Babylon 5: Character Bios: Michael Garabaldi
‘Baldi’ to his friends is a good baddy (or should that be a bad goody) who went off the rails because of some head gaming with Bester. Now he’s back on them again (the rails that is). I personally think he is a plonker, but I’m in the minority. If you were to meet Garibaldi in the pub he would be clobbering this Sad Geezer.
And yet, he is played magnificently, stupendously and certainly believably by the amazing Jerry Doyle. Jerry was not a veteran actor before joining the Babylon 5 cast, indeed I haven’t seen him in much since. He was however, very memorable in this saga and he certainly made the part his own.
According to his bio on Wikipedia: “Previously a corporate jet pilot and after a decade as a stockbroker on Wall Street, Doyle made an abrupt career change into acting in 1991, when he moved to Los Angeles. His first television role was on the series Moonlighting where he played a potential replacement for Bruce Willis’ character. This was followed by a recurring role as a lawyer on the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. Babylon 5 was his first significant starring role, starring as security officer Michael Garibaldi. Doyle quipped that on Babylon 5 he was a “Mick from Brooklyn playing a Wop from Mars.”
Garibaldi was a trusted and competent Head of Security on Babylon 5. He was a comrade with his old mate Sinclair (ex-Commander of Babylon 5) during the troubles with the Mars colony years before. He has demonstrated a ruthless efficiency in the delivery of his duties and yet also has a reputation amongst his pals as being a little soft hearted and willing to bend the rules now and again to help someone in need. His role in getting Franklin to admit his drug dependency in “Interludes and Examinations” (series three) is evidence of how important friendship and loyalty are to him, and it also shows us his capacity to care for others.
Garibaldi has had a bit of a shady past but he is resolute, loyal and thorough. I’m in a bit of a dilemma concerning Garibaldi. In most of Series Four I saw him behaving like an absolute git. Oh sure his head was ‘fixed‘, but I can’t help but dislike the bloke, even though he seemed to come good in the end.
I’ll try and be as objective as I can, his most relevant past concerns 2161.
Towards the end of the Shadow War in 2160, Garibaldi was captured by a Shadow Battleship. We saw him interrogated and yet some of the more observant B5 netnerds noticed that his interrogators had Psi Corp tunics (from the Lurkers Guide). His mind was ‘fiddled with’ and he was let loose only to be found and returned later.
All his pals at Babylon 5 were pleased to see him with the slight exception of Sheridan who, in my opinion, noticed a subtle change in his behaviour (ie. like Garibaldi smacking him across the face in Racing Mars). From then on, Garibaldi slides downhill at an ever-increasing rate. He was approached by the thug Wade who was a sort of gofer for a rich businessman on Mars called Edgars. Edgars was a secretive person with many enemies. He needed the help of Garibaldi to do the odd bit of covert dirty work on Babylon 5. on Mars He persuaded Garibaldi to help he and his men capture Sheridan. In return, Garibaldi was allowed ‘in‘ on Edgar’s grand plan for the subjugation of the Psi Corps. It involved a debilitating and ultimately fatal drug that was easy to distribute. only Edgars had the antidote.
Garibaldi had been wholly taken in by Edgars. only after Sheridan had been captured and Edgars Grand Plan on the verge of being executed, did Garibaldi learn that it was our old pal Bester who had fiddled with his mind. As you can imagine, Garibaldi was more than a little upset to find this out and endeavoured to right this wrongs by leading a team to free Sheridan and later to provide invaluable assistance in the Battle of Mars.
So, it seems that he is back to being a goody. Personally, I can’t forgive him for ‘shopping the boss’ and acting like such a pratt for all those episodes. However, it has to be said that Garibaldi’s, is one on the richest characters of the whole Babylon 5 story arc.
In Season 5, Garibaldi is the Head of Alliance covert Intelligence. He is well suited to the part but receives much criticism from Captain Lockley.
Baldi most recently upset us all by becoming an alcoholic again. This, at a time when his intelligence skills are most required. In particular, he passed out while on duty. A particularly important message from a Whitestar was sent to him and this information could have averted the opening of hostilities between the Alliance and the Centauri. In an explanation to Sheridan later, Garibaldi misinformed the Council that the Centauri had opened fire first! I almost dread watching scenes with Garibaldi.
(thanks to Jenn & Mariah for putting me right on a couple of point regarding Baldi’s bio)
The ‘Fun-people biographies’ are © 1999 – 2001 Tony Fawl.
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission
Discuss this character in the Babylon 5 & Crusade Forum
The BABYLON 5 names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of J. Michael Straczynski, TNT and Warner Brothers, a division of Time Warner Entertainment Company. All rights reserved.