- "You have no idea, do you son? You thought I was ready for the old people's home? When Bethnal Green are done with you, we'll bury you - and your kid!"
- ―Charlie Jolson
Charlie is an ageing East End Mobster, a racist, and the boss of the notorious Bethnal Green Mob. Charlie has a taste for the finer things in life like classic Bentley's and fat Cuban cigars. Charlie is a supporter of the British political party called the National Front. Charlie isn't happy about the three other gangs operating in London, being the Collins gang, the 14K Triads and the Yardies. Time has passed Charlie by and today's London is one he no longer recognises. Charlie decides it is time to turn back the clock and starts a war among all the other gangs using Mark Hammond. Charlie and his gang were key participants in the Gang War of 2002.
The Criminal Mastermind
An ageing East End gangster and head of the notorious Bethnal Green Mob, Charlie has a taste for the 'finer things in life' like classic Bentleys, Savile Row suits and fat Cuban cigars. But history has passed Charlie by and his London is one he no longer recognises. Time to turn back the clock?
Charlie was born in London, England, on December 13, 1933. He had a brother who would later become the father of Jake Jolson. As a young man, Charlie was an associate of Ronnie and Reggie Kray. After the Krays were arrested in 1968, Charlie went into hiding and laid low for two years. In 1970, Charlie decided to form the Bethnal Green Mob along with close friend Harry. In 1972, Charlie's nephew Jake was born. Charlie would form a close relationship with Jake and treated him more like a son than a nephew.
During the 1980's, Mark Hammond was a member of Charlie's gang. At some point, Mark defected to the Collins Gang who were rivals of Charlie. This created a feud between the Bethnal Green Mob and Mark which would last for many years. During the 1990's and early 2000's, the Triads and the Yardies started appearing in London and this began to cause problems for Charlie.
Pre 2002, Charlie made dealings with Russian arms dealer, Viktor Skobel, and bought grenade launchers off him in order to supply his gang with decent weapons. These weapons would later be used by both Eyebrows and Jake Jolson during the prison van breakout of Jake.
By 2002, Charlie felt he was no longer safe in his own city. Although he ran a fairly big gang in London, he had lost some of his former territories such as Soho. However, Charlie was still the richest gangster in London as he lived in a mansion in Mayfair, owned a warehouse in Southwark, a depot at Kings Cross, a brothel in Marylebone and a lock-up garage in Scoresby Street, Southwark. Charlie's life of crime has attracted police attention from a young enthusiastic cop called, Frank Carter, who Jolson refers to as a "weasel".
Sometime in 2002, Charlie Jolson read in the papers that Mark Hammond had been released from prison. He decided to form a master plan. To use Mark Hammond as a tool to weaken the three other gangs in London. This plan involved kidnapping Mark's wife Suzie and his son Alex. The plan came into action two months later, when Charlie sent Yasmin along with Harry, Eyebrows and Grievous to kidnap Suzie and Alex. Eyebrows stayed in the car while Harry, Grievous and Yasmin confronted Suzie outside Mark's apartment. After a brief struggle, Harry shot Suzie and Yasmin grabbed Alex and pulled him into the car. Mark, consumed with rage, chased after the car to Charlie's warehouse. On confronting Charlie, Mark called him a "fat bastard". Eyebrows knocked out Mark and Charlie made his heavies drag Mark into a chair. When Mark awoke, Charlie told Mark what he was going to do. Charlie was going to make Mark work for him, if he wanted his kid is to live. If he refused, Charlie would have Alex killed, so Mark had no choice but to obey Jolson. Charlie's first mission for Mark was to destroy Nick Collins new bar, The Republic. Charlie then had Mark steal a statue filled with heroin. The statue was located at an art gallery which was run by the Triads. After this, Mark met Charlie and his heavies at the Spotted Dog pub in Whitehall. Mark attempted to shoot Charlie but the bartender, Reggie, knocked Mark out and Harry kicked him. Charlie ordered Mark to break his nephew, Jake Jolson, out of a prison van and wanted no more of his non-compliance. Later on, Charlie wanted Mark to assassinate Clive McCormack, a corrupt DCI at Snow Hill Police Station, who despite being on Charlie's payroll, had betrayed him by arresting Charlie's girl Yasmin and siding with the Yardies. Charlie was worried Yasmin would talk so he wanted her dead also. His pretext is that he is worried that Yasmin will grass on him, but Yasmin believes that Charlie is intimidated by her. Mark kills McCormack but spares Yasmin after the latter has information of Alex's whereabouts. Charlie then wanted Mark to find his girl, Layla, from a Collins gang club in Soho, the Touch of Class, and bring her back to him. Mark drove to the club with Yasmin and a shootout erupted between the duo and the Collins gangsters. Layla was unfortunately killed during the shootout. Yasmin however, came up with a brilliant idea to disguise herself as Layla in order to confront and kill Charlie. Charlie, on the other hand, had Mark do one last task for him, by stealing Jamahl's drug money from a Yardie crackhouse. This money was to be divided between Charlie and Mark, however Charlie intended to betray Mark and take the lot for himself. However, Mark knew this and decided to hide the money and give it to his friend Liam Spencer instead. Charlie discovered that Mark had betrayed him, and caught Yasmin in the act as she attempted to kill him. He then had her taken to his warehouse. Meanwhile, Mark confronted Jake, along with Eyebrows and Sparky at the depot. When Mark refused to give them the money, he turned on Charlie's men and tried to kill them. Mark managed to kill Sparky but was knocked out by Jake and Eyebrows. Jake wanted to kill Mark in retaliation for Sparky's death, but Charlie arrived at the depot having stopped Yasmin from killing him and told Jake he still needed him. Charlie then had Mark and Yasmin locked in the cellar of his warehouse and phoned the other gang leaders in London. Charlie wanted to offer the gangs a truce and claimed he would hand Mark Hammond over to them. Charlie however requested that the gangsters bring one guest only and no additional heavies.
While Charlie is making Mark work for him, Frank Carter is trying to arrest him. Charlie uses his police connection, Clive McCormack to keep Frank away from the Jolson's case by suspending him. However, Frank decides to become a vigilante in order to defeat Charlie. He slowly uncovers the truth and finds himself at Charlie's warehouse where he overhears Charlie discussing his plan and the fate of Mark Hammond. Frank discovers Charlie's true intentions on his meeting with the other gangs. Charlie really wants to lure the gangs to an old cargo ship, the Sol Vita, in order to blow them up with a bomb of his. The result will mean Charlie and his gang can completely take over London as there will no longer be any competition. After Charlie leaves, Frank releases Mark and Yasmin from their cell and makes a deal with them to stop Charlie. Charlie arrives at the Sol Vita and goes into hiding once he realises Mark has broken free and the other gangs have brought more than only one guest. Frank, Mark and Yasmin all arrive at the Sol Vita and kill many of Charlie's men including Eyebrows, Jake and Harry. Charlie tries to sneak off the boat but is caught by Nick Collins and his gang, who is furious about the situation. Nick has Liam hold Charlie at gun point and Charlie leads them to the cargo hold below the ship where Alex and the bomb are located. Charlie takes them there and they confronts Mark, Yasmin, Alex and Frank. Nick orders them to drop their weapons when suddenly the Yardies and Triads arrive with their gang leaders furious at Charlie. Mark then explains what happened and tells them his story and how it was all Charlie's doing. Charlie tries to defend himself by saying that Mark went on a crazy rampage and killed his own wife. Frank however tells the gangs Charlie's real intentions, which were to lure the gangs to the Sol Vita in order to blow them all up. Nick Collins, Jamahl and Shan Chu Lee, the leaders of each gang, then decided to let Mark, Yasmin and Alex go as he did what he did because of Charlie and had no choice. They refuse to let Frank go however because he is a cop and want to deal with Charlie and Frank themselves. Yasmin then says goodbye to Charlie and mocks him by asking him not to cry.
Charlie Jolson met his Death on board the Sol Vita. With the imminent prospect of being executed at the hands of the other gangs, Charlie knew that he was not going to leave the boat alive. However, Charlie did not want the other gangs to live either. If he was going down, Charlie was going to take everyone down with him. After being pushed to the middle of the room by Liam, Charlie started to go mad. He insulted all the gangs in the room, claiming that London was his town and that the other gangs had no right being in London. In order to deal with all the gangs as he had originally intended, he was going to blow them all up. Charlie took out the detonator that Jake had given him earlier and pressed the button to kill everyone, including himself. Everyone panicked and tried to flee, leaving Charlie alone with the bomb. Charlie sang Land of Hope and Glory and then died in the explosion, bringing an end to the Bethnal Green Mob.
Two years after Charlie's death, his business has been closed down. His warehouses have all been bought by other companies that use them for storage and his mansion has been bought by someone else.
A ruthless old timer with a disregard of the future, Charlie Jolson is everything a villanous mafia is: cold, cruel, caclucating, cunning and monstrous. Charlie has proven to be sadistic as he is bitter, having promised an out cold Mark Hammond that the Bethnal Green Mob will bury him and his child once they've outlived their usefulness. Untrustworthy to the point where even he does not uphold his "promise" that he will return Alex to Mark, Charlie has proven to be manipulative, having used Mark to wreak havoc across London's law department and criminal underworld, primarily to achieve his ultimate goal: eliminate the gangs and restore London to the "good old days" he cherished whole-heartedly. Usually, this is because Charlie is a man out of his time, having long since refused to accept the future and the evolution that London is going through: a cultural marvel that his rival, Nick Collins, described. For this, Charlie exhibits unforgiving racism towards the Triads and Yardies, having outright despised them for what he saw as the plague clouding over the London he knew before.
Charlie has no qualms about murdering children, as he once ordered his gang to retrieve Alex and place him in the middle of the bomb, primarily because the boy had no use to him as his father betrayed him. He's also been described by Liam Spencer as a "National Front lunatic", indicating that he supports the National Front movement, possibly because they shared beliefs like his. Like many criminals, he enjoys vices, such as smoking Cuban cigars, drinking and prostitution, having lusting for a young girl named Layla (which was Yasmin in disguise since the real Layla was killed in a firefight in the Touch of Class)
Ultimately, for all of his plans, Charlie ultimately fell short because he sorely underestimated Frank Carter, whom he regards as a "weasel", so much so, that he did not expect the vigilante to even expose everything he had done: the corruption of Clive McCormack, the business holdings he's operated for decades, even his plans when Frank spoke of his intentions with London to the rival gangs. On his last moments aboard the Sol Vita, Charlie then expressed his racism in an outright fanatic/suicidal-like fashion, citing that he once ruled London with the Krays long before they were gone. Considerably, Charlie's mindset is similar of that of a Mafia boss or Don, given that him and his gang (except Eyebrows, Sparky, and Jake) wear suits. In the end, Charlie became so driven with insanity. that he intends to restore London to it's old days at any costs, even if it costs his life, but the intention, eventually, dies with him. In his last moment, he even expresses his jingoism (or ultra-patriotism) so much so he recalls the treasures and achievements that his country had accomplished (such as Britain's victory at both World Wars, Bobby Moore and the Hammers, Britain's first World Cup, etc) as well as singing "Land of Hope and Glory" before he died.
Murders Committed by Charlie Jolson
- Nick Collins - Killed in "Land of Hope and Glory" as a result of Charlie's bomb for being a rival gangster.
- Shan Chu Lee - Killed in "Land of Hope and Glory" as a result of Charlie's bomb for being a rival gangster.
- Fu Shan Chu - Killed in "Land of Hope and Glory" as a result of Charlie's bomb for being a rival gangster.
- Kum Dong - Killed in "Land of Hope and Glory" as a result of Charlie's bomb for being a rival gangster.
- Grievous - KIlled in "Land of Hope and Glory" as a result of Charlie's bomb.
- Himself - Committed suicide in "Land of Hope and Glory" by his own bomb to prevent being executed by his enemies.
- The Frightener
- Burning Bridges
- Art Appreciation
- Aiding and Abetting
- A Touch of Class
- The Cowgirl and the Cash
- A Cat in a Bag (only heard)
- The Prodigal Son
- Aboard the Sol Vita
- Show some Remorse
- Escort Duty
- Meet Mark Hammond
- Land of Hope and Glory (killed)
- Charlie Jolson is unarmed throughout the game. He relies on his heavies, such as Harry and Jake to be armed. Early artwork depicted Charlie Jolson wielding a sawn-off shotgun, although in the finished game, it is Harry that wields the gun.
- Charlie Jolson was voiced by actor Ricky Hards, who starred in the TV series Lock, Stock... This was a spin-off of the British Gangster film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which is said to have been an influence on The Getaway.
- Charlie's actor, Ricky Hards, who was born on December 13, 1963 (making him under 40 while the game was developed) Ricky was picked to play Charlie as he read the part well, but was far too young. As such, the art department constructed an older looking face, based on his own, that he would wear to make himself look about thirty years older.
- This is similar to Marlon Brando wearing extensive make up to make him look older for his role in "The Godfather."
- Charlie says he used to work for Ronnie and Reggie Kray. The Kray twins were two real life gangsters who ran organised crime in London during the 1950s and 1960s.
- Charlie Jolson is the only antagonist not to be killed by any of the protagonists.
- It is suggested that Charlie Jolson used to run sex shops in Soho. This would have been before Nick Colins and his gang took over Soho.
- Charlie has a room dedicated to the British Empire in his mansion. Yasmin describes Charlie as "having a thing about the Empire".
- For the PS2 save file on the memory card, the icon used is Charlie Jolson's head.
- Although Charlie Jolson was not married, he appeared to be in love with exotic dancer Layla. It is possible he also had romantic feelings for Yasmin, but the latter did not reciprocate.