Lois' Daily Planet

The Pretender

which aired on Saturday, November 21, 1998

The Pretender was created by Steven Long Mitchell & Craig W. Van Sickle

The series stars:
Michael T. Weiss as Jarod
Andrea Parker as Miss Parker
Patrick Bauchau as Sydney
Jon Gries as Broots
with Jamie Denton as Mr. Lyle

The Pretender also stars (although not necessarily in every episode):    Sam Ayres (Sam  the Sweeper), Zachary Browne (Young Kyle), Paul Dillon (Angelo),  Jeffrey Donovan (Kyle),  Willie Gault (Willie the Sweeper),  Pamela Gidley (Brigitte), Richard Marcus (Mr. Raines), Ryan Merriman (Young Jarod), Kim
 Meyers (Jarod's Mother), Jonathan Osser (Younger Jarod), Ashley Peldon (Young Miss Parker),
 Harve Presnell (Mr. Parker), and Alex Wexo (Young Sydney).

Guest Stars:  Boti Ann Bliss (Sandi), Darren Kennedy, Diana Maria Riva, Channon Roe, Tom Towles, Leigh Taylor Young (Michelle) and Steve Vinovich. 

This is EPISODE #50 
Written By:  Tommy Thompson
Directed By:  Fred K. Keller

Broots arrives in Sydney's lab and gives him a message from Jarod that says Sydney is urgently needed.  George Stamatis' hospital ID bracelet included with the message.  Sydney tells Broots that he's never seen that message and leaves.

At the Hotel La Salle, in San Diego, California, Jarod is falsifying an arrest record for himself, doctoring photos to make it appear as though he has been in prison and applying tattoos ... on his arms, on his hands, on his chest, on his neck, on his back.  He's also sporting a little tuft of hair right under his lower lip, like half of Hitler's mustache, but upside down (is there a name for that, I wonder?)  When he's finished, he has become Jarod Barker, an ex-con, just out of jail after serving a six-year term.

While he's working in a metal shop, grinding metal, Jarod's parole officer, Jack Brevins (and his two dogs, Junior and Big Daddy), pay him a visit.  Brevins tells Jarod to toe the line - then makes it clear that Brevins will be one who decides where the line is drawn.  At the end of their talk, Brevins tosses Jarod a little bag of heroin and tells him to consider it an "advance."  (I think it was heroin -- maybe it was cocaine -- I'm not into these things, so I can't be certain).

Later, as Sydney is standing in front of the St. Mary's Medical Center, from whence came the bracelet, Jarod arrives.  They greet each other, shaking hands.  Sydney notices the tattoo on Jarod's wrist and tells him that he likes "the artwork."  Together, they watch Sydney's lost love, Michelle, and their son (Nicholas)- walk into the hospital.  Sydney turns to ask Jarod what's going on, but Jarod has disappeared.

As Jarod enters his room, he hears noises from the bathroom and grabs a frying pan to use as a weapon, if needed, then goes to investigate.  When he gets there, he realizes that there is someone in his shower.  He flings back the shower curtain and finds a pretty blonde girl in there, naked, having just finished her shower. As she dresses, she explains to Jarod that she is a "house-warming gift" from his parole officer, Jack Brevins ... "Like a living, breathing, welcome mat."  She's already gone shopping, has her bags half unpacked and is practically settled in.  Jarod tries to dissuade her from staying, but she pleads with him - saying that the parole officer will think that she made Jarod angry if she doesn't stay and will take it out on her.  Jarod allows her to remain.

Back at the hospital, Sydney tells a nurse that he was called in to consult on the Stamatis case and learns that Michelle's husband, George Stamatis, is dying - only has a matter of hours left.   Their son, Nicholas, isn't coping with this very well and Sydney stays close - but without revealing himself - in case he's needed.

Jarod goes for a walk in the park, his gift-girl (Sandi) tagging along.   There he meets and speaks with Lupe Harmon, the widow of the ex-con who was killed only a few weeks after being released from prison, during an attempted residential burglary .   Bobby Harmon's widow (Lupe) was left to raise their twin boys on her own.   Harmon's parole officer was the same man who has been assigned to Jarod.  Jarod tells Lupe that he was in the same cell block with Bobby at Mayfield Penitentiary.  He shows her the picture that he doctored, which now shows Jarod standing next to Bobby, and says that it was taken three days before he was released.  Lupe tells Jarod that Bobby's involvement in the burglary doesn't make any sense.  He had so much going for him when he got out of prison ... the boys, a good job, Lupe ... Jarod tells her that he knows that to be true, and that's why he's there.

During his first "official" meeting with Brevins (at the parole office), Jarod realizes that the guy is crazy about dogs.  There are pictures of dogs on the walls, ceramics of dogs on his desk, dogs everywhere!   Jarod remarks that giving ex-cons bags of drugs and gifts of women isn't exactly going to help to re-acclimate them to "normal" society.   Brevins doesn't care.  He asks Jarod how many opportunities are out there for an ex-con with a history of violence, then answers his own question ... "zero, nada."  Brevins gives Jarod a slip of paper with an address on it and tells him to be there at 10 PM that night.    He also tells Jarod to stay away from Lupe and the twins, saying that she can only cause him trouble.

At the hospital, Sydney finds Michelle in the chapel.   She's surprised to see him there.  Sydney tells her that he thought she might need a friend.  Michelle tells him that she likes it in the chapel - especially in the morning, when everything still seems possible.  They talk and Sydney tries to comfort her.  She tells him that Nicolas isn't handling the situation well - he's very angry.  Sydney tells her that it's painful to lose someone you love.  They end up praying for Michelle's husband, together.

Back at his apartment, Jarod learns from Sandi what a topless bar is.  Then he asks if she told Brevins about their trip to the park.   She says that she might have mentioned it, but doesn't admit to spying on Jarod's activities.  Seeing him working on his laptop, she asks him what he's doing.  Jarod tells her that he's trying to figure out why Bobby Harmon would throw away his future and his life for $256.  He asks her if she knew him and Sandi says that she didn't.  When she leaves the apartment, Jarod follows her.  She goes to the Sea Mist Convalescent Home and visits a young man in a wheel chair with a permanent neck brace.

At the hospital, Sydney speaks with George Stamatis, who asks Sydney to tell Nicholas, after George is gone, that he is his real father.  He wants Sydney to promise to look after "their" son.   Sydney tries to say no, but quickly gives in to the dying man's wishes.  Neither of them realize until too late that Nicholas is standing in the doorway, and after hearing their conversation, he storms off.

The address for Jarod's 10 PM meeting with Jack Brevins turns out to be that of a strip club.   At the pool tables, the parole officer introduces Jarod to another ex-con, Pat Rush.  Brevins tells them that they are going to lay out a plan for the two of them to break into a home in a nearby sub-division to steal some cash.   Jarod talks to Rush while Brevins takes a phone call and finds that Bobby was killed during a similar robbery because he was planning on turning state's evidence against Brevins.  Bobby Harmon wanted out, to try to live a decent life with his wife and kids.   Instead, he ended up dead ... killed by Jack Brevins.

George Stamatis tells Sydney where he will probably be able to find Nicholas.  Sydney goes there and, as Jarod watches, Sydney talks to Nicholas about what it means to be a father.  He tells Nicholas that being a father isn't just about creation ... "... it's about being there in the middle of the night when you're sick, and teaching you how to ride a bicycle or how to tie your tie properly.  Being a parent isn't about the big moments - it's about the little ones."   Sydney tells Nicholas that his father is in the hospital ... and that he (Sydney) only hopes to someday be Nicholas' friend.  Nicholas asks Sydney if he ever got the chance to "be a father" and Sydney replies that yes, he "had someone." 

At the strip joint, Jack Brevins lays out the plan to break into a home in the sub-division.  Jarod takes the gun, Pat rush takes the shells and the whole plan is supposed to go into action in 12 hours.

Managing to free himself from Sandi for a while, Jarod goes to Lupe's house, to talk to her again.   He tells her that he does not think that it was Bobby's idea or choice to try to rob the house where he was killed.   During the course of the conversation, Lupe offers Jarod some Kiwi/Papaya juice.  She tells him that it was Bobby's favorite drink and that she still has a dozen bottles of it left in the refrigerator.  Jarod realizes that Sandi must have been involved in some way with Bobby Harmon as well.

At his apartment, Jarod asks Sandi about Bobby Harmon again. This time, she tells the truth and Jarod learns that she told Pat Rush that Bobby was going to turn Brevins in for the things in which he was forcing his parolees to become involved.  Sandi also tells Jarod that the young man she went to see at the hospital is her brother and that he is in that condition because of an accident that took place while she was driving the car.   It takes $3,000 a month to keep her brother there and working for Jack Brevins is the only way that Sandi can make that kind of money.   She also tells Jarod that Jack Brevins has threatened to further harm her brother, if she doesn't do what he says.

Jarod hatches a plan to put an end to Brevins' exploitation of his parolees and enlists the aid of Sandi and Lupe to help him.  Then, Jarod talks Pat Rush into helping him rob Brevins' house, instead of the house in the sub-division.   Once the robbery is underway, Brevins manages to spook Rush and he tries to shoot Jarod.  However,  Jarod "fixed" his gun, and it won't shoot.  Jarod smacks Rush in the head with the butt of  his gun, knocking him out cold.   Then (with Brevins blindfolded), Jarod pretends to shoot one of his dogs and says he will shoot the other one unless he confesses to killing Bobby Harmon during the other burglary.

To save his dog, Brevins confesses.  Jarod removes the blindfold and Brevins finds himself being video-taped (and the tape witnessed) by Sandi and Lupe.

Michelle and Nicholas spend the last moments with George Stamatis as he dies.  Later, as they are one their way home, Michelle says good-bye to Sydney "for now" and Nicholas gives Sydney his office phone number so that Sydney can call him.   Sydney asks Nicholas who he should tell the receptionist is calling and Nicholas says, "A friend."

After Michelle and Nicholas leave, Jarod comes out from where he was lurking and speaks to Sydney.   Sydney thanks Jarod for letting him know about Michelle's husband.   Jarod begins to walk away, but Sydney calls him back.   Jarod's tie is not properly tied ... it's been pulled down on his shirt, the way men do when they want to relax.   Sydney straightens it and says to Jarod, "Didn't I teach you how to tie your tie?"   Jarod says, "Yes, you did."  The two look at each other for a long moment, both of them realizing that Sydney has just made a commitment to Jarod in terms of how he feels about him, then Jarod turns and walks away ...

... and the screen fades to black.

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