Emma first met Neal when she broke into an old, yellow, VW Beetle in an alley. She managed to steal the car, but was surprised to find Neal in the back seat. After he helped her avoid getting busted by the police, she realized he had stolen the car before she did. The two fell in love and went on a small-time crime spree. But the life of shoplifting from convenience stores wasn't enough for Neal. He wanted to settle down and the two of them decided to start over in Tallahassee. But then Neal spotted himself on a wanted poster. He had stolen $20,000 of watches from a former boss and stashed them in a storage locker. Emma retrieved the watches and gave them to Neal to fence, but on the way he was confronted by August Booth / Pinocchio. August told Neal everything and managed to convince him with something in his typewriter box. So Neal never met Emma with the money, leaving her to get arrested and sent to minimum security prison for 11 months. Feeling guilty, he gave the money and keys to the VW Beetle to August to give to Emma when she got out. August promised that, should Emma fulfill her destiny and break The Curse, he'd send Neal a postcard. And while August ended up pocketing that $20K, it seems as though he really did manage to get that postcard to Neal when The Curse was broken. Neal is also Henry's father.
Leaving for New York in search of his son, Rumplestiltskin took Emma and Henry as part of a past deal. As they arrived at Baelfire's house, a man came down the fire escape in haste. Rumplestiltskin instinctively knew it was Baelfire and sent Emma to catch him. When she did, she didn't realize that Baelfire was also actually Neal, the man who she thought had left her in jail. Neal was equally surprised to meet Henry, a son he never knew he had. In the midst of this confusion, Hook attacked Rumplestiltskin, cutting their meeting short and leaving them on a journey to Storybrooke. After things settled down, Neal invited his fiancée Tamara to the town. It was only later when Neal found out about Tamara's true identity, depsite Emma's early warnings. When he finally confronted her, Tamara shot Neal and sent him to another world with a magic bean.
First Appearance - Season 2, Episode 1: Broken
Fans may recognize Michael from one of his many guest roles on popular shows like ER, CSI and Law & Order: SVU. He's also had recurring roles in Terriers and True Blood and appears in the feature films Black Snake Moan and Jack Reacher.