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'The Following' Main Cast and Characters

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Here is a list of the main cast and characters on the Fox TV show The Following.

Kevin Bacon as Ryan Hardy

Kevin Bacon in 'The Following'.
Michael Lavine/FOX
Years after leaving the FBI due to an injury sustained capturing serial killer Joe Carroll, aimless former agent Ryan Hardy is called back into duty when Carroll escapes. Battling alcoholism, he struggles to earn the respect of his new colleagues, who view him as a loose cannon and a demanding perfectionist. Haunted by a tragic childhood, he's riddled with self-loathing and doesn't open up to others, a shortcoming that hurt his last relationship -- with Carroll's ex-wife Claire.

James Purefoy as Joe Carroll

James Purefoy as Joe Carroll in 'The Following'.
Photo: Michael Lavine © Fox
A dashing, charismatic professor of literature, Joe Carroll moonlighted as a serial killer and was ultimately convicted of murdering 14 female students from his college. He was captured by Hardy, who added insult to injury by dating Carroll's wife. Carroll has spent nearly a decade in jail building a cult-life group of followers whom he grooms to continue his deadly Edgar Allan Poe-obsessed "art" -- and to help him get revenge on Hardy.

Natalie Zea as Claire Matthews

Natalie Zea as Claire Matthews in 'The Following'.
Photo: Michael Lavine © Fox
A professor in her own right, Claire was Joe Carroll's colleague and wife until his murder conviction. During the investigation and trial, she grew close to Hardy, but he eventually broke things off, feeling she deserved better than him. She busies herself raising her son Joey, shielding him as much as she can from the truth about his father the killer.

Annie Parisse as Debra Parker

Annie Parisse as FBI Specialist Debra Parker in 'The Following'.
Photo: Michael Lavine © Fox
Parker is an FBI specialist who's called in to help with Carroll's followers due to her extensive knowledge of cults and their behavior. She takes the lead in the case and proves herself to be a tough talker but is willing to give Hardy the benefit of the doubt, allowing him to go into the field against he wishes of some at the bureau. But can he really trust Parker's unpredictable ways?

Shawn Ashmore as Mike Weston

Shawn Ashmore as Agent Mike Weston in 'The Following'.
Photo: Michael Lavine © Fox
Weston is a young, smart, tech-savvy FBI agent who idolizes Hardy and wrote his thesis on the Carroll case. Although Hardy keeps him at arm's length, Weston is persistent at trying to break down the barrier between the two and starts to prove himself a worthy and useful ally to the veteran agent.

Valorie Curry as Denise Harris (AKA Emma Hill)

Valorie Curry as Denise in 'The Following'.
Photo: Michael Lavine © Fox
Emma has been Claire's nanny -- under the name Denise Harris -- for years, but secretly she's one of Carroll's acolytes. She found solace in Carroll's teachings after living a secluded life with her domineering mother. Carroll introduced her to cult member Jacob, with whom she began a love affair. The cult brought Emma out of her shell and developed a take-charge mentality that sometimes butts heads with Paul.

Nico Tortorella as Will Wilson (AKA Jacob Wells)

Nico Tortorella as Will Wilson in 'The Following'.
Photo: Michael Lavine © Fox
Jacob is a follower of Carroll's who struggles with putting his leader's violent ideals into practice and occasionally has to be guided to that end by girlfriend and fellow cult member Emma. Like Emma, he lived undercover for years as part of Carroll's big plan, and his life apart from her gives rise to secrets he tries to keep hidden.

Adan Canto as Billy Thomas (AKA Paul Torres)

Adan Canto as Billy Thomas in 'The Following'.
Photo: Michael Lavine © Fox
Paul is another follower of Carroll who lived with Jacob for an extended period of time under Carroll's orders and has come to trust him much more than he does Emma. As such, he and Emma butt heads, and when he becomes frustrated, Paul's loose cannon nature tends to rise to the surface.

Kyle Catlett as Joey Matthews

Kyle Catlett as Joey Matthews in 'The Following'.
Photo: Michael Lavine © Fox
Joey is the son of Claire and Joe Carroll. He was very young when Joe was locked up, and Claire has kept him sheltered as best she can from the details of his father's sordid life. Unfortunately for her, she's piqued her son's curiosity, and although he's gentle and kind by nature, Carroll's followers think they can indoctrinate Joey into the ways of his father.

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