Northern Exposure Wiki
Northern Exposure Wiki
Maurice J. Minnifield
Played by Barry Corbin
Gender Male
Occupation Astronaut
U.S.M.C. fighter pilot (retired)
Family Malcolm Minnifield (brother)[1][2]
Doreen Dutton (cousin)[3]
Maurice Dutton (2nd cousin)[3]
Partner Barbara Semanski[4]
Children Duk Won[5][6]
Nationality American
First appearance "Pilot"
Last appearance "Tranquillity Base"

Maurice J. Minnifield is a public figure in Cicely, Alaska.


He is from Tulsa, Oklahoma[7][2][8][6][9][10][3] and grew up in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.[11] Eventually, he was a United States Marine Corps fighter pilot in the Korean War ("fifteen confirmed kills over Pusan"), spent time in a North Korean prison camp, and later was an astronaut in the Mercury program[12] (he was the "other Marine" in the Mercury program besides John Glenn; in reality, Glenn is the sole Marine). He retired from the military and the space program as a Colonel.[13] He inherited $68 million from his father, over his brother Malcolm, and purchased 15,000 acres (61 km²) near the town of Cicely in Arrowhead County, Alaska.

Maurice set up the Minnifield Communications Network, establishing a radio station, KBHR (pronounced kay-BEAR), hosted by Chris Stevens, and a town newspaper, the Cicely News & World Telegram. His goal is to pioneer the "New Alaskan Riviera", with resorts, gated communities, and casinos. A proud Cicely resident, Maurice ultimately wants to boost the local economy by bringing new business to the community. He is also president of the Cicely Chamber Of Commerce.

In 1990, Maurice purchased Joel Fleischman's contract from the State Of Alaska and brought him to Cicely.[14]

Maurice used his endless wealth in 1993 to move his childhood home from Oklahoma to Alaska. [15]

Tastes and opinions[]

Minnifield has a problem with homosexuals, communists, and hippies. He enjoys show tunes, especially from The King and I, Porgy and Bess, Brigadoon, and Kiss Me, Kate. Due to these personal characteristics, and since he is also a bachelor and a gourmet chef, Ron and Erick [16] assume that he too is homosexual. This happens again in Season 5 Episode 12, where they pick up one of his dreams of collecting elegant ladies shoes. Though Maurice detests their homosexuality and this assumption, over time he develops a genuine respect for their integrity, business savvy, and shared military backgrounds. Later, he becomes a father figure to one of them.

Maurice loves to sing and rarely misses an opportunity to do so, though he was at first very reluctant to sing at Shelly's wedding to Holling. [17] Part of his lineage is descended from the MacAlisters of Scotland and has an appreciation for Scottish militaria like kilts and whisky. [13] He has a classic Cadillac, an extensive wine collection [8] and enjoys chess [18] and archaeology [19].

He has plants that he talks to, names them after himself, and enters contests. [20]

Family and love life[]

Maurice has a younger brother Malcolm who dies [1] and is shown as a child in Maurice's childhood flashbacks. [2]

Maurice is like a father figure to Ed and employs him as "gofer" and general help. Maurice tries to adopt Chris as his son.[1]

In 1988, Maurice brought Shelly Tambo to Cicely, having been smitten with her at the "Miss Northwest Passage" beauty contest in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. Shelly left Maurice for Holling Vincoeur, his best friend of many years. Maurice refused to speak to Holling for two years, but they gradually patched up their old friendship.

Maurice is unmarried and learns he has a son named Duk Won from a casual liaison with prostitute Yung Yong Ja during his deployment in the Korean War that he did not know of until many years later.[5] He is not anxious to be a father to Duk, remarking that, "all of my life I've dreamed of a son, a tow-headed tyke to bounce on my knee, but instead I get a middle-aged Chinaman". He bonds with Duk but, when he remembers Duk's mother, he realizes Duk does not care about his fortune, and that Duk is a healthy, highly-educated, and skilled electrical engineer. They remain in touch, despite the language barrier, with Maurice's teenaged Korean-American grandson (Yung Bong Joo) serving as interpreter. Duk later asks Maurice's permission to marry the daughter of his wartime archenemy.[6]"

Towards the end of the series, Maurice's second cousin, Maurice (named after him), visits as he evaluates the young man in taking over his business when he passes away.[3]

Maurice develops an infatuation with Barbara Semanski, a police sergeant sent to Cicely to investigate the theft of his radio[21] He also receives yearly visits from astronaut groupie Ingrid Klochner.[22] As of the series end, Maurice still holds a sentimental attachment for Shelly but he asks Barbara to marry him.[4]


Maurice does not like scandals about his childhood heroes. In Episode 2, he fired Chris by throwing him out head first through a window.

Maurice enjoys being respected and feared, but is also aware that people do not necessarily like him. He says that he is better as a Lobbyist instead of officially having a public position such as Mayor. He wants to work with other people such as Marilyn Whirlwind and Adam, but does not listen to their needs. As a result, they cancel their business deals with him, which perplexes him. He is brought to tears when he finds out that he lost an opportunity for fame and fortune after Adam got a job at a rival newspaper. They reconcile later, but their headstrong personalities continue to clash.

There are many times he feels regret when he expects to feel pride instead. He chopped down a dead tree only to plant more trees after. He has a greenhouse. When it loses heat, he begs the town to help him take care of his plants. Maurice does frequent humanitarian work as long as there is a very large prize to win. Maurice believes that who deserves valuable possessions depends on who has the most money to buy them. In Season 5 Episode 13, his violinist demanded Maurice's violin. He tried to blow Maurice up, but Maurice was not even knocked unconscious. After talking to Barbara, he decides to visit the man in the institution. Maurice has a defeated look on his face as he watches the man play the violin. He donates new appliances for the facility in exchange for a day pass, and eventually helps him escape with the violin. Later, he wants to go back to hospital and is released legally.

Maurice gladly keeps the airport station fully stocked with food and other supplies. He was unfazed when Ed got struck by lightning. [23] Maurice is equally apathetic when Phillip and Michelle told him about almost crashing into a moose.

Maurice tries to recruit Bernard full time. Maurice is accused of having a prejudice after he says that Bernard does not sound as a thug might sound. [24] Later, Bernard decides to hire himself permanently lest Maurice try to fire him. [25]

When Ed got angry and quit his job for Maurice, he does not accept Ed's resignation. Maurice and Ruth Anne look after Ed and discussed the situation. Later, Ed let himself in Maurice's house but was too upset to clean. Maurice did not hesitate to hug him and let him literally cry on Maurice's shoulder.


Pilot (1-1)

Maurice: When I heard we had a crack at a Jew doctor from New York City...well, I don't have to tell you I jumped. You boys do outstanding work.

Maurice: This is Cicely. She and Roslyn founded the town 97 years ago. Rumor and innuendo notwithstanding, they were just good friends.

Maurice: You signed a contract, Joel. But much more important than that, you gave your word. And I intend to hold you to that word within the bounds of the law. If necessary, without the bounds of the law.

"Brains, Know-How, and Native Intelligence" (1-2)

Chris: Maurice??

Maurice: I'll take the hit. Maurice Minnifield is not one to dodge responsibility. And what went out of here yesterday on my airwaves was a disgrace. Now, whether or not Walt Whitman deserves to be in the big tent with the big boys will be up to the vultures and the bookworms to decide. But the Minnifield Communications Network will not be a party to an expose or a seal hunt. This is Cicely, Alaska; not San Francisco. That being said, here's a tune from the, uh, Broadway show Kiss Me, Kate. Music and lyrics by Cole Porter, who lived to be past a hundred. That oughta brighten up your day.

Maurice: Let me tell you people something. Grissom, Glenn, Carpenter, and Minnifield got into it a little bit down in Cape Canaveral. Scottie...liked West Side Story. Gus liked Guys and Dolls. And, uh, John-o...(chuckles) well, John-O was a Brigadoon man. As far as I was concerned, none of 'em could hold a candle to The King and I. Point of information: Yul Brynner would have made an outstanding flyboy. "I Whistle A Happy Tune." "Hello, Young Lovers." "Shall We Dance?" (chuckling) This one goes out to you, Scottie.

Maurice: I didn't see you at the town meeting last night, Joel.
Joel: Well, I got stood up by an Indian.
Maurice: Oh. You know, we haven't known each other very long, Joel; but I've come to enjoy our dialogues over the past couple of weeks. In some ways, I think of us as kindred spirits. I hope you feel the same.
Joel: Maurice, you nearly blew my head off in a rowboat with a shotgun.
Maurice: (chuckling) Oh, that. Well, that was nothing personal, son. You had it coming. But...after what those ingrates tried to do to me last night--and in a church! They nicked me, son.
Joel: Maurice, c-can I be frank? Y-You're no good on the radio. Your choice of material i-is, um... Ah, well, it's awful. And y-your personality is like, uh, lox, o-or olives, o-or a strong cup of coffee... It's, um, it's an acquired taste.
Maurice: So, what you're saying is, I'm too different.
Joel: Yeah. Yeah, sort of. In a way. You know Maurice, that you have in your power to square things with Chris.
Maurice: No, I-I can't do that, son. I've got my pride.
Joel: Boy, that's what it comes down to, doesn't it? (scoffs) You, Maggie, Chris, Anku...
Maurice: Who the hell was that last one?

Maurice: When I was a boy growing up in Oklahoma City, I'd go to the show on Saturday. My favorite was John Wayne. It didn't matter what kind of movie it was--cowboy picture, war movie--I was with him all the way. Except for The Quiet Man. That one bored the hell out of me. By the time I was nine years old, I was walkin' and talkin' like 'The Duke.' Then one day the walls came crashin' down. I was playin' army with the Marshall boys, Jed and Jeff, in Bailey's woods, and Jeff said kind of offhandedly...that John Wayne didn't do his own fightin', didn't throw his own punches, didn't take his own hits or his own falls. Well, I kicked the hell out of the Marshall boys, and then I ran all the way home and asked my daddy if it was true that John Wayne didn't do his own fightin'. And he said yes. John Wayne was my hero, and the Marshall boys gave him feet of clay. Now, I don't give a damn if Walt Whitman kicked with his right foot or his left foot, or that J. Edgar Hoover took it better than he gave it, or that Ike was true-blue to Mamie, or that God-knows-who had trouble with the ponies or with the bottle. We need our heroes! We need men we can look up to, believe in; men who walk tall. We can not chop 'em off at the knees just to prove that they're like the rest of us! Now, Walt Whitman...was a pervert, but he was the best poet that America ever produced. And if he was standing here today, and somebody called him a fruit or a queer...behind his back, or to his face, or over these airwaves; that person would have to answer to me. Sure, we're all human. But there's damn few of us that have the right stuff to be called heroes. That closes the book on that subject.

Maurice: What do you want?
Chris: I, uh, forgot some stuff. I can come back.
Maurice: Make it quick. I'm busy.
Chris: You've got a furtive mind, Maurice. What I mean is, it's like the waters of the Big Muddy. It's hard to see the bottom of it. It's deep where you think it's gonna be shallow, and it's shallow where it should be deep.
Maurice: You lookin' for another beatin, son?
Chris: No, sir. Not at all. Look, Maurice, that I'm tryin' to say is; it was never my intention to cut down Mr. Whitman. All right? But I can see now how what I said, in some people's eyes, could be taken that way. You know, I don't, I don't want people reading Walt Whitman for the wrong reasons Maurice. And I most assuredly don't want to kill the child inside the man.
Maurice: You did a bad thing Chris.
Chris: I know. I'm sorry.
Maurice: And?
Chris: And?
Maurice: And?
Chris: And I apologize. And I am... uh, I... I don't know. What?
Maurice: And you want your job back, right?
Chris: Right.
Maurice: Okay. Everybody deserves a second chance. This is yours. Oh, uh, on a personal note, uh...I'd like to compliment you on that left cross you snuck in on me. Uh, I felt it. Matter of fact, I saw stars. Well, not stars exactly. More like fireflies.
Chris: Hey, Maurice...thanks.

"Soapy Sanderson" (1-3)

Maurice: Chris, you play this crap at 6 in the morning and you'll be looking down so many barrels, you'll think you landed in an NRA convention.

"Sex, Lies and Ed's Tape" (1-6)

Ed: Ed? Ed? Y-You alright, Ed?
Ed: Huh?
Maurice: Out of the kindness of my heart, and against my better judgement, I've allowed you to come up here and use my Macintosh to work on that film script you keep talking about. And what do I see as the sum total of all of my well-intentioned efforts? A blank screen and a lot of wasted electricity.
Chris: What you got--you got writer's block, Ed?
Ed: I guess.
Maurice: Writer's block, my diddly. Give the stud a gun, a car...throw in a good-lookin' woman; then you've got yourself a movie. Grope and kill. Grope and kill. Pretty soon they'll be naming overstuffed sandwiches for you down in the lower 48.

"A Kodiak Moment" (1-7)

Maurice: Do you know what the motto of the state of Alaska is, Joel?
Joel: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it'?
Maurice: No. "North to the future." That's my motto too. The compass point to opportunity. The direction for tomorrow.
Joel: A caribou in every pot; a snowmobile in every garage.
Maurice: Space, to build, room to grow.
Joel: You are the man for the job, Maurice; a general on the battlefield of history. If anyone can pave Alaska, it's you.
Maurice (chuckles): Kind words, son. But the Minnifield empire will not bear fruit in one man's lifetime.
Joel: Yeah, I hear it didn't work out with you and Chris. I'm sorry. You know, maybe you could start a trust: The Minnifield Foundation. It worked for the Rockefellers; the Gettys.
Maurice: No...I've come up with something else, Joel.
Joel: Really? What's that?
Maurice: I've decided to live forever.
(Joel laughs)

"The Big Kiss" (2-2)

Maurice (on-air): Sometimes, when you look back on a situation, you realize it wasn't all you thought it was. A beautiful girl walked into your life. You fell in love. Or did you? Maybe it was only a childish infatuation, or maybe just a brief moment of vanity.

"The Body In Question" (3-6)

Maurice: Now, the way I see it, the soul is the sacred payload of us all. The body is simply a delivery vehicle. Once we've completed our mission, we have absolutely no use for the body at all.

"Jaws of Life" (5-3)

Maurice (catches Ed talking to his statue) Look, Ed. If you've got something to say, you say it to me. You got that?
Ed: Okay, Maurice. But, uh--
Maurice: But what?
Ed: Well, it's just that he's a little easier to talk to.
Maurice: The statue?
Ed: Well, he doesn't throw my thoughts off like you do sometimes.
Maurice: I don't throw your thoughts off, son! What are you talking about?
Ed: Well, kind of like now, Maurice.
Maurice: I'm not in the business of throwing people's thoughts off! Is that clear?

"The Gift of the Maggie" (5-19)

Maurice: The orchid, the aristocrat of the flower family. The most sophisticated plant on earth. Clearly a cut above. But, it's got petals like everybody else. The lowly daisy, the cheap carnation, half-baked azelia; like these, the orchid needs warmth. It needs care and kindness to get by. These flowers need you people. No, I need you.

"The Mommy's Curse" (6-14)

Holling: A new hat... fun for a while.. a little variety, change you know, something different. For a good fit, and a comfortable feeling there is nothing like an old hat. You know what I mean?
Maurice: I know that you mean.
Holling: Well then?
Maurice: Well.

"Tranquility Base" (6-23)

Maurice: Barbara, I owe you an apology. I've been trying to turn you into something you're not. You're no gentle lady. You're a warrior. That's what attracted me. That's what attracts me now.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "A Kodiak Moment" (1-7)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Homesick" (4-20)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Full Upright Position" (6-7)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Tranquillity Base" (6-23)
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Seoul Mates" (3-10)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Sleeping With the Enemy" (4-24)
  7. "Northwest Passage" (4-1)
  8. 8.0 8.1 "The Big Feast" (4-21)
  9. "Jaws of Life" (5-3)
  10. "Shofar So Good" (6-3)
  11. (1-2)
  12. "The Final Frontier" (3-20)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Barry Corbin's official website, Maurice Minnifield's character
  14. Pilot (1-1)
  15. Season 4, Episode 20.
  16. "Slow Dance" (2-7)
  17. "Dreams, Schemes and Putting Greens" (1-4)
  18. "War And Peace" (2-6)
  19. "Survival of the Species" (4-11)
  20. Season 5, Episode 19.
  21. "Spring Break" (2-5)
  22. "What I Did For Love" (2-4)
  23. Season 5, Episode 14.
  24. Season 4, Episode 10.
  25. Season 6, Episode 15.