The deprogrammers
The deprogrammers 2

"The Deprogrammers" is an episode of The Outer Limits television series. It first aired on 26 May 1996, during the second season.


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Opening narration
  • 3 Plot
  • 4 Closing narration
  • 5 Cast


In the near future, Earth is under alien occupation by a race of reptilian aliens, the Torkor. For two years the human race has been conditioned for slavery, unable to think for itself or disobey an order. Through their alien science, the aliens have made humans immortal, but they have also sterilized them and exterminated all human children. This horrifying future is one of complete slavery for a modified human race which has no biological future.

One human, the slave of an important ruler, is captured by a small band of rebel humans who try to break the conditioning and restore his free will.

Opening narration

“At what point does a human being's free will cease to exist? And if we have forfeited our free will... are we still human?”


In the near future, where a race of aliens called the Torkor have taken over Earth, Evan (Erich Anderson) is a slave in the mansion of the harsh-ruling Koltak (Vincent Hammond) who he refers to as "Milord". Like all other slaves ("Jollem"), he has been "programmed" to not feel anything, and to take everything his master says as fact without question.

Later, Evan is captured by a resistance movement led by Professor Trent Davis (Brent Spiner), who call themselves the Vindicators, or the Deprogrammers. At first, he is completely vegetative towards them. Not even experiencing pain or having Trent cutting his wrist will make him flinch.

But during the course of days, little by little, the resistance manages to wake up the parts of his mind that have been silenced by the programming. He is slowly introduced to his past life, a successful military career, and to his wife Jill (Nicole Oliver), who is also working with the resistance movement.

The resistance aims to restore the meaning of what it means to be a human, by the means of military power. Finally, when Evan comes to realize that his master is actually responsible for killing all the children of the world, including his daughter, he becomes apparently sympathetic to the goals of the vindicators, despite occasional quirks in his thinking.

Evan returns to Koltak's mansion, bringing with him a vial that is camouflaged as a vial of Seragon Oil, a substance Koltak is particularly fond of. He drops the vial into the bath the alien is taking, and combines it with another substance, making the bath become solid, trapping the alien there. Evan beats Koltak to death, and then returns to the place of the Vindicators, carrying the head of the alien with him in a bag.

At the moment of joy and success, Trent Davis asks if "Milord" is pleased, after which another alien steps in, whom Evan recognizes as Megwon (Vincent Hammond). Davis had been a Jollem all along, but was spared from the reprogramming so that he can continue with his experiments. Megwon had used Evan as a pawn to kill his rival. Jill proceeds to berate Trent, saying that the rebels will go after him but Megwon states the resistance are little more than minor nuisances and that due to the power and might of the Torkor, any real resistance is impossible and will not be a threat to him.

In the final scene, Evan is being reprogrammed again along with Jill....though Jill seems to resist programming.

Closing narration

“For centuries philosophers have wrestled with the question, "Is man able to decide his destiny through his own actions or does fate have the final say?”


Brent Spiner as Professor Trent Davis Erich Anderson as Evan Cooper Nicole Oliver as Jill Cooper Samuel Vincent as Akira Matsumoto Vincent Hammond as Koltok, Megwan Dean McKenzie as Newscaster Adam J. Harrington as Puppet Show Host

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