|Appearance(s):||Grand Theft Auto IV|
Grand Theft Auto V
|Also known as:||Michelle|
|Place of birth:||The Midwest (Questionable)|
|Home:||Mohawk Avenue, Rotterdam Hill, Liberty City (GTA IV)|
Los Santos (GTA V)
United Liberty Paper Contact
Niko Bellic (Formerly)
Mallorie Bardas (Formerly)
|Businesses:||IAA Undercover agent|
|Voiced by:||Rebecca Henderson|
- "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
Karen is a character in the Grand Theft Auto series who features as a supporting character in Grand Theft Auto IV and a minor character in Grand Theft Auto V. 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. As seen in GTA V, she is a lead interrogator and high ranking agent for the IAA 5 years on.
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. 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
After unveiling her identity, she confiscates Elizabeta's cocaine, and naturally, she and Niko break up.
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.
Michelle likes being chauffeured in almost any car, except vans and emergency vehicles. She also isn't fond of certain cars that come in beater variants. She likes Niko wearing clothes from the Russian Shop. Michelle prefers variety, expressing interest in new cars and pointing out if Niko is wearing the same outfit or takes her to the same place constantly. However, her intonation when asking about a new car sounds more like the questions she asks about his business rather an actual interest like in the case of glasses for example, leading us to believe she's assuming it's from illicit activities. In general, Michelle enjoys going out on dates to a variety of places, including restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. Taking her to a venue which has some form of criminal connection, for example Perestroika, or Comrades Bar will cause Michelle to ask about the various mobsters. Niko will quickly dismiss this by saying "I really don't know about that sort of thing, Michelle." among other things.
Cars Michelle Likes
- Blista Compact
- Emperor (not beater version)
- Huntley Sport
- PMP 600
- Roman's Taxi
- Sabre (not beater version)
- Sentinel (though tends to go back and forth between liking/disliking)
She likes bikes like the NRG 900, too. When she's on it, she will put a white-pink helmet on.
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. These do 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.
Events of GTA V
Five years after the events of GTA IV, Karen returns in GTA V and is now a high ranking ULP/IAA agent. 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
- 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!".
- Karen is the only girlfriend who has appeared in multiple games, having appeared as a dateable girlfriend in GTA IV and a minor character in GTA V.
- 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. These are both sayings which mean the opposite of one another.
- 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.
- She is the only GTA IV storyline character in GTA V that doesn't die or have the option to die. (Radio personalities Lazlow Jones and Fernando Martinez don't count).
- 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.