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    In General 

The Gerhardt Family

A German-American family-run crime syndicate that controlled the northern Midwest.


  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: While they're mostly functional, the Gerhardts have deep issues: Rye has an Inferiority Superiority Complex that ends up causing trouble for his family when he commits a massacre in Luverne and gets himself killed, Dodd is an overly domineering Psychopathic Man Child with woman hatred, entitlement issues, and a Hair-Trigger Temper; Bear is the ignored Only Sane Man who just wants his kid to escape his family's toxic influence, Charlie and Simone are eager to follow in their parents' footsteps whatever the cost, and Floyd can barely hold the household chaos in. Deconstructed in that their own personal flaws are costing them the war and some of their lives.
  • Divided We Fall: If only they learned to work together as a team, they wouldn't be losing the war and each other.
  • The Dreaded: In the county they're located; law enforcement know better than to tangle with them.
  • End of an Era: The Gerhardts have remained on top of the criminal underground for 3 decades. A major theme of season 2 is the events surrounding their probable downfall.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: As twisted and ruthless as they are, there is genuine love present between them.
  • The Family That Slays Together: All of them, with the exception of Charlie and Simone, are heavily involved with the family's criminal going-ons. Even Charlie and Simone are eager to get involved.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: They're initially presented as such when against the Kansas City Mafia. The Gerhardts are the family values underdog criminals against the large corporate criminals, and the Gerhardts have far more sympathetic characters than the Mafia. Near the end, Floyd even proposes an Enemy Mine where they and the cops will stand up to the Kansas City Mafia. In spite of that, almost all of the conflict comes from them. Dodd's ambitions are what causes the war in the first place, and Hanzee engineers it so that the climax features the family as the final antagonists. The Mafia's infighting ultimately pushes them out of major conflict with the heroes and they never really sink to a level of evil on par with Dodd or the central antagonists from season 1 and 3.
  • Made of Iron: The Gerhardts have a reputation of being hard to kill. Rye went out after being gassed, beaten, stabbed, hit by a car, bleeding out for hours, and being stabbed some more, Dodd has to be tasered with a cattle prod 4 times to be knocked out, and it took bullets a-blazing to kill Otto. Bear, however, beat them all by still managing to charge and strangle a man after being shot twice in the chest and once in the head.
  • Mob War: As the Kansas City Syndicate steadily moves in, it results in war with the reigning Gerhardts due to their own internal tensions (with Dodd mostly to blame).
  • Trauma Conga Line: After Rye's death, nothing ever goes right for the Gerhardts as they lurch from one crisis to the other while more and more of the clan are killed in their war with the Kansas City Mob. This culminates in the Sioux Falls massacre orchestrated by Hanzee, which kills off their remaining leadership (Floyd & Bear), and the only surviving member of the family, Charlie, is now in prison.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: As soon as Otto ends up confined to a wheelchair, the Gerhardt clan starts picking up sides and feuding at the worst time possible.
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Gerhardt Family

    Otto Gerhardt 

Otto Gerhardt

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gerhardt_otto.jpg
Portrayed By: Michael Hogan

"Dieter — that's Otto's dad — started running booze during prohibition, ended up building a truckin' empire. 1951, he gets 19 bullets in the head. That's when the son, Otto, he takes over, which is like — the good news is, World War I is over. The bad news is, "Say hello to Adolf Hitler"."
Ben Schmidt

As a second generation immigrant from Germany, Otto Gerhardt took over his father’s crime syndicate and, through a mix of brutality and sheer will, turned it into a criminal empire that spans the upper mid-west. An indomitable warlord for over 30 years known for crushing all who opposed him, Otto faces an entirely new challenge after suffering a debilitating stroke. But he’s not going anywhere – The White Lion is too mean to die.


  • And I Must Scream: He gets more focus during the scene where Mike and the Kitchen brothers assassinate his men and spare Otto. He is clearly aware that something bad is going to happen when he sees his car is blocked, and looks at his family's enemies with anger, but cannot do anything.
  • Badass Boast: See the quote below his image.
  • Bald of Evil: His hair is starting to recede.
  • Career-Ending Injury: His stroke and subsequent deterioration ends up taking him out of the game.
  • Cool Old Guy: Even in his old age, he still looks imposing and as strong as ever, at least before his stroke.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: He suffers a stroke in the first episode that leaves him incapable of taking care of himself.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: He is The Leader of the Gerhardt criminal industry and has major control over several factions of it.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Mike Milligan and his attack team shoot up the Gerhardt household in episode 6. Episode 7 reveals that Otto died, off-camera, likely because he couldn't move from his chair and take cover when the shots were fired. Episode 10's Death Montage of the Gerhardts' corpses as they fell shows that Otto was shot multiple times in the head and upper chest by the automatic barrage.
  • End of an Era: His stroke, wheelchair status, and eventual death stands as a metaphor of the power the Gerhardts had at one point fading away, and leaving room for something bigger and more adept for the current times.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Although we don't see much of his marriage in its prime, by all accounts it seems to have been a happy one. Floyd loves him very much, and spends every night hugging him.
  • Evil Cripple: He ends up bound to a wheelchair after his stroke, but he's still the head of a criminal organization.
  • The Family That Slays Together: He has been training his sons to be competent at the game and his wife is clearly his Number Two.
  • Family Values Villain: He greatly holds family above everything else and includes them in everything related to the business.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Otto inherited his father's trucking company at a young age. By the time of the series, he has turned it into a profitable business with connection to other criminal empires.
  • Killed Offscreen: His death is not seen, just confirmed in the next episode.
  • Overlord Jr.: He inherited the business from his father. Played With since his father ran the company in a honest way, it was only when Otto took over that it started to get into dirty business.
  • The Patriarch: Of the Gerhardt clan. Deconstructed in that without him, the family quickly begins falling apart as the more ambitious members seek to take advantage of the power vacuum.
  • Self-Made Man: He built everything he has from scratch. Of course, only time will tell if his offspring respect all the work he has done.
  • Succession Crisis: His stroke causes one, since he hadn't named a heir. Floyd and Dodd battle for the position.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Ricky G casually mentions that Otto had an affair with the Gerhardt maid. Whether this is true and it's a part of their relationship Floyd doesn't talk about or Ricky's just yammering on and being insincere is never elaborated on.

    Floyd Gerhardt 

Floyd Gerhardt

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gerhardt_floyd.jpg
Played By: Jean Smart

"Maybe, when you look at me, you see an old woman, and I am 61. I've borne six children, had three miscarriages. Two of my sons are here today. Two were stillborn. My firstborn, Elron, killed in Korea — gook sniper took off half his head. The point is don't assume, just because I'm an old woman, that my back is weak and my stomach's not strong. I make this counter because a deal is always better than war. But no mistake — we'll fight to keep what's ours to the last man."

Floyd is the matriarch of the Gerhardt crime family. She was the rock beside her man for 40 years and raised four sons and has five grandchildren. But when her husband has a stroke, Floyd decides it’s her time to take over the family business. The only problem is that her oldest son, Dodd, wants the throne for himself.


  • Advertised Extra: Jean Smart is placed as one of Season 2's leads alongside Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, and the others; yet of the 5, Floyd's role in the story is more akin to a supporting character rather than a lead. Whenever the story needs to check on the Gerhardts, it often follows one of her children or grandchildren (or even Hanzee) and Floyd herself is less important than Dodd and Bear.
  • Affably Evil: She might be the ruthless head of a crime family, but she's practical, reasonable, and polite.
  • Almighty Mom: Besides assuming the position of boss, she is the matriarch of the Gerhardt family. Even before, she had a keen grasp on her children and would hold that kind of grip over them to keep them in line, Dodd especially.
  • Authority in Name Only: What Joe Bulo, on behalf of the Kansas City crime syndicate, offers for her to be in exchange of a buyout of the Gerhardt company. Needless to say, she refuses.
  • Deadly Hug: How her death plays out in "The Castle". After discovering that she and her men have been duped by Hanzee, she turns to him in complete shock. Hanzee then goes in for what looks like a hug, but instead he stabs her twice in the chest.
  • Evil Matriarch: Of the Gerhardt crime family.
  • Family Values Villain: She gets upset when her son, Dodd, curses in the house. Dodd's reaction is to change his statement to a less offensive one. And right after her husband is left alive after an attack, she's seen hugging him tenderly and even kissing him.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Her name, Floyd, is more of a masculine name.
  • Happily Married: Although we don't see much of their relationship in its prime, her marriage to Otto prior to his stroke seems to have been a happy one.
  • Iron Lady: Stoic, determined, but ultimately reasonable, Floyd keeps a firm grip over her gang. With Otto out, the tough decisions are up to her, and while Dodd may chafe, all the main lieutenants are firmly behind her.
  • Meaningful Name: Floyd is a guy's name, which hangs a lampshade around the Gerhardt matriarch's role as head honcho in a business supposedly dominated by men.
  • Never Mess with Granny: She might be a loving grandmother, but she's sharp as a razor and is every bit the tough warlord that her husband was.
  • No Woman's Land: Floyd is used to the disparaging comments from her sons and the rest of the syndicates about women in powerful positions. This is also one of the reasons why she eagerly accepts the command of the family's business.
  • Number Two: To her husband, Otto.
  • This Means War!: She made it clear in "Fear And Trembling"... in two words.
    Floyd: It's war.
  • Women Are Wiser: Floyd, along with her son Bear, is the coolest head in the Gerhardt family. Dodd dismisses this as feminine weakness, but her patience and intelligence are huge benefits. She's much more reasonable and intelligent than her sons (again with the exception of Bear) and perhaps moreso than Otto, if her remark to Bulo about how Otto would've killed Bulo rather than try negotiating with him means anything.
  • You Are in Command Now: After Otto, her husband, has a brain stroke, Floyd takes control of his empire.

    Elron Gerhardt 

Elron Gerhardt

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/elron1.png

  • Boom, Headshot!: According to Floyd, much of his head was taken off by a Korean sniper during the Korean War.
  • Genius Bruiser: According to Bear, Elron was a more deserving heir to the Gerhardt throne, and recalls him "making muscles" in old pictures.
  • Posthumous Character: He's long-dead by the time the events of Season 2 occur.

    Dodd Gerhardt 

Dodd Gerhardt

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gerhardt_dodd.jpg

The oldest son of the Gerhardt crime syndicate, Dodd is a Machiavellian figure with eyes on his father’s throne. When Otto has a stroke, Dodd finds himself battling his own mother for the top spot. To say he has regressive attitudes towards women’s liberation would be an understatement. That said, he is the father of four daughters.


  • Abusive Parents: He smacks his daughter Simone around when she displeases or disobeys him.
  • Ambition Is Evil: He wants to take control of his father's company and he may be willing to do some drastic things to achieve it.
  • The Apprentice: He was groomed to be the guy who takes his father's place in the company. Or so it seems.
  • Asshole Victim: After all he's done, it's hard to feel sorry for him.
  • Ax-Crazy: He threatens to kill his younger brother if he doesn't pay him. Not to say insulting the corpse of a tortured man for just dying on him. His facial expressions don't do him any favors.
  • Bad Boss: Dodd doesn't treat his underlings with much respect, not even Hanzee. At one point, he's startled by a noise and instinctively shoots a henchman, and he responds as if he dropped his pen.
  • Beneath Notice: How he was able to kill The Rival of Otto. He looked like just an innocent kid...
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Dodd himself is no joke, but his tendency to overestimate his abilities, aggressive personality, and blatant racism, along with his misogyny, cause more problems for him and his family, which ultimately become obstacles and prevent him from cementing what he feels is his rightful place at the head of the Gerhardt family. A position he ultimately is never able to obtain.
  • Big Brother Bully: To Rye, who he gets into a headlock and threatens to kill.
  • Boom, Headshot!: After being an uncontrollable force of chaos throughout Season 2, Dodd finally meets his end when Hanzee Dent puts a bullet in his caveman brain.
  • The Bully: To his own daughter and his younger brother.
  • Bullying the Dragon: He mocks Hanzee as a "half-breed" and "mongrel", which leads to Hanzee shooting Dodd in the head.
  • Butt-Monkey: After he's captured by the Blumquists, Dodd spends most of his time being electrocuted, stabbed, humiliated, and having his pride stepped all over, mostly by Peggy. Even after his brief recoup, Hanzee unceremoniously ends his life with a bullet to the head.
  • Cain and Abel: The Cain to Bear's Abel.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: Most of his services to the Gerhardt clan have been leading to the day he will finally take command and be its leader. Once that day arrives, not only is he blocked by his mother, but realizes that "the time of crisis" during which she will rule could extend itself to months or even years
  • Cigar Chomper: He's a cigar fan.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: He subjects a man to this fate in his second appearance, mainly by cutting off his ears.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: A flashback shows him gunning down half a dozen mobsters in a gangland hit.
  • Death by Racism: He really shouldn't have insulted Hanzee through his race after he's already had a bad day.
  • Domestic Abuse: Simone mentions that Dodd would beat her mother if she looked too sad, so she started wearing a smile all the time. He's also readily violent and threatening towards Simone.
  • Enfant Terrible: A flashback shows him aiding his father in a gangland hit when he's about 11, stabbing a mob boss through the back of the skull.
  • Entitled Bastard: He believes that his father's business is his by right, regardless of if he deserves it or not.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Despite his misogyny and status as The Starscream, he does seem to love his mother in his Dodd-esque way, leaning on her during a car ride and getting her to touch his face comfortingly.
  • Evil Uncle: An example of the elder sibling being the crooked one. Dodd encourages Charlie's path to being a gangster, something which Bear doesn't want, taking him to perform a shake-up. He's also a warped version of a Cool Uncle, showing Charlie more respect than his daughters, and even buying him a donut because he was proud of the boy giving a beatdown to an enemy mobster.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Gets angry far too easily.
  • Hate Sink: He may not be the main villain, but Dodd is easily the most loathsome and unpleasant character in Season 2. Just about every scene he's in has him say and/or do something awful, and every other character can barely tolerate his presence.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Dodd has, shall we say, 'traditional' views about the roles of men and women. Dodd believes that men should be in charge, and that being a man means being aggressive while never showing weakness. He believes that a woman's role is to serve a man. In "Loplop", he opines that the devil is a woman.
    "Son, you got yourself a woman problem. How I know is they've been plaguing me my whole life. What's the joke? Can't live with them, can't turn them into cat food. Personally, I don't see the value in all that talking and the mood swings and the lack of rational thinking, which, brother, your bitch has got that in spades. See, the male of the species has got the potential for greatness. Look at your kings of old. Napoleon, Kublai Khan, Samson. Giants made of muscle and steel. But these women, even in those Bible movies, you see a Delilah and, uh, Scheherazade. I want to tell you my own private belief here. I think Satan is a woman. Think about it."
  • Heir Club for Men: As shown below in Politically Incorrect Villain, Dodd is under the impression that only males are qualified to and are the only ones who can inherit the commanding of a business. Which makes it only more ironic that he only has daughters.
  • Hot-Blooded: In his first appearance, he handles Rye a verbal beatdown for not paying what he owes him and does so in a pretty temperamental way. He also doesn't want to wait until it's time for him to take over. He wants to do it now.
  • Humiliation Conga: In "Loplop", from start to finish.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: He spends most of "Loplop" being increasingly humiliated... not that he doesn't deserve every second of it.
  • Irony: While professing to hate women and being outwardly misogynistic, he does care for his own mother greatly. And on the car ride back home in episode 4, it's he who tries to comfort his mother, while Bear remains stoic. His first true defeat on-screen is also at the hands of Peggy.
  • It's All About Me: He wants to take over the family business and he doesn't care about anything else.
  • Jerkass: Short-tempered, rude, psychotic... that's Dodd in a nutshell.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Sure, Rye was a murdering manchild, but Dodd using his death as an excuse to kickstart the mob war with Kansas City was crossing the line. It doesn't help that he has a smug smile while doing it along with a "I told you" attitude.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Two of Dodd's most glaring character flaws are his contempt for women and his tendency to treat his own men like garbage. The former results in his costly decision to take Peggy Blumquist lightly, and the latter results in Hanzee putting a bullet in his brain.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: His first job was when he was a kid. He took out a rival of his father while he was indisposed, and judging from the conversation Otto and the rival have, it's implied that Otto had reasons to get revenge on this person.
  • Leader Wannabe: He acts and talks like he's the boss of the family, but it's clear his mother, Floyd, is the one who's truly in control.
  • Mutilation Conga: He is repeatedly tasered, stabbed twice in the chest, stabbed through the foot, hit so hard over the neck with a firepiece tool that he's apparently crippled, all before being shot in the head by Hanzee.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: He spends a lot of season 2 being humiliated, and doesn't get his hands dirty apart from a few petty gangland squabbles. By the end of his trials through episode 8, it's even easy to forget that he's a mobster. Then he quietly wriggles loose of his bonds, knocks out Peggy, and effortlessly hangs Ed from the ceiling. He would have brutally killed them both and easily walked away if he hadn't turned his back on Peggy at a critical moment.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: His overt sexism is one of his major motivations to succeed his father. He does not believe his mother can possibly be qualified to run a man's business. As the series progresses, it becomes more and more clear that Dodd isn't a run-of-the-mill sexist, he's a virulent misogynist.
    • He's also openly racist to Hanzee. This gets him killed.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Despite his disdain for Rye, Dodd doesn't fare much better in the maturity stakes. He comes across as an impatient child forever on the verge of a particularly terrifying tantrum.
  • Smug Snake: Despite being very physically capable and dangerous, Dodd repeatedly overestimates himself. He is a worse leader than Floyd, Bear beats him viciously until Hanzee intervenes, and Peggy manages to overcome him. He then gets his own back on Peggy and Ed when he wriggles loose of his bonds and nearly takes out both.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: He has very retrograde ideas of women's place in the world, to say the least.
  • Stupid Evil: His tendency to needlessly antagonize everyone to satisfy his own ego creates nothing but trouble. Ultimately, it gets him killed.
  • The Starscream: To his mother, Floyd.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Dodd clearly imagines himself as a traditional strong male archetype like his father, but his attempts to be masculine are undone by his temper, his immature personality, and his petty cruelty.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After his Humiliation Conga throughout episode 8, Dodd starts rambling about how much he hates women when he manages to get free from his capture and thinks he has Ed and Peggy at his mercy.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Dodd wanted a male heir and instead, got four daughters. His frustration at this is part of the reason why he's abusive towards his older daughter, Simone.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Hell, Dodd prefers to hit women.
  • The Wrongful Heir to the Throne: His older brother, Elron, died in the Korean war, making Dodd the next in line for head of the Gerhardt crime family. As several people note, he's not qualified to take over.
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    Bear Gerhardt 

Bear Gerhardt

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gerhardt_bear20.jpg
Played By: Angus Sampson

"None of us are family anymore."

The middle son of Floyd and Otto Gerhardt, Bear is a quiet lumberjack of a man. He has raised his son Charlie, who suffers from cerebral palsy, without the help of the boy’s mother. Though his older brother Dodd thinks Bear is a momma’s boy, no one should doubt the ferocity with which he will fight to protect what’s his.


  • Affably Evil: The only Gerhardt to regard Hanzee Dent as a member of the family instead of a lackey, he thanks him for his services to the family and promises him a place at the table as long as Bear has any say.
  • Anti-Villain: While a high-ranking member of the Gerhardt family, he's more an antagonist due to loyalty to his family than any desire to be evil, and clearly feels forced into committing his more evil acts.
  • Anti-Villainous Breakdown: In Episode Seven when he realizes how many family members he's lost in the war, is exhausted from having to deal with Dodd (who mostly caused the avoidable war in the first place), and has to kill Simone when he discovers she's a traitor. He is clearly trying to hold what's left of the family together for as long as he can and realizing it may be futile.
  • Badass Baritone: Bear has a deep, gravelly voice. He prefers not to fight, but he knocks the living hell out of Dodd and it's clear he's the most physically formidable Gerhardt.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's mostly placid and quiet, but if his son is in any danger, he enters a murderous rage. Sure, Bear might be the nicest Gerhardt, but he's still a Gerhardt. That means he's a ruthless killer and can be utterly terrifying when he's found in a foul mood.
  • Big Eater: Whenever he's onscreen, he's usually eating something.
  • Big Little Brother: Bear's taller and broader than his older brother Dodd, and also a lot more mature. Angus Sampson himself is younger than Jeffrey Donovan, but his beard makes him seem older than he is.
  • Big "NO!": When Hanzee kills Floyd during the shootout in the Motor Motel.
  • Boom, Headshot!: It takes some doing, but Lou finally manages to put him down with a bullet to the head.
  • Cain and Abel: The Abel to Dodd's Cain.
  • The Dutiful Son: Unlike Dodd and Rye, Bear follows his mother's lead unquestioningly and she trusts him implicitly. It's averted when Dodd hits his Berserk Button regarding Charlie, and Bear decides to start taking firmer control out of fear that loose cannons like Dodd and Simone will sink the ship, with Charlie on board.
  • The Dragon: Bear is very loyal to his mother, and competent to boot.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Bear wants a different future for his son, Charlie, away from the bloodshed and paranoia. When he finds out Dodd involved him in the Butcher's attempted execution, he goes berserk.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Averted. Bear's desire is for Charlie to have a normal, legal, and happy life away from him and his family.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: He is the wisest of the three sons: smarter than Rye, more stable and patient than Dodd. As a result, he's the one who is most loyal to their mother, who has a similar temperament.
  • Genius Bruiser: Bear is the most physically dangerous of the Gerhardts, but also the most level-headed and pragmatic (with the exception of Floyd).
  • Gentle Giant: He's as big and tall as one can imagine, but has no problem being a decent person, at least by Gerhardt standards.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: Bear wants Charlie to go back to school and make something of himself, not get involved with the family's business.
  • Good Parents: He might be a criminal, but he's keen to keep his son out of the criminal life and see him get a good education.
  • Hidden Depths: In the early episodes, he's presented as a simple bruiser and perennial second-fiddle, but it eventually becomes clear that Bear is the wisest and most capable son of the bunch.
  • Irony: Dodd keeps berating Bear as if he's the momma's boy, when he's the most independent and level-headed out of the Gerhardt siblings.
  • Implacable Man: It takes a shot to his head to get him really angry. Two more bullets to his chest do not slow him down one bit from attacking his shooter and almost choking the life out of him. The only reason Lou gets the upper hand on him is an otherworldly experience.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: He seems more angered and hurt than relieved about the necessity of having to kill his niece, Simone. He knows it has to be done, but he's not happy about it.
  • Last Villain Stand: After seeing his mother being killed by Ohanzee and being shot by Lou, Bear loses it and violently attacks him with all of his might in a desperate last-ditch effort, nearly succeeding.
  • Made of Iron: Lou shots him a dozen times, but it doesn't slow Bear down. It takes a shot to the head to finish him off.
  • Meaningful Name: "Bear" gives you a pretty good idea of his appearance and personality.
  • Mexican Standoff: With the Luverne PD. Thankfully, Karl makes him see reason and back down.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Implied. He's the middle child and the family pays less attention to him than to Dodd or even Rye.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: He hands them out to Dodd and Lou.
  • Not So Stoic: While much of the time, the silent, contemplative Bear remains placid and unemotional, when Dodd mentions his wife in an insulting way, you can see the anger begin to crack through the blank gaze. He has a much larger breakdown after he has to kill Simone, who is his own niece.
  • Odd Name Out: Dodd and Rye are strange-sounding names, but still recurring ones. Bear, on the other hand, is rarely heard as a possible name.
    • Various variants of "Bear" are quite common among Europeans. "Bjorn", which means "Bear", is very common in Scandinavian languages, for example, and most European countries have some form of "Bear" as either a surname, a name, or both.
  • Only Sane Man: Compared to his brothers. And he doesn't want his child involved in the "family business."
  • Papa Wolf: When he learns that Dodd has put his son into a potentially dangerous situation by getting him involved with the family business, he tackles him and starts to beat him in the yard. Then he grabs an armed posse to go bring his son back.
  • The Quiet One: At first; he rarely speaks unless spoken to, but as the season progresses, he gets more lines. It seems that Bear only speaks and acts when he considers it necessary; you could set a measure for how much Bear speaks by how much things have gone wrong.
  • Shoot the Dog: Takes it upon himself to kill Simone and cover up her death because she was The Mole and letting the truth come out would destroy the family.
  • Silent Bob: Whenever he speaks, he makes sure it's for some important reason.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: He makes good arguments about why Floyd should be the one who directs the company.

    Rye Gerhardt 

Rye Gerhardt

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gerhardt_rye.jpg
Played By: Kieran Culkin

"Rye Gerhardt — raised without the proper moral fiber, I'm thinking."
Hank Larsson

The youngest of the Gerhardt clan, who views himself as a big shot, but in reality he's just a small dog who barks big.


  • A Day in the Limelight/A Death in the Limelight: The first episode "Waiting For Dutch" is entirely devoted to showing his actions leading to the confrontation between the Gerhardts and Kansas City.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: To his older brother Dodd, a Big Brother Bully who doesn't have time for Rye's ridiculous ambitions.
  • Asshole Victim: Like Lester Nygaard, his final scene isn't as much of a downer as you'd think, given his instigation of the Waffle Hut shootout. It's hard not to pity him, though.
  • Butt-Monkey: He doesn't catch a break in his first and last appearance. He's humiliated and pressured by his brothers to pay his dues, his attempt at branching ends up involving him into coercion for the overturn of a judge's veredict, which not only fails, but drives him to the point of further humiliation and causes three murders by his own hands. Afterwards, he ends up getting run over by a truck, which leaves him confused and bloody and makes him attack a butcher by instinct, which causes his death. Life hasn't smiled for Rye.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Don't call him a nobody or an insect. It won't end good for you.
  • Crime After Crime: He impulsively shoots the judge he had tried to intimidate in front of two attendants of a restaurant. He has to kill them both as well to cover up the crime.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The majority of the first episode is A Day in the Limelight for him, to the point where he looks to be the protagonist in a similar vein to Lester Nygaard. He is killed at the end of the episode, though.
  • Deer in the Headlights: He gets run over by a truck driven by Peggy Blomquist. For further humiliation, he stays there unconscious in the windshield until she arrives home.
  • Drugs Are Bad: He's shown snorting cocaine right before entering the Waffle Hut to confront the judge, which likely contributed to the situation spiraling out of control.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: He never gets any. Then, again, he's not worth much.
  • Expy: Rye ends up one to Carl Showalter. Both are twitchy wannabe criminals that end up way in over their heads. Like Showalter, the situation escalates from his own incompetence, and Rye ends up murdering three people. Even his murder of the judge ends up similar to Showalter's murder of Wade. Both try and intimidate an unflappable authority figure who angers them off into shooting them, and both Rye and Carl end up with nasty wounds because their victim wasn't quite dead. Culkin's even made up to look like Buscemi.
  • High Hopes, Zero Talent: He really has some ingenious ideas that could really work. The problem is that he constantly overreaches and butchers up the execution.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: He desperately wants to be a big shot because he is tired of being always pushed around.
  • In the Back: A non-fatal version. The judge, still not dead, attacks Rye with a knife and stabs him in the back.
  • Made of Iron: He gets gassed, beaten, stabbed, hit by a car, bleeds out for hours, and he still has enough strength left to try to attack Ed, who finally kills him by stabbing him some more.
  • Mutilation Conga: Gassed, stabbed, run over… He really goes through it all.
  • Mugging the Monster: He attacks Ed, a butcher and quite strong on his own, directly. To be fair, he had already snapped at this point.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Whether he likes it or not, his death and actions may have kickstarted the beginning of the end for his family's criminal empire.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Rye may seem like a stuttering weeny, and he is, but he's also got a gun and he's dumb enough to use it. In the first episode of Season 2, his pathetic attempts to intimidate the judge in the diner ends with him killing her, the cook, and then chasing the waitress and shooting her dead.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After all the shit he has gone through the episode, the judge's mocking and spraying of him proves to be the final straw that pushes him to kill her.
  • The Resenter: Over his bad luck and how well his brothers seem to be.
  • Sanity Slippage: The more and more the episode goes on, the more unhinged Rye's attitude becomes.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Judging by their only scene together, one can only picture the many, many times Rye has been pushed around and mocked by his brothers.
  • A Simple Plan: In order to get access to a typewriter business, he has to convince a judge to turn over a conviction. He thinks it will be a piece of cake. Nope, sorry.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: An unusual example: Rye complains that his Gerhardt name supposedly means that he's crime royalty, but he's actually treated like a chump. His attempts to be a big shot are him trying to live up to his name.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He appears for just one episode, but his actions will be felt by all of the characters and loom over the rest of the season.
  • The Runt at the End: He's the dumbest, weakest, and youngest of the three brothers. Most people treat him like a Butt-Monkey.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He doesn't survive the first episode of Season 2, and considering his actions, it's a miracle he survived infancy.
  • Walking Spoiler: His actions set up the storylines for the show and also reveal some major turns in the story.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Killed off by the end of the first episode.

    Simone Gerhardt 

Simone Gerhardt

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/simone0.jpg
Played By: Rachel Keller

"You know what depresses me? I missed the '60s — free love, drop acid, Woodstock. Wake up one day, decide you want to call yourself Flower Rainblossom, you just call yourself Flower Rainblossom."

At 19, Simone is Dodd’s oldest daughter and the victim of much of his hatred of women. It doesn’t help that she's “liberated” and likes to get high. Simone is fiery and passionate (in other words, a lot like her dad) and if he would support her instead of undermining her, she could take over the family business one day.


  • Abusive Parents: Her father is physically abusive toward her. It's also implied here and there that the abuse might be sexual as well.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: She tries to bargain with Bear to just banish her instead of kill her after he discovers that she's a traitor. She eventually breaks down sobbing and falls to her knees. It doesn't work.
  • Ambiguous Situation: After learning of her betrayal, Bear takes her on an execution march into the woods. She begs and pleads for her life, and Bear appears distressed but resolute. We never actually see him pull the trigger, so while her death seems likely, there's still some ambiguity as to whether or not Bear followed through… the 10th episode confirms it.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: She receives one from Dodd and later, her grandmother, Floyd, due to her erratic behavior and bratty attitude.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: She deeply resents the fact that she was born too late to enjoy The '60s.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: To Dodd. She smokes marijuana, wears revealing outfits, and has sex whenever she can. To be fair, Dodd is a massive cunt.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: She very much wants to be involved in the family business, but her father won't hear of it.
  • Dies Wide Open: The 10th episode confirms her death: she's shot in the chest with her eyes wide open.
  • Does Not Like Men: After suffering her father's abuse and Mike's betrayal, she becomes very distrustful of men in general. As her grandmother points out, this is another way she and her father are Not So Different.
  • Evil Nephew: How Bear eventually comes to see her and why he decides to execute her.
  • Fille Fatale: She falls back on her sexuality to manipulate her way out of trouble, and attempts to manipulate Hanzee (which fails) and Skip (which sort of succeeds). She later does the same with Ben Schmidt.
  • For the Evulz: It appears her dalliance with Mike is as much driven by frustration as it is a desire to have fun.
  • Freudian Excuse: Go up and read Dodd's entry and imagine a lifetime spent with such a person. It's no wonder Simone turned out like she did.
  • Godiva Hair: In her naked scene in bed with Mike Milligan, her hair makes it appropriate for FX.
  • In the Blood: She possesses her family's criminal instincts. The first time she goes into the field, she takes to it like a fish to water.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Her main problem is that she's exactly like her father: cruel, vicious, confrontational, with an over-inflated idea of her own importance and dumb as bag of bricks. Floyd actually calls her out on it.
  • Mafia Princess: She's well aware of the nature of the family business and wants to join, but her father refuses.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: It's pretty evident that part of the reason she became The Mole for Mike is her dad's awful treatment of her. She's very fixated on Mike's promise to kill Dodd.
  • The Mole: She's sleeping with Mike Milligan, and feeds him information to help Kansas City take her family over.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She has a full Toplessness from the Back scene while in bed with Mike and often wears provocative clothing.
  • Patricide: Simone wants Mike to kill Dodd because of his constant abuse.
  • Playing Both Sides: What she's attempting to do with her affair with Mike: Pretending she's on her family's side, while also feeding information to the Kansas City syndicate to score points and so get the family business when the rest are gone. Before long, her plan collapses.
  • Sleeping Their Way to the Top: Her main plan is to sleep with Mike, convince him to kill most of her family, and take over the remaining business. Needless to say, it goes awfully wrong.
  • Smug Snake: While she has a knack for cooking up devious plans, she often overestimates how much is she capable of achieving on her own. Before long, she's bullied on both sides of the struggle, berated by everyone, and even killed by her uncle Bear.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Barging into Mike's hotel room to berate him after he just attacked her house without caring that she was in it. What did she think was going to happen?
  • With Us or Against Us: Receives this question from Floyd, concerning some doubts about her allegiance, seconds before Mike and his Mooks attack the house.

    Charlie Gerhardt 

Charlie Gerhardt

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gerhardt_charlie.jpg
Played By: Allan Dobrescu

Just 17, Charlie is Bear’s only son. Born with cerebral palsy, Charlie has come back from school to be with his family during a trying time. Though his father wants him to steer clear of the family business and become a professional, Charlie is intrigued by the swagger and electricity of their crime legacy.


  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Even though he wants to help in the family's business, his father is determined to keep him away from it and make sure he has a legitimate future.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Averted. Bear's desire is for Charlie to have a normal, legal, and happy life away from him and his family.
  • Give Him a Normal Life: Bear wants Charlie to go back to school and make something of himself, not get involved with the family's business.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: He really wants to and tries to prove himself as capable of such responsibility. Killing people, however, might be out of his range.
  • Jumped at the Call: When Uncle Dodd invites him over to a local shakedown, Charlie jumps in immediately.
  • Handicapped Badass: Despite a useless hand, he can quickly reload one-handed, is a fine shot, and packs a decent punch.
  • Last of His Kind: By the end of "The Castle", he's the only named Gerhardt who hasn't been killed yet, along with Dodd's unnamed younger daughters.
  • Pursuing Parental Perils: Charlie feels constantly attracted to the criminal underworld, despite his father's best intentions; the fact that he wants to stop being seen as a weak person only adds more fuel. Then comes the time to actually kill somebody…
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Most of "Rhinoceros" revolves around his family trying to get him out of police custody. Despite this, he doesn't have a single line in that episode.

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Associates

    Lieutenants 

Mickey Grout, Joey Seymour, & Roost Bolton

Played By: Rob de Leeuw, James Downing & Jake T. Roberts

  • Affably Evil: They all seemed very genuine in their intentions and loyalty, even if they are gangsters.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Mickey is shot in the head by an offscreen mobster.
  • The Can Kicked Him: Roost is drowned in a toilet by an unnamed Kansas City Mobster.
  • Undignified Death: Mickey and Joey die in typical criminal ways (shot and garroted, respectively), but Roost is drowned in a filthy toilet.
  • Red Shirt: They exist mostly to show the escalating violence between Kansas and the Gerhardts, with all three being disposed of in a montage.
  • Shout-Out: Roost Bolton is clearly a nod to Game of Thrones' Roose Bolton.
  • Undying Loyalty: To the Gerhardts.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: They only appear for short scenes in episodes 3 and 7, so we don't know all that much about them.

Enforcers

    Hanzee Dent 

Ohanzee "Hanzee" Dent

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dent_ohanzee.jpg
"Thinking of getting a haircut... Something professional... Tired of this life."
Played By: Zahn McClarnon & Samuel Marty

"I saw something that year I ain't ever seen, before or since. I'd call it animal. Except animals only kill for food."
Lou Solverson

Hanzee is the Gerhardt family’s primary enforcer. A Native American man, Hanzee was taken in by Otto Gerhardt when he was just a kid. Raised by the family (but never part of it), Hanzee has become Dodd’s right-hand man, entrusted with any important job that Dodd can't handle personally.


  • Badass Native: Hanzee is a solid Native American badass; he's highly intelligent, very observant, utterly unflappable, and tougher than a collection of gators. He even claims he got a Purple Heart and Bronze Star in Vietnam, which is perfectly believable. He also racks up an impressive body count to rival Lorne Malvo; Wayne Kitchen, Joe Bulo, Constance Heck, Dodd Gerhardt, Floyd Gerhardt, Gibson, and a dozen unnamed henchmen in-between. He even manages to kill Ed in the finale.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: He may be silent most of the time and soft-spoken, but he's still a killer. He also orchestrates the fall of the Gerhardts and kills Ed all within the last three episodes of the season.
  • Big Bad: Of Season 2. He unexpectedly swings up as the main antagonist after a great deal of vying for the title between Dodd, Floyd, and Mike Milligan. He decimates the Gerhardt family and goes after the Blumquists.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: He essentially destroys the Gerhardt crime family over the span of two episodes.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episode 8, along with the Blumquists.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Just ask the racists at the bar, and Dodd of course.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Hanzee gets a payoff from an unknown accomplice in the end of the second season, apparently for killing the Gerhardts.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Seemingly The Dragon to Dodd Gerhardt, but much more effective than his boss. Dodd is plenty dangerous, but he's overconfident, impulsive, and greedy. Hanzee, on the other hand, is silently professional. All of Dodd's success with regards to Rye's death can be attributed to Hanzee. When Dodd doesn't bring Hanzee along to kill the Blumquists, Dodd winds up unconscious.
  • Expy: A long-haired enforcer who's scarily competent at his job and will stop at nothing to achieve his goals, despite having been injured? Are we talking about Hanzee or Anton Chigurh?
  • Facial Horror: He suffers some nasty burns on his face.
  • Genius Bruiser: Hanzee is as smart as he is tough thanks to his high perception and observational skills.
  • The Heavy: Hanzee moves the plot forward at crucial times during the second half of the season.
  • Hidden Depths: He doesn't look it, but he's pretty tired of being treated like a weapon, or someone to be mocked, just because of his race. He also wants out of "this kind of life."
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: He's Dodd's right-hand man, and definitely far more skilled at killing and tracking than him. This, along with the way Dodd treats him, plays into his betrayal of the Gerhardts.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Hanzee realizes he's tired of being a killer. He ignores this and decides to wipe out the Gerhardts and establish his own criminal enterprise from the resulting power vacuum.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: "Palindrome" shows him adopting a new identity and therefore washing himself clean of all his involvement in the crimes of the second season. His new name, however, happens to be the same as a Fargo mobster who Lorne Malvo killed back in season one, so Hanzee does indeed get what he deserves.
  • Knife Nut: Sometimes carries a big-ass knife, while in another scene, he pulls out a straight razor.
  • Meaningful Name: Hanzee's last name is "Dent," as in bump, as in a road bump in your plans.
  • Nerves of Steel: It doesn't matter what the situation is or how many guns are trained on him; Hanzee will look irritated at most.
  • Not So Stoic: Hanzee tends to look bored at best; he's calm, unflappable, and nothing seems to surprise him. But when confronted by racist bullies who spit in his drink and question his American identity, slight sparks of emotion begin to crack through his creepy exterior. It becomes clearer and clearer that Hanzee isn't an emotionless stoic, he's just a weary man who's tired of his criminal life and the lack of respect that he gets, even as a war veteran.
  • Pet the Dog: He steps in to help the young Numbers and Wrench getting bullied by some teens in the 10th episode. By pulling a knife on the teens. He also doesn't try to kill Peggy and Ed after killing Dodd, instead only asking Peggy to give him a haircut, and even admits to them in a rare moment of vulnerability that he's tired of his life of crime.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: While he doesn't seem to get any comeuppance in Season 2, Hanzee certainly doesn't get a happy ending. Sure, he takes down the Gerhardts and it's implied he'll take down the Kansas City Syndicate with his ruthless ways, but he loses his identity (including his racial identity) and he falls back into the life he was so tired of, not knowing how to do anything else. He takes on a new identity, Moses Tripoli, and will go on to become fat and bored before meeting an ignoble death at the hands of Lorne Malvo, a fellow force of chaos.
  • The Quiet One: Hanzee doesn't usually speak until spoken to.
  • Race Lift: A rare In-Universe example. At the end of the season, it's revealed he undergoes extensive plastic surgery to become Moses Tripoli, the leader of the Fargo Mob in season one. While Hanzee is Native American, Tripoli is Ambiguously Brown, with a Hebrew first name and North African surname (and portrayed by an actor of European descent).
  • Retired Badass: Debates becoming one. After the excessive racism in the bar, it doesn't stick.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After being incredibly stoic and outwardly calm throughout Season 2, in "Loplop", he cripples two men and kills another because of their racial abuse. Then he kills Dodd when similarly abused.
  • Returning War Vet: He worked in the tunnels in Vietnam, smothering the Viet Cong in the mud while slitting their throats so they didn't alert their comrades. During his service, he received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: He manages to figure out who killed Rye faster than the police did. In fact, it took him less than one full day to put it all together.
  • The Spook: Quoth the narrator: "Not much is known about Ohanzee Dent. We have no birth certificate, no tribal or family history." And, to top it off, he disappears from the record completely in 1979, when he secretly changes his identity to Moses Tripoli.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: The Season 2 finale, "Palindrome", reveals that he will go on to become Moses Tripoli, the head of the Fargo Crime Syndicate.
  • Walking Spoiler: His actions in the last two episodes of the season firmly push him into Big Bad territory.

    Ricky G 

Ricky G

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ricky_g.jpg
"Uh, it's America, brother. We don't do kings."
Played By: Ryan O'Nan

A gangster who comes down from Buffalo to work for the Gerhardts.


  • Beard of Evil: In addition to being a gangster working for the Gerhardts, Ricky has a scruffy beard to emphasize how shady he is.
  • Character Death: Gale Kitchen shoots him in the chest with a shotgun, on the orders of Mike Milligan.
  • Cool Shades: Ricky is usually seen wearing a pair of yellow-tinted aviator sunglasses, as per the 70s.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Gale shoots him full in the chest with a shotgun round and leaves him to slowly bleed out, on Mike's orders.
  • Double Tap: Averted. After Gale blasts Ricky with his shotgun, he moves in to finish the kill with a second blast, but Mike stops him, intending for Ricky to bleed to death and die slower.
  • The Dragon: After arriving in from Buffalo following the deaths of Otto and other prominent Gerhardt loyalists, he quickly settles into the role of a somewhat incompetent and hesitant henchman for Bear.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Ricky might be a gangster, but even he finds Bear's dismissal of Dodd's welfare to be 'cold'.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When Gale and Mike have him cornered, Ricky just starts chatting away with them. Even after Mike makes it clear that he's not going to make it out alive, Ricky doesn't drop his friendly act, and dies going for his gun rather than begging for mercy.
  • Failed a Spot Check: He could have not gotten himself killed if he just saw Mike's car parked out front. Odd, considering that Mike didn't exactly hide his car, but it's possible Ricky's greed got the better of him.
  • Foreshadowing: Ricky tells Mike that "America doesn't do kings." Mike doesn't get the criminal empire he envisioned.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: His twitchy nature and Butt-Monkey status make him seem like some wannabe gangster in the vein of Rye. Unlike Rye, Ricky's a lot less impulsive and a lot smarter. In his debut episode, he helps Bear shoot up an office of the Kansas City Mob, and much later coldly stabs a man to death to prevent him from raising the alarm.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: After the fall of the Gerhardts, Ricky returns to their compound and starts stealing all the silver.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: While fleeing from the Sioux Falls Massacre can also be interpreted as cowardice, considering the fact that everyone else ends up dead, he made the smart choice. He also heads to the now-deserted Gerhardt compound to steal their belongings to sell for money. Sadly for him, Mike had already beaten him there.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: When it's become clear that the ambush they'd planned against the Kansas mob was actually an attack on the police, and they get the Gerhardt soldiers in a choke point, Ricky backs out while everyone is focused on the fight.

    Virgil Bauer 

Virgil Bauer

Played By: Greg Bryk

  • The Brute: For the Gerhardt family; Dodd entrusts him to kill Ed.
  • Consummate Professional: Played With. He's cold, formal, and efficient, but while he isn't necessarily friendly to him, he's a lot more forgiving of Charlie's screw-ups, even when they jeopardize his work.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: He's got two very distinct scars on the left side of his face that make him look menacing.
  • Professional Killer: He's a hitman for the Gerhardts, and when Floyd orders Rye's killer dead, Dodd sends him out.
  • Stray Shots Strike Nothing: Averted. He does get a shot off at Ed, who ducks, the bullet ricochets off the metal surroundings, and grazes Charlie's head.
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