The Charmer is creative, witty and a smooth operator. He’s irresistible and enchanting, even if he’s only offering an illusion. He just wants to have fun and keep the party going, keep things light and breezy.
This man uses his charisma to weave in and out of any social circle, managing to sweet-talk his way out of most problems. This skill can make him manipulative, even if he doesn’t see it that way. What’s wrong with having some fun and giving the people a show?
The Charmer is elusive with his true feelings. He can also be irresponsible and unreliable, restless to move on to greener pastures when the going gets tough.
“The Charmer tries to get by on his personality and wit. Hard work is not in his vocabulary. If someone does try to get beyond the enchantment to the real man, he becomes nervous. The Charmer makes you believe in fairy tales and happily-ever-after. Unfortunately, he is not always there in the ever-after.” *
John Robie (To Catch a Thief)
Cary Grant plays an older Charmer as this retired cat burglar. He’s perfected the glamorous illusion and honed his skills of conversation. He may never have had a close relationship, but he had his fun and amassed a decent fortune when he left his life as a thief.
John is magnetic, drawing the wealthy men and women along the French Riviera toward him. He’s seemingly perfect, but aloof. He’s playing a part, crafting whatever mask he needs to save his reputation from a copycat.
Grace Kelly’s socialite Francie (a Seductress) proves to be a challenge. She’s used to men charming and pursuing her for her wealth and jewels. She wants excitement and a little danger and she sees through this Charmer’s cover story. Not only that, but she wants to join.
John Robie as the Cat is suave, elegant, witty and well-dressed. He’s is not ruffled by the tough situations (or by Francie’s driving) and manages to keep his cool without spilling a drop of champagne on his tuxedo.
Neal Caffrey (White Collar)
Neal is a professional con-artist, art forger and thief. He loves toeing the line and getting away with things. He relies on his wit, people skills and sharp suits to move about New York City without dirtying his hands.
Neal’s a romantic and prefers a life of luxury. He somehow to always manages to find a friend, lover or stranger to help him out of a tough spot.
Like many Charmers, Neal has trouble fighting the instinct to cut and run when things are getting tough. He knows he could start a new life, go back to his old life without a care in the world. He’s a literal flight risk and has to wear an ankle monitor while he’s working with the FBI.
Peter Burke acts as Neal’s foil. Where Neal is elusive, creative and avoids hard work, Peter steadily perseveres with a no-nonsense attitude. Neal, a Charmer, adapts, and it turns out being stuck in one place long enough forces him to slow down and create some real relationships beyond his glitzy illusion.
Remington Steele smoothly and effortlessly takes advantage of a sticky situation. He silver tongued, charming his way in and out of trouble as a thief and conman. Women are drawn to him, and even the men are won over with his smile and accent.
But no one really knows much about Remington. Not even those close to him know his real name!
He uses his wit to save the day and diffuse the tension, all while referencing the classic glamour of old Hollywood movies. He cares about looking good and preserving this illusion of a dashing man who doesn’t have a care in the world.
Remington is also irresponsible. He’s perfectly happy to play the face of Laura Holt’s (a Crusader) operation if it means he can kick back and avoid any work. Of course, he doesn’t want to be left out of the fun, either.
These examples happened to be thieves and conmen—but the Charmer doesn’t have to be a criminal. He’ll be drawn to any situation where he can have some fun, be adored and manage a quick escape when things go south.
* This series is based on The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders.