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Lilly Rush (Kathryn Morris)
- Alone with the Psycho: In "Mind Hunters", "The Woods", and "Stalker"
- Amazingly Embarrassing
ParentsMother: Her father seems to be a rather nice guy instead
- Berserk Button: Parental neglect, violence against women and children
- The Chick: Despite also being The Hero, she has a higher tendency to be shot, kidnapped and being thrown off a bridge than other characters, specially in season finales. But never as much as in Fan Fiction, where she fully drives the road to Chickification and becomes The Woobie for the single purpose of having Scotty save (and then have sex with) her
- Daddy Had a Good Reason For Abandoning You: Namely, that Mommy threw him out of home
- The Dutiful Daughter: Her mother is still more fond of her spoiled little sister, though
- Dying Dream: “Into the Blue”
- Fair Cop
- Hair of Gold
- The Hero
- Idiot Ball: She grabs it during most of the episode “Joseph”. Hard.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: One of them is even missing a leg.
- Married to the Job: Count the times her job has caused her to break a relationship. And that's only in the last seven to eight years. Ouch
- Mommy Issues
- My Sister Is Off-Limits
- Noodle Incident: The reason that relation with her sister is so strained is that she stole her boyfriend? fiancee? in the 90s but the whole incident has never been fully explained
- The Smurfette Principle: Until Kat became a regular
- The Unfavorite
- What the Hell, Hero?: The whole stalking Moe Kitchener arc in Season 7
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: She really has a thing for pursuing old cases and bringing justice where everyone else considers it impossible, to the point of accepting to investigate cases that are 80 or 90 years old just because some distant descendant of the victim asks her to.
Scotty Valens (Danny Pino)
- Berserk Button: Several, since he is the resident hothead latino
- Elisa's schizophrenia and later suicide
- His family ( not without reason. His mother was raped and his brother molested by their boxing coach when he was a small child)
- Children abuse in general
- The Charmer
- Fair Cop
- Gratuitous Spanish: Sort of subverted. He only "lapses" into this when talking to a character that knows Spanish and since the actor is bilingual he is perfectly capable to maintain a fluent conversation in the language
- The Lancer
- Latin Lover: But not to Lilly, no matter what the Fan Dumb wants to believe
- Magical Database: Of anything that has to do with cars.
- Idiot Ball: In "Breaking News", when he learns that Frankie has lied him about being divorced and that she's still married. He is disgusted but when he meets her later in a bar he goes to play bed bondage with her... in the middle of a crime investigation.
- Rabid Cop: He's sometimes as bad as UnStabler.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome
- Writer on Board: Danny Pino wrote the episode "Stealing Home", which shows both the actor's love for baseball and his hatred of the Castro dictatorship. It is of course a Scotty-centered episode.
Nick Vera (Jeremy Ratchford)
- The Alcoholic
- Berserk Button: His failed marriage and the Chimayo case
that everybody thinks he screwed up.
- The Big Guy: A wider than taller version
- Big Eater
- Deadpan Snarker
- Groin Attack: In "Free Love"
- Heroic BSOD: "Flashover".
- Hollywood Tone Deaf: Implied at the end of "Wilkommen", when his singing causes everybody around to cover their ears. And he claims to have played Danny Zuko in a Grease play in High School...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Kavorka Man: Has four (way better looking) love interests through the series despite being a short, fat, lazy alcoholic with a hard hearing voice and
possiblymost definitely infertile. He even uses his 'charms' to get a testimony from a woman in "Two Weddings" (the lady was a tramp, though)
- Magical Database: He knows everything about hockey
- Noodle Incident: His "would have been 19 years old now" son with Megan mentioned in "Ravaged"
- Rabid Cop: The resident one through much of the series, yet arguably caught up by (and even surpassed) by Scotty in the 7th season.
- Turn in Your Badge: "Flashover". He gets better.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Any time he uses violence to force a suspect to confess. This has led some viewers to consider him the Token Evil Teammate.
Will Jeffries (Thom Barry)
- Badass Grandpa: He is sixty... something, but when he loses his temper (and that's hard), he loses it, as that ADA learned in "Death Penalty: Final Appeal"
- Bald Black Leader Guy: When Stillman was on forced leave
- Berserk Button: Racism
- Cool Old Guy
- Embarrassing Old Photo: Vera finds a photo of him at his High School prom and distributes copies of it at the station to prove the "hottie" that accompanied Jeffries and he has bragged so much about wasn't hot at all. Jeffries then counterattacks distributing copies of Vera's prom, but Vera is delighted if anything.
- Gentle Giant
- Genius Bruiser: Former football player and boxer. Aspiring writer (once he retires) with quite more culture than his teammates.
- Mangst: For his wife, who was run over by a truck in the 90s
- Nice Hat: The fedora he uses sometimes
- Number Two: To Stillman
- The Smart Guy
- Writers Cannot Do Math: In "Strange Fruit" he is shown to be 12 in 1963 but in “Best Friends” (aired in 2005) it's his 60 birthday. Lampshaded in "November 22nd":
Will: [talking about the day Kennedy was assassinated] I was playing touch football at recess.
Scotty: Recess? I thought you were, like, forty-five when that happened.
Lilly: No, you're thinking of when Lincoln was shot.
Will: Keep it up. See what happens.
John Stillman (John Finn)
- A Father to His Men
- Benevolent Boss
- Berserk Button: Can't stand those who lie about having served on the military and the officers that mistreat their soldiers (he suffered one while serving in Vietnam)
- The Captain (well, technically, Lieutenant)
- Cool Old Guy
- Da Chief
- The Danza
- Magical Database: He claimed to know everything related to sports in one episode of the first season, but unlike in Valens and Vera's case this ability was never revisited in later episodes.
- Married to the Job: Official explanation of his divorce before Agent Yates showed up
- Team Dad
- Ten-Minute Retirement: Took a forced leave in place of Scotty in season 5 but helped the squad extra-officially anyway
- The Mentor: To Lilly
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Implied more than really shown and seems to have gotten over it years ago (mostly)
Kat Miller (Tracie Thoms)
- Affirmative Action Girl
- Embarrassing Old Photo: She shows one to Vera at the end of "Stand up and holler"
- Hot Mom
- Old Shame: The time she fell for a gang member while undercover, resulting in Veronica's conception.
- Overprotective Mom: Is very resistant to let her daughter meet her father despite the guy seems to have fully recovered and reinserted in society. The actual reason is that she's embarrassed of their former relationship and protecting her daughter is just a pretext.
- Sassy Black Woman
- Sixth Ranger
- Tomboy: She describes her young self as one in “Wednesday Women”.
Ellen Rush (Meredith Baxter)
- Addiction Displacement: Tried coffee the short period she actually stopped drinking alcohol
- Amazingly Embarrassing Mother: To Lilly
- Bus Crash: A disputed case. While she wasn't exactly Put on a Bus, her death was off-screen and her funeral never showed up on the series
- Dying Alone: Her main fear. She's so obsessed with it that she marries four times in her lifetime. Ultimately happens, as her last husband leaves her, her younger daughter is nowhere to be found and her older daughter is always working
- I Was Quite a Looker
- Lady Drunk
- Off the Wagon: Ultimately leading to Killed Off for Real
- Too Dumb to Live
Christina Rush (Nicki Aycox)
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Well into adulthood.
- Black Sheep
- Hot Mom
- Long Bus Trip: With the bus coming Back for the Finale.
- Really Gets Around: Until she winds up with an abusive boyfriend.
Frankie Rafferty (Tania Raymonde)
- Enhance Button: Most of her job as a Video Lab Tech
- The Unfair Sex: Thinks it is OK to lie Scotty about her marriage and cheat on her husband because they are going to divorce anyway (the guy doesn't seem to be aware of the last part, though)
ADA Curtis Bell (Jonathan La Paglia)
Diane Yates (Susanna Thompson)
- Best Served Cold: The entire point of her career is to find who killed her boyfriend when she was 18 and kill the murderer herself
- Blood-Splattered Innocents
- Cowboy Cop: She uses her position as an FBI agent and her former relationship with Stillman to make the PPD re-open her One Case and help her investigate it. As it turns out, she's doing so completely on her own, but her supervisor has to suck it up and let her continue the investigation because his position would be the most threatened if the whole thing was uncovered.
- Dead Little Sister
- If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him: Lilly manages to convince her to not kill her boyfriend's murderer when she has him handcuffed, though interestingly she does so without using these exact words
- Jerkass: Oh so much.
- Mrs. Robinson
- New Old Flame: To Stillman
- No Woman's Land: She claims the PPD was this when she left for the FBI
- Really Gets Around
- The Reveal: She is the young woman seen in the Drive In at the beginning of her first episode
George Marks (John Billingsley)
- A God Am I: Third kind.
- Actor Allusion: The army surplus store owner he got most of his stuff from was wearing a USS Enterprise cap.
- Crazy Prepared
- Dangerously Genre Savvy
- Deconstructor Fleet: George manages to deconstruct the very same show in his debut episode ("Mindhunters").
- He was the first Serial Killer to appear in the series, and as such he didn't have any relation with his victims, unlike other previous killers.
- He killed more than once and he liked it. His weren't the usual "rage of the moment" killings that make half of the show, but executions planned to the minimal detail.
- He knew the cops would eventually come after him and likely planned his interrogation years before it happened. Instead of being caught in their usual interrogation methods, he mocked them and researched the detectives extensively to use their weaknesses against them.
- Unlike other perps, he knew (and lampshaded) when to shut his mouth and that he could walk out any time he wanted since the police did not have definitive evidence against him.
- He was a rather low-profile guy nobody paid attention to, so nobody remembered him and/or could identify him when the police asked about him years later. This also helped him to commit crimes while working as a caretaker for the Police Department.
- Since he gets away with the crime, his first episode is the first (and one of the very few) to not feature the victim's ghost appearing at the end.
- Even Evil Has Standards: OK, his definition of "strong woman that deserves to be stripped down, hunted for miles and beheaded like an animal" is flexible enough to include a 14 year-old, but once he decides a target, he goes after that target and no one else. In one occasion he postponed his plans until a mother was separated from her daughter so he had not to threat or physically harm the child.
- During interrogation, he implies that he did in fact threaten to harm the little girl if her mother didn't come with him, so it's more likely that he simply didn't want any witnesses or the hassle of trying to deal with two victims at once.
- Hannibal Lecture: in both of his episodes. In the second one, everything he says is either a this or a Villainous Breakdown.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: His hobby
- Impersonating an Officer: How he captures his victims. A favorite tactic of serial killer Ted Bundy.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Mommy Issues: He was raised by a crazy woman who blamed him for her (non existent) blindness and sold him to a rapist to spare herself of the harm
- Not So Different: Thinks this of Lilly Rush because of some similitude in their backstories (both were raised by terrible single mothers and attacked at a young age; he also wanted to join the police but failed the psychological test) and wants her to admit it.
- Ominous Walk: Arguably, what he likes more than killing.
- The Perfect Crime
- Self-Made Orphan
- Serial Killer
- Start of Darkness: "The Woods"
- Suicide by Cop
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: His MO is nearly identical to Alaskan serial killer Robert Hansen's; one of the main differences is that Hansen targeted prostitutes, most of whom he raped.
- Villainous Breakdown: When Lilly realizes George was raped as a kid and uses it against him
- Worthy Opponent: He thinks Lilly is the only one cop that deserves to confront him
- Xanatos Gambit: In "The Woods". He deliberately uncovers the house where he hid the skulls of his victims so the PPD will reopen his case and his mother's, then kills the one woman that escaped him and does not bury her body to drive off the police's attention to the forest, knowing Stillman will not let Lilly go with them for fear of her being targeted by George, while correctly predicting at the same time that Lilly will not give up but go alone to the house to investigate herself. There he confronts her, takes her hostage and basically makes her shoot him. In the end, the whole episode was a complicated scheme by George to give his Motive Rant and get himself killed by the only person he considered worthy of doing it, while proving Lilly that she could be a murderer too
Moe Kitchener (Daniel Baldwin)
- The Alcoholic
- Crime After Crime: He didn't even commit the murder the team was initially investigating.
- Kavorka Man: Possibly
- Smug Snake
- Vigilante Execution: His death.
Deputy Commissioner Patrick Doherty (Keith Szarabajka)
- Bad Boss
- Character Development: Its eventually revealed that the reason he's such a hardass in regards to John is because he was the one who sent his drug addicted son to prison for a series of petty crimes. He comes to reluctantly admit to John that his son going to prison was the best thing that ever happened to him, as it helped him get his life back on track.
- Dirty Cop
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: In "Street Money" and "Jurisprudence"
Paul Shepard (JB Blanc)
- Beard of Evil
- Berserk Button: "Nobody cares..."
- Cold Sniper
- Disproportionate Retribution
- Freudian Excuse: His father's suicide.
- Just One Little Mistake: Probably shouldn't have kept that incriminating magazine subscription.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge
- Serial Killer
- Serious Business: East of Eden.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife
- Villainous Breakdown: When the police began closing in, he devolved into a spree killer
"John Smith" (Damon Herriman)
- Continuity Nod: As Lilly leaves, he screams "Don't you walk away!" as George Marks did in "Mind Hunters".
- Cruel Mercy: Lilly refuses to take the bait and kill him, and so he's carted off to a small prison cell. Keep in mind, he's a severe claustrophobic.
- Enfant Terrible: If a flashback is anything to go by.
- Evil Gloating
- For the Evulz: His background is never elaborated on, no Freudian Excuse or anything is ever offered. He just really gets off on breaking people.
- Hannibal Lecture
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He imprisons his latest victim within hearing distance of a church that rings its bells every Sunday, enabling the woman to retain her sanity by keeping track of the days. Therefore, she won't snap like his previous victims, rattling him so much that he makes the error that gets him caught. Then, his attempts at getting Lily to give up like his other victims backfires when he TELLS Lily the name of the hymn the woman was humming even as he entombed her and left her to die. Sure enough, Lily not only realizes the woman's still alive, she realizes where the woman's being held because she grew up in that neighborhood and remembers the church.
- Just One Little Mistake: The only reason he was caught was because a local sheriff spotted him driving somewhat erratically.
- One-Scene Wonder: He appeared in only one episode, but proved to be quite memorable. For good reason.
- Only Known by Their Nickname
- Mind Rape: Half his MO.
- Sealed Room in the Middle of Nowhere: The other half of his MO.
- Serial Killer
- Smug Snake
- Suicide by Cop: It fails.
- They Look Just Like Everyone Else: A former neighbor only remembered him because he was the only white guy in the neighborhood. He himself states, "I'm not the guy you look at and think "rapist". I'm more like the guy you see at the dentist's office.", indicating that his average Joe appearance is what made it so easy for women to fall into his traps.
- Villainous Breakdown: His latest abductee's refusal to break disturbs him so much that it leads to the one little mistake listed above.