A splinter cell of S.H.I.E.L.D., formed on the day S.H.I.E.L.D. fell. Nick Fury gave Bobbi Morse an order to sink the Iliad, a S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft carrier, to prevent HYDRA from getting the cargo. She refused to follow through because she would have had to sacrifice the loyal S.H.I.E.L.D agents still onboard. Against all odds, they took back the ship and then picked up survivors from the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy. Reasoning that Nick Fury's autocratic leadership style and secret-keeping is what led to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s downfall, they decided to rebuild it on the principles of democratic leadership and transparency. Distrusting Coulson for his loyalty to Fury and exposure to alien influence, they kept themselves hidden and sent moles to infiltrate his team, gathering intel to prepare to seize control from him.
- Accomplice by Inaction: They haven't really done anything against HYDRA, focusing all of their resources on stopping Coulson. The members always deflect when anyone from Coulson's team brings up HYDRA.
- Broken Pedestal:
- None of them have any respect for Nick Fury after the HYDRA Coup. In fact their organization began with Bobbi disobeying Fury's orders.
- Many of them—particularly Gonzales, Weaver, Bobbi, and Mack—were well-respected by members of Team Coulson, particularly FitzSimmons and Hunter, only for their plotting against Coulson to seriously damage their admiration.
- Conflict Ball: They refuse to talk to Coulson about their misgivings over his leadership style, instead opting to plant moles on his team and then essentially hijack control of the organization when they believe he must be stopped.
- Cosmopolitan Council: Gonzales and Calderon are Latino-Americans, Anne Weaver is African-British, Mack is African-American, Bobbi and Oliver are Caucasian-Americans, and Hartley might be a queer.
- Easily Forgiven: They never get any punishment for all the trouble they caused by trying to wrest control away from Coulson, nor do they even admit they did anything wrong. Instead they're assimilated back into the organization - albeit with a lot of tension.
- Fantastic Racism: They really don't like gifted people — in fact, they fear Coulson is forming an army of them. Bobbi is the only that doesn't have a natural distrust of gifted people, while the rest run the spectrum of calling enhanced people "it" and "something" to trying to kill an enhanced despite Bobbi ordering the use of ICERs to take her alive.
- Hazy Feel Turn: Although they stopped following Fury's orders they still have good intentions, but their heavy-handed methods and hypocrisy don't make them very trustworthy. They unite with Team Coulson in "Scars", serving as the successor to the council that had guided Fury.
- Hero Antagonist: Misguided as they might have been, overall they were not evil. They were convinced Coulson's group was under alien influence to build an army of enhanced humans.
- Hero of Another Story: Their version of what happened post HYDRA Coup is that while Coulson ran around hunting alien artifacts in order to raise a Gifted army for his alien handlers, they scrambled to save as many of their fellow agents as possible. In truth, Coulson was in the progress of checking bases for survivors before Talbot forced him on the run. With limited resources, he decided to refocus his efforts on stopping Garrett. It wasn't until Fury gave him the assignment to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. that he had the means to search for survivors.
- They claim to value transparency but they're even more secretive than Coulson is. They also make claims of wanting to resolve the situation amicably but actively avoided any attempts to work things out with him rationally, jumping straight to force on flimsy pretenses.
- They believe Fury's secret-keeping is why S.H.I.E.L.D. fell, ignoring or unaware that HYDRA's infiltration was a systemic problem from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s very inception at the beginning of the Cold War. Whatever Fury's role in HYDRA's endgame, Fury is at best one link in a very long chain, and they're ignoring HYDRA to focus on him.
- I Reject Your Reality: When somebody brings up the fact that Coulson was hunting alien artifacts so HYDRA didn't get them first, they always twist the facts around so that the HYDRA factor is inconsequential.
- Jerkass Has a Point: For all their hypocrisy, Coulson admits they do have legitimate points over concerns about any negative effects of the GH serum might have on him, and that there are flaws in his leadership style.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: After "The Dirty Half Dozen", they quickly fold themselves into Coulson's command structure. Implicitly, knowing that he has both Nick Fury and the Avengers (through Hill) on his side made them reconsider any further hostilities.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: They're led by a board of operatives with Gonzales as the chairman.
- True Companions: Became this after the liberation of the Iliad, facing waves of Hydra mooks while completely outnumbered and on their own.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Apart from Bobbi and Mack, Calderon and Weaver are the only council members to have survived the events of season 2, yet neither has been seen since.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: They think Coulson is an alien sleeper agent building up a stockpile of Gifted soldiers who is bringing S.H.I.E.L.D. to ruin, and that they are the heroes who must come in and stop him before it's too late.
Commander Robert Gonzales
Portrayed By: Edward James Olmos
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (first appears in Episode 36: "Love in the Time of HYDRA")
The commanding officer of the S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft carrier Iliad. After S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fall during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he took it upon himself to reorganize whatever parts of the organization Coulson or Talbot hadn't touched into a new S.H.I.E.L.D. — the "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D., as he calls it. Believing Coulson can't be trusted due to being brought back to life by alien tech, he seeks to remove Coulson from power and reform S.H.I.E.L.D. into what he thinks it should be. He has notable dislike of Gifted people and appears more focused on consolidating S.H.I.E.L.D. under one banner than fighting HYDRA.
- Ancestral Weapon: Possesses a pistol which belonged to his grandfather and was used in combat in the Second World War.
- Badass Mustache: Dugan would be proud.
- Big Good: He's this for the "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D., as he is a Reasonable Authority Figure who guides them through their darkest times.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He tries to come across as a Reasonable Authority Figure, but he proves himself hypocritical and racist in short order. Any attempt to call him on this is ignored. Furthermore, despite being part of a more democratic S.H.I.E.L.D. and claiming that he doesn't want to be in charge, he shows visible annoyance when the majority opinion turns against how he wants to do things.
- Canon Foreigner: He doesn't have a comic counterpart although he does share many similarities with Maria Hill as she was portrayed in Civil War.
- The Chains of Commanding: Gonzales does not seem to be very happy with what he's forced to do due to his position as Director of "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D. At the same time, however, he also doesn't like to be questioned on his methods.
- Commanding Coolness: His title is Commander Gonzales, and he commands S.H.I.E.L.D.'s aircraft carrier, the Iliad.
- Cool Old Guy: As antagonistic as he is towards Coulson, he gives off this vibe because he's a proven badass played by Edward James Olmos. He is also willing to join forces with Coulson in the end.
- Decomposite Character: His way of running S.H.I.E.L.D., down to how they view superhumans and extraterrestrials, is eerily similar to Maria Hill's run as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. during the Civil War storyline.
- Enemy Mine: In "The Dirty Half Dozen", he teams up with Coulson to take down HYDRA's remnant forces.
- Entitled Bastard: As part of his insistence that his S.H.I.E.L.D. is the real one, he expects Coulson and his team to extend him courtesies he pointedly refuses to show them, and is trying to paint the situation as them betraying S.H.I.E.L.D. by following Coulson.
- Handicapped Badass: Faces off against hundreds of HYDRA thugs while having a shattered leg.
- HeelFace Turn: Joins forces with Coulson after the man willingly turns himself in and makes a deal.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his Jerkass-ish behaviour, he does care about the people under his command and even his bias towards Coulson had some justification, and before Jiaying murdered him to provoke a war was ready to be at peace with the Inhumans.
- Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand: Pulls this tactic with Agent May prior to inviting her to take a seat on "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D.'s board. She declines to take the shot, claiming that he wouldn't be so stupid as to hand her a loaded gun; however, Gonzales reveals that it actually was loaded.
- Misplaced Retribution:
- He blames Fury for the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., specifically bringing up that Fury was responsible for the inception of Project Insight, and tells Coulson as such to his face. Coulson counters that HYDRA was responsible. Gonzales consistently deflects whenever this is brought up. While he is right to an extent, in that Fury's suggestion was the opportunity HYDRA was waiting for, he's intent on blaming Fury and Coulson for his problems, even in the face of rational arguments to the contrary.
- Blames Coulson for Hartley's death, despite the fact it was caused because people didn't follow his orders, and wouldn't have even been at risk if Gonzales hadn't withheld the Illiad's resources from him. He also blames Coulson for a number of things which were obviously outside his control or implying he intended for them to happen, such as Skye becoming enhanced.
- Motive Decay: Originally he wanted to build a better S.H.I.E.L.D. that didn't suffer from the flaws of Fury's autocratic leadership, and thought (not unreasonably) that the GH Serum in Coulson had comprised him. Now he's obsessed with eliminating the potential threat of gifted people by putting them down, and he wants Coulson out of the picture because he's a threat to his leadership.
- Never My Fault: Without question, he is the aggressor in this equation. Coulson didn't even know he was still alive until he had taken over the Playground. Yet whenever Coulson or his team act against him, he stubbornly insists that they're the ones responsible for the conflict.
- Noble Bigot: Despite his mistrust against powered indiviuals he is still able to honestly negotiate peace and even sympathising with them on a personal level. Too bad Jiaying didn't appreciate it.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: When he strong-arms Coulson into making him S.H.I.E.L.D.'s representative to the Inhumans, it looks like his Fantastic Racism and distrust of Skye is going to ruin the negotiations and lead to war. However when he gets to the table, he actually takes a surprisingly conciliatory stance, returning a precious keepsake to Jiaying, and doing his best to find common ground with her. Unfortunately it turns out that Jiaying has no interest in peace as she then murders him and frames him for attacking her, causing a slide into open war between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Inhumans.
- Not So Different: He believes that enhanced individuals - including advanced scientists - cannot be trusted with their own freedom. They have to be indexed, monitored, and "crossed off" if necessary. In other words, it's the same "gun to the head" style of management that was behind Project Insight, the very thing Gonzales complained about to Coulson in their first meeting.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: "That man had an ax. Now I have it."
- Pet the Dog: He gives Jiayang a sentimental heirloom relating to her daughter during their meeting.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite the flaws in his logic, he seems to be a fairly reasonable boss. He treats Hunter well despite kidnapping him, and insists Bobbi is still trustworthy despite Tomas raising concerns that she could have done more to stop Hunter's escape. Further shown when he makes an apparently genuine offer to May to act as Coulson's advocate on his board, accompanied by offering up his life if she really thinks it would be for the best. May assumes it's a trick and gives the gun back, but he then shows her it really was loaded.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Always wears a three-piece suit, even when he's commanding the Iliad.
- Sore Loser: Major decisions are decided by a vote, and although he will still carry out the majority's will, he'll grumble about being outvoted.
- The Spymaster: His function to the "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D. is the same as Coulson and Fury for the old one, though he resents the secrecy and double-dealing that comes with the position.
- Still the Leader: On the day S.H.I.E.L.D. fell, he asserted that he remained the commander of the aircraft carrier, Iliad, which formed the nucleus of his own S.H.I.E.L.D.
- We Used to Be Friends: Has this attitude with Coulson, even though by his own admission they never met before "One Door Closes". Coulson also thinks highly of him, but calls Gonzales out on claiming to know him pre- or post-resurrection.
- You're Insane!: On his dying breath he calls Jiaying crazy because she will get everyone killed by starting a war.
Agent Anne Weaver
Portrayed by: Christine Adams
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (appears in Episode 12: "Seeds", Episode 17: "Turn, Turn, Turn", Episode 36: "Love in the Time of HYDRA")
A S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and director of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy of Science and Technology.
- Badass Teacher: Inevitable for being both S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy director. See Mama Bear below for example.
- Celebrity Paradox: Christine Adams has previously appeared in Doctor Who, which is particularly pleasing since Fitz-Simmons apparently love that show.
- Mama Bear: On the day S.H.I.E.L.D. fell, she took on an enhanced HYDRA operative by herself to protect her students. According to Calderon, she was doing pretty well when he arrived with Quinjets to save them.
- Never Found the Body: "Turn, Turn, Turn" implies that she dies during the uprising, but "Love in the Time of HYDRA" reveals her to be alive, well, and one of the founding board members of the new, "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: As the Academy director, she gives students a lot of freedom while at the same time keeping everyone safe.
Agent Isabelle Hartley
Portrayed By: Lucy Lawless
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (appears in Episode 23: "Shadows", in Episode 37: "One Door Closes")
A longtime member of S.H.I.E.L.D. who is an experienced undercover operative. She has prior history with Coulson, and aides him in his efforts to rebuild the organization.
- Action Girl: On the day S.H.I.E.L.D fell, she took down legions of HYDRA goons with throwing knives and her bare hands.
- An Arm and a Leg: She grabs the original 084 with her bare hand in an attempt to use it against Creel, forcing it to be cut off to save her life. Not that it ultimately saves her.
- Blood Knight: If you tell her that there are 14 decks of HYDRA goons between her and control of an aircraft carrier, her response will not be fear but excitement.
- Celebrity Paradox: Lady Sif (who happens to have made a couple appearances on the show herself) was referred to as "Xena" in the first Thor film.
- Dead Star Walking: More proof that celebrities on this show have a high death rate: She dies at the end of her first episode.
- Due to the Dead: In "Heavy is the Head", the military buries her with full honors.
- Hide Your Lesbians: The writers considered revealing that Isabelle Hartley from Season 2 was Victoria Hand's former lover, but cut any mention of this from the script since they thought Hartley's death would cause people to accuse the show of exploiting the Bury Your Gays trope. However, a later episode featured a flashback to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in which Hartley mentions having checked in on Hand, referring to her as "Vic", indicating that not only they knew each other but that they were also close.
- Knife Nut: She always has a knife on her and is very adept at using it.
- Mauve Shirt: Creel kills her and Idaho by flipping their car. Only Hunter makes it out alive.
- Minor Major Character: She dies in her first episode, but it turns out much later that she's quite crucial to the circumstances of Season 2 - she played a big part in liberating the Iliad, and during her time as The Mole she recruited her old friend (and Bobbi's ex-husband) Lance Hunter into her team for a time; this would have major consequences later on, with Hunter developing Undying Loyalty to Coulson and hampering the plans of Real S.H.I.E.L.D. massively.
- The Mole: Turns out she was part of the 'Real' S.H.I.E.L.D. faction led by Gonzales and a mole alongside Bobbi and Mack.
- Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: Hartley's team seems to be in the clear, escaping from the military and Hunter having amputated her arm to save her from the 084's infection. Then they crash into Creel, killing both Hartley and Idaho.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Dies in her first episode.
Agent Tomas Calderon
Portrayed by: Kirk Acevedo
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (appears in Episode 36: "Love in the Time of HYDRA", Episode 37: "One Door Closes")
A subordinate agent to Robert Gonzales and a senior member of his "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D..
- Bald of Evil: He's bald and the nastiest member of Gonzales' council.
- The Dragon: He appears to be Gonzales' right-hand man.
- Hate Sink: Seems to serve the singular purpose of generating audience dislike for the 'real' S.H.I.E.L.D. compared to the more reasonable Gonzales and already likable Weaver.
- Hot-Blooded: More passionate than the other leaders of his faction of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Got impaled by a fast moving branch after Skye used her powers to defend herself.
- Jerkass: Takes great pleasure at Bobbi's visible discomfort when Lance learns the truth about her, and shortly after accuses her of being a traitor for not stopping Lance.
- Jerkass Has a Point: In regards to his accusation of Bobbi allowing Lance to escape; she did deliberately allow him to fight his way out and made no effort to subdue him, if only because she wasn't convinced he would succeed.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Tried to shoot Skye dead and got skewered (non-fatally) for it.
- Token Evil Teammate: Probably the one and only member of the group who could be considered morally completely rotten.
Portrayed By: Mark Allen Stewart
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (appears in Episode 36: "Love in the Time of HYDRA", Episode 41: "The Dirty Half Dozen")
Another subordinate to Gonzales and member of the "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D. leadership.
- Badass Beard: He's high-ranked and has some impressive facial hair to boot.
- Flat Character: Not as developed as his peers, he's mostly there to fill in the leading board of "Real" S.H.I.E.L.D.. What is known is that he's less harsh than Gonzales, Weaver and especially Calderon.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He (implicitly) outvoted Gonzales on the matter of letting May onto the board.
- Taken for Granite: He and several other agents are killed when Jiaying traps them in a room and shatters a diviner-laced crystal inside.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He received very little characterization before Jiaying killed him.