Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Primeval

Go To

Professor Nick Cutter

A professor of evolutionary zoology, and the leader of the team for the first two seasons, as well as the first three episodes of the third season. A little off-the-wall, not to mention a host of issues relating to his wife, Helen, who vanished in mysterious circumstances... then turned up again, being by this point more or less insane. Played by Douglas Henshall.

  • Anti-Hero: He starts the series as a Type II, being somewhat abrasive but overall a nice guy.
  • Advertisement:
  • Badass Bookworm: A fighter and a genius.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: All but stated by Lester.
  • The Comically Serious: Has a few moments.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Yup.
  • The Hero: Until his death.
  • Genius Bruiser: Not a conventional example, but he can punch out a raptor while reciting its biology and cladistic classification.
  • Honor Before Reason: Half-and-half. He usually puts anomaly research and saving lives before his own personal troubles, but sometimes his obsession with Helen and Claudia pushes him to take questionable actions. And he does offer to make a Heroic Sacrifice at the end of Season 2.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold
  • Killed Off for Real: Is shot by Helen early in Season Three.
  • No Social Skills: He lampshades it several times.
  • Perma-Stubble: Always. Seriously, always.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Particularly by Season Three. Considering what he's been through, this is not in the least bit surprising.
  • Advertisement:
  • Ship Tease: With Claudia.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Claudia in Series 1, and later with Jenny in Series 2 & 3. They do...and then its undone. At the end of Series 1, Claudia is erased from the timeline, and in the third episode of Series 3, Nick Cutter is murdered by his wife, Helen.

Connor Temple

One of Nick Cutter's students. While not initially the most reliable person, Connor is highly intelligent. He's been maintaining his own database of prehistoric creatures for years, and he developed pretty much all of the ARC's technology (save the EMDs). He moves in with Abby partway through Season One, and later enters a relationship with her.

  • Adorkable: Frequently.
  • Badass Bookworm: He can fight, when required.
  • Berserk Button: Threatening Abby, or even just making her unhappy, will result in him coming after you with whatever he can find - oars, rocks, Becker, anything handy.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Lester calls him an "idiot savant", when something tries with the detector fails.
  • Butt-Monkey: He tends to get the rough end of... more or less everything, at first.
  • Cowardly Lion: He seems like a cowardly nerd. He is, in fact, much more than that.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: When it comes to it, he's genuinely dangerous.
  • Happily Married: With Abby as of Primeval: New World.
  • Hollywood Nerd: One of the books actually says he is "not handsome". Yeah, right.
  • Hot Scientist: Yup.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Yes!
  • Nice Hat: Connor's brown trilby. Mostly stops wearing it at Season 3.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Initially.
  • The Smart Guy: Initially. He then overlaps with The Lancer in Series 3.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Connor has expressed fear of rats, museums, and a Zombie Apocalypse at different points. He apparently had a phobia of bathrooms for a while, too, but was forced to get over that.

Abby Maitland

A zookeeper who joins the team in the first episode. Abby's primary contribution is her acute understanding of animal behavior and psychology. Enters a relationship with Connor, and proposes to him at the end of Season Five.

  • Action Girl: She's a skilled fighter, and will not hesitate to beat the hell out of you should it be needed.
  • Berserk Button: Threatening Rex will likely result in her beating the crap out of you.
  • Broken Bird: Debatably. The Cretaceous seemed to have a more marked impact on her than it did on Connor. After her return, she rarely shows emotion anymore. The exception is with Connor, as their relationship was only strengthened by their shared adversity.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Her hair grows longer while she and Connor are stuck in the Cretaceous, and she keeps it that way, marking her much cooler demeanor.
  • Hospital Hottie: Abby is a qualified vet.
  • The Lancer: Shares this role with Connor in the latter part of Series Three.
  • Mama Bear: To Rex.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Strolls around her apartment in shirt, underwear, and nothing else.
  • Spiky Hair: In season 3 when she really becomes an Action Girl. Apparently in real life, the bleach from the previous two seasons had fried Hannah's hair so it was only just growing back.
  • Tomboy: Subverted. While Abby does have some tomboyish habits, she has several Girly Girl qualities as well. She loves a good Chick Flick, getting dressed up and cute animals.
  • Tsundere: Abby occasionally acts like this towards Connor.

Stephen Hart

Cutter's TA. Served as the show's resident Badass for the first season. Turns out to have had an affair with Helen in the past. Dies at the end of Season Two.

Claudia Brown

An agent from the Home Office. Vanishes at the end of Season One, due to an apparent alteration of the timeline.
  • Action Girl: she's got guts like beating off a blood-thirsty pterosaur with a golf club...while blind.
  • Brainy Brunette: Smart, and dark haired.
  • The Chick: Keeping peace between Lester and the rest of The Team.
  • Hot Librarian: Well Civil Servant.
  • Retcon: Thanks to the timeline being altered, she never existed, or was instead named Jenny Lewis and went into PR instead of the Home Office.

Jenny Lewis

A PR specialist who joins in Season Two. Her main job is to take care of covering up the anomalies.
  • Berserk Button: Crash her wedding, and you WILL pay, as the Hyaenodon found out.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes.
  • Disposable Fiancée: Her fiancee in season 2 makes a brief appearance and it's not long before she gets cold feet and backs out of it. Averted in season 4 where she marries her new fiancée.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: A justified example. She reveals she knows how to shoot a rifle a few episodes in. It's reasonable to suggest she didn't reveal that skill earlier because she was still getting used to being in situations where it would be useful.
  • Only Sane Woman: A lot of the time.
  • Put on a Bus/Opt Out: Resigns and leaves midway through Season Three, after nearly being killed by a fungus creature.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: A few times in the second season, to show how out of her depth she is.

James Lester

A government minister who is the official head of the ARC.

  • Action Survivor: He manages to survive a remote-controlled Future Predator, by himself.
  • Berserk Button: Lester is normally a very composed guy, who will nevertheless use every means at his disposal to take you down if you either a) usurp his authority or b) threaten his Jag. The former involves political connections and clever subordinates. The latter involves an EMD.
    • An understated bonus point: don't try to usurp his authority while simultaneously implying that the genius he's a bit of a Team Dad towards should fetch you coffee.
  • Da Chief: Takes this role in managing the team.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Frequently. It's pretty much his main role in the team, and more than once he tells off Becker for infringing on his shtick.
  • Dirty Business: In season 1 he had to have a woman arrested after her lifeguard boyfriend was eaten alive by a Mosasaur. He took no pleasure in the act but had to do it because nobody would believe her story and they had to keep the anomalies a secret. However, he promised to release her once the mosasaur was dealt with.
  • Fire-Forged Friend: He does soften up a tad towards the rest of the team around Series 3. This is also around the time that he starts become more involved in the plots and his life is endangered a bit more often.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Threatens to sue Abby if she tells anyone that she suspects he's a nice guy deep down.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He does genuinely care about the team, and is thoroughly protective of them. However, he will never, ever admit it.

Helen Cutter

Nick Cutter's wife, who vanished through an anomaly eight years before the show started.

  • Big Bad: In Seasons Two and Three. Very briefly overthrown by Leek at the end of Season Two however, see below.
  • Demoted to Dragon In Chief: She becomes right hand girl to Oliver Leek in Season Two, but makes perfectly clear he follows her commands, and spends most of their allegiance gleefully threatening and emasculating him. When Leek finally makes his power play and grows a backbone against her, she quickly performs an Enemy Mine with the team, finding it a better choice than the roles reversing and being reduced to a genuine subordinate to Leek.
  • Evil Is Petty: Extremely, especially where Nick is concerned. It's implied that she altered time, transforming Claudia Brown into Jenny Lewis, and making Nick's life hell, out of pure spite.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: To an extent.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Whatever she saw in the anomaly left her insanely adamant on wiping out the entire human race.
  • Hot Scientist: And knows it!
  • Killed Off for Real: Randomly attacked and killed by a charging dinosaur.
  • Knight Templar: Yup.
  • Man Behind the Man: Played with. Helen wasn't this intentionally, but she ended up here as a result of posthumus Gambit Roulette in series five. Turns out Philip Burton was influenced to start the New Dawn Project because of Helen, and she simply didn't realize or didn't care how badly it would turn out. It also plays with said Gambit Roulette in that it actually failed regardless of the heroes saving the day or not, since it would've reduced Earth to a lifeless waste, while Helen's stated goal was to save the ecosystem.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Reconstructed when she abandoned Leek after he shows his sadistic zeal, part due to even her having standards against the team, and also because she wasn't his Bad Boss anymore.
  • The Starscream: To Leek at the end of Season Two.
  • Straw Nihilist: Fully convinced Humans Are the Real Monsters, and tries to reverse the entire species' existence, not caring in the least if that erases herself from reality as well.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: With the emphasis on the Extremist part.
  • Wild Card: In Series One. In Series Two and Three, she becomes a full-on villain.

Captain Becker

Veteran soldier, joins the team in Season Three.

  • Embarrassing First Name: His first name is Hilary.
  • Heroic BSoD: After losing Connor, Abby, Danny, and Sarah - though the first three turn out to be alive, just marooned in other times.
  • Not So Stoic: He's not necessarily stoic, but after Sarah's death, we see his first real moment of weakness. And on a happier note, he definitely returns Jess's feelings, as noted by his complete and obvious worry for her when she's dying in 5x04.
  • The Big Guy: Literally and figuratively.
  • One-Man Army: This exchange from 3x03
    Lester: How many men have you got?
    Becker: Just me. Should be enough. (It was)

Sarah Page

An archaeologist who joins the group in Season Three, with the idea of tracking monsters through history.

  • Aesop Amnesia: Complains in 3.7 that she is never allowed to participate in missions. She got over the trauma of what happened in 3.6 pretty quickly.
  • McLeaned: Between seasons 3 and 4. Actress Laila Rouass opted not to move to Dublin to film as she didn't want to leave her young daughter.
  • Politically Correct History: Played with. The boy she meets in the Middle Ages does ask first if she's a witch and then if she's from the Holy Land, obviously not used to seeing a mixed race woman before. And the former was not so much because she wasn't white and more because she was an unarmed peasant woman who was not apparently eaten by the 'dragon' despite being outside the sanctity of the church.
  • The Smart Guy: An additional one as that role was previously filled by Connor. Sarah's intelligence stems from her knowledge of mythical creatures and how they could be traced to real-life prehistoric beasts.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Protests against this in 3.7
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: After Jenny left, she filled the Girly Girl contrast to Abby's Tomboy.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Was cast to appease complaints on the lack of ethnic casting on the show.

Danny Quinn

A police officer who gets caught up in the ARC's activities in Season Three, and decides to join without asking permission. After Cutter's death, he becomes the new leader of the team.

  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Inverted - he's the only one who doesn't seem to know that he's not an actual member of the team. Eventually, they all give in.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: His methods are strange, to say the least, but he's largely competent and helpful.
  • Cowboy Cop: He's more or less by the book when he first appears, but becomes more this trope as he gets more and more involved with the ARC.
  • Put on a Bus: Got trapped in the Pliocene at the end of Season Three.
    • The Bus Came Back: He makes a cameo in the finale of Season Four, where he finds out his brother is alive... and nuts.

Matt Anderson

Takes over the team after Season Three. Actually from the future.

  • The Ace: Apparently invented the highly potent (apparently) EMDs, is effortlessly good at running the team, usually has a snarky quip, and good under pressure. And is one half of the series Fantastic Romance. Coupled with his being a soldier from the future helps.
  • The Hero: Although at this point, he's just the team leader.


A cute little Coelurosauravus that Abby keeps as a pet.

  • All Animals Are Dogs: Acts like a flying house cat.
  • The Millstone: The Pteranodon in episode 5 started chasing after Connor and almost killed him... because it wanted to eat Rex.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: He's tiny and adorable!
  • Rule of Cool: He's capable of true flight, which real life Coelurosauravus were most certainly not.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Him disappearing from an episode usually means something bad is going to happen. And as the series progresses further into Cerebus Syndrome, he stops appearing altogether. Fortunately, he's not killed off, though he comes distressingly close, thanks to Connor's herpetophobic ex-girlfriend.
  • Team Pet: A classic example.

The Future Predators

Mysterious predators from the future and Primeval's closest thing to a main creature antagonist. The circumstances of their evolution are unclear, but it's implied that they are genetically engineered.

  • Ax-Crazy: Hell, yes.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: They serve as part of one in Series 3, along with Christine Johnson and Helen Cutter.
  • Bat Out of Hell: It's commented that they either evolved from bats or were created using bat DNA.
  • Demoted to Dragon: In Series 2, they become little more than Leek's attack dogs.
  • Elite Mooks: Serve as this to Leek in Series 2.
  • Fragile Speedster: They are agile and deadly, but can be defeated by a single headshot.
  • The Greys: Their design seems to invoke this.
  • The Heavy: They serve as this to Leek in Series 2.
  • Hero Killer: They kill Captain Ryan, assorted ARC soldiers and Sarah Page.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Episodes involving them are generally much more serious.
  • Killer Rabbit: Even juvenile future predators can rip your throat out.
  • Super Soldier: It's subtly implied that they are genetically engineered.
  • Stable Time Loop: It's subtly implied that they are part of this. In Series 3, it's implied that they are genetically engineered by someone (possibly Christine Johnson's organization or the ARC) from DNA from their own corpses. So basically, their creation was always destined to occur.

    Major Anomaly Creatures 


The apex predator of the Permian.

  • Cool vs. Awesome: Fights a future predator in its final appearance. It wins.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Especially when compared to the Future Predator.
  • Made of Iron: The first one encountered survives being hit with a car and takes quite a bit of gunfire before dying, while the second one is brutally savaged by a Future Predator, even losing an eye, but still manages to kill it.
    • Up to Eleven: Since the anomaly in the first and last episodes of season one open to the places, just at different times, its entirely possible that the gorgonopsids encountered in those episodes are actually the same animal, which really pushes this trope to its limits.
  • No Name Given: It's particular genus is never mentioned. Given it lives side by side with Scutosaurus, it's most likely Inostrancevia.
  • Warm-Up Boss: It's the very first dangerous animal the team encounters, but it ultimately doesn't cause any human deaths.


A gigantic, prehistoric centipede.


A famous, crested pterosaur, suspected of killing a golfer. It didn't.

  • Giant Flyer: Has an impressive wingspan.
  • Ptero Soarer: It's not awful, mind you, but it is bald, a little too big, has inaccurately positioned pteroid bones and launches bipedally.
  • Red Herring: Turns out it wasn't what killed the golfer.


A swarm of predatory pterosaurs.

  • Artistic License – Paleontology: EVERYTHING about them is wrong.
  • Piranha Problem: A flying version.
  • Ptero Soarer: The real Anurognathus was a tiny batlike insectivore that was quadrupedal, covered in fluffy, fluffy fur and had a face similar to that of a Muppet. This one is a hawk-sized predator that stands on two legs, is naked and looks like a psychotic abomination.
  • Zerg Rush: They attack their prey in huge numbers.


Exactly What It Says on the Tin

Silurian Scorpians.

REALLY big prehistoric scorpions.

Mer Creature

Seal-like primates from the future. It's half-jokingly speculated that they're descended from humans.


The famous sabre toothed cat.

  • Never Found the Body: Claimed to have died from a sedative overdose in its debut episode, but we don't see this happen. sure enough, it later shows up in Leek's creature prison.
    • Also applies to the last episode of season two, as it is never seen dying, and it is entirely possible it survived the feeding frenzy, though this is unlikely.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Of the Not-Actually-A-Dinosaur variety.


Giant, mutant winged ants from the future.

  • Adaptational Species Change: The contest entry that they were based on say that they're beetles, but in the episode where they appear, they're said to be ants.
  • Bad Future: Together with the Future Predators, they're responsible for killing off humanity in one possible future.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: They can grow to the size of a car.
  • Evil vs. Evil: They fight the Future Predators in their second appearance.
  • Official Fan-Submitted Content: They were based on the winner of a "design-a-creature" contest


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: