List of major, recurring and minor characters from Silicon Valley.
Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch)
- "Look, guys, for thousands of years, guys like us gave gotten the shit kicked out of us. But now, for the first time, we're living in an era, where we can be in charge and build empires. We could be the Vikings of our day."
The primary coder and CEO of Pied Piper.
- Adorkable: Oh yes.
- Berserk Button: Has no tolerance for coders who use spaces instead of tabs despite there really being no difference. He ends up dating a girl that he quickly finds out uses spaces. He tries to be cool about it because he likes her but really can't let it go and goes off on her.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Meek and passive as he might be, Richard is also surprisingly selfish and vindictive to other people. While this is apparent from the beginning, it becomes more pronounced as he becomes more confident.
- Crippling Overspecialization: While Richard is a true wunderkind when it comes to programming, his poor people skills, unpredictable-but-frequent mood swings, and lack of business training make him a poor CEO.
- Extreme Doormat: Richard is socially awkward and extremely passive and uncomfortable when dealing with other people, not to mention so naive that it almost never occurs to him that someone may be trying to screw him or Pied Piper over. He usually needs Erlich's help when some charisma or sales skills are required.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic
- Hot-Blooded: Described as a ticking time bomb of pent up rage. While he's generally a quiet pushover, Richard breaks into a passionate, angry rant almost Once an Episode.
- Lovable Nerd: While he's far from flawless, Richard is generally a likable and endearing guy due to a combination of his genuine devotion to his craft and overall awkwardness.
- Mistaken for Gay: Richard is mistaken for gay by his ex-girlfriend, who overhears Jared telling Monica that he's Richard's (business) partner.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Richard is selfish, has poor social skills, and is prone to making short-sighted mistakes, but he's also generally portrayed as a relatively decent and sympathetic guy.
- Socially Awkward Hero: Richard's people skills are very bad, to the point where he can't even look most people in the eye when talking to them. He's gotten progressively better at it as the show continues, though he's still has a bad stutter and a tendency of putting his foot in his mouth.
- Too Dumb to Live: He takes his secret skunkworks plans to the office, after a whole night of planning, and a specific directive to shred all evidence.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In the beginning of season 3, where he lashes out at everyone. Entirely justified as he feels he's being screwed out of his own company and nobody, except for Jared, has his back. He gets even worse in season 4, where he dismisses his friends' work on their excellent video chat application because it not his own idea.
- Even worse in later season 4, when Richard tries to hack into every visitor of Hooli Con with Pied Piper app, only to have it all messed up because he hacks his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend's screensaver, thanks to his jealousy and it's revealed that Richard is the one who's responsible for Keenan's VR company being acquired by Hooli, which causes Erlich to lose their deal along with his job at Bream Hall and almost kill himself, and he lies about the whole thing.
- Wild Card: Surprisingly, Richard has a tendency of acting spontaneously and recklessly during tense situations, which makes him an unpredictable opponent to his competitors. He has both benefited and suffered from this behavior at various points.
- Younger Than They Look: One character mistakes him for about a decade older than he is and a doctor diagnoses him with his organs aging severely due to stress.
Erlich Bachmann (T.J. Miller)
- "...if you're not an asshole, it creates this kind of asshole vacuum and that void is filled by other assholes."
A wannabe entrepreneur who runs an "innovation incubator" in his house and owns 10% of Pied Piper.
- Catholic School Girls Rule: Holds this opinion, as shown when Monica revealed she went to a catholic school.
- Comically Missing the Point: Constantly, usually when he doesn't grasp how much of an overbearing jerk he can be and nowhere near as smart as he thinks.
- In college, he was nicknamed "Kool-Aid" and assumes it was because of how cool he was. It was actually because, like the Kool-Aid Man, he'd burst into other people's conversations and was fat and loud. Even after Richard shows the video and openly telling him, Erlich still doesn't get it.
- Delusions of Eloquence: Sees himself as erudite Steve Jobs-type when in reality he's a slovenly stoner.
- Driven to Suicide: Possibly near the end of "The Keenan Vortex". After Keenan Feldspar backstabs him, Erlich goes home and sets the palapa behind the Incubator on fire while he's sitting under the palapa. The attempt fails as the morning after shows that Erlich is completely unharmed but unresponsive.
- Erudite Stoner: He's definitely a stoner. He's not nearly as erudite as he thinks he is, but he does have a philosophical side and once things get serious and you cut through his bragging he actually has provided Richard with a lot of useful advice and guidance.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric
- The Friend Nobody Likes: He doesn't take as much crap in the group as Jared, but between his overblown ego and generally abrasive personality, nobody really likes being around him. People usually only hang around him because he offers resources that they need but can't afford (like housing, beer, or weed). The season 2 episode "Homicide", in which Pied Piper partners up with an energy drink company owned by an old college acquaintance of Erlich's reveals that he was definitely this in college.
- Heroic BSoD: In "The Keenan Vortex", Erlich suffers from one after Keenan Feldspar backstabs him in order to work for Jack Barker at Hooli. He is seen to be in a non-responsive state near the end of the episode.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He explains to Jian Yang how California laws that heavily favor tenants over landlords leave Jared unable to get his condo back from the guy he was renting it to on Airbnb... leading Jian Yang to realize that he can keep staying at Erlich's house for up to a year without Erlich being able to do a damn thing about it.
- Erlich tricks Big Head into giving him access to his fortune and uses it to throw a big party celebrating himself, but in "Bachmanity Insanity" he discovers that Big Head was broke and his ploy has him on the hook for $1 million he doesn't have. He has to sell his shares of Pied Piper for $713,0000 debt, when they could be worth billions in a short while.
- Subverted when these events lead to Erlich owning half of Pied Piper, though it's in worse shape than ever.
- He later tries to use the students in Big Head's Stanford CS class as labor for See Food, they immediately realize what he's up to and steal his idea, rendering it worthless.
- Jerkass: Partially just because it's his personality, partially because he sees it as necessary to be one because Richard is too meek and trusting to be a good CEO on his own.
- Jerkass Has a Point: There are occasions when he can be quite insightful and good at picking up people's ulterior motives.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Erlich is an egomaniac looking to profit off of others' work and has no moral qualms about sleeping with other men's wives. But he is also protective of Richard and when he finds out that Richard is being bullied by neighborhood children, promptly goes out and beats up a boy who couldn't have been more than 13 years old.
- Kavorka Man: He's a boorish, egotistical stoner whose appearance has been compared to that of a manatee - but he has managed to convince more than one married woman to sleep with him.
- The Load: While he has occasional moments of brilliance, and his bravado at times compensates for Richard's timidity, Erlich is generally much more of a hindrance than an asset.
- Mushroom Samba: Takes a fistful of psychotropic mushrooms and trips balls while trying to think up a good company name.
- Occidental Otaku: Erlich is something of a Japanophile and attempts to copy aspects of Japanese business culture (which he says is the most advanced in the world), such as ritualized gift-giving.
- Put on a Bus: Is last seen sprawled on the floor of some unidentified Tibetan house smoking opium in "Server Error."
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Clearly could have sold his company for far more but just thought about enough to live on and thus often fails to grasp that being rich has its costs.
- It's best shown when he tricks Big Head into giving up control of the latter's $20 million fortune. However, Erlich has neglected to check the finances to discover that Big Head has already blown through his money on stuff such as moving his mansion pool and then moving it back to where it was. At a huge party at Alcatraz, Erlich is rocked to discover that thanks to his massive spending, he and Nelson are both broke.
- Small Name, Big Ego: In spades. He sold his company for just enough money to live on but continues to act like he's a fantastic Silicon Valley hotshot and genius who's a mentor to others. In truth, most in the business have no idea who he is and his "protegees" hate him.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Erlich sees himself as a sophisticated man with a taste for the finer things, which contrasts humorously with his crass manners and unkempt appearance. He'll wear kimonos and buy expensive artisan cheeses while swearing and ripping huge bong hits.
- Vision Quest: Erlich is fond of these; he says he found the name for his previous company, Aviato (actually he says it "found him") on one, and he tries again in the third episode of the first season when the team is considering re-naming Pied Piper.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: As noted above, he thinks he's a cultured and respected power player in the tech world when he's really a stoned egomaniac with barely any recognition.
Bertram Gilfoyle (Martin Starr)
- "I just masturbated to heighten my focus. I have a 15-minute refractory period."
The network engineer of Pied Piper who is known for his apathetic and sardonic personality.
- Always Someone Better: Generally outdoes Dinesh at everything with ease and loves rubbing it in his face.
- Deadpan Snarker: Almost every line out of his mouth.
- Divergent Character Evolution: The situation with him and Dinesh is a little like this. Originally they were defined primarily by their rivalry with each other, but as the series has gone on they've developed more unique character traits distinct from each other. They're still in almost every scene together, though.
- Everyone Has Standards: Despite his openly nihilistic personality, there are a few times he shows limitations:
- He doesn't appreciate people lying to him.
- Along with Dinesh, he gets disgusted when Richard acts like a jerkass just to attain his goals.
- He even considered Richard's accidental outing of Deedee (a gay CEO) as a Christian (considered a sin in the tech world) to be in poor taste.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
- Freudian Excuse: While Gilfoyle's childhood is hardly ever touched upon, he has hinted at animosity towards his mother, referring to her as a "backstabbing bitch".
- Gadgeteer Genius: Pied Piper's hardware specialist. When Gavin Belson makes Pied Piper radioactive to every hosting provider they approach, Gilfoyle builds the company servers in the garage.
- Hollywood Satanism: Mostly averted. Gilfoyle is a self-described "LaVeyan Satanist with some theistic tendencies." And while he attends a "baptism" ceremony no one there is portrayed as explicitly evil. In fact the priest especially is a very nice man. On the other hand, while Gilfoyle seems to treat some of his co-workers as true friends (he appears to genuinely like and respect Richard, for example), he espouses an extremely nihilistic and cynical worldview, asserting that people are all just "animals in a pit" and saying he trusts nobody.
- Karma Houdini: Is the only one able to completely get away with being a Jerkass and nothing bad ever happens to him. This is Played for Laughs as he often enjoys other people's torments, Dinesh being his primary entertainment. The closest this gets to being averted is during season 5 where he and the rest are kicked out of the Incubator by Jian Yang but he ultimately gets the last laugh as Jian Yang allows them back into the Incubator during the season finale thanks to him stupidly gambling all of his money away.
- Kavorka Man: Gilfolyle obviously doesn't put much effort into his appearance, but he has a gorgeous girlfriend who stuns the other Incubator residents. On a non-sexual level, he's demonstrated he also has the ability to quickly make friends with strangers if he wants to - he just usually doesn't try, probably because of his cynical views on people.
- Last-Name Basis: His first name is Bertram, but nobody ever calls him that.
- Living Lie Detector: He claims to have this ability in one third season episode, and at least on the nervous and awkward Jared it seems to work. It doesn't seem to work at the end of the same episode when Jared secretly pays a "click farm" in Bangladesh to artificially inflate Pied Piper's user base, but it's left ambiguous whether Gilfoyle really believed Jared or just chose to not call him on the lie for the sake of Richard and the company.
- Ship Tease: There are a lot of scenes in Season 5 Episodes 7 and 8 of Gilfoyle staring at Monica and in the season finale of season 5 they spend a lot of time together, and Gilfoyle tells Monica he likes her, albeit in a platonic way, they have an undeniable chemistry.
- The Illegal: Gilfoyle is Canadian and was briefly in the US illegally. This pisses Dinesh off because he thought the guys immediately assumed it would be him. Once Gilfoyle quickly sorts things out, Dinesh is pissed off even further because of the implied racism and how long it took him and his family to legally earn their citizenship.
- The Stoic: Very rarely emotes.
- The Stoner: Keeps mushrooms in an ice cream carton in the fridge, and is seen smoking pot by the pool in at least one episode (leading to an argument with Richard about whether he was getting high at work or at home, since the Incubator house is also Pied Piper's offices).
- Those Two Guys: With Dinesh
- Troll: Especially if the target is Dinesh. Most notably in season 4 when he agrees with Richard's decision to promote Dinesh to CEO just so he can see Dinesh fail. Gilfoyle gets his wish in season 4, Episode 2 when it's revealed that Dinesh didn't bother adding terms of service to PiperChat thus making Dinesh's chat app in violation of COPPA and making Dinesh potentially liable of $21 billion in fines. Gilfoyle even pops a bottle of champagne in celebration of Dinesh's fuck-up.
Dinesh Chugtai (Kumail Nanjiani)
- "I didn't even shake a woman's hand until I was 17 years old. The idea of getting an erection around men I live and work with, it's just not something I can handle. The idea that I have a boner and you have a boner and he has a boner and we're all sitting there with boners in our pants..."
A programmer specializing in Java and coder in Pied Piper. He is often the victim of Gilfoyle's ridicule and pranks.
- Butt-Monkey: Increasingly rivaling Jared for this status within the group, much to his own chagrin.
- Divergent Character Evolution: The situation with him and Gilfoyle is a little like this. Originally they were defined primarily by their rivalry with each other, but as the series has gone on they've developed more unique character traits distinct from each other. They're still in almost every scene together, though.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Leukine
- Jerkass: Increasingly as the series goes on.
- The Load: Becomes more pronounced after Erlich leaves the group. Dinesh is a great programmer, but he's distinctly below both Richard and Gilfoyle in terms of skill. On top of that, his self-absorbed and petty attitude frequently causes him to create new problems or make pre-existing ones grow even worse.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Dinesh sneaks into the garage to have a go at setting up one of Gilfoyle's homemade servers and succeeds in bricking 50 thousand dollars worth of equipment (and blacking out the neighborhood) with the single flip of a switch.
- Only One Name: His surname is Chugtai, but this is virtually never mentioned.
- Straw Loser: Dinesh is only allowed to one-up Gilfoyle if it results in a Pyrrhic Victory for him.
- Those Two Guys: With Gilfoyle
- Throw the Dog a Bone: In Season 3, he uses the algorithm to develop a video chat app for his personal use. The app is well received and so the team decides to pivot Pied Piper to that instead. In season four, when Richard decides to leave the company, he appoints Dinesh as CEO. However...
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Dinesh and Gilfoyle spend most of the first season as rivals trying to out-do each other, still give no sign of liking each other in the least, and argue and mock each other constantly, yet they never seem to be separated. When Jared points out that they are basically each other's best friend, they both immediately tell him to shut up.
- What Does This Button Do?: He can't stand not being allowed to help Gilfoyle build the garage server, and his obsession leads to disastrous results.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: After being thrown a bone his way as seen on the entry above, Dinesh and the entire PiperChat company gets hit with this hard in "Terms of Service" when he finds out that his video chat app is in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act due to not having any parental restrictions or age requirements which means the company could be fined up to $21 billion. He gets a brief Hope Spot when Richard tells him that since the company is technically a corporation, they might not have to pay for anything because the company isn't worth anything at the time. However, Jared then brings up the fact that since Dinesh purposely didn't include a terms of service to the chat, Dinesh could be personally liable for $21 billion. And then Gilfoyle pops a bottle of champagne to celebrate Dinesh's fuck-up.
Donald "Jared" Dunn (Zach Woods)
- "Sorry if I scared you, I know I have somewhat ghost-like features. My uncle used to say, 'You look like someone starved a virgin to death.'"
An ex-VP of Hooli who quits the company in order to join the Pied Piper team as its CFO and business advisor.
- Abusive Parents: Possibly. He doesn't know who his birth father is, or when he was born exactly. Various comments about his childhood, such as pretending Harriet Tubman was his imaginary friend and the two of them were building an underground railroad to freedom, suggest his childhood was not a pleasant one.
- Apologizes a Lot: Jared is constantly apologizing and self-deprecating. He appears to be able to put up with virtually any level of abuse.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Jared might be the nicest member of Pied Piper team, but even he can lose it sometimes, like when he calls Gavin's blood boy a dick three times for disagreeing with Richard's idea for him and Gavin's collaboration, when he angrily confronts Richard for messing up his team's big plan to hack their app into every phone of Hooli Con visitors (that Jared has been against from the first place and reluctantly agrees because it's "for the greater good") by hacking his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend's screensaver, on account of his jealousy, and when he hits Melcher harshly with his shoe to defend Richard who had sex with Melcher's fiancée.
- Butt-Monkey: The whole company has had more than its share of misfortune, but Jared has probably suffered more individual mishaps and abuse than anyone else - the time he was accidentally "kidnapped" and sent to a floating island by Peter Gregory's self-driving car is probably the biggest example.
- The Casanova: Yes, seriously. "Bachmanity Insanity" reveals he's actually very skilled at picking up women and having sex with them (doing it twice during the episode). He just chose to take a break from dating this whole time so he could focus his energy on Pied Piper. In the next episode "Build a Better Beta" when everyone is trying to decide which friends to send Beta invites to, he's heard muttering the names of multiple women.
- Crazy-Prepared: Jared has "booby-trapped the house with corporate resources."
- Dark and Troubled Past: From what little we hear of it, he didn't seem to have a very pleasant childhood.
- Expansion Pack Past: The only information we get about his past are details he randomly mentions in passing. These become increasingly mysterious, convoluted and creepy with each passing episode."What's gone is not necessarily lost. I found my retainer in my high school dumpster. I found my biological father in a militia in the Ozarks. This should be no problem.""As a product of forced adoption, I can assure you there are consequences."Richard: You're always telling me how you spent your entire childhood pretending that everything going on around you was okay.Jared: Uncle Jerry's game...
- Extreme Doormat: Has even less of a backbone than Richard, if that's possible.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine
- The Friend Nobody Likes: None of the Pied Piper team is very inclined to showing much affection or respect for their colleagues, but Jared is treated with open contempt by nearly everybody during the first few seasons in spite of his real contributions to the company. He's more accepted by the company as time goes on, but he remains inadvertently creepy.
- Kavorka Man: Season 3 reveals that he has an inexplicable, preternatural talent for picking up women, to the point he is able to get them to spend the night with him while still living in Erlich's garage. He explains that he had voluntarily stopped dating for a while to focus on his work at Pied Piper.Russ Hanneman (upon meeting Jared for the first time): Whoa. I'm just going to say it: this guy fucks, am I right? 'Cause I'm looking at the rest of you guys and this is the guy in the house doing all the fucking, am I right? You know I'm right. This guy fucks!
- Nice Guy: Easily the nicest and most openly caring member of Pied Piper by a wide margin.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: His Undying Loyalty to Richard begins to waver after Richard decides to hijack Hoolicon to upload their code onto users' phones and Richard's subsequent unethical decisions lead to him deciding to quit Pied Piper.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: His real name is Donald. Gavin Belson called him Jared once by mistake and Donald/Jared was too scared to correct him.
- Talking in Your Sleep: Jared talks in his sleep... in German. Oddly, he denies knowing any German. (His poor accent and grammar mean his mutterings can't be perfectly translated, but the general gist of it seems to be about cutting throats and other violent acts... possibly a sign of repressed rage at the insults he constantly endures.)
- Team Mom: A nurturing and supportive presence to the Pied Piper team, especially Richard. Like many moms, he does Kegel exercises and finds romcom characters played by Julia Roberts highly relatable.
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: In the third season, it's revealed that he's only living in Erlich's garage because he's been renting out his condo on Airbnb to cover his mortgage while Pied Piper couldn't afford to pay him. After he starts drawing a decent salary again when Pied Piper is funded, he tries to move back into his condo and discovers that his Airbnb renter doesn't want to leave, and California's landlord-tenant laws mean it could take a year or more to get the guy thrown out. After his squatter leaves, Jared continues living in the garage out of solidarity.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Season 3 is pretty good for Jared:
- He's revealed to be a lady's man and gets a number of dates. He states humbly that he's just been voluntarily "taking a break" from romance for a while.
- Richard nominates him to replace Erlich on Pied Piper's board, which causes him to emotionally break down.'
- He is later promoted to Pied Piper's Chief Operating Officer.
- Typecasting: Zach Woods' role here is quite superficially similar to his role as Gabe in The Office. However, where Gabe was more of a smarmy, always-sucking-up-to-the-boss creep with no real ability, Jared is awkward and meek but actually has a lot of business acumen the other members of the Pied Piper team lack.
- Undying Loyalty: To Richard, Jared makes it clear that he'll follow Richard wherever he goes.
Monica Hall (Amanda Crew)
- "People may take credit for your idea and try and sue you. How awesome is that?"
An employee of Raviga Capital and associate partner. She later starts her own VC firm and eventually joins Pied Piper as its CFO.
- The Chick: A voice of reason to the Pied Piper guys in many circumstances, and (especially in the first season) a sympathetic ear for Richard. Also, until the introduction of Laurie Bream and Carla in the second season, she was the sole regular female character in the show.
- Nice Girl: She goes beyond her duties to give Richard helpful advice, and she sticks up for Pied Piper when they need her the most.
- Only Sane Man: Far more normal, level-headed, and socially well-adjusted than any of the Pied Piper guys (or either of her bosses at Raviga).
- Reassigned to Antarctica: She falls out of favor with Laurie and is moved to an office where she gets a clear view of the men's room and all that goes on inside it.
- Ship Tease: It looked a little like the show was moving towards her and Richard having a romantic relationship at the end of season 1, but this idea now seems to have been abandoned. They now have a sibling type of friendship.
- She gets a bit with Gilfoyle during the season 5 finale.
- Sixth Ranger: Officially joins Pied Piper as its CFO near the end of season 5.
- The Smurfette Principle: In season 1.
- Springtime for Hitler: She attempts to screw over her jerkass co-worker Ed by turning him onto Jian-Yang's Seefood app, believing that the app's failure will put her back on top at Raviga. Unfortunately, Ed manages to spin the situation so that she becomes the point person and puts himself into a position where he can claim credit for successes or shift the blame on her for failures.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Jared tried to make her the girly girl to programmer Carla Walton's tomboy during season 2.
- Women Are Wiser: Granted, the bar is set low by the fact the male Pied Piper employees are all basket cases in their own unique ways.
Jian Yang (Jimmy O. Yang)
- Beware the Silly Ones: He starts off as a silly one note character who irritates Elrich. However as the series goes on he ends up creating an app that sells for millions, fakes Elrich's death to own his house, kicks out the Pied Piper crew, and is working on making Chinese versions of American Websites including Pied Piper.
- Funny Foreigner: He comes from rural China and annoys Erlich by leaving fish carcasses in the sink and burning trash. He's usually paired with Erlich, who constantly struggles to get concepts through to him. He later uses this position to screw Erich over.
- Kick the Dog: Throws out the Pied Piper residents after he gets ownership of the incubator.
- Prank Call: After Jian Yang realizes that Erlich has almost no power to evict him, he begins to amuse himself by repeatedly attempting to prank call him in a completely inept fashion. (Calling from his own number and from the next room.)
- Satellite Character: Basically only exists as Erlich's occasional sidekick/foil. Averted in season 4, as he founds See Food and becomes independently wealthy.
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: Erlich has trouble getting rid of him due to California state law giving little power to the landlord.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: As his relationship with Erlich grows more hostile, Jian-Yang begins actively attacking Erlich and revels in his misfortune.
- Taken Up to Eleven in season 5 where he fakes Erlich's death, obtains his house and 10% of Pied Piper, and kicks out all the other residents of the incubator.
Pied Piper Employees
Carla Walton (Alice Wetterlund)
- Guest-Star Party Member: Serves as a member of the Pied Piper team briefly during season 2, but is quickly taken out of the picture.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Parodied. Jared attempts to invoke this relationship between her and Monica during her time in Pied Piper. Naturally, neither one of them is into it.
- Troll: She spends most of the first episode she appears in messing with Dinesh and Gilfoyle's minds by making them think she's getting paid more than them.
- Two Girls to a Team: She (correctly) assumes that people will try to get her and Monica to be friends simply because they are the only women associated with Pied Piper, and is annoyed by it.
Holden (Aaron Sanders)
Pied Piper Associates
Nelson "Big Head" Biggetti (Josh Brener)
Richard's best friend who works at Hooli. Despite having little skills as a programmer, he often finds himself being promoted and finding success.
- Born Lucky: For much of the show, no matter what happens to him, Big Head always somehow manages to come out of it even more successful than he was before, despite not ever really doing anything or being particularly skilled. It all catches up to him in season 3, however. This is subverted once again in the season 3 finale when Bachmannity purchases Pied Piper, making Big Head one of the company's owners. Double Subverted in season 4 when he ends up at Stanford. At first, after looking at his qualifications, the interviewer nearly laughs him out of the office, but upon hearing he was on the cover of Wired, asks to talk to him more. He's so dumb he assumes he's a student, but upon going to his first class, realizes he's a guest lecturer.
- Decoy Protagonist: Set up as Richard's best friend and right hand man in the first episode, but gets demoted to a side character about halfway through it.
- Dumb Is Good: Big Head is hands down the nicest person on the show. He's also by far the stupidest, lacking both common sense and coding ability.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Positioned as one by Gavin in season 2, who emphasizes his connection to the Pied Piper team to make his involvement with Nucleus seem more promising. It sticks, and he remains a respected public figure into season 3, despite being an oblivious, talentless idiot.
- Flanderization: In the first season he just seems like a somewhat immature slacker type, and his coding skills are said to be average but he lacks a specialty at which he excels. By season 4 he is treated as a complete moron, to the point where Erlich makes up an excuse to turn down Big Head's offer of help to make a demo of the "Seefood" app for a VC meeting, even though Erlich is desperate because the app doesn't actually exist yet and despite Big Head pointing out he actually has relevant experience in the area of image recognition.
- Nice Guy: Genuinely pleasant to everyone he meets, and seems almost incapable of getting angry. Richard even refers to him as one of the nicest, most genuine people he has ever met in the middle of ranting about how much of an idiot he is.
- Nice Guys Finish Last: Subverted frequently for laughs.
- During the arbitration between Hooli and Pied Piper, his mild-mannered honesty convinces the judge that Big Head was responsible for Pied Piper's algorithm and is just too modest to admit it.
- He buys a huge house, and decides to share it with up-and-coming programmers just to be nice. His inhabitants are so grateful that they willingly give him part of their companies.
- This is shortly later played completely straight as Erlich talks him into partnering up to form a VC firm called "Bachmanity" It becomes apparent in "Bachmanity Insanity" that it's just a ploy for Erlich to make him his platonic sugar daddy. By the end of the episode Big Head is completely broke after Elich goes on a spending spree, having been given access to Big Head's bank account. This becomes subverted itself when the blog that Erlich buys, sets forth a small series of events that end up with Him and Erlich each owning half of Pied Piper.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Is always called Big Head. Gavin sometimes calls him Bag Head.
- Reassignment Backfire: Gets frequently promoted by Hooli for publicity reasons.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Not surprisingly, when he ends up with a $20 million buyout, Nelson soon blows through the money on such things as moving his mansion pool and then moving it back to where it was. His big mistake is letting Erlich take control of his finances and it takes about two days for him to render Nelson bankrupt.
- Spanner in the Works: Used as a pawn by Hooli in order to support the lawsuit against Pied Piper. The only things to come out of it is Big Head informing Richard.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Rarely seen without a Big Gulp in hand.
Colin (Neil Casey)
Peter Gregory (Christopher Evan Welch)
The socially awkward billionaire founder and CEO of Raviga Capital as well a 5% equity owner of Pied Piper after his $200,000 investment. Despite his death in the season 2 premiere, he continues to play a large role in Pied Piper's and Raviga's future.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Has a rather stiff way of speaking and is a bit awkward in social matters.
- Character Death: Since Christopher Evan Welch died before shooting for Season 1 was complete, forcing the last several episodes of the season to be rewritten so his character is only referred to without appearing. His death was written into the show as a major plot point at the beginning of Season 2.
- Cloudcuckoolander: His personal behavior and business strategies are unusual, to say the least.Laurie: I've been reviewing his files. He was pursuing a number of extremely dubious positions. Are you aware that we own a $30 million ostrich farm in Morocco, or that we are the majority stakeholders in three companies that specialize in invisibility? This box is filled with napkins covered with notes detailing Peter's conviction that genetically-modified cranberry fungus would become the next cotton.
- The Wonka: Interacting with this guy is weird even for the Pied Piper crew. He spends most of his screen time in one first season episode analyzing every item on the Burger King menu (he's never been there before), much to the dismay of the start-up team trying to get him to pay attention to their investment pitch. At the end of the episode he reveals that this has allowed him to come up with a brilliant plan to make a huge profit from sesame seed crop futures and fund the start-up team.
- We Used to Be Friends: With Gavin Belsom.
Laurie Bream (Suzanne Cryer)
The replacement for Peter Gregory as CEO of Raviga Capital, and later co-founder of Bream Hall Capital with Monica. Like her predecessor, she is highly intelligent and socially inept.
- Ambiguous Disorder: She clearly has some sort of behavioral condition that causes her to be emotionless, extremely stiff in social situations, and unable to pick up on social cues.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: Since she only looks out for her own business interests, she can either be supportive of the Pied Piper team or an obstacle towards their operations.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: She's basically a female version of Peter Gregory, although more pragmatic and less of a Cloud Cuckoolander.
- The Unfettered: She seems to lack any kind of goals or moral sense other than the financial success of her firm. This is thrown into focus when Erlich is desperately in debt, and she uses her authority over stock transfers to prevent him from selling to anyone but her, then buys him out at a fraction of what his shares are worth. When Richard asks about this, she talks about it without hesitation or evident embarrassment. After all, it was a profitable move for the firm.
Russ Hanneman (Chris Diamantopolous)
A brash, loud and fiery billionaire investor who provides Pied Piper with their Series A.
- Disco Dan: He's always blasting Nu Metal from the late 1990s and early 2000s in his supercars.
- Jerkass Has a Point: He is the only person who gets Richard to realize what he actually wants to do with the algorithm, albeit with a profanity-laced, sexually explicit analogy he makes while standing in front of an elementary school. He is also able to instantly recognize that Richard doesn't actually care its current implementation.
- The Load: Funds Pied Piper, but proves to do way more harm than good.
- Riches to Rags: Parodied for a brief arc in Season 2. He does lose a few hundred thousand dollars, meaning he's now valued at about $900 million. However, he's no longer part of the "Three Commas Club" (as in, billionaires), and he acts like he's gone bankrupt.
Gavin Belson (Matt Ross)
CEO and founder of Hooli.
- Bad Boss: His underlings are terrified of him for good cause. In one season 5 episode, he makes an offhand remark that "The bear is sticky with honey" before leaving, sending his panicked employees into long meetings to try to figure out what he meant rather than simply ask him.
- Big Bad: He's the Pied Piper team's most frequent enemy. Whether he's actually the team's most powerful enemy at any given time tends to vary, though, as, particularly later on, he has to constantly scramble to maintain his position as the tech industry's top dog.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Is honestly surprised when his engineers quit and reveal they were part of a team he fired and then re-hired with absolutely no idea they were the same guys.
- Can't Take Criticism: To a ridiculous degree. When Nucleus fails, he reassigns the team to reprogram the Hooli search engine to block negative news stories about it. When that scandal is exposed and Hooli is beset by bad press and protesters, he asks his legal team for permission to have his critics killed!
- Complexity Addiction: When his attempt to bug the gang is hit by a tracker that overloads his phone and laptop, Gavin demands to shut down power to the building despite his techs telling him it's contained on his personal devices.
- He's convinced Jack had to have his flight delayed twenty minutes simply as part of an overall plot to throw off Gavin's plans and create a huge power struggle. That Jack just wanted a stopover to see his kids doesn't occur to Gavin.
- Evil Is Petty: Moves Jack Barker to a tiny sub-basement office after Jack has their flight from Shanghai diverted to Jackson Hole, which causes a twenty-minute delay. Even worse, Gavin instructs one of his stooges to take the company jet on that route six times just to prove Jack wrong.
- In Season 5, he buys out all of the 63 coders Pied Piper had approached to hire just to spite them.
- Fatal Flaw: Gavin's need to be in control of everything.
- Richard eventually recognizes this flaw and exploits it by offering Gavin a handwritten contract giving him full control of Pied Pier just to keep Gavin from deleting Piper Net. Gavin falls for it only realize too late that the contract is a ruse to stall Gavin while Piper Net regains control of its network.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Gavin's attempts at taking down Pied Piper all blow up in his face in increasingly spectacular disasters.
- By trying to roll out Nucleus first, he forces the team to use a hastily put together algorithm that doesn't work and he's left scrambling to find a scapegoat while the Hooli board threatens to replace him.
- His strategy of promoting Big Head to a position of influence as a legal tactic backfires because Big Head doesn't have the knowledge or the inspiration to come up with a viable product that could be rolled out to cover up the failure of Nucleus.
- He included a non-compete clause in Hooli employment agreements and used it to support his argument that Richard and Jared knowingly broke a contract agreement. But because non-compete clauses are illegal in California, the judge in the binding arbitration declares that this null and voids thousands of employees' contracts, including Richard's. Because this means that Richard wasn't working for Hooli with a valid contract, the company has no legal right to claim ownership of any intellectual property that may have been created on Hooli property. The Hooli board, needless to say, is not pleased.
- After some former Hooli employees crack Richard's algorithm and take it to another company, Gavin buys the company to get his own platform on the market while Pied Piper is stuck on another project thanks to their tyrannical boss Jack Barker. But his buying the company also serves to put a concrete price point on a platform based on the algorithm, the lack of which was Barker's entire leverage against doing it.
- He illegally orders Hooli's software to eliminate results that speak badly of the company, which Richard gets wind of just in time to feed it to a reporter in place of an article that would have wrecked his own career.
- He illegally monitors his employees' personal e-mails and uses the information gained from this surveillance to get a look at Pied Piper's beta. When Richard finds out about this, he has Gilfoyle send a zipbomb that floods Gavin's personal computer and phone with the smiling poop emoji, effectively bricking both devices. Gavin's over-the-top response and subsequent angry outburst towards the EndFrame team causes several to simply walk out.
- The Hooli board finally has enough of Gavin and votes to relieve him of his duties and "transition" him into a less oversight of the company. He immediately realizes that he's being exiled to the roof (his personal preference when punishing employees), where all of Hooli's "unassigned" employees congregate.
- His habit of using animals as props in his presentations bites him in the ass when he uses an elephant that subsequently dies from stress. After he subsequently fires the employee who protests his decision to illegally dump the elephant, she goes to an online tech blog and tells them the story.
- When the reporter talks of it, Gavin decides to buy the blog...which just happens to be owned by Erlich, meaning Gavin just paid Pied Piper $2 million.
- He acquires Piper Chat from Dinesh because Gavin wanted access to chat logs in order to spy on Jack Barker. In his haste, Gavin doesn't realize that he also inherited the under-age users and pedophiles that made Dinesh want to part with Piper Chat in the first place.
- His vindictiveness in throwing Jack Barker to sub-basement D comes back to haunt him after that act pushed Barker into becoming The Starscream.
- He tries to get Seppen to sue Pied Piper after he learns Gilfoyle was responsible for the hacking. This leads to Gilfoyle finding out Seppen records their customers and gives Jared leverage for Seppen to not only drop the lawsuit but to partner with Pied Piper instead of Hooli
- It's All About Me: His desire to beat the Pied Piper team has nothing to do with making money, or 'making the world a better place' like his advertising claims. Rather, it's simply because he can't stomach someone else getting credit for a revolutionary tech product.Gavin : I don't know about you people, but I don't want to live in a world where someone else makes the world a better place better than we do.
- Jerkass: Gavin is an egotistical and insensitive bully with no redeeming qualities. He is a bad boss who manipulates people and fires them for his own mistakes. Even his attempts at philanthropy are clear PR stunts.
- Kick the Dog: Jared once saw him throw a sloth down a flight of stairs... possibly on purpose.
- My Name Is Not Durwood: Averted. Often gets employees names wrong, but they are too intimidated by him to correct him to the point that Donald continues to be referred to as Jared even after leaving, as he's too used to it by now. He also publicly refers to Big Head as Bag Head. No one including Big Head corrects him on it.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He looks like, acts like, and while in a very different field, has similar publicity practices to former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
- Percussive Therapy: Gavin will hit an inanimate object when things don't go his way.
- Properly Paranoid: In regards to Barker having designs on betraying him, even as his assistants play along, believing these fears unfounded.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: His wealth and success often blinds him to how much of an idiot he can come off as. At a conference, he shocks the crowd but openly stating that millionaires are persecuted even worse than the Jews in Nazi Germany.
- Villainous Breakdown: When things outright fail, Gavin responds by screaming, throwing tantrums, and even taking his rage on on inanimate objects.
- Yes-Man. He's surrounded by them. At one point, he tries to stream a live UFC fight in HD using Nucleus. It's a disaster since the Nucleus team is afraid to tell him how far behind they are on getting it to work fine to the point of lying to him.
Aly Dutta (Aly Mawji) and Jason (Brian Tiechnell)
Patrice (Jill E. Alexander)
- Put on a Bus: She was fired by Gavin Belson in season 3 for voicing concern over him bringing live animals in the office and is completely absent for season four. She returns in the first season of season 5 only to be fired again.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Her being fired from Hooli incentives her to leak information to Code/Rag. This is important for the finale of season 3.
- Token Good Teammate: Seems to be the only around Gavin with morals. She gets fired for it.
''Hoover (Chris Williams)
- Bald, Black Leader Guy: He is the head of security at Hooli.
- Blind Obedience: He is incredibly willing to go to extremes do whatever Gavin asks, without hesitation or even blinking at the increasing weirdness of his demands, including when Gavin needs to dead elephant removed from the Hooli campus.
- The Dragon: Gavin's Right hand man as of season 3. In season 5 he places a mole in Pied Piper without telling Gavin to not indite him.
- Villainous Rescue: He covers for Pied Piper placing pineapples at Hooli-Con to spite Jack Barker.
- Undying Loyalty: Is incredibly loyal to Gavin.
Jack Barker (Stephen Tobolowsky)
- Beware the Nice Ones: He presents himself as a genial grandfatherly type who likes to provide his employees with as many comforts as possible and will cheerfully try and get people to come around to his way of doing things. If crossed, however, he reveals that he's a ruthless businessman who won't hesitate to destroy other people's careers to further his own, as Gavin Belson found out the hard way.
- FaceHeel Turn: Once his vision for Pied Piper diverges from Richard's.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Raises prize horses and owns his own vineyard.
- Only in It for the Money: He promises Richard that he'll never compromise the product, only to reveal that, in his view, the product is the stock price. Being solely focused on the financial health of the company is not an unreasonable position for a CEO, but it grates against the team's vision to create something beautiful and world-changing.
- Red Baron: "Action Jack"
- Villain Has a Point: In "Daily Active Users," wherein Pied Piper under Richard's control proves to be too complex for the average user, whilst Jack has taken his box plan to Hooli and made Endframe actually profitable.
- His determination to pursue the dull-but-profitable "box" before Richard's vision of a platform is not based purely on greed but on hard experience of working in the tech sector when the late 90's/early 2000's ".com bubble" burst - he argues that it could be years before Richard's platform generates any revenue, and nobody can be sure there won't be another crash before then.
- The Starscream: Subverted, then played straight:
- After Gavin throws Jack down to Hooli's sub-basement data center, he becomes increasingly paranoid that Jack plans to be this. His paranoia leads him to hurriedly acquire Piper Chat in an attempt to remain a step ahead.
- After this acquisition proves career ending, this trope is played perfectly straight, as Jack reveals he could cover for Gavin on the way to a board meeting, only to instead reveal that the board has installed him as Hooli's new CEO.
Kenan Feldspar (Haley Joel Osment)
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Is based off of Oculus founder Palmer Luckey.