|Actor Jack Lemmon depicted Michael in the webseries era|
|First Appearance||Chapter Four, Book Two|
|Last Appearance||Chapter Ten, Book Four|
|Cause of Death||Shot by an unknown assailant (presumably)|
|“||Well, I certainly respect that. Of course. But quiet? Peaceful? Tell me, Margaret, how peaceful can a town possibly be if all the people in it are dropping like flies?||”|
— Michael Goldman, Book Two
Michael Leonard Goldman (November 8, 1923 - July 24, 1966) was a detective on loan from the Laramie Police Department, and a personal friend of Mayor Clayton Pierce. He was asked to consult on the murders after Detective Shane Marcette's dismissal from the case and immediately made waves in the town with his cocky demeanor and ways of getting to the truth.
Not much was known about Michael's life outside of work. In book two, Marnie noticed he wore a wedding band, though he did not carry himself as any married man should. In book three, he revealed he had a grown son, that still lived on his couch and wanted to be a musician. It was also revealed that he often played golf with Mayor Pierce. In book four, Michael confided to Evan that he was a widower, and that his wife Sherry had passed away in a bus accident five years prior.
Introduction and investigation:
Michael was introduced in book two, at the scene of Lance Englund's murder. There, he immediately managed to infuriate Shane with the news that he had been brought in to consult on the murders, as a favor to the mayor. He then began spouting off people that Shane would need to talk to, but Shane left to notify Terri before Michael could get very far.
The next day, Michael paid a visit to First Baptist, where he was struck by what an unconventional preacher Brett is. He asked about Terri's relationship with Lance, and Brett said that he didn't know enough about that to even begin to speculate on it. Later, Michael told Shane that he found something very odd about Brett's behavior, but Shane was quick to explain everything away, in a very hostile fashion. Michael conceded that perhaps he didn't have the full picture.
Michael later dropped by the church again, but instead of Brett, he found himself in Marnie's company. He immediately alienated her with less-than-subtle advances, then went in for the kill by revealing he knew all about her ill-fated romance with Jeff Howard. Infuriated, Marnie advised him to go to the beauty shop, or perhaps call her mother, if all he was interested in is salacious gossip. Michael took her up on this suggestion and visited the beauty parlor, where he met a woman named Miriam Tate, who worked there. She, too, was a former flame of Jeff's, and told Michael that the two often made dates at a small motel down the road in Cottage Cove. Miriam relates that Jeff is the superstitious type, and always preferred one room in particular, room number seven -- or saith, as he often called it. Michael investigated this and found that Jeff had rented room number saith on the morning of July 5. He checked in at a little after midnight, and was not seen again until three in the morning, which cast doubt on the theory he'd killed Carol.
Michael brought his findings to Shane's attention, and suggested that the same person was behind both Carol and Lance's murders. Shane disagreed, especially when Michael said he believed that Terri might have masterminded the whole thing. That night, Michael fiercely interrogated Terri, getting her to admit that she was having an affair with Caleb Hennessy, and that she was aware of his criminal past and illegal dealings. However, he could not get Terri to admit involvement in either murder.
The next day, he paid a visit to Jeff, and while Jeff tried to slam the door in his face, Michael got him to let him in with the promise of clearing his name. He produced the receipt from the motel and Jeff admitted that on the night of his fiancee's murder, he did not go looking for her, as he'd originally said -- instead, he met another woman at the motel. Michael pressed for the other woman's identity, and Jeff reluctantly volunteered that it was Julia.
Michael then paid a visit to Julia, who emotionally confirmed Jeff's alibi. Later, he spoke with Mayor Pierce about Marnie's relationship with Jeff while crafting his report. Mayor Pierce confirmed that Marnie and Jeff were a lot closer than she would ever admit, even going so far as to call Jeff her weakness.
When Brett was stabbed, Michael arrived at the hospital, intent on lending moral support, but Shane wanted no part of it and Michael left. On the way out, however, he encountered Terri and baited her into revealing she was adopted. He then made pointed references to how remarkably close she was to Brett, despite the fact he was not her real brother. Upset, Terri broke down and demanded he leave her alone.
After Caleb was apprehended, Michael did his best to bait him into implicating Terri, but Caleb refused to talk until he got a lawyer. Michael drew on his connections in Laramie to secure an attorney for him, on the condition that Caleb would tell him what he wants to know. Once a lawyer was secured, however, Caleb's story changed, and he began to vehemently proclaim his innocence. Michael confronted him on his earlier promise to help, and noted that he knew who Lucas Brady was, and he knew who Paul Robinson was, but he did not know who Caleb Hennessy was. This prompted Caleb to spew that Caleb Hennessy was unwanted trash, speaking in the third person and resolving that he killed Caleb Hennessy, but that was the only person that he killed.
Later that night, Terri dropped by the station, intent on seeing Caleb. Michael needled her into telling him the real reason she came: she was expecting Caleb's child.
Growing restless and murder:
See also: Book Four's score chart
After witnessing the disturbing reaction of Haven Park PD to Caleb's suicide, Michael began to rethink his place in town. He berated Elton Frazier, for allowing such disrespectful behavior, and it was presumed he also took his complaints to the mayor. Throughout book four, Michael lamented that something was wrong with this town, and that he much preferred the anonymity of Laramie, where personal lives weren't on such public display.
Later, he met Harold Sutton, who shared his theory that Evan had a hand in his first wife's demise, and that he might attempt to do the same to him. Michael didn't appear to give Harold's story much credibility, but he still went to talk to Evan about it. While there, he attempted to establish common ground with Evan by sharing some things about his late wife, Sherry, which distracted Evan for a moment. Evan quickly launched into a tirade about how crazy Harold was, however, and vowed to Michael that Harold would take everything that he loved too, if he wasn't careful. Unsure how to take that, Michael wrote off the words.
That same morning, Michael dropped by the church, intent on asking Marnie about Harold's accusations. Marnie wanted nothing to do with him, and told him as much. Michael tried his best to convince her to talk to him, even grabbing her arm and trying to guide her to the door. That was when Evan walked in, drunk out of his mind, and angrily demanded that Marnie come talk to him in the office. Michael attempted to intervene on Marnie's behalf, but she still went into the office with her husband.
When he encountered Marnie (with Jeff) at the diner later, Michael apologized for the way he'd run out on her earlier. He once again attempted to coerce her into talking to him, but again, Marnie refused. Michael also attempted to make nice with Jeff, who didn't want much to do with him either. Jeff confronted Michael on how his supposedly confidential statement ended up in the hands of Stanley Rogers, but Michael denied any involvement. His best suggestion was Shane, as Shane didn't seem to like Jeff very much, anyway.
Later, Michael verbally sparred with Val the waitress (a woman he'd dubbed Hagatha, for her poor attitude toward him) and observed a conversation between Val and Shane. From their talk, Michael gleaned that not only was Shane seeing Marnie, but that he had, in fact, been the one to hand over Jeff's report. Hagatha then insisted that he pay his check and get out, prompting Michael to wonder what was wrong with the ladies in this town. He reflected on the fact that he'd attempted to date in recent months, but wasn't certain what women even liked anymore. Then, he was distracted by someone approaching behind him.
Initially, Michael believed that the person simply wanted to pass, and moved out of their way, but instead, they stopped right behind him, thrusting a gun into the back of his head. Michael did his best not to panic, even after realizing he'd left his service weapon in the car, and tried to rationalize with his assailant, convinced that he was being robbed. As Michael attempted to appeal to the person behind him, the book cut off mid-sentence, leaving Michael's fate unsaid. It is strongly implied, however, that the reason he never finished his sentence is the person behind him opened fire.
Character conception and representation:
In the original version of the story, the character of Michael did not appear. He was devised out of early fan reaction to Shane, in the series' webfiction days. In the earliest chapters of the story, the fans despised Shane, which caused me to rethink the plotting a bit and introduce another investigator to level the playing field. Michael is a hardened veteran of the Laramie PD, and he is a very experienced investigator. That said, he is also quite brash and abrasive, something that never fails to piss off the conservative community.
During Independence Day's webseries era, actor Jack Lemmon served as Michael's visual representation.
Michael is the only leading character to be introduced after the conclusion of the first book.
Michael is the only character that did not appear in the original incarnation of the story.