Anyone that has followed the Northern Exposure series has got to be familiar with the unique character of Mike Monroe played by Anthony Edwards. Mike is a lawyer whose reason for coming to Cicely, Alaska, is one of life and death. Monroe is suffering from life-threatening allergies brought on by the toxic environment and he came to Cicely, which has a clean environment and a doctor in town, bringing his plastic geodesic dome-home with him.
"It's nice to go into an established hit series rather than sweating out the early stages of a show," the actor said during a lunch interview in New York City.
"I signed for seven out of 10 episodes and have four more to do this season. Mike is a fascinating guy to play. He has weighed the odds against him and decided to do something about it, even if it meant uprooting himself and starting a whole new life in a remote area. Mike has discovered that everyone is mortal but you can't live only within your mortality. You have to go on as best you can." -------Anthony Edwards (Chicago Tribune Jan.10,1993)
We get introduced to Mike Monroe in the first episode of season 4 (Blowing Bubbles) and since Mike has to live in a Sanitary Dome due to his medical conditions,
it didn't leave much room for exploration, growth or overall excitement, even some of the most hardcore fans today can't stand the character, citing he was too bland and/or insignificant, in turn making him 'annoying'. Even sparking a love interest with Maggie O'Connell proved to be difficult, but with a little tenacity and resourcefulness, they were able to figure out a way for Mike to leave his bubble and venture out for a date using Maurice Minnifield's NASA spacesuit.
However, let's take into consideration the larger picture involving the social and environmental narrative of Mike's character as it pertained to the time. Aside from being confined to a Sanitary Dome, his research and activism against the ecological dangers of ocean dumping and climate change were very real. Some may remember the Biosphere 2, which was meant to demonstrate the viability of closed ecological systems to support and maintain human life in outer space, defining mission one as eight humans for two years.
So to give credit where it's due, we thank you Mr. Monroe for your service as a temporary citizen of Cicely Alaska, and may you keep fighting the good fight! Cheers!
The Biosphere 2 was originally constructed between 1987 to 1991 and the first closed mission lasted from September 26, 1991 to September 26, 1993, which we were introduced to Mike right in the middle of this mission's time line in Nov. 1992.
Coincidence? Perhaps, So let's take a look at the construction, the top picture is of the Biosphere 2, followed by Mike's 'Bubble' underneath. Are these similarities enough to suffice the motivation for writing Mike Monroe into Cicelean existence, and does the writing justify creating the character to the fans?
The Bioshpere 2 mission being the basis for Mike Monroe's character is just a theory, and will it change the minds of the Mooseheads, Probably Not. But one thing is for certain that you have to give Mr. Monroe, if it wasn't for his brilliant argument over the identity of "Criminal Chris Stevens" vs. "Cicelean Radio D.J. and public servant Chris Stevens" at an extradition hearing in season 4 episode 10 'Crime and Punishment', then Chris would have been sent back to a West Virginia Correctional Facility for Parole violation and possibly never return to Cicely again.