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Series / Hostages

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A series starring Dylan McDermott as Duncan Carlisle, a Face Heel Turned FBI negotiator who takes the family of surgeon Ellen Sanders (Toni Collette) hostage in order to force her to "accidentally" kill the President. Based on an Israeli series of the same name. It was cancelled after one season.


  • Anyone Can Die
  • Awkward Kiss: Duncan and Ellen relieve days of sexual tension with a passionate kiss and it's very creepy for both of them right afterward.
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  • Battle Couple: Sandrine and Kramer are romantically involved and enjoy protecting each other from danger, though things get more complicated than that.
  • Big Bad: It's not clear how high up the assassination conspiracy goes at first, but the mastermind ends up being the merciless Colonel Thomas Blair of the NSA.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Nearly every character lies at some point, and most injure/kill/wrongly imprison someone. Sometimes it's for survival or to save a loved one, and sometimes it's for money or political power. The higher-ups who have control over Duncan tend to fall into the latter category.
  • Blatant Lies: The Sanders have to lie all the time to keep their hostage status a secret. Ellen becomes fantastic at deceiving people, but never does so out of malice.
  • Child by Rape: Nina Carlisle, whose mother was raped by current president Kincaid. Nina's existence is unknown to him, since her loved ones shielded her from the awful truth, and the danger it might bring.
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  • Greed: Duncan's comrade Archer looks forward to livin' it up, boats and all, with the cash from the bounty on the president. It ends up being his Fatal Flaw. Duncan finds a more-or-less happy ending for his family, his comrades, and the Sanderses, all without killing the president. But Archer ends up attacking Duncan for this, and gets killed as a consequence.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: Duncan is brought onto the task force investigating threats related to the President's surgery.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Duncan, Sandrine, Kramer, and Archer are all shades of this.
  • Honor Before Reason: Ellen wants a solution for Duncan without turning into a Deadly Doctor, however convoluted, and Brian (encouraging his kids to do the same) continually defies the hostage takers' orders, to preserve integrity and decency.
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  • Ill Girl: Duncan's sweet wife Nina, who has Leukemia. Getting access to a possible cure is the only reason Duncan's doing this absurd hostage thing at all.
  • Master Poisoner: Vanessa, who offs Quentin by poisoning his drink and never suffers any suspicion, at least not yet.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Ellen's ex-drug-addict, downtrodden, impulsive sister Lauren visits the Sanders home her after being let out of her ward. She really has gotten much better and seems to be a capable member of society. Sadly for her, Lauren figures out the whole hostage thing is going on, and Duncan fights back by making her look terribly paranoid in front of her caretakers, sending her back to the loony bin.
  • The Mole: Besides Duncan, there's White House Chief of Staff Quentin Creasy and Secret Service agent Logan.
  • President Evil: Zigzagged. At first he's a "bad man". Then he's trying to expose the government's homeland spying programs. Then he's a rapist and an adulterer. And yet, he's surrounded by sneaky people trying to kill him, completely oblivious. Then it turns out he had his brother killed just so he might be president.
  • Revenge: Vanessa wants to take down pres. Paul Kincaid for apparently killing her brother.
  • Sinister Surveillance: The Sanderses have to live with a sickening amount of surveillance from their hostage takers, from cameras in the kitchen to having digital chips cut into your body. Also, Blair uses his National Security Administration privileges for his own nefarious goals. "Nothing's off the grid" for him.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Ellen's daughter Morgan, learning of it just before everything else goes crazy as well.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Vanessa and Blair have been villainously intimate with each other for a while. Things fall apart between them though, leading to a late-game Enemy Mine alliance between her and Duncan's team.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Duncan and his team are very suspect of this, even as they are given extra chances to kill the president.

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