Played by: Michael Rosenbaum | Matthew Munn (young)
- "I am the villain of the story."
The son of multi-billionaire Lionel Luthor, Lex befriends Clark after the latter saves him from drowning following a plunge off a bridge in the pilot episode. He is initially Clark's best friend and goes out of his way to protect him, eventually deposing his father and seizing control of LuthorCorp. However, Clark's refusal to trust him, combined with Lex's inability to overcome his own upbringing and their rivalry over both Lana and how to best protect Smallville, cause Lex to slide into villainy, ending in a FaceHeel Turn of epic proportions.
Defined by his obsessions and need for control, Lex can be vengeful, spiteful and, at times, downright petty, but also has flashes of pure Machiavellian brilliance. He is a fitting Arch-Enemy for a Superman.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Michael Rosenbaum is much more conventionally handsome than most depictions of the character, even with the bald head.
- Adaptational Badass: How physically dangerous Comics!Luthor is can vary Depending on the Writer, but Smallville's portrayal of him as an exceptionally capable Badass Normal with the ability to fight Green Arrow to a draw outdoes all other portrayals in this regard.
- Affably Evil: Has this vibe even back when he's a good guy, with an inimitable talent for making even the most harmless of good deeds sound vaguely evil, in a cool, polite, and often snarky sort of way. In between bouts of Evil Is Petty and Kick the Dog, he evolves into this in full in his descent into villainy, giving Clark what is actually an astoundingly good motivational speech in the finale, saying that every villain is only as good as their hero - and, arguably, giving Clark the push he needs to become Superman.
- Agent Mulder: His belief in, and curiosity for, the paranormal is what starts his descent into villainy.
- Alliterative Name: Lex Luthor.
- Alternate Self: Has three, one on Earth-Prime, one on Earth-9, and one on Earth-96.
- Alternate Universe: In Clark's It's a Wonderful Plot episode "Apocalypse," we meet President Evil Lex who, as usual, is a Villain in a White Suit with a Red Right Hand, but adds The Social Darwinist and Omnicidal Maniac to his resume via a plan to Nuke 'em all and re-build the world in his own image.
- Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: Whether or not he's still evil, Lex is far more successful than the Lex Luthor of Earth-Prime, what with being President of the United States and all. Clark's reaction to Prime-Lex is just a casual "You're not Lex." (Word of Saint Paul from Jon Cryer is he considers Rosenbaum's Lex his favorite take on the character and wishes he'd had the opportunity to have meet this version and, probably, beat him.)
- Antagonistic Offspring: To Lionel, following the latter's HeelFace Turn and his own subsequent FaceHeel Turn.
- Anti-Hero: Lex started the series as a Pragmatic Hero. His methods were badly flawed, but he was genuinely out to stop his father Lionel, and be a better person and a good friend to Clark. By Seasons 4 and 5, he was in Anti-Villain territory, becoming antagonistic but remaining sympathetic, before finally diving into full-on villainy.
- Arch-Enemy: Well on his way to being Clark's, with the entire show building up to their finally confronting one another.
- Back from the Dead:
- Badass Boast: The section quote above.
- Badass Bookworm: He's very well-read and likes to quote great philosophers and relate it to himself.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Especially in the Bad Futures where he's a very intimidating Villain in a White Suit.
- Badass Longcoat: Lex's trenchcoat is every bit as iconic as his nice suit.
- Badass Normal: Both physically and mentally.
- Bad Boss: After his turn to villainy.
- Bad Future: Is President Evil in many of them.
- Bald of Evil: Courtesy of his FaceHeel Turn.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: Lex has stated once or twice that he doesn't want to become like his father. Sadly, that's what he ends up doing by Season 5.
- Big Bad: Competes with Brainiac for the title in Season 7. Considered by some to have held it since Season 6.
- Big Bad Slippage: One for the series overall as he starts out as a friend to Clark only to become a villain in Seasons 4 and 5 before becoming the Big Bad of Seasons 6 and 7.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Spends much of Seasons 5 and 7 trying to be the Big Bad, but gets upstaged by Brainiac.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards Clark.
- Big Brother Mentor: He often had a tendency to slip into this trope during the first two seasons with Clark.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: He's possibly one of the smartest men in the world but is pretty unmotivated to do anything in the early seasons.
- Broken Ace: Very much so. He's rich, successful, brilliant, charming, handsome, self-loathing and caught up in a desire for parental approval all at the same time.
- Byronic Hero: In the early seasons.
- Card-Carrying Villain: While he is usually a Villain with Good Publicity, when he is split into good and evil sides, evil Lex utters the classic line:Lex: I am the villain of the story.
- Lex announces his intention to become one of these in the Grand Finale. Tess' mind-wipe may have forestalled this.
- Cain and Abel: With Clark (whom he viewed as a brother) and later with Tess, resulting in the latter's death and his own memory loss.
- The Casanova: Almost all of his girlfriends or love interests are stunningly beautiful women. This mostly due to Lex's good looks (even with the baldness) and his witty personality. Not to mention the fact that he is obscenely wealthy and cultured.
- The Charmer: When he wants to be.
- The Chessmaster: Graduates into one, learning from his father how to manipulate and plot with the best of them.
- Chick Magnet: Attracts a bevy of women over the course of the show.
- Classic Villain: Displays the sins of Pride, Envy and Wrath.
- Combat Pragmatist: Often prefers to use simple defense moves and guns rather than engage in long battles.
- Control Freak: Lex's need to control everyone and everything around him is the chief cause of his downfall. He came to the conclusion that the only way he could secure a happy existence for himself is if the people in his life are completely under his control (he himself would probably view it as "guidance," but that's a case of Believing Their Own Lies). He, like Lana, wants to know Clark's secret and is willing to go to life-threatening lengths to obtain it: sending super-powered murderers to hold Clark's family hostage in an attempt to force him to reveal any superpowers he may have (this ends up being what breaks his and Clark's friendship). He's willing to let his dad stick around, but only as long as he's subordinate to Lex. He also misses his deceased brother and clones him so that he can have him back...but gets insanely angry when the clone no longer wants to follow the script that Lex wants him to live by. Terrifyingly, it is implied that Lex has the clone killed, viewing him as a failed experiment. And, of course, there's the horrifying twist of late Season 6 where we learn that Lex chemically manipulated Lana's body with hormones to simulate a pregnancy in order to help push her into marrying him, and then letting her believe that she had miscarried afterwards, causing her to fall into a deep depression. Through it all, Lex maintains that this is all okay because he views it as simply carving out his world and the people in it to be the way he wants them to be, and he tells himself that it's for their own good anyway.
- Lex's beliefs that influence his behavior this way are possibly best summed up at the end of Season 5's Christmas episode "Lexmas" where, after considering it all episode, he decides to use dirty tricks to try and win the election he's in, saying:
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: After he turns evil.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Lionel was determined to teach Lex to be ruthless and Machiavellian...even when Lex was still just a child. For one of his birthdays when Lex was young, Lionel bought a replica of the Battle of Troy and used it to try to teach Lex about ruthless strategy. It's also been mentioned that Lionel once gave Lex a copy of Sun Tzu's The Art of War on another childhood birthday. Arguably, this trope can also be used to describe how Lex affected Lana's personality after they got together, although to be fair, she wasn't exactly a saint beforehand, either.
- Dark Lord on Life Support: In Season 8 when his injuries render him completely immobile, and leave him on an IV and a ventilator.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ahh, who forgets his witty comeback to Victoria when he finds out that she was bedding him just to get close enough to spy on him for her father's corporation:Victoria: It was just business.Lex: (without missing a beat) You call sleeping with me "business"? I hate to think what that makes you.
Impulse: I want a lawyer.Lex: And I want a ponytail. Disappointment abounds.
- Or this gem when he has Impulse imprisoned:
- Deconstruction: Of his comics counterpart and the whole idea of supervillains and how they are made.
- Determinator: Lex never lets anything stop him, whether financial setbacks, political failures, or the near total destruction of his physical body.
- Deus Angst Machina: After losing his hair and being horribly bullied at school, Lex takes the blame for his mother murdering his infant brother, condemning himself to a future of abuse and hatred from his dad, whom he knows would kill her if he found out.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Season 8. His return is a much anticipated and feared thing, to the point where one expects him to take over as the Big Bad...only for him to be blown up and replaced by Doomsday.
- The Dreaded: As of Season 8. He drove Oliver to violate Thou Shalt Not Kill, other characters treat him as though he were a Hero Killer (even though he's really not) and the possibility of his return is always spoken of as though it were a prophecy regarding The End of the World as We Know It. Not bad for a Badass Normal who hasn't appeared for two-and-a-half seasons.
- Driven by Envy: Outdoing Clark eventually becomes Lex's primary motivation. He's actually relieved when he finds out Clark is an alien and that the competition was never fair.
- Envy: Of Clark, whose life and later powers Lex desperately wants.
- Evil Cripple: In Season 8. He's paraplegic, on a respirator and barely able to breathe...and more dangerous than ever, now that he's got the element of surprise on his side.
- Evil Feels Good: Decides this around Season 5.
- Evil Genius: Very smart and very nasty.
- Evil Has Good Taste
- Evil Is Petty: His incredibly petty and vicious plan in Season 8 revolves around breaking up Clark and Lana through the nastiest way possible.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Season 8, complete with Vader Breath.
- Evil Wears Black: Lex's attire includes lots of dark clothing, black included.
- Eyepatch of Power: Season 8, as part of his Evil Cripple status.
- FaceHeel Turn: Pretty much a Foregone Conclusion.
- Foil: To Clark, with his journey to narcissistic monster progressing in time with Clark's journey to Messianic Archetype and The Cape.
- Freudian Excuse: Courtesy of his dad.
- Friendly Enemy: Until the events of "Arctic."
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He might have stayed a spoiled, lonely rich kid forever had it not been for that trip to Kansas.
- Gambit Roulette: Unbeknownst to Clark and his friends, the entire first half of Season 8 was slowly turning out to be set up by Lex (who is crippled and presumed dead, but still alive and scheming) to manipulate them all into being his Unwitting Pawns and facilitating his revenge. It culminates in the situation with the Prometheus suit described above: either A: Clark and Lana don't discover it, and Lex dons it himself and uses it to murder Clark, or B: Lana steals it, puts it on, and Lex forces her to choose between letting the city blow up or absorbing the kryptonite and never being able to be with Clark again). Like we said, Lex is truly a Manipulative Bastard.
- Genius Cripple: Season 8.
- The Ghost: Never actually appears during the Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019), since Rosenbaum turned the CW down. In-universe, Clark seems skeptical that he would have any reason to come back to Smallville.
- Good Counterpart: Even at his worst, Lex wasn't ever nearly the Card-Carrying Villain Earth-Prime Lex is. He still isn't, as evidenced by the fact that Clark gave up his powers and yet he and his family are alive and seem to be perfectly safe.
- Guile Hero: Pre-FaceHeel Turn.
- Guns Akimbo: Against Green Arrow and Black Canary in "Siren." Complete with Gun Kata.
- Handicapped Badass: Season 8, in both the literal and metaphorical sense. Bereft of his company, money, connections and his very mobility, a paraplegic Lex keeps the superhero community quaking in their boots (even the mere mention of his name terrifies them) and proves that, even trapped in the back of a truck on life support and breathing through a respirator, he's still one of the most dangerous villains out there.
- Hard Head: Held Smallville's record for being knocked unconscious.
- Has a Type: Has a habit of hooking up with hot brunettes because they remind him of his mother.
- The Heavy: Seasons 6 and 7.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Took the blame for his mother murdering his brother, leading to his father's cold(er) treatment of him.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: In the first few seasons, he and Clark exemplified this trope, even if Lex seemed more enthusiastic about it. This was likely due to Clark probably being Lex's first real friend and one of the few who didn't judge him before knowing him.
- Hot-Blooded: The guy has anger management problems, to say the least.
- Humiliation Conga: He's had more than his fair share. He'd be really sympathetic if he weren't such an asshole.
- Hypocrite: He constantly bitches about Clark keeping his secret from him, while simultaneously keeping an army of skeletons (all of them far, far darker than Clark's) in his own closet.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: It's painfully clear, especially in early seasons, that Lex is just starved for someone to care for him the way Lionel never did. It's why he's so keen on being friends with Clark and why he wants to be a part of the Kent family—they represent what he never had. In later seasons, he still wants love, but his ego and narcissism makes it impossible for him to accept anything less than total control over anyone who gets close to him.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Big time. No matter how brilliant or successful Lex is, it's not enough and he believes that he, not Clark, should be the one to save humanity. Clark, to him, serves as a reminder that Lex is still just a man.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Lex's drive to be better than everyone is fueled by his desire for approval from his father as well as his jealousy of Clark (whom he subconsciously regards as his superior).
- It's All About Me: Even early on, Lex had trouble seeing beyond his own needs. By the end of the show, he's completely obsessed with himself, suffers from bad cases of Lack of Empathy and Never My Fault, and more or less believes that the universe revolves around him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In the early seasons. He was a pleasant, friendly guy, but he acted like a jerk to anyone he disliked, such as his father or Dominic.
- Jerkass: After his FaceHeel Turn.
- Karma Houdini: He avoids punishment for all of his crimes, and at the end of the series, is resurrected and ready to become the President Evil we always knew he could be.
- Klingon Promotion: In order to truly become the Big Bad, Lex has to kill off his father, whose presence in-universe more or less handicapped him.
- Lack of Empathy: Has a severe and developing case of it. By Season 7 or so, it's all-consuming.
- Large Ham: Gets increasingly hammy as he becomes more evil.
- Lonely Rich Kid: In Seasons 1-3.
- Love Makes You Evil: In the It's a Wonderful Plot storyline when he decided to become good, Dream!Lana dies.
- Made of Iron: Courtesy of his low-level Healing Factor.
- Manipulative Bastard: A master manipulator of others' emotions.
- The Man Behind the Man: To Tess and Winslow Schott in Season 8.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: In the later seasons, and the Bad Futures.
- Meaningful Name: Alexander means "defender/leader of mankind." Quite fitting for a guy who thinks he's protecting humanity from hostile aliens and meteor freaks, and believes that the best way to do so is for everyone to follow his lead (naturally).
- Morality Pet: Clark is his, while he's capable of doing devious acts, his friendship with Clark Kent usually keeps him from going too far. It's when an enraged Clark denounces his friendship with Lex, that Lex begins to slide down from a good-natured man with a dark side, to an evil maniacal villain.
- Monster Sob Story: Though it becomes less and less powerful as the show goes along. This is the point.
- Mr. Fanservice: Just ask the fangirls.
- Moral Myopia: No one may do unto Lex as he does unto them. It wouldn't be right.
- Narcissist: From the start of the show, Lex has difficulty seeing others' problems and this only gets worse as time goes by. His narcissism becomes more and more pronounced and increasingly malignant until by Season 7, he's essentially become a sociopath.
- Never My Fault: Lex blames his father, Clark, Lana and anyone else he can set his sights on for his problems. You've got a Freudian Excuse, Lex, but it doesn't mean you don't have to take responsibility sometimes. To be fair, sometimes it really isn't his fault, but he gets blamed anyway.
- Nice Guy: Lex always appears to be a pleasant young man, but how real that is fades with time. By the end of the show, it's nothing more than a facade.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Things rarely go well for him when he honestly tries to do the right thing.
- Not So Different: Despite being Eviler Than Thou, Lex-Prime's outraged rant over Clark renouncing his powers isn't really that different from his own Lex's own Motive Rant about his envy and contempt over Clark's Refusal of the Call in the Grand Finale. "Sure haven't missed these chats," indeed.
- Nuke 'em: In the Bad Future shown in "Apocalypse," President Evil Lex has conspired with Brainiac to wipe out the world in a nuclear war so that he can unite the survivors under his rule and create a new Social Darwinistic paradise.
- Our Presidents Are Different: We don't really know anything about his personality after the Mind Wipe in the Grand Finale, but it's still Lex, meaning he's at least got to be President Scheming, President Iron and President Geek. It's ambiguous whether he's President Evil, though Clark's relative unconcern over the fact that he is President makes it unlikely.
- President Evil: In several Bad Futures. He's elected for real in 2018 during the Distant Finale.
- Poisonous Friend: To Clark, pre-FaceHeel Turn.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Immeasurably brilliant, wealthy and powerful. He is also extremely petty, incredibly self-involved and incapable of accepting responsibility or blame.
- Put on a Bus: Yes & No. Michael Rosenbaum departed at the end of Season 7. Lex, through a mix of recycled footage, audio, and body doubles remained until the end of Season 8.
- Really Gets Around: More implied for the first few seasons than actually seen, except for Victoria where she slept with him for business, but seen in "Bound," he apparently has had many one-night stands with women where he gave them diamond earrings as a "thank you" gift, something he picked up from his father.
- Redheads Are Uncool: In the pilot, nine year-old Lex is being chastised by his father for being scared and keeping his eyes closed while on the helicopter ride. Once he opens them, he gets more scared and needs to use his inhaler because he has an asthma attack. That day, the meteor shower caused him to lose all his red hair.
- Red Right Hand: In every one of the Bad Future episodes, President Evil Lex is shown as a Villain in a White Suit with a single black-gloved hand. Bad!Lex also sports this look during Clark's trip inside his head in "Fracture." It finally happens for real following his resurrection in the Grand Finale. One of his hands is mangled, prompting him to don the trademark glove. Might be a Shout Out to the comics where constantly wearing a Kryptonite ring caused Luthor to develop cancer in one of his hands and have it replaced with a mechanical one.
- Revenge: Season 8.
- Sadistic Choice: Gives Clark and Lana the option of staying together and watching thousands die, or sacrificing their love in order to save Metropolis. They pick the latter.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Increasingly comes to see this as the way the world should work.
- Self-Made Orphan: He murders his Archnemesis Dad Lionel as his final step into true villainy. Lionel himself was revealed to be one of these earlier in series, having had his friend Morgan Edge kill his Alcoholic Abusive Parents in a gas fire. One can only wonder what Lex's children will do, should he have any...
- Shipper on Deck: During the early seasons for Clark and Lana. All the while developing feelings for Lana himself...
- Skyward Scream: Does one at the end of "Persona" after having an assassin kill off Grant Gabriel, a clone of his dead younger brother Julian.
- The Social Darwinist: Picks up many tenets of his father's philosophy as his life goes on. The President Evil Lex seen in "Apocalypse"'s Bad Future actually intends to end the world in nuclear holocaust so that he can rule over the survivors (whom he believes will be the strongest that humanity has to offer).
- The Sociopath: Lex doesn't start out this way, but as the show progresses, his egoism slowly swallows up the rest of his personality until all that's left is a drive to control everybody around him and a belief that his needs come before those of everyone else. By Season 7, all that's left is a bitter, vengeful psychopath driven by the need to be superior to the rest of the world.
- The Southpaw.
- Super Villain: The opposite of Clark, who becomes a Super Hero.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Originally, he was a genuinely good guy with good intentions, though with questionable methods at times. However, his growing jealousy of Clark (for having good parents and friends, and Lana's love), combined with his resentment towards the world at large, fuel his growing selfishness until he dives into it outright.
- Tragic Villain: Few modern villains fit this trope as well as Lex does.
- Trauma Conga Line: He may be a sociopathic bastard, but damn has Lex suffered in life.
- The Un-Favourite: Subverted. Lex thinks he's this, but given Lionel's treatment of Lucas and Tess, it's clear that he's actually the favorite. It's just that this is Lionel we're talking about, so it doesn't really matter.
- Unwitting Pawn: Of Brainiac. Twice. But by Season 8, he's become so cunning that it's unlikely this will be happening again, and indeed all the other characters turn out to be unwitting pawns of Lex in Season 8.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: As the flashbacks reveal, he really did. It's even present in the first season at times.
- Vader Breath: Season 8.
- Villain in a White Suit: In the various Bad Futures where he's President Evil. During Clark's trip inside Lex's head in Season 7's "Fracture," bad!Lex wears the same suit. He dons it in real life during the 2018 Distant Finale, after he's elected President.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Lionel withheld affection from Lex so much that not only does he desperately seek Lionel's approval in the early seasons, but also the approval of Clark's dad!
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Begins his slide into villainy this way, as he himself states in "Descent":Lex: This is Smallville! Meteor freaks, alien ships, cryptic symbols...somebody HAD to take control to ensure people's safety!
- It doesn't last; by Seasons 7 and 8, he no longer cares about anyone but himself.
- We Used to Be Friends: One of the premises of the show was asking the question "What if Clark Kent and Lex Luthor were best friends before becoming mortal enemies?"
- Wicked Cultured: Loves to quote great literature and is as bad as they come.
- Would Hit a Girl: As demonstrated in the Season 6 finale when Lana announces she's leaving him.
- Xanatos Gambit: His Sadistic Choice in Season 8. Either Lana absorbs the kryptonite radiation and can't go near Clark again, or they let the bomb go off, thus proving they aren't the heroes they claim to be. One could also add the very creation of the Prometheus skin graft here: either A. he puts it on, recovers and uses it to kill Clark and attain absolute power for himself (just imagine the sociopathic Lex of the later seasons armed with ALL of Clark's powers), or B. Lana puts it on and the above plan goes into action.
Played by: John Glover
- "If you're going to take me on, son, you're going to have to bring your game up to a whole different level."
Lex's father and the founder of LuthorCorp, Lionel rose from poverty to become one of the wealthiest men in the world. Claiming to be descended from Scottish nobility, he raised his son with little warmth and less love, believing that such things only bred weakness. He is the chief culprit behind his son's shattered psyche and need for approval, and is the main antagonist in Seasons 1-3.
Imprisoned at the end of Season 3 when Lex and Chloe reveal that he murdered his parents, Lionel is freed by Genevieve Teague and undergoes the beginnings of a HeelFace Turn. Failing to re-connect with Lex despite his best efforts, he grows closer to Clark, eventually learning his secret and becoming his ally, while at the same time serving as the host body for Jor-El (and nursing an enormous crush on Clark's mother Martha).
For his Earth-2 counterpart, see Earth-2.
- Abusive Dad: Though more sympathetic than most television examples, Lionel is very abusive towards Lex. Season 3 implies that he had one himself, meaning that the cycle of abuse is in full swing. It's also worth noting that Lionel's parents were abusive in the opposite way, keeping him down in poverty with them. Lionel, in turn, is trying to be the opposite, believing that pushing his son to succeed is what's best. Though, as Lex points out many times, Lionel doesn't have his best interest in mind, and only cares for himself. For example: having Lex's memory wiped so he can't tell anyone that Lionel killed his own parents. And worse, when Lionel attempts to murder Lex twice.
- Adaptational Badass: Depending on who was writing at the time, the comics have portrayed Lex's father as a petty criminal, an alcoholic loser, or even, during the Silver Age, a decent, normal man who wants nothing to do with his supervillain son. Lionel is, to date, the only version to be every bit as dangerous as Lex himself.
- Adaptation Name Change: Pre-Crisis, his name is Jules, Post-Crisis: he's mostly nameless.
- Adaptational Villainy: Comics!Lionel has varied from a normal man to an alcoholic brute, but no other version has ever been a full-blown supervillain the way that Smallville's version was.
- Affably Evil: Definitely. If you weren't in his way or related to him, Lionel could be a downright pleasant guy, even before his HeelFace Turn.
- Alliterative Name: Lionel Luthor.
- Alternate Self: Three, one on Earth-Prime, one on Earth-89 as Floronic Man, and one on an unnamed Earth as Mr. Sivana.
- Animal Motifs: Lionel is proud, dominant, sports a rather glorious mane, and has a rivalry with his own ambitious son.
- Anti-Hero: In the later seasons, he is still homicidal and manipulative, but has sought to protect Clark.
- Anti-Villain: In the early seasons.
- Archenemy: Of Jonathan Kent. From Lionel's first appearance on the show until Jonathan's Season 5 death, the two are engaged in a metaphorical, and at times, physical, war for their sons' souls. He'd also place an impressive third on Clark's enemy list, right behind Lex and Zod.
- Archnemesis Dad: To Lex, remaining so even after his HeelFace Turn.
- Ascended Extra: A recurring villain in Season 1, he was Promotion to Opening Titles in Season 2.
- Badass Beard: Though also a Beard of Evil until his HeelFace Turn.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: He dresses immaculately in suits.
- Badass Longcoat: Frequently.
- Badass Normal: In a show populated with obscenely powerful aliens and supervillains, Lionel still reigns supreme.
- Beard of Evil: In the early seasons. No longer applicable following his HeelFace Turn.
- Big Bad: Seasons 1-3, and the start of Season 4.
- Breakout Villain: Lionel was originally intended to appear a few times in Season 1 and be killed in the finale. He survived, became the Big Bad in Season 2 and 3, a Mentor to Clark from Season 4 onwards and, following his Season 7 death, his Evil Twin from Earth-2 was brought in to be The Heavy of Season 10, which was suffering from a lack of physical presence on the part of Big Bad Darkseid. To many, many people, he is the definitive Smallville villain.
- Broken Ace: A villainous example. Lionel's obsession with wealth, power and material success cover up a great deal of self-hatred, an inability to identify with other people, and a childhood he's still running away from.
- Canon Immigrant: Introduced to the comics after he was introduced in the show. Lex had always had an occasionally-mentioned father (who was either never shown, or if he was, varied in characterization, appearance, and name each time he appeared in flashbacks), but after Smallville's Lionel Luthor was so well-received, DC Comics started consistently portraying Lex's father in flashbacks as Lionel Luthor (the name Lionel Luthor itself originated on Smallville) and have drawn him as resembling actor John Glover ever since.
- Character Death: In Season 7's "Descent."
- The Chessmaster: Lionel is the king of this trope. At least until Lex outclasses him later on, to his (and everyone else's) horror.
- The City Narrows: Suicide Slum has its moniker for a reason. Lionel grew up there and, despite his best efforts, it has indelibly marked him.
- Cool Old Guy: A villainous example.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: LuthorCorp is built on the insurance money that Lionel got from killing his parents, and that's without getting into all the people he's used, experimented on, or murdered since.
- Cultured Badass: Quotes great literature, listens to opera, and will beat the tar out of anybody who crosses him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Where do you think Lex got it from?
- Destination Defenestration: In Season 7's "Descent," courtesy of Lex. Downplayed in that Lex first shoots out the window Lionel's standing in front of, THEN sends Lionel plummeting to his death.
- Disc-One Final Boss: In the first half of Season 4, he does his utmost to hurt Lex, Clark and Chloe from behind bars. Following his release and subsequent possession by Jor-El, however, he begins trying to turn over a new leaf, and Big Bad duties are assumed by his Evil Distaff Counterpart, Genevieve Teague.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Lionel's no Serial Killer and can usually be counted on to take a dim view of those who cause chaos for its own sake.
- This was revealed in his antiheroic phase, but he is not fond of human cloning.
- Ex-Big Bad: He gets demoted from the big bad role and his eventual transformation into an anti-hero establishes this.
- Expy: In the first few seasons, Lionel was an expy of Comics!Lex, his role being partly to foreshadow what Lex would grow up to be and partly to push him towards this fate. In Season 3, Lionel even gets the John Byrne-era backstory (growing up in Suicide Slums and becoming a Self-Made Orphan in order to reap his parent's insurance money to start his company) that was still canonical for Comics!Lex during the time period that the early seasons were airing.
- Foil: To Jonathan Kent. Everything from their histories to their parenting styles are diametrically opposed.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: With Clark in Season 4's "Transference." He comes onto Lana, Chloe and Martha in rapid succession, and more or less goes out of his way to make Clark look like as big a bastard as possible. However, his discovery of Clark's superpowers marks the beginning of his HeelFace Turn. Props to John Glover and Tom Welling for doing a very good impression of one another's mannerisms and speaking styles.
- Freudian Excuse: His parents were abusive and alcoholic.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: After redeeming himself, Clark and Chloe are dismissive of him, because he still is a manipulative man.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Lionel was once just a dirt-poor kid from Suicide Slums with abusive, alcoholic parents who wanted to keep him down with them.
- A God Am I: Lionel views himself as being literally above any moral judgment or accountability in the early seasons; absolutely revels in comparing himself to Roman emperors and viewing LuthorCorp and the business world at large as his empire; and in general is a colossal megalomaniac, as he views himself as the dark overlord of Metropolis. Lionel even continues to have these delusions after his HeelFace Turn, only now he views himself as some sort of prophet and savior.
- Grand Theft Me: Receives it courtesy of Jor-El in Season 5.
- The Heavy: Seasons 1-3. Overlaps with his time as the Big Bad.
- HeelFace Turn: It starts in Season 4 and culminates in Seasons 5 and 6, following his possession by Jor-El.
- Important Haircut: At the end of Season 3, when he goes to prison. He grows it back, but keeps it short. It's worth noting that the longer and greasier Lionel's hair is, the more evil he is. In Season 3, when he's at his worst, it hangs down past his shoulders.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Lionel's entire life is built upon running away from his past in Metropolis' Suicide Slum.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Eventually forms a not-so-solid friendship with the young Clark and Chloe.
- It's All About Me: While he was never quite as selfish as Lex, Lionel was pretty much defined by this in the early seasons. He was completely obsessed with controlling Lex and molding him into the son he wanted, had no problem with betraying his son when needed, and was even willing to have people killed when they made the grievous mistake of accidentally offending him by backing out of deals. Lionel believed himself to be above any form of moral judgment or accountability. It's really not hard to see where Lex got his attitude from.
- Jerkass: True, he was an Affably Evil Magnificent Bastard, but in all fairness, Lionel could be a legitimate asshole at times, especially in the early seasons. In "Jitters," he verbally harasses Lex for something he had no control over and refuses to accept any blame for anything that's happened. In "Tempest," he thwarts an attempt by Lex to keep the LuthorCorp plant open after he closes it to force Lex back to Metropolis and then visits Lex just to rub it in his face. In "Nocturne," he verbally bullies Lex for not doing enough to find him a suitable personal assistant, hires Martha himself after Lex wasted time interviewing candidates, and mocks Lex's affection for the Kents, even comparing him to a Greek god who wanted to live among mortals. And those are just a few examples.
- Knight Templar Parent: He's determined to raise his son to be as strong as possible. Oh, and if you happen to hurt Lex or Clark after Season 4, Lionel will come down on you like the wrath of God.
- Large Ham: Everything Lionel did was grandiose.
- Like a Son to Me: In regards to Clark, in the later seasons.
- Manipulative Bastard: The definitive manipulator on the show.
- Mad Oracle: His possession by Jor-El leads to several breaks from reality, during which he merely sits in a corner and sketches Kryptonian symbols. He's not actually insane, but he certainly looks this way from the outside.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Rich, cultured, well-dressed, and a son-of-a-bitch.
- Messy Hair: And the longer it gets, the messier (and greasier) it is.
- Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: During the first half of Season 4 where he's able to send an assassin after Chloe, body-jack Clark and launch several other plots against the main cast from behind bars. It's not an extreme example—he's certainly inconvenienced by doing hard time, but he is still very, very dangerous.
- Narcissist: Particularly during Seasons 1-3, wherein he has a great deal of trouble seeing his family and company as anything more than extensions of himself. Possession by Jor-El rids him of the worst of these traits in Season 4 though he remains grandiose and manipulative, viewing himself as a prophet and savior.
- Obfuscating Disability: In the beginning of Season 2, a life-saving surgery leaves him temporarily blind. He eventually regained his sight, but neglected to mention it and faked being blind for a few more weeks because people let their guard down around someone they thought couldn't see.
- Papa Wolf: Starts showing this trait towards Lex and then Clark after Season 4. Horribly and cruelly subverted in his treatment of Tess. He abandoned her at Granny Goodness' orphanage. The moment is even more heartbreaking when a poor, confused young Tess cries "Daddy, I love you!" at Lionel, who heartlessly walks away to his limo without responding and drives off. Later, we learn that Earth-2 Lionel, while apparently still interacting with Earth-2 Tess during her adult years, treats her like garbage and shows no love for her whatsoever.
- Parental Substitute: Tries hard to be one for Clark.
- Pride: Unlike his envious and angry son, Lionel favors the root of all sin. He's arrogant, grandiose, and utterly convinced of his own superiority. In a show filled with people with superpowers, Lionel still managed to feel like the most powerful person around.
- Prophet Eyes: When possessed by Jor-El.
- Rags to Riches: In his Backstory.
- Really Gets Around: He's had affairs with other women in the past, resulting in two illegitimate children, Lucas and Tess. Also, he's had many one-night stands with women where he gave them diamond earrings as a "thank you" gift.
- Redemption Equals Death: Lionel's turn-around ultimately sees him killed by Lex.
- Reformed, but Rejected: For most of Seasons 4 and 5, and in Season 7.
- Reformed, but Not Tamed: He has become more heroic but is still a manipulative, suspicious man.
- Ret-Canon: Thanks to his popularity and impact, subsequent Superman adaptations name Lex Luthor's father after him.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Thinks his wealth entitles him to do whatever he wants to whoever he wants.
- Secret Keeper: For Clark after Season 5.
- Self-Made Man: One of the rare evil ones. Unlike most examples, he's not proud of it and does everything he can to hide the fact that he hasn't always been rich.
- Self-Made Orphan: He and Morgan Edge conspired to kill his alcoholic parents Lachlan and Eliza.
- The Social Darwinist: Lionel expresses these sentiments on occasion, though not nearly to the extremes of his Earth-2 counterpart.
- So Proud of You: Leaves a message like this for Clark to listen to following his death.
- Supervillain: A prototypical one, foreshadowing what his son will become.
- Troubled Abuser: Lex's life would have been very different if his grandparents hadn't beaten Lionel for trying to be better than they were.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He is, to a great extent, responsible for Lex turning out as rotten as he did.
- Villainous Crush: On Martha Kent. He never really acts on it, though.
- Virtue Is Weakness: Something he's been trying to teach Lex his whole life.
- Wicked Cultured: Has high-class taste and low morals.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: A master of it.
- You Are What You Hate: He despised his abusive parents, unaware that he was one to Lex. He also expresses distaste for the poor, showing just how ashamed of his past he is.
- Zen Survivor: A badly burned-out one.
Lutessa Lena Luthor
Played by: Cassidy Freeman
- "Trust never was the golden rule for the kids in this clubhouse."
One of Lionel Luthor's illegitimate children, Lex's half-sister, protégé and his successor as CEO of LuthorCorp, Tess has a complicated history with Oliver Queen and a difficult relationship with Clark Kent, whom she alternately idolizes and fears. Domineering, calculating and extremely broken, Tess is a force to be reckoned with, though whether it's for good or evil is often up in the air.
First appearing in Season 8, Tess is a secondary antagonist throughout, trying to uncover the truth about Lex's disappearance, discover Clark's secret and eliminate both Doomsday and his alter ego Davis Bloome. At the Orb's instruction, Tess releases the Kandorians at the end of Season 8 and spends most of Season 9 alternately allying with and opposing Zod's designs in the name of creating a better future for humanity.
For her Earth-2 counterpart, see Earth-2.
- Shockingly, when she actually relaxes and turns off the trauma and the jackass behavior, she's actually fairly well-suited to this trope. Of course, the only time the audience really sees evidence of this is "Fortune." (Note that it's not just the alcohol talking; she's actually most adorkable at the end of the episode after the drunken shenanigans.)
- There is another instance of this trait when she nervously tells Clark about Connor in "Scion". That said, trying to explain to him that the Lex clone that previously tried to kill you, has not only lost his memories but is also partial clone of himself would be a pretty awkward situation.
- Abusive Parents: Her adoptive father broke her arm and damaged her eardrums. The Alternate Universe version of her biological father wasn't much better, given the fact that he routinely put her down and treated her horribly, eventually trying to cut out her heart so that he could use it to bring his son back to life. Yikes, if that isn't an extreme example of Parental Favoritism, then what is?
- Affably Evil: Tess is always pleasant even when she's threatening to ruin your life.
- Alliterative Name: Lutessa Lena Luthor.
- Alternate Self: Has one on Earth-Prime.
- The Atoner: In Season 10.
- Back from the Dead: In the Season 11 comic, it's revealed that the gel she used to wipe Lex's memory during her dying moments transferred her mind into Lex's subconscious, allowing her to survive her apparent death; once Clark and Ollie get wind of this, they mount an awe-inspiring rescue and manage to transfer Tess out of Lex's head and into the Watchtower computers, where she now takes on a Virtual Ghost appearance.
- Badass Normal: She's proficient at hand-to-hand combat, being shown practicing Kickboxing and Aikido.
- The Baroness: An interesting mix of the two versions—she's very attractive (like the Sexpot type), but her cold and bitter personality is closer to the Rosa Klebb variant.
- Bastard Bastard: She's Lionel's bastard daughter.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In Season 8, Chloe calls Tess a "Luthor wannabe," an accusation which doesn't seem to be too far off the mark. By Season 10, when Tess finds out that she is a Luthor, she most definitely doesn't see it as a good thing anymore.
- Because Destiny Says So: Is like this towards Clark. She's determined to make sure he turns into the Traveler that the prophecies have promised her, no matter how many times she has to manipulate, sabotage or betray him.
- Berserk Button: Once she cares about someone, it is a bad idea to endanger or threaten them in Tess's presence. Particularly Emil, it would seem, as she flips out at least twice in Season 11 because of him, once getting so angry that she's able to slap Lex across the face despite the fact that she's a hallucination.
- Big Bad: One could make a case for her being Season 8's. While Doomsday is the Final Boss, he spends most of the show trying to stay undercover, while Tess' manipulations drive the plot forwards and provide most of the season's conflict.
- Brain Uploading: In the Season 11 comic, it's revealed that the memory gel she used on Lex as she died transferred her consciousness into him, so she survives deep inside his head as a hallucination only he can see. Once she manages to communicate her situation to her friends, they manage to upload her into Watchtower and save her.
- Broken Ace: Along much the same lines as Lionel and Lex. She's rich, attractive, powerful, has no faith in humanity or herself, and is desperately searching for a Messiah-figure.
- Broken Bird: Life in general, and her interactions with the Luthors in particular, have left her very, very damaged. This shows more and more with each season after her introduction.
- Cain and Abel: Despite first impressions, Tess ends up being the Abel of this trope to big brother Lex's Cain.
- Character Development: She turns out to be one of the most complex characters on the show.
- The Chessmaster: Not quite to the level of Lex or Lionel but definitely one of these.
- Combat Pragmatist: Three words: kryptonite. brass. knuckles.
- Composite Character: Eve Teschmacher and Mercy Graves, and Big Barda, and Lena Luthor, and possibly Contessa Erica del Portenza, Luthor's eighth wife in the comics. and as of the season 11 comics, Red Tornado Let's be real, Tess Mercer may just be the Queen of this trope.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Although in a different way from most, and whether she still qualifies after her HeelFace Turn is arguable.
- Even before her HeelFace Turn, she reorganizes LuthorCorp around the goal of saving the Earth... it's just that her version of "saving the Earth" is not exactly the same definition that Clark and the JLA have. And plus she's willing to use ruthless means to get there.
- The Cracker: Put her skills at this to work for Clark post-HeelFace Turn.
- Cute Bruiser: Pretty girl. Will beat your face in without the need for Waif-Fu, thanks all the same. And oh yeahshe cheats.
- Damsel out of Distress: Kidnapping Tess is a great way to wind up dead.
- Dark Action Girl: She loses some of the evil in later seasons, but none of the edge.
- Designated Girl Fight: Against Lana, Lois, Chloe and Mad Harriet.
- Deadpan Snarker: Gets into a lot of Snark-to-Snark Combat with Lois. And the more we find out about her, the more it seems like she might be a Stepford Snarker.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Lex.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: As she lies dying from the knife wound Lex just gave her, she exposes Lex to a toxin that wipes his memory of everything that's happened since he came to Smallville, thus limiting the threat he'll be to Clark in the future. She is revived in Season 11.
- Enemy Mine: Her occasional team-ups with the good guys pre HeelFace Turn fall into this.
- Electronic Eyes: Implanted by Lex. It's revealed that he is actually spying on her through them, which prompts her HeelFaceTurn.
- Evil Genius: One of the smarter cast members and decidedly nasty.
- Evil Redhead: Lovely red hair, deeply damaged soul.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Has the deepest voice in the female cast and, what a shocker, is one of the bad guys until her HeelFace Turn in Season 10.
- The Fatalist: When it comes to Clark. She fully believes that he cannot fight fate.
- Fiery Redhead: Tess has a notable temper to go with her red hair.
- Good Is Not Nice: Has shades of this post-HeelFace Turn. She's considerably nicer (note the obvious change in her attitude toward Lois), particularly toward the other Justice League members, but she hasn't lost any of the Dark Action Girl edge, and she can still be a jerk, even if some of it is just keeping up appearances so that nobody notices that she's suddenly friends with two of her employees.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: More likely to punch you in the face then dance around you. Against Zod, she resorts to kryptonite brass knuckles.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: For three seasons, finally settling on Face.
- Home Porn Movie: Filmed one with Emil.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: When Oliver interrupts one her Kingpin in His Gym sessions, they get into an aggressive sparring match that ends up with them in bed. She also slept with Zod shortly after they both tried to kill each other.
- In the Blood: Her being Lionel's daughter explains both her manipulative nature and her HeelFace Revolving Door]].
- Killed Off for Real: In "Finale" by a revived Lex, ironically enough. Though she takes his memories with her. Subverted in Season 11, where she is brought back.
- Kingpin in His Gym: Has a lot of scenes with her practicing or training to show off he physical prowess. Some scenes crossing over with Workout Fanservice.
- Kissing Under the Influence: With Emil in "Fortune."
- Long Lost Sibling: It is revealed that Tess is the paternal half-sister to Lex. They share the same father, Lionel.
- Mama Bear: Hurt Alexander and expect to have the Luthor wrath come down on you.
- Manipulative Bitch: Near as talented as Lionel and Lex in this regard.
- Mercy Kill: As she lies dying, Lex tries to justify it as this, saying that he's saving her from becoming like him.Tess: Clark already did that.
- Misanthrope Supreme: She sides with the cloned Kryptonians over humanity, believing that they will be better stewards of the planet than humans. In the alternate future, she even becomes Zod's Dragon. However, in her dying moment, she admits she made a terrible mistake and she was desperately trying to save the world.
- Mission Control: Becomes Watchtower II in Season 10, due to Chloe's absence. Takes up the position again in Season 11 as an AI.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: She turns against Lex after Lana reveals to her how he never trusted her.
- Ms. Fanservice: She's extremely attractive and knows it.
- Never Be Hurt Again: A large part of her character motivation before her HeelFace Turn. Tess has suffered a lifetime of abuse and suffering, and took several levels in badass and climbs her way into becoming a Corrupt Corporate Executive. It seems her demeanor and scheming comes mostly from the desire to never be made to feel helpless or be at anyone's mercy again.
- Not So Different: The "evil" side of this for Chloe, Lampshaded by Tess herself in "Sacrifice." They're both very smart, tough women with more than a little bit of damage and quickly-waning trust in humanity. This is also noticeable in that they both, at different points in time, run Watchtower.
- Pair the Smart Ones: With the equally bright (if in a different sort of way) Emil.
- Parental Abandonment: Given up for adoption by Lionel.
- Parental Favoritism: Her biological father Lionel Luthor dumps her at an orphanage and then, at another distant home, utterly ignoring young Tess' heartbreaking cries of "I love you, Daddy!" Even worse, the Earth-2 version of him explicitly tells her that she isn't as special as her brother, and actually tries to kill her to use her heart to bring him back.
- Pet the Dog: For all her evil, she never revealed Clark's secret even before her HeelFace Turn despite her allegiances to groups like the Kandorians and Checkmate, who both really wanted to know. Zod even threatened to kill her if she didn't reveal what she knew about The Blur to him. She still refused, and while much of her decision was probably based on the games she was playing, she still gets some credit for protecting Clark when he and the rest of his team actively found her completely untrustworthy.
- Pragmatic Hero: Believes herself to be one, even before she becomes The Atoner. She's more of a Pragmatic AntiHero.
- Promotion to Parent: Seemed to be going this route with Alexander Luthor prior to his FaceHeel Turn.
- Really Gets Around: Implied, but never really shown. She sleeps with a grand total of three people over the course of her three seasons on the show, one an ex-boyfriend and another while under the influence of magically-spiked alcohol.
- Redemption Equals Death: Arguably, twice. When she first pulls a HeelFace Turn against Zod, he burns her so badly that she dies in the hospital (but is saved in the S10 premiere by Cadmus Labs). Then, after a full season on the Face side, she makes one final effort for Clark against her family and is killed by Lex for her trouble.
- The Reveal: In Season 10's "Abandoned," she's revealed to actually be a Luthor.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Tess feels her position and wealth entitle her to break the rules.
- Secret Keeper: She figures out Clark's deal pretty quickly, though it takes until season nine for him to actually admit it to her. To her genuine credit, she never reveals his secret to anyone, even under threat of death like the situation with the Kandorians, despite the fact that she was one of the bad guys at the time.
- Self-Made Orphan: Technically.Tess kills Lionel, though it's his Alternate Universe counterpart. Regardless, he is still considered her father even by Tess herself, and she kills him in self defense.
- Sex Goddess: Was able to impress a fully powered Zod with her sexual prowess, who claims she was able to "spar with him on an equal footing" and her ex Oliver comments on her being very passionate.
- Shameless Fanservice Girl: In "Persuasion" Tess is having a relaxing bubble bath when Major Zod invades her bathroom to catch her in a moment of weakness. She turns the tables on him by acting unperturbed and nonchalantly climbs out of the tub in front of him without an ounce of shame.
- Shoot the Dog: Goes out of her way to try and force Clark to kill Davis in Season 8.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Despite his relationship with Lois, Tess harbors an unreciprocated attraction to Clark, who is one of the few genuinely good-hearted men in her life.
- The Smart Guy: She and Emil split this role after her HeelFace Turn, Emil as The Medic and Gadgeteer Genius, and Tess as The Cracker, Manipulative Bastard and financial backer.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: She's pretty much Lex in drag, at least initially. She later develops her own personality.
- The Team Benefactor: She and Oliver provide most of the team's money after her HeelFace Turn.
- Took a Level in Badass: As a Virtual Ghost in the Season 11 comics, repeatedly taking control of various robot bodies to kick some ass with.
- The Un-Favourite: Her adoptive father was physically abusive to her and injured her on more than one occasion. And the trope also applies to the way she was treated by her biological father Lionel Luthor, who preferred her brother Lex in both Earth-1 and Earth-2. The Earth-2 version was even more extreme: he explicitly tells her that she's just not as special as Lex, and he tries to murder her to use her heart to resurrect Lex. Ouch.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Compare the flashbacks from "Toxic" to how she behaves in the present day timeline.
- The Vamp: Tess will use her sexuality to get what she wants from men.
- Villainous Crush: Often appears to manifest one on Clark and flirts with him many times (he doesn't reciprocate). She also seemingly manifests one for Lois as well and is often just as flirtatious with her as with Clark, a fact that was actually noted by Cassidy Freeman and Erica Durance. The writers have confirmed that a Clark/Tess romance was initially planned and toyed with, but the CW waited until the last minute to tell them whether they were renewed for a Season 9 or not, so during the latter half of Season 8, the writers had to be prepared to make Clark/Lois a formal couple just in case, thus forcing them to put off the plans for doing Clark/Tess first. By the time Season 9 started, the writers felt that the time a Clark/Tess romance would have been plausible had passed and focused on continuing Clois' forward momentum instead.
- Virtual Ghost: In the comics of Season 11, she's an Artificial Intelligence reborn by the Justice League, and acts as the primary Mission Control.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Even at her worst, she always has mankind's best interests at heart.
LuthorCorp Employers and Associates
Played by: Kelly Brook
The daughter of one of Lionel's business rivals, she attempts to play Lionel and Lex against one another in Season 1.
- Break the Haughty: Her ultimate fate, along with her equally-haughty father.
- The Chessmaster: Unfortunately for her, Lex is an even craftier Chessmaster. And Lionel was better than them both, of course.
- Daddy's Girl: She played Lex ultimately to get he father's approval.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Lex, with the caveat that Victoria is loyal to her father.
- Gold Digger: Already extremely wealthy, but she and her father want to get even richer and plot to have her infiltrate LuthorCorp by seducing Lex.Lex: You call sleeping with me "business?" I'd hate to think what that makes you.
- Honey Trap: Was one to Lex on behalf of her father.
- Hypocrite: Was horrified at Lex for taking over he father's company when they were scheming to do the same to LuthorCorp.
- Love Interests: For Lex in Season 1.
- Ms. Fanservice: Wears several flattering and fancy clothes and even gets a Bathtub Scene in "Shimmer".
- Out-Gambitted: By Lionel and Lex.
- Rich Bitch: Particularly in her treatment of Lex's staff members. This ended up coming back to bite her when one of them decided to try and remove Victoria from the mansion. Victoria survived, thanks to Clark.
- Riches to Rags: It's heavily implied that this is going to happen to her and her father after they are Out-Gambitted by Lex and Lionel. The last episode of their story arc ends with them apparently losing their fortune in a terrible stock deal over Cadmus Labs (they were tricked into this by Lex in retaliation for Victoria trying to trick him into helping the Hardwicks take over LuthorCorp). The last we see of them, they are sitting dejected and in utter shock, and Lex informs them that he and Lionel will be buying away their company and absorbing it into LuthorCorp the following morning.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Her actions end up with Lex acquiring Cadmus Labs.
- The Vamp: Tries to play both of the Luthor men against each other, sleeping with both Lex and Lionel. It doesn't end well for her.
Played by: Paul Wesley
One of Lionel's illegitimate children, Lucas was born from an affair that Lionel had with Rachel Dunleavy.
- Alliterative Name: Lucas Luthor.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: To Lex.
- Bad Boss: After becoming owner of the Talon.
- Deadpan Snarker: He is a Luthor, after all.
- Long Lost Sibling: To Lex.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: "I'm a Luthor. I can do what I want."
- Shoo Out the New Guy: Appeared in just one episode where he had a major role, and it was implied would continue to have a major role in the Luthor family dynamic. Was Put on a Bus at the end of the episode and was never seen or heard from again.
- The Sociopath: At least according to Lionel.
Played by: Alisen Down
The deceased wife of Lionel, and the mother of Lex and Julian (also deceased). It is eventually revealed that she helped create the beginnings of the Lex/Lionel feud that persists throughout the show.
- Abusive Mom: Murdered her second son and wasn't all that great to Lex either.
- Adaptation Name Change: Pre-Crisis: her name is Arlene, Post-Crisis: she's mostly nameless.
- Adaptation Personality Change: In the Silver Age comics, she's mostly a kind mother; Post-Crisis, she's either neglectful or unseen altogether.
- Alliterative Name: Lillian Luthor.
- Alternate Self: Has one on Earth-Prime.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Judging by her mental state after Julian's birth, Lillian may have been suffering from Postpartum depression, a condition that sometimes causes women to smother their newborn babies. She sleeps more, is constantly crying, and appears to be having a breakdown during her argument with Lionel. And, like real life Postpartum depression, Lillian murders Julian. She looks extremely disoriented after the act. In a way, Julian's death was Lionel's fault, for not getting his wife help and giving her more reasons to go through with it.
- Mercy Kill: Lillian smothered her newborn son Julian to spare him from Lionel's abusive way of parenting.
- Missing Mom: She died when Lex was a teenager.
- Offing the Offspring: Julian.
- Posthumous Character: She died before the series began.
- Spirit Advisor: Her spirit appears to Lex when he's experiencing an alternate, good life for himself while comatose in Season 5's "Lexmas" and again in "Void" where she blasts Lex for ignoring her advice.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Her Mercy Kill of Julian is what led to Lex and Lionel's acrimonious relationship.
- Would Hurt a Child: Poor Julian.
Played by: Anna Galvin
- The Dragon: To Lex during Season 7.
- Expy: Reverse example; Tess Mercer is this to her. Fans called her "Maybe-Mercy" before her name was revealed, after Mercy Graves, and Tess filled much the same position as Gina once she arrived.
- He Knows Too Much: She finds out that Clark is the Traveler. Five minutes later, her murderer is staging the scene in order to Make It Look Like an Accident.
- Ignored Enamored Underling: Also to Lex.
- Killed Off for Real: By Edward Teague.
- Undying Loyalty: When she discovers that Lex murdered his father, she goes from comforting him about the loss to explaining why he had to do it in seconds.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Shares Lex's desire to stop the Traveler, and will shoot people and lock them in freezers in order to bring about her goals.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Subverted; she shoots Lois while holding Lois and Jimmy hostage because she "[wasn't] cooperating."
Played by: Ari Cohen
Lex's right-hand man, before and after the events of "Arctic." He initially takes over the company after Lex's disappearance, only to be replaced by Tess Mercer. He then vanishes off the radar so that he can serve Lex in a personal capacity, running the Prometheus project for him. He eventually tries to kill Tess for betraying Lex, and is killed by her in turn.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Near as crooked as his boss.
- The Dragon: To Lex. He may well be the man's one competent employee.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Towards Tess in Season 8 after she unexpectedly takes over the company, having been named by Lex in his will as his successor. You almost feel sorry for Regan when he finds out; he shows nothing but Undying Loyalty towards Lex and doesn't understand why Lex named "an obscure regional VP" as his heir. When he's informed about Tess being Lex's heir, there's even a look of visible hurt and confusion on the man's face. He then spends the rest of his time on the show trying to prove that he's a better minion than Tess.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: He firmly believed that Lex's plans in "Quest" and "Arctic" were nuts. This doesn't prevent him from staying loyal, before and after.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: To Tess.
- Playing with Syringes: Uses a drug derived from Chloe's mother's spinal fluid to mind-control first Chloe and then Green Arrow.
- Properly Paranoid: As it turns out, his suspicions about Tess' loyalty were right; she jumps ship as soon as she finds out how badly Lex has violated her trust.
- The Reliable One: To Lex.
- Smug Snake: Condescending and just generally unpleasant.
- Undying Loyalty: To Lex. May be somewhat surprising, seeing this trope in a Luthor exec, but then again it's implied that he genuinely believes Lex's delusions about the Traveller being the vanguard of a Kryptonian invasion, and that he views Lex as humanity's best chance at thwarting this.
Species: Enhanced Humans
Played by: Jessica Parker Kennedy (Bette Sans Souci / Plastique), Brendan Fletcher (Rudy Jones / Parasite), Anna William (Eva Greer), Anna Mae Routledge (Leslie Willis / Livewire), Jae Lee (Nathaniel Tryon / Neutron)
A team of super-powered operatives assembled by Tess in Season 8 to track down Doomsday. After the deaths of Livewire, Neutron and Eva, Parasite and Plastique turn on Tess, but are stopped by Clark.
For more on Plastique, see "Suicide Squad."
- Alternate Self: Plastique, Parasite, and Livewire have them on Earth-Prime.
- Ax-Crazy: Parasite
- Brought Down to Normal: Parasite does this to Livewire.
- Energy Absorption: Parasite
- Flying Brick: Parasite when he steals Clark's powers. Luckily, he also steals his Kryptonite Factor.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: All four of them.
- I Love Nuclear Power: Presumably Neutron.
- Killed Off for Real: Eva and Neutron.
- Mad Bomber: Plastique
- Psycho Electro: Livewire and then Parasite.
- Shapeshifting: Eva
- Shock and Awe: Livewire
- Vampiric Draining: Parasite's power drains both your powers and some of your Life Energy.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Plastique shows back up later with the Suicide Squad, but mysteriously vanishes by their next appearance.
- Why Am I Ticking?: The chip in their heads that keeps them loyal doubles as a bomb.
- You Have Failed Me: Tess does this to Livewire and Eva.
Alexander Luthor / Lx-15 (Jakob Davies, Connor Stanhope, Lucas Grabeel)
- "I'm the last Lex Luthor. After I die, there is no coming back."
A clone of Lex created sometime after Season 7, Alexander was part of the mad billionaire's plan to save himself from the injuries he sustained at the end of "Arctic." He is released from Cadmus Labs by Tess in the Season 10 opening, and at first appears to be a relatively normal child.
The tropes below pertain to him as "Alexander". For his post-amnesia persona, see The Kents, though be warned, that folder is filled with spoilers.
- Bald of Evil: As of the end of "Harvest". But his hair grows back.
- Big Bad Wannabe: He talks a good game, but is far too shattered mentally to fill Lex's shoes.
- Boring, but Practical: His plan to kill Clark involves firing kryptonite bullets at people he cares about, assuming that Clark will blur in front of the shots. Compared to Lex's complicated schemes, it's definitely this.
- Canon Character All Along: As shown in The Kents, he becomes the show's version of Connor Kent.
- Cheerful Child: At least, at first.
- Cloning Blues: Complete with accelerated aging, until "Scion".
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": "My name is Lex!"
- Enfant Terrible: Given that he has Lex's mind in a child's body, this should surprise no one. He's creepy, manipulative and downright abusive towards Tess. And then there's his murderous agenda regarding Clark. "Born bad" is putting it mildly.
- Evil Orphan:Despite Tess' best efforts.
- FaceHeel Turn: In "Harvest." See Conner's entry for how that turns out.
- Important Haircut: Shaved himself in imitation of Lex in "Harvest". It grew back pretty quick.
- Kill It with Fire: Burned down the Luthor mansion. What is it with Lex's clones and pyromania?
- The Last Dance: He's fully aware of his aging problem. It's not doing healthy things to his mental stability.
- Last of His Kind: The last of the Lex clones.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: As of his FaceHeel Turn.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Revealed at the very end of "Beacon."
- Parental Issues: With Tess, Earth-2 Lionel and anyone else who tries to offer him guidance.
- Psychotic Smirk: Sports a beautiful copy of Lex's.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ruthlessly deconstructs Tess' desire to help him, claiming that she's only trying to exorcise her own internal demons.
- Revenge: Previously expressed a desire to r:payback Clark for "his" death.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Because you can load them with kryptonite bullets.
- Sanity Slippage: Gets a whole lot crazier with every year he ages.
- Self-Made Orphan: He sure as hell tries to send Earth-2 Lionel the way of his Earth-1 counterpart.
- Shadow Archetype: To Lex, of course.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Well, boy really.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Before Lex's memories screwed him up.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: "He's just as smart as Lex was. Maybe even smarter."
- You Are Number 6: Lx-15 is his "actual" name and number.
- Younger Than They Look: Not to the degree of Lx-3, but he's getting there.
Species: Human Clone
Played by: Mackenzie Gray
- "There can only be one Lex Luthor!"
Another one of Lex's clones, this one degenerated to the point where he resembles a much older, rather cadaverous-looking man. He is accidentally released by Tess in the Season 10 opening and goes on a killing spree that starts with the other clones, progresses through the entire staff at Cadmus Labs, and ends with separate attempts on Lois and the people of Metropolis. Utterly insane, he possesses all of Lex's memories and brains, but none of his suave demeanor.
- Ax-Crazy: Lex himself had this guy locked up. There was a reason for that.
- Bald of Evil: He is Lex's clone.
- Big Bad Wannabe: He's menacing and dangerous, and Clark and Tess both react as though he really were the real Lex, but thanks to his Clone Degeneration, he doesn't really have time to do all that much.
- Cloning Blues: He's far older than the real Lex, and dying to boot.
- Clone Degeneration: The only real explanation for his positively Orlokian appearance.
- Evil Genius: Has more than enough time to demonstrate his high IQ before his Cloning Blues kill him.
- Evil Old Folks: Old enough that he's only got a few days to live.
- Expy: Of previous villain Adrian Cross, who was cloned from Lex's deceased younger brother Julian. Both have aging problems, identity issues and a lust for revenge, as well as limited time to put their plans in motion.
- Kill It with Fire: Does it to the other clones; tries to do it to Lois.
- Killed Off for Real: At the end of his first episode.
- Large Ham: It's Mackenzie Gray playing an Ax-Crazy clone of Lex Luthor. Were we expecting it to be subdued?
- The Last Dance: He's already dying when he gets loose. Trying to hurt Clark is just a final F-U before he goes.
- Looks Like Cesare: Rail skinny, with sunken, baggy eyes, a pale complexion and a sickly cast to his features.
- Looks Like Orlok: He's not a vampire, but with the Bald of Evil, vaguely Pointy Ears and jutting teeth, he does a remarkable impression.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Is dressed as such when he confronts Clark.
- Not So Different: Pulls this on Clark.
- Older and Wiser: Or so he claims.
- Pointy Ears: Slightly.
- Pride: Claims it's Clark's Fatal Flaw; one could argue that it's his.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Clark in which he claims that Pride is his Fatal Flaw.
- Revenge: His motivation for attacking Clark.
- Revenge by Proxy: The reason he attacks Lois. He believes her death will utterly shatter Clark.
- Sadistic Choice: Tries to force Clark to choose between saving Lois or the people of Metropolis.
- Shadow Archetype: To the real Lex. Lx-3 is what the real Luthor would by like if he lost the charisma, and his few remaining scruples, while turning up the Ax-Crazy a notch or eleven. That darkness inside him Lex was constantly being warned about? It's more or less this guy.
- Smug Snake: Has all of Lex's cunning and evil and all of his Jerkass qualities with none of the sympathy or Magnificence.
- The Sociopath: Literally tries to kill every person he meets.
- There Can Be Only One: Lex Luthor, that is.
- Villain of the Week: And what an impression he makes.
- Would Hit a Girl: First Tess, then Lois.
- Would Hurt a Child: As Alexander can attest to.
- You Are Number 6: Lx-3
- You Look Familiar: His actor, Mackenzie Gray, also portrayed Evil Brit Mad Scientist Dr. Alistair Kreig in Season 5's "Cyborg."
- Younger Than They Look: Cloning Blues have left him with the body of a much older man.