Cody is a character who debuted in the beat-em-up series Final Fight before appearing as a playable fighter in the Street Fighter series starting with Street Fighter Alpha 3. He was initally a reckless vigilante who fought to survive the harsh slums of Metro City since he was a kid, having gone through a lot, even being imprisoned for his 'good deeds' and trumped-up charges from his enemies. He has since then become the city's new mayor.
In Final Fight, Cody is depicted as being a combative, reckless but ultimately positive and good-natured man, having a powerful sense of justice and love for his girlfriend, Jessica. However, in his Street Fighter appearances, after breaking up with Jessica, losing touch with his friends and spending several years in prison, Cody has become extremely aloof, apathetic and doubtful. He remains pugnacious as ever, occasionally breaking out of prison just to fight and relieve his boredom, and often maintains his generally dismissive air - a major exception being when he finds an opponent that can entertain him.
He interprets his imprisonment as punishment for his ultimately good deeds, and even admits that the idea of achieving any constructive goal (such as overcoming rivals or taking care of family) is lost on him. Cody harbors some internal resentment towards the outside world, musing that he fought solely for the sake of Metro City but ended up imprisoned for it. According to his ending in the Street Fighter IV games, he feels at home in prison. Despite this, and as certain dialogue indicates, while Cody appears to have given up on fighting crime, he still retains his old sense of justice and an enduring (albeit subdued and exhausted) desire to oppose evil. In particular, his win quote against M. Bison shows that his true feelings come through when he confronts great evil, although he immediately tries to hide it. Cody also gives his respect to people who need to do business. This is shown in his win quote against T. Hawk, in which he tells him to not let him stand in the way of what he has to do and then wishes him good luck.