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 H O M  E :: p:tl episode guide :: season one :: episode description

02. Sins of the Father

Season: 1
First Air Date: 26 April 1996 (Showtime)
Alternate Title(s): Die Suenden eines Vaters (German)
MGM/Showtime Photos: see Season One photos page
A man, who happens to be an old friend of Derek's, is accused of violently abusing his son.
Derek de Lint

"Dr. Derek Rayne, Ph D"

Helen Shaver "Rachel Corrigan, MD"
Martin Cummins "Nick Boyle"
Robbi Chong "Alexandra (Alex) Moreau"
Patrick Fitzgerald "Father Philip Callaghan"
Alexandra Purvis "Katherine (Kat) Corrigan"
Guest Actors  
Anthony Heald "Damon Ballard"
Suki Kaiser "Lisa Ballard"
Chris Gray "Michael Ballard"
Joel Palmer "David"
Walter Marsh "Mr. Ballard" (Damon's Father)
Judith Maxie "Judge Kern"
Anthony Harrison "First Officer"
Ron Halder "George Roper"
Joely Collins "Emily"
Co-Executive Producer Frank Abatemarco
Producer N. John Smith
Writer Garner Simmons
Director Allan Eastman
This description by: Mary Alice (1997)


The episode opens with a view of a large, very expensive house. Flashes of light can be seen coming from the bay windows, and a child is screaming. Inside of the house, a woman (Lisa) is beating at a locked door demanding that Damon (her husband) open the door. On the inside of the room, 10 year-old Michael Ballard is screaming and is being thrown about the room, but it is not possible to tell who is attacking him. His father is struggling with something, but you don't know who or what it is. The police arrive and are told by Lisa that her husband is beating their son. The two policemen break down the door, and see Damon standing next to a broken lamp with a crazed look on his face. The room is trashed, and Michael is lying on the floor - bloody and unconscious. Lisa runs to Michael and cradles him in her arms screaming at Damon, "What have you done to him?!" As the police drag him from the room, Damon protests his innocence and warns her that Michael is still in danger.

At the Damon house (days later?)

Derek arrives and meets Damon and Damon's father coming down the walk. Damon is happy to see Derek, shaking his hand enthusiastically, but his father is obviously angry. He tells Damon that his lawyers are going to handle everything. Mr. Ballard overrules Damon's protestations, saying that Lisa was indiscreet in calling the police into what should have been a "family matter." He accuses Damon of always being too weak for his own good. After Mr. Ballard stalks off Damon apologizes for his father's behavior. Derek tells him that he read about his arrest, and Damon insists that he didn't do what the papers said.

Inside the study, Damon explains he was upstairs alone when he heard Michael screaming. He found Michael in the study, shrieking and covering his ears - terrified. Although he is afraid that Derek will think he's crazy, Damon goes on to tell Derek that some "force" slammed the door shut and struck him - causing deep bruises to his chest, which he shows Derek as proof. Damon tells him that since Michael turned 10 he has had problems in school. Derek asks him directly if he struck Michael, but Damon continues to tell him how difficult things have been and that he and Lisa are in the midst of separating. He admits to drinking that night. When Derek asks him if he was drunk, he says that he doesn't think so. Derek offers to have Rachel and his other associates look at the boy.

At the castle on Angel Island

Derek is discussing the case with the others. Nick is certain that this is a case of child abuse, in spite of the fact that Derek has known Damon Ballard for years (since boarding school) and would trust him with his life. Nick is obviously skeptical, but Philip believes that Damon's story might be valid. Derek tells them that Michael has not spoken since that night, and asks Rachel to examine him at Mercy Hospital. Alex shows them photographs of Michael's condition - which they all find disturbing. As Alex and Derek comment on the difficulty of believing that a father could do such a thing to his own son, Nick is getting more and more angry. While examining the photographs, Philip sees one mark that he recognizes as "the Mark of the Lamb" - stigmata that some ancient manuscripts say marks a child as being pursued by demons. Philip shows them a 15th century book documenting the exact mark that is on Michael Ballard. Nick is convinced that the mark is coincidence. Stating that the Legacy will withdraw its support of Damon Ballard if the evidence indicates that the allegations are true, Derek tells Rachel and Philip to go to the hospital, and asks Nick and Alex to unearth any and all information on the Ballard family. Nick tells Derek that no matter what kind of loyalty Derek may feel to Damon, that he will not allow him to hurt the child.

At Mercy Hospital

Rachel and Philip visit Michael in his room. Philip tries unsuccessfully to draw him into conversation. While Rachel is examining the marks on Michael's body, a faint voice is heard coming from the window. Michael is obviously afraid. Suddenly the window shatters, spraying the three of them with broken glass. Philip and Rachel try to shield the child while a force rages in the room. The faint words "I Can't Breathe" are heard, and the room suddenly becomes still. Michael is unconscious.

At the Castle on Angel Island - the Control Room

Nick is researching the Ballard family. The family is descended from old San Francisco robber barons, and (as he puts it), they earned their money the old fashioned way - they stole it. Alex is excited because she has solved a case - the Virgin of Verhagen. A vision of the Virgin Mary has been spotted, and Alex determines that a new glass building has been casting a reflection. Derek enters the room and tells Alex that he is pleased with her work. He informs them that Damon's pre-trial hearing is that morning. Nick fills Derek in on the fact that the police have been called to the Ballard house 3 times in the last six months, but that charges were never filed. Nick insists that Damon is guilty of child abuse.

At Mercy Hospital

Katherine is dropped off with Rachel by her sitter Emily.

At the Courthouse

At Damon's hearing, Lisa takes the stand and testifies that Damon has a drinking problem and sometimes loses control. He has been verbally and physically abusive in the past. She states that Damon is a very conscientious son and does whatever his father says. During the hearing, Philip enters the courtroom and whispers urgently in Derek's ear. Derek and Philip leave suddenly.

At Mercy Hospital

While Rachel is checking on her patient, Katherine is working on her art project in the waiting room.

At the Castle on Angel Island - the Control Room

Nick is continuing to research the Ballard family. Alex is worried because he's been working for hours, but Nick insists that he is fine. He tells her that he believes that people are afraid to make the Ballard family look bad, and that he knows that Damon is guilty. He is determined to find the proof that will show Damon to be a child abuses. Alex urges Nick to rest, but he refuses.

At Mercy Hospital

Philip and Derek find Rachel who tells them that Michael's silence is psychosomatic. She also tells them that Michael is continuing to get more and more bruises on his body. In the waiting room, Katherine is approached by a small boy wearing only a pair of pajama bottoms. He is dripping wet and his lips appear to be blue. The boy walks away without saying anything and Katherine follows him down the hall. The boy vanishes through the closed door to Michael's room. Katherine goes into the room where Michael is awake and frightened. The door slams shut, and Katherine drops the crayon she was carrying.

Rachel, Philip, and Derek hear screaming coming from Michael's room. They run to the room and find Katherine there. She tells them that she followed another boy into the room, and that he was very angry. Derek notices wet footprints on the floor.

Lisa arrives in the room and tells them to leave. The force returns and, while causing general mayhem, writes the word "David" on the wall with Katherine's crayon. The room becomes still, and Michael is once again unconscious. Philip holds Lisa back (lucky girl!) long enough for Derek and Rachel to examine the child. They convince her that they must move Michael somewhere safer than the hospital. Michael is taken by helicopter to Angel Island.

At the Courthouse

Damon's father confronts him in the hall about some papers Damon was supposed to sign. He tells Damon that he needs to protect himself, and tells him to leave everything to him. Damon rebels, tearing the papers in half. Mr. Ballard calls him pathetic.

At the Castle on Angel Island

Michael is lying in the library - hooked up to oxygen and other medical equipment. Nick confronts Derek in his office about bringing the child there. Derek tells him that whatever is attacking Michael has nothing to do with child abuse. When he asks Nick why this is affecting him so strongly, Nick confesses that his own father (who was apparently a friend of Derek's) was abusive when drunk - that he would beat his mother, and would beat Nick when he tried to protect her. Derek is shocked, and tries to comfort Nick. He then tells Nick the details of the force that is attacking Michael, and asks for his help protecting the boy.

Katherine's sitter Emily arrives to take her home. Katherine doesn't want to leave - telling Rachel that she knows that something is going to happen. After they leave, Derek approaches Rachel - questioning her level of involvement in the Legacy. He is worried about Katherine and her abilities - it is obvious that she has the Sight, and he is worried that she will grow up too fast. Rachel tells him that she doesn't want Katherine to feel like her abilities make her a "freak" and Derek and she agree to take things on a daily basis.

In the library

Trying to get the force to manifest itself, Philip begins a religious ritual (an exorcism?). It works and the entity returns, forcefully blowing into the room. As the people in the room are being tossed around, the doors of the library are thrown open, and Damon enters the room. He sees the figure of the boy David again. David is very angry - he is dripping wet and says, "I Can't Breathe". Damon passes out, and David disappears.

While Damon is in the bathroom throwing cold water on his face, he looks in the mirror and sees the boy David in the bathtub. He rises up from beneath the water and Damon is able to see how bad he looks - his lips are blue, and his skin is all mottled and is coming off in places. He tells Damon again that he can't breathe. The vision of the boy disappears.

Derek confronts Damon and Lisa about who the ghost might be. Lisa says she doesn't have any idea. Damon tries to convince her to take Michael and run, but she refuses saying that it won't do any good. Damon tries to take Michael, but Nick won't let him near the boy and ends up punching Damon.

Out in the hall, Derek presses Damon about who the ghost child might be. Damon confesses that he had a child with a girl (Laura) that he knew in college. He wanted to marry her, but his father refused. Damon was forced to abandon Laura and her child. When the child was 10 years old (the age that Michael is now), he received a photo from her - the caption reading "To Damon, Forever Yours. Laura & David". He tells Derek that right after she sent the picture, the girl committed suicide. The boy David was found floating face-down in the bathtub - drowned.

Derek realizes that Damon must atone for what he has done. Rachel calls them back into the library where the ghost has once again started whipping things up. Rachel, Lisa and Nick are trying to protect the boy's body while Philip is trying to protect his soul. David reappears and once again tells Damon that he can't breathe. He causes an unconscious Michael of fly off the table and fall at Damon's feet. Derek tells Damon again that he must make his peace with David. Damon apologizes to David and asks forgiveness for causing his and Laura's deaths. For the first time, David's face softens a little. Damon tells him that he is the one that deserves to pay - not Michael. David takes Damon by the hand and the two of them disappear - with Damon screaming and David smiling. Derek tells them that the curse has been lifted, and Philip crosses himself.


In Derek's office, Nick thanks Derek for understanding about what happened with his father. Derek tells him that, although some wounds never heal, they cannot change the past, and that you have to make your own peace and move on.

Description last revised: 3 January 1997