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Michael Paul "Mike" Brady, portrayed by Robert Reed in the TV show and Gary Cole in movies, is the male head of the Brady household. In episode #4 of The Bradys, "Hat in the Ring," when Mike is sworn in as City Councilman, his full name is given as Michael Thomas Brady. Mike, a widowed architect, brought three sons to his marriage with Carol Martin and became the stepfather to her three daughters. He was named "Father of the Year" by a local newspaper after his stepdaughter Marcia submitted an essay in his honor. The character's parents were sometimes mentioned but never seen (unless depicted without identification at the wedding in the pilot), but his paternal grandfather, Judge Hank Brady (Robert Reed in a dual role) appears in one episode.

Shortly into the fourth season, Mike Brady grew his hair into a longer, curly style. Mike had a firm personal integrity (i.e. he refuses to participate in a commercial if it means saying that an inferior product is the best) coupled with a strong sense of ethics. Mike enjoyed fishing and camping.

The writers imply that Mike Brady is a very highly qualified and well-respected architect. His "failures" tended to be successes. For instance, in A Very Brady Christmas, contractor Ted Roberts (who is looking to save money on his building project) fires Mike when he refuses to cut corners and take out important safety provisions. Mike, however, is later proven right when the structure begins to crumble (trapping two security guards, and later Mike, inside). In the episode "How to Succeed in Business?" Mike acknowledges that he has lost jobs. This is to reassure his son Peter that failure and getting fired are a part of life.

Mike was one of the staff architects with the firm he worked at; the name was never mentioned in the series, and Mr. Ed Phillips was his boss. By the time A Very Brady Christmas and The Bradys aired, he was the senior partner at the firm.

Both Gene Hackman and Jeffrey Hunter were considered for the role of Mike Brady. Hackman was Sherwood Schwartz's first choice, but was rejected by Paramount for not having enough experience. Jeffrey Hunter approached Schwartz to play Mike Brady, but Schwartz felt Hunter was too attractive to play a down-to-earth architect.