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Series / The Philanthropist

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Left to right: Philip Maidstone (Jesse L. Martin), Teddy Rist (James Purefoy), Olivia Maidstone (Neve Campbell).

A tragically short-lived (eight episodes) 2009 NBC series about a billionaire playboy, Teddy Rist, who, after the death of his young son and a life-changing experience in Nigeria, decides to start using his wealth for good and jets around the globe doing good deeds, much to the admiring exasperation of his business partners and friends. Every episode focuses on a different specific area of the world, and is told by Teddy in a flashback. Based on the life of Bobby Sager and filmed primarily in South Africa.


  • Amicably Divorced: Teddy and Julia seem to be this; they divorced out of grief over the death of their son and seem to have other issues, but they're seen being very affectionate in "Kosovo".
  • Beleaguered Assistant: A.J., and more so, Dax, because he's usually the one who has to bail Teddy out of his misadventures.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Teddy is half-American, half-British, which comes up in several episodes.
  • Crimefighting with Cash: Somewhat, but also subverted in that Teddy likes to jet off to foreign countries and get his hands dirty.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Kind of the point, except now he's doing it to help people and the rules are usually negative ones.
  • Shown Their Work: Most of the political problems and current/historical events discussed are pretty close to accurate, including the terminology.

Episodes of this series provide examples of:

  • Badass Bookworm: Teddy just might be this, given the way he quotes "The Double" in "San Diego" and the philosophy of Nund Rishi in "Kashmir".
  • Callback: In the final episode, "Haiti," Teddy mentions that he's been shot at a lot lately, and it quickly flashes back to several incidents in previous episodes.
  • Church Militant: Rayburn, in "Kashmir," as well as the would-be suicide bomber.
  • Driven to Suicide: Perovich in "Kosovo," except not, because Rayburn probably killed him.
  • A Death in the Limelight: Rhada in "Kashmir," and Isabelle in "Paris," although to a lesser extent (that was more of a Red Herring).
  • Easy Impersonation: When Pvt. Dean Fitzsimmons steal Teddy's credit card and runs around pretending to be him, no one seems to notice, even though they don't look much alike and Teddy's quite famous. However, as he's spending lots of money and also doing lots of charity, no one really bothers to check.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Collin argues this to Teddy after he shoots Bayonne instead of arresting him, and Teddy more or less agrees.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Said a few times, notably by Jean, Philip's brother in "Haiti" after he destroys the tanker carrying thousands of pounds of rice to feeding the starving country.
  • Money to Throw Away: Dean Fitzsimmons has this in "San Diego"—mostly because he stole Teddy's credit card—but he ends up using it to do lots of charity.
  • Necessarily Evil: Bankole in "Nigeria (Part II)"—he can be "severe," but it's all in the name of protecting and repairing his country.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Happens to Teddy a few times, and to Bankole in "Nigeria (Part II)", and to Philip in the same episode when he tries to help his friend James.
  • One-Woman Wail: In "Kosovo," when a bomb goes off, killing several people and injuring Philip.
  • Patriotic Fervor: the Jerkass DJ in "Kashmir" has this, demanding why Teddy helps other countries and not America.
  • Scenery Porn: In a few episodes, especially "Paris," of course.
  • Semper Fi: Dax is a former Marine, and in "San Diego," when Teddy wonders if he should save a Marine from having to go to Afghanistan, Dax angrily tells him that he can't deny the guy the honor of serving his country.
  • We Need a Distraction: In "Paris," Teddy says he'll cause "a diversion" while Dax escapes with a young kidnapped girl—he ends up burning the place to the ground.