1 9 9 6 – 2 0 0 0 (USA)
86 x 60 minute episodes
“There are extraordinary individuals among us known as pretenders – geniuses with the ability to insinuate themselves into any walk of life, to literally become anyone.”
Jarod (Michael T. Weiss) was a pretender. A child prodigy, he had been taken from his parents at an early age and raised in a secret, fortress-like facility called “The Centre” at Blue Cove, Delaware, where his extraordinary mental capabilities were honed so that, eventually, they could be sold to the highest bidder.
But Jarod escaped and now he was on the run from the Centre’s heavily armed operatives, seeking to expose the Centre and find clues to his real background (he had been told his parents died in a plane crash but had they?)
Melting into society, he used his abilities and his enormous bank of knowledge to become many things – a doctor, a sea captain, an airline pilot – helping those he met along the way.
Hot on his heels was Miss Parker (Andrea Parker), an alluring but totally ruthless Centre assassin who was determined to eliminate this threat to her employer. But Jarod, smiling, always slipped away. In the second season, Miss Parker faced competition from another Centre team assigned to get Jarod – Brigitte (Pamela Gidley) and Mr Lyle (James Denton).
As seasons passed, secrets of the Centre and its denizens began to be revealed, sometimes in flashbacks, and Miss Parker began to learn more about her own dark past. Lyle, it turned out, was her twin brother; her long-missing father, Mr Parker (Harve Presnell), also turned up and in fact, it turned out he ran the Centre.
It also appeared that Miss Parker’s mother had been killed by Jarod’s father.
Additional clues came from Angelo (Paul Dillon), who was mentally ill due to unfortunate medical experiments performed on him as the Centre was trying to make him into a pretender.
Broots (Jon Gries) was the Centre’s computer genius; Raines (Richard Marcus), the evil doctor behind many of the Centre’s experiments (in later episodes, after an assassination attempt, he lurched around gasping air from a portable oxygen tank), and “sweepers,” the ruthless operatives who “cleaned up” the Centre’s dirty work in the field.
In the series finale Jarod and Miss Parker – who at times now worked together – learned new secrets about the intertwined lives of those in the Centre, many of whom seemed to be related, and Jarod was reunited with his father, Major Charles (George Lazenby).
In a follow-up TV movie aired on TNT in January 2001, Parker and Sydney discovered that Jarod had not escaped the Centre alone and that there were two other pretenders on the loose – Eddie (who was subsequently killed) and Alex (a psycho seeking vengeance on Jarod, who appeared to die at the end of the episode – although they never found his body).
Another TV movie on TNT in December 2001 found Jarod and Miss Parker trapped on a strange island, learning even more about their pasts.
Michael T. Weiss
Young Miss Parker
Young Mr Parker
Dr Sydney Green
Dr William Raines
Mr Bobby Lyle
Sam the Sweeper
Willie the Sweeper
Lenny von Dohlen
Michelle Lucca Stamatis
Dr Christine Brant