By Gaelin Wade
When I was first presented with this question of whether Mike Logan would make a good father, I thought, "Cool, I know the answer to that." I was certain, "Yes, Mike Logan would make a good father". After all, I had already written him as a father in several stories.
Over the next few days as I began to mull over the whys and wherefores, I realized that I had never considered the basis for that opinion. It was pure instinct-writer's instinct. That mysterious voice in our heads that automatically tells us writers what our characters will say, do, think or feel long before we've given it any conscious thought. Often these feelings are not something we can always explain or justify. We just know it.
Still, Mike Logan is not my character. He belongs to the Law & Order writers. They created him, not me. If there is instinct involved in knowing him, it belongs to them. And those writers certainly don't tell us anything about him in show. Law & Order is plot-driven. Its characters, at least theoretically, are secondary, perhaps to some even irrelevant. So how is it that I just know?
I'll tell you.
Although the writers never explicitly relate anything personal about the show's regulars, they do provide the viewers with brief glimpses into the psyche of the characters through the occasional offhanded remark or immediate, uncensored reaction.
These glimpses are far from comprehensive, but they are enough to serve as fodder for the imagination of us fan fic writers. And despite the occasional inconsistency, this is particularly true of the Mike Logan character.
But is fodder enough? Especially given the certainty of my belief. I just can't imagine him as anything other than a good father.
In the process of trying to figure why I felt so strongly about this, I decided to work backwards and consider why Mike Logan would not make a good father. I suspect this to be the view held by most people.
The most compelling reason, I suppose, Mike Logan would not make a good father is his history of abuse which, by extension, calls into question his ability to control his anger. My instinctive response to this is that Mike can and does control his anger very well.
In the 111 Logan episodes, the examples of Logan's control far outweigh those of his outbursts. Actually, Logan is more apt to suppress or keep locked inside his anger/rage, than give into them. Those few quick flashes of temper are the only indications of the true depth of his feelings. It's possible that on some level he believes that giving into the anger would make him just like his mother. And it's this fear that helps keep him in check.
Logan's control is most evident in "Confession" (episode #23). Rage bubbling below the surface is a constant throughout the entire episode, yet not once does Logan truly explode. He even refrains from killing Daniel Madigan, Max's murderer, though he wants to with every fiber of his being.
In "Bad Faith" (episode #108), Logan never attacks Joe Krolinsky. He never actually confronts the former priest except in the quiet, almost anti-climactic scene at the end.
To a lesser extent, the same sort of control can be seen in "Indifference." Also in "Rage" (episode #101), when Logan refrains from taking a punch at Bud Greer in the interrogation room as the stockbroker flaunts his intellectual and financial superiority. And in "Wannabe" (episode #104), when the WASP lawyer, Nathan Barclay, does much the same thing.
Mike can and will control his anger when under extreme stress, so his lashing out abusively at his child, while possible, is not likely. When it really matters, Logan tends to just walk away.
This coping mechanism is imperfect at best, but if put together with his personal, objective experience with the devastation caused by abusers thru his work and the positive father role models he undoubtedly witnessed in Max and Phil, and to an extent in his own father whom he seems to have adored, as illustrated in "Indifference" and "Sonata for a Solo Organ" (episode #21), the "cycle of abuse" could end with him.
While recognizing a "bad" parent is a relatively simple matter, spotting a "good" one is not nearly so easy. And before I could determine whether or not Logan would make one, I had to first decide, just what "good" is.
Since I am neither a mother nor father, good, bad or otherwise, I had to use a combination of common sense, experience and the results of an adequate Internet search engine. What I've gathered is that in the very simplest of terms, a "good" parent is one who is there for his child by providing financial, emotional and psychological support, guidance of any kind and most importantly, love.
The financial aspect is really a no-brainer where Mike Logan is concerned. Logan is, well, just too honorable to be a deadbeat dad. Should fate, luck, circumstance, inadequate birth control or simple choice make Mike Logan a father, he would definitely feel duty-bound to provide for his child. The mentioning of his girlfriend's abortion in "Life Choice" (episode #12) alludes to this. His utter loyalty to co-workers can be seen in "The Blue Wall" (episode #22) and "Competence" (episode #94), when he risks his job to clear the names of Cragen and Van Buren. In "Manhood" (episode #65), it's illustrated by his disgust at the officers refusal to back up a brother policeman.
Also family is very important to Mike. Why else would he bother to be familiar with the Logan history, as hinted at in "The Troubles" (episode #20)? In "Family Values" (episode #94), he mentions to Lennie that on more than one occasion he picked his drunken mother up off the floor of a bar. Someone without a sense of duty or loyalty would never have done that for her.
Logan would be there for his child. He would feel compelled to be a part of the child's life. Not only out of the normal sense of pride, wonder, curiosity and egoism that come with fatherhood, but also out a sense of mistrust for the child's mother. Be she his wife, girlfriend, lover, no matter how much he cared for her, he would always have an inherent distrust of her.
Mike would never recognize, acknowledge or even truly act upon this feeling, but it would be there. The experience of his own mother has just too great of an effect for it not to influence him subconsciously in some way.
There are several examples from the series which illustrate Logan's hostility towards mothers who are less than perfect. Sometimes this hostility is warranted, sometimes not. But in general, Logan has a tendency to believe the worst about a mother accused, than to have an open mind.
Other than "Indifference," the one that immediately comes to mind is Logan's reaction to the mother in "Renunciation" (episode #31), who admits to giving her husband custody of their son because she wants to work. Then there's "Aria" (episode #25) and the mother who pressures her daughter so much that the girl feel it necessary to commit suicide in order to escape. In "God Bless the Child" (episode #27), there's the mother who causes the death of her daughter by refusing medical treatment on religious grounds. And his subtle criticism of the mother in "Serpent's Tooth" (episode #19) who had a nanny for her children. Deep down Mike has a true belief in "hearth and home" and "the family unit," though he may not see it as a part of his own future.
Logan also has an instinctive need to protect the vulnerable, especially children. We see this in the way he heads straight for Ezra in "Indifference" rather than going for Carla. In "Breeder" (episode #79), he is the first to pick up the newborn. Undoubtedly, this feeling would only be intensified by his becoming a father.
The most difficult aspects of "good" fatherhood faced by Logan are providing emotional and psychological support. These would require Mike to "let someone in," make himself vulnerable. This is something he won't do easily. His sarcasm, temper, philandering and hostility are all things Mike uses to keep his distance from others. But if anyone can break through to him it would be a child, especially his child.
Would Mike Logan be a good father? I can't say for sure. Just like I can't say for sure that I would be a good mother. I won't know till I get there. But what I am certain of is that Mike Logan could make a good father.