''My name is Thomas Veil, or at least it was. I'm a photographer, I had it all: a wife, Alyson... friends, a career. In one moment it was all taken away, all because of a single photograph. I have it, they want it, and they will do anything to get the negative. I'm keeping this diary as proof that these events are real... I know they are... they have to be..."The noirish action of Nowhere Man may or may not be taking place entirely in the mind of its hero, Thomas Veil (Bruce Greenwood), a photojournalist specializing in stark, brutal war shots. In the first episode, Veil attends a showing of his work, which includes "Hidden Agenda," a disturbing photo of American military personnel apparently presiding over an execution in an unnamed Third World country. Almost immediately upon its display, Veil's life is ... destroyed. Erased. Zeroed. Un-Personed. He becomes a fugitive non-person, on the run from the mysterious forces that want the "Hidden Agenda" photo destroyed and forgotten.The series has Veil walking the earth, dealing with often disturbing happenings throughout middle America which were probably caused by the same organization that is targeting him, although hard truths are difficult to come by on this show, and the viewer is often left with a sense of uncertainty which mirrors Veil's own.A classic example of a show that was Too Good to Last, the series may have aired too near in time to The X-Files, which had absorbed a great deal of the audience's thirst for this kind of story.Not to be confused with the song by The Beatles.Note: in some cases below even the trope names can be spoilers.
This show provides examples of:
- Assimilation Academy: The private academy in "The Alpha Spike".
- Christmas Episode: It's nearly Christmas when Tom sees a newspaper reporting that the FBI are looking for him to testify. His family welcomes him back for the holiday and everything seems to have been a mistake. Then he finds the house has been turned over by his wife, looking for the negatives. He also finds a video tape showing the "newscasts" of the conspiracy taken down were just a bunch of actors filming what they thought was a movie. He takes the negatives from the hiding place and goes back on the run.
- Evil Plan: Everything in the series Thomas Veil goes through is part of the Conspiracy's scheme to test their Fake Memories treatment.
- Government Conspiracy: Thomas Veil is the victim of one that "erases" his life in an attempt to cover up an incriminating photo.
- Homage: The town full of erased people is a pretty obvious one to The Prisoner.
- Meaningful Name: Thomas Veil. Also, "Thomas" is the doubting apostle and the hero begins to doubt everything as the series progresses. "Thomas" also means "twin" which takes on extra meaning twice, in the episode "Doppelganger" where the hero is being impersonated by a lookalike and in the finale "Gemini Man" (Gemini is the zodiac sign of the twins).
- Mysterious Informant: Partway through the series one of the members of the conspiracy starts giving Tom info on the Organization who "erased him" in hopes Tom will take them down from without so he can more easily take them down from within.
- Post-Modernism / Recursive Canon: One of the Conspiracy's plots involves broadcasting a television show that depicts scenes from Veil's life after his erasure with almost shot-for-shot recreations of the actual show, but with bad acting and camera work. It got to the point of a Mind Screw where he had to do things out of character in order to defeat their plans.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Photo negatives (and film photography in general) are nowhere near as common today as they were when this show was made.
- Un-person: Veil's entire former life is erased by the group that wants the picture.
- Veil soon discovers he's not the only one this has happened to. Indeed, he finds an entire town full of people who have suffered this fate.
- Was It All a Lie?: Tom asks this question of his wife who was seemingly in on the conspiracy from day one.