Welcome to Bae Watch Wednesday, where I tell you all about the fictional characters you ought to be crushing on. This week’s bae is the heart and soul of Daredevil: Foggy Nelson!
Please note: this article will contain spoilers for the first nine episodes of Daredevil season 3 because I haven’t finished yet but I’m absolutely living for Foggy Nelson so far.
Who Is Foggy Nelson?
Franklin “Foggy” Nelson is one of the main characters of the Marvel Netflix series Daredevil. He has also appeared in The Defenders and Jessica Jones. Foggy is the best friend and partner (in law, not in crime) of Daredevil protagonist (and titular vigilante) Matt Murdock.
Foggy grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. His parents owned a butcher’s shop and wanted him to follow in their footsteps, but Foggy dreamed of being a bigshot. He did well in school and eventually made it to Columbia University for law school. It was at Columbia that he met Matt, another Hell’s Kitchen boy.
The two were roommates while at Columbia and formed a close bond. By the time they graduated, they were inseparable and went to work together at the prestigious law firm of Landman and Zach. However, Matt was upset that Landman and Zach were a shady company and urged Foggy to set off on their own. Foggy wanted to be practical but agreed that they would form their own firm: Nelson and Murdock.
Nelson and Murdock soon got an office and their first case: defending a woman named Karen Page. Karen was wrapped up in a conspiracy that surrounded Hell’s Kitchen crime lord Wilson Fisk. Matt and Foggy worked with Karen to end Fisk’s reign of terror in the Kitchen. At the same time, Matt was fighting Fisk as Daredevil, something no one else knew anything about.
Foggy discovered Matt’s secret after finding him near death in his apartment. They had a massive fight over the fact that Matt had been lying their entire friendship and about Foggy’s doubts concerning Matt’s illegal activities. In the end, though, their bond was stronger, and they came to some resolution. They managed to succeed in stopping Fisk and all seemed well.
Despite stopping Fisk, crime hasn’t ended in Hell’s Kitchen and Matt continues his vigilante work to Foggy’s chagrin. He doesn’t understand why Matt wants to beat up criminals in his underwear and urges Matt to be more careful. Things take a dark turn when Frank Castle comes to town.
Frank is a vigilante but, unlike Matt, he is violent and unforgiving — he kills criminals. Foggy is terrified that Frank will kill Matt which is not a bad assumption. However, when Matt manages to get Frank arrested, he and Karen suggest that Nelson and Murdock defend Frank, who is facing the death penalty as a political ploy by the District Attorney. Foggy very reluctantly agrees.
Unfortunately, Matt’s attention is soon divided when his ex-girlfriend Elektra Natchios comes to town and asks for help. Matt leaves Foggy to handle almost all of the Castle trial, putting undue stress on his best friend. Luckily, Foggy is an excellent lawyer and manages to turn the case on its head, garnering a lot of positive attention.
Unluckily, Frank botches the trial after getting a message from Fisk in prison, leaving Foggy high and dry. He accuses Matt of messing things up, only for Matt to reveal that Elektra is back. Foggy saw how much Elektra messed up Matt’s life in college and is appalled that Matt is working with her again.
Foggy is furious that Matt is lying to him. Again. He is also upset that Matt’s vigilante activities are getting in the way of their actual jobs and their legal partnership. Frustrated at the constant letdown of being Matt’s friend and partner, he suggests that they break up Nelson and Murdock and go their separate ways. Matt agrees, to Foggy’s relief and dismay.
Foggy’s on-again, off-again girlfriend Marci gets Foggy a job at the prestigious law firm Hogarth, Benowitz, and Chao. Hogarth is Jessica Jones’ lawyer so they are interested in working with vigilantes. They were very impressed by Foggy’s performance in the Castle trial.
As a corporate lawyer with Hogarth’s firm, Foggy enjoys a more comfortable life but can’t break free from his old one. When Matt “retires” as Daredevil after losing Elektra, he tries to be a supportive friend. Foggy also works to free Luke Cage from prison as a favor to Claire Temple who he met through Matt.
When Matt gets involved in the Hand conspiracy in The Defenders, Foggy wants nothing more than to see Matt move on with his life. He tries to encourage Matt to do this one last job and then forget Daredevil for good. Sadly, Matt is lost in the destruction of Midland Circle, something Foggy blames himself for. Foggy and Karen struggle to move on after Matt’s death.
Foggy continues his work for Hogarth even as she spirals. When she is ousted from the firm, he supports her but continues to work there after she leaves. He moves in with Marci and seems to be working to get his life back on track. Of course, that’s when Matt has to screw things up.
Matt isn’t dead; he survived Midland Circle but has distanced himself from his former life. When Wilson Fisk is released from prison on house arrest, however, Foggy and Karen get dragged back in. Foggy ends up running as a write-in candidate for District Attorney on an anti-Fisk platform and struggles to restrain his more reckless colleagues. How will he get through this latest struggle?
Why Is Foggy Nelson Bae?
Elden Henson is a cutie. He brings a lovable charm to the role of Foggy Nelson. Although Jon Favreau’s Foggy was a high point in the Daredevil movie (and sparked my love of Favreau), Henson really elevates the role. He’s adorable and charming as heck.
And while Foggy has had some seriously lamentable hairstyles throughout the course of the show, overall he has an excellent look. His family may poke fun at his proclivity for wearing fancy suits but the man makes it work. I, for one, am not complaining.
The best thing about Foggy Nelson is what a great guy he is. Daredevil is very much a show about gray moralities but Foggy is a shining light of goodness and decency. You can always count on him to do the right thing and to keep a level head.
Although Foggy initially gave Matt grief over leaving Landman and Zach and starting out on their own, it’s not because he doesn’t want to do good. He recognizes that the job security and financial stability the firm would have given them are good things, but in the end wouldn’t outweigh the need to do the right thing. He later thanks Matt for pushing him to start Nelson and Murdock.
At Nelson and Murdock, Foggy is very much the heart of things. Matt wants to do good but doesn’t connect with the clients on the same level as Foggy. It’s the case of Elena Cardenas that really changes things for Foggy. When Elena’s super refused to fix her apartment, he showed up with tools, ready to work. He later runs for District Attorney to honor Mrs. Cardenas’ memory after she was killed by Fisk.
Foggy genuinely cares about other people and wants to do what’s best for them. He is able to convince Marci to leave Landman and Zach by pointing out how corrupt they are. While Marci doesn’t have as golden a heart as Foggy, she respects that he wants to do the right thing and loves him for that. Their enduring relationship is a testament to how attractive Marci finds a guy with a good heart.
Throughout everything, Foggy just wants to do what’s best. He wants to make people feel safe and comfortable. He wants to make the world a better place.
Nelson And Murdock
Foggy Nelson is one of the most important people in Matt Murdock’s life. In most cases, the superhero/vigilante has a significant other that grounds them, makes them want to be better, complicates their lives in the best and worst of ways. For Matt, that role is filled by Foggy.
The relationship between Matt and Foggy is one of the best parts of Daredevil. “Nelson v. Murdock,” the episode where they have their big fight over Matt’s secret identity, is a masterpiece. It intersperses flashbacks of the progression of their friendship with their current major fight. The episode really hammers home the point that this relationship is pivotal to both of them.
Foggy is Matt’s center. Matt is a hero, arguably. But he’s also a loose cannon. He’s always on edge and it wouldn’t take much to push him over. He’s a vigilante because he enjoys the violence. Matt needs Foggy to keep him grounded. After Foggy discovers Matt’s secret, he seems visibly happier and more secure. After losing Foggy, he loses his ground.
Matt’s distance in season 3 is a direct result of his unwillingness to continue his relationship with Foggy. He doesn’t want to hurt Foggy, which is admirable, but he doesn’t recognize that he needs the grounding Foggy provides. His recklessness and stupidity are a direct result of losing that moral compass.
Foggy needs Matt too, of course. Matt pushes Foggy out of his comfort zone and gets him doing things. Matt got Foggy out of Landman and Zach which enabled him to make a name for himself. He pushed Foggy into the world of vigilantes which attracted Hogarth’s attention. They need each other and I sincerely hope they mend their relationship. They need it and so do I.
What’s Not To Love?
Matt Murdock may be the star of Daredevil, but Foggy Nelson is undeniably its heart. He brings light and happiness to an otherwise very dark and grim show. While many of the characters in Daredevil are likable — even many of the villains — Foggy Nelson is something special. He is a breath of fresh air in Hell’s Kitchen.
Foggy Nelson may not have enhanced senses or intense combat training, but he is every bit as superpowered as Matt Murdock. Foggy’s superpower is his heart. He possesses an unbelievable ability to love and support. He is there for Matt through everything, even when they dissolve their law firm. Because Foggy can’t not care about people. It’s just who he is.
That love spreads to others as well. Foggy takes care of Karen when she is dealing with rough times, both when she first arrives in New York and is framed for murder, and later when she finds herself a target. Foggy’s love for his family pushes him to be supportive even though he left the family business.
But the best thing about Foggy is how much he cares about people just in general. He runs a law firm in Hell’s Kitchen that often represents poor, unfavorable clients. Yet he never hesitates to give them the help they need. His desire to do right by Mrs. Cardenas is what pushes him throughout the show and his dedication to doing the right thing is admirable.
I love Matt Murdock. He’s a captivating person. But Foggy Nelson is far more likable. He’s charming, cute, and sarcastic, but without any of the darkness that plagues Matt. He brings light and life. He cares about doing the right thing, the right way. How could you not love that?