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You can't run a marathon without putting Band-aids on your nipples.
~ Harken's most well-known quote

David Harken is the main antagonist of the 2011 comedy film Horrible Bosses, and a minor antagonist/anti-hero in its sequel Horrible Bosses 2.

He was portrayed by by Kevin Spacey, who also played Micky Rosa in 21, Hopper in A Bug's Life, Lex Luthor in Superman Returns, Frank Underwood in House of Cards, Keyser Söze in The Usual Suspects, Buddy Ackerman in Swimming With Sharks, Dr. Nerse in The Cleveland Show, Rufus Buckley in A Time To Kill, Jonathan Irons in Call of Duty and John Doe in Se7en.


Horrible Bosses

Nick Hendricks hopes for a promotion at ComniDyne where he worked an unspecified job (that provided middle income) for 8 years. Harken knows how much Nick wants the job, and takes great pleasure in working him to death in hopes of getting it. He also verbally abuses Nick at every opportunity, punished him for being only two minutes late, and manipulates him into drinking scotch at 8 AM so he can label him an alcoholic. Harken ultimately promotes himself, after months of hinting that Nick was going to get the job.

Later at a bar, Nick (jokingly) encourages on murdering his boss along with his friends Dale and Kurt, both of whom have terrible bosses themselves.

During their attempt, Harken finds Bobby Pellitt's (Kurt's boss) phone under his wife Rhonda's bed since Nick dropped the phone sneaking into Harken's house after they sneak in earlier. Suspecting that his wife is cheating on him, Harken drives to Pellitt's house, hands him the phone, and shoots him twice, but Nick secretly witnessed this even, and understandably "freaks the hell out" and speeds away from the area.

However, the film later proves that Harken's wife actually does cheat on him, having given Kurt oral sex in their bathroom.

Nick, Dale, and Kurt attempt to get Harken to confess his actions, which he openly does at his surprise birthday party but threatens to kill the three. After a car chase, Harken finally catches up to the trio.

After confronting them, Harken shoots himself in the leg just as the police arrive, framing them. However, Gregory, Kurt's car operator, had recorded Harken's plot before the police's arrival. Harken is arrested for the murder of Bobby Pellett and his three attempted murders. He is subsequently convicted on all charges and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Horrible Bosses 2

Nick, Kurt and Dale visit a now-bearded Harken in prison (mimicking Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs) for advice on how to force Bert Hanson to cough up the money he owes them. Harken first laughs off how idiotic the boys are for getting duped so easily as well as not at least making sure they have 30% down payment to cover production cost and the fact that the three can't do anything against Hanson unless it's illegal and dangerous. Nick then promises to give a positive testimony about Harken at his next parole hearing in exchange for said advice, but Harken has no ideas on how to lecture the three to get their money from Bert as they don't have any legal documents to verify the deal so he simply flips them off and leaves.

Later on, their shower-head business goes into foreclosure, but Harken buys it in prison, which allows the three of them to stay employed (most likely so that Harken can receive Nick's testimony). They visit him to show him the recent numbers though quickly leave to further allow to insult them for "giving him good news".


  • Though Harken, Julia and Pellitt served as threats to Nick, Dale and Kurt respectively, Harken turned out to be the true main antagonist overall because he had bigger plans and was far more dangerous than anyone else.
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