The Pretender


There are Pretenders among us … Geniuses with the ability to become anyone they want to be. In 1963 a corporation known as The Centre isolated a young Pretender named Jarod and exploited his genius for their research. Then … one day … their Pretender ran away …

A TV series that is able to combine mystery, action, humor, tragic, sentimentality and the internet without being twitty or kitschy, and that is based on itself? Yes, that exists.

The idea: There are people with such a high intelligence, that they are able to think into any other identity. They just need specialized literature, and the Pretender becomes a doctor, lawyer, skydiver, pilot, FBI agent etc. The Pretender doesn't play a role, but he becomes the targeted person. He doesn't even change his actual appearance, although of course he uses appropriate clothes and manners.

There was a TV series with a similar idea ten years before: „Stingray“. This character played different roles to help people, too – but not like a Pretender. But in this series there was no background story – „Stingray“ just came from nowhere. On the contrary the Pretender Jarod is searching for his identity, because as a 5 year old child he had been taken away from his parents. During the lots of simulations he had to do for The Centre, he lost his memories to his true ego.

When Jarod finds out that his work is not only used for good, he breaks away. Due to the long time of isolation – 1963 to 1996 – he didn't learn about a lot of things that are usual for other people. Because of that fact he often seems to be naive, but the producers, writers and not at least the actor Michael T. Weiss found a way that this doesn't look foolish.

Although Jarod didn't know about the abuse of his work, he feels guilty about it. While he tries to fight these feelings by helping other people, he is chased by The Centre. Actually he could just disappear, but The Centre presumably knows his true identity, that's why he takes the risk to be caught again and again.

Additionally he finds out some things about the woman who is chasing him, Miss Parker. At least there is the father-son ratio between Jarod and Sydney, although both of them don't like to admit this.

The show had similar problems in the beginning like all other shows have while the main characters consitute themselves, but it's remarkable that there were no „flag“ phases like I found in other shows that ran over some years. Very interesting are the crossovers with „Profiler“, although the passages have been … well … not so good.

No show is perfect. This one has it's weaknesses and unlogicals, too – like the unfortunately usual mistakes that are made in a lot of TV shows and movies when it comes about the internet (like Broots found out that Jarod's homepage was programmed to change the server every 18 hours. Ouch.) After all they're able to use e-mail ;-)

For me The Pretender is a perfect frame to work out own ideas for stories. Two of them „Shadows“ and „Lights“, are already done. Your comments and suggestions are welcome!

I have found some fan fiction stories on the net and found them so great that I began to translate them to German. You can find them in the subdirectory Julie.

Oh, by the way, I'm looking for original (not synchronised) episodes of the third and fourth season of this show on video (PAL), CD or DVD. Please make your offers!