|Character played by: Lindsay Wagner|
|Job/Career or Title|| Formerly; Professional tennis player |
therapist and counselor working with Rudy Wells and in private practice
|Spouse(s) (if any:)|
|SMDM|| "The Bionic Woman"|
"The Bionic Woman (Part II)"
"The Return of the Bionic Woman"
"The Return of the Bionic Woman (Part II)"
"Welcome Home, Jaime"
"The Secret of Bigfoot"
"Love Song for Tanya"
"The Return of Bigfoot"
"Kill Oscar (Part II)"
Jaime Sommers is a former professional tennis player who, after a skydiving accident, became the third known human to undergo bionic surgery (after Steve Austin and Barney Hiller) and the first known female to do so. Afterwards, she became an agent for the OSI.
After a skydiving accident left her broken and near death, a top secret OSI-funded surgery turned the tennis pro into the world's first bionic woman. The procedure was apparently successful initially, and she commenced training to utilize her bionic abilities. However, subsequent bionic rejection led to the formation of a blood clot at the base of her brain, the attempted removal of such leaving her medically-defined dead on the operating table. Miraculous cryogenic procecures and further surgery later restored her to life, but left her without most of her long-term memories. Subsequent treatments gradually lessened her memory loss, while she struggled to map out a new life for herself.
Thinking her bionics would have given her an unfair advantage on the tennis court, Jaime left the sport following her surgeries. She returned to her home town of Ojai, California, and used her college degree in education to become a school teacher at a local military base. But she also insisted upon repaying her debt to the government that saved her life by occasionally going on secret missions that required her unique assets, though her relationship with the OSI was a strained one, particularly in later years.
Born on June 22, 1949, Jaime was raised in Ojai, California by her parents James and Ann Sommers. She had a very active childhood, and often engaged in mischievous behavior. As a little girl, Jaime rode horses, climbed and fell out of trees, and was even caught by her mother hanging from the rafters of the barn at the "old Hanson place." Jaime's mother often encouraged her development, whether through digging up the flowers around her house or hitting tennis balls against the garage door. Jaime had a pet--a dog named Puzzles. As an adult, she recalled when she was Puzzles's "favorite toy." In elementary school, Jaime met a young boy named Steve Austin. On his first day in the third grade, she dared him to eat one of everything in the cafeteria. ("Welcome Home, Jaime") Even though she walked Steve home after he got sick, he still took revenge on her by putting a lizard down her back as she was swinging in the park. Jaime's fourth grade teacher was a very proper Mrs. Langford.
(Lindsay Wagner is believed to have contributed the photographs in this gallery.)
She attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where she majored in education with plans to become a teacher. After college, however, she became a top-ranked tennis professional and competed at Wimbledon and the US Open against the likes of Chris Evert and Billie Jean King. This career was cut short by a parachuting accident with Steve that nearly killed her.
Bionic surgery and complications
From the site of her accident, she was rushed into an bionic replacement operation, reluctantly authorized by Oscar Goldman at Steve Austin's request. The surgery replaced her right arm and both legs, all so severely crushed as to require amputation, with bionics equivalent to that of Austin's, providing her with superhuman strength, speed, and endurance. Injury to her right ear which left her with no hearing in it resulted in replacement by a bionic ear that allowed Sommers to hear sounds from great distances, or through solid surfaces like the tumblers of a safe. She is the world's fourth, and the world's third human, bionic replacement recipient.
The exact cost of Jaime's operation has never been confirmed; the opening credits only list "Classified." In "Welcome Home, Jaime," Goldman indicated that the cost of her surgery was less than Austin's because her prostheses were smaller. That did not stop her from once jokingly referring to herself as a "aix million dollar can opener."
The surgery was initially successful and, after a period of training and recovery overseen by both Austin and Dr. Rudy Wells (whereas Austin was able to move his right arm and ball his fist immediately upon waking up, Sommers required more time before maintaining this level of control, which was illustrated when she crushed a tennis ball with her hand and took her first tentative steps), Goldman gave Jaime her first assignment as an OSI agent, against Austin's objections. But Sommers soon began to develop symptoms of bionic rejection, which resulted in erratic behavior and loss of control of her bionics. Ultimately, she was diagnosed with a blood clot at the base of the brain. The clot proved initially inoperable, and she died on the operating table. ("The Bionic Woman (Part II)") Thanks to a revolutionary cryogenic procedure pioneered and administered for the first time by Dr. Michael Marchetti; however, she was held in temporary stasis while surgeons successfully removed the clot.
Austin was not made aware of this development and proceeded to mourn Jaime until he discovered the truth when he himself was hospitalized at the bionics facility. ("The Return of the Bionic Woman") Though the operation restored her life, injuries to the temporal lobes of her brain had been sustained, robbing her of most of her long-range memory. Other brain regions, particularly the Broca's area which controls verbal speech, were spared from any damage.
Initial visits to Ojai, and time spent with Steve Austin, brought back flashes of memory. These brief flashbacks also manifested the dangerous side effect of uncontrollable headaches. The OSI deemed it too dangerous for her to continue association with her past life, and so she was initially assigned to Rudy Wells's Colorado Springs facility. ("The Return Of The Bionic Woman, Part II") This period of rehabilitation restored her health to the point that she became a part-time OSI field operative, with a Level 6 security clearance.
Return to Ojai
After a time, she returned to Ojai. Her memory was still sketchy, but thinking about her past no longer caused her additional headaches. She took up residence on land owned by Helen and Jim Elgin, and got a job teaching 7th-9th graders at the Ventura Air Force Base School. ("Welcome Home, Jaime (Part II)"). While it was certainly work for which she was qualified, it also provided a convenient location from which she could be easily sent on missions for the OSI. Jaime's telephone number (coach house residence) was 311-555-2368.
Despite her teaching commitments, Jaime would frequently travel back and forth from Ojai to Washington, and not always for mission reasons, such as when she was summoned to DC for some fine-tuning of her bionic ear. ("Kill Oscar")
During this period, Jaime learned that she had once been engaged to Steve. Unfortunately, while her memories of Steve were no longer associated with the pain of her bionic rejection, she indicated to him that she could no longer remember what it was like to be in love with him. ("Welcome Home Jaime") That did not stop the couple from engaging in a romantic relationship for a time ("The Deadly Missiles"), and when Oscar mentioned Steve, she often inquired if Steve had asked about her (as in "Bionic Beauty" and other episodes). The two also often tried to spend recreational time together when possible. ("Kill Oscar," Part 1)
One of the more unusual moments of Jaime's early OSI career was one mission that resulted in her being crowned Miss United States during a nationally televised pageant. (The pageant, however, was rigged and she later ceded her crown to someone else.) ("Bionic Beauty") What is not known is how Sommers, or the OSI, handled the fact that Sommers was internationally known as a tennis player (a fact not referenced during the pageant) and had actually been reported in the media as having died several years earlier. (Indeed, this is never addressed, despite Jaime also becoming a schoolteacher and openly moving around Ojai.)
Although Jaime no longer experienced the pain or related complications of bionic rejection, being bionic was not always clear sailing for her, as she occasionally misjudged her own strength. On one occasion, that caused her to nearly lose her students' softball; ("A Thing of the Past") during a mission, she accidentally broke both a window and a table. ("Bionic Beauty") On occasions, she has also over-estimated her abilities, such as in a disastrous leap from a high building that caused major damage to her legs. ("Kill Oscar")
At one point, Sommers took a leave of absence from her school-teaching work to undertake an undercover mission for Oscar Goldman that saw her enroll in a police academy for training; the length of time this lasted was unspecified, but it covered at least several months. As she completed the course during the mission, this meant that, among her other skills, Jaime was a trained police officer, though it is unknown if she ever needed to use those skills in later missions. ("Jaime's Shield")
At some point, early in her OSI career, she suffered an injury that left a permanent scar on her upper lip; this was visible from "Bionic Beauty" onwards. Exactly how she sustained the injury which left her with the scar, whether on a mission or through a mishap in her private life, was never specified or revealed.
Later career and marriage
After a few years of active duty with the OSI, Sommers was terrorized by the notion that she would never have a truly free life. Unfortunately for her plans to gain one, when she submitted her resignation to Goldman, other senior government administrators objected and attempted to have her confined. Thus, she used her bionics to hide from the government, running away from her Ojai ranch for parts unknown. Goldman, for his part, understood Sommers's stance and encouraged her to use all the skills he had taught her to run away. After a brief period in hiding, Sommers, Goldman, and the administrators who had objected to her attempted resignation reached an agreement that would allow more free time. (On the Run)
Sometime after this split with the OSI, she resumed her education, completing her PhD in psychology, and as such, she came to be referred to as Doctor Sommers by those who did not know her personally. Approximately twelve years afterwards, she had come to a rapprochement with the government. She resumed working with the OSI, this time mainly through the offices of Rudy Wells, becoming a specialist in the psychological complications of bionic replacement. Apart from her work with Dr. Wells's office, now-Dr. Sommers also worked as a therapist and counselor at a California clinic. During this period, though Oscar Goldman rarely called upon her to return to active espionage duties, she did sometimes indulge her former direct superior.
Dr. Sommers also became reacquainted with Steve Austin during this period, and--following an accident which fully restored her memories--remembered the love they had once shared. (Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, Bionic Showdown) During this period, Dr. Sommers was called upon to help train Michael Austin and Kate Mason, both of whom had themselves newly become cyborgs, in a similar fashion to how Austin had helped train Sommers after her original surgery. But she made the mistake, both times, of challenging them to races, which the more technologically advanced cyborgs handily won. (This caused Dr. Sommers to complain about that situation after Kate outpaced her.) At the end of Bionic Showdown Sommers and Austin were finally engaged, but by the time of Bionic Ever After?, set several years later, they were still arranging for their wedding. This is more then likely due to their busy lives and commitments to the OSI.
In the days just prior to their wedding, both Dr. Sommers and Austin both became victims of a computer virus that incapacitated their bionics. It was discovered that the daughter of an embittered former colleague of Rudy Wells had planted the virus. Upon meeting the widow of Wells's former colleague, instead of showing bitterness towards her, Jaime showed compassion and offered her services as a counselor. Wells theorized that the virus had been planted in stages and over a period of time, and he expressed concern that this time, he would not be able to save Dr. Sommers's life because he had never seen anything like it. Oscar Goldman went along as Dr. Sommers was wheeled into surgery and waived goodbye to her. Once Dr. Sommers had been sedated, Wells took a straightforward approach, by locating and removing the tainted components, and upgrading many of Dr. Sommers's bionic systems to remove the virus. The results were increased strength and, for reasons not explained on screen, a bionic eye with a night-vision feature. (Bionic Ever After?) It is worth noting that Dr. Sommers's bionic eye was, most likely, an implant like the ones given to Kate Mason. This is most likely due to the fact that the upgrades took place some twenty years after her first implants were given to her and when the upgrades took place, more modern technologies were used. By extension, the short recovery period and relative ease with which she used the new devices with no training or readjustment period seems to support that it was different technology. As such it was probably stitched into her body somehow, as was done with Kate Mason, as there was no clear evidence of any kind of incision anywhere on her body.
After a brief recovery, Dr. Sommers insisted on joining Austin on an assignment in the Bahamas, wherein she confronted the daughter of the scientist who had created the virus; this individual was also working with terrorists who had stolen nuclear weapons. Dr. Sommers, in turn, rescued Austin, and the hostages, with her own upgraded bionics and updated Austin about the reason his own bionics were failing. The two teamed up to save the hostages and stop the terrorists, with Austin going off in pursuit of the terrorists while Dr. Sommers got the hostages to safety. Dr. Sommers was quick to catch up to Austin and help him stop the leader of the rogue group.
After this, the two returned home and proceeded with their wedding, presumably after Austin had been treated for the virus. Wells gave Dr. Sommers away while Goldman served as Austin's best man.
PrimarySommers's primary code name was Dopey; she used this in "Black Magic," "Biofeedback," "Jaime's Shield (Part II)," and others. However, she would also employ other dwarfs's names from Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as befitted a particular mood. (Perhaps coincidentally, "Return of the Bionic Woman, Part 1" revealed "Code Snow White" as a signal used to notify Dr. Wells of a bionics-related emergency, while "The Secret of Bigfoot" identified it as a high-level OSI emergency code.)
- Sommers used the code name Bashful in "Sister Jaime," perhaps in deference to the fact that she was reluctant to tell Goldman that she had lost $750,000 in diamonds--or simply that she was posing as a nun.
- Frumpy in "Jaime and the King." There, she was referring to the fact that she was, compared to other Monte Carlo beachgoers, sternly dressed.
- Speedy in "Motorcycle Boogie." This is most likely a reference to the chase in which she had just engaged in for a computer tape.
Steve Austin's step-father, Jim Elgin, and mother, Helen Elgin, became Jaime Sommers's legal guardians after her parents's deaths. Ultimately, after they were presumably both dead, they posthumously became her parents-in-law. Though this later relationship was not quite portrayed on screen, Jaime somewhat prematurely referred to Jim as "Dad" after her initial engagement was announced in "The Bionic Woman (Part II)."
Although Jim's status as guardian had not been explicitly established by the time of this episode, Jim's unusual double-role was highlighted with humor. After Jaime tapped him as the one who would give her away, he asked his wife if it was legal for the step-father of the husband to give away the bride. Helen responded that it was, "as long as the step-father of the husband isn't the father of the bride."
Friends and Colleagues
(For Steve Austin see "Spouse" above)
Although there is little doubt that Steve Austin was and remained the love of Jaime's life, this did not stop her from occasionally romancing other individuals.
- Roger Grette - Roger and Jaime were romantically involved immediately prior to Jaime's pro tennis career. Jaime broke off the relationship in favor of her career, without a word. Years later, while in hiding with Max in "The Bionic Dog (Part II)," Jaime seeks Roger out. While they do not rekindle their relationship, Roger clearly wants to, and suggests that he take Max, with the ulterior motive of seeing Jaime again. It is unclear if this ever happened.
- David Welsh - David met Jaime in Belgium sometime prior to "The Bionic Woman (episode)." They began seeing one another, and had a date the night after Jaime encountered Steve Austin in Ojai. At that date, Jaime broke off with David in favor of Steve.
- Michael Marchetti - Responsible for having saved Jaime's life after her being declared dead from Bionic rejection, Michael proved unable to resist Jaime's infatuation with her doctor. He admits to Steve Austin that he returns her affection and they will have to allow Jaime herself to decide. ("The Return of the Bionic Woman") Michael and Jaime leave for Colorado Springs together, with a complicated relationship both romantic and professional. When they are seen together in "The Vega Influence," the relationship seems to have cooled to simple friendship.
- Tim Sanders - Jaime and Tim flirt and bond during a Middle Eastern road rally, though their relationship ends before it has a chance to develop beyond a romantic kiss. ("Winning Is Everything")
- William "Billy" Cole - Billy, like Roger, has an affinity for Max, and as an OSI scientist with clearance, he has knowledge of bionics, despite being ignorant at first of Jaime's status in the program. As the second of Rudy's colleagues to have a romantic connection with Jaime, Billy seemed likely to continue on the show, although he did not. The extent of the relationship is unclear, but they do end "Rodeo" with an enthusiastic kiss.
- Chris Williams - Chris Williams met Jaime Sommers sometime prior to the events of "The Pyramid," and they became romantically involved. The only one of Jaime's men besides Michael and Steve to recur, Chris would appear in several episodes, taking a joint lead in "The Antidote" with Callahan and Max (Jaime is laid up in the hospital for the duration), and filling the vacuum left by Steve's absence. In the final episode of The Bionic Woman, "On the Run," Jaime and Chris would commit to one another. Sometime thereafter, Chris would be killed on a mission, which Jaime would blame partially on Steve Austin. ("Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman")
- "Casey" - While the reporter from "The Martians Are Coming, the Martians Are Coming" does not make the best of the opportunity, Jaime does let him take her to dinner, and it is clearly a date.
- Jed Kimball - Sometime prior to the events of "Deadly Music," Jaime met Jed at a Washington party and they hit it off. They drove to Annapolis and had dinner, but did not continue seeing each other. Later, they met while working on the OSI's submarine detection system, and planned another date.
- Tommy Littlehorse - Sometime prior to the events of "Out of Body," Jaime meets Tommy Littlehorse and they fall in love. They exchange gifts symbolizing the bonding of their souls. When Tommy survives a near-death experience, it appears their relationship will continue. It is never established what happens to Tommy and his bond with Jaime.
- Sam Sloan - The Chief of Protocol for the City of New York is ill-mannered. Nevertheless, Jaime is charmed by Sam and gets unusually close to him. While she breaks it off, she lets him down easy, making it more about the geography than his unreconstructed chauvinism. While the relationship was brief, for much of "Long Live the King," subtle cues indicate they are an "item," and their final embrace is passionate.
Jaime’s legs actually seem to be more advanced then Steve’s are. She is capable of running at over 62 mph in "Doomsday Is Tomorrow" and outpacing a race car going 100 mph in "Winning is Everything." Her legs also allow her to jump over 40 feet high and 40 feet in length. They also have superhuman strength, allowing her to kick down doors, enemies, trees, and break through concrete. As shown in “Deadly Music,” her legs also allow her to swim at superhuman speed.
Her arm provides her with superhuman strength. She can lift cars, overpower enemies, crush guns, break chains, push over trees, and toss objects and people great distances. Her arm is also highly durable, allowing her to use it as a shield, such as from falling debris. She is also capable of moving it at superhuman speeds similar to her legs, such as taking the lug nuts off a tire in seconds.
With her ear, Jamie can hear conversations and sounds, such as a car engine, clearly from miles away, and she can also hear sounds and frequencies too low for human ears. She has on many occasions, used her ear to open safes by listening to the tumblers. She also has used it to detect radio bugs and sensors, by hearing the beeping and buzzing. It also helps her to locate and track objects and people, by listening to them and following, and helping her detect danger such as enemies trying to sneak up on her.
- Jaime's phone number at the coach house is (311) 555-2368. ("Jaime's Mother")
- Jaime hates snakes. ("Angel of Mercy," "Fly Jaime," "Doomsday Is Tomorrow (Part II)," "Once a Thief," "African Connection")
- Besides her tennis prowess, Jaime Sommers is also a talented singer, and during the course of one mission, she was videotaped singing the song "Feelings," which she dedicated to Steve Austin, for national broadcast in "Bionic Beauty," and she also sang "Good To Be Alive in the Country" during another mission. ("Road to Nashville") (Lindsay Wagner herself is likewise a talented singer.)
- There have been occasional hints suggesting that Jaime was actually more powerful than Steve (possibly due to having more modern bionics, or being less bulky than the muscular astronaut). During one mission, for example, she successfully outran a race car going 100 MPH. ("Winning Is Everything") Only in the reunion movie Bionic Ever After? is this actually made clear on screen, although only in the context of Jaime having had her bionics recently augmented while Steve's were incapacitated by a virus.
- The scar referenced above that Jaime obtains early in her OSI career is due to actress Lindsay Wagner's real-life injuries in a car crash. No explanation for the scar was ever given on screen.
- The novel Extracurricular Activities, which adapts two episodes, augments Jaime's bionics by indicating that Jaime's jaw, skull, and ribcage were replaced with reinforced prosthetics, and a radio transmitter was installed inside a rib. This is due to the book incorporating descriptions of Steve Austin's bionics as described by Martin Caidin and Mike Jahn in their novels. On screen there is no indication of Jaime having these additional parts.
- Jaime Sommers (2007)
- Jaime was introduced in Issue #1 of the 2011-present comic book series The Bionic Man and returned to the series later in its run. She was also featured in her own spin-off title The Bionic Woman in 2012. Both series as of 2014 have been discontinued and instead a version of Jaime based upon the original TV portrayal debuted in Issue 3 of The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six.
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