The fictional character of Air Force Master Sergeant Michael Donovich,
played by award-winning author Mike
McPhail, was one of three recurring NCO (non-commissioned officer)
characters in the series. With Chief Master Sergeant Walter Harriman, the man in the control room who counted off the
"Chevron encoded", a.k.a. the Chevron
Guy, played by Gary Jones, and
Master Sergeant "Sly" Siler,
played by Dan Shea, being the other
First appearing in the SGC
episode Noncoms, Donovich is seen
carrying a mug of coffee, while quickly walking down a hallway in order to avoid
SG-9's Administrative Officer, Army Captain "Black Jack" Morgan, played by Mark S. Morgan. Failing to evade the captain, Morgan convinces Donovich
to lead a team made up of base Security Force personnel to planet P4S-559-- which was also seen in the Stargate SG-1 episode The Ties That Bind-- in order to deliver
a package to the site's chief archeologist Doctor Ross, played by Alfred
Neuman. The package supposedly contained an "artifact" that had
been found on planet Abidos several
years earlier, and under SGC protocols must be accompanied by a security
detail, led by a qualified off-world specialist. Morgan then explained that
since this was a low-priority mission to a secured planet, there wasn't a need
to use the resources of an SG team for such a "milk run."
One of Donovich's major concerns was avoiding becoming an
officer. When asked why, he would often quote his father --the character remained
unnamed through out the series-- a retired Chief Master Sergeant who had served
in the Air Force during the Wars, "Son, never let them make you and
officer, it's the sergeant that gets things done."
This eventually lead to Donovich engaging in minor acts of
disobedience in order to "muddy the waters a bit", which is why we
see the character wearing a beard through out part of the first season. This
was also used as a plot point to explain his familiarity with the bases Security
Force personnel, as seen in the SGC episode
Noncoms. As a consequence, he would
be put on company punishment by being assigned the graveyard shift as a sentry.
This is also where he picked up his trademark black beret with the rank pin of Master
Sergeant over the flash.
In several episode Donovich refers to his ex-wife as
"…that redhead from Colorado" --the character's name was never given-- it
was said that they had met during his first year at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, but over time the long periods of
separation combined with his inability to tell her the true nature of his work,
finally became too much, she filed for divorce which Donovich didn't contest.
The character often referred to SG-1 as "the A-team", which had been taken by others to
mean that he was comparing them to an Army Special Forces unit, when in truth
he was sarcastically referring to the old 80's action series, "…you know,
the one with Hannibal, Murdock, Mr. T, and Starbuck", he once remarked.
In the SGC episode
Noncoms, we learned that Donovich
had at one time in his youth considered becoming a priest, but as his Biblical
studies advanced, he quickly became dissatisfied with the Church's current
interpretations of the Bible, and in a personal effort to answer his questions—in
that the character held no formal degrees in the subjects—he studied a wide
range of fields including Judaism and ancient Egyptian cults.
This then became a key plot point in the SGC episode Noncoms, as Donovich accidentally discovers that Doctor Ross's excavations had uncovered an ancient
device that when activated by the "artifact" they had delivered from
the SGC, would initiate a sentry program, known as the Cherubim, thought out the entire Stargate network. Ross also believed that it would
prevent the Goa'uld from using the
The fate of Donovich as a writer, was mentioned in the SGC episode Wayward Child, in that the government had pulled his work off the
store shelves and clamped down on anything he tried to have published.
"The censorship looked like something out of an old World War Two movie,
you known when the G.I. holds up a letter, and there's nothing but blacked out
lines." the character stated.
The character of then Staff Sergeant Michael Donovich, was an aeronautical engineer with the USAF Space Command, and like Stargate SG-1's Samantha Carter, played by Amanda
Tapping, he had visions of becoming an astronaut. He was recommend to the
SGC by Major General W.O. West,
played by Leon Rippy in the original
1994 Stargate Movie, directed by Roland Emmerich. Although the character
of General West wasn't seen in any
of the subsequent series, he was mentioned in Stargate SG-1, episode Children
of the Gods, by General George S.
Hammon, played by the late Don S.
Davis, in that Hammond
had replaced West, and was now the
man in charge of the SGC program.
Following the Air Force's tried-and-truth methods for
confusing the factions with popular fiction, such as in Project Blue Book which used the hysteria of "aliens and flying
saucers" to cover a wide range of top-secret government projects, namely classified
experimental aircraft development, it had been planned from the very inception
of Stargate Command that a team of highly
specialized personnel (both military and civilian) were going to be needed to
create plausible cover stories in the event of something unexpected.
This is where Donovich entered the story arc, in that the
character had obtained a moderate level of notoriety as an author for his
biblically based science fiction novels that dealt with key figures in the Bible
actually being alien in origin. This was especially true, with the novel Beyond the Garden, where he portrays
the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, as a body-infesting, parasitic alien bent on
the subjugation of the human race. This quickly brought him to the attention of
several three-letter agencies and ultimately the SGC.
Although officially assigned as a member of the SGC's Science
Division, Donovich was pressed into off-world operations as part of the newly
reformed SG-9 Diplomatic Team; this after the incident in the Stargate SG-1 episode The First Commandment in which the late
Captain Jonas Hanson, played by William Russ, felt the need to play god
over the inhabitants of the dying world of P3X-513.
It was during this time that Donovich became acquainted with
the Team's administrative officer, an Army Captain nicknamed "Black Jack" Morgan, played by Mark S. Morgan,
whom Donovich called Harbinger, since
every time they crossed paths he was sending him on some "god-forsaken
mission." Over the course of the series it almost became a running gag, as
Donovich attempted to evade Morgan's efforts to find him.
In the SGC episode
Donovich is finally put to use in the role for which he was intended, and that
was to fabricate a cover story for the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia at
the hands of the Goa'uld.
Disheartened by how effectively his cover story was put to
use, Donovich had decided not to re-enlist in the Air Force when his term of
service was up, and that if they wanted him to stay with the SGC, it would have
to be as a civilian specialist. Unfortunately, the powers-that-be at the Department of Homeworld Security,
brought pressure to bear on Donovich, who eventually agreed to remain in the
service; this resulted in him regrowing his beard.
In the SGC's
series' final episode, the documentary-style Cheyenne, we discovered Donovich eventually ended up becoming a
technical adviser and screen writer for the fictional television program, Wormhole X-Treme, created by the
marooned alien Martin Lloyd, played
by Willie Carson, who was first seen
in the Stargate SG-1 episode Point of No Return, and subsequently mentioned
in Citizen Joe, then returned in the
special 200th episode.
"My work on the show (Wormhole X-Treme) was like a cat coughing up a
hairball. Every time I tried to introduce a more realistic element, or at least
a better plot point, the Command's political officer would roll up the Secrecy
Act and hit me in the nose. To date I still don't know how that show managed to
run ten seasons," Donovich stated in the episode’s mock interview.
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