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Do you know how angry it makes me to be disrespected? I know you know what I'm talking about. So tell me where the goddamn key is or I'm making it two-for-two for dead parents.
~ Sam

Sam Lesser is the secondary antagonist in Netflix's Locke & Key. With a GPA of 3.4, Sam is struggling with the burden of an unreasonable father and a personality disorder. His emotional instability and pent-up desire to strike against a world he sees himself as a lone light in leads him to the wrong side of the law, later proceeding to commit atrocities against the Locke Family. When he begins communing with the enigmatic Dodge, she eventually kills him for going back on his promise to bring her the Head Key (out of self-defense but mostly deep-seated irritation), ironically avenging the death of Rendell Locke, whom he had murdered in cold blood.

He was portrayed by Thomas Mitchell Barnett.


Early Life

Sam and his father antagonizing each other.

Can't tell you how many times I wake up thinking I've got to kill my dad today.
~ Sam

Born on February 15, 2003, Sam did far better in English and Social Studies than Math and Science. Sam also intended to try for vocational school after graduation. He originates from a troubled background and his father, Randy Lesser is unreasonable, picking fights with him over little things like drinking cola. This leads to problems at home and multiple meetings at school with Rendell Locke, the school counselor. In the meetings, Rendell talks with Sam; however Sam is unresponsive to the conversation, and Rendell eventually asks Tyler to get close with Sam in order to diagnose his issues. Eventually, he is diagnosed with a personality disorder.

Communion with Dodge

Making Contact and Arrest

Sam Lesser in his prison cell.

You're going to tell me what I need to know!
~ Sam

Around the same time, Dodge begins reaching out to Sam, telling him that she is there for him. She requests his help to find the magical keys hidden throughout Keyhouse Manor. Sam obliges, and eventually, he confronts Rendell in the Madrona neighborhood in Seattle over the location of the keys. Rendell does not reveal anything, and in an act of pure sadism, Sam foresees Rendell trying to grab his gun and shoots him dead before gleefully attacking his family, shooting Nina in the leg. Finally, she hits him over the head with a hammer, knocking him unconscious until he is arrested by the police. Held at the San Lobo Juvenile Detention center, Sam awaited word about whether he would be tried as an adult. The bloody skirmish appeared on The Seattle Tribune.

Escape from Prison

Sam is visited in prison by Dodge, as she had promised.

I escaped. There was a small fire. Then a friend helped me get here.
~ Sam to Nina.

Following an unexplained amount of time remanded into prison, Sam is fiddling with his armband when he is visited once again by Dodge, who is in a hurry to see him and exchanges undisclosed words with him, reflecting on her promise to return for him.

Sam Lesser escaping prison and leaving great chaos in his wake.

Later on, she returns in the dead of night without requesting a formal visit and gifts him the Matchstick Key to aid him in his escape from prison, which he hides until the time is right to reveal himself to the Lockes. He notes she's in better health altogether, but she refuses to disclose how she gets around and reminds him his own choices had brought him down so far, assuring him that second chances do not come around very often and futilely urging him to take a close look at the one being offered to him. She was not nearly as optimistic as during their last encounter because she was aggravated that he killed Rendell and has not directly accepted any help from her beyond being a free man, nor has he taken the narrowest look at his actions yet.

Consumed by hate and filled with vindictive rage, Sam escapes from prison and sets the walls on fire, deliberately massacring dozens by incineration and hundreds by suffocation, and taking the time to sadistically place arcs of fire deep into the chest of one of the guards.

Final Confrontation

Sam subdues an initially defiant and snarky Bode Locke.

Why did you... why?
~ Sam's last words.

Arriving at Keyhouse Manor, Sam breaks in through a window, cutting his hand. Armed with a gun, Sam lacks a sense of urgency, wandering the first floor, eating a banana, and playing with a phone. Slowly climbing the stairs and skulking the upper halls, he changes into one of Tyler's jackets. He proceeds to encounter Nina, holding her at gunpoint and asking of the Head Key, to her absolute confusion; neither of them are unaware that Bode briefly spied on the both of them from inside the Astral Plane. Retaliating, Bode presents a fake key, assuming Sam cannot take it, but he effortlessly plucks it from his hand before affirming it would look different. He ties them up and demands the Head Key, however Kinsey and Bode are able to hide it in a stuffed plush toy. They tell Sam that Tyler has the key, and Sam tells them that they can wait until he returns home. When Tyler returns, he attacks Sam and the two clash until Sam uses the Matchstick Key to come out on top. It is revealed he does not have the key, and so he too is tied up. Kinsey tells him that they buried the key and Sam takes her and Bode into the woods to find it. They are attacked by Kinsey's fear, however, and Sam returns to the house to threaten Nina.

Sam Lesser's death.

Sam is eventually able to get the Head Key after it is used on him, making him lay bare his innermost thoughts, which are quite simple. Tyler learns that his father's death had nothing to do with the offhand comment that he made to Sam about wanting him to murder Rendell if he ever made real his malevolent fantasies about murdering Randy. Dodge arrives in the nick of time, floors Tyler and Nina, and congratulates him, asking for the key. However, when a desperate Tyler tells him not to, Sam wonders if her ideals are compatible with his own and demands the full truth from her regarding her moral alignment, going so far as to doubt if he should hand over the key or not. Seeing he is still armed, and sick and tired of his drama, Dodge grabs a nearby knife and stabs him in the abdominal region and takes the key from him forcefully after calling him "fair game". She leaves after imposing on him just how far he was from unique, leaving him angrily sobbing in miserable defeat as police arrived, although Dodge had made good time in her departure.


Sam grumbling in miserable defeat.

~ Sam's astral form

When the police arrive, Sam has no option but to leave through the Ghost Door, which Bode has left unlocked, to escape. He does not know the purpose of the door, however, and finds himself now a ghost. The police shut the door, meaning that Sam cannot return to his body and is now a Keyhouse ghost forever. In the aftermath of his death, the Locke Family's neighbors brought them fresh meals to give their condolences for their experience of watching their nemesis kill the same boy who had murdered their father.

Months later, the ghost of Sam, still haunting the property, leads Kinsey and Scot to the Angel Key, although they mistake him for Chamberlin. Chamberlin apologizes to Sam for getting the credit, but Sam, apparently remorseful for his evil deeds, reassures Chamberlin that he doesn't need credit for his actions, stating that he's glad that it worked.

Other Media


Sam (comics).jpg

Sam Lesser's role in the comics is similar to his Netflix portrayal. However, he has an accomplice that he murders in cold blood, and his origin story has some noticeable differences.


Sam Lesser is a tall, stocky teenage boy with brown hair and eyes. Curiously, he has a tattoo of an omega symbol on his wrist which is never explained.


Sam had bad blood with his father, affecting his relationships with everyone else in his life until there was only the desire to see Earth succumb to the fire.

Borderline personality disorder? Noticeable decline in achievement since previous term. Has ability to do better work, but lacks determination and interest. Demonstrates an unwillingness to extend or challenge himself. [...] self-discipline and sense of responsibility. Attendance [...] Seems to be indifferent to success or failure [...] effort. Additional study and revisions...
~ An excerpt of Sam's report card.

Sam Lesser appears to be a being of pure malevolence, focused solely on obtaining the Head Key for someone he assumed shared his childish need for death and destruction simply for their sakes. In reality, Dodge wanted to help him overcome his psychosis and create a mutual bond, as she even says she wants them to be a family; the same is implied of all three Locke children. Sam's sardonic claim that they could all get along and be a family could be an indication that he knew what she really wanted and continuously denied it to himself. Personality-wise, Sam was extremely sadistic, relishing his status as being armed, and he didn't hesitate to commit genocide and he regarded everyone with a cowardly vibe. He attempted to rile up his hostages by throwing Rendell's name around. Even when Kinsey asked about his tattoo, he furiously accused her of disrespect before shoving his pistol's muzzle against Nina's skull. Much like Dodge, he frequently made sarcastic quips. His trust for her wavered when Tyler claimed he knew and detested Dodge, leading him to beg Dodge to tell him if he was right about her, which she did in quite an ironic way, leading to his death. Even more ironic was that the man who was always so eager to kill was not at all ready to die, even sobbing angrily as his life force ebbed away. In his post-mortem, he failed to leave the Keyhouse in time and paid a horrible price for his misdeeds by being stuck in there (ironically much like Dodge had once been, albeit alive and in a different part of the establishment), presumably remaining in there until the end of time.

Despite being offered redemption by Dodge at great personal risk to herself, Sam simply could not comprehend Dodge had never sought to burn humanity, and never foresaw she would do the right thing.

Sam had an antagonistic relationship with his father along with his supportive yet timid sister, causing him to live a life of mental pain under the shadow of his peers. The constant hostility from his father turned Sam into a very cynical person who struggles to see good in others and has no one except his vulnerable sister and rocky friendship with Tyler Locke, which in turn made him vulnerable to the slack end Dodge's complicated agenda. He had previously developed a personality disorder prior to meeting her; while it is unclear what it is, he became extremely unhinged and selfish and began committing intolerable crimes with no apparent end in mind. Sam often sought to be the center of attention by using obnoxious (less legally questionable) antics such as mouthing "Jingle Bells" with a dead animal he was supposed to be dissecting in science class. Stated to be completely ordinary and very uninteresting by Dodge, he didn't appear to be a particularly sophisticated villain and held his enemies at gunpoint for a long time by taking advantage of their fear and compassion and Tyler's especially, in stark contrast to the far more complex Dodge doing the opposite by gouging people's reactions to her own compassion and apprehension.

He was also insecure about his tattoo, reacting with rage when Kinsey coolly questioned it, before later reluctantly telling Nina he thought it turned out well, believing she simply wanted to wheedle information out of him regarding her late husband. When the Head Key was finally used before his very eyes, all of his cowardice all rose up to the surface as he began snivelling before Tyler, spilling the beans about his deal with Echo to assage his conscience about double-crossing her.

Sam does, however, seem to reluctantly fear Nina, the woman who had sealed his fate in jail, as he called her a “spitfire” and avoided taking her to the forest.

Interestingly, Sam and Dodge were polar opposites; despite both of them being willing to kill for the keys, Dodge never killed without purpose. While she had three confirmed kills on her hands, he murdered dozens. His downfall came with his pathetically begging her to give him more attention, doing insane things to gain attention in any shape or form until the very end.


Arrogance: To be added.



  • Sam Lesser lives with his father at 4201 Adelbert Street and has the phone number (206) 143-8941.


           Locke&Key.png Villains

Major Villains
Dodge (Netflix Version - Comic Version) | Sam Lesser | Eden Hawkins | Javi | Shadow Demons

Randy Lesser | Brinker Martin | Chad Garland | Al Grubb | Spider | Children of Leng