A former professional cellist, Vivien was married to psychiatrist Ben Harmon, with whom she had one daughter, Violet. She later suffered a miscarriage whilst pregnant with her second child at seven months but had to carry him for another two months and deliver him stillborn. This tragedy was soon followed by the discovery of her husband's grief-fuelled affair with a student, the two of whom she caught in her bed.
Personality and Appearance
Vivien was a smart and strong-willed person with a dry sense of humor. Although distracted by her own worries and stress, her family was very important to her. Adamant about the use of organic products, she did not allow her family to drink from plastic containers and was horrified when her doctor suggested hormone therapy following her miscarriage. Though she remained with her husband after his infidelity, she rejected his attempts at intimacy.
Vivien had long, wavy, strawberry-blonde hair and a light complexion with some freckles. She had a slim build and blue eyes.
After an appointment with her doctor, she found her husband in bed with one of his students, Hayden, and in anger, cut her husband with a knife. A year later, in an effort to get a fresh start the family drove Los Angeles to buy a new home. There they purchase a property known to locals and enthusiasts as the "Murder House". Shortly after moving in, Vivien was frightened by the sudden appearance of a girl who ominously warns her that she will die in the house. Constance, her new neighbor, walks in nonchalantly and establishes that the girl is her daughter, Addy. Later, an elderly woman named Moira O'Hara persuades Vivien to hire her as their housekeeper after explaining that she has worked in the house for previous owners. After an argument, she and Ben have sex for the first time in over a year. Later, she again has sex with whom she believes is Ben in a rubber suit, not knowing Ben is sleepwalking downstairs. She becomes pregnant from both of these encounters.
Vivien discovers that her house is a fixture on the Eternal Darkness Tour, which she embarks upon to discover more about the house's history. She cuts her tour short when she begins to discharge blood, and she fears a miscarriage. She becomes more determined to get out of the house as soon as possible.
Vivien discusses, with Ben and Marcy, putting the house back on the market and agree upon hiring "fluffers" to fix the image problem caused by being a stop on the Eternal Darkness Tour. Vivien meets Luke, who installs a new security system and assures her that he is at her beck and call. Vivien mistakes ghosts Chad and Patrick for the expected decorators and invites them inside. She later confronts Ben about the phone bills which indicate that he's been in contact with Hayden and when she begins getting calls from Hayden she is angered enough to suggest Ben leave. Their fight is interrupted by strange contractions and Ben rushes her to the hospital. There the ultrasound shows something that causes the nurse to faint. They arrive home to a screaming alarm and a missing daughter.
Vivien reasserts her desire for Ben to leave then heads up for a bath when she receives another harassing call from Hayden. She discovers a message scrawled on the bathroom mirror imploring that she asks Ben about Boston and she realizes that Hayden is in the house. She intends to call the police, but Ben talks her down and attempts to handle the situation while she confronts Chad who is vandalizing decorations in the yard and is met with accusations. Hayden again begins taunting Vivien by phone and she takes up the search for her which culminates in a struggle to save her dog and her unborn child.
Vivien must come to a bitter arrangement with Ben who, though he has moved out, continues to see clients at the house. At the suggestion of Constance, she begins a diet of sweetbreads. Recent events are putting a strain on finances and Vivien speaks to Moira about letting her go but she agrees to continue her duties free of charge. Concerned about what she saw in the ultrasound, Vivien calls after Nurse Angie, who claims it was the Antichrist.
As the story progresses Vivien finds herself troubled by her husband's past infidelities, her pregnancy, her daughter's rebellion and disrespect, the intrusions of strangers, and the hauntings of her home. Despite her strong-willed nature she begins to deteriorate and in the end is being sent to an asylum, albeit under a false diagnosis made by her husband.
She spent several months in the asylum being only visited twice; once by Ben when he discovered that one of the twins wasn't his, leading him to assume it was that of Luke the security man from an affair just as they moved into murder house, so he decided to confront her about it saying he wanted her to stay in the asylum. Afterward, Constance paid her a visit to ensure that she was fine, more out of concern for her grandchild than Vivien, and to offer her support in her troubled time. Violet is unable to visit her throughout her incarceration due to the fact that she had already committed suicide and so was unable to leave the house. Eventual Ben realizes that Vivien wasn't paranoid and insane and that she was in fact raped by Rubber man so he pulls her out of the asylum.
Both she and Ben agree that they shouldn't return to the house until her doctor tells Vivien that one of her twins is much larger than the other and she is, therefore, likely to go into labor soon. Ben and her doctor try to talk Vivien out of traveling to Florida but are unsuccessful. Vivien and Ben then go to the house to pick up Violet; Ben goes inside but is unable to convince Violet to leave with him and he refuses to believe that she is dead so he assumes she is on drugs. While Ben tries to get Violet to leave Vivien goes into labor and is pulled into the house by Constance to give birth.
As Vivien is laid down in the living room where the more medically trained spirits of the house - (Charles Montgomery and the two murdered nurses, Gladys and Maria) - arrive to help deliver her babies, a fact that briefly overwhelms Ben before he is slapped back into the moment by Constance. As Vivien gives birth she has flashbacks to Violet's birth and the happiness that she and Ben shared at that moment. Her first child is delivered by Charles Montgomery's and the murdered nurse's ghosts and appears to be stillborn and handed off to Nora Montgomery - who notices the child did take one breath before it died; adding to the spirits that exist in the house - whom takes away the child for his wife to raise to replace their monstrous child, the Infantata.
The second child is a more difficult birth and as the child leaves Vivien's womb Charles Montgomery notes Vivien is hemorrhaging internally. Her baby boy is taken away then by Constance who proceeds to clean him while Moira looks on weeping. As Charles tries to stop the bleeding Ben tries to get his wife to hold on to life while Violet tries to get her to pass over so she can join her in the afterlife but as her family pleads with her Vivien mutters that she doesn't have a choice and passes over. As she does so the ghosts vanish and Ben is left alone with her body.
Vivien doesn't appear in ghost form immediately after her death but instead waits to comfort Violet after she confronts Tate on all his actions against her family. She and her daughter then avoid Ben as he searches the house for their ghosts in an attempt to get him to leave the Murder House forever. But both women intervene when Ben tries to commit suicide and speak to him one last time before he leaves them. However, Ben is then murdered by Hayden and the murder reenacting enthusiasts so he also joins his wife and daughter in the afterlife. The Harmons then entrust the care of their son to Constance.
After a few months the house is then resold to the Ramos family, a fact the Harmons can't accept given that they will just become part of the cycle that they were part of, and so they decide with Moira to scare the new family out of the house with the aid of the other altruistic spirits in the house. Vivien plays the final part of the haunting where she guts Ben who is dressed in the Rubber Man suit who then shoots her in the head resulting in them both playing dead in front of Miguel and Stacey Ramos. By this point, the Ramos family is terrified but are pushed out of the house when Vivien and Ben rise up after their 'deaths' and tell them to leave. The three Harmons look on as they leave and realizes that more people will move in for them to just have to scare them away again.
Later when Vivien is playing her cello she hears a baby crying. She goes downstairs and finds her first twin, Ben's son, who took a single breath before dying is being cared for by Nora Montgomery who is clearly incapable of motherhood. Vivien poses as the nanny and takes her baby back. She asks Moira to be his godmother afterward and reveals the baby to the rest of her family and names it Jeffery. The Harmons celebrated Christmas while Hayden and Tate looked at the happy family from outside the window.
Madison Montgomery and Behold Chablis are sent to the Murder House to gather information about Michael Langdon, their possible next Supreme. While they are interviewing Ben Harmon in his office, they find out that Michael is pure evil and he needs to be stopped. The ghost of Vivien walks in and tells them that it's not going to be easy. Vivien reconciles with Ben, explaining that she could not forgive him for connecting with Michael, realizing now that he didn't have a choice. Jeffery starts crying, and Vivien tells Ben to go comfort his baby. She reveals Michael's true nature to Madison and Behold, mentioning that he is not just a "bad witch" for them to exterminate, but something far more dangerous. She recites a passage from the Book of Revelation about the Beast from the Sea.
One night, as Vivien explains, a group of Satanists arrived at the house, consisting of Miriam Mead and another cardinal and headed by Church of Satan founder, Anton LaVey, who had faked his death in order to meet Michael. The Satanists kidnapped a young woman from a bus stop and brought her to the house where they performed a Black Mass, with LaVey removing the girl's heart for Michael to consume. A demonic shadow appeared and Michael announced that he is one with his "Father." After a rain of blood and hail descended, Vivien attempted to murder Michael but suddenly caught on fire. Before he could destroy her, she was saved by Tate, allowing Michael to leave the house.
Vivien tells Behold and Madison that Michael Langdon's father is not Tate, nor Ben, but it is The Source of Darkness himself. She tells them that Michael is not a warlock but the The Anti-Christ, the prophesied abomination that will bring about the Apocalypse. Upon this interview with Vivien, Madison and Behold leave the house and inform their council about the incoming danger.
- To Ben Harmon: "I'm finding it really hard to look at your face, because I really, really want to bash it in."
- To Ben Harmon: "If you're about to diagnose me with Post Traumatic Shock Syndrome, I'm going to bash your goddamn face in."
- To Ben Harmon: "You know, we want to make sure everything's okay with the baby. You didn't see anything unusual—hooves or anything?"
- To Moira O'Hara: "Can I ask you a personal question? Do you ever get tired of cleaning up other peoples' messes?"
- To Marcy: "We have style."
- To Ben Harmon: "I'm not punishing you, you narcissistic asshole!"
- Vivien Harmon: "The thing is, when you fall in love. It's kinda like you go crazy, and before you know it, the whole world looks different and you'll do anything for the other person"
- To Madison and Behold (about Michael): "The only thing I know is, Ben is not his father, nor is Tate. He was born from the evil of this house. The source of darkness is his true father, and he is here to destroy the world."
- Britton's portrayal of Viven eared her a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.
- Vivien, Ben Harmon and Tate Langdon are the only three characters to appear in all episodes of Murder House.
- See also: Vivien Harmon/Media