The McCord Household
The eponymous "Madam Secretary", Elizabeth McCord was a high-ranking officer in the Central Intelligence Agency in the 2000s under then-DCI Conrad Dalton. After leaving the agency for academia, her former boss became president, and after the premature death of Secretary of State Vincent Marsh he taps her to replace him.
- 100% Adoration Rating: Downplayed: It's nowhere near 100%, but there's a minor Running Gag in the series that her approval ratings are consistently higher than President Dalton's. Also deconstructed somewhat in the Craig Sterling arc, when it's mentioned that this could also be viewed as a threat to Dalton (his last Secretary of State having planned to primary him the way Sam Evans eventually did).
- Affectionate Nickname: She has several. Henry calls her Liz, President Dalton (her boss at the CIA and an old friend) typically calls her Bess. Prince Yousif (her friend from boarding school) calls her Lizzie.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Inverted: she's commented to Henry that she finds his morals quite a turn-on.
- Blue Blood: She's indicated to come from a privileged background. Among other things, she went to boarding school with the Crown Prince of Bahrain. And if the 'Adams' in her name makes her one of those Adamses, she's a Boston Brahmin who's related to two Presidents and can trace her lineage straight back to the Mayflower. In New England, blood doesn't get much bluer than that.
- Deadpan Snarker: She usually gets in at least one zinger an episode.(in response to Stevie's sudden appearance and Daisy calling her the McCords' "mystery daughter") "By 'mystery', do you mean born out of wedlock or sired by aliens?"
(in response to being pulled from her vacation to deal with a rogue governor) "Did I miss anything on the way here? Like Texas seceding?"
- Declining Promotion: In order to save her marriage, she chose to retire from the CIA rather than take a promotion to Baghdad station chief. Her friend Juliet got the job instead, which is implied to have been Juliet's Start of Darkness.
- Dreadful Musician: According to her family she can't carry a tune in a bucket, which causes a problem when she's expected to perform in a mini-talent show for a trade conference. Nadine, Blake and Daisy sub in for her.
- Enlightened Self-Interest: Tends to use it as a way to get other people to help her with altruistic policy goals.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: She's portrayed as the responsible one compared to her brother, a surgeon who works for NGOs in conflict zones. A laudable occupation, but it puts serious strain on his wife and daughter.
- Guile Hero: As a former spook, running head-games on her opponents comes naturally to her, from planting disinformation to catch a hostile congressional committee chair by surprise, to setting bait to see if Russell was involved in Secretary Marsh's death. He wasn't.
- Happily Married: Henry is her rock, her closest confidant and her moral compass, and it's made quite clear during the series that Good People Have Good Sex, too. The season 1 finale also reveals that she gave up a promotion to Baghdad station chief in order to stay home and save their marriage from a long-distance relationship. It's implied that Juliet getting the post instead of Liz led to Juliet's Start of Darkness. In service to True Love Is Boring their relationship does get seriously strained in season 2 when Liz gives up Henry's mole in the GRU to the Russians to secure the peace deal in Ukraine, but they make up.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Downplayed. The obvious comparison is Hillary Clinton, both of them being blond women with long experience in Washington who serve as Secretary of State (and initially resisted it, to boot). However, Liz doesn't have a background as a lawyer (just like Clinton isn't a former CIA officer or professor), and she comes off as quite a bit more of a populist in her personal political views. (Also, only one of them wants to be President, and it isn't Elizabeth. Or, wasn't. She does now.)
- No Party Given: Averted in that she's specifically stated to be unaffiliated. She has views typical of progressives on social issues and fights against budget cuts to social assistance programs such as Microloans, traits usually given to Democrats, but the affiliation of her boss isn't named explicitly (until season three, when he runs as an independent against a global warming-denying primary challenger, suggesting he was originally a Republican).
- Parental Abandonment: Her parents were killed in a car wreck when she was a teenager. Her brother actually witnessed it.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Her and Dalton. They go way back and they're very close friends as well as work colleagues.
- Retcon: A minor one: her maiden name was initially given in promotional materials as "Faulkner" but was later retconned to "Adams".
- Uptown Girl: She's a daughter of privilege who went to exclusive boarding schools, he's the son of a steelworker who joined the Marines to pay for college. She and Henry sometimes get guff from his family over this, for example when she's able to pay for his father's funeral on her credit card without giving it a second thought.
The son of a steelworker, and a former US Marine Corps naval aviator and operative for the NSA, Henry McCord is Elizabeth's husband and closest confidant. A world-renowned professor of theology with a strong moral code he will not compromise lightly, he sometimes clashes with his wife when he believes either she or the government is doing something unethical. Initially teaching at Georgetown, at the beginning of season 2 he moves to the National War College.
- Ace Pilot: Technically an Informed Attribute since he's long retired from the Marines during the series, but he flew F/A-18 Hornets on ground-attack missions during Desert Storm and, in his own words, "I always hit my target."
- Badass Bookworm: He's introduced as a professor of theology and ethics first. We don't find out he's a retired Marine and NSA operative until several episodes in when he chews out a pair of Air Force twoie-louies for being drunk in uniform and badmouthing his wife.
- The Fettered: His code of values and his personal integrity are extremely important to him, and he does not appreciate being asked to compromise either, even for the greater good. Sometimes he'll Take a Third Option, though.
- Good Is Not Soft: Yes, he's a religious man who teaches ethics and theology. But he's also a spook fully willing to do what is necessary for the mission, as well as a former Marine. In "The Rusalka" he has his own mole kidnapped and subjected to the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique as a Secret Test of Character.Dmitri Petrov: How do you sleep at night?
Henry: Just fine. You can go.
- Good People Have Good Sex: In an inversion of All Girls Want Bad Boys, Liz has commented that she finds his morals quite a turn-on.Henry: Who says you have to be a bad boy to get the hot girl?
- The Handler: While working at the National War College in season two, he's tasked with turning and managing one of two rising stars in the Russian military who are taking his military ethics class. In his trademark fashion, he balks at blackmailing an Armored Closet Gay officer on ethical grounds (lampshading the irony of asking a professor of ethics to use blackmail), in favor of using an anti-nationalist young man of Georgian descent in exchange for getting cancer treatment for his sister.
- Happily Married: He is quite clearly just as nuts about Elizabeth as she is about him, and whenever they encounter a conflict — which, given their respective jobs, is often — they invariably work it out (eventually) with maturity, levelheadedness, and mutual love.
- Informed Ability: A college professor, who has written several books, he completely misuses the word 'dilletant' when talking to his son. He equates it with someone who doesn't know what they are talking about, which is NOT the meaning at all.
- Real Men Love Jesus: He's a former Marine and NSA operative with a doctorate in theology, and he also bases his personal code of conduct on biblical scholarship. He's also Catholic, though in "The Rusalka" it turns out he hasn't been to confession in ten years.
- Retired Badass: He is a former USMC captain, a combat veteran fighter pilot, and a former NSA operative who is reactivated in episode seven.
- Semper Fi: He paid for college with a Navy ROTC scholarship and served as an officer in the Marine Corps,note including flying jets during the First Gulf War.
The eldest of the McCords' kids, Stevie doesn't appear until the second episode, when she drops out of college after causing a stink on campus by organizing a protest. She had asked that her existence be kept quiet because she didn't want to deal with her mother's new fame as Secretary of State.
- Adorably Precocious Child: Or Young Adult in this case. In "The Doability Doctrine" she has an identity crisis and skips class... to take the LSAT.Liz: You are such a McCord.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: After breaking up with Arthur Gilroy, she starts dating the President's son Harrison (whom she knows because their parents were coworkers before the White House), a recovering heroin addict prone to relapsing. They've had an offscreen breakup by "Waiting for Taleju", though, and Jareth, her third Love Interest in the series to whom she eventually gets engaged, is a clean-cut grad student in physics.
- Cunning Linguist: She's fluent in French, which is what gets her the internship at the microloan program: she's able to seal a deal with a client in Senegal, whereas her boss Gilroy can't because of the Language Barrier.
- Gender-Blender Name/Only Known by Their Nickname: Her real first name is "Stephanie" but it only shows up in promotional materials until Season Two's "Waiting for Taleju".
- MayDecember Romance: In "Whisper of the Ax", Stevie starts interning at a microloan program administered by State, and in "The Time Is At Hand", Henry and Liz discover she's started dating her boss... who happens to be nineteen years older than she. Yeah, that went over well. She breaks up with him a few episodes later at Daisy's urging.
- Paparazzi: She tangles with a few over her relationship with Harrison. First one ambushes her on the street asking if he's a good kisser, then "Waiting for Taleju" has pics of the two of them having sex pop up on the Internet after Harrison misplaces his phone.
The middle McCord sibling. The "responsible" one.
- Affectionate Nickname: "Noodle". No idea what it refers to.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: In contrast to Stevie, who dropped out of college and had a rough time in season 1, and Jason, who got expelled for punching out a bully, she's a peer mediator at her high school and generally indicated to be a model student. Also inverted in "Standoff" when Stevie helps Alison sneak her boyfriend past the security detail (to get back at their mom for being an accessory to torture during her time in Iraq), but then changes her mind and takes him home rather than let Alison and BF have Their First Time.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Downplayed. She's the girly girl to Stevie's tomboy, in that she wants to be a fashion designer to Stevie's Crusading Lawyer. Outside of that their temperaments are fairly similar.
- The Unfavorite: The C-plot in "The Long Shot" deals with Alison fighting with the parents over feeling marginalized. It's not Parental Favoritism, she just doesn't get as much attention because she's the responsible one and Liz and Henry are too busy dealing with Stevie and Jason's various crises.
The youngest McCord sibling, and a self-proclaimed anarchist who doesn't like his mom's politics, but absolutely loves his mom.
- The B Grade: In one episode he's tasked to write an essay on a political figure, and chooses a journalist who was jailed for refusing to give up her source in a leaker case. The prof gave him a C essentially because the story didn't have a happy ending: she was still in jail as of the essay's writing. While acting president for the day, Elizabeth issues a presidential pardon for the reporter in question. It also leads to an amusing side note where Henry says maybe Jason should've picked someone more generally well-regarded for his topic.Jason: You mean like Rosa Parks?joke explanation
- Berserk Button: Messing with his family.
- He puts up with cyberbullying at school for a while, but when the bully brings Liz into it, Jason completely loses his temper, breaks the other kid's nose, and gets expelled from Quaker school when he refuses to apologize for it.note
- When he hears that Alison's date made a sexual insult about her behind her back, he responds by not-so-secretly tagging his vehicle in the school parking lot. But even the school faculty thought the guy had it coming, so Jason gets off easy.
- Strawman Political: He has strongly anti-establishment, far left political views, which the show appears to disagree with. He initially declares himself an anarchist, and later he starts stumping for one of Dalton's opponents, Senator Reynolds, during the election arc. Henry pokes holes in said opponent's positions while arguing with him about a pro-Reynolds video he posted on the Internet.Jason: [Reynolds] wants every country to control its own destiny. ... Self-determination.
Henry: So, if Iran is self-determined to acquire nuclear weapons, does Reynolds think we should let them? Do you?
Jason: No! No, I... I'm not sure.
Henry: And yet you're sure that he would make a better president.
Jason: What's—what's your point?
Henry: Your knowledge is a mile wide and an inch deep. Do you know what that makes you? A poser. A dilettante. If you're gonna support someone, and publicly humiliate your own family in the process, then you damn well better be able to defend him. So either educate yourself, or stop talking.
The United States Government
The State Department
Elizabeth's chief of staff through the early part of season four.
- Big Fancy House: Shown to have a big fancy apartment.
- Hidden Depths: She mentions more than once that she once travelled with a Carnival Troupe across Europe, and in "The Middle Way" she admits to having a son who lives in Burma who she hasn't seen in years.
- The Mistress: She was the other woman in an affair with the married former Secretary of State Vincent Marsh. For six years. He was stringing her along saying he was going to divorce his wife later, while using her to help him set up Tamerlane.
- Office Romance:
- Besides her six-year affair with Secretary Marsh, during season 1 she begins dating the head of NASA after he visits the State Department on business.
- In "Breakout Capacity" she sleeps with Mike B, and they start an on-again off-again relationship.
- Put on a Bus: She retires from the State Department in season 4's "The Essentials", choosing to move to California to be closer to her son and his girlfriend, who are expecting a baby.
- Will They or Won't They?: She starts a casual relationship with Mike B after sleeping with him on election day ("Breakout Capacity"). He eventually admits he's falling for her but she doesn't appear to respond. Ends in a probable "won't" due to her leaving the series.
Elizabeth's personal assistant at State, who is forever trying to beat Russell Jackson to her office.
- Beware the Nice Ones: "The Rusalka" is bookended by Mike B sticking him with Gordon the dog and a pooper-scooper. The second time, after Blake got used as a patsy by Maria Ostrova during the Russia trip, a very pissed-off Blake threatens to throw the filled pooper-scooper at Mike B's car. (Mike is more impressed than insulted by this and congratulates Blake for "growing a pair".)
- Bi the Way: Quite literally, as he blurts out to Elizabeth that he's bi at the end of "Revelation", prompted only by his earlier conversation with an ex-boyfriend about how private he is about his sexuality.
- Butt-Monkey: Constantly bedeviled by Russell Jackson in Season 1, gets (jokingly) blamed for Jason McCord spraining his ankle playing football in the house when he walked in the door at the wrong moment ("I broke the Secretary of State's kid!"), gets arrested for public urination in Germany (the public restroom was locked and he'd been drinking), gets stuck with Mike B's dog and a pooper-scooper in "The Rusalka", and is set up by Maria Ostrova to be photographed with a guy wearing a Nazi emblem on his shirt.
- Running Gag: Blake racing into Liz's office to try and announce that Russell Jackson is on his way, only to have him usually beat Blake there. Liz lampshades it late in Season One with a comment that "We should put a lock on that door, maybe a Marine guard."
- Straight Gay: Being slightly flighty and always immaculately groomed is as close as he ever comes to being Camp Gay, even though he reveals he's gay to Stevie completely in passing in "Collateral Damage".
Matt Mahoney is Elizabeth's speechwriter.
- Friends with Benefits/Office Romance: He and Daisy had a habit of getting drunk and having sex, despite the fact she was in a relationship with another man at the time. They break up after Matt tells him while stoned, and Matt and Daisy start dating for real. They've had an offscreen breakup by "The Rusalka".
- The Greatest Story Never Told: In "Russian Roulette" he pens the greatest speech of his career for Liz's address to the UN to marshal world support for war against Russia. The speech is never used because it was really the Ukrainians framing Russia for attacking the US, which Nadine points out really is "the best of all possible outcomes", given the alternative is World War III.
- Hurricane of Puns: At one point he pens a speech draft for a fisheries group that seemingly consists entirely of a string of fish jokes. The others bemusedly tell him to go rewrite it.
- Mixed Ancestry: His father is a white Catholic American, his mother is a Pakistani immigrant and practicing Muslim. This proves a problem during the election arc in season 3 when somebody from his mother's mosque suicide-bombs a cafe and a reporter connects them through Matt's donations to the mosque,note even though Matthew Assad Mahoney had never heard of the guy and also donates to his father's church.
- The Mole: For Russell Jackson. Played straight against Vincent Marsh, subverted when he starts to work for Elizabeth.
- Token Minority: He's a lapsed Muslim who was raised in his mother's faith but hasn't practiced in years. He has a little bit of a religious awakening as a reaction to being dragged into the investigation of a suicide bombing by a member of his mother's mosque (even though the guy turned out to have been radicalized on a visit to Saudi Arabia).
Elizabeth's press coordinator.
- Friends with Benefits/Office Romance: She and Matt had a habit of getting drunk and having sex, despite the fact she was in a relationship with another man at the time. They break up after Matt tells him while stoned, and Matt and Daisy start dating for real. They've had an offscreen breakup by "The Rusalka".
- Slave to PR: Invariably the one to bring up the public relations implications of Liz's actions. In fairness, it's her job.
- Surprise Pregnancy: She becomes pregnant towards the end of season three after a casual relationship with a guy from the Budget branch who turned out to be an undercover CIA agent investigating arms trafficking and was Killed to Uphold the Masquerade. She had mentioned wanting to have a baby earlier in the season, but the man she was dating at the time (Dalton's cybersecurity czar) moved away to work in Silicon Valley.
- Your Cheating Heart: She was in a relationship with a medical marijuana lobbyist while she and Matt had their Friends with Benefits thing going. In "Collateral Damage" her fiance gets stoned with Matt, who admits to the affair, and he breaks off his and Daisy's engagement.
Elizabeth's policy advisor for the first three seasons, and her chief of staff starting in season four.
- Love Cannot Overcome: He and his wife spend much of season three fighting over the long hours he puts in at the State Department, which turns into a trial separation and him discovering that she's been cheating with his best friend.
- Rank Up: Liz promotes him to chief of staff in "Shutdown" to replace Nadine.
- Reverse Mole: He plays one for Liz when her microloan program is threatened by a corruption scandal. They fake having him fired so he can go out Drowning My Sorrows and plant disinformation with a congressional committee's staffer so that Liz can embarrass him when she testifies.
- Sarcastic Devotee: He's completely unafraid to make his objections known when he and Liz disagree on policy. He was against the microloan program, she was for it, and he gives her a What the Hell, Hero? speech when, citing The Needs of the Many, she refuses to make having the Iranians release a gay man on death row a condition of signing the nuclear accord.
- Survivor's Guilt: Four of his coworkers died in a bombing while he was stationed at a consulate in Afghanistan. He feels guilty both because he wasn't in the car with them and lived, and for not staying on afterwards despite being begged by his boss.
Elizabeth McCord's predecessor as Secretary of State, who is already dead when the series begins. Ambitious and unethical, he was known to be planning to challenge his boss in their party's primary election.
- Ambition Is Evil: He wanted to challenge his boss for the presidential nomination, and was involved up to his neck in the plot to overthrow the Iranian government.
- Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Juliet sabotaged his private jet after he began having second thoughts about the plot to overthrow the Iranian government.
- Plot-Triggering Death: More like Series-Triggering. President Dalton had actually wanted Liz to be his Secretary of State but the party convinced him to go with Marsh. When he dies in a plane crash in the pilot, Dalton promptly nominates Liz to replace him. The main Story Arc of season one begins with Liz re-investigating Marsh's death after her old friend George Peters is Killed to Uphold the Masquerade.
- Posthumous Character: Only seen through flashbacks in season one.
- Your Cheating Heart: He was involved with his chief of staff Nadine Tolliver for six years.
A staffing consultant and political fixer with an abrasive manner and a dog he brings everywhere with him. Liz brings him into the State Department in "Whisper of the Ax" after Senator Caruthers blindsides her with a corruption scandal in the microloan program.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's a thorough Jerkass and extremely good at what he does, which is mainly putting the fear of God into one's staffers while giving bosses his absolutely unvarnished opinion. He also brings his dog Gordon along with him almost every time he shows up at State.
- Everyone Has Standards: In "Article 5", Liz briefly suspects him of feeding her disinformation on behalf of a far-right think tank associated with the ultranationalist French President Perrin (thereby wrecking her attempt to blackmail Perrin into voting to invoke the NATO treaty against a Russian invasion of Bulgaria). When she confronts him, he admits to having done some consulting for them, but says he mistook them for a more normal center-right group. He got the hell out of Dodge when he figured out what their real goals were, and offers his billing as proof.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's an absolutely ruthless political consultant and prides himself on not sugarcoating any of his opinions, but he dearly loves his dog, and once he starts dating Nadine it turns out he's a bit of a Dogged Nice Guy underneath.
- In-Series Nickname: Everybody calls him "Mike B".
- Noodle Incident: Exactly what the scandal was in his "scandalous divorce" is never explained; we only know that it derailed a promising legal career.
- The Red Baron: He's got another nickname inside the beltway: "the Hatchet Man".
- Team Pet: Gordon the dog.
- Will They or Won't They?: He ends up in an on-again, off-again relationship with Nadine starting with a one-night stand in "Breakout Capacity", and eventually appears to fall for her. Ends in a probable "Won't" due to her leaving the series.
The administrator of a microloan program run by the State Department, he hires Stevie McCord as an intern during a corruption scandal at the agency.
- Defector from Decadence: He was a middle manager on Wall Street up until the late 2000s financial crisis, at which point he got pissed off at the Corrupt Corporate Executives he worked for and with and jumped ship to do welfare work.
- Language Barrier: He hires Stevie after she comes to his rescue when he tries and fails to negotiate a deal with a broker in Senegal using half-remembered high school French.
- MayDecember Romance/Office Romance: He's 39, Stevie is 20. They start dating after working together for a few months, but Stevie breaks up with him at Daisy's urging because of the potential PR blowback on Liz.Daisy: There are three words that can never go together in this town: 'boss', 'internship', and 'sex'.
A state department employee and expert on matters involving nuclear proliferation. He is consulted repeatedly whenever the matter of nuclear weapons in terrorist hands comes up.
- The Cassandra: Sees himself and his colleagues that way, because many of his reports regarding nuclear proliferation have been ignored.
Kat is Elizabeth's policy advisor from season four and former Chief of Staff to the US Ambassador to the UN.
- Adorkable: Kat gets really excited about her policy ideas and new ways of development.
- Ambiguously Gay: If we are going on butch-masculine appearance combo, her powerful standing in a male-dominated workplace and general aura, she is probably either homosexual or bisexual; interviews also suggest the character has at least some patchwork from her actress' real life, and Sara Ramirez is bisexual.
- Biker Babe: In her first episode is seen in a leather jacket with motorcycle helmet to her side, presumably after Elizabeth followed her so she has got to be quick on that bike to be halfway finished eating by the time Elizabeth enters the diner.
- Chairman of the Brawl: Rumor has it, she threw a chair at someone once. Turns out, it's not true... she threw a table. At a chair. A chair of the Armed Services Committee.
- Lady in a Power Suit: Subverted, as though she is the most suit-wearing of the female cast, her suits that she is never out of are very traditionally masculine and sometimes casual (especially in the setting, where there are a lot of female professionals in tailored suits) and because her character shows that she would come in and stun the place even in bunny pajamas if need be.
- Nice Girl: Table-throwing incident aside, she's very nice, and hits it off with Elizabeth almost instantly.
The White House
The Director of Central Intelligence under a previous president and boss to Liz, Juliet, Munsey, and George, and now the President of the United States. Dalton had wanted Liz for his Secretary of State from the beginning but the party convinced him to go with Vincent Marsh instead. Halfway into his first term, Marsh dies in a plane crash and he taps Liz to replace him.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: He rarely raises his voice and is usually quite even-tempered, but he's a savvy politician both domestically and internationally. However, even he has a Rage Breaking Point, as seen in The Teaser of "Catch and Release", which closes on him thoroughly losing his temper after finding out the American ISIS member who just cut a man's throat on video is the son of a State Department employee, bellowing for him to be captured or killed, "and I don't care which!"
- A Father to His Men: Displayed abundantly in episodes involving the US military. He doesn't like sending them into harm's way, especially for morally ambiguous goals, but will do it. See especially "Sea Change", where a Navy ensign dies of his injuries after holding onto a boat rope in a storm until every other man is safely ashore, before being pulled into the water. About to go onstage for a primary debate, Dalton asks an aide for a cell phone and personally calls the sailor's parents to offer condolences.
- Our Presidents Are Different: President Personable and President Iron. He's quite willing to listen to all sides and use both carrot and stick, and he will not put US personnel in jeopardy without good reason.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He's played as something of a blend of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, with at least one of his actions as president (in "Spartan Figures") directly referencing a foreign policy act of the latter. When the European Union leaders try to cut him out of the Greek debt negotiations by meeting without informing him, he and Liz just gate-crash the meeting. Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did the same thing to the Chinese. Also oddly draws a cue from George H. W. Bush in that he is a former CIA director.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He declines to cover up the Tamerlane scandal. A few episodes later it's mentioned that his party is considering asking him not to run for reelection. Coupled with a controversial nuclear deal with Iran and a few other issues, it ends in the season 3 premiere with him losing a primary challenge.
- No Party Given: Zig-Zagged. He's generally portrayed as an economically centrist, socially left-leaning pragmatist, and therefore was usually assumed to be a Democrat by the fanbase until the election arc in season 3. In the premiere, it turns out his party are global warming-deniers, a trait normally associated with Republicans. After breaking ranks on this, he loses a primary challenge to Sam Evans and runs for reelection as an independent, and election coverage in "Breakout Capacity" identifies states he wins in yellow (somewhat ironically given Dalton's political views, yellow was last used for George Wallace's far-right segregationist American Independent Party back in 1968). After the election arc, he starts his own party. Whew!
- Platonic Life-Partners: With Liz. They go way back and they're very close friends as well as work colleagues.
- Pragmatic Hero: He's a good guy, but he's fully willing to Shoot the Dog when he has to. Exemplified at the climax of Season Two's "The Doability Doctrine": Over Liz's objections, he orders a SEAL team to pull out rather than have them engage the Taliban to save a group of Afghan contractors who had taken their American boss hostage to get their families' refugee status approved.
- Semper Fi: He served in the Vietnam War as a Marine, and relates that he once nearly shot a mother and baby while hopped-up on adrenaline after a firefight.
- Start My Own: After losing a primary challenge and then winning reelection against all odds, he's said to have founded a new political party.
- We Win... Because You Didn't: Liz and Jackson come up with this for his reelection bid after Dalton loses to a challenger in the primary. Rather than endorse his opponent, whom he and Liz both hate, they decide to run as independents. Jackson explains their strategy is not to win outright (they mathematically cannot), but rather to force a three-way draw in the electoral college, which punts the election to the House of Representatives where Dalton has a better chance.
Chief of staff to President Dalton. Often clashes with Elizabeth when her (typically altruistic) foreign policy aims don't mesh with the Oval Office.
- Guilty Pleasure: Panda-Camming, as we learn in "South China Sea" when China threatens to take the pandas back.Russell: (to Blake and Matt) Shut up. It's relaxing. It's good for my blood pressure.
- I Lied: Russell told Craig that he would let him get away with his attempt to sabotage the Cuba deal. He lied.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He comes off as a fairly amoral jerkass initially, but he's devoted to President Dalton, and after Liz incurs a case of PTSD following the coup attempt in Iran, he displays genuine concern for her well-being, visiting her house and tells her about his own well-controlled PTSD over losing his brother to a drunk driver. He's also shown to not necessarily enjoy some of his more underhanded political moves despite their perceived necessity, and once argues to Dalton that the President needs to be a Knight in Shining Armor (a statement he later chalks up to the drugs he was on for his Hollywood Heart Attack).
- The Mole: Subverted. Liz thought he might have been involved in Secretary Marsh's death, but his reaction when she plants bait for him tells her that he's completely innocent, and she brings him into the investigation.
- Undying Loyalty: He is fiercely loyal to Dalton, who calls him "a good soldier" when he agrees with the President on a topic over Liz's objections, even though Russell had himself made the same objection before she got there.
- Verges into Poisonous Friend when we learn in "Mitya" that he makes political promises to people on Dalton's behalf without him knowing about it "so that he doesn't have to"; for example, in order to get Senator Theresa Hurst onboard as Dalton's running mate.
A US Navy admiral and the Chairwoman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- The Bus Came Back: She retires from the Navy in the first third of Season 2, but returns as a civilian in the latter part of the season as the president's new National Security Advisor, replacing Craig Sterling.
- Conflicting Loyalty: In "Standoff", Hill complains to Liz that her championing the prosecution of a Bahraini diplomat for human trafficking is causing trouble for a US naval base in Bahrain. However, after Prince Yousif's funeral, she privately tells Liz that, personally, she agrees with her actions.
- Iron Lady: She doesn't get many scenes but it's implied by bearing and acting, as well as the simple fact that she fought her way to top dog of the entire United States military as a woman. She admits to Liz in "Chains of Command" that this sometimes meant having sexist male subordinates disrespecting her to her face.
The new National Security Advisor in Season Two, and an old rival of Liz.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He spends more effort trying to get rid of Elizabeth than actually advising the president and is willing to actively sabotage the president's policy in order to score points off Elizabeth and Russell.
- The Extremist Was Right: Despite Liz forcing Sterling to resign due to her suspecting him of trying to pick a fight with Russia, they very nearly end up at war with Russia by mid-season anyway (and a second time in the season 3 finale).
- Out-Gambitted: Worried that his advice to President Dalton is going to land the US in a shooting war with Russia, Liz starts working to force him to resign. She eventually uses a reporter to trick him into removing a page from his datebook to avoid a cronyism allegation, which allows her to blackmail him into resigning by pointing out he just violated the Presidential Records Act, a felony.
- Put on a Bus: He comes back for a brief appearance in one episode after Liz forces him out and has not been seen since.
- War Hawk: He consistently pushes more directly confrontational policies, contrasting with Liz's typically more measured and subtle approach to problems. Liz worries that he wants war with Russia.
The Director of National Intelligence. First appears in "Lights Out".
- Mauve Shirt: He's a common recurring character who provides a lot of exposition but rarely does anything remarkable.
- Token Minority: He tends to be the only brown person in the Oval Office or Situation Room, or at least the only one to get any lines.
- Turn in Your Badge: Defied. He tries to resign in "Right of the Boom" after the dirty bomb attack, but President Dalton refuses to accept it and fires DCI Ellerman instead.
The Central Intelligence Agency
The Director of Central Intelligence in season 1. He was a coworker of Liz and President Dalton when they were all at the agency.
- Big Bad: For the first season. He's the ringleader of Tamerlane, the plot to overthrow the Iranian government, and the repercussions of his actions continue to be felt for several episodes after he's committed suicide.
- Driven to Suicide/Face Death with Dignity: Calmly shoots himself under the chin with a concealed pistol after Liz foils Tamerlane.
- Mole in Charge: Being both the ringleader of Tamerlane and directly involved in Liz's investigation into Marsh's death meant he was able to sabotage their attempt to kidnap an Iranian VEVAK operative also involved in the plot.
- We Used to Be Friends: "There But For the Grace of God" is all about this: he, Liz, Dalton, Juliet, Isabelle, and George all worked at the Company together.
One of Liz's old circle of friends at the Company. Turns up dead at the end of the pilot after becoming convinced that Secretary Marsh's death wasn't an accident.
- Back for the Finale: Returns in a flashback in the season 1 finale showing him at dinner with Dalton, Juliet, Isabelle, and Munsey to celebrate Liz's retirement from the CIA.
- Desk Jockey: His suspicions about Secretary Marsh's death are initially dismissed as paranoia from having trouble adjusting to being stuck behind a desk after spending most of his career in fieldwork.
- Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Juliet arranges for his death in a car crash after he gets too close to uncovering Tamerlane.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Given the timing of his death in a car crash, Liz is convinced it wasn't an accident. Turns out Juliet did some Vehicular Sabotage on the car's computer, something harder to detect than the old standby of cutting the brake lines.
- No Name Given: His surname is only given in the credits.
- Plot-Triggering Death: Marsh's death may have triggered the series, but it's George's death that convinces Liz to start looking into things.
One of Liz's old circle of friends at the Company. Helps her investigate the deaths of Vincent Marsh and George Peters.
- Consulting a Convicted Killer: Elizabeth comes to visit her in prison because she thinks Juliet has inside knowledge of the political situation in Israel. She doesn't have any. As Juliet points out, the information is there for all to see. It is only a matter of drawing the right conclusions.
- Good Parents: She is clearly devoted to her children. This leads to her arrest because she cannot stay away from them.
- The Extremist Was Right: She clearly had a better grasp of Middle Eastern politics than either Elizabeth or Conrad Dalton. Liz uses Juliet's views as inspiration that lets her head off a shooting war between Israel and Iran.
- The Mole: Is part of The Conspiracy together with Andrew Munsey, and personally murdered George Peters to protect the plot.
- No Name Given: We're never told her surname.
- Token Minority: The only non-white member of Liz's old circle of friends at the CIA
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Honestly believes that the nuclear deal with Iran will destabilize the Middle East
Dalton's second CIA director in the series, introduced in "Left of the Boom".
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He's specifically introduced in "Left of the Boom" as if he's going to be a major character going forward, only to be fired by Dalton in the next episode, after the dirty bomb attack.
"Murphy Station"/"Black Dog Station"
A special working group set up by President Dalton to investigate Hizb al-Shahid following their dirty bomb attack, it answers to Russell Jackson and includes Henry McCord.
Introduced in "The Show Must Go On" as an officer of the Defense Intelligence Agency, she recruits Henry into DIA to turn one of his Russian students into a US mole. Later, she joins him as a coworker at Murphy Station.
- Good Feels Good: She mentions admiring Henry for his strong morals late in the Russia arc (even though they make him a less conventionally effective spy), and after she joins him at Murphy Station she starts to take his side in seeking less violent approaches to dealing with problems.
- I Did What I Had to Do/Just Following Orders: It's her general attitude to most of her less admirable actions in the Russia arc, which ultimately leads to betraying Henry's mole Dmitri Petrov as part of the peace deal. This is played semi-sympathetically: she's professionally committed to her job, but that doesn't mean she always likes doing it. She also joins Henry in checking up on Dmitri's sister in Sweden after he's captured by the Russians.
- The Lancer: De facto second in command of Murphy Station after Henry.
A former Special Forces operator assigned to Murphy, now Black Dog Station.
- The Big Guy: He's the physically largest member of the group and is former Special Forces, and therefore essentially the muscle, but don't mistake him for Dumb Muscle.
- Fire-Forged Friends: He and Henry initially clash quite a bit over strategy, but Henry's ideas and idealism start to rub off on him. Then he's wounded hunting down Jibral Disah in Pakistan and Henry refuses to leave him behind or give up on him, and they become lasting friends.
- Genius Bruiser: He speaks and reads fluent Arabic and is good at making friends with Middle Eastern underworld contacts.
- Hot-Blooded: He's more gung-ho than Henry or Jane and tends to push more violent approaches, at least until Henry's unconventional strategies start bearing fruit.
- Token Minority: He's Latino, everyone else on the team is white.
A CIA interrogator.
- Red Shirt: She dies a couple episodes after her introduction when Hizb al-Shahid forces the contact she's meeting to wear a suicide vest.
Other US Government Characters
Governor of Pennsylvania and President Dalton's main election opponent in season 3. Evans defeats the incumbent Dalton in a primary challenge, but Dalton refuses to step down and instead runs for his second term as an independent.
- Distinction Without a Difference: Liz damages his standing by getting him to admit on a hot-mike tape that when he says he would break off the nuclear agreement with Iran, what he really means is that he would restore sanctions if Iran tried to break the deal. Which is exactly what the agreement does already.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: In many respects he's a (somewhat toned down) Donald Trump to answer Dalton as Hillary Clinton. He's dishonest, eggs on anti-Muslim rhetoric in one episode, and he's skeptical of global warming.
- No Party Given: The climate change denial and some of his rhetoric sound like a Trump Republican but there's no solid yes or no. He also accuses Dalton of being weak on defense but at the same time Russell says Evans would significantly slash defense spending. Election coverage in "Breakout Capacity" identifies states he wins in purple.
- Rules Lawyer: Tries to use an obscure anti-lobbying law to get Dalton's win in Ohio overturned (on grounds that he shouldn't have been allowed on the ballot to begin with except for Liz getting the General Assembly to waive Ohio's sore-loser law, therefore votes for him would be invalidated) after the House of Representatives reelects Dalton. (This runs into Artistic License Law because the electoral college doesn't work the way the writers seem to think it does.)
Dalton's other election opponent.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: If Evans is Trump, Reynolds is probably supposed to stand in for Bernie Sanders: he uses "political revolution" rhetoric and apparently wants higher taxes on the wealthy.
- No Party Given: Reynolds is described as having largely economic progressive views, such as taxing the wealthy to increase funding to programs including education. However he's also mentioned to have anti-interventionist bordering on isolationist foreign policy views, which are more typical of libertarians. Election coverage in "Breakout Capacity" identifies states he wins in green (usually used by the Green Party, which actually isn't a bad match for his stated views). His home state isn't ever identified, either.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: A variant. Because Reynolds made education a key issue in his campaign, Dalton and Jackson offer to appoint him Secretary of Education if he'll direct his backers in the House to vote Dalton. Reynolds declines, gently rebuking the offered deal and saying he's in it to win.
- Token Minority: Of the contenders in the election arc, Dalton and Evans are white, he's black.
A Cuban-American senator from Arizona, introduced in "Hijriyyah".
- Hypocrite: He has strongly anti-immigration views, which are called out in both his major appearances.
- In "Hijriyyah" he tries to stop President Dalton from resettling a shipload of Libyan refugees in the United States. Liz calls him on this directly, pointing out that his own parents were granted asylum in the US after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba.
- In "Shutdown", after he spends the entire episode attacking Liz's views on immigration, Liz blackmails him into ending the government shutdown by threatening to let Russell Jackson reveal that Morejon's wife had previously worked in the US as an undocumented immigrant.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He seems to be based mostly on Texas Senator Ted Cruz: a strongly conservative Cuban-American who, in a two-parter in season four, leads his party in shutting down the government over a budget dispute with President Dalton.
- No Party Given: Played with. We don't know the name of his party, but it's revealed in "The Essentials" that he represents the same party President Dalton did before running for his second term as an independent.
Islamic Republic of Iran
The Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and a moderate by Iranian standards.
- Bald of Awesome/Badass Beard: Completely bald with a full beard, and he has guts to spare. If it had gotten out that he was covertly meeting with, and even passing intelligence to the Secretary of State, it would have cost him his career at minimum (and probably his life).
- Enemy Mine/Enlightened Self-Interest: He and Liz work together to forge a treaty on Iran's nuclear program because neither of them want the US and Iran to go to war. He also helps her foil The Coup at the cost of his life.
- Sacrificial Lion: He's shot dead in the opening barrages of the coup attempt in front of Liz and his own son.
- Spanner in the Works: For Munsey. His desire to prevent war between the US and Iran led him to pass crucial information to Liz at the risk of his own life and/or career, allowing her to unravel Tamerlane.
- Beneath the Mask: In public he's pretty much a Vladimir Putin reskin, but Henry discovers that in private his overblown machismo and nationalism is mostly an act. He does want Russia to be strong and look strong, but he doesn't actually want war, and at one point works out an off-the-books deal through Henry to prevent one when a bit of his saber-rattling gets out of hand. His Bitch in Sheep's Clothing of a wife kills him for not living up to his facade.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Ostrov's clearly based on Vladimir Putin: Running an Open Secret war in Ukraine, highly belligerent towards the United States, even obsessively macho to an extent. Played with in that Henry learns it's mostly an act: he seems to behave this way because he's expected to, and doesn't really want direct confrontation with the West.
- People's Republic of Tyranny: He's openly referred to as a dictator by Liz's cadre in private.
- Plot-Triggering Death: He croaks in the second episode of season two, setting up a Story Arc of deepening tensions with Russia after his Bitch in Sheep's Clothing wife Maria outmaneuvers Liz and Gorev to take the throne. It is later revealed that Maria poisoned her husband after resenting his approach to the West.
The Russian foreign minister. Like Zahed Javani, a relative moderate compared to his boss.
- Blatant Lies: "There are no Russian troops in Ukraine." Said in such a tone as to say, "I'm repeating the party line because it's my job."
- Bodyguard Betrayal: After Maria Ostrova's Batman Gambit to keep Gorev from challenging her in a special election fails, she just has his own bodyguard shoot him before he can return to Russia.
- Knight Templar Parent/Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: His daughter is one of Henry's students at Georgetown, and in "The Operative" he tries to get Henry to change a C she got to an A. Henry refuses and hangs a lampshade on the irony of asking him to change the grade in an Ethics class. Liz later manages to get Gorev to make the Pakistanis release a captured American operative in exchange for Henry giving Gorev's daughter an incomplete instead.
- Noble Fugitive: Runs for his life to the UK after Maria Ostrova seizes power. And dies there at the hand of his own bodyguard.
- Sacrificial Lamb: His death comes early in season 2 and mainly serves to confirm that no, Ostrova is not an enemy who will be beaten easily or cheaply.
Formerly the First Lady of Russia, she proves a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and claims her deceased husband's job at his funeral.
- Arc Villain: The first half of season 2 revolves around her imperial ambitions. Even after she gets blown up, the aftereffects of her reign continue to reverberate for some time.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: "The Rusalka" in a nutshell. She came out of nowhere, not a politician but a model and singer when she married Ostrov. Playing the grieving widow, she sets up Blake to be photographed with a Nazi emblem, then brings up secret meetings between Elizabeth and Gorev and at the man's funeral, openly tells her (and America) to get out. By the time Liz gets back home, the "quiet widow" has set herself up to become the next President of Russia and everyone in Washington realizes they've been outplayed by a true master schemer. Oh, and she killed her husband for his job.
- Black Widow: The winter finale of Season 2 reveals that Maria poisoned her husband for his "toothless" handling of the West.
- Dropped a Bridge on Her: Her car is blown up at the end of the mid-season finale, and the next episode reveals that she died of her injuries.
- Evil Counterpart: Like Liz, a master schemer in her government. Unlike Liz, she's also fanatically jingoistic and a Heteronormative Crusader.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: She was a moderately successful model and pop singer before marrying President Ostrov. After surviving her husband (actually, she poisoned him), she seizes power herself and escalates the not-so-Secret War in Ukraine.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: She's something of a Gender Flipped version of Vladimir Putin: jingoistic, homophobic, paranoid, and vindictive, with an attitude of standing up for Russia against the West. However, unlike Putin, a former KGB officer who was active in the Russian government for some time before the 2010s (even previously serving as president after Boris Yeltsin), she basically came out of nowhere.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Slavic languages usually append the suffix "-a" to women's surnames. The English-speaking characters and the credits all refer to her as "Maria Ostrov", but the Russian-speaking characters correctly give her the feminine "Ostrova".
- Take Up My Sword: Determined to continue her deceased husband's self-appointed mission to make Russia great again. Except for the part where she murdered him because, in her view, he wasn't doing that.
- Widow Woman: She sets up a masterful Batman Gambit against Liz while playing the grieving widow.
A Russian Army captain of Georgian descent studying under Henry McCord at the National War College. Henry recruits him as a mole in exchange for cancer treatment for his sister.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Zig-Zagged. He is given up by Liz and President Dalton as a secret part of the deal to end the Russian-Ukrainian war, and is captured by Russian intelligence in the mid-season finale. In the next episode, he is presumed dead by everyone, but Liz and Henry eventually arrange for GRU to release him to the Americans, where they reunite him with his sister in the United States under new identities. He has trouble adjusting to civilian life at first, but later, Russia breaking the letter of the deal that ended the war in Ukraine and got him back lets Henry hire him as a consultant at the CIA... where it turns out he's become addicted to opioid painkillers.
- Functional Addict: He gets addicted to opioids as a result of painkillers he was prescribed to alleviate pain from the aftereffects of his torture in prison. Henry gets him help.
- Global Ignorance: Referring to the official story on Gorev's assassination, he comments, "Perhaps later I will arrange for you to buy the Manhattan Bridge." Henry corrects him with the Brooklyn Bridge.
- The Mole: Henry recruits him as a mole for US intelligence inside the Russian Army.
- Nerves of Steel: Zig-Zagged. He stands up to the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique (a Secret Test of Character from Henry to see if he can really make it as a mole), maintaining his cover despite being very drunk when he was grabbed, but later is shown trashing his dorm room in a panic, looking for bugs. He similarly is able to maintain his cover when sent back to Russia, but is positively terrified and keeps begging Henry to pull him out.
- Patriotic Fervor: Henry was assigned to turn one of his Russian Army students into a US mole. Petrov's relative lack of it (Petrov is Georgian, not Russian, and isn't openly supportive of the Ostrovs' power games) is part of the reason Henry picks him over the other option. (The other part being that turning the other guy meant blackmailing him with being Armored Closet Gay, which Henry considered unethical.)
- Platonic Prostitution: A couple times while working in Russia for the GRU, he pays a prostitute for the use of her cell phone to make contact with Henry (which has the bonus effect the first time of putting off a pair of GRU officers who were tailing him).
A general in the Russian military intelligence agency GRU, he appoints Captain Petrov as his aide after his return to Russia.
- Bald of Evil: He has very little hair left and is mostly a villain in the series, pushing military confrontation with the West as a route back to Russian glory.
- War Hawk: He purports to be eager for war with the West over Ukraine, especially after Maria Ostrova's assassination. He's eventually overruled by Ostrova's successor Salnikov. He's also reputed to be behind the Russian attempt to annex Bulgaria from under NATO's nose in "Article 5".
People's Republic of China
The Chinese foreign minister.
- China Takes Over the World: Well, they haven't yet, but Chen is one of the few foreign diplomats who can really stand up to Liz. He also replies when queried about the hack on Air Force One that China has no need to resort to such measures because eventually they'll own enough of the US national debt to repossess America.
- Enemy Mine: In "Render Safe" he arranges for China to join with United States to secure Pakistan's nuclear arsenal when that government collapses in an HS-backed coup attempt. This after Russia pulls out of the plan, thinking that the new Pakistani government will be friendlier to their interests).
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: He's more cynical than Liz, which he attributes in "The Detour" to his father dying courtesy of Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution (the above quote is from that episode).
- Worthy Opponent: He and Liz have a lot of professional respect for each other and he's one of the few foreign ministers in the show who can really match her for guile.
The President of Ukraine and an ally of the United States out of justified fear of Russian aggression.
- Batman Gambit: He ran a big one on the Dalton Administration to shore up military support against Russia, hiring a hacker known to work with the Russians to cyberattack Air Force One, then using a known Russian assassination method (polonium poisoning) to kill the hacker. Even after he's found out, the Dalton Administration has no choice but to play along or else destroy the credibility of the United States and trigger an immediate invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Only avoids being a Xanatos Gambit because the final favorable result happened for a different reason than intended.
- General Ripper: He's terrified of Russia, partly as a holdover from the Soviet domination of Ukraine more than 25 years earlier, and is willing to do horrible things to keep Ukraine independent. Unfortunately, he's Properly Paranoid: the Ostrovs really do want to regain the old Russian Empire, Ukraine included, and are running a proxy war through the separatists on the eastern side of the country.
- Retired Badass: His being a former Ukrainian Ground Forces paratrooper is a plot point in "Russian Roulette": he staged the crash of his own personal jet, using his training to jump to safety.
French Fifth Republic
The new nationalist President of France in "The French Revolution".
- Cavalry Betrayal: In "Article 5", Russia invades Bulgaria, whose government invokes Article 5 of the NATO treaty, the mutual defense clause. Under orders from Moscow, President Perrin's foreign minister votes "nay", blocking the member countries from coming to Bulgaria's aid.
- Corrupt Politician: He took money under the table from the Russians to revive his floundering presidential campaign in exchange for later services. Said services turn out to be a Cavalry Betrayal of Bulgaria when Russia invades.
- Meaningful Name: His initials "LP" are almost certainly a reference to French National Front leaders Jean-Marie Le Pen and Marine Le Pen, and his name also sounds a lot like "Le Pen".
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He's essentially a clone of former French National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, a French nationalist anti-European Union leader. The initials probably should've been a clue.
- Our Presidents Are Different: President Corrupt. He took money from the Russians to revive his floundering presidential campaign in exchange for later services. Said services turn out to be a Cavalry Betrayal of Bulgaria when Russia invades.
- Put on a Bus: The last we hear of him in "Article 5", France's Parliament is in the process of impeaching him; he presumably landed in prison afterwards.
- Spanner in the Works:
- He picks a fight with the Dalton Administration after DGSE (French intelligence) detains one of Henry's operatives investigating Hizb al-Shahid's artifacts trafficking.
- Under orders from Russia, he has his foreign minister block the invocation of NATO's Article 5 when Russia invades Bulgaria.
Hizb al-Shahid (إزب أل-شهد)An Islamic extremist group active in North Africa in the latter part of season 2 and early episodes of season 3. Murphy Station is established to eliminate them.
- Fictional Counterpart: For Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), right down to being abbreviated "HS". They're radical Wahhabists who claim to have established a caliphate, like to destroy pre-Islamic religious sites, and have carried out a variety of attacks worldwide. Unusually for this trope, the real Daesh also exists and absorbs some of HS's remnants after they're broken up by Black Dog Station.
- Meaningful Name: Hizb al-Shahid means "Party of Martyrs" in Arabic.
The self-proclaimed caliph of HS.
- Altar Diplomacy: Married Hijriyyah, the young daughter of a Libyan warlord, in exchange for his allegiance. It's ultimately his undoing: Murphy Station has her rescued from Disah's compound and fakes her death, and she helps them find him.
- Arc Villain: For the latter half of season 2.
- Death from Above: Murphy Station tracks him down in Islamabad during the coup attempt against Prime Minister Khoosat, and calls in a drone strike on his ass as he tries to get away.
- The Ghost: He's an elusive figure in the show, only once ever seen, and that as a headshot on a screen in the White House Situation Room.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He's based on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The Covenant of JohnA Christian fundamentalist Apocalypse Cult that debuted as a one-episode villain in the second half of season one, then was brought back in a big way in the second half of season three.
- Apocalypse Cult: They interpret the Book of Revelation literally and believe it's their Mission from God to bring it about. Amusingly, this leads one member to build a bomb for Da'ish, of all things, in hopes of provoking the final war.
- Enemy Mine: One of their members builds a bomb for Da'ish in hopes of provoking the final war between Islam and Christianity believed prophesied by both Da'ish and some Christian extremist groups. Later they work with al-Qa'ida to accomplish the same goal.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: In their second incarnation they merge with the Virginia Field Force, a white supremacist militia in backcountry Virginia.