Who Is Tess Servopoulos & What Is Her Role in The Last of Us? Meet Anna Torv’s Character

ellie nd tess

Early in episode 1 of HBO’s The Last of Us, we met a character that is looking to become one of the more important figures in the early part of the journey of Joel and Ellie. We are talking about Tess Servopoulos, who seems to be someone who is always around Joel wherever he goes and is someone who he trusts with his life. So, who is Tess Servopoulos in The Last of Us, and what is her role?

Tess Servopoulos is a survivor that has been working with Joel for a very long time as a smuggler that smuggled goods in and out of the Boston Quarantine Zone so that they could trade goods with people who live outside. She is working with Joel to smuggle Ellie out of the Boston Quarantine Zone.

While Tess may seem like a very important character in the storyline in the early part of The Last of Us, fans shouldn’t forget about the fact that this series is still based on the bestselling video game. Because of that, fans shouldn’t get their hopes up when it comes to Tess and her chances of survival in The Last of Us. Now, let’s talk more about Tess and what her role is in The Last of Us series.

Who Is Tess In The Last Of Us?

It isn’t a secret that there are a lot of different characters that are involved in the larger story involving Joel and Ellie and their journey across the American continent. Of course, we met one of the more important characters in the journey of the duo in the early part of HBO’s The Last of Us live-action adaptation. We are talking about Tess Servopoulos. So, who is Tess in The Last of Us?

We know for a fact that there is a 20-year gap between the start of the Cordyceps Brain Infection (CBI) outbreak in 2003 and the events of the main storyline of The Last of Us in 2023. During the 20-year gap, Joel had to do a lot of different things to survive while living in the Boston Quarantine Zone (QZ). He also had to work with different people to get the goods that he needed to survive and live a life that was better than what the world had to offer. Tess was one of the people that he closely worked with.

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In episode 1 of The Last of Us, we see that Joel and Tess were already very familiar with one another as it was clear that they have been working for a long time. That’s because they have been working together for a while already, as they have been a smuggling tandem for years.

It was never mentioned in the live-action series or the games when Joel and Tess met, but it is clear that they have known each other for years and may have started working together shortly after Joel arrived in the Boston QZ. While they were in the QZ, they saw how beneficial it was for them to work together as a smuggling duo. As such, Tess was the brains of their operations, while Joel acted as the muscle.


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During their time together as a smuggling duo, both Joel and Tess were able to avoid FEDRA for years and became familiar with a lot of different people that also worked behind the backs of FEDRA. That’s why Joel and Tess were familiar with Marlene and the other members of the Fireflies. In the game, it was also revealed that Joel and Tess worked with Bill for a long time as well.

It was never confirmed in the live-action series or the games whether or not Joel and Tess were in a relationship. But it was clear that they deeply trusted one another with each other’s lives and were always looking out for one another due to how they cared about each other. As such, it is probable that they care more about surviving together rather than being in a relationship, as it was more important for people to survive in a world that had gone to hell ever since the CBI outbreak.

What Is Tess’s Role In The Last Of Us?

During the early part of the storyline of The Last of Us, the duo of Joel and Tess stumbled upon the Fireflies during one of their missions. During that time, the Fireflies had custody of a young teenage girl named Ellie, who was seemingly very important to Marlene, who was the leader of the Fireflies cell that operated around the Boston QZ.

Joel and Tess learned that Ellie was under Marlene’s protection and that she was important to the Fireflies. As such, Marlene asked the duo to take Ellie to the Capitol Building in Boston because there was going to be a group of Fireflies that would take custody of the girl and then take her to wherever they needed to take her.


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While they were about to leave the Boston QZ, the trio encountered a soldier that scanned them and was about to shoot them down for violating quarantine protocols. Joel remembered how a soldier did the same to them 20 years ago when Sarah was killed by a soldier. In that regard, he attacked the soldier and killed him.

However, Tess saw that the scan of Ellie showed that she was infected by the Cordyceps. In that regard, Tess was the first to try to defend herself from Ellie, who assured the duo that she was not sick and that her bite mark was already three weeks old. That was what caused Tess to think about when Ellie was infected.

tess and ellie scan

Ellie told them that it didn’t matter when she was infected because what mattered most at that time was that they had to leave the QZ before reinforcements showed up. That was when the trio left the Boston QZ, as Joel and Tess needed to fulfill their mission of smuggling Ellie out of the QZ.

If the live-action adaptation of The Last of Us is anything like the video games, that means that fate won’t be kind to Tess as the story moves forward. There is a good chance that she will die shortly during or after episode 2 of the series because an infected will bite and infect her with the CBI. In that regard, she will play an important role in the survival of both Joel and Ellie, especially after she sacrifices herself for the sake of their survival because she already knows that she isn’t going to survive long enough after getting infected. 

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