Film & TV

‘Altered Carbon’ characters ranked according to level of badassery

If you haven’t seen Altered Carbon, Netflix’s new sci-fi series that is based on Richard K. Morgan’s classic cyberpunk noir novel of the same name, here’s a quick guide to all the badass characters you’ll meet — good, evil and everything in between.

11.  Abboud and Captain Tanaka (played by Waleed Zuaiter and Hiro Kanagawa, respectively)

Altered Carbon

Colleagues of Det. Kristin Ortega at the Bay City Police Department, Abboud and Captain Tanaka are on the opposite ends of the spectrum — one is a morally upright voice of reason and the other is a corrupt and cowardly law enforcer. On the badassery scale, they rank about the same, as one is not at all badass and the other, well, retired rather prematurely.

10. Laurens Bancroft (played by James Purefoy)

Altered Carbon

Laurens Bancroft is the Methuselah or Meth (what the mega-wealthy are called in this world) who has paid to have Kovacs’s consciousness and skills implanted in a new sleeve. The catch? Kovacs must find the person who killed him and made it look like a suicide. If Kovacs solves the case, he’ll earn his freedom. But what does he do anyway? At his core, he is a confused man, betrayed by his own greed.

9. Miriam Bancroft (played by Kristin Lehman)

Altered Carbon

Laurens Bancroft’s wife, who has also been spun up into ever-stronger and beautiful clones of her original body. She and Laurens have been together for 118 years. She ranks higher than her husband, definitely, being more in control of their power than he is.

8. Takeshi Kovacs, birth (played by Will Yun Lee)

Birth Kovacs was a Black Ops assassin when he was younger. Then, as elements of society fought against the wealthy and powerful re-sleeving themselves for eternity and maintaining and increasing their power in the process, there was an Uprising, during which Birth Kovacs was trained by a woman he fell in love with. After the Uprising failed, he became a mercenary, and when he was killed by authorities, his stack was put on ice, a sort of virtual prison.

7. Vernon Elliott (played by Ato Essandoh)

A former medic in the Protectorate’s military forces, who is haunted by the imprisonment of his wife, and visions of his daughter, Lizzie, whom he believes was murdered. Part of Kovacs’ “pack,” Vernon is a crucial member of the team.

6. Reileen Kovacs (played by Dichen Lachman)

Altered Carbon

Takeshi’s sister, who gets separated from him after the death of their abusive father. Her damage is real, and it cancels out any personal evolution she has endured to make herself invincible.

5. Lizzie Elliott (played by Hayley Law)

Daughter of Vernon Elliott. Let’s just say for the short time that she is actually outside a construct, she leaves a real trail of welcome damage.

4. Quellcrist Falconer (played by Renee Elise Goldsberry)

Intelligent, calculating, and dangerous, Quell was the Envoys’ leader, a brave rebel and inventor with whom Birth Kovacs fell in love. Quell still very much exists in the mind of Kovacs, even in his re-sleeved form. We don’t know a lot about Quell but we do know she’s partly responsible for a lot of what went down.

Takeshi Kovacs, present (played by Joel Kinnaman)

A former freedom fighter (an Envoy in Altered Carbon parlance) who wakes up nearly 250 years after he was killed to find out he has been re-sleeved into a new body – on a lease – to solve the murder of one of the wealthiest men in the Settled Worlds. The man who has given him a new life? The murder victim himself, Laurens Bancroft, now re-sleeved into his own clone and on a mission to find out who killed him and made it look like a suicide. He’s the hero, the anti-hero and the twist — you’ll see.

Det. Kristin Ortega (played by Martha Higareda)

Altered Carbon

A tough cop working in the Bay City Police Department’s Organic Damage Division who has an unexpected connection to both Kovacs and Bancroft. Ortega has chosen to never be “spun up” — so her consciousness will never be put into another body – based on her ethical and religious beliefs. She’s stubborn and fearless and backs that up with lots of rage. What’s not to love?

Edgar A.I. Poe (played by Chris Conner)

Altered Carbon

A highly evolved artificial intelligence system operating inside the Raven Hotel, where Kovacs lives in grungy Bay City. We love our Poe. He’s the real MVP.

All photos courtesy of Netflix.
Altered Carbon is now streaming on Netflix. For more information, visit, Twitter: @altcarb, Instagram: @altcarb, and Facebook:


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