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Tropes relating to characters appearing in The Player.

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    The House 

As a whole

  • Oddly Small Organization: The House involves itself in major violent crimes and terrorist attacks and handles mind-boggling amounts of money but only ever has three members at any one time.
    • See the Deconstruction entry on the main page. The House deconstructs the Oddly Small Organization focusing on They Fight Crime! because they aren't out to help others, but serve the interests of the ultra-wealthy. And the size is in part because of the high death rate of members.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The three current members aren't working together by choice. In fact, Mr. Johnson is the only true believer in the House's endeavor. Alex is only participating because the House's resources might let him play a different endgame while Cassandra is involved because the House is holding something over her.

Alex Kane

An ex-FBI agent turned private security contractor, he began to get involved with Mr. Johnson after his ex-wife got killed by an armed man during a raid. Alex joins The House, and serves as "The Player".

  • Anti-Hero: Alex is a reluctant one at that; he hates The Unfettered instincts working outside the law bring out in him, but is caught up in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against his wife's killer, and has found evidence that his wife may actually be alive and caught up in the House's schemes.
  • Badass Bookworm: Alex was originally a systems analyst for the FBI, meaning that he specialized in analyzing computer data. Then he got loaned to a joint task force and got deployed with special operation forces to hunt terrorists in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
    • In the fourth episode he manages to take out three armed bounty hunters while unarmed, solely by MacGyvering distractions, booby traps, and knowing when to attack.
  • Cowboy Cop/Killer Cop: Literally went to this territory when he starts to kill terrorists instead of arresting them as ordered. See Dark and Troubled Past for more details.
    Brown: You killed all these guys? Sudan, Turkey, Jordan, Ukraine. What the hell, man? FBI put you on a task force to find terrorists, not kill them.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Alex used to be an FBI agent until he went rogue and started hunting and killing terrorists instead of apprehending them. He says that he'd have gone over the edge if he hadn't met Ginny.
    Alex: It's a small step from shooting back to shooting first.
    Cal: But it's wrong.
    Alex: Absolutely wrong. And I liked it. I tell myself I'm saving lives. But three or four guys in, I can't even pretend anymore I'm doing it for the right reasons. But I'm good at hunting them. So I keep going til I take a bullet in the Sudan. And this funny, quirky doctor named Ginny sews me up...Throw me in prison. Ginny's gone. If I'm here {Picks up his heavily redacted personnel file} I don't want to be this guy again.
  • The Determinator: One of his defining elements.
  • Guile Hero: Again, he can kick butt, his main strength is his mind. Most, if not all of his wins in the Bets come from being able to improvise, manipulate others, and think outside of the box.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: One of the big reasons he's so bitter at his appointment as the Player is because it's not the first time he's acted outside the law for what some would see as "The Greater Good." The first time was during a tour in the Middle East hunting terrorists and bringing them in for trial; he went over the edge and started killing them on the spot, one after another after another. This second descent into darkness is all the more disturbing for him; he's not acting as a cop or a soldier or even an assassin - he's fully aware that the primary purpose of his missions is to entertain truly evil men who want to watch him risk death, blow stuff up and kill people.
  • Hyper-Awareness: In the pilot, he identifies an inbound terrorist in seconds because the man was wearing the right casino security suit jacket but the wrong casino security pants.
  • Nice Guy: Possibly intentional on his part. He's pretty affable and easy going when things aren't serious, even carrying on casual conversations with Cassandra and Mr. Johnson despite all three's mutual distrust. The problem is that he can flip from Nice Guy to intense or even The Unfettered far too easily, and he knows it.
  • Private Military Contractor: Was a private security consultant before he got recruited to "The House".
  • Properly Paranoid: He's convinced that there's a conspiracy surrounding Ginny's death so he goes all out in performing counter-surveillance in his loft (Donovan is surprised at just how extensive the preparations are). Unfortunately for Alex, Mr. Johnson is well aware of what he's doing.
  • Tranquil Fury: In "Tell," he slides into this after thinking Johnson had Cal shot.
  • The Unfettered: He once went rogue and started hunting and killing terrorists for sport, becoming increasingly creative and brutal in how he executed his kills. He managed to pull himself out of this darkness but lives in constant fear that he might lose control again.
    • At the end of "Tell," Alex slides back into this, holding the man Ginny hired to help her disappear at gunpoint after punching him. Alex becomes a snarling, angry man who fires off his pistol in front of the man's face, and warns him that he will do anything at this point.
  • Vigilante Man: He became one while still an FBI agent. He becomes one again when he gets recruited by Mr. Johnson.
  • What You Are in the Dark: For all the bad things he's done, Alex is still a good man at heart and only did what he did out of a belief that it was for the better good. This is why Cassandra acts as his advocate in The House, as he's the first Player she's seen who actually cares about the victims of the crimes The House's gamblers bet on.

Mr. Johnson, aka Isaiah

A former Player originating out of Chicago. He's had ties with the mob from before his involvement with the House and spent time with the triads in Hong Kong as well. In the organization, he's known as "The Pit Boss".

  • Badass in Charge: A Pit Boss only ascends to the position after spending some time as the Player and surviving long enough to succeed the incumbent. Consider the Bets Alex has barely survived during his brief stint and then consider that Johnson had a near-perfect eight year run as the Player.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He's definitely more than a little odd and dresses like a dandy. He also happens to be a skilled fighter and occasionally reveals that there is a viciousness lurking beneath the quirks.
    Johnson: {Holding Alex in a vicious lock and practically hissing} Fold, Mr. Kane! You don't have a strong enough hand.
    • He deliberately invokes this in the fifth episode by infiltrating a casino as a drunken loudmouth to meet the owner. When security escorts him there, he drops character and kills them barehanded.
  • The Dreaded: For those who are aware of the House's existence, the mere sight of him will get some of the most vicious and powerful men in the world quaking in fear.
    • He has enough leverage to strong arm (at least) an Undersecretary of Defense into ordering a high priority kill.
    • A triad boss operating in Las Vegas is terrified to see that his men had roughed Johnson up and is practically begging for forgiveness. The boss even betrays his own masters because he's more scared of what Johnson will do.
  • Famed In-Story: When it's revealed that, just like athletes, Players gain fans among the Gamblers and even have a Hall of Fame and rankings, Johnson is revealed to be number 1 on the list and considered a legend.
  • Humble Beginnings: He is originally from a rough neighborhood in Chicago but eventually worked his way up to run the Game for some very rich and powerful people. He's now wealthy enough to own the home he grew up in and keep it empty while keeping real estate developers at bay. He also has a reputation so terrifying that people don't dare go near the house, despite knowing that no one lives there.
    • He even got some of his friends out of the inner city and into better, if still criminal, lives.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro Pay: He emphasizes the "-el" in "Samuel", pronouncing in like "Samew-el".
  • Large Ham: Johnson uses an exaggerated southern accent and mannerisms when pretending to be FBI Agent Forrester.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: A Sharp-Dressed Man who drinks cognac and hobnobs with the upper crust.
  • Mysterious Past: The show feeds the audience bits and pieces of Mr. Johnson's past.
    • His father died in prison, and he never really knew his mother.
    • He used to work with the Chicago mob as a young man.
    • He spent time in Hong Kong, working with the triads and training in the martial arts.
    • He's eventually revealed to be a former Player, and explains that all Pit Bosses are Players who've survived long enough to succeed their own Pit Bosses.
  • Noble Top Enforcer: According to online supplemental material, the Pit Boss is responsible for making sure that all the participants in the Game follow the rules. This includes dealing with the bettors, some of the world's richest and most powerful individuals and families, quickly and harshly (often lethally) should they try to influence events to gain an unfair advantage.
    • Shown in "House Rules" where he kills one of the Gamblers who had ignored a warning about cheating and then started side bets. The Gambler was Mr. Johnson's rival when training in martial arts in Hong Kong.
    • A different element comes up in "The Norseman." After Alex wins the bet but with the titular killer still a threat, Johnson shows up, sends the Player home, and tells the Norseman that he "tidies up." And he proceeds to kill the guy in a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Not So Above It All: While he's constantly urging Alex to focus on the Bet and not the people involved, Johnson can't help but join in on Alex's social crusade after encountering a truly odious Corrupt Corporate Executive.
  • Scary Black Man: When you try to piss Mr. Johnson off like what Alex did in "Pilot", you don't want be on his bad side.
    • He threatens one of Alex's hacker buddies with having classified CIA documents to stop him from helping Alex in "LA Takedown".

Cassandra King

A young woman who works for "The House" under Mr. Johnson's employ. She helps Alex by providing intelligence and tactical information for him to use while she helps Alex out in the field when required for combat ops. In the organization, she serves as "The Dealer".

  • Action Girl: Helps out with Alex's combat missions when fighting alongside him.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Mr. Johnson and the Council apparently know a secret regarding her family that is so great that they're sure that Cassandra would turn on them if she learns the truth.
    • It was revealed to the audience that when she was six her parents and older brother were killed while she hid in a closet, and a source with questionable motives insinuates Johnson was in London at the time.
  • Evil Brit: Has no problem with providing, essentially, gladiatorial sport to a pack of bored, rich sociopaths.
  • Friendly Sniper: She's revealed to be a crack shot with a sniper rifle and trades barbs back and forth with Alex when they work together as a sniper team.
  • Living a Double Life: Is carrying on a relationship with an out-of-town man, all under the identity of "April," a PR consultant.
  • Mysterious Past: Whatever her connection to Ginny is, she's keeping it a secret.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Cassandra acts as the House's eyes and ears and provides Alex with assistance as needed and in accordance to the game's rules.

Former Players

  • Aside from Johnson (1990-1998, record of 192 wins and 1 loss), the rest of the Top 5 in the Hall of Fame are:
    • Overstreet (1948-1950, 50 wins, 2 losses)
    • Victoria (woman, 2010-2013, 91 wins and 8 losses)
    • Brenner (1969-1976, 84 wins and 85 losses)
    • Richard (1958-1961, 48 wins and 0 losses)

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    The Gamblers 

As a whole

  • Ancient Conspiracy: The original Gamblers were captains of industry (think Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Rockefeller) who wanted to play a game with truly high stakes, so they started betting on the outcomes of crimes and world events.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The Gamblers are among the most powerful people in the world and changing the course of history is something these people do out of boredom. Within the context of the Game, the Gamblers tried influencing events to gain the upperhand during bets. This escalated into starting crime sprees and proxy wars before culminating in World War I! The House was quickly set up in order to enforce fair play between the Gamblers.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Unless they figured their cheating would cause World War I.
  • Evil Is Petty: The reason the Game started? The original Gamblers were bored.
  • Serial Escalation: The Gamblers went from funding crime sprees to fighting proxy wars before accidentally starting World War I. Then the House for formed to prevent these things from happening anymore.
  • The Unfettered: Prior to the formation of the House, the Gamblers would try and rig the Game in order to win. This eventually resulted in world-changing warfare and led to the creation of a strict set of rules that are lethally enforced.

Liu Zeng

One of The House's major gamblers, he runs a shipping business based in the Greater Seattle Area. He knows Mr. Johnson from their days in British Hong Kong.

  • Big Bad: Of the episode "House Rules".
  • Evil Former Friend: He was Johnson's rival and friend in Hong Kong. But now that Johnson's the Pit Boss and Zeng's a Gambler who decided to cheat...
  • Sore Loser: Doesn't like the idea that he's forced to lose kidnapping Solomon because of breaking House rules.

Judge Samuel Letts

A member of the Council that oversees the Game and the House. He's an Illinois state judge who knew Mr. Johnson from back when he was still a youth in the rougher part of Chicago. Letts enjoys the thrill the House provides him and is more than happy to help Johnson keep law enforcement from interfering in the Game. However, he shows that even the Gamblers are limited in how much influence they can wield.

  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: A judge and a Gambler who's willing to use his influence to try and derail a federal investigation that might interfere with the Game. There are limits to what he can do, however, as there is apparently another cabal backing the FBI agent in question.
  • Killed Off for Real: As of episode 7, via a Slashed Throat.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Rich enough to be a Gambler and on the Council, but still works as a judge.

    Law Enforcement 

Detective Cal Brown

A plainclothes officer in the LVMPD, he knows Alex from the day he became a private security contractor.

  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Cal is given one near the end of "LA Takedown" by Special Agent Nolan to investigate why Alex was behaving strangely.
  • Friend on the Force: Cal is Alex's friend and contact in the Las Vegas Police Department. Their relationship becomes strained after Ginny's death and Cal discovering Alex's past. After Cal is shot due to his interference with Cassandra, he tells Alex they no longer have any relationship.
  • Genre Savvy: After Mr. Johnson arranges to have Alex free from LVMPD custody, Brown notes that the so-called video of Alex confronting the killer was taken from somewhere else since he knows that the casino's "security camera" in the parking lot was not there in the first place.

Rose Nolan

A Special Agent with the FBI, who was brought in to investigate what happened to ex-special forces operator recruited by The House.

  • Fair Cop: Well, FBI and not a cop.
  • Hero Antagonist: Brought in by the FBI to investigate the case of deceased Players in Las Vegas.
  • Inspector Javert: To the House.
  • Properly Paranoid: Seriously, she is. Even her precautions can't help her though, due to the House's connections.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: She's been fed enough intel on The House by an unknown source that she knows something is going on and who is involved, but has drawn the wrong conclusions about what is happening, thinking it's simply an ordinary criminal conspiracy with connections.

    Civilians 

Ginny Lee

Alex's ex-wife. They first met in Africa after Alex had been injured while hunting terrorists. Although she was shot and killed by an armed man, there's some suggestions that she could be still alive.

  • Amicable Exes: Alex and Ginny continue to get along even after their divorce, to the point where Alex helps out around her house like a husband would (they also occasionally sleep together). They even decide to get back together just before she's killed.
  • Morality Pet: To Alex after he went off the deep end while with the FBI. Without her, Alex would've gone deeper into being a Killer Cop even further.
  • Mysterious Past: Was keeping numerous secrets from Alex, including knowing Cassandra. Ginny's mom even says that Ginny lied to everyone about everything.
    • Her storage unit has a hidden section filled with medical gear and military-grade weapons.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Apparently the case with Ginny, though from the first episode there are hints that she's actually still alive. Invoked by Mr. Johnson to get Alex to become the player.
    • Averted, as she's shown to be alive

Donovan Lewis

A computer hacker whom Alex calls upon to help in the investigation into Ginny's death.

  • Hollywood Nerd: Played with. He's a pudgy, shabbily-dressed hacker, and is seen knocking back energy drinks. subverted since its not once played for mockery; Alex respects him, trusts him with very sensitive information, they treat each other as friends, and his capabilities are central to Alex's investigation of The House.
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