Dr. Meredith Rodney McKay, better known as Rodney McKay, due to his dislike of his real first name (he is called 'Meredith' or 'Mer' by his sister and briefly 'Rod' by Dr. Daniel Jackson), is a brilliant astrophysicist, and one of the leading experts on not only the Stargate and wormhole physics, but also Ancient and nanite technology in both the Milky Way and Pegasus galaxies.
Having been involved with the Stargate Program for many years with occasional assistance to the SGC as well, McKay joined the Atlantis expedition after expressing an eager desire to be a part of it. As such, he was given the position of Chief Science Officer for the expedition and became a permanent member of the expedition's flagship team, AR-1 led by Major/Lt. Colonel John Sheppard with McKay continuing to hold both positions to this day.
Although he is able to formulate many ground-breaking ideas on a broad range of subjects, McKay's phobias and arrogance continually serve as a hindrance to people acknowledging his abilities. He is a self-important scientist with a great deal of knowledge but, according to Colonel Samantha Carter, has no feel for it. Despite his mannerisms and insecurities, he does occasionally show endearing moments of vulnerability and bravery. Together with Dr. Radek Zelenka, he works miracles with the tools at hand, but despite this, McKay has trouble acknowledging other people's work.
- "I had a not-so-comfortable childhood. My parents hated each other, blamed me. Music…was my salvation. It had this…perfect order for me."
- ―Rodney McKay[src]
McKay was born in Canada on April 18, 1968, the same birthday as his actor, British-born Canadian actor David Hewlett. He said that when he was six years old, his father read him Moby Dick and ever since then, has recurring nightmares that he was eaten by a whale.
Not much is known about his mother, other than his claim that he had a vision of her while suffering from Second Childhood. He wanted to become a concert pianist, but when he was twelve, he was asked by his teacher to quit, since he was described as a fine clinical player, but had no sense of the art. McKay claimed to have won an award for his acting skills as a kid and could have made a career out of it, but chose not to. At some point in his childhood, he spent a few months in a scouting organization, the Fort McMurray Eager Beavers, until they asked him to leave, but he has kept the manual ever since. In grade six, McKay built a non-working nuclear warhead for the science fair. This prompted a visit from the Central Intelligence Agency. (SG1: "Redemption, Part 2", SGA: "Underground", "The Return, Part 2", "Doppelganger", "Quarantine", "Tracker")
When he was a child, school bullies made him eat his lunch with his underwear on his head. While visiting Atlantis in 2006, Rodney's sister Jean Miller told John Sheppard, Teyla Emmagan, and Ronon Dex this story, much to their amusement. Jeannie also told them that Rodney wet the bed during his childhood, which he strenuously denied. (SGA: "McKay and Mrs. Miller")
Dr. McKay had extensive education, training and first-hand experience in the field of Astrophysics. McKay implied he has degrees in Physics and Mechanical Engineering, later stating he actually has two PhDs. (SGA: "Letters from Pegasus", "Duet", "Miller's Crossing") He had a rival in Malcolm Tunney, another genius who was earning his doctorate at the same time. Though McKay claimed that he was smarter than Tunney, he always wanted to show off his success, especially to annoy him. He also once admitted to having "toked" Cannabis when he was in University and claimed he didn't feel any adverse effects, apart from itching and a desire to eat an entire loaf of white bread; on the other hand, he has said at times that he is [mortally] allergic to citrus. He has a younger sister named Jeannie Miller, who is also a talented scientist, but when she decided to start a family and de-prioritize her studies over her career, they had a massive argument and did not speak for four years before Rodney saw her again. (SG1: "48 Hours", SGA: "Letters from Pegasus", "The Lost Boys", "Phantoms", "Brain Storm")
At some point, he began working for the Stargate program. Despite being Canadian, he worked at Area 51 for the United States Air Force and was on their payroll. He became the foremost expert on the Stargate, second only to Major Samantha Carter. For instance, he knew that when Carter got the Stargate working with three supercomputers, they ignored 220 of the 400 feedback signals the Stargate can emit during any given dialing sequence. However, despite this knowledge, he was never particularly interested in pursuing it. Due to the secretive nature of his job, he had not published a theoretical paper to the public in an undisclosed number of years. He once claimed that one of his ideas was stolen by TV physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. (SG1: "48 Hours", SGA: "Trio", "Brain Storm")
In March 2002, when a mission ended with Teal'c failing to materialize through the Stargate on Earth, Colonel Frank Simmons hired McKay to help, and McKay gave the Pentagon a 48 hour deadline before they should give up the attempt and resume gate activity.
Arriving at the SGC, McKay was revealed to have been studying the Stargate Program at Area 51 for over a year and upon meeting Major Samantha Carter, became immediately infatuated with her. A conversation with her quickly turned sour when he began poking holes at the structure of the dialing computer, a device Carter had personally worked on and also created. Their relationship grew even more sour when Carter later realized that McKay was the one who had suggested the 48 hour deadline because he thought Teal'c was already dead, believing that the Stargate's data storage program had already degraded Teal'c's pattern so much that the Jaffa could never be restored. This triggered Carter's fury and led to her calling him a "jerk". McKay remarked, "I've always had a real weakness for dumb blondes" with Carter telling him to "Go suck a lemon.", to which McKay took great offense, as he had a fatal citrus allergy.
After the situation was resolved, with McKay's theories about Teal'c's pattern being proven incorrect, McKay was given an assignment in Russia to help with their Naquadah generator technology. McKay further protested against the operation, even going so far as to call Carter a certifiable whack-job and upon learning of his assignment, initially protested, stating that he was a civilian and didn't follow orders until Carter pointed out that he was still on the United States Air Force payroll. He eventually left to get ready, but not before complaining that the situation he'd been thrown into really sucked. (SG1: "48 Hours")
Nearly four months later, presumably in June 2002 and as a result of Anubis using the Stargate destroyer to target the SGC's Stargate which left the Stargate itself permanently open, McKay was recalled from Russia on the orders of the Pentagon and sent straight to the SCG which left Carter deeply annoyed. McKay came up with a solution to shut down the Stargate before Anubis used it to destroy the Earth with the Stargate destroyer. He suggested they use an EMP generator to shut down the gate, which ultimately was ineffective. Consequently, by opening the iris, the power build up was increased and the time to detonation was accelerated by 24 hours. In the end, the solution to the problem was to use the X-302 hyperspace fighter's hyperdrive to make a "short jump" (in relative terms, which still meant a really long way) with the gate strapped to the underside of the 302. This sent the Gate far enough away that the Earth wasn't affected by the gate's explosion. Carter later kissed McKay on the cheek, which he interpreted as meaning that Carter no longer hated him. What he did in the two years prior to his departure from the SGC and then eventually joining the Atlantis Expedition remains unknown.(SG1: "Redemption, Part 1", "Redemption, Part 2")
In July 2004, McKay was one of the scientists involved in the technological study of the Ancient outpost in Antarctica. Through numerous efforts, including trying the chair himself twice and attempting to interface it with Human computers, he was able to determine (with reluctant assistance from Dr. Carson Beckett) that it could only be used by someone with the Ancient Technology Activation gene. After testing with numerous personnel, everyone was stunned when Major John Sheppard sat in the chair, demonstrating a natural ability far greater than anyone else thus far, presumably on a level with Brigadier General Jack O'Neill. McKay later assisted in setting up the outpost's ZPM to provide the power needed to connect the Earth's stargate to Atlantis.
McKay later joined the Atlantis expedition to the Pegasus Galaxy. McKay was one of the key members to determine the various functions of the city. Along with that, he determined that the city's last working Zero Point Module was nearly depleted and began searching for a new planet. However, just as the ZPM was about to be completely depleted, the city rose up from the ocean floor, settling on the surface. (SGA: "Rising")
Wanting to use the Ancient technologies, McKay acted as the guinea pig for Dr. Beckett's first human trial of the Ancient Technology Activation gene therapy. The test proved successful and McKay attached a personal shield emitter to himself, testing it out by having Major John Sheppard shoot him and push him off a balcony. Although he was jubilant about surviving such occurrences with the shield on, he determined that he could not eat or drink with it. However, when Dr. Elizabeth Weir suggested that he could "trap" the "shadow" since he would be protected by the shield, it fell off. Sheppard was assigned in his place. A naquadah generator on a MALP was used in an attempt to get the creature to leave the city through the stargate. After the creature quickly depleted the MALP's power source and began feeding off the generator, McKay used the personal shield to protect himself long enough to throw the generator through the gate to M4X-337, leading the creature through the gate. (SGA: "Hide and Seek")
With the First Atlantis Reconnaissance Team or AR-1 having officially formed, McKay embarked on his first ever mission as a member of the expedition's main flagship team. They explored the Wraith homeworld but were forced to flee after being attacked by Wraith warriors and Sheppard having an Iratus bug attached to his neck. Unfortunately, the damaged Jumper got stuck in the Stargate with McKay working frantically to find a way to save everyone before the thirty-eight minute limit expired. With assistance of Atlantis personnel, he was able to retract the Jumper's drive pods before realizing that they had lost all forward momentum. He was then pushed through the stargate by Lt. Ford before the rear hatch was blown in order to propel the Jumper through the gate. (SGA: "Thirty-Eight Minutes")
While returning from a mission, McKay was left temporarily incapacitated after being struck by a Wraith stunner but made a full recovery. He later helped the team capture a Wraith which was eventually imprisoned in Atlantis's brig. (SGA: "Suspicion")
When the team landed on M7G-677, McKay did some exploring and discovered a ZPM. He later brought it back to Atlantis in the hope that he could use as a means of powering Atlantis's shield but ultimately returned it after discovering that it was useless. While on the planet, it was also shown that McKay was awful with young children, even going so far as to get into an argument with one which ended when Ford intervened, bringing the children to safety. (SGA: "Childhood's End")
When Major John Sheppard and Teyla Emmagan discovered a massive storm covering 20% of Lantea's surface that was also heading for Atlantis, McKay discovered a way to power Atlantis's shield by using lightning strikes from the same storm that seemed poised to destroy the city. When the city was temporarily evacuated, McKay, along with Dr. Weir, Sheppard and a couple of marines stayed behind to disable the grounding stations. Several Genii soldiers, led by Acastus Kolya stormed the city after the first contact with them went sour. They tried to retrieve supplies the Tau'ri promised (medical supplies and C-4). However, McKay managed to buy enough time so Sheppard could save the city and McKay managed to activate the city shield before being wiped out by a massive tsunami. He performed another act of bravery during this time by stepping between Weir and Kolya, who was about to shoot her, which Weir commented on but McKay uncharacteristically downplayed it. (SGA: "The Storm", "The Eye")
When a team went to check out an energy signal in the solar system, McKay piloted the Puddle Jumper, but did it very erratically. After landing on the Light Bugs' Planet, McKay investigated the crashed Wraith supply ship with Sheppard and stayed with the partially fed-on Brendan Gall while Sheppard battled the Wraith survivor. McKay was conflicted as he wanted to go help Sheppard but was ordered to stay with Gall who admits that McKay had changed for the better since their arrival on Atlantis. Ultimately Gall committed suicide, allowing McKay to go help Sheppard. McKay arrived in time to shoot the Wraith, distracting it from the weaponless Sheppard and unloaded two clips into him to little effect before running out of bullets. As the Wraith tried to decide who to attack, another Puddle Jumper with Teyla and Ford arrived and destroyed the Wraith with a drone weapon after Sheppard used a power bar to attract light bugs to to the Wraith, making it the biggest life-sign on the planet. McKay told Sheppard of Gall's fate and Sheppard promised to let McKay fly them home once he deactivated the shield the Wraith put around the Jumper. (SGA: "The Defiant One")
When searching through Atlantis after the Lantean storm, some of his team members inadvertently released a nanite virus, which kills its victims after terrorizing them through hallucinations. McKay was infected with the disease, causing a hallucination of a ghost attacking him. However, he did not die since he had the ATA gene. He figured that an electromagnetic pulse would stop the attacks. After the EMP device failed to eradicate the threat, Major Sheppard detonated an overloaded Naquadah generator 20 miles over the city. (SGA: "Hot Zone")
When Major John Sheppard invited Chaya Sar to Atlantis, McKay originally regarded her with hostility, especially when he realized Sheppard had certain intentions towards her. He later correctly deduced that Chaya Sar was actually an Ancient. (SGA: "Sanctuary")
He and the team went to Dagan to search for a Zero Point Module, after an alternate Dr. Elizabeth Weir gave him five addresses with a guaranteed ZPM on them. Allina, one of the Daganians took a fondness for McKay, but was, at first oblivious to it, until the team told him. After Acastus Kolya returned to also acquire the ZPM, the team planned to stop them, and did. The team had acquired a ZPM, but since he told Allina, who was a member of the new Quindosim that the Atlantis expedition weren't the Lanteans they hoped and took the ZPM off them, stating that the ZPM would go into hiding on another world and that once the Ancients returned, she and her people would be greatly rewarded for their actions, the Brotherhood remaining obvious or unaware of the fact that the Ancients had long since left the galaxy. McKay tried his best to convince of the impending Wraith siege, but failed and returned to Atlantis where he and the others discovered that the Wraith were fast approaching the city and would be there in less than two weeks. (SGA: "The Brotherhood")
Before the Wraith siege of Atlantis McKay, with Dr. Peter Grodin and Lt. Lou Miller, went to reactivate the Lagrangian Point satellite in an effort to halt the three Hive ships. One Hive was destroyed before the satellite itself was destroyed. During the siege, the Daedalus arrived and beamed down the Zero Point Module Atlantis desperately needed to protect the city. In the process, he was cornered by Wraith guards. After a spontaneous show of courage, during which he accidentally ejected the magazine of his sidearm, Teyla Emmagan arrived to save him. The ZPM was then installed and the shield activated before the Wraith Darts made a kamikaze run on the city. He was later working with Dr. Radek Zelenka to cloak the city to make the Wraith believe the city had been destroyed. (SGA: "The Siege, Part 1", "The Siege, Part 2", "The Siege, Part 3")
He was on a mission on Thenora to search for any survivors during the Wraith culling there. However, there was none. He was later scooped up by a Wraith beam with Lt. Laura Cadman before the Wraith Dart was shot down. After discovering that there was only enough power to save one of them, they beamed out McKay, who fainted. After he regained consciousness, he discovered that Cadman's consciousness is inside his. He had to live with Cadman until Dr. Radek Zelenka's team found a solution. During that time, they found it hard to co-exist. Cadman agreed to help McKay through his first date with Dr. Katie Brown, which led to Cadman taking control of Rodney and leaving the date. He also found out that Dr. Carson Beckett was quite fond of Cadman. Eventually, the strain of having two separate minds in one body had caused a near fatal seizure and Zelenka's team wouldn't find a solution in time. However, McKay worked out how to save both of them by using the Stargate's crystals. Before they went through the procedure, Cadman took control of McKay's body one last time, using him to kiss Beckett, in case it wouldn't work. (SGA: "Duet")
He was in charge of Project Arcturus found on the Doranda outpost. He convinced Dr. Elizabeth Weir and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard that they should make another attempt after the first resulted in the death of an expedition member. However the second attempt resulted in the destruction of 5/6 of its solar system. (SGA: "Trinity")
By the end of the year, he and the team was taken by Aiden Ford's Coalition to formulate a plan to destroy a Wraith Hive ship. McKay worked on fixing the Wraith Dart, but was left behind on the mission. McKay needed to escape to inform Dr. Elizabeth Weir of Ford's plan. However, in order to do that, he had to inject a considerable amount of the Wraith enzyme to knock out two guards, for his escape. He went through withdrawal and managed to completely recover. Dr. Carson Beckett thought that his own stubbornness helped him through. He later found out where Lt. Colonel John Sheppard and the team were and took part in the Battle of Edowin, where two Hive ships destroyed each other. (SGA: "The Lost Boys", "The Hive")
He was test flying a newly repaired Jumper 6 after it was shot down on Olesia when one of its engines failed, causing it to crash into Lantea's ocean. While trying to find a way out of the sinking craft, he had a hallucination of Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter, who told Rodney to use whatever power left for survival, because Dr. Radek Zelenka and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard were working on a way to rescue him. However, McKay ignored "Carter's" advice and attempted a different means to get out of the ocean. The hallucinatory "Carter" tried to delay McKay by being one of his fantasies, which in the end, didn't work. McKay then used up most of the Jumper's remaining power trying to raise it out of the water. However, the weak distress signal he was transmitting attracted the attention of a Flagisallus McKay later names Sam. The fish was the reason Zelenka and Shepperd managed to find and rescue him. (SGA: "Grace Under Pressure")
McKay once cited Atlantis's chain of command, stating that in the event that Dr. Elizabeth Weir and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard are unavailable, McKay would be in charge. However, since Weir and Sheppard were taken over by the consciousnesses of Phoebus and Thalan, and trying to kill each other, Colonel Steven Caldwell stepped in, as it was a military operation. McKay regarded that with hostility and did not agree with some of Caldwell's action. Despite this, after the end of the crisis, he had said that he did a good job, though McKay never said it to him directly. (SGA: "The Long Goodbye")
When the team got trapped on Taranis due to lava from a supervolcano swallowing the Stargate, McKay worked on fixing the Orion with Norina Pero, a Taranian scientist. McKay ultimately was unable to fix the sublight engines in time, but was able to use auxiliary power for the shields and hyperdrive long enough to make a jump into orbit. (SGA: "Inferno")
After a Wraith named Michael Kenmore escaped aware of the Iratus bug retrovirus, a Hive ship proposed an alliance to use the retrovirus against rival Wraith, so they would turn human and become an alternate food source. McKay managed to have acquired vast amounts of Wraith technology to help against the war with the Wraith. After one of the first trials failed, McKay looked at the damage the hive sustained and agreed to stay there with Ronon Dex. However, by the time the Expedition realized they were double crossed, McKay and Ronon were taken prisoner. As the two hives went on its way to Earth, Ronon and McKay escaped and tried to overload several systems, resulting in the destruction of the ship. However, due to a previous nuclear strike from the Daedalus during the Battle of the Void, there were not enough remaining systems to overload. Instead, they disabled the Hive's jamming code and escaped to the Daedalus with Sheppard and Michael. The Daedalus managed to disable the hive, but lost life-support at the same time and McKay worked on fixing it until he came up with the plan of capturing the Hive ship for the good air that it contained. When the retrovirus turned the crew into humans, McKay was in the team that beamed over to help kill the unaffected Queen. After bringing the hive back to Atlantis, McKay worked on creating a manual control for the ship's systems, but only managed to create enough of one to fire the weapons at a stationary target on a planet's surface: the camp on M8G-352. When a second Hive ship showed up, McKay kept firing at the camp until the team and Beckett was forced to abandon ship in a Puddle Jumper before the hive was destroyed. They were later picked up by the Daedalus. (SGA: "Allies", "No Man's Land", "Misbegotten")
When SG-1 came to Atlantis to implement a plan by using a Stargate next to a Pegasus black hole to dial to the Supergate in the Milky Way, to prevent more Ori warships from getting through, McKay initially thought the plan would not work, since it is very unlikely to jump a wormhole from a regular Stargate to an even bigger one. However, he helped Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter with the calculations on board the Odyssey to calibrate a nuclear warhead to force the mater stream on an existing connection between Pegasus and a normal gate setup beside the Supergate, to jump to the Supergate. Through trial and error (using two warheads rather than one, and destroying a pursuing Wraith Hive ship, the mission was successful. Also, McKay informed Carter of the "help" she gave him while he was trapped in the back of the sinking Puddle Jumper and was forced to confess she was "partially" naked. (SG1: "The Pegasus Project")
When the team was captured by a village of people who were culled due to the Wraith tracking Ronon to the planet while he was a Runner, McKay managed to escape to Atlantis and warn them, but was shot in the ass with an arrow. McKay ended up too doped up on morphine to answer questions, but Sheppard and Teyla eventually returned after Ronon convinced the villagers to let them go. McKay managed to track Ronon to Sateda using the new tracking device the Wraith implanted in his back and joined the rescue mission despite barley being able to sit, defending his relationship with Ronon to Beckett. Upon arrival at the planet, McKay stayed in the Jumper with Beckett and was annoyed by Ronon wanting to go after all twenty-five Wraith coming after him to draw out the Wraith Leader. McKay and Beckett ended up getting into an argument over a gun and who got to go and help the rest of the team and by the time they realized there was more than one gun and they both could go, the fight was over. When Ronon was about to be fed upon by the Wraith Leader, McKay, unable to take watching it anymore, flew the cloaked Jumper down in front of the two and decloaked it before having Beckett kill the Wraith with a drone weapon. McKay flew the team to safety and proudly admitted it was his plan to kill the Wraith like that, he quickly blamed Beckett when he learned Ronon threatened to kill anyone who killed that Wraith before he did. McKay got annoyed when Ronon hugged Beckett in thanks, but was mollified by Ronon thanking everyone. McKay then flew the Jumper back to the Daedalus. (SGA: "Sateda")
McKay's problems of attempting to resurrect Project Arcturus, eventually caused him to seek the help of his sister, Jeannie Miller, a fellow scientist whose intelligence matches his, but lacks the worst of his most aggravating personal qualities. She first thought of a way to bridge two universes, which would cause a benefit for the succession of the project. This ultimately failed as the other universe was threatened to be wiped out from existence, and in order to shut it down, meant the depletion of their Zero Point Module. Also, the McKay from that universe showed up and interacted better with the team and Jeannie than the real McKay did which annoyed him. When McKay collapsed the bridge, he helped his alternate self return home. Although there is obvious friction in the relationship with Jeannie, McKay manages to reconcile his differences with her thanks to Sheppard showing her the message he recorded for her before the siege and helping McKay realize how bad of a brother he was being. McKay also learned that despite their differences, his team preferred him to his alternate self. (SGA: "McKay and Mrs. Miller")
He, along with Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter had figured out a way to go back and forth to Earth and Atlantis without the use of a Zero Point Module and waiting three weeks while sitting in the Daedalus, by building the McKay/Carter Intergalactic Gate Bridge. The first trial worked, but found an Ancient ship named the Tria with Ancients, who later took back the city and told the Expedition to leave. McKay was transferred back to Area 51 for an undisclosed amount of time, until he learned the Asurans took control of Atlantis. McKay worked with Dr. Carson Beckett, Lt. Colonel John Sheppard and Dr. Elizabeth Weir, as well as Teyla Emmagan and Ronon Dex to help take back control of the city. He was able to destroy all the Asurans by turning Atlantis' shield into an anti-Replicator field. (SGA: "The Return, Part 1", "The Return, Part 2")
After the successful retaking of Atlantis, he complained that two of the three Zero Point Modules were taken away for use of the Antarctic outpost and the Odyssey to defend against the Ori crusade in the Milky Way. He later discovered that the Flagisallus, presumably the same one who gave away Rodney's position under the ocean, visited Atlantis. McKay took a look through the binoculars, and called him Sam, after Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter. However, at the same time people started to hallucinate several worried Ancient scientists. He eventually learned that the Flagisallus used this to warn them of an impending coronal mass ejection. McKay reluctantly used Sheppard's plan to use a ZPM to strengthen the Daedalus shield to deflect the ejection, which was successful. (SGA: "Echoes")
He came across an Ascension lab, which had augmented his body to a point where he was eventually capable to ascend. He had developed several new-found powers including Telekinesis, Telepathy, Healing powers, improved hearing, and increased intelligence. However, the mind altering was geared towards enabling ascension, and if he didn't figure a way to reverse the process, or ascend, he would die. McKay used Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's help to meditate, since he spent time with the People of the Cloister. When he found he couldn't stop his racing thoughts for long enough, he decided to better use his time working out a new form of advanced mathematics, improving the Daedalus shields and even plans on having a hyperdrive engine on a Puddle Jumper, which came in handy later on. McKay later found out that upon ascension, he could choose to unascend. However, upon further meditation, he found he still couldn't reach the required state for a human to ascend, and suffered a near fatal seizure. He eventually figured out a way to save himself through using his telepathy to tell Beckett how to reverse the effects of the device. (SGA: "Tao of Rodney")
He managed to find time to see more of Dr. Katie Brown since their prior encounter with Lt. Laura Cadman. He also discovered that the civilization of M4D-058 was a real-life representation of an Ancient "computer game" McKay played in competition with Lt. Colonel John Sheppard. He also learned that the conflicts between Hallona and Geldar were real-life too. However, McKay found a way to fool them all and thereby avert a war. (SGA: "The Game")
McKay was deeply affected by the death of Dr. Carson Beckett, who was killed in an explosion. He felt somewhat responsible when he lied to avoid going fishing with Beckett. When he was hallucinating Beckett, Rodney told him that he considered him a best friend. McKay was one of his pallbearers and was the one to tell Beckett's mother that her son had died. (SGA: "Sunday")
Following the team's success in stopping the Asuran attempts to take the city. The Asurans started building a fleet of warships to attack Earth. Colonel Abraham Ellis of the Apollo tasked McKay with finishing the Horizon weapons system, intending to wipe out the Asurans in a preemptive strike. After the delivery proved a success, the Asurans retaliated by sending a Stargate satellite to destroy Atlantis. McKay submerged the city, but that only bought them a little time. In the end, he and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard worked together to ensure that the city would take off to escape to another planet. However, within minutes of entering hyperspace, the stardrive shut down. The expedition had only 24 hours before power failed and the occupants of the city would be exposed to space. While working to patch up damaged power conduits, McKay collapsed the city's shield to cover only the central tower to conserve power. He also participated in an operation where they cleared a path for Atlantis while crossing an asteroid belt, and reactivated the nanites in Dr. Elizabeth Weir to save her life, against Sheppard's wishes. When it was discovered that power levels had dropped below the requirements to jump, he worked on finalizing modifications to a Puddle Jumper with a hyperdrive, and the team took Weir along to recover a Zero Point Module on Asuras to restore Atlantis's power. The mission was a success, but at the cost of Weir, who assisted in implementing a Wraith attack code in the Asuran central data core. (SGA: "First Strike", "Adrift", "Lifeline")
While exploring a planet McKay believed could house some technology, they inadvertently brought back an entity which infected its hosts with nightmares until it was capable of killing the hosts in their sleep. After killing Dr. Kate Heightmeyer, the entity finds its way into McKay. He suffered a nightmare where a giant white sperm whale (reminiscent of Moby Dick, which had terrified Mckay as a child) was after him while rowing back to Atlantis. Fortunately, Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, using a virtual reality pod, saved him, only to have the entity passed on to Sheppard. McKay was able to get into Sheppard's mind and help defeat the entity. (SGA: "Doppelganger")
The expedition later fell victim to a mutated strain of Kirsan fever, causing them to lose their memories until they died. McKay attempted to work on altering the air conditioning system to spread the sap of the Enchuri plant. Unfortunately, McKay started losing his memories also. Fortunately, though Teyla Emmagan's help he was able to finalize the program. (SGA: "Tabula Rasa")
Towards the end of the year, his sister Jean Miller was kidnapped by Henry Wallace, to perfect nanite coding. His efforts to rescue her resulted in his capture as well. Due to McKay's attempt to escape, Wallace had Jeannie injected with nanites. McKay and Jeannie were rescued by Lt. Colonel John Sheppard and McKay had to shut down the nanites in Jeannie's body before they cured her epilepsy, which would have killed her in the process. He enlisted the help of Todd to shut them down. When Todd collapsed from hunger, McKay, with virtually no hesitation, offered to be fed upon to give Todd the strength to save his sister. Sheppard, however, managed to find another solution. (SGA: "Miller's Crossing")
After learning that there are over thirty Asuran ships in Pegasus, he and Todd continued working on recalling the Asurans back into their homeworld, without success. Even after Daedalus and Apollo were retrofitted with Asgard plasma beam weapons, he asked for a few hours to finish. However, it took him another week, and seven destroyed Asuran ships until he could finally admit that progress halted. He later had another idea; since all the Asuran ships were recalled to their homeworld to gather strength, he planned to construct a Replicator block capable of attracting all the nanites to a massive dense blob. He eventually constructed FRAN (Friendly Replicator Android) to send down to the planet, attract all the nanites and hopefully, they would overload the Zero Point Modules to destroy it. During the Battle of Asuras, McKay beamed down to the planet to overload the ZPMs while FRAN did her work. However, the mass destroyed the planet's power grid. In response, he dialed up the attraction, sinking the mass into the core, which caused the entire planet to be destroyed. After the events, he gladly deleted the planet from their database. (SGA: "This Mortal Coil", "Be All My Sins Remember'd")
He planned to marry Dr. Katie Brown, since they had been together for two years. However, just as he was about to propose, the city went into a Quarantine lockdown, since the tweaking from the events of the Kirsan fever the year before. Later, he realized that he still wasn't ready after Katie found out about his plans. She misconstrued this as a means of breaking up with her, and was transferred at her request back to Earth. (SGA: "Tabula Rasa", "Quarantine")
Several weeks later, he, Colonel Samantha Carter and Dr. Jennifer Keller went to M5V-801 to talk some locals into moving out of their settlement, which was prone to several tremors daily, and had unclean air. However, en route, they fell into a Genii mining facility. Knowing they were trapped, he and the other two made several attempts to escape, though in the process, their combined weights seriously compromised the structural integrity of the building. Eventually, they managed to escape by roping down to a tunnel leading out of the mine, with moments to spare before the facility fell into the bottom of a deep underground pit. Afterwards, Keller asked him to get a drink though he didn't pick up on her meaning until she pointed it out to him. (SGA: "Trio")
After Teyla Emmagan was kidnapped by Michael Kenmore, he and his team worked hard in trying to find her. This included unwittingly rescuing Dr. Carson Beckett, who turned out to be a clone. He was with cloned Beckett until his cells deteriorated and had to be put into stasis until a cure was found for it. He often talked to him about events that had happened, in secret. Eventually, Teyla was rescued, and McKay was responsible for delivering her baby, albeit very reluctantly. (SGA: "The Kindred, Part 1", "The Kindred, Part 2", "Search and Rescue", "The Seed")
When an alternate reality version of the Daedalus mysteriously appeared in orbit over M35-117, McKay and the team investigated. After the ship transported itself to an alternate reality, McKay found the source, as well as an alternate version of their team, dead. He also noticed that another version of himself designed the alternate reality drive. He was eventually able to return the ship to their own reality by reversing the drive. He also brought back sublight engines to aid in winning a fight against an alien ship (that and a fleet of F-302 fighter-interceptors from the alternate Atlantis). Eventually, he and the team return to their own reality, where McKay began to work on ironing out the bugs and make his own alternate reality drive, though Lt. Colonel John Sheppard does not wish that to happen. He was later allowed to hold Torren John Emmagan, despite an earlier incident where he was injured during their last encounter. (SGA: "The Daedalus Variations")
During a mission on M44-5YN, he was infected with an ailment known as Second Childhood, a disease that was quick at reverting McKay into a childlike state. He decided to do a recording every day, to see how things would progress. He started with his name, his position, where he was and reciting pi to 12 decimal places. On the first day, he was able to do so. However by day 6, he started to forget everything. By day 10, he could only remember his name and barely remember Atlantis. By day 15, he began referring to himself as "mister" Rodney McKay. By day 18, he couldn't remember anything. At this point, he only had a few days left until death. Ronon Dex came up with a solution; the Shrine of Talus. However, Dr. Jennifer Keller was able to cure him, since the radiation emanating from the shrine had shrunk the parasite enough to be removed. His affection for Dr. Keller was also revealed during this time. (SGA: "The Shrine")
However, he learned that he needed to fight for Dr. Jennifer Keller's affection, when he found out Ronon Dex also wished to be with her. When he assisted Keller in vaccinating the people of M33-985, Keller was abducted by Kiryk. McKay assisted Ronon in finding her, and helped work out a way to escape, namely by repairing the damaged teleportation device, which Kiryk used to buy the others time to escape the planet from a Wraith army. After the events, McKay and Ronon decided that instead of fighting for Keller's affection, they should let her decide. (SGA: "Tracker")
When Dr. Daniel Jackson came to Atlantis, McKay reluctantly helped in finding Janus's secret lab. However, while researching the lab, an Ancient device activated, alerting the Vanir, a group of rogue Asgard to their location. They kidnapped McKay and Jackson, and forced them to activate the Attero device, a device capable of destroying Wraith ships entering hyperspace, but also destroyed active Stargates. They eventually managed to stun their captors and manually deactivate the device. They were later retrieved by the Atlantis expedition. (SGA: "First Contact", "The Lost Tribe")
After Dr. Jennifer Keller told Ronon Dex she was interested in someone else, McKay started getting close to her, and eventually asked her to join him on Earth to attend a scientific presentation hosted by his nemesis, Malcolm Tunney. It was later revealed that Tunney had indirectly stolen Jeannie Miller's research on matter bridges through alternate realities, and use it to channel heat through to another Universe, thus solving global warming. However, while testing the bridge, it refused to close, causing the Kramer Innovations building, which was protected by a shield, to freeze, with everyone inside. While McKay and the other scientists tried to work out a solution, Keller attempted to call Stargate Command. However, she became trapped. After McKay was able to shut down the bridge, he ran to Keller's rescue, and revived her. Keller confessed her feeling towards him, and they have since started a romantic relationship together. (SGA: "The Lost Tribe", "Brain Storm")
When Todd alerted Atlantis that the Wraith constructed a Super-hive, McKay and the team attempted to stop it before it became fully powered. However, the ship already proved to be too powerful, and disabled the Puddle Jumper and the Daedalus. While Lt. Colonel John Sheppard went to Earth to stop the ship when it arrived in the Solar system, McKay stayed in Atlantis, which flew to the outskirts of the Milky Way. When they attempted to dial Earth, they connected to the Stargate in the ship, which superseded Earth's Gate, McKay and a team went on board to destroy the ship. However, he witnessed Ronon Dex die (though he was later brought back to life). After he stopped Sheppard from detonating a nuclear warhead from his F-302 fighter-interceptor inside the ship. They later gated to the Alpha Site to remote detonate the weapon, which succeeded. He later returned to Atlantis, which by then, landed on the Pacific Ocean outside San Francisco. (SGA: "Enemy at the Gate")
After Atlantis returned to the Pegasus Galaxy, McKay was later captured during a raid by some Wraith who belonged to Queen Death and in the process, was converted into a Wraith by the use of a retrovirus. The retrovirus ultimately caused McKay to lose any memories of his past and had him believing that his true name was "Quicksilver" along with the assumption that he had always loyally served Death. (SGA: "The Lost")
In 2010, McKay helped resolve the remaining issues with dialing the Destiny Stargate from another planet in the Milky Way. He was present on Langara when the plan to take the facility from the Langarans by force failed, as they surrounded the facility. He mentioned that he never actually thought about joining Destiny's crew. (SGU: "Seizure")
- Dr. Rodney "Rod" McKay came to our reality to prevent his from being destroyed by a power generating experiment. The project was shut down, but the exotic particles were still being created in his reality. Rod, our McKay, and his sister Jeannie Miller found a way to disconnect their realities, stopping the creation of any more particles. The plan was successful and Rod was sent back to his reality, however this depleted the Zero Point Module. In his own reality, Rod was much friendlier and more open than the original McKay, although Rod told the original McKay that he envied McKay who could tell everyone what he was on his mind and not care about what people thought. (SGA: "McKay and Mrs. Miller")
- In another alternate reality accidentally visited by Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter in 2007, McKay wore glasses and was, according to Major Evan Lorne, a "dotcom millionaire smart-ass." He was a wealthy high-tech industrialist and was once married to Major Samantha Carter, until they got a divorce. When Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter from our reality accidentally transported herself to that reality, partly due to their Carter, she asked McKay for help bridging his universe with Carter's, something he has done with his sister back in her own reality. Initially, he was reluctant, but when the US Government forced him to work for Stargate Command, he helped build the bridge, since the government from that universe thought Carter would be more trouble than she was worth. This version of McKay likewise had a poor relationship with his sister Jeannie Miller. Upon being told that his counterpart in our reality was a member of the Atlantis expedition who led a dangerous life, McKay deemed him a "chump." (SG1: "The Road Not Taken")
- In another alternate reality, McKay designed and built the Alternate reality drive and fitted it on an alternate Daedalus. The drive later turned out to be flawed, as it went out of control and shifted to other universes with no way to stop it. (SGA: "The Daedalus Variations")
- In another alternate reality, Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team went on board the alternate Daedalus and starved to death on board the runaway ship after they ran out of supplies. (SGA: "The Daedalus Variations")
- In an alternate reality, McKay was a part of an Atlantis expedition and an Atlantis Recon team that did not include John Sheppard. He was also seen wearing a wedding ring, but never discussed having a wife. Unlike the main timeline McKay who was arrogant and angry yet had empathy and concern for others at times, this McKay was uptight, not displaying any kind of emotions at all. He was also ruthless and very cold with no qualms or remorse whatsoever, especially when it came to destroying someone's life just to get what he wanted, suggesting he possessed a possible psychopathic or sociopathic nature. However, this seemed to be a last resort threat simply because Sheppard refused to cooperate and was not one he carried out or attempted to do. He briefly showed some empathy when he described what he knew Sheppard had really done to get kicked out of the military and how that was the reason he decided to trust him. At some point, he opened an inter-dimensional rift to an unknown reality more similar to ours in which John Sheppard had joined the Atlantis Expedition and led the First Atlantis Reconnaissance Team. With the help of one Detective John Sheppard that McKay later met in his own reality, he was able to stop a Wraith from transmitting the coordinates of Earth to the others in the Pegasus galaxy. Unfortunately, the transmission bled into our reality, signaling "Todd's" newly Super-hive to the location of Earth. (SGA: "Vegas")
- In an alternate timeline and as of a result of the Stargate Program never coming into existence, Dr. Rodney McKay was the lead astrophysicist working at Cheyenne Mountain. Unlike the McKay in the proper timeline, he wasn't allergic to lemon and, in fact, considered Lemon chicken his favorite food. However, like the McKay in the proper timeline, he was infatuated with Samantha Carter, even going so far as to invite her out for lunch although Carter later grew tired of him. Later, while the address was being dialed into the Stargate, McKay gave the situation nothing more than a fifty-fifty chance of working despite General Hammond insisting that in an another timeline, it had worked for eight years although just like everyone else, McKay was left stunned when the Stargate came to life but he later remarked that he was glad that he wasn't going through the gate. He later called the Time Jumper a "Gateship" before defending it when George Hammond gave him a questioning look with McKay claiming that he thought the Gateship thing was clever. (SG1: "Moebius, Part 1", "Moebius, Part 2")
- In an alternate timeline, McKay stayed behind on the newly discovered Atlantis to attempt to open the bay doors of the Jumper bay. He drowned as the control room of Atlantis became submerged. The alternate-timeline Dr. Elizabeth Weir called him "heroic" for giving his life on the chance that the city and the expedition might be saved. (SGA: "Before I Sleep")
- In an alternate timeline when Lt. Colonel John Sheppard traveled to 48,000 years in the future and Michael Kenmore successfully took over the Galaxy, McKay eventually resigned from his position as Chief Science Officer of the Atlantis Expedition upon learning that the International Oversight Advisory and the Earth military would not help the humans of Pegasus. On the way back to Earth on board the Daedalus, he became romantically involved with Dr. Jennifer Keller, until she died due to complications with the Hoffan drug. He then spent 25 years trying to figure out a way to leave a message for Sheppard in the future that would allow him to work out a way to return to the past and undo those events before McKay himself died. (SGA: "The Last Man")
Personality and traits
- "I'm Dr. Rodney McKay, all right? Difficult takes a few seconds; impossible, a few minutes."
Contrary to the 'Polite Canadian' stereotype, McKay is often one of the most arrogant and condescending people known to the Stargate Program as well as members of both Stargate Command and the Atlantis expedition. He often verbally abuses his peers, particularly Dr. Radek Zelenka, for their perceived "lack of intellect" or imagination. His attitude is one of exasperation, wondering how it is that they can hold down a job, and yet, he is occasionally forced to admit that his colleagues are useful. However, despite his irritating demeanor, almost everyone on the Atlantis expedition is either a friend, or on friendly terms with him. He even demonstrates a certain "B team" inferiority complex when dealing with the members of SG-1, particularly Samantha Carter and Dr. Daniel Jackson.
Despite his shortcomings, McKay has performed extraordinary acts of heroism and bravery as early as the first few weeks on the expedition, ranging from taking the initiative to hand-carry, and then throw, a Naquadah generator through the Stargate in order to lure a Shadow creature out of the city, and evacuating entire populations from planets about to be culled by the Wraith. In one mission, he was torn between staying with a dying Dr. Brendan Gall, or going to help the outmatched Major John Sheppard. The badly wounded Dr. Gall told McKay to aid Sheppard. He refused to leave until Gall, who was already near death, killed himself. McKay saved Sheppard from the Wraith and the combined efforts of the two were enough to save both of them and their ship. (SGA: "Hide and Seek", "The Defiant One")
Another example of this was when, despite hurt, he joined a rescue mission for Ronon Dex, claiming to be close friends with him, which Dr. Carson Beckett was skeptical of. During the rescue, he at least tried to go out of his way to help Ronon, fighting Beckett over a gun to go out and fight. He and Beckett then formed a plan that saved Ronon's life and allowed Beckett to kill the Wraith Leader Ronon is fighting. After being assured Ronon won't hurt him for his part in that, McKay was and mollified by Ronon's reactions. He even pilots the Puddle Jumper home, even though he was not a good pilot, but that seemed to have improved over time. (SGA: "Sateda")
John Sheppard and other members of the expedition have usually shown full trust in him. An alternate McKay, who went by "Rod" has admitted that he likes McKay for the simple fact that he is able to speak his mind so freely and simply. McKay however, didn't seem to realize that people didn't like him too much because of his arrogance, when Rod stated the observation that he didn't seem to care if people liked him or not. In one instance, Dr. Elizabeth Weir stated that she and the members of Rodney's team love him, which Sheppard, in his own way, seems to confirm, by saying "In a way a friend feels about another friend." (SGA: "McKay and Mrs. Miller", "Tao of Rodney")
He often provides comic relief in addition to his considerable technological expertise, and his ability to find solutions in situations of imminent death have been used against him several times to motivate him which always works. (SG1: "The Pegasus Project", SGA: "Inferno")
He is also known for repeatedly snapping his fingers several times at once. He often does this when he gets a sudden bright idea, is attempting to remember something or to attract someone's attention. (SGA: "Progeny", "McKay and Mrs. Miller", "Adrift")
When McKay had a brush with near ascension, his behavior changed somewhat. He spent what time he thought he had left as best he could. He used his knowledge to try to create technologies to help the expedition, did things to help others personally, such as writing a book about Weir from his perspective, asked Ronon about his scars and healed them, saved Zelenka's life when he was dying, and served the remembrance tea for Teyla's father's death so she wouldn't have to do it alone. (SGA: "Tao of Rodney")
Sometimes McKay seems to hallucinate when under extreme emotional duress, such as seeing Samantha Carter while in a sinking jumper, and saying goodbye to Carson Beckett after his death.. (SGA: "Grace Under Pressure", "Sunday")
When the Atlantis team met their Organic Asuran replicas, McKay was the only member who was not only pleased at the replica's existence, but actually enthused about spending time and working with it. (SGA: "This Mortal Coil")
McKay often claims on being the smartest person in Atlantis and has identified himself as a Mensa member, and implied an unofficial chapter in Atlantis, thus making him unique among his peers. He cannot stop himself from putting everyone "right" when they are "clearly wrong", usually on the spot, whoever they are and in whatever situation; including bosses, colleagues, and even invading alien captors.
McKay originally turned to science after studying the piano, intending to be a musician, until he was told by his piano teacher that he was a "great clinical player" but had no sense of the art. After turning to science, he discovered that it, too, is an art. While both Colonel Samantha Carter and McKay frequently argue about solutions, she often wins. However, he once told a hallucination of her that while he considers himself as smart as Carter, he believes she is wiser. (SG1: "Redemption, Part 2", SGA: "Grace Under Pressure")
McKay also occasionally displayed some acting skills; he successfully fooled Richard Woolsey, but not Major General Jack O'Neill, mostly due to his recognizing something McKay was doing as being faked after years of working together with Carter on the SGC's legendary main flagship team, SG-1. (SGA: "The Return, Part 2")
- "I'm no Ronon – I'm not gonna be on the cover of “Shape” magazine any time soon... but I can handle myself in combat; stand my ground when I need to."
- ―Rodney McKay[src]
McKay is a renowned hypochondriac, claiming at various times to suffer from hypoglycemia, restless legs syndrome, allergies to bee stings and citrus fruit, among other things. He once said that he had studied medical science at one time, but stopped, because the amount of information on the human body made him start to diagnose himself with many phantom diseases. He has an obsession with protecting his skin, which lead him to invent SPF 100 factor sun block while on a mission to P3M-736, a planet with no ozone layer. (SG1: "48 Hours", "The Pegasus Project") (SGA: "Rising", "Runner", "Instinct", "Tao of Rodney", "Missing", "Spoils of War")
Because of his hypoglycemia, he eats regularly. After three years, the rest of the team notices that he eats too much. However, McKay claimed that he weighed exactly the same as he had three years earlier. He also enjoys eating MREs, hospital food, and airline food (though his only complaint being that he can't get seconds). While he and Sheppard were playing what they thought was an Ancient game, McKay inadvertently forced the people of Geldar to despise anything citrus and made them believe that "even the sunlight is dangerous". (SGA: "Suspicion", "The Game")
After an encounter with the Ancient Ascension machine, Rodney began evolving to the point where he could achieve Ascension, causing him to develop several near ascension abilities along the way: (SGA: "Tao of Rodney")
- Telekinesis: One of the most prominent abilities and the one Rodney showed the most control over was the ability to manipulate objects with his mind. Rodney first displayed this ability by, unknown to him, instinctually pulling a tablet computer closer to him. Just by thinking it and unintentionally, Rodney caused several enemy weapons to jam. Following this, Rodney was able to lift a grown man into the air with the movement of a single finger, cause a donut to fly into his hand and type on several computers at once. Noticeably, the computer keys were moving without Rodney needing to focus his concentration on the task.
- Enhanced Hearing: After Rodney started evolving, his hearing increased to the point that he could hear a conversation from across the room as if the people speaking were right next to him.
- Telepathy: One of the abilities Rodney developed during this time was the ability to hear thoughts. At first, Rodney didn't realize he was doing so until he realized no one else could hear the voices he could. While Rodney greatly enjoyed this ability at first, he learned how to tune out the voices when they got to be too much for him. He later used this ability to telepathically tell Doctor Carson Beckett how to reverse the process that led him to near ascension.
- Healing: As he continued to evolve, Rodney developed the healing power of the Ancients. In his first use of this ability, Rodney healed a serious burn on the chest of Doctor Radek Zelenka, also causing his heart to restart, having stopped due to the electrical shock he suffered that caused the burn. Rodney was later able to heal scars several years old on the back of Ronon Dex.
- Enhanced Genius-level Intelligence: As a result of his near ascension state, Rodney's already genius-level intelligence was greatly enhanced to the point he was able to upgrade Atlantis's power systems efficiency, plan upgrades for the Daedalus Asgard shields that even Asgard engineer Hermiod couldn't understand and design a hyperdrive for a Puddle Jumper. Following his return to normal, Rodney was unable to understand anything he had done with this enhanced intelligence though he was eventually able to complete the Puddle Jumper hyperdrive. (SGA: "Adrift")
Following his transformation into a Wraith and successful reversion, McKay developed some Wraith-like traits. One of these was a Wraith's need for a Queen, causing him to pursue Samantha Carter again despite being with Jennifer Keller and knowing that Carter had no interest. McKay also retained a degree of Wraith telepathic ability similar to Teyla, but on a lesser level. (SGA: "Legacy")
McKay is very awkward when it comes to relationships with women. However, he still claimed to have dated several women at least twice during his education years, in particular, someone named Teresa Geldar on two occasions and Jocelyn Rutger once. He also had a fondness for his neighbor, who hates him, but likes his cat, and claimed to have seen Dr. Kate Heightmeyer temporarily. He also has a predilection for women with short blonde hair, particularly Samantha Carter. He named the people of Geldar after Teresa; and went so far as advising their women to wear their hair in a manner similar to Carter's. (SGA: "Home", "Letters from Pegasus", "The Gift", "The Game", "Doppelganger")
During his time with the SGC and the Expedition, he had three major relationships with women over recent years, as well as friendships within his team.
Since McKay has a fondness for women with short blonde hair, he had fallen for Samantha Carter, and wasn't afraid to show it. However, Carter did not requite his feelings, due to his arrogance.
During his first years on Atlantis McKay mentioned his previous experience of cooperation with Carter on several occasions, not without a hint of vanity. When the city was under the Wraith siege and the base personnel decided to transmit an array of data to Earth, in his personal video message Rodney once again returned to discussing his sympathies towards her. Later, in 2005, while he was trapped on the sunken Puddle Jumper, McKay's subconscious re-created the image of Carter in the form of hallucination wearing partly unzipped pink outfit. After the rescue he named in honor of Sam one of the Flagisallus, that supposedly was floating in circles around the crushed Jumper, which attracted attention. (SGA: "Letters from Pegasus", "Grace Under Pressure", "Echoes")
However, since his attitude has improved over the years, they've gone as far as to become friends. In 2007, McKay learned that Carter would become the new Atlantis leader after Dr. Elizabeth Weir went MIA. McKay confronted her and warns her of "the unrequited lust that's been hanging over our heads for what seems like forever." (SG1: "48 Hours", "Redemption, Part 1", "Redemption, Part 2", "The Pegasus Project", SGA: "Reunion")
One of his first solid relationships during his time in Atlantis was Dr. Katie Brown, a botanist who came to Atlantis in the expedition's second year of operation. Things started awkward between the two of them, particularly when Lt. Laura Cadman's mind went into McKay's body. After the situation where Cadman made McKay kiss her, he started to avoid her for the following year. However, McKay later found time to see her, and their relationship went into full swing. In 2008, he planned to marry her, but after a quarantine lockdown, he discovered that he was not ready for that. However, Brown took that as a sign of breaking up, and left for Earth. McKay didn't realize Brown took it as a breakup until it was pointed out to him after she left by Carter and Keller. (SGA: "Duet", "Sunday", "Tabula Rasa", "Quarantine", "Trio")
- "I've loved you for some time now."
- ―Rodney McKay, later repeated by Keller[src]
After learning that Brown broke up with him, he was later revealed to have feelings for Dr. Jennifer Keller. She once invited him for a drink after he was stuck with Colonel Samantha Carter in an underground Genii mine on M5V-801. Later, six days since he was infected with Second Childhood, he told Keller that he loved her. Soon after, McKay discovered that Ronon Dex had also fallen for Keller. He told Ronon that he wouldn't fight for her, but wouldn't back down either. Instead, they both agreed on letting the best man win. After Ronon's repeated attempts and apparent success at winning over Keller, she told Ronon that she was interested in someone else, which turned out to be McKay. During their first date while on their visit back to Earth, McKay and Keller shared a romantic moment when McKay saved her after she was trapped in a freezing, wet room. When Mckay confessed that he wouldn't know what to do if she died, Keller admitted that she has loved him "for some time now". They spent their time flying back to Stargate Command kissing in a private jet. The two were shown holding each other as Atlantis floated outside San Francisco Bay, both happy to have their health and each other. (SGA: "Trio", "The Shrine", "Tracker", "The Lost Tribe", "Brain Storm", "Enemy at the Gate")
Despite his abrasive attitude, McKay has, on many occasions, demonstrated a close bond with his teammates on the First Atlantis Reconnaissance Team. Although he admitted that he never really bonded with Lt. Aiden Ford during his first year in Atlantis, he and Lt. Colonel John Sheppard have shown on many occasions that they have a great esteem for the other's abilities. His relationships with Teyla Emmagan and Ronon Dex were not as close as his friendship with Sheppard, but McKay nevertheless clearly values his relationships with them. (SGA: "Runner")
McKay commonly attempted to help Sheppard when he suffered from personal problems despite his own poor abilities with relationships, such as when he attempted to express his sympathies following the death of Sheppard's father. The two have also been shown to spend a surprising amount of their leisure time together; both of them playing what they initially believed to be a Sims-like game before learning that it was an Ancient experiment with real people, and racing RC cars in the lower halls of Atlantis. After a game of virtual golf, Sheppard was the first person McKay notified of his intention to marry Dr. Katie Brown. In an alternate future, McKay spent 25 years working on a way to get Sheppard home from the future and ultimately succeeded. (SGA: "Runner", "Trinity", "The Game", "Quarantine", "Outcast", "The Last Man", "The Prodigal")
- "...he saved my life. He's like a brother to me."
- ―Rodney McKay[src]
When Ronon was briefly recaptured by the Wraith Leader, McKay defended his strong desire to find Ronon by stating that they had a very close bond despite the lack of social time they spent together, claiming that he sees Ronon as a brother, albeit a brother who got all the genes that he didn't. During this time, despite barely being able to stand and being a terrible shot, McKay wished to arm himself to go into battle and aid Ronon in his quest to get revenge. After Beckett killed the Wraith Leader using McKay's plan, McKay was annoyed when Ronon thanked Beckett but didn't thank him at first. (SGA: "Sateda")
During the alliance with Michael Kenmore's Hive ship in 2006, a Wraith scientist made an innocent act of leading McKay by the shoulder. This led Ronon to violent defend McKay and nearly kill the Wraith on the spot, stating "Touch him again and you die!" (SGA: "Allies")
After McKay was dying after using the Ascension machine in 2007, he used his powers to remove all the scars from Ronon's back. Afterwards, Ronon, not a tactile person, hugged McKay once he recovered. (SGA: "Tao of Rodney")
Although less demonstrative about it, Ronon indicated that he reciprocated this bond in 2008, stating that he was willing to take the risk of taking McKay to the Shrine of Talus when McKay suffered from Second Childhood just to give McKay one more day as himself. He claimed that it was hard for him to see McKay like that. (SGA: "Shrine of Talus")
- "No-no-no-no-no. I know exactly what to do. You are the one who's lost a loved one. I will serve you."
- ―Rodney McKay[src]
While he has been less vocal about his relationship with Teyla Emmagan, McKay was the only person present when Teyla gave birth to her son, creating a particular bond between them (although he was somewhat disappointed when she didn't name her son after him). She does however, on occasion, allow him to hold Torren for a while. After using the Ascension machine, and faced with his imminent death, he took time to learn the Athosian tradition where they have ceremonial tea for the anniversary of the death of her father. She, along with the rest of the team, risked their lives to go to the Shrine of Talus, in order to give McKay one last day as himself after he became infected with the Second Childhood. (SGA: "Tao of Rodney", "Search and Rescue", "The Daedalus Variations", "The Shrine")
- "You were the closest thing to a best friend I ever had."
- ―Rodney McKay[src]
At first he had a somewhat antagonistic relationship with Dr. Carson Beckett, but the two became friends over time, with McKay admitting at one point that Beckett was the closest thing he had to a best friend. The two planned to go fishing at one point, but McKay ditched Beckett. This was something he came to greatly regret as Beckett was killed later that day. He was extremely upset by his death and was later comforted by a vision of him. McKay was one of his pallbearers returning his coffin to Earth, and later told Beckett's mother of her son's death himself. When Beckett returned as a clone, McKay was willing to trust him immediately and was the one to inform him of the events. When he was placed into stasis, it was hard on him, and apparently spent a lot of time keeping Beckett's frozen figure updated on current events, although he always denied it. McKay and Beckett worked together to escape a Wraith Hive ship and McKay was at first a bit hurt that Beckett couldn't spend a little time catching up with him, but Beckett ultimately made time for him despite having a busy schedule. (SGA: "Rising", "Sunday", "The Kindred, Part 2", "The Seed", "Outsiders")
- "I really do wish you the best, you know, and I'm sorry we weren't closer."
- ―Rodney McKay[src]
McKay had a bad relationship with his sister Jeannie Miller for many years. After she left college to start a family, he dropped out of contact with her for four years until he was brought in to try to convince her to help. Prior to that, however, when everyone thought they would die from a Wraith invasion, McKay recorded a personal message to her, saying he regretted how their relationship was and hoped that if he survived, they could be closer in the future. For some reason, Jeannie never got the message until she visited Atlantis in 2006. When the two finally worked together, McKay seemed to mostly ignore her. When an alternate version of himself showed up, McKay feared she liked him better and realized how bad of a brother he'd been to her with the help of Lt. Colonel John Sheppard. Sheppard showed her the recording, which seemed to affect her opinion of him for the better, making her comment that now she'd seen three sides of McKay. The two seemed to semi-reconcile afterwards with McKay promising to visit whenever he could. (SGA: "Letters from Pegasus", "McKay and Mrs. Miller")
In 2007, he sent her messages, trying to get her help with nanite coding. After she was injected with nanites that would ultimately kill her if not shut down, McKay used everything he could to convince Todd to help, and was even willing to sacrifice himself to feed "Todd" to save her. He later bought her a Prius as part of a guilt-trip present. When he was infected with the Second Childhood, Jeannie was brought in and was clearly moved by his condition. It was very hard for her to see him in the condition he was in and actually had to leave the room as she didn't want him to see her crying. Despite having lost a lot of memories and being regressed to a childlike state, McKay recognized her. Jeannie ended up risking her life along with the rest of his team to give him one more day as himself so he could die with honor. (SGA: "Miller's Crossing", "The Shrine")
- Bill Nye also appears as a fictionalized version of himself in the third season episode of Blindspot, Let It Go (s03e20), as the father of FBI scientist Special Agent Patterson who was upset his wife, her mother, was publishing a joint paper "with none other than Dr. Rodney McKay. He's my academic rival!". This suggests that Blindspot shares the same universe with the Stargate franchise.
Behind the scenes
- McKay is played by British-born Canadian actor, David Hewlett who is best known for his roles as David Worth in the 1997 Canadian science-fiction horror movie, "Cube" and Grant Jansky in the 1996 Canadian TV series, "Traders".
- Despite McKay being Canadian, Hewlett himself is British-Canadian, having been born in Redhill, Surrey, England, United Kingdom before he and his family later emigrated to Canada which happened when Hewlett was just four years old.
- McKay was originally going to be replaced by a scientist named Dr. Ingram, until the Stargate: Atlantis production team contacted Hewlett to reprise his role as McKay with Hewlett arriving on site the day after filming had started on the pilot.
- Contrary to popular belief, according to an interview on the Second season DVD box set, David Hewlett is not allergic to citrus; he demonstrated by eating a lemon.
- The actress who plays his sister Jeannie Miller is actually Hewlett's real life younger sister Kate Hewlett who like her older brother is also an actress.
- Rodney McKay is the only character on Stargate: Atlantis to have both his first (or, more accurately, middle) and last names appear in episode titles, and one of only two characters whose name appears in the titles of two different episodes (the other is his sister, Jeannie, whose married name of Miller appears both times). He is also the only regular character (as opposed to guest-starring, such as Harmony, or recurring, like Michael Kenmore or Jeannie Miller) to have his name in an episode title at all.
- Rodney is one of only eight characters to appear in all three series, the others being Jack O'Neill, Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter, Richard Woolsey, Bill Lee, Walter Harriman and Kevin Marks.
- Along with John Sheppard, Elizabeth Weir, Teyla Emmagan, Samantha Carter, Radek Zelenka, Chuck and Walter Harriman, he is one of only eight characters to appear in all five seasons of Stargate: Atlantis. However, Carson Beckett appears in Season One to Three while his clone appears in Seasons Four and Five.
- A photo on Joseph Mallozzi's blog shows McKay's Atlantis Identification Badge with his birthday as being April 18, 1968, the same as the actor who plays him, David Hewlett.
- McKay and John Sheppard are the only two characters who appeared in every single episode of the entire Stargate: Atlantis series with McKay being the character with the most screentime.
|First Atlantis Reconnaissance Team|
|Current members||John Sheppard · Meredith Rodney McKay · Teyla Emmagan · Ronon Dex|
|Former members||Aiden Ford · Radek Zelenka|