"Alphas" Pilot (TV Episode 2011) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • Ominous messages steer a man to a building's rooftop, where he executes an improbable shooting in the opener of the series following a team of people with extraordinary abilities who investigate crimes linked to others like them.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Open with a man (Warren Christie) getting a cell phone call while working at a grocery store. There is a strange high pitched sound on the other line. He immediately begins hearing from everyone and everything around him. It is "time to kill". He needs to "pull the trigger." On the roof of a nearby building he finds a high-powered rifle. At exactly 6:22, he fires.

    Don Wilson (Callum Keith Rennie) visits neurologist Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn) with a file. He says people are asking questions.

    A woman gets a ticket. She asks the officer to take off his glasses, then tells him to eat both the ticket and the carbon. We see she is Nina Theroux (Laura Mennell), whose alpha power is Hyper Induction. In other words, she can override someone's willpower by way of suggestion.

    Former FBI agent Bill Harken (Malik Yoba) is on his way out the door for work. He sees two cars have blocked his driveway. He clenches his fists and slides one out of the way. His power is Enhanced Strength, which comes via the fight-or-flight response.

    20-something Rachel Pirzad (Azita Ghanizada) has Synesthesia, which means she is able to enhance her senses.

    Gary Bell (Ryan Cartwright) is a young man with the power of Transduction, meaning he can see all electromagnetic wavelengths.

    Rosen drives Rachel and Gary to a building where Bill and Nina are already waiting. He shows them partial video of a suspect in Wilson's custody seeming to be shot in the forehead while in the interrogation room. No gun is found.

    With help from Nina, the Alphas get into the interrogation room. The gun used was a 30-caliber rifle and Rachel starts to focus on a vent.

    Atop the building from earlier, Rachel tells Rosen a single bullet was fired into the building, deflecting perfectly off the inside of a grate and into the man's head. Bill reaches down and grabs a 30-caliber shell. We see someone is filming them from afar.

    Rosen tells the team the person they are looking for has Hyperkinesis, or flawless aim and perfect timing. This person (who we know is Cameron) is probably an athlete with some military background.

    The team goes to work searching for a suspect.

    Rosen wants more information from Wilson before he continues. Wilson says the group responsible is a collection of Alphas called Red Flag.

    Bill gets some information from a former agent co-worker. He is being watched.

    Rachel finds small amounts of biological residue on the bullet casing. She tells Rosen she's having issues dealing with Bill. Based on what she's found, there are only 40 potential shooters. Gary has found a video online of a baseball pitcher named Hicks who recorded the last out of a perfect game by throwing the ball though the runner's legs.

    They find Hicks at his grocery store. He never fired a shot in combat but had the highest marksman scores in history.

    Hicks gets fired for walking off the job last shift.

    The team realizes he's on his way home, where Rachel is snooping around. Bill calls Rachel to warn her, but since she's focusing on her sense of sight, she can't hear anything. Just as Rachel sees where the rifle had been stored, Hicks arrives home. Bill helps her but Hicks gives them the slip. They catch him. Nina is able to talk him into falling asleep.

    Nina and Bill argue over Hicks. Bill thinks he should be locked up, Nina thinks he may not have known what he did. Rosen shows them a scan of Hicks' brain seeming to indicate something is awry.

    Rosen tells Wilson about Hicks being brainwashed. Wilson thinks this could mean Hicks is a patsy for Red Flag. Wilson thinks he needs to find the "Ghost" before Hicks ends up dead.

    A man in sunglasses enters a building, careful not to leave any evidence. He goes to a room and picks out a new suit. When he washes his hand, we see some of kind of growth or scarring on his right hand. The man who has been spying on the Alphas knocks on the door and gives this guy an update. The spy says his superiors want to speed up the timetable, but the man says he works on his own schedule. At one point he places his hand on the side of the man's face. He tells him in the future he must follow instructions exactly. The spy seems to be in some kind of trance.

    Rosen gives Hicks an injection which should interrupt any manipulation through his brain. Hicks tells him the last thing he remembers is the tone he heard in his phone. He explains about what he heard and saw after the tone. Rosen tells him he killed a man.

    Our spy walks into a store. He hears the person at the counter say "Don't kill yourself" and promptly begins chugging a bottle of bleach. He falls over and begins shaking.

    Rosen tells Hicks the reason he was selected was he is an Alpha. He explains all alpha skills come with a down side. Hicks is stunned. He is able to throw quarters into a soda machine from ten feet away, but Rosen tells him he's "barely scratched the surface."

    Rosen talks to the team about the Ghost. The plan is to use Hicks to flush the guy out.

    While talking to Nina about working as an Alpha, Hicks manages to sneak a handgun into his waist. His phone rings. He hears another tone. Rosen tells Nina to give him a shot. This snaps Hicks out of the trance. Gary is able to triangulate the signal.

    The Alphas arrive at Ghost's hotel, with Hicks handcuffed in the car with Gary and Rachel. Bill heads upstairs. Nina trances the guy at the desk into giving her the room number. The Ghost gets the jump on Bill. Hicks talks Rachel into letting him help. Hicks chases the Ghost, who eventually jumps off the roof. It turns out the guy who jumped wasn't the Ghost at all. Rather the bellhop who Bill is helping up is the Ghost. He places his hand on Bill's neck after being helped up.

    Rosen and Rachel look through the Ghost's notebooks. They find he compulsively planned every aspect of the Hicks shooting.

    Down by the ambulances, Rosen explains to Wilson that Hicks was a big help. Wilson doesn't seem to care. Bill spots the Ghost in the crowd.

    Rosen doesn't understand why the Ghost would have chosen an exceptional person for this crime. In past instances, he picked average people. Rosen tells Nina that Hicks will probably be placed in some kind of custody by Wilson.

    Nina gives Hicks and Gary a ride home. Before getting in the car, Gary spots the Ghost's signal. Hicks goes after the Ghost.

    At this point, Rosen gets a call. The dead body was the bellhop. Rosen realizes the entire situation was a set-up. Red Flag was using Hicks to draw out the Alphas team. At this point. Bill takes a shot at Rosen. The Ghost grabs Rachel. Rosen tries to load up a syringe to give to Bill. The Ghost hides behind Rachel, telling Hicks he can't shoot without his hand to guide him. Nina gets in Bill's head and tries to get him not to shoot Rosen. She leans in to kiss him. This allows Rosen time to give him the shot. While the Ghost continues to talk trash, Hicks ricochets a shot off a sign and the Ghost falls with a bullet wound in the back. A dying Ghost tells Hicks "you're on the wrong side of this."

    Bill's brain is almost clear. He makes a crack to Nina about her kissing him.

    Rosen stands with Hicks watching his son play baseball. Hicks tells Rosen his last stint with the government didn't work out so well. He prefers to be on his own. Since Hicks murdered a federal prisoner, Rosen thinks the best place for him is with the Alphas. "You're back on the mound, Mr. Hicks," Rosen says.

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