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Cole Phelps

 Actor: Aaron Staton

A 27 year old marine turned cop from a wealthy San Francisco family. Cole distinguished himself in the Pacific theatre, earning the Silver Star for his conduct. After the war, he moved to Los Angeles with his family, joining the LAPD. He quickly rises through the ranks, becoming something of a "golden boy", a visually pleasing, talented face that the public can admire.

  • The Atoner: Especially during the Arson arc.
  • Badass Bookworm
    • Cole speaks fluent Japanese (though somewhat accented) to two captured Japanese soldiers during the Battle for Okinawa.
    • In one particular Homicide case, he is recalled back to Central Station for the purposes of analysing a poem left by the murderer. He quickly deduces it is not an original and identifies it as written by Shelley. One of the Technical Services guys even mentions, "That's why we asked for you."
  • Blue Oni: To Kelso's Red.
  • By-The-Book Cop
  • Cultured Warrior: During his times as a soldier.
    • He chides one of his men for not understanding why the Japanese attacked them at Pearl Harbor, citing America's oil embargo against Japan as the primary motivation.
      • Except he failed miserably at the "warrior" part.
  • Et Tu, Roy?
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: During the "A Slip of the Tongue" case Bekowsky asks him what kind of women he likes, after some coaxing he says he has a thing for blondes.
    • This is also a bit of Foreshadowing: Cole's wife is not a blonde. Then again, neither is Elsa.
  • Expy: Of Detective Ed Exley from L.A. Confidential. Both of them are Glory Hound war heroes whom saw action in the Pacific during World War Two whom initially earn the distrust of their fellow officers. Both of them are By The Book Cops who eventually learn to break the rules a little. And both of them only earned their medals - a Distinguished Service Cross for Exley and a Silver Star for Phelps - because they were the only survivors from their units due to cowardice, but played it up.
  • Fair Cop: Civilians will comment on it.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Cole actually didn't do anything worthy of earning the Silver Star, he merely was the last man standing (or, more accurately, cowering) after a big battle, and the CO in charge just recommended him for the medal thinking he was a badass for managing to live through it. Many of the men in the battle died because of Cole's orders, so he has a lot of atoning to do.
  • Lieutenant Failure: Most of his men seemed to wish they weren't serving under him in the war.
  • Glory Hound: He went into the War as this, and still retains traits of it through most desks. It's not until the Arson desk that he truly wants justice for more than personal gain.
  • Good Cop, Bad Cop: He plays the good cop routine with almost all of his partners.
    • In many interrogrations, he's both. He responds in a good cop manner if you choose "truth" and a bad cop manner if you choose "doubt".
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: To his partners. Phelps is always the one to do 'hard stuff'.
  • Meddlesome Patrolman: His willingness to go the extra mile in a few cases that may not actually concern him is what gets him promoted to the Traffic Department so fast.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: He pulls a gun on Earle for mocking Courtney Sheldon after they find his corpse.
    • Also, all adultery charges against Cole are dropped and labelled as fraudulent after he dies.
  • Not So Stoic: He loses it occasionally during interrogations or when talking to Earle. In a flashback from Okinawa, he is shown to be unusually hysterical for a male Film Noir protagonist (to the point that his voice cracks in the final one).
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: With Galloway and Biggs. Cole's the young one.
  • Only Honest Cop
  • Redemption Equals Death
  • Semper Fi: He served as a First Lieutenant in the USMC during World War II.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Yes, he did end up having an affair, but given what he has been through and not to mention the manner in which the secret was betrayed by his own partner only makes you feel sorry for him.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: His relationship with his partners.
  • Waistcoat of Style: One word: Hawkshaw.


Ralph Dunn

 Actor: Rodney Scott

An LAPD patrolman and Cole's first partner.

  • The Generic Guy
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Doesn't appear in the game after Cole is promoted to Detective.
    • Ralph Dunn does make a brief appearance in the DLC case "Nicholson Electroplating", however, the only interaction he has with Cole is to address him as "detective." This could either be developer oversight, or he cuts his association with Cole after the affair goes public, as others have. Ralph is also present during Cole's funeral.

Stefan Bekowsky

 Actor: Sean McGowan

A detective working in LAPD's Traffic Desk, and Cole's second partner.

  • Cowboy Cop / Reasonable Authority Figure: Tends to be pretty by the book and honest, even if he's snarky about it, but he's more than willing to insult mafia henchmen to their faces, no matter how life-endangering this is.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's a pretty funny and easy-going guy.
  • Handsome Lech: If his (failed) attempts to curry favor with the female suspects/victims are any indication.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: In a conversation during "A Slip of the Tongue" he states a preference for redheads.
  • Likes Older Women: he implies he's like this in "A Slip of the Tongue", when he's drunk, at least.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted. He shows up in a Vice case having taken Cole's place in Homicide.

Finbarr "Rusty" Galloway

 Actor: Michael McGrady

A seasoned detective working in LAPD's Homicide Desk, and Cole's third partner. Sarcastic, divorced multiple times, rarely completely sober, and more than happy to ignore the rights of suspects.

Roy Earle

 Actor: Adam John Harrington

A detective working in LAPD's Vice Desk, and Cole's fourth partner. Knows all there is to know about the shady businesses the Jewish Mafia conducts in Los Angeles, and is openly racist towards the city's black and hispanic populations.

Herschel Biggs

 Actor: Keith Szarabajka

An old and bitter detective working in LAPD's Arson Desk, and Cole's fifth partner. A veteran of World War I and a long standing member of the police, Biggs has seen just about all there is to see, and has a cynical outlook on his work as well as life in general.

  • Badass
  • Hidden Depths: Well, nearly everyone in the game is presented three dimensionally, but Biggs in particular seems like a complete Jerkass but eventually becomes the Ensemble Darkhorse. He's essentially a burnt out cop whom Phelps gets to actually give a shit once more.
  • I Work Alone: He isn't too happy about being assigned a partner.
  • Informed Attribute: At one point he claims to have never fired his weapon in the line of duty. This is Blatant Lies if you've completed any street crimes prior to him saying this.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: He clearly thinks his job is a waste of time and isn't doing anyone any good, yet he keeps doggedly trying to solve the case anyway.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's not exactly a sociable person but he ended up standing up for Cole in some occasions, and in the end helped him in the final mission which had them going against the entire LAPD.
  • Narrator: He narrates the opening of the game, as well as the intros to all the patrol missions, but for some reason not any others.
  • Not So Stoic: Loses it after seeing Mr. Morelli's charred corpse literally crumble apart. Granted, what he saw was incredibly disturbing.
  • Private Eye Monologue: He seems to love giving 'em, despite being an actual cop.

LAPD Officers

James Donnelly

 Actor: Andrew Connolly

Captain of the Homicide Desk. Responsible for promoting Cole to detective.

  • Affably Evil: While he is arguably a corrupt cop, he always speaks to Cole in a fatherly tone and praises him every time he solves the case.
  • Da Chief
  • Expy: He pretty much IS Dudley Smith from LA Confidential.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: For the most part, Donnelly maintains a calm and professional tone, but one wrong sentence is enough to have him yelling in the face of the poor sap (Cole or Rusty) who dared to speak up.
  • First-Name Basis: With Rusty. He is the only person who can call him Finbarr without making him angry.
  • Knight Templar: When he allows Cole to do his first interrogation at the station, he tells him that if he can't get a confession through questioning, Cole shouldn't be afraid of using violence to extract one. He's also rather enthusiastic about sending men to the gas chamber. In the first Homicide case he encourages Cole to convict their only suspect even though they have a better lead just to get the press off the LAPD's ass, and at the crime scene in the second Homicide case he even tells the journalists that are looking for a story that the LAPD are "doing God's work".
    • Speaking of his desire to get on the press' good side he praises Cole if the latter charges Eli Rooney with the murder in "The Golden Butterfly," but berates him if he charges Hugo Moller; in the case, the evidence points more towards the latter.
  • Large Ham: Delivers his every word with the gravitas of a Shakespeare tragedy. Except when he shouts. Then he just becomes frickin' intimidating.
  • Officer O'Hara: Played by a native Irishman, who is implied to be one in-game as well.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: He gives one to Cole when he learns about the affair.

Gordon Leary

 Actor: Ned Vaughn

Captain of the Traffic Desk. Cole starts out as a detective under his watch.

Archie Colmyer

 Actor: Steven Rankin

Lieutenant of the Vice Desk. Earle's former partner.

Lachlan McKelty

 Actor: Randy Oglesby

Captain of the Arson Desk. Has a low tolerance for failure and a low opinion of Cole.

  • Hair-Trigger Temper
  • I Warned You: When Cole plans on investigating Elysian Fields Developments.
  • Jerkass: He never overlooks an opportunity to yell at Cole, and he doesn't treat Biggs much better.

Dr. Malcolm "Mal" Carruthers

 Actor: Andy Umberger

Chief forensics expert for the LAPD. Mal is one of Cole's most useful and trusted allies throughout the course of the game, providing him with forensic evidence and autopsy reports crucial to solving his investigations. The most recurrent character in the game next to Cole himself, since he's present at pretty much every crime scene in the game, and he's most certainly earned his place amongst the fandom.

  • Consummate Professional: Mal takes his job DEAD serious. He's most definitely not the typical Deadpan Snarker coroner usually portrayed in fiction (*cough*CSI*ahem*). He cracks no jokes, does not make fun of the dead and sees no morbid humor in his profession. He goes in, gets the evidence, provides it and that's that.
    • The way he dismisses his personal feelings about Cole's adultery charge in favor of just doing his job and helping him investigate during Cole's time in Arson is also a perfect example of how professional he is, not to mention being the game's Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. You can't help loving Mal after that moment.
  • The Coroner: Obviously.
  • The Smart Guy: Comes with the job, but Mal is one of the best examples of said job in all of fiction.

Ray Pinker

 Actor: JD Cullum

An investigator with Technical Services. He mainly shows up to help Cole handle evidence safely.

The Suburban Redevelopment Fund

Leland Monroe

 Actor: John Noble

A rich and influential real estate tycoon.

Dr. Harlan Fontaine

 Actor: Peter Blomquist

A psycho-therapist with an unusual method for treating mental disorders.

Curtis Benson

Vice-President of California Fire & Life, the insurance company that Jack Kelso works for.

  • Corrupt Corporate Executive
  • Dirty Old Man: He has an affair with a 12-year-old girl. Kelso is understandably enraged by this when he confronts Benson at his apartment.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: You can find an insurance letter written by him on the victim in the early Traffic case "A Marriage Made In Heaven."

William Worrell

The police chief of LAPD.

  • Da Chief
  • Dirty Cop
  • Karma Houdini: In the end, it is strongly implied that he has struck a deal with the Assistant DA, allowing him to go scot-free from his involvement in the Fund.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Also calls out Cole for his affair with Elsa.

Fetcher Bowron

The mayor.

Donald Sandler

The D.A.

Raymond Gordon

The editor of Los Angeles Times.


Jack Kelso

 Actor: Gil McKinney

A Marine who served under Cole's command in World War II as a sergeant. Currently works for California Fire & Life as an insurance investigator and later for the DA's office as a special investigator.

  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Becomes the playable character in three of the six arson cases.
  • Badass: Arguably more than Phelps.
    • The flashbacks to the war show he IS much more of a badass. Cole might have gotten a rep for badassery during his stint in the LAPD, but Jack brings it from much further back.
  • Hero of Another Story
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Kelso spends much of his time feeling frustrated and disappointed in just about everyone, but he tries his best to help them anyway.
  • The Lancer: To Cole during the war with a shade of Hypercompetent Sidekick. Although involuntarily, since Jack hated Cole's guts. Badly.
  • Red Oni: To Cole's Blue.
  • The Rival: During his days together with Cole in Marine Officer Candidate School, until it is implied that Kelso was driven out after a case of insubordination with a Drill Sergeant Nasty.
  • Quit Your Whining: Gives one of these to Cole when he tries to apologize to Jack about his bad leadership during the war.
  • Verbal Tic: Frequently refers to young women as "princess" when speaking to them.
  • With Due Respect: DEFINES the relationship between Jack and Cole.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Well, if she decided to shoot him in the arm, then yes. Yes, he would.

Elsa Lichtman

 Actress: Erika Heynatz

A German nightclub singer and junkie that Cole forms an attachment with.

Mickey Cohen

 Actor: Patrick Fischler

A Real Life Jewish mobster that Cole encounters during his time in Ad Vice.

Ira Hogeboom

A former Marine who was once part of Cole's Unit in Okinawa.

Courtney Sheldon

A former Marine who was also part of Cole's unit in Okinawa. He is now a medical student in Los Angeles under the tutelage of Doctor Fontaine.

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Initially set up as a well-meaning but naive kid who gets in way over his head. The last two flashbacks reveal that he attempted to murder Phelps for the blunder in Okinawa, and was the instigator behind the morphine theft that began the whole spiral of events in the first place.
    • For that matter, in the flashbacks he's described as charging through oncoming artillery fire to reach injured soldiers as a field medic.
  • Mercy Kill: Does this to a fellow soldier during the war.
  • The Pawn
  • Too Dumb to Live: This becomes glaringly obvious in the 11th newspaper cutscene.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Courtney's theft of the morphine and his medical career later all have one thing in common: he wants to compensate and alleviate his fellow Marines for all the bad shit they had to go through during the war. He just wants his fellow brothers in arms to have wealth and health he believes they've won twice over. Sadly for him, the road to hell and you know the rest.

June Ballard

A fading B-Movie actress Cole runs into after she and her niece drive off a cliff and into a billboard.

Garrett Mason

A temporary bartender filling in at the Bamba Club. He's the first person of interest that Cole and Galloway come across in their search for the Werewolf killer. And the last.

  • Chekhov's Gunman
  • The Generic Guy: When the player meets him, he doesn't seem to have any outstanding character traits. The first time you meet him, anyway.
  • The Reveal: He's The Werewolf killer, mastermind behind all the murders in the Homicide cases.
  • Serial Killer
  • Wicked Cultured: He's clearly well-versed in Greek mythology and the works of Percy Shelley.
  • The World Is Not Ready: Donnelly's justification for keeping his identity as The Werewolf under wraps, since it turns out he's the half-brother of one of America's most influential politicians.
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