Character sheet for the 12 Monkeys TV series.
Project Splinter and Individual Allies
After surviving the plague and living for years as a scavenger during the apocalypse, James Cole can kick ass when he needs to, but his wits are his primary tool. He's impulsive, bold and brave beyond common sense. Though coming of age in a time when the basic tenets of society have unraveled, Cole has somehow retained a conscience. As a Scav, he did what he needed to survive, but now is haunted by his actions. Cole seeks to fix the past, not only to save billions of lives, but also to earn redemption.
- Anti-Hero: Cole isn't afraid of killing people or beating them to a pulp to save the future.
- The Atoner: For his acts as a Scavenger, and his attempts at atonement feed into Redemption Equals Death.
- Battle Couple: With Cassie, in seasons 3 and 4.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: The time travel experiments have left him with overcharged adrenal glands, giving him enhanced strength.
- Dark and Troubled Past: For several meanings of 'the past'. He was a Scavenger and it's heavily implied he did some very terrible things in order to survive, and as a result he's become an extremely damaged individual.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has his moments.Jones: Do you believe in fate, Mr. Cole?Cole: Sure, fate, God, Santa Claus... I'm a real spiritual person.
- Good Is Not Nice: He's not the most pleasant individual to be around.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Ramse. They've been friends since they were boys, even before the outbreak of the virus. Sadly, events of the first season drive them apart and place them on opposite sides.
- Perma-Stubble: To reinforce his Anti-Hero status.
- Redemption Equals Death/Death Seeker: The success of his mission means he will be erased from existence. He's fully aware of this and doesn't hesitate in his actions, precisely because success will Ret-Gone every sin he's ever committed. And he's committed a lot.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: His entire mission is to prevent the release of the 2017 plague that brinks humanity to the verge of extinction by his time. On a personal level, doing so will undo everything he did to survive in the post-plague world.
Dr. Cassandra Railly is a brilliant virologist whose world is turned upside down when she's kidnapped by Cole. He claims that in the future she'll send him a message asking for his help to stop a plague that will kill billions. After he disappears, Railly's life falls apart, and she questions her own sanity. But when Cole returns, she's drawn into a mission to help prevent the viral outbreak. As a doctor she has taken a vow to do no harm — but what does that mean when harm must be done to save the world?
- Action Survivor: She has none of the fighting skills Cole has, but manages to survive extremely dangerous situations nonetheless.
- Action Girl: From season 2 onwards.
- Adaptation Name Change: From Kathryn in the movie to Cassandra in the show.
- Battle Couple: With Cole, in seasons 3 and 4.
- Break the Cutie: She gets put through hell in the first season.
- Good Is Not Soft: A kind-hearted character, who very quickly learns to be brutal to her enemies.
- Hospital Hottie: Is both a doctor and a beautiful blond.
- Took a Level in Badass: Cassie turns into one hell of a fighter in season 2. As of season 4, her body count is nearly equal to Cole's.
Jones, born Katarina Werner in Dresden, Germany, is a former renowned physicist, who creates a time machine which she hopes will restore the world. Having lived through the plague and seen the loss of billions, including those closest to her, Jones will let nothing stand in the way of her mission. Determined, bold, and unapologetic, Jones tells Cole it is their fate to sacrifice this dark future in order to regain what they've lost.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Her marriage disintegrated due to her husband, Eliot's obsession with perfecting the Splinter Machine while pregnant, and then the Plague happened and she watched her daughter die from it. Needless to say it's bade has a very icy person.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: By Season Four she considers all of Project Splinter—including Ramse and Deacon—as family.
- Good Is Not Nice: Is perfectly willing to use and sacrifice anyone to change the past and save the present.
- Gratuitous German: Her lines are sprinkled with a little German, here and there...mostly she uses it to swear.
- Ice Queen: As a consequence of her Dark and Troubled Past.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: It is revealed that Marion Woods, James Cole's mother, was actually Hannah Jones, Katarina's daughter, which would make Katarina Cole's grandmother.
- Luke, You Are My Father: Is the recipient of this when it's revealed that the Daughter named "Zeit" was actually her daughter, Hannah, whom she believed had died of the plague.
- Stable Time Loop: So how did Katarina solve the tether problem? She asked her future self and then took notes. Though she had to get blackout shitfaced afterwards so that she'd forget the encounter and protect causality.
- Your Days Are Numbered: The beginning of Season Four sees Katarina take a massive dose of splinter radiation while she saved Project Splinter from the Army of the 12 Monkeys, and with each new episode she detiorates more and more, until she ends up in a wheelchair and eventually passes away. She gets better though.
Ramse and Cole are like brothers. As young scavengers, they faced death together too many times to count, and their shared history has made Ramse extremely protective of Cole. Ramse is cautious, distrustful and has a thorough understanding of human nature. This often leads to conflict between him and the others in the Temporal Facility. It's this conflict, and his relationship with an outsider named Elena that tests his loyalty.
- Bald of Awesome: His head is often clean shaven.
- Bash Brothers: With Cole, his best friend.
- Big Bad Friend: After finding out he has a son, he travels back in time to stop Cole from changing the past, joining up with the Army of the Twelve Monkeys and using his knowledge of the future to interfere with Cole's efforts. Though he denies being "The Witness", he does serve a similar role.
- Subverted in Season 2 after a HeelFace Turn.
- Deadpan Snarker: This really comes out in his relationship with the security personnel of the facility.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: Hoo, boy. Where can you even start with this guy? The short version is that his allegiance changes every season. He ends up on the Face side of the door in the end.
- FaceHeel Turn: Betrays Cole and attempts to stop him from changing history because doing so will Ret-Gone his son.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Cole, calling him a "brother" on multiple occasions and considering him to be a family.
- Stable Time Loop: Cole snatches him back to his present mere moments before his past self kills him, to recruit him for one final battle against the Army of the 12 Monkeys. Cole had to send him back to his time at the end, to make sure everything that led up to that moment eventually happens.
Aaron Marker is an enterprising political insider who is in love with Dr. Railly. Confident and discerning, Aaron is chief aide to Senator William Royce. But when the love of his life claims that she was kidnapped by a time-traveler, Aaron doesn't believe her. Though the two have a longstanding relationship, they struggle to get over this hurdle. Nonetheless, in an effort to keep Railly safe, Aaron becomes deeply entangled in the plot to stop the 12 Monkeys.
The leader of the West VII gang.
- Abusive Parents: Abusive father, anyway. Before the plague killed him, Deacon's dad beat him, his mother and his younger brother on a regular basis.
- Affably Evil: Kind of. He's not really a bad guy, merely a product of his upbringing and of the post-plague world he lives in.
- Big Damn Heroes: When either James, Cassie or Jennifer are in trouble, you can always count on Deacon to save the say. His past self gets a huge big damn heroes moment when he and the West VII save Cole and Ramse at Titan. With his theme song playing through the loudspeakers, no less!
- Chekhov's Knife: Gives his knife to Jennifer in "Demons," cryptically adding that he wanted it back some time. Old!Jennifer uses the knife to create a paradox, in order to convince Past!Deacon that time travel not only existed, but that the West VII were needed to help save the world.
- Embarrassing First Name: Theodore.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He's been a real SOB in his time, but he ain't no goddamn Nazi.Context
- Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of the second season. He gets better, though.Deacon: (to Jennifer) "I'm sorry I killed you."
- HeelFace Revolving Door: Goes from a vicious leader of a gang of scavengers to someone fighting to stop the Army of the Twelve Monkeys from destroying time. Then, when it's apparent that James' and Cassie's son is the Witness, he wastes no time turning on them both when they try to stop Jones from killing him. Though, in fairness to Deacon, Cassie did shoot him in the back, first. As of the end of the third season he's on their side again.
- I Just Want to Be Special: He's pretty disappointed that Jennifer never draws him in her visions, which he assumes is because he isn't important enough as far as the fight for time is concerned. Turns out that he's pretty damn special in the end.
- Leitmotif: "Don't you...forget about me..."
- Morality Chain: Has two in the form of Cassie and, later, Jennifer.
- Off with His Head!: He eventually gets beheaded in "Demons," and then Olivia paradoxes the time period so that nobody can go back and save him. And what makes it even sadder is the mournful rendition of his leitmotif afterward.Don't you...forget about me...
- Oh, Crap!: When he figures out Olivia's "long con".
- Pet the Dog: His taking care of Cassie, who could be considered his Morality Chain. He also has another at the end of the second season, where he apologises to Jennifer for killing her older self. Also, in the third season, seeing Jennifer pretend to drop further into insanity, he's the one who begs Jones to send her home.
Jennifer Goines, an erratic, ranting and seemingly unhinged math genius, meets Cole in a high-security psych ward for the criminally insane and leads him on a twist-filled journey to track down the virus her estranged father created — the virus that will eventually become the plague that destroys humanity.
- Abusive Parents: Her mother tried to kill her when she was a child and her father only ever treated her as a company asset.
- Ambiguously Evil: For most of the first season, her true nature is unclear. Shes very clearly unhinged, and her obsession with drawing monkeys hint some connection to the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. She was the one originally supposed to release the virus, but Cole convinces her not to, effectively inducing a HeelFace Turn.
- Big Good: As Future Jennifer. She understands from the start how the fight with the Army of the Twelve Monkeys will go, and does her part to set the protagonists, including herself, on the right path.
- Even as her younger self, she acts as the teams closest connection to the shows true Big Good: time itself.
- Break the Cutie: Seeing her entire research team slaughtered in front of her is what made her insane.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Due to being pants-on-head insane. This is due to her being a Primary, someone who is able to see all of time, all at once. Jennifer can see the past, present and future simultaneously, and naturally this has the unfortunate side effect of making her batshit insane.
- Dawson Casting: Played straight and inverted, with the same actress, sometimes even in the same scene, thanks to time travel and makeup. 33-year-old Emily plays both 29-year-old Jennifer from the past and 59-year-old Jennifer from the future.
- I Hate Past Me: Inverted; she doesn't like future Jennifer all that much, but that changes when Deacon kills her.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: And she even tries to be in the second season...with a decent amount of success, no less. It didn't last long, however.
- Large Ham: Much like Brad Pitt in the original role, Emily Hampshire is going for broke (although she's slightly more subdued...but only slightly).
- Mad Oracle: As a Primary, she is a part of Times consciousness, and is thus plagued by voices of other primaries and visions across time.
- Obfuscating Insanity: Her actual mental state is in constant flux, but she also knows how to play it up to get what she wants.
- Sanity Slippage: She's really not all there.
- Too Kinky to Torture: When Cole grabs her by the throat, she grins flirtatiously and tells him she likes him.
- And when the Pallid Man's mooks grab her by the arms and yank her head back, she breaks out her bedroom voice and tells them "I like it when you grab my hair."
- Trauma Conga Line: On top of being a Primary, which usually results in madness, her equally disturbed mother tried to drown her as a child. As an adult, she had all her colleagues murdered right in front of her and became convinced she killed them herself. After which, her own father has her locked in a mental hospital, despite knowing full well she was innocent. And finally, Cole and the Army of the Twelve Monkeys come into her life.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Her relationship with her father seems complicated. There's no love lost, at least from her side. He's the one who had her committed.
Hannah Jones / "Zeit" / Marion Woods
- Heroic Sacrifice: Takes a bullet meant for Cole to save him from Olivia's attempt to kill her son.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: With her dying words she confesses that she was Marion Woods, Cole's mother.
- Luke, You Are My Father: When it's revealed that "Zeit" is actually Katarina's daughter, Hannah.
- Meaningful Name: "Zeit" is the German word for "time," and is also a reference to her mother who is the German inventor of a time machine.
- Stable Time Loop: Katarina sends her back to 2008 on a mission with a letter she was instructed not to read until a year had passed. It was merely a pretense by Katarina for Hannah to have a chance at leading a normal life in the past. Little did either of them know that she would meet a guy, fall in love and end up being James Cole's mother.
Army of the Twelve Monkeys
The genetically engineered leader of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. Olivia begins her leadership role as second only to The Witness, communicating frequently with The Witness and leading the organization. After being replaced by the Pallid Man, Olivia stages a coup. This takeover results in her becoming The Witness.
- Abusive Parents: Well, if your German Mad Scientist father locking you up in a small, windowless room for a good chunk of your childhood isn't abusive, then what is?
- Big Bad: As the leader of the Army of Twelve Monkeys. Oh, not to mention the whole being The Witness all along thing, too.
- Body Horror: A downplayed version. In order to witness all of time she hooked herself into a machine that allows her to do so, for all intents and purposes turning her into a sort of artificial Primary. It has the side effect of turning her pale and sickly, as if her life was being drained away every time she used the machine.
- Break the Haughty: Oh boy, is she haughty. But Olivia is also very claustrophobic, due to her spending her childhood in a box. When Cole sticks her in what could only be described as a dungeon for three months, alone, in the dark and gnawed on by rats she becomes a lot more cooperative. Though she also had a long con in play, which required that she "hurt".
- The Chessmaster: Jennifer said it best that there is no place Olivia is where she hasn't chosen to be for purposes known only to her. She's perfectly willing to endure torture and her worst fears if it gets what she wants.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: It's probably easier to list the backs she hasn't stabbed during the course of the series. Seriously, there is not one person she hasn't eventually betrayed.
- Designer Babies: She is one of these, created by a German scientist from an ova belonging to Mantis, one of the Twelve Monkeys' genetically engineered "Messengers".
- Half The Woman She Used To Be: Cassandra pushes her into a splinter stream in the final episode, and all that remained of her when the stream was shut down were her legs. The rest of her was splintered to the Himalayas in the 9th century, where her remains decomposed, were preserved and eventually became the Annapurna Remains.
- My Own Grampa: Genetically speaking, her mother is also her daughter, Mantis.
- Older Than They Look: Olivia appears to be a woman in her late thirties/early forties, yet she is older than The Pallid Man.
- Stable Time Loop: Her entire existence. She was born from Mantis's DNA, and in turn Mantis (and the other Messengers) were born from Olivia's. Furthermore, Athan Cole's very existence ensures her own, and her eventual rise as The Witness.
- And she is part of another stable time loop after half of her is splintered to the 9th century, where she eventually became the source of the plague that started it all.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: See, Break the Haughty.
The Pallid Man
Tall and pale man with a gruesome scar, the "Pallid Man" emerges from the shadows to stop Cole and Railly in their pursuit of the 12 Monkeys. Elusive and eccentric, he leaves a trail of bodies, perversely shrouded in flower petals, in his wake.
- Affably Evil: The Pallid Man is polite, genial, claims to derive no pleasure from his killings and usually equipped with a big smile. He spares people when he thinks he can, and genuinely seems to believe that the people he kills need to die. None of this changes the fact that he's also an extremely dangerous and remorseless killing machine.
- Bald of Evil: It's Tom Noonan, it's practically his specialty.
- Creepy Child: Oh boy, is The Pallid Boy creepy.
- The Dragon: To Olivia. Until her fall from grace, that is.
- Dragon Ascendant: When he takes over as leader of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys.
- Evil Old Folks: Again, due to being played by Tom Noonan, who's in his early sixties.
- Flower Motifs: Flower petals, to be specific. He gets it from his mother, Mantis.
- Evil Scars: He has a foreboding scar on one side of his face, which he says he got from Cole. Which we see is true in the third episode.
- He Knows Too Much: The reason he gives for the murders he commits.
- Large and in Charge: He's the seeming leader of the 12 Monkeys, or at least he's a very high-ranking member. The Pallid Man also towers over most of them. Hell, at 6'6 he towers over everyone.
Mantis / Vivian Rutledge
Mantis (also known as Vivian Rutledge) is a member of The Messengers, a group of twelve time travellers sent back in time to paradox Primaries in order to collapse the timeline. She is known as "Mother" in the mythology of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, as she is the mother of the Pallid Man, and, technically, the mother (and daughter) of Olivia.
- Designer Babies: She is a genetically engineered human born from Olivia's DNA, who in turn was born from Mantis's.
- Flower Motifs: Flower petals, which she sprinkles over the people she kills. This particular habit is passed down to her son, The Pallid Man.
- Known Only by Their Nickname: She is known only as "Mantis," and her real name has never been given, though IMDB and the Twelve Monkeys wiki lists her real name as being Vivian Rutledge.
- My Own Grampa: Genetically speaking, her mother is also her daughter, Olivia.
- Our Founder: In a timey-wimey kind of way, she and her husband Zalman Shaw are these for the Army of the Twelve Monkeys.
Zalmon Shaw, aka the Missionary, is one of the founders of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys along with Mantis, and is the father of the Pallid Man.
- Affably Evil: His affiliation with the Army of the Twelve Monkeys aside, Zalman comes across as a kindly old priest.
- FaithHeel Turn: Was once a priest before the passing of his first wife. Interestingly he is still a priest after his heel turn, but this time for a Religion of Evil.
- The Lost Lenore: His first wife was his childhood friend and the true love of his life, and with her passing turned to Army of the Twelve Monkeys on the promise that she would live forever in the red forest.
- Our Founder: In a timey-wimey kind of way, he and his wife Vivian (aka Mantis) are these for the Army of the Twelve Monkeys.
- Sinister Minister: Well, they don't call him "The Missionary" because he's an atheist.
- Villain Has a Point: There are times throughout Season Four when Cassandra seemed to think so, when she realises that she may never see Cole again after he retgones himself out of existence.
A mysterious figure dressed in a dark cloak and a medieval plague doctor's mask, The Witness is a god-like figure among the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, said to have witnessed all of time itself, and wants to destroy the timeline so that past, present and future exists in the same monent. The Army of the Twelve Monkeys believed The Witness to be Athan Cole, even taking drastic measures to ensure his birth and ascension to power. While awaiting for his return, Olivia stages a coup. It is in this moment that the truth is revealed. Athan Cole's cycle led to her own, but Olivia was The Witness all along.
- Ambiguous Gender: The Witness is never seen without their mask on (until the end of the third season, that is) but it's generally assumed by everyone that The Witness is a man. It turns out it was Olivia, all along.
- Cool Mask: Wears a plague doctor's mask.
- Like a God to Me: Is worshipped as one by the Twelve Monkeys.
- Reality-Breaking Paradox: The Witness's end goal, via a Time Crash in which there is no longer a past, present or future.
- Plague Doctor: Has the appearence of one, which is appropriate seeing as their plan to destroy time begins with a plague.
- Religion of Evil: Has one built around them in the Army of the Twelve Monkeys.
- Stable Time Loop: Why The Witness is able to exist in the first place.
- Your Days Are Numbered: According to the Pallid Man, if one were to ask The Witness, 99% of all species that have ever lived are now extinct.
- Adaptational Villainy
- Bald of Evil
- Beard of Evil
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Jennifer describes him as more of an opportunist than someone capable of legitimately creating something. That said, hes very good at it. He inherited the Markridge Group by marriage and has since made it his business to have enough of an understanding of the work they do to know whats worth spending money on. He also almost instantly recognises that Cole is a time traveller based on a few disconnected clues.
- Death by Adaptation
- Faux Affably Evil: Hes constantly polite, even as he tells people hes going to have them cut up or locked away.
- First-Episode Twist: His death.
- Mad Scientist: He creates a plague that could wipe out the human race For Science!.
- Sharp-Dressed Man
Athan Cole is the son of Cassandra Railly and James Cole. He was born in 2047 and lived his entire life dislodged from time. The Army of the Twelve Monkeys believed Athan to be The Witness, even taking drastic measures to ensure his birth and ascension to power. While awaiting for his return, Olivia stages a coup. It is in this moment that the truth is revealed. Athan Cole's cycle led to her own, but Olivia was The Witness all along.
- Aerith and Bob: Seriously? James, Cassandra...and Athan?
- Anachronism Stew: Among the possessions he keeps with him, even when living in Victorian England and during the Blitz, is an iPod and a tablet. Oh, and don't forget the 22nd century time travel suit, too.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Subverted. As a Primary, Athan should be as batty as Jennifer and the rest of the Primaries but he is the most stable of them all. He does, however keep journals documenting his travels through time. An entire library of journals.
- Cool Mask: Keeps a small, white plague doctor's mask that belonged to the woman he loved in his collection and he wears a larger one as The Witness.
- Creepy Child: Child!Athan is a pretty creepy kid, but because he's a Primary (who can see all of time) it can't be helped.
- Deadpan Snarker: There's plenty of snark to go around with Athan.Athan: (after convincing a room full wealthy men to take off their clothes if he pays their tabs) "We're in a room full of economists!"
- Decoy Antagonist / Red Herring: He had been built up as The Witness at the end of season two and throughout the whole of season three. It turned out that he wasn't The Witness and never has been; it was Olivia all along.
- Determinator: You know you're one of these when you keep travelling back in time to prevent the death of someone you love and have been trying to do it over six-hundred times.
- Establishing Character Moment: When it's revealed that he's a Primary and when he later mustard gasses a tent full of people as a child, which Cassie argued was a result of nurture over nature. She's right, because when he grows up outside of the Twelve Monkeys' influence he has grown into a kind man.
- Evil Brit: Despite being played by Gaius Baltar this is averted, seeing as he was never evil to begin with. Just broken.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He stays behind to let his parents and Jones escape Titan after Olivia's coup, and Olivia slits his throat for his troubles.
- Like a God to Me: Is worshipped as one by the Twelve Monkeys, as The Witness. It's a sentiment that Athan does not share, at least until the end of season three.
- Meaningful Name: The name "Athan" means "eternal life" or "immortal" in Greek.
- Paradox Person: Part of the reason for the Army of the Twelve Monkeys' interest in him. He's said to have come from "outside time", due to having been conceived in a timeline that James later undid. He technically shouldn't exist, and yet somehow still does.
- Reality-Breaking Paradox: What Athan has been trying to prevent by keeping away from the Twelve Monkeys. It takes over six hundred failed attempts to save the woman he loved from dying and a bitter comment from his mother (Cassie) about time being a thief that makes him decide that causing a Time Crash isn't such a bad idea after all.
- Religion of Evil: Has one built around him in the Army of the Twelve Monkeys.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: He dresses primarily in Victorian-era suits, even (mostly) in timelines in which Victorian clothes would be considered anachronistic. It makes some sense, seeing as he spends a very good portion of his life in Victorian England.
- Stable Time Loop: Athan's existence ensures Olivia's and The Witness, and in turn Olivia's existence ensures Athan's...and The Witness.
- The Lost Lenore: Eliza, a doctor (and a thief) from Victorian England whom Athan falls in love with. She is killed by a gangster whom she stole from previously, and after she is saved by a time-travelling Athan she dies the next day from an aenurysm. Athan loved her that much that he tried saving her over six-hundred times.
- Time Traveller: Easily the most travelled of all the time travellers in the series, having lived in 17th century Rome, Victorian England, and has spent time in Ancient Egypt, World War Two, and many more eras.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: He's spent his life trying not to be The Witness, but tragedy, a lot of failed attempts to prevent that tragedy from happening and an unfortunate comment by his mother about time all add up to his deciding, "Screw it."
- Unwanted False Faith: Athan has spent his entire life trying not to be The Witness.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Basically his entire story arc. Trying not to be the demon trying to destroy time? Yeah, that's still going to happen. Trying to save Eliza? Yeah, no matter what you do she's going to die the next day. In the end, he basically comes to the conclusion that one can't fight fate, which leads him trying to kill it, instead.
- Your Days Are Numbered: As a time traveller (and a Primary), Athan percieves everyone around him as ghosts. Indeed, in the episode which focused on him, it opens with him nonchalantly watching the Blitz (listening to music on his iPod, no less) and then narrating about the three women he is spending time with in the next scene, specifically talking about the time and circumstances of their deaths.