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Emma Coolidge
Portrayed by Deanne Bray
First appearance Ink
In-story stats
Known ability Enhanced synesthesia
Nicknames Emma the (also) Magnificent,
Home New York, NY
Residence Apartment in NYC
Occupation Hospital file clerk
Parent Dr. Coolidge
Sibling Unnamed sibling
Other relatives Christopher (nephew, deceased)

Dr. Emma Coolidge is a co-worker of Peter Petrelli. She is an evolved human with the ability to see and manipulate sound waves. Emma once attended medical school but dropped out because she was unable to save her nephew Christopher. After saving another child, Emma decided to practice medicine again, but was rejected, leading her to accept an offer from Samuel Sullivan to consider joining his traveling carnival. Emma is deaf, and is able to read lips and communicate using sign language.

Character History


Emma's vibration alarm awakens her, prompting her to get ready for work. Before leaving, she pets her cat and puts in iPod ear-buds to keep people from realizing that she is deaf, and then notices an odd twinkling from water dripping from her faucet. She smiles and turns off the water. Later, at work, Emma hands Peter some files that he must sign. She wheels across the room and notices that Peter is talking to her. Accidentally knocking over a mug of tea, she sees a flash of red light as the mug shatters. After Peter leaves, Emma goes to see a doctor and she admits that she has been seeing strange lights. The doctor speculates that she may be experiencing a crossover of senses, a condition known as "synesthesia", and asks her why she is disengaged from her work. Emma tells the doctor that she would prefer not to see those who pity her.

Later that evening, while she is eating a sandwich in the park, Emma watches a cellist playing. She sees the music as flowing red energy and when the cellist leaves, Emma stands and plucks a string, producing more lights. She follows the lights, and plays beautiful music. When she finishes and realizes what she has done, she hands the bow to the cellist and leaves in a hurry.

Hysterical Blindness

Emma shares her lights with Peter.

Dr. Coolidge comes to visit Emma in her office to discuss whether or not Emma still believes she has synesthesia. Dr. Coolidge tells Emma that she believes she is suffering from hysterical blindness and Emma becomes angry. She asks the doctor if she follows all of her patients like this and Dr. Coolidge says that she only does when the patient is her daughter. Emma becomes even more angry when her mother tells her that the hospital is willing to give her a residency but Emma refuses. Dr. Coolidge tells her that Christopher died six years ago and that it is time to stop grieving. Angry, Emma tells her that she is not grieving and storms off. Emma leaves the hospital and as she is walking down the street, her ability reactivates and she is overwhelmed by the light that she sees coming from a construction site. She backs away onto the road and is almost hit by a bus, but Peter rushes out to rescue her. He asks Emma if she is alright and tries to take her hand, but she does not want to talk and runs away.

Peter later finds Emma watching a children's choir. Their song, the theme to The Greatest American Hero, is creating an aurora of colored lights. Thanks to his ability, Peter is able to see the lights as well, which Emma notices. Peter tries to tell Emma that she is not alone in the world and that there are others like them everywhere, but Emma is skeptical when he tells her that flight and teleportation really exist. The two of them sit down at the piano and begin to play. They are able to produce beautiful music and Peter offers to take Emma to lunch, suggesting that it would get her out of the file room. Angry, Emma says that she is fine in the file room and leaves. Later, at home, Emma finds a cello next to a large blue container with the Sullivan Bros. Carnival logo printed on it. While playing, she suddenly begins to get very intense, and the lights that she creates generate a blast of light and sound that damages her wall. Emma looks shocked.

Tabula Rasa

Emma rushes to see Peter and demands to know if he sent the cello to her apartment. Peter says that he would like to help her but he is currently trying to save Hiro. He then suggests that Emma go and see Hiro, as he is like them. Emma does go and see Hiro and asks him how she can get her ability to go away. Hiro is confused and tells Emma that when a hero is called, they must answer it. Emma claims that she cannot hear the call and leaves. Hiro follows her and asks her to describe her ability. Emma tells him that she can see sound as light and Hiro explains a little about his ability. He tells Emma that she is special but Emma is not sure he is right about that and leaves.

When Emma returns to her office she finds a notice about the "Amazing Hiro". She goes to the talent show and finds Hiro performing a magic act. He calls Emma his assistant and gets her to help him. He tells the audience that he will make her disappear and then stops time. Emma watches the soundwave lights frozen and as Hiro tells her he stopped time. Hiro reassures her that she can do amazing things with her power and then finishes his magic act. Later, Emma once again plays the piano and creates beautiful music. Hiro appears and smiles, prompting Emma to stop. She tells him that he promised to stay in bed and takes him back to his room. As they walk, Hiro disappears. Peter returns and asks Emma where Hiro is. She explains what happened and the two of them check Hiro's room. They find Hiro's list and the words "Save Charlie".


Emma tells Peter a joke about clown college.

Emma watches as the hospital is very chaotic after two trains collided. Emma helps a nurse who drops what she is carrying, but the nurse leaves a suture kit behind. She runs into a paramedic who, after learning she works at the hospital, asks her to keep pressure on a woman's leg wound and tell the next available nurse or doctor that the wound needs to be sutured. Watching the woman, she takes the suture kit, decides to help, and stitches the woman's wound herself. She looks up to find that Peter is watching her.

Later, she meets up with an exhausted Peter who tells her that using his new ability is wearing him out. Peter asks her how she knew how to stitch the woman's leg and she at first jokes she learned it at clown college before finally telling him she went to medical school, but quit. Peter heads back to help more patients from the train crash, and Emma goes into a storage room where she finds an unconscious little girl named Megan who is not breathing. Emma starts CPR while yelling for help and Peter hears her and rushes to her aid. Emma says the girl has a pneumothorax and will not make it to the ER. She has Peter continue CPR while she uses a large needle taken from a nearby shelf to perform a thoracotomy. Her efforts work and Megan starts breathing again.

Later, Emma plays the piano in the hospital lounge and watches the colors it makes. Peter joins her and asks about the picture of a young boy she has on top of the piano and Emma reveals it's her nephew Christopher. She reveals she was babysitting him and got distracted and he drowned. She tried to save him but was unable to, so she gave up on being a doctor and quit medical school. Peter gives her Megan's tiara, saying that Megan asked him to give it to her, and that it was only for special people. Peter asks Emma if she's going to return to medical school and reminds her that she saved Megan, which seems to cause Emma to reconsider. She thanks Peter for saving her life and asks him if he can still see the colors like she can. He tells her he no longer has that ability but they can still play the piano together.

At home that night, Emma takes her old doctor jacket out of her closet, considers it and walks away with it, having apparently decided to go back to being a doctor.


Hiro sees Emma when Damian affects Hiro's memory.

The Fifth Stage

During Samuel's speech, Emma can be seen playing the cello.

Upon This Rock

Emma opens her mail and discovers that her application for medical school has been denied, although she is encouraged to apply next year. Emma is disappointed and returns home where she contemplates the mysterious cello that was left for her. The door light flashes and Emma finds Samuel Sullivan waiting for her. He communicates with her through sign language and states that he is like her. Emma assumes he means that he is deaf, but Samuel clarifies that he has an ability and that he sent her the cello. Emma is then shown Samuel's compass tattoo and sees that it matches a compass motif on her cello. Emma invites Samuel in, and he explains that he learned about Emma's ability from a woman named Lydia. He goes on to say that the cello was originally meant for someone else but that it has found its true home now. Emma explains that the last time she played, she caused a crack in the wall but Samuel explains it was her fear, not the cello. He then asks Emma for her help in finding a man named Ian Michaels, who can control plant growth.

Samuel and Emma arrive at Central Park where Samuel explains to Emma that her ability allows her to merge her emotions into her music and draw people in, like a siren's song. Emma focuses on Ian and begins to play the cello. As she plays, passers-by become entranced by the music and gather around her. Eventually, Ian emerges and, after some encouragement from Samuel, forces a tree to blossom, delighting both Emma and Samuel. Returning to the hospital, Emma makes sure that Ian's infection is treated. Samuel tells her that the carnival could use both a doctor and a "siren" before offering her a compass so that she can find her way. Emma accepts the compass from him.

Close to You

Emma's cello is destroyed, leaving her devastated.

As Peter walks down the street, he senses Emma playing the cello. He follows the sensation to her apartment and she is delighted that she has successfully used her power to draw him there. When Peter sees the compass symbol on the cello, she explains that Samuel gave it to her, and then Peter shows her the matching compass tattoo on his arm. He takes her to his own apartment and shows Emma a newspaper clipping with a photo of Samuel and confirms that he's the man Peter knew as "William Hooper". Emma shows him the compass Samuel gave her and Peter explains that his friend was attacked because of a similar compass, but Emma insists that Samuel is a good man.

Angela arrives and stares at Emma, seeming to recognize her. Peter introduces them but Angela refuses to shake Emma's hand, and Emma quickly leaves. Once she's gone, Angela tells Peter that she had a dream that showed that Emma would be responsible for a bloodbath, leading to the deaths of thousands of people. Peter replicates Angela's ability in order to know what she saw; in his dream, Emma is playing the cello inside the House of Mirrors at the carnival. People are screaming and Emma is growing increasingly panicked. Then Sylar appears and tells Emma that he's come to save her. He reaches toward her and Emma smiles... and Peter wakes up.

Emma is contemplating the cello when her door light flashes. When she lets Peter in, he goes over and smashes the cello. He explains that he had a dream in which a lot of people die and that the cello was involved, but Emma is shocked and angry. Peter tries to apologize but she tells him to get out and he leaves. Once he's gone, she weeps over the broken cello.

The Art of Deception

Peter has another dream about Emma. While this one is similar to the last one, there is more detail to the dream. This dream shows people running around screaming and the fact that Emma is likely not in control of her actions: Eric Doyle is seen in the background apparently controlling her and her fingers are also bloody from all the playing. This second dream causes Peter to seek out Sylar to try to save Emma from this future.

Emma travels back to the Carnival and arrives after Noah Bennet supposedly shoots the place up, killing Lydia. Emma treats Samuel's wounds and is shocked by the carnage.

The Wall

Emma wanders into the medical tent and finds Lauren Gilmore attempting to tend to her own bullet wound. Emma quickly rushes over to help her and she manages to fix it up. Lauren asks her about Samuel and attempts to warn her that Samuel used Eli to kill Lydia and shoot the others. Emma doubts Lauren's accusations and they hear Samuel approaching. Lauren hides and asks Emma not to tell Samuel where she is. Emma is not sure what to do and when Samuel comes in, he signs that he knows they are not alone. Emma wonders if what Lauren said was true but Samuel asks her where Lauren is. Emma points to where Lauren is hiding and Samuel asks her to leave. Emma gives Lauren an apologetic look and departs.

Meanwhile, Peter desperately tries to convince Sylar to help him save Emma, as he believes that he is her only hope. After Peter rescues Sylar from being trapped in his own mind, the two set out to save her but are stopped by Eli and his clones.

Brave New World

Emma is approached by Samuel to play a new cello in order to draw thousands of people to the Carnival. Upon seeing the cello, Emma realizes that this is what Peter was talking about when he mentioned his dream and asks Samuel about the thousands of people he said were going to die. Samuel's indifferent shrug confirms to Emma what Peter said and she refuses to play, so Samuel has Eric Doyle take control of her to force her to play.

That night, Emma is forced to play the cello by Doyle and successfully draws thousands of people to the Carnival with her powers and is forced to keep playing even as her fingers start to bleed. Sylar shows up to save her, but Doyle takes control of him too to stop him while forcing Emma to continue at the same time. Doyle gets distracted talking to and controlling Sylar and accidentally lets Emma go. Emma notices this and takes advantage of the moment to stop playing and blast Doyle, defeating him and releasing Sylar who grabs Doyle with telekinesis and ties him up.

After Peter defeats Samuel, Emma reunites with him and the two share a hug, Emma having forgiven Peter for breaking her cello as she now knows the truth of why. Emma tells Peter that Doyle was controlling her and that Sylar saved her, which causes Peter to check up on Sylar and Doyle.

Heroes Evolutions


In chapter 6 of Purpose, John and The Watcher witness Emma argue with Samuel. Samuel tells Emma about what he wants her to do and The Watcher realizes that she is a siren. Emma says that she will not help him. She leaves, but is stopped by Doyle.

Evolved Human Abilities

Emma has the ability to see sound waves as beautiful lights. She is able to produce beautiful music from these lights by "merging" her emotions into her power. This causes a sort of entrancement for all those around Emma as they become drawn to her side.

This additional aspect of her ability is also not limited to those in her vicinity as she was able to attract Peter Petrelli from somewhere in New York to her apartment. (Close to You)

Emma has shown that when she feels powerful emotions, such as fear, she is able to force the lights into a concussive blast powerful enough to leave a scar embedded into her apartment wall (Hysterical Blindness). She is later able to use this on purpose to blast Eric Doyle, defeating him. (Brave New World)


Memorable Quotes

"Maybe your body is trying to tell you something."

"Couldn't it just send an email?"

- Dr. Coolidge, Emma (Ink)

"I wear the headphones because the minute I take them off, someone's asking for the time, or my phone number, or directions to the Statue of Liberty. I don't want to see their faces. That look... insensitive eyebrows... 'Oh... she's deaf...'"

- Emma (Ink)


  • Dr. Coolidge tells Emma that she could be treating patients instead of filing papers (Ink). Emma actually has a degree in biomedicine from Arlington University and she used to be a resident at Mercy Heights, but quit after the death of her young nephew Christopher who drowned while she was babysitting him and was unable to revive him. She had been about to start her second year of residency. With some encouragement from Peter after saving the life of a little girl named Megan, she has apparently changed her mind.
  • According to the casting call, Emma is 25 to 28 years old, "attractive, smart, and sensitive."
  • Emma has at least one sibling.

Fan Theories

Please refer to Theory:Emma Coolidge for fan-created theories and other speculation.

  Season Four Characters edit

Claire BennetNoah BennetAndo MasahashiHiro NakamuraMatt ParkmanAngela PetrelliNathan PetrelliPeter PetrelliTracy StraussSamuel SullivanMohinder SureshSylar


AllisonCharlie AndrewsGretchen BergChris BowmanEmma CoolidgeDamianEvan DavisEric DoyleEdgarEliEzekielLauren GilmoreNurse HammerLydiaKimiko NakamuraJanice ParkmanMatt Parkman, Jr.Pregnant carnyPsychic carnyRenéReginald StanleyAmanda StrazzullaTiger pants carny

See Also: Minor CharactersSeason One CharactersSeason Two CharactersSeason Three CharactersHeroes Reborn CharactersFuture CharactersAnimalsWebisodes Characters
Graphic Novel CharactersiStory CharactersEvolutions CharactersBook CharactersUnaired CharactersCast