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Your priest, your postman, your teacher, the world at large. They won't believe any of this.

–Murray Bauman


Murray Bauman is a recurring character in the second and third season of Stranger Things. He is a private investigator who was hired by the Hollands to investigate their daughter's disappearance.

A year later, Murray was sought out by Jim Hopper and Joyce Byers to help them as they had kidnapped a Russian scientist named Alexei after discovering there were Russians in Hawkins. Knowing how to speak Russian, Murray served as a translator while befriending Alexei in the process. After Alexei's death, Murray continued to help Joyce, Hopper, and the kids to close the portal to the Upside Down underneath Starcourt Mall in order to kill the proxy body of the Mind Flayer.

History

Background

Murray was originally an investigative journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times. At some point, he became a private investigator and was hired by Mr. and Mrs. Holland to investigate Barbara Holland's disappearance.

1984

On the morning of October 30, 1984, Murray met Jim Hopper outside the police station where he tried to convince Hopper of a Russian spy presence in Hawkins. Hopper initially dismissed him, but once he mentioned a theoretical “Russian girl with psionic abilities”, Hopper agreed to give Murray five minutes to talk.

Murray told Hopper of how he had spoken to a former Bradley's Big Buy employee who claimed to have witnessed a girl smash the front doors with only her mind. He also told of how a co-worker of Ted Wheeler said he claimed to have harbored a “Russian” girl with a shaved head in his basement, but later retracted this claim. These reports led Murray to believe that, not only were there Russian spies in Hawkins, but they were responsible for the disappearance of Barbara Holland. As Murray was talking, Hopper received a phone call and had to leave, cutting their time short.

Hoping to find a way to expose Hawkins National Laboratory, Nancy and Jonathan traveled to Murray's residence in Sesser, IL. After listening to their tape recording of Dr. Owens revealing the truth of what happened to Barb, Murray explained that though he believed their story the tape wouldn't be enough evidence as it could easily be destroyed. He then proposed to Nancy and Jonathan that they “water down” their story in order to make it more appealing to the public. After altering their story to say that Barb died from a chemical leak originating from the lab, they placed the evidence in several envelopes to be sent to the Chicago Sun-Times.

A month later, Murray watched as military personnel left the shut-down Hawkins National Laboratory.

1985

After taking Alexei hostage, Hopper and Joyce traveled with him to Illinois to meet up with Murray, who was the only person Hopper knew who could speak Russian. Murray was none too pleased that Hopper brought a Russian to his residence, but agreed to serve as their translator, in the process learning about the Russian complex underneath Starcourt Mall designed to open a portal to the Upside-Down. He tagged along with the group as they returned to Hawkins, in the process bonding with Alexei as he taught the Russian scientist about American culture and they both mocked Hopper and Joyce for failing to recognize their attraction to each other.

Murray joined the group as they arrived at the Hawkins Independence Day Fair, where he showed Alexei the carnival games and left him alone momentarily to get them both corn dogs. Just as Alexei was headed to reunite with him with his carnival prize, he was quickly shot in the stomach by an assassin. Despite Murray's best efforts to find help, Alexei ultimately bled to death, leaving Murray devastated.

Murray joined Hopper and Joyce as they arrived at Starcourt Mall and tried to formulate a plan to shut down the Russians' portal machine, but was interrupted by Erica Sinclair, who reminded him she had already been inside the complex and helped the group figure out a new plan. Murray insisted on joining Hopper and Joyce in entering the complex, where he used his Russian skills to sneak past various checkpoints, and helped set off the alarms to give Hopper and Joyce the freedom to shut down the machine. After Hopper sacrificed himself to allow Joyce to close the portal, Murray reunited with Joyce and they were met on their way out of the facility by American soldiers.

Personality and Traits

Murray was a quirky, but vigilant journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Although an investigative journalist, Murray was always ignored by others due to his eccentric behavior and strange reports in solving investigations. After being hired by the Holland family to investigate their daughter's disappearance, he started working as an investigator, following over 200 tips to deduce Barbara Holland's whereabouts. While he's disgraced by most people, he was sure that the Hawkins National Laboratory was somehow responsible for the abnormal events occurring in Hawkins and the death of Barbara and was committed to uncovering the truth. He had a strong ability to recognize sexual tension, easily noticing Jonathan and Nancy's feelings for each other and calling them out for it, and succinctly calling out Hopper and Joyce for ignoring their feelings.

He was also shown to be very witty when he explained that the tape evidence provided by Nancy and Jonathan could easily be destroyed, but a modified one which was more believable to the public could expose the lab.

Despite his rough demeanor, Murray had a soft side to him, overcoming his hatred of Russians in bonding with the scientist Alexei, teaching him about American culture through cartoons, food, and carnival games. When Alexei was murdered before his eyes he was left devastated, trying to grapple with the fact he had left him unprotected just to get a corn dog.

Memorable Quotes

  • "Those people... They're not wired like me and you, okay? They don't spend their lives trying to get a look at what's behind the curtain. They like the curtain."
  • "So, Jonathan.. how was the pull-out?"
  • "I may be bald, but you’re the one in handcuffs, Soviet scum."
  • "You have dragged an enemy of the state into my home as carelessly as a child drags in shit on his shoe. I will search him until I am satisfied."
  • "He says he likes strawberry too."
  • "Oh, I’m sorry, are my free translation services not good enough for you? Because you can just go ahead and file your complaint RIGHT UP MY ASS!"
  • "Who said you had to be an American to join the fun?"
  • "It doesn’t get more American than this, my friend, fatty foods, ugly decadence........"
  • "Alexei!"
  • "I...........I just left for a minute........for a corn dog. A stupid corn dog."
  • "Yoo-hoo!"
  • "I’m sorry, why is this four-year-old speaking to me?"
  • "Children! Children!"
  • "Dare I say, if this all goes right......they’ll never even know we were here."
  • "Who needs sunlight when we have one another, comrade? And a bottle of Stolichnaya!"
  • "I hate children."
  • "Roger that, flying right. Little shit."
  • "Bald Eagle has landed. Repeat. Bald Eagle has landed."
  • "To water it down."

Relationships

Familial

Unnamed mother

Murray’s mother has only been mentioned in a hidden voicemail that can be heard by calling his phone number. In the voicemail, he insists that she calls him at a certain time, possibly indicating she calls him often, much to his annoyance.

Non-Familial

Murray met Nancy Wheeler in 1984 to confess that Hawkins Lab was responsible for the death of her friend, Barbara Holland. Although Murray believed Nancy everything about the lab and the Upside Down, he told her that her evidence could easily be destroyed or brushed off by the public. So, they worked together in making the evidence sound like that Barbara was killed by a chemical spill caused by the lab. Afterwards, Murray was able to notice Nancy's feelings for Jonathan and encouraged her to embrace them. Nancy thanked Murray for his help and he returned the gesture, telling her not to seek him out again.

However, in 1985, Murray was shown to still be on good terms with Nancy, as he gave her and Jonathan the keys to his house so they and the kids can be safe from the Mind Flayer.

Murray met Jonathan Byers in 1984 as the latter accompanied Nancy to confess that Hawkins Lab was responsible for the death of Barbara Holland. After working together to make Dr. Owens's recorded confession sound like a chemical spill killed Barbara, Murray noticed Jonathan's feelings for Nancy and encouraged him to embrace them, which he did. The next day, Murray asked Jonathan how was the "pull-out," causing Jonathan to choke up on his drink, confirming Murray's suspicions that Jonathan and Nancy slept together.

In 1985, Murray still was on good terms with Jonathan as he gave him and Nancy the keys to his house so they and the kids can be safe from the Mind Flayer.

Murray was friends and acquaintances with Chief Jim Hopper, although the two were sometimes annoyed with each other. In 1984, as Murray investigated the disappearance of Barbara Holland, he tried to explain his clues and theories about a girl with psychic powers and how there could be Russians in Hawkins. However, Hopper, knowing the truth about Eleven and what really happened to Barbara, dismissed Murray's claims and told him to go home.

In 1985, Hopper sought Murray's help when he and Joyce captured Russian scientist Alexei, as Hopper knew that Murray knows how to speak in Russian.

Appearances

Season Two appearances
MADMAX Trick or Treat, Freak The Pollywog
Will the Wise Dig Dug The Spy
The Lost Sister The Mind Flayer The Gate
Season Three appearances
Suzie, Do You Copy? The Mall Rats The Case of the Missing Lifeguard The Sauna Test
The Flayed E Pluribus Unum The Bite The Battle of Starcourt

Behind the scenes

The character was first revealed as a new addition to Season 2 in an article by The Hollywood Reporter on November 18, 2016, in which he was described as "a disgraced journalist-turned-conspiracy theorist who is investigating a cold case in Hawkins." It was announced that actor-comedian Brett Gelman had been cast to portray Bauman.[1]

An early iteration of Murray is mentioned in the original Montauk pilot script and the Montauk pitch book, the latter containing a short description of the character. The description reveals the character was originally envisioned as an “anti-social movie theatre projectionist and conspiracy theorist” resembling a serial killer, and would have played an important role in the story. The character was cut from the the first season because there was no room for his character.[2] Strangely, the character was originally named “Terry Ives”, the name that would later be given to Eleven’s mother.

Gallery

View Gallery For this subject's gallery, see Murray Bauman/Gallery.


Trivia

  • Murray can speak Russian, as shown in Season 3, in spite of “Russian spies” being a focal point of some of his paranoia and conspiracy theories in Season 2.
  • Judging by the scale of the Russian presence and infostructure shown in Season 3 and the short period of time between Season 2 and 3, Murray's accusation of an "invasion right here in Hawkins" would have been correct at the time.
  • It's possible to call his phone number (618-625-8313). When calling, the caller will receive a message from Murray:
    • "Hi, you have reached the residence of Murray Bauman. Mom, if this is you, please hang up and call me between the hours of 5 and 6 pm as previously discussed, okay? If this is Joyce, Joyce, thank you for calling, I have been trying to reach ya. I have an update. It’s about, well, its probably best if we speak in person. It’s not good or bad, but it’s something. If this is anyone but my mother or Joyce, well, you think you’re real clever, getting my number, don’t ya? Well, here’s some breaking news for you: You’re not clever. You’re not special. You are just simply one of the many, many nimwits to have called here, and the closest you will ever get to me is this prerecorded message so at the beep, do me a favor and hang up and never call here again. You are a parasite! Thank you and good day."
  • Murray hates children, but it's unknown if this is true or not as he said it when he's given the codename "Bald Eagle."
  • In Season 3, both Alexei and Erica made fun of Murray's baldness.

References

  1. "'Stranger Things' Enlists Brett Gelman for Season 2 (Exclusive)The Hollywood Reporter. November 18, 2016.
  2. "The Duffer Brothers Recap Stranger Things 2, ‘Chapter Six: The Spy’"Vulture. November 6, 2017
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