Lois' Daily Planet

The Pretender

which aired on Saturday, February 13, 1999

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:  Leland Orser as Argyle, Jason Brooks as Thomas Gates
Lou Casal, Nick Meaney
with Kenneth Mars

This is EPISODE #56 
Written By:   Juan Carlos Coto
Directed By:  Chuck Bowman

The episode begins with Sydney, Miss Parker and Broots sitting in the passenger section of one of The Centre's jets.   They are flying back from Hawaii, having found neither Jarod, nor any further clues to his whereabouts there.   The weather is bad and the flight is rough.   Broots looks alternately worried about dying and slightly green from the turbulence. 

Sydney remarks that it's strange that Jarod left nothing for them in Hawaii.   He ponders that it almost seems as though Jarod simply wanted them out of the way for a while.   Miss Parker asks Broots to check with the pilot and find out why they haven't landed yet.   Broots practically begs Miss Parker not to make him get up, but it's to no avail.   "It's important, " she tells him, and in the end, Broots wobbles forward in the plane, toward the cockpit.   Sydney reminds Miss Parker that Jarod's trail is cold and asks her what she could possibly be late for ... unless it's something related to pleasure and not to business.   Miss Parker rebukes Sydney for his inquisitiveness, but he just smiles and says, "I'm a shrink ... what do you want?"   Even Miss Parker finds herself smiling at Sydney's statement.   "So, what's his name, " says Sydney, as he continues to probe Miss Parker.   Miss Parker tries to put an end to the discussion, but Sydney won't be put off.   He reminds Miss Parker that she has already called this man from Jarod's cabana in Hawaii and tells her that he detects "a certain glow" about her.   This is more than Miss Parker can stand!   She says, "I don't glow, Sydney," sounding as though he had just said that she had some kind of disease.   But, finally, she relents and tells Sydney that "his" name is Thomas.   She tells Sydney that he is only doing some restoration work on her house.   "He's a fixit man, Sydney," she says.   "And what, exactly, is broken?" Sydney retorts with a gleam in his eye.

Broots returns with the news that they will be circling the airport for at least another hour ... maybe two.   This news does nothing to improve Miss Parker's mood ... she thinks that Jarod is "basking in the sun and surf" while she is stuck circling the airport. 

In fact, Jarod is sitting on a dock, somewhere on an Atlantic City waterfront ... in hand cuffs, his body covered in chains, with an anchor tied to his feet!   As we watch, an unknown man tosses the anchor over the end of the dock! Jarod screams, "NO!" but he is ultimately dragged over the side and into the water ... where he sinks with the anchor ... down, down, down ...

Jarod begins to narrate the story ... he says that he has always been told that he is "special," that he has a "gift," that he can be anything he wants to be.   He wonders how he ended up as a human anchor in the Atlantic Ocean.   But, Jarod says, it is better to start the tale at the beginning ... which he proceeds to do. 

Jarod saw an ad in the "personals" section of the newspaper ... several different papers, in fact ... the ad tells him to meet someone at the Comedy Slot Casino in Atlantic City on 2-13-99.   Although Jarod doesn't know who placed the ads, he is fairly certain that they did not originate from anyone at The Centre, so he leaves his lair in Hawaii, without leaving any clues for Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots to follow, in order to buy himself a little free time -- then heads for Atlantic City and the casino, to see who is so anxious to lure him there. 

He soon realizes that the person who placed the ads is ARGYLE, the man who first saved Jarod's life, then tried to sell him back to The Centre for $10,000 ( Amnesia - season 2, episode 36, originally aired on 3/21/98). 

Argyle is playing the slots, but is agitated and is complaining to a waitress about the quality of the martini that she has just served him.   When he sees Jarod, Argyle yells "Jay-Rod!" and swiftly embraces Jarod.   Jarod does not return Argyle's hug ... he endures it.   Adding insult to injury, Argyle's dog growls a little at Jarod.   Argyle says that he knew Jarod would get his message!    Jarod tells Argyle that "half the eastern seaboard" got his message. Ignoring the sarcasm, Argyle asks Jarod if he is still carrying all of those crazy I.D.'s and wants to know "whose skin" Jarod is wearing this week.   Remaining sarcastic, Jarod looks at Argyle and answers his question ... "A sucker's ..." implying that he must be a sucker for having responded to an ad from Argyle at all!   Once again, the sarcasm of the answer is lost on Argyle ... tiring of the game, Jarod presses Argyle about what he wants and why he "called" Jarod there.   But Argyle is still edgy and isn't quite ready to answer the questions ... so he says that he just wants everybody to "get along," have a happy life. 

Jarod notices that Argyle has a broken finger and asks him about it. Argyle tells Jarod that it was a "job related" injury.   Doubting the veracity of this statement, Jarod says, "That would require a job ..." Finally, Argyle is ready to talk.   He tells Jarod that there is a guy named Sonny Faddis and that some of his "people" broke the finger ... he says that Sonny is actually his friend.   Jarod reminds Argyle that friends "break bread ... not fingers."   But Argyle insists that Sonny is his friend, saying that, at least, he let Argyle choose  which  finger he wanted broken ... 

Sonny Faddis gave Argyle a loan for $5,000 ... which Argyle cannot repay.   He wants Jarod to loan him the money.   Jarod is incredulous!   He cannot believe that Argyle dragged him all the way to Atlantic City, just to borrow $5, 000! Jarod asks Argyle why he should help him at all, considering that the last time they met, Argyle was trying to sell Jarod back to The Centre.   Argyle insists that none of that matters and says that he and Jarod are, in fact, kindred spirits ... and it is at that point that Jarod decides to take on his most difficult pretend to date ... he is going to try to pretend to be Argyle's friend!

Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots are still circling the airport in the jet.   Broots has fallen asleep, but Sydney is still pressing Miss Parker for details about Thomas Gates.   Miss Parker tells Sydney that she met Thomas a couple of weeks ago and that they spent a few hours talking.   Thomas, she says, used to work on Wall Street, but "chucked it all" for a better quality of life.   She tells Sydney that she asked Thomas to fix some water damage on a wall of her house.   When Thomas saw Miss Parker's house, he tried to convince her to "open it up" and let the light in more by changing some windows ... but Miss Parker tells him "No," and tells him to just fix the damage and repaint the wall in the same color.   Thomas tags Miss Parker as a "doer" ... someone who always knows exactly what she wants.   Miss Parker doesn't disagree with him ... only adds that she always gets what she wants. 

Jarod gets the $5,000 (courtesy of Centre Funds) and goes with Argyle to pay off the loan shark.   First, however, Argyle wants to make one quick stop ... In Argyle's apartment, Jarod looks around while Argyle is busy with the dog in another room.   Everywhere, there are things associated with the Pope ... a type of one of his appearances is playing on the TV, there are pictures of him on the wall, commemorative plates, clocks -- all with the Pope's likeness on them.   As Jarod looks more closely at a spot on the wall where a handgun was once mounted (the impression is still clearly visible on the wall), he turns to find the missing gun in the hands of Argyle's father ... and pointed at his head.   Jarod yells for Argyle as his father is threatening to shoot him.   Argyle finally returns and Jarod meets his father ... "Benny ... retired medic, Screaming Eagles, 101st Airborne, WWII." 

A clock, with the Pope's picture on it, chimes ... Argyle reminds his father that it is time for him to take his medication.   Looking at the prescription bottles, Jarod asks Benny if he has an enzyme imbalance, but Benny says that the medication is for a brain condition ... then tries to get rid of Jarod saying, "It's been a pleasure, Jerry," and telling him that he needs to go see the Pope arrive.   Confused, Jarod asks, "Isn't it on tape?"   Looking at him with disdain, Benny says, "You don't pause the Pontiff!" 

After his father has left the room, Jarod tells Argyle that he knows that Argyle borrowed the $5,000 for Benny.   Argyle tells Jarod that he wants to be able to arrange a meeting with the Pope for his father, at Vatican City.   He says that a little over 3 years ago, the doctors only gave his mother a few months to live.   Benny and his wife saw the Pope during one of his appearances in the United States ... and Argyle's mother lived nearly 3 years longer than the doctors said that she would, before finally passing away.   Benny is convinced that they owe those extra 3 years to the Pope.   Benny has gone downhill since Argyle's mother died and Argyle wants to get his Dad to Vatican City before he dies, too.   So, Argyle borrowed $5,000 from a loan shark, but then lost it to a bookie - trying to provide the money his Dad needs for a first class trip while paying back the loan shark on time. 

Jarod and Argyle go to pay back Sonny, but when he sees Sonny's men (the South Africans) break another of Argyle's fingers, it's clear to Jarod that the $5,000 does not clear the debt.   Jarod knows that Sonny Faddis is a very dangerous man ... in addition to owning the Clam Shack, he supplies seafood to most of the city -- so he quickly drives up and rescues Argyle, before any more harm can come to him. 

Once they are safely away, Argyle tells Jarod that he has to do Sonny "a small favor" in order to clear the debt, but assure Jarod that he can handle it himself.   Jarod tries to give Argyle 2 First Class tickets to Vatican City, but Argyle won't take them, saying that the gift to his Father has to come from him.   Watching Argyle fingering a small picture of the Pope as he sits near the water, Jarod tries to leave and go about his own business, but finds that he cannot.   He backs his car up and tells Argyle and his dog (named "dog") to hop in.   Jarod has realized that until he finds his own family, helping other families, like Benny and Argyle is the next best thing. 

Faddis' "small favor" is to have Argyle pick up a bag of skimmed casino money from a local dumpster.   As Jarod and Argyle take the bag from the dumpster, Argyle gets hit over the head by a man known as "The Cuban" - who is actually Irish!   The Cuban accuses them of trying to steal his money and thinks that Jarod is someone named "Little Joe" ... out of Chicago.   Argyle's dog distracts The Cuban by biting his ankle, giving Jarod the chance to punch him and knock him down.   Jarod and Argyle escape with the bag, but not before Argyle finds himself on the receiving end of a gunshot wound.   Fortunately, it is only a flesh wound. 

On the plane, Miss Parker is still talking to Sydney about Thomas.   Sydney asks Miss Parker if Thomas knows where she works and Miss Parker remembers an impromptu dinner that she had with Thomas that was fun and lightly romantic.   She told Thomas during dinner that she "solves problems" for her company ... but later he sees her putting her gun away and the tone of the evening changes after that.    Thomas tells Miss Parker that when he was checking the roof for the leak that caused the water damage inside, he realized that there might be another room behind the water damaged wall.   Miss Parker tells him to "just cover it up" -- meaning the water damaged wall. 

Miss Parker tells Sydney that the gun was a part of her that she wishes Thomas hadn't seen. Sydney tells Miss Parker that a gun is something you carry, it's not who you are. 

Argyle and Jarod are surprised to find that the bag they retrieved contains only crumpled up newspapers and not money. 

Back at Argyle's apartment, Benny injects Argyle with a bit too much "knock out juice." Before he falls asleep, Argyle finds a strange key in his pocket ... it isn't his key and he doesn't know how it ended up in his pocket.   Jarod takes it.   While Argyle sleeps, Jarod finds out who "The Cuban" really is ... Dennis Quinn, the 2nd biggest loan shark in Atlantic City! 

Jarod tries to figure out what The Cuban was doing at the dumpster at all ... was he stealing from Faddis?   Not likely.   It felt to Jarod as though Faddis had set Argyle up to take the fall for something, but what?   The key that Argyle found in his pocket said "ORLANI 11" on it.   Jarod couldn't find a key maker or a bank that used that code, but Benny told him that he knew a locksmith over at the VFW and took the key, so that the locksmith could take a look at it.   Jarod realizes that the only way that the key could have ended up in Argyle's pocket was if one of Faddis' men put it there while they were accosting Argyle. 

As Argyle continues to sleep, Jarod and Benny begin to talk to each other and Jarod is surprised to find out that Benny knows all about Argyle's dealings with the shady-side of Atlantic City.   Benny blames Argyle's situation on the fact that his wife, Adella, was no longer there to guide Argyle.   Jarod thinks that somehow Argyle has gotten caught in the middle of a turf war, so he dresses up in his best "wise-guy" duds and goes to see Faddis himself.   Once there, he tells Faddis that he is "The Pope" and offers to deliver Argyle to him ... for a price.   While they are finalizing the deal, Faddis asks for his cigars and Jarod realizes that they came from a place called Orlani's ... a restaurant with locked humidors in the back room.   Jarod realizes that Benny must have known all along that Orlani's was a restaurant and that he had probably gone there, thinking that he could help his son get out of trouble. 

Jarod was right about Benny and he arrives as Orlani's just in time to rescue Benny from a couple of Faddis' thugs.   Jarod uses a head-butt to surprise Faddis' men and both he and Benny manage to escape, with the cigar box that was in the locked humidor in their hands. 

Back on the plane, Miss Parker opines that she might be on a flight from Hell. The pilot says that they will be circling for another 1/2 hour.   Because of the storm, she cannot even get a call through.   Sydney wonders aloud if Thomas will wait for her ... and Miss Parker tell him about their last meeting, which did not go well at all.   Thomas found Catherine Parker's workroom behind the wall.   Unaware of the fact that it was Miss Parker who had the room walled over, he begins talking about taking down the wall and letting in the light.   Shaken by his discovery, Miss Parker tells him that she has to catch a flight to Hawaii in an hour and instructs him to repair the hole he has made in the wall while she is gone.   The conversation turns sour and Miss Parker tells Thomas that she isn't in the habit of "bearing her soul to a stranger."   Stung by this comment, Thomas says that he thought he was, at least, an acquaintance ... but Miss Parker tells him that he "figured wrong."   Hurt now, Thomas asks Miss Parker if that is what the gun is for ... keeping strangers away.   He says that he guesses her life is full of strangers ... starting with her own Mother.   Hiding her feelings, as always, Miss Parker gives Thomas a key to the house and tells him that she will be back on Saturday to give him his check and says that she wants the wall covered back up by that time. Thomas is obviously waiting for Miss Parker to continue the discussion or to ask him to stay, but she says nothing, and he finally leaves.   Now, she's having second thoughts about how she treated him, but doesn't know if she will get home before he leaves.   Sydney asks her, "Why is everyone a stranger, Parker?" but she doesn't answer him ... she just looks forlornly out of the rain spattered window of the jet. 

Jarod is with Argyle and his Father at the apartment.   He tells them that Faddis won't stop now until they are both dead!   Argyle and Benny begin to argue and it's easy to see that this is familiar territory for them.   Finally, Jarod puts a stop to it and tells Argyle that Benny only lied about what he knew about the key because he was trying to get Faddis off of his son's back.   Then Jarod tells Benny that the only reason that Argyle borrowed the money was so that he could surprise Benny with a trip to the Vatican.   Then, Jarod tells Argyle that his Father is not dying at all ... he has been taking sugar pills all this time!   He tells them both that Adella won't be back to bridge the gap between them, so they must learn to bridge it themselves!   Argyle walks right up to his father, stands there ... so close that they are nearly touching.   Benny permits himself to give his son one brief hug, followed by several brisk slaps on the back ... all very manly ... then Argyle steps away.   Smiling, Jarod says, "It was the kind of moment I left The Centre for." 

A closer examination of the cigar box from Orlani's reveals that it is filled with false identifications for Argyle ... all of them saying that Argyle is "Little Joe."   While Argyle takes a little trip into never-never land, thinking that he has all the answers ... Jarod realizes that Faddis must have killed some of The Cuban's couriers and stolen the money.   Now, to avoid a war, Faddis was trying to frame Argyle for the murders and theft.   The Cuban was supposed to find and kill Argyle at the dumpster.   Then, he would have found the key, that led to the cigar box full of information saying that Argyle was really "Little Joe." 

The Cuban's couriers had been bound with heavy chains and an anchor, then thrown off the end of one of Faddis' piers.   Jarod was planning a similar fate for Faddis -- by his own admission, reflecting his personal M.O. since he had escaped from The Centre. As Jarod is preparing the sting for Faddis, he finds Argyle in his DSA case with the picture of Jarod's Mother in his hand.   Jarod immediately thinks the worst, but is surprised to find that Argyle has only laminated the picture of Jarod's Mother, "so she'll always be protected from the elements.   Always close."   Jarod decides that he's really Argyle's friend and that friendship is no longer just another part of the pretend. 

Argyle was to meet Jarod at the pier at 8 PM ... but he was followed by a couple of Faddis' thugs.   Jarod ends up bundled in his own chains, with his own anchor at his feet -- as Argyle runs away from the scene just as fast as he can. 

The Centre's jet finally lands and both Sydney and Broots wish Miss Parker well.   She is astonished to find that Broots wasn't sleeping at all, but was listening to her conversation with Sydney!   Before she can lambaste him, Broots tells her that if he felt about someone the way that she obviously felt about Thomas, that he would tell the person.   Life is too short he tells her ... they could have all been killed in that storm and then the words would never have been said.   Instead of verbally abusing Broots for his eavesdropping, Miss Parker tells him, "Thanks for the tip" and then leaves. 

Faddis tosses Jarod off of the pier, thinking that he is getting rid of him.   He doesn't know that it is part of Jarod's pretend!   Jarod has a lock pick and immediately starts working the locks.   The pick is slippery from the water, however, and Jarod drops it!   Fortunately, his back-up, in the form of Argyle's little dog, comes trotting down the pier with the key to the chains.   Argyle comes back, too, then takes the key and drops it off the end of the pier ... and it floats right into Jarod's waiting hands. 

The entire scene had been filmed and Faddis' has been taped committing murder! Jarod and Argyle take Faddis and The Cuban by surprise and hold them at gunpoint while they prepare everything for the police to find.   As Jarod and Argyle walk away from the trunk of the car where they have stashed Faddis and The Cuban, Argyle leaps in happiness and shouts, "Nobody messes with the Gyle and his side-kick Jay-Rod!" 

Miss Parker returns home to find that Thomas has waited for her.   He did not cover the wall ... he put up a door ... a locked door ... and he hands Miss Parker the key for it. 

As he begins to leave, Miss Parker calls out to him ... calls him "Tommy" and says that she shouldn't have lied about the room but that she just can't handle seeing her Mother's sanctuary. Thomas tells her that she was her Mother's sanctuary and that she closed off a part of her soul when she closed that room ... and that she needs to get it back. 

A teary-eyed Miss Parker softly says that she cannot do it alone ... Thomas gently kisses her hand, the one which holds the key to the door.   They walk over to the door, Thomas unlocks it and enters the room.   Miss Parker lingers outside, the light from the inside of the room shining on her.   Thomas reaches out and slowly draws her into the room with him. 

Benny and Argyle meet the Pope, who says (in Italian) that "Monsignor Jarod told me all about you."   Argyle begins regaling the Pope with his ideas and opinion of the Vatican gift shop.   Off to one side, Jarod, dressed as a Monsignor, slips out the door.

And the screen fades to black ...

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