Jim Hopper (Stranger Things)

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Jim Hopper
Stranger Things character
David Harbour as Jim Hopper
First appearance"The Vanishing of Will Byers" (2016)
Created byThe Duffer Brothers
Portrayed byDavid Harbour
AliasAntique Chariot
OccupationChief officer of Hawkins Police Department
SpouseDiane Hopper (divorced)
HomeHawkins, Indiana, United States

Jim Hopper is a fictional character from the Netflix science fiction horror series Stranger Things. He is the chief of police in Hawkins, Indiana, who, throughout the first three seasons, investigates the strange occurrences in the town. Hopper is portrayed by David Harbour.[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Jim Hopper, nicknamed "Hop", is the chief of Hawkins Police Department. Hopper has lived in Hawkins nearly all his life, having attended high school with Joyce Byers and Bob Newby. He has also been addressed as "Sheriff Hopper,"[2] but this is not a correct title.[3] Hopper was married and they had a daughter together, Sarah. They divorced after his young daughter died of cancer, which caused him to lapse into alcoholism.[4] For a few years after Sarah's death, he was a cop in "a big city"; the show never states which city. When he had been in the city long enough, he moved back to Hawkins. Eventually, he grows to be more responsible, saving Will Byers as well as taking Eleven in as his adopted daughter.[5] In Season 3, he tries to break up Eleven and Mike since their relationship is moving too fast for him, whilst simultaneously trying to win over Joyce in a romantic way.[6]

Season 1[edit]

In Season 1, Hopper is a chainsmoking, alcoholic cop in Hawkins, Indiana. He's approached by a former high school classmate, Joyce Byers, who tells him her son, Will, has gone missing. Joyce tells Chief Hopper about the static phone call she received and suspected was Will's breathing. Hopper is reluctant to believe her but admits that the charring of the phone from the surge of electricity sounds unusual. Hopper realises as the season continues that there is a vast conspiracy hiding at Hawkins Lab and he is instrumental in the mission to find and save Will. After Eleven's apparent death, Hopper is seen leaving some food in the snowy woods, including Eggos, Eleven's favourite food.[2]

Season 2[edit]

In flashbacks, Eleven manages to escape from the Upside Down but is forced to remain hidden in Hopper's cabin in the woods to avoid the government agents. Hopper forbids her from leaving or from letting Mike or anyone else know that she is still alive. In the present, the kids prepare for Halloween. Eleven asks to go trick-or-treating, but Hopper insists that she needs to remain hidden. Hopper investigates when pumpkins patches all over town suddenly start rotting. During the night, Will has another episode and tells Mike about his visions. Mike admits that he is still trying to contact Eleven. Eleven tries to contact Mike using her powers but is unsuccessful. In more flashbacks, Hopper finds Eleven in the woods and sets up his grandfather's hunting cabin as a place for her to live. In the present, Hopper asks Dr. Owens to investigate the pumpkin-rotting incidents. Eleven leaves the cabin to look for Mike; she sees him arguing with Max and mistakes them as flirting. [7]. Hopper is once more instrumental in solving the mystery of the demo-dogs and the pumpkin rot, and ultimately takes El to the basement in Hawkins to close the gate once more.

Season 3[edit]

At the beginning of Season 3, Eleven and Mike have been dating for 6 months, much to the dismay of Hopper, who is annoyed that El and Mike are constantly together, spending all of their time alone kissing. When Hopper confesses to Joyce that he feels uncomfortable about the situation, she asserts that he should sit down and calmly talk to El and Mike about how he feels. He tries to prepare a written "heart to heart" speech, but when he tries to give it, it backfires and Hopper resorts to verbally threatening Mike to stay away from Eleven, or he will end their relationship.

Hopper's talks with Joyce lead him to become more bold in asking her on a dinner date. Joyce missed the date and finds out that she had spent the evening with Mr. Clarke, the school science teacher, asking about why her refrigerator magnets have lost their magnetism. Joyce begs Hopper to take to back to the abandoned Hawking lab to see if there's any equipment running; whilst there, Hopper is attacked by a Russian enforcer, Grigori. Having seen Grigori before at the Mayor's office, Hopper accosts Mayor Kline about Grigori, and learns that the developers of Starcourt Mall, whom Grigori works for, have also bought up several other properties in Hawkins. Hopper and Joyce visit several, finding one serves as a front for a Russian lab. Before Grigori attacks them, Hopper and Joyce grab Dr. Alexei, one of the scientists working there, as a hostage, and elude Grigori. Hopper and Joyce take Alexei to conspiracy theorist Murray to help translate Alexeis russian, learning there is a large Russian base under the mall where Russian scientists are trying to open the gate to the Upside Down in the process. Alexei divulges to Murray how they can stop and destroy the gate.

Hopper and Joyce bring Murray and Alexei as they race back to Hawkins to see if the children are safe. Murray and Alexei recognize that Hopper and Joyce have feelings for each other but have not admitted to the other yet. They stop at the Independence Day fair, and while Hopper and Joyce search the grounds, Murray shows Alexei around. Grigori arrives and kills Alexei, and other Russian agents give chase to Hopper. Hopper bests them, and he, Joyce, and Murray race for the mall, where they reunite with the children, and learn that the giant Mind Flayer is about to attack, but can stop it if they close the gate to the Upside Down. Hopper, Joyce, and Murray offer to descend to the base and find the keys Alexei told them about to not only close the gate but destroy the gate equipment, which would disintegrate anyone left in the room. In the base, Hopper, Joyce and Murray successfully execute their plan, but before they can close the gate, Grigori arrives and fights Hopper. Hopper gets the upper hand and throws Grigori into the gate equipment, killing him but leaving Hopper unable to leave the room. He gives Joyce a nod, and she tearfully activates the gate machine shutdown. The gate is opened and a huge explosion ensures, killing Hopper in the process. By the time Joyce and Murray make it to the surface and reunite with the children, Eleven can tell from Joyce's emotions that Hopper didn't make it out alive.

Three months later, Joyce and her family, along with Eleven are preparing to move out of Hawkins, and Joyce gives Eleven the heart-to-heart speech Hopper had written. The speech explains Hopper was fearful of seeing Eleven grow up but admitted that it was time, asking her to be careful as she matures and grows older.[8]


In a review of the second season for RogerEbert.com, critic Brian Tallerico praised Harbour's performance, saying "David Harbour is even better this year than he was last, particularly in the final episode." [9] Fans also praised the new look of Hopper.[10]

Hopper's attitude and behavior in the third season had some criticism, with critics saying that he acted like a "Jerk". Vulture said of him "Normal Jim Hopper has transformed into Jerk-Ass Hopper, particularly in the early episodes of Stranger Things 3, which makes for a jarring reintroduction to his character. In addition to his overblown objection to what is, ultimately, very chaste physical contact between Mike and El, he also gets disproportionately annoyed with Joyce when she stands him up for dinner, bickers constantly with Joyce about minor problems; physically assaults the mayor of Hawkins to extract information from him; and shows little mercy toward Alexei, the Russian scientist he and Joyce kidnap so they can figure out what the Commies are really doing in town."[11] there is an upcoming novel depicting Jim Hopper at the Darkness on the Edge of Town.[12] Jim was depicted on The Simpsons Halloween as Chief Wiggum.[13] The character has also its own Funko's Mystery Minis toy.[14]

For his performance as Hopper, Harbour was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series at the 69th and 70th Primetime Emmy Awards.[15] At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, he was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film.[16]


  1. ^ ""Stranger Things 3" gives us a meaner Hopper, and we're not loving it". Salon. 2019-07-14. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  2. ^ a b "Stranger Things: The Ultimate Viewing Guide & Reading Order To The Expanded Universe". ScreenRant. July 1, 2019.
  3. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (June 15, 2015). "Winona Ryder & David Harbour To Star In Duffer Bros. Netflix Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  4. ^ Sampson, Issy (July 5, 2019). "Stranger Things: everything you need to know before hitting Secret Cinema" – via www.theguardian.com.
  5. ^ "Stranger Things Characters Sorted Into Their Hogwarts Houses". ScreenRant. April 11, 2019.
  6. ^ "Stranger Things: 6 Best (& 4 Worst) Friendships". ScreenRant. July 10, 2019.
  7. ^ "Exclusive: Stranger Things 'spin-off could look into Hopper's backstory'". June 16, 2019.
  8. ^ "Stranger Things Hopper detail will have you in tears". July 18, 2019.
  9. ^ Tallerico, Brian. ""Stranger Things 2" Operates From the James Cameron Sequel Playbook | Demanders | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  10. ^ "'Stranger Things' fans are loving this 1 detail about Hopper in Season 3". Mashable SEA. July 5, 2019.
  11. ^ "Why Is Hopper Such a Jerk-Ass in Stranger Things 3?". www.vulture.com. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  12. ^ Liptak, Andrew (February 8, 2019). "A new Stranger Things tie-in novel will explore the origins of Chief Hopper". The Verge.
  13. ^ "The Simpsons to spoof Stranger Things in Treehouse Of Horror XXX this Halloween". July 15, 2019.
  14. ^ Squires, John (May 9, 2019). "Funko Reveals Massive Wave of "Stranger Things" Season 3 Toys!".
  15. ^ "David Harbour". Emmys. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  16. ^ "David Harbour". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved 2019-08-13.

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