- ❝ You know how some people pull into the breakdown lane when there's traffic? And they think to themselves "Ah, who cares? No one's watching." We were watching. Surprise! ❞
- —Michael addressing everyone on orientation day during Attempt One
Michael is introduced as an immortal being called an Architect, who constructs neighborhoods for human habitation in the afterlife and acts a guide for the people in The Good Place.
At the end of Season 1, it is revealed that Michael is actually a Demon from The Bad Place. He masterminded an unconventional torture method designed for four people, who would slowly torment each other over the course of a thousand years while believing they were in the Good Place. The people selected for his project were Chidi Anagonye, Jason Mendoza, Eleanor Shellstrop, and Tahani Al-Jamil.
Michael attempts his experimental punishment 800 times over 300 years, each time resetting the neighborhood and the humans' memories. However, in every single iteration, the four humans rally together, become better people, and eventually figure out that they are actually in the Bad Place.
After seeing the humans' resilience and adaptability - along with his close proximity and the relationships he develops with each of them - Michael grows to be enamored with the human experience and sympathizes with the group. His character changes from antagonist to a protagonist as he decides to help liberate the group and uncover the truth behind the deeply flawed point system used to determine a mortal's destination in the afterlife.
Michael wears a human suit over his true demonic form. He reveals in season 4 that he is, in actuality, a 6,000-foot-tall Fire Squid.
Michael is first introduced as the architect that constructed the Good Place neighborhood that Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, and Tahani reside in. When terrible catastrophes occur, Michael has no idea what is causing them and scrambles to solve the problem, enlisting Eleanor to help.
At some point he kicks a small cute dog towards the sun. He comes to the conclusion that he is the problem and decides to leave for retirement; upon hearing what retirement means, Eleanor feels immense guilt and confesses that she is what’s causing the problems, and that she doesn't belong here.
Upon learning this, Michael contacts Trevor from The Bad Place so that he can come take Eleanor; when Trevor arrives, Chidi pleads with Michael so that Eleanor can stay. Michael refuses to let Eleanor leave with Trevor, so he decides to bring in Shawn, another Immortal Being who acts as a Judge to settle disputes between The Good and Bad Place.
After Shawn arrives, Eleanor steals his train and leaves for The Medium Place with Jason and Janet. Michael, along with Chidi and Tahani, pleads their case as to why Eleanor should stay in The Good Place; unfortunately, Shawn rules that despite the good she has done and how much she has changed, it doesn't change the fact that she was a bad person in life.
Shawn sets a deadline for Eleanor to return, or Chidi and Tahani will go to The Bad Place in her and Jason's stead.
Eleanor and Jason return but miss the deadline by a few minutes. Shawn states that The Bad Place is owed two people and gives Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, and Tahani thirty minutes to decide which two should be sent to The Bad Place.
After they argue among themselves, Eleanor comes to the realization that they are already in The Bad Place.
Michael confesses that Eleanor is right and the whole thing was a trick to get Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, and Tahani to torture each other.
After getting permission from Shawn to try again, he wipes their minds and starts the whole thing over again, but not before Eleanor writes down a note and stuffs it inside Janet's mouth.
After rebooting his neighborhood and erasing the minds of Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, and Tahani, Michael tries again, but Eleanor figures out on the first night that she is in The Bad Place. Michael erases their minds again and reboots his plan a third time, lying to his boss Shawn that he is still on attempt number two. Eventually, Eleanor once again figures it out, forcing Michael to erase and reboot. He does this over 800 times until eventually the other demons involved in his plan get sick of it and, led by Vicky, blackmail him into letting them take control of his neighborhood.
After Vicky's coup, Michael joins up with Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, Tahani, and Janet, promising them that in exchange for not erasing their minds and rebooting one more time so that Vicky can take over, he will help them get into the actual Good Place so that he can avoid retirement. He begins to learn about ethics, taught by Chidi. It is difficult for him to understand the concepts, owing to the fact that he is an immortal being whose only purpose is to torture humans. Chidi tries to help him understand, asking him if he can die.
He says he can "die" under rare circumstances. He is then told to contemplate the possibility of nonexistence, but this backfires, and Michael gets a severe case of depression, followed by a midlife crisis, which nearly blows the group's cover till he is calmed down. He eventually gets better at his ethics lessons and but still mocks them occasionally.
He confides to Eleanor that he finds it hard and wonders how she was able to improve so much. Eleanor states that when whenever she did a bad thing, she’d hear a little voice telling her it was wrong. When she would do good, it would go away, and she would feel better. Michael takes comfort in this. Later, Shawn finds Michael's record of events that happened in his neighborhood. Michael had actually made up all of the events, which Shawn did not know.
They destroy the neighborhood, and Michael roasts Chidi, Eleanor, Tahani and Jason. But, Michael hides some clues in the roasts which helps the four come up with a plan to not get caught. They also throw a party, and during this party, Michael frames Vicky. Shawn then encases her in a cocoon. Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason escape by hiding under a train. He also admits that he was worried about the group because they’re his friends which is a new feeling for him.
Afterward, Michael creates a hot-air balloon to take them to The Good Place, but then after several failed takeoffs, he reveals that this is a fake. In truth, Michael knows no way to get in. He lied when he said he could do it but believed he could find a way. This failure and lie are causing him guilt for the first time. He says that the only way to get into The Good Place is to go to the judge, who lives in a portal in the middle of The Bad Place. Then, the individual must convince the judge to get them to The Good Place.
Then, Michael takes a train to get them to The Bad Place and to the portal. The five come up with a plan to disguise themselves and get to the portal while Michael gets special pins to get them into the portal with Janet. But they get caught, and they tried to escape. Tahani, Chidi, and Jason were able to get into the portal; Eleanor was not, as Michael had failed to retrieve the fourth pin. After that, Michael sacrifices himself to get Eleanor to the judge. He gives her his pin and says that he has finally solved the trolley problem. He says that the answer is to sacrifice himself.
Shawn then catches him. He scolds him and then sentences him to eternal damnation. Bad Janet then shows Michael Good Janet as a marble. Michael's punishment is to be in an unmarked room with only New Yorker magazines for entertainment. Then, Bad Janet reveals herself to be Good Janet in disguise. The two of them escape and meet up with Eleanor, Tahani, Chidi, and Jason in the portal with the judge.
Afterward, Michael tries to convince the judge, Gen, that the four belong in the Good Place. But, she will not be convinced, since she thinks that the only reason that they improved is that they thought that there was a "moral dessert." Michael comes up with an insane plan to save them; he wants to restart their lives from the day that they died. This is to prove that they could improve themselves without knowing what happens in the afterlife.
After restarting Eleanor, he shoves her out of the way when she is about to be run over by a row of shopping carts. She then becomes a better person for a while, and Michael is satisfied. But then she starts to fall back into her bad habits, so Michael decides to take action. He poses as a bartender and he tells her about what they owe to each other, leaving Eleanor to search up "What We Owe to Each Other" online. This leads her to find Chidi's video about ethics, which inspires her to visit his university in Australia.
Just before John, the first person in the new experiment, is woken up, Michael has a nervous breakdown from a call Shawn gave him. In the call, Shawn told him he would fail and when he did, the four humans he cared so dearly for would be tortured by demons in skin suits that looked exactly like him. His lack of calm and stability leads Eleanor to take the role of fake Architect and new leader of the Soul Squad, with Michael acting as her assistant. He and Eleanor take the 4 new residents, John, Simone, Linda, and Brent, around the neighborhood, with John acting snobby, especially towards Tahani, Simone thinking that it is all an illusion formed by her dying brain, Linda seeming uninterested in everything, even a magical elephant which explained all the secrets of the universe (ex.: "Stonehenge was a sex thing!"), and Brent was the most disrespectful and prideful person they ever encountered.
In the final episode of Season 4, Michael realizes things are somewhat boring now, with everything working perfectly and countless people getting into the Good Place. He feels complete, and consequently tries to end his existence by going through the Last Door, only to realize he can't, as he is an immortal being. Taking pity on her dear friend, Eleanor goes to Judge Gen and tells her the situation. She sways the Judge into giving Michael what he's wanted from the start: the ability to be a real human. Janet creates a bank account for him, and his friends set up other things to make sure he'll be able to be financially stable on Earth. He exchanges his final goodbyes with what friends he has left (Chidi and Jason have gone through the Last Door at this point), and goes to Earth, finally human.
He is later seen at a New Year's Eve party, and with his new dog, whom he named Jason. In the final moments of the series, where an energy particle formerly part of Eleanor sways a man to deliver some wrong mail to its proper deliveree, Michael. The man brings it to him and tells him to take it easy, to which Michael replies "Let me say to you, with all the love in my heart, and all the wisdom of the universe, take it sleazy". The man walks away, and Michael closes the door to his apartment, and the screen goes black, ending the series.
Powers & Abilities Edit
- Immortality: As an Immortal Being, Michael cannot die. The only known way he could be killed is by the "Eternal Shriek".
- Extra-Dimensional Vision: Michael can see in 9 different dimensions.
- Aura Reading: Michael has the ability to read auras and energy fields. Which allows him to see different traits and certain information about objects and other people.
- Memory Manipulation: Can erase the memories of any deceased human.
- Reality Warping: Michael at will can alter the reality of the afterlife to anything he desires, however this is most likely restricted to just the neighborhood he himself has created. He later creates The Last Door when he becomes the Architect of The Good Place.
- Simulation Projection: Michael is able to construct any type of artificial simulation he desires no matter how complex.
- Artistic Talents: Michael was shown to have notable artistic talents in the episode "The Trolley Problem", where he had drawn a detailed but gory drawing of his solution to the infamous trolley problem in approximately a minute.
- Molecular Combustion: Michael can also speed up molecules to the point the explode. He uses this first on a vase as a demonstration to Chidi, and then on the motorcycle Jason wished for.
While not an ability, Michael in Chapter 43 described his demonic appearance, when not wearing his skin suit, as "a 6,000-foot tall fire squid. I have tentacles. There’s teeth everywhere. I’m on fire and my neck is long. And there’s a smell and lots of juice. There’s so much juice."
After becoming human, Michael loses all of his powers.
- Michael once stated that he can read the entire world's literature in about an hour.
- He claims to have existed since the beginning of time.
- Michael has owned two pets in his life: his childhood pet, Korzoff the ten-headed dog-spider, and a dog named Jason, named after Jason Mendoza.
- He is a fan of the show Friends.
- He may be named after the archangel St. Michael (And potentially show creator Michael Schur)
- He was a 6,000 foot tall giant fire squid covered in teeth before becoming a human.
- As a human, his last name was "Realman".
- He may have retained his memories of The Afterlife as he slyly says "Take it sleazy" in the series finale.