Tarrlok was a former Northern Water Tribe representative and former Chairman of the United Republic Council. He was an ambitious politician considered fair-minded and likable by the general public, however, he was a manipulative man who held a long-standing rivalry with Councilman Tenzin, Tarrlok sought to fight the Anti-bending revolution with brute force rather than peaceful negotiations. The Chairman was willing to go to extremes to win the conflict against the Equalists, even if it meant fanning the flames of aggression and risking the lives of innocent people.

Tarrlok tried to keep it hidden that he was the son of the infamous escaped crime boss Yakone, though due to the actions of Avatar Korra and his unique ability to bloodbend without a full moon, Tarrlok's ancestry was exposed to the public. When the Equalists were close to conquering Republic City, Tarrlok revealed he was the younger brother of the Equalist leader Amon, and that together they share a tragic past. After Amon's defeat at the hands of Avatar Korra, Tarrlok and his brother left Republic City on a speedboat, but Tarrlok committed a murder-suicide as atonement for his and Amon's mistakes.