American horror story
Set in the late 1960s in a military facility in the Nevada desert during the height of the Cold War era. Covert experiments were supposedly carried out by the CIA and US government as part of the notorious MKULTRA project. It involved testing the effects of different drugs on human behaviour, and the use of psychic and paranormal warfare.
as Commander bill burchill
An affable, eccentric, fatherly, John B. Alexander-type-character who is in charge of the facility. The Commander has dedicated his life to the eradication of communism and the betterment of the human race. He has an admiration for aliens and their technology, and is obsessed about exposing their existence. He truly believes that the work being done at the facility is for the greater good, and is oblivious to the more sinister aspects which the staff go to great lengths to hide from him. When the facility is shut down he is made a scapegoat by the CIA, and distraught, he takes his own life with his grandfather's antique pistol.
as Doctor JEAN SMALES
A bio-chemist at the facility studying the effects of how the body reacts to certain drugs. She is highly ambitious with her eye on the Nobel Prize. She looks down on most of her colleagues at the facility and holds John Cosgrove in particular contempt, calling him Doctor Frankenstein. Commander Burchill treats her like a daughter, indulging her whims, but the men at the facility get all the credit which infuriates her no end. In a fit of jealousy she sabotages John Cosgrove's experiments and puts the facility, and everyone's lives, in jeopardy.
lou diamond phillips
as ray whitecloud
A quiet, contemplative man of Native American descent who harbours a dark secret. He runs the town gas station just outside of Indian Springs along the road that leads to the facilty. Little more than a truck-stop, he shares the place with two other businesses that all have a symbiotic relationship with the facility. Mo's Diner next door and the La Vie En Rose Motel across the road. He goes on a vision quest in the desert to locate Lorelei's Ark with a few of the subjects from the facilty that have escaped - they all smoke peyote to expand their minds.
as madeline pettifer
The owner of La Vie En Rose Motel, she turns a blind eye (literally and figuratively) to the goings on of her customers. Blinded in an explosion that killed her philandering husband (which possibly she may have caused), she is assisted by her daughter and mentally backward son. Although totally blind, she has remarkable sensory perception and her helplessness is often underestimated by those who don't know her. She is also an incurable romantic and a Francophile.
as clark pettifer
Madeline's intellectually challenged oldest child. What Clark lacks in brains he makes up for in looks and muscle. He does all the manual labour around the place and gets bossed around by Olive. He often spies on customers through peep holes and is secretly in love with Honey, but Olive can also wrap him around her little finger. Clark accidentally suffocates Honey when she tries to "make him happy". The Las Vegas mob think it is the work of an experienced hit-man.
as ETHAN SANDERS
A clairvoyant like Christopher Walkin's character in The Dead Zone. He has visions of the future in days, hours and sometimes minutes before it happens - like a time-skip. Roughed up and kicked out of the White Sands Casino suspected of cheating - he offers up the winners of a couple of prize fights and horse races when questioned by the mob. Honey takes him to La Vie En Rose. He is drugged and taken to the facility. He has a vision of Room 6 as being bad. He relaxes when they go into Room 9, but when the door slams shut the number swings upside down - Clark hadn't fixed it.
as VITO VERGONA
A menacing las Vegas mob boss and owner of the White Sands Casino. He pays a visit to La Vie en Rose when he hasn't heard from Jimmy Fontana as previously arranged, and finds Honey dead in her motel room. He threatens Olive and she calls Lt Potts who agrees to release Jimmy if Vito hands back Ethan who is missing from the facility. Vito is surprised, but plays along to get Jimmy back, then tricks Lt Potts in a dummy exchange. Jimmy later guns down everyone at the White Sands - he has been implanted with an assassination program by the CIA.
as Prof. Roger Schneider
Head Scientist at the Facility who is in charge of the MKULTRA project. Based on chemist Sidney Gottlieb, the man behind LSD experiments in the cold war era, and Timothy Leary, psychologist and LSD advocate. Not only does the Professor conduct experiments with drugs, he uses them himself, and so is high most of the time. He believes LSD provides the gateway for man's consciousness to enter another dimension. A man of great ambition but low morals, he often takes credit for the work of his protegee, Dr Jean Smales and was responsible for making Commander Burchill the fall-guy for the facility.
as lorelei perkins
A beautiful shape-shifting alien who in her human form is secretary to Commander Burchill. Her purpose on Earth is to integrate into human society and recover one of the seven Arks (keys of life), a powerful fetish of the native tribes of Nevada and also called the Eye of Thoth. She seeks the help of local man Ray Whitecloud whose ancestors were guardians. The facility holds her only means of transport back to her solar system. She has managed to cloak her identity from facility staff by ingesting large amounts of colloidal silver which is slowly killing her along with the denseness of earth's atmosphere.
A microencephilac removed from Briarcliff Asylum. After Dr Arden died, some of his notes fell into military hands and were brought to the attention of Commander Burchill. Intrigued by reports of Pepper's new found intelligence after her encounter with the grey aliens, he arranges for her to be brought to the facility immediately. She is suffering from a pulmonery infection and near death when she arrives. Along with Lorelai, she helps free a few of the subjects at the facility that have been kept against their will. She contacts the greys and they rescue her.
as delilah murphy
Delilah and her husband run Mo's Diner. Delilah is stoic, cynical and world-weary. She leans on Ray Whitecloud when having difficulties with her abusive husband Mo. Ray is in love with Delilah and promises to protect her. Delilah is always cleaning up the results of Mo's bad behaviour and trying to keep their business afloat. She has come close to killing Mo before and often fantasizes about his death so she can be with Ray. Her greatest regret was giving up a child as an unwed teenager, who unbeknown to her, is at the facility.
as honey nicholls
A hooker with connections to the Las Vegas mob and moonlights for the CIA as a "honey trapper" louring men with no ties to the La Vie En Rose Motel where they are drugged and taken to the facility to be used as test subjects. Her biggest coup was intercepting a bus load of hippies en route to California. Honey is a breathy-voiced woman-child, who dreams of owning her own beauty salon. Her motel room is filled with stuffed toy animals which give her clients the creeps.
as mr SCHIPPE
A mysterious travelling salesman that takes up temporary residence at the La Vie En Rose Motel. Like Leland Gaunt in Needful Things, he is a dealer of curiosities. He is seeking the Eye of Thoth for a special buyer. Olive is intrigued at how he can come and go from the motel unseen and unheard. He mesmerises people with an antique yo-yo he keeps in his pocket - once under his spell they tell him everything. He reluctantly befriends Olive, but continues to remain an enigma.
as dr john cosgrove
A callous young scientists with a God complex not unlike Amon Goeth in Schindler's List. He conducts bizarrre experiments on human behaviour such as mind control, electric shock treatment and psychological and physical torture. He also took particular interets in Dr Arden's recovered notes. He is working on creating a "psychic super-soldier" for the CIA. He often locks horns with Jean Smales and they end up having a complicated sexual relationship, despite their obvious hatred for each other. He is mauled to death by a crazed subject in a sabotaged experiment.
as director hank miller
Director of the CIA, a Richard Helms type character, he is known as the "gentlemanly planner of assassinations". He makes random checks on the facility much to the distress of Lt Potts who tries to cover up some of commander Burchill's eccentricities and John Cosgrove's mistakes. He takes a particular interest in Ethan Sanders. He shuts down the facility when things are out of control; Nurse Babbit is arrested for her crimes, a dangerous experiment has been released into the community and most of the facility's subjects are at large.
as subject 23 (FRANK)
A mind reader at the facility. He is a Norman Bates-like character that hears people's thoughts as the voice of his dead mother. He was in an insane asylum previously and dismissed as schizophrenic, but his statements about other people proved to be extremely accurate. Commander Burchill recovered him for what he called his "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen". Frank tries his best to console Private Dodd who loses his faith in God,and ultimately his mind, upon hearing the real story of creation from Lorelei and how the planet was "star-seeded" by aliens.
as lieutenant ryan potts
The over-achieving, brown-nosing second in command to Commander Burchill. Lt Potts is OCD, possesive of the Commander, and slightly over the top. He goes out of his way to ensure that the facility runs smoothly, often using threats and bribery. He is jealous and mistrustful of Lorelei, believing her to be a Communist spy and watching her every move. He tells her that he likes to run a tight ship, and that she "is a lose thread". Hoping to expose Lorelei in a public showdown in front of the CIA, he engages subject 23, a mind reader. Lt Potts is rattled when the only thing that gets exposed is his illicit trysts with young men in hotel rooms.
as nurse wilma bABBIT
A brusque, wise-cracking nurse who gets a kick out of holding subjects down and administering sedatives. Like the murderess Jane Toppin, her perkiness is in contrast to her dark nature. Accused of murdering her patients, the facility still hired her for her particular set of skills. She gets rid of experiments that have "gone wrong" with no questions asked. On treating Pepper she remarks "Jeez, you're an ugly one aint ya, they should have strangled you at birth." She has taken aback when Pepper responds, "Lady, I believe that's the pot calling the kettle black."
as private wayne dodd
A soldier who volunteers for the remote viewing program using sensory deprivation flotation tanks. A devout Christiam, he believes he is doing God's work fighting Communism. He is in love with Lorelei and proposes to her. She agrees to the marriage, but only to help her cover story. Commander Burchill gives them the night off for their nuptials at La Vie En Rose. During sex her disguise slips and Wayne has a glimpse of her true form. He is zapped to forget, but recalls all while in a flotation tank and then confronts her later.
as olive pettifer
Madeline's smart-alec, precocious daughter. Honey complains to Madeline that her "trampy daughter is bad for business". Olive tries to latch onto anyone who she thinks may be her ticket out of her current existence, but most men she meets are destined for the facility. Lt Potts recognises her desperation and promises her an escape if she reports back to him about anything suspicious, but she is in a quandary about betraying new friends, especially Ethan Sanders.
as MO MURPHY
Namesake of Mo's Diner, a short-order cook, and Delilah's husband, He is an imposing, surly ex-soldier who fought in the initial stages of the Vietnam War. It's rumoured that if anyone displeased Mo, they would end up in one of his burgers. After a while it is clear that Mo suffers from PTSD, he has terrifying hallucinations and can sometimes be found crying in a fetal position. Whilst in the army, he was given the experimental drug BZ along with other members of his unit.
as Jimmy Fontana
Suave and sinister, with a split personality, Jimmy is mob boss Vito Vergona's right hand at the White Sands Casino. After Ethan Sanders' predictions come true the mob decide he is a valuable commodity. Jimmy forces Honey to help him get into the facility to bust Ethan out, but she tells him the place is impenetrable - the only way in is to become a subject. He forgoes the drugging Honey would have normally administered in order to have his wits about him. Honey thinks it is a bad idea, but Jimmy cuts the legs off her stuffed animals until she agrees to cooperate.
as ralph naylor
A highly trained martial artist who has mastered the art of Dim Mak (the death touch) and other Zen skills such as holding his breath, walking on hot coals, and control of pain. He is an exhibitionist, narcicist and a dangerous sociopath - a cross between Patrick Bateman and Bruce Lee. He has volunteered at he facility because of the large pay-cheque promised and other fringe benefits, such as - he gets to kill people in the name of science. He is Lt Potts' personal "attack dog" and is sent to murder Olive when she becomes a problem.
as subject 19 (CHERRIE)
A young woman with strong telekinetic ability. She was at an orphanage when commander Burchill hears about her and then has her brought to the facility when she was 12 years old. She enjoys being a thorn in Nurse Babbit's side and has a notoriously bad temper fuelled by her rejection issues. She is later reunited with her birth mother, Delilah. When Lorelei dies, Cherrie agrees to return to the facility only to recover the Ark which is hidden in the body. Cherrie uses her telekinesis to extract he Ark from the gel-like flesh minutes before an alien autopsy is performed.