Persons Unknown

Episode 1.01 : Pilot

  • Persons Unknown
    • Episode Premiere : June 07, 2010
    • Distributor : NBC
    • Genre : Drama
    • Seasons : 1
    • Show Period : 2010 - 2010
    • Production Company: Fox Television Studios
    • Official Site :

Cast and Crew

The Story

It's a beautiful day in San Francisco, and single mom Janet Cooper has taken her five-year-old daughter Megan to the Presidio Park playground. Somber and scary Sam Edick taps Janet's shoulder. She hasn't been returning his calls. Janet wants to know how it is that Edick can find her so easily, but not the missing husband she's hired him to locate. Edick points out that Megan owes him money for the work he's done so far. She promises to pay up once her husband is found. And one more thing... she's going to take her husband to the cleaners if he makes her keep looking for him.

Janet turns her attention back to Megan, but her daughter has vanished. With panic rising in her throat, Janet searches the playground to no avail. Finally she catches sight of the angel wings made of yellow balloons that Megan was wearing and rushes after them. She finds the balloon wings on the ground in a deserted spot by the restrooms. Two men quickly clap a rag over Janet's mouth and drag her off. It's all caught on the security camera. Meanwhile, back at the playground, Megan calls out for her mother.

Janet wakes up on a bed in what seems to be a locked hotel room. One thing's for sure - the room has a surveillance camera, which is turned on. Janet faces the camera, begging to see her daughter. When she sees movement in the hallway under the door, she calls out for help, but no one comes. Desperate, Janet smashes a dresser to find a nail and tries to pick the door lock, but that doesn't work either. She screams again, and finally a guy busts through the door, introducing himself as Joe. He's not "one of them," and he too just woke up with no idea of where they are. Who would want to kidnap them? Janet admits she owes Edick $1,100, and then there's her husband. But Joe was taken from New York, so what the hell?

Joe informs Janet that there's a key to her door taped in the Bible in her bedside table. Having heard movement in the hallway, Joe and Janet cautiously explore, calling out for others and telling them about the keys. Slowly but surely, four more people enter the hallway: investor Charlie Morse; Moira, who's still in her bathrobe; Marine Sergeant McNair; and hot, young socialite Tori Fairchild. McNair quickly grabs Joe by the throat until it's made clear that they're all hostages who've been yanked out of their normal lives. Above their heads, the black dome of a surveillance camera sees all.

The stairwell doors are magnetically sealed and the elevator doesn't work. McNair calms Charlie, who's freaked out and worried about his wife. She's got emotional problems and will be lost without him. Determined to leave, Joe spots a smoke alarm and resolves to set it off. He and McNair gather the splinters of Janet's dresser and work to make a flame. Hoping to figure out who would take them, Charlie asks the others what they're worth. Crisis intervention counseling for a teachers' union doesn't pay Moira a lot, nor does working for the Marine Corps. Joe claims he's not worth anything to anyone but himself, and he'd rather not say his occupation. After all, the bad guy might be one of them.

Back in San Francisco, reporter Mark Renbe labors at the office of the San Francisco Register, a dubious tabloid. His editor Kat Damatto is hot for a breaking transvestite hooker story, but Renbe is hooked on the story of missing mom Janet, having seen the security camera footage of her kidnapping. Kat scoffs, but Renbe knows that Janet's a good mom who runs a daycare service out of her house with no family other than her mother. Promising that Janet will turn up in a garbage bag, Kat lets Renbe go ahead with the story, but only if he delivers the transvestite hooker first.

Back at the hotel, paranoia has set in as everyone continues to puzzle over why they might have been kidnapped. Charlie still thinks it's about cash, until Joe and McNair agree that not everyone is abducted for money. The conversation is cut short when Joe produces a flame, which does nothing to the smoke detector. When Janet notices the elevator moving towards their floor, Joe and McNair snap into formation, taking positions on either side of the door as the others hide. When the elevator turns up empty, everyone gets inside and takes a ride down to the deserted lobby.

Strangely enough, the front door is unlocked, and a quaint main street in a charming town that time forgot lays beyond. There's a Chinese restaurant, a hardware store, a taxidermist, a clothing store, and a sheriff's office. Someone's already punched through the glass door to the sheriff's office and none of the phones work, but the surveillance camera still seems to be running. Joe wants to keep moving, but the others explore. Just as Tori spies a gun rack, a guy in a suit steps out of the shadows with a shotgun, screaming at everyone to put their hands up.

The guy in the suit looks crazed, so Joe instructs everyone to get down and do what he says. Everyone obeys except Charlie, who claims he has nothing to lose. Janet notices Joe signaling to McNair. Once they have an in, they rush the guy. McNair grabs the gun, and Charlie jumps on the guy, squeezing his throat and demanding answers. Car salesman Bill Blackham introduces himself. The last thing he remembers was being pulled over by the cops; then he woke up in the hotel. And yes, he was the guy who walked past Janet's room and ignored her screams for help.

Moira wants Charlie to let Bill go, but Charlie's still not sure. What if Bill's one of them? Joe's determined to leave, and asks if anyone wants to go with him. McNair warns that they have no idea what's out there. He wants to wait until dark and do recon with the gun. Joe refuses to wait, promising to return with help. If he's not back by tomorrow, McNair should do his recon. Despite Moira's protests, Janet decides she's going, too. She has to get back to Megan.

Janet and Joe walk up the street, which leads to open country. Janet asks Joe if he was in the military, but he won't say more than he has nobody waiting for him back home. He assures her that Megan's probably fine, but Janet's not convinced. Megan has allergies and a special diet - she's not safe. Suddenly, Joe collapses unconscious in the road with a crash, as if he smacked into an invisible wall. Janet runs to him, then keels over herself. McNair runs warily towards the unconscious bodies. When Charlie tries to overtake him, McNair holds him back. Charlie needs to trust McNair - this is the kind of thing he does for a living.

There's no blood, and McNair didn't hear any shots, so he resolves to approach the bodies. Charlie wants to come, but McNair instructs him to hang back. If he's hit, Charlie can figure out what happened. McNair cautiously approaches Janet, putting his weapon down. He slings Janet over his shoulder and takes a few steps, then tumbles to the ground unconscious. Moira yells for Charlie to come back, and the remaining four rush back to the relative safety of the hotel lobby.

Back in San Francisco, Renbe interviews Janet's elegant yet cold mother Eleanor. She can't recall the last time she saw Janet, and to be perfectly honest, Janet cut her off until very recently. Apparently, Janet thought Eleanor was an abusive parent, even though she never hit her. Well, she did hit little Janet that one time with a hairbrush, which broke. Megan runs into the room, having found a doll - can she play with it? The perfect image of the loving grandmother, Eleanor gives Megan the doll, then tells her to run along. The silver lining to Janet's kidnapping? Eleanor's been given a second chance at motherhood. The potential dark cloud? There seems to be a surveillance camera hidden in her fireplace...

It's night, and Joe, Janet and McNair are still passed out and lying where they fell in the street. The others pace the lobby nervously, until lights are seen outside. When a van pulls up, Charlie runs to the door. Several Chinese guys walk groggy Joe, Janet and McNair back to the hotel. One of them hands over the rifle. Moira tries to engage the guys, asking if they speak English, but they quickly run into a building across the street. Charlie asks what happened, but Joe doesn't know. He blinked his eyes and woke up in the van. Janet thinks it was like a Demerol sledgehammer.

Moira orders everyone to stand up and get undressed. Bill jokes around, but Moira means business, so Joe complies. Moira runs her hands over his body until she discovers an implant in the back of his right thigh. It turns out that everyone has what Moira calls a biometric implant, used to administer medicine over long periods of time, which can be operated remotely. Sheepish, Moira explains that medication is her life. They're probably all carrying a load of tranquilizers, programmed to go off when they walk past a pre-set perimeter.

Joe is just asking if there's a way to remove the implants, when a Chinese man approaches. In polite but broken English, he invites everyone into the Chinese restaurant across the street. It's time to eat. Everyone cautiously follows the maitre d' into the restaurant. Once inside, Charlie rushes the maitre d', demanding answers. Where are they!? Bill grabs the gun, pushing the maitre d' into the kitchen and panicking the other workers. The maitre d' pleads - he and his crew aren't responsible, they only make the food.

Joe and Moira talk Bill and Charlie down, and McNair easily recovers the shotgun. This technique won't get them anywhere. The maitre d' recovers, ushering everyone back to the dining room, where waiters deposit heaping plates of food on the lazy susan at the center of the table. Everyone sits and stares, except for McNair, who digs in - it's the best damn Chinese food he's ever tasted. He could eat it everyday...

Everyone but Janet chows down. When Joe promises he'll get her back to her daughter, she muses - what if they took Megan? If they did, at least she'd be safe. After the meal, a waiter puts down a plate of fortune cookies, and Tori spins the lazy susan, claiming that fate will decide their fortunes. Charlie's says his wife is waiting for him; Joe's judgment is a little off; a high prize or award is promised to Tori; and if Bill helps someone else, he'll also help himself. McNair says his fortune is in Chinese. Janet catches a glimpse of a hospital bracelet in the pocket of Moira's robe when she pulls out her fortune - just a bunch of numbers.

Janet won't show anyone her fortune, claiming it says, "May the road rise to meet you." A little freaked out, Charlie asks if any of the other men are married. Moira reminds him that Tori spun the lazy susan - the fortunes are totally random. Back at the hotel lobby, everyone's surprised to find the Night Manager, who explains they were all checked in before he started the job. Charlie asks for his knife and hands it to Joe, then threatens to bust the Night Manager's eye sockets if he doesn't give them some answers.

The Night Manager is compliant, but he doesn't know where they are, either. He got a call telling him he got the job, starting the next day. He went to bed, and woke up in an apartment behind the hotel. When Tori asks if that didn't seem weird, the Night Managed admits he's used to it by now. Janet steps away from the group, and pulls out the slip of paper containing her fortune: Kill your neighbor and you'll go free.






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