The Trio of Crime: An Introduction to GTA 5's Playable Characters

Journey with Michael, Franklin, and Trevor as they navigate the criminal underbelly of Los Santos.


There are three main characters that you can play as in Grand Theft Auto 5. In order of appearance, they are Franklin, Michael and Trevor.

GTA 5 Character Introduction

Although the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series of popular video games has always focused on the rich storytelling tradition of presenting interesting and colorful characters, the first four main installments in the series mostly centered on a single, playable character. In GTA 5, however, developer Rockstar Games decided to give players the option of moving the story along with a cast of characters.

Improving upon previous titles in the series, GTA 5 features three playable characters plus a long list of central, supporting and minor characters that are even more intrinsic to the game than the assorted players from the epic GTA 4. The background location, the fictional metropolis of Los Santos, is almost a character unto itself.

The plot device of GTA 5 introduces the three main characters in a straightforward manner: Michael DeSanta is a middle-aged, former thief and career criminal trying to live a normal and domestic family life in Los Santos, which is a facsimile of Southern California after during the Great American Recession that started in 2008. Through happenstance, Michael meets Franklin Clinton, a young African American and former street gang member trying to move up the criminal ranks. One of Michael's former partners in crime, Trevor Philips, is a dangerous and unstable Canadian-American psychopath; he reunites with Michael and agrees to go into the heist business with Franklin as the new crew member.

The GTA 5 writers and storytellers gave the three playable characters lots of personality and redeeming qualities to make them appealing to players. The idea is to pique the player's curiosity and let them choose whether they would like to learn more about the lives of these three criminals as they play the game. Although the story kicks off with Michael, the introduction of Michael and Trevor allows players to learn even more about the characters and develop a favorite based on their personality and life story.

The Main Characters

Michael DeSanta


A methodical man in his mid-to-late 40s, Michael is married and has one son and one daughter in their teenage years. The entire DeSanta family is materialistic, and this bothers Michael to some extent. He is disappointed at the underbelly of corruption he sees in Los Santos, where everyone blindly chases money and leisure. Michael's dysfunctional family life leads him to drink and seek counseling before going back to his criminal ways. As a playable character, he has the special ability of ultra-acute senses and thought during shootout situations.

Franklin Clinton


Young Franklin grew up in a street gang, and he is tired of it. He thinks he is better than everyone around him, and he is probably right. He has always been curious about how organizations such as the Italian American Mafia can thrive economically while sticking to ethical codes of criminal professionalism. When Franklin meets Michael, it is a match made in heaven for him. His special ability is driving; he is a man of action who is perfect for getaways.

Trevor Philips


A violent and drug-addicted psychopath, Trevor may have a military or tactical law enforcement background. On the surface, Trevor is disgusting and has no redeeming qualities, although he seems to be loyal and craves social acceptance. Trevor's special ability is his recklessness and nearly superhuman strength, which makes him a survivor and allows him to deal with dangerous situations.

Supporting Characters

Lester Crest

Lester Crest
Lester Crest

Lester Crest is a key supporting character in Grand Theft Auto 5, acting as the strategic mastermind behind the heists that the main characters execute. Despite suffering from a wasting disease that limits his physical abilities, Lester's intelligence and technical expertise make him an invaluable asset to the team. He is a computer hacker with a cynical view of government institutions and corporate America, which motivates his criminal activities.

Amanda De Santa

Amanda De Santa has a profile on the GTA dating site Hush Smush.
Amanda De Santa has a profile on the GTA dating site Hush Smush.

Amanda De Santa is Michael's wife and the mother of their two children. She has a complicated relationship with Michael, marked by frequent arguments and infidelity on both sides. Despite their tumultuous relationship, she cares deeply for her family and fears for their safety.

Lamar Davis

Lamar Davis with Franklin.
Lamar Davis with Franklin.

Lamar Davis is Franklin Clinton's best friend and former gang affiliate. He is a member of the Families street gang, specifically the Chamberlain Gangster Families set. Lamar's personality is characterized by his ambitious yet reckless nature, often leading him into dangerous situations. His impulsive actions and lack of foresight often land him in trouble, leading to several missions where Franklin has to rescue him.

Despite his flaws, Lamar is loyal to Franklin and their friendship is a significant aspect of Franklin's storyline. His humorous outlook and lively personality often provide comic relief, making him a memorable character in the game. Lamar's character also serves to highlight Franklin's growth and maturity. While Lamar remains stuck in the cycle of gang violence and crime, Franklin aspires for a better life, creating a contrast between the two characters.

Ron Jakowski

Ron Jakowski.
Ron Jakowski.

Ron Jakowski is Trevor Philips' closest friend and right-hand man. He is a paranoid conspiracy theorist, often sharing his theories on his Blaine County radio talk show, "Blaine County Radio Community Hour." Despite his eccentricities and paranoia, Ron is loyal to Trevor and is often involved in his criminal activities, including the operation of Trevor Philips Enterprises, Trevor's illicit business.

Ron's character provides a stark contrast to Trevor's volatile personality. His timid and submissive nature often makes him the target of Trevor's aggression, yet he remains loyal to Trevor, highlighting Trevor's ability to form genuine friendships. Ron also provides comic relief with his conspiracy theories and eccentric behavior, adding a unique flavor to the game's narrative.

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Matt Gibbs

Matt Gibbs // Articles: 1316

Matt first came across the Grand Theft Auto series when he rented GTA III from his local video store, and it's been an obsession since. After playing through every GTA game since then, he decided to start GTA BOOM (initially in preparation for the launch of GTA V and as a way to document the hype, news and rumors about the then upcoming game. When Matt isn’t editing the content on BOOM, you’ll find him working on the server or making other improvements to the site, helping to update our library of guides and make them more useful for readers. Find Matt on LinkedIn or Twitter.