Alias (TV series)/Characters

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    Characters in the TV series Alias

    The Good Guys

    Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner)

    Recruited from grad school into what she believed was the CIA, but was actually a terrorist organization. She joins up with the real CIA to bring down the Alliance.

    • Action Girl
    • Broken Bird: Mostly in season one, when she's avenging the death of her fiance and dealing with the double-agent lifestyle.
    • Cain and Abel: Sydney and Nadia, who do their best to avert the prophecy that claims this. Unfortunately, it sort of comes to pass in "Before the Flood", when Nadia is infected by the tainted water and zombified. Sydney doesn't kill her though, and eventually, she recovers.
    • The Chosen One: Despite doing her best to tell Destiny to go screw itself.
    • Deadpan Snarker: Even under torture. A good example is her line in the pilot to Suit and Glasses:

    Okay, this is important. Write this down. E-M-E-T-I-B. Got that? Now reverse it.


    Jack Bristow (Victor Garber)

    Sydney's father, who is also a double-agent for the CIA. A noted game-theorist and strategist, Jack is excellent at espionage, but crap at personal relationships. The one thing that will always be true is that he has Sydney's welfare at heart.


    You beat death, Arvin. But you couldn't beat me.

    • Team Dad
    • The Masochism Tango: Irina marries Jack for his secrets, he brainwashes their kid, she fakes her own death, he becomes a bitter shell of a man, she betrays him to Sloane and is doubled, he shoots her double in the head, she gets better and comes after him, he forces her out of a building at gunpoint . . . and so it goes.
    • The Stoic: Most of the time.
      • Not So Stoic: When it comes to his daughter, and to a lesser extent, his wife.
    • Torture Technician: A rare heroic example. His talent for torture is never presented as anything less than the vicious, horrible thing it is. When you really have to worry is when he's cracking jokes right and left.

    Jack: I'm actually hoping you don't tell us what we need to know. There's a 50/50 chance Sydney cuts the right wire. I'm willing to take those odds if it means I can stand here and watch you turn into an animal.
    Elena: You're not a gambling man, Jack.
    Jack: I didn't used to be, but it's been a rather interesting year for me. It's lead me to reevaluate my life. I'm trying to have more fun these days.

    • Triang Relations: #9 with Irina and Katya (but not at the same time), #8 with Irina and Sloane (but not a triad situation, Irina was married to Jack but had an affair with Sloane, who was Jack's best friend).
    • When He Smiles: Any time Jack is relaxed enough to show a genuine smile is a beautiful thing.

    Michael Vaughn (Michael Vartan)

    Sydney's CIA handler, who very quickly falls for her. Vaughn's father was also an agent, killed by Irina Derevko on a mission he didn't even agree with.

    • Actor Allusion: Vaughn speaks excellent French and is mistaken numerous times for a native because Michael Vartan was born in France and speaks it fluently.
    • Boring Invincible Hero: At times, though he's not the hero.
    • The Danza
    • Dead Person Impersonation: We find out in season five that Vaughn's real name is Andre Michaux, and his father wasn't working for the CIA, but rather, Prophet Five.
    • Despair Event Horizon: Lauren's betrayal and double-agent status pushes Vaughn over the edge. He becomes obsessed with hunting her down, and in the S3 finale, kills her in cold blood.
    • Foe Yay: With Sark.
    • The Handler
    • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: With Sydney in S1 to "Phase One".
    • Nice Guy
    • Spy Couple: With Sydney.
    • Too Dumb to Live: He survives, but standing there and looking at Sydney running from a wall of water in the season one finale was stupid. It's his own fault he gets trapped.
    • Took a Level in Badass: Being betrayed by the woman you thought was your wife and a fellow agent will do that to you. Luckily, when your co-worker and future father-in-law has been through the same thing, he can help with the coping mechanisms and provide excellent weaponry.
    • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Weiss, to Ho Yay levels.

    Marcus Dixon (Carl Lumbly)

    Sydney's partner on SD-6 missions, she struggles with lying to him the most when she becomes a double agent. When SD-6 falls, Dixon joins the real deal, and rises through the ranks to become Director of the CIA's Joint Task Force.

    • Beware the Nice Ones: Dixon should provide the page image.
    • Cool Old Guy: Does pretty well for himself as a field agent.
    • Despair Event Horizon: After the death of his wife at Sloane's hands, Dixon goes rather spectacularly off the rails. He starts popping Vicoden, almost tortures a man to death, and then tricks the entire CIA into thinking he's going to blow himself and a mook up to get Sloane's whereabouts. He gets better, though.
    • Genius Bruiser
    • Intergenerational Friendship: With Sydney.
    • The Mentor: To Sydney.
    • Older and Wiser
    • Omniglot: Speaks nine languages, but "techno isn't one of them".
    • Reasonable Authority Figure
    • Scary Black Man: Subverts it - Dixon is the most level-headed guy around. Except for that one time he went off the rails due to his wife's death.
    • The Spymaster: Upon his promotion to JTF Director.
    • Token Minority
    • Tragic Mistake: In "Truth Takes Time", Dixon serves as a CIA sniper on the assault on Sloane's villa. He accidentally shoots Emily Sloane, who had been helping the CIA, instead of her husband. Later, Sloane takes revenge by having Diane Dixon killed.

    Marshall Flinkman (Kevin Weisman)

    The resident technical wizard for SD-6, and later, the CIA. Marshall's gadgets and knowhow make him a good guy to have around . . . if you can get him to stop babbling.

    Eric Weiss (Greg Grunberg)

    Vaughn's best friend and an agent with the CIA. Great with a sarcastic quip in a crisis, and a loyal guy to have on your team.

    Asst. Director Kendall (Terry O'Quinn)

    In charge of Operation "Bring Down the Alliance", he's something of an antagonist to Sydney due to his by the book approach.

    • Bald of Awesome: Evolves into this in S3.
    • Fake Guest Star: Despite appearing in nearly every episode of season two.
    • Mr. Exposition: Nigh constantly. An entire episode is devoted to Kendall interrogating Sydney and recapping what we know about the series.
    • Pointy-Haired Boss: Despite being bald, Kendall fits.
    • Took a Level in Badass: After the events of season two. A couple years and a demotion drive him to kidnap Sydney and do what no one else in the series is apparently capable of - tell her the complete truth about who he is, who he works for, and what happened to her during those missing two years.

    Nadia Santos (Mia Maestro)

    Sydney's long-lost sister, who grew up in an orphanage in Argentina and was secretly watched over by her Aunt Elena. Worked for Argentinian intelligence before joining APO.

    Rachel Gibson (Rachel Nichols)

    Young agent who worked for The Shed before learning that it was really a branch of Prophet Five. Was rescued by Sydney and brought into APO.

    • Foe Yay: With Kelly and Sark.
    • Odd Friendship: With Marshall.
    • Plucky Girl: Probably would have morphed into a full Action Girl (like everybody else) if the show had lasted long enough. As it is she's not much of a fighter, but she does her best.
    • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A twenty-something girl approached by what she believes to be the CIA but is actually a terrorist organization headed by an evil mastermind. She then joins up with the real CIA to bring her former employers, who have hurt people she loves, down. Remind you of anybody?
    • Undercover As Lovers: With Sark, at one point.

    Thomas Grace (Balthazar Getty)

    Brash, snarky agent who joins APO after Weiss leaves. His wife was killed years ago by an enemy agent.

    Dr. Judy Barnett (Patricia Wettig)

    The CIA psychiatrist assigned to most of the main characters to assist them in dealing with the emotional impact of espionage.

    Carrie Bowman (Amanda Foreman)

    A technical analyst for the NSA, she works with the CIA on missions involving Rambaldi. She also falls in love with Marshall, and in season three, marries him. They have one son, Mitchell, though we find out in the finale that eventually, they'll have four children, all boys.

    Villains, Antagonists, and other Morally Ambiguous Types

    Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin)

    The ultimate Big Bad of the series. First director of SD-6 and member of the Alliance, then allied with Sark and Irina, and headed up APO. An obsessive devotee of Milo Rambaldi, Sloane will do anything to further his own endgame.

    Irina Derevko / Laura Bristow (Lena Olin)

    Sydney's mother, who isn't quite as dead as everyone thinks. She shows up in season two as a prisoner of the CIA and gains Sydney's trust. Irina will always be out for herself, though.


    Irina: We both know how this is supposed to play out. You bring me back to the States, turn me over to your superiors.
    Jack: I thought you could reach the border by daybreak.
    Irina: What about the Agency, what will you tell them?
    Jack: What I think they already know - that no one can hold on to Irina Derevko for too long.

    • Cloning Blues: Was "doubled" as part of Project Helix. Luckily, the Irina that Jack executes over her attempts to kill Sydney isn't the real one.
    • Deep-Cover Agent: Practically the personification of the trope.
    • Deliver Us From Evil: Subverts and lampshades the trope. Getting pregnant was an accident, but Irina claims she kept her child because it gave her a greater hold on Jack. She also claims - to Sydney's face - that she could have easily terminated the pregnancy or killed Sydney, but she realized her daughter was innocent. She claims to love Sydney, but that doesn't make Sydney immune from danger at Irina's hands.
    • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Double!Irina and Jack. Subversion, too, as it's Jack who shot her. Tear Jerker, too.
    • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Out. For. Herself.
    • Fake Russian: Though Lena Olin does an admirable job playing with her natural Swedish accent.
    • The Hecate Sisters: The Mother, to Elena's Crone and Katya's Warrior/Maiden, despite being the youngest of the Derevko sisters. Due to the importance of Sydney in both the show and to Rambaldi, Irina is definitely coded as the Mother.
    • Heel Face Revolving Door: Irina is out, first and foremost, for herself.
    • Hot Mom
    • Knight Templar Parent
    • Lady of War
    • Manipulative Bitch / Magnificent Bitch: Has to have been, considering she lived a lie for eight years and then continued to twist just about everyone, up to and including world governments, around her little finger.
    • The Masochism Tango: Irina marries Jack for his secrets, he brainwashes their kid, she fakes her own death, he becomes a bitter shell of a man, she betrays him to Sloane and is doubled, he shoots her double in the head, she gets better and comes after him, he forces her out of a building at gunpoint . . . and so it goes.
    • Missing Mom: Well, until she comes back.
    • Ms. Fanservice: Have you seen her biceps? S2 had her in tank tops, but her bra-and-panties scene in "Passage Pt. 1" and the leopard-print minidress from "A Dark Turn" definitely qualify as well.
    • Seductive Spy
    • Spy Couple: With Jack. Any time they have to be Undercover As Lovers (or just married), it's hilarious, due to the inherent awkwardness of her having betrayed him.
    • Thanatos Gambit: "Laura" fakes her death because her superiors at the KGB are growing suspicious of how attached she is to her fake family, Jack and Sydney.
    • Triang Relations: #9 with Jack and Katya, #8 with Jack and Sloane (but not a triad situation, Irina was married to Jack but had an affair with Sloane, who was her husband's best friend).
    • Trojan Prisoner: Played with. Irina was the CIA's prisoner for an entire season, and Jack suspected her of precisely this motive - however, she's really playing her own endgame and never overtly betrays the CIA while she's there or uses her intel to harm them after she escapes.

    Julian Sark (David Anders)

    The mysterious and cultured lieutenant to Irina Derevko. No one's really sure where his loyalties lie.

    • Badass in a Nice Suit
    • Bastard Understudy
    • Blond Guys Are Evil
    • Breakout Villain: Sark was supposed to be a one-off character, a gofer for K-Directorate or Irina or the Alliance. Fan reaction to David Anders was so great that he became more and more high-profile, eventually taking over the Big Bad mantle in the series finale flash-forward.
    • Deadpan Snarker
    • The Dragon: To Irina.
    • Mr. Fanservice: In Season 3's second episode, Sark speaks to Sydney from a CIA cell. Is a form-fitting black t-shirt really standard prison garb for international terrorists? Probably not, but it's Sark.
    • Fake Brit: David Anders is American. You'd never know it from his performance.
      • Fake Russian too, as we find out in season four. Sark isn't his real name, and his father is Russian.
    • Foe Yay: With Sydney and Vaughn.
    • Heel Face Revolving Door: His loyalties are self-described as "flexible".
    • Last-Name Basis: He's always Sark or Mr. Sark. His first name isn't even revealed until Season 3.
    • Nerves of Steel: He handles most situations with cool professionalism and a few choice quips. A few scenes go out of their way to show his obscene self-confidence:
      • In Season 2, Sydney sees him standing behind some (bulletproof) glass and shoots at him multiple times. He doesn't even blink.
      • In Season 4, he lures a CIA assault team to an empty building in order to make a deal. Facing nine very tense men aiming rifles at his head, he calmly pops the cork on a bottle of champagne.
    • Promotion to Opening Titles: In season two.
    • Sharp-Dressed Man
    • Terrorists Without a Cause: Sark's loyalties are to the highest bidder or Irina, whoever gets there first.
    • Western Terrorists
    • Wicked Cultured

    Anna Espinosa (Gina Torres)

    A rival spy who works for K-Directorate and who is acknowledged to be Sydney's equal, if not superior, in the field.

    Lauren Reed (Melissa George)

    NSA agent who marries Vaughn during Sydney's two-year absence. Is later revealed to be a double agent in league with the Covenant.

    Elena Derevko (Sonia Braga)

    The eldest of the Derevko sisters and the leader of the Covenant. Elena watched over Nadia in Argentina because she knew Nadia would become important. She also poisoned the water supply in Svogda and was eventually executed by Irina.

    Renee Rienne (Elodie Bouchez)

    A former terrorist who once helped Vaughn investigate Prophet Five. Occasionally teams with Sydney to help take them down.

    Kelly Peyton (Amy Acker)

    Agent at the Shed with Rachel Gibson, eventually revealed to be a member of Prophet Five.

    Yekaterina "Katya" Derevko (Isabella Rosselini)

    The middle of the Derevko sisters. Her alliances are often just as ambiguous as Irina's.

    Dr. Zhang "Suit and Glasses" Lee (Rik Young)

    A torture expert on hire to pretty much any criminal organization who wants him. Tends to come out on the wrong ends of Crowning Moments Of Awesome, yet still completely terrifying.

    McKenas Cole (Quentin Tarantino)

    Starts out as an ex-SD-6 agent now working for The Man. Is later allied with the Covenant.


    Sloane: I can't be the first person to have difficulty taking you seriously, can I?

    • Noodle Incident: When Sark asks him when he was released from CIA custody, all he replies is "That's a good story."


    Will Tippin (Bradley Cooper)

    Sydney's best friend, a reporter who begins piecing together the strange circumstances surrounding Danny's death. He eventually becomes an analyst for the CIA after Vaughn picks up on his talents.

    Francie Calfo/Alison Doren (Merrin Dungey)

    Sydney and Will's best friend, who runs her own restaurant and worries about Sydney. In "Phase One", we find out that Francie has been doubled using Project Helix, and the woman walking around in Francie's body is really Alison Doren.

    Emily Sloane (Amy Irving)

    Arvin Sloane's beloved wife, who is dying of cancer. She reveals to Sydney that she's always known Sloane wasn't a businessman and knows about SD-6.

    • Broken Bird: She's introduced as she's dying of stage-four lymphoma, and later, we learn her and Sloane's daughter died in infancy.
    • Ill Girl
    • Hidden Depths: Turns out Emily isn't just a Broken Bird victim of Sloane: she helped Sloane fake her death, cut off her own finger, and was prepared to betray him in exchange for his not receiving the death penalty. She stays loyal to him at the end, but can you really blame her?
    • Morality Pet: For her husband. Every good thing Sloane ever does is either for or about her.
    • Parental Substitute: Sydney says that she has always regarded Emily as a mother to her.