|Relationships|| Joshua Nolan Adoptive Father|
Tommy Lasalle Lover
|Health||Alive, yet seemingly dealing with a split-personality embedded within her as a result of the device.|
"The Opposite of Hallelujah"
|Actor|| Stephanie Leonidas|
Katie Douglas (young)
Irisa Nyira is a member of an alien species known as “Irathients”, and is essentially the deputy to lead character Joshua Nolan. She is played by actress Stephanie Leonidas. Smart, independent and feisty, Irisa still struggles with the weight of her unusual upbringing. A drifter since birth, she only stays in Defiance due to the loyalty she feels for Nolan.
Nolan rescued Irisa at a young age and has encouraged her to leave behind her traumatic past. The two have been inseparable ever since, and Nolan has said that Irisa is a war orphan that he found abandoned in what was once Denver. However, it has been hinted at that she and Nolan have something of a dark history that will be explored more deeply as the series develops.
In episode "Pilot", Irisa tells Tommy Lasalle casually that Nolan murdered her parents. Irisa has scars on her wrists that indicate a painful and unhappy past, and in episode "Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go" she mentions that she hates chains. When Nolan is promoted to Lawkeeper, Irisa was appointed Deputy.
Visions (TV) Edit
Irisa often has visions in her sleep of the past, present, and future. Whether these visions are directly connected to someone else's life, or are simply randomly pulled from her mind is a mystery.
At the beginning of "Pilot", she has a vision of Josh Nolan's world, and of the day that the Votans arrived at earth. In "The Devil in the Dark", she continues to have these visions. Nolan has always dismissed these as post-traumatic stress disorder, but they prove to be key in foiling a Hellbug attack on Defiance. According to Sukar, following a clairvoyant Irathient ritual, Irisa was touched by the gods and has "the sight." Irisa is angry at Nolan for making her believe for all of these years that there was something wrong with her (for a human child, such visions are usually a sign of mental health problems). Nolan, in turn, is jealous of Irisa's needing to turn to Sukar for guidance in the use of her new gifts.
Irisa and Tommy Lasalle began a romantic relationship in "The Serpent's Egg", which has continued throughout Season One. Their relationship experiences notable development in "The Bride Wore Black" and "Past Is Prologue", wherein the pair are seen holding hands at a wedding and enjoying classic literature, respectively, indicating the attraction is more than merely sexual.
- Irisa is playfully referred to as "Little Wolf" by Sukar. As Irisa embraces her heritage and abilities, the name is adopted by other Irathients, who treat it as a term of respect rather than affection.
- Irisa's visions and Nolan and Sukar's differing reactions to them may be inspired by real-world stories of how neurological disorders such as epilepsy are treated differently in traditional societies. While modern medicine treats such disorders by correcting and suppressing them, they are often a mark of distinction in traditional societies. For example, many shamans suffer from epilepsy, and the spirits communicate with them through their seizures. Being science fiction, Irisa's abilities are shown to be rather reliable, even helpful, and not harmful to her.