Movie Villains Wiki

Martin "Marty" Swayzak is the main antagonist in the 1991 film Backdraft, he was portrayed by the late J.T. Walsh.

Early life

Martin Swayzak was born in Chicago, Illinois and majored in political studies to pursue a career in politics. His dream job is to become Mayor of Chicago and defeat Richard Daley (who served from 1989 to 2011) in the Chicago Mayoral election. He was chosen as the Mayoral candidate by the City Council to be Chicago's next Mayor. Swayzak is the boss of Jennifer Vatickus, the lover of firefighter Brian McCaffrey. Martin is infamous for shutting down firehouses and making money off of the deaths of firefighters and the Chicago Fire Department doesn't approve of his controversial budget cuts he made for the Department. Swayzak hires Alan Seagrave, Donald Cosgrove and Jeffrey Holcomb, employees of his to create a fake manpower study in order to make the numbers for the fire department false and possibly in order to keep the amount of money that he stole from the department a secret. Alan Seagrave, Donald Cosgrove and Jeffrey Holcomb are all killed in backdrafts and wants to know if the fires were accidental or set on purpose. Donald Rimgale, Chicago's highest respected arson investigator refuses to tell once he has found the evidence to prove that the fire was accidental or not.


After all three of Swayzak's employees were killed. Brian asks Jennifer to give him the files after he found out that Seagrave, Holcomb and Cosgrove were friends and employees who worked for Swayzak and that Swayzak had been keeping it a secret. A few days later, she announces to Martin that the polls came in for his support and she notices a suspicious look on his face and sees documents for the fire department and asks if he's aware of the deaths of his friends. Swayzak denies any knowledge about the deaths of his friends. She gives Brian the documents and Brian says that Donald will have to speak to Swayzak about the files. Donald speaks to Brian and it's revealed that Swayzak has no task force, employees for his company, just a P.O. Box. Donald and Brian decide to confront Swayzak about it. When Brian and Donald show up at Swayzak's house, the two go inside. Donald tells Brian to check for gas after he smells an odor. Brian sees that someone has cut a gas line to his propane heater. As Brian tries to shut it off, a masked man tackles him and Donald. Swayzak is pulled outside of his home before it catches on fire. After a funeral is held for Stephen McCaffrey and John Adcox, Donald goes with Brian and the police to Swayzak's press conference and says that the detectives would like to question him why he hired Cosgrove, Holcomb and Seagrave to create manpower study and says "Ask him who made money off firemen dying!" Brian then tells Swayzak "You see that glow flashing in the corner of your eye? That's your career dissipation light, it just went into high gear." Swayzak announces, "I'll have my aides look into it as soon as they possibly can. Thank you!" As Swayzak is taken away by the police, a spokesperson for Swayzak announces that Swayzak has no further comments to give and that the press conference is over.