Honestly, back in 1995 when I first tuned in to watch the pilot episode of the UPN series Nowhere Man, I wasn't expecting much. The main reason I was watching the show was that it was filmed here in Portland, and I wanted to see how many familiar faces and locations I could spot. Well, as I recall, I didn't see a single person I knew in the background, and I recognized only one location. But by the time that first episode was over, I was pretty much hooked.
In the incredibly tightly paced first episode, photojournalist Thomas Veil (Bruce Greenwood) is uncomfortably basking in the glow of a gallery showing of his work. Veil's photos are hard-hitting images of violence and destruction that includes Hidden Agenda, a picture of an execution in a Latin American nation. Veil breaks away from the reception to have dinner with his wife, but when he returns from a quick visit to the bathroom, he discovers his wife is gone. But that's not all that's disappeared; in the few minutes he went to see a man about a horse, Thomas Veil's entire life has been erased. It would seem that there was something in Hidden Agenda that someone didn't want seen, enough that they will stop at nothing to get it back.
Recently released in a nine-disc DVD set that includes all 25 episodes—and still holding up incredibly well a decade later—Nowhere Man is one of television's greatest blown opportunities. Reminiscent of two other classic shows, The Prisoner and The Fugitive, Nowhere Man proved within its first season that there were enough compelling stories and paranoid conspiracies to carry the show for several seasons. Unfortunately, UPN chose to cancel the show, killing all hopes of solving the mystery of what was happening to Veil. But as the wealth of bonus materials found on the discs reveals, there was no planned resolution to what was going on—series creator Lawrence Hertzog and his team were basically flying by the seat of their pants and making it up as they went along. It seems like a miracle that Hertzog and company could create such an entertaining show that left you, more often than not, asking what the hell was going on. And it seems like a blessing that Nowhere Man has been rescued from obscurity with this DVD release.