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The Main Characters, Ranked By Likability

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After watching the first episode of the teen mystery show Cruel Summer, it’s hard not to want all of the episodes at once and, of course, all of the answers to the many loose ends that have come up. After popular girl Kate Wallis is kidnapped, Jeanette Turner becomes the cool girl in town, hanging out with her friends and falling for her boyfriend Jamie. When Kate comes back, she says that Jeanette saw her and knew where she was, which leads to a trial and the major characters taking sides. It’s fun, entertaining, creepy, and impossible to stop watching.

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Since Cruel Summer tells its story over three summers in the 1990s, it can be hard to know who to trust and who to root for. But despite the mysterious tone and the fact that most secrets haven’t been revealed yet, it’s still possible to see which main characters are more loveable than others.

10 Martin Harris

Martin on Cruel Summer

Martin kidnaps Kate and it’s alleged that he also abused her, and it’s impossible to like someone who would take a teenage girl and trap her in the basement of his house.

Martin is definitely the most hated character on Cruel Summer and viewers see him in many flashbacks. There is more to the story, as it turns out that Kate saw him several times before the incident, and five episodes in, fans are still waiting to learn the full story of how Kate was kidnapped. But there’s no question that he’s a terrible person and his actions cause ripple effects throughout the entire town.

9 Jamie Henson


Jamie is among one of the most disliked boyfriends on a teen show. When fans first meet him, he seems to be head over heels for Kate and they’re the perfect couple, beloved by everyone in town. However, that all changes.

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Jamie is one of the most unlikeable characters on the show as after Kate comes back and he learns that she said Jeanette saw her in the basement, he punches Jeanette in the face. This abusive side of him is awful to see and makes it tough to understand his side of the story. Jamie isn’t a very loyal person as he seems to totally forget about Kate and he begins dating Jeanette, and even after Kate comes back, he cheats on Kate and kisses Jeanette.

8 Joy Wallis

cruel summer - olivia holt

Kate’s mother Joy is up there with some awful TV moms as she’s more concerned with her family’s reputation than her daughter’s happiness. While Joy does love her daughter and is relieved that she has come home, it doesn’t seem like she really cares about what Kate is thinking or feeling.

Joy is not a very likable person, especially when viewers see her cheating on her sweet husband with someone else in town. She likes to hold court at social events large and small and wants everyone to like her. She also judges the Turner family and doesn’t think that they’re good enough to socialize with, which is mean.

7 Cindy Turner

Jeanette and Cindy after work out class on Cruel Summer

Jeanette’s mom Cindy isn’t the meanest person on Cruel Summer, but she isn’t the nicest, either.

Before Jeanette and Kate’s trouble and trial begin, she is a fairly good parent, doing her best to spend time with her family and steer them on the right path. She seems caught up in old feuds and patterns, as she’s upset that she isn’t as popular as she was back in high school, and she’s very judgemental of other people. It turns out that she and Joy Wallis have that in common.

6 Jeanette Turner

Jeanette shops with Kate's friends in Cruel Summer episode 1

Love triangles pop up on many teen dramas and Kate, Jamie, and Jeanette end up in one, too, by the time that Kate comes back home. Jeanette doesn’t want to let go of her newfound popularity, her makeover, or Jamie, and it’s tough for her to be hated by the entire town.

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Jeanette is a tough and tricky character to figure out, but of course, that’s the whole point of Cruel Summer. There are moments when fans think that Kate is lying and that Jeanette is a totally innocent girl who just wanted to be liked. But Jeanette shows moments of cruelty, too, like when she leaves a dorky kid at the town fair because she doesn’t want to look uncool in front of Kate’s BFFs. If Jeanette really did see Kate and not save her, then fans will definitely dislike her.

5 Greg Turner

Greg standing in a room at the police station with Cindy and Jeanette sitting down on Cruel Summer

Greg might not be up there with the greatest fathers on TV, but he’s not the worst one, either, leaving him in the middle of the main characters on Cruel Summer in terms of likability.

When the show opens, viewers see Greg celebrating Jeanette’s birthday with his usual tradition: waking her up in the morning and then having cake and dinner in the evening. He seems sweet and like he really cares about his daughter. He becomes a bit less likable when Jeanette is going through her trial and he doesn’t seem as compassionate, but it’s understandable that his family has fallen apart and he’s having trouble coping.

4 Derek Turner

Derek talking to Jeanette at the carnival on Cruel Summer

Jeanette’s brother Derek is one of the kindest people in Skylin, Texas. He hates that his sister is going through this and he seems to believe her completely.

Derek struggles as his reputation becomes tied up with his family’s and he wonders just how much his life is going to change. He supports Jeanette and stands up for her when he can, but he also wants to live his own life, and viewers understand how torn he feels.

3 Kate Wallis

Kate announces Jeanette's part in her disappearance on TV in Cruel Summer episode 1

Kate is a sweet person who didn’t deserve the tragedy that she experienced. She’s not perfect, as she says in an online chat room that she hasn’t been completely honest about what happened to her, and she does seem to have it out for Jeanette.

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Kate has definitely been through something terrible, though, and fans learn that she mentioned a girl named Annabelle during a therapy session, which will most likely be explained later this season. Time will tell whether Kate or Jeanette is lying… or whether they both are. But no matter what, Kate seems much deeper and more intelligent than her cool, popular girl status would suggest.

2 Mallory Higgins


There’s a fan theory that Mallory could be part of Kate’s kidnapping, but while viewers wait to see if that comes true, it’s still possible to like this character.

Mallory is unapologetically herself and fans learn more about her as she and Kate realize that they have the same therapist. Mallory is a sympathetic character as it turns out that while she, Vince, and Jeanette were close, something happened to tear them apart, and Mallory feels replaced as Jeanette became popular and didn’t have room for her anymore. Mallory and Kate also bond as they feel like they don’t fit in and it seems like Mallory is a genuinely nice person who is just trying to figure life out.

1 Vince Fuller


Vince is the most likable character on Cruel Summer. He’s the voice of reason who seems to have better morals and values than anyone else.

Vince hates that he and Jeanette aren’t friends anymore, but he also tells Mallory that things happen and it’s best to move on instead of being angry about it, proving that he’s very mature. Fans want to know more about Vince and his love interest Ben, and Vince seems to really and truly care about the people in his life.

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