Characters from Trial & Error
Josh Segal & Associates
An up-and-coming lawyer from New York who has taken up his first murder trial in the hopes that it will help him become a partner at his law firm. Now in East Peck, South Carolina defending Larry Henderson he immediately becomes a Fish out of Water in this eccentric, colorful town filled with equally eccentric and colorful people.
- Adorkable: His youthful enthusiasm makes him incredibly endearing. This is especially noticeable when he's praised by his boss Howard Mankiewicz.
- Ambiguously Northeastern: Averted. It's made clear from his typically Jewish surname - and by certain East Peck citizens who insistently refer to him as a "Northeasterner" - that Josh is Jewish, albeit a non-practicing one. Josh does state (in euphemistic terms that Jeremiah could understand) that his father was Jewish and his mother converted to Judaism after they married. In Season 2, Lavinia goes so far as to say that his "people" make good entertainers.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Carol-Anne Keane. They hook up in episode 8 and subsequently experience a pregnancy scare.
- Black Comedy Rape: Josh was raped by his mother's best friend when he was a teenager, but his description of the event and the ensuing drama is played for laughs.
- Cloud Cuckoolanders Minder: Josh runs himself ragged trying to keep Larry from absentmindedly saying things that make him look more guilty and dealing with last-minute bombshells Larry drops.
- Fulfills the same role with Lavinia in season 2.
- Clueless Chick Magnet: He's had five different women show interest in him without him trying to attract their attention. For the most part, he's too much of a gentleman to pursue them.
- Crusading Lawyer: While still green, Josh is an incredibly moral and dedicated attorney who does everything in his power to save Larry from being executed, and actually becomes close friends with Larry outside of the case.
- Nice Guy: While he does get frustrated with his team (and Larry) overall Josh is a sweet and caring guy who genuinely believes in his team and actually cares for his client beyond the extent of their professional relationship.
- Not So Above It All: Chides Anne and Dwayne for chanting "Murderboard! Murderboard!" every time it gets brought out, but eventually comes around to it, even using it as a motivator when he's alone.
- Only Sane Man: Given he has a team consisting of Dwayne, a questionably competent lead investigator with a habit of making reckless decisions, Anne, a (occasionally backwards) walking locus of strange neurological disorders, and Larry, who never listens to Josh's advice and says things that make him look guiltier and guiltier, it's hard not to feel bewildered by it all. Actually this pretty much applies to him and all the citizens of East Peck, what with their bizarre history, disturbingly recent witch hunts and tendency to wantonly fire cannonballs at 5am and 5pm every day.
- Will They or Won't They?: With Carol Anne Keane.
The lead investigator for Larry's defense team. Also a former officer in the East Peck Police Department, who was fired when he shot his own car when he mistakenly parked it in neutral.
- Bumbling Sidekick: While he and Anne both qualify as this, Anne has a lot more moments of insight than Dwayne, who misses a lot of big realizations that others pick up. Though both are equal in setting the case back as much as they push it forward.
- Butt-Monkey: If anything injurious happens, it's usually Dwayne who's on the end of it. For example, he's been assaulted repeatedly with a taser by his former boss Rutger Hiss. Of course, some of it is self-inflicted such as when he attempted to throw himself through a plate glass window to test the theory that Margaret Henderson committed suicide; he didn't break the window but ended up severely hurting himself anyway. Or when he consumed hallucinogenic Ayahuasca to see if Summer was in the right state of mind to possibly murder Margaret and completely freaks out, running naked through the woods.
- Clueless Detective: Technically not a detective, but regardless Dwayne's investigative skills are questionable and certainly unorthodox, that more often than not go nowhere. But of course, he is the one who correctly guesses the theory as to who killed Margaret. See under Genius Ditz.
- Comically Missing the Point: It's safe to say that Dwayne is usually a few steps behind everyone else. This is best shown when Josh has to spell out that Jeremiah may have killed Margaret with a long, blunt object, like the golf clubs he plays with. And even then Dwayne still doesn't get it.
- Did Not Think This Through: His biggest flaw. Dwayne makes a lot of decisions without thinking out the consequences first such as when he broke into Rutger Hiss's house to use the bathroom (because public urination is a misdemeanor, duh) and it gets him accused of Rutger Hiss's attempted murder.
- The Ditz: Dwayne has a lot of bizarre theories and is overall pretty oafish, most likely due to his trouble with high school education.
- Genius Ditz: Say what you will about Dwayne, he was right off of the bat when he suggested that a bird flew through and shattered the window.
- Hot-Blooded: Energetic and eager to impress, Dwayne tends to take the eagerness a bit too far especially when he's reinstated as a police officer and given a firearm. Said firearm goes off a lot, and in one instance he busted into Dave the taxidermist's neighbour's house and started shooting up the place, mistakenly thinking it was Dave's house.
- Incest Is Relative: Mentions his brother-cousin quite a bit, and that he also has a mom-sister.
- Malaproper: Uses the word "studdedly," which seems to be his version of "suddenly" or "very."
- Taken Up to Eleven when he thinks he's Lavinia's love child and tries to sound more sophisticated.
- Mr. Exposition: For the outlandish customs and history of East Peck, especially those pertaining to the Reed Family e.g. the firing of cannonballs everyday at 5am and 5pm - which more often than not smash through windows and kill people - started with his ancestor Reid Reed (who ironically, could not read).
- Reckless Gun Usage: As a cop, he's misplaced his gun more than once. Prior to the series starting, he was kicked off the force when, in a fit of panic, he shot up his own police car in full view of the dashcam.
Josh's case assistant and head researcher. A sweet and bubbly woman who is plagued by a whole host of neurological disorders, including but not limited to facial blindness, dyslexia and Backward's Cheerleader syndrome (which causes her to walk backwards on occasion).
- Beware the Nice Ones: The friendliest woman you could ever meet, though when she practice interrogates Larry she becomes absolutely terrifying, dropping profanities and verbally assaulting him to the point Larry becomes too nervous to take the stand. Also there's that thing where her left hand sometimes "does what it wants," whatever that means.
- Blind Mistake: Anne is unable to recognize faces, which leads to her making many of these. She's good at recognizing penises, though.
- Body Horror: Not outwardly apparent, but her various neurological disorders would be a genuine cause for concern if they weren't played for laughs.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Acquires a British accent for about a few minutes in episode 6, due to gaining Foreign Accent syndrome after she went to the dentist.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Perhaps due to her various conditions, Anne comes off as spacey and not all there.
- Dude, Not Funny!: Anne has Involuntary Emotional Expression disorder, where she breaks out into unintentional fits of laughter whenever she talks about gruesome subjects like Margaret being murdered or her grandmother falling off of a balcony.
- Fainting: Of the Emotional Variant. Anne suffers from Stendahl's syndrome - whenever she sees something particularly beautiful (such as a work of art) she becomes so overwhelmed with emotion it causes her to faint instantly.
- Jump Physics: A non-video game example. Anne suffers from an extremely rare condition (even by her standards) called 'The Jumping Frenchmen of Maine,' which causes her to leap to extreme heights whenever she is startled.
- "L" Is for "Dyslexia": Among the many other improbable conditions, Anne also has this. Actually becomes a significant plot point, as Margaret also had dyslexia, and through that she and Summer are able to unlock Margaret's phone and find out who killed her.
- Nice Girl: Despite her myriad afflictions, Anne is remains friendly and eager to help the team all with a big smile on her face.
- Semper Fi: She served for three years in the US Marine Corps after accidentally enlisting. Her trial notes show that she's considering re-enlisting in the event Josh loses a case and their little firm is forced to close.
- Sleepy Head: She has a tendency to fall asleep with her eyes open, to Josh's frustration because he can never tell if she's actually awake and taking notes while he's talking.
- Spontaneous Human Combustion: Occasionally affected by a localized version of this, signaled whenever smoke emanates from her arm and triggered whenever she drinks rum.
East Peck DA's Office
The lead prosecutor in Larry Henderson's murder trial. Fierce and competitive, she will stop at nothing to have Larry executed, which will give her boost she needs to become District Attorney.
- All Women Are Lustful: Constantly flirts and comes onto Josh, though whether that's to throw him off balance or genuine attraction is up in the air. Episodes 1x5 and 1x8 prove its the latter, when she kisses Josh and later sleep together, as do episodes 2x1 (when it's implied she clearly thought about a future with him and has a drawing of them) and 2x2 (when they sleep together again).
- Amoral Attorney: Carol-Anne uses underhanded and increasingly unscrupulous methods to win the trial. Not to mention she withholds evidence, specifically security footage that proves Rutger Hiss interrogated Larry without an attorney present. This conduct continues in season 2.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: As above, with Josh.
- Betty and Veronica: In the first season, she serves as something of a Veronica compared to the more sweet Summer Henderson since they both seem to have feelings for Josh.
- Plays the same role towards Nina Rudolph, who also has some moments with Josh.
- Fiery Redhead: Has quite the temper. She's thrown her shoes at a witness when he didn't give her the answer she wanted or when she beat a comatose Rutger Hiss with a bouquet of flowers after she discovered that he was having an affair with Margaret.
- Hello, Attorney!: A very attractive and capable lawyer. Both Rutger and Josh seem to think so.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: She's deadly accurate with her high-heel shoes. Even without looking. She's a lousy shot with an actual gun, however.
- Manipulative Bitch: Carol-Anne plays the jury like a fiddle when she sheds Crocodile Tears to gain the audience's sympathy as Josh interrogates her on the stand about her affair with Rutger.
- In the season 2 episode, "The Timeline", she uses her pregnancy as an excuse for unethical conduct and to convince Judge kamiltow to send the case to trial.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: No, she is not sexually frustrated and how dare you accuse her of such a thing!
- Tsundere: An overwhelmingly harsh example. She is constantly trying to knock Josh down but every once in a while, she shows that she really does want to be with him.
- Unsportsmanlike Gloating: She will rub her every win and advantage in Josh's face.
- Weapon of Choice: She has a tendency to throw her shoes at people who piss her off.
- Will They or Won't They?: With Josh
Atticus Ditto, Jr.
The incumbent District Attorney of Peck County, who's being challenged by Carol Anne in his re-election bid. He was the lead prosecutor on the Jesse Ray Beaumont case, which launched his first (and successful) campaign for DA.
Larry Henderson/ Harrison Weeks
A small town poetry professor who was living an idyllic life when Margaret, his wife, is brutally killed in their home. He's immediately fingered as the primary suspect and has to deal with everyone viciously turning against him.
- Bi the Way: He freely admits to being attracted to both men and women and was having an affair with his male physical trainer.
- Cloudcuckoolander: He is genuinely unable to understand how much trouble he's in and constantly focuses on seemingly trivial matters that distract his legal team from mounting a proper defense.
- Insistent Terminology:
- He doesn't rollerskate, he rollercises.
- Also, it's not a skate key, it's a skate wrench.
- Not Helping Your Case: Even as he declares his innocence, Larry says and does things that cause people to believe he's guilty. Even after incontrovertible proof comes out that shows that he is most definitively not a murderer, he goes off and writes a book about how he could have killed Margaret.
- He even takes up owl training (an owl being the cause of Margaret's death), of all things, after the trial ends.
- Tragic Keepsake: He is attached to a custom German skate wrench that Margaret gave to him as a gift.
- Your Cheating Heart: He was having an affair with Alphonso, his physical trainer. While everyone treats this as a scandal, he says that Margaret was fully aware of it and that they had an open marriage on condition that they tell each other about their respective affairs.
Larry's not really adopted daughter.
- Betty and Veronica: The Betty to Carol Anne's Veronica when she has Ship Tease moments with Josh.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Disappears from the second season along with her father.
- Happily Adopted: She absolutely adores Larry, who adopted her when she was a toddler. Then it turns out that he's actually her biological father and claimed he adopted her to hide from her the fact that her biological mother didn't want to keep her.
- Older Than They Look: She's actually two years older than she thought she was, part of Larry's deception surrounding her adoption.
Larry's wife and victim of the murder trial.
- The Faceless: Throughout the first season, her face is almost always hidden. Any photos of her shown onscreen are either too gruesome or otherwise obscure her face. Until it's revealed in the season finale via a delayed sent video from her smartphone.
- The Lost Lenore: To Larry.
- Posthumous Character: Her death being the main subject of a murder trial, she's obviously this.
- Wicked Stepmother: Summer treated her like one and was openly hostile towards her. All evidence seen, however, shows that Margaret was nothing but kind towards Summer and sought her stepdaughter's acceptance.
The eccentric, wealthy, and beloved first lady of East Peck, who's treated like royalty by the rest of the town, and hires Josh to defend her after she is put on trial for the murder of her husband, Edgar, in season 2.
- 100% Adoration Rating: She is beloved by the people of East Peck. So much so that that the jury was openly rooting for her during her preliminary hearings.
- Blue Blood: She is descended from East Peck's founding family and is treated as royalty by everyone in town.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: She's eccentric and acts fairly airheaded and oblivious, but it could just be an act to turn away suspicion. confirmed to be the case in 2x5 and 2x6, when it's revealed she's actually a cold, heartless sociopathic murderer, having killed Edgar and Amanda without batting an eye, and apparently someone else, too)
- Conspicuous Consumption: Her meals involve gargantuan amounts of food that she throws away simply because she can.
- Even Bad Women Love Their Mamas: Inverted. Lavinia is shown to care very much for the son she had at sixteen and was forced to give away. Exploited when Josh threatens to arrest an impostor to get her to confess to the murders. It works.
- Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": She refuses to address those who work for her by their names, preferring to use their job titles, due to her favorite childhood servant dying in a tragic accident.Lavinia: His loss hurt me so greatly that I never learned another employee's name! Does that answer your question, Lawyer?
- Faux Affably Evil: After her trial, it's revealed she's a cold hearted sociopath and murderer, having killed Edgar and Amanda, and callously admitting as much to Josh when he confronts her about it, before shooting Dwayne in the chest with an arrow.
- Lonely at the Top: Despite being the heiress to the richest family in the Peck county, having the admiration and love of the entire town Lavinia is shown to be incredibly lonely. She mourns the people in her life who keep leaving her (her dead father, mother, brother, childhood friend/servant Ronnie del Mundo and now husband Edgar) and is devastated by the fact she can't have children. Whether this is a ploy to garner sympathy with people is left up in the air, even after it it is strongly hinted that she has murdered several people.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: In Season 2's accompanying podcast, Lavinia confesses to campaigning hard in the 1980s to make sure the incumbent governor of South Carolina lost by a landslide because the man gave her and her husband a toaster as a wedding gift (it wasn't on their registry).
- Sarcastic Confession: A running gag in episode 6. After Lavinia is acquitted of Edgar's murder despite being very guilty of killing him, she always answers the rhetorical questions she poses with extremely specific and disturbing details of Edgar and Amanda's deaths in a sarcastic tone.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Lavinia is a very sophisticated woman who will swear like a sailor when she gets angry.
- Southern Belle: She is a parody of this trope. Sweet and well-loved but with a violently fiery temper.
- Weapon of Choice: Lavinia throws plates when she gets angry and she has a veritable arsenal of them around her house and in her purse so that she has ready access.
Jeremiah Jefferson Davis
Margaret's brother who originally bankrolls Larry's defense. He is a tobacco and candy magnate who more or less has East Peck in his pocket and has absolutely no problem with using his wealth to make things go his own way.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: When he turns against Larry, characters note that it's become almost impossible for Josh to win because Jeremiah's businesses provide almost all of East Peck's residents' livelihoods and he is a very petty man.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Makes a lot of sexist comments about women, like when he condescendingly praised Carol-Anne and assumed Margaret didn't work due to her gender.
Jeremiah's alcoholic wife.
- The Alcoholic: She's rarely seen without a drink in her hand and usually stands off to the side or in the background getting sloshed.
- Dirty Old Woman: Is between this and Mrs. Robinson. While Josie's age is never stated, (Cristine Rose was in her mid 60s when she portrayed Josie) she is certainly not shy about her sexuality. She comes onto Josh at one point and wrote an explicit and dirty love letter to Larry.
- Mrs. Robinson: Though somewhere beyond her 50s, Josie is not unattractive and again becomes very sexually active after she leaves East Peck with all of Jeremiah's money and spends time cruising in the Mediterranean.
The taxidermist from whom Josh rents office space.
- Hidden Depths: Despite looking like a drugged-up creep (which he is), he also lives in a very tastefully decorated house and has a taste for finer things like tea, china, and intricately decorated cookies.
Sheriff Rutger Hiss
The current Mayor of East Peck, and a former captain with the East Peck Police Department and responsible for investigating the Henderson Murder. He also trained Dwayne to become a cop (and traumatized him in the process). He fell into a coma in season 1 after it was discovered he was originally faking one, and was later elected Mayor of East Peck (while still in the coma).
Judge E. Horsedich
The stone-faced and unflappable judge presiding over Larry's murder trial.
- Deadpan Snarker: Given the lead prosecutor is a hot-tempered and at times flippant Amoral Attorney and the defense is a group of bizarre characters, it's hard not to be this.
- Embarrassing Last Name: You'd be forgiven for not realizing it's not said how it's spelled. It's pronounced "High-zuhn-dyke" for the record (the 'n' is silent as Josh discoverednote ).
- It Is Pronounced Tro Pay: See Embarrassing Last Name.
- Not So Above It All: Despite her consistent professionalism she is often guilty of this. Notable instances include admitting to sharing a dirty grind with Rutger Hiss at a barn dance one time, overruling Carol-Anne when Anne performed "I Will Always Love You" on the stand and openly expressing her desire to have the trial over with before she goes to see Hamilton in New York.
- Not So Stoic: Again, she's not totally emotionless. She cried when Larry apologizes to Alfonso in court and when Carol-Anne manipulates the jury into buying her sob story regarding her affair with Rutger. Not to mention when she says "are you f—king with me?" when Larry, Summer and Dwayne simultaneously confess to the murder of Margaret.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: While even Judge Horsedich has her oddball moments (she is from East Peck, after all) she is overall a fair and professional arbiter.
- The Stoic: Her expression rarely changes from one of intense disapproval.
Judge Alexander Kamiltow
An unintelligible judge presiding over Lavinia's murder trial.
- Embarrassing Last Name: Both played straight and played with. Josh, not wanting to repeat the same mistake he made with Judge Horsedich, assumed his last name had an equally embarrassing and outlandish pronunciation. This is subverted when it turns out it's pronounced exactly how it sounds, Kamiltow, which, while still pretty embarrassing, is not as bad as Josh initially thought.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Subverted, in an unusual way in the fact that he's incredibly biased in towards Lavinia. The whole town loves Lavinia, even Judge Kamiltow. In his very first scene, at Lavinia's suggestion, he sets bail at $10, and then pays it himself. It's also revealed in the M-Towne podcasts that her family even paid for him to go to law school.
- Retirony: Jesse Ray Beaumont's trial was supposed to be his last before going off to sing baritone at Lincoln Center. Then he blew out his voice while trying to get his courtroom back under control.
- The Unintelligible: After blowing out his voice during a raucous trial, he speaks in such a quiet and high pitched squeak, you need to pay close attention to understand what he's saying. While everyone else in East Peck seem to understand him just fine, this causes considerable frustration for Josh, who cannot.
The creator of M-Town, a popular true crime podcast. She comes to East Peck to cover Lavinia Peck-Foster's trial.