The BEST Episodes of The Pretender

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Jun 3, 2020

Network: NBC

The Pretender is an American television series that aired on NBC from 1996 to 2000. The series starred Michael T. Weiss as Jarod, a genius and former child prodigy with the ability to become anyone he wants to be, i.e., to flawlessly impersonate anyone in virtually any line of work. Patrick Bauchau and Andrea Parker co-starred as Sydney, Jarod's childhood teacher and mentor, and Miss Parker, a childhood friend. They are both operatives for a mysterious organization called "The Centre", which took Jarod from his parents as a child and developed his special talents with the intention of making him one of their agents, while also using his brilliant intellect for their own evil purposes. After escaping from their custody, Jarod begins traveling the country, searching for clues to his true identity while posing as a doctor, police officer, attorney, or some other character who helps those in trouble. The Centre's directors are determined to return Jarod to The Centre to further their mysterious plan. A team of operatives, led by Miss Parker, attempts to find and capture The Pretender. Jarod's extreme intelligence combined with his childlike innocence create a memorable and endearing character that was popular with viewers.

Bazooka Jarod

#1 - Bazooka Jarod

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired Feb 8, 1997

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA - Jarod joins the Navy to investigate the drowning of a ship's engineer, but he must outwit a security officer who doubts his credentials. Meanwhile, the latest lead on Jarod pushes Miss Parker to follow clues regarding the children her mother saved.

star 7.96
223 votes
Writers: Juan Carlos Coto, Kimberly Costello
Cold Dick

#2 - Cold Dick

Season 4 - Episode 11 - Aired Feb 12, 2000

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - After being contacted by Argyle, Jarod becomes a Las Vegas private investigator to save a showgirl in trouble with with the mob. Meanwhile, Broots and Miss Parker try to outwit Jarod by posing as a newlywed couple and checking into the honeymoon suite. But come sunrise, they find they've gotten more involved with each other then they ever have chasing Jarod...

star 7.95
128 votes
Writers: Juan Carlos Coto
Toy Surprise

#3 - Toy Surprise

Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired Mar 7, 1998

TURNERS RIDGE, IDAHO - Jarod helps a troubled teenager by becoming an outdoor counselor. But back at The Centre, Miss Parker is grieving the anniversary of her mother's death. The day just gets worst when she's tipped off by Jarod that there's going to be an assassination attempt on her father. With only 2 hours to stop it and trapped in the Sub-levels, Miss Parker has to get to the tower before her father arrives by helicopter.

star 7.92
178 votes
Directors: Fred Keller
Writers: Juan Carlos Coto
Ranger Jarod

#4 - Ranger Jarod

Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired Feb 15, 1997

TOLUCA NATIONAL FOREST, OREGON - Jarod falls in love with his hiking partner while on a seach-and-rescue for a boy who disappeared in the mountains. Jarod also befriends a man named Big Bob who has many stooge-ish qualitites. Back at The Centre, Miss Parker reminisces about how she loved Jarod when they were children.

star 7.88
211 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: Craig Van Sickle, Steven Long Mitchell
A Prison Story

#5 - A Prison Story

Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Feb 1, 1997

MARYLAND OAKFIELD PENITENTIARY - Jarod pretends to be a prison guard who is trying to prove a man on death row didn't commit the crime he's sentenced to death for. Meanwhile, Miss Parker, Sydney, and Broots all get a clue that makes them believe they're now one step ahead of Jarod.

star 7.87
253 votes
Directors: Oscar Costo
Writers: Craig Van Sickle, Steven Long Mitchell, Tommy Thompson
Bomb Squad

#6 - Bomb Squad

Season 1 - Episode 11 - Aired Jan 18, 1997

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - Jarod poses as a member of the bomb squad, searching for a serial bomber who left a woman blind from one of his attacks. Meanwhile, the Centre puts Mr. Reines in charge of finding the person who's leaking information to Jarod. By utilizing Angelo, he puts Miss Parker, Sydney, and Broots to the test.

star 7.80
292 votes
Directors: Terrence O'Hara
Writers: Javier Grillo-Marxuach
The Paper Clock

#7 - The Paper Clock

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Nov 2, 1996

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - Aiming to help a man wrongly sentenced for murder, Jarod becomes a lawyer and goes after the arrogant attorney protecting the real killer. Meanwhile, Sydney is trying to reach an agreement with The Centre to make a trade with Jarod: A piece of Jarod's past for some of the simulations.

star 7.80
311 votes
Writers: Javier Grillo-Marxuach
A Virus Among Us

#8 - A Virus Among Us

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 16, 1996

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - Miss Parker finds that she just missed Jarod posing as a High School biology teacher, and is then subjected to the flu virus. Jarod now poses as a virologist at an infectious disease laboratory trying to figure out the story behind the disappearance of another virologist. He also befriends Ben, a musician who is trying to prefect his musical talent on various instruments, althought his neighbors don't care for it.

star 7.79
335 votes
Directors: Fred Keller
Writers: Lawrence Meyers
Under The Reds

#9 - Under The Reds

Season 1 - Episode 16 - Aired Mar 22, 1997

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - Jarod checks into a fellow paramedic whom he believes is responsible for a graduate student's coma. But he first has to outsmart a pushy, investigative tax official who won't stop digging up everything on Jarod. After their follow-up to a lead on Jarod, Sydney disappears from the Centre. He holes himself up with his twin brother Jacob using a technique Jarod discovered in an attempt to bring him out of his coma. Miss Parker is put in charge of finding Syd and when she does, to make matters worst, Mr. Raines commands her to do eliminate Jacob.

star 7.78
214 votes
Directors: Charles Siebert
Writers: David Kemper, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, Lawrence Meyers
The Dragon House (1)

#10 - The Dragon House (1)

Season 1 - Episode 21 - Aired May 17, 1997

FORT REXFORD, NEW YORK - Jarod becomes aware that Kyle, another pretender from The Centre, is on the run from the law. Eager to find him, he becomes an F.B.I. agent to aid the investigation. But he discovers that Kyle may have something to do with his mother. Meanwhile, Miss Parker and Sydney recruit Angelo to go through all of Jarod's red notebooks. They figure he can become Jarod and thus aiding in his capture.

star 7.78
206 votes
Directors: Fred Keller
Writers: Craig Van Sickle, Steven Long Mitchell
Better Part Of Valor

#11 - Better Part Of Valor

Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Jan 11, 1997

PITTSBURGH, PA - Jarod works as a firefighter while investigating the murder of another smoke-eater; Miss Parker tries to seduce a married man.

star 7.76
252 votes
Directors: Anson Williams
Writers: Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Not Even A Mouse

#12 - Not Even A Mouse

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 14, 1996

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - Jarod investigates the mystery behind a hit-and-run death of a homeless man known as 'Christmas George' while simultaneously trying to identify a Jane Doe before Christmas. Meanwhile, Sydney anxiously awaits word from Jarod and Miss Parker gets her hopes up spending Christmas with her father.

star 7.75
333 votes
Writers: Juan Carlos Coto
The Dragon House (2)

#13 - The Dragon House (2)

Season 1 - Episode 22 - Aired May 17, 1997

UPSTATE NEW YORK - Jarod discovers more about his family through Harriet, and decides that he must return to The Centre to free his brother Kyle. Meanwhile, Miss Parker convinces Broots and Sydney in helping her find the answers to her mother's death and believes Kyle may be the key. Finally, Jarod gets the opportunity to reunite with his family, including his sister. But The Centre becomes aware of the rendezvous and intends to stop it.

star 7.75
110 votes
Directors: Fred Keller
Writers: Craig Van Sickle, Steven Long Mitchell
To Protect and Serve

#14 - To Protect and Serve

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 9, 1996

MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA - Jarod, suspecting corruption in a police department, becomes an officer himself to solve the death of a boy who had recently been reunited with his father. He also befriends an aging lady who's young at heart, but is afraid of losing her wildside due to her fading eyesight. Meanwhile, Miss Parker is spending time in jail for violating criminal code 369.7 - Unlawful Carrying and Possession of Concealed Weapon, thanks to a tip from Jarod. With her in jail, Jarod uses that window of opportunity to hire a private investigator to aid in finding information about his mother.

star 7.74
253 votes
Writers: Tommy Thompson

#15 - Pool

Season 3 - Episode 13 - Aired Feb 20, 1999

Jarod challenges a pool hustler to get evidence linking the man to the murder of a young woman's father; Miss Parker tries to prevent Brigitte's marriage.

star 7.72
64 votes
Directors: Fred Keller
Writers: Harry Dunn
Past Sim

#16 - Past Sim

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Dec 13, 1997

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - While watching the news, Jarod finds that one of his old simulations he preformed has just been utilized in kidnapping a witness in a murder trial against the Yakuza clan. Outraged, Jarod sets out to reverse the outcome of the situation he's created. Meanwhile, Miss Parker suspects the sale of the simulation came from Mr. Lyle, and begins to apply pressure in hopes of finding any other connections to Jarod.

star 7.63
142 votes
Directors: Fred Keller
Writers: Tommy Thompson
Spin Doctor (1)

#17 - Spin Doctor (1)

Season 4 - Episode 10 - Aired Feb 5, 2000

Jarod tries to track down the killer of a man who helped him escape from The Centre. Meanwhile, Miss Parker tries to help Sydney deal with his past. (Clean Sweep (2) aired on Profiler, season 4, episode 10.)

star 7.61
128 votes
Directors: Fred Keller
Writers: Juan Carlos Coto

#18 - Keys

Season 1 - Episode 17 - Aired Apr 5, 1997

MIAMI, FLORIDA - During a hurricane, Jarod is getting revenge for the deaths of a refugee's parents. He figures no one will pursue him since, after all, he's in the middle of a hurricane. But he's caught off guard when Miss Parker suddenly shows up. Even further caught off guard when his revenge backfires. Meanwhile, Miss Parker recalls the Thanksgiving before her mother's death. But she's blocked out certain details and Jarod makes her confront them.

star 7.60
212 votes
Directors: Terrence O'Hara
Writers: Craig Van Sickle, Juan Carlos Coto, Steven Long Mitchell
Curious Jarod

#19 - Curious Jarod

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 26, 1996

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - After spending some time studying mathematics and science, Jarod becomes head of security at a the Marquee Casino in Las Vegas. While there, he attempts to solve the mystery behind the death of a showgirl. Jarod also befriends a down-on-his-luck Elvis impersonator. Meanwhile, Sydney and Miss Parker resort to finding Jarod through the mob.

star 7.56
314 votes
Writers: Kimberly Costello

#20 - Pilot

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 19, 1996

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Miss Parker and Sydney find they had just missed Jarod helping a tanker ship in Alaska. Jarod is now posing as a doctor to uncover the truth behind an operation that resulted in a boy becoming paraplegic. Jarod also befriends a sicilian woman who has trouble with (ahem) bowel movements.

star 7.54
397 votes
Directors: Rick Wallace
Writers: Craig Van Sickle, Steven Long Mitchell
Every Picture Tells A Story

#21 - Every Picture Tells A Story

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 28, 1996

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - Miss Parker and Sydney once again miss Jarod at the Y.M.C.A., who is now posing as a member of the Coast Guard trying to figure out the truth behind the death of a man who died at sea waiting for rescue. Jarod also befriends a hermit who lives out at sea and refuses to come back to land.

star 7.52
281 votes
Directors: Michael Zinberg
Writers: Craig Van Sickle, Steven Long Mitchell

#22 - Mirage

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Jan 4, 1997

HUDSPETH COUNTY, TEXAS - Jarod pretends to be a skydiving instructor looking into the death of a survivalist who died on his annual trip into the desert. Jarod is also visited by Ernie Two Feathers, a man who may (or may not) be a spirit guide. Meanwhile, Miss Parker is given a birthday present from Jarod that leads her to information about her mother.

star 7.47
251 votes
Directors: Ian Toynton
Writers: Tommy Thompson

#23 - Flyer

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 19, 1996

ARIZONA - Sydney and Miss Parker survey a wind farm in Baja, CA where Jarod was last seen testing aerodynamics. Jarod is now flying jets for Skyvionics, which is testing a defense contractor's new computer system, while trying to figure out why a test pilot died during one of the tests. Jarod also befriends Mr. Hollis, a conspirator who was involved in the Manhattan Project.

star 7.47
263 votes
Writers: Juan Carlos Coto
Collateral Damage

#24 - Collateral Damage

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Jan 3, 1998

LOST HILLS, VIRGINIA - Jarod becomes a Special Forces soldier to help the daughter of a Vietnam veteran get her father's name added to the War Memorial. Back at The Centre, Miss Parker reluctantly babysits Debbie while Broots is in Florida on an assignment.

star 7.45
143 votes
Directors: Vern Gillum
Writers: Harry Dunn
Jarod's Honor

#25 - Jarod's Honor

Season 1 - Episode 19 - Aired May 3, 1997

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - After completing a pretend, Jarod receives an email offering answers to his past. While investigating the lead, Jarod unexpectedly stumbles upon a dying hitman. When the hitman's last job comes calling, Jarod takes it. Meanwhile, Sydney and Miss Parker, following a lead from Jarod, attend a Twins Convention while Broots covers for them.

star 7.45
214 votes
Directors: Terrence O'Hara
Writers: Chris Ruppenthal, Tommy Thompson