Born in Northampton, he was educated at Manchester Grammar School and New College, Oxford, where he got a first class degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). At Oxford he was editor of the student newspaper, Cherwell, founded the Oxford Handbook and the Oxbridge Careers Handbook, and was president of the Oxford Union.
He specialises in politics, and has appeared as a regular reporter on BBC Two's Newsnight since 1992. In March 2007, he was appointed the programme's political editor.
In 2003, under heavy pressure from the preparation of the Hutton Report, it refused to show Crick's report for Newsnight into 'Betsygate', the alleged misuse of public funds by the private office of former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith and supposed payments to his wife Betsy for work she did not do. Crick referred the case to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Sir Philip Mawer and the Duncan Smiths were cleared of any impropriety.
In the 2005 general election, it was observed that the five most terrifying words in the political lexicon were "Michael Crick is in reception".
He has also reported for Channel 4 News and Panorama, and has appeared on Have I Got News For You. He is known as the nemesis and unauthorised biographer of Jeffrey Archer. Margaret Crick, his former wife, published a biography of Archer's wife Mary in 2005.
A keen supporter of Manchester United, he has written several books on the team as well as his political works. In 1998-99 he was the organiser of the Shareholders United Against Murdoch campaign which successfully opposed BSkyB's proposed takeover of United. He later served as Vice-Chairman of Shareholders United.
He lives with his partner Lucy Hetherington and they have a daughter called Isabel. He also has an older daughter, Catherine, from his previous marriage. On 24 February 2008, the News of the World newspaper reported that he had a six month affair with Jeanette Eccles a former BBC researcher. The paper ridiculed Crick for presenting himself as moral crusader, while his own behaviour had been unethical. He was also criticised for trying to prevent the publication of the story on the grounds of privacy, while he was making a living from exposing the wrong doings of others.
Michael Crick is known for his investigations of politicians, including Jeffrey Archer, David Blunkett and Caroline Spelman.