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One-Shot Character

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A one-shot or one-off character is a character who appears in only one episode of a series, after which they are never seen again. Very common in Walking the Earth and various Of The Week shows. Long-Lost Uncle Aesop from a Very Special Episode is one example, as is the Girl of the Week for any hero who suffers the Cartwright Curse. In a movie, the one-shot can be anything from a Spear Carrier to a One-Scene Wonder.

Line numbers and importance to the story don't matter: A one-shot character can be the focus of an entire episode, or just be a Bit Character. The defining trait is that they show up once and disappear afterward.

Sometimes a one-shot becomes so popular they get The Cameo later in the series, or they become a recurring extra, or even a full-blown cast member. Infrequently, what seems like a one-shot may actually be a Chekhov's Gunman.

The opposite would be Regular Character. See also Recurring Character. The video game equivalent is the Unique Enemy, which is an enemy that only appears once in a game. Not to be confused with One Hitpoint Wonder.

Types of character that are frequently one-shots:

Alternative Title(s): Character Of The Day, One Off Character