- "So, you're givin' me a lecture about not being a good enough gangbanger?"
- ―Franklin Clinton
Franklin was born in South Los Santos, and attended Davis High School along with Lamar Davis and Tonya Wiggins. At some point in his young life his mother became addicted to crack cocaine, this addiction eventually led to her death. She left her house to Franklin and his aunt Denise. Around this time he began the life of a gang banger and dope dealer and started committing various crimes such as carjackings and bank robberies, one of which netted him and Lamar two thousand dollars, which was ruined by a dye pack going off on the notes. Franklin's life of petty crime was short lived however and he was eventually arrested. After he was released from prison he decided to give up his old life in the ghetto.
Events of GTA V
During some point in his life, Franklin moved beyond the role of ghetto-based street dealer when he began working for Armenian gangster Simeon Yetarian. Yetarian owns a car dealership which acts as a front for a loansharking and extortion business. Yetarian's dealership sells cars to people who can't afford them and when they default on the payments Franklin acts in the role of repo man and repossesses the cars. As a result of this, he is frequently seen driving around the city in many seized sports cars. Franklin is first seen on a repo job with his close friend and co-worker Lamar Davis, soon after a chance encounter with Michael De Santa. Soon after, Franklin and Lamar are assigned by Simeon to repossess a Bagger in a Vagos-controlled area of Vespucci. While searching for the bike, the two are confronted by Vagos and are forced to fight their way out of the neighborhood. The two are able to find the bike, but the owner is killed in the process; knowing the repossession is meaningless, Lamar takes the bike for himself. Simeon blames Franklin for the bike's theft. While recovering the Beejay sold to Jimmy De Santa, his father Michael reveals he had been hiding in the back seat and points a handgun to Franklin's head. Under orders from Michael, Franklin smashes the car through the window of Simeon's dealership, effectively ending his employment.
Franklin is brought along by Lamar to kidnap a Ballas member named D, for no other reason than that Lamar saw "opportunity". With the help of Lamar's dog Chop, the two succeed in abducting D; however, they are forced to free him when Lamar inadvertently reveals their location.
After losing his job at the dealership, Franklin started working with Michael. Franklin helps Michael rescue Jimmy from his yacht, which was stolen with Jimmy on it during an attempted sale. Later, after Michael catches Amanda post-coitus with her tennis coach, Michael and Franklin chase him to the deck of a Vinewood Hills house. Believing the house to belong to the tennis coach, Michael and Franklin use a pickup truck to pull the deck down, destroying the house. After returning to the De Santa residence, Martin Madrazo appears to reveal the house was his, and demands $2.5 million in damages from Michael.
Franklin is an ambitious man with a desire to move beyond petty crime and rise higher in the criminal underworld. Franklin presumably branches out, whether on his own or with someone else's guidance, and meets Michael De Santa. Both men did a job together and afterwards, Michael saw potential in Franklin and introduces him to Trevor around the time the game begins.
His personal story is he’s stuck between the world to which he was born and the world to which he aspires; Franklin wants to rise in the criminal underworld but his friends want him to resume the gang-banging lifestyle that originally landed him in prison.
Franklin then gets the option to kill Michael or Trevor or save both of them and kill their enemies.
Characters Murdered by Franklin Clinton
- Esteban Jimenez - Murdered to steal his bike and avoid any witnesses.
- Elwood O'Neil - Murdered for seeking retribution against Trevor Philips.
- Brett Lowry - Assassinated on orders from Lester Crest.
- Jackson Skinner - Assassinated on orders from Lester Crest.
- Isacc Penny - Assassinated on orders from Lester Crest.
- Enzo Bonelli - Assassinated on orders from Lester Crest.
- Trevor Philips - Murdered on orders from Steve Haines and Dave Norton. (Kill Trevor Ending)
- Michael De Santa - Murdered on orders from Devin Weston. (Kill Michael Ending)
- Wei Cheng - Murdered for attempting to kill both Trevor Phillips and Michael De Santa. (Deathwish Ending)
- Devin Weston - Murdered for attempting to have Michael De Santa killed. (Deathwish Ending)
- Chad Mulligan - Can be killed during Eye In The Sky.
- MC Clip - Can be killed by either Franklin or Trevor during Hood Safari.
- Beverly - Can be killed during the Strangers and Freaks mission Paparazzo - Reality Check.
- Chip Peterson - Can be killed to steal his blueprints of the FIB Headquarters building.
- Peter Dreyfuss - Can be killed during the Strangers and Freaks mission A Starlet in Vinewood.
- Tao Cheng - Can be killed during The Third Way.
- Bigfoot - Can be killed after The Last One.
Franklin is described as ambitious but perhaps to a fault and very eager to take on new illegal challenges by Dan Houser's description. He is also described as a logical way of showing a young man with a lot of hope, with Dan Houser claiming that this would be a nice contrast from Michael. He also is a person that, even though is being mentored by Michael in crime, mentors Michael in life. This helps build up the Father-Son relationship between the two. Franklin is also much more calmer than both Michael, who has a very short temper, and Trevor, who is practically insane. Though Lamar drives him crazy at times, Franklin still cares for his best friend as he saves him from the Ballas with the help of Michael and Trevor during the events of Lamar Down. He is also the same toward Michael and Trevor as he is seen helping them out with most of their problems, like when Amanda cheats on Michael and he and the latter chase after the tennis coach during Marriage Counseling and when he helps Trevor and Michael hunt down the remaining O'Neil brothers during Predator.
Grand Theft Auto series
Relationships With Other Characters
- Michael - After meeting Michael and completing a job with him, both men grew a father-son relationship for one another. This was mostly because Franklin never really had a family of his own and saw Michael as a person with more professional skill and as a real criminal that could mentor him in the life of crime. It seems that Michael has a better relationship with Franklin than with his own son. Michael is fairly protective of Franklin. During the drive in the Paleto Score, when Trevor keeps asking Franklin about his first score, Michael tells Trevor to leave Franklin alone. Later in the same mission, Michael continuously checks in on Franklin, calls him "son," and helps him onto the train before boarding it himself.
- Trevor - Trevor and Franklin's first meeting was nowhere near perfect, as he was cautious of the new recruit and even insulted him and Michael for their father-son like relationship. He was eventually able to put his trust into Michael's judgement of Franklin and the two were finally able to get along.
- Lamar - As stated above, Franklin's relationship with Lamar is a bit unsettled, as Lamar is seen as a funny yet dangerous maniac, and is also known to be one of the main people holding Franklin back to the criminal life. Despite this, Franklin still considers him his best friend and, on multiple occasions throughout the story, he risks his life to save him and help him out. By the end of the game, they seem to get along more calmly than before, especially within the Deathwish ending, where Lamar is pleasantly surprised to hear Franklin's need to help Michael and Trevor survive.
- Simeon Yetarian - Simeon is an Armenian luxury car salesman, who uses the business as a front for his repo activity. He employs Franklin as his repo-man. Simeon's relationship with Franklin was shown in to be in a poor condition, as he doesn't seem to fulfil many of Franklin's request. Eventually Franklin cut his ties with Simeon after he crashed into his dealership.
Franklin has been described as fit and fashion conscious. He is mostly seen wearing a blue and white button-up shirt, dark blue jeans or black pants with white stripes and a pair of brown or dark yellow boots. In the "Michael, Trevor and Franklin" artwork, he is seen wearing a light yellow plaid button-up shirt and stonewashed blue jeans. He also sported the same outfit in "The Trunk" artwork. He is seen in the "Franklin and Chop" artwork wearing a tank-top, khaki shorts along with a bracelet on his right wrist and a black watch on his right wrist.
Skills and Attributes
Franklin is a young man and is capable of tackling challenging tasks that Michael and Trevor can't do and has a level of physical prowess that both Michael and Trevor lack. As being a repo man he is a skilled person behind the wheel of any car. As during the GI demo, he was described as being able to make short work of the agents that were interrogating the target.
Franklin has a special ability where he can slow down time while driving.
Special Skill: Improved Driving Handling
While the Special ability is active Franklin has the ability to slow down time while driving any four wheeled vehicle or motorcycle. This allows for better handling in dangerous circumstances hopefully avoiding accidents. Enhancing this skill increases the maximum storage capacity directly affecting the ability's duration. Franklin starts with one third of the max capacity, 30 seconds of duration.
Increasing Special Skill
Just driving around with Franklin can increase his special skill although minutely. The more extreme the circumstance the better chance of increased skill. The following events give an increase to Franklin's special skill in varying amounts.
- Drifting around corners adds a continuous bonus.
- Near vehicle misses at high speed.
- Driving on the wrong side of the street in traffic adds a continuous bonus.
- Driving at high speed, 90% max speed or better continuously.
For the list of Franklin Clinton's mission appearances, see Franklin Clinton/Appearances.
Just like Michael and Trevor, Franklin has gotten a very positive response from critics and fans of the series.
Dan Houser's Description of Franklin
"Franklin was the idea of this street hustler in the modern world where the glory days – if there ever were glory days of gang banging – had long since passed. When some of the illusions of this life have been shattered, what do you do now having been in that world? That seemed like an interesting character; a guy in his mid-to-late 20s who wants to move forward but doesn't really know how and is being held back by some of his more idiotic and dangerous friends."
"The idea with Franklin was someone stepping outside their comfort zone and their normal way of doing things, because that way, even though they're still in their mid-20s or whatever, that hasn't worked. That world that they thought they'd be in and be able to make a success of has, thanks to the modern world or the changes in the economy or whatever it is, just failed. It doesn't really exist. They're now looking for something new. A new opportunity. They've gotten their qualifications and gotten all their experience and all they're good at is driving and robbing. How do actually go forward and who do you get to a kind of mentor you? That was a good contrast. The gang-banger in the post-gang-banging world."
- Franklin and Clinton are the last names of two important people in the U.S. Government (Benjamin Franklin and Bill Clinton). If you put together the first names of the two, it makes up 'Benjamin Bill', a nickname for the $100 bill note.
- Franklin is the second protagonist to kill another protagonist on-screen (the latter can kill Michael, or Trevor depending on which one of the three endings that the players will choose). The first protagonist being able to do so was Trevor when he kills Johnny Klebitz in his introduction mission.
- Despite his date of birth never actually mentioned in-game, Franklin's license plate is "FC1988" which is most likely his initials, FC, and his date of birth, 1988.
- He is the only protagonist in Grand Theft Auto V who doesn't have a chance to die in any of the three endings.
- In one of the monologues he has with himself while high on marijuana, Franklin reveals that his mother was a drug addict and died from a possible overdose, and that he's just like her by using illegal substances, possibly showing that he's insecure and uncomfortable with his drug use.
- Franklin is the only one of the three protagonists who cannot play tennis.
- He has the least murders committed by a playable character (excluding optional murders) in GTA V.
- He is the only protagonist to not kill any past GTA IV characters as part of the story, however he does have the option to kill Packie McReary during a Random Event.
- In Eye in the Sky, it is revealed that Franklin was once arrested for Public Exposure. According to him, it was due to him sagging in public and it was the LSPD committing racial profiling.
- It is possible that Franklin is religous, or at the very least has studied the bible at some point in his life. He immediately recognized the verse that Michael sarcastically used, after pulling down the house in Marriage Counseling, as coming from the book of Matthew.
- All of the characters' specialities (Michael's marksman abilities, Trevor's ability with planes, and Franklin's handling of cars) are specified within the game. However, Franklin's special ability is the only one to be referenced outright; This is done by Lamar during the mission Chop, in which he tells Franklin to use that "special driver thing that he does" to capture D, and claims he looks funny while doing so, "Like watching Chop try to read while you do that shit".
- GameInformer December issue.
-  - Info From Polygon
-  - Info from a translated interview with Dan Houser
-  - Info from an other translated interview with Dan Houser