Ryan worked as an installer for Hephaistos Water Heater Company. After installing a water heater system in his own home, his family died in a fire accident shortly after due to the heater's faulty and unreliable design. Ryan was assumed responsible and taken to court. Since Hephaistos could not be held liable for the fire despite the flaws in their water heater design, Ryan was forced to take the blame. Despite no criminal intent, he was charged for attempted murder.
Ryan was also charged for contempt of court, but was later able to plead his attempted murder charge down to an assault charge although he was still sentenced to imprisonment. After serving his time, Ryan developed a strong hatred for Hephaistos, which was later brought out by InstaHeat; Ryan was further outraged by the fact that they were still selling the same faulty heater systems.
Ryan became a fifth columnist hoping to expose and sabotage other "fascist" water heater companies and would hand out fifth columnist pamphlets to other employees at InstaHeat. However, he was shunned because he was viewed as a communist sympathizer.
Events of L.A. Noire
While installing heaters for InstaHeat, Ryan became a suspect for a series of house fires because of his criminal record. He was approached by detectives Cole Phelps and Herschel Biggs. He immediately fled in his truck, but crashed and was apprehended.
After being interrogated, Ryan was charged for the fires as well for the murders of the Sawyer family. However, Phelps later realized that neither Ryan, Reginald Varley or Herbert Chapman were responsible. It is ultimately revealed that Ira Hogeboom was responsible for the fires, and Ryan was released.
- Having four questions to be asked of him, Ryan is a possible character through which The Hunch Achievement/Trophy can be gained.
- He is also the fitter of the InstaHeat boiler in The Driver's Seat case, as the statement on Mrs. Black's table is signed "M. Ryan".
- The player has a choice of either charging Ryan or Varley. However, charging Varley will result in an ending in which Phelps is chewed out by McKelty, and will result in a maximum of three stars, while charging Ryan can result in five stars and praise from McKelty.