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For the mainstream version, see: Norman Bates
For his split personality, see Mother
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Norman Bates is the protagonist villain of Bates Motel, a 2013 TV series based on the horror classic Psycho, and he turned into the main villain from Season 4 onwards after he went insane and killed his mother, Norma.
He is portrayed by Freddie Highmore.
Norman occasionally goes into a fugue state, during which time he attacks those who threaten Norma. He will then black out and not remember the event. For example, when Sam Bates beat Norma, Norman struck Sam in the head with a blender, but doesn't recall the ordeal. Norma made it look like a freak accident where a shelf fell on Sam. Another example is when Dylan Massett disrespected Norma. Norman tried to bludgeon him, but Dylan punched him. He didn't remember it and Dylan ended up telling him what happened.
In the episode What's Wrong With Norman, while Norman is in bed, he sees a visual and auditory hallucination of Norma advising him to go search for Summers' belt at Deputy Shelby's house. While Norman really believes Norma told him to do so, Norma tells Norman in Trust Me that sometimes he imagines stuff that doesn't actually happen.
In the episode The Man in Number 9, Norman is seen talking to himself as if in a dialogue after an argument with Bradley which is a sign of a psychotic episode. In the episode Midnight, Norman experienced a blackout between the time Miss Watson drove him to her home and he sees her undress herself inside her room and before the time he is running home from the rain. In addition, Norman had possession of Miss Watson's pearls but he doesn't remember acquiring it. All these evidence suggests that Norman is psychotic as he experiences many auditory and visual hallucinations and is unable to recall specific events beyond what is normal forgetfulness. In Norman's case, he does not remember his violent encounters almost immediately after they occur.
In the episode Check-Out, Cody drives Norman to Caleb's motel so they can beat him up. Norman recalls in his mind the time Norma confessed her brother used to force her into sex as a child. Norman then has a visual hallucination of Norma getting raped by Caleb. At the end of the episode, Norman heads to Caleb's place and takes full possession of Norma's character. In his Norma-mode, Norman accuses Caleb of raping him and says, “I was your little sister you should have protected me.” Norman's embodiment of his mother indicates that Norman possibly has Dissociative Identity Disorder as well.
- Sam Bates (unknowingly): Hit over the head with a blender. (in First You Dream, Then You Die)
- Blaire Watson (unknowingly): Cut her throat. (in Midnight)
- Jimmy Brennen (accidental): Pushed down a flight of stairs. (in Plunge)
- Bradley Martin (unknowingly): Head bashed repeatedly on a rock. (in Unconscious)
- Audrey Ellis (unknowingly): Strangulation. (in A Danger to Himself and Others)
- Norma Bates: Carbon monoxide poisoning. (in Forever)
- This is Freddie Highmore's first villain role, and his performance recieved critical acclaim.
- Some fans said Freddie Highmore bears physical similiarities with Anthony Perkins, the original portrayer of Norman in 1960 film produced by Alfred Hitchcock.
- Of note are the following differences between the TV Norman and the original Norman:
- The timeline is set in modern day, with the first season occurring in 2013, even though the show is some sort of prequel.
- The fictional setting takes place in White Pine Bay, Oregon, as opposed to the fictional setting in the original films, Fairvale, California.
- Norma buys the hotel and adjacent house from a realtor, both of which are in a run-down state and in need of a lot of renovation. In the films however it is established that the Bates family, Norma at least, lived there for some time before Norma's new husband Chet decided to build the motel nearby.
- Norma in the show is, so far, a lot less caustic than the Norma seen in Psycho IV. She also appears to be aware, and more understanding, of Norman's regular trance-like psychotic episodes.
- Norman has an older brother in the show, however is depicted as an only child in the films.
- John Bates was killed by Norman via bludgeoning for abusing Norma; in Psycho IV it is established that he was stung to death by bees.
- Norman is currently 17, and has not killed Norma yet, while in the films, he killed her when he was 15.
- Norma and Norman's relationship in the show is apparently strengthened when he rescues her from an intruder who tries to rape her.
- Norman is seen to take a keen interest in taxidermy after befriending a stray dog which gets run over and killed by a car. This interest is likely an attempt to explain how he was able to preserve Norma's corpse for so long.
- Norman finally killed Norma in the Episode 9 of the Fourth Season by poisoning her with gas.