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Martin Brenner

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Dr. Martin Brenner was a senior research scientist and the director of Hawkins National Laboratory, serving as the main antagonist for the first season. He raised Eleven in the lab, testing and pushing the limits of her psychic abilities through various experiments. In one such experiment, Brenner indirectly unleashed a monster from another dimension into Hawkins, allowing Eleven to escape the lab. In the following week, Brenner and his team searched for Eleven while investigating the newly opened gateway to the other dimension.



Dr. Brenner was involved in the controversial Project MKUltra, a CIA-sanctioned research program designed to develop mind-control techniques in which the subject suffered extreme conditions at the hands of the researchers, including use of psychedelic drugs, physical and mental abuse, sleep deprivation, and malnourishment.

One of the volunteer test subjects, college student Terry Ives, was pregnant during the program. She gave birth to a daughter named Jane, which Brenner and his staff took from her because the child was born with special powers due to the experiments Terry was subject to.[1]

After Project MKUltra was shut down, Terry filed a lawsuit against Brenner, but it was dismissed citing lack of evidence. When the details of MKUltra became public knowledge, Hawkins Lab managed to block inquiries despite their legal obligation.[2]

Dr. Brenner raised Jane under the name Eleven and she referred to him as "papa." He trained and developed her psychical abilities. One of these abilities was the use of remote viewing aided by a sensory deprivation tank, used to spy on a Russian agent at a distance far away.

As Eleven was spying on the agent, she encountered a monster which was heard over the loudspeakers in the lab. Though Eleven was terrified, Dr. Brenner was intrigued and told her to make contact with the creature. However, upon her touch, a gate to an alternate dimension opened in Hawkins Lab, and the monster passed through, killing a scientist.

Season One

In the commotion caused by the Gate's opening, Eleven managed to escape from the lab. Brenner and other scientists investigated the lab's underground subsystem where they discovered that strange tendrils and toxic biologic growth native to the other dimension was beginning to spread through the corridors. Brenner and his team of agents began searching for Eleven and the Monster.[3]

The monster kidnapped a boy named Will Byers, which Brenner worked to cover up by placing a fake corpse in the local quarry. Brenner investigated the Byers' shed, finding traces of some bizarre, supernatural energy,

Brenner discovered Eleven was staying with Will's friends, and sent agents to capture her - however, they managed to evade them, until Jim Hopper revealed they were located in Hawkins Middle School. Brenner, assisted by agents, traveled to the school and attempted to take her back to the laboratory. Although Eleven killed some of the agents using her biokinetic powers, she was drained of strength and collapsed. The blood spilt from dead bodies attracted the Monster, which distracted the surviving agents, allowing Eleven and her friends to escape. Brenner was attacked by the Monster shortly after their escape. It is unknown if Brenner survived the attack.


  • Eleven - Captor and father figure
  • Terry Ives - Kidnapped her child; Tested on her

Memorable Quotes

  • "Will you trust me?"
  • "Incredible."



  • One of the clippings at the police station, shown briefly in the epilogue of Chapter Eight, refers to a Dr. Richard Brenner as the head of the Narcotic Enforcement Division. The use of "Richard" instead of "Martin" is mostly likely an error made by the production team.


Season One appearances
The Vanishing of Will Byers The Weirdo on Maple Street Holly, Jolly The Body
The Flea and the Acrobat The Monster The Bathtub The Upside Down


  1. Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Six: The Monster"
  2. Information retrieved from newspaper articles seen in "Chapter Three: Holly, Jolly."
  3. Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers"

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