Sterling Archer

Sterling Archer

Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew up… with an array of problems. Archer was neglected by his mother Malory, who allowed the family’s heroin-addicted valet Woodhouse to handle the child-rearing until shipping Archer off to boarding school. Archer grew up believing his father died when he was three, but later discovered Malory isn’t quite sure who his father is. Malory’s one success may have been turning Archer into a dependant mama’s boy through manipulation, telling him, “I’m the only one you can trust.”

Living... in a lavish Manhattan penthouse. It includes a fully stocked bar to fuel Archer’s excessive drinking and living quarters for Woodhouse. There are only two rules are: no dogs, and his mother is never to be allowed in. Nevertheless, Malory owns a key and often visits.

Profession... the world’s most dangerous secret agent, albeit still under his mother’s control. Archer works at the New York headquarters of the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), which is run by Malory. She gives him the emasculating codename “Duchess,” named after her deceased Afghan hound.

Interests... drinking, irresponsible sex, lacrosse, fast cars, Burt Reynolds, and turtleneck sweaters. We’re not kidding about the last one, which comes to the fore even in times of life and death: “I’m getting my turtleneck – I’m not defusing a bomb in this!” Less stereotypically for the suavest spy on the planet, Archer is also an avid reader with an extensive knowledge of literature, film, and television.

Relationship Status… recently dumped. The foxy Lana Kane, star agent at ISIS, recently ended her relationship with Archer, mostly thanks to his cheating habits; they did not share the same definition of “exclusive.” Lana was also tired of Archer’s tortured relationship with his mother: “I broke up with you because you're carrying around a 35-year-old umbilical cord!” But don’t worry, Archer will fall into bed without some other woman before you know it.

Challenge... his arrogance. Archer is egotistical and lacks any remorse for the people he kills for hire. He often abuses the power of his position to get women to sleep with him. He drinks like a fiend and smokes like a chimney. If he could tone things down just a bit, he’d be easier to like.

Personality... narcissistic, pompous, misogynist, promiscuous, and reckless. Yet for all that, he shows just enough evidence of being sympathetic to be tolerable. Frankly, anyone who meets Malory knows that Archer had the deck stacked against him. Yes, he’s a total cad, but he’s an (almost) lovable scoundrel.


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