Well, I say that very road must now be a symbol of something larger. It is our golden pathway to the future, and no pack of dogs will stop it. Tomorrow I will introduce a motion in the City Council to rename it the Maynard West Memorial Motorway. For Officer West, for all of us... I will build this road.
— Councilman Townsend[src]

Charlton Townsend is a main character on Showtime's Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. He is portrayed by Michael Gladis.[1]

Charlton is the head of the L.A. City Council’s Transportation Committee; a man of killer instincts and ruthless political wiles.[1]


Charlton was born in Los Angeles. He is the son of Jerome Townsend, who helped build the city.

Throughout the SeriesEdit

Season 1Edit

Santa MuerteEdit

Councilman Charlton Townsend holds a city council meeting. He announces that the transportation committee has voted in favor of construction of the Arroyo Seco motorway. The city council has approved the recommendation, and the municipal court has overturned the injunction. So construction will continue Monday morning as planned. He offers the public a chance to object. Raul speaks on behalf of multiple groups. He asks where they are supposed to go when the motorway destroys their homes. Charlton suggests that they go back to where they came from. However, much like Charlton, Raul was born in Los Angeles County Hospital. Charlton warns Raul that you can’t stand in the way of progress. However, Raul retorts that when progress becomes barbarity, it ceases to be in the public interest. He and his people refuse to leave and intend to fight for their home. Raul and his community proceed to make themselves heard, forcing Charlton to eject them.

Charlton and Alex, who is just one of several of Magda’s personas, return to his office. "You can't be weak with these Latins.", he says. "Their culture's all about machismo. You show them the whip, they back down." He refuses to allow "taco stands and donkeys" to stand in the way of progress. Alex agrees but warns him that such language isn’t necessary for him to get what he wants. He’s already winning and shouldn’t give the press anything to use against him. Alex advises him to stay the course and keep quiet. They’ll get the first motorway under construction and then start working on another one. Possibly through Bunker Hill, which is occupied primarily by the "colored." Alex lastly informs him that she scheduled an important meeting for him.

Charlton and Alex meet up with Richard Goss of the building-architecture firm, Goss and Ossenberg. His company is responsible for many roadways in Germany, and he wishes to do the same in Los Angeles, however, he can’t because they can’t hire foreign companies for security reasons. Richard explains that he means to make Charlton the Mayor of Los Angeles, which Alex agrees isn’t far off. He’ll help Charlton reach that goal in exchange for government contracts allowing them to build more motorways. He believes Los Angeles is the future of America. He reveals that he already has victory plans underway. They are well connected; agents in the aircraft factories, ports, and film studios. Should Charlton refuse his offer, Richard points to his driver Kurt, who is a Gestapo, otherwise known as the official secret police of Nazi Germany. If he doesn’t see their interaction end with a handshake, Richard has instructed Kurt to take his gun and shoot Charlton in the head. Charlton says that he won’t betray his company, but Richard assures him he will and the two shake hands and part ways, not before Richard salutes to Hitler.

Dead People Lie DownEdit

At City Hall, Councilman Townsend fears that with the death of James Hazlett, the Arroyo Seco will never be constructed. Alex, suggests that he reconsider Richard Goss’ offer. Alex reminds Charlton that while four dead officers is a tragedy, it’s also an opportunity. The people need a champion to defend their interest and be their voice. Alex plots to get him in front of cameras and on the radio waves. She then invites Charlton’s barber, Mr. Nichols, inside to cut Townsend’s hair.

Councilman Townsend holds a press conference at City Hall. Alex, Richard, and Kurt are in attendance. He holds up the blood soaked uniform of the now deceased 27 year old Officer Maynard West. He points to Maynard’s wife, Gloria. She now has to tell their 4 year old son that his father's dead. Townsend demands justice. He claims that the Mexicans fired first, and for that they cannot afford to show mercy. Townsend claims that they killed Officer West because of the motorway. He wishes to make it a symbol for justice, and therefore plans to introduce a motion to the City Council to remake it the "Maynard West Memorial Motorway."

Wicked Old WorldEdit

At Town Hall, where Alex has began a dietary and exercise plan for Councilman Townsend, they discuss his schedule for the day, which includes the Rotary luncheon, a radio interview, and a zoning committee session with Via Hermosa Development. Townsend takes a look at the paper with him on the front page, detailing his stance against the Mexicans and their savagery. With him becoming more of a public figure, Alex advises him to mind his Ps and Qs and behave himself. They are joined by Councilwoman Beck. She compliments him on the stunt he pull during the press conference with the bloody shirt of a fallen officer. And now, he intends to get the motorway built on the graves of four dead cops and eight dead Mexicans. She’s starting to suspect that he’s running for office. She refuses to allow him to turn the Los Angeles City Council into his own version of the Third Reich. Lastly, she will not stand for him renaming it in honor of the deceased officer.

Townsend and Alex have dinner with Goss and Kurt, where they discuss the construction of the motorway. The money goes through Via Hermosa Development and various charitable organizations. However, the details, as Goss put it, is off no concern to Townsend. Goss explains that Via Hermosa translates to "beautiful street." He then makes a snide remark in regards to Townsend’s figure and his audacity. Alex tries to end the meeting, but Townsend first orders Goss and Kurt to kill Councilwoman Beck, who's declared war against him. Townsend reminds Goss that it’s his motorway and that if he doesn’t like it, he can "shove his Via Hermosa all the way up your Via-fucking-ass." If Councilman Beck becomes an obstacle, Goss assures Townsend they’ll handle it in their own way. He then reminds Townsend that he speaks for Adolf Hitler. And when the Wehrmacht is marching down Sunset Boulevard, Townsend will either be at their side or under their boots. Townsend grows uneasy and hastily exits. Alex follows Townsend outside and tries to stop him from doing anything unbecoming, hoping to sway him with drinks, but Townsend gets in his car and drives off.

On the other side of town, Townsend pulls up to a hotspot for gay hookups. He and another man go around back, where he proceeds to undress him.

Josefina and the Holy SpiritEdit

At the Town Hall, Councilman Townsend reports that Via Hermosa Development has agreed to take over the construction of the motorway at no additional cost. They should be able to start as soon as the full City Council votes next month. Councilwoman Beck proposes a new route for the motorway, which alarms both Townsend and Alex. After talking to some engineers, the new route for the motorway would bypass Belvedere Heights. It’ll add appropriately four minutes to the drive to Pasadena, but Beck can’t imagine that it’ll make much of a difference. Townsend storms out of the meeting with Alex tagging along behind him. He instructs her to cancel his speech for the night. She explains that they can’t, but he demands that she obey his orders.

Townsend hooks up with a random guy in the Olympic Hotel. He shorts the guy on payment. As he opens the door to leave, he comes face-to-face with Kurt, who shoots the man twice, killing him, before dragging Townsend out and putting him in the back of his car.

As Kurt drives to his destination, while locked in the backseat, Townsend claims that he doesn’t hookup with men all the time. They only blow him when he doesn’t have time for a woman. Kurt tells Townsend that the doors lock from upfront and that there's no point in trying to escape, revealing his American accent. Kurt drives Townsend to a motel. He pulls Townsend in the room and surprisingly, he kisses him. He asks Townsend if he wants to be top or bottom. Townsend replies bottom, as they get undressed. Unbeknownst to Townsend, Alex watches and records from the other side of the window as this unfolds.

Children of the Royal SunEdit

Townsend is having trouble choosing a tie as he and Alex discuss Councilwoman Beck and her vision of the motorway. Alex finds his sudden preoccupation with clothing remarkable. Townsend responds that sometimes life is surprising. He then asks Alex what she knows of Goss’ man, Kurt. While Townsend is only human, Alex warns Townsend against asking anyone else about Kurt or any boy again. "Imagine what you’re father would say." Alex adds.

How It Is With BrothersEdit

Townsend and Kurt spend the afternoon on the beach. Kurt goes out surfing and then returns to shore to join Townsend on the sand. He learned how to surf from growing up in Hermosa beach. He practically learned how to swim before he could walk. Surfing used to be Kurt’s most favorite thing in the world. Then the mongrels came and took over. He used to wonder why no one would say anything. And then he heard about the Fuehrer and read Mein Kampf. And finally, he found someone he could relate to. He knew then that he could move to Berlin and be happy. He was happy there until he earned his Gestapo commission and was assigned to come back to Los Angeles, which he looks at as nothing more than a filthy City. Townsend on the other hand loves Los Angeles. When he was younger, he wanted to be a song and dance man. "LA doesn't care who you are when you arrive. It only cares about who you make yourself into."

Maria and the BeastEdit

Townsend shows Alex the front page of the newspaper, which depicts Councilwoman Beck, who champions the new motorway. Alex tells Townsend that Councilwoman Beck has filed a petition to have him recalled. Furthermore, she has the support of every New Dealer on the council. Their options are limited in comparison to Councilwoman Beck’s. So, Townsend alludes to having her killed. Later that evening, Alex and Townsend meet with Goss, Kurt, and Miss Adelaide Finnister at a restaurant.

Hide and SeekEdit

Townsend barges into Councilwoman Beck’s office and demands to know who she has ready as his potential replacement. Beverly reveals that it’s a woman who is younger, better-looking, and actually wants to serve the people of Los Angeles. Townsend has no respect for governance, and she refuses to watch him rise simply because of his family’s name. She mentions his father, who Townsend says to leave out of this. Councilwoman Beck sees the motorway for what it really is — social engineering. First the Mexicans, and then whoever is left, except for rich white men. Townsend warns Councilwoman Beck that he has dangerous friends. Before he can continue, she reveals that she knows that he’s gay and warns him to watch his back.

Lewis confronts Townsend and Alex over their dinner with Richard Goss. Townsend claims that he’s a donor. Lewis isn’t convinced and wants to know what Goss wants from them. Townsend claims that Goss is invested in the future of Los Angeles. Lewis warns Townsend that he’s out of his league. Townsend tells Lewis that the next time he comes, he better bring a search warrant. As Lewis leaves, Townsend tells Alex to warn Miss Adelaide.

Townsend and Kurt arrive at an underground, private club for queers. They share a kiss and proceed to dance. Kurt tells Townsend that a club like this wouldn’t exist in Berlin and that he’s never had a lover like Townsend. Townsend then asks Kurt to kill Beverly Beck. A bell rings, and they switch dance partners. All the men take up women dance partners. Fortunately, it was a false alarm. The bell is to signal the arrival of the vice squad. Kurt then tells Townsend that he won’t kill Councilwoman Beck. He warns Townsend that killing takes something from you that you can never get back, and that’s not the man he loves.

Sing, Sing, SingEdit

Townsend and Alex discuss his vision of the motorway. He fears that Councilwoman Beck will get her route for the motorway approved. And after that, she’ll have him recalled. However, they still have four days before the recall, not that Townsend thinks it’ll matter as everyone hates him. He says that he’s a fat, hateful man that no one loves. Alex tells Townsend that she and Kurt both love him. She tells Townsend that the people will love him, too, after he saves them. It’s his birthright. He has only one card to play. Alex advises him to talk to his father.

Townsend arrives outside his father’s estate. Townsend meets with his father to talk about the motorway, which Jermone refers to as Beverly Beck’s motorway. Townsend asks for his help after never coming to him before. He hopes that his father’s influence can persuade the city council to adopt his route to the motorway. Townsend recalls how three men built Los Angeles. Mulholland brought the water, Doheny found the oil, and Jermone built the roads. He knew Los Angeles would grow and that they would need a way to get around. So, Jerome turned public transportation into private transportation. No one moves a block in the city unless they pay Jerome. Townsend is simply taking the new step. The future is the automobile and the roads they drive on. It’s the family business, Townsend adds. However, Jermone retorts that the future is in aviation. He owns most of the Mines airport in Inglewood and the land around it. And he’s looking to make it the central airport for all of Los Angeles. And when the war comes, the military will be pouring all of its good fortune into aviation. And it’s for this reason, Jermone is reluctant to help. He tells Townsend that he’s already lost. Unless the Mexicans start rioting and killing a bunch of white folk, Councilwoman Beck has run the table. Jermone tells Townsend that the reason he isn’t supporting him isn’t because he’s a fat, ugly queer, it’s because he’s weak.

Day of the DeadEdit

Townsend laughs at Martial Law headline in the newspaper. The city council has to vote his way now. After the Arroyo Seco, Townsend tells Alex that they will start on the next motorway, right through Bunker Hill. All this will lead to Townsend becoming mayor. He swears that everything will change when he’s elected. Anyone who doesn’t fall in line with him will be shut down. He also plans to redraw the voting districts, so that they’ll have the firm majority that will last for a thousand years. Their own version of the Thousand-Year Reich. Later, he and Alex watch the demolition of the Heights.

Appearance and PersonalityEdit

Townsend is a heavy-set white man with brown eyes and hair. He is a crude and racist man, though underneath it all, he is very insecure.


Season 1Edit

Memorable QuotesEdit

"Well, I say that very road must now be a symbol of something larger. It is our golden pathway to the future, and no pack of dogs will stop it. Tomorrow I will introduce a motion in the City Council to rename it the Maynard West Memorial Motorway. For Officer West, for all of us... I will build this road."
—Councilman Townsend[src]

"LA doesn't care who you are when you arrive. It only cares about who you make yourself into."
—Townsend to Kurt[src]


References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 ‘Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels’: Michael Gladis, Lorenza Izzo Among 6 Cast In Showtime Sequel Series - Deadline
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