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Home Character Guides Netflix’s Tales of the City: Cast, Characters & Descriptions (with Spoilers)

Netflix’s Tales of the City: Cast, Characters & Descriptions (with Spoilers)

by Amari
Published: Last Updated on

A character guide for Netflix’s Tales of the City featuring cast members names, character descriptions, and noteworthy information.


Community Rating: 79.63% (3)


 


Descriptions are updated as new information is presented, and images changed as better ones are captured.

Anna (Played By: Olympia Dukakis & Jen Richards)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 1 “Coming Home” [Series Premiere]

Character Introduction

90 year of Anna has found herself becoming a matriarch of sorts to the local queer community. Perhaps due to her longevity in the area, her being a landlord or a mentor to many. One example being Jake who she shares being Trans with.

Additional Information About Anna

  • Has traveled to Barcelona.
  • Her birthday is on, or close to, September 27th.
  • Was born in Nevada, but moved to San Francisco from Minnesota.
  • She has one daughter.

Mary Ann (Played By: Laura Linney)

Mary Ann (Laura Linney) smiling at Anna.

Mary Ann (Laura Linney)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 1 “Coming Home” [Series Premiere]

Character Introduction

A talk show host and spokesperson for the Bloodie product line, Mary Ann, 23 years ago, used to live under Anna’s roof. However, to pursue a career in entertainment she left San Francisco, her ex-husband Brian, and 2-year-old Shawna behind.

Additional Information About Mary Ann

  • Currently, she lives in Connecticut.
  • Stage name is Lady Turd Johnson
  • Is from Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Is over 40 but less than 50.

Michael (Played By: Murray Bartlett)

Michael (Murray Bartlett) smiling at Mary Ann.

Michael (Murray Bartlett)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 1 “Coming Home” [Series Premiere]

Character Introduction

Michael is one of the few people Mary Ann has kept in contact with since she left, and they both consider each other like a sibling. Outside of Mary Ann, the only thing we learn about Michael is that he lives in Anna’s building and is a gay man. One who is dating a much younger man who, based on Mary Ann’s teasing, has led to him toning up a bit.

Additional Information About Michael

  • He met Anna at a Safeway when she was trying to pick up his then boyfriend.
  • One of the reasons Michael hasn’t moved and thinks many don’t, is because Anna made him feel seen. Hence him not moving for 20 some odd years.
  • Is usually the first one to say he loves the other person in his relationships.
  • Is 54 years old.

Ben (Played By: Charlie Barnett)

Ben (Charlie Barnett) talking to Harrison.

Ben (Charlie Barnett)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 1 “Coming Home” [Series Premiere]

Character Introduction

The only thing we learn about Ben in the pilot is that he is young, Black, and gay. Also, that he is dating Michael.

Additional Information About Ben

  • Trivia team is known as E=MC Hammer.
  • Is 28 and identifies as Black.

Brian (Played By: Paul Gross)

Brian (Paul Gross) smiling.

Brian (Paul Gross)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 1 “Coming Home” [Series Premiere]

Character Introduction

Shawna’s adopted dad, Mary Ann’s ex-husband, and a horticulture shop owner, Brian tries to live the simple life. However, with Mary Ann’s return, it seems she is going to cause as much drama coming back as she did when she left.

Additional Information About Brian

Shawna (Played By: Ellen Page)

Shawna watching Mary Ann perform.

Shawna (Ellen Page)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 1 “Coming Home” [Series Premiere]

Character Introduction

The adopted daughter of Brian and Mary Ann, Shawna has been dealing with Mary Ann leaving her when she was two for a long time. Now at 25, coming face to face with her, things are difficult. But, between her drinking, her job as a bartender, and the community that raised her in Mary Ann’s absence, she’ll be fine. Plus, sex. That also is a stress relief for her.

Additional Information About Shawna

  • As a child, she liked the music of Peter Pan – not the Disney version but the Mary Martin musical.
  • Mother, Connie Bradshaw, died during childbirth and was a flight attendant. One who was very popular with men so her father is unknown.

Jake (Played By: Garcia)

Jake (Garcia) talking to Anna about cheating on Margot.

Jake (Garcia)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 1 “Coming Home” [Series Premiere]

Character Introduction

A trans man, he often confers to Anna as a mentor, if not guide, and it sounds like he may have recently had gender confirmation surgery. Making him often proud when he is considered passing, even though it annoys his girlfriend Margot who might be having difficulty now dating a man.

Additional Information About Jake

  • Is a former med student, who seemingly was going to become a nurse.
  • Has one sister and two nephews.
  • Moved out of his parent’s home when 19.
  • Grew up Catholic, as did his sister Linda.

Margot (Played By: May Hong)

Margot talking to Jake about him wanting to be open and explore.

Margot (May Hong)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 1 “Coming Home” [Series Premiere]

Character Introduction

A proud lesbian, and performance artist, Margot is one of the younger members of Anna’s family and tries to support Jake’s transition, but not so much his idea of gender being a social construct. If not him saying that repeatedly to the point it is getting annoying.

Additional Information About Margot

  • On top of being a performance artist, Margot also can draw.
  • Is very big into having a family, which includes having a kid – assumingly her being the one getting pregnant.

Jonathan (Played By: Christopher Larkin)

Jonathan (Christopher Larkin) and Jen (Ashley Park) after being marked up at Anna's party.

Jonathan (Christopher Larkin) and Jen (Ashley Park)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 1 “Coming Home” [Series Premiere]

Character Introduction

Like fraternal sister Jen, Jonathan went to an art school and got a BFA. However, with no job to speak of afterwards, it has made that decision a bit hard to deal with.

Additional Information About Jonathan

  • As part of his and Jen’s rebranding, he now goes by Raven.

Jen (Played By: Ashley Park)

Jonathan (Christopher Larkin) and Jen (Ashley Park) after being marked up at Anna's party.

Jonathan (Christopher Larkin) and Jen (Ashley Park)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 1 “Coming Home” [Series Premiere]

Character Introduction

Like her fraternal brother Jonathan, Jen went to an arts school and obtained a BFA. However, with two months of back rent due, she and her brother try to use being twins, on IG, to drum up some money and interest.

Additional Information About Jen

  • As part of her and Jonathan’s rebranding, she now goes by Ani.

Robert (Played By: Michael Park)

Robert (Michael Park) talking with Mary Ann.

Robert (Michael Park)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 1 “Coming Home” [Series Premiere]

Character Introduction

Robert is Mary Ann’s estranged husband who is shown to be a complete square. He doesn’t understand the people Mary Ann calls her family, and despite how much time he spent around them, it seems he still doesn’t understand a single one of them at all.

Additional Information About Robert

Flaco (Played By: Juan Castano)

Jake and Flaco (Juan Castano) before they hook up.

Jake and Flaco (Juan Castano)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 2 “She Messy”

Character Introduction

Flaco is Ben’s co-worker and, before Ben began dating Michael, they used to be a bit closer than they are now. However, there is no drama involved with Ben hanging with Michael more. But, when it comes to Flaco being the person hooking up with Jake? Totally different story.

Additional Information About Flaco

  • Is a Xbox gamer

Wren (Played By: Michelle Buteau)

Wren (Michelle Buteau) talking to Brian.

Wren (Michelle Buteau)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 2 “She Messy”

Character Introduction

All we know about Wren is that she is one of Brian’s friends and is into sports. Beyond that? We don’t learn much else in episode 2. I don’t believe we’ve even heard her name said.

Additional Information About Wren

  • Is a chiropractor.

Samuel (Played By: Victor Garber)

Samuel (Victor Garber) talking to Shawna.

Samuel (Victor Garber)

Is First Noted In

Season 1, Episode 2 “She Messy”

Character Introduction

A member of the Rainbow Readers, he befriends Anna thanks to their mutual love of Alfred Tennyson’s 1842 version of “The Lady of Shalott.”

Additional Information About Samuel

DeDe (Barbara Garrick)

DeDe (Barbara Garrick) getting out of bed.

DeDe (Barbara Garrick)

Character Introduction

First Noted In: Season 1, Episode 3 “Happy, Now?”

Rich, a bit annoying, but not as annoying as Mary Ann, to some people’s opinion, DeDe lives a nice life. One which Mary Ann takes advantage of as she seeks to rediscover herself in San Francisco.

Additional Information About DeDe

  • Was formerly married to a man but seemingly has been with women ever since.
  • Has lived in San Francisco for over 30 years and comes from old money.

Claire (Zosia Mamet)

Claire (Zosia Mamet) as she talks to Shawna.

Claire (Zosia Mamet)

Character Introduction

A local documentarian, Claire is highly invested in San Francisco’s queer history and living figures. She also becomes interested, or an interest of, Shawna.

First Noted In: Season 1, Episode 3 “Happy, Now?”

Additional Information About Claire

  • Has experienced a lot of trauma thanks to her mom from being told her mom would abandon her at a place for broken kids, among other incidents. Of which it seems her dad is no better or at least doesn’t reprimand her mom from saying vile things.

Harrison (Matthew Risch)

Harrison (Matthew Risch) talking to Michael - apologizing him specifically.

Harrison (Matthew Risch)

Character Introduction

First Noted In: Season 1, Episode 3 “Happy, Now?”

Michael’s ex, who has a thing for leather, he, like Mary Ann, left San Francisco but Harrison left for Detroit where he built up a real estate business. Mostly in the form of flipping homes.

Additional Information About Harrison

  • Got HIV after breaking up with Michael, likely from someone in Detroit.

Mateo (Dickie Hearts)

Mateo (Dickie Hearts) talking to someone.

Mateo (Dickie Hearts)

Character Introduction

First Noted In: Season 1, Episode 3 “Happy, Now?”

Flamboyant, likely gay, and hard of hearing, Mateo works for DeDe and the two get along. However, like many, it seems he can’t stand Mary Ann.

Additional Information About Mateo

Eli (Benjamin Thys)

Eli (Benjamin Thys) cooking dinner.

Eli (Benjamin Thys)

Character Introduction

First Noted In: Season 1, Episode 3 “Happy, Now?”

Head of the “Reality Is A Construct” trivia group, Eli is shown to be knowledgeable in diverse topics, a great cook, good conversationalist, and perhaps an ideal husband.

Additional Information About Eli

Inka (Samantha Soule)

Inka (Samantha Soule) inviting Shawna to dinner.

Inka (Samantha Soule)

Character Introduction

First Noted In: Season 1, Episode 3 “Happy, Now?”

Eli’s wife, who is rather friendly, and has a mind which shows that, while he might be good at trivia, it is because he needs to stay sharp to keep her interested.

Additional Information About Inka

  • She has a sister and is a tenured professor at a New York City university.

Ida (Caldwell Tidicue – Bob The Drag Queen)

Ida (Caldwell Tidicue) during a conversation with Mary Ann and Shawna.

Ida (Caldwell Tidicue)

Character Description

First Noted In: Season 1, Episode 4 “The Price of Oil”

The pseudo-authority figure of the Body Politic, Ida is a flamboyant drag queen who appears to be one of Shawna’s few friends who either doesn’t live in her building or she isn’t having sex with.

Additional Information About Ida

Linda (Elena Hurst)

Linda (Elena Hurst) talking to Jake in her room.

Linda (Elena Hurst)

Character Description

First Noted In: Season 1, Episode 5 “Not Today, Satan”

Jake’s sister who, formerly, he was closer to than he is now. However, when it counts, their bond may have changed, but remains as strong as ever.

Additional Information About Linda

Lily (Eve Lindley)

Lily (Eve Lindley) excited to hear about Anna having a good date - like what they see in the movies.

Lily (Eve Lindley)

Character Description

First Noted In: Season 1, Episode 8 “Days of Small Surrenders”

A young trans girl that Anna meets who, despite the warnings of Ysela and others, seems to have not lost hope for some form of normalcy.

Additional Information About Lily

Tommy (Luke Kirby)

Tommy (Luke Kirby) looking lovingly into Anna's eyes.

Tommy (Luke Kirby)

Character Description

First Noted In: Season 1, Episode 8 “Days of Small Surrenders”

One of Anna’s first boyfriends since transitioning, Tommy was a cop who wanted to marry Anna and even assist with her bottom surgery. However, Anna being discovered as a trans woman ended their relationship. But, rather than toss her out to the streets, he gave her all the money he collected from trans women of the area, a living tax, and gave it to her. Leading to her buying the rental building which is the center of the show.

Additional Information About Tommy

Ysela (Daniela Vega)

Ysela (Daniel Vega) visiting 28 Barbary.

Ysela (Daniel Vega)

Character Description

First Noted In: Season 1, Episode 8 “Days of Small Surrenders”

One of Anna’s first friends when she came to San Francisco who she had a complicated relationship with. Mostly due to Anna passing and usually taking advantage of that privilege, early on, rather than being part of the struggle for equality.

Additional Information About Ysela

Mrs. Duncan (Molly Ringwald)

Mrs. Duncan (Molly Ringwald) speaking to Mary Ann, Michael, and Brian.

Mrs. Duncan (Molly Ringwald)

Character Description

First Noted In: Season 1, Episode 9 “Rainbow Warriors”

Mrs. Duncan is Claire’s mother, who she paints to be a terrible person. However, at worse, she might be an example of how Mary Ann would have been if she decided to stick around and attempt to raise Shawna.

Additional Information About Mrs. Duncan

  • Is an art collector.

General Information

The Pride Flag

  • Bloodie: A product Mary Ann is the spokesperson for which is a mix of a blanket and hoodie.
  • The show takes place during October 2018.

Notable Locations & Events

Anna’s 90th Birthday

This kicks off the series and leads to us being introduced to most characters. It is also why Mary Ann returns to San Francisco after being away 23 years.

28 Barbary Lane

The house where Anna and many of the characters live. Specifically, Anna lives on the first floor, Shawna the second, Michael the third, and the twins in the fourth apartment.

Also, we learn that, in the early 70s, Anna got this apartment thanks to money taken from other trans people.

Compton’s Cafeteria

Per Claire, this was the site of a demonstration, pre-Stonewall, of a riot again the abuse of trans people.

We see a glimpse of that in Season 1, Episode 8 “Days of Small Surrenders.”

Body Politic

Shawna and Ida’s workplace which is a queer feminist burlesque co-op. Also, it is the place where Margot dances sometimes.

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