"The way I see it.. there're two types of people: those who spend their lives trying to build a future. And those who spend their lives trying to rebuild the past."
Max Payne is an American police detective and the series' titular main protagonist who goes on a violent, rogue, nearly unstoppable, tenacious, and relentless killing spree against felons, spanning a number of nights, all the while looking for truth to mysteries he finds in his life but mercilessly bringing death to all those who ever caused him pain.
During his long and diverse crime fighting career, Max Payne works as a New York City Police Department Homicide detective and as a Drug Enforcement Administration undercover agent but abandons both posts when he sees the limitations of orthodox police work, instead preferring the chaotic, hot-pursuit-and-revenge-filled approach to extinguishing crime. With his criminal body count tallied in hundreds, Payne is responsible for single-handedly
crippling the Punchinello crime family, crushing Nicole Horne's Aesir Corporation, terminating the manufacture and trade of the drug Valkyr, and, along with Mona Sax, wiping out the mercenary and gangster army of the Russian Mafia boss bent on taking over the Inner Circle - Vladimir Lem.
Raised during the 1970s, the son of Jack and Helen Payne, Max had a troubled background; his father was a drunk who often beat his wife and cheated on her, leading to her death in 1976. Jack himself died in 1979, leaving Max an orphan.
Max later became a detective in the New York City Police Department, becoming the partner and the best friend of Alex Balder. He married a DA worker named Michelle, six months after saving her, and the two had their only child, Rose, nine months later. In summer 1998, men addicted to Valkyrattacked and killed his family, after which Max vows to kill those responsible. He first believes that the ones who killed his family are Angelo Punchinello and Jack Lupino, the leaders of the Punchinello crime family, as well killing Alex, but he finally finds out, thanks to senator Alfred Woden, that Aesir's CEO Nicole Horne, is the one who ordered the death of his family, and he kills her on top of Aesir HQ, in 2001.
Two years later, in 2003, Max returns to the NYPD, and is given a new partner, Valerie Winterson. He begins to investigate assassinations made by a cleaning company, with the help of Woden, now sick with cancer, and Mona Sax, an assassin whom he met during his during his 2001 revenge quest. He appears to be in the middle of the war on the leadership of the Inner Circle. He later finds out that Valdimir Lem, a Russian mobster and a good friend of his, is the one behind the cleaner hitmen, as well being the lover of Winterson, and one of the people who are fighting for leadership of the Inner Circle. With the help of Vinnie Gognitti, an Italian mobster whom he also met during his 2001 quest, he confronts Vlad, who kills Vinnie and injures Max. With the help of Mona and Woden, he fights a final showdown with Vlad, who kills Woden and mortally wounds Mona. Max finally kills Vlad, but Mona dies of her gunshot wound.
Following these events, Max resigns from the NYPD.
Nine years later, after becoming addicted to alcohol and painkillers, Payne moves to São Paulo to work private security with his friend, Raul Passos, following the death of Tony DeMarco, son of the New Jersey mafia don, Anthony DeMarco. Max begin to work in Sao Paulo, Brazil for Rodrigo Branco and his brothers Victor and Marcelo, as well as his wife Fabiana. During that time, Rodrigo is murdered, and Fabiana is kidnapped. Max sets out to rescue her, but fails. With the help of a young detective, Wilson Da Silva, Max reveals that all the events that happened during his time in Brazil, were set by Victor Branco and his right-hand man, Armando Becker, as well with the help of the Crachá Preto gang leader Alvaro Neves. With the help of his new allies, Max is able to defeat Victor's group, the Unidade de Forças Especiais, and destroy the man's plans. Max defeats Victor at Sao Paulo's airport, leading to the latter's arrest. A week later, Max has arrived to Bahia on vacation, when he hears about Victor's death.