George Jefferson (Sherman Hemsley)
George was originally a character on All in the Family until he cleaned up in the dry-cleaning business and moved on up to the upper east side of Manhattan, where instead of being discriminated against by his neighbour Archie, he took to discriminating against his neighbours (and in-laws) Tom and Helen Willis
- Abusive Parents: George recalls being hit by his father frequently but doesn't seem to bear any resentment towards him
- Angry Black Man
- Conspicuous Consumption: A big fan of this
- The Dandy: Has a massive and varied wardrobe, and wears a fresh carnation on his lapel every day.
- Deadpan Snarker: With more emphasis on "snark" than "deadpan".
- Happily Married: He and Louise fight a lot but it's obvious they love each other deeply.
- Hypocrite: Gives Louise's uncle a really hard time for being an Uncle Tom (he's a butler to a white household) but when he sucks up to his white business associates it's just fine.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Has a habit of framing his prejudices in a way others can't argue with, such as justifying not hiring a white manager by pointing out that if he doesn't hire black executives, who will
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: George is loud-mouthed, snarky, obnoxious and down right bigoted but he's also generous, dependable and a loving husband and father.
- Last-Name Basis: Always called Archie Bunker, Tom Willis and Harry Bentley by their surnames.
- Noble Bigot: Harbours a lot of resentment towards caucasians, although it's hard to blame him considering the cultural context of his early life.
- Non-Idle Rich: Very wealthy but he works his finger to the bone for every cent.
- Rags to Riches
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Sometimes
- Self-Made Man: Worked his way from a janitor in Harlem to a middle-class business owner in Queens to a bonafide dry-cleaning tycoon on the upper east side.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Almost always wears an impeccably fitted three piece suit at work and owns an impressive array of smoking jackets and neck-kerchiefs.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Sometimes. Even though he really does love his wife, son, and is deep down a well meaning person, he can be quite self-invested, snarky, stubborn, and obnoxious
Louise "Weezy" Jefferson Née Mills (Isabel Sanford)
George's long-suffering wife who came with him on his journey to the top. Although she was sweet and kind, she had a sharp tongue in her head and didn't hesitate to lash George with it when he needed it.
- Best Friends-in-Law: Became this with Helen after Jenny and Lionel got married.
- Happily Married
- In-Series Nickname: George calls her "Weezy".
- Morality Chain: A somewhat mild example, but she often has to act as George's conscience, and there are many cases where her intervention is the only thing that stops him from being a complete and total Jerkass.
- My Beloved Smother: She can be a bit overbearing to Lionel at times.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: One episode had her become this towards Jenny. She had a change of heart afterwards.
- Nice Lady She was very kind and tolerant and even acted as George's conscience at times.
- Rags to Riches: She took a bit longer to adjust than George.
Lionel Jefferson (Mike Evans, Damon Evans)
George and Weezy's son from All in The Family. Early on he was in college to become an engineer. After he graduated he married Jenny Willis and got a job.
- Amicable Exes: Eventually lands on this with Jenny.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Dates and marries a biracial girl against his father's express wishes.
- Deadpan Snarker: Must run in the family.
- Expy: The position he takes in marital arguments sometimes mirrors Mike Stivic.
- Generation Xerox: Depending on the actor playing him. When portrayed by Mike Evans, he behaved more like George(albeit, without his bigoted ideals). However, when played by Damon Evans, he was more like Louise.
- Mr. Fixit: He is an engineer after all.
- The Other Darrin: Played by two different actors
- Put on a Bus: Moved to Japan with Jenny.
Olivia "Mother" Jefferson (Zara Cully)
George's mother who constantly mollycoddles George while belittling Louise.
- Absentee Actor / Real Life Writes the Plot: Was absent from 17 episodes of season three while Zara Curly was recovering from pneumonia.
- The Character Died With Her: Zara Cully passed away between seasons 4 and 5 and Mother Jefferson's death was addressed in the second episode of season 5.
- DecemberDecember Romance: A few, including one with Tom's uncle Bertram. Needless to say, George wasn't pleased.
- Drop-In Character
- Friendly Enemy: She and Louise don't really hate each other-they just dislike each other intensely, and will occasionally team up to put George in his place or otherwise stick up for each other.
- The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Didn't speak to her sister for 25 years over an argument about bingo.
- Lady Drunk: Has a fondness for Bloody Marys for her "nerves"
- My Beloved Smother: Not that George minds.
- Never Mess with Granny: Once memorably fights off one of George's old Navy buddies when he was getting fresh with Louise.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Big time. She never misses a chance to put Louise down.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: All the time.
- Senior Sleep Cycle: Frequently takes "beauty naps" during the day.
Harry Bentley (Paul Benedict)
The Jeffersons' English neighbour who frequently drops by to borrow something or have George walk on his back. He's an interpreter at the U.N.
- British Stuffiness: Averted. He's quite open about his personal life and amorous exploits
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander
- Comically Missing the Point: A staple of his character.
- Cunning Linguist: his profession.
- Drop-In Character
- Fake Brit
- Funny Foreigner
- Gentle Giant: Very tall but exceedingly nice.
- Kavorka Man: Has a plethora of lady friends but is not especially good-looking.
- Little Known Facts: Fond of these.
- Nice Guy
- Omniglot: Has fluency in several different languages but his main one is Russian.
- Put on a Bus / The Bus Came Back: Left at the end of season 7 but returned at the start of season 10.
- The Un-Favourite: Implied in a conversation about what his parents wanted to name him:
- Bentley: My mother insisted on Henry.Louise: And your father liked Harry?Bentley: No, he liked my brother Malcolm.
- Upper-Class Twit
Florence Johnston (Marla Gibbs)
The Jeffersons' live-in maid. She was a good Christian woman despite being snarky, slightly lazy and generally making George's life Hell.
- Breakout Character: To the point she got her own spin-off, though it only lasted four episodes.
- Driven to Suicide: In "Florence's Problem". She gets better.
- Love Hurts: Frequently cheated on/dumped by her suitors, at which point she usually declares them a "turkey".
- Promotion to Opening Titles
- Really Gets Around: She dates a lot of men, but she insists she never sleeps with them.
- Sassy Black Woman
- Servile Snarker