Dr. Samuel "Sam" Beckett
An Omnidisciplinary Scientist who leads Project Quantum Leap. He invents and tests a time machine in 1995, then gets stuck leaping around through time from person to person, fixing situations that had once gone wrong.
- Absent-Minded Professor: He wasn't this before he started quantum leaping, but it happens thanks to the "Swiss cheese" effect on his memory.
- The Ace: Sam has six different doctorates, is a Nobel laureate, is a classically trained pianist, sings tenor, skilled in a number of martial arts, and fluent in several languages. However, his Swiss cheese memory means he only seems to remember them when it's relevant to the plot.
- Amnesiac Hero: The "Swiss Cheese Effect" of leaping has a detrimental effect on his memory, making it difficult for him to remember all his skills or even the results of previous leaps.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Sam believes in God, but not the devil. In some cases, Sam does this to Al, such as when he refuses to believe in ghosts or vampires. Inverted in one episode, where he believes he's seen an alien spacecraft.
- Badass Bookworm: Sam has six doctorates, but also trained in martial arts, allowing him to kick ass as required.
- Batman Grabs a Gun: Sam is generally a Nice Guy who wants to genuinely do good, but when pushed in extreme circumstances or when the person in question truly deserves it, Sam will not hesitate to use physical force, even killing on occasion.
- Been There, Shaped History: Occasionally, Sam runs into Young Future Famous People and inspires them by showing them one of the things that they're famous for without realising it until after.
- Berserk Button: Sam hates all forms of racism or intolerance, it being one of the few things that makes him genuinely angry. Sam's hatred of racism causes him considerable problems when he leaps into a young man who joined the Ku Klux Klan because of peer pressure. He's so disgusted that he yanks off the Klan robe as though it makes him physically ill to wear it, initially flat-out refuses to do anything to help them, and visibly struggles to keep up the charade—watch him literally choke everytime he has to say the "n-word".
- Sexism later becomes one for him after he spends time as a woman in The '60s.
- Big Brother Worship: Sam was said to view Tom this way.
- Body Surf: Sam is a benevolent surfer and stays in the body only long enough to complete his mission before involuntarily leaping into another host.
- Cassandra Truth:
- In "Star Light, Star Bright," government agents inject Sam with a truth serum to question him about the UFO he saw. Instead, he goes on at length about himself, including Project: Quantum Leap. He is generally thought crazy, but he raises some eyebrows when he mentions a secret level of government clearance that the leapee couldn't possibly know about.
- A few other times, Sam does purposefully try to tell people who he really is. It usually works, but as in "Killin' Time" and "Revenge of the Evil Leaper," it takes a heck of a lot of convincing. With the psychic who can see him, it takes no convincing whatsoever—she's pretty much figured it out right away.
- Catch Phrase: Sam would mutter "Oh boy..." upon arriving in a new "host" and assessing the situation.
- Chaste Hero: Sam, conveniently enough, because it would be a bad idea anyway. The man even turns down Marilyn Monroe, causing Al to call him "a stronger man than I". Subverted in "Trilogy," where he falls in love with the woman he's supposed to be helping and accidentally gets her pregnant, causing their daughter to be a member of the Quantum Leap Project.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Sam. Making the world a better place was his sole reason behind Project: Quantum Leap. In "Mirror Image," Al the Bartender claims that Sam himself may have been the one in control over his own leaps and could have quit the entire time, but subconsciously continued on because of his desire to help people meant that he never felt he had done enough. Throughout the episode, Sam stubbornly refuses to even entertain that idea, insisting that Al the Bartender is The-Man-Behind-The-Curtain in charge of Sam's leaps and the one not letting him come home. Al lampshades this trope in "Play Ball," telling Sam he always runs the risk of getting distracted from his goals because he wants to save everyone.
- Cunning Linguist: Sam, apparently, though we rarely get to see him display this talent, save for one episode where he leaps into an archaeologist who can immediately read ancient Egyptian writing and another where he leaps into a man married to a Japanese woman and is able to converse fluently with her. At this point, Al reminds him that he speaks "7 modern languages and 5 dead ones".
- Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes can give Al a run for his money.
- Fanservice: Sam frequently is shirtless, complete with a Carpet of Virility, even in the opening credits. In one episode he falls into a pond and spends the rest of the episode shirtless/in a towel. In "The Leap Back", when Sam is changing before entering the Imaging Chamber so he can leap into the body Al's occupied (thus having them change places so Al's no longer the Leaper and Sam no longer the Observer) Ziggy comments, "Great legs, doctor."
- God Was My Copilot: Hinted at strongly.
- Gollum Made Me Do It: During the Lee Harvey Oswald leaps, some of Oswald's mind contaminates Sam's, causing Sam to behave rather violently like Oswald did. Thankfully, it's averted when Sam leaps out of Oswald mere seconds before shooting at Kennedy.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In "The Leap Back" and "Mirror Image," Sam sacrifices chances at being home to help Al — saving Al's life in the former and his marriage with Beth in the latter.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Al.
- Hurting Hero: Sam. Let's see, his father lost the family farm and then died relatively young, his brother was killed in Vietnam and his sister married an abusive alcoholic. And being the kind of person he is, he feels guilty about all of it - particularly the farm and his sister. The trope is particularly evidenced in "The Leap Home, Part 1," where Sam tries to change his family's future and finds that it's not so easy to do.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Though his goal is to get home, Sam genuinely loves having the opportunity to help people. However, in several episodes (such as "Catch A Falling Star"), Sam laments not having any semblance of a life.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Sam, lampshaded repeatedly. It's justified, as the one time he does sleep with someone, he ends up impregnating her.
- Lie to the Beholder: Sam has to do this with every leap as a part of the leaping process, as established in the first episode. Whenever he breaks the facade, then it means that the situation is incredibly dire.
- Luke, You Are My Father: In the third "Trilogy" episode, Al tells Sam that Sammie Jo Fuller is biologically Sam's daughter.
- Magnetic Hero: Sam has this ability, and Al is one of the first few to make personal sacrifices for him. Also comes in handy in "Killin' Time," where Sam convinces Carol Pruitt that he's a time traveler, and gets her to help prevent the sheriff from murdering Leon Styles in cold blood.
- Moral Myopia: While Sam's mostly a Nice Guy whose heart is in the right place, even he has his moments where he can be quite oblivious to his own moral failings. Most glaringly, in the episode Catch A Falling Star, Sam leaps into a host who was in a relationship with his childhood piano teacher whom he had a big crush on. He also got quite angry when the drunken actor he was supposed to save began flirting with his piano teacher and was furious when someone falsely told him that his piano teacher had an affair with the drunk. The problem? Since Sam had replaced his host who was in a relationship with the teacher, Sam himself was effectively committing adultery as it was shown he spent a night with his music teacher. So from Sam's myopic view of the situation, it was not okay for some drunken lush to try to steal his childhood crush from him but perfectly okay for Sam to cuckold the guy he had leaped into.
- Mr. Seahorse: The episode "8 1/2 Months" had Sam leap into a pregnant woman... and later on, he began to gain the symptoms of pregnancy, despite not really being pregnant. When Sam ultimately leaps out, he's in the middle of giving birth!
- My Greatest Failure: The final episode reveals that he's always regretted not saving Al's first marriage. He rectifies this in the final scene.
- Named After Somebody Famous: May be named for Samuel Beckett, and it gets lampshaded in a few episodes. In "Honeymoon Express", someone asks Al if Sam is related to the playwright, and Al responds "Not to my knowledge." In "Liberation", when Sam prepares "griddle cakes a'la Beckett", the leapee's daughter assumes that's who he's talking about, but Sam quickly covers by saying he meant "Mom Beckett, the famous chef".
- Narrating the Present: Sometimes Sam gives a past-tense narration in voiceover, although it's unclear when he would have found time to go back and write any of these events down. Especially given the ending of the series. There's one particularly odd moment in the episode "Play It Again, Seymour:" Sam catches himself using hard-boiled detective slang in the narration, and Sam-on-screen reacts to this, leading to the Fridge Logic conclusion that Sam just walks around mentally narrating his own life in the past tense.
- Nice Guy: Sam, he's not quite an All-Loving Hero but he's friendly, never takes advantage of women, and always wants to help people he's around even when they annoy him.
- Not That Kind of Doctor: Averted. Sam is a medical doctor, just one of six doctorates he holds.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Among other disciplines Music, Medicine, Physics, Archeology, Ancient Languages, Chemistry, and Astronomy.
- Omniglot: Not to mention hobbies like learning seven modern languages and a few dead ones.
- Out-of-Character Alert:
- Occurs just about Once an Episode, with Sam saying or doing something that causes people who actually know the leapee to do a double take. However, Sam gets pretty good at playing it off, and no one stays suspicious for very long.
- "Return of the Evil Leaper" shows how this can go wrong for Sam when Zoey overhears "Arnold Watkins" talking to thin air and saying the name "Al." A quick scan by Lothos confirms that it is indeed Sam, thus giving the evil leapers the upper hand.
- When he leaps into Lee Harvey Oswald and their personalities merge, Al asks him where he learned to field strip an M1 Garand, Sam replies that he doesn't know.
- Photographic Memory: Prior to leaping, Sam had a mind like this. Its effectiveness is undermined by the "Swiss cheese" effect.
- The Professor: He invented time travel, and his knowledge helps him during his leaps.
- Real Award, Fictional Character: In "The Wrong Stuff" Sam mentions winning the Nobel Prize for Physics.
- Resigned to the Call
Al: Are you gonna be all right?Sam: What matter wounds to the body of a knight-errant, for each time he falls, he shall rise again and woe to the wicked! Al?Al: Here, your grace.Sam: My armor, my sword!Al: More misadventures?Sam: Adventures, old friend.
- In "Catch a Falling Star," Sam encounters an old crush and the leap turns very personal. He even openly considers not "setting right what once went wrong" (in this case, saving a Jerkass actor) to avoid leaping anymore. Obviously, he gets over it and the following exchange echoes the trope (as well as further shouting out to Don Quixote):
- A very sad example in the finale. "Home. I'd like to go home, but I can't, can I? I've got a wrong to put right for Al."
- Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: There are times when Sam explicitly remembers how history originally played out even after he changed it.
- Split Personality: Happens to Sam a few times, where his mind would merge with a leapee's. Sam would subsequently pick up their habits or knowledge, and sometimes act as they would without a second thought.
- "Shock Theater" really exploited this. After Sam is given electro-shock, he keeps shifting to different people he's leapt into — Samantha Stormer ("What Price, Gloria?"), Jesse Tyler ("The Color of Truth"), Herman "Magic" Williams ("The Leap Home, Part 2"), Tom Stratton ("Genesis"), Kid Cody ("The Right Hand of God"), and Jimmy LaMotta ("Jimmy").
- In "Return of the Evil Leaper", Sam is influenced by Arnold Watkins (aka "the Midnight Marauder") and suffer from bouts of Chronic Hero Syndrome.
- He's also briefly influenced by Dr. Ruth Westheimer in "Dr. Ruth," when he takes on her accent and demeanor to give someone some advice.
- A particularly dark example in "Lee Harvey Oswald," where Sam leaps into the infamous assassin. Throughout the two-parter, Sam feels Oswald's influence and a Split-Personality Takeover slowly ensues. They just barely avoid Gollum Made Me Do It. This episode also shows the reverse, where Sam's personality briefly influences Oswald.
- Unstuck in Time: Sam. Early on in the series, it appeared that he was leaping steadily forward in time and would eventually get back to the present, but it became random shortly after.
- Walking the Earth: But substitute "Timeline" for "Earth".
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Sam's idealistic disposition fits this category to the point where there are times where he'd follow his own heart and his emotions to try to change history on his own terms for idealistic/personal reasons while ignoring Al and/or the main leaping mission at hand. In many episodes, things do work out for him when he does this, such as when he changed history so that Donna married him after all or when he changed history so that his brother didn't have to die in the Vietnam War. However, being too idealistic and emotional also came back to bite him HARD in episodes like "Deliver Us From Evil" where Sam nearly got himself and Jimmy killed simply because he let his emotions rule his head and only saw what he wanted to see in the evil leaper Alia, instead of picking up on the rather obvious clues that she was, in fact, the reason for why the LaMotta family fell apart.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Due to arriving from a different time into an already-in-progress situation, Sam sometimes misinterprets a situation.
Rear Admiral Albert "Al" Calavicci
The project observer at Quantum Leap. Al appears to Samuel Beckett as a neurological hologram broadcast from the future that only Sam can see and hear (usually), and gives him future information in order to help his leaps.
- The Ace: Not quite to the extent as Sam, but Al is incredibly capable in his own right. Anything Sam isn't that good at, Al usually does have the relevant skill and is able to help. For example, Al has acted as an Italian and Hungarian interpreter. He also coached Sam in dancing at a Jewish party.
- Ace Pilot: He started out as a naval aviator, gaining combat experience in Vietnam, where he wound up being taken prisoner. The skill comes into play in "Genesis", where he assists Sam in piloting a test plane.
- Berserk Button: Al, despite his womanizing ways, reacts quite badly to the mistreatment of women. He also detests ill treatment of the mentally handicapped. He also is very critical of mothers who abandon their children. This can be attributed to his upbringing. He's also critical of anyone who does anything to harm the environment.
- Big Brother Instinct: His sister, Trudy, was mentally handicapped and frequently teased and insulted. Al got into a lot of fights as a result.Al: But that's what big brothers are for, right?
- Call Sign: His was "Bingo". There's an amusing story surrounding it, where he got drunk and woke up surrounded by three women and said "Bingo, bango, bongo".
- Catch Phrase:
- Al would often utilize the phrase, "Isn't this a kick in the butt?" once an episode at least in Season 1.
- He'd often refer to the villain of the week as a "dirty dog".
- Chivalrous Pervert: Al has been married five times, eyes up everything in a skirt, everything out of a skirt and even Sam when he's leapt into the body of a woman. But he genuinely likes women, doesn't do relationships just for sex, and he considers those who abuse women to be the lowest of scum.
- Cigar Chomper: He's usually seen smoking a foot long cigar. Dean Stockwell came up with the idea for Al, noting that it was a good way for him to get free cigars for five years. It becomes a plot point in "A Leap For Lisa", when Sam finds a cigar butt that ends up bringing Al back (having been replaced), Al notes that he wasn't a smoker at the time.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Doesn't believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole gunman. Al eventually accepts it the day of the shooting, and helplessly witnesses the murder.
- Cool Old Guy: Al. Despite being older he is a lot more knowledgable of modern pop culture than Sam is.
Al: All you do is you go out there and you make an idiot out of yourself.
- When Sam leaps into a glam heavy metal singer, it's Al who coaches him on how to act like a rock star on stage.
- Cue Card Pause: Al, while reading information off of the handlink, frequently pauses in the middle of a word.
- Deadpan Snarker: Al, especially to people who can't see or hear him.
- Dirty Old Man: Al, in contrast to the younger Chaste Hero, Sam Beckett. Al brags about his past love life, ogles all of the young women Sam encounters (often advising him to have sex with them, too), and makes very suggestive comments designed to fly over the heads of younger viewers. When Sam finds out that dead bodies creep out Al, he quips, "Finally, something sexual you're not into."
- Disappeared Dad: Al's own dad. After his mother split, Al's dad tried to provide for children, but work eventually took him overseas. Al was placed in an orphanage and Trudy in an institution until he could come back full-time. (He did apparently visit, though.) After some time, he came back for good and bought a house for them all to live in, but then he got sick and died.
- Fashion Dissonance: Al's choices in clothing were intentionally weird, when they weren't a navy uniform. Word of God states that this was done to differentiate the holographic Al from the people who were actually physically there. In-universe (particularly the novelizations), Al had a conscious preference for garish combinations. In a few episodes where Sam leaps to a time and/or place Al has a particular fondness for he will sometimes make an attempt to dress in period clothing only to put together colors and patterns that still manage to make him look appropriately terrible.
- Freudian Excuse:
- "The Great Spontini" and "Runaway" highlight his contempt for mothers who abandon their children. He's experienced it firsthand, so he's not nearly as forgiving as Sam during those leaps.
- He's very protective of Jimmy in both appearances, due to what happened to Trudy.
- Granola Guy: Al is shown to be ecologically-minded in several episodes, probably because so is Dean Stockwell.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Sam.
- Hollywood Atheist: Al is revealed to be one in "Leap of Faith." It's not played to any extremes, either. Al simply doesn't believe because of what happened to his father. According to Al, the last thing his dying father said was to pray for him and that everything would work out. It didn't. When Sam is nearly killed later on and lying there unconscious, Al doesn't hesitate to pray for his friend.
- Hologram: Al is one of these to Sam. He's in a room which projects an image of its contents back to Sam's brain except the official explanation is a vaguer way of saying "Sam's brain" that also allows him to be seen by animals and small children, a common form of Glamour Failure. The room's door is one of the trademark moments of the show, where a bright backlit doorway would open and Al would come in and out. This also meant that the entire world around Sam is a hologram to Al, not limited to what Sam could see, thus allowing him to see behind him, around doors or (as Al was wont to) ladies' locker rooms and restrooms.
- I Owe You My Life: He's saved Sam's life a couple dozen times, but Al figures it's a fair trade-off because Sam was there for him at a time his life was really spiraling out of control.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Al has a wardrobe that would make even the Sixth Doctor cringe. In-universe it makes it easy for Sam to spot him — he KNOWS No One Else Dresses Like That. The producers gave Al that eccentricity specifically so the audience can spot him, and also repeatedly reference that few others can; kids for instance.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: But only temporarily, when it was parodied in "The Leap Back." The simo-leap exchanged some personality traits between Sam and Al, making Al far more chivalrous, which he can't stand.Al: This isn't fair! Sam! A beautiful body like that, and I'm just thinkin' pure thoughts?! Dammit!
- I Was Quite a Looker: When Al leaps into his 21 year old self, he notes that he wasn't a bad looking kid.
- Ladykiller in Love: Al remains hopelessly in love with his first wife Beth, even several decades after she got remarried, believing he'd been killed in action (he was actually a POW). It's heavily implied the reason he was married several times and why his relationships never lasted long was that he was trying to fill the void left by Beth.
- More Than Meets the Eye: Al's character, when turning from a vulgar pervert to a heroic woobie.
- Nice Guy: Underneath his cynical lecherous exterior, Al is very much one as well. He gets just as emotionally involved in each leap as Sam does.
- OOC Is Serious Business: He usually wears flashy clothes, but his first appearance in "Future Boy" sees him in a more modest suit. Sam immediately asks if someone died, but it was just for a court appearance relating to one of the ex-wives.
- Parental Abandonment: His mother ran off with a salesman, which he attributed to the pressure of having a mentally handicapped daughter. Al's father kept supporting the family, but when his construction jobs took him overseas, Al was forced to stay in an orphanage (while Trudy was sent to an institution). When Al's father got sick and died, Al was left on his own.
- Percussive Maintenance: Al often smacks Ziggy's handlink when trying to retrieve information. "The Great Spontini" shows a handlink can only take so much abuse.Al: Uh-oh. I think I killed it, Sam.
- Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Zig Zagged Trope.
- Sometimes it's clear that Al remembers the original version of history, although it's not entirely clear how this is possible since he's broadcasting the future. For instance, in "Honeymoon Express," history actually changes around Al with only him noticing the difference. Al also seems to remember that Lee Harvey Oswald also killed Jackie Kennedy in the original timeline.
- However, he also tells Sam that he remembers talking to Sammie Jo Fuller at the Project in the future, when only moments before her future had been consigned to a more menial fate.
- Running Gag: Al can never keep his various marriages straight.
- San Dimas Time: Al's view of the past is locked as soon as PQL gets a lock on Sam's location, meaning that he can't shift his observations forward or backward in time as needed.
- Serial Spouse: Al. He had five wives, three of which are confirmed to have left him in a divorce (or divorce-like circumstances), and one is implied to. Only the first one really "worked": She only left him because she waited long enough after he was declared dead. The series finale gave Sam a chance to change all that by telling Beth that Al was still alive and would come back to her. The epilogue explains that as a result they stayed together and had Babies Ever After instead.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: His experiences as a POW in Vietnam changed him forever, especially as it led to the end of his first marriage. When Sam first met Al, Al was a broken mess.
- Smoking Is Cool: Al is frequently seen smoking a cigar note . Al doesn't smoke cigarettes, though.
- 20 Minutes into the Future: Where Al lived, in relation to the series' original airdates. Eventually, the series set the year to 1999.
- Unusual Euphemism: "Nozzle" for anyone Al doesn't approve of. One could publish a book filled with Al's creative terms for sex alone.
Project Quantum Leap (PQL)
Ziggy is the supercomputer and AI in charge of Project Quantum Leap. She assists Al with providing future information to Sam via Al's handlink.
- Ambiguous Gender: Al and Sam refer to Ziggy with male pronouns early on, but start calling it "she" (with some exceptions) after her feminine voice is heard.
- Benevolent A.I.: Despite having occasional temper tantrums and Barbra Streisand's ego, Ziggy happily enjoys assisting Sam and Al.
- Brain in a Jar/Organic Technology: The script for "The Leap Back" apparently describes Ziggy's glowing blue orb as being "brain tissue in a nutrient bath."
- Enemy-Detecting Radar: By "Revenge of the Evil Leaper," Ziggy has the ability to detect the presence of another leaper, but not who they are or who they leaped into.
- Expositron 9000: This is Ziggy's main purpose. She is able to download historical information from the National Archives in order to provide future information to Sam in the past, and to calculate potential outcome scenarios.
- Literal-Minded: Sam asks Ziggy to "tell me something I don't know!" and Ziggy responds that Tina is having an affair with Gushie.
- Ludicrous Precision: Ziggy is able to calculate probable outcomes of any given leap, given enough knowledge of the situation at hand.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands:
- In one episode, the handlink gets an add-on that allows Al to use Ziggy and the Imaging Chamber to scan for a bullet in a wall.
- In "Revenge of the Evil Leaper," Ziggy is able to detect another leaper, and later actively blocks Lothos from getting a lock on Sam by using a prison's electrical fence as a signal jammer.
- Omniscient Database: Ye gods. Ziggy not only apparently has records of the minutiae of decades' worth of the day-to-day activities of pretty much everyone who was alive at the same time as Sam Beckett, but can also calculate the probability that Sam's interference in history will have the desired effect. And regardless of the percentage calculated, Ziggy is nearly always right, aside from a couple episodes where despite an abnormally high percentage, Sam just "knows" he has to do something else. The times when Sam "knows" he has to do something else also are ones where all signs point to Al misleading or outright lying to Sam because of ulterior motives.
- One episode has Al using Ziggy to help Sam set up an ambush on a man walking around a corner, complete with a precise countdown. Apparently Ziggy has recordings of every human being's movements everywhere ever down to the second.
- One episode puts a limit on Ziggy's database. Since Ziggy only has information starting from the moment Sam was born, when Sam and Al switch places, Al leaps into someone in 1945, which is considerably further back than Sam's lifetime. Most of the episode is spent trying to download all the available data that would pertain to the person Al leaps into. In the end, it proves too late, and Sam is forced to leap again to rescue Al. In another episode, Sam himself leaps into his ancestor, a Union Army captain during The American Civil War. The same problem with the lack of available data crops up.
- Personality Chip: Not explicitly named as such, but Ziggy does have a sort of lusty affection for Sam, throws occasional tantrums, gets depressed when she learns about Franklin D. Roosevelt's death, and has Streisand's ego.
Gushie is the lead computer programmer at Project Quantum Leap. He assists Al in the Imaging Chamber via Ziggy's main terminal, and can serve as a backup hologram in case of an emergency.
- Absent-Minded Professor: When he meets Leon Styles, who is in the process of escaping from the Waiting Room, he casually greets him as "Dr. Beckett." You know, despite the fact that he should be well aware of leapees after helping the rest of the project assist Sam for four years.
- Butt-Monkey: A mild example. Gushie's bad breath makes him the butt of jokes (it's the first thing that Sam's Swiss-cheesed mind remembers about Gushie), and in "Killin' Time," Leon Styles steals his jacket and his car. Despite this, Gushie is very good-natured and capable, and gets along with pretty much everyone.
- Fanon: His real name isn't revealed in the series, but a fanfic once named him "Dr. Irving Gushman" and it stuck in the fandom's minds.
- Kavorka Man: Gushie has an affair with Tina. In one alternate timeline, he actually marries her.
- Hidden Depths: Gushie is clever enough to jury rig the Imaging Chamber to talk to Sam when Al isn't around, bravely and unflinchingly stands up to Leon Styles holding him up at gunpoint, and is able to have a secret affair with Tina that (apparently) only Ziggy is aware of.
- Mission Control: Gushie's primary task is to run Ziggy's main terminal, providing assistance to the quantum accelerator or Imaging Chamber as needed. It's not unheard of for Al to bark requests at him whenever the situation calls for it.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: "Gushie" obviously isn't his real name, but everyone calls him that. His real name isn't ever revealed in canon.
- Phrase Catcher: Most episodes features Al shouting, "Gushie, center me on [person]!"
- You Need a Breath Mint: Every time he appears or is talked about at length, his bad breath is brought up.
Dr. Verbena Beeks
Dr. Beeks is the Project's head psychiatrist. She greets the leapees in the Waiting Room, calms them down after the shock of leaping, and uses their knowledge to build a profile for Sam to use in the past.
- Out of Focus: Beeks gets mentioned a whole lot, but she doesn't actually appear on screen after "The Leap Back." It's jarring in episodes like "Return of the Evil Leaper," where she is talked about, and leapee Arnold Watkins mistakes Al's handlink for her, but it's Al who does some armchair psychology with Arnold, not Beeks.
- Twofer Token Minority: She is African-American and female.
- The Voiceless: Appears in "Shock Theater" as a hologram alongside Al, but Sam can't hear her speak due to the Imaging Chamber's power limitations. Her voice is finally heard an episode later in "The Leap Back."
Dr. Donna Wojohowitz Eleese-Beckett
Donna is Sam Beckett's first love, who left him at the altar in the original timeline. After reuniting her with her father in 1972, the timeline changed so that she had been married to Sam, and her presence with the Project ensured that an oversight committee was not needed.
- Freudian Excuse: In the original timeline, she jilts one fiance, then later Sam, at the altar due to intimacy issues stemming from not knowing her father. During Sam's third leap, he gets Donna to meet her father, undoing the Freudian Excuse and ending up married to her back in the future.
- I Will Wait for You: Donna realizes that Sam's quantum leaping his helping the world, and permits him to continue, telling Al that Sam can never know about her until he returns. Ultimately becomes a tragic example when Sam doesn't return.
- Runaway Bride: In the original timeline, Donna did this twice over, with Sam as the second jilted groom. Sam resolving her Freudian Excuse during his third leap alters the timeline so that this doesn't occur.
- Sadistic Choice: Donna has to choose whether to send Sam back to 1945 to save Al (which could overwhelm the retrieval program since it's outside Sam's lifetime), or keep Sam home in 1999 and let Al die. She chooses to activate the accelerator, and is forced to watch the retrieval program fail.
- Timeshifted Actor: Played by Teri Hatcher as a 19 year old in 1972, then by Mimi Kuzyk in her mid-forties in 1999.
Tina is the project's medical technician whose job is to inspect individuals before they enter the Imaging Chamber or Accelerator Chamber. She is also Al's girlfriend.
Samantha Josephine "Sammie Jo" Fuller
Sam's biological daughter fathered with Abigail Fuller during the "Trilogy" three-parter. Like her father, she has a high IQ and eidetic memory, becomes a member of the project after Sam alters time, and is working on a theory to bring Sam home.
- The Ghost: We don't see Sammie Jo's future self who works at PQL.
- Hero of Another Story: From Al's description, her future self working at PQL is utterly brilliant, and is in the process of developing some promising retrieval theories behind the scenes. Had the show continued for another season, she likely would have become a leaper herself to save Sam.
- Had the Sci-Fi Channel spinoff seen the light of day, Sammie Jo would have been the protagonist.
- Identical Grandson: She looks exactly like her mother Abigail did at the same age, and shares the same actress.
- Kid from the Future: A variation, in that she's an adult working at PQL in 1999, but was born in 1967 and technically is only 14 years younger than her biological father.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Averted with Sammie Jo herself. She has no idea who her real father is, and Sam never gets the chance to tell her. Al and Ziggy are the only ones who know the truth.
- Photographic Memory: Al mentions that she inherited this from Sam.
Evil leaping project
Alia is a quantum leaper from an unknown leaping project. Unlike Sam, she is likely a test subject and doesn't seem to be a person in charge, and her project's goals are malevolent.
- The Atoner: Helps Sam complete his missions in "Return" and "Revenge."
- Body Horror: Something unpleasant happens to Alia when she leaps out at the end of "Deliver Us from Evil," but it's unclear exactly what. Upon failing to kill Sam, Alia's image gets distorted and she screams in pain, then there is a flash as she leaps out and the Reset Button is pressed (thereby undoing her damage to the LaMotta family). The next time the leapers meet, Alia appears physically unscathed, but she tells Sam that Lothos put her through some unspeakable torture.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: During their first meeting, Sam and Alia have a long heart-to-heart about quantum leaping and find some common ground, which later on allows him to talk her down when she tries to murder him on Lothos' orders. The second time Alia crosses paths with Sam, she's visibly distraught at the thought of harming him, and eventually joins up with him because he's much kinder than the alternative.
- Curiosity Causes Conversion: By leaping out with Sam, she temporarily escapes Lothos. However, she's still a bit fuzzy on the whole "Set Right What Once Went Wrong" thing, even if she finds it admirable. It takes a little bit more for her to figure out just why people do good deeds, culminating with a conversation with a prison guard who is helping them escape from Zoey.Alia: Why are you doing this?Sam: Does it matter?Alia: Yes. I wanna know why some people help other people.Vivian: 'Cause all my life, I never did anything really special. And if one tenth of what you've said is true, then this is special. For once, I wanna be the good guy.
- Dark and Troubled Past: We know pretty much nothing about where or when Alia comes from (other than she's from "the future"), but it's mentioned that Lothos and Zoey have tortured her before, and that her leaping assignments haven't been pleasant tasks. And Zoey's comment about how they "clawed [their] way out of hell" is an ominous statement no matter how you look at it.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Sam is able to thwart her from destroying the LaMotta family and killing Arnold Watkins, and talks her down on both occasions. Alia eventually dual-leaps with Sam, mostly to get away from Lothos' wrath.
- Devil in Plain Sight: Sam and Al don't immediately catch on that Alia is probably the one altering the LaMotta family's history, though Al does get an initial bad vibe about it.
- Distaff Counterpart: She's a female leaper.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: After enduring leaps where she was forced to do things to hurt people, undergoing torture from Lothos, and being abused by prison guards after leaping into a women's prison with Sam, Alia finally leaps out and escapes Lothos' watch.
- Easily Forgiven: Sam is pretty forgiving of her, and was even willing to take her on as his leaping partner, even though she falsely accused him/Jimmy of rape and came closer to ending his/Jimmy's life than just about any other villain in the series. This is likely justified given that he picks up on the fact that she doesn't appear to enjoy what she's doing, and may in fact be forced to do it.
- Evil Counterpart: She starts off as an evil leaper, although it's ultimately a subversion: she hates what she does and only sees it as a means to get home.
- Fake Memories: A variation. Sam hypnotizes Alia into thinking that she is actually the leapee, in order to throw off Lothos' and Zoey's brainwave tracking scan. It only partially works, as Zoey gets a close enough lock and leaps into the prison warden.
- Femme Fatale: Seduces Sam, then turns on him to complete her mission in "Deliver Us from Evil," though Sam is able to talk her down.
- Forced into Evil: Heavily implied, given Alia's fear of Zoey and Lothos, though Alia never states it outright.Sam: You're not evil, Alia; whatever trapped you in time is.
- Genre Blind: After a history of evil leaping, Alia doesn't exactly know how to be a good leaper, nor is she psychologically prepared to run from Lothos.
- Genre Savvy: During her time as an evil leaper, Alia adapts quickly to situations, using manipulation and seduction to her advantage. In addition, her leap-in during "Return" shows her getting over her initial confusion fairly quickly, and within two minutes she's helping the leapee's boyfriend formulate a plan to make "Arnold's" life unhappy.
- HeelFace Turn: She happily escapes with Sam when given the opportunity.
- The Load: Alia doesn't seem to possess the grab bag of skills and talents Sam possesses, and she has a tendency to create more problems for Sam than she helps to solve. Even after Sam takes her as his leaping partner during their brief time together in "Revenge of the Evil Leaper," she ends up not contributing much to the leap due to her hypnosis, and Sam ends up doing most of the busywork. That is, up until the end, when Alia saves Sam's life and leaps out while getting shot, and even then, Sam picks up the remaining slack by shooting Zoey.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Zoey reminds Alia that "We clawed our way out of hell" to get their evil leaping jobs. It's extremely vague on whether Zoey was using hyperbole or they were literally from Hell, but given the presence of other paranormal stuff in the series, the literal meaning is disturbingly plausible.
- Not So Different: As a result of when they touched and broke their masquerades, Sam became aware of what she was thinking. When talking her down from shooting him, he tells her he knows she feels the same loneliness and fear of never getting home that he does every day.
- Obviously Evil: A variation in that it's incredibly clear that the LaMotta family history is somehow changing for the worse in "Deliver Us from Evil" despite Sam's intervention in a previous episode, and the presence of another leaper should have tipped off Sam that something was very off about Alia.
- Only One Name: We only ever learn her first name.
- Out-of-Character Alert: In "Return," Alia almost tips her hand by using the word "macho" in front of Sam in the 1950s (before either leaper knows that the other is there). When Sam expresses confusion, she says that she learned it in Spain.
- Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Zoey and Lothos have Alia do this for whatever reason.
- Pet the Dog: Alia gets a couple of very subtle moments where she shows that she somehow wants to lessen the severity of her tasks for the people involved, or at least give them a final happy memory before ruining their lives. For instance, she gets Jimmy LaMotta an Arabian Nights storybook to read, and she wistfully tells Arnold Watkinsnote that his watching out for people is "wonderful."
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: To play up the whole Evil Counterpart thing, NBC's promos for "Deliver Us From Evil" show Alia looking at the camera with glowing red eyes (although she never once does this on the show itself).
- Redemption Equals Death: At the end of "Revenge," Alia pushes Sam out of the way when Zoey raises a shotgun, and begins leaping right as Zoey fires. However, it's zig-zagged slightly, as the bullet passes through mid-leap, and doesn't affect the leapee — whether or not it affected Alia is unknown, but Al tells Sam that wherever Alia is, "she's free."
- Unstuck in Time: She leaps randomly, though to a lesser extent than Sam, as it's mentioned that Lothos has some degree of control over where she ends up.
- The Vamp: Has served in this capacity in the past, if Zoey's comments are anything to go by.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Rips her slip and claws her own face in order to frame Sam (and, by extension, Jimmy LaMotta) for assault.
Zoey is Alia's holographic contact from the evil leaping project. She seems to be in a position of authority in the project. She later becomes a leaper herself when Alia dual-leaps with Sam.
- All Women Are Lustful: She's a horndog and absolutely relishes it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Constantly snarks at people in Alia's leaps.
- Devil in Plain Sight: When she leaps into Clifton Myers, she resumes her usual evil behavior, which is easily masked by the fact that her leapee is already a bit of a jerkass.
- Distaff Counterpart: She's the female version of Al.
- Evil Brit: Zoey's actress is English, and plays her as such.
- Evil Counterpart: She's also the evil version of Al, equivalent in that she is a snarky horndog, but without Al's compassion or sense of honor.
- Evil Wears Black: Aside from when she wears a green Sixties-style outfit at the beginning of Alia's LaMotta leap, Zoey's preference is to wear black clothing. Later on, during Alia's hypnotic trance after escaping with Sam, Alia perceives Zoey wearing a black dress.
- Fashion Dissonance: Not quite to the extent as Al, but still distinctive enough to make her visible in a crowd.
- For the Evulz: Zoey very clearly enjoys watching others suffer, cackling or smiling whenever she or Alia do something to harm someone else.
- Genre Savvy: She adapts to her first leap rather quickly, which is probably justified given that Lothos specifically targeted the prison warden.
- I'll Kill You!: "I will kill you myself, Alia!"
- It's Personal: She takes Alia's defection as a betrayal, and personally leaps back in time to finish her off.
- I Want Them Alive: She makes it very clear to Thames that she wants to find Alia alive so that she can personally kill her.Zoey: I want Alia. And I don't want anything to happen to her before I get a chance to rip her head off.
- Kick the Dog: Upon leaping into a prison warden, she finds out that an inmatenote has claustrophobia and fears solitary confinement. With a smirk, she orders the terrified woman back into solitary confinement.
- Manipulative Bastard: Zoey knows which of Alia's buttons to press to get her to continue doing evil deeds. It's telling that Alia only really gets mean whenever Zoey's around and whispering orders in her ear; for instance, Alia clearly doesn't want to kill Sam until Zoey tells her that doing so could mean a way home.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Zoey reminds Alia that "We clawed our way out of hell" to get their evil leaping jobs. It's extremely vague on whether Zoey was using hyperbole or they were literally from Hell, but given the presence of other paranormal stuff in the series, the literal meaning is disturbingly plausible.
- Only One Name: We only ever learn her first name.
- Opponent Switch: After Sam convinces Alia to leap with him, Zoey stops being the observer and takes up the mantle of leaper in order to get her revenge.
- Showing Off the New Body: Gender Flipped. After leaping into Clifton Myers and getting settled into the role, Zoey dismisses everyone from the room and takes time to admire Myers' reflection in the mirror.
- The Svengali: Pretty much her relationship to Alia.
- Tomato Surprise: Happens mid-episode. When Zoey is introduced in "Deliver Us From Evil," it looks like Connie LaMotta is talking to a friend or neighbor. When Alia's cover is blown, it's made clear to the audience that Zoey was in fact Alia's hologram the whole time.
- Villainous Friendship:
- This is what she thinks she has with Alia, seeing herself the younger woman's Evil Mentor, and going against Lothos' wishes and insisting on making Alia a leaper, because, as Zoey tells Thames, "Let's just say I owed her." Hence, why she feels so betrayed when Alia defects.
- Naturally, the reality of the situation is that they are anything but real friends. From Alia's perspective, Zoey could be abusive, manipulative, and domineering; and because of how the evil project operates, Alia is stuck with her as an observer until Sam intervenes.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Intentionally invoked when she leaps into Clifton Myers, a respected prison warden. He's already in a position of power and gets on well with the prison guards, making Zoey's task of finding Alia and Sam a whole lot easier. Ironically, Clifton himself is a straight example, having gotten away with the murder an inmate who was pregnant with his child, until Sam sets things straight.
- We Will Meet Again:
- In "Deliver Us From Evil," as Alia is being forcibly leaped out, Zoey vows they will find Sam again one day.
- At the end of "Return of the Evil Leaper," as Alia begins to dual-leap with Sam, Zoey vows that she will find and kill Alia herself.
Lothos is the computer in charge of the evil leaping project. He appears to have some degree of control over Alia's and Zoey's leaps, and sets up Alia's missions in the past.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Lothos is evil for some unknown reason, sending Alia and Zoey on missions to ruin history, and it is mentioned that he has tortured Alia in the past.
- Bad Boss: Lothos tortures Alia for failing to drive the LaMotta family apart and kill Sam; this is largely what motivates Alia to switch allegiances the next time she runs into Sam.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Does this to Alia after failing to defeat Sam the first time, an experience she describes as "worse than death." It eventually leads her to defect.
- Enemy-Detecting Radar: Lothos can detect the presence of other leapers if he's actively looking for them (such as when Zoey does a quick scan after hearing "Arnold" say Al's name), but he cannot pinpoint who they leaped into.
- Evil Counterpart: To Ziggy.
- The Ghost: The most we ever see of him is Zoey's and Thames' handlinks.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Lothos is implied to have authority over even Zoey and Thames.
- Make Wrong What Once Went Right: The entire point of the missions he sets up for his underlings. It can be anything as simple as adultery to truly ghastly like cold-blooded murder. "Deliver Us From Evil" in particular is an attempt to ruin the lives of the LaMottas after Sam set things right for them. This is foiled by Sam's return, and Lothos is not happy about it.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
- Given the amount of technobabble surrounding him, it's very likely that Lothos is nothing more than an evil supercomputer.
- However, if you take Alia's "not God" and Zoey's "clawed our way out of hell" comments at face value and not as hyperbole, then it's just as equally likely that he's some sort of Eldritch Abomination, at best.
- Omniscient Database: Lothos appears to utilize one just like Ziggy does, and Alia even claims that Lothos knows "everything." However, even Lothos can't track Sam's leaps, and Zoey mentions that Alia running into Sam again seems to have completely surprised Lothos.
- Villainous Demotivator: The whole "torture Alia for screwing up" thing prompts Alia to flee Lothos' control and leap with Sam.
- You Have Failed Me: Downplayed in that Lothos doesn't outright kill Alia for her failure to kill Sam (much to Thames' frustration), but it becomes clear after Sam and Alia's dual-leap that he definitely doesn't mind Zoey going in to finish Alia off.
Thames is a secondary observer from the evil project. He becomes Zoey's observer when she leaps into the past to hunt Alia.
- Affably Evil: Thames seems like a pleasant, funny guy who might be a lot of fun to be around, but he openly endorses killing Alia and Sam, and seems delighted by the idea.
- Classy Cane: Carries one in his right hand, and holds his handlink in the other hand.
- Evil Counterpart: Probably meant as one for Gushie, in that he works behind the scenes on the evil project, and can be a backup hologram when needed.
- Evil Is Hammy: He only gets really hammy when he's gushing over how fun it is to be a hologram. When he calms down, he becomes a lot more subtle.
- Incoming Ham: Upon entering the evil project's imaging chamber, he immediately begins hamming it up and expressing delight that no one else can hear him.
- Only One Name: It's unknown if "Thames" is his first name, last name, or nickname.
- Remember the New Guy?: Despite not being mentioned in any prior Evil Leaper episodes, Thames seems to be pretty good friends with Zoey, and he absolutely terrifies Alia when she eventually sees and recognizes him. Justified for the same reason we don't see or hear about Gushie too much: he's just some guy who had been working behind the scenes and isn't plot-crucial until needed.