|Real Name||Melinda Qiaolian May|
|Alias(es)|| The Cavalry|
The Beautiful Warrior with the Heart of Ice
The Ice Queen
|Ser. No.||A 078634|
|Title(s)|| Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.|
|TV series||Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (33 episodes)|
|Comic||Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Chase|
|Portrayed by||Ming-Na Wen|
Melinda Qiaolian May worked as a level 7 S.H.I.E.L.D. operative, nicknamed "The Cavalry". A veteran pilot and soldier with years of experience and a good friend of fellow Agent Phil Coulson, she withdrew from field duty after an incident in Manama, Bahrain which left her slightly damaged. However, she returned to the field when S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury asked to her to secretly assemble a team for Agent Coulson and to monitor his recovery process. She worked with the team on all their missions. When the S.H.I.E.L.D. Civil War began, her true role on the team, to be Nick Fury's eyes and ears on Coulson, was discovered, leading to a rift between her and the team. Feeling unwanted, she left, searching to find out the truth behind Coulson's resurrection. She found the truth and brought it back to Coulson, who regretted the way he had treated her and welcomed her back to the team. She helped the team stop John Garrett and went with the team to the Playground to help restart S.H.I.E.L.D., under newly promoted Director Coulson.
- "May used to be different. She was always quiet, she was just... she was warm. Fearless in a different way. Getting in trouble, pulling pranks, thought rules were meant to be broken."
- ―Phil Coulson
The daughter of Lian May, an intelligence operative, Melinda May joined S.H.I.E.L.D., believing that the agency was the best defense of the United States of America and the world against any possible threat. She married Doctor Andrew Garner, though her marriage ended and they became estranged.
Trained by the best S.H.I.E.L.D. had to offer, she became an ace pilot and a weapons expert, a soldier who can perform above and beyond the call of duty. She was one of the few S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who had more black belts than the notorious Natasha Romanoff, whom she met and befriended.
During her career, she met Agent Phil Coulson, one of the highest-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and the right-hand man of Director Nick Fury. In their first mission together, the commander for their mission sent them to a coffee shop in Sausalito on a retrieval operation without an exit strategy. May wound up in the bay for five hours until Coulson eventually fished her out.
Coulson would describe May as warm, fearless and not afraid to break rules. May was quiet, but not above pulling pranks on her fellow agents. She also met Alexander Pierce, one of the leaders of S.H.I.E.L.D.
May and Coulson would often talk of being able pick their own operations and call their own shots without the bureaucracy and red tape.
- "Forgot I was working with 'The Cavalry'."
"Don't ever call me that."
- ―Grant Ward and Melinda May
Melinda May, Phil Coulson and a team of agents were dispatched on an "Index Asset Evaluation and Intake" (or "Welcome Wagon") mission, investigating a newly discovered powered individual to Manama, Bahrain, that went south.
When a civilian girl and several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were being held by the followers (or worshippers) of the "Gifted" individual they had come to investigate, May took it upon herself to solve the problem. May went in by herself without a weapon and "crossed off" the enemy force, rescuing the agents. The incident earned May the nick-name "The Cavalry" within S.H.I.E.L.D., a designation she despises.
May has never spoken of what happened during the incident, but it changed her. The warm, rule-bending nature of her personality seemed to be gone, despite Coulson's efforts to draw it back out. May withdrew from combat duty, retreating to a desk-bound administrative position within the S.H.I.E.L.D. bureaucracy.
Back in the FieldEdit
- "You guys talk too much."
- ―Melinda May
However, after the battle of New York, May was approached by Nick Fury himself and ordered to be his eyes and ears on the newly resurrected Phil Coulson. May's orders were to report to him directly if Coulson showed any side-effects or dangerous behavior after his treatment with the alien GH.325 drug. Fury believed that given their shared history, Coulson would recruit her for his new team. To aid in her mission, she put together a team of agents that may be necessary to treat or act on Coulson. Coulson was then given specific mission parameters and was maneuvered into picking May's choices.
As expected, Phil Coulson came to the office where she worked and asked her to join his team. Still haunted by her past experiences in the field, she was genuinely reluctant to return to combat, but she agreed when Coulson told her that he just needs her to "drive the Bus." 
However, field work is not always a stable environment. May was angered after seeing inadvertent combat in Peru, but her skills helped save her team and re-take the Bus from Camilla Reyes's hijackers.
During the action in Malta, May initially assumed that she would be on the strike team to rescue Dr. Franklin Hall, to her dismay. When Coulson informed her that he was going in with Grant Ward instead, May expressed doubt, stating that field work and specialist work were two different things.
During the operation, May was frustrated at being stuck at the backend of the op, where she couldn't do anything to help her team. Upon Coulson's return, May informed him that she would report the next time combat duty came up.
- "You told me that you were ready for combat. That you had my back."
"Don't ever doubt it."
- ―Phil Coulson and Melinda May
May returned to combat duty without hesitation. She acted swiftly (and without authorization) to apprehend renegade S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Coulson protégé, Akela Amador before she could complete her mission in Minsk, Belarus.
In Hong Kong, she participated in the attempted rescue of Index listed pyrokinetic Chan Ho Yin from his captors in the Centipede Project. When Chan started to use his powers against the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, killing Agent Kwan Chen, May injected Chan with a dose the Centipede Serum, causing an explosive overdose.
She lived up to her nickname of "The Cavalry" when Agents Grant Ward and Leo Fitz were stranded in the middle of a hot operation without an extraction plan along the South Ossetian border. She piloted the Bus without authorization into an active hot spot where she and her team rescued their team-mates.
In Ireland, she took the strength-enhancing Berserker Staff in combat against the members of a Norse Paganist hate group. She was able to control the rage-inducing properties of the staff, and claimed it was because she lived with her rage every day. That night she slept with Grant Ward.
Hunt for CentipedeEdit
When Coulson decided to focus all of the team's efforts on bringing down the Centipede Project, he brought Mike Peterson, now in training to become a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to assist in their fight against the Project's super-powered soldiers. She assisted Peterson, Coulson, and Ward in infiltrating the Centipede base in Oakland. Discovering Peterson was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Raina and Edison Po kidnapped Peterson's son, Ace using him to convince his father to bring Coulson to a hostage exchange. When Centipede took Coulson, she called in back-up, but the back-up failed to arrive before Coulson was taken and Peterson was apparently killed. 
The Phone LineEdit
Fitz discovered the phone line at a time when tensions were already high: The team was searching for the Clairvoyant; Felix Blake was critically injured by Deathlok; Jemma Simmons was transferred to the Hub to be a consultant; and Grant Ward had killed Thomas Nash. He told Skye, who told Coulson, while he was interrogating Ward to see if he worked for the Clairvoyant. May hunted for Fitz to shoot him with an I.C.E.R. when Coulson and Skye surrounded her at gunpoint demanding answers. Suddenly the plane was rerouted to the Hub by Victoria Hand who planned to kill all but Coulson.
During her interrogation, May explained that the line went to Nick Fury. He wanted constant updates on Coulson's progress after his resurrection. She built Coulson's Team with specifications to that end. Coulson ultimately decided that for her secrets, she was an ally, no longer his friend.
Leaving the TeamEdit
May left her team and arranged to have her mother Lian pick her up in Canada, 500 miles from her mother's home. Her mother gave May contact information for Maria Hill, with whom she wanted to talk.
May found Hill under surveillance by various agencies after the downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D. After subduing Hill's tails, the two talked. May did not believe Hill's statement that Nick Fury was dead. She did obtain a clue though concerning the leader of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. and dug up Phil Coulson's gravesite to find the answer. May found the team in Los Angeles in a hotel, where Coulson forgave her for her secrets, and she revealed to him a report that Coulson himself had made to Fury where he resigned as leader of Project T.A.H.I.T.I., asking Fury not to use it.
A Woman ScornedEdit
- "Watch out, HYDRA. Here we come."
- ―Melinda May
The next morning, Coulson's Team had a meeting on how to find John Garrett and retrieve the Bus. After the meeting, May and Skye talked candidly about Grant Ward and how to focus their emotional pain effectively. May offered to be Skye's new S.O. May and Coulson went undercover as unemployed S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists seeking work with Cybertek in Palo Alto to get files pertaining to Deathlok. Eventually, Coulson's team learned of the old S.H.I.E.L.D. base that became the Barbershop Headquarters of HYDRA in Havana, Cuba. When they arrived however, May and the others became surrounded by Centipede Soldiers and Kaminsky carrying the Berserker Staff.
May quickly relieved Kaminsky of the Berserker Staff as the others fought and Skye uploaded a computer program that allowed her to find Garrett. When Coulson ordered her to "bring the house down," May destroyed the support beams of the headquarters, causing the building to collapse and burying her opponents.
The team went to the Cybertek Manufacturing Facility in New Mexico and May and Skye entered through an opening created by Coulson and Antoine Triplett. Inside, May battled Grant Ward, enraged about his betrayal. The fight spilled over into the neighboring construction site. She used a nail gun on Ward's foot and broke his larynx, winning the fight.
After the defeat of Garrett, Coulson, Nick Fury, and she had a meeting, discussing Project T.A.H.I.T.I., S.H.I.E.L.D.'s founding principles, and Fury's status. She witnessed Coulson become the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and went with the team to meet Billy Koenig in the Playground.
The New BeginningEdit
A few months after Coulson officially became director, Coulson tasked Melinda May, Antoine Triplett, and Skye to act as back-up for Isabelle Hartley, Idaho, and Lance Hunter who were attempting to buy information from a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent when they were attacked by Carl Creel, who stole the information on an 0-8-4 that they sought.
When May returned to the Playground and had a meeting with Coulson, she reminded him that she was to watch over him and keep him out of field missions, but he was making her job difficult by constantly being away.
May then fought Creel when he attacked Glenn Talbot and assisted in Talbot's kidnapping.
May told Skye to stay with her as they, Triplett, and the others went into a Government Storage Warehouse that had the Obelisk. When the operation went badly due to the interference of the Absorbing Man, May led Skye and Triplett to fulfill the second half of the mission: to obtain a Quinjet, so that the new S.H.I.E.L.D. could travel undetected. As Triplett and Skye escaped in the cloaked vehicle, May took a motorcycle for her escape. 
May saw the crashed SUV Lance Hunter was in and helped him escape it before pursuing Creel on the motorcycle. When she could have shot him from behind, Coulson told her to stand down because she was among civilian traffic. May yielded and followed Creel to a restaurant where he accidentally killed a waitress who touched him before he escaped.
May returned to the Playground where she and the other field agents met with Phil Coulson and witnessed his conversation with Raina to learn that the Obelisk could be tracked. However, she was knocked unconscious by an I.C.E.R. fired by Lance Hunter.
Later, May confronted Coulson about going into the field to stop Creel and why, after eighteen days, he hasn't released his urge to write the Words of Creation. Upon her prompting, Coulson yielded and began to carve the symbols on a wall in his office. Meanwhile, May documented the incident. 
The Moroccan MissionEdit
- "And for the record, experience doesn't make it any easier to cross someone off."
- ―Melinda May
May continued her training of Skye in firearms, but advised her that killing is not an easy task.
She accompanied Skye and Hunter to Morocco in pursuit of Blizzard. While there, she and Hunter were told that HYDRA had brainwashed Gill, so no HYDRA agent should contact him. As Hunter was aiming to shoot the agent talking to Gill, May recognized the agent as Jemma Simmons, Coulson's mole in HYDRA. She shot Hunter with an I.C.E.R. to save Simmons, but this alerted Gill to their presence. May and Hunter were then trapped in the freighter when Blizzard froze the door.
When they returned to the Playground, May admitted to Skye to knowing that Simmons was Coulson's mole. She also told Hunter that she and he were now even for when he shot her with an I.C.E.R.; however, she was only speaking for herself.
- "I will pay five hundred dollars right now for a pair of flats."
- ―Melinda May
Posing as Heidi Martin, May accompanied Coulson to a fundraiser for Santa Maria de las Flores in Miami, Florida to obtain a 500 year old painting with the Words of Creation inscribed on its back. Following Glenn Talbot, who was truly a disguised Sunil Bakshi, to his hotel room, May discovered the brainwashed Agent 33 working for HYDRA. As they fought, May was distracted by Bakshi and rendered unconscious.
Agent 33 then used the Photostatic Veil to copy May's face.
When May awakened, she was tied to a chair with Bakshi threatening to torture her for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secrets. The commotion of Coulson's and Agent 33's struggle outside the room distracted Bakshi enough for May to escape. Then she challenged Agent 33 who continued to wear May's face. After a prolonged fight, May electrocuted the HYDRA operative and exited before back up soldiers could arrive.
After calling the real Glenn Talbot to inform him of HYDRA' s latest scheme, May and Coulson talked about May's plan if Coulson went insane from the effects of GH.325. Though she told him that she would care for him, Coulson ordered her to put him down instead. May just nodded her head.
Attack on the United NationsEdit
- "It's always a shame when a good soldier falls."
- ―Glenn Talbot to Melinda May
Melinda May led Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter to Okinawa, Japan when they discovered that the Splinter Bombs used in an attack by HYDRA hired mercenaries on the United Nations were created there. During the flight, Morse asked May whether she still spoke to her ex-husband; May did not say a word.
May's team though arrived too late to save Noelle Walters' team from being killed by those same mercenaries. Their leader, Marcus Scarlotti, killed Walters personally. When the team did arrive, May fought Scarlotti unarmed as he used his personal weapon, the Rope Dart Knife. She eventually knocked him unconscious for Glenn Talbot to take him into custody as Talbot gave his condolences to May on losing six agents. 
The Hunt for WardEdit
May was field commander of the mission to capture Grant Ward after he escaped federal custody. She told Skye that if Coulson began carving the symbols while she was away to monitor him. While she was flying the Quinjet, Antoine Triplett and Bobbi Morse both answered to her when he failed to capture Ward in Philadelphia and her cover was blown in Atlanta.
In Boston, May gathered her field agents, including Lance Hunter, to raid the Goldbrix Tavern to capture Ward. There she found three dead HYDRA agents and Sunil Bakshi in a back room, tied to a chair and unconscious.
Returning to the Playground with Bakshi, May witnessed Coulson ask Hank Thompson to join the organization. She then assembled with the other senior agents when Director Coulson gave them a new mission: find the city that matched the City Blueprints before HYDRA can.
Interrogation of Sunil BakshiEdit
May was in charge of the Playground while Coulson, Antoine Triplett, and Skye went to find the city. She told Coulson that Christian Ward wanted his own people to find his brother because S.H.I.E.L.D. was politically toxic.
Attention was given to Sunil Bakshi and Bobbi Morse's interrogation of him in Vault D. During the session, Morse wondered how Daniel Whitehall was connected to the Red Skull, so May revealed the keys to Vault B, where the Strategic Scientific Reserve kept its files. During their research, the agents learned that Whitehall was around during World War II as Werner Reinhardt, but they could not discern how he kept his youth.
When the Bus returned from Australia after finding the location of the city that matched the City Blueprints, May was among the assembled agents that Phil Coulson prepped to enter the city. However, Coulson learned from Billy Koenig that Agent 33 was assigned by HYDRA to retrieve Raina in Vancouver. So May became the mission commander of a team to protect her. Sam Koenig was looking forward to see her.
In Canada, May shot two HYDRA agents in a van, then used that van to hit two more operatives as they approached Raina when she attempted to surrender.
Aboard the cloaked Bus, everyone was wondering how May felt about Agent 33 having May's face. Skye came to her in a panic, talking that Coulson needed to be warned before he entered the city, but communications went down as four HYDRA Quinjets surrounded the plane.
Grant Ward traced Raina through the signal emitted by her tracker. May led the agents, guns drawn, in surrounding Ward as he entered the Bus. Ward promised that the quinjets would not fire, killing everyone, if Raina and Skye came willingly. Skye convinced May to allow her to leave.
May managed to save the rest of agents from an attack by the HYDRA Quinjets with a smart maneuver to cloak the Bus and eject the pods inside the plane to make HYDRA pilots believe they managed to destroy them. Arriving at San Juan, May told Phil Coulson what happened. In the Bus May blamed herself for letting Ward take Skye but Coulson told her that her actions saved the others and told her Skye would be fine as she trained her into a fully capable field agent.
When Coulson learned that HYDRA was in the Ponce de León Theater, May, Morse, Hunter, and Coulson prepared for the Battle for the Kree City. May landed the S.H.I.E.L.D. quinjet upon the roof; she and the agents went down firing as HYDRA operatives came up. When she reached the Plasma Drill at the bottom, she attempted to stop Coulson from going into the Kree City; Coulson was determined to save Skye and to see what all of the writing meant. When Morse and Hunter came, May told them to flee before the bombs that Triplett set could explode. She was over the hole as an earthquake shook the area.
Melinda May is a quiet person who was described as "warm", "fearless" and unafraid to break rules. May was a veteran pilot and soldier until she was 'damaged' from an incident in Bahrain. May has an unwavering respect for Coulson and follows his orders even when it conflicts with her desires, as when she yielded in her pursuit of Carl Creel. She was deeply hurt when she heard he had died. May was married to Dr. Andrew Garner, but she doesn't discuss her past with her teammates.
May is fiercely protective of her teammates, going back into the field to protect Coulson despite having retired from field missions, taking up the Berserker Staff instead of Ward, and going so far as attacking Ian Quinn after he shot Skye. She is very secretive and often answer questions with a look, using short or no words at all. Despite her protectiveness of them, it took May a long time to bond with her team. Skye even claimed that she acted like a robot, as everything for her was just "Target- acquired. Threat- eliminated."
- "The only word for that kind of flying is "fancy"."
- ―Antoine Triplett
- Master Pilot: May is an accomplished pilot, able to perform such feats as flying through the eye of a storm with a plane as large as the Bus, or deceiving a series of HYDRA Quinjets into believing the plane had been destroyed using a clever cloaking maneuver. She, as mission commander, is usually in charge of piloting the Quinjet as well.
- "I know all of your moves. I was once S.H.I.E.L.D."
"Not all of them."
- ―Agent 33 and May
- Master Martial Artist: She is one of S.H.I.E.L.D's best martial artists, possessing more black belts than the notorious Black Widow. She was able to take down a Centipede assassin and beat Grant Ward in a sparring match and twice again, once when he was under the influence of Lorelei and the other time when they fought at Cybertek. Agent 33 underestimated May in their fight because both were trained by S.H.I.E.L.D. Even after being tortured she was able to defeat Agent 33. She has been overcome in physical combat on very few occasions, especially by opponents with superhuman strength, such as Michael Peterson when he took her by surprise in an alley in Los Angeles, or the Asgardian Lorelei.
- Master Acrobat: May is seen using her acrobatic skills to her advantage. She was able to surpass the speed of a running Cybertek security guard doing multiple handsprings to take him out.
- Expert Marksman: May prefers not to use firearms during her missions, unless strictly necessary. If forced to use them, May usually chooses handguns as her weapon, even when the agents that accompany her choose assault weapons. She has displayed a high accuracy, being able to kill most of her enemies with a single shot, or being able to shoot Lance Hunter in the shoulder to avoid compromising Jemma Simmons' mission cover within HYDRA.
- Multilingual: She is fluent in English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Spanish. May used this skill in missions in Hong Kong and Miami.
- This character was originally listed with the name Agent Althea Rice (a.k.a. The Cavalry) on casting sheets.
- In the comics, The Cavalry is the name of a Georgia based, superhero team.
- Melinda May is the title of a song written by Stephen Foster and published in 1851.
- May hates coffee and high heels.
Behind the ScenesEdit
- Due to her popularity, Melinda May was introduced into the mainstream Marvel Comics universe.
- ↑ S.H.I.E.L.D. ID Cards
- ↑ Agent Coulson's Team
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.04: Face My Enemy
- ↑ CHARACTER PROFILE: AGENT MELINDA MAY
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.09: Repairs
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.19: The Only Light in the Darkness
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.01: Pilot
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.17: Turn, Turn, Turn
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.02: 0-8-4
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.03: The Asset
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.04: Eye-Spy
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.05: Girl in the Flower Dress
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.07: The Hub
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.08: The Well
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.09: Repairs
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.10: The Bridge
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.15: Yes Men
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.16: End of the Beginning
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.20: Nothing Personal
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.21: Ragtag
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.22: Beginning of the End
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.01: Shadows
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.02: Heavy is the Head
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.03: Making Friends and Influencing People
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.06: A Fractured House
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.07: The Writing on the Wall
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.08: The Things We Bury
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.09: Ye Who Enter Here
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.10: What They Become
- ↑ S.H.I.E.L.D. Casting
- ↑ S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 coming in December