The characters of Ghost Whisperer number pretty high over the series, and almost all of them get a decent amount of characterization given the ghost-of-the-week episode basis. For the sake of cleanliness, characters both living and dead will be divided by season.
The main character of course. Her life would otherwise be quite happy, as she has a thriving marriage with a handsome husband, a nice house, and the job she enjoys—were it not for the ghosts that regularly make her life hell. She inherited the ability to see ghosts from her grandmother, Mary Ann, who called them "earthbound spirits". These spirits have unfinished business with the living, and thus stay on earth until it's resolved, which is Melinda's other job of sorts.
- Blessed with Suck/Cursed with Awesome: Melinda refers to her ability as a gift, and had to have her grandmother's input to help see it as something worthwhile, as much of her young life she thought it made her a freak. Now that she's grown, freak or not, ghosts still come to her, and she still has to cross them over. On the upside, it's genuinely helpful to everyone involved most of the time. Have fun finding an episode that isn't a Tear Jerker.
- Brought Down to Normal: After a car accident in Vanishing. Subverted at the end of the episode, when it's revealed that she has not lost her ability to see ghosts, but that something is "sucking" them.
- Broken Bird: Melinda's own life is not without casualties. Sometimes this makes her an Iron Woobie, but she's shown to be very torn up about the losses in her life most of the time.
- The Call: Not just her ghost-riddled daily life. Supernatural forces literally tell Melinda that she is the only one who can save certains souls before the end of season one.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Inverted, as she tends to see the past events of ghosts, rather than the future ones. However, in Season 5, when she is pregnant, she does have recurring nightmares of her baby's fate.
- The Empath: Melinda is aware that ghosts can affect people and herself in more ways one, and commonly notes a presence even when she can't see it. In one episode she uses touch to trigger a vision on purpose to find out who killed a ghost.
- Go into the Light: Her main goal, as a resolution of Unfinished Business.
- Happily Married: For the most part
- The Heart: Melinda's ability pretty much requires her to be this, as until she can make them feel better, ghosts will regularly screw around and cause harm.
- I See Dead People: As per her "gift"
- I Just Want to Be Normal: For a little while during her youth, as ghosts determinedly trying to talk to her was causing problems with her social life. She is now being made fun of because of her power to see ghosts.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Downplayed in "Deadbeat Dads", she and Jim attempt to have a child to no success, as she has a miscarriage. Eventually, this is turned around when she has Aiden.
- Loners Are Freaks: She is being called a freak by an Alpha Bitch since high school in "Mean Ghost" in a flashback.
- Long-Lost Relative: To Gabriel, who came from her father's side and was in a psych ward.
- MuggleMage Romance: Is married to Jim, who has no power of his own.
- The Soulsaver: Downplayed, however, she does this trope in a way by convincing and helping ghosts cross over, along with helping them come to terms with circumstances and or make amends with their loved ones.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Melinda herself is actually very intelligent and resourceful, and thankfully usually has the sense to pick up a weapon when someone living might hurt her. It's just that the people she has to cooperate with can be kind of dense, sometimes seemingly on purpose.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: In earlier seasons, though her wardrobe had to be toned down because of Executive Meddling.
- Played By: David Conrad
Melinda's husband, and one of the only people to be fully aware of her powers, how she uses them, and to never be skeptical about it. He starts out as a firefighter with connections to the police office, before becoming a paramedic.
- Identity Amnesia: When he becomes a step-in, he loses all memory of who he was as Jim or as Sam. Jim starts to come back to him though.
- Killed Off for Real: He comes back though. Sort of.
- Mr. Fanservice: Not to the extent of Melinda, but he has his fair share of scenes where he's shirtless and occasionally and beautifully bareass naked.
- MuggleMage Romance: Is married to Melinda, and has no power of his own.
- Sidekick: His connections to the police office are what tends to make many episodes possible where research is required. Unlike a lot of shows, Jim actually does get some strain and complains that he's running out of favors with them.
- Played By: Aisha Tyler
- Bait-and-Switch: Even worse and more painful than other times in the show. In the Season One finale, when she thinks her brother is on a doomed plane, she gets in her car and rushes to see him, only for the plane he was supposed to be on to crash into her car and kill her. We're led to believe Melinda is trying to tell Andrea her brother is dead—but it turns out Andrea's the ghost.
- Dead All Along: See the Bait-and-Switch entry
- Sidekick: Played this role initially until she was replaced by Delia
- Played By: Jay Mohr
A very, very smartass professor who occasionally lapses into Motor Mouth. He claims to not believe in any of the supernatural things his job as a professor covers, but is nonetheless very knowledgeable of it. In season two, Melinda finally tells him her ability after several occasions of dodging questions from him.
- Deadpan Snarker: One of the snarkiest characters on the show and delivers most of his lines with a neutral half-grin.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's rude, sarcastic, has no filter, interrupts people and always thinks he's right. He also does his best to help Melinda, including putting off a much longed for sabbatical just because she's in the middle of a case she can't figure out without him.
- Rejected Apology: To his late wife, who cheated on him despite loving him very much—she wouldn't have let him find this out, however, Gabriel convinced her to. This is what prevents her from crossing over.
- Skeptic No Longer: His wife has been haunting him for a long time. When she gets vocal about it though, Melinda spills and he becomes a believer.
- Played By: Camryn Manheim
A single mother who lost her husband three years before the show and worked as real estate agent. Replaces Andrea in Season 2[hardline]
- Former Teen Rebel: As a Teen she was the type of girl, who would sneak out to wild parties and smoke pot.
- Glamorous Single Mother: Subverted. She's more of a Struggling Single Mother, except she's more wealthy and is more overworked.
- Mama Bear: When she finds out someone tampered with Ned's records, almost costing him a chance at private school.
- Sidekick: Plays this role to Melinda in Season 2
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: Before being hired by Melinda, she was often overworked as a real estate agent
Delia's teenage son
- The Casanova: Has a new girlfriend very often, and at least once was sleeping with one girl and dating another. The girls were roommates.
- Demonic Possession: Some of his behaviour was because of a ghost's influence.
- Disappeared Dad: His Dad, Charlie, who passed away
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He tends to act jerkish but he's decent guy all around
- Sticky Fingers: How his mother met Melinda, as the latter called his mother when she caught him shoplifting
- Played By: Jamie Kennedy
A person who gains the ability to hear ghosts after a near death experience
- I See Dead People: He doesn't see them, instead, he hears them
- Near-Death Experience: A part of how he gains the ability to hear ghosts
Aiden Lucas Gordon
- Played By: Connor Gibbs
Melinda's Son who makes an appearance in Season 5
- A Child Shall Lead Them: To the Shinies
- Creepy Child: He can be, since he's an Empath and a lot of weird supernatural things happened (or happened more) while Melinda was pregnant with him.
- Dead Guy Junior: Named after Melinda and Sam's deceased dads
- The Empath: Might be why he can be a little creepy
- Fetus Terrible: While Melinda was pregnant with him, his presence caused a bit of unrest in the supernatural realms
- Bait-and-Switch: Oftentimes it isn't apparent that someone's a ghost until someone walks right through them.
- Empathic Shapeshifter: Quite often, a ghost will start out looking anywhere from mildly disturbing to incredibly terrifying. Melinda notes that this a result of their mental state—if a ghost has just died, and/or is confused with their situation, they usually appear in the form they were when they died, that is to say, frozen over, with a burnt face, or no face at all in the cases of two separate ghosts. On other occasions, a ghost may appear blurry or distant to Melinda for similar reasons. As Melinda gets further into the case and figures more things out, they can appear more clearly and more close to a normal form rather than anything malevolent, as they understand more. This can be a surprisingly useful tool to know when a character in the show may be incredibly malicious or evil—if they're doing bad things and look completely normal, then it's bad news.
- Demonic Possession: a variant and a subversion. All ghosts are capable of inhabiting bodies. One ghost inhabits the body of another recently dead against his will, and begins controlling the corpse, which eventually starts to deteriorate and forces him out. A ghost can also become a "step-in" as Jim does, but this will lead to memory loss and in worse cases suicide. There's also hypnotic suggestion, where a ghost will whisper (or scream) into a person's ear and affect their emotions and actions. One case of this got so bad that it very much seemed like the living bodies of two victims were being controlled, though as Professor Payne notes "only demons possess people". Despite this distinction, at least one man gets full-on possessed by his dead girlfriend at night.
- Played By: June Squibb
Melinda's grandmother, from whom Melinda's mother and herself gain their powers.
- Bait-and-Switch: Has a very heartwarming conversation with Melinda right before Melinda realizes she's a ghost and is dead in the next room.
- The Mentor: To Melinda as well, a very trusted one.
- Older and Wiser: Tying in her being Melinda's Mentor
- Passed in Their Sleep: Implied, considering that the nurses in said flashback said something about her wanting to nap.
- Played By: Wentworth Miller
A soldier who's been on earth for years, initially believing his wife was still waiting for him at home with an unborn child. To his dismay, he's very late—his "wife" is his son's wife, now pregnant with a child of her own. He's the first ghost of the series.
- Hunk: Played by the very handsome Wentworth Miller.
- I Will Wait for You: Why he couldn't cross over, as he thought his pregnant wife was at home waiting for him, unaware that his son was born and his wife had passed away.
- Played By: Joseph Castanon
A young boy that died when the car he was in broke down on a set of train tracks with one coming. His mom got out and took his baby sister with her, and got him out too, but he went back to get a toy of his and the train hit.
- Children Are Innocent: He starts off unaware that he died and simply think he's waiting for his mother.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: He's this to Dylan, whose mother insists he's not real, much to his (and Dylan's) dismay.
- Played By: Jessica Collins
The deceased twin of Natalie Harper, who is watching over her in the mental ward she stays in because Natalie has reported feeling Zoe's presence. After an incident in which she drunkenly slept with Zoe's boyfriend, in a fit of guilt she performed a pastime of theirs at night—to swim out as far as they could on the lake and try to touch a buoy, and hit it three times. She drowned doing it, but is nonetheless protective of her sister and very angry at her sister's boyfriend.
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Inverted, as she's the deceased twin, Natalie is the surviving twin.
- Fake Twin Gambit: Helps Natalie pull this off
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Foolish to Natalie's Responsible.
- Polar Opposite Twins: With Natalie, as Natalie seems to be The Ingenue in comparison to Zoe
- The Resenter: Natalie was the twin who could ace tests and do anything she put her mind to. Zoe wasn't, and resented Natalie for being the favored child, as she saw it. Despite this, she still loved her sister very much.
- The Unfavorite: She thinks she's this to their dad, and thought he preferred Natalie.
- Played By: Sean Maher
A man who died in a bicycle accident worried that his girlfriend might hurt herself due to her grief.
- Played By: Laura Regan
A woman that passed away on her wedding in a tragic accident in which only her husband survived
- The Faceless: Initially, as she's wearing a veil
- Ghostly Goals: Type B, complete with her causing chaos.
- Convenient Miscarriage: Is mentioned to have had a miscarriage a week prior to her wedding day, unfortunately, she had an argument with Mark about it, the which lead to an accident
- Green-Eyed Monster: Towards Lisa, who's marrying her surviving husband, Mark
- Childhood Friend Romance: Downplayed, as she and Mark have been together since high school
- Shotgun Wedding: The original reason as to why she and Mark were marrying and the marriage seemed logical, as they thought they were "madly in love".
- Wight in a Wedding Dress: Is seen in a wedding dress, tying into Jacob Marley Apparel, as she died in that wedding dress.
- Woman Scorned: An odd version, as she was mistaken in her feelings towards Mark (she really wanted the best man, Josh) and spends much of the episode with Misplaced Retribution
Rat, Vic, and Marty
- Rat Played By: Lorenzo James HenrieVic Played By: Max Jansen WeinsteinMarty Played By: Terrence Hardy Jr.
Three boys who died in an orphanage fire 50 years before the show
- It's All My Fault: Rat blames himself for the fire that killed him, Vic, and Marty
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Although if one looks closely when Melinda is researching about the fire at the orphanage you can see their real names. Near the end of the episode Ernest (Ernie) also reveals that Rat's name is from his initials, "Ronald Aikens Tracy".
HomerA ghost dog that Melinda encounters. He passed away in a fire, along with Rat, Vic, and Marty
- Evil-Detecting Dog: An odd variant, as he's dead, however he did react to something off.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: For some reason, he stopped making appearances after "Children of Ghosts" and it's not said whether or not he crossed over
- Played By: Jonathan Banks
A ghost that is searching for his lost granddaughter, to whom he initially thought was dead
- Overprotective Dad: Part of what made his granddaughter run away. He was overprotective to the point of controlling every aspect of his granddaughter's life.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When he realizes why his granddaughter ran away
- Played By: Jed Rees
A comedian who killed himself after a falling out with his girlfriend
- Driven to Suicide: Apparently, he killed himself because his girlfriend wouldn't go on tour
- Played By: Robert LaSardo
A tattooed entity that possesses Jim
- Car Fu: How he died
- Disappeared Dad: As we find out, his reason for not crossing over was that he wanted to make sure his newborn son was okay and make amends.
- Tattooed Crook: He's covering in tattoos
- Played By: Colleen Flynn
An electrician who died when she fell down a pit
- Electromagnetic Ghosts: One of the things that clues us off to her presence is that electrical equipment and anything involved with electrical equipment starts to short circuit.
- High-Voltage Death: How she died
- Missing Mom: To her son. Before crossing over, she wanted to let him know that she loved him.
- Played By: Liam Waite
An artist who was executed by hanging
- Disappeared Dad: To his daughter. He committed murder and was sentenced to death.
- Papa Wolf: Comes to his daughter's protection
- Played By: Abigail Breslin
Melinda's classmate who passed away of cancer
- Littlest Cancer Patient: In some senses of the word, as her death is treated especially tragic.
- Played By: Fredric Lehne
Delia's passed on husband
- Disappeared Dad: To Ned, as he was killed
The Purse GhostAn older woman following Delia around because of the old purse she found. According to her, there's something very important about it.
- McGuffin: The Purse
- Easily Forgiven: Towards her late husband, who cheated on her the night she died, thanks to a sort of code between them that she took to mean he still loved her. The napkin he wrote it on was what the purse was hiding.
Tom GordonThe ghost of Melinda's step-dad
- Wicked Stepfather: He's more interested in helping the ghosts cross over to the dark side and enlisted Gabriel's help to do it. Oh, and he killed Melinda's real dad, Paul Eastman and he would have killed Melinda, too, if not for Paul possessing his body.
ColleenThe ghost of Shane's stalker
- Abhorrent Admirer: According to this Shane, she was a "nightmare" but the reality is that HE was was the one stalking her and might have led to her being so scared of people that she always took the stairs.
- Shrinking Violet: As we find out, she was actually this. Her landlady described her as "quiet and scared to talk to people and she was so scared of people that she took the stairs..
MaryA girl who was the subject of the "Bloody Mary" legend
- And I Must Scream: She had fits of catalepsy (think Madeline from The Fall of the House of Usher)
- Buried Alive: When she was in a really bad cataleptic fit, her father thought she was dead but tied a bell to her wrist, in case she wasn't and she suffocated to death trying to claw herself out of her coffin.
RachelA girl who died after she summoned Bloody Mary
- Ghost Amnesia: The entire time, she thinks she's Bloody Mary and tries to find her grave at one point before Melinda manages to convince her who she really is, which allows her to cross over.
Paul EastmanMelinda's dad
- Dark Secret: His death, specifically, how he died, was something Beth wanted to cover up and move passed it.
- Disappeared Dad: In The Underneath, we find out he was killed by Tom Gordon, Melinda's stepdad, when Melinda was 11
Ray BillingsA man who passed away when his daughter, Jennifer, was a baby
- Repressed Memory: It turns out that he died when Jennifer was five years old and that he died in an accident at work (while he was underground during a street cave-in) on the same day as her mother passed away.
- Spooky Photographs: What clues us to his presence is how his face is on Melinda's X-ray see here◊
- Played By: Jaclyn De Santis
- The Lost Lenore: To Eli, who still loves her
- Played By: Heather Palmer
The ghost of a woman who tends to make trouble for Aiden on his birthday
- Birth-Death Juxtaposition: She dies giving birth while Aiden is born.
- Death by Childbirth: She died giving birth to her son and didn't know what happened to him.
- Mistaken Identity: Thought Aiden was her son, as she died while Melinda had a C-section
- Played By: Christine Estabrook
Eli's passed on mother
- The Beard: Inverted. She was secretly lesbian or bi and married to cover it up.
- Bury Your Gays: She was having an affair with another woman and died while trying to cover it up. This was revealed when her husband also died and both (it seemed) began haunting the other couple: he mistakenly trying to expose the husband while she was warning the wife to keep quiet.
Gwen ("Sally Stitch")The ghost of a woman who died in a car accident
- Chain Letter: She thought her deleting one of these is what led to her dying in the car accident that put her mom in a coma.
- Eye Scream: A mild one. When she attacks Ned, he gets a red X over his eye.
- Played By: Billy Unger
A young boy causing trouble at the hospital where Jim works.
- Bait-and-Switch: Melinda doesn't realize he's dead until the soda she bought him falls through his hand.
- Dark and Troubled Past: His mother died giving birth to him, so he was raised in a youth home and in and out of foster homes. He never stayed in any one foster home very long, though, due to being too much for the foster parents to handle. And then he died alone in a hospital at age thirteen.
- Death by Childbirth: Not him, obviously, but it's eventually revealed that his mother died giving birth to him.
- Dying Alone: Implied, as his mom died giving birth to him and he has no other family.
- Foster Kid: Was repeatedly returned to the youth home, though.
- The Gadfly: Really enjoys messing with people, especially the doctors, nurses, and Melinda.
- Noodle Incident: Whatever he did to keep getting kicked out of foster homes isn't directly stated, but it seemed to really piss off the gas station owner at least.
The ShiniesGhosts of children that combat the Shadows
- Big Good: They guard against the Shadows
- Creepy Child: They can be, as they're dead kids.
- Early-Bird Cameo: They've appeared throughout the previous seasons, as they become this when they cross over
- The Faceless: They appear as this, at least to Aiden
- Light Is Good: As their name would imply, they are an embodiment of this trope
The WatchersGhosts that stay behind to watch over the affairs of the living
- Guardian Angel: They play something of this role
The ShadowsMalicious entities that have a bigger role in Season 5
- Animal Motifs: Associated with Creepy Crows
- Dark Is Evil: They embody this
- Evil Counterpart: To the Shinies
- Poltergeist: In a sense, as they are a collective energy from spirits that have left behind something when they crossed over and spirits that have "crossed under"
- Played By: John Walcutt
An evil cult-leader that once lived in Spain, who committed suicide along with his 115 followers
- Dark Messiah: More like Dark Shepard
- Dark Is Evil: Seen in wearing black and often in shrouded in shadow
- Evil Wears Black: Is seen in a black suit and hat
- Evil Counterpart: To Melinda, as he only wants to, in a sense, take souls to hell (the "Dark Side") with him, while Melinda tries to help them cross over to the light
- The Faceless: His face is rarely seen and, a lot of times, we just see shadows or a void where his face is supposed to be.
The Laughing ManAnother entity that's seen side by side with Romano.
- Meaningful Name:He is usually seen laughing
The Bleeding ManA Third entity that doesn't appear fully until "A Grave Matter"
- Meaningful Name: His right hand is bleeding (for some reason)
- Played By: Jessica Collins
Zoe's living twin sister, who was put in a mental hospital, after she claimed to see Zoe
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Though she has a good reason—and her dead sister is whispering in her ear.
- Fake Twin Gambit: With Zoe's encouragement, Natalie pulls one on her infidel boyfriend once she realizes he has and is still cheating
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Her Responsible to Zoe's foolish
- Polar Opposite Twins: With Zoe, as Natalie seems to be The Ingenue in comparison to Zoe, along with being more responsible.
- Twin Telepathy: Natalie can't see ghosts, but was extremely close with Zoe when she was alive, and can feel her presence very acutely, as well as being more affected by Zoe's whispering influence than most people.
- Played By: Saige Hassler