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The Pretender
Every Picture Tells A Story
  Season 1
Episode # 1.02
Airdate September 28, 1996
Writer(s) Steven Long Mitchell and Craig W. Van Sickle
Director(s) Michael Zinberg
Last name (s) Spitts, Campbell
Location (s) San Diego, CA
All The Pretender episodes

Every Picture Tells A Story is the second episode of the first season of The Pretender series which first aired in September 28, 1996 on NBC in the United States.

It features a first appearance of Jon Gries as Broots.


Episode begins with yet another red notebook that Jarod has left for Sydney and Miss Parker to find. Jarod, who’s last pretend was as an atomic engineer by the name of Spitts, had prevented a nuclear disaster. Parker and Sydney interrogate the man in the room, who does not know anything about where he is now, only that Jarod spent days at the pool, where he took swimming lessons and drifted in the water. In Jarod’s bathroom, they found a bath full of water and toys.

In the same time it is shown how Jarod jumps out of a helicopter and tries to save a women from a boat that is about to explode. He succeeds. Jarod’s current pretend is as a lieutenant in the San Diego (CA) Coast Guard and he goes by the name of Jarod Campbell.


Ms Parker gets a note from Jarod (delivered by Sam the Sweeper), where it stands: “Sorry I missed you at the “Y”... Things aren’t always the way they seem. 4/13/70 Jarod”. She interrupts Sydney's work with twin girls that show ama


zing talent with math, they speak and Sydney offers Ms Parker the option to skip an elevator ride three floors up, which she refuses, after what it is revealed that Ms Parker’s mother killed herself in the same elevator.

He gets acquainted with some of he’s colleagues, amongst them are Martha Poole, a helicopter pilot, and Paul Billon. Billon introduces him on the boat to Javi Padillo. All three of them drive off to sea, where they find a boat, Billon asks Jarod to enter the boat where a man with a gun awaits. He is revealed to be a somewhat friendly loner, by the name of Roy Abbot, who has lived for a quite some time in the boat without coming to dry land. They inform him that he is obliged to do so in the coming week.

Jarod phones to Sydney and asks him if Jarod is he’s real name. According to Sydney it is. Ms Parker has the phone tapped by Broots, and she is listening as well. They speak of the taken DSA’s and Sydney asks about the aim of Jarod’s wish to help the “little man” while Jarod is painting a portrait.

The next day, it seems to be Jarod’s day off, he is in the pier, very interested in novelty gags e.g. fake dog poop, trying to figure out their meaning. That until the two people that he is interested in, appear. They are the wife and small daughter of a drowned fisherman, Tom King, who are the objects of Jarod’s compassion and help.

Parker and Sydney trace Jarod’s call back to the building where Jarod had stayed in, storm into he’s room, only to find a man trying to escape via window. He turns out to be a Seattle musician who Jarod pays money to transfer he’s calls.

Jarod meets again with Roy bringing him supplies, they speak and Jarod get’s to know him better. Roy listens to Wagner’s “Dutchman” and Jarod suggests Mozart’s “Magic Flute” instead. After that Jarod asks Martha’s help to help him find out what happened with Tom King, although he does that without directly asking so. While speaking with her he realizes that Martha is 9 weeks pregnant, reveals that he worked once as a midwife and finds out that she has been pushed down in the promotion ladder, because of being a woman. In the same time demands Parker from Broots, that the man would trace down Jarod asap, using the lines in Seattle that he used to make he’s calls untraceable.

Jarod speaks with the deceased man’s daughter, who teaches the man to eat Oreos “the right way”, by twisting them in halves and eating the filling. They speak some more and Jarod finds out that she gave her father a small figurine of St. Brendan who’d protect him.


At home Jarod watches a DSA, dated 7/13/70 where he is in a bubble, trying to bring back he’s crew safely, trying to figure out how Tom King was killed. He figures it out and in the video, he sees little ms Parker. In the middle of the night, 3:46 he calls Parker, and the main idea of their conversation is, that things aren’t the way they seem.

Jarod attends a bbq night, and speaks of the death of Tom King with Billon, who says that it was just an accident. The next day Jarod goes to church, he sees Javi there. Jarod confronts Javi, and finds out that Billon was smuggling drugs along with Javi, and in a foggy night they crashed Kings boat, when Javi tried to help King, Billon held him at gunpoint and they left. By using the wrong ocean currents they lead the search-and-rescue mission in the wrong spot and let King die. Javi has significant guilt over the death of the man. Jarod dives and finds the wreck with the St. Brendan figurine, using the correct data.

Parker reminiscences over her mother. At the Centre Broots has traced Jaord back to the same building they started at, in the room next door. They go there and meet with the same guy again, as well as get the lead that Jarod works in coast guard and come to catch him.

Jarod has thought out an elaborate scheme to teach the killer a lesson. Javi calls in sick at the day of the drug pickup and Jarod should fill in. As Jarod says that he does not feel so good, Billon is relieved and lets him stay abroad. Jarod follows Billon and crashes he’s boat, frightens him, gets the confession and leaves, calling him in, but assures that the rescuers take their time. In the same time Comm. Powell receives information about the murder of Tom King.


Jarod escapes from Parker and Sydney by jumping into ocean and swimming into dry land. In Jarod’s boat there’s another note to Ms Parker. She watches the attached dsa in the evening at her place while drinking something that appears to be vodka, she remembers the day when her mother died, she opens a package from Jarod and finds inside a painting of her as a little girl. She takes a phone and dials a number, saying only – I want to know the truth about my mother’s death.

In the end, Jarod meets with Roy again, this time in dry land. When Roy asks what Jarod plannes to do next, he replies - some driving - after which it is shown Jarod in a F1 car, as a driver in a soon to begin race.


Main Cast

Guest Stars

  • Hillary Kidwell as Twin #1
  • Melissa Kidwell as Twins #
  • Marjorie Monaghan as Martha Poole
  • William Sanderson as Roy Abbot
  • Pat Skipper as Paul Bilson
  • Stephanie Sawyer as Kimberly King
  • Jacob Vargas as Javier Padilla
  • Iverson Warinner as Saltz
  • Dell Yount as Vendor


  • Jarod Spitts - atomic engineer
  • Jarod Campbell - coast guard lieutenant

Jarod's Discovers

  • Oreo cookies
  • Fake dog poop


Kimberly King: Didn't you ever eat cookies as a kid?
Jarod: They didn't have cookies where I grew up.
Kimberly King: Where'd you grow up? Mars?
Jarod: Sort of.


  • Jarod revealed to be a midwife once.
  • Jarod hates sushi.

Related links

Pretender Episode 2 - Season 1 (The Daily Planet)