Nowhere Man: Series Overview
It’s easy on a cursory glance to characterize Nowhere Man as a rip-off of The Prisoner. The main character’s name is erased, he’s hunting down a faceless enemy who uses various types of technopsychology to coerce him into giving up information, and he refuses to give up what he has on principle. Nowhere Man’s creator Lawrence Hertzog confesses he is a Prisoner fan, the main character ends up in two overly-pleasant Villages from which he isn’t able to leave and spends one episode being referred to as Number 6.
It’s also easy, again on a cursory glance, to characterize Nowhere Man as a mid-90’s conspiracy band-wagon attempt. Like the X-files it appears there is a government conspiracy involved in secret deals and cover-ups, run by men with no names who smoke.
Yes, it’s easy to say these things, but it’s not easy to keep Nowhere Man mired in the footsteps of shows which went before. It’s not a chilling yet somewhat whimsical allegory of the individual against the machine which characterizes The Prisoner– it’s far darker. And the Organization is no mere aging secret branch of the government trying to silence possible public-relations disasters.
Tom believes that’s all it is at first. Some secret society within the government erases his life and promises to give it back if he will turn over the negative of his photo Hidden Agenda (Seen above!). They want to cover up the truth about American troops executing rebel prisoners in the jungle of Chile. What else could it be?
In reality, the Organization is a much larger research entity with no ties to any particular government whose ultimate goal is mass mind control of entire populations. Each cell, or “branch of operations” works in relative, and sometimes competitive, autonomy. This security measure is also a minor weakness. Since the branches don’t communicate directly, only through Central City and the Director, they are sometimes unprepared for Tom’s arrival, (or are they?), and they often twist their orders around in an attempt to get ahead.
The FBI, specifically a missing agent code-named Gemini, have been investigating the Organization’s phone-triggered assassins from Project Marathon, which is only one of an apparently endless series of projects including mind control by TV broadcasts, autonomous control implants, hypnopedia, flash regression, and complete rewiring of neural pathways.
The Organization has recruited (or coerced) the world’s most gifted scientists into joining them and have been able to successfully copy individuals through a process that makes bones pliable. They can also create walking video cameras by adding audio and optical implants to living humans. Naturally, most subjects of these processes are implanted with failsafe devices which can be remotely triggered to cause pain, loss of memory, or death.
They are able to efficiently create or erase memories by a variety of methods. Even Tom’s dog, Newt, fails to recognize him when the board decides it’s time to erase his existence.
The deeper Tom goes into his Nowhere Land, the weirder things get….
Nowhere Man reviews are © 2004 by Pet Serano.
Not for reproduction without the author’s express permission.
Nowhere Man names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of UPN and Touchstone Pictures.
You can get more information on Nowhere Man at Bruce Greenwood’s Official Site.