DSI Stella Gibson
Stella Gibson is a Detective Superintendent in Londons Metropolitan Police who arrives in Belfast to conduct a review into a murder case that has not progressed in the month since the investigation started.
She has experience of the kind of high profile and complex case that the Police Service of Northern Ireland are facing, and it is this skillset that ACC Jim Burns believes can be brought to bear.
Her personal life is an enigma, but Gibson is committed to the cause not her loved ones. She is a fighter through and through and anyone not part of the solution is part of the problem.
- Bi the Way: Clearly interested in Reed and has had sex with men.
- Deadpan Snarker: How she takes care of any unwanted reception towards her presence, especially from the natives.
- Defective Detective: Her staunch attitude really rubs other people the wrong way.
- Dude Magnet: Stella is a very attractive woman and most of the men she interacts with in-series have a thing for her.
- Fair Cop: Played by Gillian Anderson no less.
- Fish out of Water: Stella has been away from Belfast for a while.
- Good Is Not Nice: Stella is rather frigid and cold towards others, which alienates many people around her.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: She's disliked by some of the PSNI because she's an English woman there to review their investigation. There are also local thugs who try to intimidate her while she is at work on the streets.
- Not So Stoic: Most notably when she watches the video file of Rose Stagg's kidnapping.
Paul Spector is the other side of Stella Gibsons coin. He is a husband and a father but it is his actions that come to define him. He too seeks to control the world around him, but unlike Gibson he wilfully transgresses the very rules of society that she seeks to enforce.
His family might induce some sort of feelings of love, but it also provides him with the outward appearance of normality. On the surface at least he is socially competent, persuasive and manipulative. By creating a fantasy and putting it into action he believes he creates his own highly controlled existential reality, his personal microcosm.
He works as a bereavement councillor and in fact his unique lack of empathy makes him a superficially competent one. However, it is the activities that he carries out in the shadows of society that reveal Spectors true character.
Paul Spector is a serial killer. This is his addiction, and like any addict he needs more of the drug each time to reach a similar high.
- Beard of Evil: It's Perma-Stubble in the first series and an outright creepy beard in the second.
- Big Bad: Of the first two series.
- Consummate Liar: Part of how he's able to get away with his crimes and successfully fool his wife.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: When watching online videos of Katie.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Serial killer he may be, but he genuinely does love his wife and children.
- Faux Affably Evil: A complete monster, but he acts polite enough.
- Lack of Empathy: Paul doesn't seem to have any concept of other people as being people, which makes him excellent as a detached grief counselor.
- Lean and Mean: He keeps himself in wiry, muscular shape.
- Murder-Suicide: At the end of series three, Spector strangles Bailey and then himself, the former act being to hide himself in the man's room where he wouldn't be found right away.
- Near-Death Experience: Spector appears to undergo one after being shot.
- Not So Stoic: Most notably when his children are mentioned.
- Panty Thief: Part of his MO is stealing his victims' underwear as a prelude to killing them.
- Perverted Sniffing: He smells his victim's hair clippings and underwear.
- Serial Killer: Targeting successful women in their thirties.
- Significant Sketch Book: He keeps a creepy sketchbook filled with drawings and photographs of his victims.
- The Sociopath: His Lack of Empathy, his ability to lie effortlessly, and his thrill-seeking, i.e. stalking and serial killing, definitely strongly points in this direction.
- The Stoic: Paul almost always has an eerily cold and calculating disposition, even in tense situations.
- Villain Protagonist: Is the series' deuteragonist.
- Wistful Amnesia: Falls under this after he got shot by James Tyler in the 3rd season. The prosecutor/s suspect that he's just Faking Amnesia to get lenient sentencing, but the hospital confirmed that he has it.
- Would Hit a Girl: He assault Stella after the interview was concluded. This forced
A young professional woman who is targeted by Spector.
Sally Ann is Pauls wife and mother to their children, Olivia and Liam. She works as a neonatal nurse and whilst she is caring she is also no-nonsense. Capable and mature, Sally Ann looks at her happiest with a baby in her arms.
- Driven to Suicide: Due to pressure mounting from the PSNI and partly from the public on lying for Spector after he's outed as a serial killer, she drove herself and the kids to the sea to drown in the SUV. Two bystanders saw this and rushed in to rescue them.
Belfast Chief of Police.
- Villainous Friendship: With James Olson.
DCI Matt Eastwood
PSNI Patrol Off. Danielle Ferrington
Dani Ferrington is a PSNI patrol officer. Intuitive and sensitive, Ferrington is also physical and tough. Given the opportunity to shine, Ferrington grabs it with both hands, and so when Gibson invites her into the heart of the investigative unit, Dani is determined to prove her worth.
- My Greatest Failure: She and her partner were just outside Sarah Kay's house when Spector was attacking her. They didn't notice it until the PSNI dispatch came through and informed all units of a dead body.
- The Atoner: Works with the task force to hunt down Spector.
- Corrupt Politician: Influences ACC Burns to make sure the investigation doesn't implicate his son, Aaron. When he later finds out that there's strong evidence against Aaron, he tells Aaron to get away from Belfast.
ACC Jim Burns
Burns is the Assistant Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Policing here is political and Burns is under increasing pressure from the Chairman of the Independent Policing Executive, Morgan Monroe. It was Burns idea to bring in Gibson to review the Alice Monroe murder enquiry.
- Butt-Monkey: Everything seems to conspire against him.
- Drowning My Sorrows: He realized that he was wrong in trying to implicate Sally Ann for helping Paul in covering up his tracks and thus, started to drink again in the middle of the third series.
- Off the Wagon: In the second series, he breaks 5 years of sobriety and tries to rekindle his affair with Stella because he indirectly warned Aaron Monroe to flee Belfast.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Didn't want the first few murders to be linked together. He changed his mind after he realizes that there's strong evidence for it and that Monroe is trying to do things behind his back.
- Your Cheating Heart: Had an affair with Stella while he was married.
Prof. Tanya Reed Smith
A pathologist who is assigned to the murder investigation.
A Detective Sergeant.
- Pet the Dog: Drops the cop-lawyer rivalry and takes a moment to comfort Mc Swain when the latter learns of Sarah Kay's murder.
- Police Brutality: Olson forces a suspect to spit out his gum by squeezing his jaw.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: He's shot multiple times in the back just as he's about to enter his home.
- Villainous Friendship: With Rob Breedlove.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Killed in the second episode.
- Your Cheating Heart: He has a one-night stand with Stella, but we later find out he's married with two kids.
A lawyer and friend of Sarah Kay. They work at the same firm.
A Belfast journalist, keen on impressing himself upon Gibson and exposing the failings of the PSNI.
- Intrepid Reporter: Believes himself as one, although in reality, his means of getting the latest dirt on the PSNI are downright unethical.
A young accountant who catches the eye of murderer Paul Spector.
- Your Cheating Heart: Had an affair with Paul before the start of the series, cheating on her boyfriend (who is now her husband) with him. The affair ended when she realized how selfish Paul was.
A Detective Constable assigned to the investigation.
- Pornstache: In the first series
Katrina "Katie" Benedetto
A 15 year old girl who babysits Spector's children.
- The Dragon: To Paul Spector Series 2.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Though she come to learn about Paul's crimes, she still tries protect and help him by giving him alibis.
- Smitten Teenage Girl: She has a massive crush on Paul. Paul, however, doesn't reciprocate, though he has no problems with taking advantage of her feelings in a non-sexual way, as he manipulates her into helping him with disrupting the police's investigation.
- Slightly bites her back when a teen accosts her, accusing her of having a sick obsession in the 3rd season.
- Jerkass: You can see him act like one when he was questioned at first by the PSNI.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He tells Paul during a counsellor meeting that he did bad things before he got married. It's implied that he got involved in the sectarian fighting during the Troubles.
- Spanner in the Works: His involvement in shooting Spector derailed the investigation in the 3rd season, giving him amnesia.
- There Are No Therapists: Despite his intentions to help Spector, nothing works in the end since Spector assaults Stella and Tom and severely attacks him before he commits suicide.
- Amoral Attorney: How some in the PSNI see him since he's defending Spector. He doesn't feel fazed after he saw Spector take on Stella and Tom, planning to at least use an insanity plea to get him off serious charges.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After she witnessed Paul assault Stella and Tom in a PSNI interrogation room, she realizes that she can't possibly defend him in court since the public backlash would be strong on why they would defend a violent man.