|“||No matter what happens, I'll take care of you. That's my plan.||„|
|~ May to Coulson|
Melinda May is a Level 7 S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and one of the main protagonists in the TV show Agents of Shield. She serves as Phil Coulson's second in command. She is portrayed by Ming-Na Wen, who is the voice of Fa Mulan.
- "May used to be different. She was always quiet, she was just... she was warm. Fearless in a different way. Getting in trouble, pulling pranks, thought rules were meant to be broken."
- ―Phil Coulson
The daughter of Lian May and an intelligence operative, Melinda May joined the the world wide intelligence agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Believing that the agency is the best defense of the United States of America and the world against any possible threat. She married Doctor Andrew Garner, though her marriage ended and they became estranged.
Trained by the best S.H.I.E.L.D. has to offer, she became an ace pilot and a weapons expert, a soldier who can perform above and beyond the call of duty. She's one of the few S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who has more black belts than the notorious Natasha Romanoff whom she met and befriended.
During her career, she met Agent Phil Coulson, one of the highest-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and the right-hand man of Director Nick Fury. In their first mission together, the commander for their mission sent them to a coffee shop in Sausalito on a retrieval operation without an exit strategy. May wound up in the bay for five hours until Coulson eventually fished her out.
Coulson would describe May as warm, fearless and not afraid to break rules. May was quiet, but not above pulling pranks on her fellow agents. She also met Alexander Pierce, one of the leaders of S.H.I.E.L.D and secretly the leader of HYDRA.
May and Coulson would often talk of being able pick their own operations and call their own shots without the bureaucracy and red tape.
"Forgot I was working with 'The Cavalry'."
"Don't ever call me that."
- ―Grant Ward and Melinda May
Melinda May, Phil Coulson and a team of agents were dispatched on an "Index Asset Evaluation and Intake" (or "Welcome Wagon") mission, investigating a newly discovered powered individual to Manama, Bahrain that went south.
When a civilian girl and several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were being held by the followers (or worshipers) of the "Gifted" individual they had come to investigate, May took it upon herself to solve the problem. May went in by herself without a weapon and "crossed off" the enemy force, rescuing the agents. The incident earned May the nick-name "The Cavalry" within S.H.I.E.L.D., a designation she despises.
May has never spoken of what happened during the incident, but it changed her. The warm, rule-bending nature of her personality seemed to be gone, despite Coulson's efforts to draw it back out. May withdrew from combat duty, retreating to a desk-bound administrative position within the S.H.I.E.L.D. bureaucracy.
The story of "The Cavalry" has become a legend at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy, with the story growing bigger and more inaccurate with each new class.
Back in the Field
- "You guys talk too much."
- ―Melinda May
However, after the battle of New York, May was approached by Nick Fury himself and ordered to be his eyes and ears on the newly resurrected Phil Coulson. May's orders were to report to him directly if Coulson showed any side-effects or dangerous behavior after his treatment with the alien GH.325 drug. Fury believed that given their shared history, Coulson would recruit her for his new team. To aid in her mission, she put together a team of agents that may be necessary to treat or act on Coulson. Coulson was then given specific mission parameters and was maneuvered into picking May's choices.
As expected, Phil Coulson came to the office where she worked and asked her to join his team. Still haunted by her past experiences in the field, she was genuinely reluctant to return to combat, but she agreed when Coulson told her that he just needs her to "drive the Bus."
However, field work is not always a stable environment. May was angered after seeing inadvertent combat in Peru, but her skills helped save her team and re-take the Bus from Camilla Reye's hijackers.
During the action in Malta, May initially assumed that she would be on the strike team to rescue Dr. Franklin Hall, to her dismay. When Coulson informed her that he was going in with Grant Ward instead, May expressed doubt, stating that field work and specialist work were two different things.
During the operation, May was frustrated at being stuck at the back end of the op, where she couldn't do anything to help her team. Upon Coulson's return, May informed him that she would report the next time combat duty came up.
- "You told me that you were ready for combat. That you had my back."
"Don't ever doubt it."
- ―Phil Coulson and Melinda May
May returned to combat duty without hesitation. She acted swiftly (and without authorization) to apprehend renegade S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Coulson's protégé, Akela Amador before she could complete her mission in Minsk, Belarus
In Hong Kong, she participated in the attempted rescue of Index listed pyrokinetic Chan Yo Hin from his captors in the Centipede Project. When Chan started to use his powers against the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, killing Agent Kwan Chen, May injected Chan with a dose the Centipede Serum, causing an explosive overdose.
She lived up to her nickname of "The Cavalry" when Agents Grant Ward and Leo Fitz were stranded in the middle of a hot operation without an extraction plan along the South Ottesian border. She piloted the Bus without authorization into an active hot spot where she and her team rescued their team-mates.
In Ireland, she took the strength-enhancing berserker staff in combat against the members of a Norse Paganist hate group. She was able to control the rage-inducing properties of the staff, and claimed it was because she lived with her rage every day. That night she slept with Grant Ward.
When the team was called in to perform an Index Asset Evaluation and Intake report on Hannah Hutchins, she was instrumental in talking down Hutchins' tormentor, Tobias Ford.
Hunt for Centipede
When Coulson decided to focus all of the team's efforts on bringing down the Centipede Project, he brought Mike Peterson, now in training to become a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to assist in their fight against the Project's super-powered soldiers. She assisted Peterson, Coulson, and Ward in infiltrating the Centipede base in Oakland. Discovering Peterson was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Raina and Edison Po kidnapped Peterson's son, Ace using him to convince his father to bring Coulson to a hostage exchange. When Centipede took Coulson, she called in back-up, but the back-up failed to arrive before Coulson was taken and Peterson was apparently killed.
The Phone Line
After defeating Lorelei and hearing Phil Coulson's conversation, May used a secure phone to Nick Fury and told him that "Coulson knows".
Fitz discovered the phone line at a time when tensions were already high: The team was searching for the Clairvoyant Felix Blake was critically injured by Deathlok. Jemma Simmons was transferred to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Facility to be a consultant; and Grant Ward had killed Thomas Nash. He told Skye, who told Coulson, while he was interrogating Ward to see if he worked for the Clairvoyant. May hunted for Fitz to shoot him with an I.C.E.R. when Coulson and Skye surrounded her at gunpoint demanding answers. Suddenly the plane was rerouted to the Hub by Victoria Hand who planned to kill all but Coulson.
During her interrogation, May explained that the line went to Nick Fury. He wanted constant updates on Coulson's progress after his resurrection. She built Coulson with specifications to that end. Coulson ultimately decided that for her secrets, she was an ally, no longer his friend.
Leaving the Team
May left her team and arranged to have her mother Lian pick her up in Canada, 500 miles from her mother's home. Her mother gave May contact information for Maria Hill, with whom she wanted to talk.
May found Hill under surveillance by various agencies after the downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D. After subduing Hill's tails, the two talked. May did not believe Hill's statement that Nick Fury was dead. She did obtain a clue though concerning the leader of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. and dug up Phil Coulson's grave site to find the answer. May found the team in Los Angeles in a hotel, where Coulson forgave her for her secrets, and she revealed to him a report that Coulson himself had made to Fury where he resigned as leader of Project T.A.H.I.T.I., asking Fury not to use it.
A Woman Scorned
- "Watch out, HYDRA. Here we come."
- ―Melinda May
The next morning, Coulson's Team had a meeting on how to find John Garrett and retrieve the Bus. After the meeting, May and Skye talked candidly about Grant Ward and how to focus their emotional pain effectively. May offered to be Skye's new S.O. May and Coulson went undercover as unemployed S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists seeking work with Cybertek in Palo Alto to get files pertaining to Deathlok. Eventually, Coulson's team learned of the old S.H.I.E.L.D. base that became the Barbershop Headquarters of HYDRA in Havana,Cuba. When they arrived however, May and the others became surrounded by Centipede Soldiers and Kaminsky carrying the Berserker Staff.
May quickly relieved Kaminsky of the Berserker Staff as the others fought and Skye uploaded a computer program that allowed her to find Garrett. When Coulson ordered her to "bring the house down," May destroyed the support beams of the headquarters, causing the building to collapse and burying her opponents. The team went to the Cybertek Manufacturing Facility in New Mexico and May and Skye entered through an opening created by Coulson and Antoine Triplett. Inside, May battled Grant Ward, enraged about his betrayal. The fight spilled over into the neighboring construction site. She used a nail gun on Ward's foot and broke his larynx, winning the fight.
After the defeat of Garrett, Coulson, Nick Fury, and May had a meeting, discussing Project T.A.H.I.T.I., S.H.I.E.L.D.'s founding principles, and Fury's status. She witnessed Coulson become the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and went with the team to meet Billy Koenig in the Playground.
The New Beginning
A few months after Coulson officially became director, Coulson tasked Melinda May, Antoine Triplett, and Skye to act as back-up for Isabelle Hartley, Idaho, and Lance Hunter who were attempting to buy information from a Roger Browning when they were attacked by Carl Creel, who stole the information on an Obelisk that they sought. When May returned to the Playground and had a meeting with Coulson, she reminded him that she was to watch over him and keep him out of field missions, but he was making her job difficult by constantly being away. May then fought Creel when he attacked Glenn Talbot and assisted in the Talbot's kidnapping. May told Skye to stay with her as they, Triplett, and the others went into a Government Storage Warehouse that had the Obelisk. When the operation went badly due to the interference of the Absorbing Man, May led Skye and Triplett to fulfill the second half of the mission: to obtain a Quinjet, so that the new S.H.I.E.L.D. could travel undetected. As Triplett and Skye escaped in the cloaked vehicle, May took a motorcycle for her escape.
May saw the crashed SUV Lance Hunter was in and helped him Mouse Hole it before pursuing Creel on the motorcycle. When she could have shot him from behind, Coulson told her to stand down because she was among civilian traffic. May yielded and followed Creel to a Halfway House Cafe where he accidentally killed a waitress who touched him before he escaped.
May returned to the Playground where she and the other field agents met with Phil Coulson and witnessed his conversation with Raina to learn that the Obelisk could be tracked. However, she was knocked unconscious by an I.C.E.R. fired by Lance Hunter.
Later, May confronted Coulson about going into the field to stop Creel and why, after eighteen days, he hasn't released his urge to write the Words of Creation. Upon her prompting, Coulson yielded and began to carve the symbols on a wall in his office. Meanwhile, May documented the incident.
The Moroccan Mission
- "And for the record, experience doesn't make it any easier to cross someone off."
- ―Melinda May
Making Friends and Influencing People May continued her training of Skye in firearms, but advised her that killing is not an easy task. She accompanied Skye and Hunter to Morocco in pursuit of Blizzard. While there, she and Hunter were told that HYDRA had Faustus Gill, so no HYDRA agent should contact him. As Hunter was aiming to shoot the agent talking to Gill, May recognized the agent as Jemma Simmons, Coulson's mole in HYDRA. She shot Hunter with an I.C.E.R. to save Simmons, but this alerted Gill to their presence. May and Hunter were then trapped in the Maribel del Mar when Blizzard froze the door.
When they returned to the Playground, May admitted to Skye to knowing that Simmons was Coulson's mole. She also told Hunter that she and he were now even for when he shot her with an I.C.E.R.; however, she was only speaking for herself.
- "I will pay five hundred dollars right now for a pair of flats."
Posing as Heidi Martin, May accompanied Coulson to a fundraiser for Santa Maria de las Flores, Florida to obtain a 500 year old painting with the Words of Creation inscribed on its back. Following Glenn Talbot, who was truly a Photostatic Veil. Sunil Bakshi, to his hotel room, May discovered the brainwashed Agent 33 working for HYDRA. As they fought, May was distracted by Bakshi and rendered unconscious.
Agent 33 then used the Photostatic Veil to copy May's face.
When May awakened, she was tied to a chair with Bakshi threatening to torture her for S.H.I.E.L.D. secrets. The commotion of Coulson's and Agent 33's struggle outside the room distracted Bakshi enough for May to escape. Then she challenged Agent 33 who continued to wear May's face. After a prolonged fight, May killed the HYDRA operative and exited before back up soldiers could arrive.
After calling the real Glenn Talbot to inform him of HYDRA' s latest scheme, May and Coulson talked about May's plan if Coulson went insane from the effects of GH.325. Though she told him that she would care for him, Coulson ordered her to put him down instead. May just nodded her head.
Attack on the United Nations
- "It's always a shame when a good soldier falls."
- ―Glenn Talbot to Melinda May
A Fractured House Melinda May led Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter to Okinawa,Japan when they discovered that the Splinter Bombs used in an attack by HYDRA hired mercenaries on the United_Nations were created there. During the flight, Morse asked May whether she still spoke to her ex-husband; May did not say a word. May's team though arrived too late to save Noelle Walters' team from being killed by those same mercenaries. Their leader, Marcus Scarlotti, killed Walters personally. When the team did arrive, May fought Scarlotti unarmed as he used his personal weapon, the Rope Dart Knife. She eventually knocked him unconscious for Glenn Talbot to take him into custody as Talbot gave his condolences to May on losing six agents.
The Hunt for Ward
May was field commander of the mission to capture Grant Ward after he escaped federal custody. She told Skye that if Coulson began carving the symbols while she was away to monitor him. While she was flying the Quinjet , Antoine Tripplet and Bobbi Morse both answered to her when he failed to capture Ward in Philadelphia and her cover was blown in Atlanta.
May had to stay focused on her assignment when she learned that Phil Coulson was using the Theta Brain-Wave frequency Machine.
In Boston, May gathered her field agents, including Lance Hunter, to raid the Goldbrix Tavern to capture Ward. There she found three dead HYDRA agents and Swiki Bakshi in a back room, tied to a chair and unconscious.
Returning to the Playground with Bakshi, May witnessed Coulson ask Hank Thompson to join the organization. She then assembled with the other senior agents when Director Coulson gave them a new mission: find the city that match the City Blueprints before Hydra can.
Interrogation of Sunil Bakshi
- "Vault D, not the only Vault B; Agent Peggy Carter buried a lot of things Playground
The_Things_We_Bury May was in charge of the Playground while Coulson, Antoine Triplett, and Skye went to find the city. She told Coulson that Christian Ward wanted his own people to find Grant_Ward because S.H.I.E.L.D. was politically toxic.
Attention was given to Sunil Bakshi and Bobbi Morse's interrogation of him in Vault D. During the session, Morse wondered how Daniel Whitehall was connected to the Red Skull, so May revealed the keys to Vault B, where the Strategic Scientific Reserve kept its files. During their research, the agents learned that Whitehall was around during World War II as Werner Reinhardt, but they could not discern how he kept his youth.
When the Bus returned from Australia after finding the location of the city that matched the City Blueprints, May was among the assembled agents that Phil Coulson prepped to enter the city. However, Coulson learned from Billy Koenig that Agent 33 was assigned by HYDRA to retrieve Raina in Vancouver. So May became the mission commander of a team to protect her. Sam Koenig was looking forward to see her.
News then aired of the investigation into the death of Senator Christian Ward; May told Skye that S.H.I.E.L.D. did all it could to help him. Coulson put Skye on May's team so that May could supervise her.
In Canada, May shot two HYDRA agents in a van, then used that van to hit two more operatives as they approached Raina when she attempted to surrender.
Aboard the cloaked Bus, everyone was wondering how May felt about Agent 33 having May's face. Skye came to her in a panic, talking that Coulson needed to be warned before he entered the city, but communications went down as four HYDRA Quinjets surrounded the plane.
Grant Ward traced Raina through the signal emitted by her tracker. May led the agents, guns drawn, in surrounding Ward as he entered the Bus. Ward promised that the quinjets would not fire, killing everyone, if Raina and Skye came willingly. Skye convinced May to allow her to leave.
Battle For The City
After Skye and Raina departed May managed to save the others from the attacking Queinjets by cloaking the Bus. Arriving at Suan Juan May told Coulson what happened. In the Bus May blamed herself for letting Ward take Skye but Coulson told her that her actions saved the others and told her Skye would be fine as she trained her into a fully capable field agent.