|Location:||Bon Temps, Louisiana|
|Relatives:||Joe Lee Mickens |
Melinda Mickens 
Tommy Mickens 
Mitch Merlotte 
Sue Ann Merlotte 
Nicole Wright 
Sam Merlotte is a fictional shape-shifter from "The Southern Vampire Mysteries" series of novels written by Charlaine Harris. The novels have been adapted into the popular HBO television series, True Blood, where the role of Sam Merlotte was played by actor Sam Trammell.
Sam Merlotte was a shape-shifter, able to physically transform into any animal that he chose to. To do so however, the animal that he would be using as a template would need to be in close proximity so he could imprint himself upon it. Typically, Sam would take the form of a neighborhood dog that always hung around the area.
Sam came to the town of Bon Temps a short time ago. He opened up Merlotte's Bar and Grill using funds that he had stolen from Maryann Forrester. Although he was not a native resident of the community, he was never treated as an outsider, and at some point in time, nearly everybody came into Merlotte's to have a drink.
Sam was very close with all of his staff. He owned the small house that waitress Dawn Green lived in and trusted bar back Terry Bellefleur enough to let him run the place whenever Sam wasn't available. Sam was also secretly in love with one of his other waitresses, Sookie Stackhouse. Sam knew that Sookie was telepathic and this intrigued Sam, perhaps even establishing a feeling of kinship since he too, was something outside the realms of a normal human. Sam invited Sookie to listen in on his thoughts any time she wanted, but she politely declined. Sookie knew that Sam was in love with her, but as her employer, she felt it would be professionally improper for her to poke around inside his mind.
Sam also developed a close bond with his bartender Tara Thornton. Although the two were not sexually attracted to one another, they both recognized the sexual needs of the other, and used each other for sex whenever one of them "had an itch".
When Dawn Green was murdered by the Bon Temps Killer, Sam took the news especially hard. After police had vacated the crime scene, Sam went to Dawn's house and tried to use his heightened senses to find to determine the identity of the killer.