Karen McCluskey
General Information
Occasional babysitter
Marital status:
Gilbert McCluskey - Husband (deceased)
Roberta Simmons - Sister
Roy Bender - Fiancé
Unnamed son (deceased)
Series Information
S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6
First appearance:

Karen McCluskey (née Simmons) is Wisteria Lane's local babysitter who loves to cause trouble, who was orginally introduced as Lynette Scavo's nemesis. She is mainly refered to as Mrs. McCluskey rather than Karen.

Character HistoryEdit

Early LifeEdit

Karen McCluskey was born in 1943, quickly wed and gave birth to a son in the 1950s-1960s. In season six she reveals to Robin Gallagher that she was in the sex trade business, and modeled for Sears Roebuck, which put her through college. She was the second wife to Gilbert McCluskey, whom neglected to update his pension files leaving all of his assets to his first wife, whom he was only very briefly married to. For this reason Karen kept his body in a freezer in her basement.

Season OneEdit

We learn that she suffers from severe arthritis and how Lynette helped her when she collapsed soon after they became good friends. Known as the bickering old woman of the neighborhood, Mrs. McCluskey can be constantly known for bickering and causing ruckus. However, deep down Mrs. McCluskey is a really good woman full of love. It was revealed that she had a son that died at a young age. She offered to babysit the Scavo kids only to be sent home because Lynette found her to be 'ancient'.

Season TwoEdit

One time, Mrs. McCluskey accidentally tasered Lynette's co-worker Stu when she believed he was trying to "abduct" Lynette's kids. She was reported to have seen Matthew Applewhite and Danielle Van de Kamp making out at the county park. In episode 15 of season 2, she found a comatose Bree on the front lawn. She subsequently alerted Lynette that Bree was drinking while babysitting her kids. Bree's drinking problems inadvertently improved Mrs. McCluskey's relationship with Lynette, as she now frequently babysits the Scavo kids. Towards the end of Season 2 she supported Lynette, who followed Tom Scavo to Atlantic City in a bid to find out the truth behind Tom's supposed infidelity.

Season ThreeEdit

She has emerged as a more prominent and visible character, often involved in social roles with members of Wisteria Lane and even forming a friendship with Edie Britt. It has also been notable that due to the very separate story that Bree Hodge has this season, Mrs. McCluskey is often seen gathering with the other three main housewives Lynette Scavo, Gabrielle Solis and Susan Mayer. Recently, Mrs. McCluskey gave Mike Delfino his toolbox back (which later got him arrested despite her hiding it), and helped form the protest against the pedophile Art Shephard.

In the episode Liaisons, it was revealed that Mrs. McCluskey has her own secret: she has the dead body of her husband, Gilbert, stored in a chest freezer in her basement. In the following episode, God, That's Good Karen breaks her arm, and is taken to hospital. In the mean time, first Parker Scavo, then Ida Greenberg discovers Gilbert's dead body. Karen manages to persuade Parker to keep quiet, but Ida goes to the police, and Karen is put into jail.

Mrs. McCluskey is the talk of the town after the news spreads about her husband's body being found in the freezer. She becomes hassled by local kids, who throw eggs at her house, and paint 'Witch' on her door. Lynette also changes baby sitters to keep her away from her children, but Parker continues to defend her and tells Mrs. McCluskey to just tell the truth to make it stop. She goes to Travers' birthday party while the other Wisteria Lane residents are cleaning up and reveals her actions. She explains that she came home at 2 am from a weekend away to find Gilbert had died. Waiting until morning to call the Funeral Home, she checks his pension plan to see he'd signed everything off to his first wife. Mrs. McCluskey, in fear of losing everything, kept his body in the freezer and kept cashing the cheques. Lynette then hires Mrs. McCluskey back as her babysitter. Lynette tells Mrs. McCluskey the family missed her, and Mrs. McCluskey says she missed them too. As she walks into her house Mrs. McCluskey says that she will need a raise as she a lot of money to pay and holds up bills.

Mrs. McCluskey is also present at the wedding of Gabrielle and Victor Lang. She tells Gabrielle she loves the wedding and that it was "very fancy". Questioning Gabrielle about Edie Britt's and Carlos' argument during the ceremony, Gabrielle tells Mrs. McCluskey she doesn't care but if she was to see either of them again that she is to call security.

Season FourEdit

Mrs. McCluskey asks to speak to Carlos and complains to him about some household garbage he left out, and she notices Edie's suicide attempt from the bedroom window. Carlos runs up and saves her. Later in the Season Premiere she is at Katherine Mayfair's barbecue and she questions Katherine as to why she left town twelve years ago without saying any goodbyes to anyone. Katherine is shocked that she remembers so much. We are told that Karen used to babysit Dylan Mayfair, and knew something about her father, even though Dylan insists her father left her when she was a baby.

Karen later gives her opinion on new neighbours Bob and Lee's water fountain, and says it's "crap". When Katherine and Lynette both run for the job of the leader of the home owners association, Karen casts her vote for Lynette; however, Katherine wins.

In the ninth episode of the season a tornado warning is given out and Lynette asks Karen if she, Tom and her kids could wait out the storm in her basement along with Karen and Ida Greenberg. At first Karen refuses, then reluctantly permits it. Later in the episode during the storm Tom begins to get an allergic reaction from Ida's cat Toby who is also in the basement. When Ida and Karen refuse to take Toby to a closet upstairs, Lynette takes actions into her own hands when Ida is sleeping and takes the cat upstairs. Karen follows and yells at Lynette and tells her they're only friends when Lynette wants something from her. Lynette tells Karen she does care about her as the door bursts open and Toby runs into the street. Karen chases after the cat saying he's the only family Ida's got - Lynette runs after Karen, screaming at her to get inside. As they turn around they see the huge tornado right at the end of the street and because of falling objects they take refuge in Lynette's house in a bath tub with a mattress over them. At the end of the episode Lynette and Karen emerge alive from the storm. As they leave the house, they find the street in a horrific mess and Karen's house has been completely destroyed with Tom, Ida and the kids all inside. The episode ends with Lynette's anguished screams.

In the following episode, Karen, along with Lynette, Susan, Bree and Edie, wait nervously as firemen attempt to search for survivors. Karen tells them shes praying for a miracle to happen. Just then a fireman pulls Penny (Lynette's youngest child) from the wreckage with Porter, Preston, Kayla and Parker all following. Seconds later Tom appears from the wreckage alive and well and Karen smiles as the family are safely reunited. However, she asks Tom where Ida is and Tom shakes his head informing her that Ida had died. Karen cries to herself and Edie reaches out and holds her hand. Later in the episode Karen and Lynette break into a baseball stadium to spread her ashes where Ida, a former professional ballplayer in the A.A.G.P.B.L. during the Second World War, used to play. However they are confronted by the police but they are let off with a warning. Karen tells Lynette that people should appreciate others while they still have them - Lynette then tells Karen shes got some time and they head inside to talk more.

Karen is seen in the season finale as a guest at Bob and Lee's wedding.

The Missing YearsEdit

After the five-year jump, it is revealed that Karen is still living on Wisteria Lane, in a new house.

Season FiveEdit

Roberta and Karen

Karen with her sister Roberta.

When Edie returns to Fairview with her new husband, Dave Williams, Karen welcomes her back and continues to tease and make jokes to her like they used to. And when she continues to do so, Edie begins to get upset and Dave asks Karen if she could stop. She asks him to leave her house and finds it rude he can come over and ask for a favor when he doesen't know her. Dave tells her she knows that she must be lonely as she talked to Toby as if it was a person and that by the photos on the wall she used to have a family, but doesen't anymore - with that Karen asks Dave to leave. Later on, Toby mysteriously goes missing and while searching for him Dave asks her whats wrong and Karen asks him to help her look for the cat - Dave refuses however when Karen refuses again to apologize to Edie. Karen then begins to suspect that Dave had took Toby. Karen apolgises to Edie and asks Edie to tell Dave she did so - and when returning home that night her window was open and Toby was back.

Karen's suspcions of Dave begins to grow and she enlists the help of Katherine in order find out more information so the two of them invite Edie out for lunch in order to learn more information about Dave. Edie however doesen't know much and tells them shes getting uncomfortable with the questions. Later in the episode during a dinner party Edie questions Dave (due to Karen saying to Edie she doesen't know enough about her own husband) infront of everyone about where he went to college - Dave tells Edie he didn't graduate because he had to look after his family.


Karen being taken to hospital after attacking Dave.

It's Karen's 70th birthday and the residents organise a suprise party for her at Susan's house however when Dave breaks into Karen's house and moves stuff around in order to annoy her. Karen arrives at the party with a baseball bat and goes to attack Dave, but is stopped. Karen yells at Dave in front of everyone saying he's changed things in her house and things were in different places - everyone looks on worried as they believe she is going crazy. Karen is taken away in an ambulance and Dave tells her to take care and she gets driven off.

In the hospital Edie visits her and Karen apologizes, saying her pills had made her accuse and attack Dave. Edie accepts the apology and after she leaves Karen reveals it was all an act and she rings her sister, Roberta, asking her to come over. Together the two of them try to find out more information about Dave's past and they discover he was a paitent of a Doctor who works for people with anger problems and for a mental institution. When they visit, however, the doctor is not there (he was actually killed by Dave). Roberta then tells Karen shes had enough and that she can't help anymore and she leaves.

Karen returns to Fairview and, later on, hangs out with Edie and she tells Karen about his past and how he lost his wife and daughter in a car accident. Karen apologizes, saying she wouldn't have done what she did to Dave if she knew that as she lost a child herself and knows what it can do to a person. Karen invites Edie over for drinks which delays her from discovering that Dave was after Mike, who was the one who crashed into Dave's wife and child.

Karen is shown to offer the paperboy a tip if he throws her paper onto her porch instead of the lawn. Karen and Roberta once again try to find out more information about Dave by breaking into his house after Roberta got a call from Dr. Heller's receptionist, saying he died in the fire. Karen and Roberta are caught by the police and taken to the station where they discover Dave's ex-wife and daughter were the ones killed in the accident which involved Mike and Susan. Roberta then mentions how freaky it was that Dave changed his name to live with the people who were involved with his family's death.

Season SixEdit

Karen is given a love interest this season named Roy Bender. When Gaby offers to collect Karen from the grocery store, Karen spends the whole time in the car talking about her sex life with Roy. She later watches as Julie fights with her new neighbour Danny Bolen on the street.

The first time Karen McCluskey met Roy Bender she smiled at him to her surprise. The next time they met, Roy smiled back. They then continued to flirt for a week until they decided to sleep together. They went out for weeks until one day Karen decided she needed to know how he felt while they were out for a walk, Karen told Roy that she loved him. Roy didn't respond until Karen urged him on. He was about to tell her he loved her when he noticed Julie Mayer unconcious in a garden. Karen then screamed at the top of her voice, informing Wisteria Lane of Julie's brutal attack.

Later Karen tells Roy that she doesn't know whether she should tell the police that she saw Julie and Danny Bolen fighting on the street a few days previous. She tells him that she doesn't want to point fingers. Roy then tells her she should tell them because she doesn't have to do it alone. He then tells her that he would be sad if Karen got hit by a bus but when Karen says that he will have to shower alone tonight, Roy tells her that he loves her.

Karen later watches as Danny is arrested.

After Orson is paralyzed from the plane crash, Karen offers to keep him as a tennant in her home, much to Bree's anger, as she quickly moves him back into their own home.

Season SevenEdit

Kathryn Joosten will be returning this season as Karen. Orson Bean will continue making guest appearances as Karen's boyfriend Roy.

Other appearances Edit

Relationship with other charactersEdit

With Edie Britt :

After Edie's death, Susan, Gaby, Bree, Lynette and Mrs. McCluskey go to visit Edie's son, Travers. They tell him that his mother was in a serious accident and died. They are surprised when Travers tells them he is fine. They try to get him to take time off from school, but he tells them that Edie was never around and was a bad parent because she gave him up and abandoned him. Karen forcibly sits him down to tell a story of how Edie visited her on the anniversary of her son's death. Edie tells Karen that she knows what it is like to lose a child because she gave full custody to her ex-husband which angers Karen. Edie explains that for Travers to have a decent normal life, he needed to be away from her, but she still loves him.


  • After Season 5, Marc Cherry considered making a spin-off of Desperate Housewives that would star Mrs. McCluskey and her sister Roberta. However the idea was cancelled, as instead Mrs. McCluskey was made into a series regular as of Season 6.

  Desperate Housewives Characters edit
The Housewives

Susan Mayer · Lynette Scavo · Bree Van de Kamp · Gabrielle Solis · Katherine Mayfair · Edie Britt · Renée Perry · Mary Alice Young

Current Main Supporting Characters

Carlos Solis · Tom Scavo · Orson Hodge · Angie Bolen · Ana Solis · Mike Delfino · Julie Mayer · Karen McCluskey · Nick Bolen · Danny Bolen · Porter Scavo · Parker Scavo · Penny Scavo · Juanita Solis · M.J. Delfino · Celia Solis · Lee McDermott · Bob Hunter · Karl Mayer · Andrew Van de Kamp · Preston Scavo

Former Supporting Main Characters

Rex Van de Kamp · John Rowland · Dave Williams · George Williams · Jackson Braddock · Matthew Applewhite · Caleb Applewhite · Betty Applewhite · Paul Young · Zach Young · Austin McCann · Kayla Scavo · Dylan Mayfair · Danielle Katz

Supporting Characters

Adam Mayfair · Victor Lang · Ida Greenberg · Stella Wingfield · Ian Hainsworth · Nora Huntington · Alma Hodge · Alex Cominis · Phyllis Van de Kamp · Gloria Hodge · Xiao-Mei · Martha Huber · Felicia Tilman · Bradley Scott · Maria Scott · Ed Ferrara · Roy Bender · Justin · Millicent Tilman