Lois' Daily Planet

The Pretender

SYNOPSIS FOR
HOMEFRONT
which aired on Saturday, December 12, 1998

PRETENDER - HOMEFRONT SYNOPSIS
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:  Melora Hardin, Inday Ba, Travis Tedfor, Meghan Murphy
with Vyto Ruginis

This is EPISODE #51 
Written By:  Guy Zimmerman
Directed By:  Michael Zinberg



The episode begins opens with Jarod appropriating $58,990,620.00 from one of The Centre's bank accounts at the Dover Town Bank.  As he works, Jarod's mind flashes back to his childhood - to the day that he stood, waiting, too nervous to even knot his tie properly, practicing what he would say when his parents finally arrived at The Centre. 

Lyle and Miss Parker are talking about Jarod's latest "lightening" of The Centre's bank account.  Lyle says, "You know, murder happens, extortion is sometimes necessary, but theft ... simply taking for the taking, has always escaped me as an admirable criminal pursuit."   The statement allows Lyle to lead the conversation into the fact that his brand new car, which only had 10 miles on the odometer, was also stolen, something that seems to aggravate Lyle more than Jarod's pilfering of The Centre's account.  In an exaggerated show of sisterly concern, Miss Parker helps Lyle close the barn door after the horse has fled, by giving him a gift - "the club" ... an implement that purports to prevent cars from being stolen.  Lyle tells her that because the car has a $2,000 alarm system, which the dealer "all but threw in" on the deal, he still hopes to get his car back, all in one piece.

The scene switches ... a laser site is zeroing in on a Delaware license plate that reads "Lyle 1."  Moments later, we see a man with a missile launcher blow Lyle's car to smithereens!  There stands Jarod, with a huge cigar in his mouth and a wicked grin on his face.  Jarod walks over to what's left of the vehicle, picks up the battered and burning license plate, then uses it to light his cigar!  Jarod has just used Lyle's car as part of the demonstration needed to sell 60 SAM missiles to Desmond Blake, an illegal arms dealer.  Blake tells Jarod that if he can deliver them to Venezuela, they're in business.  Smiling, Jarod says that it will be no problem - there is no business like the arms business.

Back at The Centre, Sydney is wondering what Jarod is up to this time, Broots is looking at the amount that is missing from The Centre account and is remarking that it isn't every day that someone gets "ripped off" to the exact penny, and a grumpy Lyle is talking to the police on the phone, explaining to a police officer that his car is a black, 500 SL, with the license plate "Lyle 1."   Looking smug, Miss Parker strolls into the room, walks up behind Lyle, reaches around and slaps an Express Mail envelope against his chest.  She takes the phone out of Lyle's hand, tells the police "the car has been found," thanks them very much and tells them to have "a real nice day!"

Lyle tells Miss Parker and Broots that it's no good trying to track the money that Jarod took from The Centre accounts - it'll take three weeks to run through the maze of accounts through which Jarod has funneled the money, and by then he will be long gone.  But Broots has created a new program that marks The Centre's money, electronically, and that allows him to follow the money, wherever it goes.  He has named it "The Hound."  It's already tracing the money that Jarod took  and Broots has high hopes that it will find the final destination in short order.  As an aside, he remarks that it's too bad that it doesn't work for cars.  Lyle sneers and Miss Parker stifles a laugh.

Jarod arrives at Desmond Blake's compound in Caracas, Venezuela, with the missiles.   Blake tells Jarod that he'll cut him a check and Jarod tells him that a check wasn't part of the deal.  Blake thinks he's bested Jarod and tells him that he guesses that Jarod should have covered that before delivering the missiles.  But Jarod tells Blake that, in their current state, the missiles couldn't take out a Tonka truck.  They need to be programmed, and Jarod is the only one who can do it.  Jarod tells Blake that he guesses that he should have covered that before Jarod brought them to him.  Jarod wants cash - half now and half "when they can fly."  Jarod tells Blake that it will take him two weeks to program the missiles.  Blake says he wants them in 72 hours.  Jarod protests, saying it would take a team of specialists to program 60 missiles in 72 hours.  Blake tells Jarod that he'll give him Logan and Dobbs to help, he wants Jarod to stay on the compound, in the guest house, until the missiles are done ... in 72 hours. Jarod has no choice but to agree.

In the workroom where the missiles are being kept, Jarod shows Dobbs the guidance telemetry.  He says that it needs to be downloaded into the missiles, one at a time - which means that the three of them will be working in shifts.  Dobbs says that since Mr. Blake already has buyers lined up, they don't have any choice.  Jarod leaves the room, saying that he's going to get some air.  As he leaves, he tells Dobbs to get started.

In reality, Jarod slips into the house and checks out the alarm system.  Afterwards, he walks outside and comes upon Blake's children.  Jarod shows the little boy how to make his balsa airplane fly further and helps his older sister, Rebecca, with some spelling for a letter she's writing to her mother.  There's a picture of her mom, with Rebecca and her brother, pasted into the front of the notebook she uses to write the letters and Rebecca asks Jarod to not tell her dad about it, since she's not supposed to have a picture of her mother.  Her brother runs up and says that their mother is in heaven - she's an angel now.  Jarod flashes back to a conversation that it had with the children's mother a month earlier, in Atlanta, Georgia.  She was waiting tables at a restaurant and thanked Jarod for his patience in waiting for her.  She spills a glass of water on Jarod's table and he tells her that spilling a glass of water isn't the end of the world, but losing your children is.  She's shocked that Jarod knows about her kids.  He tells Wendy that he realizes that she doesn't have a lot of reason to trust people right now, but he wants to help her get her children back, because he knows how she's feeling.  She sits down at Jarod's table and pulls a picture of herself with her son and daughter out of her pocket.  Wendy tells Jarod that it's been three years and she doesn't even know where they are.  She tells Jarod that not long after the court granted her custody, her ex-husband stole them and although she's been searching ever since, they could be anywhere in the world by now.  She tells Jarod that Desmond sees their children as his number one possession and he would kill to keep Wendy away from them.  Jarod asks her again, to let him help her.  She wants to know who Jarod is - and he tells her that he is someone who believes that children shouldn't be stolen from a mother who loves them.

Back in present time, Jarod watches the kids putting flowers on Wendy Dawson's grave.  They tell him that they miss their mom, but she died three years ago, in a car crash.  Jarod flashes back to the day when he was waiting for his parents to arrive at The Centre.  Sydney tells him that there was an accident ... the plane crashed and there were no survivors.

The nanny comes to take Ryan and Rebecca back into the house.  She tells Jarod that she doesn't know what his business with Mr. Blake is, but, from now on, she wants him to stay away from the children.  Jarod isn't offended.  Instead he tells the nanny that the children are lucky to have someone like her, looking out for them.  She gives him a quizzical look and walks away.

The programming of the missiles continues.  Jarod's shift ends and he hurries to the airport to pick up Wendy, who is just arriving.  Jarod assures her that the kids are fine and shows her a current picture of them, taken during their riding lessons, the day before.  He sets Wendy up in a hotel room and explains to her that he has had to move the timetable up because of Desmond's demands.  He shows her the layout of the house and tells her that he's working on circumventing the security cameras so that he can safely get to Ryan and Rebecca.  Once he can move freely in the house, Jarod plans to spirit the children out to her and they will all make their getaway.  He also tells her that Desmond has told the children that she died in a car accident.

Meanwhile, back at The Centre, Broots can hardly wait to tell Miss Parker that The Hound has done its job ... tracked the money through 506 bogus bank accounts to it's final destination ... the account of Raoul Zenega, a real estate developer in Mexico. But Lyle knows better ... he's dealt with the man before, and knows that the "real estate developer" is really an arms dealer.

At the compound, Desmond tells Jarod that he went by his room last night and Jarod wasn't in it.  Jarod tells Desmond that he went for a walk.  Desmond doesn't believe Jarod, but Jarod tells him that the only thing he wants to do is program the missiles, get his money and get out of there.  While he's supposedly arming the missiles, Jarod is really looking at the schematic of the alarm system on the house.  Satisfied with what he sees, he sticks a paper clip into an electrical outlet in order to blow the fuse, giving him an excuse to go reset it.  Once in the equipment room, Jarod puts some sort of by-pass on the security system and slips into the house.  He runs into the nanny, Emma,  in the kitchen.  She tells him that the area is "off limits" but Jarod tells her that he was hungry and wanted to make himself a sandwich.  Jarod admires a medallion that she's wearing and she tells him that it was a gift.  He asks her why, if she doesn't approve of Mr. Blake's "associates," she continues to work for him.  She tells Jarod that it's none of his business, but Jarod surmises that it must be because of the children.  Emma tells him that one doesn't replace someone's mother.  He tells her that, wherever the children's mother is, he's certain that she's very grateful for Emma. 

Miss Parker and Lyle catch up with Zenega at his gym in Mexico City.  Lyle applies some pressure (in the form of weights on a leg machine that the man is using) in order to persuade Zenega to tell them to whom Jarod was planning on selling the weapons.  The man remembers Lyle and is too frightened to lie - he tells Miss Parker and Lyle about Desmond Blake.

Jarod returns to the motel room in order to give Wendy an update on the plan, only to find that she has gone.  He finds a picture that was taken of the children during one of their riding lessons on the table and correctly surmises that she has gone there in hopes of stealing a glance of them during their lesson.

As Wendy watches from the bushes, her son wanders into the road to retrieve an airplane he has tossed, and quickly becomes in danger of being hit by a truck.  To save him, Wendy reveals herself by calling out - but at the very last moment, Jarod rushes out of nowhere and snatches the boy to safety.  In the ensuing confusion, Ryan is positive that he saw his dead Mother and will not let the subject drop.  In a panic, Blake tells Emma (who was Wendy's best friend) to pack up the children and Jarod knows that if Blake flees with them again, he may never have another chance to get them back.

Jarod explains to Wendy that her foolhardy actions spooked Desmond and as a result, he's taking the kids out, first thing in the morning.  He tells her to park her car at the assigned spot at 11:00 PM and to sit in it, with the lights off.  Jarod says that he'll create some kind of diversion so that he can get the children out, but in the meantime, he tells Wendy to stay in the room and away from the windows, because Desmond's men will be looking for her now.

Back again at The Centre, Sydney and Broots call Miss Parker to tell her that The Centre account from which Jarod stole the money just received a 40 million dollar deposit, made by Desmond Blake from a small town in Venezuela.  Miss Parker and Lyle are already on the company jet, so they take off to attempt to intercept Jarod before he leaves Venezuela and disappears again.

Out of desperation to save a plan that is rapidly going even farther south than Venezuela, Jarod takes the children's nanny into his confidence, convinces her that her best friend did not die in an auto accident as Blake told her, but is, in fact, alive and waiting for her children to join her, not ten minutes from the compound.  She agrees to help him in any way that she can and Jarod explains the plan to take the children in the middle of the night. 

At 11:00 PM that night, with everyone in place, Jarod creates a diversion in order to provide him with the opportunity to grab the kids ... he blows up another car!  Security cameras off, Jarod and Emma reach the children's room's unimpeded by Desmond's men, but the children aren't there. Blake had already moved them to a safer part of the compound.  Jarod calls Wendy on a cell phone and tells her to get out of there, the plan has changed and the children are gone.

Later, Jarod calls Wendy at the hotel and tells her to go to the south part of the airport and wait.  Wendy is reluctant.  She's afraid that Desmond will hurt the children, just to keep them from her.  Jarod tells her that he was stolen from his mother as a child and he never wanted her to stop looking for him, even if it put him in danger.  He tells her to never give up.

Jarod has the nanny slip something in a drink that she gives to Dawkins, the man who is supposed to drive Blake and the children to the airport the next morning.  And the next day, with no driver close at hand, Jarod volunteers to drive them himself, on the pretext of finishing the arms deal at the same time.  Blake agrees and they all clamber into the vehicle to go to the airport.  As they near the iron gate that bars entrance to the compound, Jarod sees Miss Parker and Lyle parked in a car on the other side, waiting for him!

Thinking quickly, he feeds Emma a line, asking her if the people in the car outside of the gate aren't the same two people who were asking about the children in town yesterday.  Emma quickly catches on and says that it's true, the people in that car were asking about the children.  Blake calls his men, telling them to make sure that Miss Parker and Mr. Lyle don't follow them when they leave.  He tells them that they can let them go afterwards.  Blake's men bash the windows of Miss Parker's and Lyle's car to pieces, then shoot out the tires as Miss Parker and Lyle try to escape.  As Miss Parker and Lyle are being surrounded by Blake's men, Jarod drives past and flashes them a huge grin.

At the airport, Jarod hustles everyone but Blake out of the vehicle, then closes the doors - which will not open for Blake.  The nanny takes the kids on board the waiting plane and Jarod plays his usual cat and mouse game with Blake, using the laser sight on one of the missiles to follow him as he frantically tries to find a place to hide in the car.  Blake tells Jarod that he'll be a dead man as soon as Logan and Dobbs arrive.  He doesn't know that Jarod sabotaged the truck that Logan and Dobbs were driving and they are now stuck by the side of the road, far away from the airport.

Jarod tells him the error of his ways ... then tells him that he has already called the Venezuelan police, who will be arriving shortly to find Blake (and his missiles) in their country.  Jarod also tells Blake that he has spent the past 3 days disarming the missiles, not arming them - so they are useless!

The children are reunited with their mother, Jarod lights another huge cigar and everyone re-boards the plane to take off before the police arrive.

Jarod has a final encounter with the children, their mom and Emma in Atlanta, Georgia. She thanks him with hugs and kisses, and tells Jarod that she hopes he will someday find his mother so that he will know the joy that she is feeling.  Jarod gives her enough money to begin her new life with the children, and Wendy, the kids and Emma leave.

In the end, Jarod will spend his 3rd Christmas outside of The Centre  alone ... he turns and walks away, all by himself ...

... and the screen fades to black.




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