- Javert was always in character, without a wrinkle in his duty or his uniform, methodical with villains, rigid with his coat buttons.
- —Les Misérables, Part One, Book Eight, chapter III
He's an extremely dedicated policeman who only lives by the word of the law. For most of the book, he chases Jean Valjean around after recognizing him from his own days as a prison guard. He has the interesting habit of showing up just about whenever the plot calls for conflict. He's also known for his creepy smile and his respect for clergy, though he's not particularly religious himself.
He's the same in the musical, although he's more religious there. Whether or not the Inspector is a religious man is one of the many, many things Maria and Michel fight about.