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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 he shows up once, and disappears afterward.
Sometimes a one-shot becomes so popular he gets a Cameo later in the series, or he becomes a recurring extra, or even a full-blown cast member. Infrequently, what seems like a one-shot may actually be a Chekhov's Gunman.
Types of character that are frequently one-shots:
- Girl of the Week
- Long-Lost Uncle Aesop
- Monster of the Week
- One-Scene Wonder
- Spear Carrier
- Victim of the Week
- Woobie of the Week