33

When James Darrell Edwards left the NYPD to join the Men in Black, his prior identity was erased from all databases.

You are no longer part of the system. You are above the system—over it, beyond it.
Zed | Men in Black

But you can't just have a man disappear without people asking questions. Are ex-citizens considered dead or is their disappearance just kind of handwaved in-universe? For example, was NYPD notified of James's new job or (at the very least) his departure? What about his family?

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    How the MiB handle "questions" : upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6b/Neuralizer1.jpg ;) – NKCampbell Feb 27 '17 at 14:58
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    The montage shows the person being deleted from multiple official databases. It stands to reason that anyone connected to the person will be neuralized. – phantom42 Feb 27 '17 at 15:14
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    Are you asking about the movie or the comics or what? – jpmc26 Feb 27 '17 at 20:13
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    This must be what happens when in TFTS when someone says "our database caught fire, and so did our backups." – JFA Feb 27 '17 at 22:30
  • @jpmc26 - In the comics, there's very little about the private lives of the MiB. – Valorum Feb 28 '17 at 0:19
30

According to the official novelisation, when you join the MiB you simply remove yourself from your old life. One assumes that a general cover story is given to work colleagues ("I heard he went to work for the FBI or something") and that any close friends/family members are neuralysed to stop them from coming to find you.

He looked at Edwards. "Not that you're gonna have to worry about people who don't know our little secret. Thing is, if you join us, you won't have an outside life. No wife, no kids, nothing. You cut off contact with everybody you know outside the Black. In your case, it shouldn't take too long. And what you get for a prize is long hours, dangerous days, and no recognition. You don't even get a favorite shirt—unless you like white."

MiB: Official Novelisation

That all being said, it would appear that not having close ties/family to miss you, etc. is a positive selling point for any potential MiB candidate.


And to lower the chances of anyone bumping into you

Behind him, Zed said to the kid, "You'll conform to the identity we give you. You eat where we tell you, live where we tell you, and you get approval for any expenditure over a hundred dollars. In writing. In triplicate."

MiB: Official Novelisation

and

Kay said, "You just quit the force, paid your rent and gave up your lease—"

"Man, that's a rent-controlled apartment!"

"—you don't exist at the DMV any more, you never got a library card, a passport, or a season ticket to see the Yankees. Your credit card records went away, and your schools have no official records of you ever attending them."

MiB: Official Novelisation

  • 1
    I went back and forth on posting my own answer, but I ended up feeling like I couldn't support my point well enough. This answer is missing addressing some basic facts. E.g., Zed says, "You don't exist. You were never even born," while K deletes major records of existence like Social Security. K also warns him that, "The catch is that you will sever all human contact. Nobody will ever know you exist, anywhere. Ever." I don't see how this is possible without some kind of memory erasure. – jpmc26 Feb 28 '17 at 2:47
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    There's the issue of the tabloid at the end where K reunites with the woman he left to join MiB, though. – jpmc26 Feb 28 '17 at 2:48

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