The following are my own character biographies for The Bright Sessions. While I sometimes add to these, most of this is what I've been working off of since I started writing the show. Certain information has been "redacted" to avoid spoilers.
- Lauren Shippen
(female, 32, real name Joan Bryant) - a therapist, calculating but kind. She has a graduate degree in abnormal psychology and has been helping atypicals since her graduate school days. After graduating, she did a two year rotation for The AM. She was just working in evaluating and registering atypicals - unaware that there was a division doing experimentation on live subjects. After Mark went missing, she worked her way up the ranks so she could learn more about atypicals. What she didn’t expect was to find him in the lower levels of the facility being experimented on. She tried to break him out but was caught out by one of her superiors. They worked out a deal where she would report useful or dangerous atypicals and in return, they would keep her brother alive and try to find a way to get him back. She doesn’t trust them and is trying to come up with her own solution. She doesn’t want to sell her patients out to The AM but she cares about Mark over all else.
- Ages 22-24: graduate degree/meeting Vanessa/discovering Mark’s power (2005-2007)
- Ages 23-30: worked for The AM, first as an fellow doing basic research and then as a higher up when she discovered the experiments (2006-2013)
- Ages 30-32: started her private practice; acts as a consultant to The AM (2013-present)
Mix from Dr. Bright to her brother (in-universe and made by Julia Morizawa)
(female, 25) - suffers panic attacks that make her involuntarily time travel. She had one of these episodes when her parents were teaching her how to drive; when she disappeared, the car crashed, killing both her parents. She reappeared in the car moments before emergency services arrived and they couldn’t explain how she sustained no injuries. Has had the longest time with her ability and so makes the least amount of progress with her therapy in the first season.
Likes: her cat, Thai food, vintage Star Trek
Dislikes: interacting with strangers, talking about her family, rom-coms.
(male, 16) - an empath. Can feel the emotions of those around him. He’s also a teenager, which makes him highly sensitive. Initially he responds to his ability with anger and frustration. Dr. Bright thinks that if he learns to control this ability, he may be able to project emotions on to others. But, for the moment, she is concerned with making sure he can lead the most normal life possible. Dr. Bright has a soft spot for Caleb and wants to see him succeed - he makes the most progress in controlling his ability out of the three patients in season one. His mother works in a bank, his father is a novelist, and his sister is 12.
Likes: football, hanging out with his sister, Adam
Dislikes: thinking about his own feelings, math
(female, 20) - Flower child, college student, artist, good soul, but is rapidly unraveling at the beginning of season one. Other therapists have diagnosed her with schizophrenia. She thinks she is hearing angels; Dr. Bright thinks she’s hearing others’ thoughts. Is the newest to her power, discovering it still; Dr. Bright is able to mold her and manipulate her more than the others. But Chloe has an underlying strength that she has never had a particular use for. As she grows more comfortable in her power, she becomes more self-assured and tough.
Likes: art, hearing other peoples’ life stories, bright colors
Dislikes: cruelty, dishonesty, carrots
(male, 27, real name unknown) - Damien's ability can most easily be described as mind control, but it is closer to something like “inception”. He can go into someone’s head and impose his desires on them - if he wants someone to tell him the truth, he places that thought in someone’s head and it becomes their thought. Dr. Bright also privately diagnosed him with Antisocial Personality Disorder. He does lack empathy, but mostly suffers from extreme loneliness. Not a good person - possibly [REDACTED] but, when push comes to shove, he is a selfish coward. That is his biggest flaw. And it is what will prevent him from getting what he truly wants: [REDACTED].
(male, 35, "Green" is an alias) - not an evil guy. He's essentially just a bureaucratic pencil-pusher. He thinks the work that he's doing is important and interesting; he's definitely been drinking the agency kool-aid. He and Dr. Bright [REDACTED] when she worked at The AM, and he still [REDACTED]. He's earnest and well-meaning, but ultimately is putting his faith in all the wrong people. He truly does believe that [REDACTED] and that it is in his best interest to stay at The AM. Not as smart as Dr. Bright, but unfailingly optimistic and [REDACTED]. He thinks [REDACTED] but ultimately can’t [REDACTED]. He takes duty very seriously.
(male, 16) Suffering from depression, Adam is isolated and perceived to be strange by other students. He has had a crush on Caleb for many years and is nervous but excited when Caleb reaches out to him. Artsy and sensitive, he loves to draw and listen to indie rock/folk music (Mumford & Sons, Hozier, Snow Patrol, etc.). His parents are challenging - both surgeons [REDACTED] who are almost always at the hospital and expect a lot from Adam. Though he didn’t inherit the same passion for science as his parents, he is incredibly intelligent and curious about everything.
Mix from Adam to Caleb (in-universe)
(male, 28) Homeless ex-marine with very severe PTSD. Both his father and grandfather were in the Marines and he was expected to follow in their footsteps despite the fact that he wanted to go to art school. He is a gifted painter, but could not afford art school on his own so he chose the marines instead, hoping he could paint after his duty was done. In his training for the Marines, he [REDACTED] - an attempt to [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] were somewhat successful but [REDACTED] - [REDACTED]. When he was discharged, he moved in with his father, who died of a heart attack a few weeks later. Frank became untethered after his father’s death, lost the house, and has been on the streets ever since.
- Painting one: blue-green, lilies, perfume - his grandmother
- Painting two: green, sand, sunlight - his unit
- Painting three: dust, sand, blood, confusion - war, [REDACTED]
- Painting four: red, black, sharp - his own pain, mixed up with those who died
- Painting five: smoke & coffee - his father
- Painting six: blue, dark, cold - his depression
- Painting seven: color, sunlight, smiles - the bright girl on the sidewalk
(male, 27) Dr. Bright’s younger brother - Fred Weasley meets the most charming guy you've ever known. Taken by The AM in 2011. He has the ability to mirror anyone else’s ability when he is in close proximity to them. Touch makes it strongest but as long as he is in the same room, Mark can do what others can do. He is intelligent and sensitive - much more a nurturing type than his sister. He went to college for photography but, right after he graduated, he was taken by the organization for experimentation. A mental time traveler took Mark back to early 1800s England when Mark was 25 - one of many trips they took - and in the process, she was killed. His mind was left back in the 1800s but his body is still in the facility. He doesn’t know how to get back.
Likes: photography, teasing his sister, baking
Dislikes: sitting still, disloyalty, being bored
Annabelle "ellie" wadsworth
(female, late-30s) - Not her real last name. One of the directors of The AM. Brings in Dr. Bright as a recruit and is responsible for Mark’s capture. Dr. Bright’s mentor and friend - a Quinn/Rachel dynamic. It’s not exactly sexual, but it’s definitely more than platonic. Two women who are professionally compatible and personally a nightmare combination. Wadsworth is Adam’s aunt and is fiercely competitive with her sister, Adam’s mother. She is the younger sister and never got the kind of mentorship from her older sister that she desired. As such, she was passionate about creating a mentor relationship with Joan and being her older role model, but became slightly obsessed with Joan’s success instead.