open/close all folders
Students of Liberty High School
Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford)
"Why didn't you tell me this when I was alive?"
- Alternate Character Interpretation: In-Universe, Hannah is subject to this a lot, as people are unsure what to make of her and her suicide. Although by mid season, two sides seemed to have formed, interpreting Hannah in different ways.
- One side is the "stop the tapes" movement, who believes that Hannah was a mentally ill, jealous and paranoid liar that made the tapes to justify her actions. Out of the people on the tapes, Marcus, Courtney and Justin take this side.
- The other side is the so-called "justice" movement, who believes in the exact opposite. As they repeatedly state that Hannah was deeply traumatised, alone and terrified, and also states that everything Hannah says on the tapes is true. Alex, Clay, Tony and later, Jessica are on this side once they find out.
- Ambiguously Bi: Granted she was tipsy at the time, but she was receptive to Courtney's flirting. She's also fairly attached to her female friends, describing Kat as irreplaceable and saying that Jessica "broke her heart", and feels betrayed when she starts dating Alex.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Prone to histrionics, though it's largely justified due to the trauma she endures. She also seemed to develop a severe case of depression, self hatred and intense suicidal thoughts by the time she meets with Mr. Porter, although the only thing confirmed in the show was the suicidal thoughts.
- Because You Were Nice to Me:
- The reason why she entrusted her tapes to Tony? Because he was one of the few students who treated her with respect.
- This is why Clay is Reason #11. As Hannah pointed out, he was the only person who treated Hannah like a person nor used her in any way (especially since his only actions were accidentally being insensitive and doing what she said, which was to leave her alone). He also basically put on the list as being "part of the story".
- Break the Cutie: Becomes more and more broken as the series goes on, which of course leads to Kill the Cutie. As for her status before she died, well that lead to...
- Broken Bird: Arguably what lead to her creating the tapes. Considering the immense Trauma Conga Line she endured and went past Break the Cutie after being raped by Bryce, it's no surprise she'd become a bit off, especially with her Enemies List. One can't blame her.
- Butt-Monkey: A non-comedic example. Every friend she makes or person she dates ends up betraying or exploiting her in some way, with the exception of Clay and Tony.
- Bystander Syndrome: Did not intervene when Bryce raped Jessica, and feels intense guilt about it.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Prior to the series, she was bullied so ruthlessly by a group of girls that her family moved and transferred her to Liberty High. Then things go From Bad to Worse for Hannah.
- Deadpan Snarker: She and Clay engage in Snark to Snark Combat in their flirtations.
- Deuteragonist: While Clay is the protagonist, much of the story focuses on Hannah.
- Dude Magnet: Attracts most of the male cast.
- Drama Queen: Prior to her suicide, she was accused of being this by both Clay and Tony. They come to regret this terribly once they understand the depth of her pain. Post-suicide, some of the students at Liberty High accuse her of being this.
- Driven to Suicide: The premise of the show.
- Enemies List: Zig-zagged. Her tapes largely function as this, where each tape implicates someone she knew in her suicide. However, she includes Clay because his part of the story is necessary to help contextualize other parts and not because he caused her death; she explicitly spells this out on Clay's tape.
- A Friend in Need: Offers to stand by Courtney even though she's been majorly screwed over by her. She also makes sure the intoxicated Jessica gets home safe from a school dance, despite their falling out.
- How We Got Here: Her tapes explain the events that led her to commit suicide.
- Internalized Categorism: By the end of her life, she already categorised herself as a lonely, depressed and broken girl who will never get better, and thinks that no one will miss her when she kills herself. She was wrong, as her parents, Clay's and Tony's reaction show.
- It's All About Me: Although as she was full blown Break the Cutie and Broken Bird, so her mental state did not help, some of her actions have shades of this:
- Her reaction to Jessica's rape. Rather than trying to get Jessica help, Hannah focuses on how it impacted her, and shares the story with multiple people; disregarding how Jessica might feel about that.
- Putting Clay on the tapes just to shoehorn in an apology while leading him to believe it was his fault she killed herself, with no regard for how that might impact his psyche, was horribly self-centered and myopic.
- Lack of Empathy: Arguably her biggest fault with her character as her pre-series story-line progressed right up to her suicide. As her social school life kept spiralling out of control (in her eyes, at least) and the Trauma Conga Line started piling up more and more, she starts trying to connect every event that happens at school to her, unfortunately developing a very strong victim complex by doing so. Her tapes were the final product of this trope as well (in regards to not caring about the tapes impact), as pointed out by Zach and Alex. Although granted, considering the state of Liberty High and the fact her parents had their own problems and of course, the fact anybody in the school was either insensitive by accident (Clay and Zach) or a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing out to take advantage of her (Marcus and Courtney), it's no wonder why she refused to talk with anyone out of fear they were out to get her as well. Granted she still have, but considering everything, one can see why.
- The Mentally Disturbed: She is accused of being this by Courtney, although there is little evidence of a full on mental disorder, besides repeated trauma developing into severe depression, intense self hatred and suicidal tendencies.
- New Transfer Student: Along with Alex and Jessica.
- The Lost Lenore: To Clay.
- Posthumous Character: As part of the premise.
- Self-Deprecation: She increasingly develops this as the Trauma Conga Line continues, with thinking that she is a problem to people and it will be better for her to just disappear.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: With each of the boys she dates, she initially thinks they are kindhearted and noble. Too bad she's a Horrible Judge of Character.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Being on the school's "hot list" brought her nothing but misery.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: Gets this after being raped by Bryce.
- Trauma Conga Line: Ever since Justin spread a revealing photo of her, Hannah hasn't been able to catch a break.
- Urban Legend Love Life: Because of the upskirt photo of her, Alex's hot list, the Alternate Character Interpretation students apply to her poem, and Courtney fabricating a story about Hannah being a "psycho lesbian", Hannah has a reputation as the class slut who will put out for anyone.
- This reputation is inaccurate. Throughout the series, Hannah kisses Justin and Clay, and kisses Courtney on a dare. Her only two sexual encounters (with Marcus and Bryce) were not consensual.
- Unreliable Narrator: Zig-zagged. Marcus accuses her of being this, and Zach also points out an inconsistency in her story. Courtney describes Hannah as a manipulative, mentally-ill liar. It also evident that Hannah genuinely did misunderstand and misinterpret at least a couple of the situations she describes. Though other characters (particularly Clay and Alex) believe that everything she said on the tapes was true.
Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette)
"And you could have stopped it. And I could have. Justin Foley could have. And a dozen more people at least. But we didn't."
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Unlike his book counterpart, Clay becomes more and more bereaved over Hannah's death and guilt over whatever he did that was responsible for her committing suicide.
- Adaptational Badass: Clay goes to greater lengths to get justice for Hannah than he did in the books. The biggest being getting Bryce to confess about him raping Hannah on tape.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Sends out a nude photo of Tyler, which earns him a literal What the Hell, Hero?, and later vandalizes Zach's car.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: While Clay does have Adaptational Jerkass, he also does more in getting justice for Hannah than he did in the book.
- Adorkable: Hannah thinks so.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Prone to intense bouts of emotion, hallucinates in multiple episodes, and his mother mentions him taking medication and seeing a therapist in the past.
- Audience Surrogate: The series revolves around Clay listening to one tape per episode.
- Bullying a Dragon: A heroic example and possibly invoked. He knew he had absolutely no chance against Bryce, a football star considerably bigger than him, yet still hit him in a desperate bid to get him to confess his rape of Hannah. He succeeds, at the cost of a serious beating.
- Chick Magnet: Catches the attention of Hannah, Sheri, and (possibly) Skye and almost has sex with the former two.
- Childhood Friends: With Tony.
- Crusading Widower: It gets more intense over time, but Clay grows from wanting answers for Hannah's suicide to going out of his way and into harm's way to secure some idea of justice for her. And over the course of the series, it's very clear that Clay did very much love Hannah. Albeit, not without the typical Highschool drama.
- Deadpan Snarker: Has a snarky ongoing flirtation with Hannah and a self-deprecating sense of humor.
- Dented Iron: The number of times he takes a hit to the face leaves him with quite a few scars by the end of the season. Overlaps with Pragmatic Adaptation, since this makes it a lot easier to tell when we're seeing a flashback instead of present-day.
- Determinator: Seeks justice for Hannah, largely to atone for not being able to help her while she was alive.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Too bad Hannah has a thing for jocks that tend to use her in some way.
- Exhausted Eye Bags: Begins to show up on his face in the latter half of the story as a clear sign of the emotional toil the experience of listening to the tapes puts on him.
- The Fettered: Takes up this role at the end of the season, especially once he finds out he is innocent. He goes out of his way to make sure Hannah's death will not be forgotten and attempts to confront every kid that is on the tapes, including getting beaten up by Bryce in order to record a confession about him raping Hannah.
- Hollywood Dateless: Complains about his lack of love life, but he's had many girls interested in him.
- Hurting Hero: Starts the series traumatized by Hannah's suicide. It goes From Bad to Worse.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Dylan Minnete's own, utilized for maximum Woobie points.
- Iron Butt Monkey: Accidentally runs into a car while he's on his bike, has a rock hit him exactly where the old cut was, and then gets beaten up by Bryce.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: He is greatly tormented by the thought of what his involvement in Hannah's suicide could be. Even when he finds out, by Hannah's own admission, that he didn't actually do anything wrong at all, and it had everything to do with Hannah's self-loathing and nothing he did, he still very much blames himself, agonizing over whether he could saved her if he had done or said something different that night.
- Mistaken for Gay: Rumors have circulated about his sexuality, though he has only shown interest in women.
- My Beloved Smother: His mother hovers over him, and won't even let him close his bedroom door!
- Nice Guy: Kind to everyone he interacts with, though the contents of the tapes pushes him over the edge.
- No Social Skills: He tutors Jeff in academics, and Jeff "tutors" him in how to talk to girls.
- Not So Above It All: Takes a humiliating photo of Tyler and circulates it around the school. A case of Pay Evil unto Evil and A Taste of Their Own Medicine for what Tyler did to Hannah.
- Pastimes Prove Personality: Clay is a noble guy, and his school activities include peer tutoring and working on the Honor Council. He's helpful and concerned about the people around him.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: At the end of episode 7, Clay (after what he's listened from the tapes at that point) completely goes off at the student body in how they treat other people. ESPECIALLY in what happened with Hannah. (But the worse was yet to come.)
"Everyone is just so nice, until they drive you to kill yourself! And sooner or later, the truth will come out!"
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Downplayed. Initially, this is his reaction to hearing the tapes. His revenge schemes include circulating a nude photo of Tyler, keying Zach's car, and generally causing problems for the other kids on the tapes. Though Tony talks him down before he goes any further.
- Spanner in the Works: Considered one In-Universe, as the other kids on the tape fear him revealing all of their secrets and handing the tapes over to the authorities, the school or anyone outside the student body in general.
- Trauma Conga Line: Within a two month period, the girl he loves commits suicide, he sees his close friend Jeff die in a car accident, believes he is responsible for Hannah's suicide due to the tapes, is harassed by the jocks, and beat up by Bryce.
- Understanding Boyfriend: In a fantasy sequence, he sees himself as this; saying all the right, compassionate things to Hannah and telling her he loves her. Although not as overstated, he was this in the actual events too, doing what she asked him to.
Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn)
"She lied about it on those tapes because she's a crazy fucking drama queen who just killed herself for attention!"
- Abusive Parents: The worst case in the series. His father is out of the picture, his mother is an Addled Addict whose boyfriend routinely hits and abuses Justin, and is a neo-nazi. Justin regularly stays with Bryce due to this.
- Accomplice by Inaction: Hannah considers Justin to be at fault for Jessica's rape, at lists him as Reason #9. When Jessica learns the truth about what happened, she considers Justin to be this as well.
- Ambiguous Situation: Justin's motivations and interactions with Bryce after Jessica's rape fall into this category.
- Break the Haughty: The cocky Justin we're introduced to in the first episode is practically unrecognizable by the end of the season.
- The Bro Code: His strict adherence to this trope gets him into trouble way after the event, as Jessica dumps him after finding out she was raped by Bryce and he didn't do anything about it.
- Chick Magnet: Kat, Hannah, and Jessica have all been interested in him.
- The Ditz: Justin has a hard time keeping up with Hannah's wit and needs a lot spelled out for him. He's also easily manipulated by his friends.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite his many faults and shortcomings, he genuinely loves Jessica and is absolutely heartbroken when she dumps him.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Even though he took pictures of Hannah, he wasn't happy about Bryce sending them to the entire school. He also doesn't force himself on Jessica when she's drunk, and even unsuccessfully tries to stop Bryce from raping her.
- Freudian Excuse: Justin's blind loyalty to Bryce is largely because Bryce provides him with a stable home in comparison to the abuse he faces at his mother's house.
- Gaslighting: Claims to have benevolent motives, but nonetheless he chooses to lie to Jessica repeatedly about Bryce raping her, and convince her that it didn't happen.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Zach and Bryce. Though he falls out of favor with both by the end of the series.
- Jerk Jock: As per the norm at Liberty High.
- Jerkass Woobie: His mom cares more about getting high and impressing her abusive boyfriend than her son's wellbeing. He's forced to rely on the charity of his friends for his basic needs like shelter and school supplies, who hold it over his head, to say the least. By the end of Season 1, he's homeless and has lost the one person who truly cared about him, Jessica. Not that he didn't deserve what happened with Jessica.
- Laser-Guided Karma: He loses Jessica permanently and is shunned by his friend group as a result of his actions.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Makes ambiguous threats to "shut Clay down", and solve problems with his fists; much to the detriment of both Jessica and Marcus.
- Boarders on Ax-Crazy when he suggests killing Clay and making it look like an accident, though he promptly drops this idea when everyone tells him it's nucking futz.
- Manly Tears: Does a lot of crying over the course of the series. Between the abuse he faces at home, his guilt over letting Bryce rape Jessica, and Jessica's revelation and subsequent dumping of him, Justin goes through the ringer emotionally.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Has a meltdown at the end of the series after Jessica learns the truth about him enabling her rape.
- Odd Friendship: With the artsy hipster Alex, who wins him over with his sense of humor. There's also the fact that they're in love with the same girl.
- The Runaway: By the end of the series, he's been kicked out of his house, cut ties with Bryce, and has been dumped by Jessica and his friends. He takes off with a duffel bag, some vodka, a handgun, cash and some clothes, leaving his old life behind.
- The Stoner: As Bryce tells Monty, "You [Monty] telling me to watch my temper is like Justin Foley telling me to lay off the weed."
- Troubled, but Cute: His home life is tumultuous, though he has no problems attracting girls.
- Undying Loyalty: To Bryce, as Bryce frequently offers him a place to stay and buys his school supplies and basketball shoes without asking anything in return. Justin feels so indebted to Bryce that he allows and helps cover up Bryce's rape of Jessica.
- Wrong Side of the Tracks: Like Tony, Justin is from the poorer part of town and has had a difficult upbringing.
Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe)
"Don't believe everything you hear."
- Blatant Lies: Denies the existence of the tapes in her deposition. Though she's implied to have done this because she wanted to process her sexual assault on her own terms, rather than hide her mistreatment of Hannah.
- Break the Cutie: Perky cheerleader Jessica is put through hell by the events of Season 1.
- Broken Bird: Becomes more and more broken as the series goes on, but unlike Hannah, it looks like there's hope for her.
- The Cheerleader: Fits with her role as the pretty basketball player's girlfriend Liberty High.
- Deadpan Snarker: Something she and Hannah bond over initially.
- Dramatic Irony: The scene where she invites Bryce to hang out comes off as this, as the two spend the afternoon together playing with guns and flirting. It's this In-Universe as well, and is Justin's breaking point.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Initially a comedic example, with her love of hot chocolate. Later Played for Drama with her drinking at school to process her sexual assault.
- Daddy's Girl: Implied to be very close to her father. His presence at the deposition encourages her to be honest, and she opens up to him at the end of the series about her sexual assault.
- Dude Magnet: Alex and Justin are both in love with her.
- Girl Next Door: Hannah describes her as a nice girls that boys "like to like", compared to Hannah's reputation for promiscuity.
- Hot-Blooded: Displays a lot of passion in her confrontations of people, including slapping Hannah and screaming at Justin's friends when he skips school. Marcus comments that she's drawing a lot of attention to the group with her disposition.
- Hypocrite: She tells Clay, "Don't believe everything you hear," even though believing everything she heard is exactly why she's on the tapes.
- Love Martyr: Jessica is devoted to Justin, despite his past with Hannah, and him being a fairly douchey boyfriend. She is prone to believe his version of events, and is compassionate and supportive. Though once she finds out he enabled her rape and gaslit her about it, she's furious and completely done with him.
- Military Brat: Her dad is in the Air Force, which is why she moves so often.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Thinks Alex is cheating on her with Hannah, which results in her ending her relationships with both of them.
- New Transfer Student: Along with Alex and Hannah.
- Popularity Food Chain: She's not an Alpha Bitch, but she's clearly of high social status. She seems to spend most of her time with guys actually, rather than having a Girl Posse.
- Shower of Angst: As she tries to cope with the revelation that she was raped by Bryce.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Jessica's nastier moments are largely fueled by having friends who constantly lie to her. Once she understands the truth, she's significantly kinder and intent on doing the right thing.
- Woman Scorned: Invoked by Alex, when he's frustrated that Jessica won't sleep with him. He's caught off guard when Jessica directs her anger at Hannah instead of him.
Alex Standall (Miles Heizer)
"Hannah was my friend. We should tell the truth about her."
- Abusive Parents: His father is distant and emotionally abusive, and forces Alex to address him as "sir".
- Ambiguous Disorder: Shows some Mood-Swinger tendencies, as well as symptoms of PTSD. Also has a general disregard for his own safety.
- Ambiguously Gay: Jessica assumes he is gay due to his fashion sense and love of elaborate coffee drinks. Ironically, she herself ends up dating him.
- The Atoner: Feels genuinely bad about his role in Hannah's suicide, and wants to be honest in the deposition. Arguably, it's his intense need to atone and his perceived failure at getting justice for Hannah that is the largest contributor to his deteriorating mental health, and him attempting suicide.
- A more downplayed example is his attempts at reconciling with Jessica after the hot/not list incident.
- Broken Bird: Alex is deeply traumatized by the events of the series. So much so that he attempts suicide.
- Bungled Suicide: He attempts suicide at the end of Episode 12 and is left in critical condition at the hospital; whether or not he will recover is left ambiguous.
- Camp Straight: Has bleached hair, prefers music to sports, and is in love with Jessica. He also mentions generally getting along better with girls. This is implied to be a source of tension between him and his father.
- Deadpan Snarker: Even in the darkest of times, Alex keeps dishing out the snark.
- Entitled to Have You: Alex put Hannah's name on the "hot list" to hurt Jessica, because he was angry that Jessica wouldn't sleep with him. He felt that she owed him sex because "he was in love with her".
- Grew a Spine: For better or for worse, Alex gets more assertive over the course of the series.
- Hipster: Listens to Joy Division, plays jazz guitar, and has a nose ring.
- Honor Before Reason: Frequently creates more problems than he solves due to this approach. Particularly at his Honor Council hearing, where he repeatedly proclaims his guilt despite Marcus trying to get Alex off with a warning.
- Jock Dad, Artsy Son: Alex's dad is a hyper-masculine, gun-toting cop who applauds him for getting into a fight with Monty. Alex is a skinny, music loving hipster who gets curb-stomped in said fight and largely only did it due to his poor mental state at the time.
- Karma Houdini: Alex feels he is this, and subconsciously and directly seeks out "punishment" throughout the series. He drives recklessly, starts fights he can't win, and deprives himself of the things that make him happy. He also begs the Honor Council to reprimand him, and is frustrated that they won't. His suicide attempt is implied self-invoked Laser-Guided Karma.
- The Name is Bond, James Bond: He introduces himself in this manner to Hannah and Jessica. Hannah jokingly calls him "Alex Alex Standall" in response.
- New Transfer Student: Along with Hannah and Jessica.
- Nice Guy: Snark and the hot list aside, Alex is friendly to just about everyone he interacts with, and is one of the only people to show respect for Tyler.
- Odd Friendship: With Justin. The two bond over a shared sense of humor, but have vastly different presentations and interests.
- One of the Boys: Played with, in that Alex is a guy, but he vies for male friendship and approval. So much so that he blows off Hannah as a friend, and participates in making the hot list. It is implied that because of his Camp Straight nature, he's been excluded or bullied by guys in the past. Alex also mentions his father being excited about him finally having male friends.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivers a series of brief hard-hitting "reason why you suck" speeches to the group at Monet's. He even gives one to himself.
- Sad Clown: It is pretty clear that snark is his main way of coping with the problems in his life, of which he, admittedly, has quite a few.
- The Snark Knight: Alex has little patience for anyone, himself included. Even before the drama set in! The only people safe from his snark are Hannah and Jessica.
- Troll: During his Honor Council hearing, as he's painfully aware of Marcus rigging it in his favour.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Lampshaded by Hannah.
- Victorian Novel Disease: Alex suffers from an undiagnosable autoimmune disorder, which only the people closest to him (like Jessica) know about. He mentions seeing over a dozen doctors, none who have been able to help.
- Fridge Brilliance: This could possibly be one of the reasons why he's more inclined towards the arts rather than sports, and his general cynicism.
- We Used to Be Friends: With Hannah. After she kills herself, Alex openly expresses his guilt at destroying his friendship with her just because he wanted to be "one of the guys" and have jocks like Bryce like him, and states that if he didn't destroy his friendship with her, she would be still alive.
Tyler Down (Devin Druid)
"Girls like that, they don't hang out with the yearbook guy."
- All of the Other Reindeer: Within the group of students on the tapes, he is considered more culpable and often excluded from their meetings. They also throw rocks at his window and circulate a nude photo of him. He references being bullied by the student body in general in his deposition.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Between his uncomfortable mannerisms and interest in violence, it's clear that something is up with him that goes beyond being an awkward teenager.
- Because You Were Nice to Me:
- Seemingly removes Alex from his hit list, due to Alex standing up for him from one of Monty's frequent bullying.
- Subverted with his interest in Hannah. He's never even spoken to her.
- He wants to communicate with Clay because Clay used to be nice to him before he listened to the tapes.
- Butt-Monkey: Not much goes right for him.
- Doing It for the Art: What he claims his stalking of Hannah is.
- Camera Fiend: Constantly lurking in the background, taking photos.
- Commonality Connection: Averted. While the popular kids on the tapes consider Ryan to be "one of them" despite their different social circles, Tyler is excluded from their meetings and hated.
- Create Your Own Villain: Tyler probably wouldn't have told the prosecution about the tapes, or created his hit-list if he hadn't been repeatedly antagonized by both the heroes and villains of the story.
- Deadpan Snarker: It's subtle, but he has a fairly consistent deadpan sense of humor.
- The Dog Bites Back: The season one finale implies he intends on shooting the other students on the tapes.
- Establishing Character Moment: Startles Clay in the restroom by taking photos perched up near a windowsill, and is promptly thrown out by Bryce.
- Hate Sink: In-universe, due to his low social status. He's looked down upon by the other "culprits" and excluded from their group, even though some of them are at least as "guilty" as he is.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- While Tyler's not innocent, he's makes a good point that he's being retaliated against while no one else on the tapes is. Tyler's actions were violating and inexcusable, but people like Marcus take a Holier Than Thou approach to him. YMMV on which person on the tapes is the most culpable, but none of the popular kids get called out or catch any flack for their actions until the very end of the season.
- His plan to out Bryce's crimes to the police. While Hannah's suicide was triggered by a number of traumatic events, Bryce's rape of her pushed her over the edge, and is explicitly a crime.
- Jerkass Woobie: Tyler's actions caused both Hannah and Courtney a lot of pain, but he's got no shortage of issues of his own. He's bullied and humiliated everyday at school, and even the other kids on the tapes despise him and view him as lesser than, despite their common circumstances. The only time someone shows him any form of kindness is when Alex tells Monty to leave Tyler alone.
- Lame Excuse: Says his stalking of Hannah was justified, because he's the student life photographer for the yearbook, and it's his job to document "student's lives". Clay promptly chews him out for this.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Clay takes a naked photo of him as distributes it among the student body as revenge for his stalking of Hannah and taking pictures of her without her consent.
- Loving a Shadow: Obsesses over Hannah because she "doesn't pose" and is therefore interesting to photograph. None of his feelings for her are based on interacting with her.
- Loners Are Freaks: Has a reputation of being a sketchy loner.
- The Scapegoat: To an extent. He's treated by the others like he's scum of the Earth. Marcus even claims Tyler is the only one who deserves punishment. Tyler is excluded from their circle under the threat of violence and is the only one to be "punished" before the end of the series. While what he did was extremely creepy, some of the others are guilty of creepy deeds as well, and Tyler is actually one of the few who isn't guilty of betraying Hannah's trust. Not to mention, that while he's being harassed, nobody tries to hold an actual rapist, Bryce, responsible for his actions. It's implied Tyler is getting this treatment mostly because he's the easiest target.
- No Social Skills: Even when he tries to be friendly, he ends up creeping out or irritating whomever he is talking to. He also has no grasp of why Hannah is upset with him, or would reject his invitation to hang out.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Tyler references this trope in the meeting at Monet's, when he says that the group should turn Bryce in. He argues that with Bryce as a scapegoat, none of the infractions of the other kids are legally or morally significant in comparison.
- Reformed, but Rejected: Attempts to apologize to no avail.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Heavily implied during the last two episodes of Season 1. He is shown buying an illegal gun off the street, and by the end of the final episode, is shown having a whole collection of different guns, complete with several boxes of ammunition, and he's using photos he'd taken of different students that disrespected or bullied him to make a hit list, which includes Clay.
- Shadow Archetype: Argues that he and Clay are Not So Different, due to them both being unpopular guys who can't act on their feelings for Hannah. He (correctly) accuses Clay of masturbating to the photos Tyler took of Courtney and Hannah making out. However, Tyler's invasive behavior goes beyond anything Clay would do.
- Arguably to Marcus as well; Marcus singles Tyler out as the worst on the tapes and loathes him for being a creeper though Marcus's sexual harassment/groping of Hannah firmly puts him into the creeper category as well.
- The Scrappy: In-Universe. Even Clay bullies him to some extent.
- Stalker With a Crush: Follows Hannah around and photographs her, claiming he's in love with her.
- The Stool Pigeon: Reveals the existence of the tapes to the authorities in his interview.
Courtney Crimsen (Michele Selene Ang)
- "Hannah's truth is not my truth. No way."
- Adorkable: With her Hello Kitty lunchbox, hair bows, and naïveté, she comes off as this, albeit not a likable version of this trope.
- Alliterative Name: Courtney Crimsen.
- Asian and Nerdy: Very focused on academics and naive about drinking and sexuality.
- Armored Closet Gay: Courtney fears coming out to the point where she starts a rumor about Hannah to deflect suspicions.
- Believing Their Own Lies: It is implied that after she claims Hannah was a lesbian and spreads it around school, she starts believing her own claims that eventually develop into her callously believing Hannah was a mentally ill, jealous, needy and paranoid liar.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She appears to be a sweet girl who wants to help everyone, but her tape and her actions to protect her secret reveal just how cruel she can be.
- Class Representative: Very involved in activities, and maintains Hannah's memorial at school.
- Evil Is Petty: Says Jessica doesn't deserve a say in the group's decisions about Bryce, because Jessica didn't take her phone call.
- The Fake Cutie: She comes of very amiable and a little dorky, which she uses to manipulate people. She is shown reaching out to both Clay and Mrs. Baker regarding Hannah's death, but these gestures are empty and Courtney says scathing things about Hannah in private.
- Gayngst: Having been raised by two gay men, Courtney has been exposed to homophobia her entire life. She fears the repercussions, rumors, and hate she might incur by coming out.
- Girl Friday: Is often backing up Marcus's plans and helping him carry them out. She's also the secretary of the Honor Council, which he leads.
- Girl Posse: Seems to lead one, nicknamed "Courtney's Court".
- Happily Adopted: Zig-zagged. Her dads clearly love her and she thinks highly of them, but she resents having to deal with societal homophobia because of them, and is frustrated that she doesn't have a typical nuclear family.
- Has Two Daddies: Who are seemingly some of the only Good Parents in the series, though they can be a bit overbearing.
- Hypocrite: Courtney calls out her friends for referencing the hot list in front of Hannah, saying she's against sexual harassment, objectification, and bullying. Yet she takes advantage of Hannah's status as the class slut when it suits her, and starts another rumor about Hannah's Urban Legend Love Life.
- Justifies her actions to Hannah based on a fear of bullying, yet has no sympathy for Hannah being bullied.
- Ice-Cream Koan: Her philosophical rambling about the subjectivity of truth and experience comes off as a Lame Excuse; rather than an intellectual idea worth engaging with.
- I Did What I Had to Do: See her page quote. She believes she's a good person, and that throwing Hannah under the bus was her only option. YMMV on whether this is the case.
- It's Personal: For all of her flaws and pettiness, she has a very legitimate reason to hate Tyler; namely, that he photographed her during an intimate moment and circulated the photo around the school. Made all the worse in that she was a closeted lesbian at the time.
- Lack of Empathy: Despite maintaining Hannah's memorial, her attempt at comforting Mrs. Baker, and hanging mental health awareness posters, privately, Courtney takes the stance that Hannah was a mentally ill, paranoid, vicious liar who killed herself for attention and blamed everyone else for her problems. Yikes.
- She's incredibly callous about Jessica and Hannah's rapes as well, to the point where even the other culprits on the tapes are horrified.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Is eventually outed during the deposition.
- Lipstick Lesbian: Dresses in a very feminine style.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Subverted. Despite her reputation for being both popular and kind, she has yet to show genuine selfless concern for anyone. She even pulls some typical Alpha Bitch moves like starting rumors and excluding people. And suggesting siding with a serial rapist because she considers it a strategic move to protect her reputation.
- The Smurfette Principle: After Jessica and Sheri both Heel–Face Turn, she's the lone female in the "stop the tapes" movement. This is lampshaded by Ryan, when he is horrified by her callousness towards Jessica and Hannah's rapes, despite being the only woman at the meeting.
- Never My Fault: Not as far as Marcus, but she also is adamant that she did nothing wrong to Hannah and that the latter lied about everything. Zach and Ryan call her out for this, the former questioning the "story" that she is presenting of Hannah and the latter for callously writing Hannah off.
- Stepford Smiler: Sweet and poised on the outside, miserable on the inside.
- Tragic Dream: Is often caught gazing longingly at an attractive, openly-lesbian classmate.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: While her mistreatment of Hannah was wrong, she does apologize to Hannah and was somewhat sympathetic in that she was terrified of being outed. By the end of the season, she goes above and beyond, resorting to Victim Blaming and is ready to team up with a rapist to protect her reputation.
- Twisting the Words: Twice. First time is when she exaggerates the situation in the photo and twists the context, implying Hannah is a "pyscho lesbian", and the second time is when she tries to define people's truths and states her truth is different from Hannah's.
- Victim Blaming: At the coffee shop meeting, she callously tells the others at the meeting that Hannah was a liar, needy, jealous and emotionally unstable, and says Hannah was the one with problems and thought everyone was out to get her, not any of the others. Zach calls her out on victim blaming Hannah, though.
Marcus Cole (Steven Silver)
"Hannah just wanted attention. Nothing was any different than what happens to any girl at any high school."
- Academic Alpha Bitch: He vies for school valedictorian and is very success-oriented. He mentions his grades, Ivy League aspirations, or student body presidency in practically every scene he's in.
- Ambition Is Evil: His ambition for getting into Ivy League universities blinds him to the bigger picture and from recognizing the damage he has done.
- Believing Their Own Lies: From his statements, he clearly believes the sexist spew he puts out that Hannah was just "another high school girl" caught up in the jock's games of slut shaming and lies, and states that what happened to Hannah happens at any high school to any girl, and that makes it fine in his eyes.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Like Courtney, he's outwardly clean and friendly. He's willing to resort to very underhanded and cruel actions if things don't go his way, though.
- Black and Nerdy: "Academic" more so than nerdy, as he clearly fits in with the jocks and is charming to girls. It's partially deconstructed when he tells Bryce that "the rules are different for him", and implies that he focuses on school and abstains from drugs in part to avert stereotypes.
- Blatant Lies: At the deposition, Marcus states that he liked Hannah and wanted to date her, but somehow inadvertently hurt her feelings and she moved on.
- Bullying a Dragon: Decides to get Clay falsely suspended and threaten him, arrogantly overlooking that Clay Took a Level in Badass, and doesn't have much to lose if the tapes went public anyways.
- Did You Actually Believe...?: Harshly tells Hannah that he never liked her, he just thought she was easy.
- Disc-One Final Boss: He's not the Big Bad of the series, but he's the leader of the "stop the tapes" movement, and is more directly Clay's antagonist for the beginning of the series than Bryce. His plans are ultimately thwarted when everyone gets summoned to a deposition, and the tapes are revealed to Mr. Porter and the prosecution.
- Entitled to Have You: Because of Hannah's (false) reputation for promiscuity, Marcus expects her to put out for him. He flips out and starts yelling at her when she rejects his sexual advances.
- Gone Horribly Right: His plan of getting Clay suspended from school, either to intimidate him into stopping the tapes or throwing him into a loop for a couple of days, accidentally ends up giving Clay the time needed to finish the tapes, make Bryce confess he raped Hannah and give the tapes over to Mr. Porter during that time period, inadvertently exposing his actions in the process. Nice going there, buddy.
- Holier Than Thou: He thinks he holds a high moral ground over some of the others, especially Tyler. He really doesn't.
- He's quick to harass Tyler for being a predatory creep towards girls, ignoring the fact that he himself attempted to finger Hannah in a diner as she repeatedly told him to stop, also making himself a predatory creep towards girls.
- He also acts disgusted at Tyler's suggestion to turn Bryce in to protect the others, despite the fact, that the latter is guilty of a worse deed than anyone in the scene (and on the tapes for that matter), and Marcus himself hasn't been above harming a relative innocent (Clay) to protect his own ass.
- It's All About Me: Marcus looks out for Marcus. His main concern about the tapes getting released is that it could lessen his chances at being valedictorian and being accepted into Columbia, and gets called out by Courtney of all people for being callously self-centered and selfish.
- Can easily be seen as the most unsympathetic of the people on tapes, sans Bryce, not because his deed is the worst, but because he doesn't have a single redeeming quality. While all of the others have some kind of Freudian Excuse, Pet the Dog moments, and/or show some remorse over what they've done, Marcus is a dick all the way and refuses to even acknowledge it.
- He isn't even, unlike Zach, spurned into humiliating Hannah by her rejection (which wouldn't be an excuse as well). He makes her wait an hour and then brings a group of his jock buddies into their date (including Zach), showing that he didn't behave like a jerk in the spur of a moment, but did it with complete premeditation and planning.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Marcus is one of the nastiest people in the series. However, he isn't wrong that it was messed up for Hannah to record tapes telling people it's their fault she killed herself, and that she might not be entirely balanced in her depictions of people.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Marcus is initially suggested to have a nicer side; he helps hang up suicide prevention posters, is friendly to Clay, and Hannah is excited when he asks her on a date. However, he lacks empathy to actual suicide victims, his friendliness to Clay is part of a larger scheme, and he attempted to sexually assault Hannah on their "date".
- Lack of Empathy: He voices an opinion that none of the people on the tapes (except for Tyler) deserve any blame for their way of treating Hannah and that "what was done to Hannah wasn't any different than what's done to any high-school girl". It's cringe-worthy enough at the moment he's saying it, but becomes truly horrific when we learn about the rape. Which Marcus already knows about.
- Manipulative Bastard: He manipulates Hannah into thinking he genuinely likes her, orchestrates Monty's and Clay's suspensions, and plots to "control the narrative" of Hannah's suicide. He also runs the Honor Council like a Kangaroo Court.
- Moral Myopia: Tyler taking photos of an unknowing subject? Horrible perverted creep! The jocks circulating an upskirt photo of Hannah around school, Marcus groping and sexually harassing Hannah in public, and Bryce raping multiple girls without remorse? That isn't "any different than what's done to any high-school girl".
- Never My Fault: The most adamant of the group in denying responsibility for Hannah's suicide. The most he'll say is that he might have hurt Hannah's feelings.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Getting Clay suspended gave him extra time to finish all the tapes, and was the kick in the ass Clay needed to get Bryce's confession, and turn the tapes in to Mr. Porter, both things Marcus hoped that would be avoided by getting Clay suspended in the first place.
- Non-Action Guy: Despite hanging around the jocks, he doesn't play sports and seems to resolve conflicts through diplomacy or manipulation.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Many of his Kick the Dog moments indicate that he's a sexist prick. There's his sexual harassment and aggressive behavior towards Hannah, his condoning of sexual violence and slut-shaming in general (see Lack of Empathy), and allegiance towards Bryce throughout the series.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Marcus is one of the more intelligent people on the tapes, and has proved to be a very effective manipulator.
- He prefers to befriend the people on the tapes rather than antagonize them, so he can keep tabs on them and get them on board with his agenda.
- He tells Justin to be more considerate of Jessica, not because he cares, but because Jessica's emotional outbursts are making a scene.
- He discourages violence, because it draws attention and gets the school administration and/or law enforcement involved.
- He arranges Clay's suspension in a way that keeps him off of school grounds for a couple of days, and would be difficult for Clay to prove his innocence.
- He also leads the meeting at Monet's; carefully analyzing who on the tapes should be thrown under the bus or protected for the "greater good" of the group.
- Sleazy Politician: A high school version. He rigs hearings, frames people for crimes, lies in court, is Faux Affably Evil, and even has a sexual harassment scandal.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Thinks the world will end if he doesn't get into Columbia, and that he deserves things from girls despite treating them terribly.
- Smug Snake: Comes off this way in his early attempts at "controlling the narrative" by befriending the subjects of the tapes. Clay sees through it, though.
- Student Council President: Despite being a smarmy jerk, Marcus has a public image of professionalism and cites his sterling reputation as a reason why he can't be exposed by the tapes.
- With Friends Like These...: He's the ultimate subversion of Villainous Friendship. Between getting Monty suspended, and disregarding Justin's home life, he doesn't appear to be particularly loyal to any of his pals. He doesn't care which one he throws under the bus as long as he stays clean.
- Notably, while Justin and Zach very much struggle with the revelation that their friend (or in Justin's case, best friend) Bryce is a rapist, and has raped their mutual friend/girlfriend Jessica, Marcus is only interested in how that information can be used to his advantage, and will protect or turn in Bryce accordingly.
Zachary "Zach" Dempsey (Ross Butler)
"If one thing had gone differently somewhere along the line, maybe none of this would have happened."
- The Atoner: Sincerely regrets the way he treated Hannah, and is one of the few students who wants to be honest in the deposition. He's also not angry at Clay when the latter vandalizes his car, and contrary to his mother, did not wish to press charges, believing that he in some way deserved it for what he did to Hannah.
- Book Dumb: Kat introduces him as a dimwitted jock, and his college scholarship is for athletics, not academics.
- As a extension, he doesn't really seem to grasp some of the games that the jocks play on girls, despite bring a jock himself, but it is probably a good thing he didn't find out.note
- Broken Pedestal: Arguably, Bryce is this to him by the end of the season.
- Closet Geek: His mother says that his dream is to become a marine biologist. You'd never guess this based on his frat boy antics.
- Closer to Earth: Than the rest of his Jerk Jock friends.
- Conflicting Loyalty: From his interactions with Clay and the rest of the kids on the tapes, he doesn't really buy into the "Hannah lied about everything" argument promoted by Courtney and Marcus, but seems conflicted on whether to admit to what he did or go along with covering up what happened with the others. He ends up choosing the former option.
- Disproportionate Retribution: A girl doesn't want to date you and makes a scene when rejecting you? Convince her that no one likes her by stealing kind notes from her classmates, and carry on that stunt for weeks!
- The Drag-Along: Implied to be this as far as his friends' schemes go. He's confused about what's going on when Marcus brings him on his date with Hannah, is the least involved when Alex drives dangerously to intimidate Clay, and doesn't say much at the group meetings. He eventually refuses to join in on Marcus's "control the narrative" scheme, and is honest at the deposition, confirming the stories about Hannah being bullied at Liberty High.
- Establishing Character Moment: Is introduced goofing around and play-fighting with Justin at Kat's party, where she describes him as a dumb jock with a good heart.
- Innocently Insensitive: He's fairly obtuse in how he goes about telling Hannah he likes her, and accidentally insults her by using the "hot list" as a reason why he wanted to ask her out.
- Hidden Depths: Is a much nicer person when his friends aren't around. It is implied that his Jerk Jock behavior is due to peer pressure, and that he will outgrow it, unlike his friends.
- He's also pretty Adorkable in certain scenes, like when he tries to make Hannah laugh by balancing a spoon on his nose.
- Informed Flaw: Hannah's statement on his Straw Misogynist attitude isn't confirmed by anything we see on-screen. He seemed more embarrassed by her yelling at him than angry about the rejection itself. It's likely that she was projecting her emotions onto him, as he immediately respected her boundaries once he understood them, and doesn't act predatory to girls, either for his personal or popularity reasons.
- Jerk Jock: Zig-zagged, maybe Played With, or possibly even subverted. He's the star of the basketball team at Liberty High and goes along with his bully friends' antics many times over the course of the show; but he doesn't initiate anything himself, and has a lot of Pet the Dog moments. He also doesn't attempt to justify his hurtful actions when meeting Clay either and is only one of the two people at the coffee shop meeting to argue about telling the truth of what happened.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lampshaded by Alex.
Alex: Zach... You are an entitled idiot who does stupid, cruel things, even though you probably have a decent heart.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Zach's the only character with definitive proof that Hannah's perceptions weren't entirely accurate, by producing the letter that Hannah claimed he disposed of.
- Kick the Dog: Stealing Hannah's notes was outrageously petty, even by his standards. And while he tends not to instigate, he often participates in or quietly condones bullying. He also threatens to break Tyler's arm, though...
- He also takes a long time to come to his senses on what kind of person Bryce is, after he finds out about Bryce's horrible actions and behaviour though, he seems to be rapidly cutting himself off from Bryce by the end of the season.
- Laser-Guided Karma: He thinks Clay vandalizing his car is this for his theft of Hannah's notes. It explains why he seems less angry than his mother when they went to Clay's house to confront him.
- My Beloved Smother: Played With. His mom is... well, intense. But she means well in the long run, especially considering he was about to be summoned to a deposition, and before that, someone (aka Clay) had keyed her son's car without any reason.
- Not So Different: Hannah writes a letter to Zach suggesting that he is lonely like her, and frustrated by the culture at Liberty High.
- Obliviously Evil: Zig-zagged. His stealing of Hannah's notes was obviously intentional and dickish, but he didn't realize how important the notes were to her at the time and what effect it would have on her mental health. See Disproportionate Retribution.
- Only Sane Man: He's the only person on the tapes who is summoned to the deposition who stays composed, answers the questions in a straightforward manner and doesn't lie.note
- Pet the Dog: Comforts Hannah after her "date" with Marcus, stands up for an overweight girl being bullied, and has sweet interactions with his younger sister.
- Spoiled Sweet: Is a teenager with a $60,000 car, lives in a big and expensive house and has nice clothes, but Zach lacks the snotty, sexist, arrogant and egotistical attitude of Bryce. In fact, in the series, Zach doesn't really show off his wealth much, other than play sports and be a popular jock.
- Take a Third Option: He's very sympathetic to Hannah, but also recognizes (and has proof) that not everything she said on the tapes was true. He opts to be straightforward and honest in his deposition, ignoring Marcus's plan to "control the narrative", but also not falling into despair like Alex, slander Hannah to cover his own behind like Courtney or working outside the law like Clay.
- Tempting Fate: Stealing Hannah's compliment notes while she was already traumatised from several events before (including Marcus trying to sexually assault her in a diner) was just asking for trouble to come his and Hannah's way.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Stealing Hannah's notes seems less offensive compared to the actions of Tyler or Bryce, but Hannah describes the experience as hope-shattering. Zach later recognises his role in Hannah's death as this, and regrets it sincerely.
- Virgin-Shaming: He is revealed to be a virgin and single, which leads to intense teasing by his friends. This may be why he was so obtuse with asking Hannah out, as it is implied he never asked a girl out before.
Ryan Shaver (Tommy Dorfman)
- "You have to tell the truth in poetry. Your truth."
- Ambition Is Evil: Not on Marcus levels, but a lot of Ryan's motivations are fueled by his desire to improve his lit mag and get into a good university.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Considers his offense to Hannah to fall into the jaywalking category, because unlike the other people on the tapes he's not complicit in sexual assault or the death of another person. He takes the stance that legally speaking, he didn't do anything wrong. But...
- Camp Gay: He lampshades this when talking to Hannah.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Tony describes him as being a possessive boyfriend, though this might be an Informed Flaw.
- Closer to Earth: He's no saint, but he's much more level headed than the other culprits on the tapes, particularly in the meeting at Monet's.
- Deadpan Snarker: "Come out, come out little girl!"
- Doing It for the Art: Publishes people's private Dollar Valentine surveys and Hannah's poem without consent for this reason. Is also complimentary of Tyler's stalker pics of Hannah, saying Tyler "really captured her spirit".
- Even Evil Has Standards: Is horrified that Courtney would align herself with a rapist to save her own skin.
- Foil: To the rest of the males on the tapes. Ryan has no sexual or romantic interest in Hannah, but still feels entitled to reveal her most intimate feelings to the entire school. His publishing of her journal parallels Justin/Bryce's spread of the upskirt photo, though it's a violation in a less traditional sense.
- Gay Best Friend: Initially comes off as this trope, but brutally subverted when it's revealed he couldn't care less about Hannah's feelings.
- Hipster: Into literature, has a "for the art" type philosophy, and dresses in an alternative style.
- I Can Live With That: He casually shrugs in agreement when Alex says he's an arrogant asshole.
- Jerkass: Snippy and condescending in almost every scene he's in. Also establishes that you don't have to be a Jerk Jock to be a Jerkass, everyone has the capacity to be cruel regardless of social standing.
- Jerk With The Heartof A Jerk: Is introduced jerkishly publishing the hot-list and people's private notes, causing damage and drama at Liberty High. Then he befriends Hannah and convinces her to express herself through writing, and is encouraging of her talent. Then it becomes clear that the first impression he gave off was accurate, when exploits Hannah's trust and he steals Hannah's most personal poem and publishes it, leaving her devastated and humiliated.
- Knight Templar: Ryan genuinely loves Hannah's poem, and thinks that she'll come around to his point of view on him publishing it without her consent. He didn't publish it to hurt her feelings, though he also doesn't care that he did.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The school shuts down his poetry 'zine because of its association with Hannah's suicide.
- He also publishes people's private information without their consent, and is now in a situation where he could be exposed by the tapes should they go public.
- N-Word Privileges: He describes himself as a "a skinny faggot who writes poems", when he tells Hannah that he is familiar with being picked on by others. Hannah tells him that she doesn't think he is "supposed to use that word." He replies with a coy "You're not. I'm allowed."
- No Accounting for Taste: It's hard to believe that Nice Guy Tony would date him. In-Universe Clay has this reaction to finding out.
- Out of Focus: Ryan doesn't hang out with the jocks, so he's introduced much later on, and is less entangled in the group politics.
- Pet the Dog: Ryan is the most vocal member of the group in speaking out against Bryce, and advocates for women who have been sexually assaulted. He also seems to remember Hannah fondly, and doesn't say disparaging things about her.
- Reformed, but Not Tamed: Maintains his snarky, self-involved personality after Hannah's death, though his causes are more sympathetic, and his targets more deserving.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Thinks very highly of his high school poetry 'zine.
- Soap Box Sadie: Ryan's not shy about sharing his opinions, and resorting to strong measures for the sake of his causes.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: His general reaction to Courtney and her Manipulative Bitch rhetoric.
Sheri Holland (Ajiona Alexus)
"Yeah, I've always liked Clay."
- Adaptation Name Change: Is named Jenny Kurtz in the book.
- The Atoner: Develops a supportive relationship with the elderly couple involved in the car crash she may have caused, and turns herself in to the police at the end of the series.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Played with, in that she's not Faux Affably Evil, her kind side is genuine. However, the fact that she's trying to hide her potential involvement in Jeff's death remains.
- The Cheerleader: The perky, enthusiastic type, with no Alpha Bitch tendencies.
- Genki Girl: Her being a cheerleader is a natural fit, as she's very exuberant and driven.
- Hidden Depths: She initially appears to be a cutesy prom queen type, but she's actually quite insecure and torn up about everything that's happened in the series.
- It's All About Me: A tragic case, because she's not like this in general. But on the night of Jessica's party, when she drunkenly mows down a stop sign, she's freaking out about her parents finding out and refuses to report the accident to the police, even anonymously. This may have caused Jeff's fatal car accident.
- Nice Girl: Friendly to both Hannah and Clay, and seems to be liked by just about everyone. Also while she's not a fan of Tyler, she's much more civil with him than the other students.
- Out of Focus: While she's on the tapes, she's more or less been able to keep her head down. As she was not involved in Hannah's dating life nor did she participate in bullying her, she's less involved in the group politics of the kids on the tapes.
- She's also not summoned to the deposition.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: With Clay. She's devastated by the thought of him in particular looking down on her, because she thinks so highly of him.
- Shipper on Deck: Seems to ship Hannah/Marcus. She's also really enthused to be pairing people up for the Valentines Day fundraiser.
- Southern Belle: Might just be the actress's own accent slipping through, but the character fits the trope as well with her beauty, sweetness, and diction.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: She accidentally hits a stop sign with her car, but chooses not to report it, fearing repercussions. This may or may not have caused the car accident that killed Jeff and injured an elderly man.
Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice)
"What's mine is yours."
- Adaptational Villainy: As if Bryce wasn't already despicable enough in the book, in the series he is also responsible for sending out Hannah's upskirt photo,book came up with the idea for the hot/not listbook , guilt trips Justin into letting him sleep with an unconscious Jessicabook , and violently rapes Hannahbook .
- Affably Evil: Is popular, charming, and has friendly interactions with both Hannah and Clay. He also breaks up fights and arguments, even coming to the defense of people he's bullied himself. He also offers Clay a towel and a drink right after beating him up.
- Big Bad: While the other characters on the tapes may have hurt Hannah unintentionally or indirectly, Bryce is a scumbag who repeatedly inflicts trauma on people for his own personal enjoyment. He rapes Jessica and Hannah (and is implied to have raped others), beats Clay up, and uses his money and influence at school to avoid repercussions for his actions.
- The culprits themselves come to consider Bryce the Big Bad, when they discuss his crime being the worst and contemplate turning him in.
- Big Man on Campus: Bryce thinks that he is this.
- The Bully: He and a bunch of other guys are seen mooning Tyler after his nude photo circulates.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Horrifically enforced to show his sociopathy. He flat out doesn't even remember raping Hannah until Clay's confrontation and sequential beating lead to him remember, which only lead to his atrocious logic of Entitled to Have You and misogyny towards women.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: He absolutely destroys Clay, to the point that Clay only got a hit in because he started it, and even that barely fazed Bryce.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Bryce is visibly uncomfortable when Jessica shows him her father's guns, stating he's "not from a gun family".
- Entitled to Have You: Seems to feel this way towards his victims, as indicated by his speech on how "every girl in the school wants to get raped" by him due to his popularity. His "what's mine is yours" line to Justin alludes to this as well.
- Establishing Character Moment: Is introduced sleazily hitting on Hannah, only for Kat to pull Hannah away, describing him as "jock kryponite" and Clay agreeing.
- Hate Sink: Even before he was revealedto being a rapist, he's still a smarmy, rude asshole who embodies the Jerk Jock and displays different ways of abuse towards his friends and others, showing little care for anything. Clay and Hannah are downright appalled when she matches up with him in the Valentine game.
- Informed Attribute: His great reputation and athletic talent. The only person In-Universe who has nice things to say about him is Justin, and Bryce seems to be generally loathed by the student body even before him being a rapist is revealed. The only evidence of his athleticism is him winning his fight against Clay.
- Invisible Parents: His parents are seemingly never around, allowing him to sell drugs and throw parties at their home.
- Jerkass: The biggest one in a series filled with Jerkasses.
- Jerk Jock: His ego is fueled by being a popular athlete, and he is definitely a jerk.
- Locked Out of the Loop: The rest tries to make sure the tapes don't reach Bryce.
- "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: His creepy justification for forcing himself on Jessica and Hannah. And no, they didn't enjoy it.
- Overarching Villain: Most of the offenses Hannah lists on the tapes could be tracked back to Bryce:
- Bryce is the one who circulated the photo in Justin's phone.
- He pushed Alex into making "The List", which was responsible for Alex and Jessica's breakup and Hannah and Jessica's falling out.
- It was his rape of Jessica that made Hannah leave the party with Sheri. If Hannah had not been there Sheri may not have hit the stop sign.
- He kept up the rumors of Hannah being easy, which lead Marcus to believe she would be.
- He kept goading Courtney to reveal that the photo was of her, resulting in her lying about Hannah being a "psycho lesbian", rather than ignoring the gossip.
- He teases Zach about Hannah yelling at him, potentially motivating the former to steal her notes in retaliation to cover up his personal embarrassment of being shut out by a girl.
- Mister Porter's tactless session with Hannah right before she killed herself was brought on because of him raping Hannah the night before.
- Tyler, Ryan, and Clay are the only ones on the tapes that basically have no connection to Bryce's actions.
- Pet the Dog: The one thing that humanizes him is his friendship with Justin. However...
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Is outwardly sexist and doesn't care to make the distinction between Mexican and Guatemalan.
- School Idol: Wins a leadership award in an early episode, and is highly praised by students and staff alike.
- Serial Rapist: Is shown to have raped Jessica and Hannah. Some of his literal "locker room talk" suggests that they weren't the only ones.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Is convinced that being an athlete at a suburban high school basically makes him God's gift to women.
- Smug Snake: He gloats about his encounters with no concern at all about the harm he inflicts.
- Spoiled Brat: His entitlement extends beyond material things. It's evident that his actions (and lack of concern over whether they were wrong) are a product of his rich and busy parents not being around enough to tell him no or instill any kind of boundaries.
- The Stoner: Regularly references using weed and sells to his friends.
- Sympathy for the Hero: Clay, after having been on the receiving end of a serious beating by Bryce, manages, with great difficulty, to pull himself up into a chair and then fixes Bryce with a defiant Death Glare. Bemused by the sight, Bryce admits to be rather impressed, then pours Clay a drink and offers him a towel.
- Toxic Friend Influence: He brings out the worst in Justin, who sticks by him and overlooks his more heinous actions on account of them being best friends. Eventually, Justin recognizes this and ditches him.
- A more downplayed example is Alex, whom Bryce convinces to make the hot/not list, resulting in Alex losing Jessica.
- Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Gloats to Clay about how much girls want him, right after beating Clay up.
- Villainous Friendship: With Justin. Bryce seems genuinely concerned about Justin's welfare and Justin regularly spends the night in the Walkers' guesthouse. He also seems genuinely hurt when Justin cuts ties with him, rather than simply fearful that Justin will testify against him.
- With Friends Like These...: Rapes Jessica, who is both his friend, and his best friend's girlfriend.
Tony Padilla (Christian Navarro)
" Hannah had secrets, Mrs Baker."
- Ambiguous Innocence: While he is the Big Good of the series, he's also involved in some suspect activities. He and his brothers beat people up, he has a wandering eye, and he withholds crucial information at points.
- Big Good: A grayer form than most. Tony is the one in charge of circulating the tapes, as well as helping Clay deal with his problems. He takes extreme distaste in how it starts to affect Clay and Hannah's parents, officially dropping this role at the end of the season.
- Blackmail: Threatens to reveal the tapes to the world, ensuring that the students receive their tapes and pass it on.
- Book Dumb: Has little interest in school, but is a talented mechanic and is very emotionally intelligent.
- Childhood Friends: With Clay.
- Cool Car: Owns a very hip vintage vehicle for a high schooler, which he customizes.
- Disco Dan: From his taste in cars, preference for mix tapes, and 50s greaser aesthetic, Tony's tastes are a little retro.
- Double Speak: Tony frequently uses this to withhold information without explicitly lying.
- The Heart: Trusted by Hannah with the tapes, helps the Baker parents, and watches over the people on the tapes.
- Manipulative Bastard: Downplayed, but he's more than a little misleading with Clay in what he says to convince him to listen to the tapes.
- Mr. Fixit: Tony is often tinkering with cars, bikes, etc. He also sets up Hannah with the recording device and tapes, which is probably the source of some Fridge Horror for him.
- My Greatest Failure: Ignoring Hannah when she drops off the tapes at his house, not wanting to get involved in the drama. His main motivation for spreading the tapes is because he feels that he could have saved her.
- Nice Guy: He's consistently doing people favors, checking in with them, and being friendly.
- Only Friend: Hannah considered him to be the only person at Liberty who she could trust and was truly her friend. Given her Broken Bird status, she had a bit of an "everybody hates me" complex and overlooked that people like Clay and Sherri did care about her, but nonetheless Tony was the only person she hadn't lost faith in.
- Raised Catholic: Not brought up often, but implied to be a reason why he hides his sexuality, and has a strong need to atone for what happened to Hannah.
- Satellite Love Interest: Not Tony himself, but his boyfriend Brad seems to exist only to establish that Tony's gay and give him an non-Liberty student to vent to.
- Siblings in Crime: He and his brothers "take care of people".
- Stalker Without a Crush: Follows Clay around to make sure he's listening to the tapes and doing okay mentally. Though it is implied he might have feelings for Clay, said feelings have nothing to do with him following Clay around.
- Straight Gay: Clay had no idea that Tony was gay. Granted, Clay is not the most socially aware, and with all the bullying that goes on at Liberty High, it's understandable that Tony would try to keep his sexuality hidden.
- Tony considers himself to be in a Transparent Closet; he doesn't advertise his sexuality, but feels that a lot of people know at this point or can pick up on it.
- Trickster Mentor: Has some very roundabout ways of teaching Clay life lessons, such as dangerous climbs.
- Wrong Side of the Tracks: Mentions he is from the poor part of town and leads a rougher life than Clay.
Jeff Atkins (Brandon Larracuente)
"That's why you have me, man."
- Ambiguous Situation: Was his car accident a result of the missing stop sign, or was Jeff drunk driving?
- Artistic License: In-Universe, there's a lot of debate over whether he was intoxicated/at fault for his fatal car accident. However, in the United States it is legal/medical protocol to test the blood alcohol content of anyone involved in an automobile accident, especially a fatal one. However, the ambiguity serves the narrative better, especially Hannah's and Sheri's processing of the situation.
- Book Dumb: He's struggling to maintain a C- average in order to play sports. Clay is his tutor, and he has some ditzy one-liners.
- Bromantic Foil: He's the smooth guy who consistently dates, in contrast to Clay's unlucky in love status.
- Cool-Kid-and-Loser Friendship: His friendship with Clay comes off as this, though aside from some gentle teasing about Clay's shyness, Jeff doesn't think of Clay as a "loser" relative to him whatsoever.
- Dead All Along: Revealed to have died in a car accident prior to Hannah's suicide.
- Foil: To Clay, as they are both Nice Guy types though Jeff is more popular and conventionally masculine.
- Good Parents: His parents clearly love /loved him a lot, and are compassionate and friendly. It's no wonder Jeff ended up having the personality he does.
- Lovable Jock: The only jock in the series who is not a bully or sexual predator. Considering what happens to him, he's also Too Good for This Sinful Earth.
- Nice Guy: One of the nicest in the series. Everyone from Clay to even Bryce misses him.
- Shipper on Deck: For Clay/Hannah.
- The Stoner: Implied to be this, based on the essay he wrote about the founding fathers.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Zig-zagged. On a Meta level. He bears a physical resemblance to Monty, and they are both jocks. This is arguably a Red Herring for Jeff's lack of appearance in the present day scenes, and the reveal that Jeff is dead. However their personalities could not be more different.
- Trickster Mentor: Tries to get Clay to come out of his shell, sometimes through indirect means. For example, Clay ends up going to the school dance because he lost a bet against Jeff.
Skye Miller (Sosie Bacon)
"I like this new rebellious, Audi-keying Clay Jensen."
- All of the Other Reindeer: On Alex's Hot/Not list, she's his choice for "worst face". The students in her communications class are also quick to throw snide comments her way.
- Ambiguous Situation: It's unclear if Skye has a crush on Clay, or is lonely and appreciates Clay taking interest in her.
- Butter Face: Labeled as this on the list, though you probably wouldn't notice it on your own. It could be just some guy being spiteful, like the instance of Hannah and Jessica.
- Cool Loser: Skye is witty, artistic, and cool, but is Hollywood Homely and unpopular.
- Deadpan Snarker: World weary and sarcastic.
- Good Is Not Nice: She's essentially a good-hearted person with a bristly and standoffish demeanor. She instantly picks up on the pain behind Hannah's anonymous letter when their Communications teacher reads it to the class.
- Goth: Seems to be a 2017 version of this trope.
- Informed Flaw: Her being a Butter Face, though could just be a reflection of bullying/the toxic culture at Liberty High.
- Jerkass Façade: It's implied that her snippiness is a defense mechanism, because she's terrified of rejection.
- Never My Fault: Blames Clay entirely for them drifting apart, though she didn't do much to reach out to him either.
- Not So Different: For all of her talk about how she's "stronger" than Hannah, the two actually have a lot in common. Both are sensitive, thoughtful young women with an interest in Clay, who struggle with bullying and depression.
- Rebellious Spirit: Has a cynical attitude towards most of the other kids and towards life in general.
"Shit's overrated. Lose it."
- The Resenter: Seems to be jealous of Clay's interest in Hannah, and his branching out to other friends in general.
- Self-Harm: Revealed to be cutting her wrists in "Tape 6, Side A".
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Jeff thinks that if Skye was less standoffish and wore less black then she'd be really cute.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Initially comes off as very harsh, but it's largely a coping mechanism for her depression.
- Storyboard Body: She and Clay discuss her alligator tattoo, and it gives some insight into her personality and past.
- We Used to Be Friends: To Clay. The two of them drifted apart once they moved to high school.
Montgomery "Monty" De la Cruz
Montgomery "Monty" De la Cruz (Timothy Granaderos)
"You leave her alone, freak."
- The Bully: More outwardly so than his Faux Affably Evil friends. He's particularly nasty to Tyler (See also Irrational Hatred).
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Beats Alex to a pulp. Alex started the fight, but barely gets a hit in.
- Evil Is Petty: Most of his asshole behavior is pretty random. He's not acting off of personal grudges, nor does he benefit from his bullying in any way.
- Hot-Blooded: Monty has a notable temper, which is lampshaded by Bryce.
- Irrational Hatred: Of Tyler. Monty hasn't even heard the tapes, so he's not even on a Holier Than Thou crusade to even justify his particular behavior towards him. He despises and attacks Tyler seemingly for no reason, especially if Tyler is talking to one of his friends.
- Jerk Jock: He's a bully who thinks its funny to almost run down his classmates and assault people in the school hallway. He's also a part of Bryce, Justin, Marcus, and Zach's friend group. Though he's not on the tapes.
- Recurring Extra: Doesn't really have plots to himself, but there to be a generic bully to Alex or Tyler, and hang around the jocks.
Kat (Giorgia Whigham)
"Of course there's good jocks, you just have to learn how to find them. Hannah never learned."
- Childhood Friends: With Clay. Kat notes the last party he went to was her birthday party...in the 4th grade.
- Do Wrong, Right: Says all jocks are entitled jerks, but dates them. When the prosecutor asks her why, she says she's savvy enough to pick the right ones, unlike Hannah.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Implied to have been this at Liberty High. She throws great parties, dates the jocks, and is witty and likable.
- My Greatest Failure: Considers giving Hannah her blessing to date Justin to be this.
- Nice Girl: Is nothing but friendly and supportive, doesn't even mind her best friend dating her ex.
- Only Friend: Hannah described Kat as being "the type of friend who couldn't be replaced". Hannah was right.
- Put on a Bus: At the end of the first episode.
- The Bus Came Back: When she's summoned at the deposition in the season finale.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Played With. In her respective testimony, Kat calls out the toxic culture within the population of Liberty High. She specifically calls out Principal Bolan, the teachers and the social subculture surrounding the school's jocks for contributing to the events that led to Hannah's demise.
"Look, the jocks walk the hall like they own the place. The teachers feed into it. Bolan feeds into it. It's just.... it's how it is."
- Shipper on Deck: Wanted to pair up Hannah with Zach; too bad All Girls Want Bad Boys.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Invoked during the Deposition. Finds it really easy to pinpoint the exact moment where Hannah's life started going to shit is the exact same time where Kat gave her her blessing to date Justin.
- What Could Have Been: In-Universe. She openly wonders out loud at the deposition what would have happened if she hasn't moved away, and combined with My Greatest Failure above, she comes to the same conclusion that Hannah would still be alive.
Pratters (Uriah Shelton)
- Comically Missing the Point: Zach at one point snarks at him that telling a fat person to just stop being fat is like telling him to just not be a dick.
Pratters: Exactly, thank you!Zach: Totally not on your side, dude...
- Hipster: Based on his fashion choices and general sense of superiority, he comes off as a Jerkass version of this trope.
- It's All About Me: His requests to stop talking about suicide and complaining about it when no one agrees with him falls under this trope.
- Jerkass: Nearly every scene featuring Pratters has him blurt out something either idiotic, outright rude, or both, and is always called out on it. Example: In the first episode, Pratters suggests that the class should stop talking about Hannah's death, claiming that it's "depressing" (for him) to hear about it every day. The reaction from the class and his teacher is what you'd expect.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Played With and implied. His attitudes towards Hannah's suicide gives a subtle insight into how the rest of the school's student body views it in the long run, which is a resounding "So what?". Even if his delivery of projecting those feelings makes him look both disrespectful and more selfish, the overall feeling of Hannah from the rest of the school still stands regardless.
- Last-Name Basis: He's never referred by his first (or full) name throughout the series.
- Recurring Extra: Doesn't really have any significance in the main plot, but is there to be the annoying jerkass for the main characters.
- Soap Box Sadie: Pratters has an opinion on everything, and you're going to hear it.
Lainie & Matt Jensen
Lainie & Matthew "Matt" Jensen (Amy Hargreaves & Josh Hamilton)
- Adults are Useless: Averted hard.
- Anger Born of Worry: Both Lainie and Matt get angry with Clay when he mysteriously disappears suddenly from school or home for no apparent reason, but it is implied that the anger is born out a worry of Clay getting more reckless and depressed after Hannah's suicide, who was already suffering from grief and sadness. Matt is especially concerned when Clay comes home with blood coming out of his nose and mouth and suffering bruises everywhere, and quickly gets suspicious of Clay saying he visited his friend (which in reality he visited Bryce to make him confess to the rape and Bryce beat Clay up in return).
- Armour Piercing Question: Olivia Baker asks Lainie, "How much is Clay's life worth to you?", calling out Lainie's hypocrisy in suggesting the Bakers take a cash settlement for Hannah's death.
- Bumbling Dad: Clay seems to view his father as being this, but Matt is actually more of a Reasonable Authority Figure, and a lot more in touch with what Clay is going through than Lainie.
- Catch-22 Dilemma: Lainie, as the lawyer representing the school, is stuck in this when she realises that she would have to tear down Hannah, especially when she finds out that her son and Hannah were more than just work colleagues and classmates.
- Generation Xerox: Both Clay and Matt are soft spoken, intelligent, humorous guys trying their best to deal with the craziness that surrounds them.
- My Beloved Smother: Played With. Lainie establishes a "no closed door" policy in the house; not when Clay has girls over, but all the time. She's very concerned about Clay's wellbeing, and her attempts with him vary from reasonable (such as suggesting he should start seeing his former therapist again after two of his friends die) to overbearing (refusing to let him do his own laundry and getting ready to call the cops because he cut class). She's well intentioned but very intense.
Olivia & Andrew Baker
Olivia & Andrew "Andy" Baker (Kate Walsh & Brian d'Arcy James)
"We never got a note."
- Determinator: Hannah's mother in particular, in her mission to get justice for her daughter.
- Five Stages of Grief: Definitely this trope, considering their daughter just killed herself. By the time Clay gets the tapes, one week after Hannah killed herself, Olivia and Andy were both in the fifth stage, acceptance.
- Good Parents: Every flashback that includes one or both of them with Hannah shows that they had a very close, loving relationship with their daughter. This makes her suicide hit them especially hard; not only because they were so close to her, but also because they agonize over how they didn't notice all the warning signs.
- Parents as People: They're preoccupied at work and don't always notice what's going on with Hannah, but it's also clear that they love their daughter and want her to be happy. Needless to say, they are devastated by Hannah's suicide.
Kevin Porter (Derek Luke)
- Adults are Useless: Arguably deconstructed. It's less that he's willfully negligent, but that he's overwhelmed with counseling 600+ students and does not have enough time or resources to help students effectively. Word of God also confirms that Mr. Porter is also not trained or skilled enough in his job to see the signs that Hannah was deeply suicidal.
- Argubaly he did everything he could. He could neither promise Hannah that she would not have to face her rapist nor that he would go to jail. He simply could not. Within what he could do he did not do a bad job. He could not accuse Bryce simply by Hannah's say-so.
- Though he could have helped set Hannah up with a counselor to process her trauma, instead of just telling her "move on".
- Argubaly he did everything he could. He could neither promise Hannah that she would not have to face her rapist nor that he would go to jail. He simply could not. Within what he could do he did not do a bad job. He could not accuse Bryce simply by Hannah's say-so.
- Fish out of Water: Formerly worked at an inner-city school where "kids shot kids". It's implied that because of this, he considers social issues among the students less important in comparison.
- Jerkass Has a Point: While he was less than understanding in how he handled his talk with Hannah, he has a point in that Hannah's refusal to name her attacker or consider police intervention limits his capacity to help.
- His point to Clay that "you can't love someone back to life", highlighting the complexity of mental health issues.
- My Greatest Failure: He clearly regrets the way he treated Hannah, it only gets worse when he finds out his negligence was the final straw for Hannah.
- Though Word of God states that Hannah set him up to fail.
- Non-Answer: Unfortunately, at the beginning, he gives out a lot of these answers, but averts it at the end as he realises he couldn't justify what he said to Hannah anymore.
- The Shrink: Type 1 due to not actually being a real therapist.
- The Stoic: Doesn't react much to the drama around him.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Is probably the best example out of all the other characters; besides Clay, he's the only person on the tapes who doesn't try to hurt Hannah or throw her under the bus, however, his pitiful, distracted attempt to counsel her is what ultimately drives her to kill herself.
- Victim Blaming: When both Hannah and Tyler come to his office for help, he insists that they brought their problems on themselves and that they are overreacting. It is implied that he considers their issues petty compared to the students' at the inner-city school he worked at previously.
Gary Bolan (Steven Weber)
- Adults Are Useless: Takes more interest in the school's reputation rather than its students; and by doing so, he indirectly feeds the toxic student culture at Liberty High. He's called out directly by Kat in her testimony.
- Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Not only he has to deal with the lawsuit brought on by the Baker family, he also has to deal with a whole host of other problems at Liberty High, which include bullying, fights and the general school culture. Also Alex attempting suicide by shooting himself in the head by the end of the season.