Sterling Malory Archer
"Lying, is, like, 95% of what I do."
Despite being one of ISIS's top secret agents, Archer has consistently proven himself to be questionably competent, morally questionable and an absolute jackass. He has still kept his job at ISIS (his mother is the boss), but this hasn't shielded him from the ire and scorn of his colleagues or mother.
Tropes associated with Archer:
- Awesome McCoolname
- Badass in a Nice Suit: Archer is often seen in either a tailored suit or a black tactical turtleneck (a "tactleneck").
- Beard of Sorrow: Archer grows one for three months after his fiance is killed.
- Berserk Button: Anything that hints at his mother's sexuality.
- Cuteness Proximity: Wildly gushes over Carol's pet ocelot, loving his "cute little spots!"
- Dumbass Has a Point: Has moments of these. Noteworthy in "Skytanic" where he keeps thinking the airship is flammable even though it's full of helium, but his other reason why it's a stupid idea (it's a boring slow ride which can only go between two places) turned out to be completely true.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: His middle name is his mother's first name.
- Embarrassing Nickname: His codename is "Duchess" after his mother's dead dog.
- Expy: Visually, Archer is the spitting image of Xander Crewes from Frisky Dingo, though Archer is way nicer than Xander was.
- Fetish: He loves a chick who's into anal.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?: A Crowning Moment of Funny for him in "Honeypot".
- Hidden Depths: Despite his questionable competency as a secret agent, he is actually rather knowledgeable, and proves as such to the Irish mob with his knowledge of history when one of the mobsters insults the Honduran janitors about being immigrants.
- He uses his knowledge of chemistry to improvise bombs out of empty glass bottles, dry ice, and water.
- And he's apparently a Herman Melville fan.
- Lana: "You don't know your own blood-type, but you know the name of the guy who discovered blood-types?!"
- Hookers and Blow: What Archer gets up to in his spare time.
- It's All About Me
- Jerkass: Especially towards Cyril and Woodhouse.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: VERY few indications of this in "Swiss Miss", but he's surprisingly empathetic.
- Also, his relationship with Ruth in "Placebo Effect".
- Not to forget being more concerned about Cheryl's Ocelot being lonely in his room, despite said Ocelot just having destroyed one of his suit, which is normally a berserk button for him. In a similar vein, he also sympathizes with a shot Tiger in "El Contador".
- In "Honeypot", he, for no readily-explainable reason, helped a distraught Dominican man bury his prized rooster after it was killed in a chickenfight.
- In "Heart of Archness", he's much too sympathetic to actually commit any piracy.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: A lot of his more sympathetic moments, particularly with Lana, are immediately subverted by him being an ass.
- Kick the Dog: Does this constantly to Cyril and Woodhouse.
- Large Ham
- Last-Name Basis: Malory is the only character who actually calls him Sterling.
- Let's Get Dangerous: He may be an unrepentant playboy with questionable common sense and no skill at or concern over actually staying undercover, but he's an excellent fighter and is surprisingly knowledgeable.
- Man Child
- Mommy Issues: Hoo boy.
- Overt Operative: He'll tell anybody that he's a secret agent. Leads to this exchange:
Malory: Real secret agents don't tell every harlot from here to Hanoi that they are secret agents!
- Pet the Dog:
- Subverted. The one time he tries to do something nice for Woodhouse by kicking his murderous army buddy off a roof to save Woodhouse's life, it turns out the whole thing was a misunderstanding. Woodhouse was quite displeased.
- A straight example with Archer's relationship with Ruth, a sweet old lady who happens to be a fellow cancer patient.
- Also apparently likes ocelots.
- Seems rather fond of animals in general, except for alligators.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes on one against a group of Irish gangsters after they give him fake cancer medication. He even films it, and ends up playing it at the office over and over after he recovers.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He really was, before his mother screwed him up.
"When we first started going out, I may have... injected a tracking device into your body."
Another of ISIS' top agents. Like Archer, she's an excellent but flawed agent, her problems manifesting in her sarcastic and slightly bloodthirsty nature. She routinely squabbles with Archer, both of them bringing up their previous sexual history with each other.
Tropes associated with Lana:
- Action Girl
- Bi the Way: At the end of Season 1, she has sex with Pam, apparently out of pity.
- Boobs of Steel
- But Not Too Black: Lana is a light-skinned black woman. This is somewhat Lampshaded when Archer calls her "black... isn". She gets offended, and he defends himself by saying that she exploded when he called her a quadroon.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Even the Girls Want Her: Both Pam and Cheryl make comments about how they might be interested in sleeping with her. Both of them follow through too (Cheryl gets an orgasm from a beating from her, and Pam gets pity sex from her).
- Even The Gay Guys Want Her: Ray was willing to sleep with her, and when asked why says that no one is that gay.
- Hot Amazon: Definitely why anyone would go for her.
- Informed Flaw: Her hands are apparently huge.
- It's an Actor Allusion: her voice actress has large hands.
- Made of Iron: Her hands. They're so strong she was able to keep a helicopter from flying away by holding onto a grappling hook that was latched onto it.
- No Indoor Voice: Because Lana is an incredibly Angry Black-ish Woman, nearly all of her dialogue is snarled at the top of her lungs.
- Only Sane Woman: Lana is easily the most competent member of ISIS, along with Ray.
- Hahaha, no. Just kidding folks, she's just as nuts and amoral as everyone else.
- Even still, her outbursts are usually do to someone/something that has gone crazy (most of the time, via Archer) and is very good at her job. However, while she might be the most moral, it's only by default.
- Punny Name: Possibly a coincidence, but who knows? Lana is also 'anal' spelled backwards, much to Sterling's undoubted delight.
- Sassy Black Woman: "Yuuuuuuup!"
- Stripperific: All of Lana's outfits seem tailor-made to show off her figure. If not that, then she'll invariably end up in a situation where she'll be stripped to her underwear.
- Zettai Ryouiki: From time to time.
"I moved in with my last girlfriend after four weeks!"
ISIS comptroller. A meek, wimpy, and slightly whiny individual in a now ended relationship with Lana. At times, he's been a helpful influence in a few missions, but sticks to ISIS HQ and worries about Lana. Promoted to field agent as of Season 3's "El Contador".
Tropes associated with Cyril:
- Badass Pacifist: Pulls off his most badass things, field agent or otherwise, nonviolently: Helping Lana push the bomb out of the blimp, bluffing Spelvin with an empty gun, and most of "El Contador."
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: It was revealed in the first episode of the series that he tried to get ISIS to cover a penis ensmallment procedure and his size is mention several times in the first season.
- Butt Monkey: Swings between this and The Woobie.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Lana's many missions with Archer has made Cyril feel very threatened about his relationship.
- Dogged Nice Guy: A strange subversion. He's in a relationship with Lana, but is constantly pushed aside or treated with little respect.
- Extreme Doormat
- I Just Want to Be Special: The plot of "Tragical History", when he infects the ISIS computer system with a worm in order to remove it and prove his abilities to the others.
- Non-Action Guy
- Talking Your Way Out: Newly-promoted field agent Cyril bluffs his way to Ramon's trust by pretending to be an accountant for his boss, and offering to help Ramon get a bigger share of the profits. It works.
- Took a Level in Badass: He may have caused the problems in "Tragical History" in the first place, but it was pretty cool when Cyril ruined Spelvin's server and all of the info he had gathered before bluffing him with an empty gun.
- He's actually shown to be an intelligent and resourceful thinker when he becomes a field agent.
- Unless it involves using a gun. Then he's lethal to everyone, except the bad guys.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Demonstrated in "Tragical History".
- Your Cheating Heart: Why he and Lana break up.
"If I cared what you did on a weekend I'd put a shotgun in my mouth and pull the trigger with my toes."
Head of ISIS and Archer's mother. Just about as snarky and jerkish as her son. At times, she'll abuse her power (such as using a bomb threat to steal a first-class cabin on a blimp from her hated neighbor), but mostly she'll try to make sure that ISIS missions go as smoothly as possible, sighing all the way as her idiot son screws everything up.
Tropes associated with Malory:
- Anything That Moves: Not that her son is any different...
- Bad Boss: Exemplified in this conversation when the ISIS support staff is on strike.
Lana: What do they want?
- But You Screw One Dog: Malory's relationship with her deceased dog Duchess.
- Da Chief: When berating ISIS members.
- Dating Catwoman: In a relationship with the head of the KGB. She tries to keep this hidden, and the fact that this relationship may have produced Archer.
- May have. There's still Len Trexler and Buddy Rich as possible candidates.
- Everyone Has Standards: According to "The Limited", Malory is, at worst, elitist, not racist. She treats all servants the same, black or not.
- Expy: Malory is Lucille Bluth.
- A Glass in the Hand: Malory breaks the last of her Steuben glass set in frustration when Nicholai hangs up on her in "Dial M for Mother".
- Hot Mom: What she desperately wants to be.
- Though all signs indicate that she legitimately was at one point, and she is still quite popular with men her own age and younger... much to Archer's chagrin.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Confirmed in flashbacks in "The Double Deuce".
- Jerkass: Rivaling her son in terms of this.
- Rivaling? I say she wins by default. She's pretty much the reason why Sterling is how he is. Only Cheryl is more of a psychotic bitch.
- Lady Drunk: Malory is almost always seen with a drink. She resorts to drinking isopropyl in the third season finale.
- Lovable...no, Likable...no, Occasionally Semi-Tolerable Sex Maniac: Archer's father could be any one of four guys, including jazz drummers Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. By the way, don't look in her desk.
- Manipulative Bastard: In "Lo Scandolo", tricks the whole cast into covering up her murder of the Italian Prime Minister. She even calls the police while she is having the body being disposed by Krieger so that they are thrown off once they arrive to find the room all cleaned, and they aren't aware they are being played until the very end of the episode, when Lana points it out.
- Parents as People: Archer suffered from Parental Abandonment due to Malory actually continuing with her career. Burt Reynolds also argues that Archer needs to allow her to flourish as her own person now that he's an adult.
- Trickster Mentor: This is her parenting strategy towards her son, even though it's taken to jerkass levels. It doesn't really help that he doesn't learn his lessons.
- When Elders Attack: Despite being drunk a good majority of the time, she's still a crack shot with a pistol, a fact she demonstrated on a mind controlled Archer.
Cheryl Tunt (AKA Carol/Karina/Cristal)
"Oh, I thought we were laughing at the dead people we set on fire."
A secretary at ISIS. Cheryl has been known to repeatedly change her name, due to people not remembering her original one or purely on a whim. She ranges from sexually precocious to voracious and has a twisted fetish for being strangled and murdered. Is obsessed with Archer, which led to her manipulating Cyril into a sexual relationship, before moving on to Krieger. Is a member of the highly wealthy Tunt family.
Tropes associated with Cheryl:
- Ambiguously Gay: While Cheryl hasn't overtly hit on any woman, her fetish for being strangled and murdered seems to apply even when women do it. She enjoys being slapped by Malory, orgasms during a beating from Lana, and solicites a choking from Pam.
- Anything That Moves
- Cloudcuckoolander: She's easily the craziest member of ISIS, which is saying an awful lot.
- Erotic Asphyxiation: One of Cheryl's fetishes, closely related to her murder fetish. She frequently demands to be strangled during sex, has fantasies of being murdered, and has a general masochist streak in her.
- Les Yay: Some with Lana.
- Nightmare Fetishist: She loves Erotic Asphyxiation, the harder and more dangerous the better, to the point that one sexual partner thinks he's killed her. In fact, she also fantasizes about being murdered and likes being beaten.
- Out of Focus: Has a rather small amount of screen time despite being a main character.
- Too Kinky to Torture: She goads Lana into beating her up, by bragging about having sex with Cyril, and has an orgasm from the ensuing beatdown. Also wears a ton of breast cancer support ribbons all over her body so the safety pins can poke her.
- Verbal Tic: Has a tendency to yell out "Duh!" whether she actually finds something obvious or not. Also gratuitously uses "stupid" a lot. ("They can't get to the stupid mainframe because some stupid battery thing is in some stupid vault!")
"And that's the reason I never have sex with my coworkers. That... and no one ever lets me."
Head of HR at ISIS. Plump and incapable of keeping secrets. Possibly has a crush on Lana. Often seen hanging out with Cheryl, Cyril and Dr. Krieger.
Tropes associated with Pam:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Pam is vigorously rebuffed by everyone she flirts with in early episodes, leading to her break down crying. In later episodes, she morphs into a self-confident badass sex goddess.
- The Alcoholic
- Big Beautiful Woman
- Big Eater
- Bi the Way: Pam goes both ways. She has a crush on Lana as well as Archer, and has been in at least one threesome with Malory and a rich German Chubby Chaser.
- I'll see your threesome and raise you sex with Lana.
- Embarrassing Nickname: A subversion: Pam has a nickname on the racing circuit as "white shadow", but it actually means "white pumpkin" When she's told the truth...
- Gossipy Hens: Over the course of the show, Pam has blabbed that both Scatterbrain Jane and Malory had breast cancer, although Malory's result was a false positive, filmed Cyril's confession that he's going show off Lana to his to his unpleasable father, texted Katya Kasanova's false double-agent status to Malory and Lana and blabbed all of ISIS's secrets to Barry.
- Les Yay
- Made of Iron: Was able to take repeated blows to the head when she was mistakenly kidnapped, all the while mocking them. She also used to make money by participating in underground fighting rings, and winning handily.
- A flashback showed an opponent being carried out in a body bag, making her quite the Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.
Pam: Who taught you to punch, your Husband?
- Stout Strength: As revealed in "El Secuestro".
- What the Hell, Hero?: Invokes this on ISIS when she escaped her captors in El Secuestro. The episode ends with her preparing to beat the ever loving piss out of Malory for only offering the kidnappers $5000 for her return.
Dr. Algernop Krieger
"And I love that I have an erection... that doesn't involve homeless people."
Tropes associated with Dr. Algernop Kreiger:
- All Germans Are Nazis: It's even implied that he's possibly a genetic clone of Der Fuhrer himself.
- Anything That Moves: And some things that don't. He's drugged interns with gay hormones, choked Cheryl (and used a robot later), and was heavily implied to be raping employee lunches and returning them to the refrigerators.
- In "Tragical History", Archer noted that he created a virtual girl that was "so real, the state of New York [was] allowing him to legally marry her."
- "And I love that I have an erection... that didn't involve homeless people!"
- Cloudcuckoolander: Your authority is not recognized in Fort Kick-ass.
- Mad Scientist: Has created, among other things, tablets that temporarily induce homosexuality in the user.
- In "Lo Scandalo", when asked to dispose of a body responded by putting on a respirator and saying only "Thank you".
- Meaningful Name: "Krieger" means "Warrior" in German.
- Noodle Incident: Archer implies that Krieger used to lure bums into his home and videotape them fighting and doing other unstated, unsavory things. Things that were not disturbing enough for Krieger, who told Archer that he stopped doing that and had moved onto "darker things".
- "Fister Roboto" is mentioned, but never shown.
- Otaku: Kind of implied. He created his own sentient holographic perfect mate, and she's a pink-haired anime girl who calls him "Kuriga-san".
"She has never liked me. But someday I'm gonna write a book about this place. Mhm, a real smackaroonie."
ISIS' head intelligence analyst and very gay. Possibly one of the few competent employees at ISIS.
Tropes associated with Gillette:
- Agent Peacock: Just because he's a pooftah doesn't mean he can't kick your ass.
- Ascended Extra
- The Beard: He and his lesbian "Pray away the gay" wife were these for each other.
- Cheryl served as his beard during a visit to his redneck brother.
- Butt Monkey: During the Pirate Island arc. He loses an eye and the use of his legs.
- Camp Gay: Though he was willing to sleep with Lana because, "No one's that gay."
- Double Standard Rape (Male on Male): Done when Cyril was unconscious from a large heroin dose.
- Hidden Depths: Won an Olympic bronze medal for slalom skiing and was once married to a lesbian he met at a "pray away the gay" Christian camp.
- Noodle Incident: Revealed at the end of Season 2 to be a disgraced former minister, with no details given.
- Only Sane Man: Compared to the rest of the cast, at least.
- Southern-Fried Genius: He's from West Virginia, and his relatives are classic rednecks, though his brother is a very skilled marijuana farmer. But, as noted above, very smart.
"YEAH! One for three off the roof, Bitch! WOO!"
An ODIN agent who has a history with both Archer and Lana. Often talks to his gun.
Tropes associated with Barry:
- Badass Israeli: According to his passport.
- Big Bad: Shaping up to be this from the third season on.
- Butt Monkey: Often ends up injured due to Archer dropping him off balconies.
- Cyborg: The KGB turns him into one after he is badly injured in Russia.
- Thus making him a literal Iron Butt Monkey.
- Enemy Mine: His first appearance has him trying to recruit Lana into ODIN. In Season 2, Malory recruits him to rescue Archer.
- Expy: When he's a cyborg, the Six Million Dollar Man.
- Handsome Lech: Loses Framboise, and can never seem to get Lana. Doesn't stop his confidence, though.
- Hugh Mann: Inverted. His KGB-issued passport reads "Sy Berg".
- Phrase Catcher: "Barry, you ass!"
- Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh: What invariably happens when Archer attacks him in Season 3.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After all the abuse he was dealt, he dishes one out on Archer. Katya Kasanova, Archer's true love, falls off a roof trying to save Archer. So does Barry, but as a cyborg, he is unharmed.
- Running Gag: Him getting thrown off of balconies. Other characters also frequently say: "Barry, you ass!" to him.
- Archer will usually reference specific past injuries he inflicted on Barry in greeting.
- Third Person Person: Seems to have forgone his previous habit of talking to himself for this in the third season. May or may not be a result of Sanity Slippage.
- Took a Level in Badass: While always one of the more competent agents when not falling off a roof or being thrown off, one he proved his badass credentials in the episode "Crossing Over" where it's revealed he is now the insane head of the KGB and has an elaborate master plan. Killing Archer's possible father in a way that makes sure there will be no DNA left to test is 'just a goof' for him.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: At the end of the second season. Being betrayed and left for dead by someone whose life he just saved and being unwillingly turned into a cyborg will do that to a guy.
- Verbal Tic: He often talks to "Other Barry" whenever he talks to himself.
- We Can Rebuild Him: Said line for line by Boris explaining to Jakov Barry's augmentations.
"Sir, that stolen lemur bit one of your prostitutes right in the face and she says she can't go to hospital because she's, quote, 'tripping balls.' "
Archer's elderly, long-suffering butler. Also essentially raised him.
Tropes associated with Woodhouse:
- Ambiguously Gay
- Beleaguered Assistant
- Butt Monkey
- Cool Old Guy: Does heroin, hung out with William Burroughs (and was the person who actually killed the famous author's wife, as part of a bet for more drugs), ate long pig while in the service, and likes to listen to jazz. His coolness was such that two gay assassins who encountered him not only bought him new clothing to replace the ones Archer destroyed, but also purposely spared his life when they went after Archer.
- The Dog Bites Back: After ISIS cuts Archer off by stopping payment on his flat and Woodhouse's salary, Woodhouse locks Archer out, ties off for some heroin and tells the lemur to "put on some Mingus".
- Technically, Woodhouse is paid by Malory, and was following her orders by locking out Archer.
- Also, he admits that every once in a while he just knocks Archer out and then convinces him he suffered an alcohol and hooker fueled blackout.
- The Jeeves
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted. If Archer is set in The Present Day, he's one of the oldest men alive.
- Unstoppable Rage: He went into one when Reggie was shot in front of him during the Great War and killed 50 Germans in one night. He made a blanket out of the scalps. Even Archer is impressed/horrified when he hears about it.
Archer: That's a lot of scalps!
- Back to Archer
- he was faking the leg damage