Michael is a former bank robber and career criminal, who faked his death to retire and live a peaceful life with his family in Los Santos. However, he suffers from his unhealthy relationship with them, and soon gets pulled back into his criminal life, forcing him to return to his old ways. 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.
Meanwhile, his midlife crisis pushes him to his ultimate snapping point, and he becomes determined to achieve something more with his life, while also attempting to escape his past, become a free man and start a new life with his family. Michael is an old friend of fellow protagonist Trevor, and, early on in the storyline, he also befriends Franklin and becomes a mentor figure to him. He is the husband of Amanda, and the father of Jimmy and Tracey.
- 1 History
- 2 Events of GTA V
- 3 Characters murdered by Michael De Santa
- 4 Crimes committed by Michael De Santa
- 5 Overview
- 6 Special Ability
- 7 Mission Appearances
- 8 Reception
- 9 Character Trailer
- 10 Quotes
- 11 Gallery
- 12 Trivia
- 13 References
- 14 Navigation
- "I'm just a fat washed up jock who can't get his head around the fact his high school football career didn't play out the way that he planned. The only way I'm content and competent is with a gun in my hand or a price on my head."
- — Michael during his therapy session.
Michael was born in either 1965 or 1968, possibly in the Midwest, which would explain why he spent some of his criminal career in North Yankton or on the East Coast, possibly indicating why he committed his first robbery in the outskirts of Carcer City. As a child, he didn't have the luxuries and privileges that his own children have and grew up in the deprived environment of a trailer park with his parents. Like Trevor and Franklin, Michael had a tough upbringing due to his alcoholic and physically abusive father, who later abandoned him. Michael's mother, who also left him, was told numerous stories of why his father left, all of which included but weren't limited to him skipping town, being run over by a train and joining the navy. In his high school years, Michael was an acclaimed quarterback for an all-state football team, even putting an amazing performance during his games and occasionally had his picture in the local newspaper, but his temperament issues and a constant string of injuries ultimately forced him to quit.
As a young adult, Michael began the life of crime. According to Michael, he was imprisoned twice by the time he was twenty. While in prison, Michael learned many skills, including learning how to use a tattoo gun by tattooing his name on his cellmate's buttocks. He committed his first robbery in the outskirts of Carcer City in 1988, where he managed to steal $10,000 from a small business. Despite his failures and shortcomings, Michael perfected his criminal skills to the point where he became an expert marksman and efficient heist leader. During this period of time, he associated himself with Lester Crest, an exquisite planner that would later assist Michael in planning out heists, as well as other tasks.
In 1993, Michael met Trevor Philips while he was escorting cargo across the border. While Trevor waited on the runway to meet his unknown employer, he noticed not one, but two dust trails coming up the road, despite the fact that he was told there would only be one person meeting him with the cargo. Michael exited the first vehicle, while an older civilian exited the second. As it turned out, the older civilian had been carjacked by Michael. As Michael tried to make a hasty escape on foot, the older civilian attempted to get Trevor's attention as to what just happened. Trevor approached the civilian and fired off a flare gun into the man's eye, brutally killing him. He and Michael dumped the body into a lake after landing a plane. Trevor described the experience as horrible as the flare was still burning from the inside of the man's skull as they dropped him off into the lake. Trevor and Michael both threw up after landing the plane since the stench from the burning corpse remained in the cockpit. After noticing how well they worked with each other, Michael brought an aimless Trevor under his wing as a partner for various crimes he would commit. They were both somewhat successful at their profession, but Michael claims that they were always impecunious and constantly on the run from the law, as Trevor's rage issues would cause him to murder someone in broad daylight and Michael's circumspection and foresight as well as his distinctive style of quoting from Solomon Richards' films drew attention, which caused him and Trevor to quickly leave town after completing a job.
Michael met a stripper named Amanda at a strip club. After flirting with each other, the couple started a romantic relationship. Using money earned from illicit activities, Michael was even able to buy Amanda some breast implants, which would help with her stripping and prostituting career. This led to Michael creating his own prostitution racket. After a few months of dating, Michael married Amanda and had two children, Tracey and Jimmy, and lived at a trailer park in the Midwest. Now a family man, Michael began to question his criminal lifestyle, much to Trevor's annoyance, describing him as being "soft."
A few years later, Trevor met a fellow crook named Brad Snider and introduced him to Michael. Michael and Brad never showed any empathy for each other and would often express mutual distaste and distrust when working together. According to Trevor, Brad planned at one point to cut off Michael and work solely with Trevor. For awhile, the trio, along with Lester and a few other accomplices, committed robberies all across the Midwest.
At some point in 2004, Michael met FIB agent Dave Norton. Fearing for his family's safety, Michael made a clandestine agreement with Norton to cut ties with Trevor and Brad in exchange for the ability to disappear and start a new life. By paying Norton a monthly five-figure amount, Norton would relocate Michael and his family to Los Santos and provide them with new identities to start a new life. By accepting the deal with the FIB, Michael informed Norton of their upcoming robbery in Ludendorff, where Michael would pretend to be shot by Norton, while Norton would actually kill Trevor and arrest Brad. The plan would favor both Michael and Norton, whereas Michael will walk away with a clean slate, Norton would be given a career boost for taking down the supposed "Most Wanted Man in America".
The staged robbery, however was a disaster in execution after Trevor murdered a guard who held Michael at gunpoint and when Michael, Brad and Trevor were ambushed by over a dozen police officers ready to apprehend them. During the getaway, their driver was killed by pursuing police. Michael took the wheel and drove the crew to the ambush point he and Norton had agreed on, where he claimed there was a helicopter waiting upon their arrival. The plan almost failed after their vehicle was hit by a train at a railroad crossing as they attempted to avoid a roadblock of North Yankton State Patrol vehicles.
Things yet again deviated from the original plan when instead of Trevor, it was Brad who was accidentally shot by Norton when he walked in front of Trevor. Michael pretended to be shot as well and begged Trevor to leave him behind. Enraged beyond sense, Trevor proceeded to shoot numerous arriving police officers before barely escaping the ambush with his life. Trevor was never caught by the police and eventually went into hiding.
After the incident, Michael Townley was declared dead and given a funeral, but it was Brad whose body was buried in a grave marked with Michael's name, having died from his gunshot wound. News reports stated that Michael had been killed, Brad imprisoned at Bolingbroke Penitentiary, and Trevor still remained at large. Michael eventually concluded that Trevor had ended up getting himself killed, though there was never any confirmation to this assumption.
Living the Vinewood Dream
- "Why did I move here? I guess it was the weather."
- — Michael
Michael's life in Los Santos slowly pirouetted into a living nightmare. Michael grew increasingly unhappy from leaving his criminal life behind for the family life he believed he desired. He spent most of his days numbing his depression by either getting drunk, miserably lounging by his pool, or cheating on Amanda with another stripper, which Amanda eventually catches happening. Michael's neglect and narcissism, along with him cheating caused Amanda to cheat on him as well and spend much of their savings on plastic surgery, while Tracey and Jimmy show him very little respect. Suffering from a midlife crisis and a deteriorating marriage, Michael began visiting Isiah Friedlander, an overpriced psychologist who cares very little for Michael's problems.
Events of GTA V
- "Remember how I told you I knew Feds, who helped me after I retired? Well, things became complicated when recently I became... un-retired."
- — Michael telling Franklin his situation
In 2013, nine years after Michael faked his death, and after another counselling session with Dr. Friedlander, Michael has a chance encounter with his future partner-in-crime, Franklin Clinton, when he unknowingly points Franklin and his friend, Lamar Davis, in the direction of their repossession location.
A short while later, Jimmy buys an SUV from Simeon Yetarian, an Armenian car salesman (and Franklin's boss), who sells the car to Jimmy on the agreement of him paying monthly instalments of $5,000. After 'defaulting' on a payment, Simeon has Franklin repossess the car from the De Santa Residence. Franklin sneaks into the property and finds Jimmy's SUV parked in the garage. As Franklin enters the car, starting the engine and driving away from the property, Michael, who was hiding under some blankets in the back seat, suddenly reveals himself and points a pistol against Franklin's head, ordering him to drive back to the car dealership. During the trip, he sarcastically offers to buy Franklin a drink later on. Upon arrival, Michael, still holding Franklin at gunpoint, demands that he drive through the front window of the dealership, which Franklin reluctantly does. Michael pays Franklin to leave, before assaulting Yetarian, threatening him with more violence if he tries to rip off Michael or his family again.
Shortly after, during a heated argument between Tracey and Amanda, Michael escapes to the poolside and lies on a lawn chair in his backyard with a glass of whisky in his hand while listening to "I Don't Care Anymore" on his iFruit smartphone. As he is relaxing, he is suddenly interrupted by Franklin, who took up Michael's earlier "offer" of a drink. Surprised that Franklin actually took the offer to heart, Michael offers to take him to a nearby bar. On the way, however, Jimmy phones Michael and informs him that he tried to sell Michael's yacht, but the "buyers" hijacked the yacht with him still on board. Enraged, a furious Michael, with Franklin in tow, gives chase to the hijackers in Amanda's Sentinel and manages to rescue Jimmy, but is unable to recover the yacht as the car's engine sustained damage during the chase. Michael is furious with Jimmy, but is also impressed by Franklin's actions during the event, having climbed onto the boat and rescued Jimmy while fighting off the attackers, and tells him to visit him at any time.
Later on, Michael returns home to discover Amanda sleeping with her tennis coach, who escapes wearing just his underwear. Franklin shows up at the right time, and the duo chase after the coach in a truck to a stilt house in Vinewood Hills, where Michael, fueled with rage and adrenaline, commands Franklin to hook the truck's winch around the supports of the house's deck. Using the power of the truck's engine, Michael loosens the supports, causing the majority of the deck to collapse and crumble down the hillside, which shocks Franklin, but also leaves Michael feeling satisfied with himself. During the drive back to Michael's house, Michael receives a call from his tennis coach, and learns that the house did not belong to the coach, but the girlfriend of a powerful Mexican cartel leader. She sends a hit-squad after Michael and Franklin for their actions and the pair manage to fend the attackers off, but the cartel leader himself, Martin Madrazo, and some of his associates arrive at Michael's house. Franklin informs Michael of the latter's reputation as Madrazo orders his cousin to hand him a baseball bat, which he immediately uses to lightly bludgeon Michael with. Madrazo both orders Michael to pay for the rebuilding of the house at a cost of $2,500,000 - money which Michael does not have - and threatens further violence upon Michael if he does not provide the funds, before leaving. Michael realizes that in order to get the money, he will have to reenter a life of crime, and calls his old contact, Lester.
Later, Michael is watching a noir-style movie, but Jimmy loudly swearing through his headset while playing videogames distracts Michael from enjoying it, so he decides to venture upstairs to see what's going on. After Jimmy insults him and tells him to leave, Michael throws a chair at Jimmy's television. This riles Jimmy up, but also furthers Michael's rage, where Michael eventually dares Jimmy to hit him. However, the heat quickly dies down and Michael explains that he strongly hates how Jimmy is wasting his life away by doing nothing productive. Michael convinces a reluctant and still angry Jimmy to drive to Vespucci Beach with him for some father and son time; however, even in the car, Jimmy still argues to and about Michael and his poor mental health, going as far as to blame his father for his own problems. Later on, they have a short bicycle race and finish at the Del Perro Pier. Jimmy points out a luxurious and large yacht in the distance, and states that Tracey is on board, helping shoot an adult film. Enraged at the thought of his daughter hanging around with strange, perverted men, Michael takes his shirt off and dives into the sea, swimming to the yacht. He eventually climbs aboard and very quickly begins to cause drama by throwing a portable speaker overboard and pushing a man off the side of the yacht. He takes Tracey back ashore against her will on a Seashark, but not before two film producers give chase after him, leading to a shootout. Michael ultimately escapes, and finally returns to dry land. Upon reaching the beach, Tracey and Jimmy angrily leave Michael.
Michael eventually meets with Lester who agrees to help Michael get the money needed to pay off Madrazo, but only if he agrees to sabotage a prototype phone due to be unveiled by Jay Norris, founder of the social networking site Lifeinvader. Michael infiltrates the LifeInvader Office and meets a computer programmer named Rickie Lukens, who mistakes Michael to be an IT guy and invites him upstairs to fix his computer. Michael has to close dozens of pop-ups and run an antivirus software to rid the computer of the viruses. Michael then finds the prototype phone and swaps the phone's battery for the explosive device given to him by Lester. He returns home and watches the Weazel News broadcast of Jay Norris live on television. During the broadcast, Norris reveals the phone, prompting Michael to call Norris on it, as per Lester's request. Norris answers the call and the phone detonates next to his head, killing him instantly and cutting the broadcast short. After collecting information about the contents of the Vangelico Jewelry Store, Michael and Lester organize a heist, with Michael insisting that his new friend Franklin be involved, believing the latter will find the experience beneficial.
- "You forget a thousand things every day, pal. Make sure this is one of ‘em."
- — Michael to Albert Stalley during the heist.
The heist goes smoothly, and the debt owed to Martin Madrazo is paid off, with Michael and Franklin taking a small cut of the takings for themselves. Out in Sandy Shores, Trevor Philips, who was still alive the entire time, was watching the news report of the robbery and recognized Michael's modus operandi (his Solomon Richards movie quotes). Believing that either someone else was pretending to be the famous bank robber or that Michael wasn't dead at all, he sends his friend Wade to find Michael's whereabouts. Eventually, Wade informs Trevor that a man matching Michael's description was living in Los Santos. Trevor deduces that this man and Michael were the same person after all and travels to Los Santos to find him.
After several days of laying low from the jewelry store heist, Michael finds marijuana in the fridge, and correctly assumes it is Jimmy's. He toys with him, causing an eruption of anger among the family. While this is going on, Trevor unexpectedly walks in, much to everyone's shock and horror. The tension is broken by Jimmy revealing that Tracey has gone to audition for the TV show, Fame or Shame. Realizing that Tracey will embarrass herself in front of the nation due to her horrible dancing, Michael and Trevor rush to the Maze Bank Arena. The two find Tracey and watch as she performs a sexually seductive dance as the TV show's host, Lazlow Jones begins to do a sexual pose behind her, angering both Michael and Trevor. The pair give chase to a terrified Lazlow in a hijacked Phantom truck, pursuing him to the Los Santos River, where Lazlow's Dilettante ultimately breaks down, ending the pursuit. Trevor forces Lazlow to take off his pants and dance for him as he films it on his smartphone, amusing Michael. In the aftermath, Tracey angrily blames Michael for "ruining her life", which doesn't seem to bother him a bit, further straining his relationship with his daughter.
Michael is contacted by Dave Norton, who knows Michael was the one who did the Jewelry store robbery and requests that they meet at the Galileo Observatory. Dave explains that Michael's decision to rob the Vangelico Jewelry Store has brought the spotlight on Dave in the FIB, and that if his superiors read his files and discover his deal with Michael it could cause serious repercussions for the pair of them. Michael reluctantly agrees to do tasks for Dave in order to help keep his job with the FIB, in exchange for covering up the crimes that Michael committed. Michael's first task is to locate Ferdinand Kerimov, a suspected terrorist whom the IAA have declared to be dead. To do so, Norton knocks Michael unconscious to allow him to infiltrate the morgue. Michael regains consciousness during his "autopsy" and incapacitates one of the coroners. After searching the mortuary, Michael discovers Kerimov's identity tag attached to the foot of a body that was obviously not Kerimov's. Michael later escapes the morgue and phones Franklin, requesting that they meet. Michael informs him of his past with the FIB and advises Franklin to leave the city for his own safety, but Franklin tells Michael that he will stay and help Michael to repay Michael's faith in him.
Michael continues to work for Dave Norton. Steve Haines, a highly decorated but highly corrupt FIB agent and Norton's superior, contacts Michael and demands that he team up with Franklin and Trevor to extract Ferdinand Kerimov from the IAA Headquarters, which they do. Michael and Trevor are later summoned to a remote warehouse where Michael is briefed that he will accompany Norton to assassinate an Azerbaijani terrorist suspect, Tahir Javan, whilst Trevor and Haines torture Kerimov for information on Javan's appearance. Kerimov provides information on Javan, who is later shot dead by Michael.
Michael later finds his wife with her yoga instructor Fabien LaRouche, who asks Michael to participate in their yoga session, much to Amanda's irritation. The session passes relatively smoothly until Fabien performs a sexual pose on Amanda, which angers Michael, who lunges at Fabien. Angered by her husband's behavior, Amanda leaves with Fabien. Michael goes upstairs and asks Jimmy to hang out with him, wanting to get out of the house for awhile. They meet a friend of Jimmy's at Burger Shot who gives them some cannabis and a drink. On the way home, Michael drinks from Jimmy's cup and begins to feel drowsy. Jimmy reveals that he had the drink spiked with ketamine, before pushing Michael out of the car and revealing that he's taking Michael's car and some of the money from his bank account and is moving out. Michael has hallucinations of him being abducted by aliens and falling from the sky before waking up in his underwear a few blocks away from his home. When he gets to the house, he finds a note from Amanda saying that his family has left due to Michael's poor behavior.
Trevor later contacts Michael and Franklin to partake in his own heist, which involves stealing unknown cargo from a mercenary group called Merryweather Security. The heist goes as planned and Trevor finds that he has stolen a superweapon that the government was planning to sell. Shortly after, Lester arrives and reveals that the weapon is highly dangerous, especially in the hands of someone like Trevor and tells him that he must return it. Michael and Franklin agree, and Trevor, while furious that he cannot keep the loot, reluctantly orders it to be put back.
After the heist, Michael, along with Franklin and Trevor, are called upon by Haines and Norton. This time they must rob an armored truck filled with funds that the IAA has received due to drug sales. Michael decides they will approach the job with a "classic Blitz Play". Despite faced with some mild LSPD and NOOSE resistance, the heist is executed smoothly. Michael then proceeds to deliver the funds to billionaire Devin Weston, who offers Michael a partnership with his idol, a movie producer named Solomon Richards. In order to get this partnership, however, he has to help steal several rare cars for Weston with Trevor and Franklin. Offered his dream job, Michael eagerly agrees and delivers the cars to Weston. Michael is thrilled to finally meet Richards, who hires him as an assistant. His first job is to convince Ancelotti crime family made man Rocco Pelosi to obey Solomon's wishes for how the actors should behave during the production of Solomon's latest motion picture Meltdown. Michael stealthily climbs to the helipad where he beats up Rocco. He then performs some dangerous maneuvers in the helicopter to convince Anton Beaudelaire to follow Solomon's orders. This gets Michael on Richards' good side and is promised the role of producer for the upcoming film if Michael continues his good work.
Martin Madrazo later summons Michael and Trevor to his home, offering them a job. Madrazo, who now sees Michael as a friend, requests that he and Trevor shoot down his cousin's private jet, which is carrying some sensitive files that Madrazo wants back. Michael does his part by bringing it down with a weapon inside a van, while Trevor manages to recover incriminating files. After destroying the van, Michael finds out, to his horror, that Madrazo refused to pay the pair, causing Trevor to attack him and kidnap Madrazo's wife Patricia, after he witnessed Madrazo mistreating her. Knowing full well what Madrazo might do to them if he catches them, Michael agrees to hide out in Sandy Shores with Trevor. Later on, Haines and Norton summon the trio for another mission against the IAA. This time, the two agents plot to raid the Humane Labs and Research to steal a dangerous neurotoxin being developed there. To carry out this operation, the trio must are required to secure funds to purchase a Cargobob and other assorted equipment required for the heist. Ultimately, the trio, along with Lester, settle on robbing the Blaine County Savings Bank in Paleto Bay, as it, according to Trevor, contains millions of dollars deposited there by Blaine County's corrupt law enforcement department who extort money from all the local cannabis farms and meth labs.
After planning the robbery, Michael and Trevor receive a call from Franklin, who upon Trevor's request is tailing the remaining O'Neil brothers - inbred, redneck meth dealers, who are vengeful because of an earlier attack by Trevor on their ranch, resulting in the murders of most of the O'Neil family and the destruction of their farm. While Michael and Trevor fly to the Franklin's location, the O'Neils end up crashing in the forest. Using a rifle, fitted with a thermal scope, Michael shoots two of the brothers, while Franklin locates and kills the final O'Neil, with the help of Chop.
Using stolen military body armor and machine guns, Trevor, Michael, Franklin, and one gunman successfully rob the Paleto Bay bank, taking a small cut each and giving the largest profit to Haines and Norton so they can purchase the equipment for the Humane Labs robbery, much to the team's irritation. While awaiting this operation, Michael and Trevor carry out another job, raiding a Merryweather courier train that carries gold and priceless artifacts so that they can pay off Martin Madrazo. Trevor derails the train over a bridge in Raton Canyon and Michael dives into the river below to retrieve the merchandise, taking an ancient Aztec fertility statuette that Madrazo would value. Trevor is greatly dissatisfied with Michael's choice of take, but he calms down once Michael proposes that, once they get the FIB off their cases, they should carry out a heist they've dreamed about doing for years - stealing millions of dollars worth of gold bullion from the Union Depository. Initially, Trevor states that it can't be done, verging suicidal almost, but mutually accepts when Michael challenges him on that being a line he's afraid to cross.
When Michael, Trevor, and Franklin meet with Haines and Norton for the IAA robbery, Haines verbally berates them for not bringing in three random thugs for the operation (a fact they were left in the dark about). With no other choice, Haines and Norton are forced to join Michael in extracting the neurotoxin while Trevor and Franklin are on vehicle detail. They successfully retrieve the neurotoxin, but when the Cargobob takes too long to escape, Haines shoots himself in the leg in order to prolong the IAA agents long enough for Michael and Norton to escape
After being able to safely return to Los Santos with Madrazo being taken care of, Michael receives an unexpected visit from Trevor at his Rockford Hills mansion, who pitches him the idea of busting Brad out of jail. Michael's reluctance to go ahead with the plan leads to a debate, during which Trevor finally realizes that Brad is in fact dead and buried at Michael's supposed grave in North Yankton. He hastily travels to Ludendorff with Michael in pursuit where he confirms his suspicions. After a stand-off at the grave, they are attacked by Wei Cheng's henchmen, who wanted to meet with Trevor for his role in wiping out the O'Niel brother's gang, who the Triads were planning to work with. The Triads incorrectly assumed that Michael and Trevor are lovers and had been surveying them ever since their exile to Sandy Shores. Trevor flees, leaving Michael to fend off the henchmen himself, causing him to be captured. Cheng later calls Trevor and reveals that unless Trevor agreed to meet with him, they would kill Michael. Trevor, angry at Michael for his betrayal, tells Cheng that he "loves [Michael] dearly" and hangs up the phone, refusing to accept the the demands.
After Cheng learns that Trevor decided he'd rather let Michael die than meet with him, he orders that he be put into a meat grinder at a slaughterhouse back in Los Santos. With the help of Lester, he is rescued by Franklin. When Franklin presses him about what happened in Ludendorff, Michael opens up about his decision to betray Trevor in the past and defends that he had to make it for his family.
Michael revisits the movie studio to resume work with Solomon. After witnessing Pelosi and his associate Gianni assault Solomon, Michael chases the two and ends up killing both of them. In return, Solomon keeps to his word and makes Michael a credited producer in his upcoming film, much to Michael's overwhelming joy. As he exits the studio, he leaves a voicemail message on Amanda's phone to try to convince her that he is finally doing something good with his life.
Michael and Franklin are called up once again by Haines for one more job: to break into the FIB Headquarters and remove incriminating evidence against Haines. This goes according to plan, except for the fact that along with deleting the files on Steve, he also deleted the files the FIB had on Michael, meaning Steve no longer had anything to hold over his head. When Michael meets Haines and Norton at the Kortz Center for debriefing, Haines attempts to arrest him to cover his involvement in the raid. However, this drastically turns into a Mexican standoff when the men pull guns on each other and when Steve's fellow FIB agent, Andreas Sanchez, is revealed to be working with a rival FIB team who was investigating Steve's actions. The situation further escalates with the arrival of said FIB team, an IAA team led by the U.L. Paper Contact, and a Merryweather team. Haines is shot in the leg by an FIB operative but manages to escape, killing Sanchez in the process. Dave and Michael manage to fight their way through the Merryweather mercenaries, FIB and IAA agents and escape with the help of Trevor, who, despite not forgiving Michael, temporarily removes his vow of killing Michael as he needs his help in robbing the Union Deposetory.
Having had enough of being alone, Michael finally seeks out and reunites his family. With his family back in the house and his involvement in Solomon Richards' upcoming film, things start to look positive for him, until Devin Weston announces his intentions to exploit the movie studio's insurance policy by hiding the completed film from the world so he could claim the insurance money, ultimately closing the studio which he would promptly buy and demolish in order to build condos on the site. Infuriated upon learning of Weston's intentions, Michael chases the former's lawyer to the airport to try and retrieve the film's master copy. During the chase, she is accidentally killed after being sucked into a jet engine. Michael retrieves the film, and Solomon arranges a premiere so that it cannot be tampered with any further.
At the premiere for Meltdown, Weston, furious over his lawyer's death, unexpectedly shows up and cryptically reveals his plans to kill Michael's family in revenge for Michael's actions. Michael rushes home to find Merryweather operatives holding his family at gunpoint. He kills the intruders and protects his house from oncoming mercenaries until the coast is clear. The next morning, Michael calls Lester from the Del Perro Pier, enraged that Weston sent Merryweather to his house in order to kill his family and reveals that he asked his family to move out for a few days for their own protection. Despite this incident, Michael is still confident on performing their heist on the Union Depository, which they promptly do. The heist is successful, and Michael, Franklin, Trevor, Lester and their crew manage to steal millions of dollars worth of gold bullion. However, Trevor's anger over Michael's betrayal boils over into another argument, causing Franklin, after Lester offhandedly bashes Los Santos to finally snap at them for their constant whining and storm off in a huff.
Following the heist, Franklin is visited by both Steve Haines and Devin Weston. Haines wants Franklin to kill Trevor due to his unpredictable nature, while Weston, still wanting revenge on Michael, asks that Franklin Kill Michael instead. Franklin can either choose one of these options or team up with Michael and Trevor once more and, with the help of Lester, take down their enemies once and for all.
Michael meets Franklin and Trevor to fight off Merryweather and corrupt FIB agents at a foundry. Once all of the mercenaries and agents are taken out, Michael has Trevor and Franklin kill Steve Haines and Wei Cheng respectivly, while he kills Franklin's enemy, Stretch, to not implicate Franklin from its effects. Afterwards, he meets Franklin and Trevor, the latter having kidnapped Weston and locked him in the trunk of his car, at the foothills of Mount Chiliad. After taunting Weston on their apparent victory, the trio push the car off the cliff and into the ocean, destroying the car and killing Weston. Making amends with Trevor, Michael reflects that he is getting too old to continue a life of crime, and drives home, agreeing to end his criminal partnership with Franklin and Trevor, but continuing to remain friends with them.
GTA Online: The Diamond Casino & Resort DLC mission "Casino - Strong Arm Tactics" confirms that Ending A: Something Sensible is not the canon ending to the storyline.
Franklin calls Michael and asks if he can help kill Trevor. While Michael says this sounds like something Franklin should handle himself, he agrees to help if he can. While chasing Trevor around the Murrieta Oilfields, Franklin calls Michael once again for help. He arrives in a Premier and t-bones Trevor's truck, causing Trevor to crash into a gas tanker, soaking him in gasoline. As Trevor crawls out of his truck, he curses Michael and Franklin, as they were two of his closest friends and very few people that he trusted. Franklin or Michael shoots the gas, incinerating Trevor and causing the tanker to explode. As they walk away, Michael and Franklin reflect on Trevor's psychotic nature. They split up and are about to leave before Franklin sarcastically remarks the event as an "illuminating experience", which Michael counters by telling him to survive, and everything else is "bullshit". Afterwards, Michael and Franklin will frequently reassure each other and those who ask that they made the right choice and that due to Trevor's dangerous nature, they chose the necessary option. Michael and Franklin can still hang out after this mission, but if they meet in person before Michael contacts Franklin, Michael will decide that he needs time away and they will no longer be able to hang out.
GTA Online: The Diamond Casino & Resort DLC mission "Casino - Strong Arm Tactics" confirms that Ending B: The Time's Come is not the canon ending to the storyline.
Franklin calls Michael and asks to meet in a secluded location in the desert to discuss things, which Michael obliges to. Shortly after meeting, Michael receives a call from Amanda informing him that Tracey was accepted into college. After Michael hangs up, the duo reflects on their partnership, however, Michael realizes that Franklin led him out to the desert with the intention of killing him. Michael escapes in his car with Franklin following close behind, eventually ending up at the Palmer-Taylor Power Station. Franklin chases Michael up onto one of the chimney walkways and after a minor scuffle, pushes Michael over the rail. Before he can fall, however, Franklin grabs Michael's arm, leaving him hanging precariously over the side. Franklin can choose to drop him here or have second thoughts and attempt to save him. If the latter is chosen, he will attempt to pull Michael up, only for him to headbutt Franklin, causing him to let go and drop Michael to his death. Afterwards, Trevor, Amanda, and Jimmy all deduce that Franklin was responsible for Michael's death and will no longer speak to him.
Characters murdered by Michael De Santa
- Jay Norris - Murdered for Lester Crest, so that he would re-join Michael for robberies.
- Pete's assistant - Strangled to death to prevent him from sounding the alarm at the IAA morgue.
- Tahir Javan - Murdered on orders from Steve Haines for alleged ties to terrorist groups.
- Javier Madrazo's pilot - Died as a result of a plane crash, caused by Michael's gunfire.
- Walton O'Neil - Murdered for seeking retribution against Trevor Philips.
- Wynn O'Neil - Murdered for seeking retribution against Trevor Philips.
- Gianni - Murdered for harassing Solomon Richards.
- Rocco Pelosi - Murdered for harassing Solomon Richards.
- Stretch - Murdered for trying to have Franklin Clinton and Lamar Davis killed.
- Devin Weston - Murdered for trying to have Michael and his family killed.
Strangers and Freaks murders
- Blake - Can be killed during the chase in the mission Daddy's Little Girl.
- Freddy Slade - Can be killed during the chase in the mission Daddy's Little Girl.
- Vangelico store manager - Can be killed during the loud approach in the mission The Jewel Store Job to prevent her from sounding the alarm (only if Michael chose a bad gunman in Casing the Jewel Store).
- Deputy Kirkman - Can be killed during the The Paleto Score.
- Deputy Grimes - Can be killed during the The Paleto Score.
- Isiah Friedlander - Can be killed during Michael's final visit to him.
- Elwood O'Neil - Murdered by either Michael or Franklin for seeking retribution against Trevor Philips.
- Tracey's stalker - Can be killed or spared during the mission Doting Dad.
- Simeon Yetarian - Can be killed during a Random Event. Confirmed non-canon as he is still alive during the events of the After Hours update, set in 2018.
- Patrick McReary - Can be killed during his random event. Confirmed non-canon as he is still alive during the events of The Diamond Casino Heist update, set in 2019.
- Pete - Can be killed during Dead Man Walking (he's hiding behind a reception desk). Confirmed non-canon because he will bleet after completing the mission.
- United Liberty Paper Contact - Can be killed during The Wrap Up. Confirmed non-canon as he is still alive during the events of The Doomsday Heist update, set in 2017.
- Trevor Philips - If Franklin chooses Something Sensible but doesn't shoot Trevor at the end of the mission, then Michael will shoot instead. Confirmed non-canon as he's mentioned to be alive during the events of the Smuggler's Run update, set in 2017.
Crimes committed by Michael De Santa
This is a list of all crimes committed by Michael during the main storyline, as well as crimes that the player may commit while playing as Michael.
- The robbery of a cash depot in North Yankton.
- Threatening Franklin into ramming his car through the window of Simeon Yetarian's dealership, and beating up Simeon.
- Engaging on a highway chase in an attempt to retrieve his stolen yacht.
- Destroying a house in Vinewood Hills (whose owner is later revealed to be drug lord Martin Madrazo).
- Infiltrating the LifeInvader offices and killing Jay Norris with a phone bomb.
- The robbery of the Vangelico jewel store.
- Chasing and threatening Lazlow Jones alongside Trevor, so that his daughter Tracey would appear on Fame on Shame without being humiliated.
- Infiltrating the city morgue under orders from the FIB and killing several guards in order to escape.
- Kidnapping Mr. K from the IAA building under orders from Steve Haines, with help from Franklin and Trevor.
- Assassinating Tahir Javan under orders from Haines.
- Driving under drug influence (unknowingly).
- The robbery of a high-tech device from Merryweather (only to be then force to return it).
- The robbery of an armored car containing agency funds, under orders from Steve Haines.
- Stealing two cars for Devin Weston alongside Franklin and Trevor by disguising as a police officer.
- Beating Rocco Pelosi to make him obey Solomon Richards' wishes for the movie Meltdown.
- Shooting down the plane of Martin Madrazo's cousin.
- Helping Trevor and Franklin kill the remaining O'Neil Brothers in the woods.
- The robbery of a Merryweather train transporting valuable items.
- The robbery of the Paleto Bay bank.
- Taking part in the raid on a research facility to steal a deadly virus.
- Killing several Triads who attack him in North Yankton.
- Killing more Triads when being rescued from a meat packing facility by Franklin.
- Assaulting Fabien LaRouche with a laptop, and tormenting Lazlow Jones again.
- Taking part in the raid on the FIB building.
- Being involved in a Mexican standoff with Dave Norton, Steve Haines, Andreas Sanchez, the FIB, IAA and Merryweather, and killing several FIB and IAA agents and Meryweather mercenaries in order to escape alongside Dave.
- Killing numerous Ballas alongside Franklin and Trevor to rescue Lamar.
- Killing Rocco Pelosi and Gianni for beating up Solomon Richards.
- Chasing Molly Schultz to retrieve the film reel of Meltdown and being, indirectly, responsible for her death.
- Killing the Merryweather mercenaries sent by Devin Weston to kill his family.
- The robbery of Union Depository.
- Killing numerous Merryweather mercenaries and FIB agents alongside Franklin and Trevor during an ambush at a warehouse, killing Stretch and several Ballas accompanying him, and helping Franklin and Trevor kill Devin Weston by pushing the car he was locked in off a cliff.
- Killing the men pursuing him and Tracey - they can be killed or simply outrunned in the mission Daddy's Little Girl.
- Saving Amanda from the LSPD - in the optional mission The Good Husband, Michael rescues Amanda from the police after being caught stealing from a shop.
- Assaulting the people who kidnapped Jimmy - in the optional mission Parenting 101, Michael rescues Jimmy from some internet geeks that he has been "trolling" by damaging their car, causing them to flee.
- Killing Tracey's stalker - in the optional mission Doting Dad, Michael can kill or simply scare away a man who has been stalking Tracey.
Other Crimes Committed (player-determinant)
- Grand Theft Auto
- Resisting Arrest
- Mass Homicide
- Violating Gun Control laws
- Dangerous Driving
- Driving under the Influence
- "White male. Overweight. In his late forties."
- — Medical Examiners in Dead Man Walking
Michael is a Caucasian male, aged either 45 or 48, with grayish black hair and light green eyes. Michael is of heavy build and is 6' 2" (1.88 m) tall and weighs 210 lbs (95 kg).
Medical examiners in Dead Man Walking describe Michael as overweight, with fat deposits on his abdomen suggesting a fondness for Bleeder Burgers, leading them to suspect his "death" as result of coronary failure. They, as well as Trevor in Derailed have noted his poor hygiene due to his habits of drinking and smoking cigarettes, giving him discolored teeth and fingers, with the examiners estimating he smoked approximately a pack of cigarettes a day, along with cigars. The medical examiners also noticed broken capillaries around his nose to indicate his alcoholism and deduce he has an unhealthy liver.
In official artwork, he is shown to have blue eyes. His default appearance is a cleft chin with a Lexington hairstyle and a short stubble around his face. Michael's physique is thicker and more heavily built than the likes of Trevor and Franklin, having burly and veiny arms and legs. This most certainly comes from his time as a quarterback and his stint in prison. Although Michael isn't obese or out of shape, many people around him will occasionally make fun of his rather large midsection, such as Jimmy and Trevor or even himself at many times. Michael's movement is also much slower than Franklin and Trevor's, as he's much older and on top of the fact that his ten-year retirement from crime has forced him to not be as physically active as the other two. During Pack Man, Trevor tells Lamar that when he met Michael he was "kinda fat, but strong underneath".
Michael's initial wardrobe sets him with a gray two-piece suit without a tie and casual attires like beach shorts with sandals or polo shirts. His gray suit is his default outfit used in most of his artwork and concept art. He shows approval as he's trying out outfits at Ponsonby's, opposite to the clear disdain of buying items from Suburban or Binco. His Prologue appearance has him with shorter, shaven hair. It is somewhere between his default Lexington and The Wood hairstyle, somewhat similar to the Cesar haircut of CJ. His facial features are still the same.
Michael's beta appearance can be seen in Trailers one and two, where he is seen with green eyes and an older look. This was changed later in the character's development to make him look like he wasn't too old to perform some of the things he would do during gameplay.
Grand Theft Auto series
- Ron: "From what I can tell, you're like a high school athlete, living off old glories. You used to be able to manage heat and now you're worried if your loafers are getting scuffed."
- Michael: "Any more bullshit comes out of your mouth, you're gonna learn all about my past glories first hand, you understand?"
- ―Ron Jakowski and Michael in Derailed
Michael is a very muddled person, even confused by his "good and evil" personalities. He spends an uncommon amount of time in his head, where he can comfortably think or reminisce about certain things or aspects that give him a brief moment of nostalgia from his glory days. Nevertheless, it also constrains him into a world of wistfulness and bewilderment as he ponders the reason why things aren't going in the direction he planned it would. Michael has an obsession for materialistic appearance and images, making it the main reason for why he dreamt of living out his Vinewood Dream with his family. He claims to Franklin that he has lived a repeated pattern of "Chase things, get em', hate em'.".
- Trevor: "Is that sarcasm?"
- Michael: "Oh, you're fucking A-right it's sarcasm! You fuck! A few weeks ago, I was happily retired, sulking by my swimming pool, and my psychotic best friend shows up out of nowhere to torture me over mistakes I made, honest mistakes I made over a decade ago! We, our little posse, are flat fucking broke, but hey, let's go out and spend two million dollars on a tandem rotor fucking chopper, so I can go steal nerve gas from fucking terrorists! Forgive me, you ignorant fuck, but sarcasm is all I've fucking got! Sarcasm, and a room full of you cunts!"
- ―Trevor and Michael in Paleto Score Setup
Michael holds a deep-seated amount of self-hatred, due to him wanting to live a life that's a falsehood rather than coming to the conclusion that his troubling mistakes has garnished a great deal of misfortune upon himself, his family, and old friends and associates of his (his deal with the FIB is a prime example). The self-hatred gives him an exceptionally short temper that he doesn't know how to control, 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, Kyle Chavis. He chases Kyle to a mansion and pulls it off a hillside believing that it belonged to him (however, nearly everyone around Michael (except Franklin), including Chavis himself, knew that the mansion was too expensive for him to afford with his salary). Sarcasm is something that Michael firmly grasps because of the self-hatred, as he doesn't know how to respond to his family or friends properly at times without it. He indicates this in the mission Paleto Score Setup, where he proclaims that sarcasm is one of the only things he has left in this world that can't be taken away from him.
- Michael: "You're not making my situation any easier."
- Trevor: "Ohh, there's a surprise! I knew it would become about you!"
- Michael: "I miss my family!"
- Trevor: "Oh, you're full of shit! All you ever did was ignore 'em and now that they're gone, you miss 'em. Fuckin' incredible."
- —Michael and Trevor in The Paleto Score
Michael is a highly egotistical and narcissistic person. He'll only be concerned about the issues he's being pulled through, instead of the situations that he constantly puts his family or his friends through and will often get unfairly defensive when someone rightfully criticizes him. A case in point of this wrong doing is shown in one of the many heated arguments he has with his wife, Amanda. At the start of Fame or Shame she castigates him for not giving her any support in raising their children and only wanting to cater to himself by Getting drunk, or you're staring miserably at the clouds, or you're out there doing God only knows what. He responds with the fact that he, Pulled you out of a midwestern trailer park, got you a big mansion in Rockford Hills, and that the only thing she'll have to worry about is What part of your body you want to have chopped off or sucked out again. Another instant is in the same mission, where Trevor chides him for letting Tracey humiliate herself on public television the way she did and labeling it as Poor parenting. Michael responds in a defensive manner, Yeah, thanks for the fucking feedback. It means a lot coming from you. The same goes for Lester and Franklin as well. During Predator, Trevor criticises Michael for instantly thinking about himself, claiming it is "typical" of him. During The Paleto Score, Michael argues with Trevor over the latter's kidnap of Patricia Madrazo, resulting in their exile in Sandy Shores to avoid the wrath of her husband Martin. Michael complains that Trevor is not making his situation any easier, with Trevor again criticising Michael for only thinking about himself. At the beginning of The Bureau Raid (Fire Crew entry), when Lester is explaining the plan to Michael, Michael describes it as 'a bit idiotic'. Lester explains that he tried his best and that Michael chose this method. He then claims that Trevor has a point about Michael "whining too much", to which Michael responds by giving Lester the finger. At the beginning of the Roof Entry setup for the same mission, Lester continuously reproaches Michael for his constant bickering about the former managing to still stay calm and collective as they're about to pull off a dangerous raid on one of the most secure buildings in the country. Michael gets annoyed to the point where he refused to give Lester's cane back to him unless he takes back everything he stated previously. Lester does so reluctantly. When Michael tries to pull the same bickering move on Franklin, the latter fires back at him with irritation, leaving Michael to apologize for now noticing how self-absorbed he's been.
Another of Michael's negative traits is his hypocrisy. He frequently scolds the people around him for their mistakes and habits but refuses to acknowledge his own. At the start of the mission Daddy's Little Girl, he criticizes Jimmy for slouching all day in front of the TV, playing video games and eating profusely, despite the fact he does almost the exact same thing. With Tracy, he denies her the opportunity to become famous by intervening against her wishes while actively currying favor with Solomon Richards to be a famous movie producer by working with unsavory individuals. With Amanda, he claims that she is wasteful with his money even though she notices that Michael's day trading is hurting the family finances during The Good Husband on their way home. He does the same thing towards Trevor, openly judging his will to maim, kill, and steal with ease and pleasure while not showing any signs of remorse, even though Michael himself shows little to no remorse for the various people he kills, while he actively provokes trouble with Simeon, Blake, Lazlow and Madrazo over petty issues his family has. During The Paleto Score, Michael complains to Trevor that he misses his family, with Trevor angrily retorting that Michael never paid them any attention and only misses them now that they've left him. Although he openly claims to his therapist that he does the same thing, he hides it underneath multiple lies, a few of them being that he doesn't enjoy the thrill of the action or that he doesn't hold a plain yet willfully strong addiction to chaos.
The see-through hypocrisy can simultaneously show how easily and massively dishonest he is. Whether or not it's with himself, his family or his friends, Michael displays difficulty when trying to convey the truth. For instance, whenever Trevor brings up a subject involving Brad, Michael will immediately yet vaguely change the topic and once Trevor realizes that Brad is dead, Michael continues to make lies about his grave being empty instead of it actually containing the former's corpse. Even after Brad's corpse is shown, Michael will unwittingly lie about his death, instead of coming out with the truth about the staged robbery that took place nine years ago, which causes Trevor to grow irritated and angry. At the end of the mission Surveying the Score, Franklin questions Michael's past relationship with Trevor to the point where Michael has to steadily ask him to stop, in hopes of covering his tracks and not letting Franklin catch wind of his deal with the FIB nine years ago and quite possibly letting Trevor know in the process.
His judgement calls will also cause negative repercussions. After being "green lit" by Martin Madrazo, he brushes it off, telling Franklin that he's known worse human beings. He then begins to take it back after receiving an astringent blow to his midsection with a baseball bat, which was delivered by Madrazo himself. He even declares Martin a terrifying psychopath. With Devin Weston, he wanted no part in Weston's plans to highjack several high-end vehicles, that is, until Weston promised to arrange a meeting with Michael's idol, Solomon Richards. After this, he makes the choice of keeping Devin in a positive mood in order to make sure that none of his business ventures are ruined, even if that means making Franklin work for Devin continuously without payment.
Despite all the negatives, Michael does possess a good side to his personality. He is 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.
It should also be noted that it's very clear that Michael cares for his friends more than he shows. If Franklin chooses to kill Trevor in the end, Michael will stop hanging out with Franklin for a while because he is devastated by Trevor's death. However, he will later apologize to Franklin and reassure him that they are still friends. If you choose to kill Michael, his extremely aggressive behavior towards Franklin shows that he loved him as a friend and can't believe Franklin didn't feel the same.
- "Uhh, okay, you're the expert in springing attacks on the unsuspecting."
- — Trevor in Lamar Down
Being the opposite of Trevor, Michael is thorough and rational when it comes to crime. This makes others leave him to the planning and leading of robberies and missions, as he is usually the one to come up with a plan for a heist alongside Lester. He also shows consideration for people caught up in robberies. An example is that, if you choose to pose as guards for the Union Depository heist, Michael will 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 Merryweather 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 comes back and can be seen showing a great amount of regret due to the decisions he's made, becoming more truthful and open. This is evident when he hangs out with Franklin; he expressed great distaste for his decision to betray Trevor with the help of Dave to secure a future for himself, 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.
Relationships with other characters
While living in North Yankton, Michael had a stronger bond with his loved ones and they were able to get along with each other. But after relocating to Los Santos, Michael's obsession with living the Vinewood Dream along with his depression about having to abandon his criminal lifestyle made him neglect and alienate his family, while he himself became egocentric, selfish and conceited. 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 De Santa - Amanda's relationship with Michael began in a strip club where she was a stripper. The two fell in love with one another, had two children and eventually married. 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 away from Michael's past crimes. 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. After catching Michael in bed with another stripper, Amanda began to have affairs with multiple men, including her tennis coach, which further strains their marriage, with Michael implied to be reciprocating this infidelity by calling up hookers at motels and allows her to have affairs on the condition of not having sex with other men in his home. Amanda finally hits her breaking point when Fabien does a sexual pose on her, which angers Michael, who then attempts to punch Fabien. Fabien reacts by 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, Jimmy reveals to Franklin that Amanda very much misses Michael, frequently asking about him and even telling Franklin at one point to let her know if he's doing well. It turns out that Amanda as well as their kids were even more miserable living with Fabien than with Michael. After Jimmy revealed that Fabien is starting to bore Amanda and is only interested in the sexual aspect of the relationship as well as being a mooch, he tells Michael the couple's hangout spot. Amanda was then seen hanging out with Fabien at a local Bean Machine coffee shop, getting berated by Fabien and later being told to pay for a custom-made unitard. Michael steps in angrily in defense of Amanda, and she allows Michael to hit him in the face with a laptop. Michael then agrees to arrange a therapy session with Dr. Friedlander, bringing Jimmy and Tracey along. During the session, Michael and Amanda had a screaming match in front of their kids (during which he threatens to kill Amanda if she ever has him put in jail), in hopes of clearing up the situations that would ultimately keep their marriage in ruins. Amanda and the kids move back in with Michael afterward, and their feelings are rekindled by the end of the story, brought closer together by various events. 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 be rude to each other, they now kindly bid each other goodbye. 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. He also expresses generosity afterwards, whereas before he was stingy with his money.
Jimmy De Santa - 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 have a confused and strained relationship with each other. Michael tries to improve their relationship by spending time with his son to no avail as his son lacks any form of respect for his father. At one point, he even drugs Michael, 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.
Tracey De Santa - Michael's relationship with his daughter is also said to be frail. Despite this, Michael does love Tracey but is often angry at her 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 returns home, 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. Michael even helps Tracey deal with a creepy, old man who's been stalking her. However, Tracey still continues trying to be a celebrity, but somewhere after the story ended, she bleeted that people need to stop sending her sex toys, because she doesn't do that on camera.
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 missing or dead. Even after becoming semi-retired he still doesn't have many friends. This is mostly caused by his antisocial personality that keeps him wrapped up inside his head.
Trevor Philips - 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. Trevor claims that Michael's victim came after him, so Trevor shot a flare into the other man's head, and dumped the body using his plane (which Trevor claimed "Never smelled the same again."), and as soon as they left the plane, they both threw up, and they became friends.
Michael convinced Trevor to join him to commit further robberies, seeing as they worked well as a team. Thus, they started a long partnership. While Trevor viewed Michael as a friend and possibly a spiritual brother who could understand him and his psychotic ways, Michael viewed Trevor as an insane liability with special uses.
Their alleged friendship was okay until Michael met his future wife Amanda, causing their friendship to strain since Trevor and Amanda didn't see eye to eye. After the botched heist took place, Michael and Trevor both assumed that one another was dead.
After Michael's relapse into crime, Trevor discovers that he is alive and comes to the conclusion that he faked his death. Trevor, while still viewing Michael as a friend, starts to treat him with derision as he feels betrayed by Michael but both still get on well enough.
Their friendship is even further strained when Trevor begins to piece together 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.
Michael sees in Trevor everything he despises on himself, so he'd try to pin everything into him or think in betraying him once again. This is highlighted during the mission The Big Score, as Michael and his crew are escaping from the cops, he'd be saying things like "If we are caught, it's all Trevor's idea".
In Something Sensible, Trevor won't become friends with Michael again, as he caused him to crash while he was being chased by Franklin. He will state, I thought I was with one Judas! I'm surrounded by them. If Franklin doesn't kill Trevor, then Michael will shoot him instead. He will tell Franklin weeks later that he regrets his actions, and doesn't want to know him anymore.
In The Time's Come, Trevor is not directly involved, but works out that Franklin is responsible. It seems that Trevor wanted to forgive Michael, but didn't have a chance to apologize. He will call Franklin a Judas, a backstabber and a traitor.
In The Third Way, 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 second 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 one that he hates, which Michael manages to accept.
After this, while hanging out with each other, 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. The next time they hang out, Trevor will apologize to Michael and admits that he shouldn't have reacted the way he did.
Franklin Clinton - Franklin meets Michael after stealing a car from the latter's house. Michael then has Franklin take him to whomever tasked Franklin with stealing 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 Jimmy, Michael sees much potential in the young man. After Franklin's help with the jewelry store heist, Michael refers to Franklin as a true friend and 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 two, but rather than siding with one of them, Franklin tries to calm the two 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. If the player chooses to kill Michael, 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, although their friendship is shown to be greatly strained. 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". However, unbeknownst to Franklin, Michael was also the source of Franklin's problems as the former's actions led to the latter being fired, being involved with federal crimes and being hung out to dry after he kills Michael under pressure.
Lester Crest - 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. He can often be seen sticking up for Lester when he can't defend himself from much stronger people, such as Trevor. However, that won't stop Michael from bullying Lester if he criticizes the former for his hypocrisy.
Dave Norton - Years prior to the events of the game, Michael arranged a deal for him to hand over Trevor and Brad to the FIB by faking 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 luxurious mansion in Rockford Hills, Los Santos. 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. They would occasionally defend each other in hostile situations, like what was shown in the mission The Wrap Up, when he threatened Steve with a gun to prevent him from arresting 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. However, if Michael aids Franklin in killing Trevor, Dave is no longer able to maintain ties with Michael as he is kept under strict surveillance and eventual dishonorable discharge by Haines.
Solomon Richards - Solomon and Michael are introduced to each other through Devin Weston. Michael is a big fan of the film producer and views him as his idol, 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. This offers more meaning and joy into Michael's life and if he was to call Solomon after the mission Meltdown, he'll declare that working with the film producer was ultimately the best thing to ever happen to him.
Steve Haines - Michael meets Haines during a job to extract Ferdinand Kerimov (aka Mr. K) from the IAA headquarters. He forces him, Trevor and Franklin 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, more and more suspicion from the Bureau falls on Haines, 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 for ruining his career. After an ambush consisting of the 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 and tasks Franklin to kill Trevor. In the "Deathwish" ending, if Franklin chooses Option C, Trevor kills Steve while he is shooting an episode of his show at Del Perro Pier, while Michael kills Stretch, an enemy of Franklin and Lamar Davis at the BJ Smith Recreational Center. If Franklin kills Trevor, Haines will congratulate him and breaks all ties with him obeying one final wish, that Weston backs off from wanting Michael dead. Franklin will do the same with Weston about Haines wanting Trevor dead if he kills Michael.
Devin Weston - Michael meets Devin during a meeting with Steve Haines. He first offers the former a deal of producing a film after a heist, and Michael is annoyed by Devin's intentionally rude and condescending demeanor during this meeting at Devin's mansion. Devin soon refuses to pay Michael, along with Trevor and Franklin for their jobs, and after Michael refuses to terminate the Meltdown film's production and accidentally gets Devin's lawyer killed, Devin sends a platoon of Merryweather men to kill Michael's family. However, Michael manages to save his family, and he furiously tells Lester over the phone that he wants to come up with plan to murder Devin and get back at Merryweather, effectively starting a personal war between the two men. This incident leads Devin to hire Franklin to murder Michael. If "Deathwish" is chosen, Michael happily accepts Franklin's offer to help him and Trevor. Trevor kills Devin's Merryweather guards, kidnaps Devin from his mansion and shoves him inside the trunk of one of his own cars. The three protagonists meet up to taunt a beaten and bloodied Devin for their victory, before pushing him (with him inside the car trunk) off the cliff into the ocean, killing him.
Michael's Special Ability is called "Area Kill." While active, Michael enters a bullet-time-like effect, allowing him to slow time and gain the advantage in shootouts. By enhancing this skill, you increase its maximum storage capacity, which directly affects its duration. Michael's Special Ability lasts for 30 seconds when the Stat Bar for Special Abilities has been maxed out.
For the list of Michael De Santa's mission appearances, see Michael De Santa/Appearances.
Just like Franklin and Trevor, Michael has received a very positive response from critics and fans of the series, as he was the first protagonist in the Grand Theft Auto series to have a family.
Dan Houser's description of Michael
"Michael, to me, is... Who is he? I know who he is, I'm just trying to... He's the person who is trying to ignore some rather large mistakes that they have made. The person who's trying to forget about certain practical but still selfish decisions that they took. He's a man, also, obsessed by images and by appearances and who, when the world doesn't live up to those images and appearances, doesn't know what to do. He just retreats into his head. What he also is, when we started out... What he kind of evolved into as we began thinking about him and developing him... He was the first character we came up with. He began as the idea of, what happens to a regular GTA protagonist after they retire? Then you think, what would make him retire? He's a man with a big ego and plenty of good values and plenty of bad values."
"A guy who's in his mid-40's and on the cusp of middle age who doesn't know what to do, but made a bunch of money and does not know what to do with it. He's theoretically won, but the spoils of victory aren't necessarily what he imagined. For us that's a very interesting character, unlike what we've done in the past or what we've seen in much entertainment in general, let alone any video games. That was interesting."
- "Why did I move here? I guess it was the weather. Or the... Ah, I don't know, that thing. That magic." - Michael's quote from the Grand Theft Auto V Trailer.
- "Fucking A!" - Michael's trademark quote. Said many times through the game.
- "He's a good kid? A good kid? Why? Does he help the fuckin' poor? No; he sits on his ass all day smokin' dope and jerkin' off while he plays that fucking game." - Michael on Jimmy De Santa.
- "A few weeks ago, I was happily retired, sulking by my swimming pool. And then, my psychotic best friend shows up out of nowhere, to torture me over mistakes I've made, honest mistakes I made over a decade ago!" - Michael venting anger about being stuck in Blaine County and in his old criminal lifestyle, thanks to Trevor.
- "You forget a thousand things everyday. Make sure this is one of them." - Michael's favorite movie quote.
- "Look, I made a judgment call. I don't know if it was the right one, I did what I thought I had to do. I had a young family, Franklin. I was running with a crew of crazy motherfuckers with nothing to lose. I saw an out. A future for me, for my family! I took it." - Michael explaining to Franklin why he betrayed Trevor and Brad.
- "I've been in this game for a lot of years. I got out alive, that makes me the right age. You want my advice, you give this shit up." - Michael explaining his situation to Franklin.
- "I always thought I was the good guy." - Michael telling Jimmy why he left the criminal lifestyle.
- "I want something that isn't this, you know? This caring about two things at once. I mean, I want to be a good dad, love my family... live the dream... but at the same time... I really want the other stuff, too." - Michael during his last therapy session.
- "I've done a lot of things that I ain't proud of, and I never claim to be an angel. But you meet Trevor, Franklin, you'll swear I am an angel." - Michael during the epilogue of Dead Man Walking.
- "How about you SUCK my cock?! HUH?!" - Michael's childish response to Amanda's insult in Reuniting the Family
- "Look, we do what we gotta do to survive. This thing... it didn't work out the way it was supposed to. Brad got shot, you saw it! He didn't make it. I got shot, I did, that's... that's it!" - Michael's excuse for Brad's death in Bury the Hatchet.
- Michael was the first protagonist that came to Rockstar's mind when they began the development of Grand Theft Auto V.
- His favorite radio stations are Los Santos Rock Radio, Vinewood Boulevard Radio, and Radio Mirror Park. He also seems to have a taste for funk, as the radio inside his mansion is tuned to The Lowdown 91.1, and he will bob his head in appreciation to both it and Space 103.2 while in a vehicle. Additionally, he will listen to Rebel Radio, during his time in Blaine County.
- After firing a pistol and starting to run or walk as Michael, he will be holding it in both hands, unlike Franklin and Trevor.
- Michael's special ability might be a reference to Max Payne, another Rockstar-owned franchise, where the title character possesses an ability called Bullet Time, that allow him to slow down time.
- Michael's great shooting accuracy also makes him one of the most challenging opponents while playing Darts.
- The quote that Michael uses in Prologue and The Jewel Store Job, "You forget a thousand things everyday, make sure this is one of them.", is from the Solomon Richards movie Arthur Penny's Sanitorium, although slightly modified. The original line is "We forget a thousand things everyday, can't we just make this one of them?".
- Throughout the game, Michael displays a contempt for yoga instructors. Coincidentally, his voice and motion capture performer Ned Luke is married to a yoga instructor.
- Michael Townley is a real person under federal witness protection. He was a former CIA operative who was involved in the 1976 assassination of Orlando Letelier, a Chilean ambassador.
- It is possible that Michael dreamed of becoming a cop growing up, as suggested by Trevor Phillips in "I Fought the Law...".
- Michael was called "snowbird" by Devin Weston and Gianni. "Snowbird" means someone from the U.S. Northeast, U.S. Midwest, Pacific Northwest, or Canada who spends a large portion of winter in warmer locales such as southern California, southern Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Texas, Georgia, the Carolinas, or elsewhere along the Sun Belt of the southern and southwest United States, Mexico, and areas of the Caribbean. The way that snowbird was used by Devin and Gianni towards Michael was a reference to how he moved to Los Santos from Ludendorff.
- Michael may be of Irish descent, as a number of his possible tattoos are Irish-themed, his former surname, Townley, is of Celtic origin, he has green eyes and his favourite drink is whisky, which are common Irish traits.
- Upon returning to his house, one possible line of dialogue for Michael to shout is "Daddy's back, bitches!", the first line of dialogue in Grand Theft Auto IV.
- Michael has unique, terrifying reactions when he hits a family member with a car.
- On Michael's tombstone in North Yankton it states that he was born in 1965 (making him 48 in 2013), one of the coroners in "Dead Man Walking" describes him as being in his "late 40s", and Michael refers to himself as "the last of the baby boomers" in The Bureau Raid (Roof Entry), which would back up a birth year of 1965. However, Trevor, Lester, and his son Jimmy all state that he is 45 years old (meaning he was born in 1968).
- If Michael accesses the in-game website PsychicShoutout and speaks with Ms. Tammy, she will reveal that Amanda has already had sex with the yoga instructor (Fabien LaRouche), the tennis coach (Kyle Chavis) and also a fireman, a plumber, a beach lifeguard, a truck driver, a dustman, a gardener as well as a hipster. Michael will angrily reply that they have an open relationship. This is later backed up by Tracey De Santa in the mission Reuniting the Family when Michael drives himself, Tracey and Jimmy De Santa to Dr. Friedlander's office.
- When walking, Michael is slightly slower than Franklin or Trevor, this might be due to him being retired and not as active as he used to be. His voice and motion-capture performer Ned Luke even put on 25 pounds to replicate this.
- When someone talks to Michael on his right side, he shifts his body right toward that person. This is because in real life, Ned Luke, Michael's voice and motion-capture actor, is deaf in his right ear.
- A person comments under the film Rum Runner's synopsis on the Classic Vinewood in-game website, under the pseudonym 'michaelds', saying 'I wanted to be Eddie Olson when I was a kid. Just without the handicap fetish'. "michaelds" is most likely a pseudonym for Michael De Santa.
- There's a second comment from 'michaelds' under the film The Many Wives of Alfredo Smith's synopsis, in this one he comments: "This is how movies should be. A plot so tangled that you still don't have a clue what's going on even after watching it five times. Not the dumbed down sickly sweet trash Vinewood pumps out these days".
- At one point during development of GTA V, Michael's name was Albert De Silva, as per the Rush Casting Call.
- After Isiah Friedlander's death, it is stated on the radio that Michael's name was "Marky De Santo", possibly to hide his identity. Ahron Ward and the police dispatcher also call Michael "Mr. De Santo" and "Michael De Santo", respectively.
- On the Overview page on the Social Club Michael's business card strangely says "Michael Townley" instead of "Michael De Santa". It also says "entrepreneur", just like Franklin's.
- Michael sleeps for the shortest time of the three characters. When saving the game with Michael, the game skips ahead six hours. Franklin sleeps for eight hours, while Trevor sleeps for twelve. During the time that he lives alone after his family move out, one of his switch scenes will show him waking up screaming and pointing a gun around. He may possibly suffer from nightmares, which could explain his short sleeping time compared to Trevor and Franklin.
- Michael's appearance in the game may be based on Robert De Niro's character in the movie Heat as both characters are professional bank robbers, of Irish descent, dealing with a psychopath (Trevor in-game, Waingro in the movie), and both have a friend in law enforcement.
- A clear reference to the movie Heat is seen in the mission Blitz Play, where Michael, Trevor, and Franklin attempt to rob an armored truck by ramming into it with a large tow truck. In the movie, De Niro's character and his crew attempt to rob the armored van under the same circumstances, but a crew member "Waingro", who Trevor is based upon, messes it up by killing the security guards.
- According to a phone call with Dr. Isiah Friedlander, Michael tried taking behavior medication before the events of the game, but stopped because the dosage was incorrect, causing him to "cry and piss all over himself".
- There is a lot of similarity between Michael and Tony Soprano from the TV show, The Sopranos:
- Both Tony and Michael smoke cigars.
- They both go to a shrink, despite the fact that none of them believe in therapy.
- Both of them have two children, a boy and a girl, with whom they have a lot of fights, especially about their job, Tony being a mafia boss and Michael being a robber.
- Both of them have trouble with their wives, and shaky relationships. However, Tony's wife Carmela doesn't cheat on him, like Amanda cheats on Michael.
- They both live in a big house with a pool.
- Their language and way of speaking are similar.
- Both of them are huge movie fans, and they both prefer classic movies of Hollywood (GTA world, Vinewood), to "new-age" movies.
- Both are known for their similar hypocrisy.
- Both played football during their childhood.
- While wearing the Epsilon tunic, other characters, such as Bob Mulét and other barbers, may say Kifflom to him in greeting.