Emma Coolidge is a main character of season four Heroes. She is a co-worker of Peter Petrelli. She is an evolved human with the ability of Synesthesia. which is the ability to see and manipulate sound waves. Emma once attended medical school but dropped out because she was unable to save her nephew Christopher. After saving another child (Megan), Emma decided to practice medicine again, but was rejected, leading her to accept an offer from Samuel Sullivan to consider joining his traveling carnival. Emma is deaf, and is able to read lips and communicate using sign language

Characters History

Season Four

Volume Five

Emma is a deaf woman working in the same hospital as Peter Petrelli. Dialogue indicates that she is trained as a physician, but prefers to work archiving patients' data instead of treating them. In the episode "Ink", she discovers that she can perceive sound as a form of colored light; the louder the sound, the more intense and colorful the light appears. Her doctor (who is also her mother) suggests that this is a form of Synesthesia (mixed signals from the different senses). At the park, she sees the music a cello player produces, and then starts playing it herself to experience the different tunes, which leads her to produce even more beautiful music than the player did himself. She constantly uses headphones in public to avoid being asked anything, so people will not notice that she is deaf.

In the episode Hysterical Blindness, Emma discovers that she is able to convert sound into physical after damaging her apartment walls while playing a cello once more; the cello was in a box with the "Sullivan Bros. Carnival" label on it. In Tabula Rasa, she is afraid of her power and seeks Peter to help her stop it, but ultimately Hiro helps her understand that her ability is a gift, and once she knows what she can do, she can use it to do good things. As Peter and Emma learn that Hiro is dying, Emma makes him promise he will stay in bed, although he constantly tells Emma he feels alive when he uses his ability and he will die with dignity like Charlie intended to do.

In Shadowboxing, Emma is lured to the ER and starts helping victims of a train wreck. After seeing Peter getting weaker every time he uses his healing power, she suggests him to stop using it, but he refuses to. Later she finds Megan, a girl who collapsed due to a pneumothorax, and practices an emergency thoracentesis saving her. Later while playing the piano, Peter retrieves Emma a tiara from Megan, who considers her as special to her. Although she can't forgive herself for Christopher's death, Peter assures she could save others as she did with Megan. Later, Emma takes out her medical coat from storage. In Upon This Rock Emma failed to get back to med-school and returns to her apartment, where she gets visited by Samuel Sullivan. He explains to Emma that he needs her to find someone for him. Once at Central Park, Samuel explains how her true ability works: Emma must use her feelings to create the music and lure the one he is seeking: Ian Michael After treating Ian at the hospital, Samuel offers Emma a place within the carnival, as they need "a doctor and a siren", and he gives a compass to her.

In Close to You, Emma uses this new application of her siren song ability to summon Peter to her apartment and explains about Samuel. After comparing the compass on her cello to his compass tattoo, Peter takes her to his apartment and she identifies Samuel from a newspaper article Peter has. Emma then meets Angela when she shows up and leaves due to Angela's attitude. Angela reveals that she had a dream where Emma is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people and that Peter can't save her but someone else can. Peter copies her power and has a prophetic dream that night where Emma is crying and playing the cello in the Carnival's House of Mirrors with people screaming outside before Sylar shows up and offers her his help. As a result of this dream, Peter goes to Emma's apartment and smashes her cello. She responds by ordering him to leave and ending their friendship.

In The Art of Deception, Peter has a more explicit dream, in which he sees Eric Doyle manipulating Emma to play the cello, even with her fingers bleeding; he tries to find Emma, but she is unreachable. That night, Emma arrives to the carnival after the gunshots, and witnesses the damage all around her. She gets to Samuel and immediately attends his wound. Samuel states she will help him create a new world. In The Wall, Emma finds Lauren injured at the carnival's medical tent and helps her; Lauren tries to explain Emma who Samuel really is, but Emma ends up giving Lauren up once Samuel enters the tent. Emma leaves them to talk.

In Brave New World, Emma is asked by Samuel to draw thousands of people to Central Park for a show and upon seeing a new cello, realizes that this is what Peter dreamed about and confronts Samuel who's reaction confirms it for her. Emma refuses to play, but is forced to by Eric Doyle. Emma's playing draws thousands of people to the Carnival and her fingers end up turning bloody. Sylar shows up to help, but he too is controlled by Doyle. During his confrontation with Sylar, Doyle accidentally releases Emma and she uses the opportunity to blast him with her powers while he's distracted, allowing Sylar to defeat him and tie him up like a puppet. After its all over, Emma reunites with Peter and hugs him before telling him Doyle controlled her and Sylar saved her.


  • Enhanced Synesthesia: Emma is able to see sound in a variety of colors. Some colors appear dim while others are bright and vivid. At first, Emma could only see seemingly random lights being emitted. As time went on, Emma began to see more and more lights everywhere she went. When noises were typically loud and pressured, red lights usually appeared but when sounds were calm and soothing, more peaceful colors would appear. While in a bad mood, Emma played the cello at her home and, much to her surprise was able to make a large crack on a wall in her apartment. However, when she plays the cello at other times, many more colors were generated. While time is frozen, Emma also seems to be able to move the lights simply by touching them.
    • Luring: Samuel tells her music can lure people to her and, when Emma tests this out by focusing on Ian Michaels, Ian and a large crowd are drawn to her. She later validates this again by drawing Peter Petrelli to her apartment. While under Eric Doyle's control, Emma is forced to use this power to summon thousands of people to the Carnival. The luring effects of Emma's melody can be channeled through amplifiers.
    • Concussive Blasts: Emma did not believe that it was actually her that caused the concussive blast from her cello but, after a meeting with Samuel Sullivan, Emma learned that she is able to "combine" her emotions with her music and that her fear created the powerful blast. At the carnival, when Sylar distracts Doyle and he loses control over her for a moment, Emma manages to purposely create a concussive blast which defeats Doyle.


  • The actress who played Emma, Deanne Bray, is deaf in real life.
  • As hinted by Emma's mother, Dr. Coolidge, the death of her nephew Christopher caused Emma to put her biomedicine degree aside and prefer to file patient data at the hospital instead. This event causes enough pain that it triggers Emma's ability to evolve into a sound blast. She even feels displeased when someone mentions for her to leave the file room (Hysterical Blindness). Emma confirms this to Peter while playing the hospital piano; Emma blames herself of his death because she was babysitting him that day but couldn't hear Christopher asking for help while drowning in the pool. Ultimately she overcomes her guilt after saving Megan's life (Shadowboxing).
  • In "Upon This Rock", Samuel reveals to Emma that the cello he sent her was supposed to go to his love Vanessa.
  • In the graphic novels From the Files of Primatech: 1963, a man named Chris Coolidge is introduced as a folk musician at New York City who uses his ability of enhanced synesthesia to lure people to hear his music; once the police enter the scene, Chris causes an uprising with his ability that ultimately turns into a chaotic and violent scenario. The young Company founders convince him to stop the riot but Chris is killed while attempting to calm the people. Is hinted that Chris is Emma's uncle as he states his sister just entered nursing school, although Emma's mother is actually a doctor. Also, Emma´s nephew, who drowned, was named Christopher (which can be treated as Chris).

See Also

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