Frank Tenpenny is a corrupt police officer of the Los Santos Police Department (LSPD) and the head of C.R.A.S.H., serving as the main antagonist of the game. Tenpenny claims that his approach to the job is about "percentages" and that his philosophy calls for overlooking some crime to achieve a greater good. It appears that he believes what he says, but in reality Tenpenny and his unit are corrupt to the core and terrorize gang leaders in a fashion much like a gang themselves, except with the power of law enforcement behind them. They can kill indiscriminately and are skimming the profits from the rival gangs. Tenpenny himself is a polluting influence, convincing good cops to aid him in his pursuits. Frank Tenpenny was voiced by Samuel L. Jackson.
Tenpenny rides with Eddie Pulaski and a third C.R.A.S.H. member. Prior to the game's storyline, the third member is Ralph Pendelbury, whom Tenpenny has killed in The Introduction for cooperating with internal affairs. Just prior to Pendlebury's murder, Tenpenny and Pulaski brief their newest recruit, Jimmy Hernandez, in a scene reminiscent of the film Training Day. They both order Hernandez to pull the trigger on Pendelbury, thereby initiating Hernandez into their distorted view of things.
Tenpenny has known Carl Johnson at least since Brian Johnson's death, and CJ recognizes Tenpenny and calls him by name from the very beginning of the game. Tenpenny likes to "step on" CJ on a regular basis to remind him who's in charge. Tenpenny is obviously seen to be a powerful influence on Los Santos' criminals, even warning CJ that "we could shit on you from such a height, you'll think God himself has crapped on you." He sees CJ as another tool in his dirty dealings. He and Pulaski extort several Grove Street Families members, including Big Smoke and Ryder, but Tenpenny appears to take pleasure in exercising control over CJ specifically.
While Tenpenny claims he is pitting the gangs against each other to wipe them all out, he is actually allied with the Ballas, who (unlike the GSF) have no reservations against dealing crack cocaine. C.R.A.S.H. lets the Ballas flood the city with drugs, which turns many GSF members into addicts, effectively crushing their gang. Tenpenny also convinces Smoke to betray his gang in return for heading up the drug operation; in turn, Smoke convinces Ryder to defect also. Tenpenny and Pulaski personally oversee the Balla slaying of Carl and Sweet Johnson's mother Beverly Johnson. Tenpenny anticipates that her death will bring CJ back to Los Santos, and accosts him less than a block from his home in Ganton. The C.R.A.S.H. team plants evidence on him linking him to Pendelbury's death (allowing Tenpenny to force CJ into doing whatever he sees fit). He warns CJ not to leave town and dumps him out of the squad car in Balla territory.
Later, Tenpenny and Pulaski kidnap CJ following a large gang assault beneath the Mulholland Intersection (this ended with Sweet being shot and Carl and Sweet being arrested. Clearly, Tenpenny personally ensured that CJ would escape the law). They drive CJ miles away to Whetstone and dump him in the woods with orders to kill an FBI witness. He also tells CJ, who now knows of Big Smoke's involvement with C.R.A.S.H., not to kill Big Smoke, or the imprisoned Sweet will be put on a Balla cell block. Tenpenny and Pulaski surface every so often to lean on CJ and usually order him to plant evidence on or kill someone who threatens to expose the true nature of C.R.A.S.H.
With Big Smoke ruling Los Santos as its crack kingpin under C.R.A.S.H.'s control, Tenpenny's reach is expanding. Despite this, the FBI is becoming interested in the wave of drugs crippling the city. CJ finally outlives his usefulness to Tenpenny and Pulaski, who are becoming edgy and less tolerant of loose ends by the time CJ reaches Las Venturas. They drive CJ out to the desert, where Tenpenny hits Hernandez in the head with a shovel because Hernandez has reported them to Internal Affairs and then orders CJ to dig Hernandez's grave.
Tenpenny is eventually charged for racketeering, corruption, possession and use of narcotics and numerous sexual assaults. However, as all the prosecution's witnesses have either been killed by CJ or otherwise gone missing, Tenpenny is acquitted, which ignites a riot in Los Santos reminiscent of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
Tenpenny seeks to escape Los Santos and the riot by plane (supposedly fleeing San Andreas) with a suitcase full of drug money. Tenpenny emerges just as CJ has killed Big Smoke and tells him he has new recruits in the force who are ready for him to "open their eyes" to his way of thinking. Tenpenny starts a fire in Big Smoke's Crack Palace downstairs, hoping to kill CJ in the blast, then flees in a fire truck. Carl's brother, Sweet, however, hangs on to the fire truck's ladder; CJ catches him in his car and continues the chase.
At the last cut scene of the "End of the Line" mission, Tenpenny's fire engine runs off an overpass, where it lands in a wreck right in the heart of Grove Street. A bloodied and broken Tenpenny crawls out calling for backup. Realizing no one is coming, he curses the police force, claiming that with "fifty of me", Los Santos would be saved, before dying from his injuries. CJ and the rest of his crew examine the body to make sure he's finished, but Sweet makes sure no one touches him so officials will blame a traffic accident for his death. Before they walk away from the body, The Truth tells CJ that he "beat the system" after Truth had been trying for 30 years. CJ then leans over, points his fingers at Tenpenny's body and smugly says, "See you around, officer." Tenpenny's corpse is reported on the radio to have been mutilated and stripped by the homeless, before officials found it once the riots had ended.
GTA San Andreas Mission Appearances
- Running Dog
- Wrong Side of the Tracks
- Burning Desire (Boss)
- Gray Imports (Boss)
- The Green Sabre
- Badlands (Boss)
- Body Harvest
- 555 We Tip (Voice; Boss)
- Snail Trail (Boss)
- Misappropriation (Boss)
- High Noon (Boss)
- End of the Line (Died)
- In an article on PC World, Tenpenny was voted as #35 of the top 47 "most diabolical videogame villains of all time."
- In Game Informer, Tenpenny was voted #2 Best Villain.