"You don't understand. I'm no-one!"
|Occupation||Civil servant, later Acting CEO|
Michael Dugdale is a senior civil servant in the UK government, working for the Health Department. He is bright, and has worked his way up and kept himself under the radar.
He and his wife, Jen, have great difficulty conceiving, and to compound matters, it turns out that he has got a sex worker named Anya pregnant and that her pimp is part of the Russian Mafia. He is on the verge of a breakdown and prepares to overdose on pills upon finding out about Anya's pregnancy, but he can't go through with it.
He is told by Anya's pimp that he must complete a "mission" to avoid being blackmailed with the information about the pregnancy and his affair. Dugdale's "mission," as informed to him by Conran Letts and Letts' Assistant, is to order the Russian flu vaccine for purchase by the Health Department despite a lack of compelling evidence that there is any need for it.
He spends much of the series as a lackey and inside man for The Network against his will. Primarily, his orders come through the mouthpiece of his boss, the Minister for Health, Geoff Lawson, whom Dugdale hates. Dugdale repeatedly rebels or attempts to rebel against his orders, usually incurring horrible consequences for himself and the people around him. He journeys to the island of Fetlar in order to retrieve a part of a Russian flu-infected corpse and has it tested by Christian Donaldson. The tests come back with chemical poisoning, rather than Russian flu, as the cause of death. He attempts to leverage this information against the Network, and for his troubles has his affair graphically revealed to his wife.
Dugdale is in constant conflict with himself, stuck between his moral compass and his sense of self-preservation. Dugdale's primary motivation is his deep love for his family and desire to keep Jen and his unborn child safe, yet his relationship with his wife becomes fraught once his infidelity is revealed to her. They stay together despite it, and plan on adopting Anya's baby after she has given birth; however, it is revealed in S01E06 that Anya is neither Russian nor a sex worker, and has been a Network mole all along. She attempts to let her superiors know that Dugdale has given Ian the location of the Russian flu vaccine, but Dugdale knocks her out before she can make the call, killing her. It is unclear whether or not he intended to kill her, just as it is unclear whether or not she was ever pregnant, though Dugdale believes she was not (though he may just be telling himself that to assuage his own guilt.)
Through his uneasy alliance with Ian, Becky, Jessica, and Wilson, he meets Grant Leetham and the recently orphaned Alice Ward. After the 64 million shots of Russian flu vaccine are destroyed and following the apparent death of Mr. Rabbit and dissolution of the Network, Dugdale and Jen adopt Alice, achieving their dream of being parents. Following the destruction of the vaccine, Corvadt is "bankrupted" and bought out by the state in order to continue the production of the vaccine, which this time is complete with the true Janus extracted from Jessica's blood. Dugdale is promoted to Acting CEO of Corvadt following the deaths of Letts and the Assistant, where he continues to be a puppet of the Network. Jen and Alice are held captive by the Network to ensure good behaviour from Dugdale, and his willingness to misbehave declines significantly.