Ricky Gervais in Alias
|Runing time||50 min.|
|Writer(s)||R.P. Gaborno and Christopher Hollier|
|Starring||Jennifer Garner, Ron Rifkin, Victor Garber, Michael Vartan|
"I did an episode of Alias, and I can't watch it. Me being serious. I can't watch it." - Ricky Gervais
Alias is an American action television series created by J. J. Abrams which was broadcast on ABC for five seasons, from 30 September 2001 to 22 May 2006. It starred Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow, a CIA agent.
The main theme of the series explores Sydney's obligation to conceal her true career from her friends and family, even as she assumes multiple aliases to carry out her missions. These themes are most prevalent in the first two seasons of the show. The plot and some technologies used in the series pushed Alias into the genre of science fiction.
Ricky Gervais appeared in the 15th episode of the third season, "Façade." He played a character named Daniel Ryan, a former member of the Royal Navy who was dishonorably discharged and now works as a freelance bomb maker. It originally aired on 14 March 2004. It was directed by Jack Bender and written by R.P. Gaborno and Christopher Hollier.
Plot of Façade
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
Daniel Ryan, a freelance bomb maker whose bombs are impossible to defuse, destroys a bank in Belfast as a calling card to The Covenant. If he fails to cut a deal with The Covenant in 48 hours, he'll give notice to other terrorist groups with a bombing in the U.S. When the CIA learns that The Covenant is to meet him at the Black Stag Bar in Belfast, they send Weiss and Syd.
Using Covenant defector Leonid Lisenker as a source of info, Syd poses as a Covenant agent. To improve her credibility with Ryan, she rescues him from an attempted CIA kidnapping led by Weiss. Ryan wakes in a CIA-built replica of the hotel room in which he does business with The Covenant. The ruse nearly fails, but Lisenker appears and vouches for Syd. Ryan accepts the deal on the condition that the details be handled by Sark, whom he's never met but knows is The Covenant's North American co-commander.
Vaughn appears, posing as Sark. Ryan tells him the details will be given to him on a flight from Rome to Paris by an associate who will recognize him. He says the second bombing will be called off once the associate meets Sark. The CIA hurriedly issues a communiqué that compels Sark to board that flight, which Vaughn is also on. The associate never shows up, however, meaning that Ryan wanted Sark on that plane for an unknown reason.
Sloane, sleeping with Judy Barnett, receives a call from a desperate Syd. He says Ryan's brother Christopher was killed by The Covenant. After some research, Syd remembers that The Covenant made her kill Christopher to test her Julia Thorne identity. Ryan plans to seek revenge on The Covenant by blowing up Sark's flight.
On the plane, Vaughn arrests and handcuffs Sark. After a call from Syd, he finds the bomb in the cargo hold. Marshall discovers that the detonator is based on barometric pressure — the bomb will explode if the plane descends below 18 thousand feet. If Vaughn detaches the motion sensor, Marshall says, they may be able to fool the bomb into thinking it's in high altitude.
Syd, Weiss and Lisenker reveal themselves to Ryan, hoping the revelation convinces Ryan to stop the bomb. Syd appeals to Ryan's compassion, saying she was tortured by The Covenant and made to assume the Julia Thorne identity.
Vaughn uncuffs Sark, and together they try to disable the motion sensor. Ryan agrees to help and dials in a deactivation sequence. It's only a ploy — he had heard a rumor that Julia Thorne had killed his brother — he activates the bomb, as well as the one Marshall had been studying in his office.
With the clock ticking, Jack chokes Ryan until he passes out, then revives him. If he doesn't give them the code, Jack says, he won't be revived next time. Ryan gives it up with one second to spare. The danger over, Sark attacks Vaughn, who knocks him out and turns him over to the French authorities. When Vaughn returns, a tearful Syd embraces him.
Ryan: There’s loads of things I’m no good at, some, I’m exceptional at. One of them is poker. Oh, love poker, play twice a week, my friends come round, bring their money, they lose their money. I always win, do you know why? I can see a bluff a mile away.
Ryan: They said you was a pretty boy.
Ryan: But I told (Vaughn) my associate had worked with him before and could make a visual identification… you put the word out for the real Sark, you let him know there was a meeting. Clever, full on genius, maybe you really are CIA.
Syd: You cannot let those innocent people die.
Ryan: My brother was innocent.
Ryan: Don’t tell me… we’ve come to the point where you coerce me into cooperating.
Jack: Not exactly (strangles Ryan).
- Gervais started filming this episode the morning after he won 2 Golden Globes for The Office.
- Gervais’ only acting experience to this point was as David Brent, JJ Abrams and Jack Bender reported that he was very nervous about acting in a dramatic role.
- Stephen Merchant was also present on the set during filming.
- The set used for the airplane scenes is the same set used in the pilot episode of Lost.
- Director Jack Bender allowed Gervais to ad lib in the scene where he first came into CIA Headquarters.
- Jennifer Garner went on to star in Gervais’ directorial film debut, The Invention of Lying.
- Gervais turned down a role in Star Trek directed by JJ Abrams.
- For more images go to: Gallery:Alias