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Last Name Basis / Live-Action TV

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Examples of Last-Name Basis in Live-Action TV.

  • On 30 Rock, Liz Lemon has called Jack Donaghy by his first name for most of the series, having only called him "Mr. Donaghy" or "sir" in the first few episodes. Despite this, he continues to call her "Lemon", which led to this slip-up when he tried to pass her off as his girlfriend:
    Jack: This is my live-in girlfriend, Lemon.
    Liz: Elizabeth.
    Jack: Elizabeth.
    • Notably, Jack started out by calling Liz by her first name, just like all his other employees. Switching to using "Lemon", ironically, occurred when they became friends.
    • Being in a low-level position and exceedingly polite to boot, Kenneth calls everyone "Mr./Mrs./Miss [last name]" or "sir/ma'am". In one episode, Liz noted that he "calls Tracy's lizard 'sir'."
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  • (Erin) Silver from the sequel series 90210 is commonly called by her last name, Silver. Even her mother and sister call her by her last name Silver too.
  • Played With in The Adventures of Superman. The older Planet workers are mostly on a First-Name Basis. Jimmy Olsen gets called "Jim" by Superman/Clark and Lois and "Olsen" by Perry.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has an interesting example. Most of the main characters are referred to as "Agent Last Name" or just their last name, with first names only being used during moments of emotional intensity between characters that are friends or more than friends...except Agent Fitz. Nobody calls him Leopold or even Leo. Even after Simmons became his girlfriend (later wife) and he started regularly calling her Jemma, she still refers to him as Fitz. Most likely a personal preference on his part.
  • Alias — Since everyone's in the CIA, most of the characters in Alias go by surnames — Sydney calls the male lead "Vaughn" even while giving birth to his daughter. This meant that his short-lived Season 3 wife earned a double take from the audience every time she called him "Michael", seeding distrust and dislike of the character well before her reveal as The Mole.
    • Lampshaded in this exchange:
      Sydney: Vaughn?
      Vaughn: How come you never call me Michael?
      Sydney: I call you Michael sometimes.
      Sydney: Vaughn.
  • Angel:
    • Gunn, who is only called Charles by Fred (especially while they dated), and Knox. Wesley sometimes did also.
    • Doyle, to the extent that Angel and Cordelia are surprised to learn his name is Allen.
  • On Are You Being Served?, the staff of Grace Brothers - apart from very rare occasions - always addressed one another formally ("Mr. Lucas", "Mr. Humphries", "Miss Brahms", etc.). Among the characters, Captain Peacock and Mr. Grainger tended to use each other's given names (Stephen and Ernest, respectively) most frequently in private conversation.
    • In the episode "The Old Order Changes", the culture of the store was (temporarily) changed to be more informal, and staff were required to address each other by first name. Mr. Lucas was not happy to have to reveal that his first name was "Dick".
  • Arrow: Most characters are referred to by first names, but John Diggle is almost always "Diggle" or "Dig", unless he and Oliver are having a Friendship Moment. Quentin Lance is usually referred to as "Detective Lance" and later, "Captain Lance". Some bad guys, like Damien Darhk, also frequently got the Last-Name Basis treatment.
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  • The A-Team has H.M. Murdock. His first name is never even revealed, and it's rare for someone to call him by his initials. The rest of the team always calls him Murdock.
  • On Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, Moxey's is simply Moxey to everyone his first name (Albert) is only used twice in the show, and the first time wasn't until the end of the second series. Sometime between these two uses, one character claimed that Moxey was his full name, although the police call him "Albert Moxey" only an episode or two later.
  • John Steed and Emma Peel always addressed each other as "Steed" and "Mrs. Peel" on The Avengers (1960s).
  • Barney Miller is an interesting case. Stan "Wojo" Wojciehowicz, Ron Harris, and Arthur Dietrich are almost always referred to by their last names in the squadroom (though Liz Miller calls them by their first names) which is to be expected among police officers. Nick Yemana, who is technically the Number Two, is Nick, and Captain Barney Miller is Barney. Meanwhile, Phil Fish is called Fish by everyone, even his wife.
  • In the 1966 Batman series, Chief O'Hara's little known first name is Miles.
  • On Becker, the title character (Dr. John Becker) is on a last name basis with nearly the entire cast with everyone except for his nurse, Margaret and best friend Jake.
  • In The Beiderbecke Trilogy, the main characters are most commonly referred to as Mr Chaplain and Mrs Swinburne. In the second serial, the latter is utterly surprised that the former calls her "Jill", and he admits that he only did so because "I'm shit scared." This comes after the two have been in a sexual relationship for over two years, and known each other far longer.
  • Mitchell of Being Human takes until season two to let on to the viewer that this is actually his surname (his given name is John). Justified, as being a century-old vampire he's of a generation where last name basis would have been prevalent.
  • On The Big Bang Theory, Howard and Raj are often referred to by their last names (Wolowitz and Koothrappali), especially in the early seasons.
    • Naturally, several people from the University are referred to by their titles and last name, such as President Seibert and Dr. Gablehouser. Barry Kripke is also an example, he is rarely referred to by his first name, and refers to the other characters by their last names only.
  • Blake's 7 especially in reference to Kerr Avon Is only Avon. Even his girlfriend only ever called him Avon. Paul Darrow speculated that was because "Kerr" isn't a very good first name.
    • An interesting case because in this show because generally all the guys are referred by last name (Blake, Avon, Gan, Tarrant, Travis) and all the gals by first (Jenna, Dayna, Cally) with the rather odd exception of Vila, whose surname (Restal) is barely reference through the course of the series. Even Big Bad Servalan talks to him on a first name basis. (Nobody knows whether Servalan and Soolin are first or last names though..)
      • It's more than likely that Vila doesn't get the last name treatment because he's lower class than the rest of the crew.
  • In Blindspot, Dr. Patterson is only referred to by her last name.
  • Bones has (Seeley) Booth, (Temperance) Brennan, (Jack) Hodgins, (Daniel) Goodman, and (Lance) Sweets. When Hodgins and Angela Montenegro (who does go by her first name) are dating, even she calls him "Hodgins." Even when he proposes and now that they're married.
    • Brennan usually refers to her interns by title and last name, though everyone else uses their given names. (It is also pointed out that her use of "Mr." or "Mrs." is a subtle reminder that the intern in question doesn't yet have a doctorate.) This also serves to indicate how much closer her intern/mentor relationship was with Zack, whom she did address by given name.
    • Booth almost exclusively addresses Brennan as "Bones" (and is the only person allowed to do so), not "Temperance", and never "Tempe"; even in the hallucination/dream she was "Bren". There were a couple of First-Name Basis from Booth in season one, and one in the series finale. It’s often Serious Business when he calls her Temperance.
    • Sweets is called by his first name by both of his girlfriends.
      • Hmm, is his name Lancelot?
    • Sully was another one. It's short for his last name, Sullivan.
    • Interestingly, when Booth's brother shows up, Brennan keeps calling them both Booth, although Angela amends the brother's "name" to "Booth Lite".
    • Season 9 onward had (James) Aubrey.
  • On Boy Meets World, Mr. Feeny referred to all of his students by their formal title and last name ("Mr. Matthews", "Mr. Hunter", "Ms. Lawrence"), though occasionally he would use their first name instead (particularly Eric, who for much of the show's run was no longer a student of his - and presumably to avoid the problem of having two "Mr. Matthews"es). (Stuart) Minkus was the only character whom everyone addressed on a Last-Name Basis Minkus, except for Topanga.
  • The Brady Bunch: Alice refers to Mike and Carol as "Mr. and Mrs. Brady" throughout the entire run, even though she is virtually family.
  • On Breaking Bad, Jesse never really gets over his high school habit of calling Walt "Mr. White". He calls his partner by his first name exactly once during the series, and it's a deliberate sign of disrespect. Oddly enough, Walt is one of the few people to consistently call him "Jesse" rather than "Pinkman".
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Played straight to start with but averted over the course of the series as the characters become closer. Played straight with Hitchcock and Scully, however.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy and friends refer to Rupert Giles as just Giles. He even calls himself Giles on occasion. The only exceptions are Jenny Calendar, Joyce Summers and Spike (who call him Rupert), and Tara and Andrew (who call him Mr. Giles). And Ethan Rayne, who calls him Ripper.
    • Oz was known solely by his nickname (a shortened form of his last name Osbourne) through his entire run on the show. His full name, Daniel Osbourne, was not revealed until after he left.
    • In "Crush" Spike calls Buffy by her last name "Summers" while making his Anguished Declaration of Love, presumably to show he's serious.
    • As expected for adults, the three Sunnydale High principals throughout the series are primarily known by their last names. note 
  • Castle and Beckett. Initially, she only called him Rick when she was teasing him, but in Season 3, she occasionally used his first name in serious situations. He's called her Kate a handful of times, all of them dramatic: once when when she was emotionally upset and he was trying to stop her leaving the station, continuously shouting it out frantically when he was trying to find her in her exploded apartment, and several times in the season three finale episode.
    • It's revealed in one episode that he made up his last name, as it sounds better for a writer, and had his middle name legally changed to Edgar (after Edgar Allan Poe). His real name is Richard Alexander Rodgers.
    • Despite hooking up in Season 5 and marrying in Season 7, they still call each other Castle and Beckett. Even at home. In bed.
    • Alexis also refers to her new stepmom as Beckett, although this is probably due to hearing her dad call her Beckett for several years.
    • Detectives Ryan and Esposito are very rarely referred to by their first names (Kevin and Javier) either, though "Espo" is a common nickname for Esposito.
  • Chou Sei Shin Series: In Genseishin Justiriser, Yuka eventually graduates from saying "Date-kun" to the honorific-free "Shouta". Shouta, however, is a bit slow on the uptake, but Shinya pays attention and remarks on it.
  • Classics Dark and Dangerous: "The Ugly Little Boy": In a change from the original story, Dr Hoskins goes the entire time without using a first name, nor is it included in the credits.
  • Come Back Mrs. Noah: As is often the case in sitcoms co-written by David Croft, most of the characters only refer to each other by their last names, sometimes without "Mr." in the case of the male characters. We never learn Fanshaw or Garstang's first names (though Garstang's first initial is revealed to be E in "The Last Chance"), and Carstairs' first name (Damon) is only mentioned in a brief conversation with his wife in the episode "In Orbit".
  • On Criminal Minds, all but one of the main characters are typically referred to by their last names. Prentiss, Morgan, Rossi, and Garcia have been referred to by their first names more frequently in later seasons, but last names are still the most common.
    • In one of his first episodes, Rossi tells his teammates to call him Dave. Hotch at least seems to do this consistently. Likewise, Rossi tends to call Hotch by his first name, Aaron.
    • While JJ is the only character not referred to by her last name, it's short for Jennifer Jareau, so they're not just using her first name, either.
    • It should be noted that when talking with each other, Morgan and Garcia don't really use either given name, preferring intimate nicknames. One episode has an emotional moment between them where he calls her Penelope.
    • JJ also rarely calls Reid by his last name, and is the only one who calls him "Spence".
    • The only character to go completely by first name is Elle Greenaway, who left early in the second season.
    • Since she's their boss, everyone also refers to Chief Strauss as "Strauss." The only one who uses her first name with any frequency is Rossi, who refers to him by his first name as well. She also calls Hotch by his first name Aaron.
  • CSI
    • It has Grissom, Brass, Hodges, and Ecklie, and McKeen for a while. They just used McKeen even while he was running after killing Warrick. Interesting that except for Grissom, all the other CSIs are on a first name basis.
    • Grissom is later The Ghost, but a returned Sara continues to refer to him only as "Grissom" despite the fact that they are now married. Even after they became intimate, she only rarely called him by his first name, and only ever in private.
    • Julie Finlay is a variation of this. Her full last name is Finlay, but she prefers to be called 'Finn'. D.B. still uses Julie sometimes, and she'll call him on it. But he's the only one she knows who does it.
    • Occasionally, D.B. gets called Russell, but not all the time.
  • In CSI: Miami With two execptions, all the main characters are on a first name basis; Tim Speedler usually goes by a shortened version of his last name, "Speed", and Horatio always calls Ryan "Mr. Wolfe". (Horatio himself is referred to as "H" most of the time.)
  • CSI NY has (Don) Flack and (Sheldon) Hawkes, although their first names get used sometimes as well, most often by Mac. Sometimes when a character answers the phone, they refer to themselves by last name. Mac and Stella do it a lot..."Bonasera" and "Taylor." The superiors get it sometimes. Gerard comes to mind. Mac is an aversion of sorts, a rare example where it isn't a shortened last name, but a nickname for his first name (McCanna, which is never spoken during the entire series run).
  • On Dawson's Creek, Pacey usually calls his girlfriends by their last names. Namely (Andie) McPhee and (Joey) Potter.
  • Dexter: Almost all the characters in Miami Metro, unless they're particularly close to each other (Angel Batista and Maria LaGuerta during their mariage, siblings Dexter and Debra Morgan, etc.). This sometimes leads to confusion when a character calls out for "Morgan" when Dex and Deb are both present. Subverted to great effect by Doakes to Dexter in episode 2.11 to reflect that in addition to capturing a killer, he now also wants to help Dexter by turning him in.
  • In Dharma & Greg, Greg's father Edward always referred to Dharma's father Larry as "Finkelstein".
  • Doctor Who:
    • The First Doctor always called one of his first companions Ian by his second name, "Chesterton" (and frequently got it wrong).
    • In the UNIT era, Captain Yates was occasionally referred to as "Mike", Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart was even more occasionally "Alistair" (but more often simply the Brigadier), but RSM Benton didn't even get the name "John" confirmed on-screen until it was used in a semi-official fanvid. In the Twelfth Doctor short story "Lights Out", the Doctor struggles to remember Benton's first name, before recalling it was "Sergeant".
    • The Fifth Doctor's companion Vislor Turlough was always referred to as Turlough.
    • Mr. Saxon in Series 3. Despite his numerous mentions throughout the season, and the fact that he had been running for Prime Minister since before that series even began, his first name is barely mentioned until the finale, by which time it's become pretty much irrelevant.
    • "42": Of the seven crewmembers of the Pentallian, only Riley, Abi and Erina are addressed by their first names, with those of Captain McDonnell, Korwin, Ashton and Scannell being available solely in the credits.
    • The Eleventh Doctor sometimes calls Amy Pond by her first name, but just as often calls her "Pond", as in "Come along, Pond(s)!" Possibly this is because he preferred "Amelia" and by the sixth season "Amelia" had evolved into You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious territory.
  • Everyone in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman called Sully solely by his surname. This was probably partly because he was embarrassed by his name, Byron.
  • Due South Fraser-rarely did anyone ever call him Benton. Thatcher and Welsh as well, but it was usually a formality, 'Inspector Thatcher' and 'Lt. Welsh'.
  • In 15 seasons of ER, you could probably count on one hand the number of times John Carter was called by his first name John or Simply just his surname Carter just about everyone an By the ER staff Calls him Carter, anyway—his parents an grandparents and his wife, did call him "John".
  • Eureka:
    • Douglas Fargo is almost universally referred to as "Fargo". The only people who ever call him any derivative of "Douglas" are Claudia from Warehouse 13 (who does it in response to his claim that "everybody calls me Fargo") and himself (one of his passwords is "Dougie the Vampire Slayer").
      • His new girlfriend (played by Felicia Day) refers to him as "Douglas" as well.
    • Allison used to refer to Carter by his last name. Then they became close friends and, eventually, lovers. Naturally, she switched to "Jack".
  • Falling Skies has John Pope, whom everyone refers to as simply "Pope". Pope himself refers to Tom Mason by his last name, at least when he's in a (relatively) friendly mood.
  • On Farscape, everyone calls John Crichton just plain "Crichton." Even his girlfriend, except for a few very serious situations. The only people who regularly call him "John" are Scorpius and Maldis.
  • Forever Knight (Don) Schanke. And by the same token, Schanke would sometimes just call Nick 'Knight'. The captains got it a lot too when they were referred to...even when the formal 'Captain' wasn't used, as in talking to them, it was often 'Stonetree' 'Cohen' 'Reese'. Lacroix was another last name guy. No one ever called him Lucian. Tracy usually only got the formal Detective Vetter version on the job sometimes, but never from Nick.
  • Fringe: Peter refers to Olivia Dunham as 'Olivia' at the beginning of the show, and then changes to calling her 'Dunham' for no discernable reason.
  • (Damian) Spinelli and (Jasper) "Jax" Jacks and (Hamilton) Finn from General Hospital (though the latter is usually spelled out "Jax").
  • Ghost Hunters' Dave Tango is often referred to as "Tango".
  • Handled interestingly on Gilligan's Island. The Howells are always referred to by the other regular characters as "Mr. Howell" and "Mrs. Howell", but are on a first-name basis with each other (though "Lovey" is a pet name, not her actual given name, which is Eunice). Ginger Grant is mostly called "Ginger", but is sometimes called "Miss Grant", especially by Mr. Howell. Mary Ann, though, is almost always just called "Mary Ann" to the extent that many fans wouldn't know the character's last name (it's Summers). The Professor and the Skipper have names, but even fewer fans know them, as they're always just referred to by their titles (their names are Roy Hinkley and Jonas Grumby, respectively). Gilligan himself is the really odd case, as he is never called any other name solely then Gilligan . It's not even known if that's his given name or his surname.
    • "Gilligan" is fact his last name is what mainly what he been called the whole season just simply Gilligan. His first name has been revealed as William or Willy, but no one ever used it in the show.
  • This was originally the plan with Farkle on Girl Meets World (his first name would've been Sheamus), until the producers decided to make him the son of Boy Meets World egghead Stuart Minkus or Simply just Minkus to everyone he even to referred Himself as Minkus (who himself was an example of this trope on BMW).
    • And speaking of Boy Meets World, Mr. Feeny is both a recipient and a giver of this trope. Everyone but Cory's parents call him "Mr. Feeny" (or in Eric's case, "FEE-HEE-HEE-HEENAY!"), and he calls all of his students by their last name.
  • Glee: Noah Puckerman is usually called "Puck" and David Karofsky is frequently "Karofsky."
  • In the episode "The Shershow Redemption" of Happy Endings, Shershow is only called by his last name Shershow, and it is even used as a short hand for 'loser'. Though he ditches it and becomes Jason as he now has his life together.
    Melinda: Anyway you guys, Jason's told me so much about you.
    Max: Who's Jason?
    Dave: That's Shershow's first name, that's so Shershow that you don't know that.
  • On Highlander, Tessa was the only one to ever call Duncan by his first name. Everyone else ether called him Macleod or the shortened form, Mac. Even Tessa used it some of the time.
  • Homeland. Sergeant Nicholas Brody is just simply "Brody" by everyone, including his wife.
  • On The Honeymooners Ralph and his other friends call Ed Norton "Norton" all to everyone even his wife calls him Ed or Norton mostly Norton.
  • House features House, Wilson, Cuddy, Cameron, Foreman, Chase, Taub, and Kutner. Cameron and Chase are in a long-term relationship, but are on a Last-Name Basis. Only Amber Volakis is regularly called by her first name.
    • This can actually get confusing, since Chase, Cameron, and Wilson are all reasonable first names. It can be very easy to forget that their first names are actually Robert, Allison, and James, respectively. Even when you know it's their last names, it's incredibly easy to catch yourself thinking it's their first name.
    • Even Amber was originally called Cutthroat Bitch.
    • Thirteen's full name was eventually revealed: Dr. Remy Hadley.
    • This was joked with in a Season One episode, where Cameron begins to call her colleagues by their first names after having read an "empowerment at the work place" book. This only confuses Chase and Foreman, who respond by saying her name with emphasis when they answer her questions.
      Cameron: Are you mocking me?
      Foreman: Duh... Allison.
    • House's team are so used to calling each other by their last names that when they found a book Wilson had given House with the inscription "Greg, made me think of you.", they immediately came to the conclusion that it must have been given by a woman. Of course, some fans may think this indicates other things...
    • In one episode of the now most recent season, the writers even lampshade this with the characters discussing (Eric) Foreman's and Thirteen's continued habit of calling each other by their work names.
    • This trope was also invoked to indicate House and Stacy's relationship; besides his mother, she's the only person on the series who regularly calls him Greg.
    • Once they got together Chase and Cameron called each other by their first names in private.
    • Wilson and Cameron have also been known to call each other by their first names from the first season.
    • Lampshaded by Cuddy's mother in Season 7, when she asks Cuddy "why do you call him "House"? The man's name is Greg."
    • When Wilson began dating Amber (the only first-namer on the show) she still referred to him as Wilson, possibly because the writers were so used to the name they just didn't think about it, and possibly because they thought the viewers might not know who "James" was.
  • H.R. Pufnstuf has (Willimina W.) Witchiepoo.
  • Pretty much all the adults in The Inbetweeners are referred to as Mr / Mrs X (or "X's mum / dad") in-show, their first names only appearing in the credits. Mr. Gilbert's first name is mentioned a couple of times (it's Phil) but he doesn't take kindly to being called by it.
  • On The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, the titular Inspector Lynley calls his partner Sergeant Havers one of two things: "Sergeant" or "Havers." He does call her "Barbara" when she visits his family in Cornwall, but when they get tangled up in a mystery - as they inevitably do - and they're back on duty, well, to quote Barbara, "It's bye-bye 'Barbara' and hello 'Havers'!" He also calls her Barbara during particularly intense or emotional moments, beginning in their second episode together ("Well Schooled in Murder") when her father dies and continuing in this vein through the next several series. By the sixth series, however, after he leaned on her after his wife's death, he calls her 'Barbara' almost exclusively, reverting to 'Havers' only when he is cross with her; this signals a fundamental shift in their relationship. In contrast to her partner, Barbara never calls him anything other than 'sir', as he's her superior officer (and a Lord to boot, while she is working-class). Still, the way she says it evolves, from stiffly formal to fond and often teasing.
  • Famously, Inspector Morse's full name Endeavour wasn't revealed until 1997.
    • Morse almost exclusively refers to his sergeant as "Lewis." The number of times Morse refers to Lewis as "Robbie" can be counted on one hand.
    • Averted by the pathologist in seasons 1 and 2, who is always "Max" to the extent his last name was completely unknown until he showed up as a character on the prequel series Endeavour. Played straight with Dr. (Grayling) Russell and Dr. (Laura) Hobson.
    • Both Lewis and Morse nearly always refer to other cops and suspects by their surnames (Morse is exclusively "Sir" for Lewis). Superiors (like Chief Superintendent Strange, whose first name "James" is only revealed in Endeavour) are usually referred to by rank or as "Sir" in their presence, although even they generally get the surname treatment when Lewis or Morse is talking about them in third person.
  • JAG had an interesting variant with Major (from season 5: Lieutenant Colonel) Sarah Mackenzie. Everyone of equal or higher rank in the office called her "Mac", and very rarely did anyone use her first name Sarah. Everyone below her in rank called her rank & last name, only rank or "Ma'am", even when they were off-duty. This is standard military protocol and courtesy.
  • Friedman in Joan of Arcadia. His first name is never revealed.
  • On Law & Order: Criminal Intent, the two original partners typically only referred to each other as "Goren" and "Eames." When Eames occasionally referred to Goren as "Bobby," it was universally an example of You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious.
    • The only person who consistently referred to him as "Bobby" was a recurring villain, who kept trying to prove that they're Not So Different.
  • The Five-Man Band on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit are Cragen, Benson and Stabler, Munch, Fin, and Lake. Only Fin is usually referred to by his first name, and that's just because it's easier to pronounce than Tutuola; Fin is in fact a nickname for his given name, "Odafin".
    • Although there are other layers to this one, as in real life. Benson and Stabler call each other "Liv" and "El", which, being Platonic Life-Partners, makes sense. Alexandra Cabot was always called Alex by everyone, and it was noted (by their shippers, unsurprisingly) that she was one of the few people who called Benson "Olivia", and, on occasion, "Liv". Similarly, everyone called Casey Novak "Casey", while they called her Replacement Scrappy "Greylek". Occasionally someone else calls Benson "Liv" - you can then be sure that the shit is about to hit the fan.
      • Alex Cabot was unique in that she referred to everyone by their first name - including Huang and even Cragen. Olivia isn't that special after all.
    • Averted by Cragen, who always refers to his detectives and ADAs by their first name (except for the aforementioned Greylek), befitting his role as Team Dad. He's the only character to refer to Munch as "John". Played very straight in reverse, however - nobody ever refers to Cragen as "Donald" or "Don", and address him by his title instead (again typical for a parental figure).
    • Dr. Huang is almost never referred to as "George", not even by Cragen or Benson, perhaps in deference to his role as The Shrink. On the other hand, Dr. Warner usually refers to Benson and Stabler as "Olivia" and "Elliot", and in turn, they always address her as "Melinda" (though when people are talking about her, she's always "Warner").
    • ADA Rafael Barba, despite being very well-liked by the SVU squad, is called either "Counselor" or "Barba" by virtually everyone. Only one squad member, Olivia Benson, has ever called him "Rafael", and she only started doing that regularly in season 19, five years after his initial debut. In turn, he usually calls (Sonny) Carisi and (Amanda) Rollins by their last names, uses 'Fin' for Odafin Tutuola, and addresses Olivia either by her first name or, as their friendship develops, "Liv".
  • It isn't clear whether or not this applies to Leverage's Parker. Also, Alec Hardison and Jim Sterling are almost never referred to by their first names just simply their surname Hardison an Sterling.
    • Invertefd with Elliot Spencer. His last name is barely mentioned.
  • In Lewis the titular character and Sergeant Hathaway share a similar dynamic, although Lewis uses "James" for his sergeant substantially more frequently than Morse did for him. The Chief Super is almost always called "Innocent". However, Lewis graduates to referring to Dr. Hobson as "Laura", foreshadowing their Relationship Upgrade later in the series.
  • Lidsville has (Horatio J.) Hoodoo.
  • Lost has Locke, whom only Ben and Jack call John (in Jack's case, as a sign of disrespect.) The Others routinely refer to the Losties by their last names, but use first names internally. The Losties use first names. The freighties (apart from Naomi, Charlotte and Miles) mostly use last names.
    • It seems like a sign of disrespect when Ben calls Locke "John" too.
    • Rousseau is also frequently addressed by her last name, and only occasionally as "Danielle," usually by Sayid.
    • Sawyer is seldom referred to as James. The only one who tends to call him that is Juliet, and later Locke. Of course, Sawyer is not his real name.
    • In season five, Sawyer takes up the name Jim LeFleur. He is generally referred to, even by some of the Oceanic survivors, by that.
    • As of season 6, both Sawyer and Hurley are commonly referred to as James and Hugo, respectively. Neither even have their respective nicknames in the flashsideways timeline.
    • A plot relevant case: Jacob wrote his candidates down on a last name basis, causing confusion among viewers and characters in regards to candidate "Kwon", which could refer to several characters. When he actually encounters his remaining candidates, however, he refers to each by their first names.
  • On MacGyver, MacGyver is only called by his last name MacGyver and refuses to tell anyone what his first name is. There are instances of even official paperwork only containing his last name MacGyver. His first name, Angus, is finally revealed in a dream sequence during the last (seventh) season of the show. His friends usually call him Mac.
    • Not exactly the same in his case, since he just hates his first name and doesn't tell people what it is. It doesn't really indicate distance.
  • Magnum, P.I. has the title character, (Thomas) Magnum.
  • In The Mentalist, it's generally seen as jerky or disrespectful for anyone to call anyone in the workplace by first name. Van Pelt, however, is commonly called 'Grace' because she's a rookie (or used to be), Bosco and Lisbon are intimate enough to do this, Van Pelt and Rigsby of course call each other by first names even after they break up the first time, for some bizarre reason, Jane always calls Minelli 'Virgil', and we know that things are getting bad when Jane calls Lisbon "Teresa". Or that he's pulling another Bunny-Ears Lawyer Undercover as Lovers gambit, which, this being Patrick Jane, is far more likely.
  • The Nanny: Maxwell Sheffield, being British, refers to Fran as "Miss Fine" even as they start dating.
    • He called her "Miss Fine" once or twice even after they were married.
  • The 2002 Miniseries Napoléon provided an unusual example of this. Napoleon and his friend General Joachim Murat routinely call each other by their surnames. Even after Napoleon is crowned Emperor, he has to make a point of telling Murat to address him as "Sire" rather than "Bonaparte".
  • In Neighbours, Mark Brennan was subject to this for a while, including to two of his love interests, Kate and Paige. The show seemed to drop this after the rest of the Brennan family were introduced, the turning point being a scene where Mark, Tyler, Aaron and Russell all respond to the name Brennan at once, and Paige realises she'll have to get in the habit of calling him Mark.
  • New Girl has Schmidt, who is only ever referred to by his last name Schmidt. His first name being unknown was a long Running Gag and only revealed in the show's final season. Even after they get married, Cece still calls him by his last name.
    • When one of his cousins (who ALSO exclusively goes by this surname Schmidt) visits, they argue over which one gets to be called "Schmidt". They eventually settle on calling his cousin "Big Schmidt".
  • Nikita: While most of the other main characters are on a strictly first-name basis, Birkhoff is referred to almost exclusively by his last name. Only Sonya calls him Seymour.
  • On The O.C., Summer persists in calling Seth by his last name, Cohen, even after they're in a relationship.
  • Once Upon a Time: Rumplestiltskin's human Storybrooke counterpart Mr. Gold is regularly referred to just as 'Gold,' particularly later in the first season and especially by Regina (The Evil Queen). Though he might not even have a first name, since Mr. Gold isn't who he actually is anyway.
  • In One Life to Live, Robert Ford is known as Bobby to his family and Jessica but is otherwise referred to solely as Ford. There is also (Oliver) Fish.
  • Open All Hours has (Albert E.) Arkwright, only ever referred to as Arkwright, including by his love interest and his nephew.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Brooks, Boynton, and Conklin always address each other formally, even outside of school.
  • Person of Interest: Finch regularly addresses everyone formally, and usually only calls Reese "John" when he's worried about him and/or Reese is in more danger than usual. Although since Reese and Finch aren't their real last names (Which have not been revealed), it's more like Assumed Last Name Basis. This includes always referring to Root as Ms. Groves, although she always calls him "Harold".
    • Sameen Shaw is generally referred to by her last name Shaw.
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon has Ami starting out calling Usagi by her surname. An entire episode is devoted to getting her to use "Usagi-chan" and "Rei-chan", and we later find out that her mother, a doctor, is only able to communicate with Ami via messages on a whiteboard.
  • Primeval: Very few people call Nick Cutter, James Lester, and Capt. Tom Ryan by their first names, and Capt. Becker's name isn't even mentioned in the series. Word of God says it's Hilary. No wonder he never mentioned it.
  • Prison Break: Varies depending on the character and their relationship. For example, Mahone calls Michael Scofield in season two when he's chasing him, varies it in season three (when they're uneasy allies), and Michael in season four when they become friendly.
  • In The Professionals, Ray Doyle is either called Ray or Doyle, but William Bodie is always Bodie, never William.
  • In Psych everybody calls Burton Guster "Gus." Also Lassiter is on a last name basis with everyone.
    • Shawn never refers to Lassiter anything other than "Lassie". Lassiter, while initially annoyed, eventually accepted it as an inevitability, or is just ignoring it, hoping the annoying creature claiming to be psychic will go away.
    • Gus's uncle Burton (for whom he was named) resents Gus prefering his nickname to his first name.
  • Quincy, M.E. goes even farther by never giving the titular character a first name beyond an initial. Jack Klugman always answers that Quincy's first name was, in fact, "Doctor". Even his girlfriends and wife in the final few episodes called him Quincy.
  • Rimmer and Lister in Red Dwarf. Taken to the point that when they're being affectionate (whether mockingly or genuinely so) it's not Arnie and Dave, but Rimsie and Listy.
    • The only time that they do refer to the other as 'David' and 'Arnold', is in the third season episode "Polymorph". But then, YMMV as they aren't really themselves, because the titular Polymorph had stolen an emotion from each(fear from Lister and anger from Rimmer).
    • Rimmer has such a cold relationship with his mother that she addresses him in letters as 'Dear Rimmer'.
    • In "Kryten", Rimmer asks Lister not to call him "Rimmer" in front of the girls ("You always emphasise the 'Rim', it makes me sound like a lavatory disinfectant"), and a genuinely baffled Lister says "Well, what should I call you?"
  • Rizzoli & Isles: Played straight with (Vince) Korsak and (Barry) Frost. Mostly played straight with Maura Isles, who most people refer to as Dr. Isles, except Jane who calls her Maura. Mostly averted with Jane and Frankie, probably because they are siblings who work together, and a "Detective Rizzoli" and an "Officer Rizzoli" in the same place would get confusing.
  • Roswell Sheriff Valenti, often even after he wasn't sheriff anymore, he was still Valenti. (Mostly because he was an adult character in a cast largely composed of teenagers; Maria's mother, his sometime-love interest, called him "Jim".)
  • Scrubs:
    • No one calls Christopher Turk by his first name. Even his wife Carla and his Heterosexual Life Partner J.D. refer to him only as "Turk". Presumably because of this, Dr. Kelso thought that "Turk" was actually his first name, and he somehow got the idea that his last name was "Turkleton".
      Kelso: [very drunk] Ah! Dr. Turkleton!
      Turk: Actually, sir, it's "Turk".
      Kelso: That's your first name.
      Turk: You think my name is Turk Turkleton?
      [Carla walks up]
      Kelso: And Mrs. Turkleton! The Turkletons!
    • He does eventually learn Turk's actual name... but decides he likes "Turkleton" better and so continues to call him that.
    • Carla does call Turk by his first name when she's mad or when they're having sex.
      Turk: Christopher? You only call me "Christopher" when you're mad or when we're having sex. Baby, are you mad when we're having sex?
      Carla: Sometimes.
    • Turk's brother calls him "Chrissy". JD's brother does call him "Christopher". One episode has Turk's father call and J.D. calling him by Christopher when he says he's not home at the time.
  • Kramer from Seinfeld. Is known primarily by his surname Kramer Even after his first name Cosmo was revealed, people still kept using his last name Kramer. (Not that people weren't enamored by his first name Cosmo when it was revealed.) Also true for Newman.
  • Sex and the City— Carrie was usually on a first name basis with her boyfriends through the years (with the exception of No Name Given Mr. Big) but for some reason referred to Jack Berger by his last name only.
  • Sherlock
    • Averts this trope (unlike every other version of Sherlock Holmes), by having the leads call each other "Sherlock" and "John" exclusively—except for Lestrade. Sherlock doesn't even know what his first name is until part way through the second series, and it's implied the two have know each other for years.
      Sherlock: Is that why you're here? You're incognito? Undercover with that ridiculous alias, "Greg!"
      John: That's his name.
      Sherlock: it?
      Lestrade: Yes! If you'd ever bothered to find out!
    • Mrs. Hudson is also always referred to simply as "Mrs. Hudson". One commenter described the look on Sherlock's face during the exchange with Lestrade as "The moment Sherlock began to consider that Mrs. Hudson's first name might not be 'Mrs.'"
  • The Shield also plays with this trope. Curtis Lemansky is usually referred to as "Lemonhead" or simply "Lem".
  • The men in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World are typically referred to by their last names. Typically, only Marguerite will refer to them with their first names.
  • (Bertram) Gilfoyle in Silicon Valley. His first name is used very rarely.
  • In Skins, James Cook's or simply just Cook just about everyone calls him Cook his first name James is used so rarely that it wouldn't be surprising if most of the main characters don't even know its James.
  • Sleepy Hollow: Abbie primarily refers to Ichabod as "Crane"; Ichabod calls Abbie "Lieutenant" or "Miss Mills".
  • Stargate:
    • On Stargate SG-1, Colonel Jack O'Neill calls his civilian scientist "Daniel" but his military officer second "Carter". Daniel Jackson, on the other hand, addresses both his military comrades by their first names, which continued even after O'Neill was promoted to Brigadier General and put in charge of the SGC. Samantha Carter calls him "Daniel" and O'Neill "Colonel/General" or "sir". Teal'c is addressed by his only name, and calls Jack "O'Neill" and Daniel by his full name, "Daniel Jackson".
      • This is not out of the ordinary for a military situation at all, at least for Samantha Carter's situation. Daniel is a civilian (no military rank) and a close friend and thus can be referred to even on missions as Daniel (rather than Dr. Jackson, as she does in the first episode), while O'Neill is her commanding officer. It would be inappropriate for her to refer to him by his first name while on duty, and 95% of the show is the team 'on duty'. Hence the Colonel/General and sir, even though they are obviously close friends. It's worth noting that in a guest appearance on Stargate Universe, O'Neill did address Carter as "Sam." Many members of the fandom are of the opinion that "sir" and "Carter" have evolved into the characters' pet names for one another.
      • Daniel also called Sam "Captain Carter" in the first few episodes.
      • And when Mitchell came along, he addressed Daniel as "Jackson" and Carter as "Sam", and they both reciprocated. Which may be excusable in a military setting as at that point Carter was a Colonel herself.
      • Strangely, the first time they talk, Daniel and Cam invite each other to use their first names. Neither of them ever do.
      • Teal'c using full names actually makes sense, as his own people have just one (unless you consider the apostrophe a divider). In his mind, he's referring to them as befits one warrior to another.
  • On Stargate Atlantis, it's all over the place.
    • John Sheppard has almost everyone calling him by last name Sheppard - Best friend Rodney alternates between rank and his surname (only calling him "John" a handful of times in the entire series), Teyla combines rank and surname, Ronon just sticks with surname.
    • Elizabeth is "Doctor Weir" to almost everyone, excluding John and Rodney, her closest and oldest friends respectively.
    • Elizabeth and John have their own complicated system when talking to each other: They start off with a very formal 'Major' and 'Doctor', then they grow closer switching to the more intimate 'John' and 'Elizabeth' when talking to each other but keep up formal addresses in front of others. Then they just use John and Elizabeth at all times, (including in front of all of their staff and superiors and their enemies, who all refer to Elizabeth as 'Doctor Weir'). John even corrects their enemy, who's holding him hostage about how he addresses her.
      Kolya: I think you overestimate Doctor Weir.
      John: And I think you underestimate Elizabeth.
    • Rodney is "Doctor McKay" to most people, except Sheppard and Teyla who use both "Rodney" and "McKay" equally and Elizabeth and Dr. Beckett who stick with Rodney all the time.note 
    • Ronon is never referred to as "Dex", at most he might get a full name "Ronon Dex".
    • Teyla, is in fact NEVER referred to as either "Emmagan" or her full name, introductions aside obviously.
    • All this, by the way, leaves poor fans very confused as to how they're supposed to refer to the characters.
  • Despite being long-time partners and joined-at-the-hip best friends, Starsky & Hutch simply do not use each others' first names, no matter how dire or informal the circumstances.
  • Star Trek. Sure, McCoy and occasionally Spock called Kirk "Jim", but that's about it in The Original Series. McCoy himself was sometimes known by the nickname "Bones", but no one called him "Leonard". Sulu and Uhura's first names weren't even known for decades. Chekov had his first name from the beginning, but it was only used a few times, and, of course, Montgomery Scott was "Scotty" to everyone.
    • Nichelle Nichols stated that Gene Roddeberry himself gave her Uhura's full name, Nyota Upenda Uhura. Although none of this appeared on original series or the subsequent movies, if it came from the Great Bird of the Galaxy, It has to considered canon.
    • In the 2009 movie she refuses to tell Kirk her first name Nyota. When Spock calls her "Nyota", Kirk asks, "So, her first name is Nyota?" and Spock interrupts with, "I have no comment on the matter."
    • Vulcans are an interesting case: their single (pronounceable-to-humans) name usually seems to function like a surname, making it impossible to achieve First-Name Basis with them.
    • In Deep Space Nine, Keiko would more often than not refer to her husband Miles as "O'Brien"
      • In private she always called him Miles; this may be a reflection of her Asian heritage.
    • Appropriately averted when Odo became romantically involved with Kira and started calling her "Nerys" in private. (Well, actually, given Bajoran name order, he was switching to Last-Name Basis, but...)
    • Garak the tailor is called 'Garak' by everyone. The reveal of his first name is actually Elim a major plot point of one episode. Even after that episode, everyone continues to call him 'Garak'. In one episode, when he's muttering to himself, it's clear that he even refers to himself by his last name Garak instead of his first name Elim. In the entire show, only two people ever regularly call him by his first name Elim: his mentor and biological father Enabran Tain (who switches between Garak's first and last name depending on his moods and motives) and Tain's housekeeper, Mila whose housekeeping duties did include raising Garak. She never called him by his last name Garak (and a non-canon Star Trek novel does claim she's his biological mother via a secret relationship with Tain).
    • Notably averted in Next Gen and newer series, however. While characters regularly refer to each other by their titles and last names while on the job, it's not at all unusual for characters who are friends to refer to each other by their first names. And then there's Seven, who is always (of necessity) referred to by her "first name".
      • Captain Janeway is an exception; she is usually just "Captain" or "Captain Janeway", rarely Kathryn.
    • Seven does also have a human name (Annika Hansen) which is used during flashbacks to her as a child, or when she's hypnotized to work in a power plant, or when she's using a holodeck simulation to have a relationship with Chakotay, etc. Normally, though, she insists on being called "Seven", even when the other rescued Borg use their original names. Go figure.
      • She mentions at one point that while she was once Annika Hansen, she's been Seven for most of her adult life, so that is how she thinks of herself as Seven. It is actually a conceit as her full "name" was Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One, but when Janeway asked if they could shorten it to just Seven, she agreed, dubbing it "inaccurate, but acceptable".
      • Except she's no longer the "Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One", having been disconnected from the Collective.
    • In the episode "Lower Decks" (Trope Namer for Lower-Deck Episode) the lower deck characters are shocked note  when Ben (their lower deck version of Guinan) talks to Commander Riker.
      Ben: Hi, Will.
      Riker: Ben. How you doing?
      Lavelle: You call him Will?
      Ben: Why not?
      Lavelle: He's second in command of this ship, that's why not.
      Ben: I'm not Starfleet, I'm a civilian. When he's in here, he wants to be treated like a civilian.
      Lavelle: Riker? I bet he sleeps in his uniform.
    • Justified in the case of Jadzia Dax in Deep Space Nine, where we learn that Joined Trills take the name of their Symbiote as their surname, which replaces their original one. Only Sisko, Kira, Worf, and Bashir occasionally call her Jadzia.
  • St. Elsewhere: Helen's children half-jokingly refer to each other by their respective fathers' surnames since their mother is a Serial Spouse: Marcy (Eisenberg), Julie (Silverman 1), Jimmy (Silverman 2), Erin (Scheinfeld) and Jeff (Rosenthal).
  • Supergirl: Even after Alex and Maggie start dating, Maggie calls her girlfriend "Danvers". Alex uses Maggie's first name, though.
  • "Stiles" Stilinski of Teen Wolf is only Stiles. Even his father calls him Stiles. Perhaps because his given name is bizarre and apparently near-unpronounceable. It's the Polish name Mieczysław.
  • That '70s Show:
    • Most people call Steven Hyde by his last name, except Kitty, Red, and (once they started dating) Jackie.
    • Kitty and Jackie are also the only ones who call Michael Kelso by his first name.
    • Hyde almost always refers to Eric as "Foreman", sometimes even when talking to Eric's parents. The other characters alternate between his first and last names.
  • The titular character of Titus was referred to as "Titus" by everyone except his girlfriend and his father. Titus often even referred to himself by his last name Titus.
  • In T.J. Hooker, everybody calls him 'Hooker'. Even his ex-wife. His given name, Thomas, was only mentioned once in the entire run of the series, and never again after that.
  • On Top Gear (UK), presenter Richard Hammond is always "Hammond" to his co-presenter James May, but Jeremy Clarkson is "Jeremy" or even "Jezza" (unless May is annoyed with him, in which case it's "CLARKSON!") On the other hand, Clarkson and Hammond are on a first-name basis with each other and with May.
    • They all refer to each other with their last names fairly often, especially when communicating over the phone/radio on a large challenge or race e.g.: "May!" "Clarkson!" "Where are you and Hamster?" "We're just entering Switzerland, what about you?" as mentioned in the Real Life section, this is quite common between male friends in Britain where the surname almost becomes a nickname of sorts.
  • Voyagers!: Jeffrey always refers to Bogg by his surname, never as Phineas or anything else, which gets pretty odd during highly emotional moments.
  • Welcome Back, Kotter:
    • Most of the Sweathogs go by their last name.
    • The expectation that all students refer to their teachers by a courtesy title and their last name is addressed briefly (and effectively) in the Season 2 episode "Sweathog, Nebraska Style", when Gabe's teenaged sister-in-law, Jenny, who is temporarily staying with him and Julie, temporarily joins the Sweathogs. Jenny is being obnoxious and, as he tries to call the class to attention, she calls him by his first name, prompting him to immediately call her on it ("In class, I am Mr. Kotter").
  • A rare aversion, given its professional setting, occurs in The West Wing. The entirety of the central cast refer to one another by their first names (though "CJ" is obviously a nickname, her full name is heard numerous times). The only real exceptions are the President himself - who is occasionally addressed with his first name by either his wife or very close friends, and even then usually in private - and Mrs. Landingham.
    • It is strongly suggested that the reason why Mrs. Landingham isn't on a First-Name Basis with everyone is because all the staff are following the President's example: when the two first met, he was a high school student and she was his father's secretary; he once tried to call her "Dolores" and she insisted "Mrs. Landingham, please" - and he stayed on a Last-Name Basis with her ever since, even after becoming President.
    • Aside from the above flashback, the only other time the President calls her Dolores is just before she dies, asking her if she had ever bought a new car in her life.
  • On Wings, Roy usually refers to everyone using their last names. (Unless he's trying to suck up to them for some reason.)
  • The X-Files:
    • Mulder and Scully regularly called each other by last name. Once Scully's mother referred to Mulder as Fox and Scully corrected her — it didn't stop Mrs Scully though. In the first four seasons, they'd occasionally use first names at emotional moments, but after that they just gave it up, apparently having gotten so used to the last names that "Fox" and "Dana" just sounded weird. In the second movie, they've had a Relationship Upgrade and have been living together for six years, and they're still on a Last Name Basis.
    • Becomes a plot point a couple of times, when lookalike impostors falsely assume that with a relationship as close as theirs, the two agents must be on First-Name Basis. In fact, it may be the Properly Paranoid agents' unspoken security measure for such situations.
    • The Lone Gunmen, a trio of Mulder's friends and conspiracy nuts, also go for last name basis (Frohike, Langley, and Byers).
  • In The Young and the Restless, Philip Robert Chancellor IV plays with this trope, as everyone commonly calls him "Chance", the short version Of his last name.
  • In Young Blades, D'Artagnan's first name is never revealed, and even his father (the D'Artagnan from The Three Musketeers) calls him D'Artagnan.


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