Sam Bates is a character in the TV Series Bates Motel - the contemporary prequel of Alfred Hitchcock's psychological horror film Psycho. He appears as the abusive husband of Norma Bates and father to her son Norman Bates, and ends up dying at the hands of the latter.
Sam Bates is an abusive alcoholic who beats his wife Norma, and has been known to be abusive towards their son Norman. One day Sam gets into one of abusive moments and starts grabbing Norma in their living room when she makes an off-cut remark about him cheating the state in disability allowance. In the next room Norman overhears the commotion, and begins to blank out. In an almost hypnotic daze, Norman unknowingly strikes Sam across the head with a coffee maker, killing him instantly. Norma puts Norman to bed, and sets up the death to look like a household accident. Norman later awakens and discovers his father dead, much to his distress.
Norma got money in Sam's life insurance and used it to buy a motel with Norman. Her other son Dylan (and Norman's half-brother) initially believes Norma is responsible for the killing, but she reveals that Norman committed the crime, but knew that he wasn't aware due to going through a trance. This is the reason Norma decided to keep Norman close to her and keep an eye on him.
- Sam's villainy is exclusive to Bates Motel and ignores what was established in the Psycho film sequels. In Psycho II and III it is revealed that Norman's mentally unstable aunt Emma Spool murdered his father and kidnapped Norman as a baby. In Psycho IV: The Beginning (which acts as a sequel/prequel involving flashbacks to Norman's childhood) he was stung by bees.
- His name is a possible nod towards the character of Sam Loomis from Psycho (who would later appear in the show's fifth season).