13 Reasons Why Wiki
13 Reasons Why Wiki
This article is about the Netflix Series character. You may be looking for the book character.

I keep to myself mostly. I don't always tell people things. I'm not good with... like, drama. I learned pretty early on not to rock the boat. To stay in my lane. I try not to be a bully. I try not to be a victim. It's a tough line to walk.
— Zach in court, during the trial, in "The Smile at the End of the Dock"

Zachary "Zach" Shan-Yung Dempsey is a main character in Netflix's 13 Reasons Why. He is portrayed by Ross Butler.

Zach is the son of Karen Dempsey and George Dempsey, the brother of May Dempsey and the ex-boyfriend of Hannah Baker. He is the subject of the seventh tape on Hannah's list of reasons of why she killed herself.

Early Life

Zach lost his dad in the summer of 2017; he implied to having felt depressed and/or suicidal after his father's death.[1]

Throughout the Series

Season 1

Zach is Justin’s good friend. Zach and Justin were walking together on Hannah’s lawn when she first saw Justin. Feeling sorry for Hannah after Marcus tried to use her, Zach tried to comfort her, but she ignored him. The next day, Zach said that he wished he had gotten matched with Hannah for the Dollar Valentine survey. Not believing him, Hannah yelled at him until he finally left. Zach's friends teased him for trying to talk to Hannah, but it is implied that his intentions were pure and he really liked Hannah.

After being humiliated by Hannah, Zach got revenge on her by stealing and throwing away all of Hannah’s notes in the Brown Paper Bag Program, notes that she desperately needed to gain comfort and confidence.

Hannah figured out that Zach was the one who took her notes, so she wrote him a note in order to confront him. In her tapes, she claimed that he read her note and threw it on the ground, however, it is revealed that Zach still keeps the note in his wallet.[2]

When the group learns about their subpoena's Zach is one of the only ones who wants to tell the truth about Hannah. In his deposition, he tells the truth about her and admits he hurt her. Later, Zach is playing basketball and gets a text from Alex saying please call. You can see Zach sent him multiple texts but no reply. He calls and Alex's dad picks up. It is implied he tells him Alex shot himself in the head.

Season 2

Zach helped Alex by carrying his book bag and also helped him with his PT. He tried to distance himself from Bryce but still has to see him because they play baseball together. [3] He was the 6th person to testify in Hannah's trial. He revealed that during the summer before she committed suicide they'd spent a lot of time together. He told the court that he and Hannah had a summer romance and had taken each other's virginities, but ended it after Zach was too scared to bring their relationship public which made Hannah believe he was ashamed or embarrassed of their relationship.[4]

After his testimony, Zach has an emotional breakdown. When he goes back to school he opens his gym locker to see bloody underwear saying Hannah which was arranged by Bryce and Monty. This makes Zach mad and he pushes Bryce. When he is walking to his car in the parking lot Clay starts screaming at him because of his relationship with Hannah. Zach apologises and gets into his car upset. When he's at home he reveals to his mom that he felt depressed or suicidal like Hannah after his dad died. His mom shuts him down and tells him he's fine making him cry and he gets up and leaves. He is then sitting alone crying in the locker room and then gets up and hits a locker with a baseball bat.

We learn that he is the one who had been giving Clay the Polaroids. Clay asked him why he didn't just come and talk to him about what was going on in the Clubhouse. Zach told him that it's because he's a coward.[5]

After the lawsuit against the school was dismissed and Bryce Walker was granted probation rather than a jail sentence, Zach was in attendance of Hannah Baker’s funeral as well as her wake. He later attended the prom with Clay, Justin, Alex, Jessica, Tony, Ryan, Courtney, as they all join in a group slow dance to the song Hannah and Clay danced to together the previous year at junior prom as a way to quietly mourn for their friend.

Season 3

During the homecoming game, Zach's knee is busted by Bryce Walker, meaning that he can never play football again and ruining Zach's dreams. As a result, he brutally beats Bryce before his murder, but doesn't kill him.[6]

When Clay and Ani learn Zach lied about Bryce breaking his knee they suspect he had a motive to kill Bryce. They learn about Chloe's pregnancy and how Zach helped her through it and took her to get an abortion. Zach was very sweet and supportive to Chloe probably trying to make up what happened with Hannah.

When the newspaper reveals Bryce was shot and the group learns Tyler still has a gun Zach is the first one to say they should go to the cops. It's revealed that Zach told Tyler that Bryce saw what happened at spring fling which gives Tyler a motive. In the present, the news reports that Bryce wasn't shot but was beat. This makes Zach think he killed Bryce and he suspiciously gets up and leaves.

After Clay is arrested for Bryce's murder Zach feels bad. He confesses to Alex that he killed Bryce and needs to go to the cops because he can't let Clay go to jail. Alex doesn't seem to believe him but doesn't stop him. Zach confesses to the cops that he beat up Bryce and left him on the pier to get revenge for Bryce breaking his knee. Deputy Standall tells him he couldn't have killed Bryce because he died by drowning. Since there's no way to tell whether Bryce's injuries came from the football game, the fight or the rocks in the river Zach does not get charged for assault and battery.

He is later brought in by Ani Achola as part of the group protecting Clay Jensen and Alex Standall the latter of whom had killed Bryce shortly after Zach's beating of him and explains to Alex what they did to protect him. At Tyler Down's photo exhibit, Zach apologizes for any pain and bullying he caused him over the years.[7]

Season 4

A month after the events of season 3, Clay, Jessica, Ani, Zach, Alex, Tyler, Tony, and Charlie gathered for the first time since Bryce's murder case to welcome Justin home from rehab. Zach’s now been drinking heavily, showing up to the party drunk. After the party, the mood shifted as they discussed the guns upon Tyler’s leave. Doubt spread over the group, the question being, could they trust Tyler?

At Future Fair, Liberty students gathered to check out the club and institution representatives. Zach approached Mr. Davis about a chance to join the military after high school. He recommended that he join the service academies, as it's a waste to skip education and enlist straight after high school.

As Alex grew close to Zach Dempsey, following his suicide attempt and rehabilitation, trying to understand why his best friend had begun acting so reckless and weird lately, Alex agreed to walk on the ledge of building rooftops with him. When Alex almost fell from the roof, Zach caught him and while laughing, Alex took the chance and kissed him. Zach immediately rejected Alex, explaining he was not into guys. After a little bit of awkwardness, Zach swore to Alex that he would always stay by his side, and their friendship grew even stronger.[8]

Zach and Clay ditch the college tour together and enter a frat party. They get drunk together and when Clay freaks out they get in a fight with the college students. The college students call security on them and they're sent to Sanderson University police.

Zach goes to meet Chloe after standing her up twice. She asks him what's wrong and why he's constantly drinking, saying this isn't the way he is. He breaks down and wants to tell her he feels guilty about what he did to Bryce and he's worried about his future since he can't play football, but he only says shits fucked up and there's no fixing this.[9]

At the Find Your Drink Party Zach plays the piano with Clay and they sing Tiny Dancer. Zach gives Clay advice on how to get laid and says if he does, he can drive his Audi. Zach then sees Chloe and she thanks him for helping her get to where she is. Zach kisses Chloe but she tells him she has a boyfriend. This upsets Zach.

After the party Zach lets Clay drive his Audi. Clay starts speeding up, despite Zach telling him to slow down he loses control and drives the car off a bridge.[10] Clay later apologizes claiming he doesn't remember anything. Zach is mad at him for leaving him there to die and tells Clay to stay out of his life.

During the school shooter drill, Zach is locked in a room with Winston. Winston gives him weed gummies hoping he'll give information on who killed Bryce. Zach confesses that he beat up Bryce the night he died and even though he didn't kill him he still feels like shit because Bryce wouldn't be dead if it wasn't for him. After the lockdown is lifted Winston confronts Zach and says if he knows for a fact he didn't kill Bryce then he must know who did.[11]

Winston tells Diego what Zach told him during the lockdown and Diego asks to meet Zach later so he can cleanse his soul about who killed Bryce. When Diego, Winston and the football team show up to hear him out he says fuck you and he hauled them out to be a tough guy. Diego asks who killed Bryce and Zach lies saying it was him all along, Diego knows he's lying and beats him up while he yells at him to hit him harder. Diego and the jocks leave Zach alone on the ground bleeding.[12]

During the riot, Zach and Alex run around the school destroying it and smash things in Dean Foundry's office. Zach sees his file and finds a letter and takes it out. When the police find them Zach tells Alex to leave out the back way while he takes the fall alone.[13]

When Justin is in the hospital, Zach waits outside crying saying he can't go in after watching his dad die in that hospital. Charlie tells him he needs to see Justin but Zach says he can't. Later Alex confronts him and asks him to remember the night on the rooftop. Alex says when Zach pulled him back from the ledge he needed it and didn't know it and now Zach needs it. This convinces Zach to go see Justin.

Zach sees coach Kerba and says thank you for the letter. Coach Kerba heard Zach isn't going to college so he offers him a job as a football coach for next year. Zach reads the letter from him out loud and this inspires him to get his life back on track.

Zach gives a speech at Justin's funeral talking about their friendship and who Justin was on the field. He says pain is the feeling of weakness leaving the body and it should push everyone to do better.

During the graduation ceremony, Zach along with his friends all sit there listening to Clay and Jessica give heartfelt speeches. Zach starts crying hearing Clay's speech about surviving high school. After the ceremony, he is hanging out with Chloe and Scott and he reveals he got into music school off an audition to study guitar and voice.

After graduation, Zach along with Clay, Tony, Ani, Jessica, Alex, Charlie, Tyler, Courtney and Ryan all bury Hannah's tapes and realize everything that they went through caused them to become such good friends.[14]

Zach's Mistake (Reason #7)

Hannah's Reasons Navigation
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"Marcus Cole #6"
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"Ryan Shaver #8"

Zach is Hannah's seventh reason for why she committed suicide.

After being humiliated by Marcus on their Valentine's Date, Zach reached out to Hannah and tried to cheer her up. Hannah was actually appreciative of this. However, when Zach tried reaching out to her again at lunch and revealed that he wanted to be her Valentine's date, he unintentionally insulted Hannah and as such she insulted and rejected him in front of his friends. Out of revenge, Zach began stealing the positive notes from Hannah's compliment bag in their English class, notes she enjoyed getting. Hannah discovered it was Zach that was the thief and wrote him a note, however after reading the note he did not apologize and Hannah believed he just threw out the note (though he actually kept it). Hannah wrote another note which was read in front of the whole class though Zach still did nothing to help Hannah and let Skye take the fall for apparently writing the note.


Zach, you're just an entitled idiot who does cruel, stupid things even though you probably have a decent heart.
— Alex describing Zach[src]

Zach is shown to be a kind-hearted person and a good friend to those around him though he is also extremely cruel and uncaring to a degree. Like the other jocks at Liberty High he is somewhat shown to be a bully and disrespectful towards girls as he himself admits during his deposition that he said insulting things about Hannah. He is physically aggressive to as he threatened Tyler he would break his arm if he didn't leave him and the others on the tapes alone at lunch and is shown to have a temper as seen after Hannah rejected him and his help. Zach is also inconsiderate of how his actions effect others.

In spite of the other jocks, Zach appears to shown concern for the feelings of others as he tried to cheer Hannah up after Marcus humiliated her on their valentine's date though he himself insulted her while trying to tell her she was the valentine he himself hoped for and as result led him to cruelly torturing Hannah by stealing the positive notes that she strongly desired getting which ultimately broke her spirit. Zach is shown to be selfish like a majority of the others on Hannah's list and is willing to keep the tapes a secret to protect himself and even claims that Hannah was too much to deal with and that she screwed up her own life and even though he was well aware that Hannah was calling out for help after stealing her notes for weeks, he did nothing to help her. He is shown to be in agreement with the plans to keep Clay from ratting them all out to and participated in intimidating him along with Alex and Justin. However he is also one of the few people who is civil to Clay as after the latter took revenge against him after hearing his tape, he only forgave him and admitted the truth.

In spite of this Zach is not completely heartless and Alex even once says to him that he is simply an entitled idiot who does cruel stupid things while on the inside has a decent heart. He even kept the note that Hannah personally wrote to him (despite her belief that he threw it out) and during his deposition admits that Hannah was indeed bullied at school and that he took part in it as well, possibly showing he is willing to admit the truth.

Throughout the show, Zach changes into a very nice guy. He helps Alex with his books and physical therapy after he shot himself in the head. It is also revealed that he apologised to Hannah for stealing her notes and she forgave him. He breaks away from the other jocks when he walks off the field during a baseball game and gives Clay and Justin the box of polaroids. By season 3, Zach is an overall nice guy. He supported Chloe through her pregnancy when she had nobody else and formed a very close friendship with her. When all the other jocks bother Justin about his relationship with Jessica, Zach supports him saying if he loves her not to listen to anybody else and just take care of her. When Alex kisses him even though he doesn't feel the same he still supports Alex saying he cares about him always, no matter what.

Zach struggles with guilt a lot throughout the series. In season 2 after his testimony, he breaks down alone in the locker room feeling bad about Hannah. When he thought he killed Bryce he went to the cops right away because he wouldn't let Clay take the fall for it. During the school shooter drill, he admits he beat up Bryce and even though he didn't kill him he still feels like shit. He tells Winston to tell Mrs Walker he's sorry if he dies.

Zach is a pretty private person and doesn't usually tell people things. He tries not to get involved in drama and tries not to rock the boat. He reveals this in his testimony, this is likely because his mom constantly shuts down his feelings so he struggles to open up. You can see this again in season 4 when he breaks down in front of Chloe. He wants to tell her what's wrong but doesn't because other times he tried to open up he was shut down.

Physical Appearance

Zach is a tall and athletic Asian-American with short-cut dark hair and dark eyes. He is typically seen in sporty wear like varsity jackets, jeans, sneakers, and snapbacks. He is also often found in his basketball uniform.


Hannah Baker

Hannah was Zach's ex-girlfriend.

Hannah first saw Zach at Kat’s party. Kat told Hannah that she could date Zach, but Hannah wasn’t interested and had eyes for Justin instead.


Zach trying to cheer Hannah up in "Tape 4, Side A".

Zach was seen bullying Hannah, along with Marcus, after she was listed “best ass” on The List. When Hannah confronted Alex for putting her on the list in the boys’ locker room, Zach told her that she can’t be in there. Hannah then called him out for staring at her ass all day.

After communication class, Zach and Hannah were both checking their compliment bags. They talked about the compliments they got; Zach said he got nothing and it’s kind of soul-crushing. Hannah wondered if he really needs compliments, as he’s a popular athlete.

After Marcus used and attempted to assault Hannah on Valentine’s Day, Zach tried to cheer her up. He apologized for Marcus and tried to show her a spoon trick, but Hannah ignored him. He then told her to take it easy and that she’ll feel better the next day and left. On the tapes, Hannah described Zach as being sweet and kind that night.

The next day, he told her that he wished they had been on each other Dollar Valentine's list and said that he likes her for so much more than what other guys like her for. Hannah didn't believe him and thought he also wanted to use her. She got offended and yelled at him to leave her alone after asking him to do so twice. Zach told her that she some of the bad things that happened to her is her own fault and he was just trying to be nice and told her "fuck you".


Zach and Hannah in "Tape 4, Side A".

Zach started to steal notes with compliments that Hannah got. Hannah found out and wrote him a letter in which she opened up about how lonely she felt and that the compliments meant something to her.  She hoped he’d understand her once reading it, but didn’t get a reaction and thought he threw it away. However, it’s later revealed by Zach that he kept the letter and didn’t know what to do because of the heavy subject. Hannah ran after him and loudly asked him “why me?”, drawing attention to them. Zach walked away.

Zach and Marcus were seen laughing at Hannah’s personal poem that Ryan published in a school magazine.

After Hannah’s death, Zach wanted to keep the tapes a secret, along with most tape secrets. However, when the tape subjects were called for deposition, Zach said that he didn’t know her well and admitted that he had said some unkind things about her.

Zach was called to testify about Hannah in the trial between the school and the Bakers. Here, Zach confirmed that he didn’t tell anyone about Hannah’s letter, the reason being that he didn’t know how to. The school’s lawyer, Sonya, started asking Zach about him having been in contact with Hannah over Summer.


Zach and Hannah in "The Smile at the End of the Dock".

Flashbacks revealed that the Summer before Hannah died, Zach had frequently gone to the movie theatre just to see Hannah. One visit, Zach apologized for the things he said to her and for stealing her notes. Hannah thanked him for apologizing but also told him that he’s an asshole.

After seeing a movie at the theatre, Zach asked Hannah if she’d like to see a movie at her house. Hannah agreed to it. When watching the movie, Hannah’s mom came to the room, so Zach hid while Hannah pretended to sleep, both trying in to hold their laughter.

In present time, Zach admitted to not telling anyone about him and Hannah. Sonya started asking about the hundreds of texts that they sent each other, after which Zach admitted that he and Hannah were more than friends.

Flashbacks revealed that after Zach’s dad died, Hannah reached out to Zach and comforted him. To Zach, Hannah was someone he could talk to and had things in common with. They started hanging out frequently. Hannah revealed to Zach that she’s never had a boyfriend and asked what Zach had done. Zach and Hannah revealed that they’re both virgins. They kissed. Hannah told Zach that she likes him and wants to lose her virginity to him.


Hannah and Zach kissing in "The Smile at the End of the Dock".

In Hannah’s room, Zach and Hannah were about to have sex. When undressing, Hannah revealed that she hates her body; Zach told her that he thinks it’s perfect. After doing it for the first time, they agreed to try it again. They starting hooking up all Summer and hung out all the time. They’d go on dates, hang out at the pier, hold hands and hang out at the movie theatre. Near the end of Summer, Zach revealed to Hannah that he doesn’t want his friends to know about them. As he was going to the theatre with his friends and Monty started bullying Hannah, Zach didn’t stand up for her. After his friends left, Zach apologized and asked if he could make it up, but Hannah proposed to end their relationship.

Bryce Walker

Zach was Bryce's former best friend. They considered each other brothers, but grew apart during the second season. In the third season, Bryce broke Zach's knee for "stealing" Chlöe and Zach beat Bryce up for ruining his future.


Zach and Bryce dressed up for the Halloween contest in "Tape 2, Side B".

In the first season, Zach is often seen hanging around Bryce or at his pool house. Zach often stood by or helped Bryce when he was harassing other students, such as when he held Justin back so Bryce could spread around Hannah’s picture or when they pressured Clay and Alex into having a drinking contest. They participated in the school’s Halloween contest together with Alex[15].

When Justin revealed the truth about Jessica being raped and tried to attack Bryce, Zach held him back. The next day, when Zach is accused of defending Bryce, Zach claimed that he isn’t and just didn't want everything to blow up.


Bryce and Zach at the baseball field in "The First Polaroid".

When the trial between the Bakers and the school started, the Walkers offered Zach to use Bryce’s lawyer when he has to testify. Zach later asked Bryce about this. Bryce told him that it’s because he’s looking out for him and they’re in this together.

During baseball practice, Zach and Bryce got into an minor argument. Zach informed Bryce that he knows he got called to testify and wanted to know why he didn’t tell him. Bryce explained that he didn’t want Zach’s new friend, Alex, to know. Zach told him that they don’t talk about that kind of stuff and won’t tell anyone because he got his back.[16]

When Zach was struggling with school, Bryce gave Zach the answers of a midterm test he was going to have next day. Zach thanked him and Bryce said that he always got his back.[17]


Bryce and Zach in "Two Girls Kissing".

After Zach’s testimony about his sexual relationship with Hannah, Bryce and Monty put up a red-stained underwear inside his locker. They laughed at him and Bryce asked why he wouldn’t even tell his best friend about losing his virginity. Bryce got angry and started to fight Bryce, but Coach Rick broke it up.

As Bryce, Zach, Monty and Scott were walking the school’s hallways, Bryce asked Zach if he was coming to his party that day and Zach unconvincingly said he was. They suddenly heard someone playing Bryce’s confession tape; Bryce asked Zach how this could happen. Zach explained that someone had anonymously leaked the tapes. At the opening of a new sports field funded by the Walkers, many news vans arrive because of the leaking of the tapes which made Zach want to leave. His mom told him to stay to stand by Bryce, but Zach left anyway.


Zach informing Bryce about the leaked tapes in "The Little Girl".

Zach and Bryce got into an argument in the middle of a baseball game. Zach pointed out that they both know Hannah didn’t lie on her tapes and said he “can’t do it anymore” before walking off the field.[18]

Near the end of the season, Zach and Bryce met in the boys' locker room. Zach informed him that he doesn’t have to clean up his locker until the end of the year, but Bryce revealed that he was transferring to Hillcrest and they’ll see each other on the football field next year. Zach asked about Chlöe, Bryce’s girlfriend, and Bryce told him that loyalty is a thing she has, referring to Zach not being loyal to him. Bryce then said “Take care of yourself, Zachy” before leaving the room.

Shortly after Bryce’s transfer, Bryce saw Zach’s car at a gas station and stopped to say hi. They talked about Hillcrest and the football team. Zach told Bryce that he’s going to do things better than him as a team captain. Bryce told Zach that he’s soft for it and his mom is the “only one with an actual dick in the family”. Zach told him to leave, but Bryce asked if he wanted to fight. They had a short stare off until Zach said that it’s not worth it. As Bryce left, he told Zach that he’s “fucking over the team” while he was still “fucking his head cheerleader”, referring to Chlöe.


Zach and Bryce talking in "If You're Breathing, You're a Liar".

Zach supported Chlöe when she was pregnant with Bryce and wanted an abortion. After Chlöe announced that she’s going to break up with Bryce, Zach asked if she wanted to hang out during Summer.

Before the Homecoming Football Game, Bryce witnessed Chlöe and Zach hugging. He went to talk with Chlöe, and she informed him that she had an abortion and that Zach helped her through it. This infuriated Bryce, as he believed Zach stole his girlfriend from him.

During the game, Bryce accused Zach of cheating, which Zach denied. He then told Zach that he’ll get revenge on him for stealing his girlfriend. As the game continued, he tackled Zach. Zach called him an asshole and said he didn’t steal Chlöe, he had supported her, unlike Bryce ever did. They started to fight but were stopped by the referee and their teammates. At the start of the second half, H.O. started a protest during the game which led to a huge fight. As Zach was fighting another Hillcrest player, Bryce saw his chance and charged at Zach, breaking his knee. By doing this, he ruined Zach’s future in sports.


Bryce about to charge at Zach in "And Then the Hurricane Hit".

After the game ended, Zach waited for the Hillcrest bus and followed Bryce to the pier, who was waiting there for Jessica. Bryce was surprised to see him there and asked what happened to his knee. Zach punched him, said “I’m gonna kill you” and going to hell. Bryce said that he’ll see him there. Zach’s anger only grew and he kicked and punched him multiple times to the point Bryce had blood coming out of his mouth and couldn’t get up. They accused each other of taking away their future. As Zach walked away, Bryce asked if he had sex with Chlöe and told him "She didn't fuck you 'cause you're a pussy-ass bitch!" Zach stomped twice on Bryce’s knee, threw Bryce’s phone into the water and left.

Alex and Jessica found Bryce and asked what had happened, so Bryce replied that Zach did it. After giving Jessica a tape, Bryce asked them for help so Alex went back and helped him up. As Alex was helping him, Bryce threatened break Zach’s other leg and destroy him. Alex pushed him into the water and Bryce drowned as he couldn’t swim due to the injuries caused by Zach.


Zach confronting Bryce at the pier in "And Then the Hurricane Hit".

After Bryce went missing, Zach went to the pier and called Bryce, asking where he is. At this point, Zach didn’t know what had happened after he left the pier. He also didn’t tell anyone about what he did.

Ani and Clay questioned Zach about getting his knee broken by Bryce. Zach had lied about who did it and now pretended to not know that it was Bryce. He mentioned that he had been fighting with Bryce his whole life, ever since Pop Warner, a youth football program, in fifth grade. He said he worked hard to put Bryce in the past and doesn’t want people to know Bryce was the one to break his knee, as it would seem like Bryce won.

At Bryce’s funeral, Zach got to give a speech as he’s the football team captain. He said that Bryce was loyal and strong, which he aspired to be in a way. He mentioned not always agreeing with Bryce and what he did, but wants to believe that you’re more than a sum of your actions. He ended the speech by saying that he’s his brothers keeper and apologized to Bryce.[19]


Zach speaking at Bryce's funeral in "You Can Tell the Heart of a Man by How He Grieves".

After Clay got arrested for Bryce’s murder, Zach felt guilty as he believed Bryce died because of the injuries that he caused. He reported himself at the sheriff’s station and explained what happened between him and Bryce. However, the police revealed that Zach wasn’t the one to kill Bryce as Bryce had died of drowning. He also didn’t get in trouble because they can’t proof whether Bryce’s injuries were from the football fight or from Zach beating him.

At the end of the season, Zach agreed with framing Monty for Bryce’s murder to protect Clay and Alex.

In the fourth season, Zach started drinking heavily which was presumably because of his guilt for what he did to Bryce. He told Winston that he feels bad as Bryce might not have died if it wasn’t for him. He also asked Winston to tell Mrs. Walker that he’s sorry if he dies during what they believed was a school shooting.[20]

Zach agreed to tell Winston and Diego who actually killed Bryce and met them at the pier. He was drunk and told them that it was him all along. Diego, knowing Zach was lying, started beating him. Zach hallucinated himself in the place of Diego, so it was similar to what Bryce must’ve seen when Zach beat him up.[21]

At prom, Zach told Alex and Jessica that Bryce ruined all three of their lives and that even though he didn’t deserve to die, they deserve to live.[22]

Alex Standall

Alex is Zach's close friend. They became close throughout the second season when Zach helped Alex with the aftermath of his suicide attempt. They've shown to care a lot about each other. Alex once kissed Zach, but was rejected as Zach has no interest in guys.

A few months after moving to town and attending Liberty High, Alex befriended Zach. Alex later told Clay that his friendship with Zach is the reason he was hanging around the other guys and he can’t stop hanging out with them because it would be suspicious.

Throughout the season, Alex is often seen hanging around Zach and the other guys. Alex, Zach and Bryce participated in the school’s Halloween contest together as “Muff Divers”. At some point, Alex and Justin started fighting over the tapes and Zach ran over to separate them.


Alex, Zach and Bryce dressed up for Halloween in "Tape 2, Side B".

Before school, Alex, Zach, Marcus and Courtney talk about Clay’s suspension. When Ryan called Bryce a rapist and Zach told him to stop using that word, Alex asked Zach what other word he would use. Zach says that if the tapes come out, they’ll all suffer consequences, but Bryce probably wouldn’t go to prison. Alex then said that maybe they should find out what happens; Zach disagreed.

Alex, Zach, Ryan, Courtney, Tyler and Marcus met up at Monet’s to discuss what to do regarding the tapes. During the conversation, Zach agreed with Alex on telling the truth first. However, when the talked about protecting themselves and Alex said he was good to tell the truth, Zach disagreed. Alex accused Zach of protecting Bryce, which he denied. Further into the conversation, Alex described Zach as an entitled idiot who does cruel, stupid things but probably has a decent heart.

The day of Alex’ suicide attempt, Zach had been texting Alex all day. He asked him about his plans, the depositions and sent multiple texts asking him to call him. He finally got a text from Alex’s number, which told him to call. A man, presumably Alex’ dad answers the phone.

After Alex’s suicide attempt, Zach and Alex stayed friends and Zach starting helping him with P.T.


Alex and Zach in "The First Polaroid".

When Alex and Jessica returned to school for the first time in months, Zach ran up to them to say hi and to carry Alex’s backpack. Alex protested a bit but still let Zach carry it. Alex tried to ask Zach and Jessica about his suicide note, but Zach warned him that they are not allowed to talk about suicide anymore. When Zach saw Bryce, Scott and Monty walking up to them, Zach tried to leave quickly with Alex so the guys wouldn’t see them together. After the guys welcomed Alex back and left, Zach asked him if he’s okay. In class, Zach updated Alex on the rumors that Bryce spread about Jessica and suggested to lay low now that they’re back.

Alex was embarrassed by his dad bringing and picking him up from school, so he called Zach to ask for a ride. When getting called, Zach lied to his mom about it being Bryce who called, not wanting her to know that he’s friends with Alex.

The next day, Zach drove Alex to school. He helped Alex get out of the car and carried his bags. When seeing Bryce, Zach proposed to take the side entrance. Alex refused as it’s way further, so Zach offered to carry him. Alex didn’t allow him to as he thought it’d be embarrassing.


Zach and Alex in "Two Girls Kissing".

Zach and Alex went to the swimming pool for the PT session, where Alex used an underwater bike. When Alex was getting angry because he felt like he isn’t getting better, Zach tried to reassure him that he will get better. Alex started attacking Zach, saying that he doesn’t know what he’s going through and to hang out with his ‘rapist friends’. Zach got out of the pool and told Alex that, even though he doesn’t know what he’s going through, he knows what it’s like to feel like things are never gonna get better as he lost his dad last Summer. Alex apologized and asked Zach to help him out of the pool.

When Zach was sitting with Bryce and Monty during lunchtime, they teased him about Alex. They asked him if Alex needs his diaper changed and acted like Zach has a crush on him. Zach told them to shut up and said that he doesn’t even like Alex. As Alex watched, he began to wonder if Zach had been threatening the tape subjects because he’s still hanging around Bryce.

Zach confronted Bryce about not telling him about having to testify, to which Bryce told Zach that he didn’t want his ‘new best friend’ Alex to know. Zach told him that he and Alex aren’t like that and don’t talk about stuff that matters.


Zach helping Alex get to class in "The Second Polaroid".

Alex was having lunch when Zach sat at his table. Alex asked him if he doesn’t want to hang out with his jock friends, but Zach says he’d rather hang out with him. When Alex spilled orange juice and shortly remembered something from the night of Bryce’s party, Zach asked if he’s okay.

Zach helped Alex walk to class, carrying his backpack and helping him sit down. Jess asked them to ditch with her; Zach refused but agreed to lend Alex and Jessica his car. He didn’t allow Alex to drive.

Alex and Zach had another PT session in the swimming pool. They talked about Justin being back and about Alex’ kiss with Jessica. Alex told Zach about how he didn’t feel anything when they kissed; Zach reassured him that he will with the right girl.

Alex didn’t come to the swimming pool when he and Zach had another PT session. Zach found him in the locker room. Alex was upset as he felt like he’s broken forever and wanted to leave. As he was stumbling while trying to walk, Zach went to support him. This angered Alex even more; he started to fight Zach. Suddenly, Alex stopped as he realized he got a hard-on, which he hadn't managed to get since his suicide attempt. Zach awkwardly suggested that it was caused by the psychical contact.


Zach and Alex in the locker room in "The Smile at the End of the Dock".

For Alex’ birthday, Zach, Jessica and Clay made a happy birthday banner and put it up in the school’s hallway. Alex appreciated it, but the moment got ruined by Bryce and Scott who started teasing Alex. Alex yelled at Bryce, after which Zach told him that he shouldn’t do that. Alex called Zach out for choosing Bryce’s side and defending him by still hanging around him.

Zach attended Alex’ birthday party. When Tyler arrived, he and Jessica told him to leave as they think of him as a creep. Alex was upset with them for this. During the party, Zach received a call from his mom, asking him to come home. Zach lied to her about his whereabouts, which upset Alex. He asked Zach if lying is better than admitting that they’re friends. Zach left the party.

At night, Alex texted Zach that someone gave him a gun and he figured it out. Zach read them when he woke up and rushed over to his house, thinking he was considering shooting himself again. Alex was woken up by Zach and his mom and completely fine; he explained that he stopped texting because he got tired. Zach explained his worry, recalling what happened the last time he didn't respond to his texts.

Alex told Zach that he found out Monty is the one behind the threats the testifiers received, so they started looking for him. When Alex explained that he told the secretary that Monty was supposed to help him with PT to find out about his whereabouts, Zach replied that he helps with that. Alex told him that it was clearly a lie. They confronted Monty along with the other guys. When Alex agreed to come along with Monty to get the Polaroids, Zach didn’t like the idea.


Zach and Alex dancing in Alex' room in "Bye".

Alex and Zach played video games together the night before the Spring Fling dance. Alex told Zach that beat off multiple times that day, to which Zach told him that he didn’t need to know that. Alex told Zach that he thought he’d be happy for him, which Zach then confirmed. Alex then began to worry about dancing with Jessica the next day, afraid to fall over. Zach offered to help him learn how to dance with his handicap, so they danced in the room together.

In the third season, Zach helped Alex with lifting weights at the gym, as he wanted to get more muscular after Jessica left him for Justin. When Zach shortly left to get something, Luke told Alex that he knows a way to get started and to meet up later without telling Zach.


Zach and Alex in "Yeah. I'm the New Girl".

After a fight broke out at the Homecoming football game and Bryce broke Zach’s knee, Zach beat him up at the Navy Pier and left. Alex and Jessica found Bryce shortly after, and Bryce begged them for help. Alex agreed, but as he was helping Bryce up, Bryce starting threatening Zach. This angered Alex, so he told Bryce that he hurt everyone he ever loved, and pushed him into the water. Bryce drowned and Alex and Jessica didn’t tell anyone about it.

When Alex and Zach walked out of school, Alex offered Zach to carry his bag as he was on crutches and called it ironic, as the roles were now turned around. They then talked about how Alex’ relationship with Jessica changed and about their injuries from the Homecoming fight.

Alex and Zach studied together at the school library. They talked about the police looking at Clay regarding Bryce’s murder and Zach asked to work out together later that day. Alex refused as he now works out at the boxing gym. Zach was seemingly saddened by this.


Zach telling Alex that he killed Bryce in "And Then the Hurricane Hit".

Zach asked Alex to come over to the gym during class because he wanted to talk to him alone. He then tearfully told Alex that he killed Bryce and was going to the police because otherwise Clay will go to jail. Alex told to not say that and to let it play out, he and Clay will both get off. He also told that after what Bryce did to him, it wouldn’t be justice for him to go to jail.

After the group of friends found out that Alex killed Bryce, they covered it up and framed Monty for it as he was already deceased. Zach and Alex talked about it at the Outhouse. Zach also asked Alex about asking Tyler for a gun. Alex admitted that he wrote a confession, implying that he wanted to kill himself, shocking Zach. Alex apologized for not being able to tell him, to which Zach said that they should be the kind of friends who can tell each other anything.


Alex kissing Zach in "Winter Break".

As Zach and Alex left the school building, they talked about Clay’s fight with Diego and what he’s dealing with. Alex asked Zach what he’s dealing with as he doesn’t seem bothered by anything, but Zach said there’s nothing. Alex reminded him that they’d be the kind of friends who tell each other stuff and it matters to him.

Zach invited Alex to go do something, so they walked on the ledge of a rooftop together. Alex nearly fell, but Zach caught him. As they were standing on the roof, Alex kissed Zach. He immediately apologized. Zach explained to Alex that he’s not into guys but does care about him, no matter what. Alex wanted to leave, but Zach told him to stay as they’d hang out.

Before entering the bus to Sanderson University for a college tour, Zach and Alex discussed ditching the tour and go to the river. Alex didn’t think it was a good idea.

During the Senior Camping Trip, Alex and Zach went with a boat on the lake together after ditching the treasure hunt. They talked about being unhappy and Zach advised to be okay with being unhappy and to “fuck it all”. They drank on it. Suddenly, Alex fell overboard into the lake. Zach jumped in and pulled Alex out onto the shore.


Zach saving Alex from drowning in "Senior Camping Trip".

Zach approached Alex at school and asked him if he could stay over the next night. Alex told him that he wasn’t going to kiss him again, if that’s what he hoped for; Zach appreciated that they could joke about it. He then revealed that he needs a cover story for his mom when he goes to the Find Your Drink Party and a place to sleep it off. Zach told Alex that he’ll pick him up, and pointed out that it’s “hot” and that they can have “hot banter”. Alex questioned why they were even friends, to which Zach replied that he’s handsome, charming and saved him from drowning.

During a shooting drill at school, Zach and Winston hid in the photography room together. They talked about Alex; Winston asked Zach if he’s in love with him. Zach denied being in love, but said that he loves him as he’s a good person who never judges him. As their conversation continued, Winston realized that Zach must know who killed Bryce. Zach agreed to tell him and Diego at the pier, but when the time came, he didn’t tell them besides getting beaten by Diego for it.


Zach and alex at the Love is Love dance in "Valentine's Day"

When Clay and Jessica started a walkout to protest against the SRO’s, Zach felt like it wouldn’t accomplish anything and convinced Alex to protest their own way. They slammed the glasses of the school, breaking into the principal’s office. When Zach pointed out that it won’t be a problem if they get busted because his life is already ruined, Alex told him it’s not because football is the least thing about him. While they were destroying the office, the police arrived. Zach told Alex to get out and find Charlie.

During prom, Zach, Alex and Jessica talked about their involvement in Bryce’s murder. Alex felt like Bryce should’ve been alive, attending prom, but Zach told them that, even though Bryce didn’t deserve to die, they deserve to live. Later at prom, Alex and Charlie walked in on Zach trying to hook up with a drunk escort. They helped the woman and called Zach out for trying to hook up with someone who’s barely conscious.

When Justin was dying from HIV in the hospital, Alex and Charlie found Zach drinking at the pier and tried to convince him to see Justin. Alex reminded Zach of the night the kissed (which he called a disaster) when he nearly fell from the roof, but Zach pulled him back. He told Zach that he’ll never forget Zach keeping him safe and that he had needed it, and it’s now what Zach needs. Zach then said that the kiss was nice, which surprised Alex. Alex then told him that even though he doesn’t love Justin, he loves Zach and Zach loves Justin, which convinced Zach to visit Justin.


Zach and Alex breaking into the school in "Acceptance/Rejection".

After Justin’s funeral, Alex and Zach went to Monet’s with Ani and Charlie. Outside of Monet’s, Winston asked Alex why he killed Bryce. Alex explained that when Bryce started going on about ruining Zach’s life, he realized Bryce hurt everyone he ever loved and got a flash of rage.

At the end of the series, Alex and Zach both graduate from Liberty High. They are last seen together when burying Hannah’s tapes with their friends.

Justin Foley

Justin was Zach's best friend. They often hun out and helped each other throughout the seasons.

Zach and Justin were first seen in a flashback at Hannah’s party. Kat introduced Hannah to the guys when they were play-fighting together. They were introduced to Hannah by Kat; Kat told Hannah that Justin was her boyfriend and she could date Zach. Kat then told the guys that they should leave because they were all wet.

Zach was about to drive Justin and two other jocks back to their homes, when Justin asked Hannah if they could give her a ride. When Hannah went to take the bus instead, Justin decided to go after her. Zach asked if he was serious about taking the bus; Justin pointed out that he’d rather be in a “bus with a hot girl than a car with idiots.”

In present time, Zach and Justin are seen talking about Mr. Porter wanting to see Justin about Hannah. Zach told him that it’s probably because of the Baker’s lawsuit. In another flashback, Justin showed Bryce, Zach and some other jocks an upskirt picture of Hannah to make it seem like they had sex. Zach and the other jocks pushed Justin back so Bryce could send the picture around. Later in class, Zach showed Justin something on his phone (having to do with the picture) to which Justin got annoyed and slapped Zach’s hand away.

Back in present time, Jessica asked Zach about where Justin was. Zach told her that he didn’t know but that he was at basketball practice the night before. Jessica asked Zach to tell Justin that she needs to talk to him.


Marcus and Zach finding Justin in Bryce's pool house in "Tape 1, Side B"

Zach and Marcus went to Bryce’s house because they guessed that Justin was there. When finding Justin in the poolhouse, Zach asked if he was okay. Justin got annoyed, asking if he was “his bitch” now. Marcus and Zach asked him if he could calm down Jessica before she causes trouble. They spend some time at the poolhouse playing games, while Justin was smoking and drinking. When an angry Jessica arrived, Zach told Justin that he had to handle it himself.

Zach and Justin hung out with Bryce, Alex and Monty outside Blue Spot Liquer, when they brought Clay over for a drinking contest with Alex. Clay won, but also got drunk. Justin and Zach later talked about it while playing video games. Justin made fun of Clay for getting drunk after one beer; Zach defended him and said Clay could get them in a lot of trouble. Justin then told Zach that they would shut him down.

Justin, Zach and Alex decided to kidnap Clay in Alex’s car to scare him off. They stopped him while he’s riding his bike; Zach took the bike and Justin forced Clay to get in the car. Alex drove and kept speeding up even after Zach and Justin started to get scared. Alex stopped when the police drove behind them, and the boys found out that Alex’s Dad his a cop. This made Justin and Zach burst out laughing and tell Clay that he can’t do them any harm.


Justin and Zach as Clay introduces them to the exchange students in "Tape 4, Side A"

In a flashback, Justin and his friends witnessed Zach get rejected by Hannah. Justin asked him why he even attempted to ask Hannah out. Zach got annoyed by the guys’ reactions and left.

Clay was giving a tour to some exchange students and saw Justin and Zach in the hallway. Clay called them the star players of Liberty High and asked where his bike is. The guys got visibly annoyed and watched as Clay started freaking out and saying that the truth will come out.

Justin, Zach, Courtney, Marcus, Alex and Jessica met up to talk about what they’re going to do about Clay. Justin called Tony a “dick, prick and a cock”, Zach pointed out that they’re the same thing and denied Tony was any of those. When Justin came up with the idea to kill Clay, Zach told him to grow up. Justin asked if he’s really the one to tell him to grow up since he’s a “mama’s boy”, to which Zach replied “Yeah, I am.”.

Zach and Justin were having lunch at school and watched Marcus confront Clay. When seeing Alex arrive, Justin went to talk to Alex about Clay. This led to an argument as Alex didn’t think they should do anything to Clay while Justin thought Alex should help them. When they started pushing each other, Zach quickly ran to stop them. Alex left and Zach, Justin and Marcus continued to have a conversation about Clay.


Zach stopping Alex and Justin from fighting in "Tape 5, Side A"

Zach was having dinner with his family when his Mom said that she didn’t understand why Justin is the basketball captain when Zach’s the best player. Zach defended Justin by saying that captains aren’t chosen based on who plays better and that Justin is going through some stuff. Zach then received several messages from Justin if Zach could please text him back as he needed a place to sleep. Zach ignored the messages.

Zach was hanging out at Bryce’s pool house along with Bryce, Jessica, Monty and some other friends when Justin and Alex arrived. They were playing poker and things started to get tense between Justin and Jessica, which led to Justin dragging Jessica outside. As they were arguing, Zach told them that this did not need to happen. Justin told Jessica that Bryce had raped her and started trying to fight Bryce. Zach told him to stop and held Justin back, who started screaming to let him go.

The next day, Zach told the other tape subjects that Justin had revealed that Bryce did rape Jessica and everything Hannah said was true. When Alex pointed out that Justin was probably going to jail for what he did, Zach said that Justin is his best friend but right now Justin doesn’t care about him. Justin later tried to call Zach when he got kicked out of his house by Seth, but Zach declined the call.

Justin was brought back to Evergreen by Clay and Tony, which Alex told Zach about. Zach asked if Alex knew where Justin was living or why he’s back. Alex got annoyed because he felt like everything was always about Justin, so they changed the subject.

A flashback showed Zach and Justin hanging out in Bryce’s pool. Zach asked advice about having sex as he and Hannah wanted to lose their virginities to each other. He didn’t tell Justin that it was with Hannah, but with a girl from another school. Justin’s advice to Zach was to find out what the girl likes.


Zach confronting Clay and Justin in "Smile, Bitches"

Clay and Justin broke into the Clubhouse and were caught by Zach, who just left the baseball field in the middle of a game. Zach got angry, which made Justin tell him to back off. Zach commented “Or what, Justin? You’re gonna come at me? I wasn’t scared off you even before you fell apart.” When Clay told Zach to do what he wants because he had already been beaten up this week, he warned Clay and Justin that it’s going to keep happening. Zach gave them the box of Polaroids and revealed that he’s the one who gave Clay the other Polaroids, before leaving the Clubhouse.

During a school fight in the hallways, Zach charged at Bryce when he saw him fighting with Justin.

After Justin was released from juvenile detention, he and Mrs. Jensen arrived at Monet’s for Hannah’s memorial. Zach excitedly ran towards Justin and hugged him. Justin laughed and told Zach that he was crushing him. Zach told Justin that they had to get him on a program as he had lost weight. Zach asked Justin if he wasn’t mad that Bryce only got three months probation and Justin six, but Justin mentioned that he just wasn’t surprised.


Zach welcoming Justin back in "Bye"

At the Spring Fling dance, Justin told Zach that he would’ve been good for Hannah. Zach replied that he would if he didn’t mess it up like he messes up everything else. Justin joked that he didn’t want to have that contest with him. He then said he was sorry that Zach wasn’t able to talk to him. Clay then told Justin and Zach to come to the dance floor as, which they did after Clay threw a pillow at them.


Zach trying to convince Justin to play football in "Always Waiting for the Next Bad News"

Zach and Justin went to summer school together. At the end of summer, Zach tried to convince Justin to get back to playing football because he thought it’d be good for him. Justin refused for the reason that he felt like he wasn’t that kind of person anymore. Zach didn’t give up, he kept trying to convince Justin until he eventually agreed.

Zach waited outside Justin’s house to go to their first football game of the season and had to wake him up. During the bus ride, the football coaches announced that everyone would get drug tested, which worried Justin as he had been using. Justin messed up during the game which caused the opponent to score; Zach encouraged Justin by saying that he’ll come back in the second half. Justin then revealed that he’s not clean, which disappointed Zach. Zach told Justin that he can’t help him, and Justin replied that he knows, he just wanted Zach to be the first person he told. After the game, Zach told Justin that he got him and he switched the tests. Justin tried to ask how he did it, but Zach told him to shut up and get clean.


Justin helping Zach when he broke his knee in "And Then the Hurricane Hit"

During the Homecoming Football Game Bryce broke Zach's knee. As Zach lied on the field, Justin ran to his side and called Charlie over to help.

Throughout the season, Zach and Justin are often seen together during football practices, in the locker rooms and during group meetings.

Zach lied to Clay that Justin hadn’t been using as he passed the football coaches’ drug tests. When Clay suggested that Zach was lying for Justin, Zach still denied it. He told Clay that Justin has been doing well and assured that he’s healthy.

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Clay Jensen

Clay is Zach's friend.


Zach trying to give Clay Hannah's latter in "Tape 4, Side A"

In the first season, Clay dislikes Zach because of his tape; he has daydreams of him beating up Zach during a basketball game and he carves the side of Zach's car. Zach, on his side, helps with threatening Clay to keep quiet. However, he wanted his Mother to forget about Clay carving his car and tried to explain himself to Clay about his tape.

In the second season, Zach gives Clay the Polaroids of girls getting sexually harassed in the Clubhouse because, according to Zach, he is a "coward" and Clay's not.

In the third season, Zach helps cover for Clay after he gets Tyler away from Spring Fling, though he refuses to participate in Tyler's recovery despite Clay asking him to. He is also surprised when Clay agreed with him about Justin rejoining the football team, and afterward, teased him by throwing grapes at him alongside Justin. Throughout the season Zach refused to believe Clay was guilty of murder despite others suggesting it (though he had his own reasons for this). He even lied about why he didn't tell the truth about Bryce breaking his leg at Homecoming. Eventually, after Clay was arrested for Bryce's murder, Zach felt guilty, and turned himself in, though Clay was not released due to this.

Karen Dempsey

Karen is Zach's Mother.


Zach and his Mom in "Two Girls Kissing"

Zach and Karen aren't very close. Karen doesn't show or say how she feels after her husband's death, to Zach's frustration. She also doesn't seem to care about what Zach wants or about how he feels about things, but about what she wants for him. Karen usually seems to think her son is better than any other kid.

May Dempsey


Zach and May at a baseball event in "The Little Girl"

May is Zach's little sister. When the Dempsey family was having dinner, May told Zach that he’s the best player of Liberty’s basketball team. When Zach received his subpoena, May was worried that Zach would go to jail.

Zach found pictures of May in his locker that had been secretly taken at her school. This infuriated Zach and caused him to confront Tyler about it.

May and her mom Karen attended a baseball event for Zach, where Zach asked May if something happened at school. When Karen told Zach that he needs to stay at the event to support Bryce, Zach grabbed May’s hand and left with her.

In the fourth season, Zach was seen having a drawing made by May in his locker.


Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4


Just 'cause Hannah fucked up her life doesn't mean she has to fuck up ours.
— Zach to Alex about Hannah and The Tapes[src]

Zach: "I know you think every guy likes you because you've got this great ass, but I like you for so much more than that."
Hannah: "Oh, my God. You're such an idiot."
Zach: "What? What'd I say?"
Hannah: "The fact that you don't even know."
Zach: "I meant it as a compliment."
Hannah: "Zach, walk away."
Zach: "Come on, I know why you're pissed at Marcus..."
Hannah: "Zach, go."
Zach: "If you just gave me a chance..."
Hannah: "Leave me alone!"
―  Zach tries to talk to Hannah[src]
Zach: "I freaked, okay? That letter. That sh*t was heavy, and… I didn’t know what to do."
Clay: "So you threw it away."
Zach: "No. No, I didn’t. Hannah lied about that. Maybe that’s what she saw, I don’t know. I freaked out. But I never threw it away. I’m sorry, Clay. I’ll always be sorry."
―  Zach after he and his Mom come over to tell Clay's Mom about Clay keying his car.[src]
One thing. If one thing had gone differently somewhere along the line maybe none of this would have happened.
— Zach when talking about life after Hannah's suicide and the tapes[src]

Zach: "I freaked, okay? That letter. That shit was heavy, and… I didn’t know what to do."
Clay: "So you threw it away."
Zach: "No. No, I didn’t. Hannah lied about that. Maybe that’s what she saw, I don’t know. I freaked out. But I never threw it away. I’m sorry, Clay. I’ll always be sorry."
―  Zach about the letter Hannah gave him[src]
Zach: "This shit that happens to you… I think some of it you bring on yourself."
Hannah: "Is that what you think? Thanks for the insight, genius."
Zach: "I was… I was trying to be nice."
Hannah: "Well, you failed."
Zach: "Well, fuck you."
―  Zach and Hannah after Hannah told Zach to leave her alone[src]
Zach: "This shit that happens to you… I think some of it you bring on yourself."
Hannah: "Is that what you think? Thanks for the insight, genius."
Zach: "I was… I was trying to be nice."
Hannah: "Well, you failed."
Zach: "Well, fuck you."
―  Zach talking to Hannah in the lunch hall[src]

Alex: I meant to ask you guys about my note.
Zach: What note?
Alex: My suicide note. [takes it out]
Zach: Jesus, put that away!
Alex: It's not radioactive.
No, I know, it's just... we're not allowed to talk about suicide. Or you, or Hannah.
Jessica: Says who?
Zach: Says the school. They made a rule, the day after you... after that day. And if you talk about it on campus, you get suspended.
Alex: That's so fucked up.
Zach: Yeah.
— Zach, Alex and Jess on the new suicide-suspension rule at Liberty High.[src]

I don't even know how you feel about Dad dying. I don't know how you feel about anything. What if I felt like Hannah did? Because I have, Mom. I actually have.
— Zach to his mother.[src]

You fool yourself into thinking that by keeping things hidden, it makes it easier for you to get by. Even though you know you'd feel a lot better if you just came clean. Hannah had nothing to be ashamed of. I made her feel like she did. Because I don't tell people things, like I said. Hannah didn't tell me how she felt either. But now... I guess I know. And I'll be ashamed for the rest of my life. And shame burns.
— Zach during his testimony[src]

Sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's not. Sometimes a kid gets roughed up. A lot of the times, though, it's just stuff that people say. Especially athletes.
— Zach about the bullying at school[src]

Karen Dempsey: "Why would you keep this from me?"
Zach: "'Cause that's how we do things, isn't it?"
Karen: "What does that mean?"
Zach: "I don't even know how you feel about Dad dying. I don't know how you feel about anything. What if I felt like Hannah did? Because I have, Mom. I actually have. What would you do?"
Karen: "Zachary Shan-Yung Dempsey, that is enough. Don't say such things."
Zach: "Why not?"
Karen: "This trial... That girl has put thoughts in your head. You do not feel that way. You're fine."
Zach: "Yeah, exactly. I'm fine."
―  Zach and his Mom on Zach's mental health and his Mom finding out about his secret relationship with Hannah after he testified[src]

Shame is what other people put on you. And they make it like you have to own it or something, but you don’t.
— Zach to Chlöe[src]

They want us to think that we're the losers. That they're gonna get this win just like they get every other fucking thing they want in this world. But they will not get it. We will not let that happen! Because this is how they do it. For the rest of your lives, this is what's gonna happen. They're gonna look at you, and they're gonna come at you. They will make you feel like you do not belong. They will make you feel like you can't have what they have. And they will keep leaving you out and they will keep pushing you down until you say, "Fuck this, I belong here." Some of you think I'm soft. Some of you think I'm a narc or I don't know, whatever. Honestly? I don't give a fuck. 'Cause I know who I am. Do you? Do you? Because winning at the cost of who you are, winning at the cost of becoming someone that you hate, means nothing. I would bleed for any single one of you. I would. I would lay down my life. No lie. Because that's a promise that I made. What will you do? One half left. Let's show 'em who we are. Let's get this win.
— Zach to the football team during the homecoming game.[src]

Alex: "He didn't deserve to die."
Zach: "No. No, he didn't. But neither do we. And this, this isn't fucking living. He ruined our fucking lives, all three of us. So, no, he didn't deserve to die, but we deserve to live."
―  Zach to Alex and Jessica about Bryce
Last time I was up here, I said I was my brother's keeper. That we all are. Even though I didn't live up to that. Justin hated running. Coach Kerba would make him do a mile, and he would bitch and complain the whole time. Coach Kerba would tell him that pain is the feeling of weakness leaving the body. But we're all weak, I think. But we're trying to be stronger. And the pain that we are feeling today... is to remind us every day... to do better. To be better.
— Zach speaking at Justin's funeral[src]


  • Zach seems to be the only person out of the group that seems to actually consider Hannah's feelings and tries to think twice before doing something stupid. Although this is proved controversial because Zach steals things out of Hannah's bag of what is supposed to be people saying nice things to her and takes them so that she doesn't find them, this is only after being verbally rejected by Hannah. What also makes this controversial is that Zach helped Bryce send Hannah’s picture around and bullied her after she was listed as “best ass”.
  • Zach kept the letter Hannah put in her own bag to see if he was doing what she thought he was, although Hannah stated on the tapes that he threw the letter away.
  • Zach is currently the only person on Hannah's list to actually prove that she lied about something on her tapes, in this case she accused him of throwing out the personal note she wrote to him after discovering he was stealing her positive notes out of revenge though in reality he kept it and still has it in his wallet.
  • Zach's mother mentions that he wants to become a marine biologist.
    • Zach's shown multiple times to find biology important, as he didn't want miss his biology classes and didn't want to drink before his biology test.
  • Zach and Hannah lost their virginities to each other the summer before she committed suicide.
  • Zach was the one sending Clay the incriminating Polaroids, two of Bryce raping an unconscious Chlöe, and multiples of other jocks sexually assaulting girls. Zach's explanation for doing this was because he is a coward but Clay isn't. This means that Clay has the ability to expose Bryce and the jocks and get justice for the girls who have been assaulted.
  • In The Smile at the End of the Dock, Zach reveals to his mother that, after his father's death, he felt the same way Hannah did.
  • According to a video posted on 13 Reasons Why's Instagram account his iPhone password is 4278.
  • The name of his official Instagram account is 'dempzee'.
  • Zach is allergic to strawberries.[23]
  • Zach is one of the main/recurring characters to have named siblings,the others being Jessica (Elijah & Cooper), Alex (Peter), Monty (Estela), Cyrus (Mackenzie), Chloe (Amelia) and Tony (Fernando, Marco, Raul and Graciella.)
  • Prior to quitting the baseball team, Zach played the catcher position. In football, he played receiver.


See also: Category:Images of Zach Dempsey

"Winter Break"

"College Tour"

"Valentine's Day"

"Senior Camping Trip"

"House Party"


"College Interview"






  1. Bicknell, Julia (writer) & Hittman, Eliza (director) (May 18, 2018). "The Smile at the End of the Dock". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 6.
  2. Benjamin, Elizabeth (writer) & Araki, Gregg (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 4, Side A". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 7. Netflix.
  3. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Araki, Gregg (director) (May 18, 2018). "The First Polaroid". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 1.
  4. Bicknell, Julia (writer) & Hittman, Eliza (director) (May 18, 2018). "The Smile at the End of the Dock". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 6.
  5. Moore, Kirk A. (writer) & Candler, Kat (director). (May 18, 2018). "Smile, Bitches". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 10.
  6. 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.
  7. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Kretchmer, John T. (director). (August 23, 2019). "Let the Dead Bury the Dead". 13 Reasons Why. Season 3. Episode 13.
  8. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Mulcahy, Russell (director). (June 5, 2020). "Winter Break". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 1.
  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. Ordaz, Evangeline (writer) & Strong, Brenda (director). (June 5, 2020). "Thursday". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 6.
  12. MacDonald, Allen, Tyler, Hayley, Ordaz, Evangeline (writer) & Gonera, Sunu (director). (June 5, 2020). "College Interview". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 7.
  13. Jahani, Sahar, Higgins, Thomas (writer) & Gonera, Sunu (director). (June 5, 2020). "Acceptance/Rejection". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 8.
  14. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Yorkey, Brian (director). (June 5, 2020). "Graduation". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 10.
  15. Higgins, Thomas (writer) & Shaver, Helen (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 2, Side B". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 4. Netflix.
  16. Cerar, Jo Marissa (writer) & Moncrieff, Karen (director) (May 18, 2018). "The Drunk Slut". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 3.
  17. Tyler, Hayley (writer) & Moncrieff, Karen (director) (May 18, 2018). "The Second Polaroid". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 4.
  18. Moore, Kirk A. (writer) & Candler, Kat (director). (May 18, 2018). "Smile, Bitches". 13 Reasons Why. Season 2. Episode 10.
  19. 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.
  20. Ordaz, Evangeline (writer) & Strong, Brenda (director). (June 5, 2020). "Thursday". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 6.
  21. MacDonald, Allen, Tyler, Hayley, Ordaz, Evangeline (writer) & Gonera, Sunu (director). (June 5, 2020). "College Interview". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 7.
  22. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & Lohmann, Tommy (director). (June 5, 2020). "Prom". 13 Reasons Why. Season 4. Episode 9.
  23. Higgins, Thomas (writer) & Shaver, Helen (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 2, Side B". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 4. Netflix.
List of Characters Navigation
Characters in bold joined in that Season
Season 1

Clay JensenHannah BakerTony PadillaZach DempseyJessica DavisJustin FoleyOlivia BakerBryce WalkerAlex StandallTyler DownLainie JensenKevin PorterAndrew BakerMontgomery de la CruzMatt JensenCourtney CrimsenSheri HollandMarcus ColeRyan ShaverGreg DavisDennis VasquezGary BolanSkye MillerDeputy Bill StandallKaren DempseyMrs. BradleyJeff AtkinsMr. DownAmber FoleyBrad
Minor Characters
PrattersMrs. AntillyJane ChildsMr. CantrellMrs. CantrellLauraJamie GarrisonTodd and Steve CrimsenRobert WellsMason PorterHarris AtkinsMrs. AtkinsJaven ReynoldsNoelle DavisPeter StandallMrs. DownSeth MasseyTracy Porter

Season 2

Clay JensenHannah BakerTony PadillaZach DempseyJessica DavisJustin FoleyOlivia BakerBryce WalkerAlex StandallTyler DownLainie JensenKevin PorterAndrew BakerMontgomery de la CruzMatt JensenCourtney CrimsenSheri HollandMarcus ColeRyan ShaverGreg DavisDennis VasquezChlöe RiceGary BolanSonya StruhlNina JonesCyrusSkye MillerBill StandallJackieScott ReedCalebKaren DempseyMackenzieNora WalkerMrs. BradleyJeff AtkinsMr. DownRick WlodimierzAmber FoleyNoelle DavisMrs. DownBarry Walker
Minor Characters
Peter StandallThe PriestJudge Franklin PurdyErica CharlesTommy ShusterChad MooreSeth MasseyTracy PorterTamikaLuke Holliday

Season 3

Clay JensenAni AcholaTony PadillaZach DempseyJessica DavisJustin FoleyOlivia BakerBryce WalkerAlex StandallTyler DownLainie JensenKevin PorterMontgomery de la CruzNora WalkerMatt JensenCourtney CrimsenAmara Josephine AcholaGreg DavisCasey FordCharlie St. GeorgeDennis VasquezChlöe RiceGary BolanCyrusSheriff DiazBill StandallCalebKaren DempseyMackenzieMr. DownCoach KerbaMrs. DownBarry WalkerSeth MasseyWinston WilliamsDr. Priya SinghMr. de la Cruz
Minor Characters
Graciella PadillaMelody ScottDean HolbrookHarrison ChathamTim PozziLuke Holliday

Season 4

Clay JensenAni AcholaTony PadillaZach DempseyJessica DavisJustin FoleyBryce WalkerAlex StandallTyler DownCharlie St. GeorgeZach DempseyLainie JensenMontgomery de la CruzNora WalkerDr. Robert EllmanDiego TorresChlöe RiceGary BolanMatt JensenWinston WilliamsLuke HollidayDeputy StandallCalebEstela de la CruzSheriff Diaz