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We've seen things... you and me. Other worlds. Other lives. We... we have that in common. It's unbearable. To be able to look through that door and glimpse all the people you could've been. And to know that out of all of them... this is the one you became.
~ John's last words to Juliana Crain before taking his own life.

John Smith is one of the main antagonists/antiheroes of the Amazon Prime TV series The Man in the High Castle. He's a former American soldier who defected to the Nazi Reich after the fall of America in the Second World War, in an effort to keep his family safe, but ultimately lost his way in the power.

He is portrayed by Rufus Sewell, who also portrayed Count Armand in The Legend of Zorro, Adam in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Count Adhemar in A Knight's Tale, Urshu in Gods of Egypt, Eric Stark in Bless the Child, Crown Prince Leopold in The Illusionist, and Sir Claude in Blinky Bill the Movie.


Early life

John was born to an American family in 1914, and grew up in the poverty-stricken New York City during the Great Depression. He had a brother named Edmund whom he loved a lot, and who unfortunately developed severe muscular dystrophy. He became severely handicapped and eventually died in his and John's youth.

He fought in the US Army Signal Corps against the Japanese in the Pacific during World War II, fighting in the Solomon Islands. He also married a woman named Helen and fathered a child with her, and while on leave with her, he witnessed the German atomic bombing of Washington, D.C., and was among the last soldiers to resist to the German invasion of North America. He turned to Nazism in 1946, when his commanding officer visited his home bearing a swastika armband. He gave him, Helen, their newborn son Thomas, and his military peers Bill Whitcroft and Daniel Levine food, and laid out spare armbands, and suggested they sign on to the Nazi regime, lest they face potentially deadly consequences for continuing holding out. Bill suggested they accept, while Daniel refused due to his Jewish faith, wanting to continue the fight. John reminds him of the Nazis' possession of the atomic bomb, and that they're too powerful to resist. John capitulated to the Reich while David sadly escaped. Years later when John became an SS officer in Nazi America (a satellite of the Greater Nazi Reich), he found out that Daniel had been captured, but refused to set him free. Daniel would later be executed and John would come to regret his decision.

In 1947, John, now Scharführer Smith, served alongside Rudolph Wegener, and the two took part in the North American Holocaust, effectively desensitizing John but psychologically tormenting Wegener. John quickly climbed the ranks of Nazism to Obergruppenführer of the New York Corps. He would also later father two daughters, Jennifer and Amy.

Season 1

In 1962, John sent SS agent Joe Blake to investigate the growing partisan movement by having he accept a role as a Resistance driver transporting objects into the Rocky Mountains Neutral Zone, an anarchic buffer state between Nazi America and the Japanese Pacific States, acting as a double agent. In the Neutral Zone town of Canon City, he would have met another Resistance operative, to which he would have given the cargo. Joe frequently phoned to John, who meanwhile interrogated, torturate and killed the Resistance chief who sent Joe in the Zone, asking informations about what he did transport. The day after, John was caught in a trap attack by "Semite terrorists", most of which he did kill during the attack. John tried to interrogate a survivor, and used the interrogation as a psychological trick to find out that his assistant Erich Raeder was not involved in the plot. John started a big investigation, which led him to his friend, disillusioned Standartenführer Rudolph Wegener, and to the cruel mastermind behind the Holocaust, Oberst-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, whose goal was to kill most of the Greater Nazi Reich's leaders, including Führer Adolf Hitler himself, and declare war to the Empire of Japan, the only other country in the World. John warned Hitler and arrested Heydrich.

Season 2

John was greatly involved in the Reich's problems in later 1962, starting with him helping Resistance member Juliana Crain in reaching the American Reich.


  • John Smith is an original character in the series, not appearing in the 1962 novel by Philip K. Dick.
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