|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
Karen Daniels is a character in the Grand Theft Auto series who appears as a supporting character and a girlfriend in Grand Theft Auto IV and a minor character in Grand Theft Auto V and Grand Theft Auto Online.
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
Niko's first encounter with Karen (then known as Michelle) is during the mission "Three's a Crowd" where Niko has to pick her and Mallorie up from the subway station and take them back to Karen's apartment in Rotterdam Hill. During the car ride, Mallorie suggests that she and Niko go out. Karen tells Niko that he's "the kind of guy she wants to get to know." After this encounter, the mission "First Date" will unlock. After the first date, Niko can take her on a number of dates there after until the mission "The Snow Storm" is completed, where she will confess to Niko that she has been watching him and working for the government. After unveiling her identity, she confiscates Elizabeta's cocaine, and naturally, she and Niko break up.
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." After this, she is seen outside the United Liberty Paper building in Algonquin smoking a cigarette. She apologizes to Niko for lying to him and says that he is a nice guy who is better than the creeps she normally dates, indicating that she took a liking to Niko even though she was only meant to spy on him. After she takes Niko to the United Liberty Paper Contact's office, 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 also suspected that she is the author of several emails that are sent to Niko by United Liberty Paper as the game progresses.
It is unknown when Karen got assigned to 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. 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.
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.
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 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.
- 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."
- She is the only girlfriend in GTA IV who will sleep with Niko on the first date (provided that the date went well and Niko asks to be invited in).
- 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.
- Sometimes if Niko asks her to come in for a cup of coffee, she will make references to the Hot Coffee controversy that landed Rockstar Games in hot water. For example, in one instance if Niko asks to come in for coffee, she will say that "would cost almost 20 million dollars." This is a reference to the amount that Rockstar Games agreed to pay for various amounts of legal cases it lost due to the Hot Coffee Mod in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. She also makes references to it by saying "let's make sure no one gets hurt," adding more ironic references to the lawsuits. It is possible that Rockstar included this to poke fun at the subject.
- If Niko takes her to Perestroika or to a bar (especially Comrades) she will make comments about how everyone in there looked like a criminal, adding to her suspicious nature.
- After it is revealed who she truly is, Mallorie will call Niko and ask if it's true. Before ending the call she will say "there was always something funky about her."
- 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.