|“||This country doesn't belong to those immortal monsters. This state was built for humans, by humans. If they hide in the darkness and live like ordinary humans, I can allow them to exist. But I will never let them treat humans as their playthings.||”|
–Senator Manfred Beriam, 1935-C: The Grateful Bet
Congressman Manfred Beriam (マンフレッド・ベリアム, Manfureddo Beriamu) is a United States Senator whose platform is staunchly anti-crime. Despite his antipathy toward criminals and Immortals, he is colluding with the likes of mafia don Bartolo Runorata and Nebula chairman Cal Muybridge for the sake of his goals.
Manfred is a man "halfway between youth and middle age," sporting neatly combed short blond hair and dark blue eyes. He is seen wearing a dark brown suit in the 2007 anime adaptation.
Senator Beriam is indifferent to social graces and seldom smiles in front of others. Although broad-minded in his dealings with others, he is aloof and frigid and expresses gratitude via money rather than more emotive methods. However, he hugs Mary when she runs to him in 1933, and speaks with audible frustration to his subordinates in 1935. Calculating to the last, he has some capacity for acting—such as when he pretends to be scared when Hong Chi-Mei breaks into his office.
Above all else, Beriam is a man for whom the ends justify the means and views money and power as fundamental tools in his array. Despite his genuine desire to clean out the United States of crime, he has connections to the mob, in particular with Don Bartolo Runorata. Despite his view of immortals as monsters, he has funded some of Nebula's research—including that which pertains to immortality. He is ultimately willing to sacrifice human lives for the sake of societal progression, including those of himself and his family.
Beriam first makes his name in the world as an young entrepreneur, founding several businesses in his hometown which successfully expand the region's economy and job market. This success earns him sizable support when he announces his intention to become a politician; despite his youth, his proven ability to produce results leads many to put their faith in him.
The people's faith in him is not disillusioned: once Beriam is elected their senator less than ten years after 1913, he proceeds to exceed their expectations in all that he does. His anti-crime, anti-corruption platform appeals to a broad swathe of people, and on the occasions where it is necessary for him to meet with Don Bartolo Runorata of the Runorata Family, is the one making demands. Bartolo is not the only powerful secret contact and associate he makes over the years; both men are also entangled with the likes of Nebula Chairman Cal Muybridge.
At some point in the years following 1925, Beriam witnesses Maria Barcelito assassinate Mr. Maloney. He deduces that the assassination marks her first kill, and informs Maria that he will use Maloney's death for his own ends. The incident makes into the next day's newspapers, as does Beriam's photograph and the fact that he was a witness to the act.
Beriam is first made aware of Immortals when he is caught up in a feud between Szilard Quates and Victor Talbot, the latter an immortal in the [Federal] Bureau of Investigation. The feud in question is likely the November 1930 incident.
In 1931, the police arrest the immortal Huey Laforet on anti-government terrorism charges. The arrest is widely reported on, and Beriam's handling of Huey's criminal faction earns him not insignificant power. However, his personal involvement in the situation does not go unnoticed: on December 30, 1931, Huey's Lemures hijack the transcontinental express Flying Pussyfoot and take its passengers hostage, including Beriam's wife Natalie and daughter Mary.
While the Lemur leader Goose Perkins handles the hijacking, the Lemur Serges handles negotiations, with five of his men meant to negotiate directly with either Beriam himself or Beriam's representatives. The Lemures' plans ultimately fail, as both Goose's and Serges' teams meet insurmountable obstacles throughout the night.
When the Flying Pussyfoot reaches Pennsylvania Station two hours late on December 31, 1931 at 2:00 PM, Beriam is there to greet his wife and daughter. They are full of gratitude for the aid a fellow passenger gave them during the journey, and Beriam gives the passenger a curt thanks and a stack of hundred-dollar-bills for her trouble.
In the aftermath, Beriam and Nebula—the train's owner—cover up the whole of the Flying Pussyfoot incident. As Beriam continues to muzzle the news concerning Huey, the public interest in Huey's case continues to decline.
Early into the year 1932, Beriam hires Pamela and Lana as housekeepers for his manor, and Spike and Sonja Bake as bodyguard and sharpshooter. As Spike's usefulness is limited due to his blindness, he mentors Sonja in his craft to suit Beriam's purposes. Either in the same year or in 1933, Beriam also hires the Former Felix Walken for deadly purposes.
At an unknown point in time, Beriam begins financially supporting Nebula's research into immortality. He is also at minimum aware of—if not personally involved in—Nebula's acquisition of Szilard's failed version of the Cure-All Elixir.
Toward the latter half of 1933, Nebula researcher Renee Parmedes Branvillier proposes an experiment involving the entirety of Mist Wall, the headquarters of Nebula's New York branch. The core of the experiment requires making all 1200 Mist Wall employees incomplete immortals, something that Beriam opposes but cannot stop Renee from carrying out. Nebula thus distributes the failed elixir to its employees in the guise of a mandatory vaccine, successfully making all 1200 humans incomplete immortals without their consent.
In the meantime, Nebula and/or Beriam deliberately plants false information for Huey's people to find: information claiming that Nebula is stockpiling the failed elixir in Mist Wall. Huey's people take the bait, and Huey orders Tim and the Larva to steal the elixir from Mist Wall in September.
Beriam visits Mist Wall on the day of Tim's infiltration mission with two bodyguards, his invitation for Homer (Nebula's NY branch manager) to join him having been declined. Once inside, he heads for a laboratory in the top floor's research wing, locks the laboratory door, and waits for the Larva to break in.
When Tim and two of his Larva do break into the laboratory, they are bewildered by the absence of the failed product and associated research materials—and startled when Beriam addresses them. He declares that the information they acquired was a bluff, and, when Tim asks why he is at Mist Wall, says he supports the laboratory's research and that he wanted to meet "Huey Laforet's hand-raised protégé"—in other words, Tim.
Tim asks Beriam where the failed product is, but Beriam repeats his earlier claim that the product is nowhere on the premises. The room they are in is not the 'true' laboratory; according to Beriam, the Mist Wall building itself is a "gigantic experimental facility."
He fills Tim in on the truth of Mist Wall's employees, and is dispassionate in the face of Tim's disgust. Tim's caustic accusation that he is turning people into 'monsters' for the sake of research is met with similar impassiveness, though it leads Beriam to consider the possibility that Huey knew about the employees but deliberately kept Tim in the dark.
With unmistakable pity, Beriam asks Tim if he thought his presence at Mist Wall was just a coincidence. He states that calculations have underscored everything Tim might have chalked up to miracle or coincidence—including the Szilard Quates and Flying Pussyfoot incidents—and that Tim and the Larva are like butterflies caught in Nebula's and Huey's webs.
As he leaves for an afternoon assembly, he tells Tim that while he hates both complete and incomplete immortals, he supports Tim as a 'mere human'.
Not long after the Mist Wall incident, Lamia member Hong Chi-Mei attempts to murder Beriam in his study in the dead of night. Spike and the Former Felix intercept and neutralize him by way of a bullet to his shoulder and letter-opener against his throat respectively, with Beriam ordering the Former Felix not to kill him.
Beriam identifies Chi by his full name and as a Lamia member, much to Chi's shock, and instructs him to pass on a message to Huey: "This nation—it isn't a playground for monsters like you."
After Spike and the Former Felix drag Chi out of the study, Beriam retakes his seat and considers who Chi's client might be. He finds it unlikely that Huey would send a single assassin after him, but thinks that Homer is spineless enough to try something along such lines.
Mary enters the study as he is musing on Huey and Victor, having heard a 'loud noise' earlier, and Beriam lies that some books fell of a shelf. He embraces her when she runs to him, and privately vows to show Huey and the other immortals the strength of humanity.
At some point in the latter half of 1934, Beriam sells a portion of the New York land he owns under the pretense of a generous election donation. This land passes through multiple wealthy hands before coming into the Runoratas' possession, and the Runoratas begin backing a multipurpose skyscraper project on their new property. Construction of the skyscraper—later nicknamed Ra's Lance—proceeds with impressive speed.
In December of the same year, Beriam travels to Chicago without Spike and the Former Felix. While much of his visit takes place behind the scenes, it appears to be directly related to Huey Laforet: intelligence suggests that Huey plans to conduct a large experiment in New York City, with Chicago also a potential target. To this end, Beriam orders Spike and the Former Felix to track down Huey's daughter Chané Laforet and interrogate her on Huey's plans for New York City while he investigates Chicago.
Beriam visits the Nebula Headquarters in Chicago at least once, during which time he passes Gustav St. Germain and Carol in the headquarters' lobby. Later that day, Graham Specter and Renee's scientists try to capture several members of Huey's Lamia, but are thwarted by the bombs Rail sets off in retaliation. It is suggested that Beriam may have worked alongside Nebula to cover up the alley bombing.
When approximately three hundred bombs go off around Elleson Hill and two hundred people disappear from the surrounding areas, the incident shakes Chicago deeply and is reported on radio broadcasts around the country. It also leaves Beriam temporarily grounded in the city until the chaos settles down.
Once Beriam finally leaves, he reconvenes with Spike and the Former Felix on the outskirts of New York to discuss the Chicago situation. He rejects Spike's suggestion that they head to Chicago themselves; given the recent chaos, he suspects that Huey will carry out his plan in New York instead. Above all else, seizing this opportunity can potentially solve all of Beriam's problems in New York in one swoop.
Construction on Ra's Lance is completed in early 1935, with only its underground restaurant experiencing delays. The 'restaurant' in actuality is a massive illegal casino, for which the Runoratas plan to hold a massive three day party upon completion and invite the Eastern coast's mafia syndicates and well-to-do as guests.
With the party slated to take place sometime in mid-February, Beriam and Spike occasionally take Sonja out on excursions for sharpshooting practice on building rooftops and other unlikely locations. Pamela confronts Beriam after one such excursion, but all he tells her is that Sonja's job is for the sake of the state and does not involve her killing anyone.
At some point prior to the party, Beriam mentions Szilard Quates to Spike and the Former Felix in his study. Spike says he does not recognize the name, despite previously working for Huey, and asks the Former Felix if the name rings any bells. The Former Felix says he heard the name once while he was still working in New York—something about Szilard having all sorts of backdoor connections.
Beriam affirms this is the case; in a rare moment of frustration, he admits that he only learned of immortals after he was caught up in a feud between Szilard and an immortal FBI agent—while Huey was busy deepening his own influence across the country. Spike reflects that the Lemures never knew how far Huey's other organizations reached, just as much lab rats to Huey as his own daughter.
That Huey seems to consider the world his personal laboratory and everyone his lab rats is something Beriam considers an 'unforgivable crime'. He proclaims that the country belongs to humans rather than immortal monsters, and that he refuses to let immortals treat humans as their toys. Spike assures Beriam of the strength his money affords him, and is pleased when Beriam brings up payment negotiations; however, when Beriam points out that Sonja will be doing the actual work, Spike hurriedly objects that Sonja is useless without him.
The Former Felix objects to Spike's willingness to let a child shoot for him, but Spike's counterdefense is both confident and guiltless. Beriam does not care who does what in the end so long as he achieves his desired results, though he reminds both of them that he has the right to deny them payment should they fail.
As the party draws ever closer, Beriam's daughter spends increasing time with Carzelio Runorata, Bartolo's grandson. Bartolo gives Carzelio a letter to deliver to the senator, but what that letter contains and whether or not Beriam received it have yet to be confirmed. However, as speculated by Carzelio's bodyguards, that Mary is sticking close to Carzelio at all may be the result of some sort of deal between Beriam and Bartolo.
The first day of the party arrives, and Beriam's people keep close tabs on the proceedings while he remains in his manor. When Beriam receives word of an 'irregularity', he relays the irregularity to Spike: apparently, a man won an astronomical sum of money while gambling at one of the Runoratas' tables—dealing enough damage that more than one party-going faction is now keeping an eye on him.
Spike openly laughs at the man's unlucky good fortune, but his mirth vanishes when Beriam identifies the man as Nader Schasschule, an ex-Lemur. Impassive in the face of Spike's shock, Beriam orders Spike to investigate what Nader wants and who might be backing him. Should Nader prove to be at odds with their interests, they may have to end his life instead.
- Beriam's characterization and motives in the 2007 anime adaptation differ from the source material. While he appears to still regard immortals as inhuman, he desires immortality for himself (unlike his novel counterpart). The anime also implies that Beriam is aiding Bartolo's efforts to find the incomplete immortal Dallas Genoard for this purpose, and separately suggests Beriam knew about and prioritized the train's smuggled cargo in 1931 over the lives of his family.