Karen Dempsey is a recurring character in Netflix's 13 Reasons Why. She is portrayed by Cindy Cheung.

Karen is Zach Dempsey and May Dempsey's mother and the widow of George Dempsey.

Throughout the Series[edit | edit source]

Season 1[edit | edit source]

Karen is first seen when she came to the Jensens' house and accused Clay Jensen of vandalizing Zach's car. She didn't let Zach talk and also didn't want Clay to talk with Zach alone, but then gave them two minutes.[1]

Karen visited Olivia Baker at the Baker's Drug Store, and asked her how they're holding up. Karen told Olivia that Zach has told many nice things about Hannah. When Olivia asked how Zach is doing, she said that many colleges are looking for him in basketball, but that he wants to become a marine biologist.[2]

When Zach was served with a subpoena, Karen called what the Bakers are doing a witch hunt and said Zach didn't do anything because she knows how kind he is.[3]

Season 2[edit | edit source]

Karen was sent an email by Barry Walker, saying Zach could use Bryce's lawyer. She didn't want Zach to take a stand without guidance, but Zach replied that they can find their own lawyer. Karen said they need to benefit from their associations.[4]

During breakfast, Karen said that it's not surprising that there are a lot of boys involved in her case because of her reputation. She told Zach she will be glad that it will all be over for him after he testifies.[5]

Karen was upset that Zach didn't tell her about his relationship with Hannah. Zach said it's because that's how they do things at their house, as he doesn't even know how Karen feels about her husband's death or about anything. When Zach told her that he felt like Hannah did, she replied that he shouldn't say such things and he doesn't feel that way.[6]

At a baseball event, Karen wanted Zach to stay to support Bryce as she believes Bryce is innocent and was afraid of what people would think.[7]

Season 3[edit | edit source]

Karen attended Bryce's funeral with Zach. She encouraged her son when he had to give a speech about Bryce.[8]

Season 4[edit | edit source]

Karen is mentioned after Zach and Clay got in trouble for leaving the college tour to attend a frat party. Matt Jensen told Zach that he might have to tell his mother about what happened, to which Zach replied "Well, I am sorry about that."[9]

Zach asked Alex to be his cover story for when he's going to the Find Your Drink Party, because his mom put cameras in his room. When Alex asked about this, he mentioned that that's only part of it.[10]

At graduation, Zach mentioned that he's going to study music for guitar and voice, but his mom thinks it's for violin.[11]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Karen doesn't seem to care much about what Zach thinks, but about what she wants. She thinks he should be the captain of the basketball team, even when he tells her he doesn't want to be the captain. She also doesn't seem to like that Zach wants to become a marine biologist. When Zach tells her that he has been depressed and / or suicidal, she tells him he doesn't feel that way and Hannah put those thoughts in his head.

She loves her children a lot; she calls Zach the best son a mother could have and thinks he is a very good and kind boy. She thinks that Zach is the best basketball player and that other kids are jealous of him.

According to Zach, Karen doesn't talk about or show much of her feelings; Zach mentioned that he doesn't even know how she feels about George Dempsey's death.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Season 1[edit | edit source]

Season 2[edit | edit source]

Season 3[edit | edit source]

Season 4[edit | edit source]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See also: Category:Images of Karen Dempsey

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Benjamin, Elizabeth (writer) & Araki, Gregg (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 4, Side A". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 7. Netflix.
  2. Moore, Kirk A. (writer) & Araki, Gregg (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 4, Side B". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 8. Netflix.
  3. Benjamin, Elizabeth (writer) & Yu, Jessica (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 6, Side B". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 12. Netflix.
  4. Higgins, Thomas (writer) & Araki, Gregg (director) (May 18, 2018). "Two Girls Kissing". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 2.
  5. Sheff, Nic (writer) & Hittman, Eliza (director) (May 18, 2018). "The Chalk Machine". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 5.
  6. Bicknell, Julia (writer) & Hittman, Eliza (director) (May 18, 2018). "The Smile at the End of the Dock". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 6.
  7. Marye, Felischa (writer) & Morris, Michael (director) (May 18, 2018). "The Little Girl". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 8.
  8. Udofia, Mfoniso (writer) & Hughes, Bronwen (director). (August 23, 2019). "You Can Tell the Heart of a Man by How He Grieves". 13 Reasons Why. Season 3. Episode 6.
  9. MacDonald, Allen (writer) & Mulcahy, Russell (director). (June 5, 2020). "College Tour". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 2.
  10. Malone, M.K. (writer) & D. Gonzalez, Franky (director). (June 5, 2020). "House Party". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 5.
  11. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Yorkey, Brian (director). (June 5, 2020). "Graduation". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 10.
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