Mike in 2005
|Portrayed by||Brad William Henke|
Mike Chulaski was a 35 year-old longshoreman who worked at Harrison Marine Terminal. In 2005, he unwittingly got caught up in a middle of a human trafficking ring while attempting to protect a young girl, which unfortunately led to his murder.
Mike had no family, having grown up an orphan. Not having any family had made for a very difficult childhood. "People treat you like a punching bag," he would later say. Mike lived on a boat which he'd been refurbishing for some time.
On May 20, 2005, while heading home at the end of a shift, Mike heard some noises inside a cargo container. He opened it to find several young women, who'd been smuggled into the country from eastern Europe, as part of a forced prostitution ring run by a crime boss called "Nachalnik". Mike noticed that one of the girls, Lena Golovnka, had a bad fever and took her to his boss Roy Gardocki's office to recover. The other girls were afraid to leave the container and closed the doors behind Mike after he left.
Mike quickly developed a protective attitude over Lena, espeically after learning she was an orphan like him. Roy, as it turned out, knew about the trafficking ring, having been bribed by Kiril, one of Nachalnik's men, to look the other way. Roy urged Mike to put her back but Mike refused, threatening to turn Roy in if he asked again.
Mike took Lena home to stay with him on his boat, and the next day, took her to a community center to help make arrangements for her to stay. A worker named Linda Boyka was sympathetic but said Lena would likely be deported. Mike tried to reassure her, but Lena, thinking she had no options, snuck out after calling Kiril to get her, not realizing what Kiril's employers had planned for her.
Mike found Kiril and demanded to know where Lena was. Kiril, in turn, mocked Mike, not believing Mike wanted Lena for anything other than sex. After Mike reluctantly lied said that was what he wanted, as well as slipping Kiril a bribe, Kiril told Mike the house he could find Lena in.
At the house, Mike bribed an older girl, Kateryna Yechenko, to take him to the back room where Lena was being held for refusing to submit. Lena was unable to walk, however, as Nachalnik had burned Lena's feet with a cigarette as punishment. Before Mike could think of what to do, Kateryna warned him that Nachalnik was coming. Mike quickly gave Lena a necklace of St. Nicholas to keep her safe until he returned.
Nachalnik, who was actually Boyka, the woman from the community center, had her henchman Yuri drag Mike out, threatening to kill him if he returned.
Mike refused to leave, however, and tried to make a deal with Boyka, offering her $50,000 to buy Lena's freedom. Boyka agreed and had Kiril arrange to meet Mike at the Starlight Motel to make the exchange.
Mike wasn't able to come up with the money but offered his boat in trade, telling Kiril he could sell it for $70,000. Mike refused to boat keys until he had Lena though. Kiril was skeptical but agreed to go to the marina take a look at the boat.
After Kiril left, Mike was surprised to find Kateryna knock on the motel room door. She'd been watching over Lena in another room, and after Kiril called to say he'd be back in an hour, she lied to Lena and said Mike wanted to take her instead. She then went up to Mike's room to seduce him into doing just that. When he rebuffed her, however, she begged him to help her. Mike said he would, but only after he had Lena.
Mike started to walk outside, hoping to find Lena, when Kateryna, out of anger, hit Mike over the head twice with a lamp, killing him. She then took his boat keys and burned his feet with a cigarette to frame Nachalnik for the murder.
Mike's murder went unsolved for two years, with police thinking Mike had been killed by a pimp. Then in 2007, the FBI, who had been building a case against Nachalnik's organization, asked the Philadelphia Homicide Squad if they had any cases that could be relevant. Lieutenant Stillman recalled Mike case, which was reopened. This eventually led to the arrest of Boyka, Kiril, and Kateryna, while Lena and the other girls were finally freed.