|Detective Mike Kellerman|
Detective Mike Kellerman
|First appearance||October 20, 1995
(4x01, Fire (1))
|Last appearance||May 8, 1998
(6x23, Fallen Heroes (2)) (Regular)
December 11, 1998
(7x09, Kellerman P.I. (2)) (Guest)
February 13, 2000
Homicide: The Movie
|Created by||Tom Fontana|
|Portrayed by||Reed Diamond|
Homicide Detective (formerly)
Arson Detective (formerly)
|Family||unnamed mother; unnamed father; unnamed sister; Drew (brother); Greg (brother)|
|Significant other(s)||Anne Kennedy (wife, divorced)
CME Julianna Cox (Season 5)
Kellerman was born on July 20, 1966 in Baltimore, MD to working class parents, the youngest of three sons. His father works at a distillery. He also has a sister who, by the time of the series, lived in St. Louis. He graduated from high school in 1984. He always wanted to be a cop and was a "good kid", quite different from his brothers Drew (Eric Stoltz) and Greg (Tate Donovan), who were always getting into trouble. Drew and Greg ended up drifting through much of the U.S., occasionally turning up to ask for money. They appeared in the fifth season episode "Wu's On First?" on the run from two bookies, owing a gambling debt to one and having stolen a Babe Ruth uniform from the other. They were estranged from their father, who referred to them as "hoodlums". Kellerman had recently been divorced from a crime lab technician named Anne Kennedy prior to Kellerman's joining the homicide unit. Kellerman would later confide with Meldrick Lewis that Anne had cheated on him.
Kellerman worked his way up through the Baltimore Police Department, eventually landing in the Arson unit. When a pair of teenagers were killed in a series of warehouse fires, Kellerman was called in to help with the subsequent homicide investigation. With the squad short three men (Stanley Bolander and Beau Felton on suspension, Steve Crosetti dead by suicide), Lieutenant Al Giardello offered Kellerman a transfer to Homicide, having been impressed with his work on the cases. Although he initially refused the transfer, his father's statement that he works at the distillery because he's never done anything he wasn't already good at led him to accept the move to Homicide. Kellerman was partnered with Meldrick Lewis, with whom he would work during most of his time with the squad. Kellerman also crossed paths with Luther Mahoney and became determined to take down the drug kingpin after Mahoney arranged for the assassination of an intelligent, introspective, and tired-of-the-game drug dealer who had had a chance to kill Kellerman but chose to let him live.
Early in the fifth season, a federal grand jury was gathered to investigate corrupt cops in the arson unit, including Kellerman. He was confined to desk duty during this time, which greatly angered him because he felt it marked him as guilty. He had, in fact, been the only one of four officers investigated who had not taken money from a pair of arsonists (Matthew Roland and his son, Mitchell). Lt. Al Giardello went to Commissioner James C. Harris on Kellerman's behalf, only to be told that no help was coming to the Homicide Unit from the Departmental commanders (partly for political reasons, and partly out of Harris' personal disdain for Giardello). Kellerman refused to "rat" on his fellow cops, but the grand jury eventually did not indict him because the prosecuting U.S. Attorney did not ask any questions about it during the grand jury proceedings, and later told him she felt he was a good cop who only wanted to do his job, though she didn't understand why good cops effectively contributed to criminal conspiracy by failing to turn in bad cops. Despite no indictment, he was convinced no one would ever be completely sure that he wasn't corrupt, reinforced when Capt. Gaffney tells him "where there's smoke, there's fire" and a witness to a crime says he won't talk to the dirty "cop from the news". Intensely depressed and reeling from another case of Luther Mahoney getting away with murder, Kellerman became increasingly angry and almost committed suicide. Lewis managed to calm him down and take his gun, after which Kellerman took some time off.
During his confinement to desk duty, Kellerman met the new medical examiner, Dr. Julianna Cox, who had just lost her father. They consoled each other with a one-night stand, then a rough, "not really together" kind of relationship that continued until Julianna left Baltimore near the end of the sixth season, precisely because they didn't really have a meaningful relationship.
The Mahoney saga
Kellerman and Lewis were put in charge of a string of murders linked with drug kingpin and crime lord Luther Mahoney (Erik Todd Dellums). Innocents and gangbangers alike fell because of Mahoney, but there was never enough evidence to prosecute him for any of the crimes.
Eventually, a drug mule who had been transporting heroin from overseas was discovered dead in his motel room after one of the heroin-laden condoms in his stomach burst. The police decided to swap the shipment with fake heroin, leading to a huge upset in his industry. Mahoney was monitored going to a meeting with one of his lieutenants—a meeting where he executed the lieutenant and inadvertently shot a bystander before speeding off.
Lewis pursued, and Kellerman and Narcotics Detective Terri Stivers hopped in a vehicle moments later. They sped back to Mahoney's condominium and stormed in to find a disarmed Lewis on the ground, facing his own gun in Mahoney's hand. Kellerman gave three warnings, and Mahoney lowered, but did not drop, the gun. Kellerman then prepared to read Mahoney his rights, only getting as far as "You have the right to remain silent" before he shot Mahoney once, killing him. The detectives wrote up the incident as if Mahoney had had the gun raised, and the shooting was eventually ruled clean.
While Kellerman convinced himself that what he did was justified, Stivers was not so convinced, and Lewis eventually came to doubt it as well. Mahoney's empire was salvaged by his sister Georgia Rae (Hazelle Goodman), who was convinced that Kellerman had murdered her brother and sought revenge, initially attempting to blackmail Kellerman with non-existent video footage of the shooting (through which she was convinced that Kellerman had killed her brother in cold blood) and eventually deciding to sue the city through the help of a corrupt judge, Gerald Gibbons (Rick Warner), on her payroll. Kellerman later learned that Gibbons was being investigated by the FBI, and after the judge dismissed the lawsuit, Kellerman publicly called him out and urged him to give up Georgia Rae.
Gibbons was found stabbed to death shortly afterward, with evidence pointing to Georgia Rae's son, Nathaniel Lee "Junior Bunk" Mahoney (Mekhi Phifer). Junior Bunk was brought in for questioning, but refused to implicate his mother. While waiting to make a phone call, he seized a weapon from a desk drawer and started a firefight in the Homicide squadroom. Although he was ultimately shot dead by Bayliss, Lewis, Kellerman, and Giardello, Detectives Gharty and Ballard were injured and three uniformed officers were killed. The police went out in force, and Bayliss subsequently took a bullet to the ribcage while shielding Pembleton from a shooter. Georgia Rae was eventually found dead, killed by her own people. After Stivers told Giardello that the Mahoney shooting was not as it seemed, Giardello directed Detective Frank Pembleton to find the truth. Pembleton and fellow detective Paul Falsone interrogated Lewis and then Kellerman, who eventually admitted that Mahoney had lowered the gun before being killed.
Giardello then offered Kellerman a choice. He could face a jury trial and possibly win, but he, Lewis, and Stivers would certainly be fired once their false reports came to light; or he could resign and the other two could keep their jobs. Kellerman resigned and later became a private investigator, as seen in Season 7, but lost the respect of most of the squad. In his new work, Kellerman found himself opposed to his old coworkers when he worked to aid in the defense of a pair of teenagers who committed infanticide. In the end, however, Kellerman got to the truth and redeemed himself in the eyes of some of his former coworkers, particularly Falsone, by anonymously providing them with information that boosted their case, even though it was not enough to prosecute. For most of this story, Falsone referred to Kellerman in an angry way and used his last name, but in their last conversation implied that Kellerman had slipped them the information and in perhaps a sort of redemption, calls him "Detective".
While testifying for the benefit of the teenage mother in Kellerman, PI, 2 Mike becomes the first of the Baltimore detectives to explain the "Board" and what it means for a case to go from red to black.
The TV movie
In the Homicide TV movie, Kellerman was one of the many former unit members to rally around when Lt. Giardello was shot down. He and Giardello's son Mike investigated possible connections in Baltimore's Italian quarter, with Mike resorting to violence tactics while Kellerman stood guard. However, Mike's rage eventually proved too strong when he pulled a gun on an elderly man and Kellerman had to talk him down. Kellerman was last seen in the Waterfront, drinking with ex-M.E. Julianna Cox, who had also come down to help in the investigation.