The Pretender TV show was a 60 minute fantasy series on NBC about a man (Jarod Russell) who had been taken from his parents as a child and raised at a secret location calle the "Centre". They honed his mental and other abilities to train him (and other chidren) to be able to assume any persona. He could assume the role of doctor, lawyer, police officer, pilot or any other occupation he desired. The "Centre" planned to sell these children to whoever wanted them for huge sums of money. Think of what great spys or thieves they'd make! Jarod managed to escape and found it relatively easy to "blend in" to society, due to his training. "Centre" was concerned about Jarod exposing them, however, and sent a female assassin to kill him! Jarod managed to stay one step ahead of her and even help a lot of needy people along the way!
Michael T. Weiss .... Jarod
Ryan Merriman .... Young Jarod
Patrick Bauchau .... Sydney
Alex Wexo .... Young Sydney
Andrea Parker .... Miss Parker
Ashley Peldon .... Young Miss Parker
John Gries .... Broots
Richard Marcus .... Mr. Raines
There was a real life "Pretender". Well, sort of anyway. His name was Ferdinand Demara Jr. and he was the inspiration for the show. He was a genius who could perform any task or skill by simply reading a book about it.
Check out Jarod's "assumed" names on the show. He takes the name of someone "connected" to his current profession. He was called Jarod Kinsey when he played a sex therapist and Jarod Boone when he was a forest ranger, for example.
"The Center" is actually the "R.C. Harris Filtration Plant" just outside of Toronto, Canada. It has also been used as the Genomex Headquarters on the series, "Mutant X (2001) and was seen in a few episodes of "Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal (1996)"
The majority of the central characters have only revealed a first or last name but not both. Miss Parker's first name was only revealed in the fourth season when a friend called her Monica.
Michael T. Weiss is a certified scuba diver. He once worked as a personal trainer. He uses as little electricity as possible and drives a Toyota Prius which is an electric-gas hybrid automobile. He can name every state in the U.S. in alphabetical order quickly and error-free (great party trick!)
Patrick Bauchau speaks five languages fluently and a little bit of Russian and Flemish. He was born and raised in Belgium and also lived in Switzerlan and England where he attended Oxford University where he got a degree in "Modern Languages".
Jon Gries was listed as a guest-star in his role as Broots for more than 60 episodes before officially being awarded regular status in season four. You might also remember Jon from his role as Shawn on the 1992 TV series, "Martin".
Ryan Merriman started acting at 10 years of age in commercials, modelling, singing and theater. At age 10, his manager took him to Los Angeles. He got his first starring role on the series, "The Mommies (1993)". He is very involved in public service concentrating of helping families with premature or critically ill infants and providing special activities for disabled children.
"There are pretenders among us. Geniuses with the ability to be become anyone they want to be. In 1963 a corporation known as the Centre isolated a young pretender named Jarod and exploited his genius for their research. Then one day their pretender ran away..."
Episodes List With Original Air Dates
NOTE: Even though the entire Pretender TV series aired on NBC, these two movies aired on TNT.
The Pretender 2001 (1/22/2001)
The Island Of Haunted (12/10/2001)
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