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Karen Lee Barclay is the deuteragonist of the 1988 horror film Child's Play. She is a widowed mother who works at a Carson Pirie Scott & Co. department store to support herself and her son, Andy. She is Andy Barclay's mother.
She was portrayed by Catherine Hicks
She first appeared when Andy made her breakfast in bed (a small bowl overfilled with Good Guy cereal, spilled glasses of milk and orange juice, and two burnt pieces of toast covered in large globs of butter).
She took him into the living room for him to open his presents, where Andy insisted he opened the larger present first in hopes it was a Good Guy Doll. He opened it, only to find pants. He tried the smaller present and uncovered a Good Guy Tool Set, upsetting him.
Karen goes to work where her best friend, Maggie Peterson drags her into the back alley where they find a pettler selling a Good Guy doll. After a short conversation, Karen purchases the doll and goes back to work, but is confronted by her boss.
She is told that she is able to leave at 5 but must be back at 7. Maggie then volunteers to babysit Andy while Karen is at work. She gets home and gives Andy his new Good Guy doll, which through a talking mechanic reveals its name as Chucky.
Later that night, Karen comes home to find that Maggie has been murdered. She speaks with Detective Mike Norris, who tells her that Maggie fell out the kitchen window.
Karen, severely upset that her best friend was dead, orders that Mike and his men leave her apartment. Later that night, she hears Andy in his bedroom talking. She enters the room and asks who he was talking to. He replies by telling her he was talking to his doll, who had revealed its full name as Charles Lee Ray. Karen gets in an argument with Andy, who then asks her if it was about Maggie's death that she was yelling. She realises that was the reason and goes to bed.
Karen takes Andy to school the next day, who takes Chucky with him. Later that day, however, she is called to the police station and is informed that Eddie Caputo, the accomplice to the now-deceased serial killer Charles Lee Ray, was murdered at that Andy was found at the scene. He was being questioned at the police station, and Karen enters the room to talk to him. He insists that Chucky was alive and that the doll would kill him if he told them anything. Nobody, even Karen, believed his story and was taken to a mental hospital for a little while.
Karen returns home and checks the box that Chucky came in. The batteries fall out, and she reads on the box "Batteries included!" She slowly approaches the doll, picks it up, and checks the battery slots. The slots are empty, and the doll's head turns 180 degrees and says "Hi, I'm Chucky! Wanna play?" She drops the doll in fright, which then rolls under the couch. She slowly retrieves it and threatens to throw it in the fire unless it talks. Chucky comes to life in her hands and attacks, followed by him escaping through the apartment elevator.
Karen makes her way to the police station to tell Mike what happened, but he of course did not believe her. She decides to find the peddler who sold her the doll, searching all over the slums of Chicago. After questioning several homeless people, she finally finds the man who sold it to her. Not being able to pay the amount of money he wants in order to tell her what he knew, he assaults her, but is then attacked by Mike who arrives from the shadows. The peddler tells them that he found the doll in a burned down toy store. This disturbs Mike, who tells Karen that the same night that the store was burned down the serial killer, Charles Lee Ray, was shot to death there. Still not believing Chucky was alive, Mike takes Karen home.
Karen learns that Chucky is possessed by the soul of Charles Lee Ray and decided to check his abandoned house. There, is confronted by Mike and the two learn that Chucky was a skilled Voodoist. Karen and Mike go to the home of Chucky's mentor, only to find that Chucky had already been there. Chucky's mentor, John, was bleeding to death, and with his last breath he told Karen and Mike that the only way to kill Chucky is to shoot his heart.
After a wild goose chase looking for Chucky all around the city, Karen and Mike finally find Chucky and Andy in her apartment. A long battle begins, and Karen manages to trap Chucky in the fire place. Andy tosses a match in, burning the doll. Karen began calling the police while Andy went to get the First-Aid Kit to treat Mike's wounds from the battle. It is revealed that Chucky was still alive, and the battle continued. Karen finally managed to severely cripple Chucky and the two were met by Mike's partner. Not believing the doll was alive, he brings Chucky's head to show Karen, Mike, and Andy that it was "as dead as it gets." Chucky's torso, meanwhile, was crawling through the walls and burst through, attacking the partner. They toss it at the wall, and Karen finally shoots the heart, killing Chucky. The four leave the apartment without celebration, knowing it was too traumatizing.
While Karen did not appear for the rest of the series, she is mentioned in the second and third films, which reveal that she was sent to a mental hospital for supporting Andy's story of Chucky.