Captain James H. M. "Howling Mad" Murdock is the helicopter pilot of the A-Team. Rather than being a Vietnam veteran, Murdock and the rest of the team are now Iraq veterans. Like Murdock in the original series, he has some of the same skills such as being able to speak foreign languages fluently (for example, Swahili), as well as being able to speak in different accents such as English, Scottish, Australian and South-African. Unlike the original Murdock, he was not a member of the A-Team right from the beginning. He was portrayed by South-African actor Sharlto Copley.
A German movie poster reminiscent of a dossier/personnel file was released with the following bio:
Nobody but Murdock knows if he is truly "howling mad," as his nickname suggests. All anyone knows is that, if he's not, he does a really great impression of it.
Murdock, quite rightfully, acquired a reputation as the greatest, most fearless helicopter pilot around during his time in the U.S. Army. However, he was later declared clinically insane and sent to a mental institution. There he passed his days trying to escape and impersonating doctors, until the A-Team came to his rescue.
Madness is a quality much valued in an A-Team member. Murdock's refusal to feel fear in even the most dangerous situation, plus his willingness to fly any vehicle, whether he's qualified or not, means he can be relied on to try anything, even things no sane person would ever entertain.
Murdock's love of aviation inevitably puts him in conflict with B.A., who fears nothing but flight. Though the two might quarrel, their friendship is every bit as close as that between Hannibal and Face. They would do anything for each other, and in Murdock's case, that anything could be as crazy as you can imagine.
Before Joining the A-Team Edit
At the San Vincente de Paulo U. S. Army Hospital in Sonora, Mexico, Murdock is disguised as a priest. The doctors catch Murdock when he tries to run and put him in a straitjacket.
Two weeks later, Murdock is brought to Dr. Spratling. Murdock wants to take care of his imaginary dog, Billy. Murdock tells Dr. Spratling that the reason he escaped was because he wanted to fly a helicopter. Murdock has been grounded since the Gulf War. Dr. Spratling asks Murdock about his last mission.
A Major wakes up Murdock, who previously stole a helicopter that belonged to Saudi Royalty, and brings him to General Levitz. Levitz sends Murdock on a search and rescue mission since he needs a crazy and a good pilot. Murdock rescues a soldier, Kenny, who is General Levitz's son. Kenny's helicopter crashed and he had a concussion.
Murdock lands the rescue helicopter at a garage to get some gas. A Middle Eastern Hillbilly Cannibal attempts to kill Murdock, but Murdock asks him if he ever saw Raiders of the Lost Ark and shoots him in self-defense. Murdock didn't have enough gas, so he stole a Jeep to rescue Kenny. General Levitz said it was crazy that Murdock left the helicopter behind and that Kenny, his son, would never be able to fly again. Levitz grounds Murdock and requests a psychiatric evaluation.
According to Dr. Spratling, Murdock was in a crashed chinook helicopter, not a 206 helicopter and he rescued a lot of wounded soldiers. Murdock managed to land the chopper even though his co-pilot made a mistake and Murdock managed to repair the chopper himself. He also said that there were not any Middle Eastern Hillbilly Cannibals involved either. Murdock decides he likes his story better and gives Dr. Spratling a hug.
Later on, Dr. Spratling opens his desk drawer and sees that his car keys are missing. Murdock left a note behind for Dr. Spratling that reads "Dear Doc, I still say, go with a pop-up book. Can never go wrong with those! Yours, Captain H. M. Murdock". Murdock escapes in Dr. Spratling's Pontiac while being chased by the Army and police.
The Mexico Incident Edit
Murdock was a patient at the Hospital San Vincente de Paulo, a U.S. Army Hospital in Sonora, Mexico. During his time there, he tried to escape by doing crazy things, such as trying to jump start an ambulance with hospital paddles and impersonating doctors. While on the run from renegade General Javier Tuco,B. A., Hannibal, and Face made a stop there. Murdock disguised as a doctor and stitched B. A.'s arm in the shape of a lightning bolt and sets Face's sleeve on fire. The other A-Team members were looking for a helicopter pilot, and Murdock reveals that he was an Airborne Ranger and one of the best helicopter pilots. Murdock officially becomes a member of the A-Team. While testing the rotors on the hospital helicopter, he spins on the propeller and sings "(You Spin Me Round) Like a Record". Murdock flies the hospital helicopter and manages to knock an air conditioner off of the roof, crashing into the A-Team van, which angers B. A. Murdock says to him, "you can't park there. That's a handicap zone." While Murdock flies the helicopter and tries to escape from Tuco, B. A. almost falls out of the open door, but is saved by Face, leading to B. A.'s intense fear of flying, especially when Murdock is piloting. They manage to lure Tuco into U.S. airspace and his plane is shot down for trespassing, allowing the A-Team to escape.
Iraq/Baghdad Incident and Court-Martial Edit
"8 years and 80 successful missions later", Murdock is seen with the rest of the team at a military base in Iraq run by General Russell "Russ" Morrison, about a week after troops are withdrawn from Baghdad. Murdock grills his special "gunpowder barbecue" where he uses smokeless gunpowder as pepper on steaks and asks Face if he wants "secret sauce", which is anti-freeze. He also plays with a cow puppet and says to B. A. "My name's Percy. Would you like some pork?" Face's former girlfriend, DCIS Agent Captain Charissa Sosa meets him for the first time since their breakup 3 years ago. Face and Murdock sing "Trio Para Enamorados (Trio for Lovers)" as Sosa leaves. Murdock nicknamed Sosa "El Diablo" because of her relationship with Face.
While gathering supplies for the mission to retrieve U. S. Treasury plates, Murdock does an impression of the Blue Man Group, as well as a reenactment of Mel Gibson in Braveheart quoting "What would you give for one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take OUR FREEDOM!!!"
While retrieving the plates, the shipping container is attached to Murdock's plane and he flies it back to the military base. There, General Morrison dies in an explosion and Brock Pike escapes with the plates. Along with the rest of the A-Team, Murdock is apprehended by Sosa and Court-Martialed. During the trial, Hannibal attempts to take full responsibilty for the plates being stolen, however Face, B. A., and Murdock accept that it was their responsibility as well and refuse to be tried separately. Murdock, along with the rest of the team, is found guilty, sent to prison for up to 10 years, stripped of his rank, and dishonorably discharged.
Escape from Prison Edit
Six months later, Murdock is at the Army Psychiatric Hospital in Manheim, Germany. In the extended version (or the post-credits scene in the theatrical version), he receives shock treatment with Dwight Schultz (the original Murdock) as his neurologist, watching. Murdock is also seen singing "Little Drummer Boy" and receives a package containing 3-D glasses from "Annabelle Smith" (Hannibal). Murdock pretends to knight someone. The patients at the hospital get excited about the movie and Sosa arrives, looking for Murdock. They watch a 3-D film entitled The Greater Escape with the A-Team Theme playing during the credits. (The credits show the name "Reginald Barclay", which is the character Dwight Schultz played in Star Trek.) An armored truck bursts through the wall and Murdock escapes with the other A-Team members. The A-Team members steal an Army plane with a tank on it, which Murdock flies. Just before the plane is shot down, the team members manage to enter the tank, which has parachutes on it. They land in Lake Wolgastsee, where a German couple is fishing. Murdock sits where the hatch is and asks the woman "Excuse me, which way to Berlin?"
Retrieving the Stolen Plates Edit
At the Konigsbank Tower in Frankfurt, Germany, Murdock catches "the Arab's" parachute with his helicopter.
Clearing Their Names Edit
The A-Team members are in a cabin with "the Arab" held captive. They unmask "the Arab" and reveal that he is actually General Morrison, who faked his death and was working with Pike, and double-crossed both the A-Team and Lynch. Lynch manages to blow up the cabin, killing Morrison, however the A-Team escape and let Lynch believe that Morrison is still alive in an effort to prove their innocence.
At the airport, B. A. is disguised as a person from Tanzania and Murdock is disguised as Rabbi, however, their passports get mixed up. It is revealed that Murdock speaks Swahili. B. A. thinks that they are taking a boat, but just after finding out that it's a plane, Murdock knocks him out and doesn't catch him, letting B. A. fall on his face.
They manage to land on a ship and Murdock pretends to be the Phantom of the Opera and sings the lyrics "For life is but an opera". Face is worried that the mission won't be successful since Hannibal is the one who usually plans the missions. Murdock reveals a bulletproof helmet.
At the port of Los Angeles, in an attempt to lure Lynch in so he can get caught, Murdock, under the bulletproof helmet and a cloth bag, pretends to be General Morrison. Lynch shoots "Morrison" who is actually Murdock and after Lynch is caught and the bulletproof helmet is taken off of Murdock, Murdock says that he feels "sane".
The following morning, even though Murdock and the rest of the A-Team were found innocent, they are arrested for breaking out of prison. Sosa's boss, Director McCready, was going to take the A-Team to the U.S. Marshals in Long Beach, however, Sosa kissed Face and smuggled a key into his mouth, which he reveals when they are in the armored prison truck. Murdock and the rest of the team manage to escape.