- See also: Young Jarod
|Occupation||Doctor, pilot, infectious disease specialist, prison officer, police officer, bodyguard, truck driver, race car driver, fertility specialist, gigolo, plastic surgeon, tracking expert|
|On the Run|
|Actor|| Michael T. Weiss |
Ryan Merriman (young Jarod)
|Last Appearance||The Pretender: Island of the Haunted|
|Total Episodes||86+2 TV movies|
Jarod (unknown last name) is the protagonist of The Pretender. He is literally a Pretender, defined as 'a genius who can become anyone that he wants to be' (Miss Parker states this in the opening sequence of the show) yet he knows little about his past. He was separated from his parents as a child at a very young age, believed to have been kidnapped by or for The Centre in 1963, to be trained to run simulations of real-life situations and predict the outcome. All of the results and records of Jarod's life at The Centre are stored on DSA's which he stole from The Centre when he escaped from their clutches. While at The Centre, he reportedly helped to "manipulate the Nixon landslide in 1972" among other things. The role of young Jarod is played by Ryan Merriman, and a younger Jarod is played by Jonathan Osser.
Jarod's age is not known, neither his birthday. As he is taken in 1963 and at that time cannot be older than 3 or 4, then his presumable year of birth is either 1959 or 1960. He escaped in 1996 (in certain episodes, the current surveillance tape shown share the same timeline as the actual episode), when he was either 36 or 37.
Jarod's parents are Margaret and Major Charles. It is not certain whether Charles is the last name of his father or even if in fact the two named are his birth parents. Jarod is the eldest of three siblings, his sister is named Emily and brother is named Kyle, and he also has a half-brother Ethan, (if his dad is Major Charles) through a project of Mr. Raines called Mirage involving the artificial insemination of Catherine Parker with sperm from Major Charles. Jarod has no real relationship with his parents throughout the series as he spends most of his time trying to find them. He meets up with his dad, his brother Ethan and his sister Emily, but does not spend more than a couple of episodes with them. Jarod also has a clone nicknamed after the project that created him, Gemini, whom he rescues from The Centre. Gemini has been taught to distrust Jarod, but after Jarod takes him away from The Centre and introduces him to ice cream, Gemini sees Jarod as he really is and they work together to rescue Major Charles.
Jarod describes the Centre employees as follows: "Miss Parker's mother was murdered by the Centre. And her father, Mr Duplicity himself, he runs the place. Then there's Mr Raines the Centre's answer to Dr Mengele, an emphysema-ridden corpse who drags around his breath of life in a tank. The thumbless man. Mr Lyle. He killed my brother. He killed me once too. And of course, Sydney. Pavlov to my dog, provider, protector, patriarch. He created me. You see I'm extremely valuable to The Centre. And while I search for who I am.... they search for me." (Crazy)
- Miss Parker - Miss Parker grew up at The Centre and was introduced to Jarod at around age 10. Both became friends and spent time investigating the sublevels of The Centre alongside their friend Angelo. When Miss Parker is sent away to school, they lose contact and the next time they meet, Miss Parker is Jarod's huntress. They have an almost-kiss moment on the isle of Carthis where they were both searching for clues to their past. When Jarod asked Miss Parker "What about us?" She replied "You run, I chase."
- Sydney - Sydney is the psychiatrist/scientist who raises Jarod and trains him to perform simulations for The Centre. Jarod, as a young boy, longing for a father-figure tried to 'adopt' his mentor Sydney as a dad, but the logical scientist would not befriend his charge in that way. After Jarod escaped The Centre, he keeps in touch with his mentor and clearly shows a fondness for him although he does not hesitate to question Sydney's ties with The Centre and his actions in working for The Centre to keep Jarod a prisoner.
- Angelo - Angelo (crackerjack) turns out to be Jarod's inside contact after he escapes The Centre, feeding him information and giving him opportunities to capitalise on Angelo's near-invisibility at The Centre.
Jarod has had through the series four relationships, that can be considered romantic.
- Miss Parker - He has shown considerate amount of romantic affection towards Miss Parker, including a Valentine's surprise "B my Valentine".
- Nia - A volunteer, who Jarod meets while saving a young boy from certain death in Ranger Jarod.
- Rachel Burke - A VCTF profiler who Jarod meets while pretending to be a secret agent Jarod Wilkes. They share a passionate kiss and Jarod promises to return, but before he could do so, he met Zoey and fell in love.
- Zoey - Jarod meets Zoey on his first experience of a Road Trip. They have a romantic evening and Jarod ends up talking her out of suicide and helping her confront her family and face the reality of her illness. She then re-enters his life after claiming her disease is in total remission and the two have another romantic evening that is cut short when Jarod's father calls to tell him he has found Jarod's sister Emily.
Jarod does not know his real last name, but in almost every episode, he assumes a last name or an alias that has some connection to the person he is pretending to be, his occupation or sometimes, on the spur of the moment, he picks a word from a sign. As a fertility specialist, he was Dr. Spock, as a plastic surgeon, he was Dr. Clay (studied at the Claydough Institute) and as a professor, he was Jarod Howard.
On Santa Claus I'm a little confused about something. Now, if Santa Claus were to deliver a present to every child on earth, he'd have to visit 830 homes a second which would mean his reindeer would have to travel about 700 miles per second and he'd have 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, crawl down the chimney, pass out the presents and eat the cookies and milk, and for a middle-aged, overweight man, that's quite a feat.
- See: Jarod/Gallery