D.L. Townes is a journalist, photographer, and avid chess player. He works for Chess Review as photojournalist and for the Lexington Herald-Leader as an associate editor; occupations which have allowed him to follow Harmon's journey across the United States and to Moscow, Russia. A former unrequited love interest, Townes is likely Harmon's closest friend and on par to family.
He is first introduced in the second episode of the show where Beth is a teenager, appearing as an active chess player participating in the Kentucky State Championship. It is said by the hosts of the tournament that he's underrated, and plays first board for the university team. Their first interaction with each other starts off with Beth Harmon asking about how the system placed the players against each other. From that point on, Townes seems to be interested and engrossed in most of her games, always seen to be watching from afar or with a crowd of people. Their relationship soon grows into casual friends as they interact more, having Townes as the person she approaches whenever she has a question. The two of them finally get to play each other in their match, eventually ending in a victory for Harmon. Townes continues to shower her with compliments and praise before offering to sign in their sheets together but Harmon politely refuses and tells him that he'll study the board a little more to which Townes replies with a single 'wow'. For their last interaction together, Townes is seen observing Harmon in the final match in the tournament against Beltik.
Townes appears again in the Las Vegas US Open during 1966, not as a chess player but as a journalist and photographer for both Chess Review and Lexington Herald-Leader. The two of them interact, both surprised to see each other after so long. Beth Harmon had grown into an older teenager but Townes' appearance didn't change a lot. The two talk a bit and catch up before Townes offers that he take her picture for the Kentucky paper. Beth agrees and the two go into his room to take some pictures. There is an eerie yet peaceful silence as the two engage in small talk while he takes the pictures. An odd moment passes by as the two's faces get close to each other and Townes' reaches out to softly brush her hair to the side but they are interrupted by Townes' friend Rogers, seen to only be in boxers. Due to these events of Doubled Pawns, and later conversations, it is assumed that Townes is gay. Jacob Fortune-Lloyd later confirmed this.  Townes' is seen observing the match as Beth Harmon and Benny Watts play their game for the title, Beth Harmon ultimately loses and storms off angrily, catching his attention as he frowned. He catches up with Harmon before she leaves the venue.
"Harmon! I'm sorry. I know how badly you wanted to beat Benny. You'll get another shot.."
"Beth." He says to try and catch her attention but it is too late as she closes the door and leaves in the taxi with her mother.
Townes later reappears as one of the Journalists. Reunited with Beth at Moscow/
|Beth Harmon • Alma Wheatley • Benny Watts • Jolene • Harry Beltik • William Shaibel|
D.L. Townes • Allston Wheatley • Vasily Borgov • Alice Harmon • Helen Deardorff • Annette Packer • Borgov's wife • Cleo • Christopher • Dave Friedman • Mr. Ganz • Janet • Margaret Johnson • Paul