your fantasy, and it only took ten years of an apocalyptic war and the near destruction of the Earth's surface.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: She honestly believes that the Earth Republic is a force for good, since their presence means people can walk the streets safely.
    • This attitude gets Deconstructed come Season 3. She feels no obligation to anyone who can't guarantee her safety. With the E-Rep gone and Votanis Collective troops are about to invade Defiance, she decides to pack up and leave with Conrad von Bach, who can offer her a more secure life than Defiance can. Nolan is angry but understanding. Amanda outright calls her a coward.

Other Characters

    Tommy 

Corp. Tommy Laselle

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/laselle_tommy_3233.jpg
"I was on a bad path, but, um, Clancy saw something in me and gave me a second chance."
Played By: Dewshane Williams

Born in the early years of the war, Tommy arrived in Defiance an orphan, bearing the scars of his painful upbringing. Eager for a fresh start and a desire to put his past behind him, he eventually found his purpose as the Lawkeeper's deputy. His bright optimism – and sharp survival skills – make him a good man to have in your corner.


  • Badass Bookworm: He's a fan of Moby Dick, quoting it to Nolan.
  • Big Damn Heroes: He saves Irisa in the pilot.
  • Butt-Monkey: Gets knocked unconscious Once an Episode.
  • Cerebus Callback : Nolan's habit of calling Tommy Kid and Tommy correcting him. The day Nolan finally stops calling Tommy "Kid" and respects him as a man is the day Tommy dies.
  • A Death in the Limelight: "All Things Must Pass". In flashbacks we see the previous friction between Tommy and Nolan after the pilot, the fact he proposed to Irisa after Alak and Christie's wedding, and that he originally handed Nolan a big wad of cash at the end of Season One to help him find Irisa. These flashbacks are mixed with his current situation to indicate his declining state.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Tommy alludes several times to his murky past.
    • He claims that he was on a bad path before Clancy recruited him, giving him a better life.
    • In "The Serpent's Egg" he attacks a Castithan that tortured Irisa, when asked why he replies "You're not the only one with nightmares."
    • Part of his past involved being a card hustler.
  • Dating Catwoman: In Season 2 he's in a relationship with Berlin.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Irisa as of the end of "The Serpent's Egg".
  • Nice Guy: He's forever making an effort to be a good and just lawkeeper, and even treats Irisa very kindly despite her stand-offish personality that usually doesn't win her friends.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Nolan tries to sell the knife wound Irisa gave Tommy in Doll Parts as one. Seeing as it managed to miss his vitals. But it doesn't stop Tommy from bleeding out , before they get to Defiance.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: How Nolan views him in Season 2, when he's willingly working for the Earth Republic and is very bitter about Irisa leaving without goodbye. In Dollparts he amends that view that perhaps it's not all Tommy's fault and apologises. He also highlights that their main conflict comes over Tommy adherence to following the Law and Nolan belief that what ever works as long as Justice is served.
  • The Resenter: He's initially somewhat annoyed that Nolan comes in and takes the Lawkeeper job after the death of the previous Lawkeeper, when normally that job would have been his by default. It's more pronounced in the second season, when he was made Lawkeeper in Nolan's absence only to lose the job to Nolan again, on top of the fact that both Nolan and Irisa just vanished without a word for nine months.
    • Seems to have eased out of this at the end of "Doll Parts" when he and Nolan rescue Irisa together. Nolan's almost-apology seems to touch Tommy and he seems interested in taking Nolan's offer of taking up his Deputy badge once again.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: He quits his job in "This Woman's Work" after Nolan refuses to work with him in retaliation for his betrayal in the incident with Josef.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: He's usually seen wielding one.
  • That One Case: The disappearance of Hunter Bell. It was the first case he caught as deputy to Clancy. Hunter was also the reason Tommy became a lawkeeper (one of the few nice things Hunter ever did). So, while Nolan isn't that interested in finding who killed an abusive mafia-type man, Tommy has a deep interest.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In Season 2, due to his Love Interest Irisa and his mentor Nolan disappearing without an explanation, then turning up suddenly again to take his job without apology.

    Doc Yewll 

Dr. Meh 'Doc' Yewll

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/yewll_meh_2220.jpg
"I’ve become a healer instead of a destroyer."
Played By: Trenna Keating

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was a monster. I regret my past and I’m trying to do better. You should be taking notes."

Doc Yewll arrived in Defiance following the Pale Wars, intending to stay a week before moving on to dispense medical care in other war-torn areas. Eight years later, Yewll still serves as the town's doctor. As an Indogene – a technologically advanced Votan race – she often finds her natural pragmatism perceived as a lack of bedside manner by most humans. However, Yewll's unflappable brilliance is indisputably one of Defiance's greatest assets.


  • The Atoner: She participated in experiments during the Pale Wars which she is not particularly proud of. In "Put the Damage On", she even refers to her work in Defiance as her "penance".
  • Bald Woman: Indogenes don't appear to have any hair, no matter the gender.
  • Brain Uploading: Uploads her mind to the Omec computer interface in the third season finale, practically becoming the ship after a while.
  • The Chew Toy: The poor woman suffers a lot of abuse over the seasons, such as having a finger amputated by Pottinger (he at least gave it back) and having some of her skin cut off to use as medicine (that it would grow back is little comfort).
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Pol Madis implies she was a weapons designer like himself during the war. Later episodes reveal that she was involved with the creation of Indogene sleeper agents surgically altered to look human so they could kill human authority figures. She was also associated with Nicolette Riordan in the past, but broke ties with her, denouncing her as crazy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: See, well... her every line.
  • The Dragon: Unwillingly becomes one to Kindzi late in the third season.
  • Driven to Suicide: Not quite, but in "Put the Damage On" she looked like she was seriously considering it.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Forced into one against her will in the second half of Season 3, becoming Kindzi's Dragon in the process.
    • Heel–Face Turn: When Amanda is able to overpower her and remove the control implant.
  • Fingore: When she won't tell Pottinger how to open her safe, he takes one of her fingers and uses it for a Borrowed Biometric Bypass. For whatever it's worth, he gives it back so she can reattach it.
  • For The Greater Good: Uses the phrase word for word when she kills Nicolette.
  • Frontier Doctor: Self-explanatory. She's a doctor in a frontier town.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Attempts one in the third season finale after fusing with the Omec ship's computer; she knows she won't be able to get out alive, so she hopes to help Nolan overload the engines before she expires. However, even though she does not ultimately die, she still gets one of these by rocketing away from Earth with Nolan to find the Omec a new home.
  • Hidden Depths: An illusion of her ex, Lev, teases her about this; apparently Meh was a poet as a younger woman. She waves this off drily as a (successful) attempt to get in Lev's pants. That being said, the snippet of poem was actually quite beautiful.
  • Jerkass: Yewll is extremely sarcastic and comes across as a bitter, jaded woman.
    • Dr. Jerk: Casually pushes on Nolan's stomach when he tries to fake being asleep, and threatens to toss Irisa out without fixing her up after Irisa grabs her scalpel on reflex.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She let Nolan walk out without paying once it was clear he was broke, telling him to use what little cash he had to buy Irisa a meal.
  • Not So Different: With Nolan, surprisingly. They both did things during the war they are not proud of, are trying to live up to a higher standard in the present, and aren't against morally ambiguous behavior for the greater good.
  • Odd Friendship: With Datak in season 2, starting out as allies of necessity when they were trying to get out of prison. Surprisingly, Datak actually takes her advice, even after admitting he's had people killed for being so brutally honest with him.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: She's both a medic and an engineer. Kindzi notes her to be intelligent even by Indogene standards.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Very little fazes her and she's always got a smart retort handy. When she sees a real-life Omec, she completely freaks out, which is a measure of just how scary they are for the Votans.
  • The Perfect Crime: She paralyzes Nicolette, writes out a suicide note, then sets it up. When she performs the autopsy later, she says it was a suicide, and no one thinks to question it.
  • Older Than They Look: She snarks to Gordon McClintock that she's much too old for him. She certainly doesn't look much older than him, and physically he's 33. It's hinted in the game that Indogenes have a rather long-lasting lifespan. But she could be counting the hypersleep trip from the Votanis system to Earth, which is reported to have taken over a thousand years to arrive, in addition to her age.
  • People Puppets: After Kindzi implants an Indogene-control device in her neck and orders her to serve the Omec cause.
  • Repressed Memories: Had the memory of Lev committing suicide tucked away until the memory device malfunction. And even then, it takes most of the episode for it to resurface.
  • Retired Monster: It's debatable how okay she is with what she did in the past, but it's clear she did some seriously unethical things during the Pale Wars. She does claim she stays in Defiance because it's her "penance", so she appears to be attempting to make amends.
  • Spaceship Girl: As of the third season finale.
  • Straight Gay: Granted, it's not clear what Indogene culture's attitude toward homosexuality even is, but Yewll doesn't display any behavior recognizable by humans as stereotypical.
  • We Used to Be Friends: With Nicky.
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