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Kowalski is ranked as Second-In-Command, as Skipper's Lieutenant, Shock Unit. Kowalski outranks in other penguins in height and intelligence. He is a major character of Madagascar, a supporting character in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, a major protagonist of The Penguins of Madagascar, a supporting character in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, and one of the main protagonists of Penguins of Madagascar: The Movie. Kowalski forms plans for the group and usually takes notes for Skipper.

Kowalski's intellect has allowed him to take up positions such as being the team's medic as well as head of R&D. He has described himself as a 'slightly mad scientist', but thanks to the trouble his inventions cause, his fellow penguins might say this is an understatement.


Kowalski has been in all three Madagascar movies and also in the specials A Christmas Caper and Merry Madagascar. In the first movie, he plays a small role and is only seen briefly at the zoo, then at the Grand Central Station where he and the other animals were tranquilized, and after reawakening the team seized control of the cargo ship to steer it to Antarctica. When the penguins were in the cargo ship, he was navigating for the team, yet he did not get what the map's navigation points were, which is strange for someone like Kowalski. At the end, he is shown on beach chairs with the other three in Madagascar because Antarctica wasn't that great in their opinion.

In the second movie, he is steering the plane in the cockpit with the other three Penguins, and high fives the other three when they manage to land (although not so well) the plane, in fact half-destroying it. He is shown to be shocked, along with the others, when blackmailing pictures of Skipper kissing the bobble-head Lola are shown by the monkeys. Afterwards, he is shown again at Skipper and Lola's wedding.

In Madagascar 3, Kowalski becomes even more like his spin-off character - he invents a Warp Drive for the Super Plane (later revealed to be part of Alex' dream) and upgrades an SUV with a nuclear reactor for additional speed. When it crashes, becoming utterly destroyed, his genius helps to upgrade the circus into a fantastic lights and music show. Along with the other Penguins, he helps to fight off DuBois.

In A Christmas Caper, he is organizing the HQ for Christmas, and follows Skipper and Rico when they go and find Private. In Merry Madagascar, he is hostile towards the reindeer, like Skipper and Rico, although Private falls for Cupid, a young female reindeer. He then flies Santa's sled with the other three after being covered in the magical dust which lets the reindeer fly. After crash-landing similarly to in Madagascar 2, he still high-fives the others and Skipper remarks "Whoever said penguins couldn't fly?!?", and says a similar line in Madagascar 2 after they emerge from the wreckage of the plane. Afterwards, he returns to Madagascar with Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman, Private, Skipper and Rico although they all wanted to stay in New York.


Kowalski is the brains of the team; their group strategist and inventor. He's loyal, even if he's not always completely honest about his inventions. He's also highly narcissistic - both confident and boastful about his brains and his looks - so much so that Kowalski will regularly try out his completely untested inventions on himself. Sometimes it ends well. And sometimes... it doesn't. He loves to demonstrate his encyclopedic knowledge of anything and everything, and can be such a show-off that Skipper has created the 'Show-Off Jar', which Kowalski must put a quarter into every time he shows off his intellect unnecessarily.[1]

Kowalski's main disadvantage is that he sometimes over-analyzes things, extensive reasoning getting in the way of acting. Also, he can become too fascinated by science; in the episode Jiggles, he completely loses it when the other penguins become concerned over his latest scientific breakthrough/abomination of nature, calling them "science haters". It was only when Jiggles tried to eat him that he snapped out of it. He often does not accept when Private questions his ethics.

Kowalski, as a man of science, does not believe in unproven magic or King Julien's so-called sky spirits. However he has witnessed the supernatural and, while he attempts to find a scientific explanation, he doesn't always succeed, such as in Out of the Groove when King Julien had his Groove removed.

Kowalski is clearly a nerd, and uses many memes popularized by the internet such as "Wehehehe, fail-ail!" (Night and Dazed), "For the win!" (Invention Intervention), and "Holla!" (Friend-in-a-Box). However, due to his nerdiness, all his attempts to be cool sound rather forced. He also tends to use long words. The others are not always able to understand what he is saying, and sometimes ask him to repeat what he's saying in more simple terms.

Though Kowalski is the smartest of the penguins, he lacks the physical endurance of the other penguins, tiring more easily as seen in A Kipper for Skipper. He's convinced that intellect trumps brute force, which brings him into disagreements with Rico, the muscle of the team.

Despite Kowalski admitting he has trouble expressing his emotions, he still demonstrates strong feelings for others, such as in All Choked Up when he fears that Rico is going to blow up, and by writing bad poetry about his crush, a dolphin named Doris - whom he also has a tattoo of. He has been seen kissing with Eva at the end of the Penguins of Madagascar the Movie. It is also strongly implied that he once had feelings for a van and gushed "She's beautiful!".[2] On the other hand, in The Otter Woman his main interest in 'Arlene' is scientific as he prepares to study her - while taking her for a nice walk in the park, of course.

Kowalski has the worst luck of the four penguins, but it's mostly brought on by his own arrogance, his inventions frequently exploding does hinder him him from experimenting on himself, such as in Brain Drain. Even so, he can be expected to take hits in other circumstances as well,.

Despite his intellect being the highest of all the penguins, Kowalski is not more or less literate than his team, although for some reason this doesn't hinder him from solving complex equations, which means he is fluent in mathematics and algebra. The series writers have realized how this makes no sense at all, and Kowalski seems to have gained a rudimentary handle on literacy as in later episodes he can interpret road signs and use the Speak and Spell.

Taken from IMDB[]

Kowalski is the designated intelligence officer of the Penguin Commandos. As Skipper's second-in-command, it may be assumed that he carries the rank of Lieutenant. Kowalski is always given the most difficult and possibly dangerous tasks, such as planning the subterranean escape tunnels beneath Central Park Zoo, and while he does not always succeed (such as during the navigation of the hijacked vessel), there is no questioning his dedication to each and every mission.

Taken from NICK[]

When Skipper needs analysis or an immediate invention, Kowalski is there with his crayon (or pencil/pen), notebook and slightly skewed scientific method. Kowalski's authoritative attitude covers up the fact that he usually doesn't have a clue or is unaware of what's happening . Even though Kowalski's a self-proclaimed scientific mastermind, he can't read English any better than the rest of the Penguins. Although, on some episodes we have seen him typing on a keyboard for the computer, or his Speak and Spell, so he appears to read a little bit of English.

Alternate versions[]

  • In the episode It's About Time there were three Kowalskis. The two alternate versions came from two alternate futures (most likely sharing the same consciousness) and were basically Kowalski.
  • In Brain Drain, Kowalski gave himself more intelligence than usual then (resultingly) hopelessly stupid.
  • In The Big Move, Kowalski continuously changed form when hit by the Shrink Ray.
  • In P.E.L.T., he has an alter-ego of himself, where he's more confident and looks similar a military general with a green army helmet & sunglasses & puts on a deep baritone voice.

Super-Mega-Genius Kowalski[]

This version has an extremely bulbous head from an attempt to supercharge his own brain... and not just literally, as he tends to see no reason to be hard on himself as the possibilities of his new noggin seemed endless from curing the common cold to calculating pi to the millionth digit, and he was able to make flawless calculations for making and perfecting his inventions... at least until the effects began to wear off resulting in an even more stupid intelligence than before the effects. (Brain Drain)

Stupid Kowalski[]

When the effects of his brain charge wore off, Kowalski's head was so deflated that the white on the front of his head flopped onto the top, giving the bald-spot look (unlike his usual appearance where he has a widow's peak on his head). In addition, the way he talked sounded like a mixture of King Julien, Mort and Ed from Ed, Edd, and Eddy, maybe even dumber then all three idiots combined, as he couldn't even say the simplest of complex words like "temporary", forgot how to swim, thinks beavers are aquatic birds, and he got a plunger stuck on his face. Despite the stupidity, parts of the original Kowalski's personality seem to be intact, as he likes to help the team on missions (even though being stupid means he does more harm then good) and he seems to find pleasure in pushing buttons on devices ("Listen to me com-pu-ter, I am the boss!"). The old Kowalski was restored when his annoyingly stupid form got some brain food from eating fish. (Brain Drain)

Shrink Ray Kowalski[]

In The Big Move, Kowalski went through several forms by size - a shrunk Kowalski, an over-sized Kowalski, a Super-Fat Kowalski, a Super-Thin Kowalski, and a Polka-dot Kowalski. However these all seem to be just different shapes for him with no effect on his personality.

Commander Kowalski[]

Commander Kowalski is an alter-ego of Kowalski that appeared in P.E.L.T.. Kowalski's personality becomes slightly different, he's more confident and has a more ideal way of leading the penguins. He tries not to expose this alter-ego in front of Skipper during Skipper's attempts at P.E.L.T. (only when he knows of Skipper's nearby presence, which he only noticed when they landed near him in the park) Kowalski changes his voice tone so he has a deep baritone that makes him sound like a military leader and wears a green army helmet & a pair of sunglasses.

Mutated Kowalski[]

After he was hit with Dave's medusa serum he gets a huge afro, long tentacle like appendages, fangs, and a forked snake-like tongue. He hisses and acts savage until Private manages to get Kowalski's personality to return by telling him that "Eva is worried about you". Kowalski along with the rest of penguin kind was turned back to normal when Dave's ray powered by Private's immeasurable cuteness was fired.


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