Season One (1995-96)
Synopsis: When long-suppressed enhanced sensory abilities ambush Cascade PD detective Jim Ellison on a solitary stakeout, the ex-Army Ranger fears for his sanity and his ability to function as a cop. Testing at a local hospital brings him into contact with an unorthodox young graduate student named Blair Sandburg, who turns out to be an expert on people with Ellison's "condition".
Sandburg contends that Ellison is a "Sentinel," a person with a genetic advantage -- all five senses greatly enhanced -- and convinces the reluctant detective of both the asset the senses, properly controlled, represent as well as his need of a partner to watch his back -- the latter by saving him from an untimely death under the wheels of a garbage truck.
The seemingly mismatched pair begin an exploration of Ellison's abilities as they search for evidence vital to Ellison's current case -- that of a serial bomber with a grudge against Ellison. The situation worsens when "The Switchman," as the bomber is known, starts targeting people. With Sandburg at his side, Ellison begins to discover how much of an edge his new-found abilities give him and, by the literally explosive climax of the episode -- with mad bomber in custody and a bus-load of tourists saved from a fiery end -- their partnership is firmly established.
Synopsis: While Ellison and Sandburg work to convince Captain Simon Banks to grant Sandburg police observer "ride along" status, a ruthless militia group infiltrates the Cascade PD headquarters. With their scheme approved, Ellison leaves Sandburg to wade through the application paperwork while he pops out for lunch. Sandburg's retreat to the mens' room coincides with the Sunrise Patriots seizure of the HQ and he emerges to discover the place crawling with armed men.
As Ellison and Banks work to retake the HQ from the garage up, Sandburg picks off militiamen one by one as he eludes capture. Eventually cornered by militiamen, Sandburg pretends to be a detective himself and thus a useful hostage. With an escape helicopter en route, the militia leader Kincaid retreats to the roof, dragging Sandburg with him and leaving men to execute the hostages. Ellison and Banks, who have gained access to the area, burst in and prevent the massacre.
Ellison, learning that Kincaid still has Sandburg, runs to the roof and grabs ahold of a landing skid on the departing chopper. As Kincaid and Ellison dangle from the skid, Sandburg bluffs the pilot into returning to the HQ. With Kincaid and company in custody, and no other convincing explanation for his remarkable performance, Ellison decides to let Banks in on his little "Sentinel" secret and the real reason for Sandburg's presence.
Synopsis: Sandburg accompanies Ellison to a night-time meeting with the detective's "little brother," undercover cop Danny Choi. Ellison and Choi have barely started speaking when the younger officer is felled by a high-powered rifle-shot. Though the killer is hundreds of feet away, Ellison's Sentinel eyesight allows him to see his friend's murderer -- Tommy Juno.
When the only evidence linking Juno -- who has a strong alibi -- to the shooting is Ellison's seemingly impossible claim to have seen him, the case is thrown out of court and Ellison disgraced. Meanwhile, the emotional trauma of his friend's death wreaks havoc on Ellison's senses, robbing him temporarily of one after the other. Sandburg has to help him both come to terms with Choi's death and find acceptable evidence with which to prosecute Juno and restore his reputation.
Synopsis: When Ellison visits Sandburg in his warehouse district home, he is less than enthused with both the area and the amenities. Still, he settles down to watch a typically violent action-adventure movie on TV with Sandburg and his Barbary Ape charge, Larry, until the secret drug lab next door blows up, taking most of Sandburg's residence with it. Ellison reluctantly agrees to let Sandburg move in with him temporarily, bunking him in his spare room.
Meanwhile an investigation of the drug lab explosion shows it to be more than the obvious case of gang warfare it initially appears; a detective with ties to one of the gangs finds himself the victim of a setup and a murder suspect as the real conspirators maneuver the two opposing gangs towards all-out battle in an effort to hide their sale of the drugs stolen from the devastated lab.
Ellison and Sandburg must convince the embattled officer of their trustworthiness while working to clear his name, discover the true conspirators in the Department, prevent a massacre and protect the officer's aged grandmother.
Synopsis: When Ellison's enhanced hearing detects inconsistencies between a victim's 911 call and answering machine message, new light is shed on a string of serial murders. Ellison and Sandburg's investigation reveals a new and nightmarish aspect of the killings -- the murderer assumes the identities of the victims after drowning them.
Sandburg spots the connection between all three murder victims and catches the attention of the murderer -- who is masquerading as a consulting psychiatrist -- when he shares his discovery with the investigative team. Realizing his cover is about to be blown, the killer vanishes, shedding yet another stolen identity in preparation for assuming Sandburg's.
When Sandburg is abducted from the loft he shares with Ellison, the detective must use his enhanced senses to learn where the killer has taken his partner and get there in time to prevent the completion of the gruesome ritual.
Synopsis: When Ellison comes down with a steadily worsening cold, Sandburg whips up an herbal remedy -- which Ellison takes one look at and refuses, ignoring his partner's lecture on the evils of modern-day medicine. At the PD, Ellison is given his new assignment -- guarding a mob informant hiding in the Witness Protection program -- and Sandburg gets to go along on the mysterious operation. As his life is threatened, the informant is being transported in a rather unorthodox fashion -- by train.
Ellison and Sandburg are soon sequestered in a compartment with their weasely charge. While scouting the train, Ellison gets ahold of a multi-purpose cold remedy, which almost immediately wreaks havoc on his senses. Meanwhile what appears to be a hit team begins its search for the informant. Ellison "makes" the hit team but is quickly overpowered and heaved out a window, presumably to his death.
The hit team is anything but; they are actually aboard the train to free the informant from protective custody. As their scheme unfolds, Ellison clings to the underside of the train, battling his drug-addled senses with the remembered help of one of Sandburg's sensory training sessions. Thus fortified, he conquers the disorientation and climbs back aboard. A clearer-headed Ellison rejoins Sandburg and is soon on the trail of the escaped informant. The episode climaxes with a signature car and train chase, complete with gun-fire and fisticuffs, with Ellison triumphant.
Synopsis: A diabolical and convoluted plot to steal a top-secret Air Force jet is set in motion when a lecture of Sandburg's -- at which Ellison is the guest speaker -- is made the target of what seems to be a gas attack. With Campus Security thus distracted, a rogue CIA operative, Lee Brackett, attacks a research lab and steals a canister of the Ebola virus.
Brackett begins a cat-and-mouse game with Ellison and Sandburg as he works to lure them into his grasp, using the whole city of Cascade as a hostage. His CIA status gave him access to Ellison's post-Peru records, which made vague mention of sensory anomalies. Brackett followed Ellison's career with increased interest when Sandburg entered the picture. A review of Sandburg's earlier published research led him to the conclusion that Ellison is a Sentinel -- and thus the perfect tool to defeat the security measures placed around a certain Air Force research hangar.
With Sandburg's support and guidance, Ellison defeats the security systems surrounding the hangar. Ellison later outwits Brackett and prevents the theft of the stealth jet, after which he convinces Brackett to reveal the location of the Ebola canister and help him disarm the attached bomb.
Synopsis: When a foiled bank robbery yields an arsenal of high-powered weaponry, the Cascade PD puts Ellison on the case. Paired with a headstrong and confrontational ATF agent, Ellison comes to suspect that Chilean businessman Hector Carrasco is behind the flood of illegal arms.As Carrasco's daughter Maya is a student at Sandburg's university, Ellison convinces his partner to befriend the beautiful coed in order to learn more about her father.
Unaware of the depth of Maya's feelings until she stages an impromptu dinner as prelude to greater intimacy, Sandburg is unable to continue and confesses to his deception. Maya, feeling hurt and betrayed, seeks solace at home with her father and is further angered when she sees detective Ellison -- who Blair introduced as a fellow researcher -- on TV. Meanwhile Sandburg, distressed by Maya's reaction, seeks her out at home and snoops around the grounds when she refuses to speak to him. Only after Sandburg has been left in the clutches of Carrasco's murderous henchman does Maya realize the truth. She calls Ellison and goes off in seach of Sandburg herself, learning some nasty home truths in the process.
Ellison comes to the rescue, saving both Sandburg and Maya from a gruesome end. The case is wrapped up and Carrasco is imprisoned. Maya, however, is unable to get past Sandburg's perceived betrayal and ends their relationship, leaving Ellison to help his partner pick up the pieces.
Synopsis: Convinced his friend is romantically challenged, Sandburg drags a reluctant Ellison out bar-hopping with him. Ellison suffers through the evening until a beautiful redhead catches his attention. The attraction is immediate and inexplicably overpowering. Sandburg laughs it off until he realizes the attraction is so intense that Ellison is powerless before it, allowing it to wreck his judgement and effectiveness as a cop.
As their effective investigation of a chain of jewelry heists is increasingly compromised by Ellison's desire for the mysterious Laura, Sandburg begins hunting for the cause of his partner's uncharacteristic behavior. The answer lies in pheromones, hormonal secretions which attract prospective mates to one another. Ellison, as a Sentinel, is especially susceptible to Laura's natural love potion.
Once Ellison grudgingly accepts Sandburg's theory behind his intense attraction to Laura, he is able to override the pheromonal effects and function as a cop once more. Meanwhile, Laura double-crosses her henchmen rather explosively and plans to escape with the loot until Ellison uses their mutual attraction against her, snaring her in her own romantic web.
Synopsis: Sandburg convinces Ellison that a few days at this great little place he knows of are just what the frazzled detective needs. Ellison soon learns that he and Sandburg have a much different idea of what constitutes a peaceful and quiet holiday when Sandburg's haven turns out to be a rustic and spartan monastery, Saint Sebastian's. No sooner is Ellison resigned to several days of what he views as pointless deprivation than a monk dies under suspicious circumstances.
Using a combination of investigative skill and Sentinel ability, Ellison determines that the monk was murdered, which plunges the monastery into a sea of division, suspicion and accusation. Ellison and Sandburg find themselves considered suspect by the monks and the tension heightens as another monk is murdered.
The situation comes to a head when the murderer -- a monk -- reveals himself to be a mob "mole" hunting an ex-mobster long hidden within the walls of St. Sebastian's. With the entire group penned up in the belfry, the gunman threatens to kill them all unless his target comes forth. The monks reclaim their unity and brotherhood when, one by one, they each come forth and claim to be the hidden man, much to the frustration of the killer, who calls in reinforcements. Ellison overhears the bogus monk's plan to burn the building with all inside. He rigs a makeshift rope and literally gets the drop on the imposter
Ellison frees the trapped men moments before the reinforcements arrive, which starts a deadly game of hide and seek. Outnumbered and outgunned, Ellison and Sandburg seem doomed until a tough decision brings the monks to their assistance. The crisis is resolved and tranquility restored to St. Sebastian's.
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