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Only One Name / Live-Action TV

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Mononyms in live-action TV.

  • On The 100, Grounders do not appear to have last names, though they might follow someone's name with "of the [Blank] People".
  • On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., "Skye" is the full name that Skye chose for herself after abandoning the one given to her by an orphanage, which she found embarrassing (Mary Sue Poots). Her birth name, revealed in "What They Become", is Daisy Johnson, A.K.A Quake.
  • Angel:
    • The eponymous character usually goes simply by Angel. When he's evil he tends to go with the variant Angelus. Either way, it's only one name. His original human name was Liam, surname never mentioned.
      Kate Lockley: Well, see, the thing about detectives is they have resumes and business licenses and last names. Pop stars and Popes, those are the one-name guys.
      Angel: You got me. I'm a pope.
    • In Season 3, the Angel Investigations staff at one points needs to write down a full name for him on a government document, so they improvise "Geraldo Angel".
    • Spoofed when Angel starts making out with Eve, despite Angel's protests that he doesn't even know her full name.
      Angel: I mean, do you even have a last name?
      Eve: Do you?
  • Babylon 5:
    • Some aliens, notably Minbari and Narns, go by only one name, whereas others, notably Centauri, go by two.
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    • Although the Narns have only one name, it actually consists of two halves divided by an apostrophe. For instance, main character Na'Toth is the daughter of Shak'Toth.
      • And it is stated in one episode that Narns have a single name at birth, and the apostrophed appendage (actually prefix) is added when they have chosen which religious figure they will be devoted to spiritually: "G'" denotes a devotee to G'Quan (which G'Kar was), for instance.
    • The three techno-mages that are officially named in the series and its spin-off series Crusade are Elric, Galen, and Alwyn respectively. Although all three have Human origins, none of them have a last name.
  • Battlestar Galactica (1978): No one in the original show had a last name. (This has changed in the reimagined version; many of the original pilots' names are now the callsigns of their revised counterparts, and "Adama" has become a family name.)
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  • The Big Bang Theory: Penny. Every other member of the main cast has a first, middle, and last name, but Penny is just... Penny. An early-season episode implied that her first name might be Penelope, but that's all we've ever gotten.
  • Blackadder: Baldrick is only known by this name, regardless of which incarnation he is. However, Baldrick speculates in the third series that his first name may be 'Sodoff' and in the fourth season was known as Private S. Baldrick.
  • Blake's 7: Cally is never known by anything else — as far as we know, no Aurons have more than one name.
  • The Brady Bunch: Alice, for the first 1 1/2 years of the show. None of the writers had apparently even thought to give the Bradys' beloved housekeeper a last name until the mid-Season 2 episode "The Tattletale" ... and that was only because John Wheeler, the actor that played a mailman in this episode, pointed it out to Lloyd Schwartz when he was reading the script. From that time on, Alice's last name was "Nelson."
    • At about the same time, occasional character Sam was also given a last name ... "Franklin." To this day, there are Brady Bunch fans who believe that Alice's last name was Brady and that Sam was simply "Sam 'da Butcher."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Kendra tells Giles that she "has no last name" in the second episode she appears in. However, this has become a Subverted Trope as Joss Whedon has subsequently revealed, outside of the series, that her surname is actually Young - which she didn't know as she was raised by her Watcher.
    • Other Buffyverse characters with no last names include Faith, Spike, and Angel. Spike was revealed to be a self-given alias, his first name being William, and Faith was revealed to have the last name of Lehane by Joss Whedon when the makers of the official spin-off RPG asked. Angel turned out to have a different first name (Liam, which is an Irish version of "William"), but no last was ever given. Spike's human surname, according to the Expanded Universe, is Pratt.
    • Buffyverse Vampires, some of whom take or are given new names, are fond of this trope, including the aforementioned Angel and Spike, as well as Drusilla, Penn, Luke, and Dracula.
    • None of the Potential Slayers are given a last name, not even Kennedy.
  • Burn Notice: Most of the people Michael Westen crosses swords with. Most of the job of the week villains will not be given more than one name, while many others will be given full names in passing which are never referenced again. All of the Myth Arc villains tend to go by singular names that are most likely pseudonyms (for example, Carla, Victor, and Simon).
    • Invoked by Barry, which leads to this back-and-forth with Sam:
      Barry: Name's Cristo. Like Madonna, the whole one name thing.
      Sam: Like Charo.
      Barry: Sting.
      Sam: Fergie.
      Barry: Pélé.
      Sam: Spider-Man.
      Barry: Liberace.
      Sam: (beat) Crap, I can't think of any more.
  • Columbo:
    • Lt. Columbo (No first name).
    • Same for Mrs. Columbo.
      • Not exactly true: Kate Mulgrew's series Mrs. Columbo became Kate Columbo, then Kate the Detective and then Kate Loves a Mystery before it became Kate Doesn't Detect Here Anymore.
      • And then Lt. Columbo said that that woman was an impostor... so we re-iterate, same for Mrs. Columbo.
    • His ID card identified him as Frank Columbo, but that was only onscreen for a few seconds and reportedly isn't canon.
      • A trivia encyclopedia gave his first name as Philip, but this turned out to be a copyright trap - as the creators of Trivial Pursuit discovered when the book's author sued them for plagiarism. (He won, but the decision was reversed on appeal.)
  • Dark Angel: The main character was named Max, with no last name (she did use the last name Guevara on occasion, but she made this up). Her fellow X5s (Zack, Alec, Ben, etc) also had only one name, as did the dogboy Joshua. Alec's fake surname was supposedly McDowell, but it was never spoken aloud.
  • Dead Like Me: Mason has no known other name, and the name that he does have could really be either his first or last name. Kiffany doesn't have a last name, but since she has a lot less screen time than Mason, it's slightly less odd.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Entourage: Ari Gold's wife has no first name. She is simply referred to as Mrs. Ari (not even Mrs. Gold), despite more and more screentime each season. Word of God says she'll never get a first name, but fan speculation says its something like Deena or Dina, based on a muffled introduction at a bat mitzvah in the first season.
  • Everybody Hates Chris: Chris and his family (Julius, Rochelle, etc.) never have their surname mentioned. Although it is often assumed to be "Rock" as the series is semi-autobiographical based on Chris Rock's high-school years, the show nevertheless goes to great lengths to never mention it.
  • Friends:
    • In one episode, Rachel can't remember the name of her last boyfriend, Tag, after pretending it had been a "deep and meaningful relationship". She therefore says that he had only one name, like Moses.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • When Jon Snow asks for Locke's name, he just says "Locke". All the weirder because in the books, Locke is a surname.
    • Shae is just Shae and Varys is just Varys. Varys once contrasts himself and Shae with the highborn who have last names.
      Varys: You have one name. As do I. Here, only the family name matters.
  • Gilligan's Island: The title character during its run. After the show was cancelled, Word of God revealed that his first name was Willy.
  • The Here Come the Brides episode "The Stand Off" has the former slave and hired goon Ox.
    Jason: I didn't catch your name.
    Ox: Ox.
    Jason: Ox. Is that like Joe Ox, or Ox Jones, or-
    Ox: It's like Ox. Just Ox.
  • Home Improvement: Wilson W. Wilson Jr. He's called by Only One Name, because that is his only name - first, middle and last.
  • Inspector Morse:
    • In the television version. The source novels provided only an initial, E. Name eventually revealed as 'Endeavour'.
    • In his university days, he was nicknamed "Pagan", because he wouldn't give his Christian name.
  • Kids Incorporated: Almost no one on this show has a last name, sometimes awkwardly so, such as in "The Hero" where Devyn is introduced on an interview show by her first name, with an audible pause because the interviewer's rhythm was thrown off by the lack of a last name. On several occasions, particularly in dream sequences, a character will give an obviously fake last name (Ryan Lambert once uses "Ryan Ryan", and once "Ryan von Ryan"). Since most characters were The Danza, it may be implicit that they have the same surnames as their actors - though this wouldn't work for, say, Renee Sands and Stacy Ferguson, whose characters were siblings.
  • LazyTown: None of the main characters are given a last name aside from Robbie Rotten, Mayor Mumford Meanswell, and Mrs. Busybody.
  • Leverage:
    • Parker is the only character who isn't given a first name, even in her official character bio. This does make sense in the canon, however - she ran away from home (or something) and spent most of her childhood in and out of foster homes. It's implied that she eventually just ran away and became a thief, and that she doesn't need a full name because she lives off the grid. There's even an episode in which this exchange happens:
      "Name, please?"
      Parker: "Parker."
      "First name or last name?"
      Parker: "No."
    • May be a shout-out to the title character in Richard Stark's Parker crime novels, who also is a thief and also has just the one name.
  • Little House on the Prairie: Initially, Albert, when the Ingalls, Olesens and Garveys meet the street urchin in Mankato during the Season 5 season-opening story arc. This is averted when Charles eventually learns Albert is a runaway and had quit using the last name he was christened by, Quinn.
    • A little bit later in Season 5, in the episode "Harriet's Happenings," after Mrs. Olesen publishes a story in the newspaper suggesting that Charles fathered Albert outside his marriage, a thoroughly shamed Albert — who had started using the last name Ingalls — is despondent and, conceding defeat, wants to begin using "Albert No Name" at school; Charles, of course, will not hear of this and convinces him otherwise.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: Malcolm's family's surname is never revealed throughout the series. Though a Deleted Scene from a season one episode specified it to be Wilkerson, it has never been confirmed in any canon material. To top this off, the show has sometimes hinted at their surname being Brown or Green, and in the Grand Finale Francis accidentally drops his ID badge displaying his last name to be "Nolastname."
  • Merlin: The only people with last names are the Pendragons, being royalty.
  • Mission: Impossible: Paris. Amusingly, Paris was played by Leonard Nimoy, famous for playing Spock of Star Trek. Paris had occasion to say, "He's dead, Jim."
  • Mr. Bean: The title character is never given a first name, perhaps because it is heavily implied by the opening credits that he is an alien. The spin - off book Mr. Bean's Diary contains an old school report of his, but his first name is obscured by an ink blot on the page. However, his passport shows his first name to be 'Mr' (in the first movie) or 'Rowan', the actor's name (in Mr Bean's Holiday).
  • The Nanny: Niles, the butler, even puts a Lampshade Hanging on this at one point:
    Fran: Say, what is your last name?
    Niles: It's just Niles. Like Cher.
  • The New Avengers: Purdey.
  • New Girl: Schmidt, until the 6th season when it is revealed that his first name is Winston—the same as his roommate's.
  • NewsRadio: Beth claims not to have a last name.
  • Only Fools and Horses: Sid.
  • On Orphan Black, most of the LEDA clones have first and last names — except Helena. Three of the CASTOR clones — Rudy, Seth, and Parsons — also count.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Most alien-but-still-human-ish Power Rangers, such as Andros and Karone, or Maya. Time Force's resident alien, Trip, has a very popular Fanon last name purported to come from scripts or casting sheets, but unlike other such surnames (e.g., Billy Cranston, Katie Walker), it wasn't included on Disney's official website.
    • Speaking of Billy Cranston and Katie Walker, it is very common for Rangers to be known only by first names, and some Rangers' last names are only known by Word of God in the form of network websites (that are often wrong about things like last names, ages, and dates when we finally do get them - even Cranston and Walker come from the same source as Sky Blake and Jack and Z Manners note ) Of the original Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, we didn't get "Zack Taylor" and "Trini Kwan" until the day of their departure, and had heard "Jason Lee Scott" once before. Tommy Oliver and Kimberly Hart, the first last names we get, are heard a mere 54 episodes into the original series! And again, though his tenure lasted 202 episodes, we never heard Billy's. Last names weren't deliberately avoided, just... if nobody had a good reason to speak it (martial arts tournament, TV appearance, etc.) it didn't get spoken.
    • Power Rangers RPM has Dillon, although the lack of a surname might be more due to his Mysterious Past considering he is as human as his teammates (to a certain extent). There's also Gem and Gemma, which fit by way of them being genetically engineered by Alphabet Soup, who are also the reason why Doctor K only has a One-Letter Name in lieu of a full given name.
    • Power Rangers Samurai goes the extra mile: over half a decade after the end of the series, half of the teamnote  never had their surnames revealed, those being Kevin, Mike and Emily. And they don't fit into any of the categories mentioned above.
  • The Pretender:
    • Jarod, the lead character, adopts a different surname each episode. Initially, this is because he doesn't know his real surname, but even after he locates and spends time with his father, his real surname is never revealed. (This sometimes leads to clunky dialogue, though not so much with Jarod as with his father, who is referred to as "Major Charles" always, by everyone, in all contexts.)
    • Then there's Miss Parker, who is never given a name. Fan speculation has given us the possibility of "Angel", her father's nickname for her, being her actual name.
    • Sydney and Lyle, who only go by their first names, and Broots, who only goes by his last name.
    • In fact, almost all of the major characters in The Pretender go by one name only, the one exception being Mr. Raines, who eventually turned out to be a William. Several of these characters go to remarkable lengths to keep their names secret — Corrupt Corporate Executive Mr. Parker, for instance, somehow managed to persuade the celebrant of his on-screen wedding to leave his full name out of the vows (as did Quincy, M.E. and the Kid (from The Young Riders) in their wedding episodes) — leading some to suspect that the writers themselves don't actually know what their names are.
  • Pushing Daisies: Ned doesn't seem to have a last name. Neither of the people related to him seem to, either, in contrast with the narrator's habit of referring to everyone by their full names. It's not even clear what 'Ned' is an abbreviation of. Most likely it's Edward, but it could also be Edmond, Edgar or even Eddard. Or it could just be "Ned"....
  • Revolution: The following non-exhaustive list of characters in season 1 have only one name: Jimmy, Billings ("Clue"), Cutrone ("The Love Boat"), Fletcher ("Chained Heat"), Graves ("The Longest Day"), McCoy, Reed ("The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia"), Ryan, Simpson ("Ghosts"), Templeton ("Pilot"), Nicholas, Albert ("No Quarter"), Ashley ("Kashmir"), Rose ("Ties That Bind"), Rosie ("The Song Remains the Same"), Sam, Trevor (two characters with that name), McCready ("The Longest Day"), Drexel ("Sex and Drugs"), Audrey ("The Children's Crusade"), Beth, Boggs, Brian, Caleb, Carl, Davis, Duane ("Home"), George, Jack, Jacob, Lily, Michael, Peter, Rob ("Soul Train"), Rudy ("The Plague Dogs"), Sean, Skip, Sonia, Spencer, Steve (two characters with that name), and Vidal. Most of them are minor one-shot characters, but a couple of them are recurring characters.
  • Seinfeld: Newman's first name is never mentioned at all, even on his business card. And for a long time Kramer was this, until the episode revealing his first name is Cosmo.
  • Sharpe: Harris is never given a first name. This is given a Lampshade Hanging in Sharpe's Waterloo - Hagman, who has served with him for years and presumably knows him very well, asks "So what is your first name?"
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Teal'c. For that matter, most of SG-1's aliens do not have family names.
    • However, this is averted in Stargate Atlantis, where most aliens, including regulars Teyla Emmagan and Ronon Dex, do have first and last names. This raises an interesting question: how is it that Earth alone uses a naming system unheard of in the Milky Way galaxy but commonplace in the Pegasus Galaxy?
      • Well, the majority of the humans in the Milky Way were ruled, and thus had their cultures influenced by, the Goa'uld, whereas the Pegasus Galaxy and post-Goa'uld Earth were more influenced by the Ancients. That could be one way of hand waving the entire problem.
      • Except most Ancients in the show don't have last names, either.
      • A lot do. The first one SG-1 meets is Oma Desala. The first one the Atlantis team meets is Chaya Sar. The one SG-1 meets in Atlantis is Ganos Lal, aka Morgan le Fay.
    • The Jaffa sometimes tack place of origin (or current affiliation, in the case of "Teal'c of the Tau'ri") onto another Jaffa's name (and sometimes that of a human) as if this constituted a type of full name in their culture.
  • Star Trek:
    • Klingons may also have a patronymic ("Worf, son of Mogh") and a House name ("Worf of the House of Mogh", later the House of Martok), but do not have true last names. Vulcans might be the same, depending on which set of contradictory evidence you prefer.
    • Then there's Chakotay.
    • We also have Data. And Odo. And Laas.
      • Wan't Odo's full name Odo Ital? I might be misremembering...
      • Correct. It was Bajoran for "unknown sample".
      • By rights, Data could've been Data Soong, but chose not to do it.
    • And Neelix. And Kes.
    • Trill symbionts have only one name, and hosts use it as a surname when joined, dropping the family name. Thus, Ezri Tigan became Ezri Dax when joined with the Dax symbiont. We never do find out what Jadzia's original family name was before she was joined with Dax though.
    • Deep Space Nine's Dukat never got a first name in the series. Fanon based on novels gave it as "Skrain." Other Cardassian characters got full names, like Elim Garak, Enabran Tain and Tora Ziyal (though Ziyal's is Bajoran-style, rather than being "Ziyal Dukat", for a good reason).
      • During Dominion War arc, Dukat, recording a log entry on Terok Nor, once referred to himself as "Dukat, S.G.", although no explanation is given what it means or even if it is part of his name (as opposed to some rank/position like "Station/Sector Gul/Garrison" etc)
    • One episode of Star Trek: The Original Series claims Spock's last name cannot be pronounced by humans, but others seem to indicate he has no last name at all. Diane Duane's Spock's World speculates that Vulcans use patronymics, so Spock's full name, according to her, is "Spock cha'Sarek".
      • Actually, the name that couldn't be pronounced was merely called "another name" in one episode and "the Vulcan name" (implicitly the family name) in another. Since not all cultures put the family name last or even have family names in the Western sense, we don't know if Spock's unpronounceable name is his first or last name. Continuity editor D.C. Fontana decided that this other name was "XTMPRSQZNTWLFB". Linguist fanfic author Dorothy Jones actually worked out a pronunciation and etymology for that sucker.
    • Similarly, Sulu's first name was not given in Star Trek canon until the 6th movie in the series. The name Hikaru actually came from one of the first published novels, The Entropy Effect.
    • On Star Trek: The Next Generation, O'Brien didn't get a last name until his third appearance, and didn't get a first (and middle) name, Miles Edward, until three years after his first appearance. He's an Ascended Extra, so it's excusable.
    • The Vorta, none of whom have family names. Understandable, as they don't have families, but they do each get a number tacked on to their name, so that's something.
    • None of the named Romulans (e.g. Sela, Donatra, Tel'Aura, Tomalak) appears to have a last name. Given that they're an offshoot of Vulcans, this may be a Justified Trope. However, at least one non-canon novel has a character refer to a Romulan by name. Specifically, Captain John Harriman (the inept captain of the Enterprise-B, whom the book turned into a badass) purposefully calls Admiral Vokar by his first name Aventeer, knowing the latter would perceive it as an insult.
      • There is one exception to this, Admiral Alidar Jarok. Though you'd be forgiven if after watching the episode he appeared in you made the mistake of thinking "Alidar" was an alias rather than his first name.
  • In Super Sentai, this is generally used for Rangers not from modern Japan, like the Zyurangers (prehistoric times), Kakurangers (ancient Japan), Gingaman (Ginga Forest), Goseigers (Gosei World) and Ryusoulger (RyuSoul Tribe), as well as some of the Timerangers (the future), Zyuohgers (Zyuland), and Kyurangers (other planets). Exceptions to this rule include the Maskmen, Dairangers, and Toqgers (the last of whose case can be chalked up to their Laser-Guided Amnesia).
  • Supernatural:
    • The angels all only have a first name.
    • Reapers as well.
    • Lilith and Cain are the only demons to go by their human names, and neither of them apparently have surnames. The rest of the demons don't remember their previous names (except for Crowley, and he doesn't use it), and apparently just pick a random human name when they're on Earth. There's at least one instance of a demon using the name of its vessel (Meg Masters), even after switching to a new vessel.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Cromartie is one of these. They even lampshade it in his very first scene.
    Cromartie: Mister Ferguson is ill today. My name is Cromartie.
    Student: Is that your only name, like Madonna?
    Cromartie: Madonna? Why? No.
  • Trailer Park Boys: None of the characters outside of the Lahey family have surnames (and Bubbles is never even given a proper first name, "Bubbles" is explicitly stated to be a nickname). This gets comical when the main characters get arrested or go to court and the cops and judges only call them Julian or Ricky.
  • Tru Calling: Davis.
    Tru: I don't even know if Davis is your first or last name.
    Davis: Middle.
  • Ultraseven: Soga and Amagi are the only two Ultra Garrison members without full names.
  • V (1983): The Visitors in both the original and new series go only by a first name.
  • Vengeance Unlimited: Mr. Chapel's first name is never revealed. Though the likelihood of Chapel itself being a pseudonym is rather high in this regard.
  • Vintergatan: The protagonists usually only had one name...then it becomes an Averted Trope with the second season, when they got last names too.
  • What Not to Wear: Carmindy, the makeup expert.
  • Young Blades: Siroc. It's unclear whether this is a first or last name.


Example of: