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Rodney McKay


General background info

He's Canadian. (Rising pt 1)

Civilian scientist (probably astrophysicist -- appears to consider himself Sam's better in her field). (SG1: 48 Hours)

He's arrogant and opinionated, convinced he knows 'nearly everything about nearly everything' (multiple eps -- quote from Underground)

" I don't know if you noticed or not, but I'm an extremely arrogant man who tends to think all of his plans will work.' -- McKay to Kolya. (The Eye)

As a child, wanted to be a concert pianist. After he was told he had no shot at it (technically capable, but no feel for the music), he switched to science. (SG1: Redemption, part 2)

He's deathly allergic to citrus. (SG1: 48 Hours)

Believed Sam to be reckless and unsafe in her methods. (SG1: 48 Hours)

While (eventually) impressed with Sam's scientific 'artistry' (which he believes he lacks, just as in music), he had no compunctions about yelling at her and calling her a lunatic quite publicly if he thought she'd come up with something dangerous or stupid. (SG1: Redemption, part 2)

He volunteered to be the first person to receive the ATA gene therapy. It took, making him the equivalent of someone who'd been born with the ATA gene, able to operate Ancient technology. (Hide and Seek)










Marital status




none known


Other family

One sister, Jeannie  (Hot Zone -- name given in Letters from Pegasus)

'We're not close, but [...] she's the only family I really have.' (Hot Zone)

When he thought he was dying of a viral infection, he wanted someone to tell his sister what happened, but to make it sound good -- 'tell her [...] I died saving kids, a bunch of them.' (Hot Zone)

As McKay faced his impending death at the hands of the oncoming Wraith, he recorded a message telling her that he hoped that they could be closer, if he managed to survive. (Letters from Pegasus)

He considers the expedition at large to be a sort of surrogate family for him. (Letters from Pegasus)





Romantic interests

In general, he has a thing for cute blondes, especially with short hair. (Letters from Pegasus)

Samantha Carter

(SG1: Redemption pts 1& 2, Childhood's End)

After many months in the Pegasus galaxy (possibly almost a year), 'the torch is still burning' for Samantha Carter. (Letters from Pegasus)

He thinks she's 'great -- just great' and that she's the hottest scientist he's ever worked with. To the point that 'In fact, there's probably not a night that goes by that I don't find myself, uh--' (Letters from Pegasus)


He was completely clueless about the fact that she was flirting (more and more obviously) with him until Sheppard, Ford, and Teyla explicitly told him so, then got all flustered and flirty in return. By that time, it was a little too late -- he'd already told her that they weren't actual Lantians, but had moved into Atlantis from another world just months earlier, and she was disappointed and even angry about that, since she'd believed she was helping the rightful owners of her people's potentia (ZPM) to recover their property. (The Brotherhood)

Katie Brown

He had a date set up with her, which got a bit complicated when Lt. Cadman -- temporarily housed inside his head -- got involved. (Duet)

He fumbled his way through at least one conversation before Cadman did anything, but that didn't seem to bother Katie at all. (Duet)

Cadman invited Beckett (who thought he was speaking to McKay) to join 'him' and Katie on the date, ostensibly to rescue McKay from any social flubs. In reality, she had a thing for Beckett, and basically wanted a double date. Beckett showed up as requested, and Cadman basically took control of things from there (although she did keep the focus on McKay and Brown). (Duet)



Ph.D. in astrophysics

This is never actually explicitly stated -- but he's an astrophysicist, and he's a doctor, so...




An apartment. (Rising pt 1, Home)


According to what he told Sheppard, he was 'looking for a one-bedroom with a den, preferably with a   balcony but [he's] not married to it.' (Before I Sleep)

The walls of his quarters are covered in degrees and other framed documents, as well as at least one framed picture of himself holding another document (an award, presumably) and what appears to be a  framed, autographed picture of what looks like a spacecraft. (Duet)

One of the degrees (?) appears to be from Northeastern  (or  Northwestern) University. (Duet)

He has a framed picture of a cat on his bedside table (not the same cat he left with his neighbor - that was a shorthaired tabby, the picture is of a long-hair, white or grey). (Duet)

He has a worktable in his office, which he obviously uses. There's a framed picture on it, and a desklamp. (Duet)

He sleeps on a prescription mattress for his back. (Duet)




Pre-Atlantis career

Had been studying the stargate program at Area 51 for more than a year as of 48 Hours, so probably began sometime in 1999.

With no access to a working stargate (and clearly no contact with the scientists who were working on the real gate, since Sam didn't know him at all when she met him), he was working with a virtual model that was built when the second gate was at Area 51 (leading to the question of when exactly it was built, and by whom, since the gate was originally supposed to have arrived sealed up, and the second time it was sealed almost immediately with SG-1 in attendance). (SG1: 48 Hours)

The Pentagon considered him the world's foremost expert on the stargate. (SG1: 48 Hours)

He was on the Air Force payroll, not the NID's or directly on Colonel Simmons's. (SG1: 48 Hours)

Reported directly to the Air Force Chief of Staff (which would have been General Ryan at the time). (SG1: 48 Hours)

Believed Sam to be reckless and unsafe in her methods. (SG1: 48 Hours)

While (eventually) impressed with Sam's scientific 'artistry' (which he believes he lacks, just as in music), he had no compunctions about yelling at her and calling her a lunatic quite publicly if he thought she'd come up with something dangerous or stupid. (SG1: Redemption, part 2)

Because of his belief that that the energy itself holds the signature of everything passing through a wormhole, he believed that once that energy began to dissipate the person/object was dead, couldn't be successfully reintegrated. (SG1: 48 Hours)

Consequently, he told the Pentagon that Teal'c couldn't possibly survive being trapped inside the stargate for longer than 48 hours, and thus ensures that they will not extend the deadline for any reason. (SG1: 48 Hours)

After he made enough of a nuisance of himself and Hammond had Simmons arrested, Hammond assigned McKay to Russia, to supervise the development of Russia's naquadah generator program. (SG1: 48 Hours)

He helped refine the encoding of data bursts as a form of communication for the Air Force 'several years'  before  2004. (Letters From Pegasus)

He returned to the SGC to help with figuring out how to shut down the stargate when Anubis had locked it open, on Pentagon orders. (SG1: Redemption, part 1)

Was assigned to the Ancient outpost to study the Ancient technology there and try to figure out how to make it work, or interface with current tech.  (Rising pt 1)


Atlantis career

Was key in setting up the Atlantis systems and figuring out what did what. (Rising, Hide and Seek)

He volunteered to be the first person to receive the ATA gene therapy. It took, making him the equivalent of someone who'd been born with the ATA gene, able to operate Ancient technology. (Hide and Seek)

When the trick to get the shadow entity off Atlantis fizzled -- the MALP holding the active naquadah generator never made it through the stargate, and the entity just sat in the gateroom feeding on its energy, with the potential to start feeding on the gate itself when it was done -- McKay did possibly the bravest thing he'd ever done: without any fanfare, he put his personal shield back on, and walked into the entity's charged energy field to get the naquadah generator and throw it through the stargate. (Hide and Seek)

The entity followed the generator, leaving McKay briefly unconscious on the floor, shield completely depleted. (Hide and Seek)

At some point after getting the gene therapy, McKay took a flying lesson from Sheppard for piloting the puddlejumpers. (Childhood's End)

He continued his lessons on a mission to a Lagrangian Point satellite discovered by Dr. Gall. (The Defiant One)

His usual arrogance didn't hold true with flying -- he knew he wasn't an expert at it, and when Sheppard wanted to take the controls for a complicated bit, he handed them over with a 'yes, of course' as he got out of the pilot's seat. (The Defiant One)

Got a chance to work on another active ZPM, after finding one on M76-677 (the kids's world) and removing it to bring it back to Atlantis to study. It was nearly depleted, though -- barely enough to power Atlantis's shields for a few hours. Although he was still tempted, Weir vetoed the notion. He returned the ZPM to M76-677, getting it installed and working just in time to save the kids from a Wraith attack -- a probe had already found them, and would have reported back had McKay not gotten the ZPM working again. (Childhood's End)

He removed the extra control crystal from the Atlantis gate's control system to use in the DHD for the gate on M5S-224, hoping that with the energy generated in the atmosphere on that planet, the gate would be able to draw on enough power to go all the way back to Earth -- the control crystal was necessary to lock the eighth chevron. (Home)

He didn't want to make the trip back to Earth himself unless there was a good chance he could return to the Pegasus galaxy. (Home)

Working with Zelenka, he figured out that they could use the lighting in the megastorm to power Atlantis's shield. (The Storm)

He had put signs up near the naquadah generators: 'Really Really Dangerous. Don't Touch. McKay' (The Eye)

He led a substantial team of scientists on a survey to check the city and the outlying piers for structural integrity after the storm. (Hot Zone)

He'd made notes on looping the gate's  power through a dummy ZPM to power it -- he didn't think it would work, but thought it would be worth checking out at some point. (Hot Zone)

He made notes on instituting rolling blackouts to conserve power if the expedition was on Atlantis for more than a year. (Hot Zone)

He took a small team (himself, Grodin, and a pilot -- Lt. Miller) to the LaGrangian Point weapons platform to try to power it back up using a naquadah generator. When they arrived, he suited up and went in alone to try to get lifesupport systems back online. Once there was air, the other two came in, and McKay took off the suit. Once life support was at 100% and the lights were on, Grodin found the button for the gravity, and pushed it -- with McKay floating halfway up the shaft. McKay hit pretty hard when he landed on the floor. (The Siege part 1)

The weapon itself wasn't charging, and they figured out that although its buffer was nearly fully-charged, no energy was making it through. Rerouting it would mean going EVA. The three of them played rock-paper-scissors but came up with a three-way draw, then Miller snapped a pencil into three pieces. McKay drew the shortest one, and suited back up. (The Siege part 1)

He went EVA for the first time after some hesitation in the back of the puddlejumper, and successfully rerouted the power circuits to let them repower the satellite's weapon properly. (The Siege part 1)

He went untethered, for some reason. (The Siege part 1)

With Zelenka, he figured out a way to use the chair platform (powerd by a Mark II naquadah generator) to remotely control a puddlejumper, so they could be flown directly into a hive ship while carrying a nuclear payload. (The Siege part 2)

He and Zelenka completed the Genii prototype nuclear weapons, which had been given to Weir unfinished. It took them about a day to do it, working while on stimulants because they couldn't afford to take the time to sleep. (The Siege part 2)

Got the new ZPM installed and working in the nick of time, and, with Zelenka, figured out a way to cloak the city to hide it from the Wraith. (The Siege part 3)

He returned to Earth via the stargate along with Weir and the other senior staff to be debriefed and to take part in selecting additional personnel (and requesting supplies) for his department. (The Intruder)

He figured out that  the virus was Wraith in origin and how to stop it, after Hermiod determined that the sabotage aboard the Daedalus was the result of a computer virus. (The Intruder)

He flew in an F-302 for the first time when he was taking shelter in one along with Sheppard, who then took it out into space to destroy a computer-virus-controlled F-302. (The Intruder)

After being culled by and then retrieved from a downed Wraith dart, McKay had a second consciousness in his mind -- Lt. Laura Cadman. When, as a result, McKay started making mistakes in his calculations about repairing the dart, to the point that things started blowing, Zelenka had no qualms about calling him on it and kicking him out to let Zelenka handle the main work. Despite that, McKay was the one to later figure out that they needed to use a control crystal from the stargate to stabilize the dematerializing/rematerializing process enough to make it work. (Duet)



Ancient -- at least written Ancient, to some degree. (Rising pt 1, Hide and Seek, other eps)



Pain & Death

Severe injuries / illness

Hit directly in the face by a Wraith weapon, and temporarily paralyzed almost completely -- he could move his eyes and his larynx, and apparently his internal organs were fine (heart, lungs, etc.), but had no other motor control, including lips and tongue. (Suspicion)

Infected with a virus that had a very short incubation period -- six hours -- followed by hallucinations brought on by pressure on the optic nerve, then a brain aneurysm. He suffered the early symptoms, but never the final horrible hallucination or aneurysm, thanks to the Ancient gene. (Hot Zone)

While carrying Lt. Cadman's consciousness in his mind, Rodney's brain was strained enough to push him into a seizure that knocked him out and put him back in the infirmary. (Duet)


Possessions / controlled

note: This specifically means situations where someone else controls his body and/or actions

After being beamed up into a Wraith dart alongside Lt. Cadman and rematerialized by Zelenka after the dart was shot down, McKay woke up with Cadman's consciousness inside his mind. (Duet)

She was clearly freaked out by the situation, but didn't help matters by constantly demanding McKay's attention while he was trying to figure out how to fix it. She managed to make Rodney look nuts enough that Weir pulled him off the repairs and sent him to Heightmeyer, even though everyone believed him about Cadman being in his head. (Duet)

Heightmeyer got McKay to relax his control of his body, letting Cadman use his voice and confirm that she could move him physically. McKay freaked out a bit and took control back, and went back to work (with Cadman's agreement, more or less). (Duet)

Once she learned to use his voice, they basically spoke aloud to each other by flipping control of the vocal cords back and forth, without the purely mental communication anymore. (Duet)

She didn't go back to speaking to him mentally until after McKay's body had suffered a seizure that knocked them unconscious, when Beckett told them that one of them would have to cede all control of the body or they'd both die. (Duet)

Cadman decided to 'teach [Rodney] a few things' about women after seeing him fumble his way through a conversation with Katie Brown the day before they had a date. (Duet)

She also took control of his body the minute he fell asleep, heading off first to have a conversation with Beckett -- who thought he was talking to McKay -- about how terrific Cadman was, and also asking Beckett to 'ride shotgun' on McKay's date with Katie Brown, saying it would be helpful to have someone there to cut him off when he started making a fool of himself. Beckett agreed. After that she went for a workout/run, then back to her own quarters where she stripped his body naked and went to bed. When he woke up, stiff, sore, naked, and in the wrong room, he freaked out and demanded they set up some boundaries. (Duet)

During the date (which Beckett did show up for -- to McKay's surprise and annoyance), Cadman made sure things went the way she wanted them to, although she did keep the focus on McKay and Brown. (Duet)

After a couple of days of dual ownership of McKay's brain, its lower functions began to deteriorate, pushing him into a seizure that landed him back in the infirmary. Beckett told them that one of them would have to completely cede control of the body or they'd both die. Cadman volunteered, and immediately stopped using McKay's voice. While they were arguing over the decision, McKay realized they could use a control crystal from the stargate to stabilize the Wraith dematerialize/rematerialize process, giving them their best chance of separating him and Cadman. He and Zelenka did the work, and after Cadman used McKay's body to soundly kiss Beckett (just in case they didn't survive and she didn't get another chance), Zelenka turned the beam on them then successfully rematerialized them both in their own bodies. (Duet)





Confirmed deaths

Original timeline

He drowned when the gateroom and control center flooded as a result of catastrophic shield failure while the city was still on the ocean floor. (Before I Sleep)

Current timeline



Confirmed kills

Note: Wraith are very, very hard to kill, and humans may have access to medical help. A kill actually has to be confirmed by someone on the screen, or has to be incredibly obvious, for me to count it.



Personal enemies






He's deathly allergic to citrus. (SG1: 48 Hours)

Allergic to bee stings. (The Defiant One)

He volunteered to be the first person to receive the ATA gene therapy. It took, making him the equivalent of someone who'd been born with the ATA gene, able to operate Ancient technology. (Hide and Seek)

He's claustrophobic. (Thirty-Eight Minutes)

Keeps a running tally of his exposure to various sorts of radiation, from cell phones  and  x-rays to 'that unfortunate Genii nuclear reactor thing' and flying dangerously close to the corona of a sun. (Runner)

Made his own sunblock -- SPF 100 -- complete with (simulated) cocoa butter, to protect his skin against the extreme UV radiation on P3M-736. (Runner)





Musical tastes



Food preferences

He's deathly allergic to citrus. (SG1: 48 Hours)

Likes food most people can't stand:

MREs (Suspicion)

Hospital food (Suspicion)

Airplane food (Suspicion)

Veal   (Childhood's End)

Coffee (Underground)


Personal habits




As a child, he wanted to be a concert pianist. After he was told he had no shot at it (technically capable, but no feel for the music), he switched to science. (SG1: Redemption, part 2)

He built a working model of an atomic bomb for his grade-6 science fair. (Underground)

He got questioned for six hours by the CIA, which believed him to be part of a secret pre-teen organization. (Underground)

He didn't win the science fair. (Underground)

Was on a chess team in high school. (Underground)

McKay once caught mono from kissing a girl (April Bingham) in algebra club, and missed an entire month of school -- but the kiss was 'quite something' so he felt it was worth it. (Letters from Pegasus)

At some point in his childhood he had a dog, but it escaped through a partially open door and never came back, and the family never found it. (Letters from Pegasus)

His father had refused to pay for a license, so the animal shelter couldn't track him. (Letters from Pegasus)

Random misc

Had a cat.   (Rising pt 1)

When he joined the Atlantis expedition, he gave the cat to his neighbor (in #302) to care for. (Rising pt 1, Home)

She didn't particularly like him (' you're a pig' ), but she liked his cat. (Home)

The first time he dialed out from the Atlantis gate, he started out as though he was one of the technicians on Earth, announcing 'Chevron one encoded' after the first chevron lit. When Weir gave him a look, he got over it and just punched in the address. (Rising pt 1)

He liked Ford's notion of calling the puddlejumpers 'gateship' -- e.g., GateShip 1 -- and was a little cranky about Sheppard's decision to change it to puddlejumper. He went along, though. (Rising pt 2)

After receiving the ATA gene therapy, McKay activated a personal shield left behind by the Ancients. He had a huge amount of fun with it at first -- getting Sheppard to shoot him (in the leg) to test it, and then fling him over a railing down a full story to the floor below, and later asking Grodin to punch him (Grodin was only too happy to oblige), all of which resulted in him gloating happily that he was invincible -- then discovered he couldn't remove it because the shield was blocking even his own hand. (Hide and Seek)

Everyone else thought this was highly amusing at first -- Grodin suggested calling him 'Mr. Invincible' , while Beckett countered with 'Captain Untouchable' , both of them saying this in front of a very unamused McKay. When they (and he) realized he couldn't eat or drink anything, it began to look more serious. (Hide and Seek)

At the point where he realized he couldn't eat or drink, McKay began talking (fairly incessantly) about how he was a walking dead man. (Hide and Seek)

Later that night, he fainted -- although he preferred it to be described as 'passed out from manly hunger' . (Hide and Seek)

The shield came off by itself a little later, when Weir suggested that McKay trap the shadow entity that was threatening the city because his shield would probably protect him from its effects.

He was not at all happy when Sgt. Bates told him to examine Teyla's belongings for any evidence that she was a Wraith spy. (Suspicion)

He did it, and he discovered that her locket was actually a transmitter -- but he wasn't happy about it. (Suspicion)

He's not particularly comfortable sitting cross-legged. (Childhood's End)

Perfectly willing to bring a sandwich and mug of coffee to a briefing, where no one else is eating. (Underground)

Hates wearing hazmat suits. (Home)

He's a terrible bluffer -- has lost small fortunes at poker. 'My eye twitches, I laugh inappropriately -- it's not pretty.' (The Eye)

Terrible at first aid -- he dressed the knife wound on his own arm by putting the bandage outside his clothing, rather than on his skin. (The Eye)

Works well with Zelenka, even when they get snitty at each other. (The Storm, Hot Zone)

Not particularly patient or understanding about religious beliefs, at least not when they conflict with what he's trying to do. (Sanctuary)

He repeatedly questioned the existence of Athar while on Proculis, and mocked the rituals and prayer surrounding the question of whether refugees would be allowed to shelter on the planet. (Sanctuary)

Doesn't like 'Back to the Future' ('Don't even get me started on that movie.') (Before I Sleep)

When the opportunity arose to send a message back home (thanks to McKay's own efforts at data compression and power-juggling), McKay chose to tape himself, rather than doing what everyone else was doing -- waiting for Ford to show up with a camera to give them a few minutes to record. McKay filled up an hour-long tape and handed it over to Ford saying 'it might need some editing' -- he'd gotten six hours' sleep in the last several days, and was a bit loopy. He intended it in part for humanity in general, and in part for his sister. He didn't want Ford to cut it down too far, because there was 'gold' in there, so asked that his be placed last so that as much as possible could make it through before the gate shut down. (Letters from Pegasus)

He kept meaning to talk about leadership, but clearly kept getting sidetracked into more personal matters -- some just rambling commentary (pets, things he regretted never seeing, etc.), some meant for people (telling Sam Carter that he thought she was 'just great', telling his sister he hoped they might be able to be closer someday, if he survived). (Letters from Pegasus)

The one part he asked Ford to be sure didn't get cut was the message for his sister. (Letters from Pegasus)

He was seeing Heightmeyer at least during the runup to the Wraith attack on Atlantis. When Teyla spotted him coming out of Heightmeyer's office, he tried to pass it off as them seeing each other romantically (with no great success). Teyla promised to keep his secret. (The Gift)

He and Zelenka had a bet about when the Wraith evolved -- Zelenka believed it was after the Ancients arrived in the Pegasus galaxy, McKay believed it was before. When Weir arrived in the control-chair room to tell Beckett (whom they were trying to get to activate the chair) that his their about post-Ancient-arrival Wraith evolution was correct, Zelenka immediately demanded that McKay pay up. (The Gift)


Has never seen Niagara Falls. (Letters from Pegasus)

Never saw Grease (the movie with Olivia Newton-John) (Letters from Pegasus)

Always wanted to see Ghandi but never did. (Letters from Pegasus)

Only saw the first half of The Sixth Sense, always wondered how that ended. (Letters from Pegasus)

Not being closer with his sister Jeannie. (Letters from Pegasus)


As an adult, he's a cat person, not a dog person. (Letters from Pegasus)

He apparently had a dog as a child, but it escaped one day and they never found it. (Letters from Pegasus)


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