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The Pretender is an American television series that aired on NBC from 1996 to 2000. The series starred Michael T. Weiss as Jarod, a genius and former child prodigy with "the ability to become anyone he wants to be," i.e., to flawlessly impersonate anyone in virtually any line of work. Patrick Bauchau and Andrea Parker co-starred as Sydney, Jarod's childhood teacher and mentor, and Miss Parker, a childhood friend and an operative for the mysterious organization (called "The Centre") that took Jarod from his parents as a child and forced him to unwittingly use his talents for their own interests. Jarod begins traveling around the country, searching for clues to his true identity and posing as doctors, police officers, attorneys, and various other figures in order to help those in trouble.Following the show's cancellation on NBC, two television movies were aired on the TNT Network that picked up where the series finale left off.According to show creators Steven Long Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle, the character of Jarod was inspired by serial impostor Ferdinand Waldo Demara.


Jarod (Michael T. Weiss) is a child prodigy who was abducted at a young age and raised in a think tank called The Centre, based in the fictional town of Blue Cove, Delawaremarker. Jarod's mentor and father figure is Sydney, a psychologist working for The Centre who coached him through a number of complex simulations designed to challenge his intellect. When Jarod discovered that The Centre was using data gathered from his response to the simulations for nefarious purposes, he escaped. Since that time, Jarod has been on the run, dispensing emotional justice to criminals who cover up their crimes by putting the criminals through similar (but staged) situations, and The Centre is never far behind.

Miss Parker (Andrea Parker), Sydney (Patrick Bauchau) and Broots (Jon Gries) make up The Centre team tasked with recapturing Jarod.



The building seen in nearly every episode and identified as "The Centre" is actually the R.marker C.marker Harris Water Treatment Plantmarker, located in Toronto, Canadamarker.

After the series was cancelled, it was picked up in syndication by Turner Network Television. In response to an outpouring of emails from fans which prompted negotiations involving the show's creators and both NBC and TNT, two telemovies – The Pretender 2001 and Island of the Haunted – were aired on TNT in 2001. Both movies ended with an unresolved cliffhanger.

The creators of the show, Steven Mitchell and Craig van Sickle stated in an interview on the French DVD of the telemovies that an ending was written for the series; they just needed financing to create it. In a September 2007 interview on the miniseries Tin Man, Mitchell and van Sickle noted that fans were still requesting an ending and that it would happen "soon" due to a relationship with "Strange Highway" Entertainment. They also noted that the story line would continue digitally on the web. On May 21, 2008, van Sickle again expressed interest in having a final episode or film to finish the movie, and asked fans to continue to be patient until it happens.

Profiler crossover

Michael T. Weiss portrayed his Jarod character on the TV series Profiler during an NBC crossover event. The first half of the plot unfolds on an episode of The Pretender, in which two lead characters from Profiler, Dr. Samantha 'Sam' Waters (Ally Walker) and Bailey Malone (Robert Davi) guest-starred. The conclusion takes place in an episode of Profiler (in which Michael T. Weiss guest-starred). Jarod's alias at the time is Jarod Doyle, a police officer. He vanishes at the end of the episode, presumably on to another "pretend."

After Profiler's main character, Sam Waters, was replaced with a new Profiler, Rachel Burke (Jamie Luner), there was another Pretender/Profiler crossover in which Jarod had a short lived romance with the new Profiler.



FAITA Award (also known as First Americans in the Arts Awards):
  • Outstanding Guest Performance by an Actor in a TV Drama Series - Tyler Christopher (2001)

Young Artist Awards:
  • Best Performance in a TV Drama Series — Guest Starring Young Actor - Seth Adkins (1999)
  • Best Performance in a TV Drama Series — Supporting Young Actor - Ryan Merriman (1998-1999)

Emmy Awards:

Golden Satellite Award:
  • Best TV Series-Drama (1998-1999)
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama Series - Michael T. Weiss (1998-1999)
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama Series - Andrea Parker (1999)

Saturn Award:

Young Artist Award:
  • Best Performance in a TV Drama Series for Guest Starring Young Actor - Zachary Browne (1998)
  • Best Performance in a TV Drama Series for Guest Starring Young Actress - Caitlin Wachs (2000)
  • Best Performance in a TV Drama Series for Guest Starring Young Actress - Ashley Peldon (1999)
  • Best Performance in a TV Drama Series for Young Actor - Ryan Merriman (1997)
  • Best Performance in a TV Drama Series for Young Actress - Ashley Peldon (1997)

YoungStar Award:
  • Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama TV Series - Ryan Merriman (1997,1999-2000)


20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the series to Region 1 DVD in season box sets. The first release, The Pretender: The Complete First Season was released on March 22, 2005. The fourth, and final, season set was released on July 18, 2006. The company also released the two Pretender movies together as a set on March 13, 2007. Episodes from the first season were also licensed for online purchase through's video on demand service.


  1. ''Pretender'' fans get a second chance - Arts
  2. TNT brings 'Pretender' back to life
  3. SoSF Interview With the “Tin Man” Creators Steven Long Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle - Slice of SciFi

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