Russell Thorpe is a recurring character in the fourth season of the Gossip Girl adaptation. He is portrayed by Michael Boatman.
Russell is the main antagonist during season four. Not much is known about his background other than he is the father of Raina Thorpe and lives primarily in Chicago, Illinois in the penthouse of The Blake Hotel.
In Bonfire of the Vanity, Dan discovers that Bart set fire to one of his own buildings when he first started his company to collect the insurance money. Bart admits the story is true and that someone died as a result of the fire. Dan agrees not to release the story.
Russell makes his first appearance in The Kids Are Not Alright, when he throws a party to announce his return to New York. Meanwhile, Chuck and Lily are at odds about the sale of Bass Industries and he sets out to find the buyer. Once he discovers Russell, an old friend of Bart's, has come back to New York, he mistakenly assumes he is the buyer. When he confronts Russell about it, Russell says that he is not the buyer or else he would have bought the company to destroy as revenge for Bart cutting him out of their joint company years before. Soon after, Chuck begins a relationship with Russell's daughter, Raina. At the same time, Nate's father, Howard, has been released from prison on parole and he secures a job working for Russell. He asks Raina to have Howard fired, which she eventually does. Angry, Howard tells Russell that he is now his go-to guy (Damien Darko).
In Panic Roommate, Chuck finds out that Thorpe Enterprises is planning on voting on buying Bass Ind. that night and he tries to distract Raina to make her miss the vote. However, Russell figures out what he is doing and outs his plan to Raina, expressing his disappointment towards her; since he told her that they needed a universal vote to secure the deal. Desperate to save Bass Ind., Chuck asks Russell to postpone is sale plans for a few days so he can prove the Bass name has equity. Russell agrees to wait 48 hours to allow Chuck to prove it but Howard reveals to Chuck that Russell lied about doing so and is moving forward. He calls Raina to ask why Russell wants to ruin Bart's name so badly, and she says all she really knows is that Lily left him to be with Bart. As a result, Chuck has Lily fired from the Bass board and pledges his loyalty to Russell instead. Meanwhile, Russell fires Howard for outing his plans to Chuck but Howard turns in the wrong keycard to the company and gives Chuck his key to Russell's office (It-Girl Happened One Night).
In While You Weren't Sleeping, Lily distracts Russell while Chuck goes to his office and finds out who is financially backing the purchase of Bass Ind. He gets the name and is able to speak with him momentarily at Eric's birthday party before Russell shows. He's able to share that Russell is not sharing that the Bass name is more profitable kept whole and the buyer agrees to hear Chuck out completely, angry that Russell was planning on cheating him. Meanwhile, Damien Dalgaard is angry that Eric ruined a cocaine deal he had set and he owes his clients $100,000 as a result. Knowing that Lily committed perjury to get Serena back into jail and had an innocent man sent to prison, he goes to Russell to share his story in exchange for money. Once Russell gets the information, he begins to blackmail Lily to ruin their deal with his former buyer. At the same time, Serena has struck up a relationship with her accused but innocent rapist, Ben Donovan. She meets his mother, Cynthia, who doesn't approve of her son dating the girl who ruined his life. She steals the affidavit that Lily faked Serena's signature on and gives it to Russell, who invites Chuck and Lily to sit down and see his proof that he owns them. However, Chuck is able to get Raina to witness the blackmail and she leaves, angry at Russell for behaving so badly. Lily also turns herself in, making Russell's threats meaningless. After everyone is gone, Russell reveals to Chuck that the person who died in the fire Bart set was his wife, Avery Thorpe. He then returns to Chicago (Empire of the Son).
Russell appears next in Shattered Bass, when he works with Chuck's evil uncle Jack Bass, to gain letters that Avery wrote to Bart; whom she was having an affair with. However, Jack double crosses him and he, Chuck, and Nate intercept Russell trying to leave Chuck's suite with video surveillance of the fire. They watch the footage together and quickly piece together that Russell was actually the one who locked Avery inside and started the fire: making him responsible for her death. He begs them not to tell Raina and Chuck agrees not to, so long as Russell leaves New York and never comes back. Russell accepts the deal and plans to leave for Chicago. Meanwhile, Raina is determined to get revenge on Chuck and to stop her, Nate tells her that her father killed her mother, not Bart. Raina reveals to Russell that she knows what he did and to never contact her again. Believing that Chuck betrayed their deal, Russell kidnaps Blair to leave her to die in a fire at the site of Chuck's new hotel. However, Chuck, Nate, and Raina are able to find them before the fire is set and Russell is subsequently arrested. As a result, he is sentenced to 20 years in prison for arson and his role in Avery's murder (The Wrong Goodbye).