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Characters / Grand Theft Auto V - Protagonists

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This is a partial character sheet for Grand Theft Auto V. Visit here for the main character index. Subjective tropes and audience reactions should go on the YMMV page.

Return to the main page | Main Protagonists (Michael De Santa, Trevor Philips) | Friends, Family, and Associates | Returning Characters From Grand Theft Auto IV | Antagonists | Strangers & Freaks | Heist Crew Members | Other Characters | Grand Theft Auto V - Radio Hosts

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    In General

  • Affably Evil: Even though they're all hardened criminals who enjoy the criminal lifestyle more than other GTA protagonists (we're looking at you, Trevor), they're still nice people in general as long as you don't get in their way or threaten the people they care about.
  • Anti-Hero: Of the Nominal variety.
  • Badass Crew: Mainly in the heists.
  • Bash Brothers: In "Hood Safari", the heists, and "The Third Way" (if Option C is chosen).
  • Caper Crew: The main three form a heist crew along with Lester and other individuals that go from robbing a jewelry store to the setting's equivalent of the Federal Reserve. The Online protagonist can join other players in heists.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character:
    • Both Michael and Trevor make a huge contrast when you compare them with Niko. Unlike Niko, who is a man who wants to get away from violence, both Michael and Trevor are much more enthusiastic in this lifestyle, especially Trevor.
    • Trevor contrasts Johnny Klebitz. Johnny has no intention of removing himself from crime, since it's all he knows, and wanted to expand his operations outside of Liberty City. Trevor loves the criminal life and also wanted to expand his meth operations outside of Los Santos, which includes China and Mexico. They are also extremely loyal to their friends and have a deep hatred for the person for the root of their betrayal (Billy for Johnny, Michael to Trevor) to the point of wanting them dead. Unlike Johnny, Trevor was able to reconcile with Michael despite their issues while Johnny took it upon himself to kill Billy. Guess who ended who?
    • On the other hand, Franklin marks a contrast to Luis Lopez. While Luis wanted to leave this lifestyle to focus on legal business, Franklin wants to be a better kind of criminal.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All three of them are prone to making wisecracks at others.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Together, the three protagonists deconstruct the mythology behind several GTA protagonists, as well as the idea behind easy money. Outside of the heists, very few missions offer satisfying rewards, showing how petty, self-destructive and selfish anyone would have to be to behave like a GTA protagonist, along with how ultimately depressing the lifestyle itself is. Eventually, this game does this, showing that getting into this lifestyle will either bring you nothing but pain for years and destroy all your dreams (in the case of Michael) or leave you Lonely at the Top (in the case of Franklin). On the other hand, Trevor's life is shown to be pretty depressing all around, and he only finds enjoyment in it because he's too unhinged to care. The mission "Mrs. Philips" is a reminder of how depressing and sad his life really is behind his Comedic Sociopathy and Cloudcuckoolander behavior. That said, all three protagonists can end up with all of their problems solved, ridiculously rich, and with no real repercussions to their actions... but only because they decided to work for themselves instead of cutting deals with everybody else to survive. Throughout the game, working for petty, pathetic criminals is a thankless and penniless affair. Every job they do for someone else ends with them being ambushed or betrayed. This is highlighted in the non-Deathwish endings, where one of them ends up dead, the remaining two are cast aside as pawns and their clients get the far better end of the deal.
  • Foil: The online protagonist works with Agent 14 willingly, who is hinted to be part of another government branch (though he often works with the IAA) while the three main protagonists are forced to work with the FIB, and not happy about it.
  • Freudian Trio: Michael acts as the brains for most of the jobs and is the most logical (criminal-wise) and sophisticated, yet hot-tempered and sarcastic, filling his role as the Ego. Trevor is the irrational unhinged berserker who has poor impulse control and therefore embodies the Id. Franklin being the calm, sane, and nicest of the trio acts as the buffer between Michael and Trevor, making him the Superego.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: While the game does not make literal use of the trope, the three characters exhibit this dynamic in their special abilities.
    • Franklin is the Thief, because his Bullet Time and improved handling in land vehicles make him the best choice at evading enemies or police attention. Personality wise, he is the youngest, most athletic, and least prestigious of the three, starting as the apprentice to Michael and doing a lot of the grunt work throughout the game. Compared to the arrogant Mage (Michael) and the brash Warrior (Trevor), he is also the most easygoing of the three.
    • Michael is the Mage, because his Bullet Time on foot allows him to eliminate multiple enemies long before they can harm him. Personality wise, Michael is the one with the most associations with (and pretensions to) sophistication, serves as the elegant, wiser strategist of the trio, and has knowledge (of the crime business) as his most valuable asset.
    • Trevor is the Fighter, because his increased damage and durability allows him to attack enemies directly without the need for cover or armor. Personality-wise, Trevor is by far the most straightforward, loud and brash (not to mention the most violent) of the three, and the one who is most comfortable with head-on confrontation. Like most Warriors, he also has an honour code (albeit a very strange, twisted, stretched one) that he values highly.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: At a point, all three protagonists will be hostile with each other. Trevor and Franklin before they meet and after choosing "Kill Michael", Michael and Trevor after the latter finds out the truth behind North Yankton, and Michael and Franklin after choosing "Kill Trevor", and thus activities with each other are unavaliable either a certain point or for the rest of the game.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The three actors were modeled after his voice actors.
  • Karma Houdini: Due to the Diamond Casino and Resort expansion rendering Ending A and B non-canon, it is safe to assume all our protagonists are these after the game's end.
  • Land, Sea, Sky: Michael corresponds to sea, since he does most of the aquatic diving parts, Franklin to land because he mainly does ground work and Trevor to sky because he a former Air Force pilot who does most of the flying parts.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: Franklin at least tries his best to be the nicest, Trevor is an Ax-Crazy person who will get angry a lot, this leaves Michael as the In Between as he is more experienced than Franklin but not as ruthless as Trevor.
  • Power Trio: Michael, Franklin and Trevor form a Badass Crew, and their interactions are one of the main elements of V's story.
  • "Rise and Fall" Gangster Arc: All three of them have elements of it, to some degree. Franklin plays the story the straightest, as he rises from a quiet suburban life to a life of high-rise crime. Michael returns to a life of crime after his family continuously disrespects him. And Trevor wants to cause destruction and chaos for its own sake, though the extra money certainly doesn't hurt. In two of the ending options, all three of them fall as fast as they came up. Franklin has to kill either Michael or Trevor to cover his own ass, and even the one who survives ends up with virtually nothing to show for it. With the Los Santos PD hot on their trail, all their money effectively worthless since they can't buy their way out of trouble, and a wake of bodies behind them, Franklin laments that the lifestyle of a gangster simply wasn't worth it, one way or another.
  • True Companions: Despite some bumps in the road, the three ultimately become inseparable friends through-and-through and vow to always have each other's backs. If the Deathwish ending is chosen by the end of the story, Michael texts Franklin to call him his "friend for life".
  • Vigilante Man: The three characters can do acts of vigilantism during random events.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Zigzagged.
    • Because the Online aspect of the game takes place a few months before Story Mode, there's little to no mention of where your character is when the single player campaign is active. Lester does acknowledge their existence, however.
      Lester: I've been working with someone, but they're too unpredictable.
    • The Gunrunning Update moves the events of Online past the events of Story Mode, applying this trope to Michael and Franklin. And unlike the Online Protagonist in Story Mode, we don't even get any sort of reference to either character in Online.

    Michael Townley/De Santa 

Michael De Santa / Townley
"You know, I've been in this game for a lot of years and I got out alive. If you want my advice — give the shit up."
Voiced by: Ned Luke

A middle-aged ex-robber currently retired thanks to the deal made with Dave, living in a posh mansion in Rockford Hills (the game's equivalent of Beverly Hills) with his dysfunctional family — disrespectful daughter Tracey, lazy son Jimmy, and spendthrift wife Amanda, whose habits force him to return to a life of crime.

Well, that is the story Michael will tell you, anyway. In truth, Michael is bored and frustrated by his domestic life, with his only outlets being whiskey, watching old Vinewood action movies, and trips to his therapist. He serves as the "brains" and leader of the gang, and is described as a "smooth operator".

    Franklin Clinton
"You cool? Cool what? Slinging dope and throwing up gang signs?"
Click here to see him in The Contract update 

Voiced by: Shawn "OG Solo" Fonteno

An ex-gang banger from the Chamberlain Hill Gangster Families who yearns to leave the lifestyle he deems destructive — by working as a repo man for Premium Deluxe Motorsport in Vespucci Beach (the equivalent of Venice Beach).

As the most inexperienced of the three protagonists, he looks up to the other two as mentor figures, for better or for worse. During heists, he's usually their getaway driver, helping them flee the scene as fast as possible.

  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Implied to be the case during his part of the Grass Roots Strangers and Freaks Mission when Barry gives him his homegrown weed that caused Mushroom Samba for Michael and Trevor earlier; only for Franklin who has regularly indulged in Weed on a regular basis to comment that Barry's stuff is weak.
  • Affably Evil: Despite being a hardened criminal, he's a Nice Guy as long as you aren't an idiot, jerk, enemy, or any combination of the three.
    [Michael and Trevor are repeatedly bickering]
    Franklin: Hey! Hey! Enough! You got me out here! You roped me into your crazy world of bullshit! If it was lies, New Age shit, and arguments about how good life used to be, I could have stayed my ass in Los Santos!
    Lester: Hello Franklin.
    Franklin: [Completely changes his tone] What's up?
  • All the Other Reindeer: Gets antagonized by his friends and family for not submitting to the status quo of the gang banging lifestyle.
  • Ambiguously Christian: See Religious Bruiser below; he refers to the author of the relevant Gospel as "my boy Matthew" and can carry on an extended conversation with Jesse down at Vespucci Beach.
  • Ambition Is Evil: His primary motivator for his criminal deeds is to be more than just another gangbanger in the hood.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The "Short Trips" mission line in GTA Online: The Contract involves the online protagonist and one other player getting so high off of Lamar's LD Organics weed while touring Dr. Dre's studio that they have an out-of-body experience, switching the mission perspective to Franklin and Lamar for the first and second player, respectively.
  • Animal Motifs: Dogs, he's refered by the slang and can use Chop the dog on missions. Like dogs, Franklin is unquestioning and loyal to his friends and employers.
  • At Least I Admit It: His response to Lester's rant about making the world a better place by killing people. Franklin knows he's doing something terrible, but isn't going to delude himself that it's for any other reason than money.
  • Badass Boast: He tells Imani that "he made the FIB his bitch a long time ago".
  • Badass Biker: Overlapping with his Badass Driver skills. Pre-release screenshots frequently depicted him riding a dirtbike, and Lamar (after stealing it from a repo job) gives him a WMC Bagger early on in the story.
  • Badass Driver: Has the best driving skill of the three protagonists, and has a special ability for cars.
  • Bad Liar: In the ending where he kills Michael, Franklin denies he had anything to do with it. Nobody buys his words for a second.
  • Bash Brothers: With Michael and Trevor.
  • Big Damn Heroes: He saves Michael in "Fresh Meat" (on his own with some help from Lester) just in time from being murdered by Wei Cheng and the Triads.
  • Bilingual Bonus: While not a separate language, Franklin's missions with Lamar are populated by nonstop, usually unexplained street and gang culture slang.
  • Bookends: If the player chooses Ending A or B, Franklin's story ends the same way Michael's started - alone in a Big Fancy House with no real relationships left and a metric ton of self loathing.
  • Bond One-Liner: If he kills Peter Dreyfuss, who brutally murdered an innocent young woman in 1975.
    "Say hello to Leonora, motherfucker."
  • Broken Pedestal: For Michael, by the time of "I Fought The Law", a mission that involves stealing cars, racing them, and not being paid for either... which is exactly what Franklin was doing before he met Michael. Franklin followed Mike specifically to get out of that game, but is right back where he started thanks to being wrapped up in Michael's baggage. And in ending A, he clearly loses all respect for Michael after seeing him betray Trevor so callously, especially when there's no guarantee he wouldn't do the same to him.
  • Bullet Time: His special ability allows him to activate this ability in cars, similar to Need for Speed's Speedbreaker. While driving, his car control dramatically increases, the rest of the world slows down, and he can react superhumanly fast.
  • The Bus Came Back: After having disappeared from V ever since the events of the main story, Franklin finally returns in The Contract update for GTA Online, centered around him running a PIA.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: While he's very receptive and grateful to Michael showing him the ropes with regards to organized crime, he's savvy enough to point out when Michael (or occasionally Trevor) is getting out of control.
  • Captain Obvious: Some of his random dialogue during missions comes off this way. For example, he's sometimes given to shouting, "I guess we shooting our way out of here!" ...after the shootout has already been going on for several minutes.
  • Category Traitor: Franklin aspires to more than the "gangsta" lifestyle, jumping at the chance to join Michael in higher-stakes crime. This catches him a lot of flack from his peers, like Lamar and Tanisha.
  • Catchphrase: The word "What?!"
  • Character Development: Franklin spends most of the game as little more than a thug who takes orders from everyone in the hopes of payment, in particular often deferring to Michael or Trevor and never really making decisions for himself. However, when forced to choose between killing Michael or Trevor, Franklin can instead Take a Third Option, take charge for himself and successfully get Michael and Trevor to defer to him instead as they take down everyone who ever wronged them.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Will drop what he's doing to help out his friends in the hood, Michael and his family, Trevor and even random strangers if so inclined - Franklin has by far the most Stranger missions of the three playable characters. Lamar thinks this trope is very subverted.
  • Color Motif: Green, the color of his former gang, the Chamberlain Gangster Families. It also represents his status as the youngest, least experienced, and most impressionable of the trio, as well as his desire to become wealthy and successful.
  • The Comically Serious: See the Straight Man entry.
  • Consummate Professional: Definitely compared to Trevor and Michael. While Franklin has his own issues, he leaves his baggage at the door. Which is why Lester uses him for a few missions as an assassin.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Franklin is this to Carl Johnson. The two have similar storylines, being crooks who are disillusioned with the gang banger lifestyle. CJ is because of the death of his brother and Franklin is because of a epiphany of the futility of it all. They both get derided about this by their peers. In CJ's case, he eventually comes around to it in the end while Franklin remains adamant about walking away from that lifestyle.
  • Cool Pet: Chop. Technically, he's Lamar's dog, but he effectively becomes Franklin's dog after Lamar asks Franklin to dog-sit for unspecified reasons early in the game and never comes back for him.
  • The Cracker: Not Hollywood Hacking territory by any means, but when it comes to computers he's more or less competent enough to be able to keep up with Lester and the heist crew hackers. And during the Union Depository Heist, he and the hired hacker hijack the traffic control network to keep Merryweather mooks away from the trucks.
  • Cultural Rebel: Unlike his homies, who are content to continue with their "gangbanging, retro-vengeance bullshit" as he calls it, Franklin wants to get involved in high-stakes organized crime.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: His introduction to Michael.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially when it comes to Lamar's Get Rich Quick Schemes (and his blindness to Stretch's obvious disloyalty), Jimmy's Pretty Fly for a White Guy attitude ("Enough with the F-Dog shit!"), and his aunt's outlandish attempts to get in touch with her femininity. He's not as sarcastic as Michael but he's more subtle with his remarks.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Franklin represents a new GTA protagonist, one who is trying to improve his lot in life. In Franklin's case, he works to achieve this by leaving behind the gang-banger culture he grew up in and rolling with professional criminals, first a morally bankrupt used car dealer, and then the bank robber Michael who earns him far bigger scores than he used to.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Zigzagged. Franklin is the first of the three playable characters we're properly introduced to, but once Michael and Trevor are introduced, the story mainly focuses on them while Franklin is off either doing other things or helping Michael and Trevor out. That said, Franklin is the one who initiates the final mission of the game, being tasked to either kill Michael, Trevor, or take out everyone who's ever wronged all of them, and it's the latter where Franklin steps up to the plate to lead all of them to the Golden Ending.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: End of the game, Tanisha still gets married to her doctor and Franklin's left with either his strippers and hookers, or no one at all.
    • Averted in The Contract DLC. Apparently Tanisha's marriage did not last long as she is married to Franklin eight years after Story Mode. And they now have children.
  • Drugs Are Bad: With the exception of pot,note  he seems to believe this. He has a particular disdain for crack, as he watched his mother destroy herself with it.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: After reluctantly sharing the story of his first heist with the other protagonists, Trevor tries to stick him with the nickname "Dye-pack" on account that that's what ultimately caused the heist to fail. Averted when Franklin makes it very clear how much Trevor's annoying him.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When he and Lamar first appear, they're arguing about the legitimacy and profitability of their current job. Franklin has doubts about both, while Lamar mocks him for not hustling anymore. The two then repo two cars and race through Los Santos, cementing Franklin's Badass Driver skills.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He tells off his Aunt Denise partly for insulting his mother.
  • Expy: A Deconstruction of CJ. Like Carl, Franklin is a black ex-gangster dissed by his friends for apparently leaving the gang to earn money by means other than gangbanging. But whereas Carl is a major player for a gang with a firmly-established turf and remains in touch of his roots, Franklin is but a footsoldier for a gang branch with no real advancement opportunities despite his skills and intellect, hence wanting to move further away from his "lowly" origins.
  • Extreme Doormat: He pisses and moans about it, but he never refuses a request, no matter how stupid or dangerous or how little reason he has to go along with it. He even lampshades it when he meets Dom.
    Franklin: Man, shit. I gotta learn how to say "no".
  • The Fatalist: Ultimately he's no better than Lamar on this. He may want to get out of the gang life, but he has no real desire to go straight, either. The only options he sees in life are on the wrong side of the law. As he puts it, his choice is between working with Mike on high risk heists, or slinging dimebags on the street. It's all down to which gets him paid.
  • Fat and Skinny: Has this dynamic with Lamar, although he's more muscle than fat.
  • Formerly Fat: It's not emphasized, but a conversation with Michael Franklin mentions that he used to be "bigger" before he started working out.
  • A Friend in Need: Franklin is an exemplar of this trope. He comes to the aide of Lamar, Tonya, and many other friends and associates from the hood out of either loyalty or guilty conscience. Later in the game, when he stumbles across the O'Neil brothers hunting down Trevor, Franklin leaps in to help, warns Trevor, and helps fight the O'Neils without a second thought. To note, Franklin has no idea who the O'Neils are, why they're after Trevor, or what they may be capable of. They're against his friend, and that's enough. This Friendship Moment gains Trevor's immense respect.
    • This ultimately ends up becoming a Deconstruction of sorts: since Franklin is the one character who actually has everyone's trust, he ends up getting forced into either killing Michael or Trevor. He can potentially choose a third option though.
  • Freudian Trio: The Superego to balance out Michael's Ego and Trevor's Id.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Franklin goes from slinging dime bags to boosting cars for a morally questionable car dealer to joining Michael and Trevor in committing some of the most brazen heists in the West Coast.
  • Gang Banger: He is trying to escape this life, viewing it as self-destructive. In reality, he just wants a more lucrative criminal lifestyle.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: In ending B, if he changes his mind about killing Michael and tries to save him, Michael headbutts him in a fit of rage and falls to his death anyway.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Contract update for GTA Online reveals he and Lamar pulled one sometime after the story has ended, as Franklin has established a "celebrity solutions agency" called F. Clinton and Partner which helps "rich folk who got rich folk problems" solve those problems. However, he still misses "getting these hands dirty".
  • Hidden Depths: He actually does have his fair share of issues; he thinks he's empty inside, that he doesn't have any real friends, that he doesn't feel anything, and no one likes him, as well as some pent up anger at his mother for turning to crack. He just only touches on these when he's high; take a hit from his bong at his safehouse and you can hear his inner thoughts.
    • Franklin is hiding some positive qualities as well. Despite poking fun at his associates for their hypocrisies and, on occasion, insecurities, Franklin always focuses on getting them to get their act together.
      • There is a moment between Franklin and Jimmy if you ask him to hang out, one on one, soon after you unlock him as a contact. Jimmy, being himself, overreaches and claims he and Franklin are already brothers and, after getting shot down, breaks down and accidentally admits he sees Michael as a "withholding asshole," lumping Franklin in with him for rejecting Jimmy's assertion. Franklin, despite failing to hold in his amusement at Jimmy's blubbering, gently asks him to put it behind him and promises to show him a good time. It's not much, but it shows that Franklin is at least willing to entertain something of a Big Brother Instinct.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick:
    • If you think about it, really, he was this to Lamar before he started working with Michael. Franklin may have been the only thing keeping Lamar alive, but Lamar was the one who actually came up with all their various jobs, plans, schemes, and scores. There's no indication that Frank did anything of his own initiative until he went to go see Michael.
    • Franklin lampshades this in his relation to Michael and Trevor. Despite being "new blood," Franklin states that since he's the only one capable of keeping his emotions in check, he's on equal terms with the other two.
  • Immune to Drugs: When he takes a toke of Barry's weed, instead of experiencing a Mushroom Samba like Michael and Trevor, Franklin, a regular weed-smoker, just coughs a little and remarks on it not being that strong.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Franklin is a downplayed example of this trope as he is still reasonably competent with a gun. That being said, Franklin does have (by default) the worst shooting ability of the three protagonists.
    • It's even lampshaded in game by Michael after the mission "Marriage Counseling" when Michael sends Franklin a text message encouraging him to go to a shooting range to improve his skill.
    • However, this trope becomes subverted as the game goes on since Franklin can improve his shooting skills at the shooting ranges or by simply going through the main storyline and surviving all the shootouts.
  • Implausible Deniability: After Ending B, he attempts to deny his role in Michael's murder to Trevor despite the fact that he called Trevor right before doing it and told him what he was going to do and why.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Michael, Trevor, and Lester.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a pretty decent guy as far as GTA protagonists go, as long as you're not trying to kill him and Lester (or any of his friends for that matter) doesn't want you dead. If he crashes into another car, he's the only one of the protagonists who sounds sincere when he apologizes for it.
  • Junior Counterpart: There are several parallels to be drawn between him and Michael, more so as the game goes on, and his relationship with Lamar is basically a toned-down mirror of Michael's relationship with Trevor. In Ending B, he follows Michael's path in life by betraying a close friend (Michael himself) and retreating into a well-off lifestyle afterward.
  • Karma Houdini: Becomes this if Ending B is chosen. Even if you don't do that, he never faces any consequence for his crimes, as is traditional for player characters of GTA.
  • The Kirk: Is forced into this role by Michael and Trevor's infighting, to the point of playing the unofficial leader later in the game. The ending forces him to choose between Michael's Spock and Trevor's McCoy. Or not, since he can refuse the choice altogether and help both of them.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Despite despising the hood lifestyle, he frequently returns to help out his old friends.
  • The Lancer: To Michael.
  • The Leader: Becomes the trio's leader after Michael and Trevor turn on each other. It's up to him to bring them together to do missions and to stop them from killing each other during the missions.
  • Like a Son to Me: Michael calls him "the son I always wanted."
    • In one post-game conversation, Trevor refers to him as the kid that "[Michael] shares with me." Franklin is nonplussed by this.
    • Simeon Yetarian says that if he had a black son, he would want him to be Franklin, though he's decidedly less honest about it.
  • Lonely at the Top: Lamar and Tanisha cite this trope as Franklin's inevitable future should he continue to pursue his dreams of being a big-time crook and abandon the hood, though Lamar's motives for claiming such are decidedly selfish. Michael also nudges him in this direction, although he's more subtle about it. They're proven right should the player choose Ending A or B, with most of the relationships he built during the game completely shattered, and him stuck living alone in his mansion with hardly any friends to his name - just like Michael.
    • This is ultimately averted as of The Contract, where aside from being a wealthy semi-legitimate businessman he's now a family man, not to mention still hanging out and bickering with Lamar.
  • Manly Facial Hair: You can give him a few different beards, ranging from stubble to a big bushy Rick Ross-esque beard. He's also sporting a beard in The Contract.
  • Meaningful Name: His name combines the surnames of Benjamin Franklin and Bill Clinton, both famous and affluent Americans, referencing his desire for wealth and status. It's double-edged as well - individual U.S. dollar banknotes are referred to as "Bills", and "Benjamin" is common slang for the 100$ note, which displays Ben Franklin's portrait.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Apparently after he starts hanging out with Michael, the people back in the hood assume he's acting as a "rent boy"; i.e., whoring himself out to a rich white guy.
  • Morality Pet:
    • His best friend Lamar. And even though he complains about it, he also takes his time to help out Tonya despite her being an Ungrateful Bitch.
    • Same with Tanisha, who, at the start of one mission shames Franklin into saving Lamar (again) from a Balla ambush in a sawmill.
    • Franklin himself assumes this role for Michael, who always makes a point of looking out for him.
  • My Parents Are Dead: Both are at the start of the game. He doesn't talk about it, and doesn't seem too emotionally affected, but switching to him sometimes results in arriving at his safehouse solemnly looking at a picture of his mother hugging him. Also, when you take a hit from his bong, he'll occasionally think back on his mother, fondly at first before becoming angry with her for turning to crack and killing herself with it.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Two decades younger, and a lot more physically fit than schlubby Michael, or methed-out Trevor
  • N-Word Privileges: Boy howdy, do he and Lamar use it when together — almost every sentence in any of their conversations.
  • Nerves of Steel: As opposed to Michael and Trevor, Franklin tends to keep his emotions in check (when he's not snarking on the idiocy of his homies).
    • Heck, even when Trevor seems all set to turn on him at the beginning of "Fresh Meat", Franklin seems mostly unfazed, and apologizes mostly to be able to continue the conversation rather than out of fear.
  • New Meat: When compared to Michael and Trevor.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: The in-between; generally speaking, he's more pragmatic than Michael, but not as ruthless as Trevor. If you're being robbed by the three, he won't interact with you much at all.
  • Noodle Incident: When Trevor scans his ID, he notices that Franklin was previously arrested for "public exposure". Frank utterly refuses to elaborate further, only making a vague implication that he had "a high ass"; his pants were sagging, and the cops arrested him for this minor offense due to him being black.
  • Not so Above It All: While he isn't the type to laugh out loud, he guffaws hysterically when Trevor tries (and fails) to hop over his fence at the start of "Fresh Meat".
  • One-Man Army: Considering his low shooting status and poor marksmanship, a shotgun with a flashlight was all he needed to take out a crew of Ballas and a couple of police helicopters after a deal gone wrong.
    • In the mission Fresh Meat Franklin single-handedly breaks into a warehouse and mows down a army of Chinese Triad members to save Michael.
  • Only in It for the Money: His primary concern with any mission is being paid. Justified, because he's tired of being a career criminal sans the "career". This is most noticeable in an early conversation with Lester, where he defies Lester's Utopia Justifies the Means rant.
  • Only Sane Man: The more realistic and normal of the three. Also tends to happen when surrounded by Lamar and his crazy aunt.
    "You can't repo the assets of a dead man, 'bitch sitting chief asshole'!"
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: He's a fan of the Righteous Slaughter video game series that Jimmy is addicted to. Well, he was one until after the second installment shipped, but he can still relate when Jimmy discusses Righteous Slaughter 7.
  • Private Intelligence Agency: Franklin Clinton used his experience working with Michael and Trevor to set up a PIA named F. Clinton and Partner in the Greater Los Santos Area, which shows in the DLC event "The Contract". FCP takes on clients from Los Santos-based actors/musicians to wealthy officials and rich families. The company takes on clients who want FCP to run asset recovery, hostage rescue and intelligence analysis/support for them. In some missions, the online protagonist engages Merryweather contractors running a citywide surveillance program.
  • Professional Killer: After successfully completing the first heist, Lester recruits Franklin to become an assassin on the side.
  • Really Gets Around: One of the scenes you can see when switching back to him is sending his latest booty call home in a taxi.
    • Franklin also has the most potential options for booty calls in the game; aside from the four available strippers at the Vanilla Unicorn, which are available to all three PCs, he can also pick up Ursula, who's restricted to either him or Trevor, and Liz, who's exclusive to Frank, as he gets her number as part of one of his taxi cab missions.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: His relationship with Michael can recover from the damage it takes in the late game, but only if you choose Option C. Any other option will lead to Michael either being A: openly hostile toward Franklin or B: dead.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The blue to Lamar's and Trevor's red.
  • Redeeming Replacement: Franklin effectively becomes the redeeming replacement for Brad in the criminal trio with Michael and Trevor. Michael never got along with Brad and despite Trevor initially being enraged at Michael for lying about Brad's death, he later admits Brad was "a dick" and that he'd have killed Brad at some point anyway. Lester described Brad as the "shit" part of the team, calling him lazy, forgetful, mean and stupid.
  • The Reliable One: Michael takes Franklin under his wing when Franklin helps him to save his son. Michael flat out calls Franklin the most reliable member of the trio, and when both Michael and Trevor's baggage start raining down on the team, Franklin says that being the Only Sane Man makes him feel like more of a "senior partner" rather than the new blood. Especially in Ending C where Franklin has to talk Michael and Trevor down from their feud in order to face the incoming rush of FIB agents and Merryweather mercenaries.
    • During the first heist, if the player choose poor teammates to save money, Franklin is the only member of Michael's heist to perform competently.
  • Religious Bruiser: Implied. Pre-release art depicted him with a neck tattoo that showed praying hands holding a cross (strangely, this tattoo can't be purchased, although a somewhat similar one can), and he briefly discusses the Bible with Michael in the mission "Marriage Counseling", referring to St. Matthew as "my boy".
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: The mission "Fresh Meat", in which Franklin fights his way through a large force of Chinese Triad gangsters to save Michael from being killed via a giant meat grinder.
  • Sadistic Choice: He is given the choice of how to resolve the issue of the bounties on both Michael's and Trevor's heads. However, he's free to Take a Third Option which is explicitly stated to be a death wish, in which instead of killing Trevor or Michael, you kill everybody who wants them dead, and survive unscathed.
  • Self-Deprecation: He doesn't deny that he's not a very nice person. He'll also occasionally give people he runs over a self-deprecating apology:
    Franklin: You gotta look out for fools like me!
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Kill either Michael or Trevor, and Franklin ends up back to banging in the hood with Lamar. The survivor will cut off all ties with Franklin.
    • Then again, by the end of the game, he is a multi-millionaire, and probably has a few businesses on the side, as well as a mansion, so he's probably doing pretty well for himself, all things considered.
  • Smug Snake: Gets accused of being this by both Denise and Stretch because of his disdain for the CGF. If Franklin returns to his old neighborhood after moving into his fancy new house, even random CGF hoodlums will accuse him of being this.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Can perfectly understand what dogs are saying. It even weirds him out — after he's well into his conversation with the dog.
    "I have officially lost my damn mind."
  • The Stoner: He's a habitual pot smoker.
  • Stereotype Flip: He comes from the hood, but is completely uninterested in gang life.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: He tells everyone from his hood this. But, Tanisha, whom he really seems to like, tells him the same.
  • Straight Man: Plays this role to virtually every character in the game.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Though he's a playable character and the ending hinges on the decision he makes, Grand Theft Auto V is really Michael and Trevor's story. Franklin's role is more akin to that of an Audience Surrogate.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: His story arc with Michael has shades of this. While planning the final heist, he complains that he sometimes has to take charge when Michael and Trevor start bickering. Ending C sees his graduation from Michael's Number Two to a bonafide shot-caller when he reunites Michael and Trevor and launches a plan to eliminate all their enemies.
    • A darker example of this trope occurs in Ending B when he decides to betray and kill Michael to save himself. In this case, it's his Chronic Backstabbing Disorder that has surpassed Michael's. Fittingly, the Gold Medal Requirement for this mission is entitled "Surpassed the Mentor."
  • Surrounded by Idiots: How he feels being surrounded by people who don't seem to realize the futility of holding onto their lifestyle.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Dark-skinned, 6'0" tall, and the youngest and most conventionally attractive of the three protagonists.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: His relationship with his "friends" and family from the hood. They all constantly insult and degrade him for wanting to leave the hood and accuse him of thinking he's too good for them, when by all appearances he really is too good for them.
  • Take a Third Option: For the Golden Ending. He puts it best himself.
    "Hey, my bad, homie. I picked "C". Ain't that a bitch?
    • Devin Weston himself sarcastically alludes to this while pressuring Franklin to kill Michael.
      Devin: A, B, and C. Clock's ticking, beep-beep-beep, and your answer is?
      Franklin: Man, you know what? *opens door* Man, fuck you.
      Devin: Genius answer, pal. Total genius, but time is running out. You think about it. Me? I got a triathlon coming up, and I am in deep training. Buh-bye!
      Franklin: Man, fuck you!
  • Thrill Seeker: In GTA Online: The Contract, he tells the online protagonist that this is ultimately the reason why he co-founded the F. Clinton & Partner agency to do wet work for rich people. He also found the Idle Rich lifestyle of investing for more money boring.
    Franklin: Shit, I miss getting these hands dirty.
  • Token Good Teammate: Compared to Trevor and Michael at least.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Kind of understated, but Franklin goes from a low ranking gang banger and repo man, to a One-Man Army Professional Killer. And he does all of this without the excessive baggage that Michael and Trevor have. By the end of the story, he even begins to outclass Michael and (arguably) Trevor in terms of sheer deadliness and efficiency to the point of being easily able to take either of them out in Ending A or B.
    • He also goes from taking orders from Michael and Trevor to being able to take command and direct them and they accept his lead especially in Ending C where they both have him to thank for being able to survive.
  • Undying Loyalty: Zigzagged:
    • While he may seem loyal to Michael, his only true loyalty lies with whoever can make him money, and he's even willing to kill Michael on short notice if it can help him earn a paycheck from Devin Weston. If you pick Option C and he chooses to save both his mentors, however, then this is completely played straight.
    • To Lamar. Even when Lamar gets himself into trouble way too many times, Franklin always pulls all the stops to save him.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: If Ending B is chosen. Despite Michael taking him on as a protégé and making him a lot more money than he would have seen otherwise, Franklin still opts to kill him in an attempt to cover his own ass.
    • This can be downplayed in the same ending however. Franklin has the option to change his mind and try to save Michael from falling to his death. Unfortunately, this will lead to Michael headbutting Franklin, forcing him to drop Michael to his death anyway.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Teetering on the edge. He will help out his friends and others in need no matter what, but his main motivation is getting money through different means, even if they are no different from the gangbanging he used to do. Even if he kills Trevor or Michael, he at least feels some regret, but tries to justify the action.
  • Verbal Tic: "Homie", which almost every non-black character mockingly repeats at least once.
  • Vigilante Man: He can play this role at the end of the Letter Scraps sidequest. While Michael and Trevor can also collect scraps, only Franklin can decipher the mystery of the gruesome murder of '70s starlet Leonora Johnson, and confront the man the papers point to, controversial director Peter Dreyfuss.
  • Villain Protagonist: He comes across as more of an Anti-Villain and Punch-Clock Villain than Michael and Trevor, being Only in It for the Money.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Has this relationship with Lamar, and Michael and Trevor to a lesser degree.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Sincerely believes that he (and his homies) can leave behind the life of drug trafficking, gang wars and foul run-ins with the law. The rest of his gang chew him out for this, claiming he has gone "soft". As of The Contract however, he's had the last laugh by going legit.

    Trevor Philips 

Trevor Philips
"I'll swing by and sign the contracts, alright? Just ignore the bodies..."
Voiced by: Steven Ogg

"The guns and crank in this area go through Trevor Philips Enterprise, OR THEY AIN'T GOING!"

A Canadian-born former airman, career criminal, and Michael's old best friend and partner in crime, now a mentally unstable drug addict living in a trailer park full of meth heads and biker gangs by the Alamo Sea (based on the real-life Salton Sea) in Blaine County.

When he's not filling the role of the crew's designated pilot, he's their designated sniper, though he doesn't really fit into either the Friendly Sniper or the Cold Sniper mold.

Has his own page here.

    Online Protagonist 

An out-of-towner who is fresh off the plane when introduced in GTA Online. They're friends with Lamar, whom they met on LifeInvader and invited them to take advantage of criminal opportunities in Los Santos.

  • The Ace: Even more than Niko Bellic. The protagonist is extremely competent in technology, weapons, heists and planning. Also, if you want to increase your skills, they can also be a Genius Bruiser.
  • All Women Are Prudes: Every female protagonist will become invariably pissed at Lamar's attempts to hit on her. However, he is being kind of an idiot about it, and furthermore, this may be a case of Incompatible Orientation; see Ambiguously Gay below.
  • Ambiguously Gay: It's either this or the developers didn't account for straight female players. The female protagonist, just like the male protagonist, can visit the strip club, feel up the strippers, and pick up (universally female) hookers, but the game doesn't offer any option to hook up with a man, suggesting the female protagonist may well be a lesbian.
  • Anti-Hero: While any GTA protagonist has the potential to be one, the Online Protagonist fits the bill the best so far in the series. Sure, they are mobsters with a penchant for murder, but their victims in missions are almost always other crime outfits. In the Gun Running update Agent 14 even says they have already made the country a much safer place and that's before they get into the quasi-legal gun running business. They also commit the single most heroic action of the entire franchise: saving the world from an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Online Player's psychosis is determinant on the player's actions, and is only evident when killing civilians or other players. The High Life Update added a Sanity Meter that shows your character's mentality. The higher it is, the more of a target you'll become.
  • Badass Adorable: If you want, your character can be incredibly cute and attractive. Surprisingly the first trope of the series and in any Rockstar game.
  • Badass Crew: The player is encouraged to build a "Crew" of friends and associates to help tackle the tougher activities, or just to have a posse at their back.
  • Badass Longcoat: If you want.
  • Badass Normal: Compared to Michael, Trevor, and Franklin. No bullet time for shooting or driving. No berserker rage without bullshark testosterone or the Stone Hatchet. They're able to fight without special abilities and they're still tough.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The female character can wear outfits that do this.
  • Bounty Hunter: You can choose to hunt down other players that have a "bounty" placed on them and collect the reward money. Of course, if you're the person with the bounty, good luck with that.
  • Butter Face: Whatever the female protagonist's face looks like, she has a pretty nice body. Although this mainly occurs in the PS3/Xbox 360 versions; female protagonists in the PS4/Xbox One/PC versions are more attractive due to both the updated graphics and the more in-depth character creation system.
  • Class and Level System: In the form of "Reputation Points". Ranking up gains you new missions, weapons, and abilities.
  • Closet Key: Chastity, a stripper at the Vanilla Unicorn, will give her number out to a female protagonist despite claiming to be straight in the main game. And then subverted; turns out she's just giving her number out to come over and give private dances.
  • Combat Stilettos: Literally. "Combat boots" for a female protagonist come with stiletto heels.
  • Competition Freak: Well, think about it. Early missions involve competing in races, sports, shooting games, and fights to the death with complete strangers. You have to do a lot of these, and win, in order to gain more Reputation Points.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: They are this to Claude from Grand Theft Auto III. They are Silent Protagonists who are an Anti-Villain at worst. Unlike Claude, they seek to enjoy their new life in Los Santos, and has no personal vendettas with anyone.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: They can own an organization that can run illegal operations.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The game includes bulletproof helmets and special piece of armor one can wear that halves all damage during missions and heists. Typically at least one person in a mission will combine this with a love of everything in the heavy weapon slot.
  • The Dreaded: Once the Online Protagonist reaches the higher levels, they are feared and respected as one of the most dangerous criminals in San Andreas.
  • Extreme Doormat: Even more so than Franklin.
    Karen: When I had ran agents in the field I had to entrap them, cajole them, threaten them with deportation. [...] Now, apparently, all you gotta do is give them a couple bucks and a few kind words. I guess there really is no accounting for stupidity.
  • Expy: The Online protagonist is basically the HD Universe counterpart of Claude in that they never utter a single peep and take orders from just about anybody paying.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Just about everything is customizable, including skin color, daily habits, gender, clothing, and even parentage.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Most female outfits hug the figure very snugly.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Lampshaded by several in-universe characters. Particularly Lester. The Online Protagonist goes from being an outsider known by no one except Lamar to one of the most dangerous people in San Andreas.
  • Gendered Outfit: Most clothing and accessories look different if bought by a male or female.
  • Generation Xerox: Possibly, if a previous GTA protagonist (namely, Niko or Claude) is chosen as their father.
  • Genius Bruiser: They're very capable of hacking doors and planning heists. Besides, if you want to improve your skills, the protagonist can be incredibly strong.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: If you put a lot of hours into illegal work during character creation of the PS3/Xbox 360 versions, you'll end up with some fairly nasty facial scars. In all versions, you get temporary scars and bruises depending on how you died.
  • Hero of Another Story: The hero of their own story, set a few months before Story Mode, and eventually after Story Mode.
  • Heroic Mime: Well, not that "heroic" since you're a criminal, but still a protagonist. Averted if you have a headset and use game chat; it causes your character's lips to move, and in some circumstances actually affects gameplay; i.e., flirting with the girls at the Vanilla Unicorn and shouting at clerks during stick-ups. Despite that, the player character is canonically mute, as pointed out by many characters during cutscenes and missions.
  • Hired Guns: How you and your Crew can operate, if you want. Some missions specifically give off this vibe.
  • Improbable Age: Depending on who you pick as your father, although these are almost certainly non-canon.
    • Niko Bellic is stated to be 30 in GTA IV, which would put him between 34-35 at the time of Online and V; the youngest you can make your protagonist 21, meaning Niko would have fathered them around age 13/14. Of course, you can make your protagonist up to 40 years old, meaning you'd be older than your own father.
    • On the flip side, John died six decades before the earliest the protagonist could have been born; even if he survived the events of Red Dead Redemption in this timeline, he'd have died of old age long before being able to father the protagonist. Although you could argue this is a case of Dead Guy Junior instead of the man himself if you consider this John as the grandson of Jack by the end of the first game's Playable Epilogue.
  • Informed Attractiveness: No matter how fugly you make your female character, Lamar will call you fine and try hard as he might to tap that. This could be hand-waved by saying Lamar is the same guy who repeatedly tells Franklin how much he lusts for his aunt in Story Mode, but at the same time, the Female Protagonist can still get the phone number of Chastity, Fufu, and Nikki at the Vanilla Unicorn strip club; the latter being especially notable because she claims to be straight in single player.
  • Informed Equipment: Averted, unlike the single player protagonists, if they're supposed to be wearing armor it's visible, though it can be hidden if the player so chooses.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: If created at the higher age ranges, then their friendship with Lamar counts as this.
  • Jerkass: Some of the Online Protagonist's actions quickly cement them as a bit of a dick at times.
  • Made of Iron: As per GTA Protagonist tradition, injuries that would kill or maim normal people only "Waste" the Online Protagonist. To get a good picture of how tough the protagonist is, though, notice how many civilians are outright killed or KOed from automobile accidents, while you can just drive or walk away right after.
  • Near-Death Experience: When the player gets Wasted by another player early on. This allows them to enter "Passive" mode, and Spectator Mode, which is justified in-universe by saying they watch other players as a spirit or ghost or something without being able to affect the game world.
  • Nerves of Steel: They're completely unafraid of Trevor upon meeting him for the first time. When the protagonist is male, this pisses Trevor right off; when she's female, Trevor expresses his affection for her.
  • New Meat: Like Franklin (and pretty much every GTA protagonist before him) has to work their way up the criminal ladder.
  • Nipple and Dimed: The female protagonist showers with her bikini on, despite having her back to the camera the whole time.
  • Not so Above It All: For the most part, they're The Stoic. However, you can tell that they're absolutely giddy when stealing the sports car in the set-up for the prison heist.
  • One-Man Army: At later levels, the Online Protagonist will be a walking armory.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • Besides usage of the jerry can, the protagonist can get a Flare Gun as of the Heists Update, which can be used to set people on fire with a direct hit, but it isn't really a practical combat option.
    • On the other hand, while not standard Ammu-Nation goods, there are certain methods of acquiring molotov cocktails as a weapon option, that, in the hands of a competent thrower, play this trope much straighter.
  • Pretty Boy: If you want, your male character can be incredibly attractive.
  • Professional Killer: Martin Madrazo sends you on missions to this effect.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: You can choose any gender you wish to play. This means that a female protagonist is playable for the first time. While they are statistically the same, there are still some differences; several NPCs (Lamar, Simeon, Trevor, etc.) react differently to the female protagonist than they do the male, clothing is different, and the female protagonist gets more accessories (necklaces and earrings), and different clothing types (camisoles, bustiers, skirts) than the male.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Apparently, you're Lamar's online friend.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Granted to them by Cris Formage after their first death. No matter what they are killed with up to and including a Kill Sat they will reappear nearby in a few seconds no worse for wear and a couple of hundred dollars shy ready to resume their business.
  • Silent Snarker: As much of a Deadpan Snarker as a Heroic Mime can be, often seen rolling their eyes in cutscenes that either feature Lester or Ron and such.
  • The Sociopath: Depends on the player, though it's a lot easier to class the Online Protagonist as one than the other protagonists in V since they don't show any emotion, even as they are mowing down henchmen by the hundreds, or murdering innocent civilians.
  • Shout-Out: One optional setting for your Dad is John Marston. Or, if you have the Collector's Edition, Claude or Niko.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: Easily the biggest badass in the GTA franchise. Your character is able to survive shootings and missions comparable to those of The Punisher, and that's saying a lot!
  • Statuesque Stunner: The female protagonist stands around 6' tall, according to the character creation in the PS4/PC/Xbox One versions.
  • The Stoic: The Online Protagonist never speaks in cutscenes, and seems to be able to communicate just by facial expressions and body language.
  • Stripperiffic: Much of the clothing for the female protagonist is very revealing or ridiculously sexy for no reason. For example, a simple shirt, jacket or t-shirt is ridiculously low cut, shows off a ton of midriff and/or is incredibly tight. Hell, freakin' combat boots come equipped with stiletto heels!
  • There Can Be Only One: Deathmatch games have a setting which makes death permanent until the match is over. Also Last Team Standing missions.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Depending on the job, you can be a total dick in a team full of "nice guys" (being red with high mentality).
  • Token Good Teammate: Depending on the job, you can be the most sane person out of a team of psychopaths (being white with low mentality).
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: In the PS3/Xbox 360 versions, you could choose your grandparents from both sides of the family, which influenced how your parents looked, which influenced how your character looked. In the PS4/Xbox One/PC versions, you just choose your parents. All versions include variable sliders on which parent the respective child looked more like, with the next-gen versions even including a slider for which parent's skin tone and complexion you take after.
  • Unflinching Walk: At the end of the Humane Labs Raid, after Karen gives them a grenade to blow up the Valkyrie they just used.
  • Victory Pose: You can choose from several. Most are some sort of hilarious vulgar action, like wanking/jerking or a middle finger.
  • Violation of Common Sense: The daily activity function in the character creator for the PS3/Xbox 360 versions. For example, sitting on the couch all day makes you one hell of a pilot, and getting more sleep increases your height considerably.
  • Villain Cred: Made into an actual mechanic, via "Reputation Points".
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Can be invoked but only as a male.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: If you choose to run around in nothing but a bikini as a female.