Melinda May/Phil Coulson

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Pairing: Phil Coulson/Melinda May
Alternative name(s): Philinda, Mayson, Coulvary
Gender category: Het
Fandom: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
Canonical?: Canon
Prevalence: Common
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Phil/Melinda is the pairing of Agents Phil Coulson and Melinda May from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


In the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Melinda May is a member of Phil Coulson's hand-picked team of specialist agents who handle unusual cases. Melinda and Phil are clearly long-time colleagues who have worked together in the field and have a strong level of trust and mutual respect.

While the two are not hinted as having a romantic past, they are shown to have a close friendship born of facing difficult situations together. For example, Phil is the only member of the team who knows the true story behind what happened in Bahrain, a mission Melinda was on as a younger agent which went badly south, and the origins of her nickname "The Cavalry". In turn, Melinda is entrusted by Nick Fury to keep an eye on Phil and report on any strange symptoms he exhibits following his resurrection by Project T.A.H.I.T.I.

In season two, Melinda is one of the only members of the team who knows the truth about the side-effects Phil has been experiencing from the project, and Phil trusts her to keep watch over him and even to put him down if he becomes dangerous or violent. Melinda is often shown speaking more bluntly and honestly to Phil than other members of the team would be able to, and he clearly values her advice. The two share a dry sense of humour, and often trade sarcastic jokes and quips while out on a mission together.

In season four, Phil faces his feelings for Melinda and expresses a hope that they can be together. They kiss, but he later discovers that Melinda has been kidnapped by Holden Radcliffe and replaced by a life model decoy. Upon escaping the virtual reality simulation known as the Framework, Melinda is entirely unawares of her LMDs' actions and Phil is unwilling to admit what happened, only going so far as to say he drank their celebratory bottle of Haig whiskey. At the end of season 4, they agree to open another bottle after they've saved the world.

In season five, Phil and Melinda finally admit their feelings for one another and share a kiss, pushed by the revelation that Coulson is dying. At the end of the season they go to Tahiti to live out the remainder of Phil's life together.


Phil/Melinda has a sizeable fan following, and is the third most popular het pairing in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fandom (judging by works tagged on AO3), after Leo Fitz/Jemma Simmons and Skye|Daisy Johnson/Grant Ward.

Common Tropes in Fanworks

  • "Husband & Wife":Owing to the history between the two and the level of mutual trust and camaraderie they share, as well as their not-infrequent bickering, many Phil/Melinda shippers refer to the two as "married" or as each other's "wife" or "husband".[1][2]
  • Parents: Additionally, during season 1, before Skye's parentage was revealed, some fans theorised or headcanoned that Phil and Melinda could be her real parents,[3] and many fanworks creators created works in which Skye is the biological or adopted daughter of Phil and Melinda.
  • Fake/Pretend Relationship: When Phil and Melinda go on missions together, they are occasionally required to pose as a couple,[4] which gives rise to a number of pseudo-romantic situations in fanworks, or opportunities for the pretend couple trope.
  • Soulmate AU: Soulmarks are another common trope for the pair, due to the popularity of soulmark/soulmate AUs in the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe.





Archives and Communities


  1. ^ Gifset by fyeahlparrilla, Tumblr. Posted April 10, 2015 (Accessed August 21, 2017).
  2. ^ Tumblr post by marcuskaen, Tumblr. Posted February 1, 2017 (Accessed August 21, 2017).
  3. ^ Tumblr post by 924inlegend, Tumblr. Posted November 11, 2013 (Accessed August 21, 2017).
  4. ^ Tumblr post by fyeahlparrilla, Tumblr. Posted April 6, 2015 (Accessed August 21, 2017).