- "Look homie, I don't mind dying, you feel me? But I just wanna die with something that matters."
- ― Franklin Clinton
Franklin was born in South Los Santos in the year 1988. His parents consists of a father he's never met before and a mother who at some point in his young life became addicted to crack cocaine. As a child, Franklin often heard stories about how his father would physically abuse his mother on occasion, possibly causing her addiction to crack, and eventually leaving her once she was pregnant with Franklin, easily classifying him as a deadbeat father. His mother's addiction eventually led to her death. Franklin then began to live with his grandmother and grandfather. His grandmother would constantly spoil him as a child until her death. Franklin later moved into a house on Forum Drive alongside his aunt Denise that was given to them by his late grandmother. Franklin attended Davis High School along with Lamar Davis, Tanisha Jackson and Tonya Wiggins but was expelled due to him being involved in a brawl with his teacher. 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 in 2008. After he was released from prison he decided to give up his old life in the ghetto.
A few months before the start of his story, 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 repossession man and repossesses the cars. As a result of this, he is frequently seen driving around Los Santos in many seized sports cars, prior to the mission Complications where he and Lamar are both fired.
Events of GTA V
Franklin is first seen on a repossession 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 Yetarian, their boss, 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 XL 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, receiving a payment from Michael himself for doing what he called "a job well done." This however effectively ends 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.
After sometime has pass, Michael contacts Franklin to enlist him on the Vangelico Jewelry Store Heist, which Franklin accepts as he sees this as his first major opportunity to become a much more successful criminal.
Franklin and Michael are called up once again by Haines for one more job: to break into the FIB building and remove incriminating evidence against Haines. This goes according to plan, but when Michael meets Haines and Norton at the Kortz Center, Haines attempts to arrest him to cover his involvement in the raid. However, this tuns into a three-way gunfight between the FIB (to arrest the trio because of the raid), the IAA (for the FIB's constant sabotages) and Merryweather (for Michael's involvement in their troubles). Michael manages to escape with the help of Trevor, under the pretense of cooperating with the Big Score.
After the heist, Franklin is tasked by Steve Haines to kill Trevor and by Devin Weston to kill Michael. Franklin must choose to kill Michael, Trevor or everyone that had double-crossed them.
Option A (Kill Trevor)
Franklin meets Trevor at the oil field where Trevor laments how Michael had been backstabbing towards him and how he and Franklin are friends, only to see Franklin turn a gun towards him saying that he was the crazy one, not Michael or Franklin. Baffled, Trevor remarks on how he has done nothing but be truthful to Franklin, which the latter accepts but does not let down the gun. Betrayed again, Trevor then makes a run for it around the city and eventually the oil fields, with Franklin chasing him. Franklin would then call Michael for help, in which Michael arrives and crashes into Trevor causing him to crash into a gas tanker, covering him in gasoline. Frankin shoots the gas as to incinerate Trevor before the tanker explodes. Michael and Franklin reflect on how crazy Trevor was and it was this constant craziness which led to his demise. Shortly after, they split up before Franklin sarcastically remarks the event as an "illuminating experience", which Michael counters by telling him to survive, and everything else is "bullshit".
Option B (Kill Michael)
Michael meets Franklin in the desert and reflects on their partnership. However, in Franklin's reply, he notices Franklin's intention to kill him and escapes, eventually ending up at the Palmer-Taylor Power Station. They continue to chase up on one of the chimney walkways and after a minor scuffle, Franklin pushes Michael off the edge and then grabs him while he hangs precariously from the rail, where Franklin can save him or drop, but either, Michael falls to his death.
Option C (Deathwish)
Franklin helps Michael and Trevor fight off Merryweather and the FIB, then kills Wei Cheng to not implicate Trevor from its effects. Afterwards, he meets Michael and Trevor, who had kidnapped Devin in his car, at the foothills of Mount Chiliad. After taunting Devin on their apparent victory, the trio push his car of the cliff into the ocean.
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 Lowrey - Assassinated on orders from Lester Crest.
- Jackson Skinner - Assassinated on orders from Lester Crest.
- Isaac Penny - Assassinated on orders from Lester Crest.
- Enzo Bonelli - Assassinated on orders from Lester Crest.
- 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)
- Patrick McReary - Can be killed during his Random Event.
- Simeon Yetarian - Can be killed during his Random Event.
- Chad Mulligan - Can be killed during Eye In The Sky.
- MC Clip - Can be killed by either Franklin or Trevor during Hood Safari.
- Beverly Felton - 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.
- 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)
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 violent and psychotic. 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. This however, also leads to other people around him to consider him disloyal, most notably his Aunt Denise, enough for Denise to threaten him by calling the police for setting foot in her yard. Despite what Denise says, Franklin does demonstrate loyalty for people that are close to him and for people who change his life, like Lamar, who is Franklin's best friend, and Michael, who helped him become a "three-bit" gangster, or a high-profile criminal so to speak. Despite not knowing them very well, Franklin also gets along with Michael's family, evident when Jimmy befriends him and when Amanda responds kindly whenever Franklin greets her while she is home. He doesn't seem to get along with Stretch very well, but this is mostly due to Stretch trying to pull Franklin into the life that put him in jail in the first place, and also due to Stretch's reckless and unintelligent personality.
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. In the Kill Michael Ending, he chases Michael and, even if the player wants to save him, Michael falls to his death. Franklin eventually regrets killing him. He leaves a message on Lamar's voice-mail, stating about one running and their legs give and can't run anymore, which is what Michael said to Franklin in Fresh Meat.
- 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. In the optional ending that involves killing Trevor, he protests that he's been nothing but straight and true with him. Franklin seems to regret killing him but accept that he was crazy and would have killed him and Michael. In the ending where Franklin kills Michael, he would cut off ties with him and claim that he's dead to him. When hanging out with Franklin, Trevor states that he's proud of him.
- 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 fulfill 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. In "Three's Company," he's seen wearing his L.S. sweater, black jeans and Desert Boots.
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 repossession 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. He also has the first name as former US presidents Franklin Pierce and Franklin Roosevelt who both served as the 14th and 32nd presidents respectively.
- 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.
- Franklin is the only protagonist in Grand Theft Auto V to not have a chance to die in any of the three endings.
- However in the beta, The Third Way was originally going to kill Franklin, and replace him with Lamar. This is revealed in the coding.
- 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 is the only protagonist not required to 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.
- Franklin's favorite radio station is Radio Los Santos.
- Franklin is the only one of the three main characters to be born in Los Santos. Michael was born in the Mid-West (presumably in North Yankton), and Trevor was born in Canada, near the US border.
- His second favorite radio station is West Coast Classics.
- Franklin is probably the protagonist with most compassion for animals; when the player runs over a wild animal as Franklin, he says comments such as "Sorry, little dude!" or "Watch out, little dude!", unlike Michael, who simply gets angry, and Trevor, who makes comments with more dark humor. The fact that he is the only protagonist with a pet (Chop) also contributes to this theory.
- It is possible that Franklin is religious, 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' special abilities (Michael's marksman abilities, Trevor's invincible rage ability, 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".
- Franklin's special ability may be a reference to the Zone special ability from Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition (another Rockstar Games title), which allows the player to slow down time for better handling while driving.
- Franklin's signature color is green, most likely due to his connection with the Chamberlain Gangster Families. This is seen when using his special ability by screen fading green, while Michael's ability fades blue and Trevor's fades orange.
- In Franklin's employee of the month photo he's wearing a red button-up shirt, but when you go to his wardrobe this specific shirt is nowhere to be found.
- While hanging out with Franklin as a different protagonist, if you die, he'll text you in concern. Usually, he'll text, "u okay dude?" or "hope u okay."
- Franklin is in many ways similar to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas protagonist Carl Johnson. Both men are African-American gangbangers in their mid-20's, both are or have been part of a section of The Families street gang, both have an ambitious personality and at one point have been criticised for showing little support for their gang, both have been betrayed by a fellow member (Carl by Big Smoke and Ryder, and Franklin by Stretch). Furthermore, one of Franklin's outfits is similar to that of CJ's default outfit.
- Franklin had the most opportunities than any other protagonist to make money. For instance: the Lester missions, if the stocks method is used right, Franklin can make a lot of money. Also, the analyst for Algonquin you take to the airport gives you advice to invest in Tinkle.
- Franklin is the only playable character not to appear in the game's opening credits.
- If the player throws Molotov's at Franklin's house as Michael or Trevor, he might text the player saying: "U trying to burn my house down?".
- Franklin is the only protagonist in the GTA series who isn't betrayed by the main antagonist at one point.
- Franklin's special ability also affects the Rhino, allowing Franklin to utilize the tank cannon with extreme accuracy and finesse while on the move, making Franklin, arguably, the most suitable to go on tank rampages.
- Franklins appearance as the "token black" character (being the only African American character of the three protagonists) might be a reference to Franklin from the Peanut's comic strip by Charles Schulz. In the comic scrip, Franklin was the only African American character of all the main characters.
- At Franklin's Vinewood Hills mansion, Redwood Cigarettes packs can be found scattered on tables, along with multiple ashtrays. He can be seen smoking in the mission Hotel Assassination while waiting for Lester.
- In most of Franklin's artworks, he is seen with a tattoo of praying hands on his neck. This tattoo can not be purchased in-game.
- Despite his business-like personality, while using drugs it is possible to view that Franklin may suffer from depression. When talking to himself, he may refer to himself as a failure and a drug addict like his mother, and also says "I'm so happy. Happy as can be when you're all alone and everybody you know hates you.", amongst other things that indicate some form of self-hatred.
- GameInformer December issue.
-  - Info From Polygon
-  - Info from a translated interview with Dan Houser
-  - Info from an other translated interview with Dan Houser