Jim Hopper

Jim Hopper

    Stranger Things
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up... in small-town Hawkins, Ind., where he went to high school with Joyce Byers, among others.

Living... alone and back in Hawkins again, which definitely wasn’t the plan. At one point Jim was a big-city police officer and a married man with a beautiful daughter, but all of that is gone now. These days he spends most of his time in an alcohol and drug-induced haze, rolling in late to work after sleeping one off and/or indulging in a one-night stand.

Profession... chief of police of the Hawkins Police Department. That might sound more impressive than it is. The rest of the “force” consists of two other officers, and the worst thing he’s encountered in the four years he’s held the job is when an owl attacked a local woman after mistaking her hair for a nest. That’s why when Joyce Byers claims that her 12-year-old son Will is missing, an unworried Jim says that he’s probably just playing hooky. But soon Jim discovers that Will’s disappearance is tied to some very strange and dangerous doings, centered around the Hawkins National Laboratory.

Interests... Schlitz beer, pills, and cigarettes. Jim is an expert in numbing pain while pretending it doesn’t exist.

Relationship Status... divorced. Jim was once married to Diane, but the death of their daughter Sarah was too much for the marriage to overcome. He still does fairly well landing women, but doesn’t seem to be seeking any connection deeper than a night or two of fun. 

Challenge... unraveling the mystery of what happened to Will Byers. Frankly, Chief Hopper hasn’t been especially engaged with his job lately, or with life in general for that matter. But now that he’s stumbled upon a true mystery and what appears to be some serious crimes, he’s trying to rise to the occasion to help bring Will back to Joyce safe and sound.

Personality... funny, cynical, and world-weary. Jim has been beaten down by tragedy and is simply going through the motions. The less he feels overall, the less likely he is to feel pain. Still, he was once a dedicated officer and a compassionate family man. He’s hoping that he can find that good and caring person within himself once again.


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