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 H O M  E legacyweb.com :: poltergeist: the legacy series bible :: the characters

Our characters come from all walks of life and are connected by their ability and desire to explore the paranormal and supernatural. A few also share a psychic ability, the Sight. Because of the demanding and secret nature of their work, and its unpredictable hours, the members find it extremely difficult to maintain normal lives outside the group. It is a source of tension among them and the cause of some attrition among their ranks.

Dr. Derek Rayne, PhD.
Philip Callahan
Nick Boyle
Rachel Corrigan (and Katherine)
Alexandra Moreau

The Legacy

Dr. Derek Rayne, PhD.

Refined, but with an iron will. Derek is the leader, or Precept, of the group. Affiliated with a nearby University, and one of the older members of The Legacy, Dr. Rayne, 48, is a polished and dignified member of the "old guard." He is towering in stature, razor sharp in his wit, but gentle in matters of the heart. When he was fifteen, Derek witnessed his father's death. A member of The Legacy, Derek's father, Winston, was pursuing a rare artifact and died at the hands of a terrible demon. The event changed the course of Derek's life.

Aware of Winston's affiliation with The Legacy (he was its Precept), Derek rejected the group, blaming them for his father's death. Though he rejected The Legacy, Derek found himself inexorably drawn to his father's death, he dedicated himself to the study of ancient civilizations and religions, hoping to make sense of his loss. Despite gaining a Ph.D. at 24, and being considered at the top of his field at 26, Derek was still adrift, becoming ever more reckless in the field, taking chances which bordered on suicidal. His death wish might have been ultimately fulfilled had not his mother, Emily [she was named Barbara and she was very much alive in season two], been unexpectedly attacked by a strange entity, result of an artifact Derek himself had uncovered. Wracked with guilt and fear of losing his remaining parent, Derek was forced to work with The Legacy to overcome his mother's attacker. In the process, Derek made peace with the organization he held in contempt for so long.

This ability brought him to the notice of The Legacy. He holds PhD's in Biological Anthropology and Theology (which draws him into debates with another character, Philip.) Though he once was a full professor at the University, Dr. Rayne is now an Adjunct Scholar.

Not only does Derek represent the long history of The Legacy, he is our best resource for information - someone who can help explain the more complicated aspects of our episodes. His alliance with the University also comes in handy for picking up new paranormal cases, both through the University hospital/psychiatric clinic and through its vast research wings in all areas of science, philosophy and theology.

Additional notes:

1. Let's make him a strong, complex, character. Think Joseph Campbell and his hero's journey. As a young boy, Derek spent little time with his father and then witnessed his death. Derek must feel anger, resentment and guilt about this.

2. [Pilot episode] Derek hasn't told his colleagues about the boxes hidden in the basement, but when he does tell them, they are shocked. Internally, he knows his father's death wasn't an accident. His father became obsessed and got himself killed, and now Derek himself has shared this obsession. His premonitions about the fifth sepulcher and retrieving it will give him a sense of closure in his relationship with his father. But in trying to find that closure, he has made an error, and by bringing the boxes back to the mansion, he has put The Legacy in jeopardy.

3. Derek's relationship with his father has left him scarred. He has always feared commitment. He should have many love relationships but no long lasting love. He's the football coach who send the team out to the field of battle. Just like Patton or Clint Eastwood in IN THE LINE OF FIRE, he's dealing with emotional baggage that has hardened him.

4. Derek has never been married and he has no children. Get Derek romantically involved in the odd episode and start building up a bevy of female relationships.

Philip Callahan [also spelled Callaghan]

In his early thirties, Philip has the brooding good looks of the "black Irish", ruddy skin, dark eyes and black hair. All of which belie the fact that Philip is a devout Catholic priest. Growing up in the harsh streets of Belfast, Philip was never one to back down from a fight, but he found a moral center and deeper purpose in the Church. Despite the derision of his peers, Philip joined the priesthood in his twenties. The heart and moral center of the group, Philip's faith is driven by a deep and abiding belief in a world beyond that which we can see and hear. This belief in the mystical is what drove him to be a priest, and it is what ultimately brought him to The Legacy. It also often causes Philip to find an ally, whether he likes it or not, in Alexandra, in contrast to the pragmatic skepticism of Rachel and Nick.

Philip was introduced to The Legacy by his father, the current head of the "Dublin House." [ that tidbit was never revealed to the viewers ] He felt a strong yearning to be part of a larger universe of experience, ultimately abandoning his father's plans for him and seeking out Derek Rayne and the San Francisco faction. His acute insight into human nature, and an ability to judge someone's true character makes Philip perfectly suited for his job and a powerful ally to the team as they contend with both supernatural and the more ordinary aspects of their missions.

When we meet Philip in our Premiere episode, he has left The Legacy after confronting a deeply tragic personal issue.

The future: Philip will save a young girl, Emma, and develop a fatherly relationship with her, only to have her severely injured at the hands of a demon in a later episode [ reminds me a little bit of Dark Angel in season two ] . The tragedy will again shake Philip's faith, and since it will indirectly result from Nick's cavalier attitude, it will also cause a rift in the two men.

Nick Boyle

A risk-taker and an adrenaline junkie, he is in this as much for the thrills and chills, as for the philanthropic good he might do.

A man with serious attention-deficit-disorder [ this was never revealed to the viewer ], Nick managed to stay in long enough to graduate high school, but that's it. He is, however, far from ignorant. A voracious reader, Nick is a walking encyclopedia of trivia, statistics, quotes and other eclectic information. Hi speech is peppered with references from the obscure to the mundane - quoting Sartre and "The Brady Bunch" with equal aplomb.

Nick's father [ if R.B.L. had given father Boyle a name in this bible, the John-Bob naming issue never would have happened! ] was a member of The Legacy and worked with Derek. His father was often absent from Nick's life during birthdays and summer vacations, but even worse than the neglect was the secret that Nick and his mother kept for years. While outsiders looked at Nick's father as a noble and decent man, only Nick and his mother knew the truth. Nick's father had a violent temper which often times resulted in physical abuse towards Nick and his mother.

When Nick reached his teens and started to rebel against his father, he was sent away to an elite prep school on the east coast. Nick resented being dismissed by his father and had a hard time fitting in with other kids at school, who he found superficial and naive. Turned off by the whole "prep school" experience, Nick tries to hide the fact that he had a superior education, and plays off his own sense of street smarts.

Once he graduated, Nick still plagued by anger and resentment at his father and desperately wanting structure and consistency in his life, ran from his family troubles to join the Navy SEALS. In the military, Nick found a clear sense of order and structure. The military told him when, where and what to do and he had to do it. There was a sense of purpose and belonging that Nick had never experienced before. In the military, he always knew he would have a "Navy" issued birthday cake on his birthday, and a "family" to support him and help him reach his goals.

When his father died, Nick was asked to join the group as the son of a prominent Legacy member. His military training and past experiences made him an obvious asset to the group. Nick decided to reconcile his feelings toward his father and move on with his life.

The Legacy provides him with the structure and security he needs. Nick knows the rules yet still has his own style. He's a man of action, not one to sit around and "discuss." While Rachel and Derek may argue about the way to approach a case, Nick is already out the door with a map in hand ready to face the obstacle ahead.

With his extensive curiosity, Nick is constantly tinkering on various devices and inventions which will at times either get our group out of a jam, or inadvertently get them deeper into it. Whereas Derek Rayne gives us "theoreticals" and history of phenomena, Nick puts those theories into practice. Some typical inventions: A "soul catcher" designed to hold and preserve a person's departing spirit [ he should have joined the Ghostbusters! <G>] ; a "ghost gun" designed to blow apart the energy of evil spirits; a variety of spectral energy detectors and motion sensors (as were generated in the original "Poltergeist" motion picture.)

Beyond his technical capability, however, Nick's obvious talent for planning and grappling with the physical requirements of the missions makes Nick an asset to the group. His gung-ho attitude often rescues them from disaster, but it can also plunge them into even deeper trouble. It is this extraordinary lust for danger which will often tempt Nick to succumb to the more evil and powerful elements of the supernatural. He may even be recruited to join a "turned House."

The future: In "Town Without Pity", Derek doesn't want Nick to go looking for the town - he doesn't think there is anything there. Nick decides to go against Derek's wishes. Nick does find the town and Derek is proven wrong. Derek realizes that Nick made the right choice and apologizes to Nick.

Rachel Corrigan

An accomplished psychiatrist from a prestigious "old money" family in Marin, Rachel is a new member of The Legacy. The mother of an eight-year-old girl, Katherine, Rachel pulls triple-duty as a mother, a psychiatrist and a member of The Legacy.

Having recently lost her husband, Patrick, and son, Connor, to a tragic car accident, Rachel had found herself pulling away from her work as an attending psychiatrist at a hospital in San Francisco. Seeing that her drifting concentration was detrimental to her patients, Rachel took a sabbatical from work and traveled to Ireland to visit the graves of her husband and son. After inadvertently falling victim to a demon, Rachel became involved with The Legacy. Returning to San Francisco, the group, with Rachel's help, eventually conquer the entity. In doing so, Rachel's strength of will, and her obvious asset as a psychological and medical expert became clear to The Legacy. They asked her to join them.

Though initially resistant to the idea, Rachel soon realized that working with The Legacy was the kind of change, and challenge, she needed in her life. Something which could utilize her talents as a psychiatrist and doctor, but would also take her into other unexplored and unproved realms as well. Her new work with them proves to be a constant balancing act, however, and she is ever aware of the fact that she is now a single parent for her daughter. [ Rachel's mother is dead and we never met or heard of her brother ] This heavy responsibility is assuaged a bit by Rachel's mother, Esther, who, as a widow herself, has helped her daughter through her grief. Esther has also recognized the new sense of purpose in Rachel and encourages it. She helps watch over her granddaughter, Katherine. Rachel's brother, Andrew, is less understanding, however, of what he's seen of Rachel's new "job." Andrew is a cardio-surgeon in Seattle (Rachel and Andrew followed their father into the medical field), and disapproves of her being away from Katherine and traveling the world. Though we see little (if any) of Andrew, his criticism feeds into Rachel's own sense of guilt and is a source of conflict for her.

Rachel is a valuable asset to The Legacy, both because of her psychiatric expertise, and because she provides a critical, "layman's" perspective on the phenomenon the group encounters. Rachel is not as quick to accept the supernatural events that The Legacy grapples with, an attitude which frequently makes her an inadvertent ally with Nick.

The Future: In the course of helping a mysterious man uncover his true identity, Rachel finds herself falling in love. Forced to confront feelings of guilt and loss over her husband, she ultimately comes to terms with her unresolved emotions.

Additional Notes:

1. Right now, Rachel doesn't have enough of a history or tie to the group. Rachel has a troubled past. She was promiscuous, a drug addict, and an alcoholic. Her husband had changed her life. He got her to clean up her act and put her through college. Now he's gone and she is having a hard time coping. We need a sense of conflict: what is she fighting with Derek about or what is she trying to cope with internally? In her past, she's had radically different experiences from the rest of the group, which gives her the opportunity to take a contrary stance, based on who she is as a woman and a mother.

2. Rachel knows that Katherine is different, that she has the Sight, and this creates all types of emotions. Each day she is realizing more and more that what happened in Ireland wasn't an accident. She has a special child and things are going to happen to her that she can't control, things that are meant to happen. In "Doppleganger," we learn that Kat is having problems getting along with other children. She is lonely, struggling with her gift, and that helps drive Rachel's quest to understand what her daughter is going through. But what she learns is that it is not just about her daughter, it's about Rachel too.

3. Something in Rachel's past has brought her to The Legacy. Maybe the Sight is hereditary. If Derek and his father had it then maybe Rachel has it too, but she doesn't realize it is a part of her. There should be something buried in her past that comes up, some type of memory she has repressed.

4. Let's give Rachel a lineage that can tie he into the group. Perhaps we tire her to The Legacy's nemesis, the Dark Side.

5. As a child, Rachel witnessed horrifying events or circumstances, maybe even a sacrifice. Perhaps her mother had the Sight as Katherine does and used it for dark purposes. Like "Rosemary's Baby," Rachel would come home to find strange people in her home doing satanic rituals. Maybe her mother wanted to save Rachel from the Dark Side and swore they would not allow her to suffer, so they tried to rid her of her abilities. Or perhaps Rachel, afraid of the Dark Side and her power (The Sight), tried to get away from the evil heritage. Maybe it was no accident that her husband and son died. Maybe they were being pursued by the Dark Side. Rachel is slowly realizing things about her family, and now has a feverish quest to uncover the truth.

6. One of the conflicts for Rachel is that she will be tempted to resume drinking or taking drugs, essentially risking a fall into the Dark Side.

7. Why does Rachel join The Legacy?

In the first few episodes of our series we will have Rachel distraught, and soul searching as she tries to understand what is happening to her. This conflict will play itself out in the following way:

  • Rachel finds it impossible to pick up her normal life after her experience in the two-hour premiere.

  • Rachel confronts Derek, demanding to know what his purpose is. Why her? What are Derek and his group really doing? As Derek tries to comfort her, she recoils. And we begin to see flashes of repressed images from her childhood.

  • Ultimately, Rachel realizes that there is an undeniable force binding her to the group. Derek asks Rachel to join The Legacy.

Potential conflicts between Derek and Rachel:

Rachel discovers/uncovers female past members of The Legacy. We make Derek totally patriarchal about The Legacy and rigid to any other history.

Rachel is driven to understand her past and The Legacy and as we realize who her mother was, Derek realizes that he actually battled Rachel's mother and is distraught that he let the Dark Side into The Legacy. We learn that Rachel is not part of the Dark Side. Maybe Derek killed Rachel's mother? [ Almost, Winston did! ] Rachel plays her own mother in an episode.

Alexandra Moreau

An ambitious, intelligent black woman who's strong sensitivity (The Sight) and extensive knowledge of the occult makes her a formidable ally to The Legacy. Like Philip, Alex has a strong belief in the unseen and a naturally superstitious nature, despite her education.

From a large Creole family in the Louisiana Bayou, Alex was raised by her grandmother who instilled in her a great sense of pride and a desire to achieve, as well as a belief in voodoo, witchcraft and the power of white and black magic.

Her grandmother, Rose, always encouraged Alex to be strong-willed and independent, and when Alex wanted to travel across the country to go to college, Rose, though concerned, raised the money to send her. Alexandra went to San Francisco and attended the University [ Loyola ] where she became a student of Derek's. The "Sight" is very strong in Alex and even before joining The Legacy, she had been helping Derek w with his cases. After graduating as valedictorian, her work with Derek brought her to the attention of The Legacy. Knowing that she had the Sight, and seeing her fierce determination and great knowledge of the occult as an invaluable asset, Derek recruited Alex to join them.

The Future: A demon that Alexandra thwarts in an episode, returns to exact its revenge on Alex' family, attacking not just her grandmother, but her sisters as well. Alex and the team have to return to Louisiana to stop the demon. [ Sounds like the seed of the idea behind "Spirit Thief" ]

Special characters featured in the double-length premiere:

Julia Walker

Intelligent and highly trained in computer research and information retrieval, Julia comes from one of the most prominent and politically active families in San Francisco, but hates to be categorized as High Society. Though she dies in the premiere, because of her strong affinity with Nick, it's possible that Julia may return in later episodes, either in memory flashbacks or as a spirit.

She broke away from rigid family ties during college while attending Duke University's prestigious artificial intelligence laboratory.

She remained a rebel when joining The Legacy, having been brought to the attention of the San Francisco House by her mother, an associate of Derek Rayne. The hope was that she would find fulfillment in The Legacy's true cause and this was finally beginning to happen when our premiere episode begins.

Additional Characters:

Katherine Corrigan

Rachel's daughter, 8, she has the Sight. Though Katherine is not a regular member of The Legacy, it is inevitable that she will participate in certain cases, particularly those which involve her mother or children in jeopardy.

Rose Moreau - "Grandma Rose"

Alexandra's grandmother and a source of information and strength for her. We may never see Rose, but she is very much a part of Alex' life. [ Rose appeared in two episodes ]

Alice Rayne [ this character was never incorporated into the series ]

Derek's daughter. She moved out to the Northeast to attend college. She resents her father for never being a real part of her life.

Emma Scott [ this character, as written below, was never a part of the series ]

Orphaned from birth, Emma, 16, has been living a life on the edge, precariously close to homelessness. It has made her a bit hard nosed, tough and suspicious of people, particularly those who want to "help" her.

The members intentions, however, are honorable. Philip understandably finds himself taking a paternal interest in the young girl's well-being. Nick also, because of the similarity of their situations, connects with Emma - though on a more romantic level.

Guest Stars:

We need to create characters that we can meet each week with memorable, unusual, off-beat, personalities. Similar to Zelda Rubenstein in the original POLTERGEIST, Linda Hunt in THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, Larry Drake in LA LAW, Anthony Hopkins in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, the spirit who rides the subways in GHOST, or the blind woman who sees it all in DON'T LOOK NOW, we should constantly be pushing the envelope for memorable characters.

Ideally some of these characters will be rivals of the Legacy like Hitchcock in THE TWELFTH CAVE, or Malkovich in IN THE LINE OF FIRE. Malkovich knows Clint Eastwood's character's past, he knows his secrets as Hitchcock knows Derek's. These "Moriarty" type roles can be ongoing characters that are trying to destroy The Legacy.

A Format for the Series and Glossary © 1995, 1996 Trilogy Entertainment Group.
This annotated (by Clair) version of the series bible is not for publishing elsewhere.