Don't go after her. You always said that's why you did law. If it didn't always serve justice, it could serve the truth. Right? So find out the truth.
— Matt to Lainie Jensen about the Baker's Lawsuit, in "Tape 5, Side A"


Matt Jensen is a recurring character in 13 Reasons Why. He is the father of Clay Jensen, the adoptive father of Justin Foley and the husband of Lainie Jensen. He is portrayed by Josh Hamilton.

Early Life[edit | edit source]

Matt had a hard time in high school, as he got bullied. He was in a chess club and took part in Knowledge Bowl.[1] He started teaching at Sanderson University when Clay was eight years old.[2]

Throughout the Series[edit | edit source]

Season 1[edit | edit source]

Clay arrived home and asked Matt if he could use his boombox to listen to the recently received tapes. He asked Clay how he is doing and to keep in touch, because the school had sent out an email about Hannah Baker that day.[3]

When Clay took coffee when coming downstairs to eat breakfast, which Matt questioned as he usually doesn't drink coffee. Clay replied by saying he doesn't eat breakfast either. After Clay got upset when Lainie gave him a new prescription and left, Matt told Lainie that she could've been more subtle and that it's normal for a teenager to keep secrets.[4]

Clay came home to Matt and Lainie while visibly drunk, as he was just encouraged by the jocks to drink. Matt mentioned the conversation escalating fast after admitting his drunkenness and asked how much he drank. He suggested sitting down to have dinner, before lay puked all over the table.[5] The next morning, Matt came to check up on Clay and asked about his hangover, which he gave Clay a special drink for to "cure". Matt told Clay he convinced his mom to not ground Clay on the condition that he would start opening up to them.

Tony was invited over for dinner. When talking about brothers, Matt mentioned to Lainie that he brother is an asshole. He started asking Clay and Tony about their history project and started going on about the positives of collaborate projects. As Clay and Tony started having a strange conversation about the project as they were actually talking about the tape, and mentioned that the project was given by a dead person. Clay clarified to his parents that the historical figure the project is about is dead, to which Matt replied "in a sense, all assignments are given by dead people".[6]

Clay sat at the breakfast table and criticized Matt for calling him "pall", to which Matt jokingly called him "honey" instead. Matt started smelling Clay and questioned if he showered and caused Clay to go on about what showering is like. This made Matt admit to Lainie that there's possibly something going on with Clay.[7]

Matt and Lainie continued to talk about Clay's mental health. Lainie believed Clay should talk to his therapist, but Matt disagreed and told her not everything can be solved with words. They started arguing as Lainie believed Clay was in trouble and had something to do with Hannah's suicide, while Matt thought she was making wrong assumptions and Clay barely knew Hannah. He decided to talk with Clay himself when he'd come home from school. Matt explained that he and Lainie disagreed on some things. He suggested Clay that if he has nightmares and wants to talk about them, he can go to his therapist. He started telling about his bad high school experience and what got him through it, asking Clay if he also has something to hang on.

Karen Dempsey and Zach Dempsey came by to confront Matt and Lainie about Clay keying Zach's car. After they left, Matt talked with Lainie why he did it, questioning if he's being bullied or a bully himself. Matt told Clay that they're going to ground him for it and drove him to Tony to give him their "history project".[8]

Matt came home to a panicking Lainie and asked what's going on. Lainie explained to him that Clay had walked out of school and disappeared. Matt stayed calm and told her that he thinks Clay skipped school to do something fun, and that he's not missing. Later, after receiving a text from Clay, Lainie and Matt discussed how hard it is for Lainie to try and "tear apart" a girl who committed suicide. Matt advised her to not go after Hannah, but find out the truth instead. When Clay came home, Matt hugged and told him they won't ground him and are glad he's alive.[9]

Lainie came home to Matt after looking for Clay, who had run away after Lainie took him to the police for having weed in his school bag and opened up to her about Hannah. Matt told Lainie that he doesn't believe Clay has a drug problem as he teaches "potheads" and knows what they look like. Lainie revealed to Matt that Clay somehow feels responsible for Hannah's suicide and wondered if he did something to her, which angered Matt a bit as he doesn't believe Clay would do something like that. He also told her that quitting the case won't protect the family.[10]

At breakfast, Matt questioned Clay for still drinking coffee. Lainie started talking to Clay about the trial, after which Matt asked if they could one morning without discussing it. Clay started suggesting he did some terrible things and could go to jail, shocking Matt and Lainie.[11]

Clay had come home with a lot of bruises on his face after disappearing again, which Matt confronted him about the next morning. Clay claimed he was at a friends' house and fell with his bike, which Matt didn't believe.[12]

Season 2[edit | edit source]

Matt made his first appearance in the second season when Clay came home and found him cooking pasta with Clay's girlfriend Skye Miller.[13]

When someone broke into the house by breaking glass, Matt headed upstairs with a bat, and found Justin in Clay's room. He and Lainie let Justin stay at their house after hearing about his home situation.[14]

Matt went to court with Clay for his testimony, where he found out Clay did drugs with some friends. They had a talk afterwards; Matt wasn't angry with him, but didn't understand why Clay didn't tell Lainie and him about it because Clay couldn't do anything that would make them stop loving him.[15]

Matt and his family got into an argument about Justin and Lainie helping the school with Hannah's case. He suggested to call social services, which Lainie disagreed to. He called Lainie and Clay out for acting like children and told Lainie they needed to act like parents, and sent Clay to his room.[16]

The next morning, Matt suggested to call Justin after Clay told him that he was gone. Clay interrupted him, asking why he cared and they should just let him go. Matt mentioned how he thought Justin testifying was important to Clay. After he told Clay that Lainie was staying at her sister because of the argument, Clay proposed to move together and start over. Matt responded him that this was their family and they could fix it.[17]

Matt and Lainie attended Hannah's funeral and wake. They decided that they want to adopt Justin.[18]

Season 3[edit | edit source]

After Spring Fling, Matt and Lainie talked with Clay and Justin about what happened at the dance, believing the shooting was a false alarm. Matt called it an overreaction, after which Clay and Justin exchanged looks. Matt proposed to clear out the workshop and turn it into a bedroom for Clay and Justin as they're about to be seniors and need space.[19]

When Justin's social worker came to visit, Matt and Lainie decorated the house to make a good impression. After Clay forgot about it and asked if he had to stay home for it, Matt asked if he still felt good about the adoption.[20]

Matt, along with Lainie and Clay, went to Bryce Walker's Funeral to support Justin. When Lainie mentioned not being surprised that Barry Walker abandoned his son when looking at him, Matt warned her that it's his son's funeral as a way to let her know that she can't say that. When Clay came home after hearing about Tony's family getting deported, he hugged Matt and Lainie and said he loves them. Matt replied by saying "I love you too, kiddo".[21]

Matt and Lainie confronted Clay after he and Justin were interrogated by the police about pointing a gun at Bryce. When Clay and Lainie argued about not believing him, Matt tried to calm them down and assured Clay that he believed him. After Clay left and Justin told his side of what happened, Matt asked Justin what he means with Clay being out of his mind that night and if Clay is having nightmares again.

Matt argued with Lainie about hiring a lawyer, which in his opinion would make Clay more suspicious. They talked about if Clay could've done anything to do with Bryce's murder, which Matt didn't believe. Lainie points out that Matt had mentioned being surprised by what Clay is capable of.[22]

Matt and Lainie talked again with Clay about if he has been in any contact with Bryce after the trail, which Clay denied. They told Clay about getting Dennis to represent him to help protect him and suggested talking to Dr. Robert Ellman. Matt assured Clay they don't think he's crazy but it might be worth talking to a therapist. Later that day, Matt, Lainie, Clay en Justin talk with Dennis about working on Clay's defence.[23]

Matt, Lainie and Dennis revealed to Clay that he's been officially named a person of interest. When asked by Justin what that means, Matt called it character assassination. He suggested that Clay en Justin stayed home from school, but they refused.[24]

After Clay revealed that he had sent a text to Bryce that said he wants to kill him, Matt questioned him if Bryce had said or done anything to him on homecoming night. Clay shook his head "no", and Matt asked what reason he had to sent the text.[25]

Matt, Lainie and Dennis talked with Justin about Clay's whereabouts as he had run away the night before. Matt mentioned understanding that Clay didn't warn about leaving, as he must've been extremely scared.[26]

The Jensens all have family dinner along with Tony Padilla and Caleb. Matt explained their Thanksgiving tradition to all say what they're thankful for. He said he's thankful for having many people around the table with them. When Justin revealed that he's still using drugs, Matt was clearly shocked as he went wide-eyed.[27]

Season 4[edit | edit source]

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Personality[edit | edit source]

Matt is shown to be a family oriented man, as he mentions the importance of his family on multiple occasions. He's humourus, as he occasionally makes jokes. Matt trusts his son a lot as he would often state that he believes Clay is doing fine and he doesn't lie. This also makes that Matt can be very clueless of Clay's life and actions. He often stays calm in worrying situations and assures the people around him that things will be fine and it isn't as bad as it seems. This opposed to his wife Lainie, who's more quick to panic in these situations. This also makes him underestimate the seriousness of situations before they progress, such as Clay's behaviour in the first season or Clay being a suspect in Bryce's murder.

Physical Appearance[edit | edit source]

Matt has longer dark hair with a beard and has blue eyes. At the beginning of the second season, his hair is short; it grows longer again through the season. He often wears a button up shirt with a sweater on top of it. He is also seen in suit several times.

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Clay Jensen[edit | edit source]

Clay is Matt's son.

Clay and Matt in "Tape 2, Side B"

After Clay received the tapes, he asked Matt to borrow his "radio thing" Matt corrected him to "Boombox", Clay asked if that was really what they were called and Matt joked that they're now called obsolete. Clay asked if it played tapes and Matt affirmed and than asked him how school was. He told him that it was pretty much the same and everyone was still acting weird. Matt then asked him how he was doing and Clay told him that he was fine. Clay asked if he could use the boombox and Matt gave him permission and told him to "keep in touch".[28] Lainie tried to bring up the topic of Clay taking medication to deal with any stress or anxiety at breakfast, but it failed. After he left to go to school, Matt told Lainie that she didn't bring it up subtly enough, Lainie told him that he was keeping secrets and Matt told her that he would be worried if Clay wasn't keeping secrets.[29] After Clay woke up with a hangover Matt told him that there is an important lesson to be learned from hangovers: "Actions have consequences" and told Clay that by his appearance he had already suffered enough. He handed Clay a green drink made out of Hot sauce, horseradish, kale, a raw egg, and "six other things designed to cure a hangover". He sat down on his bed and told him that he discussed Clay's grounding situation with Lainie, and managed to talk her out of grounding him on the condition that Clay would start to open up them and said that Lainie would prefer if he kept his doors slightly open. Before Matt left Clay's room he informed Clay that Lainie wasn't at home and that breakfast would be just them.[30] The Jensen have dinner with Tony as Lainie invited him over, Clay and Tony fight over the tapes while disguising it to Clay's parents as a history project they're having trouble with.[31]

Clay and Matt talk at breakfast in "Tape 3, Side A".

Clay came down for breakfast and Matt greeted him by saying "Good morning, pal", Clay told him that they had talked about calling him "pal", Matt then changed "pal" to "honey" and Clay told him it was well played. They both smiled at each other and Matt smelt Clay and asked if he had showered, Clay told him that he did and Matt told him that he didn't think he did, Clay then admitted that he didn't shower. Lainie sat down and asked him if he showered last night and Caly explained why he didn't shower, his parents stared blankly at him, confused. Lainie told him that he needed to talk with him but he excused himself to go meet someone at Monet's. Matt then admitted to Lainie that there could be something going on with Clay.[32] Clay came home late and apologised and explained why for the first time without lying, Clay thought his parents would ground him but Matt told him that they were just thankful he was still alive and Matt hugged him.[33] Lainie came home after she looked for Clay ad suggested that maybe they didn't have a suicidal kid just a kid with a drug problem, Matt told her that he teaches potheads and didn't believe that Clay was one. Lainie told him that Clay is good at hiding things, stating that he said he knew her well and was devastated, Lainie then questioned if he was Hannah's boyfriend at one point. Then questioned if he did something to her, Matt paused and asked what she was implying. Lainie then stated that she was defending a lawsuit brought by parents whose daughter was so damaged that she took her own life, she asked what if Clay was apart of the damage and Matt told her Clay was not capable of anything that bad. Lainie asked how he knew and Matt told her that he just did, Lainie expressed that she needed to give up the case, Matt asked her why she was going to give up the case and Lainie told him it was to protect the family but Matt told her that quitting the case wouldn't protect them.[34]

Matt talks to Clay at breakfast in "Tape 6, Side B".

Clay came down for breakfast and poured himself coffee, Matt asked him if he was still drinking coffee, Clay told him "You're still drinking coffee", Matt told him that he had more hope for his generation. Clay told him that he would probably live longer than Matt, adding that he would only live longer if his parents generation doesn't destroy the planet first. Matt commented that it was already too late for that. Lainie brought up the Baker's trial and Matt interrupted her by asking if they could have one morning where they didn't discuss the trial. Lainie told him that the subpoenas went out today, Clay asked who was getting one aside from him but Lainie told him that she was not a liberty to discuss it. Lainie asked about the hypothetical situation Clay had brought up previously with her and Lainie started to talk to him about legality and Clay questioned if she believed he hurt Hannah, Matt quickly called out Lainie and Lainie told them that she didn't think he was involved. Clay started to talk about legality and worried his parents with the hypothetical situations in which he would be in big legal trouble for, Lainie asked him what he was talking about but Clay returned with the same thing she told him: "I'm sorry Mom, I'm not at liberty to discuss it".[35] After Clay worried his parents when he came home too late with bruises, he came down to have breakfast, Matt questioned whether Clay was giving him the silent treatment and told him it should be him giving Clay the silent treatment and lectured him for disappearing. [36]

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Lainie Jensen[edit | edit source]

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Justin Foley[edit | edit source]

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Appearances[edit | edit source]

Season 1[edit | edit source]

Season 2[edit | edit source]

Season 3[edit | edit source]

Season 4[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • He taught Skye Miller, Clay's ex-girlfriend, how to make hand-made pasta.[37]
  • He seemingly has a passion for cooking, as he's often seen cooking or preparing food.
  • He thinks Lainie's brother is an asshole.[38]
  • He has a PhD in Literature and is the head of an award-winning literature apartment at Sanderson University.[39]
  • He mentioned that he teaches potheads.[40]
  • He taught Clay how to sew.[41]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Matt: "Good morning, pal."
Clay: "Dad, we talked about "pal"."
Matt: "Good morning, honey"
―  Matt jokingly calling Clay "honey"[src]
Look, I hated high school. I couldn't wait to get out. It was hell for me. I was a target more than once. (...) But I survived. And look at me now. I'm a paragon of manhood. With a fucking beautiful family.
— Matt to Clay about his time in high school in "Tape 4, Side A"
Lainie: "It's a horrible story, Matt. She was a beautiful sweet girl, and she's gone. Of course, we're supposed to tear her apart. Go after her reputation, her boyfriends, anything she's ever written or said."
Matt: "So don't do it. Don't go after her. You always said that's why you did law. If it didn't always serve justice, it could serve the truth. Right? So find out the truth."
―  Matt and Lainie about the Baker's lawsuit[src]
Clay: "You can ground me for a month."
Matt: "No groundings. We're just... glad you're alive."
Clay: "Me too, Dad."
―  Clay and Matt after Clay came home late and not responding his calls[src]

Why is it kids don't tell their parents anything, ever? Is it shame? Or fear? It can't be fear of punishment. No one's punished for anything anymore. Are you afraid we won't understand?
— Matt asking Clay why he keeps secrets from them after Clay's testimony in "The Third Polaroid"
Clay. This is our home. All right? This is our family. We've made a bit of a mess. But nothing's broken we can't fix. Everything's broken. And I don't think any of it can be fixed.
— Matt to Clay after he proposed to move and start a new life together[src]

Lainie: "Do the flowers seem like we're trying too hard?"
Matt: "A little. I feel like we're not flower people. Are we flower people? We should just be us."
―  Matt and Lainie preparing for Justin's house visit[src]
Well, our tradition is to go around the table and say what we're thankful for. I'm thankful for having so many people around the table.
— Matt saying what he's thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner[src]

I remember my grandfather dying when I was 14. My first experience of it. And you, you've looked at death too many times for a young person. Your generation, it's... it's not right.
— Matt to Clay when staying with Justin at the hospital[src]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See also: Category:Images of Matt Jensen

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. MacDonald, Allen (writer) & Mulcahy, Russell (director). (June 5, 2020). "College Tour". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 2.
  3. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & McCarthy, Tom (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 1, Side A". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 1. Netflix.
  4. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & McCarthy, Tom (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 1, Side B". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 2. Netflix.
  5. Son, Diana (writer) & Shaver, Helen (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 2, Side A". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 3. Netflix.
  6. Higgins, Thomas (writer) & Shaver, Helen (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 2, Side B". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 4. Netflix.
  7. Bicknell, Julia (writer) & Alvarez, Kyle Patrick (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 3, Side A". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 5. Netflix.
  8. Benjamin, Elizabeth (writer) & Araki, Gregg (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 4, Side A". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 7. Netflix.
  9. Moore, Kirk A. (writer) & Araki, Gregg (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 4, Side B". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 8. Netflix.
  10. Tyler, Hayley (writer) & Franklin, Carl (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 5, Side A". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 9. Netflix.
  11. Benjamin, Elizabeth (writer) & Yu, Jessica (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 6, Side B". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 12. Netflix.
  12. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Alvarez, Kyle Patrick (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 7, Side A". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 13. Netflix.
  13. Higgins, Thomas (writer) & Araki, Gregg (director) (May 18, 2018). "Two Girls Kissing". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 2.
  14. Bicknell, Julia (writer) & Hittman, Eliza (director) (May 18, 2018). "The Smile at the End of the Dock". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 6.
  15. Yorkey, Brian & Moore, Kirk (writers) & Morris, Michael (director) (May 18, 2018). "The Third Polaroid". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 7.
  16. Marye, Felischa (writer) & Morris, Michael (director) (May 18, 2018). "The Little Girl". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 8.
  17. Kumar, Rohit (writer) & Candler, Kat (director). (May 18, 2018). "The Missing Page". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 9.
  18. Tyler, Hayley (writer) & Yu, Jessica (director). (May 18, 2018). "Bye". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 13.
  19. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Morris, Michael (director). (August 23, 2019). "Yeah. I'm the New Girl". 13 Reasons Why. Season 3. Episode 1.
  20. Higgins, Thomas (writer) & Yu, Jessica (director). (August 23, 2019). "Angry, Young and Man". 13 Reasons Why. Season 3. Episode 4.
  21. 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.
  22. Bicknell, Julia (writer) & Dowling, Kevin (director). (August 23, 2019). "There Are a Number of Problems with Clay Jensen". 13 Reasons Why. Season 3. Episode 7.
  23. Marye, Felischa (writer) & Dowling, Kevin (director). (August 23, 2019). "In High School, Even on a Good Day, It's Hard to Tell Who's on Your Side". 13 Reasons Why. Season 3. Episode 8.
  24. Malone, M.K. (writer) & Guerrero, Aurora (director). (August 23, 2019). "Always Waiting for the Next Bad News". 13 Reasons Why. Season 3. Episode 9.
  25. Shang, Helen (writer) & Dowling, Kevin (director). (August 23, 2019). "There Are a Few Things I Haven't Told You". 13 Reasons Why. Season 3. Episode 11.
  26. MacDonald, Allen, Malone, M.K., Higgins, Thomas, Tyler, Hayley, Smith, Trevor Marti (writers) & Dowling, Kevin (director). (August 23, 2019). "And Then the Hurricane Hit". 13 Reasons Why. Season 3. Episode 12.
  27. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Kretchmer, John T. (director). (August 23, 2019). "Let the Dead Bury the Dead". 13 Reasons Why. Season 3. Episode 13.
  28. Higgins, Thomas (writer) & Araki, Gregg (director) (May 18, 2018). "Two Girls Kissing". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 2.
  29. Higgins, Thomas (writer) & Shaver, Helen (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 2, Side B". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 4. Netflix.
  30. Benjamin, Elizabeth (writer) & Araki, Gregg (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 4, Side A". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 7. Netflix.
  31. Tyler, Hayley (writer) & Franklin, Carl (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 5, Side A". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 9. Netflix.
  32. Bicknell, Julia (writer) & Dowling, Kevin (director). (August 23, 2019). "There Are a Number of Problems with Clay Jensen". 13 Reasons Why. Season 3. Episode 7.
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