- "Archer" redirects here. For the TV series of the same name, see Archer (TV series).
|First appearance||"Mole Hunt"|
|Voiced by||H. Jon Benjamin|
|Age||41 (season 7)|
Duchess (official ISIS code name)
Butler the Butler
Urdu (1 phrase)
|Occupation||ISIS agent/Drug Smuggler/Bartender/Chef/Private investigator|
|Skills||Melee weapons, firearms, honeypot, scuba, lacrosse, hand-to-hand combat, infiltration, undercover (allegedly), archery, drink mixing/knowledge, escape car driving, asset acquisition, some explosives|
Malory Archer (mother)
Nikolai Jakov (possible father)
Len Trexler (possible father)
Buddy Rich (possible father)
Abbiejean Kane-Archer (daughter)
Ron Cadillac (stepfather)
Lana Kane (child's mother/love interest)|
Katya Kazanova (late/ex fiancé)
Linda Belcher (wife/ex-wife?)
- "I am the perfect gentleman."
- —Sterling Archer[src]
Sterling Malory Archer, known primarily as Archer, is the world's deadliest spy and the main protagonist of the eponymous show. His voice is provided by H. Jon Benjamin.
Malory Archer, Sterling's mother, speculates that Sterling was conceived shortly before she participated in Operation Gladio. The list of Archer's possible fathers include Nikolai Jakov, Len Trexler, and Buddy Rich, as well as an unnamed young man who was gunned down in the streets of Italy and had "blue eyes, full lips, and thick wavy hair".
Sterling Malory Archer was born in Reggie's Bar in Tangiers, in northern Morocco, Africa, when his mother, Malory Archer, was birthed by Woodhouse. Woodhouse handed Malory a rattle made of sterling silver for the baby. Malory liked the name Sterling, and decided to name him that. Woodhouse suggested that his middle name be "Reginald", after Captain Reginald Thistleton (a deceased friend of Woodhouse's that served in World War I, with whom Woodhouse may or may not have been infatuated), but Malory decided that Reginald sounded "too gay", instead naming him after herself. Malory offered Woodhouse the job of taking care of Archer. Woodhouse traded his bar for a boat, sailed Malory and Sterling to Lisbon, got Malory to an OSS safe house, sold the boat, and used the money to take Sterling back to the U.S.
Sterling spent the first five years of his life being raised by Woodhouse and only seeing his mother a few times per year, such as on Christmas. This made him have an extremely negative view of his mother as a young child. It got to the point that when she came home he stated he had no mother and said he hated her.
At some point as a child, Malory moved without telling Archer's boarding school, leading to him to take a train home alone and eventually ending up in a police station. Malory had to pick him up and continues to view the situation as not her fault, stating that he could have picked up a phonebook.
Archer celebrated his sixth birthday while his mother assisted in overthrowing the government of Guatemala (in reality, the CIA overthrew Guatemala's government over June 18-27, 1954). Unbeknownst to Malory, the man who was Sterling's father visited him and gave him a stuffed toy alligator as a gift since at that time he loved them. This love would at some point become a chronic fear.
One year on Halloween, Archer lost a card game to Malory, losing all of his Halloween candy. This incident caused Archer to have an extremely negative view on gambling for many years to come. It is also implied that this incident is the first time he drank alcohol.
One year, Archer got a brand new bike for his birthday. However, Archer left his bike on the curb. Malory took it from him without giving it back. When Archer discovered that his bike was missing, he sat crying on his bed. Malory walked in and asked where his new bike was. Archer simply cried harder, and Malory spanked him with a red ping-pong paddle.
One day, Archer decided to use a vacuum to simulate the experience of receiving a blowjob. However, the vacuum did a number on Archer's balls. Woodhouse called an ambulance while hiding the vacuum from both Malory and the doctor, who both went out together while Woodhouse waited for the ambulance to take Archer to the hospital.
Archer lost his virginity at age 12 to his female Brazilian au pair, who was seemingly unaware of the American age of consent. At his tenth grade sports banquet, Archer was caught having sex with his coach, Mrs. Mupherd. Malory considers this to be the most embarrassing thing Archer has ever done. Archer states that she came onto him and so it was not his fault.
During his freshman year, Archer was given a swirly by Richard Stratton IV and Trent Whitney in a toilet that Whitney had pissed in. Archer spent five weeks in the hospital; he had aspirated water in his lungs, and gotten pneumonia from it. This incident caused him to miss out on varsity lacrosse his freshman year at St. Joshua's Prep.
He spent up to 15 years at boarding school, despite American schooling taking 13 years. His hobby was lacrosse and flashbacks have indicated he had few to no friends. At age 18, he was regarded as the most recruited lacrosse player in America, although an incident with a crazed stalker gut-shooting him cost him both his lacrosse career and a possible scholarship to Johns Hopkins University (although it is implied this would not have happened anyway because of his poor SAT scores). A picture of Archer shows him graduating from Georgetown University, implying he is at least smart enough to receive a bachelor's degree in an unknown major (although according to his mother, he flunked out of college).
Upon growing up, Archer attempted to join the army, but failed. Instead, he began work as a spy at his mother's agency, ISIS, quickly climbing the ranks as their top spy thanks to both his genuine skill and his mother's preferential treatment. Archer has the less than masculine code name of "Duchess" (taken from his mother's beloved Afghan hound, though Malory denies this) and had an on-again, off-again relationship with fellow agent Lana Kane for several years, which makes their working environment tenuous and difficult. 
Archer developed a genuine friendship with Lucas Troy (who unknowingly was in love with Archer) but they broke off their friendship when Troy quit to work for ODIN. Troy secretly raped Archer while on a mission to tap a Cuban embassy. This would not come to light until Luke's deathbed confession many years later. It is unknown if the rest of the group is aware of this.
That night, Archer had sex with a flight attendant. The flight attendant had a dog named Abelard, and dogs are normally not allowed in Archer's house. However, a drunken Archer stated that Abelard's barking sounded like Puttin' On the Ritz, and insisted that an exception to the "no dogs" rule be made. When Archer awoke the next day to see Abelard at the foot of the bed, Archer immediately kicked out the flight attendant despite promising her breakfast, and told Woodhouse that he'd better clean up all the dog hair or Archer would rub sand in his eyes.
Archer gets his clothes from the wash-and-fold, which were a week late, and the owner stated that this was unprofessional. Archer told the owner that he finds his sweatiness unprofessional, which the two have in common besides the fact that now both of their shirts reek of curry. The owner asked Archer when he would settle his expense account, and Archer asks when the owner will get a dress shield. The owner says that he is not wearing a dress; Archer asks "That's not a dress?", and then the elevator door closes. Archer sniffs and complains that the elevator smells like Indira Gandhi's thong. Archer goes around the ISIS office asking people to smell his shirt, when he runs into his ex-girlfriend Lana Kane. When Archer asks Lana what his shirt smells like, she asks if it's the dysfunctional asshole she broke up with six months ago; Lana tells Archer to jump up his own ass and die. Archer asks if Lana will treat him like this after all the HR mediation, to which Lana responds, "Yup!"
Archer then runs into Cyril Figgis, who is dating Lana now. Cyril asks Archer about his operations account, which Archer tries to avoid. Cyril tells Archer that he's sure Archer wouldn't use his operations account for personal expenses, and Archer tells him that's a very serious implication, and Cyril adds that embezzlement is as well; Archer adds that somehow Cyril is dating Lana, which Archer shouts around the office, saying that if Pam knows, everybody knows, thanks to Pam's huge mouth; Archer tells Pam that HR mediations are supposed to be confidential. Archer bids Cyril goodbye; Cyril tries to talk to Archer about his account, but then realizes he's fallen for "classic misdirection".
Archer then runs into a crying Cheryl Tunt. Archer tells Cheryl that she's ugly when she cries, before asking if his mother is in her office or out eating a baby. Cheryl tells Archer that he stood her up again last night, but then Archer tells her that he was helping a guy with cancer, like in Brian's Song. Archer asks her if, to make it up to her, if she can buzz him in. When an angry Cheryl asked if that's all Archer had to say to her, Archer told her yes.
Archer walks in on Malory having phone sex with someone, who she abruptly hangs up on when she sees Archer walk in. Malory asks Archer what he's doing, and Archer asks her the same thing. Malory skirted away the conversation by telling him that she was reviewing his operations account, which makes for "fascinating reading." She goes over several locations where Archer never checked into the hotel before telling him that ISIS isn't his own personal travel agency and that it doesn't exist just so Archer can jet off to "Whore Island." Malory tells him that she has 50 agents who would kill to be in Archer's position, and if Archer doesn't settle his expense account by Monday, they won't need to, since Archer's position will be vacant. However, Archer isn't listening, since he is picturing Whore Island. Malory asks if Archer understands the situation, to which Archer says yes. Malory then orders him out and tells him to take a shower, because it smells like a whore house in her office. Archer says, "Okay, your-own-fingers," and Malory asks him to repeat before Archer says, "Nothing." Before Malory can say anything else, Archer tells her that "Johnny Bench called."
Archer is extremely narcissistic, insensitive, sex-crazed, and self-absorbed, and constantly focused on himself and his own needs and desires. He arrogantly believes himself to understand any situation better than his colleagues, stubbornly refuses to admit when he is proven wrong. Any actions that will help others are almost constantly for his own benefit, even if puts his allies in danger. He is also sexist, racist, and doesn't give much care for others. While initially coming off as suave, his true attitude soon shows itself, to which he is most commonly referred as a "gigantic gaping asshole". Sterling has a passion for alcoholic beverages even greater than his mother's, looking for every opportunity available to drink large amounts. He also has an obsession with shouting "phrasing" whenever a statement has even the slightly high of sexual nature. Despite his high opinion of himself, it is not without some basis, as he is in many ways an above-average person. He has been called an amazing human being by Lana, which is one of the reasons she chose him as the father of their child. To which, he has a wide variety of skills.
He is very immature overall, never taking anything seriously until it personally angers him, arrogantly assuming that things will ultimately work his way and deludes himself into thinking he is unkillable. He is also obsessed with being in being team-leader of any given group situation (unless the situation proves incriminating), immaturely calling dibs on it and/or of piloting any vehicle. He does insist on compensating anyone from whom he commandeers equipment or goods, although usually he puts his own spin on what is an even trade. Despite often being considered foolish and/or and idiot, he is actually rather intelligent when not letting his ego get in the way. To which, he has a vast and diverse knowledge of obscure facts, including at least capable efficiency in over 10 languages. He is also undeniably an intuitively good operative with an extremely high degree of personal bravery, never once having begged for his life or shown fear with a gun to his head. Although he is not above trying to worm his way out of a no-win situation, even if means sacrificing his allies.
Archer was severely bullied when he was in prep school during his freshman year as a teenager and suffers a degree of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from the experience. This is seen in his extremely timid and controlled demeanor when he encounters his former bully, Richard Stratton IV. He displays none of his usual bravado and confidence. This bullying along with his mother's less than ideal parenting is likely what caused him to be such an unrelenting bully in his later life as a way of coping with his trauma.
However, does not have a total lack of compassion. When he believes that he may die from breast cancer, he demonstrates considerable regret at his treatment of his ISIS co-workers as when learning that Lana was pregnant, he willingly gave her the last set of scuba gear despite the definite chance of drowning for himself. Additionally, he establishes a friendship with fellow cancer patient Ruth and even visits her in the hospital. He later takes vengence for her death by decimating the local Irish mob responsible for the fake chemo drugs, including the disabled wheelchair bound Boss of the gang. Archer also admits to having fears, most notably of alligators. In "The Holdout" he was kind enough to track down the wife of a former Japanese soldier who hasn't talked to his family in decades and even told the impatient CIA agents to give them a minute as he watched the soldier tearfully talk to his family.
Archer's compassionate, more-selfless side began to emerge during Lana's pregnancy: he extensively researched human pregnancy and possible complications, and he even got certified as a doula. He also desired to help Lana raise her child, knowing personally what not having a father-figure can potentially do to a child's development. This display of intense personal loyalty is what slowly began to mend the rift between him and Lana created from his constant assholeishness. He also expressed hope that Lana would be a better mother to her child than Malory had been to him so that the baby would turn out less dysfunctional. His genuine compassion for his daughter is shown by constantly worrying for her well-being, desire to protect her, and is always aware of her needs. Archer has also shown considerable concern and childlike compassion for Cheryl's pet ocelot, Babou.
Sterling's relationship with Malory is very unbalanced. While constantly bickering with her, he still deeply loves and strongly desires to get her approval and attention. At the same time, since becoming a parent, recognizing that her poor parenting style affected him very negatively, he come to regularly challenge Malory's opinion on how to raise Abbiejean, such as her insistence that she is fat and disliking leaving his baby in her care. This shows an increasingly independent side to Archer, who no longer seems to fear his mother's wrath and a slow fading of his reverence for her. Even more, he has become increasingly independent over time. After black-listed by the CIA, Archer responds with an inspiring speech about how they have been outsiders by nature and should hold true to that.
Numerous hints throughout the series suggest that Archer has Asperger syndrome: the possibility is directly addressed in the episode "Coyote Lovely", which Archer seriously considers the possibility. He is often the only character to count bullets during gun fights, including multiple automatic weapons; this, coupled with his ability to identify the make and model of firearms, allows him to ascertain when enemies are reloading. He has an unusual affinity for animals and is able to 'converse' with animals, such as Abelard, Babou, and Kazak. Archer also shows an inability to pick up on social cues and a lack of empathy on the cognitive level, rather than being void of it entirely, and seems to be unable to dress himself without help from Woodhouse. He is very single-minded, as he is insistent on completing his sentences even while being interrupted and refuses to let people change the subject. He is also constantly very monotone in voice, which changes only in response to strong emotions.
In "The Holdout", Archer states that the reason he wanted the office to stay the same was that he's not a big fan of change(s). He also has displayed an encyclopedic knowledge of various and random subjects while remaining somewhat unaware of general knowledge of the same subject. He also has social awkwardness and difficulty with acceptance among his peers due to his interests being somewhat unusual. Another aspect has been his ability to feel empathy and express it has increased substantially since having A.J. Having a child and falling in love with Lana again are two major factors that could have contributed to his increased ability to pick up on social cuing, enabling him to better make friends and connect with his peers.
- Jason Fitzgerald served as a model for Sterling.
- Archer also resembles Bond-actor George Lazenby.
- Archer slightly resembles the actor John Travolta.
- Coincidentally, John Travolta played a FBI agent in Face/Off, whose last name is "Archer".
- Archer frequently uses a red ping pong paddle during intercourse. His mother used to spank his bare bottom with a similar paddle. Some famous sadists, such as the Marquis de Sade and Aleister Crowley, were also severely beaten on their bare buttocks in their formative years, which some (including themselves) theorized as being influential in their later fetish for this behavior.
- Though highly proficient with multiple types of guns, Archer's preferred firearm is the Walther PPK, which he has needlepoint accuracy with. He has an odd habit of carrying it everywhere he goes, even into a bath ("Jeu Monégasque") or a stuck elevator ("Vision Quest").
- As of "Sitting", Archer has been shot 34 times, although technically 35 including being shot with a bean bag round.
- In "Heart of Archness: Part I", Archer somehow acquires ammo for his previously emptied weapon in the prior episode "Double Trouble", incurring discontinuity. Similarly, Katya Kazanova in this exact same scene somehow moves from the top of Krieger's Van which wasn't previously fully crushed in the prior episode, and in "Skin Game" in this same scene is suddenly on the other side of the van being dragged away by Krieger without Archer and his full situational awareness not noticing.
- His ringtone is usually "Mulatto Butts", but in "The Wind Cries Mary" he has personalized calls from Lana Kane to play "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins, a reference to his recurring joke on her that she is in the "Danger Zone" because of her obsession with him, as well as it being one of his favorite songs.
- Archer is fond of creating elaborate voicemail pranks, in which the recording is designed to trick people into believing he has answered his phone.
- He is abusive to anyone of lower social status or rank than him (such as Woodhouse). This is probably taught by his mother, who is even more derisive than he is toward such people (except to Woodhouse, to whom she does show respect based on their prior history).
- Archer was shipped off to boarding school by Malory as early as kindergarten, and remained for as long as fifteen years (two years longer than grades would allow). This apparent abandonment by his mother is often a sensitive topic for him, which he tends to color as a more positive experience than flashbacks and recollections tend to portray.
- He was shown to have spent time in the United States Marine Corps.
- In his adult life he continues to have very few friends. In "Heart of Archness: Part III", he tells Lana she is his only friend. The only other close relationship shown is with Lucas Troy, whom Archer did not know had raped him while harboring a homosexual attraction to him. In "Pocket Listing" he begins telling Pam his plan to sleep with the queen to get back at Lana. When Pam asks him why he's telling her his plan, they realize that she is his best friend.
- Archer favors the use of night-vision goggles during missions, despite being repeatedly blinded by them due to exposure to bright light.
- He is known to faint. Malory has remarked: "You would think he was a half fainting goat". His condition could possibly be due to vasovagal response, which is known to cause fainting episodes in stressful situations; as seen in the episodes "Dial M for Mother", "Stage Two", "The Man From Jupiter" and "Skin Game".
- Archer frequently uses the name "Randy" for his assumed personas in the field ("Drift Problem", "Live and Let Dine", "Sea Tunt: Part II"), only changing to "Rando" when the frequency of his usual choice was called into question.
- The acronym AJTTOTD he uses on his Twitter account is "Archer's Just The Tip Of The Day," which was a recurring joke in "Mole Hunt".
- He has $480,810 in his ISIS 401(k), though he was unaware of it.
- In the first episode, "Mole Hunt", he had multiple scars on his chest and body. These have since disappeared, with the exception of the bullet wound through his foot.
- Archer is rarely shown drinking non-alcoholic drinks. He has an incredibly strong tolerance to alcoholic intoxication rivaling that of Pam Poovey, managing to for the most part avoid hangovers altogether. This builds his liver to such a point that some drugs, such as tranquilisers, barely affect him, although not to the extent of his mother's ability.  This does not mean he is incapable of intoxication however, as he has appeared deeply intoxicated and hung over on few occasions.
- The freelance spies and spies from other agencies consider him the "World's Most Dangerous Spy." Notable as they don't state that he is even a good spy, just most likely to kill them.
- Archer is an excellent lacrosse player, having played it extensively in his boarding school days.
- Archer had breast cancer that is currently in remission ("Stage Two", "Placebo Effect") due to his careless behavior around radioactivity. He was also told that family history and a history of alcoholism were potential risk factors. Malory had been diagnosed with breast cancer as well (although this was later shown to be a false positive), and both of them show symptoms of alcoholism.
- Archer has two tattoos, one on his right shoulder blade reading "Seamus," and one on his left shoulder blade reading "Dicky" which he got in "Stage Two" and have been seen in multiple episodes since.
- Archer has developed minor tinnitus due to his fellow agents firing guns near his ears ("Movie Star"). As the show progresses, he continues to have guns fired next to the same ear and is exposed to multiple explosions which cause further damage to his eardrums and worsen his tinnitus ("Stage Two", "White Nights", "Heart of Archness: Part II").
- He has written How to Archer: The Ultimate Guide to Espionage and Style and Women and Also Cocktails Ever Written.
- His hero since he was a small boy is Burt Reynolds. Archer makes a strong effort to imitate Reynolds' various movie and television personas in his daily life. In particular, Archer favors Reynolds' performances in White Lightning and Gator, and constantly expresses his wish to see a third movie to the series.
- He has a surprising fondness for cats, such as Cheryl's pet ocelot Babou and a captive tiger in El Contador. He also claims to love dogs (with the exception of his mother's dog). However, despite this supposed love for dogs, he has a firm "No Dogs" policy regarding his apartment (as seen in the pilot).
- Archer always refers to Malory as "Mother", never "Malory" or "Mom".
- Archer is an avid reader of novels, movies, and political fiction, and constantly references them in conversation. He seems to have an extensive knowledge of trivia, particularly film, television, and literature.
- He is known to have had sex with many of his female co-workers, including Lana, Cheryl and Pam, the last of which he had a brief friends-with-benefits agreement with.
- He knows a lot about mixing drinks, and is somewhat of a snob about them, constantly criticizing bartenders. He is pretty good at mixing them himself and improvising drinks in odd situations, although at home he generally has Woodhouse make drinks for him. He usually has bloody marys for breakfast.
- Archer is highly skilled in hand to hand combat, as well as fighting with improvised weaponry. He is also an expert escape artist. In particular he can fight in handcuffs or get out of them.
- When he was 3, Archer wanted a toy truck which Malory wouldn't let him have.
- He often wears black turtleneck sweaters on missions, a style which he claims he invented, and becomes extremely annoyed when he sees other spies, especially ODIN goons, trying to wear them.
- Archer was for a short time married to Linda Belcher, during his amnesia-induced time as Bob Belcher. He proposed twice to former KGB agent Katya, though both times ended without them being married. He proposed to a pregnant Lana in "White Elephant", though she blew him off.
- "Fugue and Riffs" episode highly reflect on Bob's Burger's since H. Jon Benjamin is also voicing as Bob Belcher from said series
- In "Archer Vice: Arrival/Departure", Lana gave birth to their daughter, Abbiejean Kane-Archer, who Lana made possible by using Archer's sperm.
- He appears to be the only one to notice the mish-mash timeline the show goes through, frequently asking "What year is this?!" and receiving no answer from the person asked. When around others who note the same thing, he replies with "Right?!"
- Nightcrawler AKA Kurt Wagner is his favorite creature with a prehensile tail, his second favorite being Didelphis Virginiana, more commonly known as the Virginia Possum (Un Chien Tangerine).
- Archer has had a "Female Body Inspector" shirt at some point -- which is what he says FBI could stand for -- as he claimed he got in Myrtle Beach (Archer Vice: House Call)
- It's mentioned multiple times that he seems calm and seems to enjoy needling his co-workers or antagonizing his enemies, possibly worsening the situation. In "Drastic Voyage: Part II," he explicitly states that he honestly believes he can't die, showing an unnerving lack of concern for mortality.
- Archer has a cleft chin (a trait which is dominant over non-cleft chins). His mother does not have one, so the only other person he could've inherited it from is his father. Len Trexler and Buddy Rich also do not have cleft chins, however Nikolai Jakov does. This means that Nikolai Jakov is the only one of the three men who could actually be Archer's father. But in "Lo Scandalo," Malory describes an unnamed Italian man with similar features to Archer who could also be his father, though she does not specify if he had a cleft chin.
- In "Deadly Velvet: Part II," Archer was shot by Veronica Deane and it appears he is dead.
- Sterling Archer's four most famous phrases are "I can't hear you over the sound of ...," "Phrasing!", "Danger Zone!", "LANAAAAAAAAA", and "WOO"