Jesse Porter is a former counter-intelligence agent for the Department of Defense (D.O.D.). He is portrayed by Coby Bell. After Michael Westen triggered a series of events that led to Jesse being burned, Jesse found his way into Michael's team and began his pursuit for the people responsible.
Jesse is a proactive operative who dedicates his life to taking down bad guys, including those not designated as targets by his superiors. His first job within the federal sector was as a field agent until he saw disturbances (including bosses smacking their girlfriends around) he could no longer stomach without doing something about it. He was eventually reassigned to counterintelligence, working under Marv Peterson for the Department of Defense.
Miami Investigations, Burned Status, and the Global Wars
A year prior to his arrival in Miami, Jesse began looking into a series of violent attacks to find a pattern and traced a central supply center to a port in Miami. Jesse was able to make contact with one of the weapons suppliers codenamed "Cobra" (later identified as Jeremiah Kassar). Some time later, Jesse loses contact with Cobra. Eventually, Jesse was burned due to a D.O.D. office breach perpetrated by Michael with the FBI holding Jesse responsible for the theft of his files.
After being cut off from government support and targeted by an old enemy, Jesse seeks out Michael to help him solve his problem. Michael is successful in dealing with Jesse's problem, earning his trust and allows him to learn more about Jesse's investigations. Before joining Michael's team, Jesse tells Michael that as soon as he finds who burned him, he promises to kill him.
Throughout their missions, Michael and Jesse slowly uncover a trail of evidence, including a female assassin, a Bible belonging to Simon Escher, and ultimately, the connection between all of the global violent acts: John Barrett, the CEO of global telecommunications conglomerate, Drake Technologies. Unfortunately, Jesse also learns after obtaining video footage of the day of the file theft from his former handler, Marv, that Michael was the one responsible for both stealing his files and getting Jesse burned. Jesse broke away from the group for a while until he learns that John Barrett, the man Jesse's been after for a long time, is flying into Miami. After coming to his senses, Jesse comes to Michael's rescue and saves his life. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost since Jesse had to shoot Michael through the chest, killing a gunman, but nearly incapacitating Michael, although he does survive the shot.
After the downfall of Drake Technologies, Jesse is not on friendly speaking terms with Michael, since they both hurt each other in different ways. Despite this, Jesse reluctantly comes back to the team when a vigilante bomber begins to terrorize Miami. He helps, but also ends the bomber's life without the group's approval. The relationship between Jesse and the group continues to be rocky until Fiona lures him out to Carlito's as part of Madeline Westen's plan to get the two boys to talk to each other again. Madeline reminds them that men in their chosen careers need to know a thing or two about trust or they'll both end up dead. Eventually, Michael and Jesse shake hands and begin reestablishing their working relationship.
The NOC List
While Michael recovered from his gunshot wounds after his meeting with Drake Technologies, Jesse and Fiona learn that one of the security personnel (Mark Sweeney) present took the silver briefcase along with Simon's Bible and disappeared. Jesse learns that Sweeney took the case to Justin Walsh, a crypto specialist from SXG to decode the list. After having successfully decoded the list, Walsh killed Sweeney and took it to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to have it auctioned off. Jesse and Sam Axe eventually track Walsh down to Santo Domingo to perform reconnaissance of the city so they can formulate a plan to extract the NOC list. Michael and Fiona arrive later after having finished their latest job to move the list out of Santo Domingo.
Despite their best efforts, no one in the group was able to succeed in duplicating the list for their own references. Jesse set up another meeting with his former handler, Marv, to transport the list out of Miami in exchange for vouching to get Michael and Jesse's names cleared of their alleged wrongdoings. Unfortunately, when Jesse and Michael met with Marv, they both realize that Marv was turned by Tyler Brennen, who had Marv killed after having retrieved the list. Jesse spent the next couple of days helping to take down Brennen, Larry Sizemore (Michael's old mentor and Brennen's new partner), and eventually Vaughn, who voiced his ideas to "recruit" Michael into his organization. At the end of the events, Jesse was wounded in the leg, but was taken to a hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
Jesse is a very skilled operative, almost on par with the likes of Michael. However, he doesn't have a lot of patience, and is short-tempered. He has shown to be skilled in hand to hand combat, firearms, explosives, tactical analysis, and driving. His greatest skill however seems to be his ability to pull information out of anyone. He has been described as having "a way with words" and can get most people to go with his plans, and give him sensitive information that would otherwise be hard to obtain. Even Sam had regarded him with caution due to his and Michael's backgrounds, (both being American operatives), as he knew Jesse's career is based on his ability to pull information from spies and other intelligence operatives. After Jesse becomes a member of the team, his unique contributions include a new pool of contacts, leads on jobs, and occasionally the ability to establish a cover identity that the others could never pull off (such as a cuban gang member).
As a result of his mother's murder, Jesse has had a strong sense of justice stemmed in him at a young age. Jesse does not like to see the bad guys get away with harming innocents. He will even go as far as putting aside his primary objectives to do so, and it is even apart of the reason why he choose to not return to CIFA at the end of season 4. When he first began working with the group, he operated as a bit of a maverick often taking matters into his own hands without first consulting the team. As time goes on, Jesse settles into the group and works seamlessly with them as part of the core team. He enjoys wearing jewelry and expensive clothing, driving expensive cars, eating spicy food, and is a huge fan of rock band, Queen; referring to Freddie Mercury's voice as "angelic". (Episode 605: Split Decision)
Jesse loved his mother dearly, and her death is undoubtedly the biggest influence on his life. While being interrogated by Olivia Riley, it is revealed that Jesse had attempted to access the sealed case files from his mother's murder numerous times though his requests were always denied. The offer to share this file with Jesse is shown to be the largest bargaining chip Riley has while attempting to convince him to betray the group. In the series finale, Jesse reveals to Madeline that the reason he has stood by the team despite all the hardships they have experienced is that the group fills the void and longing for family that was created by his mother's death.
Jesse at first didn't seem to have a high opinion of Michael, and even hinted at him getting what he deserved when he was burned. Despite this, the two managed to have a stable working relationship, and Michael was comfortable enough with him to allow him to stay at his mother's when Jesse was burned. Their relationship is strained when it is discovered by Jesse that Michael was responsible for burning him, which culminated in Jesse shooting him in the chest, though Jesse quips that this was a perk that resulted in saving his life. After a talk with Madeline, Jesse and Michael seem to forgive each other, mend their relationship, and eventually become good friends.
Jesse takes a strong liking to Fiona when he joins Michael's team after being accidentally burned, and is shown to have had feelings for her. He never admitted those feelings after Michael's mother noticed and advised him that Fi and Mike had been on-again, off-again for a long time and seemed to always find their way back to each other. Since then, until the series finale, Jesse was shown to be good friends with Fiona.
Jesse and Sam seem to get along fairly well, as they are not opposed to sharing a beer or two while scouting to help Michael. In the series finale, it is suggested that Sam and Jesse remain good friends and are likely to carry on their work together.
Jesse and Madeline hit it off from the beginning. In many ways, Madeline behaves in a very maternal way to Jesse and he responds favorably. Madeline comes to Jesse's defense and scolds Michael for being dishonest with him though she seems oblivious to the delicacy of Michael and Jesse's original relationship.