Sydney Bristow thought she was being recruited into the CIA during her first year of college.
It turns out that she was actually recruited into a mirror universe - SD-6 - where she's been
working for the bad guys. When she confides in her fiance, Dr. Danny Hecht, that she's a CIA field
agent, she brings down the wrath of SD-6 onto him, and ends up learning just who it is for whom she really works.
The revenge she settles on is to become a double agent for the real CIA, and devote herself to
destroying SD-6. Only then does she learn that her father is, himself, a double agent. Her
handler at the CIA is Michael Vaughn, someone who eventually fills the empty hole in her life left by
the death of Danny.
Spying, it turns out, is a family tradition. Rather than having been killed in a traffic accident, as she'd been taught,
Sydney discovers that her mother was, in fact, a Russian agent who betrayed Sydney's father, Jack. Not Laura Bristow,
but Irina Derevko. And
Irina is very much alive, Sydney discovers, when her mother shows up during an op and shoots Sydney.
When Irina walks into the CIA and gives herself up, Sydney gets a chance to put together her own, very
complicated version of a family - a family later enlarged to include a half sister who is the daughter of Irina and Sydney's
sworn enemy, Arvin Sloane, the head of SD-6.
As Sydney's operations bring the organizations into contact with more and more Rambaldi artifacts,
one manuscript page finds is found containing
a drawing of Sydney done in the 15th century. If you believe the ancient manuscripts, Sydney is most likely
the Chosen One.
Jennifer Garner has
won the 2006 People's Choice Awards for Best Female TV Star
for her portrayal of Sydney Bristow, as well as winning
a Golden Globe award and Screen Actors Guild Award. She also won the Best Female Action Star (2005) for her role as Elektra.
Sydney's father, Jack Bristow, had hoped that Sydney would eventually join the CIA.
What he didn't expect was that the
head of SD-6, Arvin Sloane, would recruit Sydney into their own mirror world. Avoiding being caught by
SD-6 as a double agent is hard enough for Jack, but his world is made even more difficult by his need to
also protect his daughter. And when his ex-wife shows up in their lives again, Jack must also deal with his sense
of betrayal by Irina, and his growing jealousy of the developing relationship between Irina and
A Broadway stage actor, Victor Garber has appeared
in Kung Fu (TLC), Sleepless in Seattle, The First Wives Club, Titanic and Legally Blonde.
Irina Derevko was sent to the US to marry an up and coming CIA officer. That turned out to be Jack
Bristow. She claims to have only had a child because her handler insisted it would bind
Jack tighter, but her love for Sydney seems deeper than that. The only thing deeper is Irina's
ultimate goal - power. She often appears as
a counterforce to Arvin Sloane in his search for the power promised by Rambaldi.
Irina's name in Greek for Peace, and appears carved onto a 15th century Rambaldi box.
As the result of an affair with Jack's friend, Sloane, Irina has a second daughter, Nadia, who is
taken away from her at birth. The child, recognized as The Passenger, is experimented on - a form of torture,
and Michael Vaughn's father Bill rescues the child, leaving her in an Orphanage where he thinks she'll be safe.
While you think this would endear him to Irina, in fact she is ordered to kill him, not endearing herself
to Bill's son, and Sydney's handler and love.
Irina Derevko was played by Lena Olin, a second
generation Swedish actress who has appeared at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm, and was directed by
Ingmar Bergman. She appeared in Sydney Pollack's Havana, and in Chocolat.
Danny was a doctor living with Sydney when he proposed to her in the middle of the college campus.
But when Sydney confesses to him that she's a field agent, he has trouble accepting this upside downing
of his world. He leaves a message on her answering machine, and that small act is what leads to his
death by SD-6 brainwashed assassin Martin Shephard, since Sydney was warned by SD-6 that anyone
who knew of her real work would be killed.
It's Danny's death that rips Sydney out of her comfortable life as a spy, and into her dangerous
role as a double agent for the CIA.
Danny Hecht was played by Edward Atterton,
Michael Vaughn becomes Sydney's handler when she walks into CIA to revenge herself on SD-6 for its murder of Danny. But soon
he becomes the only person Sydney can go to when the pressures of her secret world become too great for
her. Through Danny's death she's learned not to share her feelings with anyone else. Eventually their relationship grows until
they both recognize that they want it to be more than just a friendship.
Not wanting Sydney to lose someone else she loves, her father grudgingly accepts Vaughn, though he lets Vaughn know that he's not impressed
with the man. Sydney's increasing closeness to Irina lays heavily on Vaughn, since Vaughn confesses to Sydney that it was her mother who
killed his father. When you take two people who have enough issues with parents to keep Freud in luxury for life, how could they not
be destined to be together. Well, long enough for Sydney to get pregnant, at least.
Whoever wrote Vaughn's character must really be a student of hurt/comfort literature. When he's not being tortured by his wife, the fact of
his having a wife is torture enough for Sydney. And Vaughn can usually be found lying around on some experimental table or other, waiting for
Sydney to save him in the nick of time. Though, true, he'll be there for her, too. But how it's possible for someone who can kill bad guys
with single shots to take an incredible number of bullets to the chest from a machine gun, and still survive, must amaze Sydney as much as every
But there's little comfort available for either Vaughn or Sydney when he's whisked from the hospital, out of her life, and Sydney
isn't even allowed to send him Beargrams with cute slogans encouraging him to get well soon. But better the comfort of knowing that the one
you love is still alive (somehow!) and living somewhere obscure, than getting to comfort them in person and get them killed as a result.
Michael Vartan, who plays Michael Vaughn,
appeared as Lancelot in Marion Zimmer Bradley's 'Mists of Avalon', as well as appearing in
Friends, Ally McBeal, and Sand.
Lauren is the daughter of an influential senator and, herself, a member of the National Security Council.
And when Sydney is believed by everyone to be dead for two years, Lauren also becomes Vaughn's wife. But she
turns out to be on the opposite side from the angels, and a major villain in her own right. Though
she must have a soft side since she can't bring herself to let Vaughn die after torturing him, and
it must have been her Electra complex that prevents her from shooting her father on orders of the
criminal organization for which they both work. Not to worry though, her mother doubted her daughter's resolve
and takes the gun and finishes off her husband herself. Lauren does look lovely in black at daddy's funeral.
As though Vaughn wouldn't have enough anger at his wife himself, there's always Sydney's father Jack
around to remind Vaughn that even thirty years isn't enough to take away a husband's feelings of betrayal.
He reminds Vaughn that Jack's storage locker is always available for Vaughn's use, and it has facilities
for taking care of inconvenient bodies!
Lauren has been standing between Vaughn and Sydney ever since Sydney returns, and it's only poetic justice that
Vaughn gets to kill his wife while finally kissing Sydney again. In case there's some worry that Lauren
wasn't really loved enough (or why would she have had so much trouble killing her father), the sweet villain Sark, with whom
Lauren was having an affair, can't bring himself to change sides back to the good guys until he has a chance to see his
beloved for one last time. So Lauren appears, beautiful as ever, in a drawer somewhere in spy headquarters. A guest shot
is a guest shot, after all. And maybe
Vaughn really did have a soft spot for her.
Or maybe Jack's disposal equipment was all used up.
Melissa George has appeared in
Charmed, Friends, Monk, LA Confidentialand Monk.
Arvin Sloane and Jack Bristow were both at the startup of SD-6 when they left the CIA. One only hopes that they had a chance to
execute any stock options before the criminal organization was closed down. It's Sloane who orders the
killing of Sydney's fiance, Danny, though Jack doesn't endear himself to his daughter by admitting that he knew about the order before
it was carried out.
From being an old family friend who took care of Sydney after her mother's supposed death and her father's imprisonment as a potential mole,
Sloane has become someone Sydney secretly despises. One of the joys of her life, after SD-6 is brought down, is having her emotions front
and center so that she can ream Sloane out every time he gets too fatherly affectionate to her. Jack isn't very fond of
Sloane's affection for Sydney either. Which might have something to do with Irina's affair with Sloane and Jack's secret paternity test.
Indeed, Sloane did get Irina pregnant, but his daughter by Irina was Nadia, not Sydney. It would have had to have been a very
long affair for Sloane to have ever thought he might have been Sydney's father! And clearly he loves Sydney. After all, why else would
he kiss her so tenderly before allowing her torturer to continue?
Ron Rifkin, who plays Arvin Sloane, has an incredibly
extensive film and TV history, going back to 1966 Gidgit movies!
Marcus Dixon is Sydney's partner in field operations for SD-6. As partners, their bond is very close
and is one of the great sources of angst for Sydney, in that she can't let him know that the danger and
pain to which he exposes himself is in service of the bad guys Dixon thinks he's fighting.
It's Dixon who takes the ultimate exposure of SD-6 hardest because he believes Sydney should never
have lied to him once she discovered the truth. And the only reason she finally does tell him
is because SD-6 is torturing, and possibly killing, her father and Sydney needs Dixon to believe her and
Dixon's emotional reaction is so deep that he doesn't choose to join the real CIA, as many of the
former SD-6 agents do, and he comes back into the spy business only because he's needed to save
Sydney in a gone-bad op.
Dixon also takes part in an operation to capture Sloane that ends with Dixon being the
one to accidentally kill Sloane's beloved wife. (That's after it turns out that Sloane didn't really
kill his wife after being ordered to do so by the Alliance.) Which leads to Sloane taking his revenge on Dixon's
own wife - not a good basis for the relationship Dixon will have to have with Sloane when Dixon finds himself
once again working for his old spy master.
Carl Lumbly's, film and TV credits date back
to 1978 and include roles in Buckaroo Banzai, Cagney and Lacey, and LA Law.
Marshall is the computer and gadget guru for SD-6, and is frequently the comic relief. An absolutely
engaging character, Marshall throws himself into his work with joy, continually wandering into
side excursions of thought that the others are always cutting short. Sent on a field mission
with Sydney, he explains his panic to her as being caused by this being his first plane ride.
But not to worry. Marshall read the operating manual for the airliner the night before, and can explain
every noise and vibration. And does!
It's this passion for knowledge that lets Marshall keep his emotional balance when he discovers
that he'd been working for the bad guys. Being treated as a rock star by the computer and gadget
gurus at the real CIA doesn't hurt either. And it's Marshall who eventually has the most normal
family life, falling in love with another computer geek and becoming the father of four boys.
Kevin Weisman, who plays Marshall Flinkman,
receivef a BA from UCLA's School of Theatre/Film/Television. He's also appeared in a recurring
role in Buffy, and a guest role in Charmed and the X-files.
Taken away from Irina at birth, Nadia had already been used
for Rambaldi experiments when she's stolen away by Vaughn's father Bill, who dumps her in an orphanage.
When they discover a DNA code hidden in Rambaldi manuscripts, a worldwide search turns up Nadia
in an asylum. Having always wanted a sister, Sydney is off to join the asylum and rescue her sister.
Who turns out to have a pretty good kickboxing style of her own and had already joined the family
business as a spy.
Swearing that the only thing he cared about was his daughter's welfare,
Sloane sneaks her away immediately but, rather than enjoying the pleasures of father/daughter day at work,
Sloane has made a deal with the bad guys (well, the other bad guys) to split half the profits if he
can use their Rambaldi fluid on his daughter to get her to be the magic pen writing out the Rambaldi secrets.
But unlike his partners, Sloane would prefer to keep his daughter alive.
Nadia easily slips into Sydney's spy world, dating Vaughn's friend Weiss, and deepening her
relationship with her father - something which makes Sydney very uncomfortable as, by now, Sydney's
hatred for Sloane is out in the open.
And there's another piece of the Rambaldi puzzle hanging over Nadia's head. The prediction says that
when the Chosen One and the Passenger fight, only one will return alive. That's not Sydney's only worry.
When Sydney took Nadia to the grave of their mother, Nadia swore to kill the person who killed their
mother. Unfortunately for Sydney, that person is Sydney's father.
One would recommend counseling for this whole dysfunctional family if Arvin Sloane wasn't already sleeping
with the counseler.
Mía Maestro is an Argentinian actress
who won the Imagen Award as Best Supporting Actress for her role in Alias.
Eric Weiss is the loyal CIA buddy who puts his job on the line for Vaughn, while Vaughn is busy
putting his own on the line for Sydney. One of the really decent souls in the world, Weiss's
reward comes when he and Sydney's sister Nadia begin to seriously date. Though having a relationship
with someone who spends a lot of episodes in a coma must be hell on Friday nights.
Greg Grunberg's film career is
extensive, appearing in Melrose Place, Baywatch, Murphy Brown, Mike Hammer,
Silk Stalkings, NYPD Blue, Dead Zone, Lost, House MD, Monk and Heroes. He's also
appeared in the Austin Powers movie, Goldmembers.
SD-6 Agent Noah Hicks is part of Sydney's past and would like to be part of her future, too.
When Noah left Los Angeles, he sent a message to Sydney and waited for a response that never came.
Sydney, too, waited for some word from him, but found none. When these two ex-lovers come together
in an op, Noah explains that his message was in a piece of email spam with a subject that should
have been recognizable to Sydney. Subtle. Sydney explains that they were having computer problems in that timeframe.
One only hopes that doesn't mean she will be forced to read all spam in the future.
Reunited, Noah and Sydney restart their affair. And when Noah is about to leave yet again, he makes it very clear to Sydney that
he wants her to come with him. But she can't. Her passion to take down SD-6 is just too strong to let go.
These email-crossed lovers shouldn't meet again, but they do when Sydney finds herself fighting a masked competitor in an op.
The only thing that mitigates the tragedy of Noah's death is the fact that he fell on his own knife, so
that Sydney didn't directly cause his death.
Peter Berg has taken on almost every hat in
the film industry, as crew, actor, director and producer.
He's appeared in 21 Jump Street, Miracle Mile, and Chicago Hope.
Will Tippin has been in love with Sydney for years, though she sees him only as a friend.
After Danny's death, Will and Francie become Sydney's roommates. A reporter, Will can't help
becoming intrigued by small inconsistencies he discovers in the story of Danny's death, and in
Sydney's obsessive work for her cover, the Bank Dauphine. Once Sydney becomes aware of this, she is terrified
that Will's sleuthing will turn up some fact that will lead to his death, too.
And she's right
to be worried. When Will is seen as a danger to SD-6, the only thing that saves him is
Jack and Vaughn's setting him up as a drug addict who is disgraced, but who will now not be believed.
His life ruined, at least Will is now someone to whom Sydney need no longer lie.
As Sydney becomes more and more involved with Vaughn, Will recognizes that he has no chance with her
and falls in love with Francie. Unfortunately for Will (not to mention Francie!), Francie is killed by Sydney's nemesis,
Anna, an assassin who has been modified to become Francie's double and takes Francie's place. One can only
assume Will is not a particularly observant lover.
Publicly disgraced, Will has been earning money by doing CIA research for Vaughn, and Will's drugged
pillow talk provides Anna with information about the CIA's progress tracking down and understanding Rambaldi artifacts.
Bradley Cooper's acting resume includes
roles in Sex in the City, Jack and Bobby, Law and Order, and Wedding Crashers.
Francie is Sydney's roommate, almost catching Sydney out in a lie when Francie and her fiance meet Sydney in Las Vegas. Sydney's cover
story had sent her somewhere else. When Will's reputation is destroyed, Francie gives him a job as a waiter
in her new restaurant. Eventually Will and Francie become lovers.
Unknown to anyone,
Francie has been killed by as assassin modified to have Francie's appearance. The fake
Francie uses her pillow talk with Will to gain CIA information. But realizing that he's just become
suspicious of her, Francie attacks and almost kills Will. Obviously, she's not as good at her job as her reputation would lead one to assume.
It's only because of a phone message Will was able
to leave for Sydney that Sydney discovers the substitution in time to force her to shoot what her mind tells
her is an assassin, and what her emotions tell her is her best friend.
Moral? Always check the references of potential roommates for associations with bloodthirsty villains.
Merrin Dungey has appeared
in Babylon 5, ER, Murphy brown, Seinfeld, West Wing, Friends, Malcolm in the Middle,
Boston Legal, and Grey's Anatomy.
Anna Espinosa is a top assassin, and she so often seems to be one step ahead of Sydney that their
competition takes on the occasional humorous aspect. But there's nothing humorous about Anna when she kills
Sydney's best friend, Francie, and takes on her identity.
Discovered, Anna thinks she's disposed of Will, but he had time to leave a quick message to warn Sydney.
Sydney's test for Anna is beautifully clean and simple. Sydney holds out
a spoon of strawberry ice cream to share with Anna/Francie, knowing Francie hates strawberry. Not
wanting to be out of character as best girlfriend, Anna takes the bite and seals her fate. (Moral? Stick with chocolate.)
Although Sydney keeps trying to kill Anna, Sydney
never seems to be able to quite manage the job, and Anna returns periodically to bedevil Syd's ops.
Gina Torres won the
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Syndicated Drama Series award (ALMA) for her role in Cleopatra 2525.
Her extensive film and TV career includes roles in
Law and Order, NYPD Blue, Dark Angel, Zena, La Femme Nikita, Hercules, Angel,
The Matrix Reloaded, Firefly, CSI, 24, and The Shield.
Julian Sark is one of the most appealing villains one could imagine. He's remarkably good natured,
preferring not to kill when it's not really necessary, though he follows orders when required.
Even when the result would be the destruction of two major cities! By nature he's a follower rather than
a leader, and he shifts allegiances to the next perceived winner with the fluidity of a ballet dancer.
He works for and against Alvin Sloane, and for and against Irina Derevko, and is one of the only villains
left standing in the end.
Life seems to be a series of hard breaks for Sark, though. His massive inheritance is taken from him by the bad
guys, who won't even admit him to their inner circle. He has an affairs with Anna, but his
relationship with Vaughn's wife Lauren is his most intense. Following her being shot by Vaughn, Sark
once again changes side, but requires that he be allowed to see his love again. For some strange reason,
they keep her body in a lower drawer somewhere in headquarters. The contrast of Vaughn's reaction to her body
and Sark's is a wonderfully unusual plot twist.
David Anders's career includes appearing in
CSI (LV and Miami), Charmed, Deadwood and Grey's Anatomy.
Rachel Gibson appears in the series at just the time when Sydney's pregnancy by Vaughn is making her
unable to do the more strenuous maneuvers required of a field agent. Initially traumatized by the bombing
of her office and the loss of her friends, Rachel is slowly increasing her skills and confidence under
Her one romantic interlude is with a man she meets in a hotel while waiting for her op to start.
Clearly her employers should have provided her with pictures of their main opponents, since her affair turns out
to be with Sark. When he catches and has to torture her later, he really does seem to be sorry about it.
But torturing lovers is just part of your job requirement when you're a villain.
Rachel Nichols has appeared in movies and TV,
including Sex and the City, Line of Fire, and the Amityville Horror.
Kelly Peyton has no such emotional problems. Kelly is the sort of villain who gives the profession
its Webster definition. She's also the coworker who bombed Rachel's office, and
she emerges as a major player on the other side, usually teamed with Sark.
Amy Acker appeared as Fred in Angel, as well as
in various movies and TV.