Karen Willis is the CEO of Golden Axe Food Company.
Karen Willis was the CEO of Golden Axe Food Company, an agricultural company that used magic to control the Labyrinth and sacrificed fourteen young people to the Minotaur every seven years in order to guarantee prosperity for over 3000 years. Ms. Willis was behind the modernization of the sacrifices, switching from making all the sacrifices at once to spreading them out over the course of a year, making it easier to hide the company's crimes. She also personally oversaw the ritual sacrifices, along with her second-in-command, Mr. Franklin.
Confrontation with the Librarians
When the missing interns were brought to the attention of the Librarians via the Clippings book, they went to the Golden Axe Food Company's headquarters in Boston and were brought in to meet Karen Willis. She told them that she was shocked to hear of any missing interns, and said that the company ran through interns so quickly that she wasn't aware of most of them. As Eve Baird had used her NATO connection as a cover story, Ms. Willis was curious as to why NATO was looking into missing interns, and was clearly suspicious of the group. When the meeting was interrupted by an intern, Jennie, Ms. Willis got irritated with her. She pretended to be willing to help the Librarians, and asked Mr. Franklin to show them to HR, which he understood to mean sending them into the Labyrinth to be killed by the Minotaur. After Eve had successfully ambushed Mr. Franklin and used his keycard to access the "server room", actually a room full of Minoan artifacts used to power and control the Labyrinth, Ms. Willis and Mr. Franklin attempted to figure out who the people investigating the company really were. Although they considered the Librarian a possibility, they were only aware of Flynn Carsen as a solo Librarian, and knew that he wasn't in the area. Ms. Willis instructed Mr. Franklin to expedite the timeline of the sacrifices, and told him to start with Jennie, the intern who had previously interrupted her meeting.
When Ezekiel Jones and Cassandra Cillian made their way through the Labyrinth and into the control room, Ms. Willis captured them there, holding them at gunpoint. She explained that the sacrifices had made Golden Axe Food Company successful for millennia, and was proud of her achievements in modernizing the system. She also mentioned that the recent sacrifices had been more powerful than any she'd seen, likely due to the release of magic back into the world through the actions of the Serpent Brotherhood. While she was fully willing to shoot the two Librarians, she was interrupted by Cassandra, who jumped on her to try to wrestle the gun away. When the case holding the thread that was the key to powering the Labyrinth shattered after being shot, Ezekiel was able to grab the thread and distract Ms. Willis by pretending to make a break for it. She wasn't tricked for long, however, but Cassandra realized that the thread was representational magic, and Ezekiel unwound it to unravel the Labyrinth, causing Ms. Willis to escape back into the main headquarters building to avoid being trapped in the Labyrinth as it collapsed.
Having survived the dismantling of the Labyrinth, Ms. Willis and Mr. Franklin met in her office to discuss plans for revenge against the Librarians. However, the Minotaur had been freed when the Labyrinth vanished, and it came looking for the people who had imprisoned it for millennia, finding the two of them in her office. Her fate was left unspecified, but Jenkins did say that he didn't believe the Librarians would have to worry about her, as Minotaurs were nasty creatures, known to hold a grudge.
Karen Willis was a sociopath who was not only willing to continue the company's tradition of human sacrifices, but proud of her role in modernizing it. She showed absolutely no compassion when faced with an intern, Henry Birch, begging for his life, and was already thinking of what to order for lunch at the next office meeting as he died. Although her preferred method of execution was the Minotaur, she was also perfectly willing to simply shoot Ezekiel and Cassandra herself, and seemed very comfortable with a gun.
Ms. Willis was also very confident, remaining calm when the Librarians came to investigate and facing down Eve without flinching. When she realized that the team was a potential threat, she quickly decided to eliminate them before they could discover anything about the company. Even when Ezekiel and Cassandra made it through the Labyrinth, she was only thrown off balance when Cassandra physically jumped on her. The only two moments of panic from Ms. Willis were when she was trapped inside the collapsing Labyrinth, at which point she decided to save herself instead of taking a risk and trying to stop the Librarians, and when the Minotaur showed up in her office, clearly holding a grudge.
Despite her ability to remain calm in the face of a threat, Ms. Willis showed a propensity for anger and vengeance if something happened that she found irritating. She had Jennie killed for interrupting her meeting without knocking, dismissively referring to her as "that blonde idiot". When the Librarians broke into the Labyrinth, she was willing to kill them herself, and when they destroyed it, she vowed revenge.
What little was shown of her business dealings indicated that she was organized and liked to keep aware of potential threats, although she appeared to rely heavily on Mr. Franklin to keep track of the details. She also had some awareness of the greater magical world, knowing of the Library and keeping tabs on the Librarian.
- The writers called Karen Willis an "old school Leverage-type CEO", referring to the show that John Rogers, Jeremy Bernstein, and Marc Roskin had all previously worked on, where a team of thieves took on those too powerful to be taken down by conventional means. A common villain on Leverage was the corrupt CEO, someone who believed themselves untouchable and was willing to do awful things in order to maintain their power.
- In the original script, Ms. Willis and Mr. Franklin weren't faced with the Minotaur at the end, but the network executives at TNT asked that the evil-doers be punished.