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Character page for Knives Out.

For the characters of the sequel, Glass Onion, see this page.

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Investigators

    Benoit Blanc 

Benoit Blanc

Played By: Daniel Craig

Dubbed By: Éric Herson-Macarel (European French)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/benoitblanc23apr.png
The Renowned Investigator
"I observe the facts without biases of the head or heart. I determine the arc's path, stroll leisurely to its terminus and the truth falls at my feet."

A famed detective. In Knives Out, he is hired to investigate Harlan Thrombey's death. In Glass Onion, he is invited to the private island of oligarch Miles Bron.


  • Achilles' Heel: As Glass Onion reveals, Blanc struggles to find simple solutions to questions and will look for complexities where there aren't any; as he says it, he can't figure out stupid things. This is why it takes him as long as it does to figure out that Miles is the murderer; he based all of his theories around the idea that Miles wouldn't be stupid enough to kill Andi himself, much less flee the scene in his signature car, and he's borderline apoplectic with rage to realize that Miles is indeed that stupid.
  • All Gays Love Theater: Openly queer and a fan (and a friend) of Stephen Sondheim.
  • Allergic to Routine: At the beginning of Glass Onion, he's bored out of his mind having to quarantine in his apartment, and jumps at the chance to solve Andi's murder. Dialogue from his Zoom friends suggests this is always how he gets between cases.
  • Alliterative Name: Benoit Blanc.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Glass Onion reveals that he has a very low tolerance for stupid criminals. He's very annoyed upon piecing together that Miles Bron killed Duke not through any complex scheme, but by simply pouring pineapple juice in a glass and giving it to Duke, lying that Duke mistakenly took Miles' glass despite Miles giving the glass to Duke in front of everyone. And he's even further frustrated upon learning that Miles' one crime with any real panache, causing a blackout across the island and shooting Helen in the dark, wasn't even an idea he came up with on his own, but given to him by Blanc himself, angrily calling the culprit a dimwitted, brainless jackass.
    • A milder example is that he really doesn't like the game Clue. At all. He gets worked up just talking about it.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Despite his flamboyance, he's first introduced sitting in the background, not saying a word, for several minutes, and in many scenes with other characters he's also silent while they ramble on. When he starts talking, he shows he's been listening, and deduced a lot of 'hidden' information from just minor clues. His final speech while breaking the case has him talking practically non-stop for over 15 minutes.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: His flamboyant personality and tendency to focus on who hired him to investigate the circumstances of Harlan's death itself make it easy to underestimate him, but when the chips are down, he's still an excellent detective.
  • Big Good: His role in both Knives Out and the sequel, Glass Onion. He's really the only character looking out for the welfare of Marta and Helen, and is spurred on not only by the compelling nature of the case, but the desire to see justice be done and the criminals justly punished.
  • Blatant Lies: Played for laughs, but Blanc is not above this...
    Philip: You're not in the bath again, are you?
    Blanc: (hesitates) No.
  • Boring, but Practical: Despite his eccentric behavior and bizarre explanations of his train of thought, Blanc is actually considerably less flashy than most fictional detectives in his methods (similar to his obvious influence, Poirot). He doesn't have any CSI kits or super detective abilities, but instead does solid detective work, going over the scene of the crime and interrogating the witnesses, noting small but key details such as Harlan's blood on Marta's shoe. He predicts how events will unfold as the case proceeds while avoiding assumptions where possible, then notes and investigates when events differ from his predictions. His ability to judge character is also a key skill in this investigation, with him confessing to Marta at the end that he immediately suspected that she had a bigger role in events than she would admit to but also certain that she wasn't responsible for killing Harlan in the sense that she acted with malice.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Seems to be operating on a different wavelength from most of the people around him, hence his flowery language and extreme flamboyance, but easily lives up to his reputation as a Great Detective.
  • Challenge Seeker: While Blanc does have a genuine interest in seeing justice done for his clients, at least part of his motivation in the films is in solving complicated mysteries that challenge his intellect.
  • Character Tic: In both Knives Out and Glass Onion he has a habit of removing his suit jacket and sometimes rolling up his sleeves when giving The Summation. He puts his coat on as soon as he's done.
  • Cigar Chomper: In Knives Out, he spends part of his first day on the case working his way through a lancero cigar. However, in Glass Onion his attempt to smoke is interrupted by an extremely obnoxious smoke alarm but he lights up in the end when watching Bron's entire home burst into flames.
  • Cold Ham: Blanc almost always keeps his cool but is more than capable of bringing the ham with just his body language, facial expressions and small gestures like randomly tapping on a piano seemingly just to unsettle suspects.
  • Complexity Addiction: A flaw of his. He admits that "dumb stuff" is a blind spot for him and he is much better at figuring out a complex web of lies. This is the reason why he doesn't immediately clue in on Miles in Glass Onion as being the big bad, because he expected him to be much smarter than he actually was and believed he wouldn't be stupid enough to engage in the actions that he did.
  • The Conscience: Eccentric he may be, but Blanc proves himself the kindest and most empathetic character in the series. He ends up taking this role in both films, most prominently in Glass Onion where Helen always consults him on what moves she should take next to find the killer. Even when it seems like the culprit has won, Blanc is able to nudge Helen in the right direction and reassure her that she does have the power to make things right.
  • Cowboy Cop: Downplayed. He emphasizes that he is not Batman and he cannot ignore the law to mete out justice simply on his own authority. However, he isn't above allowing victims to deliver revenge if they cannot get it legally, such as in Glass Onion where he gives Helen the means to burn her sister's murderer's home to the ground.
  • Cultured Badass: Subverted - he name checks Gravity's Rainbow while admitting he hasn't actually read it (and neither has anybody else).
    • In Glass Onion, he jokingly references the film 2010: The Year We Make Contact and his self-comparison to Batman mentioned just up page at Cowboy Cop is partialy prompted by being called "the world's greatest detective," an epithet of the Caped Crusader.
  • Decoy Protagonist: In both Knives Out and Glass Onion.
    • As stated below, marketing frames Blanc as the main character of Knives Out. While he is the main detective of the film and is the one to piece together the clues and deliver The Summation at the end, the main focus and driving force of the film is Marta.
    • In Glass Onion, he is the central character throughout the first half of the film. However, after the Perspective Flip, the audience learns about Helen, and it becomes clear that the movie is her journey, not Blanc's.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: He's an Affectionate Parody of super sleuths like Poirot, Holmes and their ilk, with one notable exception: whereas all those detectives are usually stand-offish (with varying degrees of tact), Blanc is never less than respectful, likeable and polite to all those he encounters, even prime suspects, with his only/most notable instances of venom being to return the favour when he's disrespected, calling out the Thrombeys for being opportunistic backstabbing vultures after realizing Marta is completely innocent of the crime, or dealing with the totally irredeembable, imbecilic loser of a fraud that is Miles Bron, especially after he realises that Bron literally stole the idea for the murder from his good-natured warning. This specific trait is why the crafty bunches he usually deals with never suspect he's on to them and let their guards down, and also why he's willing and able to see the good in Marta in Knives Out/why Helen trusts him to help her in Glass Onion, both of whom were able to provide him information pivotal to solving the respective cases.
  • Deep South: Has a deep Southern accent, something Ransom mocks.
    Ransom: What is this, CSI: KFC?
  • Deuteragonist:
    • Despite the promotional material portraying Blanc as the main character, it quickly becomes clear that Marta is the real focus of the story, with Blanc remaining mostly in the background until the end. He gets top billing, is the second most important figure in the story, and is the one who deduces the truth behind the sordid affair, but Marta is the focal viewpoint character.
    • He's also this in Glass Onion, with the main character there being Helen who is trying to discover the murder of her twin sister Andi. This angle is hidden until the Perspective Flip in the back half of the film, but it's clear it's Helen driving the plot forward.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Half of the "Eureka!" Moment in Glass Onion is him finally coming to terms with and realizing that the murderer isn't some genius mastermind, but himself having a Complexity Addiction in overlooking the blatant facts that Miles is an absolute moron — enough of a moron, in fact, to commit the murders and leave all the clues for them lying around without a second thought. This actually makes Blanc visibly and noticeably angry to an increasing degree the more he realizes how blind he was to this fact.
  • Disappointed by the Motive:
    • An unusual example in Knives Out; Blanc correctly figures the motive is Harlan's money. But when Ransom tells Marta that more than that, he just couldn't stand the idea of her, an outsider, inheriting the family fortune, Blanc is genuinely galled that the whole affair is driven more by petty vanity than anything.
    • Again in Glass Onion; Blanc is deeply disappointed when he works out that Andi and Duke didn't die due to some complicated scheme by a Disruptor protecting their self-interest. Instead, they died because Miles is an idiot who can't manage a complicated murder. He becomes even more irate when he realises that Bron only even got the idea to cause a blackout and shoot Helen from the dark because of his own warning to Bron about the people at the party possibly wanting to kill him.
  • Ditzy Genius: Benoit Blanc is a brilliant detective but he can come across as a bit buffoonish on occasions. Glass Onion reveals that he struggles to understand simple games, and he even admits that he felt like an idiot for not seeing Miles' murder plan and obvious stupidity despite it staring at him in the face.
  • Do Wrong, Right: He has a certain level of respect for criminals who are clever or creative, and absolutely zero respect for Stupid Crooks. A lot of The Summation in Glass Onion is dedicated not to tearing Miles apart for being a murderer, but for being an utter moron about it.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: In Glass Onion: He is infuriated that such a con job and murder mystery was not the work of a mastermind, but rather that of an utter idiot in Miles, to the point that the one good idea the latter had, to shoot Helen while hidden under a blackout, was stolen from Blanc himself when Blanc warned him about people wanting to kill him.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • In Knives Out, Blanc finally is able to put everything together once he sees the toxicology report is normal.
    • In Glass Onion, Blanc pieces together that Miles is an idiot and thus the murderer when he realizes that Miles hid Andi's blackmail envelope in his office.
  • Excellent Judge of Character: He's very good at reading people and picking up telling details about them, which is part of why he's such a great detective. For example, in Knives Out he instantly deduced that Marta had been lying to him about Harlan's death from the beginning, but didn't tell her nor bring it up to the cops or family because he recognized she was a good person who must have had her reasons.
  • Expy: Blanc has a funny accent, an excellent yet somewhat ostentatious dress sense, and a French-sounding name that is mispronounced on a few occasions. Several characters underestimate his intelligence, despite the fact that Blanc is famous as one of the world's greatest detectives. At the end of the movie, he brings major characters and the police into a room and runs through the entire case from the beginning. In other words, he's a Hercule Poirot Expy, if the Agatha Christie influences weren't already obvious regarding the whole motion picture.
  • Famed In-Story: He's well-regarded as the last of the gentleman sleuths, and he more than lives up to his reputation by the end of both films.
  • Fatal Flaw: Glass Onion shows that Blanc has a need to challenge his mind, and as such, despite shining when dealing with complicated mysteries, things that are simple, such as social deduction games and the central mystery of that film often puzzle him more than anything complicated, simply because he refuses to apply Occam's Razor until it's almost too late.
  • Fish out of Water: Compared to the first film where he's in his element, Blanc is demonstrably out of place in Glass Onion being randomly strung along to Miles Bron's weekend getaway with his group of rich, influential, but douchey friends.
  • Following in Relative's Footsteps: He notes to Marta his father was a police inspector.
  • Gentleman Detective: Is an Affectionate Parody of one, and the subject of an in-universe New Yorker profile titled "The Last of the Gentlemen Sleuths." His exact background is unknown, though he does talk like a member of Southern aristocracy and mentions that his own father was a detective who met Harlan once and formed a high opinion of the author.
  • The Gadfly: In Glass Onion, he is this when he unapologetically ruins the murder mystery game that Miles has set up by using his detective skills, simply to mess with Miles.
  • Genre Savvy: He's a detective in a mystery story who's also familiar with mystery fiction and its conventions. He thinks Clue is dumb and can't even comprehend the concept of Among Us, but is quite complementary towards the mystery/crime/thriller works of Gillian Flynn.
  • Good is Not Nice: Downplayed. He's a pretty Nice Guy, but rather abrasive. He notes outright that he has a tendency of hurting other people in his relentless pursuit of the truth. At first meeting, he tries to use Marta's compulsive vomiting to hear what he wants to hear about the Thrombeys, even though the woman is clearly distressed and nauseated from all the puking she's already done.
  • Great Detective: He's world-famous for his incredible deductions, and uses his immense intelligence to deduce the truth behind Harlan's death. In-universe, he's the first result for a Google search for "world's greatest detective".
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: He's got Daniel Craig's natural blonde hair and is a kind and noble figure with excellent manners and who cares about helping others.
  • Hero Antagonist: He temporarily becomes one to Marta when she tries to hide her apparent part in Harlan's death and then works with Ransom to find the blackmailer. Though he quickly jumps back to her side upon both of them realizing she's innocent.
  • Heroic Lineage: Blanc mentions that his father was a police detective who knew Harlan Thrombey.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: By his own admission, Blanc is not able to fully Pull the Thread on the case with Marta just happening to be such an honest person.
  • Hidden Depths: He sings show tunes to himself when he's waiting for Marta. He also knows that the sacral chakra is the one blocked by guilt.
  • History with Celebrity: He's famous enough that when he's trying to cope with COVID lockdown he plays Among Us with Angela Lansbury, Stephen Sondheim, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Natasha Lyonne via Zoom.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Sees a stain of blood on Marta's shoe the very first time he speaks with her and figures out that she is involved with Harlan's death somehow, only keeping quiet because he could tell that she wasn't the kind of person who would have killed Harlan directly. He really has much of the mystery in hand from the very start. He does it again with the "murder mystery weekend" in Glass Onion, putting it together from very minor details like a necklace that doesn't fit the wearer's overall style, a photo on a magazine cover and the make of a crossbow being used as a decoration, before the crime is even committed.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: There's a scene where he's rambling to himself while Marta is driving. It's established later that this trail of thought is what allows him to crack the case.
  • I Don't Know Mortal Kombat: As Glass Onion reveals, the last of the gentleman sleuths is terrible at murder mystery games. He makes for an awful Among Us imposter, and has a deep dislike towards Clue.
    Blanc: [talking about Clue] Tickin' boxes, runnin' 'round, searchin' all the rooms—it's just a terrible, terrible game.
  • Jerkass Realization: Blanc has one in Knives Out when he sees Great Nana Wanetta sitting alone in the mansion, staring silently out the window. He realizes that he's been so caught up in the mystery around Harlan's death and the fight over his inheritance that he's completely ignored a frail old woman who has outlived her only son and is deeply in mourning. Blanc also determines that no one has spoken to Great Nana about the murder or how she's feeling, and humbly admits that he was wrong to be so callous. He offers to sit with Nana quietly for a while to give her a chance to talk to him on her own terms, and she gratefully accepts, which turns out to be the right move, as something she saw the night of Harlan's murder proves the key to the whole case.
  • Large Ham: Blanc is not one for subtlety as his thick accent, exaggerated mannerisms, flowery speech and colorful wardrobe can attest. It's clear Daniel Craig is really enjoying himself in the role.
  • Last-Name Basis: Even his boyfriend Philip calls him Blanc.
  • Logical Weakness: As he points out to Helen, Blanc isn't a police officer or authority figure nor is he a vigilante. He can make a case for the authorities to arrest and prosecute those he builds cases against but he can't do anything beyond that.
  • Malaproper:
    • He can mix metaphors like a bartender handles a mojito. Aside from the glorious doughnut rant at the top of the main page, and the web quote at the bottom, he also calls the family "...a pack of vultures at the feast, knives out, beaks bloodied." While vultures do have beaks; they're birds not pack animals; and they tend not to attack with bladed weaponry...
    • In Glass Onion, he is ultimately able to realize that Miles' own frequent mis-wordings are in fact a clue to his hidden stupidity and constant idea stealing and thus indicate that Miles is in fact the murderer.
  • Manly Gay: Benoit Blanc is a Southern Gentleman shown to have a male partner in Glass Onion, and the director confirms he's gay.
  • Mr. Fanservice: He's quite easy on the eyes and his introductory scene in Glass Onion shows him in the bath with Daniel Craig's impressive Bond physique on full display.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: A mild example; after he first provokes Marta into a lie, he's genuinely shocked and apologetic when she actually does vomit, as he'd assumed that the claim that lying makes her vomit had just been figurative.
  • Nice Guy: Eccentricities aside, Blanc is a pleasant and well-meaning man who wants justice to be served. He never looks down on Marta, treats Nana with respect, and is utterly furious with the Thrombeys when he realizes just how self-serving and backstabbing they all really are. This tact even extends to the pretentious and unlikeable Distruptors, all of whom he seems fairly interested in getting to know (even if only on a superficial level), and is even somewhat sheepish and reserved throughout Glass Onion as though he feels bad about imposing on the proceedings.
  • Nice to the Waiter: He's genuinely pleasant and friendly with people of supposedly "lesser" social status, despite being the Great Detective of the films with high-class friends of his own.
    • In Knives Out he treats the regular police as respected equals, in contrast to the typical attitude of superiority that tends to come with the trope. He's nice to Marta and recognizes her decency and positive qualities. He appears sincerely relieved when it seems that Fran has survived her attack. And, while it's not quite this trope, in contrast to almost everyone else, he makes a point of treating the ignored, neglected Nana as both a grieving mother and a lonely old woman who just needs some friendly company.note 
    • In Glass Onion, he gets along much better with the working class teacher Helen than he does with any of the Disruptors. Benoit even praises her at multiple points for her keen detective skills, showing that he has no qualms about praising the hard work and efforts of others outside his discipline or station.
  • Non-Action Guy: He warns Helen that he's not Batman, he works with his mind, not his fists.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: Fitting the Agatha Christie-inspired narrative, Blanc is not the protagonist of either film — those roles go to Marta and Helen, who have their own reasons for investigating the murders with him. His primary role is to correctly deduce the identity of the killer for the big reveal at the end while they get their dues.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • In Knives Out, Joni mentions a previous case of his involving a tennis pro; the film doesn't elaborate on the details.
    • In Glass Onion, Claire mentions a case involving a murdered ballet dancer and "a thing and a thing"; as in Knives Out, no further details are provided.
  • Not So Above It All: He solves Miles' fake murder mystery partly to show that he can, but also to screw with Miles.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • A good portion of Knives Out makes it unclear if he's totally incompetent or a Bunny-Ears Lawyer, but in the end, he turns out to be the Great Detective his reputation suggested.
    • In Glass Onion, he outright admits that he'll "lay on some Southern hokum" as a disarming measure when discussing his game plan with Helen.
    • The southern accent may be an affectation to help him reinforce this trope, as nothing has been revealed about his background and actual nationality. Notably, in Glass Onion he refers to Mile's one-of-a-kind automobile as a motorcar. "Motorcar" is an expression usually found in British English.
  • Odd Friendship: Glass Onion shows that he is good friends with Angela Lansbury, Stephen Sondheim, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Natasha Lyonne.
  • Only in It for the Money: Played With. While he does have a genuine interest in ensuring that justice is served and is intrigued by the reasons behind why he was contacted, he also makes it clear that there is also a significant financial reason why he's snooping around the Thrombey family affair. However, it's implied it's less the fact that he's doing this for the money, and more the fact that he was paid so much (and by an unknown party to boot) that it sparked his interest. On the other hand, he has no financial incentive to be involved in the plot of Glass Onion at all, but is so bored from COVID lockdown that he jumps at the chance to actually do something and is also genuinely invested in solving the case and seeing justice done.
    Blanc: An envelope of cash showed up at my apartment yesterday with a newspaper clipping of Thrombey's death.
    Wagner: An envelope? That worked?
    Blanc: [mildly exasperated, holding his thumb and finger apart as far as possible] An envelope of cash.
  • Outdated Outfit: This is downplayed in the first movie where his otherwise colorful suits barely stand out. In Glass Onion though he's seen in the pool with a stripped swimwear the sort that was popular around the start of the 20th century, alongside an ascot. Daniel Craig specifically wanted his wardrobe to be "Jaque Tati by way of Cary Grant in 'To Catch A Thief'."
  • Playing Up the Stereotype: In Glass Onion, he tells his client that while investigating the mystery he'll "really lay on some Southern hokum", thereby distracting the suspects into dismissing him as a silly Southerner while his partner secretly investigates.
  • Pull the Thread: The end reveals that he had spotted the blood on Marta's shoe from the very beginning and was specifically manipulating her to see what she would do to help get the truth to light.
  • Queer Establishing Moment: Glass Onion reveals that Blanc is gay by showing him at home during COVID-19 lockdown with his partner.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • After reading the toxicology report and realizing that Marta never got the medication mixed up, he drops the Southern charm and Obfuscating Stupidity and brutally informs the Thrombey clan exactly what he thinks of all of them.
    • In the second movie he tears into the culprit Miles mostly for being an idiot.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Blanc never uses a ten-dollar word when a twenty-dollar word would do. And his bill usually comes up expensive, since Blanc loves to rattle off the details of his investigations in dramatic fashion about as much as he loves to solve them.
  • Sherlock Scan:
    • He apparently saw a tiny speck of blood on Marta's shoe when they met, and only never brought it up because he simultaneously wanted to crack the problem of who hired him and recognized that Marta wasn't the kind of person who would have killed Harlan herself.
    • In Glass Onion, he is able to determine the plot of the entire carefully crafted murder mystery game crafted by Miles by simply observing the seating positions and the information that was presented to the Disruptors in the hours leading up to the dinner, to the extent that Blanc basically solves the game before it even starts.
  • Smarter Than You Look: He seems like a "Detective Foghorn Leghorn" in Ransom's words. Marta doesn't even think much of him as she's obstructing the investigation. It turns out his flamboyance is an act to hide his observational skills, and he knew Marta had something to do with Harlan's death thanks to the blood on her shoe. The reason why he didn't move to implicate her is that someone anonymous hired him to investigate a suicide, and instinct told him that Marta wasn't a killer. Whoever did hire him had an ulterior motive, and he wanted to get to the bottom of that first. That instinct pays off when he finds the proof that Marta is innocent and realizes Ransom is the real killer.
  • Smith of the Yard: Is a well-known figure in the world of the film, having received a New Yorker profile dubbing him "The Last of the Gentlemen Sleuths," which gave Ransom the inspiration to hire him.
  • Straight Gay: Downplayed example. He has some stereotypically "gay" qualities, such as being a stylish dresser, exuding a mildly flamboyant personality, and showing an affinity for Follies, but his sexuality only comes up in the second film because a clue is delivered to his apartment, where he lives with his male partner.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Despite being presented as the central character of the series, he's not actually the "main" character in the narratives — he instead assists the functional protagonists of each narrative, Marta and Helen, with solving the mystery.
  • Southern-Fried Genius: Comes from the Deep South, complete with gravy-thick accent, and is a very skilled detective. He's also aware that other people tend to underestimate him because of how obviously Southern he is, and uses it to his advantage in investigations.
  • Southern Gentleman: He carries an air of elegance, and is always well dressed and polite.
    • A very nice example is when he and Helen meet to go over the case the night before leaving for the island. He stands up as she approaches the table and takes her seat.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Benoit Blanc is a rather realistic version of many great sleuths since it's established that while he is capable of figuring out the mystery and the motives of those involved, he lacks the physical evidence or eye witness testimony to actually convict the guilty party or the authority to make an arrest himself; he needs to leave that to the police and the courts . However, this allows his companion Marta and Helen in the sequel to come up with the plan to actually take down the Big Bad.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Played with. Benoit Blanc becomes one near the halfway point of the film when it is revealed that Marta was responsible for Harlan's death, but circumstances surrounding the incident were such that she bore little culpability in the matter; he really did commit suicide to protect her from any undeserved consequences and the audience is expected to side with Marta for the duration of the film in the Battle of Wits between her and Blanc, even though Blanc is eminently likeable and charming. The "antagonist" part is ultimately subverted after Blanc reads the tox report and learns that Marta had absolutely zero culpability, is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing, and for the remainder of the film, he is her advocate, a development he seems to relish.
  • Title Drop: When he finally gives the Thrombeys "The Reason You Suck" Speech they deserve, he calls them all vultures before a rotting carcass, "knives out!"
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: His southern accent is a hodgepodge of the Deep South Southern accent, a Louisiana accent, and a smidge of the Hollywood imitation of one. (Ransom even mocks him as "Foghorn Leghorn" at one point.) As a result, it sounds affected and fake, but in the film, it's supposed to be genuine. (Well ... maybe. He could be exaggerating his accent as a form of Obfuscating Stupidity, given that people tend to underestimate people with Southern accents, and a detective as perceptive as Blanc would surely know this. Indeed, Ransom derides Blanc's intelligence specifically on these grounds, which no doubt is part of what led Ransom into hiring Blanc, thinking he could outsmart him. Ransom was wrong). Rian Johnson at one point considered inexplicably giving him a different accent in each film, but ultimately decided against it.
  • Worf Had the Flu: In a sense. He's introduced as the last of the great gentlemen sleuths but Marta is able to stay one step ahead of him all film, indicating that maybe he's not that brilliant after all. Near the end of the film, he reveals that he knew Marta had something to do with Harlan's death all along because he noticed a speck of blood on her shoe, and admits that rather than focusing on the case at hand, he spent most of the film trying to figure out who hired him which is the biggest key to the puzzle.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: In Glass Onion, when Blanc's explaining how Miles Bron attempted Helen's murder, he realizes Miles stole the idea on how to do it from an earlier conversation with him. He can't believe it when he realizes.

    Lieutenant Elliot 

Lieutenant Elliot

Played By: Lakeith Stanfield

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/elliot_75.png
The Police Detective
"See, I might be a victim of my own expectation here, but when the great Benoit Blanc comes knocking at my door, I expect it's going to be about something, if not extraordinary, then at least interesting."

The lead investigator into Harlan Thombey's death.


  • By-the-Book Cop: He just wants to get the case solved and has little patience for Benoit Blanc's flamboyance, although he does appreciate his contributions when they come.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: He's the Only Sane Man of the three law enforcement figures, having to contend with the eccentric Blanc and the star-struck Wagner.
  • Inspector Lestrade: He's a decent cop, but he repeatedly falls for the logical tricks set up by the culprit.
  • Noodle Incident: It is apparent that he and Blanc have some friendly history with one another, as they are familiar enough for Elliot to call him "Benny." However, the exact nature of this history is not specified.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The moment real evidence of foul play comes to light, he starts giving Blanc his full cooperation.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Many of Elliot's observations at the beginning of the case, before and during Marta's interview, are accurate, even if he doesn't know the true depth of the case. He notes that the motives Blanc gives for Richard, Joni and Walt are all "weak sauce" for them to commit murder. He's correct on all three counts, but the true perpetrator, Ransom, had even more weak reasons to do what he did. He notes that this is clearly a suicide case. He's also correct that Harlan did commit suicide. He's just unaware that he did so to cover up an attempted murder by proxy.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: He has the most classically nice suit of the film's three main investigators, which reflects the fact that he is the most reasonable of them. He's also played by the very handsome Lakeith Stanfield.
  • Those Two Guys: With Trooper Wagner, who tag along with Blanc for most of the film and offers little more than commentary.

    Trooper Wagner 

Trooper Wagner

Played By: Noah Segan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/trooperwagner.jpg
The Eager Assistant
"It's the trick window! From 'A Kill For All Seasons'!"

Lieutenant Elliot's partner in the investigation. A big, vocal fan of Benoit Blanc and the Thrombeys' work.


  • Ascended Fanboy: Wagner is a big fan of detective fiction, reacting to Harlan Thrombey, Benoit Blanc, and a murder mystery film starring Danica McKellar with glee. He also apparently likes Joni Thrombey's Instagram.
  • Audience Surrogate: He reacts to Blanc's revelations and theatricality with the same glee as the audience would.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: His perspectives are rather... silly in comparison to the others on the case.
  • Evil All Along: Parodied. He's clearly harmless and goofy, but Marta briefly thinks Blanc has just named him as the surprise villain during The Summation.
  • Genre Savvy: He's a huge mystery fanboy who's simply thrilled to be investigating the death of his favorite author and working with Blanc, and frequently compares events to plot points in detective stories.
  • Nice Guy: He is overall one of the nicest characters in the movie, to the point of thanking suspects while arresting them.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: His fanboyish outbursts provide some levity.

Thrombey Family

    In General 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thrombeys1.png
Not pictured: Harlan, Ransom, and Great-Nana

The extended family of famous mystery fiction author Harlan Thrombey.


  • Ambiguous Situation: Ransom is carted off to prison, but the end of the film shows a massive shift in power between the Thrombeys and Marta as she decides to accept Harlan's entire inheritance that leaves the rest of them without any more financial support and likely having to find their own way from now on. Some members of the family are better than others, but the film's message is that ideology and personal good qualities are made irrelevant by banding together to protect status and wealth at the expense of people like Marta and her family. Which of them will continue to stick to their systemic abuse or change, if at all, remains unclear. Especially as their treatment of Marta has rightfully made her far less open to sharing her newfound wealth with them.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: No mention is made of the mother(s) of Harlan's three children at any point in the film.
  • Bait the Dog: Some of them initially act nice to Marta, particularly the women and Walt where the rest of the men are usually just all around outright unpleasant.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: As noted by Blanc, they just love twisting the knife into each other. But they more or less get over their own differences to gang up against the possibility of an outsider — who's an immigrant, to their greater horror — inheriting their patriarch's estate and money.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Most of the Thrombeys, with the exceptions being Harlan, who inverts it, Ransom, Jacob and Richard, who are upfront jerkasses, and possibly Meg (who seems to deeply regret her one act of jerkassery and profusely apologise to Marta) hide their more insidious attitudes behind genteel affability.
  • Blatant Lies: The heads of each branch all privately claim to Marta that they wanted her to attend Harlan's funeral but were "outvoted", making it clear none of them even thought to invite her.
  • Enemy Mine: They vehemently snipe and hiss at each other (as illustrated by the first half of their disastrous Family Disunion). However, when their comfortable lifestyles are threatened, they quickly band together against Marta, who becomes the new perceived evil. The exceptions are Meg, who actually has the kindness and sense to suggest that maybe they should let Marta have the inheritance; and Ransom, who simply can't stand his family (and vice-versa). Except those two are eventually revealed to have participated in this campaign against Marta, in one form or another - though Meg at least has a My God, What Have I Done? moment and profusely apologises to Marta, which may well be genuine.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Despite their many, many flaws, none save Richard are willing to defend Ransom after he is arrested for his crimes (murder and attempted murder), most of them having to avert their eyes in disgust as he's taken away.
    • While Richard and Donna are racist, and the rest are somewhat terrible in some way all of them (except his parents which is no surprise for his racist mom and weak-willed dad) seem to look down on Jacob for his far-right views.
    • Invoked by Marta who states despite their flaws none of them are murderers. She was right except for Ransom.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: They all assume that Marta somehow "got her claws" into Harlan, because they can't fathom (or perhaps, just don't want to face) that maybe Harlan was simply fonder of her than he was of his own family, because she's a good and kind person and they ultimately aren't. It also clearly never crossed any of their minds to just ask Marta to share the inheritance with them and/or use it to help them, since she's a Nice Girl who cares about their well-being and isn't interested in being massively rich. They could have avoided much of the plot of the movie if they hadn't been so quick to needlessly turn against her.
  • Family Theme Naming: Funnily enough, even people who just married into the family are named after famous musicians.
    • Walt and Donna - Steely Dan.
    • Joni - Joni Mitchell, whose late husband was named Neil.
    • Richard and Linda - Richard and Linda Thompson.
  • Fatal Flaw: While they all have plenty of unique flaws, the one they all share which hurts them the most is their inability to understand Marta. They could have likely gotten what they wanted had they simply dealt with her maturely and reasoned with her rather than trying to take it away from her with deception. This is also what gets Ransom caught, as his scheme hinged on Marta leaving Fran to die and he never considered that Marta would view someone's life as more important than her own well-being.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Some of them actually seem genuinely pretty nice at first, but it all falls apart after The Reveal, and their attempts at appearing affable become paper-thin. As in the scene with Walt blackmailing Marta, where the background music turns chillingly dark and Walt and his cane are framed in menacing close-ups, even though he's still trying to sound benign towards her. Understandably, she slams the door on him out of fear.
  • Gold Digger: Pretty much every member of the Thrombey clan wants a piece of Harlan Thrombey, be it his fortune, the publishing and royalty rights to his novels, or his house. Joni is perhaps the biggest example, however, as unlike the others she is not a blood member of the family; she's the widow of Harlan's son who just kind of kept hanging around after his death. Naturally, as soon as it's revealed that Marta is Harlan's sole inheritor, she becomes a veritable magnet for barely veiled accusations of being one of these. She isn't, however.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: While not evil, Linda and Walt, two of the older, money-grubbing siblings, smoke cigarettes and cigars, respectively. Meg, a much younger, more sympathetic cousin, is seen vaping in her first appearance. For further contrast, Fran, the sweet housekeeper, is an avid pot smoker.
  • Humble Parent, Spoiled Kids: Harlan, a Self-Made Man who became wealthy through his mystery novels but still treats his servants like close friends, has realized that all of his descendants have become a bunch of spoiled jerks thanks to his money. He decides to disinherit all of them and leave everything to Marta.
  • Hypocrite:
    • The Thrombeys all promise Marta that they'll take care of her like she's one of the family, but once she's named the sole heir, they quickly shift to demands that she respects the real family.
    • Meg and Joni are the more liberal of the Thrombeys, Meg is even marked as a "Marxist" by the others, but they unite with the family interests when their finances are threatened - though Meg at least seems to regret it.
    • The Thrombeys are all elated to find out Ransom was cut from the will saying it's the best thing that could have happened to him. They start singing a different tune when Harlan's will is read and everything is left to Marta. Ransom's quick to point this out.
    • The Thrombreys all value themselves as a family unit and turn on Marta insisting that she has to look out for Harlan's "real" family. However, Richard, Joni, and Donna only joined the family through marriage, and Joni's link to them, her husband Neil, has been dead for years, with her only remaining part of the Thrombeys by complete choice.
    • The more conservative Thrombey family members have a very negative and harsh view of immigrants who don't enter the country "the right way" in their eyes; Richard is especially adamant that adverse consequences be visited on immigrants who break the law. But once they find out Marta's mother is undocumented, they use her as leverage to blackmail Marta (if they really wanted illegal immigrants to face "consequences" as they claimed, they would have simply turned in Marta's mother right away, instead of offering to keep her secret if Marta gives up her inheritance).
    • The Thrombeys repeatedly claim to consider Marta as part of the family, but in separate interviews they each give different countries of origin for her family, heavily implying that they've never actually bothered to find out the correct one.
  • Lack of Empathy: An understated flaw of much of the Thrombeys. It's particularly noted when Blanc sits down to interrogate Nana, rightfully suspecting that no one in the family has comforted her after the loss of Harlan.
  • Leitmotif: The Thrombey Family Theme.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Downplayed — although some of them are more openly nice (Meg) or less racist (Joni and seemingly Walt and Linda), the film makes it abundantly clear that all of them are ultimately just different heads on the same hydra (albeit a rather neutral hydra than outright evil).
  • Missing Mom: Linda and Walt's mother (or if they have the same mother) is not mentioned during the film. However, it is implied that any wives of Harlan are deceased, since none are mentioned in the will (nor are any living ex-wives).
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Poor Marta is subjected to a lot of verbal abuse from them, since they clearly don't respect her status as a Hispanic employee with an immigrant mother. Over the course of the film, not only do the Thrombeys call her a little bitch and a dirty anchor baby, despite saying that Marta "is like a member of the family," it's also clear that none of them seem to know which country Marta is actually from. Even if some are less racist about politics themselves (Linda, Walt, Joni).
  • Posthumous Character: Neil, Harlan's oldest son, died 15 years before the movie's events. He's only brought up once to explain Joni and Meg's connection into the family with no other characterization.
  • Punny Name: A thrombus is a fibrinous blood clot that forms inside the body and has the potential to block a blood vessel, causing a stroke. Blood is thicker than water, indeed.
  • Self-Made Man:
  • Token Evil Teammate: Marta states that she believes "none of them are killers." And she was right. Except for Ransom.
  • Token Good Teammate:
    • Relatively speaking, Meg might be this - she does something pretty awful (revealing that Marta's mother is undocumented to her racist family who're all looking for leverage), her expression immediately afterwards reads as a My God, What Have I Done? moment and she apologises profusely to Marta later on. Whether she means it is an open question (and it's an awful thing to do, regardless of regret), but it's suggested she does.
    • There's also Great-Nana, Harlan's mother. She's the only person who doesn't get involved in the family's squabbles and plots and even laughs a little when Blanc gives his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to them. At first, it seems like she's just too much of Scatterbrained Senior to realize what's happening around her, but it's ultimately revealed that she knows a lot more than she lets on and is firmly aware of her clan being money-grubbing jerks—especially because they treat her badly, too.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Blanc hands out a very well deserved one to the entire family after he reads the toxicology report proving Marta's innocence. It's the one and only time he drops his Bunny-Ears Lawyer tendencies and is genuinely furious at the family.
  • Self-Made Man:
    • Played straight with Harlan, who to all evidence did, in fact, make his entire fortune simply by being a self-published author.
    • Subverted with Linda, Walt, and Joni, who all believe themselves to be self-made, but that their relatives succeeded entirely on the back of Harlan's fortune.
  • White Anglo-Saxon Protestant: A rich, overall conservative white family from Massachusetts. This is contrasted against the Latina Marta's working-class immigrant background.

    Harlan 

Harlan Thrombey

Played By: Christopher Plummer

Dubbed By: Georges Claisse (European French)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/harlan.png
The Patriarch
"You know, I don't fear death. But, oh, God, I'd like to fix some of this before I go. Close the book with a flourish."

A wealthy mystery fiction author and the patriarch of the Thrombey family, whose mysterious death sets the plot in motion.


  • Actor Allusion: Christopher Plummer once again dies from massive blood loss from a neck wound.
  • All for Nothing: He committed suicide to protect Marta from getting in trouble for his death, but it's ultimately revealed he never received the morphine overdose in the first place.
  • Anti-Nepotism: Harlan always encouraged his children to stand on their own two feet but he was softer when it came to his grandchildren. Harlan came to recognize how complicit he was in giving his family everything they have under the guise of helping them "build" their own paths, and at the time of his death was taking steps to cut them off — ending Joni's embezzlement, exposing Richard's affair to Linda so that she could move on, replacing Walt at the publishing firm, refusing Ransom any inheritance at all — in the hopes that it would ultimately help them. He even willed the entirety of his holdings to Marta specifically because he hadn't spoiled her like he did his immediate heirs: she'd made something of herself on her own, and they were able to become close friends despite their differences.
  • Anti-Hero: This is the most generous interpretation of him. On one hand, he is perfectly cordial to his servants and hired help. On the other, it took until he had grandkids for him to realize that he enabled his entire family to become entitled spoiled brats and his solution was Tough Love— cutting them out of the will so they could stand on their own two feet.
  • The Atoner: He recognizes that he isn't blameless in how his children (and children-in-law, and grandchildren...) turned out, so he wanted to give them all some tough love before dying.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: He wants to use Tough Love to help his Big, Screwed-Up Family to grow a spine. and stand for themselves... and one of them does exactly that, planning to kill him (but only driving him to suicide) to preserve his part of the inheritance.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Presumably the reason he left his entire estate to Marta, the only one who seemed actually fond of him as a person.
  • Benevolent Boss: He might have been Marta's employer, but their interactions make it clear that they're genuinely close friends. Hell, he likes her better than anyone in his family, not without justification.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: A subversion where the choice of suicide is based on legal distinctions and selflessness rather than the avoidance of pain. Harlan and Marta both believe she has accidentally lethally dosed him with excess morphine, and Marta is set to be Harlan's sole heir. To prevent his horrified friend from losing her imminent inheritance and to protect her reputation and family, Harlan quickly constructs an escape for Marta that will give her an alibi and slits his own throat before the morphine can kill him so he will not have been murdered by her and she will not be penalized by the accident. It turns out that Marta actually gave him the correct dose and only noticed the bottles had been switched on her after instinctually picking the right medicine, misleading both of them into Harlan's suicide.
  • Big Good: For all his faults, he is the most genuinely exceptional member of his family, being the only one in the family who built his fortune all by himself and every action he takes (threatening to tell Linda about her husband's affair, laying off Walt from managing his publishing company and omitting his entire family from his will and giving all of it to Marta after his death) is done for genuinely altruistic reasons.
  • Blade Enthusiast: Keeps a decorative display of knives in his home. He also always seems to have at least one knife with him, and even holds one in his portrait.
  • Complexity Addiction: From decades of writing mystery novels. The man can't even do something as simple as talking to his daughter without making it needlessly complicated. When faced with likely death, rather than taking the fleeting chance on survival, he builds a convoluted process to completely obfuscate Marta's involvement in his death.
  • Control Freak: His mug "My House, My Rules, My Coffee" says it all, really. He also keeps his family on a tight leash, either putting him in charge of aspects of his business or dependent on him for loans or college tuition, under his exact stipulations. Linda points out that the way she got close to her dad is finding a game he liked and playing by his rules. What he says, goes, and those who don't fall in line get written out of the will.
  • Cool Old Guy: While he is the patriarch of his family and calls all the shots, he is a genuinely friendly and eccentric character. He lives in a manor full of wondrous oddities and secret passages, has ensured that his family is well-off (and then retracting all of it to get them to learn to stand on their own two-feet) and then leaves all of his belongings to Marta in his will. Even when he finds out that he was going to die in under ten minutes due to his caregiver's negligence or so they thought, he is more intrigued by it if nothing else, taking the time to write down the information behind his "accidental" death as an intriguing murder-mystery idea and then formulates a plan to make his death look like a suicide to prevent Marta and her family from being held accountable for it.
  • Crazy-Prepared: As a mystery writer, he tends to think of a lot of things about how people would do things ahead of time. When he attempts to force Richard to tell Linda about his affair before he sends a letter confirming it himself, he holds up a particular pink letter and puts it away in a hidden space. And on the off-chance Richard managed to find it and tried to get the letter first, he wrote it in heat-sensitive ink to make sure he would think it was just a bluff to get him to come clean, when in reality Linda, who knew Harlan and his passions enough to recognize the invisible ink, would try and hold a fire under it.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Saw firing Walt from the publishing company during his birthday party as this. It's definitely seen as cruel by Walt himself (given how many years he loyally worked for his father, only to be let go when he pressed for film adaptations), and speculated to be such by the rest of the family since they saw how devastated Walt was after the conversation, but in Harlan's mind it's the kindest thing he could do, forcing his son to spread his wings and write his own stories rather than publish Harlan's.
  • Death by Genre Savviness: He gets so caught up in plotting a way for Marta to get away with accidentally injecting him with the wrong liquid and the appeal of a novel new method of murder to his dramatic sensibilities, even to the point of cutting his own throat, that he fails to realize that if he'd been given such a massive dose of morphine he almost certainly wouldn't be as perfectly lucid and clear-thinking as he is right up until the exact moment the overdose will supposedly kill him.
  • Died on Their Birthday: Harlan Thrombey dies on the night of his 85th birthday with his throat slit. The police rule it a suicide, but private detective Benoit Blanc is anonymously hired to investigate, setting the rest of the movie's plot into motion.
  • Drama Queen:
    • Loves to get in public arguments, which made his closed-door blow-up with Ransom on his birthday all the more unusual.
    • This ends up killing him, as instead of letting Marta call an ambulance he concocts an overly complex and dramatic plan to commit suicide so that she wouldn't be implicated in his death, though it was later revealed he wasn't actually dying. Indeed, it's probably that same flair for dramatics that has him thinking less about how someone shot full of such a massive overdose of opiates could be thinking and speaking as clearly as he is and more about how to help his friend arrange to get off without legal trouble.
  • Everyone Has Standards: It's revealed that he keeps more prop knives around than real ones as part of his chair. Because it would be utterly dangerous to keep a large amount within reach of his family, where any maniac like Ransom could grab them.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When Marta tells him that she injected him with lethal amounts of morphine, he doesn't hold it against her at all and quickly tries to calm her down and set up a plan that would remove her from suspicion of killing him before calmly slitting his own throat.
  • Fatal Flaw: His Control Freak tendencies, flair for the dramatic, stubbornness, and Complexity Addiction. He thinks he knows what's what better than anyone, and when it seems like Marta accidentally administered a morphine overdose, he immediately overrules her desire to call an ambulance and orchestrates a complex cover-up via suicide to keep her beyond suspicion. He's also heard twice saying "my mind's made up" in regard to cutting off his family members, and it's this same attitude of confident finality that makes him resolved toward an ultimately pointless suicide. As Detective Blanc explicitly states at the end, had Harlan simply listened to Marta, he would still be alive.
  • Genre Savvy: As a bestselling mystery author he is intimately familiar with mystery tropes. He has a trick window built into his house and leaves messages for loved ones in invisible ink. Even during his own death scene he recognizes the switched medicine as a plausible mystery fiction plot and is instantly able to concoct a convoluted plan for Marta to get off scot-free.
  • Heroic Suicide: He slit his own throat so Marta wouldn't be sent to jail for accidentally giving him a morphine overdose.
  • Hypocrite: Preached the importance of being a Self-Made Man (or Self-Made Woman) to his family, yet frequently gave them loans to start their businesses, paid for their college tuition, or let them mooch off him entirely, and especially kept his youngest son Walt stuck in his shadow by putting him in charge of his publishing company instead of encouraging him to write his own stories or find his own way. Eventually, Harlan came to realize this, and wrote his family out of his will partially to teach them actual self-reliance.
  • Iconic Item: His "My house, my rules, my coffee" mug.
  • Interclass Friendship: His closest friend was Marta, who is noticeably less wealthy than him — not exactly poor, but probably not what you'd call "comfortable." Harlan seeks to fix that with his will.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: The best way to describe his relationship with Marta, despite her being his employee.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • He can be curt and spends most of his birthday alienating his family by cutting them off but means well and wants them to learn self-sufficiency. He also wills his entire estate to his nurse and best friend Marta.
    • He also has a pretty good reason to be angry when it comes to certain family members. He confronts Richard on his infidelity, Joni on her double-dipping into money intended for Meg's education, and Ransom for being a Upper-Class Twit. He's noticeably gentler when he tells Walt he plans to cut him off.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Downplayed. Shortly before his 85th birthday, he comes to realize he allowed his family to become selfish, mooching, materialistic vultures, and gives most of them a verbal dressing down during his birthday party. He also wrote them completely out of his will, leaving everything to Marta.
    • A more literal example with Walt. Harlan came to realize he did Walt the greatest disservice of all, preaching the importance of being a Self-Made Man but putting his son in charge of his publishing company, keeping Walt stuck in his shadow rather than encouraging him to write his own stories or start his own business. Harlan seems the most remorseful when talking about it to Marta in flashbacks.
  • My Greatest Failure: He realizes that, despite his good intentions, he inadvertently allowed his entire family to become selfish and greedy by spoiling them with his fortune. It's clear that this haunts him immensely, and he spends what turns out to be the last few days of his life trying to make amends—namely, by revealing that he knows what his children have been up to, cutting every relative out of his will, and leaving everything he owns to his nurse.
  • Never Suicide: He is found dead of a slashed throat with a knife in his hand, but Blanc quickly suspects he was murdered. It's ultimately zigzagged; he did cut his own throat, but the circumstances surrounding his death were orchestrated by Ransom.
  • Not Afraid to Die: On the night of his death, Harlan told Marta that at his age he was fully ready to die. He showed little concern on learning he had been fatally dosed and was more concerned with protecting Marta than saving himself.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: His son Neil (Joni's husband and Meg's father) passed away years before the events of the film. He also becomes the other side of this trope himself when he dies, as he's outlived by his own mother.
  • Papa Wolf: He found out Richard was cheating on Linda and told Richard that if he doesn't tell her himself then he will with a letter to give to her.
  • Parents as People: It took until his grandchildren for him to realize how severely he was spoiling his family. The movie also implies that he simply didn't take much interest in raising his kids - only Linda seems to have come out well enough to stand on her own with a good relationship with him, and she mentions to the detectives having to think up "games" to play in her relationship with him to get that attention.
  • The Patriarch: It says so on his character card. Indeed, he's the wealthy family head looking after a brood of backstabbing leeches.
  • Pet the Dog: He was always grateful for Marta's nursing and treated her like she was actually in the family.
    • He took it even further with his will. He left everything to Marta because she'd become a good friend and they enjoyed each other's company, spending quiet time together. It's not a stretch at all to think that he'd come to regard her as a daughter.
  • Posthumous Character: The film kicks off with his death, but he still has a significant role to play in the story via multiple flashbacks.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers one to Richard, Joni, and Ransom, and a more diplomatically worded one for Walt.
  • Secret-Keeper: He tells Marta to "think of [her] mom" when persuading her to go along with his "fake suicide" plan, because he knows Marta's mom is undocumented.
  • Self-Made Man: Not only did he build his writing career from the ground up, becoming one of the bestselling mystery authors in America, but he also established his own publishing company to print and distribute his books, making himself quite wealthy in the process.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Since Marta gave him the right medication, his suicide was ultimately for nothing.
  • Slashed Throat: How he dies, by his own hand.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Go, actually. Harlan plays Go with Marta and Ransom.
  • Sore Loser: Played for laughs. When Marta hands him his ass in Go, he flips the board over in a huff.
    Marta: Such a bad loser.
    Harlan: This is elder abuse!
  • Spanner in the Works: If he hadn't flipped the Go board and knocked over the medicine, Marta might very well have given him a morphine overdose like Ransom intended. By turning his own death into a suicide instead, he unwittingly put Ransom in a situation where the only way to keep Marta from getting the inheritance was by hiring a detective who would find evidence of her involvement in Harlan's death.
  • Spiteful Will: Played with. Harlan writes all his family out of his will and leaves everything to Marta after realising that they're all a bunch of grasping, self-interested parasites. However, it's not purely out of contempt for them, as he vocally blames himself for having raised them in such a way that contributed to the way they all turned out, and views making them function on their own without relying on him for financial support as much-needed and long-awaited Tough Love that will do them better in the long run.
  • Teasing Parent: He is a Cool Old Guy with various eccentricities who had various secret means of communicating with his oldest daughter Linda. Usually they manifested in the form of games, clues, puzzles and riddles that only she could properly decode. By the end of the film, she finds the latest note he left for her and she figures out that the invisible ink can be seen by applying her lighter under it, revealing to her that her husband Richard has been cheating on her and that Harlan threatened to tell her if he did not.
  • Token Good Teammate: He and his mother were the only ones in the family who never (intentionally) did anything wrong to Marta.
  • Too Clever by Half: Had he simply allowed Marta to call an ambulance like she wanted instead of jumping to orchestrate a complex cover-up to frame his supposed overdose as suicide, and slit his own throat before the supposed ten minutes were up, he would still be alive.
  • Tough Love: Sees writing his entire family out of his will as partially this, to force them to make their own way in life rather than continue to mooch off him.

    Linda 

Linda Drysdale, née Thrombey

Played By: Jamie Lee Curtis

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/lindat.png
The Real Estate Mogul

"I was just thinking about Dad's games. This all feels like one. Like something he'd write, not do. I keep waiting for the big reveal."

A real estate mogul who is Harlan's eldest child and only daughter, Richard's wife, and Ransom's mother.


  • Alas, Poor Villain: Non-lethal variant. While one of the nastiest to Marta upon learning she's the sole inheritor of Harlan's estate, it's hard not to feel sorry for her when she reads her father's letter revealing Richard's infidelity.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Harlan's hidden letter to her says he doesn't need to show Linda the proof he has that Richard is cheating, indicating she already had good suspicions about it and had been unhappy with her husband and marriage for some time.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Defends Walt, her "baby brother," when she thinks the police are insinuating he had something to do with Harlan's death. She also refuses to say anything negative about him regarding his place in the business, though it's unfortunate for Walt that her husband didn't feel as restrained in his opinions.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: She smokes throughout, which increases when it's revealed that her son is the murderer and her husband cheated on her. Even using her lighter to reveal the invisible ink on Harlan's letter to her.
  • Daddy's Girl: Idolized her late father, as noted by several characters. She's also the only one of his adult descendants he didn't single out for a berating.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite being just as vicious and materialistic as the rest of her family, Linda seems to be the only one of Harlan's descendants actually grieving her father's passing. As mentioned below, she's also the only one whom Harlan was on genuinely good terms with. She also sticks up for Walt in front of the police and refuses to talk bad about him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: She's embarrassed and appalled when her husband drags Marta into a family argument about immigration, even telling him to "leave the poor girl alone."
  • Genre Savvy: Probably from reading her father's crime novels. While being questioned, she spots right away that Blanc is asking her a question he already knows the answer to, in order to see how she responds. This is actually a valid interrogation technique, in order to trip a person up when they tell a lie. She shoots it down right away, with her icy facade cracking because she's genuinely pissed.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Despite having multiple platitudes about the virtues of being a self-made woman who gained her fortune by her own merits, she is the first to accuse Marta of having slept her way into the will.
    • After she boasts about being a Self-Made Woman one too many times, Ransom (of all people) points out that she started her multi-million dollar business "from the ground up" after her father gave her a million-dollar loan to start said business. A more minor example than the others, since she at least turned the business into an independent success with that boost and paid the loan back while the rest are still completely dependent on nepotism or fraud.
  • Hidden Depths: Communicated with Harlan through secret codes and hidden messages as a hobby and knows enough to decipher his last one after his death.
  • Iron Lady: Very stern and no-nonsense.
  • Irony: Her Establishing Character Moment shows her acting cold and sarcastic regarding her father's death, but in the long run she's shown to be more grieved over his passing than all his other descendants, and the least interested in inheriting his money.
  • Lady in a Power Suit: Frequently wears expensive-looking and flamboyant suits, since she's a no-nonsense businesswoman.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: While she's just as racist and greedy as the rest of her family, Linda does have more redeeming qualities than the others: as noted below, she seems to genuinely want the house for sentiment and doesn't appear all that interested in her father's money or publishing company. Similarly, she's the only one of the adult Thrombeys who doesn't have a Dark Secret (it's her husband who's cheating on her), and while she did receive a million-dollar loan from Harlan to start her real estate business, she worked hard to make it a success and even repaid her father the money.
  • Parental Favoritism: Of his descendants and extended family Linda appears to be Harlan's favorite; he speaks of her more respectfully, doesn't single her out for a telling-off like the others, she's the only one we see genuinely grieving his death, they have a secret way of communicating and, while she still had a leg-up from her father, Linda appears to have come the closest to becoming a Self Made Person in the way that Harlan values. It's also strongly implied during the will reading that she just wants to inherit the house for sentimental reasons; she isn't shown salivating over the money or publishing house the way the rest of her family does.
  • Pet the Dog: Literally happily exclaiming "Hello puppies!" when the dogs come running towards her. She is petting one in the scene of the will being read.
  • Self-Made Woman: Downplayed. Linda claims to have built her real-estate business from the ground up, though Ransom tells Marta that she only did so after receiving a million-dollar loan from her father. Still, she then proceeded to turn it into a success by herself and as such is the only child who has no need of her father's money.
  • Thicker Than Water: Of the Thrombeys, Linda is the one shown to care about her family the most and shows deep loyalty to them even if she doesn't personally like some of them. The negative side to this is that she is incredibly harsh to people whom she doesn't consider blood relations and true members of the family, best shown in her treatment of Marta after the will is revealed. It's likely that Ransom gets the negative parts of this trait from her.
  • Token Good Teammate:
    • In the sense that she's the only one of Harlan's children or grandchildren who has no contentions with him. She did take a loan from him to start her own business but paid it back, and is the only one besides his mother mourning her father's death. Harlan's final note to her contains an apology for breaking bad news to her and saying she deserves better.
    • Played with in the case of Marta. Aside from Meg, she arguably treats Marta the best, giving her the warmest greeting at the house in the beginning and is the politest in flashbacks. She becomes one of the most vicious after the will is released and one of the few who shows actual vitriol afterwards, even though she doesn't have to rely on Harlan for money as the other Thrombeys do. This is consistent with her character, however, as she's protective of her family and jumps to the conclusion that Marta took advantage of her father. Good is Not Nice, indeed.
  • Trauma Conga Line: First her father dies, seemingly by suicide. Then she learns she had been completely written out of his will. Finally she learns the truth of her husband's infidelity and her son's status as a murderer within a few minutes of each other. All this over the span of about a week or so.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: Linda is not stupid enough, but her husband sure is.
    Linda: If you think I'm dumb enough to shit-talk my little brother in front of a police detective and a state trooper—
    [Gilligan Cut to her husband's interview]
    Richard: Walt doesn't run shit!
  • Woman Scorned: After finding out Richard was cheating on her, he's next seen with a black eye.

    Richard 

Richard Drysdale

Played By: Don Johnson

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/richarddrys_1.png
The Desperate Son-in-Law

"You work hard, and you'll earn your share from the ground up. Just like Dad and like all the rest of us."

Linda's husband, Ransom's father, and Harlan's son-in-law.


  • Angry White Man: Goes on a xenophobic and racist tirade about undocumented immigrants. He insists he has nothing against legal immigrants, while casually expecting his father-in-law's Hispanic nurse to clear the table.
  • Bumbling Dad: Although not a positive version, he is portrayed as much dimmer than his wife Linda.
    • This is established very quickly in a Gilligan Cut where he unnecessarily spills his family's guts to the authorities, immediately after Linda pointedly asks Who Would Be Stupid Enough? to do that.
    • He also seems to believe that bribing a police officer literally involves waving a wad of cash at them, out in the open with several witnesses, as they are hauling their perpetrator away. He was quite lucky that neither of them bothered to charge him with that.
  • Comically Small Bribe: He pathetically attempts to bribe Wagner and Elliot to let Ransom go with what looks to be a few hundred dollars at the most. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't work.
  • Dirty Coward: He spends the whole film trying to weasel out of having his infidelity found out.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite his conservative views and racist and xenophobic beliefs, he openly hates his nephew Jacob, referring to him as a "little shit" and a Nazi.
  • Gold Digger: A rare male example, it's abundantly clear through the film that he only married Linda for the Thrombey Family money. He and Linda never seem particularly close, Richard is rude and crass for most of her family, and Linda's siblings clearly only tolerate him for her sake. Even Harlan refers to him as a deadbeat in his final letter to Linda.
  • Hate Sink: The second most hateful character behind his own son Ransom. He's a xenophobic, hypocritical, cheating gold digger and has none of the charisma or cleverness Ransom has. It's clear that no one in his family particularly likes him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In a more subtle, drawn-out way than most: After searching Harlan's desk for the evidence of Richard's affair, he throws Harlan's baseball out the window to land on the front lawn. It gets picked up by Blanc, who carries it around for a day before using it to play fetch with one of Harlan's dogs. Towards the end, Linda discovers the baseball while petting one of the dogs. While returning it to her father's desk, she discovers the invisible-ink letter from Harlan that Richard left out, having dismissed it as blank. She decodes it easily, discovering her husband's affair. He's sporting a black eye in the final scenes of the film.
  • Humiliation Conga: By the end of the movie, he's lost out on a large inheritance, had his son arrested for murder, and been outed as an adulterer not to mention his wife punches him giving him a black eye. But hey, at least he managed to avoid getting arrested himself for attempted bribery of a police officer.
  • Hypocrite:
    • During a xenophobic rant, Richard voices a belief that breaking the law for any reason must have consequences. Pretty rich, considering he spends the whole film trying to weasel out of facing the consequences of his infidelity and, when his son is arrested for murdering his grandfather out of nothing but greed, Richard openly tries to bribe the arresting officers into releasing him. Also, if Richard were really committed to his stated belief that lawbreakers should face consequences, he would have turned in Marta's mother right after Meg revealed that Marta's mother is undocumented. Instead the Thrombeys offer to help legalize Marta's mother if Marta will give up her inheritance. So again, money ultimately proves to be more important to Richard than his (supposed) belief that lawbreakers should face consequences.
    • Goes on a long rant about the dangers of allowing immigrants into the country, a scant few scenes after he quotes the "immigrants get the job done" line from Hamilton. He also expresses pride in being descended from immigrants (Irish) several times, despite disparaging modern-day immigration.
    • His appreciation of "hard-working immigrants" that don't leech off the public is pretty rich considering that Richard is a Gold Digger deadbeat that doesn't do anything and lives off Linda's money.
  • Irrational Hatred: His animosity towards Walt seems to come out of nowhere as he denounces Walt’s importance in the family business with disdain and enjoys Walt getting fired out of petty spite.
  • It's All About Me: Tried to persuade Harlan from telling Linda that Richard was cheating on her by claiming Harlan should butt out of Richard's marriage and he can do whatever he wants within that marriage, despite Harlan (rightly) protesting that Linda is his daughter, and he has the right to tell her information that is pertinent to her happiness.
  • Jerkass: Richard is crass, mean-spirited, and plainly a closeted racist who pats himself on the back about not turning out as bad as his son while clearly being part of where Ransom gets it from.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: As mentioned above, thanks to his accidentally revealing his own affair, Linda is almost guaranteed to divorce him, and thanks to the massive pre-nup he signed before their marriage, she's likely to get ownership of everything. Add that to Harlan cutting him out of the will, and the materialistic, money-grubbing Richard is about to find himself penniless very soon.
  • Meaningful Name: Of course one of the most loathsome members of an already deplorable family has a name that's often shortened to "Dick".
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: While the Thrombeys are a pretty dysfunctional family as a whole deep down, he hardly even tries to hide his dislike towards his brother-in-law, Walt, gleefully watching Harlan shut down Walt's desires to adapt Harlan's books at the party, and provoking him into a fight right before the will reading.
  • Oh, Crap!: At the end, when he sees his wife glaring at him and realizes that she has discovered her father's letter revealing his affair.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • For as loathsome as a person he is, he does try to dissuade Linda from verbally attacking Marta after the will reading.
    • When Ransom starts telling every family member to "Eat shit", including Linda, Richard calls him an "entitled prick" and berates him for speaking to his mother that way.
    • Despite the above incident, he apparently still loves his son enough to attempt to bribe an officer to release Ransom after he's arrested.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: While none of the family knows which country Marta is from, Richard actually gives two completely different answers (Paraguay and Uruguay) and expresses some fairly xenophobic views on foreigners.
  • Silver Fox: Awful as he is, he is still played by Don Johnson who is quite handsome, even in his seventies. Of course, his personality is bad enough to undermine any attraction.
  • Smug Snake: He's nowhere near as charming, clever or debonair as he thinks he is and doesn't seem to quite grasp how much others dislike him.

    Ransom 

Hugh Ransom Drysdale

Played By: Chris Evans

Dubbed By: Alexandre Gillet (European French)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ransom.png
The Trust Fund Playboy

"You gonna run me in? I don't feel like talking. I'm distraught."

Richard and Linda's son, referred to as the Black Sheep of the family. He's a foulmouthed Upper-Class Twit.


  • Animals Hate Him: Harlan's dogs don't like Ransom, which is ultimately a good indicator of his true nature.
  • At Least I Admit It: Makes no pretenses that he's anything but a complete Jerkass and selfish member of the Idle Rich, but at least that means he's not a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing like most of his family nor blatantly hateful bigots like Richard and Jacob, and he can be disarmingly charming and sincere-seeming in contrast to them... even though he's the worst of the bunch.
  • Beauty Is Bad: He's got Chris Evans' striking good looks and is an Olympic-level bastard.
  • Big Bad: Everything in the film ultimately springs from his plan to frame Marta for Harlan's murder, and he proves quite active in smoothing out the inevitable complications when his plan goes awry.
  • Big Bad Friend: Acts as a friend to Marta but turns out to be the Big Bad.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Initially is very kind to Marta at the diner after rescuing her from the will reading, expressing concern and encouraging her to eat, but soon reveals that he was actually making sure she'd have a full stomach so that she can't lie to him when he interrogates her.
  • Black Sheep: Is referred to as the black sheep of the family, since he has no patience for their petty backstabbing and prefers to be a loud-mouthed asshole.
  • Book Dumb: He's got zero interest in working and makes errors like believing Marta is Brazilian but is nonetheless very crafty and intelligent.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Downplayed, but (as described below) Ransom refuses to work and yet demonstrates a lot of intelligence when he speaks to Marta after the will reading and when planning the cover-up about his own role in Harlan's death. Harlan's not wrong when he says there's a lot of him in Ransom.
  • Card-Carrying Jerkass: Ransom seems to know full well what a colossal prick he is and makes no effort to hide it or improve, treating it like a badge of honor.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In his Establishing Character Moment, Ransom makes it clear that "only the help calls me Hugh." Fran's last words expose her killer's identity when Blanc and Marta realise that she was saying "Hugh did this" rather than "you did this."
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • His brief tenure as Harlan's research assistant comes in handy while helping Marta. It also came in handy during his plot to kill Harlan and to frame Marta for it.
    • Similarly, Harlan mentions Ransom's inability to tell a real knife from a prop one. This inadvertently saves Marta's life in the climax, when Ransom attempts to stab her with what is revealed to be a collapsible stage dagger.
  • The Chessmaster: The only person who could regularly beat Harlan in Go... except for Marta. He really should've looked further into that; he might've anticipated her outplaying him coming.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's seldom without a mean-spirited quip.
    Ransom: [to Blanc] What's this? CSI: KFC?
  • Didn't See That Coming: After realizing that Fran is onto him and is trying to expose his crimes, Ransom destroys the toxicology report in the medical office and kills Fran himself to prevent her from squealing about everything. However, he never considered that Fran would make a second copy of the toxicology report and stash it in her locked drawer in the case of an emergency, nor for Marta and Blanc to find it just before turning over the inheritance to him and the rest of the Thrombeys.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Despite the cunning of his overall plan, Ransom clearly failed to consider the possible downsides of hiring a master detective to investigate a crime that he himself orchestrated.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": The help is not allowed to call him "Ransom," like his family does — they have to call him by his real first name, Hugh.
  • Enemy Mine: He's unquestionably a massive douchebag, but teams up with Marta — someone he'd normally be just as much of a jerkass to as anyone else — because he hates his family.
  • Establishing Character Moment: He arrives to his grandfather's will reading after ignoring the funeral, is promptly harassed by Harlan's dogs, and ignores and insults the police and Blanc when they greet him.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved:
    • Harlan is especially upset about the way Ransom turned out, showing genuine remorse for his part in it when talking to Marta, and decides to cut him out of the will to try and rectify some of the damage. As much as they fought and twisted the knife in each other, Harlan truly did love him.
    • When he's arrested at the end, none of the family can even look at him, save his father, who fruitlessly tries to bribe an officer for his release.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • It's easy to miss, but in the first flashback scene where Ransom grabs his jacket and storms out of house, he gently touches Nana's arm while going out the door. Nana then asks if he's leaving. It's noteworthy that Nana does not respond to any of the other family members, not even Meg when she makes an effort to talk to her. All of Nana's future statements involve mentioning Ransom. It's possible Ransom actually cared for her and showed her some kindness over the years, even a little, since taking the time to do that on his way out is more than the rest of the family bothered to do and is out-of-character for him. Of course, that doesn't mean she's going to cover up for him...
    • In the end, Ransom bitterly claims he killed Harlan to protect his family's money from going to a stranger. How honest he is about this is up for debate, but noticably, it comes when he has nothing else to hide and is desperate enough to try and murder Marta in front of the cops..
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite his general dickishness and being a smug Jerkass, he seems genuinely disgusted by his family's hypocrisy and moral posturing. He might be a jerk, but at least he's honest about it.
  • Evil All Along: Despite being introduced as possibly the worst of all the Thrombeys, his apparent Heel–Face Turn after his grandfather's "Reason You Suck" Speech is believable, possibly because he is played by Chris Evans - and because he still has a profit motive even as a "good" character. Alas, 'twas not to be.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Nothing makes his plans fall to pieces more than his failure to predict Marta's genuinely good nature; killing Fran ends up working against Ransom when Marta tries to save her instead of just letting her die.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Ransom has a flair for the dramatic, which Blanc notes is a trait he shared with his grandfather. This is probably best exemplified when He goes on his Motive Rant, grandiosely calling the house their "ancestral family home", which makes Blanc breaks into laughter and point out that Harlan bought the house in the 80s, which means the house has most likely been in the family less long than Ransom has.
  • Evil Is Petty: Apart from being a bona fide felon and villain, he's also just a dickwad, period. He takes unbridled pleasure in the tumult that ensues after Harlan's will is read out, and bars "the help" from calling him by the name he actually likes to go by — "because you're an asshole," as Marta plainly puts it.
  • Exact Words: When Walt asks him point blank if Harlan disowned him, he confirms it. He just leaves out that all of the Thrombeys are also disowned with him.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Arrogance and a flair for the dramatic, shared with his grandfather, as Harlan himself points out. At every turn, his plans are foiled by his persistent underestimation of Marta, starting with the very evening of the murder, where she instinctively grabs the correct-but-wrongly-labeled vial simply because she is a very good nurse who can feel the minute differences in viscosity between the two liquids and injects him with the correct one. He goes on to underestimate her intelligence in all-but properly covering up the "murder," her compassion in calling in medical aid for a housekeeper he'd tried to manipulate her into thinking was blackmailing her, and her quick thinking and even physical fortitude, when he starts bragging and monologuing about how he's going to get away scot-free before she reveals she was lying about the housekeeper's survival by vomiting all over him. Then he tries to grab a knife to stab her, and fails to realize it's a prop knife until it's too late.
    • Like the rest of his family, he's incapable of considering what other people might do, especially that they might do the right thing. Such as Marta's aforementioned trying to save Fran, or that his own great-grandmother would simply tell someone that she saw him sneak into the house.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Ransom can be charming and charismatic when he wants to be which is how he convinces Marta to trust and work with him. Once the veneer comes off however, he's the same arrogant, racist jerk as the rest of his family.
  • Freudian Excuse: Downplayed but Harlan does admit he could have made more of an effort to nurture his intellect rather than always butting heads with him, with Harlan even admitting he sees much of himself in Ransom which is part of why they've never gotten along, and what we see of his parents doesn't imply the most loving or healthy of environments to grow up in with his mother being an icy and short-tempered woman and his dad being a gold digger who has many of Ransom's own flaws and the rest of the family seems determined to scold him for behavior they also display, just less openly, while also having encouraged his worst impulses. All things considered, it's no surprise Ransom ended up as rotten as he did.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: "The family member" in this case. None of the rest of the family can stand Ransom due to his awful personality with Walt in particular hating him and even his parents don't seem to think much of him. When they learn he's been cut out of the will, they either tediously lecture him about it or can barely contain their glee. When he's arrested at the end, none of them can even look at him.
  • Functional Addict: As seen on the table during the diner scene. Over the course of a single afternoon with Marta (a noted non-drinker), Ransom finishes off four beers and half a glass of scotch, and seems none the worse for wear. Walt also makes a snide reference to Ransom being on a designer drug, though it's left unclear whether this is true or not.
  • The Gadfly: His introduction to the audience is at the mansion right before the will is read. He annoys the hell out of everyone before the reading, giggles ceaselessly throughout it, and helps Marta escape afterwards. He clearly relished putting his family through the ringer before the will; and loved the fallout after... because he's an asshole.
  • Global Ignorance: He believes Marta and her family come from Brazil. While no one else in the family knows what their country of origin is, the fact that Brazil's official language is Portuguese, not Spanish, shows just how much more ignorant he is.
  • Graceful Loser: Downplayed. Once everything goes against him and he realizes that he's just confessed to murder, Ransom tries to murder Marta as revenge, reasoning that he has nothing to lose from being convicted of two murders instead of one. When it becomes clear that he grabbed a prop knife instead of a real one, however, he utters a dejected "shit" and doesn't resist arrest any further, calmly and quietly walking into a police car without a fuss, even as his father tries (poorly) to bribe his way into freedom. As he's about to get in the car, he also looks up at Marta with nothing but calm and an ambiguously respectful nod.
  • Hate Sink: His repulsive nature makes him the one subject that all other members of the Thrombey family are willing to put their differences aside to agree on. He attempts to trick Harlan's caretaker Marta Cabrera into giving him a fatal overdose and this results in tricking Harlan into slitting his own throat. He also murders the housekeeper Fran when she tries to blackmail him and then when caught and exposed by Marta and Benoit Blanc, attempts to kill Marta with a knife he thinks is real. Smug, utterly arrogant and as it turns out, murderous, Ransom rubs pretty much everyone around him the wrong way.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Ransom did many things to secure the exposure to his own crimes, such as anonymously hiring an expert detective, and underestimating Marta's integrity.
  • Honor Before Reason: If he simply stuck to his claim of helping Marta stay on the down low in exchange for her giving him a cut of the inheritance when he found out Marta didn't overdose Harlan instead of trying to frame Marta for Fran's murder, Marta likely wouldn't have shown the tox report to Blanc and Ransom wouldn't have been found out. However, rather than taking the less risky option, Ransom's pride couldn't allow a servant to get the family inheritance, so he opens up the risk of him being found out all for his sense of family ego.
  • Hypocrite: Ransom tells Marta honestly that he just couldn't abide her inheriting his family's fortune and house, which he claims is their "birthright". Blanc outright laughs in response to this, as he correctly points out that not only was the manor originally owned by a Pakistani man in The '80s, but everything Ransom and his family is arguing over are things his grandfather built , from his money to his publishing empire, and Ransom is therefore no more or less entitled to it than she is.
  • Idle Rich: The closest he's come to having a job is working as his grandfather's research assistant for a summer.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: He exploits his own pair of pretty blue eyes by batting them at Marta when convincing her to trust him. These are framed as full-fledged Creepy Blue Eyes after he's revealed to be responsible for everything, however.
  • In the Blood: Much of Ransom's personality, behavior, and hobbies reflect those of his parents and grandfather, generally in an unflattering way:
    • Like his grandfather, he's a Drama Queen and imaginatively skilled at coming up with murder schemes.
    • Like his father, he's an It's All About Me Idle Rich liar willing to fight to keep it that way though he goes to the point of murder
    • And like his mother, he's actually among the most formidable of Harlan's descendants, and a shot of reading material reveals a specific, plot-revealing example of Hidden Depths making him more similar to his mom: he also read the actual article on Benoit Blanc before the story begins.
  • Ironic Echo: When the rest of the Thrombeys find out that they're not getting anything from Harlan's will, Ransom sarcastically says that he thinks it could be the best thing to happen to them while driving off with Marta, mirroring what the family said to him when they thought it was only Ransom who was cut from the will.
  • It's All About Me: Ransom claims to be looking out for his "birthright," but couldn't care less about the rest of his family as long as he gets his own share.
  • Jerkass: In spades. It's pretty much his entire personality. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, pay attention to the scene where he takes Marta to a restaurant after helping her escape from the will reading when her car wouldn't start. He's parked his car so that it takes up two spaces.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Colossal asshole though he may be, Ransom is justified in calling out the family's reaction to their disinheritance, especially considering how pleased they all were when they thought that only he had been disinherited. It loses its punch somewhat when it's revealed that the only reason he was being such a Smug Snake was because he assumed his plan was still going to play out perfectly and leave him with his inheritance.
    • While his mother constantly boasts of how she's a self-made woman who started her own business, he points out that she was only able to start her real estate business "from the ground up" after Harlan gave her a million dollar start up loan.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He's a loud-and-proud asshole when first introduced. Then, he seemingly earns the trust of Marta to help her get to the bottom of the case, only to be revealed later on to have framed her for the murder of Harlan Thrombey out of greed and never indicates that forcing Marta to kill her best friend and his grandfather which would ruin her life and then, when he finds out she avoided his trap, framing her for the crime is something he has any compunctions about.
  • Kick the Dog: In addition to his acts of villainy, he's just a rude and unpleasant person to those who work in the house for no other reason than that he can be. In a near literal example of this, he also hates Harlan's dogs with the feeling being mutual.
  • Laborious Laziness: Faced with the reality of having to make his own way in life, Ransom comes up with a plot to secure his inheritance to continue his jobless existence, a plan that becomes very convoluted and requires a lot of upkeep after being put into action.
  • Literal Metaphor: The only character who is always wearing at least one woolen garment - because he's a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
  • Manchild: According to the other Thrombeys, he really, really needs to grow up. In this case, it's a massive Jerkass Has a Point. He's played by Chris Evans (in his late 30s while filming) and has visibly the oldest parents among his cousins, so it's evident that he's the eldest cousin, yet acts the most like a bratty teenager. Absolutely crosses over to Psychopathic Manchild, of course.
  • Meaningful Name: His name is given as "Ransom." Guess what his motive is.
  • Middle Name Basis: He is only called "Hugh" by his grandfather's employees, because he forces them to do so. Because he's an asshole.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Quite a lot of viewers were pulled in for the treat of watching Chris Evans in a cable-knit sweater. The film's official Twitter account even rebranded itself as a Chris Evans and His Sweater thirst account for a day.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Part of his plan was to have Benoit Blanc do an investigation into his grandfather's death, use what evidence he had ensured would be there so that Marta would be framed for his death, thereby losing her position as sole-inheritor in Harlan's will. The only problem? He paid a man whose job is to investigate suspicious events anonymously. With cash in an envelope. This catches Benoit's interest and clues him in that there was a third party orchestrating the whole thing.
    • When Marta tells everyone that Fran survived her overdose, Ransom drops any pretense of innocence of the crimes and admits that he was the one who tried to kill her. Then Marta vomits, having basically got him to confess to murder.
  • Nice to the Waiter: His rudeness to the house staff, referring to them as "the help" and insisting they call him "Hugh," is the first sign of what a loathsome piece of shit Ransom is.
  • Not So Similar: As Harlan himself notes, he and Ransom are "Too Much Alike." Ransom is also a murderous jerk who lacks his grandfather's heart of gold.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: A rather unusual example. When he arrives for the will reading, which is also when the audience first meets him, he's smug, cocky and arrogant, gleefully provokes the rest of his family into a screaming match, and reacts with laughter when it turns out they've all been disinherited in favour of Marta. However, when Marta reveals what really happened to him he becomes a lot more serious, implying that even he is shocked enough by what happened to take it seriously. However, Blanc realises that the OOC moment was actually his behavior at the will reading, knowing that Ransom is definitely not the kind of person to react in such a way to his own disinheritance unless he already knew what was coming... and had made his own plans to get around it.
  • Pass the Popcorn: When he attends the will-reading, he kicks back with a plate of shortbread cookies and watches the chaos unfold when Marta is declared Harlan's sole heir, giggling all the while.
  • Propping Up Their Patsy: Hugh Ransom Drysdale, the Black Sheep of the rich Thrombey family, is the only one to help the late Harlan Thrombey's nurse Marta after the family turns on her for inheriting the estate. Marta believes she accidentally overdosed Harlan, but Ransom switched her medicines to get her to kill him and lose the inheritance he was told she'd be getting. As such, under the pretense of an alliance, Ransom gets Marta's account of the events but learns his murder attempt using her failed due to her choosing the correct medicine. Ransom thinks quickly and continues to let Marta think she is guilty, yet encourages her to fight for the inheritance while he secretly goes to destroy the proof of her innocence so his plan to discredit her and get back the family money can still go through. Ransom's guilt isn't unraveled or suspected until Harlan's toxicology report is shown to detective Benoit Blanc and proves Marta administered the correct medicine.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He behaves like a spoiled, lazy teenager despite being well into his thirties. The "psychopathic" part comes to light when you find out that he tried to murder his own grandfather for cutting him out of the will.
  • Put on a Prison Bus: After a failed, last-ditch attempt at killing Marta, Ransom is last seen being taken away by the police.
  • Sadist: The very reason he goes to the will reading. He already knows that the rest of his family aren't getting "a single red dime". So he's just there to laugh at their reaction.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Boasts that, with a good lawyer and deep enough resources, (which he claims to possess) he will be out of jail in no time since they can't directly pin a murder on him. Of course, it just goes to show that this guy is such an idiot that he seriously seems to think arson and attempted murder is a minor rap. (To say nothing of the fact openly swearing revenge on Marta in front of three witnesses, two of whom are police officers, once he is released is a great way to torpedo any future parole hearings) It doesn't matter anyway because Marta tricks him into confessing to murdering Fran.
  • Shout-Out: Named after the main character of The Space Trilogy.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Tells his family members, "Eat shit" several times.
  • Smarter Than You Look: While on the surface, he's a lazy jerk with little positive attributes, he does showcase a surprising amount of cleverness. He very nearly gets away with murder.
  • Smug Smiler: Sits around with an arrogant smirk at the will reading because he knows what's going to happen, how - he thinks - he's going to get his cut out of it anyway, and just wants to watch the fireworks.
  • Smug Snake: Quite a bit more cunning, devious, and observant than initially believed, as well as ruthless and skilled at improvisation. He plans several genuinely clever and well-disguised Xanatos Gambits that almost get Marta blamed for his grandfather's death... but he's arrogant and just a bit too clever, hiring Blanc himself to open the investigation back up, and simply can't quite predict Marta's behavior because Evil Cannot Comprehend Good.
  • Sore Loser: Once he learns he will not be in Grandpa's will anymore, he arranges to have him killed. He also tries to kill Marta out of spite once he's been cornered. It's zigzagged somewhat at the end, as when his final murder attempt fails Ransom ceases kicking up a fuss entirely and accepts what's coming to him.
  • Sweet Tooth: Goes right for some shortbread cookies when he arrives at the will reading.
  • Taking You with Me: After his guilt is proven, he attempts to murder Marta as his final act before being arrested, reasoning that since he's already going away for one murder and one attempted murder, one more won't change much. Fortunately, he grabs a fake knife by accident.
  • Thicker Than Water: Ransom at first seemingly subverts this as he has no actual love lost for his family and is amused to watch them bite each other's heads off. When he learns the truth of Harlan's death from Marta he offers to be her confidant in exchange for giving him, and only him his share of the inheritance. But then it turns out that Ransom was trying to set Marta up as a patsy all along; as much as Ransom hates his family, he still believes that the fortune should rightfully be theirs.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When he realizes that the knife he just tried to stab Marta with is a stage knife, likely out of knowing not only was he unsuccessful in trying to kill her, but also that he outright attempted murder in front of everybody, he simply mutters a flat "Shit."
  • Token Evil Teammate: While all of the Thrombeys are hypocritical, mean, back-stabbing people to some extent or another, Ransom turns out to be this, as it's revealed he was going to murder Harlan and frame Marta. And then killed Fran when she had the evidence of his dirty deeds. Marta was right that none of the Thrombeys were killers except when it came down to him.
  • Too Clever by Half: He considers himself clever enough to plan a murder, but when the murder is not discovered, he secretly contacts a famous Great Detective to be his Detective Patsy. The Great Detective solves the case the very first day of the investigation, but he holds back the information until he discovers who contacted him.
  • Troll: Takes quite a bit of delight in egging on and aggravating almost everyone.
  • The Un Favourite: He's the family Black Sheep, so he's generally not beloved by his family in general, but it seems clear he's Harlan's most despised descendant, as Harlan went out of his way to tell him directly about the change in inheritance. Blanc suggests he did this specifically out of how much he wanted to see how it'd hurt Ransom as the two loved being cruel to one another.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Comes across as this, with his only known job having been a summer working as Harlan's research assistant. In truth, he's actually very intelligent and clever, using his knowledge of murders to frame Marta for Harlan's death. The only thing that undoes his plan is Marta being a better nurse and person than he gave her credit for.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: When Marta screws up his plans to kill Harlan and retake his inheritance, he proves adept at making things up on the fly to cover his tracks.
  • Wicked Cultured: Has several copies of The New Yorker on his coffee table, and is a stone cold murderer.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He killed Fran and attempted to murder Marta.

    Joni 

Joni Thrombey

Played By: Toni Collette

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jonith.png
The Lifestyle Guru

"I feel simultaneously freed by and supported by them. It's that balance of opposites that's the nugget of Flam."

Meg's mother and Harlan's widowed daughter-in-law, Joni is a famous lifestyle guru who was married to Harlan's (deceased) son Neil.


  • Bourgeois Bohemian: An extremely shallow example. Joni is a so-called "lifestyle guru" who practices meditation and shows generally left-wing political beliefs, but she has been living off her father-in-law's money since the death of her husband and when the chips are down, she's just as ruthless as her conservative in-laws in getting Marta to renounce the inheritance.
  • The Ditz: Simply put, Joni is not very smart. Best illustrated when she reveals she didn't actually read the article in The New Yorker about Blanc, just the tweet of it.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Her political views seem to suggest that, despite her selfish nature, she's at least against racism and abuse of immigrants.
  • Flipping the Bird: Gives one to Ransom when he drives off with Marta and condescendingly tells the family that getting cut out of the will could be the best thing to happen to them after the will reading.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: While she's not an outright Black Sheep like Ransom, none of the other Thrombeys are fond of her, either being annoyed with her, or in Linda's case, outright dismissing her existence multiple times. It's probably due to a combination of her shallow bohemian personality and the fact she's not a blood relative.
  • Gold Digger: Implied. She steals from Meg's education fund, and seems much more concerned with having her lifestyle maintained.
  • Granola Girl: An Informed Attribute, which goes along with her hypocrisy. Joni seems rather indifferent to any environmental issues, but she shows off that she meditates and does various other hippie-ish activities.
  • Hidden Depths: Joni seems genuinely concerned about Meg's college fund above everything else, despite the fact that it was her who endangered it in the first place.
  • Hypocrite: Puts on airs of being an enlightened bohemian, but when the chips are down the real entitlement and nastiness comes through. Also, a subtle example at the beginning; she claims that her company, Flam, promotes spirituality and a break from modern consumerism and ego... but it's clearly all about selling people unnecessary stuff, and notice how subtly tetchy she gets when Lt. Elliot doesn't seem to recognise it. She also justifies forcing her daughter to join them in their attempt to discredit and ruin Marta by claiming that they need to protect "their" inheritance, but of all the Thrombey clan she is probably the least entitled to anything (being that she is not actually a blood family member).
  • Irony: She strongly resembles a female version of Donald Trump in terms of appearance, but she despises the man.
  • It's All About Me: Despite claiming to be interested in her daughter's education and feigning sympathy for Marta, at the end of the day, Joni's primary concern is herself. She lied to and stole from Harlan under the guise of maintaining Meg's education, abandons any pretense of compassion when it becomes clear that Marta stands to inherit Harlan's estate, and shamelessly manipulates Meg to use her friendship with Marta as a weapon in the family's attempt to reclaim what is "rightfully" theirs.
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: Both Joni and her daughter are rather strident Bourgeois Bohemian types who, for all their pretenses regarding left-wing politics and new age culture, are clearly not that different from the more conservative and more openly backstabbing side of the family when the crunch time comes — though Meg at least regrets it and is being manipulated by her mother.
  • Mama Bear: Despite using her daughter as a means to scam money from Harlan, Joni leaps to Meg's defense after Ransom tells her to "Eat shit," threatening loudly to slap the smug grin off Ransom's face.
  • Meaningful Name: Her brand is called "Flam." Flim-flam means "nonsensical or insincere talk," which is relevant both to her attempts at entrepreneurship and her empty politics.
  • Mock Millionaire: A lifestyle guru who likes to live it large and whose daughter goes to an expensive school... but Joni herself is flat broke and siphons money from her father-in-law.
  • Money Dumb: Joni has been embezzling an extra $100,000 per year from Harlan, and he gives her one more check as well as a year's worth of Meg's tuition. Trooper Wagner also mentions she's a popular Instagram influencer. Despite this, she reveals to Meg that she is broke and can't pay her tuition. One wonders where all the money went.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Of Gwyneth Paltrow, complete with a lifestyle brand with a single-syllable name, chock-full of products that do nothing useful. And from a physical perspective (false blond hair and an orange fake tan), Donald Trump, which is made hilarious by the fact that she despises him.
  • Social Climber: She represents a common type of ultra-fake person, who tries to seem good but is really just out for some social climbing. It's revealed early on that she's been stealing from Harlan under the guise of financially supporting her daughter (a lie she maintains all throughout the film, pretending that Meg possibly needing to drop out is her principal concern), and she has the stereotypically bullshit job of "lifestyle guru."
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Implied in the final film and outright confirmed in a Deleted Scene where Blanc develops a rash from one of the moisturizers she sells. He later goes online and discovers other customers experienced the same thing.
  • Valley Girl: Speaks and acts like one, despite being a middle-aged woman.
  • Womanchild: She often acts more like a teenager than a woman in middle age.

    Meg 

Meg Thrombey

Played By: Katherine Langford

Dubbed By: Rebecca Benhamour (European French)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/meg_23.png
The Social Activist

"Granddad always took care of us. You know, we're his family. And I know he was like family to you, but we're his actual family."

The daughter of Joni and Harlan's late son Neil, and Harlan's granddaughter. She's a college student getting a liberal arts degree.


  • Ambiguous Situation: In general, her worse actions are shrouded with much more ambiguity than her relatives, and are much more up to audience interpretation.
    • The circumstances of her telling the other Thrombeys about Marta's mother's immigration status are unclear.
    • The ending also makes it unclear if Marta will support her college degree at the end. On one hand, Marta did seem to honestly forgive Meg for the aforementioned betrayal. On the other hand, Meg is among the family, even focused on, when they look up at Marta standing queen-like on the balcony of her estate.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: She's a rich progressive girl and is getting a degree in some post-modern field of social science, but once it's clear that her privileged lifestyle will be under attack by Marta getting the inheritance, she is quick to act selfishly.
  • Brainy Brunette: A college student who seems very intelligent with long dark hair. She's also one of the most self-aware and emotionally intelligent members of the Thrombey family.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: An ambiguous example; she's more vocally left-leaning than the others and is Nice to the Waiter, but she is ultimately quick to turn on Marta when her wealthy, privileged lifestyle is threatened. And while she seems to genuinely regret what she's done and apologises to Marta, it's unclear how much of this is sincere and how much of this is either just an act to try and retain her moral high ground and/or trying to keep in Marta's good books in case she needs to.
  • Condescending Compassion: A possible interpretation of her friendliness to Marta and Fran, given her ambiguous character, is that she is the sort of wealthy person who enjoys distinguishing themselves from other wealthy people by ostentatiously making friends with and standing up for "the help" (and thus making it clear to everyone what a good, progressive person this makes her) while simultaneously being willing to quickly cut those friendships loose the moment they become inconvenient for her personally.
  • A Degree in Useless: What some other family members say about her degree at an expensive liberal arts college, which is something "Marxist." Ransom calls her an "SJW major".
  • Easily Forgiven: By Marta, for betraying her confidence to the rest of the family. After Meg apologizes, Marta instantly hugs her and tells her she won't have to worry about anything financially. It's unclear if this definitely still stands by the end of the film, but Marta never actually contradicts it.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When Marta arrives at the estate in the beginning Meg greets her like a sister.
  • Foil: To Jacob. Both are Gen Z teens with the opposite political views, with Meg being a progressive SJW and Jacob being alt-right. Both also embody their stereotypes, as Meg is sociable and pursuing a useless degree while the schoolboy Jacob's true venom is spewed behind an online persona. Meg treats Marta with respect initially but quickly turns on her to preserve her privileged lifestyle while Jacob is openly hateful despite admitting to "degenerate" masturbation while otherwise being timid.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Is noted to be quite the "post-modern deconstructivist Marxist" but she quickly turns on Marta once it's clear that her lifestyle will be threatened by Marta getting the inheritance, even if she does seem to regret it afterwards. Most glaringly, Marxism actually opposes the concept of hereditary wealth.
    • She disdains Ransom for being a "trust fund prick" even though she's been just as spoiled as he has, and is just as completely reliant on Harlan's money as he is.
    • Meg uses the "we're his family" justification for why the Thrombeys deserve Harlan's inheritance over Marta. However, it's shown before this that Meg makes every effort to avoid interacting with her family even when they're together and didn't care about her grandfather enough to even stay at his birthday party long enough for the cake to be served.
  • Interclass Friendship: She's friends with Marta, her grandfather's working-class nurse. Which doesn't stop her from betraying her confidence to the rest of the family.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Variant when she says that she needs to raid Fran's weed stash to better cope with the absurd events of late.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Meg is considerably nicer than the rest of her family, and is the only one who fights for Marta's right to the inheritance. Until she realizes that it would affect her personally, and make her drop out of school (or need to get student loans and a job), then she joins with her family in trying to pry the inheritance from her. Additionally, she betrays Marta's confidence by revealing that her mother is undocumented. She champions the idea that the family should continue to support her after Harlan's death; but when Marta offers the same support to her, she seems to become cold and find it as patronizing. However, she does seem sorry for her actions which no-one else in the family is, profusely apologizing, and the circumstances of her revealing Marta's mother's status are left ambiguous (she may or may not have been bullied into it), so it's unclear how much "lighter" she really is. That said Meg is the only person seen actually checking on Nana (during Nana's introduction).
  • Like Mother, Like Daughter: Both Meg and her mother are rather strident Bourgeois Bohemian types who, for all their pretences regarding left-wing politics and new age culture, are clearly not that different from the more conservative and more openly backstabbing side of the family when the crunch time comes - though Meg may regret it.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Clearly horrified by what her family used her to try and do.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Played with. She seems to genuinely like Marta and treats Fran well, but when push comes to shove and her lifestyle of wealth and privilege is threatened, she ultimately sides with her family and turns on Marta. She is suggested to feel genuinely bad about doing so, however (or, depending on your viewpoint, she could just be better at pretending to be so than the rest of her family).
  • Only Sane Woman: Eventually Subverted — or not, depending on your opinion. Aside from being Nice to the Waiter, Meg also provides some much-needed levelheadedness among her family members. After Linda demands to know if Marta had been "boinking" Harlan, Meg is the one who calls out this absurdity.
  • Political Correctness Is Evil: Her family certainly views her as a reason this is the case, and it's pretty telling that when Ransom, fed up with Joni's self-righteousness, snaps "Up your ass!" at her, Meg's first response is to scold Ransom for the homophobic nature of his insult rather than the fact that he insulted her mother.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Meg's more pleasant combination of natural skin tone and dark hair is especially conspicuous next to her mother, whose orange fake tan and yellow hair makes her look like she's been deep-fried.
  • Rich Kid Turned Social Activist: Played With. Meg is the only granddaughter of a rich family, but she is getting a degree in something "Marxist," she disapproves of her more right-wing relatives, and her cousin Ransom regards her as an SJW. However, when her lifestyle is challenged, Meg appears to pivot back to the 'rich kid' part of this trope and joins in her family in keeping the money from Marta.
  • Secret-Keeper: She and Marta are close enough that Marta let her in on the secret of her mother being undocumented. Which Meg then spills to the family when the going gets tough, though she does appear to regret this.
  • Secretly Selfish: Heavily implied, though the jury remains out on exactly how selfish she really is. A case can be made that she's an example of a certain kind of wealthy person who gets off being seen as a virtuous, egalitarian and caring person more than actually being one, and she certainly ends up being quick to side with her family when her lifestyle is threatened by being cut off from the Thrombey fortune.
  • Soapbox Sadie: She calls just about everyone out on their racism, and seems to go on political rants. On the other hand, she is right about Marta being badly treated.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Deconstructed. Meg appears to meet all the requirements (she's very nice, she views Marta as a genuine friend) as well as coming from serious money, but actually, the "spoiled" part of this is shown to always win out. When it comes down to it, Meg wants to protect what is hers - and her mother's - before Marta gets anything.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Ironically enough, the family member she seems to despise the most, her cousin Jacob, is also the one she looks the most alike, having very similar features and identical coloring.
  • Token Good Teammate: Meg is easily the nicest and most amiable of the Thrombeys, and the one who treats Marta the best (barring Harlan himself). The family takes advantage of her closeness with Marta and uses her to try to get the latter to renounce her inheritance. She's also the only one to voice the sentiment that Harlan's will should be honored, before her mother reveals to her that they're broke without that money - and even then, she regrets it.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Linda grumbles about Meg quickly ditching Harlan's birthday party to hang out with her friends instead, pointing out that considering that her grandfather supports her to the point of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for her college tuition fees, the least Meg could do is sacrifice her evening long enough for the cake to be served.
  • White Sheep: Maybe. Meg is portrayed as being the most selfless and kind of the Thrombey family. Unlike her mother and Walt, she doesn't breakdown into a hypocritical rant when Marta is revealed as Harlan's sole inheritor. With that said, she does leak Marta's mother's illegal immigrant status to the rest of her family, and tries to emotionally guilt her into relinquishing her rights. But then it's also implied that she did this at the behest of her family, not of her own volition.
  • Wild Card: Even to the audience. It's very unclear whether Meg gladly backstabbed Marta, whether she was pressured into it by her family, and whether her sincere apology is genuine. It seems to be.

    Walt 

Walt Thrombey

Played By: Michael Shannon

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/waltthrombey.png
The Publishing Heir

"You...You put me in charge of our books."

Harlan Thrombey's youngest son, and the executive of his publishing company.


  • Authority in Name Only: His family are very aware that his role as head of the publishing company means pretty much nothing. With Harlan having adamantly invokedrefused any screen adaptations of his works (despite Walt receiving juicy offers from the likes of Netflix), Walt's duties consist of essentially being a glorified middleman between Harlan and the bookstores, and his attempts to take initiative are quashed by his father.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Is affectionate and kind to Marta, even suggesting to take care of her along with Meg, but then attempts to blackmail her with her mother's undocumented status. Can be subverted as he didn't do it out of malice but out of desperation shown by a deleted scene.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Harlan seems to imply that he believes Walt has it in him to become a successful author on his own but is held back by his focus on publishing and licensing Harlan's novels.
  • Cigar Chomper: Smokes enormous cigars, which a disgusted Harlan notes can be smelled from the third floor.
  • Creative Sterility: His Black Sheep status among Harlan's issue is his lack of ambition to create anything for himself, instead preferring to leech off the success of his father's books. While the other Thrombeys are supported in some way by Harlan, they all pursued their own path. Walt, on the other hand, is permanently stuck in his father's shadow, and everyone (including Harlan himself, implicitly) looks down on him for it. In his defense, he does sometimes try to take initiative within this role, negotiating for adaptations and the like, but his father never lets him take too much power over his life's work.
  • Did Not Think This Through: He attempts to blackmail Marta with having her undocumented mother deported, then makes the mistake of telling her with powerful resources and lawyers (from the inheritance), the Thrombeys can help fight the case for her. His victim responds that if what he says is true, then they can just do it themselves and don't need him at all, before slamming the door in his face.
  • Everyone Has Standards: A downplayed example. Walt does try to discourage his wife from going on a racist rant at Harlan's birthday party, but only does so half-heartedly. He also can't even look at Ransom when he's arrested for his crimes averting his eyes in disgust.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: For all his many faults, he does seem to love his big sister as much as she loves him, considering he comforts her when he sees her crying after their father's death.
  • Evil Cripple: He has an unspecified leg injury that requires him to wear a walking boot and use a cane. This gives him a hunched-over posture that takes a sinister edge as the plot unravels. Though ultimately, it's downplayed as Walt never really does anything overtly evil in the film, apart from his failed attempt at blackmailing/threatening Marta and even that is explained in a deleted scene. Indeed, Walt might alternatively be described as more a Pathetic Cripple than anything else; his leg injury ultimately symbolises his fundamental impotence as an inept father who's passively allowed his son to drift into alt-right politics, a glorified secretary dependent on his father's legacy and charity for his income and an all-over weak man incapable of standing up for himself.
    • Deleted scenes reveal that he owed money to the kind of people who would break his legs for failing to pay them.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Although sinister, his attempt at blackmailing Marta with her mother's immigration status doesn't ultimately do anything but get her door slammed in Walt's face.
  • Fatal Flaw: Walt's entire character is defined by his weakness and impotence. The first thing we learn about him is Richard declaring "Walt doesn't run shit!". Walt is the child most dependent on Harlan for a livelihood. His projects for adaptations are casually dismissed by Harlan. When his wife goes on a racist tirade, Walt's attempts to stop her are weak and ignored. Even Walt's blackmailing of Martha immediately fails because she sees that he's powerless and she holds all his assets now. Walt's general weakness is even visually represented by him needing to use a cane.
  • Hypocrite: In one of the flashbacks, he gives a dismissive laugh when Richard says all of the adult Thrombeys built their share from the ground up despite Walt probably being the most reliant on Harlan out of all of them as he serves little more than a middleman between Harlan and bookstores.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Walt has something of a right to be upset at being let go from his father's publishing company for essentially just doing his job. Even Harlan tries to stress that it isn't actually anything Walt did.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Played with. He comes off as mostly pathetic and blind to his son's alt-right habits. He's a much less bad person than his racist wife, whom he attempts to stop from going on a racist rant, and Nazi son who he's willing to come to blows with Richard over. He even suggested bringing Marta into the family and taking care of her along with Meg, and comforts a mourning Linda in one scene. He doesn't do anything wrong in the film until his conversation with Marta when it's clear he's threatening her with her mother's deportation though a deleted scene indicates that even this is brought about more by desperation than outright villainy.
  • Lame Comeback: "I will not eat ONE IOTA of shit!"
  • No-Respect Guy: Pretty much his entire family looks down on him for not being a "self-made" like them.
  • Papa Wolf: Almost comes to blows with Richard after the latter insults Jacob, Walt's son and claims he was "masturbating to images of dead deer."
  • Pet the Dog: Comforts a mourning Linda in one scene. Also sticks up for his son when Richard smack talks him.
  • Rule of Symbolism: His leg injury. We never learn how he came by it, and it serves no real plot purpose in the film as releasednote , but merely reflects what a weak and impotent man Walt is overall.
  • Shame If Something Happened: The morning after Marta is named the sole inheritor of Harlan's fortune, Walt confronts her at her apartment and makes not so subtle threats of the possibility of having her mother deported.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: He tends to describe his father's books as "ours." Everyone else rather dismissively points out that he just acts as a glorified middle man between Harlan and the publishing, and Harlan himself (gently but rightly) reminds Walt that they're not his when Walt does this in their confrontation.
  • The Runt at the End: He is Harlan's youngest son, and looked down on by everyone for his weak leadership and lack of real power, and he seems equally incapable of actually making a difference in his fight for his inheritance - the only time he shows some actual backbone is when his son is threatened.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Downplayed. He knows how to work modern technology just fine, but he's blind to how social media exacerbates his son's growing alt-right extremism, and downplays his son's behavior as wacky stuff that kids find on the internet these days.
    Meg: Alt-right troll!
    Jacob: Liberal snowflake!
    Walt: I don't know what any of those words mean!

    Jacob 

Jacob Thrombey

Played By: Jaeden Martell

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jacob_5.png
The Internet Troll
"I just heard two things."

Walt and Donna's son, and Harlan's grandson.


  • Advertised Extra: Jaedan Martell is one of the biggest stars in his age group but his character has barely half-a-dozen lines.
  • At Least I Admit It: Unlike the rest of the family, excluding Ransom, he doesn't pretend to be a decent person. He finds it annoying that they keep piling on him.
  • Bad Influencer: He's shown live-streaming Marta's harassment for the amusement of his Instagram followers.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Subverted. Multiple characters believe he was masturbating in the bathroom when he was overhearing the argument between Harlan and Ransom. A flashback shows he was not, rather he was looking at his cell phone.
  • Creepy Child: A teenager, but still. Jacob shows interest in the alt-right. His family considers him this too, with Richard calling him a "Nazi" and accusing him of "joylessly masturbating to pictures of dead deer."
  • Deadly Prank: One of his trolling tactics borders on this, as it's mentioned that he likes swatting people.
  • Evil Is Petty: Jacob is an alt-right troll, but all the audience sees of his budding alt-right tendencies are pettily mean actions. He calls Meg "Liberal snowflake." During the chaos that ensues when Harlan's will is read out, he yells derogatory racial remarks at Marta. He also films Marta leaving for his Instagram Live, causing masses of people to gather outside the Cabrera household. It adds to the mounting pressure Marta is already facing and helps his father blackmail her.
  • Foil: To Meg. Both are Gen Z teens with the opposite political views, with Meg being a progressive SJW and Jacob being alt-right. Both also embody their stereotypes, as Meg is sociable and pursuing a “useless” degree while the schoolboy Jacob's true venom is spewed behind an online persona. Meg treats Marta with respect initially but turns on her to preserve her privilege while Jacob is openly hateful while otherwise being timid.
  • Internet Jerk: Implied. He's supposed to be a vicious troll online, but besides livestreaming Marta's harassment we never see any evidence of his online activity, and aside from some racist comments towards Marta (and even then, only when the rest of his family is attacking her as well, giving him license and cover to do so), in person he seems quiet, soft-spoken and even awkward. The clear suggestion is that he's ultimately a bit of a coward doing things behind the veil of online anonymity that he'd never have the courage to do in person.
  • Ironic Name: The family member who's outright called a Nazi is named Jacob, who was the patriarch of the Israelites in Abrahamic tradition.
  • Jerkass: A thoroughly unpleasant boy with alt-right tendencies.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: Most likely. The flashbacks of him overhearing Harlan's argument with Ransom on the toilet show no signs of him doing anything but playing with his phone, but everyone insists he was playing with something else entirely.
  • Phoneaholic Teenager: He's the stereotypical modern teenager who rarely takes his eyes off his smartphone. In fact, it's revealed that his time spent in the bathroom on the night of the murder wasn't because he was masturbating, but because he was staring at his phone the whole time.
  • School Uniforms are the New Black: We never see him in school but wore his uniform to the party on the night of the murder, as well as in most of the promotional pictures. Visually, this helps make him look like the youngest Thrombey.
  • Silent Antagonist: While he does talk very occasionally, his lingering presence and willingness to pull out his phone to pile on Marta makes him enigmatic and therefore impenetrable.
  • Spanner in the Works: He gives testimony that he heard his grandfather fighting with Ransom, his cousin, while using the toilet. This leads to Benoit realizing that Ransom had a motive for the murder and the means as well.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Ironically enough, the family member he seems to despise the most, his cousin Meg, is also the one he looks the most alike, having very similar features and identical coloring.
  • Sub-Par Supremacist: He has alt-right political leanings and makes racist comments at Marta's expense, but he's implied to be too much of a coward to express his hateful views offline unless given cover to do so, and judging by Richard's accusation of him "joylessly masturbating to pictures of dead deer", he's a sexual deviant with genuinely disturbing kinks.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Pretty much everyone in the family save for his parents views him as a Nazi, and refers to him as such on three occasions.
  • Troll: Described as such by his cousin Meg, whom he calls a "liberal snowflake" in return.
  • Villain of Another Story: Implied. His family mentions that he engages in swatting people online For the Evulz. Swatting can kill people.

    Donna 

Donna Thrombey

Played By: Riki Lindhome

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

"Yeah, this is not about race. I would say the same thing if they were European immigrants."

Walt's wife, Jacob's mother, and Harlan's daughter-in-law.


  • Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: She seems personally outraged at the mere existence of immigrants in the US, to the point of dismissing (or implicitly justifying) whatever cruel treatment such immigrants face.
  • Jerkass: If her anti-immigration rant during the family's political discussion is any indication, it is probable that she is where her son gets his racist attitudes from.
  • Nervous Wreck: Lets out a shrill scream and spills most of her drink when Richard drops a fork, ironically after her husband calls her "his rock." A deleted scene calls into question whether this is something innate and constant with Donna, or a result of Walter being in debt to loan-sharks, with them having broken his leg before.
  • Out of Focus: She gets the least amount of screentime and plot relevance out of the Thrombeys. She doesn't even have a poster and in the final shot where everyone is staring up at Marta looking down at them from their old home, her reaction is the only one of the Thrombey's not shown.
  • The Quiet One: Apart from the aforementioned rant, she doesn't have many lines.

    Great-Nana 

Wanetta "Great-Nana" Thrombey

Played By: K Callan

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

Harlan's still-living mother and the elderly matriarch of the family.


  • Actually Pretty Funny: After Blanc delivers his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the Thrombeys, Nana chuckles a little. It's heavily implied that she agrees with his assessment of them, given that they all treat her terribly.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Most of the family, even Marta, treats her like a living prop or a burden. Blanc treating her with complete respect prompts her to disclose what she saw the night of Harlan's death.
  • Beneath Notice: Her own grandchildren and great-grandchildren treat her like a piece of furniture—they don't even know how old she is. It leads to her feeling isolated—and gives her a reason to keep a secret or two of her own...
  • Big Eater: If Linda is to be believed, Nana apparently devoured an entire tray of salmon at Harlan's wake.
  • Clothing Reflects Personality: Great-Nana spends the entire movie wearing her fur coat and hat. That wardrobe reflects both her extremely advanced age (most elderly people gradually lose their ability to regulate their own body temperature) and general helplessness. The clothing also illustrates her family's personality—none of them bother to take her coat and hat from her, showing their callousness and cruelty despite all their claims of familial bonds being sacred to them (Great-Nana's not rich, so why bother helping her?).
  • Cool Old Lady: In her own way. Though she at first appears to be an addled old woman who has lost the majority of mental awareness, Nana is actually quite astute and keeps a few secrets of her own, which prove integral to solving the case. Plus, Nana can tear into a salmon platter with the best of them.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Invoked by Blanc when he sees her sitting alone staring out the window. He realizes that, for all of the investigation, accusations, and secrets swirling around the household, Nana is still a mother who outlived her only son—and no one, not even her own family, has bothered to check in on her and ask how she's doing. He apologizes for his negligence and offers to sit with her a while quietly, giving her the space to grieve and honoring her pain. This leads to her finally sharing what she saw on the night of Harlan's murder, which in turn lets Blanc solve the case.
  • The Dog Bites Back: It's implied that she told Blanc about what she saw on the night of the murder as revenge for her extended family completely ignoring her and treating her as a non-entity. Her actions thus ensure that her son's plan to give his entire inheritance to Marta goes off successfully while Ransom is put behind bars where he belongs.
  • Living Prop: How the rest of the Thrombeys treat her; she's even shown shoved aside by the front door, where people might put a coat rack, on the night of Harlan's birthday party. This turns out to be a big mistake on their part.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Great Nana may be over a hundred years old and has lost some of her mental faculty...but she's still firmly aware of her family being greedy, selfish hypocrites, and when she gets the opportunity to get some long-overdue revenge, she takes it. Tellingly, it's Nana's testimony that allows Blanc to identify Ransom as the murderer, which in turn foils his plot and ensures that Marta gets Harlan's entire inheritance for herself.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: She's a lot sharper than she lets on, and has a lot to say about what she sees—it's just that no one bothers to ask her anything.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Her spotting Ransom returning to the house—the only eyewitness to his murder attempt—and subsequent telling Blanc about what she saw happen entirely off-screen, although we do get a flashback to the former.
  • Only Sane Woman: The only member of the Thrombey family to completely steer clear of the constant infighting and petty sniping.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: An unusual example in that it is the result of the parent living to an exceptionally old age, rather than the child passing away prematurely (the child dies in old age here, albeit not of natural causes). Nevertheless, it is tragic that Blanc is the only one who even acknowledges this fact. She has also outlived her grandson Neil.
  • The Quiet One: Doesn't speak much, but when she does, it proves to have a significant impact on the case.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Has lost some mental faculty in her advanced age, to the point that even Marta doesn't worry much when she catches her outside the window and mistakes her for Ransom. However, she proves to be more astute than she looks.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Doesn't have many lines, but it is her mistaking Marta for Ransom on the night of the murder (specifically saying "Ransom, you're back again already") that allows Blanc to come to the conclusion that Ransom had returned to the house.
  • Spanner in the Works: Ransom nearly gets away with returning to the house to swap the medicine vials...but Nana sees him (the only person to do so) and makes a note of his arrival. When she tells Blanc about what Ransom did, he's able to identify the younger man as the murderer.
  • Token Good Teammate: Is this. Maybe because she's hardly part of the team except being their relative by blood. The rest of the Thrombeys' negligence towards her is even a major plot point. If what ruined the rest of the family was money, this makes sense: Harlan made the fortune. She could have been any class growing up.
  • Vague Age: She is old enough to have an eighty-five-year-old son and adult great-grandchildren, but nobody in her family actually knows how old she is. She's probably been around for at least a century, and is likely a bit older because of sheer biology (if she had Harlan at eighteen, she'd be 103), but no age is ever given.
  • You Didn't Ask: Part of the reason she withheld a vital clue to the mystery (namely, Ransom returning to the house in secret on the night of Harlan's murder) is that none of the cops even bothered to question her about the case. Once Blanc realizes he's been ignoring her, he sits with her and asks if she has anything to share with him.

Thrombey Employees

    Marta 

Marta Cabrera

Played By: Ana de Armas

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/martacabrera_4.png
The Devoted Caretaker

"I'm not trying to beat you. I'm creating a beautiful pattern."

The Thrombeys' family nurse, and the main protagonist of the film.


  • Accidental Murder: She killed Harlan, after he knocked a Go board over and she accidentally mixed up his medicine bottles in the confusion. Except not; Ransom had switched the bottles and taken the antidote out beforehand, but Marta knew the density of her medicines without looking at the bottles' labels, so the injection she gave Harlan was in fact completely harmless.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Silently chuckles at Blanc's jab about her being a lousy murderer after she says he's not much of a detective.
  • All-Loving Hero: Even after learning the Thrombeys' true nature, she still feels an inclination to use her inheritance to help them, though it's left unclear whether she does.
  • Ambiguously Brown: She's definitely Latina and her family's country of origin is repeatedly commented on, but the Thrombeys can't remain consistent on where they think she's from. The movie doesn't clear it up either.note 
  • Bad Liar: A unique example. Marta can tell a lie while maintaining eye contact and an even tone... except she will throw up almost immediately afterwards. All the Thrombeys know about this; Harlan specifically plans around it when working on his cover-up, instructing Marta to use very specific fragments of the truth, while Ransom exploits it, having seen it firsthand the year prior when Marta tried to participate in a game of "Mafia," forcing her to come clean about (what she thinks was) her role in Harlan's death.
  • Beauty Inversion: Downplayed. Marta was downright described in the script as a "pretty Latina caretaker," and is played by the very attractive Ana de Armas. However, the unkempt hair, unflattering clothing, and vomiting make it pretty clear she's not a Spicy Latina.
  • Beneath Notice: Discussed by Harlan, who reasons that once she is "cleared" of suspicion as his accidental killer by his cover-up plan, nobody will think twice about her.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Marta is by far the nicest person who's been under the roof of the Thrombeys, so tender-hearted that she borders on Incorruptible Pure Pureness. But after everything she endured, she secures Harlan's will by finally standing up to the rest of the family.
  • Break the Cutie: Marta is under constant distress as the Thrombeys give her new reasons to be on edge.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Marta is physically incapable of lying. She vomits immediately after she says something untrue. However, she gets around it by saying Exact Words while omitting potentially dangerous implications. Even then, she is only able to last through the interview and a calm walk to the bathroom before collapsing in dry heaves over the toilet. She does manage to lie late in the movie, but barely manages to keep it in long enough for Ransom to confess before vomiting in his face.
  • Character-Driven Strategy: Marta is one of the few people who ever beat Harlan at Go. She claims that instead of trying to win against him, she only cares about making a beautiful picture from the game pieces, reflecting both her ingenuity and her Incorruptible Pure Pureness.
  • Chaste Heroine: She has zero romantic or sexual subplots in the film and doesn't wear anything revealing. Of course, it's hardly like these are the circumstances for either, but there isn't so much as a passing reference to any Love Interests she may have had, save for the Thrombeys (and, thanks to Jacob's live stream, loads of other people) speculating that she and her boss Harlan had some sort of amorous affair — which they decidedly did not.
  • Clear My Name: She has to clear up the fact that she did not "seduce" Harlan and that she killed him entirely by accident, and is not after the inheritance at all. Later on, she also discovers she didn't even accidentally kill Harlan despite Ransom switching her medicine bottles. The detectives help her provide the evidence.
  • The Confidant: Harlan trusted her enough to confide in her about the family's personal problems, including Richard's affair, Joni's double-dipping and his intent to fire Walt.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Wears a teal woolen pair of fingerless gloves when she's outdoors.
  • Ethnic Menial Labor: She is a help from a poor South American country.
  • Extremely Protective Child: She is motivated in everything illegal she does after inheriting Harlan's money so she can protect her mother, who is an undocumented immigrant, from deportation.
  • Fatal Flaw: Bizarrely, her inability to lie. If she attempts to do so, then she pukes. This is how Blanc quickly can tell that she couldn't have possibly had any involvement in Harlan's death.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: She possesses borderline-Incorruptible Pure Pureness and an extremely diffident nature; these are things that people around her exploit, and for some time Ransom does successfully manipulate her by appealing to her kindness. When it comes down to it, however, she's smart enough to play Xanatos Speed Chess with the best of them. And sufficiently proficient a nurse to know the correct medication to give by touch alone.
  • Good Is Not Soft: After receiving a movie's worth of Kick the Dog, she bites back by the end.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: She prevails over the scheming and cruel Thrombeys because of her honesty and kindness. Ransom's grand schemes fail because he never took into account somebody doing the right thing at their own expense.
  • Hidden Depths: While she is an expert nurse, who would have guessed that she's good at Go (a game that's notorious for being difficult to master) as well - to the point where Harlan admits that the only two people who can beat him at it are Ransom and her... and she's defeated Harlan more times than Ransom has.
  • Honorary True Companion: Subverted. The Thrombeys say that she's practically part of the family, but once Harlan leaves everything to her they all immediately turn on her.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Downplayed. Does several dubious things, but all with the very best of intentions. She doesn't even think of saving herself from the legal ramifications of accidentally killing Harlan until Harlan himself points out that her mother would be deported if she were convicted. Blanc notes that all her criminal actions are nothing more than minor infractions of the law — she didn't even actually give Harlan the wrong dose. Although Ransom tried to make her slip up by switching labels, she instinctively knew the correct bottle of medicine to give Harlan, and so was never even guilty of accidental homicide in the first place. Being pure of heart is how she triumphs over the Thrombeys.
  • Interclass Friendship: Of the Thrombeys, she's genuinely close to Harlan and Meg. Harlan proved himself to be a true friend, quite literally until the end. Meg? Not so much, though as noted in Meg's folder, she's part of an Ambiguous Situation - did she gladly backstab Marta, or was she bullied into it by her family? Did she genuinely mean her profuse apology and My God, What Have I Done? moment, or not?
  • Intergenerational Friendship: The best way to describe her relationship with Harlan, despite her being his employee.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Being such a good friend and nurse to Harlan pays off, big time. She ends the film with a vast fortune, a publishing company, and a huge mansion thanks to Harlan deciding to cut his family out of the will and leave it all to her.
  • May–December Romance: Falsely accused of having this with Harlan, when in actuality they were just good friends.
  • Mistaken Nationality: A subtle Running Gag throughout the film is that the Thrombeys are very inconsistent in where they think she and her family came from. In several different scenes, they matter-of-factly claim she's from Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil. And it is noteworthy that the official language in Brazil is Portuguese, instead of the three countries mentioned, in which the official language is Spanish. This is yet another proof of the ignorance of the Thrombeys.
  • Morality Pet: Subverted. Despite her kindness, she constantly gets kicked around by the Thrombeys (though Meg at least regrets it), save for Harlan and Nana.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: She thinks she kills Harlan when she gave him the wrong dosage of medicine by mistake. This trope immediately ensues.
  • Nice Girl: She's so kind and sweet-natured that Harlan gave his will entirely to her.
  • Not Hyperbole: Blanc and co. assume she's exaggerating when she states that trying to lie makes her puke. They find out she's not exaggerating when she tries to cover up that Richard is cheating on Linda.
  • Not So Above It All: Is without a doubt the most responsible and altruistic member of the Thrombey household. She's also not above partaking of Fran's secret stash of joints with Meg, or helping Harlan get "fucked up" on morphine.
  • Nurse with Good Intentions: She's Harlan's nurse, and she cares for absolutely everyone - even those who've been awful to her - throughout most of the film.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Or, perhaps more accurately, obfuscating naivete or ignorance. In the film, when she's trying to put the investigators off the scent, at several points she exploits what they presume to be her ignorance of police procedure to "unwittingly" contaminate evidence. For example, at one point she has walked ahead of the cops and Blanc when the latter realises that a muddy field will have been wet the night of the murder and may contain the murderer's footprints. When he calls for her to stop, Marta — realising this, and that this means her footprints will be recorded — "misinterprets" him as calling her back and obediently trots back to him... thus concealing her own footprints which would have been there.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • A purely dramatic example when she realizes/thinks she gave Harlan the wrong dosage of medication... and for some reason, the antidote isn't in her bag. The poor girl is in tears from the instant she realizes what's happened, and it gets worse.
    • Also her reaction when she gets a note with a copy of Harlan's bloodwork, and a note saying, "I know what you did."
  • Pinocchio Nose: She vomits whenever she lies.
  • Positive Friend Influence: To Harlan. She made him realize what he'd done wrong with regards to his family as well, causing him to become The Atoner before his death.
  • Rags to Riches: Maybe not rags, but she goes from a nurse (a notoriously underpaid job) living in a modest apartment with her mother and sister, to the sole owner of a gorgeous mansion and a publishing company, with more money than she knows what to do with.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Why she's horrified and guilty on learning Harlan left all of his money to her. Marta blames herself for Harlan's death and thinks that she doesn't deserve any reward for it. The only reason that she doesn't immediately renounce the will immediately is that she can't think straight, and coming clean to the cops about what happened would mean that her mother would get deported, like that. Not to mention that before she can even get a few days of breathing room, Walt threatens to report her mother to the authorities, making her realize that with Harlan's money she can get the lawyers that Mrs. Cabrera needs.
  • Shrinking Violet: She's timid and prone to blaming herself for everything, readily taking responsibility for things that may not even be her fault.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Marta's savvy nature is established by the fact that she is better at Go than both Harlan and Ransom. It also serves to foreshadow her outsmarting Ransom in the finale.
  • Spanner in the Works: She makes a few critical mistakes while executing Harlan's intricate plan, seemingly ensuring he will have died for nothing, and she will be found out as his slayer. However, it is much more noticeably the true murderer, Ransom, who has his plans repeatedly upset by underestimating her. First, her skill as a nurse confounds his attempt to poison his grandfather when she grabs the correct-but-mislabeled bottle on instinct, feeling the minute differences between the liquids, and does not actually overdose him with morphine, then her compassion in calling an ambulance for and attempting to save the life of her seeming blackmailer, and finally, her quick thinking and physical fortitude in coming up with a bluff and holding back her vomit long enough to give him enough rope to hang himself.
  • Stress Vomit: Whenever she lies, she pukes her guts out, and lies by omission only delay this. In the climax, she manages to hold it in that she lied about Fran's survival until after Ransom confesses.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Believes she accidentally kills Harlan via overdose, is the direct witness of Harlan's suicide, gets flak by the Thrombeys for receiving Harlan's will after everything she'd done to help, becomes threatened by Walt with the deportation of her and her mother, and gets baited and framed by Ransom. And to top it all off, Ransom tries to kill her upon being found out.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: She readily forgives Meg for revealing her mother's undocumented status and even agrees to continue paying her college tuition.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Ends up being named the sole inheritor to Harlan's entire estate, leapfrogging over his entire biological family.
  • Unwitting Pawn: It's revealed that Ransom set Marta up as a pawn to murder Harlan by switching her medicines so she would make a fatal error and lose the inheritance she was willed, allowing it to pass back to the Thrombeys. She spends most of the film thinking she killed Harlan by accident after reading the bottles, but she inadvertently foiled Ransom's murder plot by choosing the correct medicine out of instinct, leaving her innocent and Harlan dead by suicide alone while Ransom's manipulations get tacked on his rap as an attempted murder.
  • The Watson: When he begins his investigation, Blanc quickly latches onto her to assist him in the investigation, because she is the only one of the suspects who wouldn't benefit from Harlan's death, and goes as far as calling her Watson while he tells her this. In reality, Blanc does this because he had noticed the speck of blood in her tennis shoe and wanted to keep her close until he figured everything out.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Benoit Blanc notes that Marta has a good heart, and she proves it by going out of her way to help others even if it means putting herself at a disadvantage. Most notably, when she thinks the dying Fran is identifying her as the murderer, she could have just left her to die with no one the wiser that she'd even been there, but instead summons an ambulance and remains to perform emergency treatment on her.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: She frequently comes up with ways to disrupt the investigation to divert suspicion away from her, often with only seconds to come up with something. The best example is during the climax, when after receiving the phone call from the hospital that could jeopardize their takedown of Ransom, Marta almost instantly fakes news that Fran is alive, tricking Ransom into confessing out of anger.

    Fran 

Fran

Played By: Edi Patterson

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fran_0.jpg
The Beleagured Housekeeper

"I don't think he killed himself. I don't. I really don't."

Harlan's housekeeper. She's the first person to find Harlan dead in his room.


  • Almost Dead Guy: She manages to point Marta to both her stash and that Hugh Ransom killed her before slipping into unconsciousness and dying shortly after.
  • Amateur Sleuth: She's clearly snooping around the house on her own after Harlan's death. Failing to coordinate with law enforcement and trying to confront the murderer on her own gets her killed.
  • Blackmail Backfire: Attempted to blackmail Ransom for attempting to get Harlan poisoned. She gets killed for her efforts.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • She herself is largely unimportant in the initial proceedings, but her actions lead to clearing Marta's name.
    • She mentions a cousin who works as a receptionist in a throwaway line. Said cousin gets her the tox report that leads to the above.
  • Idiot Ball: It was a pretty dumb move to meet Ransom in a dark and secluded location. He easily overpowers and kills her.
  • Kindly Housekeeper: Unlike the usual example, she's younger and is the kind to keep a stash of marijuana hidden in the house, but she was on great terms with Harlan before his death and is friends with Meg and Marta.
  • The Stoner: Downplayed in that she's never shown smoking onscreen, but she has a hidden drawer full of joints that she shares with Meg and Marta. This becomes an important plot point, as she had hidden a copy of Harlan's blood results with her stash which reveals that Harlan was not actually poisoned.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Fran loved Harlan, and found out that Ransom had tampered with his medicine. She was a witness to him doing so on the day of the funeral. As Benoit sadly puts it, she should have told the police but wanted to verify Ransom was guilty by sending him a copy of the toxicology report. Then she met Ransom in a remote location, ranting about how everyone would know what he did. Three guesses to what Ransom does to her.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • She mentions having watched invokedHallmark Channel murder mysteries while talking about the situation, and tries to dramatically confront the killer with evidence of his guilt after engaging in a bit of Amateur Sleuthing. Unlike in these Lighter and Softer murder mysteries, though, rather than instantly giving up when confronted, the killer promptly murders her too.
    • If her genre-savviness about mysteries went any deeper, she'd know that figuring out who the killer is and trying to blackmail them is the fastest way to get yourself killed in classic Agatha Christie stories.
    • Presumably she'd planned on mentioning that she had evidence hidden in case anything happened to her, but Ransom attacked quicker than she expected.

    Mr. Proofroc 

Mr. Proofroc

Played By: M. Emmet Walsh

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/image_6471.jpeg
The Groundskeeper

"Fifty years ago, I worked this estate."

The elderly security guard of the Thrombey mansion, who has held the job for decades.


  • Nice Guy: Proofroc is cordial and not defensive in the least when the investigators visit him, even though the presence of an intruder could cast doubt on his competence.
  • Old Retainer: Based on the age of his surveillance cameras and his comments about performing his job well before their installation, Proofroc has probably been guarding the mansion since Harlan first bought it and may have even worked for the previous owner.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Proudly claims the job is now much easier on him with "all this modern technology" — as the camera pans over to a security system of buzzing CRT screens, at least 25 to 35 years out of date with the setting (in which people have modern cellphones). Proofroc's finicky top-loading VCR, which has a habit of eating videotapes if not handled delicately, even gives Marta an excuse to steal the footage.

    Alan Stevens 

Alan Stevens

Played By: Frank Oz

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/alan_stevens_3.jpg
The Straightlaced Attorney

"So, if anyone is confused about anything, we're all together, we can talk. Although I don't imagine any of it is going to be that complicated."

Harlan Thrombey's lawyer who comes to deliver the dead man's will.


  • Amoral Attorney: Inverted. He's Harlan's lawyer but he refuses to do anything amoral or unethical to help the family when they've been cut out of the will, both for practical reasons as he knows they have no case and ethical as he can barely stand them. When the opportunity presents itself, he happily leaves them to their own devices.
  • The Comically Serious: Half of the humor in Alan's scene comes from the Thrombeys pitching one heck of a fit and slinging childish insults at him when he reveals that Marta is the only one in Harlan's will. The other half of the humor comes from Alan's remarkable composure and the way he takes these insults in stride.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Harlan changes his will a week before he died, and per his requests, no one was allowed to view it until the time came. Alan is as surprised as anyone else to learn that Harlan's home, fortune, possessions, and all other assets have been given over to Marta.
  • Mr. Exposition: His main role is to deliver Harlan's will, and thus deliver the big twist.
  • Only Sane Man: Alan sits as patiently as he can behind his desk while a hysterical screaming match breaks out over the contents of Harlan's will, and calmly explains the law as the Thrombeys try to weasel their way back into the fortune they think they deserve.
  • Rules Lawyer: The Thrombeys clearly want him to be this if it would help them get their inheritance back, but Alan counters that such arguments would never hold up in court; they might want to accuse Marta of manipulating Harlan, but they have no evidence that she was anything more to him than a good nurse who did her job well and just happened to also become his friend.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When Richard proclaims him useless because he can't get Harlan's will negated, he uses that as an excuse to leave the whole messed up situation.
  • Servile Snarker: He never loses his composure, but he clearly has a certain amount of withering disdain for the Thrombey clan which becomes harder to conceal the longer he has to spend time with them and put up with all their whining about the will, and tends to express itself in mild sarcasm towards them. As evidenced when they begin floating the possibility of discrediting Marta's relationship with Harlan:
    Alan: Your honor, she wormed her way into his affections with hard work and good humor!

Cabrera Family

    In General 
  • Disappeared Dad: Marta's father is never seen or mentioned. Given the family's immigrant status, he may still be in their home country.
  • Foil: To the Thrombeys. The closeness, warmth and clear love that the Cabrera women have towards each other is a marked contrast to the viciousness, backstabbing and bitterness we see among the Thrombey clan.

    Mrs. Cabrera 

Mrs. Cabrera

Played By: Marlene Forte

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/image_7373.jpeg

Marta's mother, an undocumented immigrant.


  • Good Parents: Very caring towards her daughter and her feelings.
  • Hypocritical Humor: She berates Alice for watching a murder mistery in Marta's presence shortly after Harlan's death, but then is caught watching Murder, She Wrote and doesn't turn it off when Marta comes back home.
  • The Illegal: Came into the country illegally, some time before her children were born.
  • No Name Given: Her first name is never given.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Only appears in three scenes, but her illegal immigrant status is a major driving force in the film's story.

    Alice 

Alice Cabrera

Played By: Shyrley Rodriguez

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/image_2906.jpeg

Marta's sister.


  • Annoying Younger Sibling: To a minor, lighthearted degree. She can be pretty insensitive, but Marta never seems to mind.
  • Everyone Has Standards: She apologizes to Marta when her mother points out that watching a murder mystery after Harlan died is insensitive. Marta forgives her because she has other things on her mind.
  • Foil: To Meg. Meg is wealthy and righteous, doesn't seem that loyal to her grandfather, and treats Marta like a friend and sometimes a confidante before the family pressures her to reveal that Mrs. Cabrera is illegal. Alice is more Brutally Honest and Innocently Insensitive while she and her family live in a lower middle-class lifestyle, but she always has Marta's back.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Watches a crime story while Marta is still rattled over Harlan's death. While she gets in a shouting match with her mother about it, she's genuinely apologetic to Marta herself when she realises the insensitivity.
  • Rags to Riches: Seems excited about this upon finding out Marta inherited Harlan's money.


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