- "Then I guess you getting involved with a clapped out old agent who's been living off of past glories was your first mistake. You're my boy now, amigo. My career depends on this, and that's very important to me. So seeing as we're all boys now, that makes it important to you."
- ―Steve Haines to Michael De Santa in Three's Company.
Steven Haines was born in 1975 and joined the FIB in 1993. In the following years he became such a highly decorated and high-ranked FIB special agent to the point that he was given leadership of his own FIB special unit and became the handler and boss of several well-known FIB special agents, including Andreas Sanchez and Dave Norton. In 2008, Haines was chosen to become the host of a new criminal reality TV show called the Underbelly of Paradise. As host of the show, Haines (and his camera crew) regularly make reports on gang activity and the overall criminal underworld of Los Santos which is divided between rival criminal gangs. Haines would then become a celebrity, thanks to the success of the programme.
However, despite the decorations from the Bureau, leading his own unit, and becoming famous as the host of the "Underbelly Of Paradise" show, by 2013 Haines and his right-hand man Andreas Sanchez were infamously corrupt. Haines in particular, was known to be on the payroll of several wealthy and powerful people, including eccentric billionaire Devin Weston, whom Haines considers a "close friend."
Events prior to Grand Theft Auto V
In 2013, both the FIB and the rival IAA are in a heated battle to secure government funding after cuts had been made to the budgets of both organisations due to a decrease in terrorist activity. Haines actively engages in attempts to sabotage the IAA, in order to gain more prestige within the Bureau by securing more funding from the government and improving his own public image in the process.
Events of Grand Theft Auto V
Haines uses his influence over Dave Norton to coerce Michael De Santa and his associates, Franklin Clinton and Trevor Philips, into carrying out several illicit tasks for him. All of these jobs are aimed at sabotaging rival agency, the IAA, so the government will allocate more funding to the FIB, allowing Haines to advance his career.
The first of these tasks involves breaking into the IAA Headquarters to kidnap Agency prisoner Ferdinand Kerimov. After the kidnapping is successful, Haines later has Trevor torture Kerimov to get information, so that Michael and Dave can locate and assassinate Tahir Javan, a man suspected to be involved with Azerbaijani terrorists. After Javan is killed, Haines orders Trevor to kill Kerimov, but Trevor instead releases him, telling Kerimov to go into hiding in another country and become a "torture advocate".
Later on, Michael, Franklin, and Trevor meet up with Haines, Norton, and Sanchez at the Murrieta Oil Field to discuss business. Steve tells the protagonists of his new plan to sabotage the IAA: Robbing a Securicar carrying valuable government bonds that Haines claims will be used by the IAA to finance gang warfare and thus cause a situation which will require giving them more funding from the US government. Using boiler suits, masks, a Trash Truck, a tow truck and a getaway vehicle, the trio attack the armored car and escape with the bonds, giving them to Devin Weston at Haines' behest.
After some time, Haines and Norton meet with Michael and Trevor, who are now hiding in Sandy Shores (due to Trevor assaulting cartel boss Martin Madrazo and kidnapping his wife). This time, the FIB wants to raid an IAA compound, where according to Haines' sources, the Agency is developing an experimental neurotoxin that they plan to release in a metropolitan area as part of a staged terrorist plot meant to draw more funding for them. However, before the raid can be carried out, the protagonists need to acquire enough funds to obtain the necessary equipment. To this end, the trio contacts their associate Lester Crest and hatch a plot to rob the Blaine County Savings Bank. Despite some difficulty brought forth by the corrupt local police department who used the bank to launder and store their pay-offs and extortion money, the heist is a success and the crew obtain the necessary funding.
The trio meet with Haines and Norton at Cape Catfish to start the raid on the IAA Compound and, upon discovering the fact that the crew did not procure additional manpower for the job, the FIB agents reluctantly join the caper team. Michael, Norton and Haines take care of the theft, while Franklin and Trevor conduct the getaway. After infiltrating the research facility and stealing the neurotoxin, the theft crew are held back by unexpected IAA reinforcements. However, Haines manages to buy them enough time to escape by shooting himself in the leg and pretending to be an inside man who was trying to stop the theft, thus distracting the IAA agents long enough for the rest of the crew to escape.
Haines' presence in the IAA compound during its raid causes the Bureau to start catching on to his corrupt and unsanctioned operations, which causes Haines to become increasingly paranoid. To prevent his arrest, Haines orders Michael to break into the FIB headquarters and steal all the compromising information the Bureau has on him, promising to delete Michael's files and cut him and his friends loose after the job is done. After getting a team together, Michael and Franklin successfully raid the FIB Headquarters, wiping out not only the evidence the Bureau had on Haines, but also the evidence Haines had on him and his crew, destroying Steve's leverage over them.
Despite all the FIB's information on him being erased, Haines is still afraid of being caught red-handed and decides to try and pin the blame for all his illegal operations on Michael and Norton. He calls them both to a meeting with himself and Sanchez at the Kortz Center and, once they arrive, he tries to have them both arrested. However, a rival FIB team arrive and Haines realizes that he has been promptly betrayed by Sanchez, who is revealed to have been working with the rival FIB unit all along. To complicate the situation further, separate groups consisting of IAA agents led by the United Liberty Paper Contact and a Merryweather battalion arrive.
The situation ultimately results in a massive four-way shootout. Haines gets shot in the leg (the same one he'd previously shot himself in) and, in retaliation, he kills Sanchez before escaping, leaving Michael and Norton behind to die. However, with help from the unexpected arrival of Trevor, the duo manage to shoot their way out of the Center, killing all FIB, IAA and Merryweather operatives present. During the shootout, Trevor suggests that they kill Haines, however Norton refuses and instead says that he will try to calm him down.
After the Kortz Center incident, an infuriated Haines wishes to have all three protagonists killed, but Dave manages to calm him down and convinces him to spare Michael and Franklin, though he still insists that Trevor has to die, since he's too unpredictable to be kept quiet. He and Dave meet with Franklin after he drops off his friend Lamar Davis at home and tasks him with the killing.
However, soon after Franklin is contacted by Devin Weston, who tells him to kill Michael for interfering with his business and for accidentally causing his lawyer's death. As he can't kill both, Franklin is left with three choices: kill Trevor, kill Michael or save them both and team up to take down their enemies.
If Franklin chooses to kill Trevor, he meets him at the Murrieta Oil Fields and, after a brief chase, murders Trevor with Michael's help. Afterwards, Franklin calls Haines and informs him that he's done as he requested. Franklin also asks Haines to persuade Devin Weston not to go after him for sparing Michael. Haines tells Franklin that he'll handle Weston, who's in a precarious position because Merryweather has lost its licence to operate in the country, but also tells him never to contact him again.
If Franklin chooses to kill Michael, he murders his former mentor on his own after a brief chase. Afterwards, Franklin calls Weston to inform him that he's done as requested and also to ask him to persuade Haines not to go after him for not killing Trevor. Weston tells Franklin he's already handled Haines and Norton, but tells him he's no longer useful to him and tells him never to contact him again.
If Franklin chooses to spare both his friends, he meets with Lester to tell him about his predicament. At first, Lester suggests killing both Michael and Trevor, but eventually thinks of a better plan - he will call Haines and Weston and tell them that the protagonists are melting the stolen gold from the Union Depository heist at a foundry in Murrieta Heights. Once both of them send their goons to take out the trio, the protagonists can ambush them and take them out. The plan is a success as Franklin, Michael and Trevor take out Haines' corrupt FIB unit and Weston's private Merryweather batallion, thus eliminating both Haines' and Weston's criminal muscle. The trio then decide to eliminate their enemies once and for all, agreeing to kill those they weren't directly associated with to throw off suspicion. While Michael goes after Stretch and Franklin targets Wei Cheng, Trevor eagerly goes after Haines. With Lester's help, Trevor locates Haines at the Del Perro Pier, where he is shooting an episode of his reality TV show. While Haines is filming a monologue on the ferris wheel, Trevor shoots him in the head with a sniper rifle (though Trevor can kill Steve with other weapons if the player is close enough), killing him while the camera is still filming.
Aftermath of The Third Way
- A news article will shortly appear:
Los Santos Meteor Newspaper "Steve Haines, decorated FIB agent and host of the popular TV show "The Underbelly Of Paradise" unwittingly helped expose that underbelly further yesterday as he was assassinated while filming a segment of his TV show on the Ferris Whale on Del Perro Pier. Agent Haines, who had twice recently been injured in the line of duty, had been an agent for nearly 20 years and a TV host for five. FIB spokesman Gary Lane told the Los Santos Meteor "Agent Haines died a hero, doing what he loved, which was presenting a TV show. He really helped combine the chaos of anti-terrorism and the mindlessness of network television into one highly successful career." Mr. Haines, who was not married, lived with his mother."
- Dave Norton will call Michael and reveal to him that he will replace Steve as the host of the Underbelly of Paradise program after Steve's death.
As stated above, Haines is a corrupt FIB agent, who does not hesitate when it comes to breaking the law and Bureau procedure and policy if there is an opportunity to further advance his career. Haines first appears to be pleasant and charming on his TV show, but when Michael meets him in person, he is shown to be selfish, arrogant and overly confident in dialogue, thinking solely about his career. When they first meet, Haines introduces himself to Michael by saying "Steve Haines, but you probably knew that already" and asks Michael if he's ever watched his show, before displaying open displeasure when Michael claims he has never heard of Haines or his show. His true colors are shown, however, when Michael begins to jokingly mock Haines and his partners over their rogue activities. Haines plays along and even compliments Michael on his quick wit at first, before his temperament suddenly changes when he grabs Michael by the throat and threatens to strangle him to death if he continues to disrespect him. Haines has a very short temper, as shown when he chokes Michael for making a few wisecracking jokes at his expense. Haines also attempts to make his own wisecracks, but his snide and arrogant personality often results in these jokes falling flat. Despite these traits, Dave Norton tries to assure Michael that they're not that different and that Haines and Norton are less corrupt than some divisions in the FIB, but over time it is shown that even Norton has so much control over Haines, as the rest of the protagonists.
Haines is shown to be despised by almost everyone he comes into contact with (most noticeably by Michael and Trevor, who both share a deep hatred towards Haines). Despite this, he claims a personal friendship with Devin Weston, though Weston's reference to Haines as a "clown" would suggest otherwise. Haines has no qualms with torturing and/or killing suspects or people he sees as standing in the way of his career. This is shown when he has Trevor Philips brutally torture a seemingly innocent man for information (who was more than willing to give Haines the information he requested) on another possible terror suspect, before casually ordering Philips to murder the man when he is of no further use to him and leaving to attend a racquetball game.
Haines is an opportunist. He uses Michael, Trevor and Franklin to do his dirty work before betraying them when they outlive their usefulness to him. Haines is also willing to sacrifice others to save his own skin which is evident when he attempts to have Dave Norton and Michael De Santa arrested to deflect blame for all the criminal activities they participated in.
Since 2008, Haines has been the host of the Underbelly of Paradise - a reality TV show that explores (and exploits) the poorer, crime-ridden streets of Los Santos and all the gangs that have their own turf in the city, including the Ballas, Chamberlain Gangsters Families, Vagos and even The Lost MC, who had been tracked down for years from the FIB, according to Haines. If Franklin chooses option C, then Trevor will track down Haines, who is shooting an episode of his show at Del Perro Pier, and kill him. After Haines' death, Dave Norton will call Michael and reveal to him that he has replaced Haines as the host of the show.
- Andreas Sanchez - Murdered for passing information on Haines' criminal activities and for working with a rival FIB team.
- GTA V
- Three's Company
- By The Book (Boss)
- Blitz Play (Boss)
- Paleto Score Setup (Boss)
- Derailed (Post-mission phone call)
- Monkey Business (Boss)
- Cleaning Out the Bureau
- The Wrap Up (Betrayal)
- Lamar Down
- Something Sensible (Option A; Boss/Post-mission phone call)
- The Third Way (Option C; Killed)
- If Michael calls Dave Norton before Three's Company, Norton mentions that Haines is his new supervisor at the FIB.
- Haines is similar to Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption antagonist Edgar Ross. Both men are violent federal agents (Haines works for an agency based on the FBI, Ross works for the FBI's predecessor, the BOI) that blackmail the protagonists into doing their dirty work, and both eventually betray the protagonist by setting them up to be killed. Unlike in Redemption, Haines' plot to have the protagonist he betrayed murdered can fail or succeed based on the player's choices. However, unlike Haines, Ross is not corrupt, since he truly believes that he is doing the country good by "taming the wild west" through any means neccesary, whereas Haines is only interested in furthering his career.
- Haines also bears many similarities to LSPD Officer Frank Tenpenny, the main antagonist of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Both Haines and Tenpenny are corrupt law enforcement officials who use their position to force the protagonist(s) to commit crimes on their behalf to further their own careers. However, unlike Tenpenny, Haines can get away with his crimes if the player chooses to assassinate either Michael or Trevor.
- After Haines' death, a news article will reveal that he was unmarried and lived with his mother. This references real-life FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who also never married and lived with his mother until her death.
- Even if the player chooses option A or option B, after some time, a Bleeter post will appear about Haines' death. This is possibly an oversight.
- According to the Rush Casting Call, Haines' beta name was "Mitch Hayes".
- In the Underbelly of Paradise, Haines implies that the FIB (or his unit at least) have a "community approach" with the Ballas. He tries to prove this by greeting a Ballas member, only to be talked back to and insulted by the gang member.
- Haines also can wear extra clothing found in the game's files. These consist of a green or blue cap, a black polo shirt, a duty belt with a FIB badge, and FIB patches on the cap and shirt.