|Portrayed By||Greg Grunberg|
|Date of Birth||June 10, 1968|
|Place of Birth||Los Angeles, CA|
|Current Location||New York City, NY|
|Known Relatives||Maury Parkman (father)|
|Significant Other||Janice Parkman|
|First Appearance||Don't Look Back|
"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world."
-Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha)
"See, the human mind is kind of like … a piñata. When it breaks open, there's a lot of surprises inside. Once you get the piñata perspective, you see that losing your mind can be a peak experience."
-Jane Wagner, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
Matt's home life in California was uneventful until the age of 13, when Maury abandoned him and his mother for unknown reasons, leaving him with $120 in cash and a subtle inferiority complex that clashed with his otherwise determined and protective nature. Faced with the diagnosis of his dyslexia on top of this, he hid the condition as best he could, scraped through high school, then signed on with the LAPD, where his physical ability and willpower were more important than reading or writing.
Over fifteen years later, despite his experience, Matt remained unable to advance his career; his dyslexia prevented him from passing the detective's exam. His life changed again while he was working the Walker double homicide; assigned to the menial task of rolling police tape in front of the house, he heard a child's fearful voice and followed it inside, finding a petrified Molly Walker in a hiding space under the stairs. FBI agent Audrey Hanson arrested him as a suspect, but when they became aware of his telepathy, she instead recruited him to help investigate the man known as Sylar.
While pursuing the case, Matt met Ted and Peter, suspects with abilities of their own; ran afoul of the Company, represented by Noah and the Haitian, who insisted on getting in his way; and was suspended, once for punching his old partner after learning he slept with Janice, then again for a SWAT raid against Primatech whose real purpose he couldn't adequately explain. He got a job in private security, which soon proved to be involved in the conspiracy as well.
After a tense confrontation at the Bennet house, Matt, Ted, and Noah escaped Company detention and went to New York City to shut down their tracking system, only to discover that Molly was the system. Matt insisted that she be left alive, and they went instead to join the climactic battle against Sylar, where he was shot by his own telekinetically-deflected bullets and barely survived.
With his old career and marriage broken, Matt stayed in New York City, joining the NYPD and moving in with Mohinder to help him take care of Molly. After finally passing the detective's exam, he was assigned to the Virginia Gray case among others, only for her son to be released from custody and disappear after forcing Mohinder to restore his abilities.
Since manifesting his ability, Matt no longer views himself as a mere cog in the machine; he internalized the motto 'to protect and serve' long ago, but now he has the confidence to back it up. In most cases, he directly addresses whatever he sees as the heart of the situation. He accepts that he may need to lie, cheat, or steal in the service of the greater good, going all the way back to concealing his dyslexia as a teenager.
Due to struggling with his career earlier, and dealing with complex issues more recently, Matt tends to be either world-weary or naive about any given subject, without much middle ground.
Matt has accepted Molly and Mohinder as a surrogate family. He empathizes with most members of the Evolved that he knows about, due to their shared need to hide their abilities. His opinion of women remains soured by Janice's cheating, and to a lesser extent their past conflicts.
The Shadow Knows - Matt can listen to the surface thoughts of a specific person nearby. The better the roll, the more specific information he perceives. He perceives this as if the person was speaking what they're thinking, so he can pick up on emotional cues that would be conveyed by tone of voice, but can't translate thoughts in other languages into English.
Push Becomes Pull - Moving up from hearing to speaking, Matt can project his own words into the surface thoughts of a specific person nearby. The better the roll, the clearer the message. By imitating the target's own voice, he can attempt to make them think that the thoughts are coming from their own subconscious.
Parabolic Mike - By deliberately relaxing the control that he learned early on, Matt can listen to many people at the same time. The better the roll, the more people he can hear, but this makes it harder to pick out any one voice from the noise.
Restraining Bolt - Matt can implant a standing mental block against performing some type of action. This goes below the verbal level, letting the target's subconscious fill in rationalizations.
Bullhorn - In crowd control situations, there isn't always time to get inside each person's head individually. This allows projecting the same thought to a group of people all at once. The result is less focused as the size of the group increases, and works best if the thought is the sort of thing that someone would say out loud ("hey, he just ran that way!").
Somebody Else's Problem - You can't see me. The simplest form of digging down to the unconscious level, Matt blocks the target from consciously paying attention to something in their peripheral vision and/or other senses. This can't block really obvious things (a person standing right in front of them, talking loudly, etc.), nor does it affect cameras (he'd have to target the watcher).
Voice in the Crowd - By focusing on how someone thinks, instead of what they're thinking - the equivalent of their tone of voice - Matt can pick one person out of a crowd without the usual headaches and drowning-out. This is pretty difficult, but the better he knows them already, the better it works.
- "Eat your Tex-Mex."
- "And it gives me headaches, bad ones, and I'm popping pain pills like Flintstone chewables. There are still Flintstone chewables, right?"
- "Do you want revenge, or do you want the truth? You can't have both."
- "I've come three thousand miles. I left my pregnant wife at home. He's a bad guy, I'm a cop, I'm going after him."
- "You're not a very good liar."
- Jump clear! Your life depends on it!
- "You're a neuralyzer?"
- "Find the Twinkies."
- "You're not a cargo jet, Charlotte."
- "I am the police."
- "Don't do anything dangerous. Very funny, Peter."
- "So yeah, Sergeant Schulz, we're good."
- Matt is a fan of both the San Diego Chargers and the Los Angeles Lakers.
- Matt's badge number is 8954.
- Matt's favorite band is Iron Maiden.
- Matt is allergic to avocados and hates coconuts.
- Matt has the Mark on his neck.
- Matt is deceptively strong.