John McClane, Sr. is an Irish American senior Agent of SHIELD. Formerly a detective lieutenant with the New York City Police Department. He also briefly worked for the Los Angeles Police Department. He has been an officer for 31 years. He is separated from his wife, Holly Gennero-McClane, who is using her maiden name. Years prior Holly moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career that John ultimately thought would fail, leading to their separation and eventual divorce. They have two children, Lucy and John Jr.
On Christmas Eve, McClane visits his wife at her workplace at the Nakatomi Plaza. Simultaneously, Hans Gruber initiates his plan to steal $640 million in bearer bonds and takes the Nakatomi Company employees, including Holly, hostage, posing as terrorists to draw attention away from the theft, their final plan being to blow up the building and make it appear as though they died with the hostages in the explosion. McClane escapes detection and manages to hide throughout the building, killing the terrorists one by one. When McClane meets the terrorists' leader, Hans Gruber, a climactic battle ensues and McClane throws Gruber out the window.
After the event at Nakatomi, McClane was promoted to lieutenant and was transferred to the Los Angeles Police Department. During this time, McClane appears to have become a national hero. John was featured in People Magazine, did a spot on Nightline, and was referred to as "the policeman hero who saved the Nakatomi hostages."
On Christmas Eve the following year, McClane discovers that mercenaries have seized control of Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia, 25 miles west of Washington, D.C.. They take control of the airport's communications and threaten to cause plane crashes unless their demands are met. Holly is traveling on one of the planes and is stranded as her plane circles overhead. McClane discovers a conspiracy between the mercenaries and an active military unit to rescue a notorious dictator from being imprisoned for crimes against humanity. He foils their plans and provides a visual landing signal for the circling aircraft by exploding the plane the villains were using for their exit strategy.
A few years later, John is back in New York. He is now separated from his wife, suspended from the police force, and a borderline alcoholic. A terrorist who goes only by the name "Simon" threatens to blow up various locations in the city unless John will play his twisted version of Simon says. John is forced to solve a number of riddles and challenges in order to keep the bombs from going off. He receives the reluctant help of Zeus Carver, a shopkeeper from Harlem who had saved John after the first challenge "Simon" had put him through, when Simon forces Carver to continue assisting McClane. The FBI finally reveals that "Simon" is in fact Simon Peter Gruber, the brother of Hans Gruber, who is attempting to kill McClane in revenge for his brother's death years prior. In a subsequent revelation, McClane discovers that revenge is only a timely and clever cover story to conceal the true purpose behind his terrorist activities: the forced depletion of New York's Federal Reserve, having gained access to the bank during the game by setting off a bomb in a location that damaged the underground vault. With the help of Carver, McClane tracks Simon to the Canadian border. There, in a decisive final confrontation with the latter in a helicopter, McClane puts an end to Simon's plan with a handgun and a power line.
On Independence Day, John McClane is assigned to take hacker Matt Farrell into FBI custody. By this time, John has been promoted to Senior Detective. They soon discover that a group of terrorists led by Thomas Gabriel, are conducting a fire sale, systematically taking out the nation's infrastructure (including power plants, traffic lights, transportation, and financial markets). John and his wife are now divorced and McClane is not on speaking terms with either of his children. Lucy is kidnapped by the terrorists as leverage against John. With help from Farrell, McClane manages to yet again thwart a disaster, Farrell countering Gabriel's hacks while McClane eliminates his men, culminating in John shooting through his own shoulder to kill Gabriel. His actions also seem to restore his relationship with his daughter or at least help restore it as the two are back on speaking terms again and Lucy introduces herself as Lucy McClane to Farrell when in the past she introduced herself as Lucy Gennero and apparently told guys her father was dead.
McClane later travels to Russia, to help his son John, Jr., who has been imprisoned. Later John discovers his son has been working for the CIA. Known to John as Jack, his son has devised a plan to use the ex-partner of a high-ranking Russian official named Chagarin, to bring him down. The ex-partner, Yuri Komarov is the primary target, after he is said to have a file that could incriminate Chagarin. McClane confronts Jack and Komarov in the middle of a chase involving Chagarin's thugs. As they went to the CIA safe house, Chagarin's henchmen, led by his main enforcer Alik, attacked the safe house, but John holds them off allowing himself, Jack and Komarov to escape. They then headed to the hotel and got the key to the vault where file Komarov said is kept in, at the ballroom. They also met up with Komarov's daughter Irina. But she betrays them to Alik. McClane and Jack escaped death as they survived the betrayal. As they go to Chernobyl to rescue Komarov and get the file where it's kept at, McClane and Jack learn that Komarov was actually using them and the vault actually contains weapons-grade uranium canisters. Komarov had Chagarin assassinated as well. As Jack goes after Komarov, McClane goes after Irina. After Jack kills Komarov, both he and McClane survived the suicide attack by Irina on the helicopter. His actions seem to mend the relationship with his son as Jack shows his respects for his father.
Due to his heroics in not only saving all of America's wealth, but in saving the world from a nuclear disaster, John was recruited personally by Nicolas Fury. His heroics in the past, as well as an unfaltering drive to win, set him on a different field of play, than his SHIELD counter parts. John is already a high ranking officer in the SHIELD company, and answers only to Director Nick Fury, and Deputy Director Maria Hill. Agent Phil Coulson, however is a respected college, and trusted ally. He's come to respect both Agent Romanov, though the two clashed abit at first- and Agent Barton. John's war record is at home, and respected with SHIELD, though- much of the world is either unknowing, or do not remember his heroics from the much publicized Nakatomi, and Dulles International Airport incidents. Few know of his involvement in the New York Federal Reserve attempted robbery, as well as the fire-sale that was attempted on the American people. Aside from that, even less know of his heroics, and incursion into Russia.
A few weeks managed to pass with little incident after John finished his basic training, and received his rank by Fury. He was having trouble adjusting, thanks to a young - high ranking officer, who seemed to be enjoying her position as John's personal chauffer on the way to hell. Maria Hill, upon their first meet was quickly becoming the bane of McClane's existence, with her 'by the book' personality. In the middle of their personality clash, the Hellcarrier was taken over, and intended to be crashed into the Xavier School in Westchester New York. Graydon Creed himself trapped Maria Hill in Fury's impenetrable office. John managed to crawl through the ducts of the hi-tech Hellcarrier, and ended up freeing and liberating the Hellcarrier single handedly. Creed, and Hill would be a tougher point to save. "What the fuck are you thinking John?" He repeatedly murmered to himself, after not only getting into an F-35 which he'd just learned to pilot - but after the guns on the jet seemed useless against the bulky shielding of the Hellcarrier, but as he purposely crashed the F-35 - aimed at Fury's cabin. The eject part of the plan went off without a hitch - until the giant rotating blades that kept the Hellicarrier afloat decided they wanted John as a late afternoon snack. John cut the ropes, managed to pull himself back aboard the carrier, and return to Fury's cabin. While the Jet didn't break through, as he planned, it did give the emotionally damaged Maria Hill the moment she needed to not only break free, but subdo her capture.- Official SHIELD Incident Report from McClane, confirmed with security footage.
Requiring both Medical and Psychiatric evaluation, and due to their high rank in Shield, Nick Fury sent both John McClane and Maria Hill for evaluation from a neutral and public source, and due to their general loathing of each-other, they were given cover identities as husband and wife. Neither have spoken a word on what has gone on in that time.
After being on duty, and off of the injury reserve for a few months, John is back on the Hellcarrier. Things tend to be rather normal, except for a few changes. A close friend, who John befriended during basic training, John discovers is an Alien. Despite the betrayal of al that went down, John is civil to the Alien, and even engages Rhys, when he's spoken too. Unfortunately, life on the Hellcarrier is never calm, and soon it's attacked again. While Titania - an unknown sort of Superwoman attacks from above, the Latverian Dictator combs the lower region of the Hellcarrier, until McClane himself confronts him. John attempts to slow the man who would be known to him as Doctor Doom, but his antics aren't enough. This is John's first taste of losing, and he dislikes it. Greatly.
Feeling useless after the attack, John has a crisis, and break down. However, John McClane doesn't break down emotionally. He throws himself into his job. Single handedly bringing down level 7 threats Shocker and Avalanche, without calling for back-up. In the heat of the moment, John is both suspended and quits Shield. Ending up drunk, at Lucy's apartment, Maria eventually shows up, and John and Maria make up. It is revealed around this time that John and Maria are actually in a committed relationship with each-other.
John almost missed out on a mission to New Orleans, after he checked himself into the hospital. John was worked over, with a concussion and 2 broken ribs. There has not been a report upon the incident that placed McClane the hospital. After a confrontation with Maria Hill, John ended up on site in New Orleans with Pete Wisdom on loan from MI6 and Maria Hill tasked with hunting down an alleged Voodoo witch doctor turned entrepreneur, selling drugs that turns teenagers into zombies.
John is an average American man still stuck in the 20th century. With his cocky nature, McClane is able to stir up friendships quite easily as seen by his interaction with airplane passengers, and other officers of the law. However, this cocky nature also lands him in trouble with other authority figures in the series such as Dwayne T. Robinson, Carmine Lorenzo and Maria Hill. Wisecracking and a smirk present whenever he talks to someone, McClane held a very laid back and cool approach to dealing with the people around him, this ease would quickly disappear, however, when faced with life threatening occurrences such as Nakatomi and Dulles Airport. McClane seems quite taken aback by the death of Takagi, however, it is later quite common to McClane, who makes a trademark witty retort to his lifeless enemy. McClane is shown to be bitter about his previous heroics, saying they cost him his family.
John's largest of his sensitive buttons is his family. Specifically his daughter, Lucy and his son Jack. Maria Hill, has become a pressure point of John's as well. When those close to him are in danger, John McClane will stop at nothing. No law, or obtacle seems to get in the way of McClane, who seems to have a Superhuman level of tenacity.