Spoiler Warning: This page contains plot details of the story in Grand Theft Auto V.
Michael De Santa is one of the three protagonists in Grand Theft Auto V with Franklin Clinton and Trevor Philips. He is a career criminal who has had run-ins with the law all of his life and is currently under witness protection.
His story in the game revolves around the fact that he retired from crime only to find himself back in the game whilst trying to sort his marriage and dysfunctional family out as well.
Michael was born between 1965 – 1968 and as a child, he had a poor upbringing due to his father being an alcoholic and physically abusing him, he didn’t have the privileges or advantages that he says his own children have as he grew up in a trailer park with his parents.
As Michael grew older, his father abandoned him and his mother and was told different stories as to why this was such as leaving town and joining the navy. During high school, Michael was a talented quarterback for his local football team, he had his picture in the local newspapers who wrote about his performance within the games but he had to quit due to frequent injuries.
As Michael became a young adult, he started his life of crime and became a career criminal. During a session with Dr. Friedlander, Michael’s therapist, he said he had been to prison twice by the age of twenty. He confesses to his heist crew that his first robbery was in the outskirts of Carcer City in 1988 where he stole $10,000 from a local business.
Michael says that during his time in prison he learned many skills and crafts including how to use a tattoo gun as he tattooed his name on his cellmate’s butt, he also perfected the criminal skills that made him an expert in robbery and murder. As a young adult, Michael met Lester Crest who became his friend and detailed planner for the heists that he would perform in Los Santos.
Michael in ‘Prologue’
Michael met Trevor Philips in 1993 whilst he was escorting cargo across the American border. Whilst Trevor was waiting on the runway to meet his employer he saw two dust trails on the road despite he was told that only one person would be meeting up with him.
He saw Michael exit the first vehicle with an older civilian exiting the second, the civilian was carjacked by Michael and as Michael tried to escape on foot the civilian attempted to alert Trevor to what had happened.
Trevor, angry with the civilian, shot him in the eye with a flare gun killing him. Michael and Trevor then dumped the civilian’s body into a lake, when Trevor remembers this experience he says that it was horrible as the flare was still burning from inside of the man’s skull whilst they were dumping his body into the lake.
After they dumped the body in the lake, they both realized how well they worked together and decided to work together in their lives of crime. Even though they were working together professionally, Michael states that they were always on the run from the law because of Trevor’s rage issues causing him to murder anyone randomly in daylight.
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I’m stuck talking to you because no one else gives a shit. Oh, I’m living the dream, baby.
– Michael talking to Dr. Friedlander in “Franklin and Lamar”
Michael met a woman called Amanda in a strip club who was working as a stripper and both began a romantic relationship, with Michael earning a lot of money from his illegal activities, he bought Amanda breast implants to assist her in her career as a stripper and prostitute.
A few months later they got married and Amanda became pregnant with their two children Jimmy and Tracey whilst living in a trailer park in North Yankton. Because of this, Michael realized that he had a lot more to lose if he was killed or put in prison again and began to debate if he should continue being a criminal for the sake of his family.
He continues as a criminal but is a lot more careful and performs smaller robberies. A few years later, Trevor met Brad Snider, another career criminal who works alongside the duo much to Michael’s distaste and distrust.
In 2004, Michael met Dave Norton, a FIB agent who he makes an agreement with to help him cut ties with Trevor and Brad in exchange for government protection. Dave explains that he would provide Michael with a new identity, home, and life in Los Santos.
In their upcoming bank heist in Ludendorff, North Yankton, Michael lets Norton “kill” him allowing him to fake his death and pursue his new life with everyone believing that he is dead. The robbery turned out to be a disaster as Trevor kills a guard who held Michael at gunpoint when they were ambushed by police offers at the bank. After escaping the police offers the trio drive to the ambush point that Norton and Michael agreed on.
Michael being shot in ‘Prologue’
At the ambush point, Norton accidentally shoots Brad after he walked in front of Trevor, Michael gets shot in the chest as planned with a bulletproof vest underneath and pretends that he is fatally injured ordering Trevor to leave him behind and escape. After Trevor killed several police offers at the ambush point he eventually runs off into the fields and goes into hiding.
Michael was declared dead because of the ambush and Brad was sent to prison with a very long sentence. Dave relocated Michael to Los Santos with a witness protection program so that he can start his new life away from crime.
He and his family move into a large house in Rockford Hills and begin to use the surname “De Santa”, Lester was aware of the agreement between Michael and Dave but they both agreed to not give each other out to the police, he also moved to Los Santos and bought a small house in Murrieta Heights. Trevor started his new life out of hiding in Sandy Shores located in Blaine County still believing that Michael is dead and Brad is locked up in Bolingbroke Penitentiary.
GTA V starts at nine years after Michael has faked his death with a session with his therapist Dr. Friedlander. He explains to his therapist that he isn’t happy with his life at the moment and says he is at “the end of the road”.
Michael assaulting Simeon in ‘Complications’
A short time after Michael’s therapy session, his son, Jimmy De Santa, purchases an SUV from Simeon Yetarian who is an Armenian car salesman and owns the Premium Deluxe Motorsport dealership on the agreement of monthly payments for the vehicle.
Jimmy misses a payment deadline so Simeon orders Franklin to repossess the vehicle.
Franklin sneaks into the De Santa’s mansion in Rockford Hills, breaks into the house and steals the SUV from the garage. As he is driving back to the dealership, Michael suddenly appears in the back of the vehicle from under a blanket and holds Franklin at gunpoint.
Michael jokingly says to Franklin “Maybe one day we’ll have a beer, and I’ll explain how the world really works”. Upon arriving at the dealership, Michael orders Franklin to drive straight through the front window. After the crash, Franklin gets paid by Michael and leaves the scene before physically assaulting Simeon and threatening him if he tries to scam his family again.
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Maybe I’m here because I’m an idiot who thinks imported palm trees are a good substitute for not really knowing what the fuck you’re doing on this earth.
– Michael talking to Franklin in “Father/Son”
Michael and Franklin talking in ‘Father/Son’
The next day, whilst Michael’s daughter, Tracey and his wife, Amanda are arguing in the house, Michael goes to his backyard complete with a swimming pool and relaxes on his sun chair with his music player, whiskey and cigar. Whilst he is staring at the sun listening to his music, Franklin appears and interrupts him for the offer he was given earlier.
Michael is surprised that he took the offer seriously and suggests that they both go to a bar. As they are walking through the house to the car, Michael receives a phone call from Jimmy explaining that he tried to sell Michael’s yacht but the buyers have stolen it with him hiding on it.
Angry with what Jimmy has done, Michael and Franklin drive after the yacht and Jimmy on the Western Highway, Franklin helps to rescue Jimmy but they are unable to get the yacht back. Michael is impressed by how well Franklin handled the situation and offers him to come by his house to talk.
Michael after finding Amanda sleeping with her tennis coach in ‘Marriage Counseling’
As Michael returns home, he discovers that Amanda has been sleeping with her tennis coach who escapes the house in his underwear. Franklin shows up as this is happening and they both chase after the tennis coach in Michael’s gardener’s truck to a stilt house in Vinewood Hills.
Michael, enraged by what the tennis coach has done, hooks the truck’s winch to the stilts which support the house and orders Franklin to drive the truck forward to pull the house down the hill.
After the majority of the house is left in pieces, the duo drive back to Michael’s house where Michael receives a phone call from the tennis coach informing him that the house was not his, but belonged to the girlfriend of a powerful Mexican man, Martin Madrazo.
The girlfriend sends a hit-squad after Michael and Franklin to kill them but they manage to escape to Michael’s house where he finds Martin waiting for him. Martin assaults Michael with a baseball hat and orders him to pay to rebuild the house at a cost of $2.5m or he will be violently assaulted again.
Franklin on Michael’s yacht in ‘Father/Son’
The next day, Michael is watching a movie in his living room but can’t watch it properly as Jimmy is upstairs in his room playing a video game and won’t stop shouting and swearing on his headset. Michael heads to his room to find out what is going on, only to get insulted several times by his son. Out of anger, he throws a chair at his television and calls him a “disrespectful little shit”.
They both shout at each other and argue, eventually they both calm down and Michael explains how much he hates that Jimmy is doing nothing productive with his life as he is twenty years old and doesn’t have a job. Michael suggests that they both go for a bike ride to spend some time together, Michael drives himself and Jimmy to Vespucci Beach but still continue to argue along the way.
They have a bike race and finish at the end of the Del Perro Pier, Jimmy points out a large yacht in the sea and reveals that his sister, Tracey, is actually on board shooting sexual adult films. Angry with the thought of his daughter participating in adult films, Michael strips, dives into the water and swims to the yacht.
When he reaches the yacht he causes a lot of drama and heat by throwing a man overboard the yacht, Michael grabs Tracey and they both leave the yacht on jet skis, as Michael is taking Tracey back to shore to Jimmy, they are both chased by film producers leading to a shootout. Once they return to the shore and meet up with Jimmy, they both reveal how much they hate Michael and leave him.
Jay Norris after being killed by Lester’s explosion
Because of Michael pulling down the stilt house in Vinewood Hills earlier, he decides that he needs to return to his old life of being a career criminal to find the $2.5m needed to pay Martin Madrazo. He contacts his old partner Lester Crest who agrees to help Michael get the money he needs but only if he helps Lester with a job he needs doing.
Lester asks Michael to sabotage a prototype phone which is due to be unveiled by Jay Norris, the founder of LifeInvader. Michael goes to the LifeInvader office in Rockford Hills and meets a programmer called Rickie Lukens. Rickie, assuming that Michael works at LifeInvader, invites Michael into the building and asks him to rid his computer of viruses.
After Michael helps Rickie, he is told where the phone prototype is in the office. Michael goes to the room where the prototype is and swaps it with a dummy phone. When Michael returns home he watches Weazel News who are broadcasting the unveiling of the prototype by Jay Norris live.
When Jay reveals the prototype, Michael phones him as Lester requested him to cause the phone to blow up by Jay’s head killing him. After the broadcast ends, Lester and Michael then start working on setting up for the Jewelry Store heist and he insists that Franklin should be involved.
Lester’s Garment Factory in La Mesa
Michael and his heist crew meet up at Darnell Bros., a garment factory located in La Mesa to discuss the plan of the robbery. They perform the robbery which goes smoothly and Michael pays off the $2.5 million he owes Martin Madrazo, Michael and Franklin also take a small cut of the takings.
Trevor in his Sandy Shores home, who Michael believes to be dead, watches a news report of the robbery and recognizes Michael’s movie quote that he said to the security guard and goes into a calm, emotionless confusions before raging and killing Lost MC biker Johnny Klebitz by throwing a glass bottle and kicking his head.
Still, in a confused rage, Trevor orders his friend Wade to find a man named Michael De Santa in San Andreas. He then single-handedly wipes out the majority of his rivals in Sandy Shores who are opponents to him and his drug business.
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You forget a thousand things every day, pal. Make sure this is one of ’em.
– Michael to a security officer in “The Jewel Store Job”
Jimmy’s bag of weed in ‘Fame or Shame’
Michael and Franklin are spending a few days laying low from the robbery and as Michael opens the fridge in his house, he finds a block of marijuana and correctly assumes that it is Jimmy’s. Michael taunts Jimmy about it which causes anger amongst the family and they start arguing.
Trevor walks into the kitchen, taking Michael by complete surprise and introduces himself to the people he hasn’t seen in over 10 years. Jimmy breaks the awkwardness and tension by revealing that Tracey is currently auditioning for Fame or Shame, a reality TV show with a dance audition.
Trevor urges Michael to do something about it and to stop Tracey from embarrassing herself on national television, they both flee to the Maze Bank Arena in La Puerta. The duo push past security and demand to see Lazlow Jones, the show’s presenter downstairs.
Michael and Trevor watch Tracey dancing in a sexual way with Lazlow performing sexual poses behind, this angers both of them and in sudden rage they try to attack Lazlow who runs outside and drives off. Michael and Trevor follow Lazlow until his stops in the Los Santos Canal, Trevor forces Lazlow to take off his pants and dance whilst her records him, afterward they eventually let him go.
View of Los Santos from the Galileo Observatory
Shortly afterwards, Michael meets up with agent Dave Norton at the Galileo Observatory, he explains that because of Michael’s actions of robbing the Vangelico Store, it has brought a spotlight onto Dave who works for the FIB and that if his bosses read his files and find out about what happened in North Yankton, there could be serious consequences for both of them.
The pair come to an agreement, that if Michael helps Dave keep his job with the FIB he will in return cover up the crimes that Michael commits. His first job for Michael is to find a man called Ferdinand Kerimov, a suspected terrorist who the IAA claim is dead however the FIB don’t believe it.
Norton knocks Michael unconscious which allows him to enter the morgue, just before his autopsy Michael regains consciousness and strangles one of the coroners. He locates Kerimov’s identity tag but realises it is attached to a woman’s foot, Michael then escapes the morgue by killing the security guards and loses the cops.
As Michael continues to work for Dave Norton, he introduces him to a highly corrupt FIB agent called Steve Haines who orders Michael and his team to extract Kerimov from the IAA building in Pillbox Hill, Los Santos.
They accomplish the kidnapping and Michael and Trevor meet up at a warehouse where they are briefed that Michael needs to assist Norton in assassinating a terrorist suspect, Tahir Javan. To find information about Javan, Trevor tortures Kerimov.
Fabien trying to calm Amanda and Michael in ‘Did Somebody Say Yoga?’
As Michael returns home, he finds his wife with her yoga teacher Fabien LaRouche who encourages Michael to take part in a yoga session with Amanda, much to her irritation. The session is going fine until Fabien performs a sexual position on Amanda which frustrates Michael and therefore lunges at him but Fabien causes Michael to fall into the swimming pool.
Amanda who is even more frustrated with Michael’s behaviour leaves with Fabien. Michael goes upstairs to speak to his son about what has happened, Jimmy asks Michael to drive him to get a package from his friend at Burger Shot.
Michael after being pushed in the road by Jimmy in ‘Did Somebody Say Yoga?’
When they both arrive at Burger Shot and Jimmy’s friend gives him some cannabis and a drink, on the way home Michael drinks the drink that Jimmy was given and starts to feel drowsy and hallucinate. Jimmy tells Michael that he has spiked his drink before pushing him out of the vehicle and takes the car.
Michael continues to hallucinate before waking up a few blocks away from his house in nothing but his underwear. When Michael arrives back to his home he finds note from his wife explaining that she and their children are leaving him because of Michael’s absurd behaviour.
A little while later, Trevor contacts Michael and Franklin and asks them for help in a heist he is willing to pull off which involves getting past Merryweather Security at the docks and stealing an unknown package.
The heist goes as planned and Trevor finds out that he has stolen a nuclear weapon from the government, Lester arrives at the scene and is mortified to see what Trevor has done. He demands Trevor to return the highly dangerous weapon before they end up on every watch list in the world.
The armoured truck getting hit in ‘Blitz Play’
After the FIB find out about the Merryweather Heist, Michael, Franklin and Trevor are given a job by Haines and Norton. They tell them that they need to rob an armoured truck which is filled with funds that the IAA has received due to drug sales. Haines has stated that he wants those funds so that he can support the Bureau.
Michael takes control of the heist and tells Franklin and Trevor that they will cut off the traffic and hit the truck with another and steal the funds that way whilst controlling the LSPD and NOOSE resistance.
After they have escaped the cops, Michael goes to deliver the funds to billionaire Devin Weston, who offers Michael a chance to work with one of his movie idols, movie producer Solomon Richards. In order for Michael to get what he wishes, Weston orders him to steal several race cars with Franklin and Trevor and he does so.
Solomon Richards and Michael meeting for the first time in ‘Mr. Richards’
As Weston promised, he introduces Michael to Richards who hires him as his production assistant. The first job that Richards gives him is to get criminal and actor Rocco Pelosi to agree with Richard’s orders on how to behave during the production of his latest movie, Meltdown. Michael climbs to a helipad and meets Rocco to where he assaults him and then drives a helicopter erratically to convince Anton Beaudelaire to follow Richard’s orders.
Later on, Madrazo orders Michael and Trevor to meet him at his home on Senora Road. He asks them both to shoot down his cousin’s private jet as it is carrying sensitive files that Madrazo wants back. Michael uses a weapon inside a van at the Galileo Observatory and shoots down the plane whilst Trevor drives a motorcycle to where the plane crashes and kills his cousin whilst taking the files.
Michael finds out that as Trevor dropped off the files at Madrazo’s house, he kidnapped his wife Patricia. Michael, who is now scared of what Madrazo will do when he finds out and catches them, hides out in Sandy Shores with Trevor.
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Oh no! Oh shit! The fuck did you do?
– Michael to Trevor when he reveals he kidnapped Madrazo’s wife in “Caida Libre”
Haines and Norton summon Michael, Franklin and Trevor for another missions against the IAA. This time they need to raid an IAA chemical plant to steal a dangerous neurotoxin that the agency is plotting to use in a terrorist attack, the only reason is to get more funds from the US government.
The trio gather another funds to purchase a Cargobob and other equipment, they do this by robbing the Paleto Bay bank which contains millions of dollars. After they have completed this heist, Michael and Trevor receieve a phone call from Franklin, who was asked by Trevor to follow the remaining O’Neil brothers.
The O’Neil brothers after crashing their vehicle in ‘Predator’
Franklin continues to follow them until they crash their vehicle and escape on foot in a forest near Raton Canyon. Trevor and Michael assist Franklin with a helicopter and Michael uses his sniper rifle attached with a thermal scope to find the last three O’Neil brothers in the forest and shoots them.
He doesn’t kill the last brother, Elwood O’Neil, because he is hiding and shooting rockets at the helicopter. Franklin located O’Neil on foot and kills him in the forest.
To pay off Martin Madrazo, Michael and Trevor raid a Merryweather courier train that carries gold and other priceless artifacts. Trevor derails the train over a bridge in Raton Canyon with Michael diving into the river to grab the artifacts and gold. Michael and Trevor escape Merryweather who try to catch them stealing from the train, Michael talks to Trevor and explains that once the FIB leave them alone they should carry out “the big one”, a heist which involves stealing millions of dollars worth of gold from the Union Depository.
Michael returns back to his home in Rockford Hills and gets an unexpected visit from Trevor who offers him the idea of busting Brad out of jail. Michael is not happy with the plans and Trevor eventually realises that Brad is dead and buried in Michael’s grave in North Yankton and not alive in the Federal Penitentiary.
Trevor digging up Brad Snider’s grave in ‘Bury the Hatchet’
Trevor travels to North Yankton to see the grave for himself with Michael chasing him, they both have a stand off at the grave but are both attacked by Wei Cheng‘s men. Cheng’s men incorrectly think that Michael and Trevor are lovers, Trevor flees the scene leaving Michael to fend off for himself. Michael is eventually captured when he makes it back to his car but realising Trevor sabotaged it so that he couldn’t escape. He is then taken to a meat factory in Los Santos but gets rescued by Franklin before he gets killed.
Michael goes back Solomon Richards to resume work at his movie studio, he witnesses Pelosi and an associate, Gianni, assault Solomon and Michael chases them both and kills them. As a way of thanking him for his help, Richards promises to Michael a credited producer in his upcoming film, Meltdown.
Haines gives one more job to Michael and Franklin, they are ordered to break into the FIB building and remove evidence against Haines that they have. The raid goes to plan but when Michael meets Haines and Norton, Haines attempts to arrest Michael so that he can cover his involvement in the raid.
The Mexican standoff between Norton, Sanchez, De Santa, Haines and the FIB in ‘The Wrap Up’
This very quickly turns into a Mexican standoff between Agent Sanchez, who is working with a rival RIB team, an IAA team led by the U.L. Paper Contact, a Merryweather team, De Santa, Haines and Norton. Things quickly get out of control, Haines is shot in the leg by an FIB operative and kills Sanchez in the process, Haines managed to escape. Norton and Michael fight their way through Merryweather and Michael escapes to Trevor in Morningwood.
Michael seeks out his family and reunites the four of them together, he explains his involvement in Solomon Richards’ new movie, Meltdown and offers to take them to the premiere on Vinewood Boulevard. Weston announces that he wants to exploit the movie studio’s insurance policy by not releasing the completed film so that he can claim the insurance money, closing and destroying the studio and build condos to replace it.
Molly Schultz running away from Michael in ‘Legal Trouble’
Michael chases Weston’s assistant to the airport to retrieve the film’s copy. During the chase, Molly Schultz is accidentally killed by being sucked into jet engine.
Later on at the premiere, Weston unexpectedly shows up at the premiere and threatens Michael with the lives of Amanda and Tracey for what happened to his assistant. Michael goes back home at saves Amanda and Tracey’s lives from Merryweather mercenaries.
Michael sends his family into hiding and informs Franklin, Trevor and Lester that they are able to pull off the Big Score, they successfully pull off the heist and steal over $200,000,000 worth of gold from the Union Depository.