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

06. Man in the Mist

Season: 1
First Air Date: 24 May 1996 (Showtime)
Alternate Title(s): John Doe - Der unbekannte Kapitaen (German)
Un homme dans le brouillard (French)
MGM/Showtime Photos: see Season One photos page
Rachel investigates the past of a "John Doe" with amnesia who was brought into the hospital under very strange circumstances.
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"
Guest Actors


Julian Stone "John Doe/Samuel Hartford"
Chilton Crane "Caroline"
Bill Croft "First Convict"
Luc Corbeil "Second Convict"
Richard Lautsch "First Mate"
Tim Henry "Bartender"
Andrew Wheeler "Dr. Cannon"
Jayme Knox "Dr. Thomas"
Stephen Dimopoulos "Dockmaster"
Michael Dobson "Chuck"
Betty Linde "Martha"
Co-Executive Producer -
Producer -
Writer James "Jay" Cappe
Director Mario Azzopardi
This description by: Clair aka "Clarianna" (1996)


Images of a nineteenth-century ship in a storm and a telescope falling and breaking. A man emerges from the mist walking on a beach. At a bar near the docks, everything gets cold and freezes instantly during a mild earthquake. The "man" walks into the bar and passes out. Man in a hospital ER...everything freezes again, the power goes out and there's an earthquake.

At the Legacy house, Philip is telling Derek that he's been offered the opportunity to teach and study in Rome. He feels his soul is being chipped away (staying with the Legacy.) Derek argues that he can very well stay with the Legacy and study. Derek won't accept Philp going away.

Back at the hospital, the man, "John Doe," hears voices crying "Captain." The doctors say John Doe had been sleeping restlessly and calling out for "Caroline." Rachel is brought in to do a psych evaluation. Before she can, he steals some clothes and slips out of the hospital. Rachel follows but loses him.. He stops at a store front where there's a model of ship, he sees the phantoms in the reflection of the display window and sees the images again on the ship in the storm. He hears the locked-up prisoners yelling "give us the key - get us out of this rathole."

Back at the Legacy house, Derek and Rachel inspect one of the belongings found with John Doe - a compass with the initials "S.H." Rachel tells Derek this is all beyond her understanding as a scientist seeing as how all the clues seem to point to John Doe being from another time. Derek asks Alex to join them. He gives her John Doe's coat to determine where and when it was made.

At the docks, Alex (with short hair in this episode, by the way) and Rachel go to the bar where John Doe was first found. Alex "feels" the spot in the room where the disturbance occured and asks the bartender about the incident. The the quake happens again - Alex knows he's near! The find John Doe asking someone if know where to find a particular schooner. Rachel and Alex introduce themselves and Rachel offers her help, he goes to leave but when she reads a bit of poetry from the 1st edition mint-condition Wordsworth (that was found on his person while at the hospital), he stops and listens. He tells Rachel he can't remember and she tells him she can help him.

Nick argues with Derek over Philip. Nick's ticked off that Philip keeps waltzing in and out of the Legacy and won't commit to it. Derek brings up a sore point, that Nick quit the SEALS, and that maybe the reason for Nick being mad at Philip leaving is because it will "break up the team" that has become his family. Nick is visibly very upset with Derek about the whole conversation.

Along the beach, Alex, Rachel and John Doe talk but he still can't remember a thing. The he sees the helm of a ship that's a memorial to men lost at see. It seems to be familiar to him.

Derek, Rachel and Nick discuss the results of the tests done on John Doe's belongings. They're authentic alright.

John Doe is invited to stay at the Legacy house. Rachel asks to hypnotize him in order to unlock his memories. He agrees - he sees the mist, a telescope breaking, a sinking ship in a storm, the crew frightened, prisoners below deck shouting at him "the Captain" for the key. He refuses.

Derek and Rachel discuss the new information about John Doe. Derek throws out ideas like past-life regression but Rachel remains skeptical.

John Doe washes his face in the bathroom. In the mirror, the phantom prisoners appear again and tell him they've been watching him.

Derek and Alex in the control room. Alex has narrowed down who "S.H." might be and finds an old family house.

Rachel and John Doe go to that old house. The current owner, an elderly lady, says they're are still many things in the house from the previous family. Alex senses something "missing" from a spot, and the lady says she knocked over an old telescope whilst cleaning a couple days ago (the same time as John Doe's appearance on the docks), then shows her the broken telescope. She mentions there's more stuff, an old trunk, in the attic and they go look. It feels familiar to John Doe. As he looks at an old portait of a woman, Alex finds an old photo which looks like him! The he sees the family plot (graves) as he's looking out the window and runs down to them. He remembers his family. He sees the gravestones of his wife, Caroline, and two children. The he sees "Samuel Hartford died at sea 1874." That's him.

Back at the Legacy house, all the team members are in a meeting to discuss their findings about Samuel. Seems there was a schooner called the Golden Princess which left San Francisco and sunk in a storm back in 1874. They all seem amazed that a "spectral entity" could have such shape and subtance - could be so real This goes way beyond Rachel's beliefs, she has a hard time understanding it. What they really have to find out is "Why is he back?." Samuel walks in and thanks them all but he needs to know why he is here - Rachel says they can help him. Derek asks them all to come with him to the control room for testing.

At the old house, Rachel tries again to help Samuel remember more. He holds the telescope and sees Caroline in his arms, she's sad <love scene> he has to leave. On the veranda of their house at the time of their parting (for the last time), he gives her his telescope and promises to return no matter what and waltz with her on the very spot. Caroline still didn't want him to go. Rachel realizes that Samuel's existence in the here and now all started when the telescope was broken - and a promise was broken. He has returned to fulfill his pledge.

At the Legacy house, Samuel tells Rachel that to be resurrected in a world without his loved ones is a curse - he can't bear it. Rachel tells him about her own loss of her husband a year ago. He still says he's going to be "leaving" in the morning. The phantom prisoners haunt his sleep that night - turns out he didn't free the prisoners in time because they made him lose the key overboard in the zealousness to get him to free them. "I'll see you in Hell, Captain" were the last words he heard.

Awake now, the phantom prisoners want to be "real" again, just like him. Derek, Rachel and Nick finds there's a rift that will allow the criminal ghosts to come through and do just that. Rachel realizes Samuel needs to fulfill his promise to Caroline. She takes him back to "his" house and offers to take Caroline's place on the veranda for the waltz.

Derek and Alex realize there's not much time before that rifts opens up and Derek orders the entire team to go to Rachel and Samuel. As the phantoms start to take solid form they yell, "You killed us all, we want what you have...LIFE!" Samuel knows what to do. He and Rachel race to the beach to return back to whence he came. He gives Rachel his Wordsworth and bids her farewell. A tearful Rachel watches as he turns and walks through the mist into the sea, much to the horror of the phantom prisoners who will be going back with him, regardless. Derek, Alex, Nick and Philip arrive on the beach just in time to see Samuel "leave." Derek comforts Rachel.

Description last revised: 31 October 1996