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I knew who deserved to live and who deserved to die, who was naughty, who was nice.
~ To Sister Mary Eunice

Leigh Emerson is a sociopathic spree killer turned serial, and a supporting antagonist in the TV series American Horror Story: Asylum. He was a patient at Briarcliff Sanitarium and a supporting antagonist.

He is portrayed by Ian McShane who also portrayed Judas Iscariot in Jesus of Nazareth, Dr. Brinkman in Agent Cody Banks, Iofur Raknison in The Golden Compass, Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda, the Other Mr. Bobinsky in Coraline, Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Winston in the John Wick film series.


He was a petty criminal sentenced to prison for stealing a loaf of bread. In his cell on Christmas Eve, while the guards were caroling, he was raped by five men. On December 19, 1962, he killed 18 people from five different families as well as a Santa Claus collecting charity. In December 1963, now committed at Briarcliff Sanitarium, he attacked an orderly named Sean during a holiday photo shoot, prompting his year-long stay in solitary and Sr. Jude's banishment of further Christmas celebrations.


In 1964, "Unholy Night", the possessed Sister Mary Eunice releases him from his solitary cell and has him dress up as Santa for the no longer verboten Christmas party. There he makes a lewd suggestion to another inmate that is sitting in his lap before knocking Frank from a ladder and attacking him. He is subdued by Frank and sent back to solitary.

He is sent to Sr. Jude's office by Arthur Arden and Sr. Mary Eunice. He pushes Jude against a desk and canes her before throwing her on the bed and attempting to rape her. Jude, however, stabs Leigh in the neck with a sharp letter opener that she grabbed off the desk during her caning.

Leigh, however, survives the murder attempt and helps to frame Sr. Jude for the murder of Frank McCann along with Sr. Mary Eunice and Dr. Arden. Leigh begins acting like a man seeking forgiveness, and is escorted by The Monsignor to Sr. Jude's cell where he tells her he forgives her and kisses her forehead. While in the sanctuary, he prays and thanks The Monsignor for the chance at redemption. After being baptized, he dunks the Monsignor's head into the tank. He then nails The Monsignor to the cross in the place of Jesus.

In the weeks following his escape, Emerson remains at large, a criminal hunted in five states. During his spree he apparently murdered seven nuns, prompting Lana Winters to contemplate a volume on his exploits entitled Santa and the Seven Nuns.


What do you say we blow this pop stand, go savage a few elves, and then suck on each other?
~ To a woman on his lap
I'd put the lion-share-blame on that sexy little sister. She really doesn't like you.
~ To Sister Jude
There is no God, but there is a Santa Claus!
~ To Sister Jude
I feel like new man.
~ To Monsignor Timothy Howard


           Ecran Titre d'American Horror Story.png Villains

Murder House
Rubber Man | Constance Langdon | Hayden McClaine | Larry Harvey | Moira O'Hara | Charles Montgomery | Infantata | Bianca Forest | R. Franklin | Michael Langdon | Langdon Family | Fiona | The Devil

Bloody Face (Dr. Oliver Thredson, Johnny Morgan & Imposters) | The Devil | Dr. Arthur Arden | Sister Jude | Timothy Howard | Leigh Emerson | Jenny Reynolds

Fiona Goode | Marie Laveau | Madison Montgomery | Delphine LaLaurie | The Axeman | Hank Foxx | Spalding | Papa Legba | Minotaur | Joan Ramsey | Archie Brener | Alicia Spencer

Freak Show
Elsa Mars | Dandy Mott | Stanley | Bette and Dot Tattler | Maggie Esmerelda | Twisty the Clown | Chester Creb | Dell Toledo | Edward Mordrake | Rita Gayheart | Larry Gayheart | Dr. Arthur Arden | Penny's Father

Countess Elizabeth Johnson | James Patrick March | Ten Commandments Killer | Sally McKenna | Addiction Demon | Ramona Royale | Richard Ramirez | Hazel Evers | Charles Montgomery

Tomasyn White | Scáthach | Polk Family | Agnes Mary Winstead | Shelby Miller

Ally Mayfair-Richards | FIT (Kai Anderson, Ivy Mayfair-Richards, Beverly Hope, Harrison Wilton, Meadow Wilton, Gary Longstreet, Jack Samuels) | Winter Anderson | Babe Babbitt | Twisty the Clown

Cooperative (Michael Langdon, Miriam Mead, Jeff Pfister, Mutt Nutter & Wilhelmina Venable ) | Madison Montgomery | Dinah Stevens | Ariel Augustus | The Devil | Tate Langdon | Constance Langdon | James Patrick March | Moira O'Hara | Langdon Family | Papa Legba | Delphine LaLaurie | Marie Laveau

Margaret Booth | Richard Ramirez | Mr. Jingles | Lavinia Richter | Donna Chambers | Montana Duke | The Devil | Bruce

Double Feature
Part 1: Red Tide
The Chemist | Belle Noir | Austin Sommers | Alma Gardener | Lark Feldman | Ursula Khan | Flesh Phantom

Part 2: Death Valley
Theta | Valiant Thor

American Horror Stories
Season 1
Rubber (Wo)man: Scarlett Winslow | Ruby McDaniel | Maya | Adam | Tony Peterson | Infantata
Drive In: Verna | Larry Bitterman
The Naughty List: Santa
Ba'al: Ba'al| Matt Webb| Bernadette
Feral: Ferals
Game Over: Scarlett Winslow | Ruby McDaniel