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|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' "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.
She attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology where she majored in education with plans to become a teacher. After college, 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 replaces her right arm and both legs with bionics equivalent to that of Austin's, providing her with superhuman strength, speed, and endurance. Damage to her right ear results in replacement by a bionic ear that allows Sommers to hear sounds from great distances, or through solid surfaces (such as the tumblers of a safe). She is the world's fourth bionic replacement recipient.
The exact cost of Jaime's operation has never been confirmed; the opening credits only list "Classified". In "Welcome Home, Jaime", Oscar indicated that she cost less than Austin because her parts were smaller. That didn't stop her from once joking referring to herself as a Six 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 cyrogenic 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 was hospitalized at the bionics facility (The Return of the Bionic Woman).
Though the operation restored her life, damages to the temporal lobes of her brain had been sustained, robbing her of most of her long term 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' 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 further headache. 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 no longer were 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 didn't 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 elese) ("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.
Although Jaime no longer experienced the pain or related complications of bionic rejection, being bionic wasn't always clear sailing for her, as she'd occasionally misjudged her own strength, which on one occasion caused her to nearly lose her students' softball ("A Thing of the Past") and during a mission she accidentally broke a window and a table ("Bionic Beauty"). She has also on occasions overestimated her abilities, such as in a disastrous leap from a high building that caused major damage to her legs ("Kill Oscar").
At some point early in her OSI career she suffered an injury that left a permanent scar on her upper lip (visible from "Bionic Beauty" onwards). Exactly how she got the scar (whether on a mission or through a mishap in her private life) is unknown.
Later career and marriage
After a few years of active duty with the OSI, Jaime was terrorized by the notion that she would never have a truly free life. When Jaime submitted her resignation to Oscar, 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. Oscar, for his part, understood Jaime's stance and encouraged her to use all the skills he had taught her to run away. After a brief period in hiding, Jaime and Oscar 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 is refferred to as Doctor Sommers by those who do not know her personally. A dozen years later, she had come to a rapprochement with the government. She began working again with the OSI, but 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 office, Jaime also worked as a therapist and counselor at a California clinic. During this period she was rarely called upon by Oscar Goldman to return to active espionage duties, but she did sometimes indulge her former direct superior.
She 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, Jaime was called upon to help train newly minted bionic people Michael Austin and Kate Mason (in a similar fashion to how Steve helped train Jaime after her original surgery) but made the mistake both times of challenging them to races, which the more technologically advanced cyborgs handily won (causing Jaime to complain about this situation after Kate outpaces her). At the end of Bionic Showdown Jaime 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 she and Austin became victims of a computer virus that incapacitated their bionics. It was discovered that the daughter of an embitterred former collague of Rudy Wells had planted the virus. Upon meeting the widow of Rudy's former collague, instead of showing bitterness towards her, Jaime showed compassion and offerred her services as a counselor. Rudy Wells theorized that the virus had been planted in stages and over period of time and expressed concern that he would not be able to save Jaime's life because he had never seen anything like it. Oscar went along as Jaime was wheeled into surgery and waived goodbye to her. Once Jaime was sedated, Rudy took a straight forward approach, by locating and removing the tainted components and upgraded many of Jaime's bionic systems in order to remove the virus. The results were increased strength and, for reasons not explained on screen, a bionic eye with a nightvision feature (Bionic Ever After?). It is worth noting that Jaime's bionic eye is most likely an implant like the ones given 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 device without any 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, Jaime insisted on joining Steve on an assignment in the Bahamas wherein she confronted the daughter of the scientist who created the virus who was also working with terrorists who had stolen nuclear weapons. Jaime, in turn, rescued Steve and the hostages with her upgraded bionics and updated Steve as to the reason why his own bionics were failing. The two teamed up to save the hostages and stop the terrorists with Steve going off in pursuit of the terrorists while Jaime got the hostages to safety. Jaime was quick to catch up to Steve and help him stop the leader of the rogue group.
After this, the two returned home and proceeded with their wedding, presumably after Steve had been treated for the virus. Rudy gave Jaime away while Oscar served as Steve's best man.
PrimaryJaime's primary code name was Dopey (Black Magic, Biofeedback, Jaime's Shield (Part II) and others). However, she would also employ other dwarves' names from Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as befit 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)
- Bashful in Sister Jaime, perhaps in deference to the fact that she was reluctant to tell Oscar that she'd lost $750,000 in diamonds — or just 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's step-father, Jim Elgin, and mother, Helen Elgin, became Jaime's legal guardians after her parents' death. 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 taps him as the one who will give her away, he asks his wife if it's legal for the step-father of the husband to give away the bride. Helen responds it is — "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 saving 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'll have to let Jaime decide (The Return of the Bionic Woman). Michael and Jaime leave for Colorado Springs together, with a complicated relationship both romantic and professional. When we see them 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, 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 doesn't 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 contiinue seeing each other. Later, they meet while working on the OSI's submarine detection system, and plan 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 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 is also a talented singer, and during the course of one mission was videotaped singing the song "Feelings" (dedicated to Steve) for national broadcast ("Bionic Beauty"), and also sang "Good To Be Alive in the Country" during another mission ("Road to Nashville").
- 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.