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Families

Burgle Family

    Nathan Burgle 

Nathan Burgle

Portrayed By: Graham Verchere

  • Nice Guy: He shows a lot more patience and kindness than his grandfather, that's for darn sure.
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    Ron Burgle 

Ronald "Ron" Burgle

Portrayed By: Andrew Moxham

  • Amicable Exes: He's divorced from Gloria, but they have a pretty good friendship regardless.
  • Suddenly Sexuality/Incompatible Orientation: Although he had a son with Gloria, he's currently in a committed same-sex relationship. Gloria explains in the second to last episode that they married after their son Nathan was already a toddler. Later he called her to tell her that he had a boyfriend and that his feelings for her were only platonic.

Hess Family

    Sam Hess 

Sam Hess

Played By: Kevin O'Grady

A trucking company owner with connections to organized crime who used to bully Lester Nygaard in high school.


  • Asshole Victim: Only his sons seem to mourn his death, but they're more interested in where his money is going. His wife even says she's glad he's dead, and will say so at his funeral.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Sam spits up blood as he dies.
  • The Bully: To everyone, but especially Lester. He berates him, emasculates him, and insults him. He also threatens him with physical violence.
  • Character Death: A knife to the back of the head ends Sam's unpleasant existence.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: His death, which is telegraphed very early on, is hardly a surprise.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: He has no problem with calling his sons idiots to their faces... but when Lorne Malvo does the same, Sam comes within an inch of physically attacking him until his lawyer advises him that would be a bad idea. A really bad idea.
  • In the Back: Well, the back of the head.
  • Jerkass: Sam is an utterly repulsive bully who uses racial slurs, cheats on his wife, yells at his dimwit sons, and hasn't matured one iota since high school.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He calls Lester Nygaard 'Niggard', deliberately pronounced like the n word, which speaks to his maturity as a human being.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: He bullied Lester in high school, and he bullies Lester when the two are into their forties.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Despite being an overweight, sneering jerk, he somehow ended up married to attractive redhead Gina, likely because of his money.
  • Your Cheating Heart: He cheats on his wife with a stripper moonlighting as a prostitute.

    Gina Hess 

Gina Hess

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hess_gina_6054.jpg
Played By: Kate Walsh

As the beleaguered wife of Sam Hess and mother to twins Mickey and Moe, Gina Hess is a former Las Vegas stripper who, after over 15 years in Minnesota, has come to realize the mistake she made in moving north. Now, Gina will use whatever charms she has left to move the hell out of Minnesota for good.


  • The Alcoholic: It isn't stated outright, but with how often she's seen with a drink in hand, it doesn't need to be. She offers Lester a whiskey in the morning.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Her marriage does not appear to have been a happy one, which shouldn't be surprising considering what a Jerkass her husband was. It's pretty clear she's had a drinking problem for some time and she shows no grief whatsoever in response to Sam's death.
  • Brutal Honesty: Bitter and jaded, Gina frequently tells others exactly what she thinks of them. She straight-up plans to tell everyone at Sam's funeral that she's glad he's dead.
  • Fiery Redhead: She's flame-haired and aggressively sarcastic.
  • Gold Digger: Gina makes it pretty clear to everyone that she was sticking out her marriage to Sam Hess for the money alone. She shows no grief whatsoever over his death and is very insistent on getting his money.
    "And that is how I met Sam. And he started flashing all this money around, and telling me how he was gonna take me away from it all, blah, blah, blah. I was 19, so stupid. Now here I am, stuck in The Yukon with my two mongoloid sons."
  • Greed: A huge hallmark of her character is her lust for money.
  • Jerkass: It's tempting to feel some sympathy for her, considering she was married to philandering, boorish Sam Hess and she won't even get the money she feels owed, but she's still a deeply unpleasant person. She's short-tempered, selfish, spiteful, and greedy.
  • Sex for Services: She sleeps with Lester in an effort to speed up her insurance payout.
  • The Vamp: Gina wastes no time trying to seduce Lester to hopefully speed up the insurance process.

    Mickey & Moe Hess 

Mickey & Moe Hess

Portrayed By: Atticus Dean Mitchell & Liam Green

"I've taken shits I want to live with more than them."
Gina Hess

The dim-witted, violent, and impulsive sons of Sam and Gina Hess.


  • The Bully: They both take after their father rather strongly.
  • Butt-Monkey: Both, but Moe especially. His brother tries to beat him to death with a hockey stick, he gets Shot in the Ass with a crossbow, and he takes a staple to the forehead from Lester.
  • The Dragon: For their father, and later they become this for their mother.
  • Dumb Muscle: It can not be understated how intensely stupid the Hess Brothers are. They are easily manipulated, fail to understand basic concepts, and voice their inane opinions to the detriment of every other IQ in the room.
    • Even their muscle is questionable, since they were quickly overwhelmed by a single nerd wielding a stapler.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: They don't take kindly to people insulting their mother, although she's perfectly willing to voice her extremely negative opinion of them.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Always seen together, and always ready to cause some kind of chaos (to others or each other).
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Milos Family & Associates

    Stavros Milos 

Stavros Milos

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/milos_stavros_2938.jpg
"You're looking at the Supermarket King Of Minnesota, la mercado rey."
Portrayed By: Oliver Platt

"We're only as good as the promises we keep."

As the owner of a chain of supermarkets and the author of a self-help book, Stavros is the kind of American success story that dreams are made of. But Stavros' success story began with a dark secret, one that has suddenly come back up and threatens to destroy the way of life he has built up over the past 25 years. Wanting to get rid of the problem as quickly and quietly as possible, Stavros is put in contact with Malvo as someone that can make that happen. Soon, however, Stavros learns his problems may just be beginning.


  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: He's extremely impatient with his adult son, who's either The Ditz or has an Ambiguous Disorder, but when he thinks he's being subjected to the ten plagues of Egypt, he's terrified for his son's safety and spirits him away to his cabin.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor guy goes through hell during his duration on-screen. His entire life gradually crumbles like bread in a washing machine. He's blackmailed, his dog is murdered, he gets drugged with Adderall, blood is placed in his shower, locusts plague his store, and finally his son is killed in a freak accident. Stavros is destroyed mentally for very little reason.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Implied; Don blackmails him by telling him he "knows about the money," but he doesn't actually know anything so much as he just assumes Stavros has some money-related Dark Secret.
  • Dark Secret: It's more of a grey secret; he came across a huge windfall of money by chance, buried out in the snow. Sure, maybe he should have reported the money to the authorities, but he was broke, had no opportunities, and a baby son. Not to mention, he genuinely believed that God bestowed the money on him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He comes across as irritable and aggressive, but he does love his son and isn't hiding any real dark secrets.
  • Leitmotif: The Libera Me from the Faure Requiem.
  • #1 Dime: He has a red ice scraper framed in his office. The same kind used to mark the location of the briefcase full of money in the movie.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Invoked against him. Lorne changes his back medication to Adderall, making him more unstable.
  • Patron Saint: He has a stained glass window of St. Lawrence, the patron saint of the poor. St. Lawrence's famous deed was giving away the treasures of the church, then defiantly presenting the poor citizens to the prefect of Rome, claiming that they were the true treasures of the church.
  • Pet the Dog: Literally; he's devastated when Lorne kills his dog. He is absolutely devastated when he sees his son died in a car crash.
  • Rags to Riches: He was a loser deep in debt when he came to the frozen north. Then he spied a red ice scraper sticking out of the snow...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to him after his son and friend died?

    Helena Milos 

Helena Milos

Portrayed By: Allegra Fulton & Eve Harlow

Stavros' bitter ex-wife.


  • Amicable Exes: Averted with Stavros; they despise each other.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Stavros has nothing nice to say about her, but is also confident that she wasn't the one who hurt his dog.

    Dmitri Milos 

Dmitri Milos

Portrayed By: Gordon S. Miller

Dmitri is the son of Stavros Milos, chronologically a young adult but seeming to be somewhat delayed in a lot of ways. Malvo uses him as a threat hanging over Stavros' head.


  • Cannot Tell a Joke: His Establishing Character Moment is bursting in on his father and Malvo to crack a riddle about karate and tea that might be mildly amusing if he hadn't given the punch line away in the setup.
  • Character Death: He's randomly killed in a car accident.
  • The Cutie/Nice Guy: Dmitri shows a sunny disposition toward everyone.
  • The Ditz: His interrupting a business meeting to tell a dumb joke seems to be typical Dmitri behavior, exasperating his father.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: He calls around and finds out the "locusts" that infested the store were really crickets from a pet store, indicating sabotage. By that point, his father is too far gone and pays him no attention.
  • Kill the Cutie: He dies in a senseless road accident after Stavros had returned the original suitcase full of money, thinking it would lift the curse.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Stavros never tells him about the Ten Plagues situation and his own place in it as firstborn, fairly concluding he wouldn't understand.

    Wally Semenko 

Wally Semenko

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/semenko_wally.png
Portrayed By: Barry Flatman

The head of security at Phoenix Farms, the supermarket owned by Stavros Milos.


  • Character Death: He dies after his car is run off the road by a... fish storm...
  • The Dragon: He serves as one for Stavros Milos.
  • Jerkass: Semenko is suspicious, irritable, and grumpy at the best of times.
  • Properly Paranoid: He's highly suspicious of Malvo; he's very justified. If anything, he isn't suspicious enough, since he seems to assume Malvo is just some two-bit thug he can easily intimidate.
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Locations

Bemidji, Minnesota

    Bo Munk 

Bo Munk

Portrayed By: Tom Musgrave

Lester's boss, and the owner of the insurance company.


  • Benevolent Boss: He's quite nice to Lester, all things considered, even offering to relieve him of some of his work-load when it doesn't look like he's up to it.
  • Red Herring: In-Universe, Molly had him as one of her suspects connecting Lester to Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench.
  • Satellite Character: He exists only in relation to Lester, as Lester's boss.

    Ida Thurman 

Ida Thurman

Portrayed By: Julie Ann Emery

Vern Thurman's pregnant wife.


  • Happily Married: To Vern, her beloved husband and father of her unborn child.
  • Nice Girl: She's generally a sweet, caring woman.
  • Widow Woman: Following Vern's sudden death, while she's pregnant with his child no less.

Luverne, Minnesota

    Noreen Vanderslice 

Noreen Vanderslice

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/vanderslice_noreen.jpg
Portrayed By: Emily Haine

A clerk at the butcher's.


  • Action Survivor: When Ed is attacked by Charlie and Virgil, she leaps to action despite being understandably terrified, even saving Ed's life.
  • Bookworm: Spends the majority of her screentime reading, rarely looking up, even when in conversation.
  • Improbable Weapon User: She uses a hunk of meat to help fight Virgil.
  • Meet Cute: With Charlie Gerhardt, of all people.
  • Perky Goth: Her personality and interests fit to a tee, but given that she lives in 1979 Midwest, she's something of a proto-goth (no jet black hair and clothes).
  • Running Gag: She's always seen reading a book.

    Karl Weathers 

Karl A. Weathers

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/weathers_karl.jpg
Portrayed By: Nick Offerman

"Don't dictate terms to me, you rogue, for the law is a light on a hill, calling to its breast all those in search of justice."

The town lawyer of Luverne, Minnesota. A Korean War vet, Karl is a flowery drunk blessed with the gift of gab and the eloquence of a true con artist.


  • The Alcoholic: Drinks enough to worry Betty that she asks him to stop so he can look out for Lou and Molly should anything happen to her.
  • All Up to You: After spending a season being a rather bumbling and drunk (yet eloquent) example of a small town lawyer, he steps up in "Rhinoceros" and (with pointers from Lou) single-handedly defuses the siege on the police station, with nothing more than his legal knowledge, guts, and ability to persuade.
  • Badass Beard: Did you really expect Nick Offerman not to be rockin' some kind of impressive facial hair? He achieves the badass part when displaying Nerves of Steel against Bear and co, whilst secretly terrified out of his mind.
  • Batman Gambit: He appeals to Bear's love for his son to stop his rampage through the Laverne PD, indicating that Charlie could be released if he just left. Otherwise, he could be held responsible for the damage and given years in prison.
  • Big Damn Heroes: He shows up just in time to save Sonny from Hanzee, when Sonny catches Hanzee snooping in the garage.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's an eccentric drunk, but he is a fantastic speaker who literally gambles his own life on his ability.
  • The Cloud Cuckoolander Was Right: Although Lou dismisses the idea that there's much more to the Waffle House shooting, Karl promises that it'll only get bigger. And it is.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: He has a few rather suspect theories.
  • Drunken Master: He's wasted most of the time, but in his Moment of Awesome in "Rhinoceros", this trait doesn't stop him from being a successful mediator between a furious Bear Gerhardt and his Mooks and the Luverne PD, and averts possible bloodshed, all while being terrified out of his mind.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In his first appearance, he's berating a friend for not being more knowledgeable of current events while espousing conspiracy theories.
  • Expy: A bearded war vet who talks at length and berates his slow-on-the-uptake drinking buddy? Sounds a lot like Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski.
    • He also has many similarities to Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation, who was also played by Nick Offerman.
  • Fanboy: Of Ronald Reagan, as much as he tries to deny it. He tears up at his speech, shakes his hand, and proclaims himself to love a rather obscure movie he'd done.
  • Greek Chorus: Along with Sonny, he spends the majority of the first half of the second season on the benches, looking and commenting on the madness surrounding him.
  • Hypocritical Humor: He tells Sonny he won't shake Ronald Reagan's hand; the man was in a movie with a monkey, it wouldn't be dignified. Not two seconds later, he unhesitatingly shakes Reagan's hand while gushing about one of his films.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He might be short-tempered and irritable, but he shows deep concern for Betsy Solverson. He also has a deep belief in the importance of his career and defending the accused.
  • Manly Tears: Karl sheds them at Reagan's speech about how he'll help America get back on its feet.
  • Motor Mouth: Karl most certainly possesses the gift of the gab.
  • Nerves of Steel: He's one of the few people not intimidated by Dent, and even gets him to back off when he shows that he's got a firearm. He comes very close to cracking when confronted with Bear's gun-toting mob in episode 6 of season 2, but he keeps himself together enough to deliberate and get the man to back down.
  • The Obi-Wannabe: He tries to act like the mentor towards his friends. But he's too grumpy, mad, and full of Delusions of Eloquence to truly become such.
  • Skunk Stripe: On his beard.
  • Supreme Chef: Karl earned his title of The King of Breakfast because of his cooking skills.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: In "Rhinoceros", Karl manages to calm down an angered Bear Gerhardt by reminding him of his son Charlie, locked up in the Luverne PD, and how Bear's future actions could affect him, Charlie, and his future.
  • Talking Your Way Out: His true gift is his persuasion tactics, especially when faced with a life-or-death situation. Just ask Lou and Bear.
  • Those Two Guys: With Sonny.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Sonny Greer, although Karl provides all of the vitriol.

    Sonny Greer 

Sonny Greer

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/greer_sonny.jpg
Portrayed By: Dan Beirne

A Vietnam veteran and drinking buddy of Lou and Karl and Luverne's most trusted mechanic.


  • Alone with the Psycho: When Hanzee discovers the Blomquists' car in Sonny's workshop, Sonny tries to stop him from fidgeting around it, causing Hanzee to pull his knife. Thankfully, Karl comes out of the bathroom at that moment and let his gun be shown.
  • Butt-Monkey: He is often dismissed and berated by Karl. Even Lou can't help but wonder about him.
  • The Ditz: He's not particularly bright, to say the least.
  • Dumb Is Good: Sonny is pretty hapless and dim, but also a good-hearted young man.
  • Expy: Just as Karl is one to Walter Sobchak, Sonny is a dimmer version of Donny Kerabatsos from The Big Lebowski; a somewhat gormless, much-insulted friend to a main character (Lou) and a loud-mouthed Vietnam veteran (Karl). Heck, it's worth noting that his name is one letter away from being "Donny".
  • Greek Chorus: Along with Karl, he spends the majority of the first half of the second season on the benches, looking and commenting on the madness surrounding him.
  • Nice Guy: Sonny's a friendly person by nature.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Karl Weathers, although Karl provides all of the vitriol.
  • Those Two Guys: With Karl.

    Constance Heck 

Constance Heck

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/heck_constance.jpg
Portrayed By: Elizabeth Marvel

Owner of the local beauty salon, Constance is an independent, liberated woman who knows what she wants in life and encourages her staff and clients to “be the best you, you can be”.


  • Character Death: Hanzee throttles her in her hotel room, off-screen.
  • Expy: She's Malvo-lite. She's encouraging Peggy to be more selfish, giving into her desires and wants at the expense of her husband.
  • Jerkass: Constance might be a friend to Peggy, but she's a terrible influence and is a selfish person in general.
  • Killed Offscreen: Hanzee kills her after she fails to find out where Peggy is.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Her interest in Peggy is clearly not platonic. She flirts outrageously with her, helps to increase Peggy's resentment of Ed, and overtly checks out Peggy's ass when her friend's back is turned. She also only got one hotel room for her and Peggy, with the likely intent to seduce her.
  • Sensei for Scoundrels: Her twisted philosophy in life and clear wild perspective on freedom rub on Peggy, and she clearly wants to influence her on the ways one's personal matters can overcome the rest's.
  • Straw Feminist: She gives off hints of this, considering she is always trying to convince Peggy to drop Ed, using language like "don't be a prisoner of we", saying it's better for her when in fact she just wants to get in Peggy's pants. In Episode Ten, Peggy indicates that she gave her emotional beatdowns because she couldn't manage to have both a healthy family life and a successful career, and this abuse led directly to her increasing insanity.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: To Peggy, who really doesn't need the help. Constance doesn't exactly push Peggy to become a genuine criminal, but she does encourage her more selfish impulses and serves as an enabler. She frequently touts the virtues of caring only for yourself.

Fargo, North Dakota

    Judge Mundt 

Judge Irma Mundt

Portrayed By: Ann Cusack

A municipal judge in Fargo, North Dakota.


  • Improbable Weapon User: She uses a can of bug-spray like it's mace; it's a nice little nod to Rye's status as a pest.
  • Never Mess with Granny: She might be approaching old age, but she doesn't bat an eye at threats from younger people and refuses to be kowtowed.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Rye pulls his gun out.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Rye killing her is what kicks off the conflict and gets the police looking into the Gerhardts right as they're in the midst of preparing for a hostile takeover from Kansas City.

Duluth, Minnesota

    Ari Ziskind 

Ari Ziskind

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ziskind_ari.jpg
"Only a fool thinks he can solve the world's problems."
Portrayed By: Byron Noble

"This is a community. People watch each other's backs. Someone gets sick, someone dies, you bring a casserole, help."

Gus's neighbor.


  • Badass Bystander: Ari might be an average family man, but he's one of the very few who are willing to stand up to Lorne Malvo and not back down. Hell, he even makes Malvo back down.
  • The Confidant: A one-time sounding board for Gus.
  • Creepy Good: His mannerisms and monotone delivery of morbid stories does make Gus feel a bit put off, but Ari's just trying to be neighborly. His speech to Malvo about community and the good in the world may not have moved the recipient, but it does give us a good insight on how Ari thinks.
  • Nice Guy: Offers advice to Gus when he notices that the latter seems troubled, and is part of the neighborhood watch, giving off the impression that he is an upstanding member of the community.
  • No-Sell: One of Malvo's most powerful abilities is his cunning and ability to lie, but Ari sees through him for the malevolent soul he is.
    Malvo: Maybe I'm here to help.
    Ari: No, you have black eyes. You're trouble. I'm going inside, and I'm calling the cops.
    Malvo: Which building? The one with the Jew bus outside?
    Ari: There it is. Now the truth comes out.

    Rachel Ziskind 

Rachel Ziskind

Portrayed By: Leah Cairns

A neighbor of Gus and Ari's wife.


Eden Valley, Minnesota

    Dale 

Dale

Portrayed By: Joel Labelle

    Ennis Stussy 

Ennis Stussy / Thaddeus Mobley

Portrayed By: Scott Hylands (2010) & Thomas Randall Mann (1975)

The stepfather of Gloria Burgle.


  • The Alcoholic: He's constantly sneaking himself a drink, even at work.
  • Asshole Victim: Ennis was a drunken, grumpy old homophobe. Still, his family loved him and he loved them back in his own begrudging way. He most certainly didn't deserve such a cruel, senseless death.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Back in 1975, Thaddeus Mobley was a nice and trusting young man, which is why it came as a surprise to Zimmerman and Vivian when he snapped and beat Zimmerman into a coma when he realized they had conned him out of all his money.
  • Butt-Monkey: Being a young, innocent man, he had a target on his back the moment he entered Hollywood.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: He gets his nose and mouth glued shut.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: Fargo tends to start with a death (or two, or three, or four) to kick off the plot. This time, Ennis got the nod.
  • Grumpy Old Man: He's in a perpetually bad mood.
  • Hidden Depths: Gloria discovers he was once a prolific Science Fiction writer. Sharp-eyed viewers can spot a Hugo Award among his belongings.
  • Killed Offscreen: The confrontation between Ennis and Maurice that led to the former's death is not shown. His body is discovered by Gloria, and the cause of death is later revealed to be asphyxiation.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: He got his second alias Ennis Stussy from a toilet logo in his motel for a company called Dennis Stussy & Sons, with the ‘D’ worn off.
  • Mysterious Past: Gloria knows nothing of his life before he married her mother, until she starts actively investigating him.
  • Naïve Newcomer: He was not ready to deal with the seedy world of Hollywood in The '70s, and paid dearly for it.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: He's certainly nowhere near a villain, but he's notably homophobic.
  • Posthumous Character: We learn a lot more about him after his death than before.
  • Rage Breaking Point: When he realizes he's been conned, he beats Zimmerman into a coma.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Went from a naive, trusting kid to a surly and rude old man.

Kansas City, Missouri

    Burt & Louise Canton 

Burt & Louise Canton

Portrayed By: Stephen Root & Jennifer Copping

Married friends of one of Lorne Malvo's alter egos, Mike.


  • Awful Wedded Life: Burt privately complains to Malvo about his dismal sex life with his wife.
    Burt: Weezy's basically a Jew in the bedroom.
    Malvo: Oh, you mean she wears a wig, makes you do it through a hole in the sheet, yeah.
    Burt: No. No, no. She stopped putting it in her mouth soon as the ring went on her finger.
    Malvo: Well, that's a national tragedy, Burt.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Louise is killed in this manner by Malvo.
  • Character Death: They're both shot and killed by their supposed friend Malvo.
  • Dirty Old Man: Burt presses Malvo for details about his younger fiance.

    Jemma Stalone 

Jemma Stalone

Played By: Helena Mattson

The girlfriend of one of Lorne Malvo's alter egos, Mike.


Los Angeles, California

    Howard Zimmerman 

Howard Zimmerman

Portrayed By: Fred Melamed (1975) & Roger V. Burton (2010)

A Hollywood producer who worked with Thaddeus Mobley in 1975.


  • Faux Affably Evil: As befitting a con man, he knows how to charm people. He speaks with the even, smoothly ingratiating voice of Fred Melamed, never losing his cool or being anything but genial. He even tries to comfort Tad after revealing the extent to which he took advantage of the kid, never gloating and remaining as friendly as ever. While Vivian throws some sharp taunts Tad's way, Howard chastises her for being too harsh. Hell, it seems like Vivian might be the worst of the two criminals at first with Howard along as her stooge... until Tad complains a little too much and Zimmerman shows just how dangerous he can be.
  • Asshole Victim: Having conned Thaddeus Mobley out of all the money he had back in The '70s, he richly deserved it when Thaddeus beat him into a coma with his own cane.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He sure seems like a nice guy, but he's still a con man with a wide frame. As Tad discovers when Zimmerman begins to choke him out with the kind of ease that makes it clear he's done this before.
  • Con Man: His promises of turning Thaddeus' book into a big Hollywood movie are nothing but a con to drain Tad of all of his money.
  • Convenient Coma: The beating Tad gave him almost killed him, but instead put him in a long coma, giving Thaddeus the chance to make a run for it and become Ennis Stussy.
  • Hookers and Blow: He uses Thaddeus' money to pay for his extravagant lifestyle.
  • Insane Troll Logic: When the con is revealed, he tries to argue that he did Tad a favor by screwing him over, stealing all his money, and getting him addicted to cocaine.
  • Obviously Evil: The audience could tell that he was nothing but a con man from the second he showed up on screen.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: He peppers his speech with some Yiddish words, like "bubeleh".

    Vivian Lord 

Vivian Lord

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mv5bmjqyntezndk1nl5bml5banbnxkftztgwnji0mteymji_v1_sy1000_cr006671000_al.jpg
"He was right. I am a bad person."
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mv5bmty5nzm3oty3mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwodi0mteymji_v1_sy1000_cr0015281000_al.jpg
"You're not gonna cry, are you?"
Portrayed By: Francesca Eastwood (1975) & Frances Fisher (2010)

A Hollywood starlet who crossed paths with Thaddeus Mobley in 1975.


  • Con Man: She was in on Zimmerman’s plan to drain Thaddeus dry from the beginning.
  • Femme Fatale: Gorgeous and seductive, she was able to wrap Thaddeus around her little finger with sex and drugs in record time.
  • Kick the Dog: She was needlessly cruel to Thaddeus Mobley when the con was finished up.
  • Recovered Addict: She did a lot of drugs in The '70s, but as of 2010, she claims to have been clean for 29 years.
  • Reformed Criminal: By 2010, she is making an honest living as a waitress in a dinner and seems to regret the part she played in the scam.

    Paul Marrane 

Paul Marrane

Portrayed By: Ray Wise

A traveling businessman who befriends Gloria in LA. He mysteriously reappears later on to give Nikki some help and advice, implying that his role in the story is far from coincidental.


  • Ambiguously Human: Paul knows Nikki, Yuri, and Wrench's life in great detail, and inflicts some sort of vision on Yuri as punishment for murdering his girlfriend and reveling in his ancestors' brutality. Combined with his Kabbalistic teachings to Nikki, he seems to be some kind of divine intervention.
  • Creepy Good: Downplayed. There is something unsettling about Paul and the aura around him, but in spite of that, there is a warmth to him.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Just because he is friendly and comforting to those he deems worthy, do not assume he will not deal with evildoers exactly as harshly as they deserve. Just ask Yuri.
  • Guardian Angel: His second appearance all but outright states that he is one to Nikki and Gloria. He divulges information about Nikki and her circumstances that he had no logical way of knowing in advance, and provides her with a car with which she and Wrench could escape from Yuri, with his only stipulation being that she deliver a message to "The Wicked".
  • Meaningful Name: Paul Marrane is one of the names attributed to the Wandering Jew.
  • Nice Guy: Probably the only person in LA to treat Gloria well without any ulterior motives. He also gives Nikki some heartfelt advice to help her cope with Ray's death, and provides her with a car for her and Wrench to escape in.
  • Wandering Jew: Paul shares the name of the Wandering Jew in 'The Turkish Spy', and sympathises with the wandering robot in Ennis' sci-fi novel. It also explains his tendency to quote in Hebrew.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: A variation, as he doesn't say it directly to the character's face. He feels Mr. Wrench is this and even says to Nikki that he's on a better path than he used to be.

Other Characters

    Ronald Reagan 

Governor Ronald Reagan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/reagan_ronald.jpg
"Son, there's not a challenge on God's Earth that can't be overcome by an American."
Portrayed By: Bruce Campbell

"The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his presence him from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world. A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us. My friends, I believe that you and I together can keep this rendezvous with destiny."

An old-time Hollywood actor with charisma and charm to spare and two terms as governor of California under his belt, Ronald Reagan is ready for the next political challenge. With his sights set on becoming President of the United States, he’s now out on the campaign trail to rally the American people.


  • The Charmer: It's Reagan, after all. He built his support on his easy charm.
  • Good Is Dumb: Reagan means well, but he's utterly out-of-touch and his grip on reality is a little tenuous. When speaking privately with Lou, he unintentionally reveals just how insensitive he can be. In a sincere but misguided attempt to bond with Lou, he compares Lou's wartime experience to his fictional portrayal of a soldier. He talks about it as if it were a real event and was actually there, but then he can't quite remember how it ended. The point is lost, and when Lou appeals to this well-loved authority figure for some advice, his response exposes that he doesn't have the answers. He may not have even thought about the answers.
    Reagan: Son, there's not a challenge on God's Earth that can't be overcome by an American. I truly believe that.
    Lou: Yeah. But how?
    Reagan: [smiles, shrugs, walks away]
  • Historical-Domain Character: It's pretty self-explanatory. Here, he isn't president just yet, but it's coming sure and fast. It's Ronald Reagan, after all. The actor?
  • Foreshadowing: He gets his real life and film mixed up at one point, explaining stress tends to do that (and his onset of Alzheimers). Which is exactly what happens to Peggy during the finale.
  • Rousing Speech: Reagan has a talent for swaying crowds with his charismatic speeches. Even the cynical, fight-the-establishment Karl is moved to tears.
  • Sleazy Politician: Averted. Reagan is portrayed here as out of touch with shallow promises, but he's a friendly guy and comes across as sincere in his desire to make things better. He just hasn't thought things through.

    The Widow Goldfarb 

Ruby Goldfarb

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/3x05_0003.jpg
Portrayed By: Mary McDonnell

The widow Goldfarb is the wealthy "Storage Queen of the Great Lakes Region" who wants to buy Stussy Lots.


  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Downplayed, since while she's not exactly sunshine and rainbows, she at least comes across as charming, respectful, and forthright even as she says she could be a terrible enemy for Emmit. Then it turns out she's working for Varga and is much more ruthless and cold-blooded than anyone could anticipate.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: She's introduced as a rival businesswoman who wants to buy Stussy Lots. She comes across as an intimidating enemy to have, but given that Emmit and Sy are being terrorized by Varga, she doesn't seem like a major threat. Then it turns out she's working for Varga and through him seized control of Emmit's company.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Has no problem working with a sociopathic murderer in order to seize control of Stussy Lots.
  • Iron Lady: She takes control of her meeting with Sy pretty effectively and lets him know that having her for an enemy is bad idea.
  • Join or Die: She makes the veiled threat that if Emmit and Sy don't sell to her, she will just become their competition and run them out of business. She's working with Varga, so this threat is very much backed up.
  • Karma Houdini: Even more so than Varga, who at least has some ambiguity as to whether or not he'll face punishment for his crimes. Ruby, meanwhile, seemingly gets everything she wants by seizing Emmit's company through Varga and it's never stated if the truth ever comes out.
  • Pretty in Mink: She arrives to Gloria's interview in a very luxurious fur coat.
  • Rich Bitch: A decidedly subtle version. When she's dining with accomplished businessmen Emmit and Sy, she speaks rather courteously and charmingly. When she's being interviewed by Gloria, however, she becomes noticeably condescending and makes her disdain for the working-class policewoman clear.

    Horst Lagerfeld 

Colonel Horst Lagerfeld

Portrayed By: Sylvester Groth

A German officer who is seen interrogating a man in East Berlin in 1988.


  • Insane Troll Logic: His reason for arresting Jakob about the murder of of Helga Albrecth. The government records show that Yuri Gurka lived in Ungerleider's apartment, so Jakob must be Yuri, despite being the wrong age, the wrong nationality, having the wrong name, and having a wife that can vouch for the fact that Jacob isn't Yuri.
  • Police are Useless: He can't be bothered to look for the real killer of Helga Albrecth because it would imply the government's records were less than perfect.

    Jakob Ungeleider 

Jakob Ungerleider

Portrayed By: Fabian Busch

An unlucky citizen of East Berlin in 1988.


  • Miscarriage of Justice: He had absolutely nothing to do with Helga Albrecht's death, but by all appearances he was punished for it.
  • The Scapegoat: Col. Lagerfeld seemed intent on pinning the murder of Helga Albrecht on him for no other reason than he happened to live in Yuri's old apartment.
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