Michael has ridden the same route to work every day of his professional life, often sat with the same people, and gotten to know them of a sort as he has traded informal trivialities with them. He keeps up the same routine, has provided his employer with good levels of professionalism… and his background as a cop is what makes him appealing when someone decides to bribe him to find out “who doesn’t belong” on the train. Michael at first underestimates the threat; he doesn’t believe in what they tell him, until he finds the cash money they promised him (which will get him out of all his troubles) stashed in the train bathroom, just like they promised. Given no choice but to act, he starts methodically eliminating suspects by taking what he knows about them and his former work for the police, and interrogating people. He maneuvers them to where he wants them, by cutting power in certain train cars. He uses friendliness to disarm them, but also has a strong moral reaction to the idea of what might happen to one of them, as a result of his investigation. Michael motivates them all to protect each other once the threat becomes real, and refuses to tell the corrupt cop which one of them is the informant (knowing they will get killed). He moves from one suspect and possibility to another, without having any intuitive insight into which lead to trust, until no other possibility exists except the final person on his list.

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Michael refuses to do anything underhanded and immoral, and is angry when he gets fired / laid off, despite his many years of faithful service. He doesn’t question what’s happening to him so much as he makes moral judgments on it, in his refusal to compromise his ethics until he believes his family is in danger. Even then, he won’t hand over an innocent person to get shot in the head, but looks for ways to preserve his integrity and reassure people that he isn’t a bad person, a murderer, or going to hurt them. Michael manages to remain calm and somewhat detached, but also reacts from a place of instinct. He passes harsh judgment on his old partner and friend in the police department when he finds out he’s gotten involved in corruption.