Michael De Santa

Michael De Santa
Michael De Santa during Reuniting the Family.
Michael De Santa during Reuniting the Family.

Michael De Santa during Reuniting the Family.
Appearances GTA V
Full Name Michael De Santa
Aliases Michael Townley (birth name, until 2004)
Gender Gender::Male
Date of Birth 1968
Place of Birth 45
Date of Death 2013 (optional)
Age at Death 45
Nationality American
Home De Santa House in Rockford Hills, Los Santos
Family Amanda De Santa (wife)
Jimmy De Santa (son)
Tracey De Santa (daughter)
Main Affiliations Trevor Philips (until 2004, again in 2013)
Bradley Snider (until 2004)
Lester Crest (until 2004, again in 2013)
Dave Norton (2004 - 2013)
Isiah Friedlander (therapist, 2013)
Hayden Dubose
Melinda Dubose
Franklin Clinton (2013)
Solomon Richards (2013)
Vehicles Black Tailgater
White Marquis (stolen)
Player's Choice
Occupation Bank robber (until 2004, again in 2013)
Movie producer (2013, onwards)
Voiced by Ned Luke

Michael De Santa (born in 1968 as Michael Townley) is a character in the HD Universe who appears as one of the three protagonists in Grand Theft Auto V. He is a retired bank robber forced to return to his criminal activity due to a lack of money while remaining under the protection of FIB agent Dave Norton. He is the husband of Amanda and father of both Jimmy and Tracey. He is voiced by Ned Luke.

Character history

Childhood and adolescence

Michael De Santa, born Michael Townley in 1965, was born into a tough life somewhere in the Midwest in a trailer park. Michael's father wasn't in the picture. It is unclear who raised Michael, however whoever did changed their stories about Michaels father constantly, claiming he skipped town, was hit by a train, or joined the navy. Later in life Michael claims the stories changed so many times he had lost track. At some point in his childhood he became a fan of sports, specifically golf, tennis and football and took tennis classes as a child.

He eventually joined the football team when he reached high school. However, after his early promise as a high school footballer ended for unknown reasons, he turned to crime as it was now his only opportunity in life.

Late teens, early adulthood

Over time Michael meets and works with various criminals preforming small jobs. Before he is 20 he had already been to prison twice for unspecified reasons. In 1985 Michael finds work from an elderly contact, who wants something "hot" smuggled into Canada. The elderly man contacts another small operation ran by a young pilot named Trevor Philips who had his own small air freight operation in North Yankton and a borrowed Beagle plane. A meet is set for Michael and Trevor to deliver the unknown package into Canada in the next few days.

The events of the situation are unspecified and mysterious, however the day of the delivery, something happened between Michael and the elderly contact. It has not yet been revealed what. The elderly contact chased Michael all the way to Trevor's airstrip. Trevor sees this and immediately becomes suspicious as he is only expecting one vehicle to show up. Michael pulls up first and exits the car running towards Trevor, followed by the frantic old man. Playing "peacemaker" Trevor shoots off a flare gun at the old man, and ends up killing him as it enters his head through his eye.

The altercation goes unexplained by Michael as Trevor doesn't state any reasoning behind it when talking about the events later. However it can be assumed that Michael stole something from the man, possibly intending on taking the cargo for himself and giving no profit to the employer. Michael and Trevor decided to take the unspecified cargo into Canada, and they bring the body of the old man into the plane, dumping him out of a plane into a lake. While in the plane, the flare had still been burning in the mans head, and Trevor states the Beagle never smelt the same again. Upon landing in Canada, both Trevor and Michael vomited when getting out of the plane, Trevor labels it as "quite a baptism." and soon their friendship was cemented.

Michael performed his first big robbery in 1988 and took $10,000 from a small franchise in Carcer City. A score that Trevor wasn't involved in. However Trevor eventually became one of the regular members of his crew while others passed through, either dying, getting arrested or just moving off to new jobs and new crews. Michael and Trevor later robbed a bank for cashed cheques sometime after 1988. Trevor, however, was identified by a friend and was sentenced to six months in prison but served only four months. Eventually more regulars joined such as Lester Crest and Moses. They made connections with Irish gangsters and an unspecified crew from "down south" (possibly Vice City).


At some point between 1988 and 1991, he met a stripper named Krystal and fell in love with her. Her real name was Amanda and she too came from a bad home, and lived in a Midwestern trailer park. They later married and had two children: Jimmy and Tracey. Michael's family obligations put a slight strain on his friendship with Trevor, but Trevor remained a close family friend for much of Jimmy's and Tracey's childhoods and got the nickname "Uncle Trevor".

Jimmy and Trevor became very close, as Jimmy considered him an uncle. They hung out seemingly by themselves without supervision as Jimmy got older, as in 2001 Trevor was oblivious to the fact that a twelve year old Jimmy understood his dangerous and reckless lifestyle, pointing out to him that he knew what the needles, beer cans and guns laying about his home were about. It is unknown if Michael knew about this. Between the early 90s and early years of the 21st century, most of their crew members were either killed, or imprisoned, with the only named exception being Moses having found Jesus according to Lester.


Michael, Trevor and Lester had continued to pull heists even with their main crew gone, and eventually Trevor befriends a man named Bradley Snider and invites him into the crew. As Michael's views on life had begun to shift as his children got older and his crew members got more reckless and crazy, he started trying to think of a way out without it being death or prison. But by this point in time Michael Townley was an increasingly popular name in the Midwest, possibly being identified during multiple heists by continuously using movie taglines, so a clean way out was unlikely.

In 2004 Michael, Trevor, Bradley and a local hired getaway driver team up to perform a bank robbery in Ludendorff, North Yankton. Michael is confronted by FIB Agent Dave Norton, who claims to know about the robbery, and wants to give Michael a chance at freedom for him and his family. The only cost is his crew, so that Dave Norton can make a name for himself taking down one of the deadliest robbers in the Midwest.

The robbery goes ahead as planned, however, during the getaway, the driver is killed by police, and the vehicle is hit by a train. While on foot, Bradley and Michael are shot by FIB Agent Dave Norton, who later claims the credit for stopping the robbery. Bradley dies but Michael is saved, entering into an off the books witness protection program, while Trevor flees the area and evades the police. Norton plans a funeral for Michael, attended by his wife Amanda.

Michael, Amanda and their two children are subsequently moved into a large house in Rockford Hills, Los Santos with a substantial sum of money some time after 2006. The family continues to live under the protection of Agent Norton, paying him a five figure sum each month in return for his help. Over the next seven years, the De Santa family unit deteriorates due to constant arguing amongst all four family members. Amanda catches Michael with a stripper and she begins a heavy spending habit and multiple marital infidelities. The kids all develop at-risk lifestyle choices such as making porn videos and selling and doing drugs. She also rents out their home to pornographic film star Freddy Slade in 2012, without Michael's knowledge.

Grand Theft Auto V

In 2013 Michael, "enjoying" his retirement, is treated by psychologist Isiah Friedlander from his office in Vespucci Beach where he briefly meets repossession agents Franklin Clinton and Lamar Davis. Franklin later breaks into the De Santa house to repossess a vehicle bought by Jimmy. Michael, hiding in the back seat, forces Franklin to drive into the salesroom of Premium Deluxe Motorsport resulting in Franklin and Lamar being fired.

Franklin, a gang affiliate, returns to the De Santa house in the hope of finding some employment. Michael, however, discovers Amanda's affair with her tennis coach. Michael and Franklin then destroy Natalia Zverovna's house, believing it to be Chavis', and are confronted by Mexican-American 'legitimate businessman' Martin Madrazo. The two are 'convinced' to repay the money, $2.5 million, and Michael agrees to teach Franklin the basics of his trade. The two work together almost immediately after, rescuing Jimmy from Michael's boat, which Jimmy had attempted to sell in a deal that turned into a robbery.

The two, alongside a hired driver, gunman and hacker, pull off a robbery at Vangelico's Fine Jewelry. While leaving, however, Michael uses a phrase he had used nine years prior, which is recognized by Trevor Philips in his trailer in Sandy Shores, Blaine County, just north of Los Santos. Agent Norton visits Michael to warn him against getting back into the criminal underworld. Michael and his family are later watched by Wade Hebert, who joins Trevor in his trip to Los Santos to confront Michael. Trevor later visits Michael at his home and the two rescue Michael's daughter Tracey from humiliating herself on reality television show Fame or Shame.

Agent Norton and fellow corrupt agents Steve Haines and Andreas Sanchez then force Michael into infiltrating a morgue to retrieve the body of Ferdinand Kerimov and later, along with Franklin and Trevor, to kidnap Kerimov from the IAA Building in the middle of interrogation. Kerimov is later tortured by Trevor while Michael, using the information, kills terror suspect Tahir Javan. Despite his return to criminal activity, much to the disgust of his wife, he attempts to repair their relationship by taking part in a yoga lesson with Fabien LaRouche and later takes Jimmy to a fast food restaurant. Jimmy adds drugs to his drink and convinces his father to drink some causing his driving to become erratic. Amanda, upon learning this, leaves Michael and moves in with Fabien with Jimmy and Tracey.

Without his family and house staff, Michael's house becomes increasingly unkempt while he steals a piece of military technology, steals IAA bonds and steals two exotic cars with Trevor and Franklin while posing as a police officer. Devin, as he promised Michael, results in Michael meeting his idol Solomon Richards, a film director. He then destroys a private plane owned by Javier Madrazo on orders from his cousin Martin. While killing Javier Madrazo, Trevor returns to the Madrazo house and kidnaps Martin's wife Patricia. The two, along with Patricia, are then forced into hiding at Trevor's trailer in Sandy Shores. The Triads, looking for Trevor, locate the two while they are in hiding.

Michael, Trevor and Franklin, with help from Lester Crest, perform a heist at the Blaine County Savings Bank in Paleto Bay and acquire funds for a planned raid on an IAA black site. Their feud with Merryweather Security Consulting, who had been guarding a piece of military equipment they had stolen, continued when Michael and Trevor steal numerous pieces of art being guarded by Merryweather mercenaries while being transported. Michael convinces Trevor to give up their spoils, an Aztec fertility statue, so Michael can have Lester give it to Martin Madrazo as a peace offering to end his vendetta against Michael and Trevor. Agents Haines and Norton then return to demand Michael's help to infiltrate the Humane Labs and Research factory where they are supposedly manufacturing a powerful neurotoxin. After Trevor returns Patrica to Madrazo, Michael returns to his house in Los Santos.

Trevor, during his time with Michael, had slowly begun to piece together the events of nine years ago, and flies back to Ludendorff, North Yankton to dig up Michael's official grave. Michael follows him to try and prevent him discovering the truth but fails with Trevor discovering Bradley Snider's corpse. He flees the area, promising to kill Michael at a later date, and the Triads move in. Michael is eventually kidnapped and returned to Los Santos, with Triad boss Wei Cheng threatening to kill Michael if Trevor does not give up his business, not realising they were now feuding. Franklin manages to rescue Michael before he is killed. Agent Haines wants Michael to infiltrate the FIB Building to recover sensitive data on Haines as the FIB is threatening an internal investigation on Haines' actions. Michael, along with Franklin and a hired crew, either remotely wipes the data or steals the hard drive containing Haines' files.

Shortly before he performs the raid on the FIB Building, he helps Solomon complete his latest film by convincing the lead actors to return to the set and retrieving an analogue film reel copy being taken to a remote offshore location by Molly Schultz to make an insurance claim; however, Molly is accidentally killed as Michael attempts to retrieve the reel. Michael meets with Agent Norton at the Kortz Center for a debrief, and Agents Haines and Sanchez arrive to attempt to arrest the two; however, Agent Sanchez reveals he is undercover and gathering evidence against the two corrupt agents. During the standoff, the IAA and Merryweather show up to further escalate the situation. Michael, with help from Trevor Philips, helps Agent Norton escape while Agent Haines escapes on his own despite being shot in the leg.

He then helps Franklin and Trevor to rescue Lamar Davis, despite his ongoing feud with Trevor, and then reunites his family. He and Jimmy attend Meltdown premiere. While in attendance, Devin Weston, who had taken a disliking to Michael, warns him that Merryweather mercenaries had been sent to his house to kill his wife and daughter. Michael and Jimmy return home, and Michael protects his family against the attacking Merryweather mercenaries. Michael sends his family into hiding and performs one last job by robbing the Union Depository. Michael receives a substantial cut and his family returns home.

The player can then decide on how to finish the game by either: killing Trevor, killing Michael or saving both. If the player decides to kill Trevor, Michael helps Franklin by ramming Trevor's truck into an oil tanker allowing Franklin to set it and Trevor on fire. If the player kills Michael, then Franklin chases him to a factory and half way up one of the chimney stacks, pushing him over a small barrier with an angry Trevor telling Franklin he is dead to him now. If the player decides to save Michael and Trevor, the three systematically take out each of their enemies: Steve Haines, Stretch, Wei Cheng, Devin Weston, and numerous Merryweather mercenaries and FIB agents. Michael is sent to kill Stretch and later meets Franklin and Trevor, pushing Devin's car, with Devin in the boot, off a small cliff and into the Pacific Ocean. The three then agree to remain friends but end their professional relationship.

Mission appearances

Strangers and Freaks

Murders committed

Accidental death
  • Molly Schultz (accidentally dies after being sucking into a plane engine while Michael attempts to recover the Meltdown print during a chase)
Endgame murders
  • Trevor Philips (killed if the player chooses to kill Trevor but does not do so as Franklin)
  • Stretch (killed for repeatedly attempting to have Franklin and Lamar Davis killed, if the player chooses to save Michael and Trevor)
  • Devin Weston (killed for trying to kill his family as well as crossing him, Trevor, and Franklin, if the player chooses to save Michael and Trevor)
Optional murders

Special ability

Michael's special ability is the ability to slow down time allowing him to become more accurate while shooting enemies. It is an ability known as BulletTime as stated by Rockstar Games and the official Guidebook. Another Rockstar Games character is famous for this trademarked ability: Max Payne. This ability is also very similar to "Dead-Eye", the state of mind that characters Red Harlow and John Marston can enter while shooting in Red Dead Revolver and Red Dead Redemption.


  • Michael is the only GTA protagonist to have a wife and children during their respective appearances in GTA.
  • Until the release of the Game Informer issue on GTA V, his name was rumored to be Albert De Silva, due to a leaked casting list.
  • In The Paleto Score, Michael states that his first robbery was $10,000 from a small franchise in Carcer City in 1988.
  • Michael is the second protagonist to be unlocked after Franklin.
  • Michael and Trevor are the oldest protagonists of the series.
  • Michael is a fan of older Vinewood films and paraphrases a quote from Arthur Penny's Sanitorium while performing a robbery in Ludendorff and again while robbing a jewellers in Los Santos.
  • Michael's special ability is similar to one in Max Payne called "Bullet time" and one from Red Dead Redemption called "Dead-eye".
  • An antagonist in Read Dead Redemption (Vicente De Santa) shares the same last name as Michael.
  • If Franklin (the player) chooses not to kill Michael in The Time's Come, Michael will headbutt Franklin and fall to his death.
  • Trevor, Lester and Jimmy all state that he is 45 years old during the events of GTA V despite the date of birth on his tombstone reading 1965, making him 48 years old.
  • There is a real person called Michael Townley in the witness protection scheme in the United States.
  • Michael appeared in the first trailer as the narrator, which was released two years prior to the game. Franklin Clinton also appeared in the trailer.
  • As Franklin, if the player chooses to kill Trevor, but doesn't pull the trigger in the end, Michael will shoot Trevor instead, becoming only the second protagonist to kill another protagonist after Trevor himself killed Johnny Klebitz weeks earlier.
  • It is implied through dialogue with Amanda that De Santa wasn't their first fake last name, and they may have lived in a few other states before settling in Los Santos.


Michael's trailer

Michael's Trailer