The characters in Atlanta are more complicated to rank than others. Outside of the main crew—Earn (Donald Glover), Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles (Brian Tyree Henry), Van (Zazie Beetz), and Darius (LaKeith Stanfield)—one of the aspects that has made the FX series so remarkable is the many personalities that have been introduced throughout the show’s three seasons. Some of those people appeared once and were never heard from or talked about again. But that’s part of the show’s magic.
In its first three seasons, Atlanta tells a pretty straightforward story about Paper Boi’s rise in the music business and Earn’s experiences trying to prove himself to both his cousin Al and ex-girlfriend Vanessa. As the story progressed, viewers have gotten a more intimate perspective into the core four and what makes them the people they are today. Season 1 centered around Earn and his motivations as a man, Al has had a number of episodes in each season that dug deeper into his psyche, Van’s state of mind was a running thread in Season 3, and Darius is simply his worry-free self all throughout.
The main characters are incredibly complex in their own ways, and there is so much to unpack about each one of them, but the writers and creators have relied on the secondary characters to elevate their storytelling even further. And it has worked. The show’s supporting characters like Tracy and Clark County served their purpose as both necessary entertainment and symbolism. Others who were only featured in one episode in guest roles, like Black Justin Bieber and Uncle Willy, left a mark and became impactful moments in the series that are impossible to forget. The Glover-created series has provided a long list of standalone episodes throughout the first three seasons, like “Teddy Perkins,” that have featured some of the most compelling (Emmy-winning) characters we’ve seen on TV in recent years.
There is no doubt that fans will be introduced to a whole new crop of people in the hit FX show’s fourth and final season, premiering Sept. 15, but for now, we have ranked the Top 10 most memorable and noteworthy characters in Atlanta, arranged from worst to best. Take a look to see where your favorite has landed on our list.