Matthew "Matt" Parkman is a fictional character in the 2006 NBC drama Heroes, played by Greg Grunberg. Matt is a telepath, and at first was only able to read minds, but is discovering other aspects of his power.
After proving his ability to his FBI partner by reading her thoughts, he is offered a position in the investigation. Things turn dangerous when a man who appears to be Sylar shows up. Stopping the man from harming Molly, Matt tries to comfort her while Audrey, the FBI agent, gives chase. Ultimately, the man escapes, but not before displaying apparent telekinesis and standing after being shot. Later, Matt comes home to his wife, Janice, with whom he is going to couples therapy.
Matt escapes to a bar after a heated argument with his wife and hears the thoughts of the various patrons. However, when he encounters a patron, a tall silent black man, whose mind he cannot read, the other voices fade out. The man sits and stares at Matt until Matt falls unconscious.
Matt wakes up strapped to a table with Mr. Bennet standing over him. Bennet explains that they had to drug him, and that he works for a secret company. Matt tries to read Bennet's mind, but is unable to due to The Haitian, who was the man at the bar. Matt is still able to discern the name of Bennet's daughter, Claire, impressing Bennet with his developing power. The Haitian then wipes Matt's memories.
Matt wakes up a day later, suffering from what he thinks is a hangover. His wife Janice tells him he has been missing and was worried. He uses his ability to listen to her thoughts and give her everything she wants, healing the rift between the two of them.
The following day at work, Matt and his partner at the FBI run down a possible lead on Sylar after discovering a charred corpse with a fingerprint. Instead of Sylar, they find a man with radioactive powers. In a stand off, Matt defuses the situation by allowing the man to speak with his comatose wife. At the end of the day, Matt is informed by his old partner that he was being given another chance to apply for a detective position. Matt reads the man's mind, discovering that he is sleeping with Janice. Matt punches his former partner and is consequently suspended.
Unaware of this, Audrey asks Matt for assistance in interviewing Ted Sprague, the man who radiates nuclear power. Matt talks with him and discovers that, like himself, Ted was abducted from a bar after seeing the Haitian and woke up later with amnesia. He further discovers similar marks on their necks. Then, Homeland Security takes Ted into custody before Matt can learn more, but Ted tells Matt to "find the Haitian." Audrey later notifies Matt that Ted has escaped.
Matt and Audrey then investigate a crime scene at Union Wells High in Odessa, Texas, where they suspect Sylar was intercepted by two people nearby. They don't consider Peter Petrelli a suspect in Jackie's death, but interrogate him and learn that Sylar's target was the cheerleader Claire.
Matt later attempts to read Claire Bennet's mind when she is being interviewed. However, he is unable to hear anything except static, which also happened to him before he was abducted. Suspicious, he and Audrey stake out Primatech Paper and Matt recognizes The Haitian. He attempts to overhear Mr. Bennet or the Haitian's thoughts and is able to pick up just one word: "Sylar."
For the next two weeks, Matt keeps a close watch on Primatech Paper, but he is seen on cameras. Finally, in "Godsend," Matt and Audrey organize a raid of Primatech. When they find nothing, their boss is very upset and threatens to fire Audrey. Fearful of losing her job, she tells Matt their partnership is over. Matt confronts Bennet, telling him he knows he was kidnapped and will make Bennet pay.
Matt faces a review board that questions his details of the past few weeks. They find his references to a "super-powered serial killer" almost insane. Matt recants his statement after hearing it will save his job. However, Matt is suspended for six months. At home, Matt takes a job as a bodyguard for money. His assignment is Aron Malsky, a man who stole $2 million from Linderman as restitution. Upon learning the jeweler is on Linderman's payroll, they try to run, but Jessica comes to kill Aron for Linderman. After a fight, Jessica throws Matt out of a window and onto a sign girder; then proceeded to tear Aron in half. Malsky had hidden diamonds in the ceiling shortly before he died. Matt finds them and keeps them.
In "Unexpected", Matt receives a call from Ted, who wants to meet Matt along with Hana Gitelman. Hana informs Matt of Primatech and the connection to their abductions and the markings on their necks. Ted wants to confront Mr. Bennet, but needs Matt's help. Matt agrees. Both Matt and Ted confront Mr. Bennet and his family at gunpoint as the family was coming home. However, things turn sour and Matt is soon captured again.
In "Parasite", it is revealed that Matt is a prisoner of Thompson and his associates. Then in ".07%", Bennet helps Matt and Ted escape. Over breakfast, they solidify their plans to travel to New York City to knock out a tracking system.
In "The Hard Part", Matt, Bennet and Ted continue their mission. They later are shown walking at Kirby Plaza in New York City, where Bennet and Claire are reunited. The group then splits in two, with Peter, Claire and Ted going to a remote town in Nebraska, and Matt and Bennet continuing with their mission to destroy the tracking system. Matt gets them where they need to go.
While waiting for the elevator, they bump into Jessica and her husband, D.L. Bennet and Matt then go to where the tracking system is, only to find Thompson waiting. Matt saves Bennet from death, and Bennet kills Thompson. The two then find the tracking system, surprised to find Molly Walker. Matt protests killing her, but Bennet says it must be done. They argue with Bennet until Matt is knocked out by Mohinder from behind.
In the finale, "How to Stop an Exploding Man", Matt finds Sylar and shoots him. However, Sylar reverses the bullets and gravely wounds Matt. He is brought to a hospital, upsetting Molly.
In "Four Months Later...," it is revealed Matt divorced Janice and that he is now a detective for the NYPD, and is taking care of Molly Walker in Mohinder's apartment. He learns Molly is having nightmares of a dangerous man who can see her when she thinks of him. In "Lizards", Matt is investigating the murder of Kaito Nakamura. He interrogates Angela Petrelli and learns that someone may have murdered Kaito for revenge; but Angela refuses to be interrogated further. Matt later saves Angela from a mysterious attacker. In "The Kindness of Strangers, Matt finds out that his father is part of The Company and that he is the dangerous man frightening Molly. However, Molly tries to find him for Matt, but she ends up in a coma.
In "Fight or Flight" Matt and Nathan track down Matt's father. When they find him, he reveals he is also a telepath, and is also about to be murdered. At first he seems sorry for having left Matt as a child but ends up tricking Matt and Nathan in separate illusions. Matt is trapped in jail, confronted by his ex-wife and the baby she gave birth to after the divorce. It is indicated that while she said that the baby she was having wasn't Matt's, he knew that this wasn't true. Matt is able to telepathically talk to Nathan and escape the illusion, finding that Bob is set to be killed.
In "Out of Time", Matt discovers he is able to manipulate people and uses it to find the last unknown survivor of the photograph by "interrogating" Angela Petrelli. He also finally defeats his father because he learns that like his father he is able to control all aspects of the brain. He manages to tap into this and enter the nightmare Molly's trapped in and summon his father into it. He realizes it's his father's own nightmare and after a battle of wills leaves it with Molly and uses his powers to trap his father in his own nightmare. In "Powerless", he goes with Nathan to intercept Peter and Adam Monroe, in hopes of stopping them from releasing a deadly virus that would kill 93% of the world's population. Before leaving to confront them, Angela warns Matt that if they cannot stop Peter, that he'll have to kill him. Upon meeting Peter at Primatech, Matt attempts to compel Peter to stop Adam. Though this proves unsuccessful, Nathan is later able to convince Peter that Adam has tricked him. Together, they manage to stop the virus, and resolve to reveal their secret, and the Company, to the world. Nathan enlists Matt's help to use his powers in convincing the media to hear him out. At the conference, Matt is present when Nathan is gunned down before he can reveal their secrets, but is unable to locate the assailant immediately after the attack.
In I Am Become Death, Matt travels into the future through a dream caused by Usutu. In the dream, he finds himself still living with Molly in the same apartment as he did in the second season, only this time accompanied with another daughter, called Daniella, and the baby's mother, revealed to be Daphne. Matt expresses his concern of Daphne still working for the company when she comes by to ask Molly where the Present Peter fled to. Matt is next seen in awed silence watching a news report on the nuclear explosion in Costa Verde (caused by Sylar) with Molly, worried that Daphne was caught in the blast. Daphne arrives home seconds later with a smile, but gasps that she wasn't fast enough before collapsing in Matt's arms. Matt then wakes up to realize that he never left Usutu or the desert, and realizes that he must find Daphne to keep her from suffering the fate as she did in his dream. Usutsu tells him that only Matt can find his way, and that he must follow his spirit guide. Matt is confused, but then notices the tortoise he saw right before meeting Ututsu, and realizes it is his spirit guide. He is then seen following the aggravatingly slow tortoise as it moves through the desert.
In "Five Years Gone", Matt is seen working as Director of the Department of Homeland Security and is in direct contact with the now President Nathan Petrelli (who is actually Sylar in disguise). In this future Matt is seen as being a much darker and cynical man who hunts down those with abilities and arrests them. He kills Hana Gitelman, Mr. Bennet and Future Hiro. At the end of the episode, he is shocked to find that Sylar had been using his powers to disguise himself as Nathan. He still cares about his family however and has a much greater deal of control over his powers, being able to "rip out" memories instead of passively overhearing thoughts.
Though Matt learns to read minds at will, his powers can be defeated through various methods. The Haitian's power is able to nullify Matt's, protecting himself and those in his vicinity. Matt overcomes this twice, accidentally the first time; in the second instance, he is only barely able to overcome the Haitian's power, but the strain causes Matt to have a severe nosebleed. Since then, he generally hasn't been able to get past what he describes as "white noise" caused by the Haitian. As demonstrated by Peter Petrelli and his father Maury Parkman, Matt has trouble reading the minds of other telepaths, and usually creates uncomfortable feedback in the attempt; he also states in "Nothing to Hide" that he has trouble discerning individual thoughts in large groups of people. Bennet is also able to defeat Matt's power by thinking in Japanese, a language Matt does not speak.
In the episode "Out of Time", Bob states that Matt, like his father, should be able to control all aspects of the mind, including thoughts and senses, with practice. This is demonstrated when he is able to telepathically communicate with Nathan Petrelli and Molly Walker at various points. When Maury traps him inside Molly's "nightmare world", Matt is able to bring his father in with them and subsequently leave with Molly, trapping Maury in his own nightmare. In the episode "Cautionary Tales", Matt discovers that he can place suggestions in others through telepathic commands as a form of mind control, but this ability is not irresistible. In the episode "Powerless", he tries to use his abilities to make Peter fight Adam Monroe, but the attempt fails when Peter resists Matt's commands long enough to combat Matt physically. In "Cautionary Tales", Angela Petrelli initially resists his commands, though she receives a nosebleed and eventually succumbs.