Stranger Things Wiki
Advertisement
Stranger Things Wiki

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

–Murray Bauman


Murray Bauman, portrayed by Brett Gelman, is a main character in the fourth season of Stranger Things, having a recurring role in the second and third seasons.

A former investigative journalist, in 1984, he is hired by the Hollands to investigate their daughter's disappearance. His research leads him to believe either (a) the events of the previous year were caused by UFO activity, or (b) that there is a Russian invasion taking place in Hawkins, due to finding leads about a mysterious girl with a shaved head. But the chief of Hawkins police, Jim Hopper, remains skeptical and shuns him. Nancy, Barbara's best friend, and her friend Jonathan go to Murray's home to take down Hawkins Laboratory, and explain the prior year's events to Murray. The includes an explanation of Barbara Holland's disappearance. Murray assists the pair into taking down the lab by releasing tapes to the media, containing a watered down version of Dr. Sam Owen's confession. Murray questions why the two aren't together romantically, laughing at their resistance to enter a relationship and giving them the advice to stop avoiding their feelings. One month later, Murray parks outside of Hawkins Lab as it shuts down due to the exposure of the truth about Barb's death. He laughs gleefully as the Army drives past him, flipping him off as he sips his drink.

Six months later, in July of 1985, Jim Hopper, his friend Joyce Byers, and a kidnapped Russian scientist named Alexei arrive at Murray's home in need of Murray's help to translate Alexei's Russian. Murray is resistant, believing Alexei to be Soviet scum. The two soon bond over making fun of Hopper and Joyce, who, like Nancy and Jonathan, have sexual tension between them. Murray, along with Joyce and Hopper, learn that the Russians are building a gate to the Upside Down and attempting to weaponize the creatures withheld in the dimension. 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.

In the spring of 1986, Murray serves as a reliable resource who's always willing to take down evil-doers. When Joyce receives an anonymous package from Russia, Murray helps her find answers.[1]

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 her mind. He also told of how a co-worker of Ted Wheeler said Ted 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 from Flo. The phone call was a ruse to allow Hopper to cut the interview 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 discredited and the public would not find it believable. 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 not pleased that Hopper brought a Russian to his residence, but agreed to serve as their translator. Murray translated Alexei's statements about the Russian complex underneath Starcourt Mall designed to open a portal to the Upside-Down. He accompanied the group as they returned to Hawkins. In the process, he bonded with Alexei as he taught the Russian scientist about American culture. They both mocked Hopper and Joyce for failing to recognize their attraction to each other.

Murray took Alexei to the Hawkins Independence Day Fair, where he showed Alexei the carnival games. Murray left Alexei alone momentarily when he went to buy corn dogs. As Alexei was about to reunite with Murray, Alexei was shot in the stomach by an assassin. Despite Murray's best efforts to find help, Alexei 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, dressed in Russian army uniforms. Murray used his Russian skills to talk his way past a checkpoint, 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. They were captured 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 try to discover Barbara Holland's whereabouts. While he was ignored 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 good ability to analyze a person's character and personality. He recognized Jonathan and Nancy's feelings for each other and later made a similar deduction about Hopper and Joyce. His accurate psychoanalysis could make those he analyzed very uncomfortable.

He was also shown to be very clever when he explained that the tape evidence provided by Nancy and Jonathan could easily be discredited, but a modified tape 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?"
  • ”Oops”
  • "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........"
  • "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."
  • “So, please, for my sake, either quit your bickering, or pull over, tear off those clothes, and GET IT OVER WITH ALREADY!”
  • (in Russian) "I told them they should have sex."

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. Nancy told Murray she had proof that Hawkins Lab was responsible for the death of her friend, Barbara Holland. Although Murray believed Nancy g about the lab and the Upside Down, he told her that her evidence could easily be discredited and ignored by the public. So, they worked together in altering the evidence to indicate Barbara was killed by a chemical spill caused by the lab. Afterward, 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, on July 4, 1985, Murray gave Nancy 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 tell Murray 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.

On July 4, 1985, Murray gave Jonathan and Nancy the keys to his house so they and the kids can be safe from the Mind Flayer.

Erica Sinclair

In 1985, when Murray, Hopper, and Joyce arrived at the Starcourt Mall alongside the Party to close the Gate, Murray went over the Russian base's layout through Alexei's map. He estimated the distance between the Hub and the Vault Room was about 50 feet, but Erica corrected him that is was about 500 feet, and questioned their logic of "waltzing in like it was Commie Disneyland". Murray asked who she was, to which Erica snootily introduced herself and asked who he was. When Murray introduced himself by his full name, Erica incorrectly called him "Mr. Bumman". She apologized for telling him how to do things, but announced to the group that following his plan would lead to their deaths. Murray asked in annoyance why "this four-year-old" was speaking to him, causing Erica to say that she was ten and calling him a "bald bastard", shocking Murray.

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
Video Game Appearances
Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales

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.[2]

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.[3] Strangely, the character was originally named “Terry Ives”, the name that would later be given to Eleven’s mother.

In the behind-the-scenes show Beyond Stranger Things, Brett Gelman claims that Murray's backstory (that was not mentioned in his introduction) prior to the second season was his daughter and family's relationship was destroyed as a result of Murray following an unspecified story while working for the Sun-Times, and that helping the Hollands find Barbara was a way to make peace for what he did. Whether Murray having a daughter and family was cut from the show in general or simply didn't make it to the cut and will be explored in further seasons has yet to be revealed.

Gallery

View Gallery.png 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 stated that he hates children, but it's unknown if this is true or is just an expression of his annoyance when he's given the codename "Bald Eagle."
  • When originally being the character Terry Ives, his age was described to be 40. This is most likely the same age in Murray once he is introduced.
  • In Season 3, both Alexei and Erica made fun of Murray's baldness.
  • Murray is the fourth character in the series to make their debut as a recurring character, before being promoted to a main character, following Noah Schnapp's character Will Byers, who was recurring in Season 1, and Joe Keery's character Steve Harrington, who made his debut as a recurring character in Season 1, before returning as a main character in Season 2, and Priah Ferguson's character Erica Sinclair, who made her debut as a recurring character in Season 2, before returning as a main character in Season 3.
    • In addition, Murray is the first character to spend two seasons as a recurring character before coming back as a main character, as both Steve and Erica spent only one season as a recurring character before being promoted, Seasons 1 and 2 respectively.
  • Murray has red paper with a Weather Underground^ logo hung on a wall in his residence, implying that he may have supported or have been affiliated with the group prior to the timeframe of Stranger Things.

References

 

Advertisement