Centre Orientation Guide

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Part 1: Jarod

1.1 What is a Pretender? Is Jarod the only one?
A: As defined in the pilot, Pretenders are "geniuses with the ability to insinuate themselves into any walk of life, to literally become anyone." For Jarod, this talent apparently has two related but distinct aspects: One, he is able to convincingly reproduce or "simulate" any experience, and correctly analyze the results, as well as feel the emotions involved. Two, with a little preparation, Jarod is able to take on any profession (doctor, lawyer, policeman, etc.). As Sydney has said, he doesn't impersonate--he actually becomes whatever he has chosen to be.

According to Mr. Raines, Pretenders can either be born (like Jarod), or created through a special schedule of drugs and programming, if they carry the correct genetic predisposition. (Bloodlines). Sydney and Mr. Parker (among others) have referred to the Centreıs "Pretender Project." Evidence suggests there have been as many as six, possibly seven, other Pretenders and potential Pretenders (see 3.10).

1.2 Why is The Centre chasing Jarod?
A: Jarod was taken from his parents at a young age and isolated within the Centre for more than 30 years. His escape cost the Centre one of their prime guinea pigs and income producers, along with all the DSA records of his work. There is some evidence that they want him back in order to keep him from discovering the truth surrounding his parentage and early life. According to Mr. Parker, Jarodís retrieval is"key" to the Centre's continued success, although he hasn't said why (The World is Changing, Till Death Do Us Part).

1.3 How did the Centre get Jarod? When and how did Jarod escape?
A: A four-year-old Jarod was abducted from his room by Sweepers at night and brought to the Centre in 1963 (Under the Reds, Stolen). Sydney almost immediately took over control of Jarod's 'project'.

There is some dispute over who actually "signed" Jarod into the Centre. Miss Parker and Sydney found a file down in SL-27 which named Jacob as the Special Expediter responsible (Baby Love); however, Mr. Fenigor also confessed to being behind Jarod's kidnapping (Bloodlines).

At some point, Jarod discovered the real applications of his simulations, many of which were military contracts. It appears that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people died because of what he unknowingly "thought up" -- at least one kidnapping by the Centre was patterned after Jarod's simulation of the event (Past Sim). Jarod felt betrayed, especially by Sydney, both for lying to him and for keeping him locked up all these years. He is now determined to help people, to become an "avenging angel" for the weak and oppressed, as a way of compensating for the damage that was done in his name.

Jarod finally escaped from the Centre after a Centre operative, Damen, pretended to befriend him to get him to develop a deadly virus, then betrayed him, murdering his friend in the process (Betrayal). Jarod has never been specific about how he escaped from the Centre itself (and stole the DSAs); we do know from a flashback that Sweepers were in pursuit, and Jarod managed to get away from them by hitching a ride on a nearby highway (Spin Doctor). (Presumably, he got in and out through the air ducts, since that's how everyone's been getting in and out ever since.)

1.4 What are DSA's? Where did Jarod get them? What kind of briefcase is that?
A: DSA stands for Digital Simulation Archive. These are the CD Roms containing recordings of all Jarod's experiments -- and, apparently, all of his life (Back From the Dead Again) at the Centre. He took them with him when he escaped from the Centre--which did not please the Centre, since they were thought to be the only existing records covering over 25 years of research.

It appears that Jarod's entire life at the Centre was recorded. He is in possession of all but three weeks in October of 1995, which Broots found in Mr. Raines' private files (Back From the Dead Again). There are also a few DSAs of Kyle's stay in SL-27, rescued by Broots, and several others in Raines' private records. Apparently, Angelo also has a private stash.

The case is a Halliburton, the 5" Traveler Attache (13x18x5.25") with satin silver finish. They list a price of $415.00.

1.5 Why does Jarod use so many other names? What other names has he used?
A: For over thirty years, Jarod believed his last name was Russell, a belief that was proved false in the pilot. At this point, neither Jarod nor Sydney knows his real identity, although files Angelo is currently in possession of probably hold that information, as does Harriet Tashman, his parents' friend (The Dragon House). All we know for certain is that Jarod is his real first name.

Left without an identity of his own, he instead chooses a new last name (and occasionally a completely different name) each time he changes jobs or location. Usually, this name has some connection to his current profession. (For example, when he was a pilot, his name was "Wright.")

A complete list of the names he has used (and the related inside jokes) is available in The Filing Cabinet

1.6 What identities has Jarod assumed?
A: The list is too long to include here. Check out
The Filing Cabinet for the more-or-less complete run-down.

1.7 What is with Jarod's weekly obsessions?
A: Jarod was deliberately isolated from the "trappings of popular culture" within the Centre. Since his escape, he tends to become fascinated with anything unfamiliar or entertaining, from Silly Putty to doughnuts. The discoveries have tapered off over the last couple of seasons, since Jarod knows more about the world, but they still happen occasionally -- although Jarod seems to be focusing on discovering new ways to annoy Miss Parker.

A list of Jarod's discoveries is available in the Filing Cabinet.

1.8 What happened to Jarod's parents? Were they his real parents?
A: We know his mother's name was Margaret, his father's name was Charles, and his father was a Major in the Air Force (at one point assigned to Clearview Air Base); Jarod's brother Kyle (also a Pretender; see
1.9) was wearing a Distinguished Flying Cross that apparently belonged to their father when he was brought to the Centre. In a cave Jarod's father used for a vision quest, Jarod found a military flash patch with the circle of fire emblem on it (see 3.13).

Jarod believed for many years that his parents had been killed in a plane crash ontheir way to see him, as Mr. Raines and Sydney told him (Homefront). 'Paper Clock' revealed that Jarod had recurring dreams about his mother, but he couldn't remember her face until Sydney sent him a picture. He also has a picture of his father, taken after he rescued a child in the desert 20 years ago. He has a Web page with pictures of his parents looking for information.

An anonymous tip sent him to a New Orleans private detective who might have investigated Jarod's disappearance (Jarod's Honor). However, following a visit from Mr. Raines and some Sweepers, the PI, Sonny Hebert, was hospitalized, and cannot talk. Jarod found where his parents had been hiding for years in 'The Dragon House' -- at a farm owned by Catherine Parker's old friend, Harriet Tashman. He also learned that he has a younger sister, Emily (see 1.14). He was almost reunited with his mother and sister, but a Centre sweeper team prevented that.

Jarod did manage to track down Major Charles in the third-season finale 'Donoterase'; However, Major Charles had lost contact with Margaret and Emily soon after Jarod and Kyle were taken; he returned after a rescue attempt at the Centre to find them gone. He also had to leave Jarod again to save Jarod's clone from the Centre. He returned a year later, however, to help Jarod rescue his sister, Emily (see 1.14) from Centre assassins.

Jarod was born after his parents spent a great deal of time at the NuGenesis Family Group (see 3.11). There was some evidence that he was adopted at NuGenesis (Bloodlines); that was contradicted by 'Donoterase', which revealed that many (though apparently not all) of Margaretıs eggs were taken and frozen while she was at NuGenesis. The Centre achieved cloning success by fusing Jarodıs DNA with Margaretıs egg, knowing it wouldnıt be rejected -- which seems to indicate that she is Jarodıs biological mother. Either way, the identity of Jarod's biological father is still very much in question.

1.9 Who is Kyle?
A: Kyle was Jarod's younger brother and another Pretender.

When he was kidnapped, Kyle was given over to Mr. Raines instead of to Sydney; Mr. Raines deliberately turned him into a sociopath, stripping him of all morals and teaching him to hate Catherine Parker -- perhaps as a prelude to murder. He and Jarod were allowed to run a few simulations together as children, neither knowing the identity of the other, and even communicated secretly. They were caught, and Kyle was taken to SL-27, and kept there even after his 'official' release. He was also told Jarod was dead.

Kyle was eventually released from the Centre, and went on a spree of violence -- he says he was looking for his parents. Eventually, he kidnapped Harriet Tashman and attempted to force her to reveal his parents' location. He was captured and sent to prison in 1983.

Kyle escaped prison in 1997; Jarod identified him as his old friend from the Centre and began tracking him down. Kyle kidnapped Harriett again, Jarod rescued her, and Kyle was taken by the Sweeper team and Miss Parker. To conceal what Kyle knew about Mr. Raines's activities and SL-27, he was scheduled for a frontal lobotomy; Jarod and Angelo rescued him just in time. Jarod and Kyle escaped, but Kyle was apparently killed by police acting on a tip from Mr. Raines.

He actually escaped, and spent the next several months stalking Miss Parker and Broots, hoping they would lead him back to Jarod. He revealed himself to save a kidnapped Jarod from Mr. Lyle (Red Rock Jarod), and died for real jumping between Jarod and Mr. Lyle's gun. Grieving, Jarod gave permission for Kyle's heart to be transplanted into a dying boy.

Kyle says he was not responsible for Catherine's death; he also asked Jarod not to tell their parents what he became.

1.10 How old is Jarod?
A: Best guess is that, in 2000, Jarod is 41. He first came to the Centre in 1963, and in 'A Virus Among Us,' Mr. Raines states that he was four at the time. (In 'Bloodlines', Broots contradicted that by saying no one knows for sure how old Jarod is; he may, however, have just been referring to the fact that apparently no one except his parents knows Jarod's exact birthday.)

1.11 Why does Jarod keep calling and/or contacting Sydney?
A: There is no simple answer. Essentially, Sydney is the only father figure Jarod has ever known; so, even though he is angry, he is also reluctant to let Sydney go (backed up by the Father's Day flashbacks in 'Scott Free'). In 'The Paper Clock,' when Jarod has a nightmare, Sydney is the one he calls for reassurance.

In addition, Jarod knows the answers to all his questions are still at the Centre. If he loses contact with Sydney and Miss Parker, he may never learn his true identity, or that of his parents. It's probably a combination of both.

He has also spent an equal amount of time contacting Miss Parker in the last year, goading her to find the truth about her mother's death and Thomas' murder.

1.12 Where does Jarod get his money?
A: In the Pilot, Jarod stole $5 million from The Centre; when he returned it to Sydney, he kept a 'commission' of $500,000 (not to mention the $10 million he stole in 'Past Sim'). He also apparently had money in an Alaskan bank account to begin with, but where that money came from is a mystery (his paycheck from working on the freighter?). We do know he can (and does) manipulate the stock market, not to mention casinos, and that he occasionally stays at one job long enough to get a paycheck.

1.13 What's the lullaby Jarod sings in several of the episodes?
A: Closed captioning gives the lyrics as both:

Cree craw,
Toad's foot,
Geese walk barefoot


Geese walk bare foot
Kri kra toad's foot

Jarod knew the song when he came to the Centre. According to a children's book called "Draw Me a Star" by Eric Carle, the poem was recited to the author by his German grandmother, and might be a traditional German children's poem.

We heard Jarod sing the lullaby in the pilot, 'Baby Love', 'Crazy' and 'The World's Changing'. More interestingly, Edna Raines sang it as she was leaving The Centre (Meltdown). (See 3.3.)

1.14 Who is Emily?
A: Emily is Jarod's younger sister, born after he and Kyle were kidnapped by the Centre. Emily was raised on the run, and seperated from her father as a young child, when he was trying to rescue her brothers from the Centre (The Dragon House, Donoterase). Although she was seen in the cab with her mother in "The Dragon House," it appears she is searching for her brother and father on her own now. Jarod missed her by only a day (The World's Changing) when she had to run from the Centre, which is actively searching for her through Mr. White (see

He caught up with her a year later, working as an investigative reporter in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, he found her after a Centre team shoved her out a window. With the help of Major Charles (see 1.8), Jarod successfully hid Emily from the subsequent follow-up attempt. It was Emily's research that discovered the existance of Ethan, and his connection to Jarod's family. (see 2.10).

Emily is played by Marisa Parker. She's not listed in the IMDB; if I've got her name wrong or anyone has any information, I'm all ears.

1.15 What's Jarod's connection to the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force (of Profiler)?
A: Jarod first met agents Bailey Malone and Samantha Waters (Robert Davi and Ally Walker, respectively) while investigating a series of kidnappings. He told Sam the story of his past, and she asked her coworker George to dig up information, but Jarod disappeared before it could be delivered. A year later, the VCTF's path crossed with Jarod's again, to investigate the murder of a man who helped him escape; to allay Bailey's suspicions, Jarod told him her was working for a Congressional Oversight Committee, which Bailey almost believes. Jarod and the new profiler (Rachel Burke, played by Jamie Lunar) hit it off in a more romantic sense, and Jarod has promised to tell her the whole truth the next time they meet. (Spin Doctor/Clean Sweep). He didn't, of course, but he seems to be developing a habit of showing up on her doorstep to help. Among other things....

1.16 Who is Zoey?
A: Jarod met Zoey when she was running from an annoying (and violent) ex-boyfriend; he helped her escape and subsequently was introduced to the concept of a road trip. went to her family home with her, playing the part of her husband. They fell in love, but Zoey had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Jarod talked her out of suicide, and left her with her family to recover. (Road Trip). Apparently they kept in touch; after Zoey went into remission, she and Jarod were planning a vacation together. Their plans were curtailed when Jarod left to rescue Emily. Lyle and Mr White took advantage of Zoey as a distraction and kidnapped her; she was rescued by Major Charles and was safe the last time we saw her. (The Inner Sense).

Zoe is played by Lisa Cerasoli; her other appearances include the miniseries House of Frankenstein and guest appearances on "Pensacola: Wings of Gold", "Diagnosis Murder" and "Oh Grow Up". She was also a regular on "General Hospital", playing Venus "V" Ardanowski.

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This page last updated May 20, 2000.