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Mike Chulaski
Mike in 2005
Mike Chulaski
Portrayed by Brad William Henke
Episode Cargo
Status Deceased (2005)

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 save a teenage girl, Lena Golovnka, which unfortunately led to his murder.

History[]

Mike had no family and grew up as 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, 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, especially 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 Lena back but he 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. An employee named Linda Boyka was sympathetic but warned Lena would likely be deported. Mike tried to reassure her, but Lena, thinking she had no options, snuck out after calling Kiril to come 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 he wanted Lena for anything other than sex. After Mike reluctantly lied 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 her 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 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 give him the keys until he had Lena though. Kiril was skeptical, but agreed to go to the marina and take a look at the boat. After he left, Mike was surprised to see 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 that Mike wanted to take her instead. Kateryna tried to seduce him into doing just that. When he rebuffed her, however, she begged him to help her. Mike assured her he would, but only after he saved Lena. He started to walk outside, hoping to find Lena, when Kateryna, out of anger, hit him over the head twice with a lamp, killing him. She then took Mike's 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 he had been killed by a pimp and Lena believing he abandoned her. 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's case because there were cigarette burns on his feet. This eventually led to the arrests of Boyka, Kiril, and Kateryna, while Lena and the other girls were finally freed. Some time later, Lena and Stillman go to the docks, and imagine seeing Mike.

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