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Michael McManus (Stephen Baldwin)
Top notch entry man. Crazy, though.
- Alliterative Name: Michael McManus.
- Angrish: Feigns it when it's his turn to say his line in the lineup scene.
- Ax-Crazy: In the original script, he goes completely berserk during the attack on the boat, shooting and stabbing everyone he finds while screaming like a maniac the entire time.
- Back Stab: Killed with a knife to the back of his neck.
- Beard of Evil: An amoral criminal with a dark, scraggly beard on the lower half of his face.
- *Click* Hello: When he ambushes Kobayashi in the elevator and kills his guards.McManus: Don't move. Press 20, do it now.
- Cold Sniper: During the opening phases of the shootout at the dock.
- Cool Shades: During the second job in the parking garage and when the gang goes after Kobayashi.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric. The most leader oriented member of the group.
- Guns Akimbo: During the jewel heist, he aims two pistols and gets kill shots on two different targets who are both grappling with his accomplices. Notably, he hesitates for several seconds trying to line up both shots and the others look at him incredulously.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He's usually the first to start cursing up a storm when things go wrong.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Fenster. He is the one who requested that Fenster be buried.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Manages to hit two targets with Guns Akimbo as they struggle with Hockney and Fenster and manages to thread it between the struggling men.
- Informed Attribute: Verbal tells everyone that McManus is "crazy", but the only time McManus acts even a little weird is after Fenster dies. Verbal may be exaggerating McManus' temper or eccentricities.
- It's Personal: Wants revenge on Kobayashi after Fenster's death.
- Jerkass: Even if you overlook his job, he's not a nice person.
- The Lancer: He backs Keaton up the most.
- Large Ham: Deliberately in his turn in the lineup scene, complete with hand motions, wild-eyed expressions and head lolling.McManus: (with finger gun) Gimme your fuckin' keys, you fuckin' cocksucker motherfucker-aaaaaahhhhh (McManus starts wagging his head in all directions, his tongue lolling around)
- Pet the Dog: He rubs the head of a dog as he enters the boat during the climax and it is shown that he actually cared about longtime partner in crime Fenster, even requesting that he be given a proper burial on the beach.
- Posthumous Character: As with the majority of the main cast.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Seriously, just read some of his dialogue.
- Walking Armory: For the climactic shootout, he brings a sniper rifle, submachine gun and a Browning Hi-Power.
Dean Keaton (Gabriel Byrne)
Keaton was the real prize for them, for obvious reasons.
- Asshole Victim: Kujan's opinion about his death.
- Chronic Villainy: People keep assuming that his attempts to walk the straight and narrow path are simply a smokescreen for some other criminal conspiracy, which ultimately drives him into the arms of the Suspects. His true intentions may never be known, as the only living witness who might have known is the notably untrustworthy Verbal Kint. He asks Verbal Kint to give her his last message:Tell her I tried.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: In Kint's story, he returns to crime because he couldn't get a legitimate occupation. However, staying out of crime has earned him a beautiful hot-shot attorney for a girlfriend. As long as he's with her, he won't need a profitable career. It's really his vanity that drives him back to crime.
- Despair Event Horizon: Seems to hit this by the time of his death, given that the rest of the Suspects (bar Verbal) are long dead, along with the knowledge that none of them were ever meant to get out alive of the coke heist and that he'll never get to see Edie again, who, if Verbal's narration is reliable, he did truly care for. The realization that Verbal, who he is also demonstrated to supposedly have actually cared for and trusted is actually the crime lord Keyser Soze certainly couldn't have helped matters either.
- Detective Patsy: Played with. He was picked partly to draw attention from LE and recruited to vouch for Kint. He was Kint's ultimate sucker no matter what interpretation you have of the film; even if you believe 95% is lies told by Kint.
- Dirty Cop: He was on the police force before he turned to crime, and still has insider knowledge he can use for heists. (Also helpful is the fact that a lot of the guys still on the force are also dirty.)
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The only two people he's demonstrated to truly care for throughout the film are Edie Finneran, his girlfriend, and Verbal Kint. (Though it's unknown if Verbal's narration of Keaton's behavior is actually accurate.)
- Face Death with Dignity: Carries on a mild conversation with Keyser Soze, with his only final request being to ask for the time before closing his eyes and waiting for him to carry out the deed. Considering that his death at the beginning of the movie (which isn't subject to Verbal's Unreliable Narrator status) is near identical to the way that Verbal (who is Soze) tells it near the end, it's implied that even his killer found it rather impressive.
- Faking the Dead: He's infamous within the New York underworld for having faked his death to dodge a murder rap. When the cops confront him with this, Keaton claims he did no such thing. He is living in the same city, using the same name and the same face, it has nothing to do with him that the cops messed up and thought he was dead. Towards the end of the story, Kujan believes that Keaton has done this a second time, and Keyser is either him or a smokescreen.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic. He's very quiet and bitter about his Redemption Failure and is generally quite withdrawn and depressed.
- Guns Akimbo: He uses two pistols during the shoot-out on the boat.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: See Chronic Villainy. He wants to give up the life of crime (or so he claims), but he can never seem to manage it.
- Hidden Depths: Despite being a rumbled ex-Dirty Cop and ex-con, Keaton is revealed to live in an aggressively artsy apartment, suggesting that there's more to him than just crime.
- Informed Attribute: Kujan states Keaton is a "cold-blooded bastard", informing Verbal of the ex-cop's murderous past. However in the movie, Keaton is reluctant in killing a jeweler, and cares for Verbal and Edie.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He does care for Edie and for Verbal's safety (or so Verbal says) but when you look into his past he seems just as bad as the other characters. Which is another sign that Verbal's story isn't what it seems.
- Lawman Gone Bad: Keaton used to be a cop, but since then has been a career criminal for a long time.
- The Leader: Kind of the boss of the group.
- One Last Job: He claims robbing the New York Taxi Service was this. No-one believes him; and Verbal says it only took a day of badgering from McManus to convince him to take on another job.
- Only Sane Man: The most rational of the criminals.
- Posthumous Character: He dies in the opening scene. The rest of the movie consists of flashbacks leading up to his death.
- Redemption Failure: At the beginning of the film, he's trying to persuade some investors to fund a restaurant that he wants to open, only for the cops to show up.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: He claims that he is really in love with Edie and was trying to set himself up as a legitimate restaurateur. However, when the police bring him in for the line-up right at the beginning of the movie, arresting him at dinner with his potential investors, he realizes that his investors are going to back out of doing business with an ex-con, and he will never be able to set up a legal business. So, since the police will never let him put his past behind him, he might as well embrace it.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: More pragmatic than moral. He believes a job is highly successful when nobody be it on his team or the victims get hurt. However if it happens, he doesn't bat an eye at it.
- Token Good Teammate: Probably the least evil of the gang.
- Villainous Breakdown: When he realizes “There is! No! Fucking! Coke!"
Fred Fenster (Benicio del Toro)
A real tightass, but when it came to the job he was right on. A smart man.
- Alliterative Name: Fred Fenster.
- Boom, Headshot!: How he was killed.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Poor Fenster dies even before the final act.
- Elective Unintelligible: He chews up his words so badly sometimes even McManus can't understand him.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine. The most energetic and flamboyant member of the group, having an eccentric accent and a hammy sense of showmanship.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With McManus. McManus requested that he be buried on the beach.
- Informed Ability: Verbal refers to Fenster as a "smart man". Fenster never does anything particularly smart during his screentime.
- Large Ham: Del Toro basically added this characterization himself. The character on the page was pretty flat and nondescript. Word of God says that he did this because he was supposed to be the token Red Shirt of the movie. He wanted his character to stand out more.
- Mauve Shirt: Despite wearing a physical Red Shirt in his opening scene, Fenster is one of the main characters until he is killed at the end of the second act.
- Posthumous Character: He gets killed off in the middle of the film, and the film is told in flashbacks.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: Fenster's an amoral criminal who wears a red shirt with a black suit jacket to the lineup.
- Sacrificial Lion: According to Benicio Del Toro, Fenster is this.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Killed for trying to pull this off.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Has managed to work Red and Black and Evil All Over into a nice club-hopping ensemble.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: He swears a lot.
- The Unintelligible: Benicio del Toro thought the character was too boring on the page and came up with a bizarre accent (Chinese and Hispanic, by his account) to spice things up. He drew inspiration from Mumbles in the Dick Tracy film. Bryan Singer told the other actors to make him repeat himself if they ever couldn't understand him. This happens a few times in the film. Word of God says that he did this because he was supposed to be the token Red Shirt of the movie. He wanted his character to stand out more.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Even in-universe, characters have trouble making sense of his slurred English. Benicio del Toro decided he was playing "a black Chinese Puerto Rican Jew".
Todd Hockney (Kevin Pollak)
Good with explosives. Without a doubt, the one guy who didn't give a fuck about anybody.
- The Big Guy: Well, he's smallest in height, but Hockney is the one always willing to pick a fight, as well as an expert with explosives, which more than makes up for his stature.
- Caustic Critic: Enjoys screwing with people by criticizing them.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- While he's being interrogated by the police:Todd Hockney: You guys don't have a fuckin' leg to stand on.
Interrogation Cop: You think so, tough guy? I can put you in Queens on the night of the hijacking.
Todd Hockney: Really? I live in Queens. Did you put that together yourself, Einstein? What, you got a team of monkeys working around the clock on this?
Interrogation Cop: You know what happens if you do another turn in the joint?
Todd Hockney: [shrugs] Uhhh, fuck your father in the shower and then have a snack. Are you gonna charge me, dickhead?
Interrogation Cop: I'll charge you when I'm ready.
- Later:Fred Fenster: A guy had his finger up my asshole tonight!
Todd Hockney: Is it Friday already?
- And, to Verbal, who has been silent this whole time:Verbal Kint: (about his nickname) Roger really. People say I talk too much.
Todd Hockney: Yeah, I was gonna tell you to shut up.
- While he's being interrogated by the police:
- Demolitions Expert: An expert for explosives.
- Dressing as the Enemy: He twice fools the Hungarian mooks, taking advantage of the fact that they don't know all the Argentinians; the first time by casually waving his submachine gun, the second time by shouting in Spanish.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric. A more aggressive version of this than McManus. He's without a doubt, the most violent of the group and has a short temper as well as a loud mouth.
- Gangsta Style: In the standoff with Redfoot's men. He also aims at Kobayashi this way during their first meeting.
- In the Back: Shot in the back when he finds the money. He turns around to apparently see his attacker and is promptly shot in the head.
- Jerkass: The biggest one of the group. Constantly criticizing others and insulting them. Verbal even Lampshades this.Verbal: "Without a doubt, the one guy who didn't give a fuck about anybody."
- Major Injury Underreaction: His reaction to being shot is to flinch and blink, then turn around blank-faced to see his attacker before being shot once again.
- The Napoleon: Hockney's the shortest of the group at 5'5" and the most aggressive.
- Posthumous Character: Like the others (except Verbal).
- The Reveal: Halfway through the film, it turns out that Hockney hijacked the truck containing gun parts that the suspects were originally brought in for.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: He swears a lot.
Roger "Verbal" Kint
Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey)
It didn't make sense that I'd be there. I mean, these guys were hardcore hijackers. But there I was. At that point I wasn't scared, I knew I hadn't done anything they could do me for. Besides, it was fun. I got to make like I was notorious.
- Actually, I Am Him: Possibly the most famous example in film history, if not pop culture in general.
- Badass Boast: "Well I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me... is Keyser Söze".
- Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Inverted, as Verbal spills a lot of the suspects' exploits to Kujan until you realize he's only telling the story to buy time until his release, and that most of it was a big fat lie.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: "Verbal" Kint gets his ironic nickname from the fact that he rarely says anything and has a generally meek, retiring demeanor. There is much more to him than meets the eye.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: While a criminal, Verbal comes across as a fairly, mild-mannered and ultimately harmless person. In reality, he is Keyzer Söze.
- Bring News Back: Keaton's final orders to Verbal are to take the money and find Edie to bring down Kobayashi.
- Con Man: Verbal's specialty when it comes to crime. One particular con, the one he is accused of by Mr. Kobayashi, involved scamming one of Keyser Söze's men out of $62,000.
- Consummate Liar: The Mind Screw really sets in when you realize that everything you think you know about Keyser Söze potentially comes from Keyser Söze himself.
- Deadpan Snarker: An inevitable side effect of being played by Kevin Spacey.
- Deep Cover Agent: He may or may not be a cover identity. If it's a cover, it goes back some considerable time, likely years — Keaton refers to having met Verbal "once or twice" prior to the events of the movie, with the conversation implying that this was not particularly recently. Of course, this is all assuming that Verbal is actually telling the truth about this scene...
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: Exploits Kujan's belief that Keaton was Keyser Söze by playing up his physical and mental capabilities.
- Establishing Character Moment: When Verbal is first brought into Sgt. Rabin's office, as he's sitting there alone, he's looking around the office as if he's bored or just killing time. He's actually taking in all of the details on the bulletin board so he can use them as part of his story for Kujan.
- Evil All Along: While not being a good person to begin with, he comes off as a sympathetic character. Turns out he actually is the Big Bad Keyser Söze.
- Firing One-Handed: Does this a lot due to his cerebral palsy.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic. The most calm and rational member of the group, and also the most easy going. Or so he seems.
- Framing the Guilty Party: In a similar example to And Then There Were None, he includes himself on a list of transgressions the Suspects have committed against Keyzer Söze.
- Ironic Nickname: He's chatty in the interrogation, but in the flashbacks he's very reticent. He doesn't utter a word before introducing himself, saying, "People say I talk too much." Hockney quips, "Yeah, I was just about to tell you to shut up."
- Kubrick Stare: He gives one to the (offscreen) interrogators when he reads his line.
- Line-of-Sight Name: Many details from Verbal's story turn out to be taken from objects in the room. Verbal is seen looking around the room before his interrogation, and a later shot even shows him looking up at the bottom of Kujan's coffee cup.
- Meaningful Name: Keyser Söze is either German or Turkish. Kaiser, a homonym of Keyser, is the German word for emperor, and Söze means "talks too much" in Turkish, making Keyser Söze "Emperor Talks Too Much," a hint that he is "Verbal" Kint, who says he's accused of talking too much.
- Non-Action Guy: Not that he's averse to using guns but Verbal's disability means he's unable to be as physical as the other guys. At least this what he appears to be.
- Obfuscating Disability: His limp and crippled arm is just an act to make him seem more harmless; in the film's final scene, both disappears in a single stride.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He pretends to be a weak-willed and crippled sap who was taken advantage of by Dean Keaton, rather than the diabolical crimelord he is.
- Personal Effects Reveal: The golden watch and cigarette lighter given to Kint as he leaves the police station are the same items that Söze is shown to possess at the beginning of the film.
- The Quiet One: Ironically, he says very little during the flashbacks.
- Ridiculously Average Guy: He's an average, unassuming guy who you'd almost forget about if you were in a room with. He's also the main villain of the film.
- Saying Too Much: Verbal actually does admit to killing Keaton, although it is fairly unintelligible due to Kujan's yelling, and he quickly shades the slip-up by covering it with, "I did see Keaton get shot."
- Scheherezade Gambit: He uses his tale-spinning talent to outwit his captors and not only to gain time: He continually changes his story until he finds the correct one to convince Kujan of his In-Universe Confirmation Bias so he would release Verbal
- Seamless Spontaneous Lie: His entire story.
- Self-Proclaimed Liar: He's not only an admitted con artist, but there are several scenes where he will say something Kujan doubts, admit to lying, and then revise his story.
- The Smart Guy: Being a con man, relies more on brains than the others, who are mostly hijackers. Redfoot lampshades this when he calls Verbal "the man with the plan".
- Throwing Off the Disability: In the most famous shot of the nineties, Verbal limps at first but gradually shows he can walk normally when he leaves the police station.
- Undercover When Alone:
- Despite the fact that Verbal and Keyser are the same person, this is actually averted. Verbal is constantly showing facial expressions that contradict what he is saying when he is talking to Kujan, and only when Kujan isn't looking. In addition his first reaction when Keyser is mentioned is anger, which he then pretends is fear. This is also averted in flashbacks as Verbal is never alone and obviously telling the story.
- A very subtle version of this: When Verbal is alone (in flashbacks) his manner of holding a cigarette to his lips varies from one culture's to another — the German manner, the Russian, the Turkish. But in the company of the others, it's always American.
- Unreliable Expositor: Detective Kujan suspects that he knows more than he told the grand jury. Boy, is he right.Verbal: Back when I was in that barbershop quartet in Skokie, IL, the baritone was this guy named Kip Diskin. Big fat guy. I mean like, Orca fat...
- Unreliable Narrator: Kujan constantly accuses him of lying, and ultimately Verbal confirms Kujan's preconceived notion that Keaton was Keyser Söze. Of course, Verbal wanted him to think that all along. Also, Kint narrates things he wasn't actually there to see. Unless he was Söze.
- Villainous Breakdown: When Kujan tells him that Edie was killed until it turns out he is the killer in the first place, and just acting.
- Villainous Widow's Peak: Verbal tries to disguise his thinning hairline (Spacey was already balding here) with backcombing.
- Walking Spoiler: As you've probably figured from all the white spaces, it's difficult to talk about Verbal without giving away the ending.
Keyser Söze (Kevin Spacey)
Keaton always said, "I don't believe in God, but I'm afraid of Him." Well, I believe in God. And the only thing that scares me is Keyser Söze.
- Ax-Crazy: Söze's backstory told by Kint portrays Söze as this. It turns out that when Kint is detailing all of this to Kujan, he's really talking about himself, so in hindsight, either Kujan has an authentic, first-hand account of Söze's exploits, or a highly exaggerated account from the actual person so that he can build himself up while Kujan does not know the truth.
- Bad Boss: His minions are disposable.
- The Bad Guy Wins: He successfully manages to escape the police as Verbal by making up almost the whole story of what happened.
- Barbarian Longhair: In flashbacks, he's got long flowing hair all the way down his back.
- Big Bad: The one behind everything in the film.
- …But He Sounds Handsome: A lot of Kint's terror of him, in retrospect, was likely just boasting about being The Dreaded.
- Calling Card: Two Gangsta Style gunshots to the head. This is how he kills Keaton, Arturro, and Edie. The killing of Saul Berg foreshadows The Reveal.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Most of his dialogue is describing what a terrifying, unstoppable monster he is.
- Coat, Hat, Mask: Söze appears in the opening and flashbacks, but his face is concealed by a dark overcoat and fedora hat.
- The Chessmaster: Anything that happens in the movie is because he planned it, from the "American confront" to his arrest and eventually release.
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: Most of his personal effects are solid gold.
- Diabolical Mastermind: An almost-legendary crime lord who, if he exists at all, works through layers upon layers of proxies. Except in the occasional case where hiding in plain sight as one of the supposed "proxies" works to his advantage.
- The Dreaded: He's a legend among criminals. Most of them fear him, some doubt his existence, but everyone has heard his story.
- The Faceless: In flashbacks. Subverted - he's actually one of the first people we see.
- Fake Nationality: Kevin Spacey is not Hungarian or German like Keyser Söze.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He went from being a small-time dope dealer to a legend of the criminal underworld.
- Gangsta Style: How he disposes of his victims, including Keaton.
- He Knows Too Much: Söze kills everyone tangentially involved with the witness's murder, including the hijackers and Keaton's girlfriend, and the only surviving eyewitness dies from his burn injuries. Only Kujan remains.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: The Big Bad sits in front of the investigator but the latter doesn't recognize the Unknown Character.
- Hidden Villain: After his rampage following the death of his family, Keyser Söze went underground, working to grow his criminal empire and exact further vengeance through proxies and clueless pawns. His appearance remains hidden throughout the entire movie until the very end.
- Karma Houdini: He's never apprehended for any of his crimes. At the end, Verbal Kint manages to talk his way out of his prison time. They both turn out to be the same person.
- Legacy Character: He might be, based on your interpretation as to whether or not Verbal is old enough to be the character of legend.
- Living Legend: He's considered the bogeyman of the underworld by even the toughest of criminals, who shiver when his name is spoken.
- Masquerading As the Unseen: He's never seen during Verbal's account, and he interacts with the characters through an intermediary. This may become an inversion though, when it's revealed that Verbal is Söze.
- Master Actor: He fools everybody as the timid, easily manipulated Verbal Kint, affecting a limp, a twisted foot, and a partially paralyzed arm, all of which disappear when he finally drops the act at the very end. And he's apparently been playing this character for years.
- The Mob Boss Is Scarier: This seems to be the case when Kujan brings him up and Verbal reacts with stark terror. Subverted at the end when it's revealed that Verbal is Keyser Söze.
- Multiple-Choice Past: We only ever see one version of his story, but it's clear there are several. The version we see is simply the one Verbal says he believes.Verbal: "He's supposed to be Turkish... some say his father was German... Nobody ever believed he was real. Nobody ever knew him or saw anybody that ever worked directly for him. But to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Söze. You never knew; that was his power. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. One story the guys told me, the story I believe, was from his days in Turkey..."
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Söze is infamous for disposing of his treacherous henchmen in the most excruciating way possible. Failing that, he will execute not only the traitor, but his friends and loved ones, as well. What began as a personal vendetta (the men who attacked his family) became part of his myth.
- Offing the Offspring: He murdered his wife and children.
- One-Man Army: He's described as having murdered dozens of people in revenge for his family, presumably single-handed.
- Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: Averted, because the police had absolutely no idea...
- Papa Wolf: Subverted. He has a beautiful wife, three adoring children, and he's big and hairy and aggressive- then his family is taken hostage. He killed his wife and both surviving kids himself rather than allow his enemies to do it. That way, he explains to the surviving enemy mook, they won't have to live with the humiliation.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In the backstory, semi-mythical criminal mastermind he's faced with other gangsters who try to take over his business by threatening to kill his family. Instead, he kills his family himself, then the gangsters, then their wives, children, friends, and anyone else even tangentially associated with them, and then vanishes into legend.
- Satanic Archetype: Is believed by many to be the Devil himself.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: He's able to manipulate police departments to a truly disturbing extent. Despite admitting (as Verbal Kint) to a raft of crimes, the most the police can hit him with is a minor weapons charge. Rabin says he's "protected from up on high by the prince of darkness." Later on, Kint's story includes Kobayashi saying that Söze arranged the line up to gather up the five crooks whose crimes had interfered with Söze and get them to repay their "debt".
- Sexier Alter Ego: Verbal imagines him as a long-haired adonis. In reality, he's just short, skinny, balding Kevin Spacey.
- Shrouded in Myth: A larger-than-life criminal mastermind who never appears in public and acts mainly through intermediaries and subcontractors. He's apparently powerful and ruthless enough that his name scares the hell out of the ruthless Hungarian mob and all sorts of other criminals. The last man to know what he looks like dies about midway through the movie, though not before giving a description to a sketch artist. Every other detail we learn about him comes through Verbal Kint, who could only have learned about Söze and his reputation second-hand. Unless, of course, he is Keyser Söze...
- Significant Monogram: Shares his initials with the actor who ultimately plays him.
- A Sinister Clue: A Diabolical Mastermind who wields his gun left-handed in the flashback.
- Slave to PR: He shot his wife and children, unwilling to let them live another day knowing he'd been brought low by home invaders.
- The Spook: He was something similar to this. The nature of the movie made his shadow-ness even more obscure and vague. But even with the things confirmed by the police interrogators, Söze was someone who has never had a confirmed sighting, regarded as a myth, has multiple versions of his backstory and you don't know what is fact or fiction about him.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Referred to as "The Devil", but looks just like a normal man, albeit an extremely dangerous one. This is why Verbal would have been the very last person on Earth that Kujan would have suspected to be Keyser Söze.
- Two Aliases, One Character: He goes by "Verbal" for most of the film.
- The Unfettered: Nothing can stop him once he decides he's going to do something. Nothing.Söze looks over the faces of his family. Then he showed these men of will what will really was.
- Unflinching Walk: During Verbal's exposition about Söze, we see the latter with a Determined Expression on his face walking away from a house he just set on fire without him looking back.
- Unknown Character: Very few people have ever met him firsthand and lived to tell about it — the only one the police have tracked down is a mutilated Hungarian mobster babbling nonsense. We see him with his Face Framed in Shadow, but even that is only within the flashbacks of a questionably-reliable narrator. We hear his Origin Story, but it's the kind of unlikely, mythologised tale you'd expect of a Folk Hero. The only contact he has with any character is via The Dragon, Kobayashi. The final Reveal? The narrator is Keyser Söze, so far as such a man exists.
- Unstoppable Rage: He killed his wife and children to stop the home invaders from using them as hostages, then killed all but one of the invaders (so he'd go tell his associates), then went out and killed everyone connected with the people who did the home invasion of his house, including people whose only connection was that they owed money to them or had dealings with them.
- Unwitting Pawn: According to Kobayashi, most of Söze's mooks never know who they are really working for.
- Walking Spoiler: You do see how much of this section is highlighted, right?
- Wild Hair: Has long, tangled hair in the flashbacks.
- You Can Keep Her!: In the origin tale, the Hungarians who raided his house slit the throat of his daughter to "let him know they meant business". Söze responded by shooting his spouse and remaining child, turned his gun on the knifeman, then told the remaining crook to tell everyone what had transpired at the house. Odds are, nobody ever troubled him again.
Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri)
You know the first thing they teach you in the academy? How to spot a murderer.
- Anti-Hero: Unscrupulous Hero. He may have a strong sense of justice and have a great dedication to stopping crime, but he's a violent Jerkass, blackmails people, plants false evidence, is obsessive towards a man who is trying to go straight and assaults unarmed suspects.
- Break the Haughty: His constant taunting of Verbal's stupidity comes back to bite him big time when the Twist Ending arrives.
- Dirty Cop: His backstory is one of a sheriff turned crook.
- Fatal Flaw: His insistent on believing that Keaton and only Keaton could have been the mastermind of the heist allows Söze to walk out of his office a free man.
- Good is Not Nice: He's technically on the side of good, wanting to put criminals in jail and keep the streets safe. He's still an asshole.
- Gut Feeling: He believes he already knows what happens and tries to get Verbal to confirm his suspicions. Early in the film, Verbal encourages this behavior by sarcastically asserting that, when a cop thinks the brother did it, he's usually going to be right.
- Hero Antagonist: He is this to Verbal Kint. Trying to get him to spill the whole story and bring down Keyser Söze.
- Inspector Javert: He's obsessed with arresting cop-turned-criminal Keaton. Trouble is, while there's little doubt that Keaton is a thief and murderer, he seems to be genuinely trying to go legitimate at the start of the movie. But Kujan's dogged pursuit lets Keaton's potential business partners know about his criminal background, torpedoing his career and sending him back to a life of crime. In Kujan's interactions with Verbal, we also see he's willing to break the law himself (including issuing death threats) if it means catching Keaton, and is so focused on that goal that he ignores any explanation that doesn't paint Keaton as the criminal mastermind behind everything. This final detail is what allows Verbal's lie to ultimately work - just tell him "Dean Keaton is Keyser Soze" and he will buy everything else hook, line, and sinker.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: A Verbal take on this trope. He constantly threatens and blackmails Verbal into telling him what he wants to know. Becomes physical when he throws him on the ground and wordlessly threatens to beat him up.
- Jerkass: He thinks Verbal is stupid and is overly rough on him. Then comes The Reveal...
- Kick the Dog:
- He humiliates Keaton during his dinner with his potential business associates by arresting him with a large group of agents and mentioning his criminal past. This also ruins his reputation.
- There's also his haughty and borderline abusive behavior towards Verbal during his interrogation.
- Meaningful Name: His name is pronounced exactly like "coullione", an extremely vulgar french word for idiot.
- Oh, Crap!: His reaction at the end of the film when he realizes that Verbal's entire story was fabricated for his own benefit, and that Verbal himself is the true Keyser Söze.
- Pet the Dog: A minor example when he helps Verbal light his cigarette near the beginning of the film.
- Police Brutality: Fiercely tosses Verbal to the ground in a fit of anger.
- Rabid Cop: Has a short temper and has an obsession with Dean Keaton, even if he's trying to pull a Heel–Face Turn."Not from me, you piece of shit! There is no immunity from me."
- Secret Test of Character: Agent Kujan tells Verbal that the best way to weed out a professional criminal is round up five guys and place them in a room together. An innocent man will be constantly fretting about what might happen, while the guilty party is going to be calm, trying not to give anything away, and resting as much as possible so he can be sharp when the police question him. Hockney, who is revealed after the fact to be responsible for hijacking the truck from the start of the movie, is the only one not freaking out during the prison scene, and even starts getting upset at how worked up Fenster is.
- Smug Snake: A heroic version. His gross underestimation of Verbal and his overconfidence in his own intelligence proves to be his undoing.
- Too Clever by Half: He condescendingly tells Verbal Kint, the prisoner he is interrogating, that Kujan is smarter than him, that Verbal is stupid, a cripple, weaker than the criminals he associated with, and that Verbal will not be free until he will tell Kujan exactly wants he wants to know. Cue Break the Haughty at the Twist Ending.
Mr. Kobayashi (Pete Postlethwaite)
- Amoral Attorney: He works for a Diabolical Mastermind, it's kind of a given.
- Ambiguously Brown: Though played by a white actor (Pete Postlethwaite), Mr. Kobayashi has a Japanese-sounding name (and Japanese letters on his office door), speaks with what sounds like an Indian accent and has swarthy though Caucasian-looking features. Of course, we later discover that Kobayashi isn't even his real name.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: His first appearance in the film has him deliver marching orders to the Suspects on behalf of his boss, Keyser Söze. The job; a near-suicidal raid on a ship docked in San Pedro during a drug buy, with an implicit death threat if they don't comply. He makes good on said threat by killing Fenster when he tries to back out, then threatening the remaining Suspects' loved ones when they try to retaliate.
- Bald of Evil: No hair on the top of his head and one of the worst people in the film.
- Boom, Headshot!: What he did to Fenster.
- Dissonant Serenity: Sees his two bodyguards shot from either side of him, yet still keeps his cool, even when McManus proceeds to point a gun at his head.
- The Dragon: To Keyser Söze, of The Consigliere type. He handles the day-to-day business for Söze and occasionally the dirty work, such as murdering Fenster. He must be very valuable to Söze, since Söze usually has henchmen who are no longer useful to be murdered.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Uses this as a ploy to blackmail the Suspects if they don't cooperate by disclosing that he knows the whereabouts of their closest relatives.
- Evil Brit: His ethnicity is never confirmed, although "Kobayashi" is a Japanese name, which is contrasted by Postlethwaite giving the character a British-Indian accent. And then there's the fact that Verbal's entire story was fabricated, so "Kobayashi" is not even his real name.
- I Have Your Wife: He claimed to have men ready to kill the Suspects' loved ones if they don't do as they are told, specifically Edie, Hockney's father, Verbal's uncle Randall, and McManus' nephew David.
- Karma Houdini: Gets away with everything he does in the film.
- Manipulative Bastard: With orders from Söze, he cons the Suspects into stopping the dope deal on the Hungarian mob's boat by presenting envelopes detailing every crime they have committed in the past, and threatening the lives of their loved ones. He also ordered the lineup and interrogation of the suspects at the beginning of the film.
- Mouth of Sauron: He is Söze's mouthpiece.
- No Name Given: No real name, in any case. Kint took the name "Kobayashi" from the bottom of a coffee mug.
- The Sociopath: Just listen to him giving out casual threats as if it's a normal day, particularly when he threatens to castrate McManus' nephew.
- The Stoic: Never shows any kind of emotion, even in the face of death. Of course, Keyser Söze will do something worse to him than simply death.
- Would Hurt a Child: When Keaton's crew has the drop on him, among the many loved ones Koybayashi threatens in order to get them to work for Keyser, including Edie. He makes it clear that he will only have McManus' nephew castrated.
Saul Berg (Carl Bressler)
- Beard of Evil: He's got a beard and is a diamond really heroin smuggler.
- Boom, Headshot!: Shot in the head by Verbal.
- Small Role, Big Impact: His death is used as blackmail fodder by Kobayashi to force the suspects to comply.
Jack Baer (Giancarlo Esposito)
- Good is Not Nice: While not as bad as Kujan in that regard, he's extremely brusque and dismissive of the hospital staff unless he gets what he wants. He's also dedicated to finding out the truth.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Averted. While the FBI and Customs could clash over investigation of the fire and possession of witness Verbal Kint, he cooperates with Kujan's investigation.
- Unwitting Pawn: He's the one who brings in the name "Keyser Söze", who Verbal is afraid to even talk about. Or so he wants Kujan to think.
Edie Finneran (Suzy Amis)
- Meal Ticket: At least Hockney thinks of her this way.
- Spanner in the Works: Kobayashi mentions that his plan was to recruit the Suspects right after the interrogation and lineup, but Edie was a little too effective in securing Keaton's release, forcing Kobayashi to wait for another opportunity to blackmail the Suspects.
- Stuffed In A Fridge: Her death is revealed as a Wham Line for Verbal, which so devastates him that he finally turns on Keaton. It's of course later revealed that he actually ordered her murder. She was the only main character killed who was not involved in any criminal activity, and her death serves no point beyond facilitating Verbal's Villainous Breakdown.
Sgt. Jeff Rabin
Sgt. Jeff Rabin (Dan Hedaya}
I'm telling you, this guy is protected from on high by the prince of darkness.
- Arc Words: After Kujan has finished interrogating Verbal, and he and Rabin are sitting in Rabin's office:Kujan: Man, you're a slob.
Sgt. Rabin: Yeah, but it all has a system, Dave. It all makes sense when you look at it right. You gotta stand back from it, you know?
- It's when Kujan does start to look at it right that he discovers The Reveal that Verbal cribbed a lot of his story from the bulletin board behind Rabin's desk, and that Verbal is Keyser Soze.
- Jurisdiction Friction: Averted - he's reluctant to let Kujan question Verbal, but not because he doesn't want Customs getting involved; he just thinks Kujan isn't going to get anything out of Verbal.
- The Skeptic: Doesn't believe Kujan's ideas at what really happened at the pier, and he's also skeptical of Baer when he brings up Keyser Soze, though he does allow them to pursue their theories.