In 2015, Marvel’s Jessica Jones landed on Netflix. It defied all expectations and innovated the MCU by making it more inclusive of darker, more sensitive themes. Not only did it mark the dawning of a new era for Marvel’s franchise expansion, but it gifted its loyal viewers with some of the most fascinating characters to date. Some are sinfully evil, others are misunderstood; here are all the main (recurring) characters ranked by likability in Marvel’s Jessica Jones.
WARNING: This article contains mentions of sexual assault and murder.
7. Trish Walker
Out of all the main characters in Jessica Jones, Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) has the most substantial character growth – not in a good way. In Season 1, Trish is exceedingly likable; she can be bossy and overbearing at times but still tolerable. However, by the series’ end, Trish has become more villain than hero.
In Season 2, desperately trying to impress her no-nonsense mother and taking her admiration for Jessica to another level, Trish tries to become a superhero. In doing so, she recklessly endangers those around her and disregards the consequences of risking her own life in a hazardous experiment.
All the while, Jessica is preoccupied with evading law enforcement and attempting to cross the border with her mother, Alisa Jones (Janet McTeer). Proven to be a mass murder, Alisa prompts intense hatred from Walker, who misjudges Alisa’s intentions and murders her. Her impulsive actions permanently severed the bond between Trish and her half-sister, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter).
Even after Alisa’s death, Trish still insists that she did the wrong thing for the right reasons – much to Jessica’s dismay. She shows no remorse for first-degree murder, even if Jones is reluctant to turn her into the authorities. When Trish transforms into Hellcat, she rides the disaster train further by making matters worse for those unfortunate enough to need her assistance.
None of Trish’s actions are justifiable. Despite all the psychopaths that Jones has encountered, the real threat was right under her nose. For all her unforgivable misdeeds, Walker is ranked last for likability.
6. Will Simpson
Will Simpson (Wil Traval) is a recurring character in Jessica Jones and is predominately present throughout Season 1. At first, under the influence of Kilgrave (David Tennant) as a big city cop, he soon becomes Trish’s love interest. Unsurprisingly, his bad qualities are similar to hers. Simpson is dishonest, disloyal, and always focused on personal gain. He initially seems helpful and willing to aid Jones’ investigation, but it soon comes to light that Will is hunting Kilgrave for revenge.
He cares little for Hope Shlottman (Erin Moriarty), who was wrongly imprisoned. Rather than allowing Jones to obtain the evidence needed to release Hope, he was relentlessly selfish. Simpson wanted to achieve his own goals, even if it meant threatening Trish, brawling with Jones, and harming Hope’s chances of release. He relies on combat-enhancing drugs, possibly from the immense power trip that it grants him. Despite professional advice, Simpson abuses the adrenaline-inducing medication and nearly kills Jessica and Trish.
In Sin Bin, after Kilgrave escapes from captivity, Simpson returns to the scene and prepares to burn all the evidence. When he finds Detective Clemons (Clarke Peters) handcuffed to a pipe, he eliminates any witnesses by murdering Clemons in cold blood and disposing of his body. Simpson apologizes profusely to Jones and Walker on several occasions, but his sincerity is questionable.
Nevertheless, despite all his negative traits, Simpson does sacrifice his own life to protect Trish Walker. That single selfless act could never erase his crimes, but at least he has a single redeeming quality, which is more than could be said for Trish.
5. Kevin “Kilgrave” Thompson
As Jessica Jones‘ main antagonist, it may seem baffling to place Kilgrave above Trish Walker and Will Simpson. In all meaning of the term, Kilgrave is evil. Even his mind-controlling powers alone attest to his blatant disregard for human life. While his crimes are not for the faint-hearted, Kilgrave is made more likable by his sense of humor and charisma.
Even though Kilgrave is the personification of all things cruel and sadistic, it can still be hard to hate him. Villains are often destined to be hated, so when the tables turn, the surprise is all the more significant.
It should be important to note that Kilgrave has sexually assaulted, enslaved, and murdered countless people, including Jessica Jones. His horrific mistreatment of Jones drove her to become an alcoholic and left her with severe PTSD. Besides that, Kilgrave murdered his parents and forced others to do unspeakable things. Without a shadow of a doubt, Kilgrave is diabolically evil.
He does present some humanity in that his attraction and fascination to Jones is genuine. It can never justify his actions, but Kilgrave has never known love in its purest form, so he would never be incapable of showing it. Furthermore, Kilgrave was forced to endure inhumane experimentation that would have scarred him physically and mentally. His trauma makes his emotions understandable to some extent, but even then, Kilgrave chooses to abuse his powers for greed and fortune rather than benefitting others.
4. Jeri Hogarth
Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss), the “Prada-wearing python” as Jessica Jones aptly describes her, is New York’s most reliable and successful defense lawyer. In addition to Trish, she is another main character with substantial development. Out of all the main characters ranked, she is the most misunderstood. Hogarth is manipulative and prioritizes “winning” over all other options. As such, she is susceptible to manipulation herself.
She does get Jessica out of some tight spots, even if her motivation behind it is a career boost and bragging rights. Jeri cheats on her ex-wife, Wendy (Robin Weigert), and demands their divorce. Wendy is killed by Pam (Susie Abromeit), Jeri’s new lover, which subsequently leads to Pam’s imprisonment. Hogarth offers to represent Pam in court, but she refuses. Rather than a kind gesture, Jeri is likely more inclined to help Pam simply to make amends and avoid drama.
Hogarth is an acquired taste, but deep down, she suffers from crippling self-loathing and a superiority complex thrust upon her by the need to succeed. She had a rough upbringing and worked hard for everything she as, so when a terminal illness puts her life in perspective, she breaks down. That sly, manipulative Hogarth disappears. While Jeri may seem like a Jessica Jones main character ranked highly, the reason is that her actions are more justifiable than those of others. At her core, she is a good person, but life has made her cruel.
3. Jessica Jones
Ranking characters by likability isn’t a popularity contest, so even titular characters are fairly judged. Jessica Jones is the beloved central character of her stand-out series, but even loveable heroes have their flaws. For the most part, Jones comes across as distant and aloof, presumably a lone wolf in her own opinion. However, the more that Jessica Jones develops, the more that its main heroine does too.
Jones suffers unspeakable torment at the hands of Kilgrave, which rightly makes her distrusting when it comes to future romantic endeavors. She cares deeply for a select few friends, namely Trish, Malcolm, and Jeri. Jones is an admirable superhero – even if she hates the term – because of her steadfast resolve and generosity. It may be buried underneath all the bitterness and leather, but it’s still there.
Jessica gives the impression that she cares about no one but herself, but that simply isn’t true. She risks life and limb to protect Trish, even if they disagree. When Malcolm falls prey to Kilgrave, she patiently aids him in adjusting to a drug-free lifestyle. She performs feats of heroism at every turn, even if she battles her own demons along the way.
On the other hand, as the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility” and Jones does forget that fine print at times. When ranking main characters by likability, the good always comes with the bad. When inebriated, Jessica can become more violent, such as threatening Jeri Hogarth’s ex-wife, Wendy, to sign her divorce papers. These are instances where Jessica is less considerate than any bona fide hero should be. Therefore, she ranks third of all.
2. Malcolm Ducasse
Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville), Jones’ junkie neighbor, earns the second-place spot. Since Malcolm’s first appearance, he has always had the best intentions of others at heart. He struggles with a heroin addiction that is further encouraged by an encounter with Kilgrave, but even when his own life is falling apart, Malcolm is dependable and kind.
In Season 1, Malcolm is constantly risking overdose. He allows the addiction to consume him, but when Jones moves in, he befriends her. Soon after, he becomes a recurring presence in Jones’ life and understands her mentality more than anyone. Malcolm is a sweetheart, especially during blink-and-you-miss-it moments like offering Jones his TV (even if he needs it himself).
While employed by Jeri Hogarth, he becomes more ruthless and cold. Malcolm begins to take his good fortune for granted and forgets where he came from. He shuns Jones and plots against her with Hogarth to interfere with her investigation and cause problems. He uses the knowledge that Jones taught him to try and uproot her investigating firm. For that reason, he ranks second.
1. Luke Cage
Finally, of all the main characters ranked by likability, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is the most likable. Cage is first introduced as a love interest of Jessica. He can be described as a gentle giant, especially in the sense of using his powers purely for good. Cage never abuses his super-strength, even if he uses his enormous size as an intimidation tactic.
For as long as Jessica Jones ran, Cage never harmed another person without proper cause. He was enraged by the revelation of Reva’s death, but his grief is an understandable reason for acting out. He has always been protective over Jones and her associates, even if he possesses strong opinions against them.
As the son of a preacher, Luke is religiously strict and therefore his morals are strong. He rarely strays from a righteous path; the only exception to this is when he acts under the will of Kilgrave. Additionally, Cage refuses to kill. He is not opposed to breaking bones to get information, but the victims of his torture are always wicked individuals and deserving of treatment. For his bravery, generosity, and commitment to protecting the pure and innocent, Cage steals the top spot for Jessica Jones‘ main characters ranked by likability.