Michael Garibaldi Character Profile
Michael Garibaldi was the security chief on Babylon 5. Jerry Doyle played the role.
Michael Garibaldi's hard life made him cynical but street smart. He sometimes escaped life's pressures by playing the joker or - at his worst - turning to the bottle.
Note: This is a complete biography of Michael Garibaldi. Therefore, it contains spoilers for Seasons One through Five of Babylon 5. The biography is written in chronological order, so if you are watching Babylon 5 for the first time you can safely read the early parts of this article and stop before you reach the sections that would reveal events that you haven't seen on the show yet.
Michael Alfredo Garibaldi was born on 2 February 2221 in the Bronx. His family had a long history of law enforcement. His grandmother was a Boston police officer. His father, Alfredo, served in the Dilgar War as a GROPO under General Richard Franklin, the father of Dr. Stephen Franklin. He later worked in security and law enforcement and taught Michael everything he knew. Alfredo cooked bagna cauda for Michael each year on his birthday as a symbol of his love. Michael continued this tradition by cooking the bagna cauda for himself after his father died of Torg's syndrome.
Michael Garibaldi followed the family tradition by becoming a security officer at the Europa ice mining operation in 2241. There his alcoholism first manifested itself as a response to the pressure caused by the corruption at the facility. Garibaldi managed to stay sober with the help of his friend, Frank Kemmer. Garibaldi's criminal enemies killed Kemmer in a shuttle accident and framed Garibaldi for negligence. After this, Garibaldi's career and sobriety began a long downhill slide.
Garibaldi moved from job to job over the next several years. He worked on Fortune City, Cestus, and Orion 4. He was fired from five jobs for "unspecified personal problems". He also served as a GROPO in the Earth-Minbari War. In 2247 he was assigned to the ground defense force on Mars where he met Lise Hampton for the first time. Garbaldi's unit withdrew from Mars when the Mars government declared nutrality in the war.
In 2255, Michael Garibaldi ran a shuttle service on Mars. Jeffrey Sinclair hired him to investigate possible covert activities. Their shuttle crashed, and their subsequent fight for survival on Mars established a firm friendship between the two men. They witnessed a Shadow ship rescuing another that was buried on Mars but did not know what it was at the time.
With his drinking problem under control, Garibaldi returned to security work on Mars Colony and joined EarthForce as a Chief Warrant Officer. He fell in love with Lise Hampton. In 2257 he left Lise behind on Mars to become the security chief on Babylon 5 at Jeffrey Sinclair's invitation.
The Security Chief
Michael Garibaldi was an excellent choice for the position of security chief on Babylon 5. His honesty and ethics prevented him from being corrupted. However, he was willing to use unorthodox means when necessary in his ongoing search for the truth. During 2258 Garibaldi investigated two assassination plots against President Santiago. The first attempt was during the President's visit to Babylon 5. Garibaldi was framed for an accident, and his alcoholism resurfaced. He recovered his senses and foiled the plot. The second attempt unfolded on New Year's Eve. Garibaldi discovered equipment designed to jam the communications of EarthForce One. Before he could report his discovery, he was shot in the back by his own aide. As Garibaldi lay in a coma, the President's ship was destroyed.
Dr. Stephen Franklin and Captain John Sheridan saved Garibaldi's life with an alien healing device. He was reluctant to return to duty, but he was eventually convinced that he was perfect for the job because he knew Babylon 5 better than anyone else and because he did not trust anybody. Over the next two years he served the station faithfully, became the contact on the station for Ambassador Sinclair's Rangers, and joined Sheridan's Conspiracy of Light.
Garibaldi established a friendship with Centauri Ambassador Londo Mollari. As Londo slipped further under the influence of the Shadows, Garibaldi distanced himself from Londo and became friendly with Narn Ambassador G'Kar. Garibaldi shared lighter moments with the Minbari on the station. He showed Ambassador Delenn his second favorite thing in the universe, "Duck Dodgers in the 24th and a Half Century" cartoons. He and Attaché Lennier rebuilt a Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle. Garibaldi also befriended Stephen Franklin and tried to warn Franklin when he became addicted to stimulants.
At the end of 2260, Garibaldi's Starfury was captured by a Shadow ship while he defended the station. The Psi Cop Alfred Bester diverted Garibaldi to his own facility where he reprogrammed Garibaldi to use his suspicious nature to investigate plots that concern Bester.
Garibaldi was found adrift in space by Zack Allan. He resumed his duties but was suspicious and distrustful of Lorien and his hold over Sheridan. He saw the Shadow War through to its conclusion then resigned from his post as head of station security. He was replaced by Zack Allan.
The Free Agent
In 2261 Michael Garibaldi became a private investigator. He felt that after helping in the Shadow War it was time for him to do something for himself. He helped people find property and loved ones lost during the war.
During this time, Sheridan confronted Garibaldi. Garibaldi made it clear that he felt Sheridan had developed a cult of personality and was beginning to believe his own propaganda.
Garibaldi was hired by Wade, an agent of the reclusive William Edgars, chairman of the pharmaceutical firm Edgars Industries. Garibaldi learned that his former girlfriend, Lise Hampton, was now married to William Edgars.
Garibaldi clashed with Zack Allan about his activities on Babylon 5. He betrayed Zack by helping Wade and Lise smuggle contraband through the station. When Garibaldi was offered a permanent position with Edgars Industries on Mars he was happy to leave Babylon 5 behind.
William Edgars revealed part of his plan to Garibaldi. President Clark had increased the powers of the Psi Corps, something that Edgars and Garibaldi were both opposed to. Edgars and the leaders of other powerful corporations wanted to push Clark out of power, but they wanted to do it in their own time from within. Edgars feared that Sheridan's overt military actions would force Clark's hand and give the Psi Corps totalitarian powers that it would never relinquish. Garibaldi volunteered to stop Sheridan so that Edgars' plan against Clark would have time to unfold.
Garibaldi located David Sheridan, the father of John Sheridan. The elder Sheridan was in hiding, but Garibaldi knew that he depended on a Centauri drug called Tenastacine for his rare blood disease. With Garibaldi's information, Clark's forces captured David Sheridan. Garibaldi lured John Sheridan to Mars with the promise of a plan to rescue his father. He betrayed Sheridan and watched as thugs beat and captured his former friend.
After Garibaldi delivered Sheridan, Edgars revealed the rest of his plan. His company had developed an anti-telepath virus using alien technology. Once infected, a telepath would require an injection of another drug from Edgars Industries every two weeks to prevent death. This would allow mundanes to maintain control over the telepaths. Garibaldi's programming took over, and he met with Bester to relay Edgars' plan. Bester removed most of the programming from Garibaldi's mind, leaving him with full knowledge of what he had done while under Bester's influence. Garibaldi rushed back to Edgars' home to find Edgars and his men dead, the telepath drugs captured by Bester's people, and Lise captured.
Garibaldi contacted the Mars resistance forces. At his request, Lyta Alexander performed a deep telepathic scan to prove that he was manipulated by Bester. Garibaldi developed and executed a plan to rescue Sheridan from his EarthForce prison.
Michael Garibaldi rejoined Sheridan's forces and participated in an assault on the EarthForce command base on Mars. He captured a perimeter bunker and gave Marcus Cole precise coordinates to open a jump point within the Martian atmosphere to attack the base with a White Star.
Garibaldi rescued Lise with the help of the Rangers.
The Head of Covert Intelligence
In 2262 Michael Garibaldi returned to Babylon 5 to oversee the inauguration of John Sheridan as President of the Interstellar Alliance. This gave him the opportunity to foil yet another assassination attempt against a president. Sheridan appointed Garibaldi as the head of the Covert Intelligence Division of the Interstellar Alliance.
Garibaldi repeatedly butted heads with Captain Elizabeth Lochley, the new commander of Babylon 5. He eventually learned that she was on the loyalist side during the Earth Civil War. He could not understand why Sheridan trusts her until she revealed that she was briefly married to the President years earlier.
Garibaldi developed a plan to use Byron's rogue telepaths to gather information for the Interstellar Alliance. While he was willing to use Byron's telepaths for his own agenda, his was filled with an extreme rage towards Psi Corps and Alfred Bester in particular. When Bester cames to Babylon 5 to resolve the standoff with Byron's telepaths, Garibaldi confronted him and demanded a recorded confession. Bester declined and invited Garibaldi to shoot him. Garibaldi could not. Bester informed Garibaldi that he had planted an Asimov block in his mind. Garibaldi could not harm Bester or through inaction allow Bester to come to harm. Confronted with the inability to exact revenge, Garibaldi escaped with alcohol.
Garibaldi's alcoholism began to affect his work. On a mission to the Drazi homeworld, both his contact and the pilot he was sent to rescue were killed. Garibaldi passed out during his assignment to coordinate a White Star buffer against a Centauri fleet. His failure caused the war with the Centauri to spiral out of control. During this time, Zack, Lochley, and Lise all tried to help Garibaldi with his problem. When Sheridan learned of Garibaldi's drinking problem, he suspended him.
Garibaldi met with Lyta Alexander who was in custody and made a deal with her. He would launder money and build a force for her to use against Psi Corps. If he held up his end of the bargain for two years, she would remove the Asimov block from his mind.
The Chairman of the Board
Margaret Halloran, the former Number One of the Mars Resistance, came to Babylon 5 and warned Garibaldi and Lise that there was a plot against their lives. The assassin was stopped, but Lise was wounded. Garibaldi married her in the MedLab. Garibaldi learned that the assassin was hired by the board of Edgars Industries. He fired them and made arrangements to have them hunted down if he or Lise were ever killed. Garibaldi replaced the board with employees with reputations for being troublemakers.
Garibaldi and Lise returned to Mars to run Edgars Industries. They had a daughter.
Several years later, after Lyta Alexander removed the Asimov block from his mind, Garibaldi caught up with Alfred Bester. Bester was on the run and hiding in Paris. Garibaldi tracked him down the same way he tracked down David Sheridan: through his supply of a medication that he required every month. Garibaldi's efforts led to Bester's capture.
Despite their prior differences, Garibaldi rebuilt his his friendship with Sheridan. David Sheridan called him "Uncle Mike," and Garibaldi enjoyed being a "bad influence" on the boy. He was instrumental in saving David from his Drakh keeper. Garibaldi visited Minbar before Sheridan's death in 2281.
Michael Garibaldi's eventual death was, in Joe Straczynski's words, "a much quieter passing than he would have imagined waiting for him".
That's Not All, Folks!
In 2762, an Earth Alliance citizen name Daniel activated hologram simulations of Garibaldi and other key players in the Interstellar Alliance. His goal was to make false historical records portraying the ISA in a bad light to justify the Earth Alliance's secession. He also revealed that his faction planned to attack the outer colonies and other nations on Earth that would oppose the plan. The Garibaldi hologram took control of the computer system and transmitted the conversation to the opposing faction. They responded with force, and the resulting holocaust was know as the Great Burn that plunged the Earth into a second dark age that lasted centuries.