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Series / The Whispers

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The Whispers is a series on ABC that focuses on an entity named "Drill", who is pretending to be an Imaginary Friend to kids in Washington, D.C., manipulating them into murder and other dangerous acts, all in the guise of a "game", while agents of the FBI and DoD try to figure out what's really going on.

Based on the short story "Zero Hour" by Ray Bradbury, in which Drill is an extraterrestrial manipulating Earth's children in preparation for an invasion of Earth.

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It was canceled on October 19, 2015, ending the series with a cliffhanger.


This series provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: Minx in the series is based on Mink from "Zero Hour".
  • Adult Fear: Children being tempted by adult-like people who masquerade as the most apparently harmless thing in the world (childhood imaginary friends), because people like "Drill" are literally invisible.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Jessup Rollins is a straight-laced and methodical FBI agent who strictly follows orders to a tee and is practically Married to the Job, as he tells Claire that he's divorced. He draws the line at kidnapping his partner's son as a bargaining chip against her and is willing to help the Bennigans because he feels that they're onto something more than his superiors.
  • The Chessmaster: "Drill" manipulates children and Sean Bennigan, and later Lena to get his goals met.
  • Cowboy Cop: Agent Bennigan annoys her assigned partner Agent Rollins by bending rules of procedure. This ultimately gets her booted off the case when her son Henry gets involved. She does ask Rollins to keep her in the loop.
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    • This bites her in the ass when the Secretary of Defense orders Agent Rollins to kidnap her son and use him as leverage against the Bennigans to get them to cooperate with him. Rollins does so...but returns Henry back to his parents instead.
  • Creepy Child: Basically the premise of the series, self explanatory. The show seems to particular focus on Minx. Minx is a Red Herring. Cassandra is Drill's target.
  • Cut Short: The series was canceled after its first season, so the cliffhanger remains a Downer Ending.
  • Downer Ending: Cassandra is vaporized by Drill. Minx and all the children except for Henry, are abducted. Claire manages to push him out of the way before the aliens can take him, and she ends up being abducted as well.
  • The Dragon: Drill's original contacts from the early 1980s become this in the season one finale.
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  • Energy Being: What Drill is revealed to be.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Drill and the aliens were not invading, they were kidnapping the brainwashed children.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: The amnesiac bearded man is Agent Claire Bennigan's presumed missing husband, Sean.
  • Grand Theft Me: Back in the 1980s, Drill possessed the body of Elliot Harcourt, forcing his brother Thomas to kill him. In the present day, Drill possesses Cassandra, the daughter of the President.
    • The kids Drill had previously contacted seem to get possessed when Drill destroys Cassandra's body. His previous contacts from the 1980s, now adults, appear to be possessed as well.
  • Human Notepad: Sean Bennigan has tattoos all over his body and he has no idea where they come from, but they apparently tell him how to keep track of the children and "Drill"'s plans.
  • Identity Amnesia: A bearded man is admitted to a hospital in the pilot. He does not seem to remember where he came from, has tattoos all over him and the ability to occasionally speak languages other than English. It turns out he's Agent Bennigan's husband, believed to be dead in a plane crash. He does eventually regain his memories, including his wife's affair, given the incredibly angry Death Glare he gives Wes. He does eventually forgive her for the affair because it's just small beans compared to what they're going through.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Haley asks the president to ignore Wes and kill Drill at the expense of killing a child. The President ignores Haley and saves the child at the expense of letting Drill free. Drill immediately kills Wes' wife and causes many children to be sick. Oh and he is trying to destroy the planet.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Subverted. After the agents get the clue that something or someone called "Orion" is important to Drill's plans, but before they can learn what it is, a flyer for an "Orion Golf Tournament" can be seen pinned to the wall in a scene set at the FBI offices, but it turns out to be a Red Herring and is never even commented on in-universe.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Department of Defense gives off this impression, especially since the Secretary of Defense refuses to heed Sean's warnings to destroy Drill.
  • Oh, Crap!: Drill was not destroyed by the EMP in "Whatever It Takes".
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: The opening theme song.
  • Pacifism Backfire: They refuse to kill Drill because it will also kill a child. Drill ends up killing a woman, possesses and kills the president's daughter, makes a horde of zombie adults ready to do his bidding, and kidnaps thousands of children.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Minx, a child, is able to access classified defense files by cracking the incredibly easy password of her father. Also, another child is able to break into a safe because his dad keeps three jerseys on the wall which have the safe numbers printed on them.
  • R-Rated Opening: In the first episode, Harper tries to murder her mother before the opening credits.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: "Drill" seems to have very advanced capabilities, as Bennigan's deaf son has had his hearing restored as part of Drill's manipulations.
  • We Are Everywhere: "Drill" can seemingly move about unhindered to almost any place, and can even interfere with electricity.
  • Wham Episode: "Game Over" ends with the children successfully being stolen away except for Henry, whose place is accidentally taken by Claire as she pushes him out of the beam that would have taken him up to a spaceship.
  • Wham Line:
    • "Traveller in the Dark" has two in rapid succession: "It's Cassandra, she's Drill" and "He's in the White House."
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Claire figures out that Drill has possessed Cassandra and intends to use the President's live broadcast to signal his home planet; The Secret Service prevents her from stopping it.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Two marriages were strained by this, with aftereffects that continue into the time period of the series. "Drill" uses this to manipulate Minx and keep her at odds with her parents and Agent Bennigan, but the tactic ultimately fails, albeit not in time to prevent an attack on a nuclear power plant. Both cheating parties ultimately decide to stay in their marriages and work things out.
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