Sin City
Dwight McCarthy
D profile pic.jpg
Occupation: Photographer/Private Investigator
Gender: Male
Comic Appearances: That Yellow Bastard
A Dame To Kill For
The Big Fat Kill
Family Values
The Babe Wore Red
Film Appearances: Sin City
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Affiliation(s): Girls of Old Town
Ava Lord
Portrayed by: Clive Owen -
Sin City (2005)
Josh Brolin -
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)
Nobody's killing anybody. Not while I'm around.
— Dwight to Sally

Dwight McCarthy, appearing in the most stories of any Sin City character (5), is arguably the protagonist of the series. He is the former lover of Ava Lord and a protector to Old Town.


He is a man that's nearing middle age. During the events of killing Damien Lord, the Old Town girls perform surgical reconstruction on his face at Gail's behest. They change his facial appearance dramatically, and he allows his hair to grow again as well. Later he sports a more natural look[1].

In terms of clothing, he wears just a shirt and pants. Afterwards, he takes to wearing a black shirt and a trench coat. He wears red Converse sneakers both before and after his transformation; shown in color on the cover of The Big Fat Kill #1 and in the movie adaptation.

Character History

Most of Dwight's background remains a mystery, with only a few dialogue that suggests tidbits about his life. He probably used to work as a photographer/photojournalist, based on his history with editor Gilleran and how he should have won a Pulitzer. It is unknown why he quit.

Throughout his adventures, Dwight have worked several jobs. He is the protector of Old Town, and an occasional hired gun and thug to various crime bosses and criminal syndicates. Sometimes, he would act as a vigilante, helping out those he thinks are being oppressed, either by himself or with a group (like Marv). Once he confronted Manuel and his four brothers, who had done something bad but unspecified to Kelley, Sandy and Denise.

He had an affair with Ava but she left him for a rich man. He was also very kind to his landlady, paid rent on time and fixed things around the building without being asked to.

That Yellow Bastard

A month after his relationship with Ava, Dwight still mourned her rejection. The very night John Hartigan enters Kadie's, Dwight was drunk still whining about Ava; he went home with Shellie and slept with her.

Three years before A Dame to Kill For, Dwight rescues Miho from two Tong gangsters. Meanwhile he overcame his problem and Agamemnon jokingly called him "clean liver".

A Dame to Kill For

Dwight had a job for Agamemnon concerning Joey Canelli, during which he was about to kill Sally, a girl from Old Town, but Dwight saved her life. After delivering the rolls to Agamemnon, he dreamed about his old job with Gilleran and wished to have it back.

Then Ava Lord, his old love asked Dwight to meet in Club Pecos and Marv was also there. Ava arrives late and tries to persuade Dwight to take her back, claiming that her life is "a living Hell." Dwight refuses as Manute arrives, taking Ava away. Dwight goes home, but cannot sleep, so he decides to check up on Ava and Damien.

Dwight in his old face, looking for Ava.

He hops a fence and, using his photography equipment, scopes out the estate but he is distracted as Ava swims in her pool nude. He is discovered and claims that he is a peeping tom. Manute seemingly doesn't recognize him, but beats him brutally anyway. Dwight calls Agamemnon for a ride home, and they stop to get pizza. As he arrives home, he finds his Ford Mustang returned and his door unlocked. In his bedroom is a nude Ava. They eventually reconcile and make love. Manute arrives and violently beats a naked Dwight and knocks him out of his upper story apartment window, where he blacks out momentarily. He awakens to find Manute driving off with Ava.

Dwight arrives at Kadie's, where Marv and Josie are in the middle of a squabble with some out-of-town punks. One of them pulls a gun on Marv, who knocks him flat. Dwight convinces Marv to help him storm Damien's estate. They drink together and watch Nancy Callahan dance. As they approach the mansion, Dwight insists Marv leave the punk's gun, which Marv has procured, in the car. Marv tackles the guards as a distraction and eventually takes on Manute. Marv rips Manute's right eye out and beats him savagely. With Manute occupied, Dwight makes his way to Damien. When he finds him, he beats him to death. Ava appears, and explains how Dwight was all a part of her plan to get Damien murdered so she could inherit his estate. She shoots Dwight six times, including once in the head. Dwight once again falls out of a window. Marv hears the gunshots, picks up Dwight's body and leaves the estate. In their getaway car, Dwight, barely alive, tells Marv to take him to Old Town. When an old flame, Gail, hears Dwight's voice and sees what has happened to his face, she begins to rehabilitate Dwight.

Two detectives following up on Damien Lord's death, Mort and Bob, talk to Ava. She claims that Dwight was a stalker who killed Damien out of jealousy. They believe her story, and Mort starts sleeping with her. They interrogate Agamemnon, who defends Dwight as an upright man who went clean after a wild youth of alcoholism. When they speak with Dwight's landlady, she says she let Ava in the night of Damien's murder, and heard a loud fight. Bob doubts Ava considerably now, while Mort, still sleeping with Ava, becomes more on-edge towards his partner. This culminates with Mort killing Bob, then committing suicide.

Meanwhile, Dwight is recovering from his near-fatal wounds and calls Ava to inform her he's coming for her soon. Gail, Dwight, Miho and Shellie develop a plan to get revenge on Ava Lord. Gail and the others tell Shellie that Dwight is still alive, and brief her on what she should tell the cops.

Dwight, who now has a new face, poses as Wallenquist's man from Phoenix, accompanied by Gail and Miho. Once inside Ava's estate, Manute sees past the new face and captures Dwight. Gail and Miho strike from Dwight's car, and Dwight shoots Manute with a hidden .25 he had up his left sleeve. Six bullets fail to kill him, and Manute aims at Dwight as Ava grabs one of Manute's guns, shooting Manute in his shoulder. Manute falls through a window and upon landing, Miho stabs him in the arms, pinning him to the ground.

Ava then tries telling Dwight that Manute had her under mind control to manipulate her and Damien and that it would be a cruel irony if he killed her now. Dwight finally sees through all the lies and kills Ava.

The Babe Wore Red

While Marv was in the death row unjustly charged for the murders of Roark and prostitutes, Dwight was called by his troubled friend Fargo. As soon as he arrives to his place, he finds him hang from the ceiling fan. In the bathroom he finds the body of Bernard G. Zimmer, a private investigator.

Dwight and the Babe escape the assassins.

Then he encounters Burt Shlubb, whom he knocks out and finds a woman hiding in the shower. Under a barrage of sniper shots from Douglas Klump, Dwight and the Babe reach their car and speed off. Although they successfully elude the pair, Dwight goes to The Farm to deal with them. In the meantime, the Babe introduces herself to him as a hooker named Mary, but Dwight can tell she's lying.

When Fat Man and Little Boy show up, he duels with both of them again and due to insistence from Mary decides to shoot them in the legs instead of killing them.

The next day he receives a package from Fargo who had shipped it off before his untimely demise. Dwight reads up on the whole situation and realizes that Fargo was simply the scapegoat for illegal drug-related activities and had paid the ultimate price. He also receives a package from Mary. She was not a hooker, rather a nun that had flirted with temptation before ultimately deciding to dedicate her life to God.

The Big Fat Kill


Dwight, sporting an improved face, is at Shellie's place when Jack Rafferty (otherwise known as Jackie-Boy) and his friends arrive, completely drunk, to harass Shellie and have some fun. Dwight 'talks' with Jackie-Boy in the bathroom – he sneaks up behind him, threatens him with a razor, and then plunges Jackie-Boy's head into the toilet that Jackie-Boy has just urinated in, forcing him to ingest some of the rather unpleasant mix that is now there — and scares him off. They leave Shellie's apartment, but Dwight follows them for fear that they might hurt another woman that night. Dwight follows them straight to Old Town where Miho slaughters Jackie-Boy and his friends for threatening one of the Old Town girls. Dwight then discovers that Jack was a police officer. Dwight, in an attempt to prevent a war between the Old Town girls and the police, tries to dispose of Jackie-Boy’s body in the Pits. However, some Irish mercenaries that Wallenquist has sent shoot him. Dwight survives only because Jackie Boy's badge blocked a bullet. He kills the assassins, but is attacked by more of them. He lands in the tar pits while the others cut off Jackie Boy's head. Dwight sinks into the tar and prays to God not to let him die. Miraculously, he sees Miho swimming towards him. He pleas with her silently to save herself. However, Miho pulls him with her foot attached to a chain at the back of a car and she drags him just in time from the pits. Dallas, who was driving the car, announces that Gail has been kidnapped.

Though the other mercenaries have left with Jackie-Boy's head, Miho has left one member of the gang alive, and Dwight tortures him for information. The Old Town girl that Jackie-Boy had his eyes on, Becky, sells them out to Wallenquist in an attempt to make money and get out of the prostitution game - this is how the Irish assassins knew where to ambush Dwight. We learn that Manute has captured Gail, when suddenly Miho fires an arrow with a deal attached: Jackie-Boy’s head for Gail’s life. The trade takes place in a narrow alley, and Dwight takes advantage of this to ambush Manute and his entourage. The Old Town girls, firing from the rooftops, leave no enemy alive.

Family Values

Dwight is on a mission from Gail to dig up information about a recent mob hit at a small diner. He goes into a bar near where the hit happened and tries to charm one of the local drinkers there named Peggy. Dwight also spots Fat Man and Little Boy, which makes his job easier later on. As Dwight keeps charming Peggy, she realizes he's not interested in any company that night and only looking for information behind the recent hit. It's revealed that Bruno, the target, was killed by Vito, one of Don Magliozzi's nephews and also one of his hitmen. This was done in retaliation on Don Magliozzi's part as Bruno had killed his beloved niece years ago. Going against his family's treaty with Mob Boss Wallenquist, Magliozzi orders Vito to kill Bruno, who is on Wallenquist's payroll, immediately. Afterwards, everyone's nervous about what Wallenquist will do and if there will be a mob war. With that information, Dwight leaves the bar and is confronted by Vito and some other hitmen who came when Fat Man and Little Boy alerted them someone was digging around for information.

Dwight is kidnapped by them and driven toward the Projects, but Dwight is more interested in their car, which he claims he will take possession of once they're all dead; none of them believe him. Unknown to the hitmen is that Miho has been following Dwight for protection. On the way, Vito tells his side of the story as to how he killed every living thing he saw, including a stray dog. Dwight is satisfied with this and orders Miho to make her appearance. She kills Spinelli, one of the goons, and they park in a hilltop rest area, overlooking the Projects. There, Miho toys with one of the hitmen as Dwight tells Vito to kill the other hitman, Vito's own brother Lucca.

Dwight disarms Vito before the Magliozzi Mansion.

After Miho and Dwight are through, they head straight to Sacred Oaks to confront Don Magliozzi, driven by Vito. Miho cuts through the guards and Dwight makes his appearance. He tells the Don he is going to die along with Vito for the accidental death of Carmen, one of the Old Town girls. Dwight tells them Vito shouldn't have shot at the stray dog, since the angles were in a straight line to where Carmen was calling for a ride when Vito shot her. Carmen's lesbian lover, Daisy, arrives as Dwight walks away from the Don and his associates. Daisy guns them down as Dwight remarks there's going to be a mob war because of this, but that neither he nor the girls of Old Town will have cause to worry about it. Finally, he takes possession of Vito's car and drives off into the night.


Dwight is first introduced as a man who lives in total abstinence in order to keep out of trouble. Having a history of bad tempers, wild drinking and wild love affairs (as well as a mysterious, but seemingly significant, incident involving his father, briefly mentioned in A Dame to Kill For) he lives completely denying himself even a taste of what he refers to as "the fire". During this time he appears to be a tortured soul who is afraid even to rev the engine of his Mustang or grow his hair, all the while trying to not 'let the monster out.'

After being duped and betrayed by Ava Lord in A Dame to Kill For, he develops a new, nihilistic outlook on life. After killing Damien Lord, he constantly refers to himself as a dead man, hinting that he no longer lives the life he had prior to Ava's reappearance. The new Dwight, possibly the 'monster' he had tried to restrain, is far more confident in his self worth and more at ease with allowing himself to indulge in pleasures and whims. There are times when this new Dwight is shown as being insane or at least not all there, most likely a result of Ava's influence and betrayal, it is most notable during the conversation between himself and the recently deceased Jackie Boy. Dwight also appears completely aware of his problems.

At all times Dwight is a model of chivalry, treating all women (including and, in fact, especially the prostitutes of Old Town) with the utmost respect and offering them his protection. His passion for romance runs deep and a woman in need of help is the trigger for his involvement in all the stories he stars in. Miller, on the special 2-Disc Sin City DVD has stated he is the story's "everyman": Rather than a juggernaut like Marv or a righteous force like John Hartigan, Dwight is simply someone who tries to do the right thing and find his place in the world. He also, in explaining the character to actor Clive Owen, described Dwight as a modern iteration of Philip Marlowe.


  • Skilled with twin Springfield Armory 1911s and carries a pair frequently; he is jokingly referred to as The Shadow in Family Values because of this.
  • Fondness for classic cars and long flowing coats, similar to Marv. In the movie he drives a 1959 Cadillac, however it is unclear which model. Currently drives a classic 1953 Cadillac Eldorado, which he acquired from Vito in Family Values.
  • Unlike Marv, though, he hates the rain, because "it makes it hard to think straight". Marv likes the rain because it makes it easier to think.
  • Is associated with the Old Town girls.
  • Enjoys watching and playing basketball.
  • Exercises frequently, and has a very muscular physique
  • Often hangs out at Kadie's Club.
  • Has Olympic level strength, speed, stamina, and durability; he is able to survive several gunshots and jump out of multi-story windows and land unharmed.
  • Is quick with his feet, allowing him to deliver crushing kicks to his enemies.
  • Dislikes using punches in fights as he hates to 'skin his knuckles'.
  • The only male protagonist in the film to survive until the end.
  • Wears a pair of red sneakers.
  • Easily taken in by beautiful women.
  • A skilled photographer.
  • Stands somewhere between 6'1 and 6'3, in comparison to Gail, who is said more than once to be 6 feet tall.
  • Shares the same view of modern cars as Marv, referring to one as an "electric shaver."
  • Dwight is left-handed.
  • Dwight also habitually refers to Miho in his internal monologues as "Deadly Little Miho".


He appears in A Dame to Kill For, The Big Fat Kill, Family Values, The Babe Wore Red and That Yellow Bastard.

In Robert Rodriguez's 2005 film adaptation, he was portrayed by Clive Owen. Josh Brolin protrayed pre-surgery Dwight in the 2014 sequel, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.



Sin City (film)

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For


  1. The Big Fat Kill and Family Values
Sin City
Films Sin City - Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Main Characters Miho - Dwight McCarthy - Gail - Marv - Ava Lord - Wendy - Goldie - Johnny - John Hartigan - Nancy Callahan - Bob - Mort - Marcie - Sally - Joey Canelli - Becky - The Colonel - Customer - Lucille - Manute - Shellie - Senator Roark - Wallenquist - Dallas - Delia - Wallace
Groups Girls of Old Town - Basin City Police Department - Roark family - Irish mercenaries - Magliozzi Family - The Bikers - Wallenquist Organization
Locations Basin City - Old Town - Sacred Oaks - The Projects - The Pits - Kadie's - The Docks - Mimi's - Farm
Music Sin City (soundtrack) - Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For (soundtrack)
Comics The Hard Goodbye - A Dame To Kill For - The Babe Wore Red and Other Stories - The Big Fat Kill - Silent Night - That Yellow Bastard - Daddy's Little Girl - Lost, Lonely & Lethal - Sex & Violence - Just Another Saturday Night - Family Values - Booze, Broads, & Bullets - Hell And Back
Short Stories And Behind Door Number Three? - The Customer is Always Right - The Babe Wore Red - Fat Man and Little Boy - Blue Eyes - Rats - Wrong Turn - Wrong Track
Original Yarns The Long Bad Night - Nancy's Last Dance
Important Articles Chronology - Fan Art - Sin City - Sin City Comics to Film Differences - The Truce - Yarns