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Briarcliff Manor

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Briarcliff Manor is the setting of Asylum. A former tuberculosis ward located in Massachusetts, it was purchased by the Catholic church in 1962 and transformed into a sanitarium. It was run by Monsignor Timothy Howard and administrator Sister Jude. Presently it is in ruins.


While serving as the largest tuberculosis ward on the East Coast it claimed more than 46,000 lives before its transformation into an asylum for the criminally insane.


The foyer contains a spiraling staircase that leads to the administrative offices. The common room is provided for the recreation of patients. It contains a phonograph which, at the insistence of Sr. Jude, repeatedly plays the song "Dominique" by Jeanine Deckers (AKA The Singing Nun). There are separate wards for men and women which contain rooms not unlike prison cells. A sound insulated lower level houses Arden's lab. Adjoining the boiler room is a little known tunnel that leads to the surrounding tangle of woods, which also houses the terminus of the "death chute"; it was here that victims who had succumbed to tuberculosis would be dumped and carted to a crematory.

Known Rooms

  • Foyer
  • Administrator's Office (Used by Sister Jude)
  • Kitchen
  • Common / Day Room
  • Physician's Office (used by Arden)
  • Therapy Room (used by Thredson)
  • Infirmary and surgical bay
  • Morgue
  • Boiler Room


Besides the aforementioned Monsignor and Sr. Jude there are many others administering to the needs of the asylum. Various orderlies and guards look after the patients. Sister Mary Eunice provides assistance to both Sr. Jude and resident physician Dr. Arden. Other professionals not employed at the asylum are occasionally called upon for services such as psychiatrist Oliver Thredson and exorcist Father Malachi.

Frank McCann

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Frank McCann is a recurring character on Asylum. He is the Head of Security at Briarcliff Manor. He is a calm middle-aged man who is fond of Sister Jude and distrusts both Dr. Arden and Monsignor Howard.

Episodic Appearances

  • Welcome to Briarcliff - Frank hauls Kit off to solitary after his fight with Spivey in the common room.
  • Tricks and Treats - Frank is among those that capture Kit and Grace after Lana sounds the alarm. He lays into Kit extra hard.
  • Nor'easter - Frank is left in charge of the projector and the inmates on movie night. He does fine with the former but shows great incompetency in the latter.
  • I Am Anne Frank: Part 2 - Frank finds Charlotte holding Dr. Arden at gunpoint and manages to subdue her before she can kill him. He later drags Charlotte back into the asylum after she tries to suffocate her infant son. He's the one who informs Sister Jude that Lana Winters has escaped and after she laments that she will certainly be fired from her post, he comforts her by saying that she shouldn't blame herself since "men don't like to have a woman in charge, especially one as strong as [she] is. In [his] opinion [she] never stood a chance".
  • Dark Cousin - After Lana is returned To Briarcliff, Sister Mary Eunice informs Frank of Lana's story and in turn he informs Mary Eunice of Kit's escape from prison. After Kit sneaks back into Briarcliff to help break out Grace, Frank finds them and tries to shoot Kit when it appears he's about to attack. However, he ends up shooting Grace when she leaps in front of Kit. Frank manages to subdue Kit and reluctantly leaves Grace to die so he can lock up Kit, who keeps trying to escape violently.
  • Unholy Night - Frank prays over Grace's dead body, promising to make things right. Frank tells Arden he wants to go to the police about Kit and the monster, and will accept the consequences. While attempting to put Monsignor Timothy Howard's star on the Christmas tree, he is knocked off the ladder and attacked by Lee, but Frank subdues him and takes him to solitary. After putting Lee in the cell, he finds Sister Mary Eunice waiting for him. She asks if the Santa gave him any trouble, and then slashes his throat with a straight razor.
  • The Coat Hanger - Frank appears in this episode mostly during flashbacks. The first depicts his murder at the hands of Sr. Mary Eunice. Leigh Emerson, Sr. Mary Eunice, and Dr. Arden all frame Sr. Jude for Frank's murder. In 1963, he appears with Sr. Jude restraining Leigh who makes a lewd comment about Sr. Chastity and is slapped across the face by Frank. Frank also appears in 1964 during another one of Leigh's restrainings.  


Carl is an orderly. He fought in Korea. He is fond of sexual favors from Shelley.


The patients that reside in the asylum are varied. There's microcephalic baby murderer Pepper, the allegedly familicidal Grace, fecal-flinging bully Spivey, nymphomaniac Shelley and Bloody Face suspect Kit Walker. There's also reporter Lana Winters, whose only crime was crossing Sr. Jude.

The Mexican

The Mexican is a recurring character on Asylum. She is an elderly Hispanic woman likely suffering some form of dementia who has been committed at Briarcliff Manor. She was murdered by the demon-posessed Sister Mary Eunice.

Episodic Appearances

  • Welcome to Briarcliff - She spends her free time in the asylum's common room, dancing obliviously to the phonograph's monotonous spinning of "Dominique".
  • Nor'easter - Usually indifferent to all but the music she becomes fearfully focused on Sr. Mary Eunice, identifying her as "Satan". She quakes in terror when the nun visits her cell and forces her to kneel in prayer before brutally ending her life with a pair of scissors. Sr. Mary Eunice dumped her body in the woods as an offering to Arden's mutated experiments. Grace, Kit and Lana found her body in the woods before being chased back. Sr. Jude mistakenly believes her to be one of the three reported escapees.
  • The Name Game - She reappears during The Name Game dance.


The casting notice called for "an 'extremely extremely thin, freakish' Latina named Clara".


Daniel is a deaf and mute boy in Asylum. He was to be played by Chris Zylka, but has been recast. He is now played by Casey Wyman.

Episodic Appearances


Rudy is a patient at Briarcliff Manor. Sister Jude's caning has intensified his already compulsive masturbation.


Martha is a troubled woman at Briarcliff Manor that spends much of her time banging her head against the wall.  Sarah Paulson's Lana introduces Martha to the audience - this is possibly a reference to Paulson's film Martha Marcy May Marlene, in which Martha, the younger sister of Paulson's Lucy, is institutionalized at the film's closing.


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