Murray Slaughter was the news writer at fictional television station WJM-TV in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was assigned to write the news stories for the station's nightly news broadcast, presented by pompous, incompetent anchorman Ted Baxter.
Murray was happily married to Marie (Joyce Bulifant) and had several daughters. In the show's later years, he and Marie adopted a Vietnamese son. Although he was happily married, he was forever in love with Mary Richards, who he thought was absolutely terrific, in his own words. To him, she was someone he could mother hen over, and he often did. Marie thought that he was going to leave her, but Mary explained to her that she thought of Murray as a best friend, and that helped things.
In a season three episode, it is revealed that Murray is a compulsive gambler. During an episode where a snowstorm keeps Lou Grant from flying to Vegas, he holds a poker game that Murray reluctantly joins.
Murray tried to write a novel; despite failing, he never gave up. He, along with Mary, Lou Grant and another nemesis of his, Sue Ann Nivens were fired from WJM-TV to boost sagging news ratings. Ironically, the one most responsible for the dismal ratings, Ted, of all people, had been retained.
With Mary Richards, he is the only other character to appear in every episode of the series.
- Bill Keveney (2002-05-13). "Characters drove 'MTM'". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
- Wittebols, James H. (1998). Watching M*A*S*H, watching America : a social history of the 1972-1983 television series. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Co. p. 7. ISBN 0-7864-1701-3.
- Marc, David (1997). Comic Visions: Television Comedy and American Culture. David Bianculi. Boston: Blackwell Publishing. p. 140. ISBN 1-57718-003-8.
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