There are countless characters in Stranger Things who have been forced to take heroic actions in unexpected situations. But few characters have been as routinely heroic, and downright badass, as David Harbour's Chief of Police Jim Hopper. From the beginning of the series, the curmudgeonly chief with a heart of gold won fans over with his signature brand of snark and compassionate perseverance.
Over the subsequent episodes, it became clear that Hopper was a lot more than just talk, too. He's a man of action when he needs to be, and when it matters most, he's about as close as the series gets to providing a true conventional action hero - besides young Eleven, of course. Here, we take a look back at the Netflix hit's first three seasons and recap the most badass things that Hopper has done so far.
10 Interrogating the State Agent
Back in the early days of Stranger Things, when it first became clear that there were secret conspiracies at work in the small town of Hawkins, Hopper undertook some serious investigations all on his own. After the alleged body of missing boy Will Byers was found, Hopper investigated the mysterious nature of his autopsy proceedings, and as a result, he located a state agent who was rumored to have been involved in it.
After casually chatting with the agent at a local bar and just barely referring to their thoughts on the ongoing mystery, Hopper quickly sprung into action and beat the corrupt agent up outside the bar.
9 Not backing down in an interrogation with Hawkins Lab
In the first season finale of Stranger Things, Hopper and Joyce Byers are both taken into Hawkins Lab for questioning due to their continuing investigations into the corrupt experiments going on at the lab. While Joyce finds herself interrogated by Dr. Brenner, Hopper is subjected to physical torture and invasive questioning by some of the cutthroat agents working under Brenner.
Hopper is repeatedly beaten and tased, and even injected with some undisclosed serum. But he never once backs down from his commitment to exposing Hawkins Lab. He lets them know that they're not invulnerable, and that the truth will get out, if he has anything to say about it.
8 Saving Joyce's life
In the penultimate episode of Stranger Things 2, the Byers family, Mike Wheeler, Bob Newby, Dr. Owens, and Hopper found themselves trapped inside Hawkins Lab, forced to face the threat of attacking Demodogs. Bob would make the ultimate sacrifice in the process of getting the Byers and Mike to safety, and it was in this moment that Hopper had one of his own moments of selfless heroism.
As Bob was torn apart by Demodogs, Joyce was wracked with sobs and practically frozen on the spot. It was Hopper who rushed in, shot at the Demodogs, and pulled Joyce to safety outside of the lab, preventing her from meeting the same sad fate as Bob.
7 Saving the kids from Hawkins Lab agents
Early in the seventh episode of Stranger Things' first season, the kids are all trapped inside an abandoned school bus, with danger lurking right around the corner. Bad guys from Hawkins Lab are doggedly pursuing them - and more specifically Eleven, after all that she has done to them in previous scenes.
Just as a pursuer pries open the school bus door, someone suddenly knocks them on the head with a gun. A scuffle ensues, and who else but Hopper strides in to save the day? He gathers all of the kids up and quickly rushes them away from the junkyard, back to the safety of the Byers house.
6 Saving Will's life in the Upside Down
One of the first times Hopper demonstrates his fearlessness comes in the first season finale, when he travels into the Upside Down alongside Joyce Byers in pursuit of her son, Will. As soon as they have located them, Hopper bravely intervenes and works to free Will from the vines of the Upside Down.
He then steps up to the plate once again, doggedly performing CPR with Joyce on Will as long as it takes until the little boy can breathe freely again. With the tragic memories of the loss of his own daughter motivating him, Hopper is more determined, more emotional, more earnest in this moment than at any other point in the series so far.
5 Knocking out the Security Guard at the morgue
As we've already discussed, Hopper more or less begins his journey into action hero territory when a fake body is dragged out of the lake, one that is almost identical to Will Byers. Hopper heads over to the morgue and decides to take investigative action further into his own hands.
Though he tries to convince the poor unsuspecting guard that he has clearance to be there at first, Hopper quickly switches tactics, sucker punching the guard and knocking him out in one go.
4 Killing Demodogs at the Gate
By the end of the second season, Hopper has experienced the ugly reality of the Upside Down almost as much as Eleven and Will both have. When he journeys to the Gate in the bowels of Hawkins Lab with Eleven, he supports her every step of the way as she works to defeat the monsters and close the portal between dimensions once and for all.
Given Eleven's laser-focused intensity, it makes sense, therefore, that she wouldn't be totally aware or equipped to ward off any imposing threats in the form of Demodogs. That's where Hopper comes in, mowing down Demodog after Demodog in order to keep Eleven safe and ensure that she's able to complete the job she's set out to do.
3 Beating up corrupt Mayor Larry Kline
Season Three really took Hopper's aggressive behavior and action hero feats to a whole new level. One of the first clear examples of that came in the season's fourth episode, when he stopped by for yet another visit with Hawkins' corrupt and self-interested Mayor Larry Kline.
After the pair swap some not-so-veiled threats regarding each other's unsavory behavior, Hopper makes things physical. He grabs Kline and slams him face first into the door, breaking his nose in the process. He then repeatedly punches him, before shoving one of Kline's fingers into his cigar cutter and threatening to slice it off.
2 Killing Grigori
For most of Stranger Things 3, Hopper is tormented by the mysterious character Grigori, Starcourt's own personal Terminator knock-off. In the season finale, Hopper finally gets the upper hand in their most aggressive and all-out fight of them all.
Fighting right in front of the Gate to the Upside Down itself, and alongside the device known as the Key, Hopper savagely shoves Grigori right into the machinery, which results in a whole lot of blood and fire. Hopper promises Grigori that he'll see him in hell, and that scene couldn't really get any more visually hellish.
1 Sacrificing himself to save Hawkins
Even though Hopper may have gotten the last laugh in his final battle with the menacing and previously unstoppable Grigori, he doesn't manage to take a hero's victory lap in the way he deserves. Almost immediately afterwards, Hopper realizes he's trapped himself in the line of fire of the device that Joyce will have to activate in order to close the Gate to the Upside Down forever.
Rather than risk losing this opportunity that they'll likely never have again, Hopper makes the most selflessly heroic and undeniably badass decision he has ever made. He lets Joyce know, with just a look, that it's okay to go ahead and close the Gate and save their children and all of Hawkins along with it. Hopper goes out with a blaze of glory in that moment. It doesn't get more badass than that.