I guess Mr. Wilford didn't think rich people would murder each other.
— Layton in First, the Weather Changed

Andre Layton is the male protagonist in TNT's Snowpiercer. He is portrayed by Daveed Diggs.

He is a quiet thinker who spends his days tending to his cage of rats. He is a prisoner barely surviving the harsh conditions in the tail end of the train and a reluctant participant in a struggle that could upend life on the train.

Following his success of solving the murder aboard the train, Layton figures out the mystery surrounding Mr. Wilford. In an attempt to protect her identity, he is suspended in the drawers by Melanie Cavill.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Andre Layton boarded Snowpiercer along with Zarah Ferami, after convincing her to give up on joining family members to die alongside them.

The two of them became Tailies. At one point, he became an active part of stopping a cannibal kill cult that developed in the Tail Section, an experience that still haunts him.[2]

Throughout The Series[edit | edit source]

Recruitment[edit | edit source]

Layton's world is turned upside down when news that he is a homicide detective is spread throughout the train by his ex-wife, Zarah. Hospitality recruits Layton shortly after to solve a death on board. Layton is initially reluctant to help, citing that they most likely have a copy-cat killer on board. Realising that this is his chance to alleviate some of the conditions in the Tail, Layton tries to bargain with Melanie Cavill — the head of hospitality — for third-class immigration status and rations for the Tailies; she refuses to accept his conditions, however.

Whilst at the middle of the train, Layton is privy to the agricultural carriages, and questions Roche as to why the Tailies are starving when there is adequate amounts of food to go around. Melanie interjects and cites that it is part of Wilford's order — there must be a balance. Layton again tries to bargain with Melanie but is unsuccessful.

Shortly after, Layton and hospitality are alerted to a riot in the Tail — Layton has been expecting this, but did not think it would come so soon. The guards are able to suppress the riot, but suggest that six Tailies die given six guards died too. Layton is able to bargain for peace, agreeing to solve the murder if none of the Tail are killed; secretly, Layton tells Pike he will use this opportunity to canvas the train.[3]

Solving the Murder[edit | edit source]

Layton in the nightcar with Zarah.

Despite promising to use his position as Train Detective to help the Tail plan their revolution, Layton does take his position seriously and attempts to solve the murder. He is assisted by Till, and the two talk with numerous passengers aboard the train. Eventually, they begin to suspect the butchers, with Layton suggesting that Sean's missing limbs are being used in the kitchen as food; Till rejects this idea, however, branding it ridiculous. During their investigation, Till takes Layton to the Nightcar in a bid for him to better understand Nikki's job.

Later, they find the missing body parts behind a vent in the butcher's fridge; they surmise, however, that the butcher came second, given the torture Sean endured during his castration. He later realises that Sean was a Wilford informant and was tortured for the secrets he knew.[4]

Layton and Till eventually realise that Kronole is a street-drug synthesised from the suspension drug used aboard Snowpiercer, and that this has caused Nikki Genêt to fall into Kronole withdrawal. Layton is able to eventually tie one of the janitors, Terence, to Sean Wise's Kronole business, and finds out that Sean — along with another man — bought Kronole from him the night of his death. He later relays this information to Melanie and Roche.[5]

Layton is furious when news of Nikki Genêt's death reaches him. He questions why Melanie did not act on the description he had given her previously — Melanie remarks that she was waiting until the morning. Layton finally realises that the killer must be from First, given the schematics of the lockdown during Fight Night; Melanie agrees to allow Layton to question First.

Layton questions First, and LJ Folger reveals that her bodyguard, Erik, did not return home that night. After numerous hours of questioning, it becomes clear that LJ is behind the murders and Erik is her puppet, doing as she pleases. She is arrested after attempting to stab Layton.

Following this, Melanie realises that Layton has figured out that Mr. Wilford is fiction, and the real leader of Snowpiercer is Melanie; he remarks that a myth is a powerful thing, but Melanie has him suspended in the drawers in an attempt to protect her identity.[1]

Planning for a Revolution[edit | edit source]

Whilst investigating the murder, Layton begins gathering objects such as a pen and wire. He uses these to draw a map of the train on a torn piece of t-shirt, using the wire to pick the lock on his cell after dark. He escapes his room and leaves the torn map of the train on the floor near his door, in which he knows a member of the Tail will walk past soon after. He distracts the guards in an attempt to allow the man to pick up the map, but is badly beaten in the process.[4]

Layton and Josie talk for the first time since Layton became detective.

After Layton gains knowledge of Sean's Kronole encounters from Terence, he bargains his ring for knowledge about the Train's security. After he begs Melanie to let him see Josie, he tells her that "only doors separate us" — a clear indication that the security between classes is only doors. He further orally exchanges a pill containing an unknown substance.[5]

Escaping the drawers[edit | edit source]

Shortly after Layton's incarceration within the drawers, mention of his absence spreads throughout the train, eventually reaching the Tail. Josie rightly believes Layton to have been suspended within the drawers and leaves through sanitation to find him. She is eventually able to find him and brings him out of the drawers, taking him to Zarah for protection.[6]

Layton, fearing he will be silenced, tells Josie about Melanie.

When Layton wakes, he is disorientated but blames Zarah for ever involving him in Sean Wise's murder case. Nevertheless, Josie arrives shortly after and takes him to medical to have a consultation with Dr. Pelton. On the way, Layton tells Josie that Melanie is the mysterious Mr. Wilford, but warns her to keep it a secret. Layton is furious with Pelton and believes her to be working with Cavill, however it quickly becomes clear that she sides with the Tailies. Pelton reveals that there is a blacklist — enemies of the state — and both her and Layton are on it. Furious, Layton steals the access chip he gave Josie and goes to hunt down (and kill), Melanie.

He arrives at the broken carriage and holds Melanie at knifepoint, revealing that he knows about the experimental status of the drawers. She assures him that it is not what he thinks, and that they are a lifeboat for humanity to survive the freeze. He accepts this, and allows her to leave to fix the hydraulics. He later retires to Pelton's chambers with Josie where the two have sex.[7]

Layton spends the morning with Josie, and the two listen to Melanie's announcement that Miles has been chosen as the next engineering apprentice following a previous death. Layton struggles reasoning with Josie when she expresses her desire to meet with Miles, despite it clearly being a trap. Layton is picked up moments later and taken to Miss Audrey in the Nightcar.

Layton tells Audrey to gather her most loyal and supportive friends as he has something to tell them. He has trouble convincing her that he is worth the time, however, but is eventually able to convince her to convene her most trusted allies. When she does, Layton has trouble rallying them to his cause, but after he announces a new plan for a revolution, he is able to garner their trust. He does not succeed, however, in convincing Terence to join him, but is made aware that Melanie has tried to tempt Terence into betraying Layton.

Layton is bereft when he hears the news of Josie's untimely death, and vows vengeance on Cavill. In order to exact his revenge, he teams up with LJ Folger — a sworn enemy — to whom he reveals Snowpiercer's biggest secret; the identity of Mr. Wilford.[8]

Assuming Control[edit | edit source]

Layton ramps up his attack on Melanie and the management of Snowpeircer and attempts to further his agenda via the revolution and the hate of first in both the Nightcar and Third along with alliances with the Tail. Layton plans out how they will attack First and Melanie when they're at their weakest and is eventually able to deal real damage to the social order aboard Snowpiercer.[9]

Layton's plan, fueled with Nolan's disregard of Melanie's warnings that the chaos downtrain is engineered, and results in Melanie's control of Snowpiercer being toppled, leaving a vacant management seat. Layton's efforts seem futile when Ruth, Nolan, and the Folgers assume control, however they're quickly able to take back control when Melanie joins the revolution and aids them in disposing of Nolan's men to the Freeze.[10]

Realizing that she has lost her way, Melanie officially relinquishes control of Snowpiercer to Layton, however this comes at a high price. Layton is forced to take the decision to either speed up or slow down when the Engine detects a radio signal not too far away. Melanie warns Layton about the consequences of the choice he will make, and Layton eventually decides to slow the train; a choice which ends with Big Alice latching onto Snowpiercer and Layton once again losing control of the train.[11]

Layton struggles with his control of Snowpiercer following the connection of Big Alice and Snowpiercer. Layton is warned about causing up-roar before a cooling-off period can occur to divulge Wilford's true intentions. With no answers being provided, however, those up-train become restless and in search of answers; many begin considering the idea of revolting against Layton, given he cannot uphold the democracy they were promised.

Layton calls a meeting of the elite of Snowpiercer, explaining that they will try and keep the train running as before until Melanie returns, and that they are controlling the border between Snowpiercer and Big Alice. He is regretful in his announcement that they must place a hold on their democratic experiment, however, and extend martial law until further notice. This does not come as a welcome announcement to the people of Snowpiercer.[12]

A Deal with Wilford[edit | edit source]

With things heating up on Snowpiercer and passenger revolts becoming more and more common as the power struggle between Wilford and Layton persists, Layton realizes that something must be done to avert a sudden crisis. When Melanie returns aboard Snowpiercer — due to Layton's trade of Kevin — she reveals that the atmosphere outside is warming, therefore there is hope that one day soon they can recolonize the Earth.

Layton agrees to use this to lure Mr. Wilford into a partnership with him and the leaders of Snowpiercer. They hold a meeting, and Layton helps Melanie explain her plan for observing the atmosphere and eventual recolonization. Layton is shocked, however, when it is revealed that Melanie will have to remain on the ground at an observation center. Layton and Melanie share a moment of integrity when Layton promises to pick Melanie back up in a month.[13]

Reunion with Josie[edit | edit source]

Shortly after the meeting with Wilford, Zarah informs Layton that she has found Josie Wellstead alive in the Second Class Clinic. Layton rushes to Josie's side and is with her as the severely frostbitten Josie regains consciousness for the first time since she was brought in.[13]

After Josie regains consciousness and is aware of her surroundings, Layton talks with her more in-depth. Josie expresses her anger at Layton for forming an alliance with Melanie, given she is responsible for Josie's extreme frostbite and medical conditions; Layton explains that he did what he had to do to ensure the survival of the train.[14]

Layton later struggles with the idea of Josie being taken aboard Big Alice to the Headwoods' laboratory where she would undergo deep tissue regeneration and receive the best hope for return to normal life as possible. They later talk about the issue, and both agree with Josie undergoing the treatment. Layton is skeptical of what Josie may encounter during her stay aboard Big Alice, but is grateful to have an insider to feed information back to Snowpiercer.[15]

Protecting the train[edit | edit source]

With Josie acting as his mole aboard Big Alice, Layton receives worrying news that Wilford is planning his strike when he mobilises Icy Bob. This causes widespread panic aboard the management of Snowpiercer, and Layton is particularly worried about what position this puts Josie in. Nonetheless, Layton promises to put the needs of the train above his own.

Layton holds a meeting with the Engineers, Ruth, Roche, and Till in which he asks about the vulnerabilities of Snowpiercer's carriages from outside attack and how they can best patch these before Wilford strikes. The Engineers get to work on the plans, whilst Layton reveals Josie as his inside source to Till and Roche.

Unfortunately for Layton, his job becomes more difficult when tensions begin to rise between Pike — and the trade route afforded to him — and Terence, the local dealer aboard Snowpiercer. Layton offers Terence a 60/40 split of the profits made in an effort to quash tensions, but Terence refuses and, when threatened with arrest, cites that he is aware that Josie is his insider and is willing to leak the information if Layton doesn't remove Pike's trade route, force Layton to order that Pike kill them.[16]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Relationships[edit | edit source]

Zarah Ferami[edit | edit source]

Zarah is Layton's ex-wife. Prior to boarding Snowpiercer, the two were happily married for numerous years. Following the extinction event, and boarding Snowpiercer, however, troubles ensued in their relationship and the two separated. Shortly after, Zarah reveals to Melanie that Layton was a homicide detective when her partner, Sean, is killed. Layton questions why she would do that, and further promises not to allow them to pin the murder on her.[3] The following day, Zarah explains the Nightcar to Layton, and the two have sex in the middle of their meditation.[4] On the day of Fight Night, Zarah gives Andre information on Terence and what he needs to do in order to talk to him, and as she gives him his wedding ring — that she kept after they separated — as a bargaining chip, the two share a kiss after Andre reveals that he is still in love with her.[5]

Later, it is revealed to the rest of the train that Zarah is pregnant with Layton's baby; this is a shock to those, especially Ruth Wardell. Ruth gives the two a floor in First, citing that a baby born aboard Snowpiercer is hope, and they must make it a comfortable pregnancy.[12]

Josie Wellstead[edit | edit source]

Layton and Josie have a very close friendship and romantic interests in each other, and they both are the foster parents of Miles. When Layton was taken to the third class cabin by the Brakemen, Josie was very worried about him being taken. In Access Is Power, Layton is reunited with Josie and tells her how Miles is doing in school and gives her something that he got from Terrance while disguising it as a kiss. The two have sex with each other for the first time in Trouble Comes Sideways.

After Zarah discovers that Josie is in fact still alive, Layton immediately rushes to her side and is there when she finally regains consciousness.

Bess Till[edit | edit source]

Till and Layton start with a distant, slightly defiant relationship, but they quickly earn each others' trust and perhaps admiration. Part of the reason may be some remorse from Till for siding with Oz when he physically assaulted Layton. By the time that Layton is ready to solve the murder cases, he is actively asking for Till's help. She subsequently becomes one of Layton's most trusted friends and allies.

John "Oz" Osweiller[edit | edit source]

Oz was physically abusive towards Layton early on. However, Layton earned support from other crew members and eventually found out that Oz had been dealing Kronole, further cementing his stand. Oz seems to be somewhat humbled since.

Melanie Cavill[edit | edit source]

At first, Melanie maintained a purely professional relationship with Layton, locking him up when he wasn't working and being reluctant to trust him. In turn, Layton figured out Melanie's secret on his own simply by observing her actions and behavior. As time went on, their relationship slightly improved after Melanie used her position to clear the way for Layton with the Folgers, revealing in the process to Layton her own humble origins and sympathies for the lower class passengers. However, Layton's discovery of the truth caused Melanie to put him in the Drawers, acknowledging that he was correct and that she hoped that he never had to understand the burden that she had to bear. Despite the danger that Layton's knowledge presented, Melanie took pains to ensure that he remained unharmed.

Following Layton's escape, he nearly killed Melanie before she explained the true purpose of the Drawers and that she was the only one who could save Snowpiercer. Melanie subsequently became enemies with Layton, particularly after she apparently killed Josie Wellstead while trying to find him. After First Class revolted, Melanie turned to Layton and offered him her help and to his surprise, stated that she intended to give control of the train to Layton after they won. Melanie admitted that she had done many terrible things in the name of saving humanity, but knew that her way didn't work. As a result, she thought that giving Layton's way a chance might be a better option. Layton made it clear to Melanie that there personal feud was not over, however. After being forced to sacrifice the prisoners in order to defeat the Folgers and the Jackboots, Layton realized that Melanie knew that he would have to do it which she confirmed. Melanie sympathetically told Layton that such decisions were what they have to live with every day.

After the rebellion, Melanie kept her word and officially gave Layton control of Snowpiercer. Following this, their relationship appeared to improve greatly, working together to keep the passengers alive. After the discovery of Big Alice, Melanie went so far as to consult Layton as their new leader rather than just acting on her own. When Melanie was captured, Layton endeavored to get her back and once he had her, showed genuine concern for Melanie's well-being and asked after her recently-discovered alive daughter. The two continued to work together after the discovery of CW-7 breaking up in the atmosphere, bouncing ideas off of it each other and facing Wilford as a united front. Wilford expressed surprise at this given that they had tried to kill each other in the past.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Season One
Season Two

Memorable Quotes[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • He and Zarah are both originally from Chicago, Illinois.
  • Layton's possessions are a spoon, his detective badge, a photograph, one Notebook, a necklace.
  • Layton becomes the leader of Snowpiercer following Melanie Cavill's abdication after the myth of Wilford is discovered.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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