|For the receptionist at Goldberg, Ligner & Shyster, see Karen.|
- "I'm sorry that I lied to you. And weirdly, in some ways you're a nice guy. Better than the creeps I normally date."
- ― Karen
She is an undercover government official who works for United Liberty Paper. Before her identity is revealed, she becomes Niko's girlfriend under the false name Michelle. By 2013, she is lead interrogator for the IAA.
Very little is known about Karen's background, because most of what she tells Niko are lies to protect her cover as an agent. She claims to have been raised in the Midwest and was apparently blackmailed by the United Liberty Paper Company into becoming an agent for them, so she may have past criminal connections herself. This notion is made more likely to be true by a statement made by the United Liberty Paper Contact, who said that in exchange for working for them, they would 'give her her life back', meaning that she had something to hide, possibly a criminal past. Even though her job requires her to deceive those around her, she appeared to genuinely care about Niko, and seemed remorseful for betraying him. Since she would know how to not become emotionally attached if being a government agent was her career by choice, this serves as more evidence that she was blackmailed into it.
After disclosing her true identity, it is revealed that Karen is a smoker. It is unknown if Karen drinks alcohol, as when on dates to bars she doesn't get drunk like Niko does, but this is probably due to her having to gather information about Niko's background and connections - a task more easily done when sober.
Events of GTA IV
It is unknown when Karen got assigned Niko's case. There is evidence that it is from the start of the game, or even before Niko arrives in the city; as she lies immediately to Niko on their first date.
Due to the nature of the United Liberty Paper's activities, it was likely discovered that Niko was headed to America, and due to his exploits in Europe, unknowingly got himself noticed by the ULPC. After digging up info on his family and finding that Roman Bellic was related, Karen was likely told to make friends with Mallorie, knowing that Niko would inevitably make contact with them.
During a mission for ULPC, Niko asked what Karen's reward for bringing in Niko was, to which he replies "We gave her life back", once again hinting towards a previous criminal affiliation.
Despite her intentions, it appears as though Karen genuinely fell for Niko during their time together. This is due to the fact that she is sometimes surprised, upset and genuinely happy when talking to Niko, and after a fair amount of dates, Niko doesn't have to ask to be invited inside. She is also visibly hurt when she is forced to betray him, and upset when Niko calls her a "fucking bitch". She is never seen again for the rest of the game. However, the United Liberty Paper Company's answering machine's voice sounds as if it was recorded by Karen.
It is likely that the ULPC ordered Karen to take interest into people with previous war or criminal experience, then gain their trust and blackmail them into helping the company, a strategy more effective than hiring agents that require payment and training.
Events of GTA Online
- "You've done good work, made this country safer, but that does not mean I've got to like you."
- — Karen
Five years after the events of GTA IV, it is revealed that Karen is a high ranking IAA agent. She appears during The Humane Labs Raid's first setup mission, where players are tasked to meet up with Karen in order to receive access codes to the facility. Karen asks if the online protagonists were involved with The Fleeca Job and warns them what they're getting into now is a "whole different ball game". When she puts down the briefcase containing the access code, an FIB team ambushes the meeting and kills her bodyguard. Karen immediately runs off while the crew starts killing FIB agents.
She is later seen at the end of the heist finale, where she talks about how the IAA can get anyone to do their dirty work by paying them. She then hands one of the crew members a Grenade to destroy the evidence and then leaves the area.
Events of GTA V
She is seen in the mission Three's Company, where she very sadistically tortures a captive by breaking both his hands with a flashlight and then threatening to sodomize him with it. Before she can carry out her threat, Michael De Santa breaks in through the office window as part of an FIB operation to rescue the captive. Before Michael and Franklin Clinton start opening fire on the agents, Karen manages to get away and call for back up. Nonetheless, Michael gets away with the captive and she is not seen again for the rest of the game.
- Three's a Crowd (Appears as Michelle)
- First Date (Boss, Appears as Michelle)
- Luck of the Irish (Post-mission phone call)
- The Snow Storm (Betrayal)
- Photo Shoot (Post-mission phone call)
- Wrong is Right
Girlfriend Activities in GTA IV
Cars Michelle likes
- Blista Compact
- Emperor (non-beater version)
- FIB Buffalo
- Huntley Sport
- NRG 900
- PMP 600
- Roman's Taxi
- Sabre (non-beater version)
- Sentinel (though she tends to go back and forth between liking/disliking)
Restaurants/Bars Michelle Likes
- 69th Street Diner, or any other diner.
- Burger Shot
- Clucking Bell
- Steinway Beer Garden (though comments that Irish gangsters hangout there)
- Comrades Bar (though comments that Russian thugs hangout there)
- Lucky Winkles
Venues Michelle Likes
- Split Sides (she does not like Perestroika due to the criminal heads that run the club)
- Michelle likes most radio stations, but dislikes Tuff Gong, The Classics and Integrity 2.0.
- Michelle dislikes the Happiness Island shirt.
- If Michelle likes a set of clothes, she is happy to see it repeatedly
- Michelle complains if you drive too fast for her. If you drive slowly she praises your driving, but in a sarcastic-sounding way. This does not affect the success of your date.
- If you take Michelle out on a date to a bar she does not drink and therefore does not get drunk.
- Michelle is the only girlfriend in GTA IV that sleeps with Niko on the first date (if it goes well and Niko asks to come in).
- Michelle will make some references about the Hot Coffee controversy that put Rockstar Games in trouble, as when Niko asks to come in for coffee or something, she'd say she would, but the coffee "would cost at least 20 million dollars." This refers to the amount that Rockstar Games had to pay because of the various legal cases it lost out of this subject. She also makes references that the consequences for this would have legal cases lost and people get hurt, adding more ironic references to the lawsuits.
- Strangely, Roman knows "Michelle" was working for someone, although he wasn't there in The Snow Storm to see the betrayal. It is likely Little Jacob told him about her. This is shown in Roman's e-mail called "Shit!".
- Every single encounter that Niko has with "Michelle" has a hint that she is trying to take information from him, she will always ask Niko if he is seeing or involved with someone dangerous, will constantly say that she is a good listener and that Niko can tell her anything he wants. When Niko takes her to a bar, he will even mention while drunk, that he saw her putting something in his drink.
- Niko comments on her apartment in the mission First Date, saying that all her furniture is new and that "some still have tags on", implying that she recently moved to Liberty City. However, this is probably because she is living in a government apartment and only temporarily.
- Amusingly, Karen's first appearance in GTA IV is in the mission Three's a Crowd, while in GTA V it is the mission Three's Company. Both are references to the idiom "Two's company, three's a crowd."
- After a random date with "Michelle", Niko, sometimes, will say that "There is something strange about her", showing that Niko is suspicious about her behavior.
- It seems Karen decided to keep working for the IAA after the GTA IV events instead of taking her choice of having her life back. She escalated rather quickly in the ranks of the agency as a lead interrogator for just 5 years.
- She is possibly based on the character Nina Myers from the TV series 24.
- After finishing The Humane Labs Raid, she will mention that before she had to entrap them, cajole them and force them with deportation. This might be reference in how she involved Niko into becoming an IAA operative for the U.L. Paper contact.
- Between Karen's appearances, her eye color changes from brown to blue in Grand Theft Auto V.
- An unused art asset in GTA V has her wearing a white bikini.
- ↑ Name seen through Grand Theft Auto V game files
- ↑ Found in the files for the Heist Update. See here.