- "You're gonna learn that there ain't much in this life that you got control of. Whether you're putting yourself in harm's way because that's the way the Skipper wants it done, or you're staying away from your kids because of a stupid court order and a malicious bitch of an ex-wife; there ain't that much control in anything."
- ―Phil Bell to Niko Bellic in Catch the Wave.
Phil was a close associate or enforcer of Alderney's Pegorino Crime Family. Phil was seen as a consigliere figure to Don Jimmy Pegorino. He was a friend of Pegorino crime family captain, Ray Boccino, even though they both almost constantly argued and disagreed. Bell wasn't a made-man as he is only 10% Italian, and most of his family originated from Ireland.
Phil Bell was born on June 28, 1967, in Alderney City. He is mostly of Irish ancestry, with small Italian heritage, though he acts as if he was a full Italian, probably to fit in with his fellow mafioso. In Catch the Wave, Phil says a lot of Italian phrases, and calls the Irish Mob "Irish idiots", possibly to distance himself from his Irish heritage or to further fit in with the Mafia families. In 1984, at age 16, he was arrested for trying to steal a car.
Phil was arrested in 1988 and 1990 for promoting gambling and manslaughter respectively. Phil had probably joined the Pegorino Family by then; Jimmy Pegorino says in Pegorino's Pride that Phil is a long-time trusted business partner of his. He also says that he wishes to promote Phil, but worries whether it will offend the Commission, who often discriminate against non-Italians. He was previously married and has at least two children, but is now involved in a court battle with his ex-wife over custody of their children.
Phil maintains that he is a legitimate businessman, managing construction yards and the Pegorino-owned Honker's Gentlemen's Club based in Tudor. The authorities have his places of business bugged, so he speaks in generalities which will not implicate him in anything, and is especially cautious with his planning. He and fellow Pegorino capo Ray Boccino secretly hate each other, because Phil believes "every move he makes is so obvious, it's disgusting to see him trying to sleaze his way up the ladder". Ray is also much more ambitious and even selfish, while Phil believes that "there ain't much in this life you got control of", which is why he follows Jimmy's orders to the letter, even when he believes it won't work perfectly (as seen in Catch the Wave). Phil and Jimmy Pegorino's wife Angie are very good friends, causing some to believe they're having an affair. Jimmy doesn't believe the rumors, and has trust in Phil. Phil's role within the Pegorino family is never stated.
Based on his reactions during the mission Trespass, Phil appears to have a fear of flying.
Events of GTA IV
Meeting Niko Bellic
Phil first meets Niko Bellic after the failed diamonds deal with the Jewish Mob, as the money were stolen by The Lost MC member Johnny Klebitz. Phil tells to both Niko and Ray that Pegorino is angry because of the deal gone wrong. The two then sent Niko to find and kill Johnny's associate Jim Fitzgerald.
After some work with Ray, Niko was sent to work for Phil, who planned to attack and rob both the Ancelottis and the Faustin Mafiya. The two steal a truck loaded with drugs, and attack a dock full of russians, stealing two drug boats.
Towards the end of the game, the Pegorino Family receives too much police attention, leading Jimmy to believe the family has several rats. He contemplates which one of his capos he should kill - Phil and Ray each secretly suggest to Pegorino that he kill the other. Jimmy eventually decides to kill Ray. At the very end, whether Deal or Revenge is chosen, Phil chooses to leave organized crime for good in favor of a simple life in a small town. He calls Niko to wish him all the best and they part on good terms.
LCPD Database record
Grand Theft Auto IV
- No Way on the Subway
- Truck Hustle (Boss)
- Catch the Wave (Boss)
- Trespass (Boss)
- To Live and Die in Alderney (Boss)
- Pest Control
- If the Price is Right (Deal)
- A Dish Served Cold (Post-mission phone call/Revenge)
- Phil is the only known member of the Pegorino crime family who didn't die (though Frankie Gallo can also survive).
- In the beta version of Grand Theft Auto IV, the player had the opportunity to choose whether to kill Phil or Ray Boccino. It was changed likely because if Phil was killed, the mission If the Price is Right would have to be rewritten.
- Phil Bell may be based on Henry Hill from the film Goodfellas. They are both Irish-Italians who can't become high ranking members due to their Irish ancestry. In the opening cutscene for Catch the Wave, Phil asks Niko if he's seen a surveillance helicopter, which is a reference to a scene from the movie.
- Phil has similarities with JD O'Toole from Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories: JD also can't get to a high rank in his family because of his Irish ancestry (though JD O'Toole is later killed, while Phil Bell remained alive afterwards and parted ways).
- Phil's favorite stations are Jazz Nation Radio and Fusion FM, as he will respond positively if the player is travelling with him in a car and switches to one of these stations. He may also like Liberty Rock Radio, as this station plays in the office of his construction company.
- Phil, along with Jacob Hughes, has one of the shortest voice-mails in the game (This is Phil B, leave a message).
- During the missions with Phil accompanying Niko, if the player drives slowly for a while, Phil will say something like "Inconspicuous...I like it." or "The Feds'll be looking for a fast car. Good work. That's why you gotta drive slow." Furthermore, if the player steals an unoccupied vehicle with Phil, he'll become paranoid and ask if Niko scanned the car for bugs and then give a speech about bugs and other spying devices.
- Like most characters in the game, Phil will don a unique helmet when riding alongside the player on a motorbike. His helmet is colored black with gold/yellow stripes.
- Phil's actual position in the Pegorino family is never clarified in the game. Despite both the LCPD database and Ray Boccino stating that he's an associate, there are facts that point otherwise.
- In Pegorino's Pride, Jimmy Pegorino states that the Pegorino family is losing respect for Phil holding such a high position in the family. If Phil was an associate, this would be of no consequence. It is standard procedure for Mafia families to use men of mixed ancestry (Irish-Italian, in Phil's case) as associates. This comment implies that Phil is a made man, which is highly frowned upon in Mafia tradition.
- In Catch The Wave, Phil says that Ray is attempting to rise up the criminal hierarchy in order to eventually reach his position. This should not be, as since Ray is a capo in the family he is already much higher than Phil in the food chain.
- In Pest Control, Jimmy Pegorino questions the loyalty of both Phil and Ray. He admits that while Phil has been in the family much longer than Ray, the latter is a better earner. It is also referenced that Phil acts as Pegorino's advisor. In the same cutscene, Ray taunts "You're only an associate, Phil. Remember that," one of the only times Phil's position is directly referenced. However, it is immediately contradicted as Pegorino then calls Phil his man and says that he trusts him much more than Ray. This, along with the age gap (Phil is 41 while Ray is only 32) indicates that the pair's roles may have initially been reversed, but only some dialogue was changed.
- He is one of the very few characters in the series with an exact birthdate.