As one of the longest-running genre TV series, Supernatural continues to follow two brothers and their goofy angelic best friend as they investigate paranormal cases all over the United States while staying faithful to their family mantra of “saving people, hunting things, the family business.” The popularity of the show is partially due to the unique stories and plotlines, as well as the introduction of beautifully written and well-portrayed characters that have highlighted the best and worst in humanity, Heaven, and Hell alike.
Dean, Cas, and Sam all have qualities and abilities that resonate with fans as they address very human issues against a supernatural backdrop. Supernatural’s ability to include overarching themes of family, belonging, friends, love, and tragedy continue to draw audiences of all ages. Through the years, characters, both villainous and good, have graced our screens and our hearts, so it’s only natural that we’ve collected the 15 best characters through the last twelve seasons of Supernatural!
Introduced as one of the Horsemen of the Apoclypse, Death first makes his appearance after Lucifer has come back to Earth. He was the conscious embodiment of death itself and states that he has been around longer than God. Death speculates that one day he would reap God, as that was the nature of things-- meaning he could easily kill angels if he desired.
Though Death does not feel as if he needs to intervene directly in the affairs of men, he does have respect for the natural order of things-- and for the Winchesters. Often dressed as a slender man in a business suit, Death does not tolerate any disrespect, and if anyone does disrespect him, that person usually dies.
Not only can Death teleport anywhere in the universe and not be physically damaged, but he is also capable of nearly anything, including placing mental walls in Sam’s mind to preserve sanity. Death is also not entirely unreasonable, as he has aided the Winchesters several times in their attempts to stop the apocalypse. Death continues to provide his help with small things, such as helping Sam after his soul is returned. It is later revealed that Dean and Sam were allowed to die and be resurrected because Death respected and found the two amusing. Really, it’s always a good thing to have Death in your corner during anything supernatural.
A powerful witch and the mother of the King of Hell, Rowena is an intelligent, sly, prideful person who survives on manipulation and deceit. She has no qualms about sacrificing others to attain power and status, which was shown as Crowley mentions that she abandoned him for her quest for power.
Rowena, though not trusted by the Winchesters, also has helped them out on numerous occasions, even though she double-crossed them multiple times. Rowena’s cunning also knows no bounds, as she even cheated death after Lucifer killed her, proving herself to be resourceful and self-serving. Though conniving and narcissistic, Rowena, like her son, continues to help the Winchesters when the needs suit her.
In more recent episodes, Rowena has also been shown to have some vulnerability as she continually seeks acceptance from her witch peers and is rejected by them. She even acknowledges that she is not a good person and she would not be forgiven for her actions. Rowena’s insults and witty interactions with Crowley and the Winchesters provide endless amusement, producing wariness in the people around her as they attempt to figure out what her secondary gain is.
Rowena is one of the newer additions to the show, but she is also one of the best characters that they have added, as she is demanding in order to get what she wants.
13 Charlie Bradbury
A fond representation of nerds everywhere, Charlie waved her geek flag high as she worked at Roman Enterprises. Her desk was a shrine to all of her nerdy interests. Intelligent, compassionate, moral, loyal, and a computer hacker extraordinaire, she would often hack into Roman Enterprises and make donations to charity organizations.
Unlike other recurring characters on the show, Charlie has more self-preservation and chooses not to get involved in the hunting lifestyle until several of her friends go missing during a LARPing convention. She then joins the boys on the hunt to find the creature that was killing her friends.
Charlie’s exuberance for life and her passion for her hobbies made her a well-liked character and reminded Dean and Sam that the world wasn’t always so dark and dreary. Often, Charlie would make reference to forcing the boys to watch some of her favorite films, like Harry Potter, before beginning the research on cases that they need help.
Charlie also was not one to pull her punches when it came to telling the boys to get over themselves and talk to one another, referencing how quickly families can come and go. Charlie’s untimely death still stings the hearts of fans, but also shows how far she was willing to go to help her newfound family.
The archangel Gabriel hid amongst the pagan gods after fleeing from Heaven, due to being unable to handle the fighting between his brothers, but eventually proves himself to be a powerful ally for the Winchesters. Gabriel has a penchant for sweets and candy, as well as an odd sense of righteousness, as he would attack his victims by using strange stories that were taken out of World News Weekly.
Gabriel tended to be much more human than other angels and was incredibly mischievous, carefree, sarcastic, mocking, and immature. Gabriel lived up to his trickster nature by tricking and misleading those around him. Though on the outside, Gabriel presented as immature and uncaring, he was internally upset about his brothers fighting and wanted them to start the apocalypse so he would stop hearing about it.
Gabriel took extreme pleasure in harassing Dean, going as far as altering reality to force him to live through various episodes of television shows. Gabriel's disdain of Dean may have come from the fact that Dean picked up Gabriel's insecurity and inability to stand up to his feuding siblings. Gabriel’s quick-wit and immaturity brought humor to the episodes he was in, which helped offset the drama of the season.
11 Chuck Shurley
Chuck, the mild-mannered, struggling writer, was an incredibly nervous, twitchy man with very low self-esteem who was initially introduced as a prophet of the Lord. He wrote the not-so-popular Supernatural book series, which is how Dean and Sam discover him and force Chuck to help them. Chuck grudgingly tells him about his visions and helps them stop the apocalypse.
Chuck is shown to have poor survival instincts as he attempts to defend himself with a plunger after Sam comes to the house and startles him. Chuck is also a member of Dean’s future army and provides great insight such as "hoard the toilet paper!" during the apocalypse, showing that, at least at the end of times, he’s still practical. Chuck delivers an excellent bit of prose as he narrated the story of the Winchester’s Impala before the showdown between Lucifer and Micheal.
He is later revealed to be God, and it is odd to see him filled with confidence and power. Chuck, as prophet and God, is funny in an unassuming way and also full of insights about Sam and Dean that would typically remain unsaid. Chuck makes it onto this list of best characters as he is more or less a reluctant participant in helping the Winchesters and also a God just trying to redefine his meaning in the world.
Who doesn’t love Lucifer? Lucifer, who was God’s favorite angel who fell from favor when he refused to bow to humanity, comes back to Earth to make the apocalypse happen, gunning for Sam to be his vessel. Driven by jealousy and wounded pride, he only saw humans a broken people. Narcissistic and proud, Lucifer only shows any compassion toward his fellow angels and the only time he is remorseful is when he kills Gabriel for defying him. Lucifer is also deeply disappointed when Castiel refuses to follow him.
Lucifer is also incredibly eloquent and delivers passionate speeches that make it difficult to disagree and not follow him. He makes promises of honesty to his vessels, but he is also incredibly cruel and barbaric to achieve his needs. When Lucifer returns as a hallucination for Sam, he uses his slippery speech, cruelty, and insults to make Sam doubt himself and the reality around him. Even when he returned in season eleven, Lucifer uses similar tricks to convince Castiel and Sam that they need him to defeat Amara.
In season twelve, Lucifer returns as a washed up rocker, Vince Vincente, and even inhabits the body of the President of the United States to continue “smashing Daddy’s already broken toys and make you watch.” Lucifer is a fantastic villain, as he is immoral and uncaring in his attempt to achieve whatever his heart desires-- which, at this point, is to destroy humanity.
Ash, the mulleted computer genius, lived at the Roadhouse with Jo and Ellen. He built a computer system that was able to access weather satellites to look for demons, and was able to compile information on how to track Azazel within two days of having first met the Winchesters. Ash is a very matter of fact, laid-back guy, but was know for “fighting” which lead to him being kicked out of MIT. Ash was killed by demons when they burned down the Roadhouse to prevent his research from making it to the Winchesters.
Ash reappears in season five when Dean and Sam find themselves in Heaven. They see Ash, who says, “You boys die more than anyone I have ever met,” before explaining to them that Heaven is whatever they want to make of it, and that he figured out how to move in and out of other people’s heavens by practically applying string theory. Ash casually mentions that he is now fluent in Enochian, which was how he found Dean and Sam. He leads the two Winchesters to Pamela, who eventually helps them find Joshua, who they needed to speak to stop the apocalypse.
Ash’s genius, mullet, and willingness to help the boys even in death proved that he is one chill guy, and given the state Heaven’s in right now, he could very easily manipulate the place to his will if he wanted to.
8 Jody Mills
Sheriff Jody Mills first appeared in season five, when Sam and Dean met her on a case. Being the sharp lady that she is, Jody immediately recognizes Bobby’s voice after asking to talk to their supervisor and tells Sam and Dean off. Having been forced to kill her son after he ate her husband, Jody is now aware of the supernatural and teams up with the Winchesters and Bobby. She becomes friends with Bobby, Sam, and Dean, helping them with various cases that pop up throughout the seasons. She even places her job on the line to assist them in more than one occasion, including helping Rufus escape at the request of Bobby.
Jody's smoothly sarcastic one-liners point out the boys' shortcomings when they interfere with the case or when she notices that they are not getting along. Ever the mother figure, she has no problems sending the boys to bed when they become cranky or too tired to function and reminds them to eat better on a regular basis. Jody’s strength and compassion peek through during many of her interactions with the boys and Bobby ,but is most notable after she takes in the orphaned Alex and Claire, providing them a home and a family.
Jody Mills is the epitome of resilience and strength and her compassion and love for others also make her a beloved character on the show, who hopefully won't get killed off, like so many of our other favorite recurring characters.
7 Jo Harvelle
Devastated by her father’s death, Jo decided that she wanted to become a hunteras a tribute to her father's memory, despite her mother's attempts to keep her from it. Jo's fearlessness showed after she punched Dean in the face to retrieve her gun from him.
At nineteen, Jo's strong-will and stubbornness reared its head as she defied her mother’s wishes and went on her first hunt, where she joined Sam and Dean. Dean and Jo became close during this hunt and Jo developed a small crush on Dean (but really, who wouldn’t have developed a crush on him?). Jo's excellent ability with guns and knives made her a powerful ally in a fight, as did her brutal honesty. Jo's mouthiness and sass also kept Dean on his toes, as he was usually unable to smooth talk his way out of things with her.
However, Jo’s loyalty, impulsivity, reckless behavior, and willingness to risk her life to get a job done, ultimately resulted in her death as she saved Dean from a hellhound in "Abandon All Hope." Jo remains one of the best characters on the show, as her idealization of the hunt and strong personality pushed Dean and Sam to be better hunters and people.
6 Ellen Harvelle
A retired hunter, Ellen Harvelle provided a safe haven for her fellow hunters wth her bar called The Roadhouse. Fiercely protective of her daughter, Jo, Ellen attempted to deter her from being a hunter.
Ellen, like Bobby, provided advice and research about various monsters and hunters. Ellen valued honesty when it came to hunts and was also willing to help Dean and Sam when they needed it. Ellen also appreciated the importance of family and offered advice when Sam and Dean were on the outs. She always viewed the boys and Bobby as a part of her family, which made her the missing motherly figure for the boys.
Willing to risk her life for the greater good as well, she also aided the Winchesters, Castiel, and Bobby in a mission to kill Lucifer. Ellen sacrificed her life to stay with Jo and to provide an escape for Dean and Sam, as the ultimate act of love and loyalty. Ellen’s no-nonsense, straightforward personality and protectiveness toward the ones she loves provided a sense of stability and family for the boys that they had not really had prior to that, making her unforgettable.
5 Bobby Singer
Bobby got his start as a hunter after his old friend Rufus helped him kill his wife, who had been possessed by a demon. He became friends with John Winchester and looked after Sam and Dean when John was on hunts. Bobby became the surrogate father to the boys and provided advice and understanding in areas that John did not. Bobby played peacekeeper between the two boys when they had difficulty communicating with each other, often being straightforward with them when he needed to be.
Though gruff and often cantankerous, Bobby ran the hub for other hunters, providing research, information, and backup for hunters as needed. Bobby's sarcastic, crass, and stubborn personality led him to be instrumental in the fight to save the world from the apocalypse and to outwit Crowley at his own game. Bobby also dispensed words of wisdom to the boys, and one of his most iconic lines includes a reminder to Dean that, “family doesn’t end in blood, boy," and the utterance of “balls” to aptly sum up when he was in danger or when something wasn’t going well.
Bobby had gruff exterior, but was more than willing to put his body and life on the line to help others, even his frenemies like Rufus. Overall, Bobby was the glue that kept the boys, and other hunters informed and together, and even after his death, Bobby’s advice influences Dean and Sam.
What’s not to love about the suave, charismatic, and insulting King of Hell? Crowley's use of innuendo and observation makes other people uncomfortable, which he uses to his advantage. Crowley’s main goal in life always leads back to self-preservation, and he has no issues sacrificing others to achieve his goals.
Crowley often provides his “help” to Dean and Sam, usually to meet his wants and to further along his plans. Crowley has no problem teaming up with Castiel, Dean, and Castiel, and often blurs the line between being helpful and self-serving. However, more often than not, Crowley’s relationship with the Winchesters and Castiel veers into the category of "somewhat friendly," especially after Demon Dean's and Crowley's bromance in season ten. Crowley also established a tentative buddy-cop friendship with Castiel as they hunt for Lucifer so Crowley can remain the King of Hell.
These team-ups have not gone unnoticed by Lucifer and Abbadon who dethroned and humiliated Crowley. Prideful, cunning, and cruel Crowley will stop at nothing to restore his former glory. Crowley's ruthlessness, cunning, and snarky commentary keeps him as a fan favorite as he continues to make his way back to the top of the pecking order in Hell.
Initially solemn and stoic, Castiel followed his orders from Heaven without question-- until he raised Dean from Perdition. Castiel's deadpan one-liners, naivety, casual and often inappropriately timed observations, and failure to understand social cues and pop culture references quickly lead to his becoming a fan favorite.
However, Castiel finds himself an outcast amongst his family of angels as he becomes more human after spending more time with the Winchesters. Even though the Winchesters accept Castiel as a friend and make room for him in their family, Castiel also feels at odds with them, which has led to his making very poor decisions for “the greater good.”
As the seasonss progress, Cas becomes better at understanding humans and develops empathy, even going as far as having a sort-of relationship with demon Meg Masters and actually having a friendship with Dean. However, Castiel also learns the downsides of humanity as well and struggles to balance friendship, betrayal, and finding his identity in the world. Cas' loneliness and identity quest has led him to make poor decisions that have lead to near catastrophe. Castiel’s drive to do what is right and to protect his family, despite not always understanding the context around him, are only some of the many reasons that Castiel is a fan favorite. Misha Collins being a fantastic human being also doesn't hurt Castiel's popularity either.
2 Sam Winchester
Sam, the geekier of the two brothers, became a begrudging hunter after the death of his girlfriend and reappearance of his brother. However, Sam’s empathy, observation skills, intelligence, and consideration of others have helped tremendously on hunts and made him a better hero.
Sam is also the sassier of the two and his facial expression often betray his thoughts and feelings. Like Dean, Sam is loyal to his family and would do nearly anything to keep Dean alive and well, even going to great lengths to save Dean from himself. Sam, who was marked at the beginning of the series as Lucifer’s vessel and spent several seasons addicted to demon blood, spent several seasons grappling with identity issues as result of not knowing who he was in the grand scheme of things. Sam is also very resilient, as shown by his ability to overpower Lucifer in "Swan Song", and again when he overcomes his hallucinations of Lucifer.
Like Dean, Sam has sacrificed himself for the greater good, stopping the apocalypse and attempting to close the gates of Heaven and Hell at the end of season eight. Sam's resilience, bravery, and compassion make him one of the reasons the show has been on for so long. Hopefully, Sam will be able to get some well-deserved happiness in his life soon!
1 Dean Winchester
From the series' debut, Dean is introduced as the understanding, fiercely loyal, stubborn, funny, quick-witted, and slightly immature brother whose willingness to sacrifice himself to help others knows no bounds. Though tragedy and drama marred much of Dean's life, Dean’s love for his car (aka Baby), pie, and classic rock quickly endeared Dean to fans.
Dubbed “the righteous man” by Heaven due to his unwavering loyalty and selflessness, and due to divine prophecy, Dean has shown that he defies prophecies if they are ones he disagrees with, and makes his rules as he goes on.
Dean's willingness to save others at the expense of his own life also makes him one of the great heroes of the show. Dean has offered some great insight about family and friendship, even when he doesn’t follow it. Though he does not often follow the advice he gives, he makes up for his mistakes with grand self-sacrificial stands that lead to some of the most heartbreaking scenes in Supernatural. He is the embodiment of Team Free Will and the values that Supernatural espouses.