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|“||You forget a thousand things everyday. Make sure this is one of them.||„|
|~ Michael De Santa|
Michael De Santa, formerly known as Michael Townley, is one of the three playable main protagonists in the video-game Grand Theft Auto V. He is an infamous and retired bank robber living in Los Santos under the federal witness protection program. Michael's story centers around how his seemingly idyllic and halcyon lifestyle is brought to a halt as his past demons and morally compromising mistakes come back to haunt him. All the while, his midlife crisis pushes him to his ultimate snapping point.
He is voiced by actor Ned Luke.
Michael was born in the mid-to-late 1960s, possibly in the Midwest, which would explain why he spent some of his earlier criminal career in North Yankton. As a child, he didn't have the advantages his children have and grew up in a poor environment with his parents, where his father drank and hit him. During his time in high school, Michael was an all-state football quarterback.
As time moved on, Michael eventually became a criminal, with his first bank job being in the outskirts of Carcer City, in 1988, where he was able to steal $10,000. In the same year however, he had been arrested twice at the age of 20. While in prison, Michael was able to master many skills, sometimes through bizarre events, such as learning how to do tattoos by tattooing his name on his cellmate's buttocks. As the years went on, Michael met Trevor Philips while robbing someone under a bridge and was able to induce the latter into robbery as well. Both men were hugely successful at their profession. But while the friendship between them was in fine condition, it was later strained as Michael met his future wife, Amanda, who was a stripper at the time. Michael was even able to buy Amanda some breast implants, which would help with her stripping as well as her days as a hooker. This lead to Michael creating his own prostitution racket.
While the couples love for one another grew over time, Michael and Amanda married each other while living in a trailer park in the Midwest. As time moved forward, Amanda soon gave birth to their two children, Tracey and Jimmy. Michael, who was able to see that he has a lot more to lose if he was ever killed or imprisoned, grew more cautious over time as a criminal, much to Trevor's annoyance.
At some point in 2004, Michael met FIB agent Dave Norton. Michael struck a deal with Norton to give Trevor and Brad up to the FIB and fake his death in the process, in exchange for a cut of his accumulated millions and letting Norton "kill" him in the upcoming bank heist in Ludendorff, North Yankton, making Norton's career as the agent who took down the "Most Wanted Man in America". The robbery, however, turned out to be a disaster: after Trevor murdered a guard, he, Michael and their accomplice Brad Snider were ambushed by over a dozen police officers ready to arrest or kill them. During the getaway, their driver was killed by pursuing police; Michael took the wheel and drove the crew to the ambush spot he and Norton had agreed on, where he claimed there was an escape chopper waiting. However, things yet again deviated from their plan when Brad was accidentally shot by Norton (later succumbing to his wounds) after he walked in front of Trevor.
Michael took the second bullet as planned, (although the lack of blood loss implies that he was wearing a bulletproof vest), and acted as if he believed the wound fatal, imploring Trevor to leave him behind. Enraged beyond sense. Trevor proceeded to massacre numerous police officers before barely escaping the ambush (to Michael's chagrin) with his life. After the incident, Michael Townley was pronounced dead, and true to his word, Dave arranged for Michael to receive a comfortable stipend and a relocation to a large to Los Santos mansion, where he and his family lived under the surname "De Santa" (a longtime alias of Michael's); thus, Michael received an off-the-books way to safely retire from his former criminal life and spend time with his wife and kids in exchange for a monthly five-figure "hush money" payment to Norton in exchange for his silence.
Michael is a very complex person, even confused by his "good and evil" personality. He has a darker and violent side to him. He has an exceptionally short temper, which fills him with rage and causes him to not think at times. One example would be where he caught Amanda having an affair with her tennis coach. He chases the coach to a mansion and pulls it off a hillside thinking it was the coaches', (however, nearly everyone around Michael (except Franklin), including the tennis coach himself, knew that the mansion was too expensive for him to afford on his salary). Another example would be Michael smashing Jimmy's flat screen television after the latter rudely told him to leave his room.
Michael is highly egotistical; he'll often complain about his own well being and safety, rather than his team mates, before doing a dangerous and life threatening mission as well as doing the same when someone doesn't support him, his decisions and/or criticizes him. One example would be the arguments that he has with Amanda, as she'll often criticize him for his rude and conceited behavior, to which Michael will arrogantly bring up the fact that he was the one who made their lives a lot more wealthy with the decisions he made. Another example would be how he criticizes Trevor for calling Franklin to help him out with murdering the O'Neal brothers, Trevor himself stated that Michael only thought about himself instead of the trouble.
He is also very sarcastic, as he constantly made snarky remarks about Trevor's meth lab. After the two men pick a quarrel with each other, Michael angrily contends that sarcasm is the one thing he can use, as he doesn't have many things left in this world. Furthermore, Michael easily makes bad judgement calls, such as him expecting almost everyone he works for to pay him or his friends, like Devin Weston or Martin Madrazo, only to be betrayed or screwed over in the end. He also has a large willingness to make large moral compromises, one example for each of the two being his deal with the FIB. The latter demonstrates much hypocrisy, as he'll often criticize Trevor for his ability to kill and thieve at his own pleasure without remorse, even though he does exactly the same thing.
Another trait that plagues the latter's personality is his ability to be dishonest or vaguely admit the truth with much ease; whenever Trevor brings up a subject involving Brad, Michael will often change the topic and once Trevor immediately realizes that Brad is dead, Michael continued to make lies about his grave being empty instead of it actually containing the former's corpse. He is also massively dishonest with himself on occasion, the biggest lie would be that he constantly tells himself that giving up everything and everyone he knew in his previous life so that he can join the witness protection program was worth it.
Despite all of the negatives, Michael does possess a good side to his personality. Such as him being a very considerate individual, as he paid Franklin for doing what he was forced to do and drive through the front of his boss' business, even though the latter broke into Michael's mansion. Despite all the problems he has in his family, he dearly loves them but is frequently angered with Tracey's social life, Jimmy being jobless, lazy and a video game addict and Amanda spending most of his money and cheating on him. However, after reuniting with his family, Michael's family issues slowly started to dissolve.
Michael, being the opposite of Trevor, is thorough and rational when it comes to crime. This makes the others leave him to the planning and leading of robberies and missions, as he is usually the one to come up with a plan to a heist, alongside Lester. He also shows consideration for people caught up in robberies, an example is that, if you choose to impose as guards for the Union Depository heist, he'll give the guard he blackmailed a bar of gold for helping them get past security.
Michael will also always put his family's safety above anything else, going as far as to make a moral compromise with the FIB to ensure his family was not in danger. When Trevor first came back to find Michael in his house, Michael immediately put himself in front of Jimmy, not knowing what Trevor was going to do. When Devin Weston sent Merry Weather to Michael's house to kill his family, Michael instantly abandoned his movie premiere to engage the hostile forces, rescue his family and subsequently move them to a new location. Michael's care about his family is finally reciprocated by Amanda towards the end of the game, at which time she makes him promise not to get killed.
Towards the end of the game, Michael has started to accept his borderline-sociopath personality, with him stating in the final cutscene of the Deathwish ending that he still hates himself, but at least he knows the words for it. Michael has also started to work on his anger issues when his family came back. This can be shown when hanging out with friends, Michael will have appeared to have become more calm and passive when insulted by Trevor. One example is where Trevor calls Michael "fake and plastic," like Los Santos, to which Michael agrees to, albeit while commenting sarcastically about Trevor's "normal" behavior. Michael will also begin to show a large amount of regret due to the decisions he's made. This is evident when he hangs out with Franklin; he expressed great distaste for his decision to join the witness protection program, seeing as the decision itself was hollow and only created more problems as well as causing much more hatred for not only for himself but the people around him as well.
Like what was stated above, Michael loves and deeply cares for his family. He'll always put them before any and everything he has. But in contrast to the way he cares about his family, he also hates the way they live their lives and behave around him and vice versa. Michael had admitted to Franklin that his relationship with his love ones was in a very good position up until they were relocated to Los Santos, where everything began to spiral out of control. Early within the storyline, Michael will be seen constantly fussing, bickering and arguing with his family up until the mission Did Somebody Say Yoga?, where they'll abandon him in search for a more peaceful living. After Michael reunites with his family in the mission Reuniting the Family, Michael will be seen bonding with them much more often than before, as they all promise to fix up their relationship with each other before things become disastrous. While hanging out with Amanda, Michael admits that he thought he lost his family for good once they left him and that made him eager to change his ways.
Amanda's relationship with Michael also started in an unknown time where she was a stripper. The two eventually fell in love with one another, got married and had two children. Amanda had so much devotion to Michael that she even left everything she had in North Yankton to moved to Los Santos, along with their children, to begin their lives in the witness protection program. During the events of the game, Amanda can barely tolerate him any more due to his arrogant and hypocritical personality and verbally abusive behavior towards her. Amanda begins to have affairs with multiple men, including her Tennis coach which further strains their marriage. Amanda finally hits the breaking point when Fabien LaRouche, her yoga instructor, does a sexual pose which angers Michael and attempts to punch him, ending with Fabien sidestepping and makes Michael land in the swimming pool. Amanda then berates Michael for his attempted action, calling him "a pathetic psychopath" and leaves him with Tracey while Jimmy moves out on his own (according to him). Michael later suffers from depression after his wife and kids leave him. However, it turns out that Amanda as well as their kids were even more miserable living with Fabien than with Michael. After Jimmy revealed the couple's hangout spot, Amanda was then seen hanging out with Fabien at a local Bean Machine coffee shop and she becomes annoyed with his impolite behavior and allows Michael to hit him in the face with a laptop. Michael then agrees to arrange a therapy session with Dr. Isiah Friedlander, bringing along Jimmy and Tracey. During the session, Michael and Amanda argued with each other, in hopes of clearing up the situations that would ultimately keep their marriage in ruins. Amanda and the kids move back in with Michael as the two love birds experiences during the events of the story brought them closer together and they appear to be more prepared to deal with their personal problems instead of fighting with each other. After a few in game days or so have past, the couple's love for each other begins to grow back to its original form. Certain random switch ups with Michael involving Amanda will also be altered: For example, whereas in the past, when dropping Amanda off at a mall or something of the sort, they would spout rude words at each other, they now kindly give each other goodbyes. Another example would be Michael getting out of bed after a sexual night with Amanda, to which she'll even smack him on his buttocks as he leaves the room.
Michael's relationship with his daughter is also said to be frail. Despite this, Michael does love his daughter but is often angry at Tracey's loose behavior and social life such as her hanging out with drug dealers and porn stars, and embarrasses her by interrupting her audition for " Fame or Shame " by chasing Lazlow out of the building for performing a sexual pose on her. Once Tracey leaves her father, she gives him a phone call, claiming that he needs help. Like Jimmy however, she continues to grow tiresome of Fabien over the course of the storyline. She'll even email Michael at one point to explain that she misses him. After Michael's family return home, he and Tracey seems to develop a better relationship with her father, which started improving once Michael humiliates Lazlow in the tattoo parlor and demands that Lazlow puts Tracey on "Fame or Shame" by doing whatever she wants in the show.
Jimmy's relationship with his father is rocky as well and even though Michael is far from perfect, he loves his son but does not know how to display it. His son is not very moral either as he often takes drugs and attempted to sell his father's boat without him knowing, ending with the boat being stolen. They've both have a confused and strained relationship with each other. Michael does try to improve their relationship by spending time with his son, but to no avail as his son lacks any form of respect for his father and even at one point drugs him, takes money from his bank account, and steals his car. However, Jimmy soon regrets his actions and visits his father, saying he does love him and promises to get a job and not be a lazy, pot-smoking, video game addict, which can be seen in-game. The relationship with his father seems to improve after the mission Reuniting the Family, clearly shown in the cutscenes when switching characters to Michael. Examples of this are both of them arriving home from a bicycle ride or both playing video games at Jimmy's room, with Michael always losing.
Michael has had a rather difficult time with making friends. The friends that he surrounded himself with in his previous life were, in his words, not the type to associate with since they either ended up dead or in prison. Even after becoming semi-retire he still doesn't have many friends. This is mostly caused by his antisocial personality that keeps him wrapped-up inside his head.
Trevor's relationship with Michael started in 1993, twenty years prior to the events of the game, where he and Trevor were escorting cargo across the border. After the the job goes terrible, Michael convinced Trevor to join him to commit further robberies, seeing as they work well as a team. Thus, they started a long partnership. Michael and Trevor's friendship with one another was fine until Michael met his future wife Amanda, causing their friendship to strain since Trevor and Amanda didn't get along as much. After a heist goes wrong, Michael and Trevor both assumed that one another was dead. It was shown that Michael deeply cared for Trevor yet only wanted him dead because he thought that the latter would end up killing him or his family. After Michael's relapse into crime, Trevor discovers he is alive and comes to the conclusion that he faked his death. Trevor and Michael's friendship becomes strained as Trevor feels betrayed by Michael but both still get on well enough. Their friendship is even further strained when Trevor finds the truth about Michael's survival and Brad's death, leading to a standoff between the two. From this point on, Trevor vowed to kill Michael, but still needed the man alive so they could team up again to pull off one big job. In the Deathwish ending, Michael and Trevor have one last standoff before Franklin explains that both men have two options: kill each other right now, or work together to kill Devin Weston, Steve Haines and the rest of their enemies. Trevor ends up picking the first choice, with the outcome being successful. As the incident comes to an end, it seems that Michael and Trevor have finally managed to rekindle their friendship, with Trevor considering Michael as a friend, albeit a friend that he hates, which Michael manages to accept. After this, while hanging out with each other, either Michael will offer Trevor a part of his share from the big score (which Trevor rejects), and apologizes once again, this time Trevor accepting the apology, or Trevor will apologize to Michael and says that he understands why he did what he did.
Franklin meets Michael after the stealing a car from the latter's house, Michael then has Franklin take him to whomever tasked Franklin to steal his son's car. Right from the start, Franklin was impressed with Michael's professional criminality and after his firing from Premium Deluxe Motorsport, he sought out Michael for possible work. After Franklin manages to save Michael's son, he sees much potential in the young man. After Franklin's help with the jewelry store heist, Michael refers to Franklin as the "son I always wanted". Franklin in turn seems to have respect for Michael and is grateful for improving his life and is loyal to him for it. He even helps Michael out with his government issue. After meeting Trevor, Franklin starts to see many arguments between the both. But rather than siding with one of them, Franklin tries to calm the both of them down in hopes that it won't escalate into something more violent and unnecessary. Franklin also notices Michael's personality and will confront him about it at times. Despite these confrontations, Michael aids Franklin in rescuing his buddy Lamar Davis from a Ballas ambush set up by OG-turned-Balla Harold "Stretch" Joseph. If the player chooses the kill Michael ending, Franklin can be shown to deeply regret his decision, not being able to face his family or Trevor. If the player chooses to kill Trevor they still remain friends however their friendship is shown to be greatly strained Amanda will also wish Franklin to rot in Hell. If the player chooses the Deathwish ending, if Michael and Franklin are hanging out, they'll talk about how they can't believe they pulled it off, and that Franklin is extremely grateful to Michael for the experience. Also, in an e-mail, Michael will tell Franklin that "he's a friend for life". Franklin can also call Lamar to let him know that Stretch is dead but leaves Michael anonymous.
Lester first meets Michael at an unknown period of time and seems to be a mastermind in Michael's robberies many years prior. It was stated by Michael that he wasn't much of a friend towards Lester and after they've encountered one another during the events of the game, Michael decides to make up for that.
Years prior to the events of the game. Michael arranged a deal for him to hand over Trevor to the FIB and fake his death so that Dave would gain fame and respect for supposedly "killing" Michael during the North Yankton heist. After the event took place, Dave managed to keep his promise by having Michael and his family move to a luxury mansion in Rockford Hills, Los Santos while in the witness protection program. Michael would also pay Dave hush money once a month, to keep their business deal a secret. Their relationship was fine, up until Michael performed a heist at the Vangelico jewelry store. Michael would then perform several jobs for Dave and his boss, Steve Haines. Dave will admit that even though he was a bank robber, he always did "like" Michael. In the Deathwish ending, Dave will call Michael and tell him that he replaced Haines in his TV show, and then thanks Michael for doing jobs for him, before saying farewell, with the two parting on good terms.
Solomon and Michael are introduced through Devin Weston. Michael is a big fan of the film producer, even doubting at first that Devin could arrange for their meeting. The two get along well. Solomon often recites a quote from one of his movies and Michael easily names which one. He accepts Michael's assistance in the production of the film Meltdown and goes on to name him associate producer.
Michael meets Haines during a job to extract Ferdinand Kerimov aka Mr. K from the IAA headquarters. He forces him, Trevor Phillips, and Franklin Clinton into his operations and to torture Mr. K into retrieving information onto assassinating an unspecified target. He also gets the protagonists into performing several heists for him. However, his suspicions for Michael worsens, causing him to become extremely paranoid. He, along with Agent Sanchez, confronts Michael and Agent Norton as he attempts to have them framed and arrested. After an ambush consisting IAA, Merryweather and rival FIB forces, Haines attempts to have Michael killed, along with Trevor and Franklin. Fortunately, he decides to spare him and Franklin. However, he wants Trevor dead. If Deathwish is chosen, Michael, Trevor, Franklin and his buddy Lamar Davis kill many of Steve's FIB goons as well as Devin's Merryweather soldiers at a gold smelting plant. Once the FIB and Merryweather goons are all killed, Franklin asks Lester via speakerphone to track down various enemies of the three protagonists. Trevor volunteers to track down and kill Steve Haines while Michael tracks down and kills Harold "Stretch" Joseph, an enemy of Franklin and Lamar (Michael had previously helped Franklin rescue Lamar from a Ballas ambush which Stretch had set up).
Michael meets Devin during a meeting with Steve Haines. He first offers the former a deal of producing a film after a heist. However, Devin soon refuses to pay Michael, along with Trevor and Franklin for their jobs and after Michael accidentally gets his lawyer killed, Devin sends a platoon of Merryweather men to kill his family. However, Michael manages to save his family. This incident leads to Devin to hire Franklin to murder Michael. If "Deathwish" is chosen, after Steve Haines, Harold "Stretch" Joseph and Wei Cheng are killed, Trevor kidnaps Devin from his mansion and shoves him inside his own trunk. The three protagonists meet up to taunt a beaten Devin for their victory, before pushing him (with him inside the car trunk) off the cliff into the ocean, killing him.
The Time's Come (Option B/Ending B/Kill Michael)
In the game's final mission, the player chooses to kill Michael. In this ending, Franklin agrees to eliminate Michael. Franklin confronts Michael wishing to discuss the situation. Michael meets Franklin and is seen taking a phone call from his wife. She told him that Tracey would be attending college to which Michael replied positively. Franklin feels the pain after hearing this, but overcomes it and talks suspiciously, causing Michael to figure out that Franklin is sent to kill him. Michael then drives away, with Franklin chasing him to the top of a tower. Michael points a gun at Franklin. Franklin fights Michael and defeats him. Michael then laments how Franklin is gonna kill him, the only person who's been decent towards him. Franklin then pushes Michael off the edge and grabs him, he starts to regret his decision, but Michael refuses to forgive him and wishes he killed him before. The game gives the player a decision to save Michael or let him go. But either way, Michael plummets to his death. Franklin walks away and calls Lamar on the phone to make amends. After the credits, the player can only choose to play as Franklin and Trevor and Michael's cut of the Union Depository bank job is given to his family. Later, Trevor finds out about Michael's death, and tells Franklin to stay away from him, causing them to no longer hang with each other. Amanda also knows about this and messages Franklin, saying that she wished he rot in hell.
The Third Way (Option C/Ending/C/Deathwish)
In this version of the game's final mission, Franklin decides not to betray Michael or Trevor. In this ending he goes to Lester reporting the situation. Lester comes up with an idea to ambush Steve Haines' FIB goons and Devin Weston's private army Merryweather at the same time by luring both parties to a foundry on the premise the gold they had stolen from the Union Depository is being melted there. Meanwhile Franklin picks up his friend Lamar while Lester alerts Trevor and Michael. However when Franklin arrives, Trevor and Michael argue about the weapons being used to repel the assault, with Trevor fearing the sniper rifle Michael had chosen might be better suited to betraying the group than helping it. Michael and Trevor reach the point of threatening each other at gunpoint, Franklin is able to calm both of them down and all 4 of them successfully repel the FIB/Merryweather assault (Michael also claims that FIB and Merryweather are killing each other as well). After the assault, Lamar heads home while Michael, Franklin and Trevor decide to tie up loose ends. As they wanted Franklin to kill Michael and/or Trevor, Steve Haines and Devin Weston are automatically put on their hit list (Devin also sent goons from his army to Michael's house and threatened Amanda and Tracey) while Trevor wants Dave Norton on the list possibly for killing Brad but Michael states that they need Norton alive so nobody screws with them after the assassinations. Franklin adds Wei Cheng to the list for kidnapping Michael, (Wei Cheng, believing that Michael and Trevor were gay lovers, wanted both of them dead to take over the drug trade in Trevor's territory and had a grudge against Trevor following the murder of Wei's business contact Elwood O'Neil and his brothers). Finally Trevor adds Harold Joseph aka Stretch to the list for luring Lamar and Franklin into Balla traps. After getting whereabouts from Lester, Trevor exacts revenge on Steve, Michael volunteers to eliminate Stretch and Franklin tracks down Wei and his son Tao. After these hits, Trevor kidnaps Devin and all three of them taunt Devin before they push the car Devin is locked inside of off of a cliff. The car then explodes.
- Michael likes western movies and rock and roll, metal, and country music from the 50s-70s.