Victor "Vic" Mackey
The main character and leader of the Strike Team. Certainly not your typical television protagonist, as the character shot and killed a fellow police detective in the pilot episode of the series, without any remorse or regret. Despite this (and more), Vic attempts to do right by his family, the officers under his command, and the people in the community he is sworn to protect.
- The Ace: Especially in seasons 1 (in which his friendship with Assistant Chief Gillroy effectively insulates him from nearly any sort of legal repercussions to his extralegal actions) and 5 (in which Captain Billings has almost zero ability or desire to reign him in). Vic's ability to charm people and to talk his way out of difficult situations is unmatched, and he not only fools nearly everybody that he comes across throughout the series, but also bed multiple women as well.
- Anti-Hero: An unscrupulous example in the first 4 seasons given that he's a Dirty Cop who is nonetheless genuinely committed to ridding Farmington of bloodthirsty drug lords, pedophiles, and serial killers (albeit while lining his own pockets and regularly breaking the law himself). However, as the series progresses, he increasingly prioritizes his own livelihood and desires at the expense of those around him thereby becoming a nominal hero if not a full-blown Villain Protagonist.
- Bald of Awesome: An adept interrogator and loving father in addition to being a street-smart cop.
- Bald of Evil: Because he is also a cop killer and overall corrupt human being.
- Berserk Button: Hurting children and those closest to him, let alone any form of betrayal (as Terry found out), will cause you to suffer the full force of Vic's wrath.
- Broken Ace: By the end, Vic is isolated to a desk job and ostracized by his colleagues, his sins laid bare for all to see.
- Consummate Liar: Here's Aceveda explaining to Kavanaugh why knowing enough about Vic to successfully hunt him down is nigh impossible without getting caught up in his corruption in the process:"Youve never looked Mackey in the eye, had him lie straight to your face, and made you doubt yourself even though you know he was full of shit."
- Cool Shades
- Control Freak: As demonstrated repeatedly throughout the series, particularly in regards to his relationships with women, Vic is someone who tends to always believe that he's capable of acting on behalf of other people's best interests, regardless of their actual wants; and he tends to become infuriated when challenged. This tendency also ends up coming back to bite him at several points throughout the series, as he arrogantly presumes that he can control anybody that he allies with or does business with, regardless of who they are.
- The Corrupter: He's the one who draws the other Strike Team members into the cesspool of crime, and also the one who convinces Aceveda to take most of his really immoral actions during the course of the show.
- Cowboy Cop: Deconstructed. He begins as a somewhat well-intentioned dirty cop taking something extra for going the extra mile in his job and is acknowledged as a necessary evil at the precinct. As the series progresses, he grows more and more corrupt and amoral, to the point that he becomes a liability for the police force and he starts making so many deals with crooks he can no longer do his job.
- Deadpan Snarker: Oh, yeah. One example upon seeing a dead body at a crime scene, "Hey, who's the dead guy?"
- Dirty Cop: "And how!" doesn't even begin to cover it.
- Epileptic Trees: As The Shield appears to take place in the same universe as Sons of Anarchy, due to both series featuring the One-Niners, some fans have speculated that a friendly truck driver played by Chiklis who gives Gemma a ride and serves as the instrument of Jaxs suicide in the finale is Vic.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Loves his kids, does all he can to get them the money they need for his two autistic ones.
- Even Evil Has Standards: During seasons one and two, he demands a "no selling drugs to children" pledge from the drug dealers who he's in bed with.
- Played straight with his attitude towards child molesters.
- At the end of Season 1, he is absolutely aghast that Gilroy deliberately endangered innocent civilians to make a buck.
- In the series finale, he is completely willing to murder Shane's pregnant wife and sadistically threatened Shane and his family, but at the police station, right before Ronnie was arrested, Claudette called him in to show him how Shane had murdered his wife and son, them committed suicide with an unfinished suicide note Claudette read to Vic. He was angered and shocked, and realizing that Claudette was watching him through the security feed made him feel even worse.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He actually seems surprised that ICE is no longer willing to let him operate on the street after he confesses his crimes to Olivia.
- Evil Is Petty: Theft, drug dealing, lying and murder are a day's work. Being a complete jerk to Dutch? That's just for his amusement.
- Fatal Flaw: Hubris. As some critics have so astutely pointed out, Vic self-righteously believes that he can make due as a violent cop that flouts laws for his own benefit, while still being the fundamentally noble family man and defender of innocents that he presents himself as. The fact that his uncanny ability to improvise and manipulate people get him out of many bad situations throughout the series only feeds his delusion that he's the good guy. Unfortunately, this tendency leads him to repeatedly compromise his morality throughout the series, culminating in him betraying his only remaining friend in a desperate attempt to both protect himself and to maintain a degree of control over his family life.
- A Father to His Men: Deconstructed. Vic is fiercely protective of his team, but at the cost of total subordination. Him playing leader also makes them desperately fight for his approval, which is essentially what kicks off much of the series' drama.
- Subverted in the Grand Finale: Vic may like his men, but ultimately, if he has to sacrifice them to save himself, he will.
- Faux Affably Evil: He often presents a likable and friendly front in order to win over people, even characters who are well aware of his nature as a crooked cop (such as Claudette, Aceveda, and even Dutch in those instances where Vic isn't antagonizing him). To Vic's credit, the facade is an effective one, and the only characters to consistently see through it are Mara and Kavanaugh.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric. A capable leader, but also bossy and aggressive.
- Friendly Rivalry: Zig-zagged with Dutch. They are outright hostile to each other at the beginning of the series, but they later develop into this after Dutch shows absurdly big balls while cracking a serial killer and even finds the guts to punch Vic. However, they return to hostilities after Dutch begins to snoop around his corruption case and begins a relationship with his ex-wife.
- Genius Bruiser: Built like a rhinoceros, and a highly skilled strategist with a knack for thinking on his feet.
- Guns Akimbo: Once or twice he's gone in a bust carrying two guns.
- Humiliation Conga / Ironic Hell: His final fate.
- It's All About Me: Initially had this a bit. By the end, it has mutated to the point he doesn't give a damn about anyone but himself. Even his family just seem to be a way of him keeping control over his life.
- Jerkass: Aside from being a Dirty Cop, he also displays a highly pronounced sadistic streak and relentlessly bullies officers such as Dutch Wagenbach for his own amusement.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: At least during the first 4 seasons.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: His final characterization.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: During Kavanaugh's investigation and directly after it, due to Lem's death.
- Karma Houdini: Played with, but ultimately subverted. He doesn't formally pay for his crimes, but loses his family, his friends, and his reputation and perhaps worst of all for a Control Freak and Attention Whore like him gets Kicked Upstairs to a desk job.
- Kavorka Man: Pushing into his 40s and still has a knack for bedding beauties.
- Killer Cop: Established at the end of the pilot episode when he murders Terry Crowley.
- Manipulative Bastard: While he's rarely completely successful, he can manipulate most Farmington cops enough to keep his Batman Gambit and Indy Ploy maneuvers rolling.
- Meaningful Name: Mackey as in Machiavelli.
- Moral Myopia: He can't stand his team or family being hurt, but is perfectly willing to manipulate, brutalize, or outright murder anyone if it suits his needs. He also can't stand any form of betrayal but is happy to betray anyone to suit his own needs.
- Not Me This Time: He really didn't have anything to do with Armadillo's murder, but Danny blames him for it anyway.
- Really Gets Around: Especially started doing this after the Strike Team formed.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: In Season 1, he uses the protection given to him by Gilroy to openly flout Aceveda's authority.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: His standard M.O.
- The Sociopath: By the end, he has become willing to sell his team down the river to save himself, only cares about having his family as way to control his life, and spurs Shane into killing himself with little feeling. Subverted when he finds out Shane had also killed his wife, son and unborn child, and reacts with anger and shock.
- Soul-Crushing Desk Job: In the Grand Finale, this is how he sees being a Desk Jockey.
- Toxic Friend Influence: To his entire team, especially Shane.
- Villain Protagonist: He often fluctuates between this or...
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: At first. However, as the series progresses, he becomes increasingly self-serving and ultimately discards all pretense of morality altogether.
- Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: While Vic is normally willing to shoot people who get in his way, there are several times where he lets Shane walk away when the smart thing to do would be to just kill him.
- Your Cheating Heart: He loves Corrine, but still has little qualms about bedding other women.
Vic's best friend and protégé. Impulsive, reckless, and at times racist, Shane drives much of the conflict in the series as his desire to move out of Vic's shadow causes much chaos and conflict.
- Anti-Hero: Spends the first five seasons sliding between a Type IV and Type V.
- Anti-Villain: Becomes a Type II during the final season.
- Alas, Poor Villain: It's hard not to feel sorry for him after reading his suicide note.
- Big Bad: Steps up to fulfill this position in the later half of season 7 alongside Beltran and Lloyd Denton.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite being an overt bigot who is often ribbed by his fellow officers as a "dumb hick", he is nonetheless a highly resourceful detective whose skills and decisiveness sufficiently qualify him to be Vic's right-hand man.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: One minute you're talking to a boorish buffoon, the next your watching him successfully getting a suspect to confess to a murder he committed a year ago, as Dutch found out in Season 1.
- Deep South: Hails from Atlanta, Georgia, and has "Dixie" for his cell phone ring tone.
- Despair Event Horizon: After he learns Vic has beaten him to an immunity deal, he realizes he has run out of options to save himself and his family, and kills them and then himself.
- Deuteragonist: Effectively occupies this position in the story from the third season onward. Although Vic is billed at the main character, Shane's actions have just as big of an impact on the progression of the overall narrative, and the development of his relationship with Mara deliberately contrasts the disintegration of Vic's relationship with Corrine.
- Dislikes the New Guy: Shane dislikes Tavon when the latter joins the Strike Team. This is due to both Shane's racism and his jealousy that team leader Vic is shifting trust and responsibility away from him to Tavon. The others all get along fine with Tavon.
- Driven to Suicide: Eats his gun in "Family Meeting".
- Even Evil Has Standards: Is horrified when Vic murders a fellow cop in the pilot, and is plagued by guilt in his role in it after the fact.
- He reacts with horror and outrage when Antwon Mitchell's murders a child in front of him.
- Evil Mentor: For Army.
- Fatal Flaw: Impulsiveness. Although much more astute than he initially may seem, Shane's extreme emotional volatility and inability to avoid rationalize away his guilt over the consequences of his actions leads him to take several stupid actions throughout the series that end up not only leading to his own death, but those of his family and Lem as well.
- Foil: To Vic. Both are violent crooked cops with a propensity for vulgar humor, both tend to have nasty tempers, and both end up killing a fellow cop in acts of self-preservation. However, whereas Vic has a successful track recording of scheming and is able to consistently delude himself into believing he's acting for the great good, Shane's schemes constantly blow up in his face and the guilt that he feels over his worst actions stems from the fact that he harbors no illusions about the fact that he's a criminal. Furthermore, Mackey's relationship with his wife is markedly contrasted to the one that Vendrell has with his: Vic consistently lies to Corrine and attempts to hide the truth about the extent of his crimes to her, which eventually leads to her turning against him whereas Shane is totally open with Mara about the darker aspects of who he is, and he ends up dying alongside her in the most tragic and horrifying way possible.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine. Exuberant and sociable, but also the most volatile and impulsive member of the Strike Team.
- Freudian Excuse: Downplayed, but a line that Shane delivers in the third season heavily implies that his relationship with his father was an abusive one. Though it isn't explicitly mentioned, one can infer that both Shane's bond with Vic (who effectively functions as a fraternal authoritative figure), and his attraction to Mara (who herself grew up with an abusive parent) are partially informed by his upbringing.
- Happily Married: For all their faults, Shane and Mara are consistently portrayed as being utterly loyal to one another, so much so that Mara not only forgives him when he cheats on her, but is also willing to give up her entire life when he becomes a fugitive; even refusing to abandon him when he asks her to turn herself in order to protect herself from his crimes.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Shows shades of this. Despite displaying a good sense of humor in the company of his colleagues, he often flies into a blind rage at the slightest provocation while working in the field.
- Jerkass: Generally an unpleasant and foul-tempered bigot to everyone, exempting his family, the other members of the Strike Team, and a select number of police officers at the Barn.
- Killer Cop: Responsible for the murders of Dead-Eye, Lem, and finally, his own wife, son, and unborn child.
- The Millstone: His attempts to imitate Vic's style of 'policing' continually blow up in his face, putting the rest of the Strike Team in jeopardy and forcing Vic to save him from himself. His killing Lem is what finally destroys the team for good.
- Morality Pet: Mara and Jackson.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Spends several episodes after murdering Lem in a state of shock and guilt, and it gets worse when he learns that Lem never intended to betray the team, meaning he killed him for nothing.
- My Greatest Failure: He is this to Vic, as far as the level of failure from Vic with the way he took Shane and turned him into a monster.
- Noble Bigot with a Badge: Evolved into this, largely due to Walt Goggins being uncomfortable with the casual racism of the character.
- Number Two: Vic's right-hand man.
- Pater Familicide: Kills Mara, her unborn child and Jackson before killing himself in "Family Meeting".
- Politically Incorrect Hero: During the first five seasons.
- Rabid Cop: He's easily the most violent and unstable member of the Strike Team.
- Really Gets Around: Prior to marrying Mara in Season 3.
- The Rival: To Tavon in Season 3.
- Shoot the Dog: Subverted, Shane thinks that his murder of Lem will help protect his family, as well as Vic and Ronnie, from Kavanaugh's investigation into The Strike Team. When he learns that Lemansky was never going to flip however, he doesn't take it well.
- Tragic Villain: Eventually becomes one during the final two seasons, following his murder of Lem. Although he's doubtlessly a major liability to Vic, and attempts to murder him and arranges for Ronnie to get killed, most of the more drastic actions he takes are either in response to provocations on Vic's part or out of a want to protect his family. His incredibly tragic end only reinforces this.
Curtis "Lem" Lemansky
The muscle of the Strike Team, as well as its conscience. Will often remind Vic and the rest of the Strike Team that they are supposed to be cops and try and rein in Vic's more corrupt notions (with various degrees of success). Unfortunately for him, he ultimately becomes a liability for the team and is killed off by Shane, to keep IAD from sending him to jail, where he would inevitably break.
- Anti-Villain: Type IV. Lem is a genuinely kind and heroic guy who almost always tries to do the right thing. His only failing is that the fraternal attachments he feels for the other members of the The Strike Team lead to him getting dragged into their various misdeeds.
- Ascended Extra: Starts off as one of the background characters in the Strike Team, eventually becomes one of the most important characters on the show, likely due to his popularity with the cast, crew and fans.
- The Big Guy: Class 2. He's The Heart of the team, and takes point during busts with a shotgun.
- Break the Cutie: In Season 5.
- The Conscience: It's kind of necessary when you have the more Hot-Blooded Shane and Control Freak Vic on your team.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: He gets a grenade in his lap.
- A Day In The Lime Light: "Throwaway." He is shown comforting the sister of a former gang banger he accidentally shot.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic. The most easygoing and friendly member of the team, but also the weakest willed one as well.
- Gentle Giant: Loves kids and animals.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: ...relatively speaking.
- The Heart: Of The Strike Team. Vic, Shane, and Ronnie are all clearly quite close with him, and his death functions as the moment in which the rest of the team truly begins to break apart.
- Killer Cop: Actually averted. He's the only member of the Strike Team who never commits an actual murder during the course of the show.
- Morality Pet: For Vic.
- Nice Guy: For all of his faults, Lem is a genuine sweetheart, and is beloved by the rest of the Barn.
- Only Sane Man: Will often interrupt Vic and Shane during various schemes to remind them that they are supposed to be on the side of law and order. Which leads to....
- Sacrificial Lion: Courtesy of Shane.
- Token Good Teammate: Of the Strike Team.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Although their friendship temporarily breaks apart during the end of Season 3 and remains strained for much of season 4, Shane and Lem are repeatedly shown to have a strong, practically brotherly bond defined by good-natured teasing between the two. Which makes it particularly tragic when Shane kills him.
Ronald "Ronnie" Gardocki
With his facial hair and tech skills, Ronnie is the resident nerd of the Strike Team.
- Affably Evil: Ronnie's generally relaxed, affable, and good humored, but he also proves himself to be the most ruthless and pragmatic member of the Strike Team as well.
- Ascended Extra: The fourth member of the Strike Team had no plotlines and wasn't even a full cast member until season 5.
- Badass Beard: Probably the best of his fluctuating facial hairstyles
- Badass Bookworm: Resident Techno Wizard, check. See Character Development for the rest.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: Beneath the seemingly tranquil and unassuming exterior is a dangerously efficient cop who has zero contrition about doing what it takes to survive.
- Consummate Professional: Rational, efficient, and lacking of any emotional reservations or attachments.
- Character Development: Despite being in nearly every episode, his only role in the first few seasons was to get teased by the other Strike Team members. When he got promoted to regular cast member, the show revealed there was a reason he made so little impression: He was the only member of the team smart enough to avoid suspicion by keeping his head down, and doing only what he deemed nessecary to his self-preservation.
- Characterization Marches On: The more meek, bland, and awkward Ronnie that we see in the first season is markedly different from the more sardonic, pragmatic and detached characterization that he grows into over the course of the show.
- A Day In The Lime Light: "Back to One" showcases Ronnie, and specifically how good a cop he is when just doing his job.
- Deadpan Snarker: Possibly moreso than anyone in the show save for Dutch and Billings.
- Even Evil Has Standards: While he was quite vocal about wanting to kill Shane, Vic's proclamation that he was going to kill Shane and his pregnant wife Mara (in front of their two year old son, no less) freaked even Ronnie out.
- Fake Guest Star: Appeared in almost every episode, but didn't get his Promotion to Opening Titles until Season 5.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic. Ronnie's nearly unflappable demeanor and quiet nature set him apart from the other 3 more extroverted members of the Strike Team.
- It's Personal: He does not take Shane murdering Lem well at all.
- Killer Cop: It takes nearly the entire run of the show, but he eventually pulls the trigger on a defenseless target in the Season 7 premiere.
- Not So Stoic: By far the calmest and most detached member of the Strike Team, he hardly ever raises his voice or betrays any extreme amount of emotion. Until the finale, when he explodes in a violent display of rage and indignation as he's being arrested and he realizes just how badly Vic betrayed him.
- Despite how strongly he advocated killing Shane, Ronnie is shown to be shocked and saddened to the point of tears when he learns about how his erstwhile friend killed both himself and his own family.
- Only Sane Employee: The only member of the Strike Team who never creates problems that the others have to solve. In fact, he's often Locked Out of the Loop on their plans.
- Best exemplified during the fifth season, in regards to Kavanaugh's investigation of the Strike Team. Although he quickly nails Lem on possession of heroin, and manages to put pressure on Vic and Shane by looking into the financial transactions that both made on behalf of their families, Kavanaugh admits that he's unable to find anything to incriminate Gardocki on due to how judiciously he has covered his tracks. Furthermore, whereas Vic is dead-set on using only one attorney to represent the Strike Team, Ronnie wisely suggests that it'd be more expedient to hire four separate attorneys to poke holes in Kavanaugh's case.
- Only Sane Man: The only member of the Strike Team who realizes that Shane is a threat that should be neutralized.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: "Back to One" shows that he could have been a great cop, if Vic and the Strike Team hadn't gotten their hooks into him.
- Porn Stache: His mustache in Seasons 1 and 2.
- The Quiet One: Barely even had any dialogue in the first few seasons.
- The Scapegoat: His final fate (also see Tempting Fate).
- Scars Are Forever: Gets burned by a grill by Armadillo to taunt Vic. He later covers this up by growing a full beard.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Dresses in a stylish suit and tie during the last few episodes of the series.
- Senseless Sacrifice: Vic betrays Ronnie in order to gain immunity for his wife, who Vic did not know (but the viewers did) had already gained immunity in order to help Claudette bring Vic to justice.
- The Smart Guy: Works bugs, electronics, computers, and stuff.
- Tempting Fate: He specifically tells Vic that he considers going to prison to be a Fate Worse than Death. He ends up being the only member of the Strike Team to be arrested for his crimes.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Is subjected to one of these by Dutch, who plainly out spells out all of the crimes that Gardocki is being arrested for. Shortly after this, Ronnie himself, after learning that Vic sold him out as part of his immunity deal delivers a particularly pointed one to his friend, cutting through Mackey's self-justifying apologies and lambasting him for putting himself before the Strike Team.
"Driver" for the Strike Team, Terry Crowley was placed on the Strike Team by then-Captain Aceveda as a means to keep an eye out on the antics of Vic and his crew. Unfortunately for him, when Aceveda approached him about gathering evidence about Strike Team corruption, Terry agreed, only to get a bullet in the face for his trouble.
- Boom, Headshot!: Courtesy of Vic Mackey.
- Decoy Protagonist: Ads depicted him as the true star of The Shield.
- The Driver: Of the Strike Team.
- Expy: Of Reed Diamond's Homicide: Life on the Street character, Mike Kellerman.
- Good Is Not Nice: He's technically working for the good guys, but he's motivated only by his own ambition.
- Jerkass: He only seems to be looking out for himself, and bluntly runs his mouth about wanting a very cushy job with the Justice Department in exchange for testimony against the Strike Team.
- The Mole: Something the Strike Team finds out fast.
- Posthumous Character: He turns up for a cameo at the end of "Co-Pilot."
- Small Role, Big Impact: One of the most famous examples in television history. Vic's murder of Terry in the pilot hangs over the Strike Team for the rest of the series and comes back to bite them in the ass more than once.
A young black detective who is placed on the team due to orders from the brass, who want to include one Token Minority onto the all-white Strike Team. Unaware of Vic Mackey's corrupt nature, the skilled rookie detective made a big mistake when he went and told Shane that he was hoping that Vic would take him under his wing as a mentor. One massive brawl later and a car wreck, Tavon was written out of the series.
- Berserk Button: Racial slurs.
- The Bus Came Back: For one episode in season 7.
- Cowboy Cop: He wins Vic's respect by holding a (secretly unloaded) gun to a suspects head and pretending to play Russian Roulette to extract information.
- Hannibal Lecture: Delivers the mother of all speeches to Shane, when he comes back in season seven, about why he sucks as a human being.
- The Rival: to Shane.
- The Sixth Ranger: Technically fifth. The first of several though.
- Token Minority: On the team because the higher-ups didn't like the optics of an all-white Cowboy Cop force marauding through minority neighborhoods. The Strike Team actually anticipates and appreciates how a black member could open up new avenues for them, they're just nervous about having to keep secrets from him.
- Trauma Conga Line: He goes from being beaten badly, to almost dying in a car crash leading to months of recovery, to being told he struck a woman and it's all his fault...which he tearfully believes because the accident impacted his memory.
Armando "Army" Renta
Army sniper who, after a tour of duty in Iraq, returned home and landed a job with the LAPD, where he was partnered with Shane Vendrell. The two got along well, but Shane's corrupt cop ways ended up getting the two in hot legal water. Rather than risk his luck, he ended up resigning from the LAPD and returning to the military.
- The Apprentice: To Shane, God help him.
A capable officer introduced as the one who will succeed Vic in leading the Strike Team. His arrival is initially met with some tension but Vic and co eventually warm up to him.
- By-the-Book Cop: More than most other Strike Team members, at least.
Veteran detective partnered with Detective "Dutch" Wagenbach. Though positioned as the conscience of the Barn, she's more than willing to turn a blind eye to Vic's brutality and corruption...at least, at first.
- Big Good: Eventually becomes this from Season 6 onward.
- Black Boss Lady: After being promoted in Season 6.
- Da Chief: Has shades of this after finally becoming the captain.
- Deadpan Snarker: Is especially biting in her final conversations with Vic.
- Foil: To Vic. She's just as brilliant, ruthless, and driven as he is, but she's also an honest cop who believes in justice.
- The Heart: Of the Dutch-Claudette partnership, she usually pursues a more emotional angle when it comes to dealing with victims and criminals.
- Honor Before Reason: Her battle against the D.A.'s office.
- I Am the Noun: "Don't lecture me about the struggle, son. I am the struggle."
- Mama Bear: She is extremely particular about the men in her daughters' lives. One can argue she is also this to the rest of the Barn.
- Only Sane Man: The single most down to earth and reasonable person in the Barn.
- Platonic Life-Partners: with Dutch.
- Secretly Dying: She has lupus, although she doesn't realize that it's become terminal until almost the end of the series.
- True Companions: with Dutch.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: with Dutch.
Holland "Dutch" Wagenbach
Detective and partner of Claudette. A brilliant, but socially inept detective who deals with unsavory bad guys. The Rival to Vic Mackey.
- Badass Bookworm: One of the more well-read detectives, and one of the street smart ones as well.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Just ask Sean Taylor.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: His social awkwardness is excused by his being a brilliant cop.
- Butt-Monkey: Things rarely go right for him. Even his partner and best friend can't help he a jerk to him at times.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Comes across as awkward and is socially inept, but is an excellent profiler and has a way with words when it comes to catching bad guys.
- Deadpan Snarker: It's the only way he keeps his sanity most of the time.
- Defective Detective: Despite being a brilliant detective, his personal life is often a mess.
- Dogged Nice Guy: While he goes on a few dates over the course of the series, all his attempts to actively pursue a woman's heart end up failing miserably.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: To say he deserved to have the only somewhat happy ending would be an understatement.
- Guile Hero: The man's brain and profiling skills are just some of the reasons he catches some of the smarter criminals on the show.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Though sometimes he just comes off as a Nice Guy.
- Kick the Dog: Strangle the cat. Played less as a moment of establishing villainy, though, and more as a symptom of Dutch's mental turmoil at the time.
- Knight In Sour Armor: As best demonstrated by this quote."We're animals... nothing more. And ya know what? I'm learning to be OK with that."
- The Lancer: To Claudette after she becomes Chief.
- Manipulative Bastard: A rare heroic example given his penchant for getting criminal suspects to confess during interrogation either by appealing to their vanity or exploiting their insecurities.
- The Profiler: A rather effective one, as proven in season 1 when he carries on a lengthy interrogation with a serial killer.
- No Social Skills: His awkward way of asking women on dates is exhibit "A".
- Properly Paranoid: His mistrust of Vic is very, very justified.
- Platonic Life-Partners: with Claudette.
- Secret Keeper: Keeps Claudette's lupus secret from the rest of the Barn.
- The Smart Guy: He's much smarter than Vic and could easily take him down, which Vic is very aware of.
- True Companions: with Claudette.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: with Claudette.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He became a cop to impress his cold, distant father.
A veteran cop who is five years away from retiring and dead set on doing as little as possible until then, in order to ensure he sees the day of his retirement.
- Berserk Button: Could rival even Vic's and Lem's love for kids. Doesn't like them harmed.
- Cowboy Cop: When he's roused to action, he thinks nothing of planting evidence to get his man.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Usually won't raise a finger to help, unless it's a case of child abuse, in which case he will move heaven and earth to see that justice is done.
- Dirty Lovable Coward: Oscillates between the two adjectives.
- Kicked Upstairs: Subverted. When the brass realize what a disaster he is as captain, they broom him right quick.
- Never My Fault: He is outraged that he might actually lose his job for filing a bogus lawsuit against the city.
- Playing Sick: After breaking up a fight between Vic and Kavanaugh and hitting his head on a desk, he sues the city for a laundry list of imaginary ailments related to the injury.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: When he briefly became captain.
The politically ambitious police captain of the Barn and ultimately an influential member of the Los Angeles City Council. Despite being Vic Mackey's archnemesis and by extension the principal antagonist in Season 1, he and Mackey become begrudging allies in later seasons.
- Ambition Is Evil: Starting around season 4, although he showed shades of this as far back as the pilot, willing to let Vic employ his brutal methods on a pedophile holding a little girl hostage, in order to get results.
- Anti-Hero: A pragmatic example in the first three seasons prior to becoming an outright villain.
- Badass Bureaucrat: Despite being a bureaucrat who primarily involves himself with public relations and soliciting support from LA power brokers, he is no less competent in the field than the police officers under his command.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He takes great pains to present himself as an altruistic public servant who adheres to the rule of law. As the story progresses, he is increasingly revealed to be a ruthless careerist who has no qualms manipulating others and abusing his authority to satisfy his lust for power.
- Break the Haughty: His rape midway through Season 3 throws most of his life into disarray. He eventually bounces back, and hard.
- Da Chief: In the first three seasons as a the Police Captain struggling to bend Vic Mackey to his will.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially when Vic is the subject.
- Fair Cop: Given his lofty political ambitions, he makes a point of supplementing his attractive appearance by being meticulously well-groomed and maintaining an impressive physique. This is acknowledged in-universe given that Vic Mackey often refers to him derisively as a "pretty boy" publicity hound and the vampish con-artist, Deena shamelessly flirts with him every time she sees him (albeit while trying to persuade him to reduce charges against her).
- Fatal Flaw: Pride. It ultimately serves as the catalyst for his transformation into a villain.
- A Father to His Men: During his tenure as Captain in the first 3 seasons. Despite being frequently condescending towards most of his employees and having no qualms using them as pawns to advance his interests, he exhibits genuine concern for his officers' well-being and goes to great lengths to look out for them.
- Good Is Not Nice: During the first 3 seasons before becoming corrupted by his ambition. While he genuinely wants to improve the quality of life for Farmington's population, he is also vain, calculating and a covert sexual sadist.
- Happily Married: The Acevedas go through some serious problems, but they're still an example. However, given that his wife is just as ambitious and calculating as he is, it's unclear after Season 3 what extent their relationship's longevity is due to their genuine affection for one another as opposed to political expediency.
- Hero Antagonist: In Season 1. While it is made apparent early on that he is an ambitious and self-centered individual, his actions never rise to the level of making him a Big Bad given that his status as an antagonist arises solely from opposing the criminal practices of the series' corrupt protagonist, Vic Mackey. It is only in later seasons as he increasingly aids and abets Vic's activities to advance his career that he truly becomes villainous.
- Humiliation Conga: In Season 3 from "Mum" onwards.
- Karma Houdini: His reward for his role in passively (and sometimes actively) abetting Vic's crimes throughout the series? He's almost certain to be the next mayor of L.A.
- Knight In Sour Armor: Until he steadily prioritizes his ambitions over his own morality.
- Manipulative Bastard: He's no better than Vic in this department.
- Moral Dissonance: For the first three seasons, he expresses a sincere desire to serve the public by cleaning up crime in Farmington and rooting out corruption within its police department. However, this doesn't stop him from callously manipulating those around him to achieve this end nor prioritizing the interests of Farmington's Latino citizens over the rest of its population. By Season 4, he's pretty much discarded all pretence of morality in favor of advancing his own fortunes.
- Out of Focus: To varying degrees in Seasons 4, 5, and 6.
- Tautological Templar: Increasingly so as he let his sense of ambitions get to his head.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: He gains a big one in Season 4, when his mental problems and political position make him feel above everyone else.
- Your Cheating Heart: He begins seeing a prostitute following his rape.
Replacement captain for the Farmington District after Aceveda left following his election to city council.
- Doomed Moral Victor: She doesn't die, but she does sacrifice her career to win.
- Honor Before Reason: She probably could have kept her job if she had picked the Mitchell fight over the Social Services fight (or vice versa), but she just had to do both at the same time.
- Knight Templar: A somewhat heroic version. Her pursuit of Carl and Scooby's killers leads her to take the leash off Vic, and even try a couple of extreme moves of her own.
- Mama Bear: Protective of her fellow officers, especially after two of them are murdered on orders of Antwon Mitchell.
- Small Role, Big Impact: She only appeared for one season, but the IAD investigation she initiates ultimately destroys the Strike Team.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Her seizure program rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but she was putting money into the community.
A civilian auditor appointed by the City Council to supervise the Barn's activities following the events of Season 1. She and Armadillo Quintero serve as the principal antagonists in Season 2.
- Ambition Is Evil: Implied. She commits some pretty heinous actions just for the sake of scoring points with her superiors in the City Council.
- Big Bad: Of Season 2. The whole story arc revolves around the Barn trying to maneuver around her intrusive supervision and subsequently weathering the fallout from her overly damning report.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When first introduced, she acts very polite and respectful towards the police officers of the Barn. However, she quickly turns nasty and overbearing when they are less than prompt in providing her with the information she requests.
- Drunk with Power: Upon being appointed by the L.A. City Council to supervise the Barn's activities, she becomes a petty tyrant who routinely coerces law enforcement officers into giving her their unwavering attention and obedience even when they are engaged in vital police work and threatens to use her authority to ruin their livelihoods if they don't.
- Hero Antagonist: Subverted. While she is technically on the right side of the law, she callously impedes the police work of honest officers like Dutch Wagenbach and Danny Sofer before ultimately threatening their very livelihoods merely for the sake of smearing Aceveda's reputation.
- Jerkass: When she drops the "polite civil servant" routine, she is insufferably arrogant and condescending towards those around her.
- Karma Houdini: She never does personally atone for the harm she does to the Barn.
- Lawful Stupid: Shows shades of this.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: She expects all officers to halt all their work until complying with her "requests" (even when citizens' lives are at stake) and inserts herself into EVERY aspect of Farmington's police business merely for the sake of digging up dirt on Aceveda.
- Principles Zealot: As far as PR is concerned.
IAD officer who goes after Vic Mackey and the Strike Team.
- Anti-Villain: Type III. Forest Whitaker name checked this trope in at least one interview.
- Berserk Button: Watching his meticulously crafted plans end in failure and anything involving his ex-wife, Claudia.
- Big Bad: Of Season 5. He starts off the season as an arrogant but principled officer trying to bring a thoroughly crooked cop like Vic to justice. It's the means he resorts to in pursuit of this end that ultimately lead him to become an outright villain.
- Good Is Not Nice: While he is genuinely committed to bringing down crooked cops like Vic Mackey, he is also arrogant, vindictive, and obsessed with winning at all costs. It is these qualities that ultimately drive him to jump off the slippery slope just for the sake of "beating" Mackey.
- Fallen Hero: Became corrupt when he tried to take down Vic.
- He Who Fights Monsters: After being outmaneuvered one too many times by Vic Mackey, he resorts to targeting the Strike Team's family members and conspiring with murderous thugs like Antwon Mitchell to bring Vic down.
- Hero Antagonist: The Hero part gets muddled as the season goes on.
- Knight Templar: He is zealously committed to bringing corrupt cops like Vic Mackey to justice by any means necessary.
- Not So Different: From Vic.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: He has the ear of the Chief of Police, so he can get away with things no other IAD investigator could.
The Assistant Chief of Police, Vic's political muscle within the department, and the man who created the Barn and formed the Strike Team.
- The Alcoholic: Has been flagged for 5 DU Is, but promptly buries them.
- Arc Villain: At the end of Season 1, he briefly eclipses Aceveda as the story arc's preeminent antagonist.
- Asshole Victim: He's so crooked and pathetic that not even his wife cares after he dies. The only person who's moved by this is Vic.
- Beard of Sorrow: After his arrest in Season 1, he develops a Perma-Stubble. After his body arrives in the morgue, it is revealed that it grew into a full-blown beard during his Mexican exile.
- Crime After Crime: In the last two episodes of Season 1, he commits a variety of crimes, ranging from blackmail to obstruction to murder, in order to cover up his involvement in a hit and run and the real estate fraud he's working in Farmington.
- Dirty Cop: If a hit-and-run, multiple DUI's, killing a witness, and a real estate scam don't convince you he's this, nothing will.
- Evil Former Friend: Even Vic is outraged by his callous disregard for the safety of Farmington's citizens.
- Hannibal Lecture: Near the end of season 1, he explains as actions to Vic as nothing he wouldn't have done himself.
- Killer Cop: Guns down Jesus Rosales in order to keep him quiet.
- Manipulative Bastard: Uses police resources to bring down value in the Grove, then uses his mistress to buy up the property and sell it for a sizable profit.
Danielle "Danny" Sofer
An LAPD officer working at the Barn, she is Julien Lowe's training officer, and an on-off lover of Vic Mackey.
- Action Girl: It's sort of requirement when fighting street crime as an LAPD officer.
- Action Mom: After having her child.
- Butt-Monkey: Crap keeps happening to her.
- Cool Big Sis: Has shades of this when she mentors Julien for the first two seasons.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Always had the attitude, especially when she gives harsh lectures to Tina.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Is rough to new cops but only to get them ready for the tough life ahead.
- Secret Keeper: For a while, she was the only co-worker to know that Julien was gay.
- Team Mom: Becomes this in Season 5.
- Written-In Infirmity: Her pregnancy was written in when Catherine Dent actually became pregnant.
An LAPD officer working at the Barn under Danny Sofer's tutelage. He is a devoted Christian who is also struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality.
- Badass Gay: Not afraid to kick some ass when it counts.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: Often. The best example is when he is up in arms after a church is searched, even though it turned out to be a front for heroin distribution.
- Berserk Button: Hurt Danny and Julien will kick your ass.
- Black Best Friend: To Danny.
- By-the-Book Cop: Being a zealous Christian, this was to be expected.
- Gayngst: And how! His homosexuality placed him at great odds with his devout Christian beliefs, even to the point that he chose not to wear his vest to a bust, hoping the perp would kill him.
- Straight Gay: You'd think you were just talking to another LAPD officer.
- The Stool Pigeon: In season 1, he volunteers to be this after witnessing the Strike Team stealing 2 keys of cocaine, knowing what kind of heat it will bring. He is eventually convinced otherwise. And by convinced, we mean blackmailed.
- You Are What You Hate: Inverted. He got very violent with a transsexual prostitute and it's outright stated that it was because of his own homosexuality.
A new recruit assigned to serve as Julien's partner. Her going from vain pretty girl to competent cop was a major storyline for the later seasons of the show.
- Fair Cop: Oh, so much.
- Hidden Depths: Is not as vapid as she seems and capable of some good ideas out on the field.
Julien's new partner following Danny's brief termination.
A low-level drug dealer selected by Vic to hold the monopoly on corners in Farmington (in exchange for some regular "rent" payments, of course).
- Bullying a Dragon: He practically blackmails Vic in the Farmington Police Department and later shoots at him while high on cocaine.
- The Dragon: To Kern Little.
- Gang Bangers: Albeit one that works for Vic.
- Genre Blind: He seriously doesn't believe that blabbing about Vic's protection wouldn't attract Tio's attention.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Likes to let everyone know that he's under Vic's protection, which Vic, naturally, is not pleased with.
- Smug Snake: He think he's far more irreplaceable and intelligent than he actually is.
- Stupid Crooks: He's dumb enough to believe he can go after cops without repercussion from Vic. He's also...
- Too Dumb to Live: He grows addicted to his own product and recklessly threatens the man whose protection is crucial to the success of his business.
- Villainous Friendship: With Kern Little. It doesn't last.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Vic has the streets take care of him after he is caught screwing up one too many times.
A prominent L.A. gangsta rapper who happens to be, well, an actual gangsta. In between recording sessions, he calls the shots for the One-Niners. Until Antwon Mitchell gets out of prison, at any rate...
- Adam Westing: Sticky Fingaz is a real-life gangsta rapper. (Though, as far as anyone knows, he's never actually killed a man with his bare hands.)
- Affably Evil: Despite being a drug trafficking kingpin, he's shown to be a doting (albeit acquiescent) boyfriend who has no affinity for the for the bloodshed attached to his livelihood.Kern: "I'm nothing if not a man of peace."
- Back for the Dead
- Bald, Black Leader Guy: Look at his picture.
- Crouching Moron Hidden Bad Ass: When first introduced, he merely appears to be a pretentious poseur who relies on his subordinates to do his dirty work for him. However, when Vic Mackey locks him up in a storage container with T-Bonz to coerce them into making peace between their respective gangs, he proves that he's not all talk by brutally murdering the other gangster with his bare hands.
- Gang Bangers: Can be particularly ruthless one, as proven in a one-on-one fight to the death with T-Bonz.
- Genre Blindness
- Henpecked Husband: His girlfriend Tyesha has him wrapped around her little finger.
- Put on a Bus: Coincidentally off touring in Europe during most of Season 3 and all of Season 4.
- The Starscream: Antwon suspected he would be this, but had him killed before he could do anything about it.
- Villainous Friendship: With Rondell Robinson. It doesn't last
- Villain with Good Publicity: He's portrayed as a fairly popular rapper in L.A. who has also made a lucrative career as a music producer.
Theodore "Tio" Osmond
Rondell Robinson's right-hand man...and eventual replacement.
- Affably Evil: He deals drugs, but is more than willing to back down from peaceful religious protest and believes in working with Vic to keep a sort of peace in Farmington.
- Always a Bigger Fish: He finds this out the hard way, courtesy of Armadillo.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Armadillo Quintero has him "necklaced." Look it up.
- Gang Bangers: Sensing a pattern here?
- Man on Fire: Courtesy of Armadillo.
- Only Sane Employee: Refuses to use his own product and has a better idea to run street drugs than Rondell.
- The Starscream: A more benevolent example, as Rondell became a liability for Vic, Kern, and the streets.
A high-ranking member of the One-Niners street gang and an old enemy of Monica Rawling, recently released after serving a thirteen-year sentence on drug charges.
- Abusive Parents: His father regularly beat him and raped his little sister. As an adult, he's hardly a loving family man himself given that he uses his own children as pawns in his criminal activities.
- Arch-Enemy: To Captain Rawling.
- Big Bad: In Season 4. His designs on becoming Farmington's undisputed kingpin serve as the storyline's driving source of conflict.
- The Chessmaster:While posing as a reformed criminal-turned-community activist, he seizes control of the One-Niners gang and single-handedly transforms it into a well-disciplined and highly sophisticated organization with ties to the Salvadoran Cartel and the Russian Mob.
- The Corrupter: To Shane, Aceveda, and ultimately IAD Officer Jon Kavanaugh.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Played with. He takes care of his children and siblings, but trying to use his son as leverage against him gets nowhere.
- Fat Bastard: Very fat. Very much a bastard.
- Faux Affably Evil: He seems like a jolly, easygoing guy right up until he personally executes a young informant for compromising his criminal enterprises.
- Freudian Excuse: His father raped his younger sister (who ended up in a psychiatric hospital as a result) and his mother is doing life for killing him.
- From Nobody to Nightmare
- Karma Houdini: Double subverted. Gets arrested and will serve life but is still running things and is very comfortable in jail enjoying women and drinks and has cops on his payroll.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: In Seasons 5 and 6, he continues to run his gang from his Luxury Prison Suite.
- Playing Against Type: Notwithstanding the likable persona he presents to the public, Antwon Mitchell is nothing like the comical, lighthearted roles previously played by Anthony Anderson in films like Kangeroo Jack and Agent Cody Banks 2.
- The Sociopath
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: He's every bit as ruthless and calculating as Armadillo Quintero, a sociopathic Mexican crime kingpin and one of the main antagonists in Season 2.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Like Luther Mahoney on Homicide: Life on the Street, he presents himself as a community activist. When he finally gets busted, there are protests from honest citizens who have bought into his hype.
- Would Hurt a Child: Or mercilessly gun one down to be more precise.
The street boss of the One-Niners after Antwon Mitchell is sent back to prison.
- The Dragon: Does all of the dirty business that Antwon, being indisposed for the rest of his natural life, can't handle anymore.
- Establishing Character Moment: Murdering Kern Little and an innocent bystander right in front of Mackey, then making it look like they shot each other.
- Gang Bangers
- The Man in Front of the Man
- Only Known by Their Nickname
- The Stoic
- The Stoner
- Big Bad: In Season 2. However, he is later revealed merely to be a Disc-One Final Boss when he dies only 8 episodes into the season.
- Child Prodigy: He reportedly scored "off the charts" on his IQ at the age of 11.
- Disc-One Final Boss: (See Big Bad section above)
- Enfant Terrible: He raped his teacher at the age of 11.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Subverted. Vic tries to use his brother as leverage against him, but Armadillo has him killed in prison both to protect himself and make a statement.
- Faux Affably Evil: He may seem like an easy-going guy, but beneath the facade lies a truly unpleasant person.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Of the evil variety.
- Karmic Death: Gets shanked by one of the old-school Gang Bangers he screwed over during his takeover of Farmington's Mexican gangs.
- Kill It with Fire: He establishes his position in the criminal underworld by necklacing two feuding gang lieutenants.
- Macho Masochism: In addition to being a consummate sadist, he also appears fond of self-mutilation given the multitude of scars on his body as well as the manner in which he views them as testaments to his own masculinity.Armadillo:"Every scar is a victory. This is just my biggest."
- Manipulative Bastard
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He tattoos a dove on all his rape victims' faces so that they always remember they are "his."
- Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: He manages to destroy the drug operation Vic is protecting and take over two of the most powerful gangs in Farmington in the space of a couple of episodes.
- Scars Are Forever: Something he takes pride in.
- The Sociopath: He seems to have no conscience whatsoever based on his willingness to target children in grade school as a potential narcotics "market" and brutally murder his own brother to protect his gains. He is also quite sadistic given that he is a serial rapist and pedophile who maliciously compounds his victims' psychological harm by leaving a tattoo of a dove on their faces.
- The Stoic
- Two-Faced: After Vic burns half his face.
- Visionary Villain: Upon arriving in Farmington, he begins systematically eradicating all his competitors in the drug market in order to lay the foundation for a massive criminal empire that stretches from L.A. to Mexico City.
- Would Hurt a Child: In fact, he would rape them.
A big-time property developer and one of Aceveda's key financial backers in his budding political career. Too bad he's also the front for The Cartel's plan to buy up Farmington and turn it into their new L.A. base of operations...
- Big Bad: A member of the Big-Bad Ensemble in Season 6, but gets demoted to...
- Big Bad Wannabe: In Season 7.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
- Blackmail: His stock in trade.
- The Cartel
- Corrupt Corporate Executive
- Death Faked for You: Vic fakes his death and turns him over to ICE rather than killing him on Beltran's orders.
- Politically Incorrect Villain
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!
- Smug Snake
- Unwitting Pawn: Vic plays him like a fiddle, particularly in regard to the Armenians.
- Villain with Good Publicity
Chief of security for The Cartel and Pezuela's boss.
- Bigger Bad: For Season 6.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: One of many villains in Season 7.
- The Cartel
- The Dreaded
- Eviler Than Thou: His Establishing Character Moment is ordering Vic to kill Pezuela.
- Former Regime Personnel
- The Man Behind the Man
- Pragmatic Villainy
- Ruthless Foreign Gangsters
- The Stoic
- Unwitting Pawn: Just like Pezuela, he gets completely suckered by Vic.
A highly feared enforcer of the Armenian Mob who begins systematically hunting down and executing all those suspected of being involved in the Money Train Heist at the end of Season 2.
- Ascended Extra: He goes from being a highly unsettling yet minor character who appears in only one episode of Season 1 to being the main antagonist of Season 3.
- Barbarian Longhair: The man is a savage with the long hair to boot.
- Big Bad: In Season 3. His actions threaten to implicate the Strike Team in a double homicide before he ultimately begins targeting the Team himself.
- Creator Cameo: Played by writer/producer Kurt Sutter.
- Creepy Souvenir: He takes the feet from all of his victims.
- The Dreaded: When he is first arrested by the Farmington Police Department, the Armenian mobsters with whom he is brought in are frightened into silence merely by his presence during interrogation.
- Fake Nationality: Played by Kurt Sutter, who is American.
- Foot Focus: He has a foot fetish, to the extent that Dutch almost catches him when he has a murder victim's feet chopped off, packed in dry ice, and mailed to his safe house in Athens.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: While he doesn't appear in many scenes, this is strongly implied. When first introduced in "Blowback", he shoots another Armenian mobster for "sampling" a line of cocaine he was preparing for himself during a drug deal. Similarly, while incarcerated, he promptly breaks the neck of one of his cellmates merely for calling him a "faggot."
- Hidden Villain
- Man in White: In his first appearance.
- Noodle Implements: The contents of his apartment (such as a case of microwave popcorn, but no microwave).
- Professional Killer
- Psycho for Hire: A unique example. In Season 1, he appears to be merely an Ax-Crazy hitman (albeit a highly feared one) in the Armenian Mob's employ. This is partially subverted in Season 3 when he is revealed to be a high-ranking member of the Armenian Mob who nonetheless personally offers his "services" in order to satisfy his bloodlust.
- Psychotic Smirk: He gives a very creepy one while being handcuffed for murdering one of his cellmates in "Blowback."
- The Quiet One
- Shrouded in Myth
- The Spook
A hitman dispatched by Margos Dezerian to locate those responsible for the Money Train Heist.
- The Apprentice: Implied to be this to Margos considering he adopts his modus operandi of cutting off his victims' feet.
- Bad Liar: His reply when asked about the contents of a package to he sent Athens encased in dry ice: "Books."
- Perpetual Frowner: Based on the few scenes in which he appears.
- Professional Killer
- Psycho for Hire
- Small Role, Big Impact: His murder of two Armenian mobsters on Margos's orders threatens to implicate the Strike Team in two murders that occurred at the Money Train Heist.
- Too Dumb to Live: He keeps the receipt for a package he sent to Margos containing the feet of those he killed.
A mid-level soldier in the Armenian mob responsible for overseeing the organization's Money Train.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When he feels threaten by Margos Dezerian's men, he arrives at the Barn with his family in tow offering information in return for their safety.
- Faux Affably Evil
- Karma Houdini
- Moral Dissonance: He has no problems contacting Armenian hitmen to murder two colleagues. However, he is highly offended by the reckless disregard exhibited by a negligent driver who backends him in a fender-bender.
- Photographic Memory: He immediately recognizes Lem as one of the men he asked to serve as witnesses for a prospective insurance claim after being involved in a car accident in Season 2. He also remembers the alias given to him by Shane who was driving with Lem at the event in question.
- The Rat
- Small Role, Big Impact
The daughter of an Armenian Mafia chieftain, who secretly runs his organization after he is left comatose by a heart attack.
- Big Bad: One of the Big-Bad Ensemble in Season 6.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
- Daddy's Little Villain
- Faux Affably Evil
- Hypocrite: She goes after the families of those who cross her, but is outraged when Shane uses her father as a Human Shield.
- Karma Houdini
- Knight Templar
- The Man Behind the Man
- Obfuscating Stupidity
- Would Hurt a Child
A Serial Killer that murdered 23 people.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Dutch asks him the following question which causes his smug facade to crumble.
- Dutch: "If you're so special, how come a lowly civil servant like me just caught you?"
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Jerking off in public is what ultimately leads to his downfall.
- Disc-One Final Boss: In Season 1.
- Faux Affably Evil: Comes across as polite and charming, but Dutch can easily see the monster within him.
- Hannibal Lecture: Tries to break Dutch emotionally during interrogation. Dutch ultimately beats him, but it leaves quite an emotional wound on Dutch.
- Serial Killer: Killed 23 people, including a 12-year-old prostitute.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Given a rather spectacular dressing down by Dutch.
- Smug Snake: As Dutch digs further into his background and mind, his true personality shows up, calling Dutch a "lowly civil servant".
A serial rapist, and eventual Serial Killer, who targets elderly women and "cuddles" with them afterward.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: He serves as a separate antagonist in Season 3.
- Creepy Souvenir: He takes ceramic figurines from his victims.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He's very eager to make sure his wife isn't affected by his arrest.
- Faux Affably Evil
- For the Evulz
- Freudian Excuse: Completely averted.
- Graceful Loser
- Hannibal Lecture: Gives a devastatingly honest one to Dutch.
- Happily Married: Until he's found out.
- In-Series Nickname: The Cuddler Rapist.
- Manipulative Bastard: The entire reason for "cuddling" his victims is to keep them calm and less likely to speak to police.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil
- Serial Killer
- The Sociopath
An accused Serial Killer from Texas who relocates to Farmington, which soon sees a rash of murders matching his alleged M.O.
- Arch-Enemy: To Claudette.
- Consulting a Convicted Killer: Dutch shows him interrogation video of Lloyd Denton and asks for his opinion.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His genuine love for his sister proves to be his Achilles' heel.
- Faux Affably Evil
- A Fool for a Client: He represents himself during his trial. In a subversion, he actually does quite well for himself.
- Karma Houdini: Subverted. He'll spend the rest of his life in prison, but he manages to blackmail the LAPD and the prosecutors into taking the death penalty off the table.
- Lack of Empathy: He literally thinks of his victims as objects.
- Malcolm Xerox: Any suspicion that falls on him is based purely on racism, dammit!
- Serial Killer
- Sherlock Scan: He figures out that Claudette is ill almost instantly when her lupus flares up.
- Smug Snake
- The Sociopath
A teenage boy who claims to have shot a burglar in his home, but whom Dutch suspects of being a budding Serial Killer.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: One of several villains in Season 7.
- Brilliant, but Lazy
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Claudette implies he loved her mother even though he killed her.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Narcissist: His hobby is drawing pictures of himself.
- Self-Made Orphan
- Smug Snake
- The Sociopath
- Teens Are Monsters
Mrs. Vic Mackey.
- Mama Bear: The season finale, where she took the kids and ran, proved this in spades.
- Real-Life Relative: Played by the wife of creator and executive producer Shawn Ryan.
- Stepford Smiler: Has to become this.
- Doting Parent: In spite of her general irritability, she's nothing but completely sweet with her son Jackson.
- Freudian Excuse: Considering how utterly callous, controlling, and unpleasant her mother is shown to be, it's not at all surprising that Mara carries as much emotional baggage as she does. Additionally, the speech she gives to Vic during the third season heavily implies that she's suffered in numerous bad romantic relationships prior to Shane.
- Jerkass: Though not to the degree that her husband does, Mara also demonstrates a quick temper and a great deal of possessiveness.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Vic during the third season.
- Undying Loyalty: Deconstructed, Mara's devotion to Shane is so strong that she ends up committing crimes in attempts to protect him, ranging from assaulting Tavon and nearly killing him during his fight with her husband, becoming Shane's accomplice when he turns fugitive and refusing to protect herself and her son from the consequences of his actions even after both Claudette and Shane himself offered the chance to turn herself in, and even accidentally killing a women in an attempt to save Shane from a gang of ex-contacts of his.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: clocks Tavon on the head with an Iron when he gets into a fight with Shane. During the penultimate episode of the series, she even shoots at a group of Shane's ex-contacts when they threaten him, and inadvertently kills an innocent woman in the process.
A hooker and crack addict who serves as Vic's unofficial informant.
- Butt-Monkey: Let's see: She's addicted to drugs, she's gets beaten badly during an undercover sting, her mother dies of a stroke which leaves her the only one to take care of her baby, nearly raped, shoots at a john because of the experience, is forced to go cold turkey unsuccessfully, and finally is killed in a hostage situation in Season 2.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: A sweetheart of a gal, she uses the money to raise her baby.
- The Informant: One of Vic's earliest know C Is.
- Morality Pet: To Vic.
A Con Artist who successfully manipulates Shane.
A criminal defense attorney retained by Vic to represent the Strike Team in the face of Kavanaugh's investigation.
- Hello, Attorney!: It's a given being played Laura Elena Harring.
- Horrible Judge of Character: She completely buys Vic's line about how the Strike Team are basically good cops being made into patsies by the brass.
A special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement who helps Vic bust The Cartel...and becomes his last hope for a lifeline when his web of lies and crimes starts to unravel.
- The Dog Bites Back: She's the one who really puts the screws to Vic and ensures his deal turns into an Ironic Hell.
- Fair Cop: Being played by Laurie Holden certainly qualifies.
- Horrible Judge of Character: She even lampshades it in the Grand Finale. But she scores a monster payback.
- Minion with an F in Evil: She's one of Pezuela's many blackmail victims and jumps at the chance to take him down.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When Vic unveils the true extent of his evil... just after she gave him total immunity for his crimes.
- Unwitting Pawn: One of many to Vic; see above.