Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne
|Created by||Mike Kelley|
|Portrayed by||Emily VanCamp
Emily Alyn Lind (9 years old)
Alyvia Alyn Lind (5 years old)
|Occupation||Philanthropist and socialite
Shareholder within NolCorp
(great aunt; deceased)
|Significant other(s)||Jack Porter
|Residence||Southampton, New York|
Emily Thorne has been described as a flawed and multifaceted heroine figure. Due to her father being betrayed and her being forced into foster care and juvenile detention, Thorne has become emotionally troubled. Emily VanCamp, who portrays Thorne, described the character as having become "corrupted" to the point where VanCamp was concerned that it would be difficult to make Thorne appealing to audiences. The character usually appears calm and cold while dealing with difficult circumstances but as the series progresses, she begins to reveal vulnerabilities in her demeanor and reacts more emotionally to situations, which also impedes her efforts to get vengeance. According to VanCamp, Thorne has tried to bury her emotions but has an unstable emotional side, which means her feelings come out in extremes.
In Revenge Thorne serves as a modern female version of Edmond Dantès, the lead character from the The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, which is the novel that inspired the series. Similar to Dantès being falsely imprisoned for fourteen years on the charge of treason, Thorne was imprisoned in juvenile detention for ten years after her father was framed for the crime of financing a terrorist attack on the United States. Anthony Letizia of alterna-Tv.com notes several more similarities between the characters such as both of them training in combat after leaving incarceration in preparation for their plans of revenge and both pursuing revenge against a group of powerful and wealthy conspirators.
Her pursuit of revenge has been noted as a sympathetic aspect of the character. Commentators cited recent economic difficulties as making viewers more receptive to Thorne's efforts to get revenge against a group of privileged elites for the harm they caused her family. VanCamp described the character as "quite justified in what she's doing" adding that "everybody can connect with the theme of revenge, whether they act on it or not." The character's "girl next door" appearance is attributed as contributing to this appeal, with show producer Mike Kelly suggesting that it means viewers are "rooting for her even though she's doing something that's kind of diabolical."
Madeline Stowe, who portrays the antagonist Victoria Grayson on Revenge, has likened her own character to Thorne. Stowe notes the two characters as being complicated and said that Thorne is on a similarly amoral path as Victoria. She suggests that because of these similarities her character is able to recognize "something really amiss" about Thorne. Lyle Masaki of AfterElton also noted similarities between the characters stating that they are "equally cool customers, equally matched and neither are completely sympathetic."
It is stated on the show that as a child, Emily set fire to one of two foster homes (it is revealed that Eli James framed her for burning down a second home), and this combined with her actions against Mason Treadwell imply that she may be a pyromanic. Like her father, she is incredibly intelligent and is capable of resolving complicated situations with great cleverness. She also received training in martial arts and speaks fluent French and Japanese. While she is very determined to seek revenge, none of her plans have resulted in her committing murder, although most deaths that occur on the show happen because of events set in motion by some of her schemes. It is implied that she is knowledgeable with firearms (possessing a handgun that is frequently stolen by her enemies) and physically capable of murder, but it would seem she prefers not to resort to it. She has chastised both Aiden and Amanda for some of the murders they committed and attempted to prevent them from committing more, though she herself was determined for a time to kill Gordon Murphy and later the Graysons.
Victoria claims in "Commitment" that Amanda was deathly allergic to strawberries, and an incident when she was a little girl left her in the hospital. Emily herself has never brought up this allergy, so it is unknown if she actually is allergic to strawberries or if this was a ruse for Victoria to obtain Amanda's DNA by encouraging her to have some crème fraîche with her berries, and then taking the spoon she used.
"Illusion" reveals Emily's birthdate as July 13, 1984, making her 27–28 years old during the events of season 2, which takes place in 2012. She has a net worth of $500 million, as stated on the show (although ABC.com's biography states that "only Emily Thorne knows").
As of "Endurance" Emily's wounds from being shot in the stomach by Daniel have left her unable to have biological children. This has caused her to push Aiden away out of grief and to finally target Daniel, her shooter, in her revenge.
Amanda Clarke was the daughter of the Clarke family, living in the Hamptons in 1992. Her mother, Kara Wallace, was said to have died of illness when Amanda was five, although Amanda later discovered her mother was trying to protect her by institutionalizing herself, due to her psychological issues. David, who worked as a hedge fund manager at Grayson Global, was having an affair with his boss Conrad Grayson's wife, Victoria, and they were prepared to divorce their respective spouses to marry each other. During this time, Conrad Grayson, Victoria's husband, laundered money to a group of terrorists to help bring down Flight 197, and manipulated the evidence to point to David Clarke. The FBI stormed David's house and arrested him for treason, while Amanda was taken into foster care for at least eight years, and she never saw her father again. She then spent two years at Alanwood Juvenile Detention Center, until she was released to Nolan Ross, a friend of her father's, who informed her of the truth and gave her a wooden box dubbed the "Infinity Box", with a double infinity sign carved onto the top along with 49% shares of stock in Nolan's computer software company, NolCorp, in which her father had invested. The box was filled with numerous photographs, journals, newspaper articles, notes and mementos of her father, and had a secret lockbox containing a photograph of the people in Grayson Global. She has a tattoo on her wrist of the same double infinity symbol, representing her father's love "for infinity times infinity", as he told her as a child. Her father had pleaded with her in his journals not to confront the true culprits behind Flight 197, but she refused to follow his advice. She spends several years doing research on the several members of the conspiracy and creating an elaborate fake back-story by changing her name to the one of her former cellmate.
The "Pilot" begins by showing the future "Fire and Ice" engagement party for Emily and Daniel Grayson, the son of Conrad and Victoria Grayson, taking place on Labor Day Weekend. All seems to be going well until a body assumed to be Daniel's is discovered on the beach by his sister Charlotte.
Five months before, Emily rents her childhood beach home and begins her revenge plan. She plots to take down Lydia Davis, her father's secretary, "Uncle" Bill Harmon, an ex-family friend, then-prosecutor Tom Kingsly, now a senator, Michelle Banks, the therapist who separated her family, Frank Stevens, the Grayson head of security who assisted in the coverup, and Mason Treadwell, a writer coerced by the Graysons to corroborate their story.
Meanwhile, Daniel's college friend, Tyler Barrol, shows up in the Hamptons to stay with the Graysons. Emily is distrustful of him from the start, while Emily's friend and Victoria's event planner, Ashley Davenport, is smitten with him. When Lydia returns, determined to get her house and reputation back after her affair with Conrad was revealed, she blackmails the Graysons and Emily. Emily, however, sets her up to take the fall for her other takedowns, causing Frank Stevens to throw her off her balcony, although she survives.
Emily sends Conrad a video recording of the Frank and Lydia incident, which causes Conrad to fire Frank. As a result, Frank attempts to regain favor with the Graysons by digging into Emily's past. He discovers "Amanda Clarke", or the real Emily Thorne, but she murders him before he can warn Victoria. After "Amanda" alerts Emily to the killing, Emily has Nolan guard her while she sets up the Graysons for Frank's murder. Her attempts to send Amanda away fail, and her former cellmate stays in the Hamptons and becomes involved with Emily's old friend Jack Porter.
Tyler, meanwhile, becomes a larger problem, and Emily enlists Nolan to get rid of him, only for him to begin a romantic relationship with Tyler. Emily exposes Tyler to Daniel, but Tyler ends up blackmailing Conrad when he tries to fire him. Emily steals the leverage Tyler has on Conrad, and Daniel evicts him from Grayson Manor. Daniel's birthday party later goes awry when Tyler appears and holds the party at gunpoint. Daniel and Jack get the upper hand and have Tyler arrested by the police.
Emily's antepenultimate target Mason Treadwell later returns. She burns down his home and steals several of his interview tapes, which reveal that Charlotte, the Graysons' daughter, is her biological half-sister. Emily uses this against Victoria, and Conrad threatens to expose this information in the midst of their divorce proceedings.
Emily returns home one day to find her Infinity Box missing. Tyler informs her that he has escaped custody, stole her Box and kidnapped Amanda. When Amanda turns on Emily, she enlists her mentor Satoshi Takeda for assistance at her engagement party. Takeda retrieves her Infinity Box and murders Tyler on the beach before fleeing with Amanda. Returning to the starting point of the pilot, the partygoers find that the body is not that of Daniel, but Tyler, and Daniel becomes the prime suspect. Emily discovers that Victoria hired a contractor named Lee Moran to attack Daniel in order to have him released from jail. Emily implicates Moran in Tyler's murder, and he is later found dead in prison, seemingly having committed suicide, although Emily discovers through bugs in the Grayson home that Conrad contracted to have him killed by the same man as her father's killer.
Starting her inquest into her father's murder, Emily learns that Conrad often spoke with a "white-haired man", whom she discovers is her father's killer. She becomes determined to kill him. Victoria acquires immunity as she exposes Conrad to the SEC. She later hands evidence of David Clarke's innocence over to Daniel, only for Emily to steal it from Daniel's briefcase.
In the first season finale, Emily confronts the white-haired man when he kidnaps Nolan. She and the white-haired man engage in a fight, but she spares his life at the last possible second. Nolan hands over the evidence to the SEC, but as Victoria and Lydia come forward as witnesses, the plane carrying them to the hearing crashes, supposedly killing them and destroying the evidence. This, along with romantic troubles Emily later has, devastates her. However, Nolan reveals that he backed up a hard drive in Conrad's evidence, which contains a video that reveals Emily's supposedly deceased mother to be alive.
In the second season premiere, the Amanda (Jack's boat) is shown as having sunk, with a body implied to be that of Jack. Three months earlier, Emily returns to the Hamptons after a long absence and begins to investigate her mother, Kara Wallace Clarke. At a Memorial Day party, Charlotte tells Emily that Victoria is alive and in hiding before she is taken back to rehab in a conspiracy arranged by Conrad. When Victoria learns that Emily knows she is alive, she contracts the white-haired man to kill her.
Victoria double-crosses the white-haired man (Gordon Murphy), who was helping her and Charlotte to disappear, causing him to seek out Emily for her exonerating bug tapes. She offers them in exchange for information about her mother, but Murphy is killed by Emily's ex-lover Aiden Mathis before she can learn more, as Murphy is attempting to kill her again.
Kara eventually resurfaces, but recognizes Amanda, not Emily as her daughter. Mason Treadwell also returns, and discovers the truth about Amanda Clarke only to be framed by Emily for Gordon Murphy's death. They strike a deal in which he will take the fall until Emily finishes her revenge, in exchange for the rights to her biography and an exoneration.
Emily assists Daniel in the CEO election at Grayson Global, his victory managing to draw out Helen Crowley from the Initiative. Emily abducts Crowley and Aiden and "dies" in an ensuing shootout in a ruse to make Crowley trust Aiden. Convinced that Victoria was involved, Crowley orders Aiden to kill her with the promise of his kidnapped sister's release, although Colleen Mathis was murdered in 2006. Believing her to be a danger to Daniel, Victoria kills Crowley and leads the Initiative to believe that Amanda was behind her disappearance.
The Initiative's intentions soon become clear: with the use of Nolan's incomplete "Carrion" project, they will knock out the power in Manhattan for their next attack. To this end, they hire a young woman named Padma Lahari to obtain it from Nolan, a mission complicated by the relationship they develop.
Emily learns that Conrad has bought half of the Stowaway and urges Amanda to buy it back, though when Conrad refuses to sell it Amanda uses Emily's laptop without her knowledge to blackmail him. Emily discovers a man on the Amanda in Declan's photos, who Nolan identifies as Nate Ryan, a mobster with a vendetta against Jack. The two of them rescue Jack, though in an ensuing fight Nate destroys the boat and mortally wounds Amanda, who dies in Emily's arms on the water.
Her thirst for revenge reborn after Amanda's death, Emily sets out to identify and locate both Edith "the Fa1c0n" Lee, a hacker employed by the Initiative who thwarts efforts to save Padma, and Patrick Harper, the secret firstborn son of Victoria's. Because of Lee, Nolan is unable to locate Padma before she is killed by "Trask" from the Initiative. Emily, Nolan and Aiden avenge Padma by having Lee arrested by the FBI, and killing Trask.
As Daniel and Emily become re-engaged, Takeda returns with knowledge of the Initiative's next attack, but he is killed by Aiden in self-defense when he threatens to reveal Takeda's separate agenda: avenging his fiancé, the unrecorded 247th passenger on Flight 197. Afterwards, Aiden and Nolan bankrupt the Graysons against Emily's wishes, which activates the stolen Carrion program and shuts down the power across all of New York, commencing the Initiative's next attack.
In the first part of the season finale, Emily learns that Takeda was tracking an assassin named Gregor Hoffman, who she finds posing as an IT tech at Grayson Global. Conrad, who reveals to Victoria he has been a member of the Initiative since he met Helen Crowley, attempts to have Jack killed at the headquarters, leading him to believe Emily's laptop is there. In the midst of his gubernatorial election speech, an explosion occurs close by at the company with Jack and Declan inside.
In the second part, Emily learns that while Jack escaped before the explosion, Declan did not. Daniel sends the police after Aiden with the belief that he perpetrated the attack, which leads to his arrest, although he is released after proving his innocence and Nolan is instead arrested unbeknownst to Emily. However, Aiden's fate is left uncertain after Daniel is seen with a bloodied shirt following a confrontation. After Declan dies of his injuries, Jack attempts to murder Conrad as he is making his winning speech, though he is stopped when Emily tearfully reveals to him her true identity.
In the third season premiere, Emily is shown in a wedding dress on a boat. She turns around, and apologizes to an unknown person, before she is shot twice, causing her to fall into the water. Two months earlier, she returns to the Hamptons having spent six months in Paris. She has not seen Jack during this time. While going to visit him, Ashley finds her and desperately tries to blackmail her way into Emily's Memorial Day party, therefore making herself a liability to Emily. She poisons Conrad (for a second time) during his speech at the party, switches records to make the world believe he has Huntington's disease, and leaks this to the press. Victoria, convinced it was Ashley's doing, orders Ashley to board a plane back to Croydon. Emily and Daniel set a date for their wedding: August 8th, which is when she will take down Victoria. Unbeknownst to Emily, Aiden, who is alive and well, has offered his services to Victoria.
Emily sets her sights on taking down Father Paul Whitley, a former employee at Grayson Global, though Nolan (who has been released from prison) believes he has changed. Emily successfully takes him down. Whitley seems to get at Emily, who immediately feels, for the first time, guilt that her plan succeeded. To atone, she goes to Whitley to request his assistance (without revealing her true identity) in making Conrad confess to the entire conspiracy. Meanwhile, Aiden makes his return known to Emily and reveals that he is actually helping her destroy Victoria, not vice-versa. Just as it seems Conrad will confess to the conspiracy, Emily pulls up to a crashed car on the side of the road and finds Whitley severely injured, and Conrad less so.
After Whitley dies in hospital, Emily is suspicious that Conrad murdered him. She and Jack, who has partially reconciled with her, prove that the brakes were tampered with, so Conrad was not responsible. Emily initially suspects Aiden tampered with the brakes and tells him Jack knows her secret, causing him to deflect blame for the accident onto Jack, which infuriates Emily. It is revealed that Patrick - who has reunited with Victoria - caused the accident to kill Conrad and protect his mother, but never intended for Whitley to die.
Emily reveals her final plan to Nolan and Jack: fake her death, and frame Victoria for her murder on her wedding day. After this she will disappear to the Maldives with Aiden, without a trace. To keep Daniel in her grasp, Emily claims she is pregnant. Lydia Davis, thought to have died in the plane crash at the end of season 1, returns. Lydia discovers that Emily doctored her photo of the New Years Party in 2002.
The wedding arrives, with Emily's plan to fake her death and frame Victoria for murder initially appearing to be going off without a hitch until Lydia comes aboard and shows Victoria the photo. Victoria confronts Emily and speculates the pregnancy is fake, which Emily confirms, unaware that Daniel has heard everything. In a rage he picks up the gun left by Aiden and shoots her twice in the stomach, and she falls into the water.
After barely managing to get help, Emily is diagnosed with transient global amnesia and Victoria is suspected as the shooter. Aiden believes Emily is faking her amnesia and attempts to rescue her, but she truly does not remember him and alerts security, though he escapes. While speaking to Charlotte, Emily tells her her father's name: David Clarke. Making an emotional connection with both Charlotte and Jack, who gives her Amanda's necklace (which Emily had left for him before leaving) she regains her memories, including the identity of her shooter.
Discharged into Victoria's care, Emily meets Niko, Takeda's daughter, who poses as her nurse and begins to assist her, having come to the Hamptons to hunt down her father's killer. Despite this, Emily informs her friends that she is giving up on her revenge and plans to escape the Hamptons, but she changes her mind when she discovers that because of her injuries she will never bear her own children. She outs Lydia as her shooter to the press, blackmailing Daniel and Victoria to remain in the Grayson family.
Emily begins suffering mysterious blackouts, which result in her calling Conrad's ex-wife Stevie at Conrad's suggestion to divorce Daniel. Aiden is abducted by Niko, who has discovered he killed her father, and she vows to kill Emily in front of him as revenge. Emily, unarmed manages to defeat an armed Niko in a difficult struggle, but releases her just before killing her. Emily vows to kill the Graysons. Aiden helps her to realize the blackouts are the result of a repressed memory where her father tells her they will be a family with Victoria, which has happened in the present day. Accepting this causes the blackouts to end.
Stevie, who believes David was innocent, discovers that Emily and Jack were trying to expose the Graysons and reveals the existence of evidence disks confiscated by her law firm. Jack steals them, and they are revealed to contain a letter mentioning Aiden's father, written in identical handwriting to Pascal LeMarchal, an old colleague of Conrad's, the current flame of Victoria and the father of Jack's current girlfriend, Margaux. Revisiting Aiden's home leads him to discover Oscar Chapman, a reporter's name written in his shed. Mason Treadwell - who Emily frees from prison and sends to the Maldives - reveals Chapman may have faked his death.
Emily discovers Luke Gilliam, a former Grayson Global employee and owner of a controversial green energy company and takes him down, unaware that Victoria has used him to discover she is out for revenge for David Clarke. Aiden and Nolan question Brenda Evans, a woman who helped Chapman hide, only to find out it is Chapman in disguise. Chapman reveals that Pascal murdered Aiden's father, who did not know he was planting a bomb on Flight 197. Pascal locates and kills Chapman.
- Victoria Grayson - Emily detests and hates Victoria for her role in her father's downfall and wishes only to see her suffer, making her the ultimate target of her revenge. While Emily shows no trace of her negative feelings around Victoria, the two have a tense relationship throughout the series especially when Emily begins dating Daniel, Victoria's beloved son. Victoria's dislike of Emily goes as far as to suggest to Daniel that she take the fall for Tyler's murder because it was committed with her weapon, and contracting Gordon Murphy, who killed David, to kill Emily when she feels she cannot be trusted (though Murphy does not tell Victoria that Emily is really Amanda Clarke, for unknown reasons). Following her return to Grayson Manor, Victoria asks Emily to sever her ties to the family, although she does not. Victoria later enlists Emily to reunite with Daniel in order to steer him away from the Americon Initiative, and has her feed information back to her on one of its members, Helen Crowley. This alliance comes to an end after Emily helps Daniel acquire Stonehaven United Solutions.
- Charlotte Grayson/Clarke - Initially, Emily and Charlotte had no interactions, until Emily discovered Charlotte was her half-sister from Mason Treadwell's interview tapes, and they grow close. Charlotte becomes one of the few people Emily seeks to protect from her revenge scheme. Charlotte developed an addiction to oxycodone, and she attempted suicide in the first season finale, though Emily's reaction to this was never depicted. At one point, Emily attempts to console Charlotte on her porch swing by telling Charlotte a story she remembers from her childhood that she claims Amanda told her. Charlotte trusted Emily enough to tell her that Victoria was alive and in hiding. Emily is shown to realize the relationship she is missing with Charlotte by posing as the real Emily Thorne, and vice versa. When Charlotte announces her decision to change her surname to Clarke on her 18th birthday, Emily is seen smiling.
- Nolan Ross - Emily met Nolan when he released her from juvenile detention in 2002. He gave her the Infinity Box, which contained her father's possessions and proof of his innocence. Years later, when Emily returns to the Hamptons, Nolan offers his assistance, which she initially refuses. Despite being antagonistic with him at the start (she later warms up to him), Emily finds his technical genius and ability to be quite useful, though her plans put him in physical danger numerous times. Nolan also acts as her conscience and tries to reason with her when he feels she is taking things too far. For a short period of time, Nolan moves in with Emily after selling his home, but moves out after being attacked by Aiden. Nolan considers Emily to be the "only real family" he has, going so far as to give up Nolcorp, his company, to Grayson Global to prevent a forensic investigation that would expose Emily. They share tearful embraces after the deaths of both Padma Lahari and Satoshi Takeda. Nolan affectionately refers to Emily as "Ems". Some fans support a romantic relationship between Nolan and Emily. While Gabriel Mann has entertained the prospect of "Nemily", creator Mike Kelley and VanCamp are opposed to the idea, considering Nolan and Emily to have a sibling relationship.
- Daniel Grayson- As part of her revenge scheme, Emily plans to seduce Daniel and marry him to gain access to Grayson Global, which she believes would have proof of her father's innocence. Emily's feelings for Daniel complicate her revenge when she begins to fall for him. They become engaged midway through the first season with plans for a wedding in June the next summer, although Daniel's decision to back Conrad and conceal his terrorist activities causes her to become distant to him. The engagement ends when Ashley sees Emily and Jack kissing and she informs Daniel. Emily and Daniel are shown to be on speaking terms in season 2, with Daniel realizing he still cares for Emily despite being with Ashley. The feelings are not mutual however, as Emily is not interested in a reunion with Daniel, though she eventually does so. However, she is only interested in the relationship as it will allow her to access the Initiative, and she asks to take it slowly. Despite this, she has a dream at one point where she and Daniel engage in passionate sex. Emily involuntarily finds herself officially reunited with Daniel when he informs the press they are back together, but decides to get re-engaged to him. In Season 3 episode 10 Emily and Daniel marry, but in episode 16 they are now divorced.
- Aiden Mathis - Emily met Aiden in 2006 at a New York nightclub when she was sent by Satoshi Takeda to access the kidnapper of Aiden's sister Colleen. Emily stops him from killing his sister's kidnapper twice and puts herself in physical danger to rescue him. Two years later, a flashback shows that Aiden was recruited by Takeda and that he and Emily had begun a relationship, a weakness Aiden exploited in their training. Aiden prepares to leave when Takeda locates his sister, and chooses to bring Emily, although he instead leaves her behind. This causes Emily to become embittered towards him in season 2, rejecting his attempts to reconcile especially when he tries to dissuade her from locating her mother and return to focusing on her revenge scheme. After Kara believes Amanda is her daughter and not Emily, Emily breaks down in Aiden's arms. Emily soon forgives Aiden and they share a passionate kiss and consummate their relationship. Colleen's apparently recent murder, brought about supposedly by Emily's interference in the attempted murder of Victoria, infuriates Aiden and causes him to disavow Emily. Aiden later forgives her and re-commits to assisting her. While he dislikes that she has to reunite with Daniel to further her plans, he tells her to go through with it so that she can finish her revenge and they can be together. Emily loses trust in Aiden when he bankrupts the Graysons despite it not being the time, and when he reveals Takeda's agenda after killing him. They share one last kiss on the porch, when she explains she cannot leave with him, and he reveals he knows she left the Hamptons the summer before for Jack. Upon hearing of Aiden's arrest, Emily is seen with a clear look of concern on her face.
- Amanda Clarke - "Amanda Clarke", or the real Emily Thorne, was Emily's cellmate in juvenile detention. Initially, the two often engaged in physical fights, although they later became friends at the suggestion of their warden. Emily visits her friend in juvie and they agree to switch identities in return for $500,000. Eight years later, "Amanda" reunites with Emily when she murders Frank Stevens after he discovers their secret. Amanda then begins to complicate Emily's plans by becoming involved with Jack Porter and thus endangering him to the Graysons. Though the two have a rivalry, Amanda stands by her vow to "do anything" for Emily. Tyler later kidnaps Amanda and turns her against Emily, although she ultimately remains loyal to Emily and disappears from the Hamptons for several months. By the time she returns, she is six months pregnant with Jack's child, which breaks Emily's heart. Amanda, freshly trained by Takeda as an asset to Emily remains loyal even after she nearly loses her baby in a fall. At her son's baptism, she notices Emily's misery and believes she deserves a family like hers, a claim Emily rebuffs. Amanda desired to confess her identity to Jack, feeling guilt for stealing him from Emily, although Emily advised against it. In her dying moments, Amanda returns a locket necklace that Emily gave her years ago and thanks her for giving her a "real family". Emily is incredibly devastated after Amanda's death, which fuels her to refocus her revenge back onto the Graysons.
- Kara Wallace Clarke - Emily had very few memories of her mother, who she believed dead of an illness unknown to her. After learning that she is in fact alive, Emily postpones her revenge plan and goes so far as to put Amanda's life on the line to locate her mother, only to be disappointed when she finally resurfaces. As a child, Kara's psychological issues led her to attempt to drown Emily, and to keep her from danger Kara left the Clarke family, David lying that she succumbed to her sickness. Despite Kara believing Amanda is her daughter, Emily attempts to build a friendly relationship with her mother through Amanda's son. Emily even visits Victoria to give her a wedding gift, which is really a ploy to see her mother for the "last" time. While she loves her mother, Emily knows that she is a danger to those around her and convinces her to leave the Hamptons after Aiden stops her from murdering the Graysons when she learns the truth about David. As Emily watches Kara leaving, she has a flashback where her mother sings to her as a child.
- Gordon Murphy - As the killer of her father, Emily resents Murphy. It did not appear as if Emily was interested in identifying her father's killer until she listened into a conversation between Murphy and Conrad Grayson, which revealed their involvement in David's murder. Deciding that she will kill Murphy, the only time she has ever expressed interest in murdering someone herself, she reveals herself as Amanda Clarke to him and is brought to his secret torture chamber, where they engage in a fight, though she chooses to honor her father by not going through with the killing. This in turn leads to the destruction of the evidence Emily had accumulated when Murphy detonates the plane carrying Lydia and Victoria. Although Murphy meets with the Graysons a few times after the fight with Emily, for unknown reasons he does not reveal her identity to them. In season 2, Murphy asks Emily for tapes that will exonerate him as the "kidnapper" of Victoria, but when she asks for her mother he attempts to kill her only to be killed by Aiden Mathis. Emily later learns that Murphy is her stepfather through marriage to Kara Clarke.
- Satoshi Takeda - Takeda recruited Emily after she was referred to him by Warden Stiles. From what has been seen thus far, it appears that while she could often be frustrated with Takeda, she still deeply respected him. In the present day, they have more differences and argue more often. Examples of this are when Takeda chastises her for being in love with Daniel and their fight in her home when he reveals he is Tyler's murderer and that he framed Daniel and Jack. At the start of season 2, after Aiden stops Emily from intentionally drowning (as a method of remembering her mother), Takeda disapproves of her desire to find her mother as it conflicts with revenge for her father. To this, Emily replies that after she learns her mother's fate, she will take down everyone who kept them apart, Takeda included. She also angrily thinks Takeda sent her a "nanny" in the form of Aiden when he comes to the Hamptons to help her. Takeda returns to the Hamptons months later and attempts to take Aiden away after revealing his past to Daniel, for which Emily scolds him. Takeda refuses to allow her and Aiden to help him prevent the Initiative's attack. In spite of Takeda's faults as perceived by Emily, she cries bitterly upon finding his body. Emily would later learn that Takeda was using her and Aiden to avenge the death of his fiancé, an unrecorded passenger on Flight 197.
The choice of VanCamp to portray the character was generally well-received among critics, with Scott Pierce of The Salt Lake Tribune citing VanCamp's past involvement with Everwood and Brothers & Sisters as helping audiences contrast Thorne's sympathetic appearance with her ruthless pursuit of vengeance. VanCamp's portrayal of the character has been praised by several critics for how she has depicted Thorne's charming and duplicitous nature. Daniel Fienberg of HitFix has been more negative regarding the portrayal of the character. When the show premiered Fienberg stated that, while he was appreciative of VanCamp's work on other shows, he felt she was "passive" in the role of Thorne and that she portrayed the character as "robotically efficient", which made Thorne a less sympathetic character for him.
Catherine Weagle of the Salem State Log criticized VanCamp's portrayal, stating that Thorne's "revenge glare" was not sufficiently intimidating and also found it implausible that Thorne would be able to keep her true identity a secret. An initial review by Maureen Ryan of AOLTV was negative regarding the portrayal of the character, though Ryan faulted the premise of the show as making it difficult for VanCamp to portray Thorne realistically. Ryan became more positive about the character's portrayal as the show progressed stating that VanCamp had "made Emily more interesting than the character almost has a right to be."
Thorne's voice-over narrations during the show were described by Stephanie Goldberg of CNN as "insightful" and as being able to get the support of viewers, but other commentators have criticized the narrations as cliché and formulaic. Fienberg stated that the narrations were devoid of meaning and attributed it to ABC having "an in-house style that says that having your female lead narrate nothingness at the start of every episode is a worthy strategy", which he stated does not provide a good setting for a story about revenge.
Some critics favorably compared the role of Thorne on Revenge to that of Dexter Morgan on the Showtime series Dexter. Tierney Bricker of E! states that, like Dexter, Thorne captivates audiences even when they may not support her actions. In a review of the episode "Infamy" for ChicagoNow, Andrew Daglas noted the portrayal of Thorne burning down Treadwell's home in the episode and suggested that Thorne's actions would prompt audiences to question their sympathies for the character's pursuit of revenge. Daglas then states that the character of Dexter has prompted similar questions, adding that in both series the characters force viewers "to realize how easily our darkest impulses can bubble up to the surface, and how those impulses become more dangerous when they're wrapped in a nobler guise like justice."
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