Truth Be Told


Production code
September 30, 2001
Written by
Story by
Teleplay by
Directed by

Truth Be Told is the pilot episode of Alias. Sydney Bristow discovers that her job as an agent for SD-6, a top-secret division of the CIA, holds some deadly secrets that threaten the security of the free world. In spite of being warned against it, Sydney reveals her secret to her fiancé, Danny, who later on is murdered. Sydney finds that her father, Jack, is also SD-6 and that the group is not part of the CIA, but actually an enemy of the United States. Sydney seeks the aid of the real CIA and is enlisted as a double agent under the command of operations officer Vaughn. Her mission now is to complete her cases at SD-6 while reporting her findings back to the CIA. But when Sydney finds out that her father is also affiliated with the CIA, she begins to question where his true allegiances really lie.

Plot Overview[]

Sydney Bristow, with bright red hair, is being tortured by a couple of Taiwanese soldiers. They submerge her face in a water tank, then handcuff her to a chair. She watches, horrified, as the door to the torture room slowly opens.

An English professor steps into a classroom. He tells Sydney, who is writing an essay, that it's time to hand in her paper. She does. Later, she walks across the schoolgrounds with her boyfriend Daniel Hetch (Danny), telling him she's worried that she didn't get a very good grade. Danny tells her she'd have more time to prepare if she would quit her job at the bank. He then reaches into his backpack, saying that there's something he just couldn't wait to do, and pulls out a little box. As Sydney stares shocked, Danny begins singing "Build Me Up, Buttercup" in a booming voice, and ends with the opening of the box revealing a ring. He asks Sydney to marry him, and she, smiling and in tears, says yes.

At her home, Sydney shows her friend and roommate Francie the ring, which they gush over. Francie tells Sydney that her mother would be so proud. Sydney agrees, but is a bit worried about telling her father, as Danny has decided to do.

From the hospital where he works, Danny calls Jack Bristow and asks if he approves of his proposal to Sydney. Jack says that if he needs to ask, he probably doesn't know Sydney very well at all. He goes on to say that Danny's phoning is just a courtesy call, to ask if he "doesn't mind" him marrying his daughter. Tongue-tied, Danny stammers that he's just following the custom of calling the father. Jack says that as long as he's not planning to use this instance as a topic of party conversation, "Welcome to the family."

Sydney enters the Credit Dauphine building, removing the ring from her finger. She takes the elevator below to SD-6, and greets Dixon, her partner at SD-6. He notes that she has a sort of "glow" to her today, but she denies it.

In the conference room, Arvin Sloane, Sydney's boss, tells everyone present that SD-6 believes the "Mueller Project" they're looking for is in the hands of the Chinese, and their mole, Quintero, has gone missing. Sydney and Dixon's mission is to go to Taiwan posing as representatives for "Modera Plastics" to locate the lab where the plans are being held. Marshall, SD-6's tech officer, then displays his latest gadgets: A cigarette lighter which is really a video scrambler, and a camera which takes 3-D maps in the guise of a lipstick.

At the track, Sydney jogs with her friend Will. He gripes about a blind date his sister set him up with the other night, and how it didn't work out. He asks Sydney if she'd like to see a movie with him, but she says she has dinner plans with Danny. Will says they can catch the late show, but she reveals that she and Danny are getting married. His face falls.

At Danny's home, he and Sydney make out on the couch. He tells her how happy he is that soon they'll be having kids. Sydney, however, is worried. She takes his hand and leads him upstairs. They get in the shower where, presumably, the bugs planted in her house cannot her them. There, she reveals to him that she's a secret agent for the CIA.

The door to the torture chamber opens, and Dr. Zhang Lee walks in. He holds up a syringe. Sydney's eyes widen. He shoots her with the syringe, and she passes out. He walks away.

Near a large construction site, Sydney tells Danny how, seven years ago, she was approached by a man who told her she "fit a profile" and offered her a job at a black-ops division of the CIA called SD-6. She needed the money, so she decided to join. Enjoying the work, she advanced quickly, and here she is now. She tells Danny that he cannot tell anyone about her. He is overcome with disbelief, but says he understands. Sydney says she has a trip, but will call him when she returns.

On the jet bound for Taiwan, Sydney asks Dixon how he feels about always having to lie to his wife. Dixon says that by not telling her, he's protecting her.

In Taiwan, Sydney and Dixon attend a reception. Dixon pretends to faint, distracting everyone so Sydney can slip away and search for the Mueller Project. The videos in the security room are scrambled. Meanwhile, Danny calls Sydney's home and leaves a message on her answering machine, about how he thinks he can learn to live with her secret life, however, Sydney's phone is bugged and the call is relayed back to SD-6 and Sloane himself.

Sydney locates the Mueller Project and photographs it. Just as the video comes back on, she races up the stairs, and runs into a man wearing a suit and glasses. He tells her that the area is restricted. She pretends to be a drunk girl looking for the bathroom, and begs him not to tell her boss. He hesitates, but points her towards the restroom. She leaves.

Sydney goes home and sees Danny's dead body. She races to headquarters and is questioned on her loyalty. Her car is towed

In the torture chamber she taunts the Doctor.

Sydney attends her fiancé's funeral and is watched from a car and gets comfort from her friends at the reception. Later she is sitting against her bed and records a different recording message to go on top of the painful one with Danny's interjections.



Guest Starring[]





  • SD-6 uses the cover of Credit Dauphine for its Los Angeles branch.
  • Danny proposes to Sydney on the quad at the college she attends. He starts off by singing "Build Me Up Buttercup" by The Foundations.
  • Dixon's wife's name is Diane.
  • Marshall is the first person to reference the number 47.
  • Danny references Sydney to have a baby one day, which she eventually does in Season 5.
  • Greg Grunberg appears in this episode as an uncredited CIA agent (Eric Weiss). Throughout all of the first season of Alias, for unknown reasons, Grunberg is uncredited for his work on the show.
  • First Mueller device.
  • This episode has an audio commentary.

Aliases Used[]

  • Sydney Bristow: Sydney uses the alias of Amy Tippin. Her disguise consists of red-dyed hair, sleeveless t-shirt, kilt, choker, and sunglasses.
  • Sydney and Dixon: Both Sydney and Dixon travel to the reception in Taiwan posing as executives of Modera Plastics.


  • An RF scrambler, concealed within a lighter, that could disable any video for a 420 yard radius. It had four minutes of charge.
  • Lipstick that could take 42 picture and measure space in three axis from one vantage point. It could create an accurate blueprint of any building. It also had a short pulse laser.
  • Set of lockpicks concealed in the heel of Sydney's shoes.


  • "You're A God" by Vertical Horizon
  • "Goin' Our Way" by Gus
  • "Never Grow Old" by The Cranberries
  • "Under The Gun" by Supreme Beings of Leisure
  • "Trouble" by Cat Stevens
  • "Here Comes The Flood" by Peter Gabriel
  • "Sofisticated" by Stereo MC
  • "No Man's Woman" by Sinead O'Connor
  • "Give You Back by Vertical Horizon

Filming Locations[]

  • UCLA, Westwood, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Royce Hall - 340 Royce Drive, UCLA, Westwood, Los Angeles, California, USA


  • Danny Hect: Sir, I love your daughter and I want to marry her. That's why I'm calling.
  • Jack Bristow: 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 Hect: Mr. Bristow.
  • Jack Bristow: Sydney doesn't give a damn what my opinion is. What interests me is that you do.
  • Danny Hect: It's just a custom to call the father. That's all this is.
  • Jack Bristow: 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, old-fashioned guy Danny really is. Are we clear?
  • Danny Hect: Yes, sir.
  • Jack Bristow: Good. Then welcome to the family.