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This article is about Sam Lesser from the Netflix adaptation. You may be looking for Sam Lesser from the graphic novels.

Whole block's on fire.


Sam Lesser is a major antagonist in Netflix's Locke & Key, serving as the secondary antagonist of its first season, a minor anti-hero in its second season, and a supporting anti-hero in its third season.

Sam was a high school student and a close friend of Tyler Locke. With a GPA of 3.4, Sam was struggling with the burden of an abusive father and a personality disorder. His emotions got the better of him multiple times, causing him to commit atrocities against the Locke Family. After death, he becomes a Keyhouse ghost, at one point aiding the Lockes in finding a vital key from beyond the grave. Sam is later resurrected in the body of James Bolton, an Echo serving the demon possessing Frederick Gideon. Seeking to atone for his actions in any way that he can, Sam sacrifices himself to save Tyler, Kinsey and Ellie Whedon, earning redemption and forgiveness in the process.


Early Life[]

Sam originates from a troubled background of him, his father, and younger sister. While his sister appears supportive, his father is neglectful, treating him like vermin and picking fights with him over little things like drinking cola. This leads to problems at home and multiple meetings at school with Rendell Locke, the school counselor. In the meetings, Rendell talks with Sam; however, Sam is unresponsive to the conversation, and Rendell eventually asks Tyler to get close with Sam in order to diagnose his issues. Eventually, he is diagnosed with a personality disorder.[1]

Communion with Dodge[]

Making contact and arrest[]

Sam in San Lobo Juvenile Detention

Sam Lesser alone in his prison cell.

Around the same time, Dodge begins reaching out to Sam, telling him that she is there for him. Unbeknownst to him, however, she is using him to find the magical keys hidden throughout Keyhouse Manor. Sam obliges, and eventually, he confronts Rendell in Seattle over the location of the keys. Rendell does not reveal anything, and Sam shoots Rendell before attacking his family, killing him in the process.[2] Nina later hits him over the head with a hammer, knocking him out until he is arrested by the police.[3]

Escape and death[]

Following a couple of weeks remanded into prison, Sam is visited by Dodge, with her honoring her word. It is unknown what words were exchanged.[2] Several days later, Dodge decides the time is right to lend him the Matchstick Key in order to aid him in his imminent escape from prison.[4]

Two weeks later, Sam decides the time is right to escape from prison and, on Dodge's orders, attacks the Locke Family once again at Keyhouse. He ties them up and demands the Head Key, however Kinsey and Bode are able to hide it in a stuffed plush toy. They tell Sam that Tyler has the key, and Sam tells them that they can wait until he returns home. When Tyler returns, and it is revealed he does not have the key, he too is tied up. Kinsey tells him that they buried the key, and Sam takes her and Bode into the woods to find it. They are attacked by Kinsey's Fear, however, and Sam returns to the house to threaten Nina.

Sam is eventually able to get the Head Key after it is used on him. Dodge arrives to take the key from him, but Sam is confused as to if he should hand over the key or not. Impatient, Dodge stabs him with the same knife that Kinsey brought into the woods and takes the key from him forcefully, making him cry with humiliation as he topples over, vaguely aware of her leaving Keyhouse.[1]

Keyhouse Ghost[]

When the police arrive, Sam has no option but to leave through the Ghost Door — which Bode has left unlocked — to escape. He does not know the purpose of the door, however, and finds himself now a ghost. The police shut the door, meaning that Sam cannot return to his injured body and is now doomed to be a Keyhouse ghost forever. In the aftermath of his death, the Locke family's neighbors brought them fresh meals to give their condolences for their experience of watching their nemesis kill the same boy who had murdered their father.[1]

Months later, the ghost of Sam, still haunting the property, tries to seize Dodge's body on the signal of Chamberlin when Dodge uses the Ghost Key to confront Chamberlin. Dodge and Sam battle for control of Dodge's body briefly before Dodge finally ejects him.[5]

Sam's ghost later leads Kinsey and Scot to the Angel Key, although they mistake him for Chamberlin. Chamberlin apologizes to Sam for getting the credit, but Sam, apparently remorseful for his evil deeds, reassures Chamberlin that he doesn't need credit for his actions, stating that he's just glad that it worked.[6]

After Bode is trapped as a Keyhouse ghost, Sam approaches him and reveals that there are still things that he can do as a ghost. Bode is surprised to see Sam who explains how his failed attempt at escaping from the cops trapped him as a ghost. Getting emotional, Sam tells Bode that he knows that Bode hates him and that Sam is the last person that Bode wants to talk to, but Dodge did this to both of them. Bode angrily refuses to listen to Sam as he had murdered Bode's father and although Sam insists that he can help, Bode states that he doesn't want to see Sam's face ever again and orders him to go which Sam reluctantly complies with. After Sam leaves, Chamberlin tells Bode that although he would never defend the things that Sam did, Sam has sought to atone for his actions and helped the Locke family out, though they never knew it. Bode is confused and Chamberlin tells him to ask Sam what he means.

The next day, Bode finds Sam in the Wellhouse, commenting that he liked Sam better when he thought that Sam was dead with Sam admitting that he sometimes wishes that he was. While Bode is willing to talk to Sam, it doesn't mean that he's willing to forgive him which Sam doesn't expect. Dodge may have used him, but Sam still made his choices and he can't change what happened, but he is so sorry for what he did. Bode asks what Chamberlin meant that Sam had helped the Lockes and Sam reveals that he had been the one to lead Kinsey to the Angel Key using the birds. The birds are capable of sensing the Keyhouse ghosts and Sam has figured out a way to guide them. After Sam confirms that he means birds such as sparrows, an interested Bode asks Sam to teach him how to do it. Sam guides Bode who successfully manages to lead the birds into the sky. After his siblings return, Bode uses what Sam taught him to lead a sparrow through the Ghost Door and then enters its body. As Tyler and Kinsey use the Animal Key to turn the sparrow into Bode, Sam distracts Gideon by leading the other sparrows to attack the demon.[7]

Resurrection and Final Death[]

With Tyler and Kinsey having tricked James Bolton through the Ghost Door, Sam enters Bolton's body and is resurrected, trapping Bolton as a Keyhouse ghost in his place. Sam poses as Bolton, pretending to have had no luck in finding the Creation Key and holding the Lockes at gunpoint as Gideon takes Ellie Whedon to find the Creation Key where she hid it in Gordie Shaw's head. Gideon orders "Bolton" to lock the family and Rufus in the pantry and to kill them all if he's not back in an hour with the key. Once Gideon is gone, Sam releases the others and reveals his true identity to them, much to their shock.[7]

Nina is shocked and furious by Sam's return, but Bode defends Sam, now trusting him. Bode reveals to the others that Sam had taught him how to guide the birds so that Bode could come back from the dead and that he had been the one to guide Kinsey to the Angel Key. Sam tearfully apologizes to Nina for the terrible things that he did, making no excuses for his actions and not expecting her to forgive him. Kinsey admits that while she isn't ready to forgive Sam either, he did help them and Tyler acknowledges that right now, they need all of the help that they can get. Nina agrees, but she tells Sam that that's as far as it goes which he states is fair enough.

While Bode and Nina attempt to open the Harlequin Chest, Sam, Rufus, Tyler and Kinsey follow Gideon and Ellie to Gordie Shaw's home in search of the Creation Key. As Rufus tends to the badly wounded Gordie, Sam accompanies Tyler and Kinsey into Gordie's head, eventually encountering Ellie who has escaped from Gideon. However, the world around them begins to darken, rot and die due to Gordie himself being close to death. Finding Gideon at the piano that contains the key, Sam attacks the demon, acting as a distraction for the others to get the Creation Key and escape before Gordie dies. After a brief fight, Sam is left trapped under the overturned piano as Gideon chases after the others.[8]

Shortly thereafter, Gordie dies of his wounds. Still trapped inside of Gordie's head, Sam dies with him for the final time. Resuming his true form, Sam appears to die at peace with even Tyler and Kinsey being saddened by his loss after Sam sacrificed himself for them.

Kinsey later gives special thanks to Sam in the credits of The Splattering II. When an audience member expresses surprise that Kinsey would do so given Sam's actions, a somber Kinsey states that Sam was a troubled kid, but if a killer lobster is capable of redemption, then so is Sam Lesser.[9]


Sam was mistreated by his father along with his supportive yet timid sister, causing him to live a life of mental pain under the shadow of his peers. The constant abuse from his father turned Sam into a very cynical person who struggles to see good in others and has no one except his vulnerable sister and rocky friendship with Tyler, which in turn made him vulnerable to Dodge's plans.

After meeting Dodge and learning of the keys, Sam became dedicated to seeking out the Head Key and prove himself to Dodge, whom he felt was the only one that appreciated him. From there, Sam's investment leads him to partake in murderous activity for the sake of Dodge's plot. However, his trust for her wavered when Tyler claimed he knew and detested Dodge, leading him to beg Dodge to tell him if he was right about her, which she did in quite an ironic way, leading to his death.

However, Sam was not inherently malevolent; being the product of a broken home, Sam lacked a sense of purpose and craved love in any shape or form first and foremost. Yet, he was willing to recreate this sense by any means necessary, holding his friend and his kin at gunpoint and tying them down to ensure he was in control of the current situation, even forcing the Lockes to have dinner with him in the hostage setting.

After his death, Sam becomes remorseful for his actions. He leads Kinsey and Scot to the Angel Key and tells Chamberlin that he doesn't care about getting credit, just that it worked. Chamberlin later acknowledges to Bode that while Sam's evil actions are indefensible, he has attempted to atone for his sins. Upon being reunited with the Lockes, Sam tearfully apologizes for his deeds, even recognizing that manipulated by Dodge or not, Sam has no excuse for the terrible things that he did. After Sam helps Bode to return to the living world, he gains Bode's trust and possibly his forgiveness as well. When Sam sacrifices himself to buy Tyler, Kinsey and Ellie time to escape, the three are visibly saddened by his loss.

While talking to Bode, Sam admits that at times, he wishes that he were truly dead and not just trapped as a Keyhouse ghost. When Sam dies for the final time, he appears to truly be at peace with his fate. Sam's self-sacrifice earns him redemption and forgiveness in the eyes of the Lockes who had once hated him for what Sam had done to them.

Known victims[]

Sam has also massacred dozens if not hundreds of prisoners with the Matchstick Key, either through incineration or suffocation.


Season One
Season Two



  • He has a tattoo of an omega symbol on his wrist.
  • Sam lives with his father at 4201 Adelbert Street and has the phone number (206) 143-8941
  • He is the only known person to live on as a ghost, as a result of going through the Ghost Door and have it close behind him.