Alias/Truth Be Told

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Truth Be Told
Alias 101.jpg
Season 1, Episode 1
Airdate September 30, 2001
Production Number 535J
Writer(s) J.J. Abrams
Director(s) J.J. Abrams
← 1x01
Truth Be Told
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So It Begins
AliasSeason One

Truth Be Told is the first episode of the first season of Alias, and the first episode overall. We are introduced to Sydney Bristow, a graduate student who also works for a covert branch of the CIA. She must juggle a marriage proposal and a dangerous operation in Taiwan.

Guest Stars: Edward Atterton (Danny Hecht), Jay Gerber (Professor Mizzy), Angus Scrimm (Agent McCullough), William Wellman, Jr. (Priest), Ric Young (Suit and Glasses)


Plot Overview

Told in fractured flashback and forward format, the episode covers Sydney being tortured, the operation that preceded it, her life as she is recruited, and the crisis that a marriage proposal drives.

The Alias story begins with Sydney Bristow as a graduate student who is approached by her boyfriend, Danny, with a proposal for marriage. She happily accepts and confides in her friend, Francie, who was dubious about how her fiancé had contacted her father about it. Her father is shown to very bruskly refuse to give his consent and illustrates the pained relationship he shares with his daughter.

It is then revealed that Sydney works for an covert branch of the CIA called SD6. Hiding the news of her wedding plans, Sydney is called in for an op to investigate the death of a 'quasi alchemist' named Mueller and mole Antiono Quintero who is missing in Taipei, Taiwan.

Before leaving on the mission, Danny's comments about marriage and children prompt Sydney to confess her undercover status to him. She reflects on how she was recruited during her Freshman year because she 'fit a profile' and appeared to have natural talent. Unable to deal with it without time to think, he leaves her to go on her trip to 'San Diego'.

In Taiwan, Sydney leaves the gala's main floor while Dixon provides a fake medical emergency as a distraction and activates a video scrambler. Sydney maps out the lower area lab, but is distracted by a fully assembled version of the device Mueller was working on. She is caught just as she returns upstairs, but is able to bluff past an imposing asian man in glasses.

While she is gone on the op, he leaves a drunken rambling message on her answering machine that openly reveals he now knows she is a spy. This is intercepted by SD6, who have Danny killed and made to appear as an accident. Treating it as a leak and per procedure, Sydney's boss Sloane, has Danny killed and covered as a robbery. Sydney confronts Sloane, who openly discusses the reasoning behind it. Also, per procedure, Sydney must undergo verbal interrogation.

Sydney, knowing the truth of why and by whom Danny was killed, is not up to return to the agency and after three months Sloane sends agents to kill her in her parking garage. She is able to disarm and defeat one of her assassins and her father arrives and kills the other. Her father reveals that he is also a member of SD6 and that SD6 is not a part of the CIA but rather a band of mercenary freelance agents called the Alliance of Twelve, formed from various spy agencies. He takes her to a drop off point urging her to accept safe passage from him to Switzerland. She refuses and leaves on her own.

Taking the identity of Will's red haired sister, Sydney revisits Taiwan and is captured. She is then tortured by the same man in glasses that she had conned earlier. Using drugs and removing one of Sydney's back teeth, he eventually falls for a trick and Sydney overpowers him and his guards. Quickly returning to the R&D facility, she steals the Mueller device and returns it to SD6 and is unconditionally taken back.

Asking for a week off to study for midterms, she heads directly to CIA headquarters and provides a detailed written statement to CIA Agent Vaughn. After reviewing her statement, he offers her a job as a double agent, spying on SD6 for the CIA. He also leaks that there is already a double agent in SD6, and her father confirms that he is the other double agent.


  • Marshall provides a lighter that provides a four minute scrambling of video signals in a 420 yard radius. He also supplies a camera and GPS linked room mapping laser masquerading as lipstick. She also has lockpicking gear in a spike heel.
  • Sydney and Dixon are going under the cover of Modiera Plastics, looking to open a new manufacturing plant who attend a expo in an annex to the building being used as an FTL R&D plant.
  • While under threat of torture, Sydney reveals to her torturer that she works for EMETIB (Bite Me, backwards).
  • Sydney defeats four guys in hand to hand combat, explodes two, and evades fire from two men armed with automatic rifles. Her father kills one man and SD6 kills one husband.

Arc Advancement





The Show

Behind the Scenes

Allusions and References

  • The Asian torturer uses techniques reminiscent of the torturer in the movie Marathon Man (1976).

Memorable Moments


  • Jack: Danny, let me ask you a question.
    Danny: Sure.
    Jack: How well do you know my daughter?
    Danny: Um, we've been dating for two years.
    Jack: Because if you feel the need to ask me about the scenario, I have a sense you don't know Sydney at all.
    Danny: Sir, I love your daughter and I want to marry her. That's why I'm calling.
    Jack: First of all, Danny, the truth is this is just a courtesy call. Like when you say to your neighbor, 'We're having a loud party on Saturday night, if that's all right with you'. What you really mean is, 'We're having a loud party on Saturday night'.
    Danny: Mr. Bristow...
    Jack: Sydney doesn't give a damn what my opinion is. What interests me is that you do.
    Danny: It's just a custom to call the father. That's all this is.
    Jack: Well then, I'll tell you what. I may become your father in law, that's just fine. But I will not be used as part of a charming little anecdote you tell your friends at cocktail parties so they can see what a quaint and old-fashioned guy Danny really is. Are we clear?
    Danny: Yes sir.
    Jack: Good. Then welcome to the family.
  • Sydney: Stop saying we. Stop talking about the agency. You killed the man I love.
    Sloane: No, Agent Bristow. You did.


  • Overall Grade: no reviews yet
  • Review Breakdown: A+: 0 A: 1 A-: 0 B+: 0 B: 0 B-: 0 C+: 0 C: 0 C-: 0 D: 0 F: 0
  • A very energetic and well paced introduction to the long running series. With creatively placed flash backs and flash forwards, you get a good perspective all of the key players of the series while also presenting the compelling tragedy of the death of her fiancee. Good production values are evident in the action sequences and the youthful age skew is balanced by the older people working in SD6. One of the more successful and entertaining pilots that I can recall. A, --Ape Agitator 13:44, 30 Oct 2005 (EST)