Guys. Where would we be without Argyle?
As McClane's fast-talking, wisecracking limo driver, Argyle enters the movie early and stays with us throughout. To be fair, he doesn't do much but hang out in the parking garage, wishing he could do more. But Argyle gets his moment to shine when he takes out Theo, who is clearly the most annoying (and yet most entertaining) of all of Gruber's goobers.
Plus, Argyle's got killer taste in music. Run-D.M.C.'s "Christmas in Hollis"? Now there's a holiday song we can get behind.
Chief Dwayne T. Robinson
How can we put this nicely? Chief Dwayne T. Robinson is a straight-up waste of space. He's oafish, boorish, and a plain old moron. He orchestrates the failed SWAT siege and pretty much makes a fool of himself with every decision he makes.
Why are we so harsh on the guy? Because he doubts McClane, that's why. We see Chief Robinson repeatedly complaining about McClane's actions, and even blaming him for Harry Ellis's death. Not cool, dude.
Everything you need to know about this guy is summed up by this line: "I've got a 100 people down here, and they're covered with glass."
McClane's response? Priceless.
FBI Agents Johnson and Johnson
The Johnsons—no relation—swoop in at the end of the movie, and they're after guts, glory, and, quite frankly, urban combat. When they take over the investigation from Chief Robinson, they make it clear that they're not really interested in saving hostages so much as waxing bad guys.
And they prove that quite well when they shoot at McClane while he's standing on a rooftop full of hostages. They've got some seriously itchy trigger fingers, and it's only a matter of time before fate takes them down a peg (or twenty). They meet their end when the rooftop explosion McClane tried to warn everyone about takes out their helicopter. You're right, Special Agent Johnson: it really is "just like Saigon."
The SWAT team doesn't do much except get their butts kicked in a siege attempt. Seriously, they make no progress whatsoever, and even manage to lose a few men in the process. It's an all around bummer, but it does give Theo a chance to snark about their tactics. Our favorite moment in this scene? When the SWAT team member has a run-in with a rose bush. When you see a SWAT member freak out over a little rose thorn, you just know this ain't gonna go well.
This guy really earns his first name. He's opportunistic and more than a little grotesque. He's shown reveling in the damage and destruction of Nakatomi Plaza, clearly pleased that it's going to make for some great television. And when he finds out who Holly McClane is, he actually goes to her house, threatens the nanny, and puts her tiny children on TV. Yeah, it's gross.
Dude gets his comeuppance in the end though, when Holly decks him with a mean right hook. Do not mess with the mama bear's cubs.
News Anchors and Personnel
Back at Richard Thornburg's studio, there are plenty of media types milling around, trying to get the best coverage, and interviewing tenuously qualified pundits to comment on the situation. If we're being honest, Die Hard doesn't have a lot of kind things to say about the news media. They're portrayed as conniving buffoons—and that's putting it mildly.
The McClane kids' nanny seems like a stand-up lady. Perhaps Holly says it best when she asks, "What would I do without you, Paulina?" Her big moment in the movie comes when reporter Richard Thornburg shows up on their doorstep, demands to speak to the children, and threatens Paulina with deportation. Ugh. That guy is the worst.
The McClane children do get some moments in the spotlight—on the phone in an early scene, and on TV as the movie approaches its climax—but for the most part, they're pretty much family fluff. They're there to remind us what John and Holly are fighting for, and why their marriage is worth saving.
Shmoop's favorite detail about the 911 dispatchers is that, after they hear what could only be gunfire coming in over the radio, they decide to send a single black-and-white to do a drive by. Because, yeah, when you hear gunfire, sending one lone cop to check things out is really the way to go.
The hostage who gets the most airtime is Holly's secretary, Ginny. She's pregnant—very much so, in fact—and spends most of the movie being a damsel in distress. Her one chance to help out comes when McClane wants to know where Holly is, and Ginny tells him that Hans took her. Thanks, Ginny.
As for the other hostages, all you really need to know is that they're Nakatomi employees (and perhaps friends and family of said employees), and that they're in a right pickle. They spend most of the movie held at gunpoint on the building's 30th floor, until they're frantically herded to the roof by the terrorists, and then frantically herded off the roof by a crazy-looking John McClane.