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Tenet

Field Agents:

    The Protagonist 

Played by: John David Washington

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/09049e5eacff13cf77b627b1e3da19e37d008ec9.jpg
"Well, to do what I do, I need some idea of the threat we face."

A CIA agent who is recruited into Tenet in a mission to stop a world war with the future.


  • Audience Surrogate: He serves as this in the larger scope of the film, learning about inversion as the same rate as the audience does.
  • Badass Beard: He's a formidable combatant with a formidable beard.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: At the very least he's well-trained in close combat, and wears nice suits for a good portion of the film.
  • Big Good: Unbeknownst to all involved, including himself, the Protagonist is the one pulling all the strings of Tenet, either as the organisation's leader or, quite conceivably, its founder, thus making his role in the film the facilitator of a Stable Time Loop.
  • The Chessmaster: According to Neil, the entire movie, if not the entire existence of the Tenet organisation, is the result of the Protagonist's long-term efforts.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: He goes out of his way to ensure no bystander is hurt during missions he participates in.
    • During the opera siege, after he discovers the KORD troops planting bombs to kill the audience, he collects the bombs and throws them away, despite his colleagues telling him it’s “not our mission”.
    • When he, Neil and Mahir plan the Freeport heist, the Protagonist insists on there not being any passengers on the plane they will crash, and is the first to voice concerns about the safety of the crew.
  • Combat Pragmatist: When fighting, he goes for quick and powerful strikes and slamming his opponents into the nearest hard surface.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Like many Christopher Nolan characters before him, the Protagonist has a dry and understated sense of humor.
    Sator: How would you like to die?
    The Protagonist: Old.
  • Death Faked for You: After his rescue from his torturers at the beginning, his new employers fake his death as part of his recruitment.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: In addition to his CIA experiencenote , he's implied to have been a part of an airborne-capable military unit (usually regarded as elite). But he sustained an injury during his training days.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His decision to save the audience at the opera house by removing the bombs near them when the rest of his team wouldn't establishes his heroic willingness to help others with nothing to gain.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": He isn't just referred to as the film's "protagonist" for simplicity's sake. He actually refers to himself as "the Protagonist", and so does Priya.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • While he admits that he'd take a woman hostage to fulfill his mission if he had to, the Protagonist draws the line at doing the same with children.
    • He's not fond of killing people because they know too much. He even kills Priya for trying to kill Kat because of this.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Zig-Zagged. On the one hand, he is a seasoned CIA operative who was involved in intervening in an anti-terrorist operation in Ukraine before he got recruited to join Tenet. On the other hand, his line of work does not normally involve time literally flowing backwards around him, in contrast to a protagonist such as Dominic Cobb, whose line of work revolves around that film's plot device involving dreams.
  • Expy: The film features multiple parallels to a Bond movie, thus making the Protagonist an American version of James Bond himself. He even gets a Bond One-Liner after killing Priya.
  • Foil: For Sator; they may both be willing to lie and manipulate in service to their goals, but the Protagonist is heroic where Sator is villainous, selfless where he is selfish, and treats Kat with kindness and respect, whereas Sator treats her as his property and shamelessly abuses her. The Protagonist is also an American who is implied to be a Working-Class Hero, while Sator is a Russian oligarch, tremendously wealthy, though both men have powerful backers from the future (Tenet—and therefore himself—for the Protagonist, and the unknown Greater-Scope Villain for Sator).
  • Genius Bruiser: He's a very skilled combatant, and easily grasps the concept of time inversion. His future self becoming the founder and leader of Tenet implies some impressive chessmaster skills as well.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: His future self founds Tenet, making him the driving heroic force of the film.
  • Hero of Another Story: His operations with the CIA prior to the Kiev opera siege in Ukraine.
  • Leitmotif: WINDMILLS and THE PROTAGONIST reflect the Protagonist being without friends in the beginning and the ending of the film.
  • The Man Behind the Man: A rare heroic example. He is never informed who Tenet are, and doesn't learn until Neil tells him at the end that he was working for The Protagonist's future self all along.
  • Nerves of Steel: Being a spy, he's very good at keeping his cool in tense situations. When Sator's goons attack him and when Sator himself makes his overblown death threats, the Protagonist just snarks at them with a completely unimpressed expression.
  • Nice Guy: Despite the nature of his profession, he is a polite and selfless individual who cares about both his allies and innocent civilians, as illustrated by his actions in the Action Prologue. This sets him apart from Sator and makes him the perfect Big Good Foil to Sator's Big Bad
  • No Name Given: The Protagonist is only ever referred to via pronouns, or himself or Priya literally calling him "the protagonist". Both Nolan and Washington have stated that while he does have a name, they're not telling.
  • Nothing Personal: While he admits to having killed people during his work, the Protagonist maintains that it was nothing personal.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: The Protagonist isn't short, per se, but he is the shortest of the main cast (John David Washington is 5'9", Robert Pattinson is 6'1", Elizabeth Debicki is 6'3", and Kenneth Branagh is 5'10"), yet constantly proves himself as one of the most capable soldiers and agents in the film. Oh, and the ending reveals his future self is the head of Tenet, which would mean he only gets more capable as the years progress.
  • The Protagonist: Both his role in the story, and the only identification the audience is ever given for him.
  • Secret Test of Character: His torture and interrogation at the start of the film is actually a test to see if he has what it takes to join Tenet. Fay notes that this isn't a test that everyone passes, but the Protagonist proves himself equal to the challenge, choosing death over betraying his colleagues and being brought into Tenet.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: His wardrobe gets a major upgrade after Sir Michael Crosby hands him a credit card and a limitless budget so he can look the part while mixing with high rollers like Sator.
  • Sole Survivor: Of his CIA-led team after the Kiev op went sideways at the last minute.
  • Undying Loyalty: He's ready to die for others, refusing to say anything about his colleagues or employers when he's captured and tortured following the Kiev opera siege.
  • Working-Class Hero: We don't know exactly what the Protagonist's salary is, but it comes up multiple times that he clearly isn't as rich as he is attempting to make himself appear for the mission, from how he dresses to how he behaves, the subtlest hint being that he pronounces espresso as "expresso".
  • Would Hit a Girl: The Protagonist admits, albeit with no pride about it, that he'd be willing to take a woman hostage if it served his goals, and he assassinates Priya at the end due to her trying to take out Kat secretly.
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    Neil 

Played by: Robert Pattinson

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tenet_10.jpg
"What's happened, happened. We need to save them, here and now."

A veteran Tenet agent and the Protagonist's handler.


  • The Anti-Nihilist: Despite his fatalistic outlook, Neil absolutely does not consider his actions meaningless or the nature of the world to be an excuse to do nothing.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: About as well dressed as the Protagonist, and kicks as much butt as well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of the film's humor comes from his witty remarks.
  • The Fatalist: Neil's knowledge of inversion gives him a "what's happened, has happened" mentality, and gives him a sense of peace about his impending Heroic Sacrifice, but it doesn't change his heroic motives or his overall positive outlook.
    Neil: What's happened's happened. Which is an expression of faith in the mechanics of the world. It's not an excuse to do nothing.
    The Protagonist: Fate?
    Neil: Call it what you want.
    The Protagonist: What do you call it?
    Neil: Reality. Now let me go.
  • Future Badass: The Protagonist will recruit Neil in the future.
  • Genius Bruiser: Neil has a Master's Degree in physics and is just as combat-capable as the Protagonist.
  • The Handler: He accompanies the Protagonist on his mission and provides him intel.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: From Neil's perspective, he and the Protagonist have enjoyed a long and very close friendship, and it takes some effort on Neil's part to act as though he and the Protagonist are strangers when they meet for the first time from the latter's perspective. As Neil departs for his impending Heroic Sacrifice at the end of the movie, the Protagonist realizes that for him, that friendship will begin when he eventually recruits Neil to join Tenet, and looks forward to seeing him then.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of the movie, Neil (in what we realize are his inverted last moments) takes a bullet meant for the Protagonist. After present-Neil drags Ives and the Protagonist out of the hole at the climax of the movie, and learns that he picked a lock for them down there, he realizes that he had/will come back to the battle to help them out again and since he didn't came out with them and he saw Volkov blow up the other entrance...
  • Hero of Another Story: Neil's activities after he began his involvement with Tenet field ops, before The Protagonist's chronologically first meeting with him in India.
  • The Lancer: Plays second fiddle to the Protagonist.
  • Leitmotif: MEETING NEIL plays when Neil introduces himself to the Protagonist in the Bombay Yacht Club, and ends with the two executing their plan to infiltrate Sanjay Singh's home, reflecting their mutual trust. Doubly so for Neil, who is a long-time friend and ally to the Protagonist.
  • Master of Unlocking: Is good at picking locks.
  • Mysterious Stranger:
    • While willing to work with the Protagonist, Neil is tight-lipped about a few things around him, while knowing things about the Protagonist that he probably shouldn't, such as preferred beverages. Neil is in truth a fellow Tenet agent, but didn't disclose this until Ives, Wheeler, and the Tenet force arrive to liberate the Protagonist and Kat from Rotas.
    • He was the mysterious Gas Mask Mook who saves the Protagonist's life with an inverted bullet in the opening scene of movie—and the same one who appeared at Stalsk-12 making a Heroic Sacrifice for the Protagonist—indicated by the red-string-attached trinket on his backpack.
  • Red Herring: He's oddly quick on the uptake regarding the mechanics of inversion, and at one point Sator strangely knows every move the heroes make, suggesting that Neil may be colluding with Sator. Neil really is on the Protagonist's side; he's a Tenet agent, but doesn't disclose this until after Tenet forces arrive to free the Protagonist from Rotas, which leaves the Protagonist himself understandably frustrated.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: While he dresses pragmatically on assignment, Neil seems to favour scarves and sharp suits when not in action, contrasting the Protagonist, who is clearly less comfortable with such luxuries.
  • The Smart Guy: He knows his physics, thanks to his Master's Degree in that field, and also can speak Estonian on top of English.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Figures out in his last scene that he will eventually come back again through time to help Ives and the Protagonist again and won't make it. However, since his face-covering helmet also covered any sign of age, there is no telling how far in his future that event is.

Support Personnel:

    Barbara 

Played By: Clémence Poésy

A scientist working for Tenet.


  • Expy: Fitting with the film's James Bond influences, Barbara is essentially "Q, minus the gadgets".
  • Ms. Exposition: A lot of her role involves explaining the concept of inversion, and the stakes if they fail, to the Protagonist.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Barbara is the one to reveal how inversion works to the Protagonist, but disappears from the film after that scene.
  • The Stoic: Barbara is very matter-of-fact and reserved while explaining her work to The Protagonist.

    Mahir 

Played By: Himesh Patel

A Tenet agent and associate of Neil's who plays a key role in the airport heist, and later in the plan to stop Sator off the coast of Vietnam. He works with Rohan in the Oslo op.


  • Badass Beard: A bearded guy who's one of the more audacious and resourceful Tenet agents.
  • Oh, Crap!: Mahir is appropriately alarmed when he sees Kat kill Sator before the algorithm is disarmed.
  • The Scrounger: He's described as organizing things like stolen planes for the organization.
  • The Strategist: Mahir organizes the airplane crash at Oslo, to give the Protagonist and Neil time to infiltrate the freeport.

    Rohan 
Another Tenet agent assigned to work with Mahir when they conduct a fake hijacking/heist at Oslo Airport.


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    Fay 

Played by: Martin Donovan

"Welcome to the afterlife."

The CIA official the Protagonist meets following his faked death. He gives him the Trust Password for Tenet, but is implied to not truly be part of it.


  • Advertised Extra: Downplayed, but the trailers make Fay look like Da Chief and/or The Handler when his actual role is just to help recruit The Protagonist from the CIA to Tenet and he's a fairly junior figure in the organization.
  • Mr. Exposition: Fay helps explains to the Protagonist his new position, with the word Tenet to be used as a safe word.
  • Secret Test of Character: Fay's last words—"That test you passed? ...Not everybody does."—implies that he failed the same test the Protagonist passed. This is why Fay is only entrusted with the barest of knowledge about Tenet and its operations, and plays no further role than recruiting the Protagonist. In fact, Fay is what the Protagonist could have become if he had failed.

Commandos

    Ives 

Played by: Aaron Taylor-Johnson

A major Tenet commando. He first appears when Neil calls in Tenet to seize the Rotas compound in Tallinn and free Kat and the Protagonist.


  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Apparently a high-ranking Tenet commando who helps the protagonist and Neil fight Sator's goons and is very good at inversion combat.
  • Badass Beard: Ives is a trim-bearded commando who stands among the film's best fighters.
  • The Cavalry: He shows up leading several Tenet commandos to free the Protagonist after Sator's men capture him.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Ives doesn't appear until at least halfway through the film—the Rotas firm seizure by Tenet—but plays a major role in the final battle and its set-up and aftermath.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: A high-ranking leader in Tenet's commando forces.
  • He Knows Too Much: He pulls his gun on The Protagonist after the threat has been stopped due to his knowledge of the Algorithm. He changes his mind and instead gives The Protagonist a third of it and a head start. It's just as well too, as it turns out The Protagonist is technically Ives's boss, though he doesn't know it yet.
  • Hero of Another Story: He's implied to be a veteran of many previous important missions for the organization.
  • MacGuffin Guardian: A delayed example. Ives is entrusted with a third of the Algorithm at the end.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: After the climax, Ives lets The Protagonist and Neil walk away, even though protocol dictates killing anyone who knows about the algorithm.

    Wheeler 

Played by: Fiona Dourif

Another Tenet commando who accompanies Ives to raid the Rotas compound in Tallinn.


  • Action Girl: She's a female Tenet operative and takes part in the climax's battle.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Wheeler appears with Ives when Neil calls for backup.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Another high-ranking leader in Tenet's commando forces.
  • Hero of Another Story: Like Ives, Wheeler's involved in a number of Tenet-led field ops.
  • Ms. Exposition: Wheeler gives the Protagonist a crash course in how the world works when a person is inverted.

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Sator's forces

    Andrei Sator 

Played by: Kenneth Branagh

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/keneth_branagh_tenet.png
"This is where our worlds collide..."

A Russian oligarch who holds sway on the inversion technology that he apparently receives from the future.


  • Actor Allusion:
    • Played With. Sator is very full of himself, to the point of being willing to have the world end with his own death, a trait exemplified by Branagh in many other roles both before and behind the camera. Subverted as well, as Branagh's menacing portrayal of Sator is arguably mostly subtle with one or two moments of violent rage.
    • This also isn't the only time Kenneth Branagh plays a villain who's dying of cancer and spends the climax miles away from the conflict.
  • Asshole Victim: Kat points a gun on Sator and reveals to Sator that she survived him shooting her with an inverted bullet in Rotas. Only now realizing that he'd been fooled, Sator can only yell before Kat shoots him in the chest, shoves him off the yacht and into the water, and lashes his body to Mahir's boat.
  • Bad Boss: When Sator discovers that one of his men has stolen a bar of gold from a time capsule, he takes back the gold bar from the guy, and suddenly bludgeons him to death with it. Then, when the Protagonist (who saw the whole thing) is dragged before him, Sator gives him the same bloodstained bar to fund his heist.
  • Big Bad: The film's main on-screen antagonist.
  • Cold Ham: Speaks rather bombastically, yet understates his delivery. The result is a chilling antagonist with few outbursts of rage.
  • Control Freak: Sator's entire motivation and lifestyle. He even compares himself to a tiger and proclaims how everyone should only admire him.
    • In regards to his wife: refusing to let her leave him even though their marriage is a sham and he's maintaining control of her with threats of violence and blackmail. His actions make a lot more sense when you discover that It's All About Me because he's helping bring about the end of the world and regards his beautiful wife and son as his part of a Deal with the Devil.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Sator is entirely willing to have the Protagonist beaten by his cronies or castrated because he might be having an affair with his estranged wife. It turns out this mindset extends to the entire world; he intends to wipe out all of existence rather than let it go on without him.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • He describes his backstory in these terms: he accepted the well-paid, but dangerous job of scavenging for plutonium, knowing the radiation would kill him eventually.
    • He colludes with people from the future to collect the Algorithm for them in exchange for gold and knowledge of time-inverting mechanics, which become his assets to build a life of wealth and power he would never have seen otherwise.
  • Disney Villain Death: Kat kills Sator by shooting him right in the sternum, then slides him overboard, where he dies for sure (though not without smashing into a railing one level down as he falls). Then she lashes his corpse to Mahir's speedboat for good measure.
  • Domestic Abuse: He's always treated Kat like his property and blackmails her into staying with him. He's even ready to whip her with his belt after she tried killing him when they sailed on catamarans.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Averted with his wife, Kat, whom Sator abuses physically and psychologically, treating her as a possession and forcing her to stay in a loveless marriage.
    • Subverted with his and Kat's son, Max; despite his claim that he wouldn't have had a son in a world he knew was going to end, this sentiment doesn't do a thing to change his mind about his Evil Plan. The best thing that can be said for how Sator treats Max is that he's not as cruel and abusive as he is towards Kat.
  • Evil Is Petty: As a Control Freak, Sator commits horrible actions for the smallest of slights.
    • His entire motivation for refusing to release Kat and ending the world comes as a severe case of If I Can't Have You..., even if he has no love or want for either.
    • In the one element of his life he could not control, his death, he still must choose a time and place for it to happen.
    • As Kat puts it, Sator always sees failure as betrayal. And he does not take to betrayal kindly. He treats Kat so harshly because she sold him a forged painting and beats a Mook to death personally because he tried to steal a gold bullion.
    • He orders The Protagonist killed upon his first meeting because The Protagonist successfully foiled his attempt at roughing him up.
    • He admits that he got the angriest in his entire life because The Protagonist successfully tricked him into shooting his wife for no reason. He was angrier in this moment than when his wife pulled a gun on him and he got into a firefight with Tenet soldiers.
  • Expy:
    • Of the Bald Man from Following, as compared by Jeremy Theobald, particularly in his hold over his ex-wife Kat.
    • He also resembles Viktor Cherevin, another Secretly Dying villainous Russian oligarch who serves as the Big Bad. Hell, they're even played by the same actor.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He can be civil, but it's clearly a mask that never stays on for long.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Andrei Sator was working clean-up after a nuclear accident on a Soviet Black Site, just an expendable mook with a short lifespan. He becomes a powerful oligarch and Arms Dealer after digging up an inverted Time Capsule and accepting the Deal with the Devil it offered.
  • A God Am I: At the climax, when the Protagonist describes him as a madman, Sator replies that his omnicidal plans could make him "a god, of sorts". The Protagonist doubles down on his opinion of Sator's sanity.
  • Groin Attack: Threatens the Protagonist with castration (among other things) and kicks Kat between the legs while brutalising her.
  • Hate Sink: He's an abusive, selfish, spiteful Control Freak given absolutely no redeeming qualities, and everything he does just makes the audience hate him more.
  • The Heavy: The mysterious future organisation came up with the plan to invert the world. Andrei's only going along with it because he's dying and wants to take the world with him.
  • I Am a Monster: The closest he gets to a Pet the Dog is telling his wife that his opinion of her is far higher than her opinion of him.
  • If I Can't Have You...: His reasoning for why he won't just let go of the wife who clearly doesn't love him: if he can't have her, nobody can. This mindset extends to life itself; in Andrei's mind, if he can't live, then no one can live.
  • It's All About Me: He's such a monstrously self-centered madman that he'll end the entire world, his wife and son included, rather than allow it to go on after he dies.
  • Jerkass: At his best, Sator only fakes civility, and even then, he shows his true self before long. Most of the time, he's menacing and cruel, and to his wife, he's downright brutal.
  • Leitmotif: SATOR, which includes a recurring distorted wheezing sound reflecting his brutal nature as an black-hearted thug.
  • Meaningful Name: A character using time inversion named after a famous palindrome.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: His ultimate goal is to undo humanity with mass-inversion via the Algorithm.
  • Only in It for the Money: Tenet initially assumed that he's selling out his own generation for power and money. Turns out that while this may have been true at first, it's now much, much worse. He is actually aiming to end all of existence rather than allow it to continue on without him.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: He tries to spin his destruction of the world as a good thing to the Protagonist, as it could stop the Bad Future that said future's residents think the apocalypse will prevent via Inversion. It's clear he's just doing this because he thinks the world should end just because he's dying, and his subsequent rant about being a god defuses his point anyway.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: He's Russian, he's made a fortune at the beginnings of The New Russia by smuggling military grade plutonium, he's ruthless, and he talks about gruesome ways of disposing of those who annoy him.
  • Secretly Dying: He's suffering from inoperable pancreatic cancer, caused by his handling of plutonium in his youth.
  • Smug Snake: Spends most of the film convinced he's in control of the situation. However, he's completely blindsided by the survival of his wife, and flies into a rage when he realizes he's lost.
  • Straw Nihilist: At the climax, he admits to the Protagonist that he has faith in nothing, and as such, has no qualms about triggering the end of the world.
  • Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: He knows he's dying from inoperable cancer and he linked the trigger of the inversion algorithm to a Dead Man's Switch, to ensure nobody would keep on enjoying life if he dies.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Sator isn’t tiny, but is noticeably shorter than his wife. Doesn’t stop him from being incredibly intimidating, especially in the scenes depicting their domestic violence.
  • Undignified Death: Rather than the dramatic, apocalyptic death he'd planned on his own terms, Sator goes out screaming in impotent rage as Kat spells out the extent of his failure and guns him down. Adding to the indignity, Sator's body ends up being thrown off his own yacht and dragged along behind a speedboat.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Kat informs him that his plans have failed, Sator starts scream a Big "NO!" in rage and stand up to attack her before immediately being shot.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In addition to the psychological abuse he subjects his wife to, he beats her as well. Sator's willing to kill Kat eventually when his plans to invert the world goes smoothly.
  • Would Hurt a Child: His plans to invert the world will also kill his only son, Max. Kat herself is aghast that Sator's willing to kill Max like this. Andrei admits that if he knew that he's invert the entire world with Max around, he wouldn't have allowed Kat to bear Max.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Is Secretly Dying from inoperable pancreatic cancer.

    Volkov 

Played by: Yuri Kolokolnikov

Sator’s right-hand man and top enforcer.


  • Bald of Evil: Bald and a very cold-hearted man.
  • The Brute: Easily the most physically imposing character in the film.
  • Disney Villain Death: Volkov finally dies when he's sent falling into a pit during the climax.
  • Determinator: Volkov is single-mindedly focused on activating the algorithm during the climax, despite being smacked around by the Protagonist and how the algorithm will end his own existence (although he may not know that).
  • The Dragon: To Sator. He usually leads his henchman in both delicate and mundane tasks, and is otherwise seen guarding Sator personally.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: At first appearing as a typical big henchman, his role in the climax suggests some background in special operations training.
  • The Heavy: An intimidating and brutally efficient enforcer, he gives The Protagonist a run for his money in their one fist-fight.
  • Large and in Charge: Standing at 6’5” and sporting an athletic build, Volkov leads Sator's men.
  • The Mafiya: Essentially, in aesthetics if not literally.
  • Tattooed Crook: Sports several tattoos and is effectively a mercenary working for an arms dealing oligarch.

Allies

    Katherine "Kat" Barton 

Played by: Elizabeth Debicki

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/elizabeth_debicki_tenet.jpg

An art examiner at an auction house, the eldest niece of an aristocrat, and the separated wife of Andrei Sator. Sator blackmails her into staying with him via a forged Goya drawing that she was tasked with.


  • Anti-Hero: More impulsive, hateful and has a stronger tendency towards a personal desire for freedom and revenge than The Protagonist or Neil (who fight more for the greater good of humanity), but nevertheless fights for the right side, cares about her son Max, and respects The Protagonist.
  • Blackmail: She accidentally misidentified a fake Francisco de Goya drawing as the real article, and Andrei paid millions to acquire it. He knew well that it's a fake, and did so to blackmail her into staying with him, by threatening to reveal that she was an accomplice in the fraud.
  • Broken Bird: Kat begins the film as all but emotionally defeated, living only for her son and resigned to her husband's cruelty.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • Early on, she tries to leave Andrei to drown at sea, but the Protagonist is forced to save him, to her disbelief and anger. Not helped by the earlier reveal that Sator still has the fake Goya drawing, implying that the Protagonist had not kept his word to her just to turn her on him, if only briefly.
    • Shortly before the chase scene, Kat draws a gun on her husband at the Rotas firm in Tallinn, although he disarms and beats her for it.
    • In the end, Kat finally shoots and kills Sator, unable to bear the idea of him dying believing that he'd won; though this risked the activation of the Algorithm, which was about to be extracted by Tenet.
  • Gaining the Will to Kill: Kat starts out past the Despair Event Horizon, which Andrei picks up on; despite her drawing a gun on him, he can tell that she doesn't have the nerve to use it. After Andrei shoots her and Kat is brought into the mission to stop his plans, she finds the drive necessary to kill Andrei, doing so to avert the possibility of him dying content.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Early in the film, she tries to leave Sator to drown at sea, although the Protagonist has to save him. At the end of the film, Kat deviates from the plan (to let Sator die believing his plan succeeded) in favor of killing her hated husband after telling him that his apocalyptic scheme would fail.
  • Leitmotif: BETRAYAL, which hinges on a repeating two notes throughout the song, reflecting her having gone past the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Mama Bear: She's very protective of the son she's had with Andrei, Max.
    "He's everything."
  • Moment of Weakness: When Andrei once offered her a chance to leave their marriage, but only if their son stayed with him, Kat actually considered doing so. She's deeply ashamed of herself over it, and Andrei's been lording it over her ever since.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Before the climax, Kat expresses regret that she didn't get to say goodbye to Neil. Her parting of ways with the Protagonist has more finality to it, but neither of them actually say the words, and the film's ending makes it unlikely that they'll ever see each other again.
  • The Not-Love Interest: The Protagonist helps her escape her abusive husband, they make said husband believe they are having an affair and they both have a mutual respect, but they are Just Friends. Ives' promise to look for the Protagonist and kill him to keep the location of the Algorithm a secret will prevent any further romantic development between the two, if that were ever in the cards in the first place.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Although confident that the Protagonist would find a way to make things right, Kat shoots and kills Sator before knowing that his death wouldn't trigger the Algorithm. Her action was also spurred by her seeing her past self and Max returning to the yacht by boat, and realizing that what she saw back then—a woman diving off the boat and Sator nowhere to be found—wouldn't come to pass if she waited any longer. The time for delay had run out.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Kat is absolutely gorgeous and, being played by the 6'3 Elizabeth Debicki, noticeably taller than many of her castmates.
  • Took a Level in Badass: She goes from being helplessly under her husband's thumb, to taking part in the mission to dismantle Sator's plans and even personally killing him.

    Sir Michael Crosby 

Played by: Michael Caine

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/c8e4a1ee_6e5d_4116_a210_7da4f599d4d4.jpeg

An elderly billionaire and a non-Tenet associate of Priya's. He's known to have close ties with leaders in British intelligence units.


  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: Effectively gives The Protagonist unlimited funding to do what he needs to do in stopping Sator.
    Michael: Save the world first, then we'll balance the books.
  • British Stuffiness: Played for laughs. He jokes that the Brits have a controlling interest in snobbery.
  • Cassandra Truth: Sir Crosby had warned MI:5 and MI:6 that whatever intel Sator has told them over the years, they're "rubbish" so that they can see him as being valuable.
  • Cool Old Guy: In addition to his age and wealth, he's very witty and genial. Being played by Michael Caine also makes him cool by default.
  • The Team Benefactor: He's behind a lot of funding for Tenet. Also might double as a Mysterious Benefactor given how little he appears.
  • Upper-Class Wit: A ultra-wealthy upper class man with a bit of humor to him.
    Protagonist: You British don't have a monopoly on snobbery, you know.
    Michael: Well, not a monopoly. More of a controlling interest.

    Priya 
Played by: Dimple Kapadia

An Arms Dealer who works for Tenet.


  • Actually, I Am Him: She sets herself up as her own housewife, only revealing herself when she's sure it's okay to do so.
  • All There in the Manual: The script has her introduce herself as Priya Singh.
  • Asshole Victim: In the ending. As the Protagonist said before, "You're an Arms Dealer, friend. This may be the easiest trigger I have ever pulled." The fact that she was about to have Kat killed at the end also helps.
  • Big Fancy House: She lives in a high rise that houses just herself, her husband, and a small army of security staff.
  • Big Good: Subverted, she actually works for the Protagonist's future self. Also, she attempts to have Kat assassinated after everything has been resolved even though the Protagonist made her promise that she wouldn't.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Willing to have Kat shot, but wants it done before her son can see it, to spare him the potential scarring.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Although justifiably surprised, Priya shows no fear when the Protagonist comes to kill her, simply telling him to tie up the loose end that she now realises that she has become.
  • Hero of Another Story: She styles herself as this to the Protagonist, and the two discuss the trope for a bit.
  • I Gave My Word: Inverted (no pun intended). The Protagonist makes her swear that she won't harm Kat after the world has been saved. Priya tells him that her word is worth nothing, but he makes her promise anyway. She reminds him of what she said after he catches and stops her attempt to assassinate Kat anyway.
  • Leitmotif: PRIYA, which plays after she reveals herself as the actual arms dealer that the Protagonist needs to talk to, reflecting her guile.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Her husband's arms-dealing business is actually her business. As she says, a masculine front is a useful thing for a woman in that line of work.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: She sold Sator the (uninverted) bullets his army uses. However she didn't know he was working for Tenet's enemies and that is how they figure it out. She also orders the Protagonist to lead Sator to the last part of the algorithm which almost results in the destruction of the world. However both of these instances are subverted: she knew the protagonist was going to fail, and helping Sator was the only way for Tenet to get their hands on the whole algorithm and as she was working for the Protagonist's future self the entire time, she probably already knew Sator was the bad guy and that it was going to work out in the end.
  • You Have Failed Me: When the Protagonist kills her for trying to have Kat assassinated, he reveals his epiphany that she has been in his employ (his future self's employ, at least) from the very beginning.

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