The Orphan


Production code
March 23 2005
Written by
J.J. Abrams
Story by
J.J. Abrams
Teleplay by
Directed by

The Orphan is the 12th episode of the fourth season of Alias and the 78th episode overall. Nadia puts her own life - as well as Sydney's and Weiss' - in danger after failing to unveil her past through a dangerous criminal. Meanwhile, Vaughn finds a person who is somehow connected to his father and Nadia as well.

Plot Overview[]

(1992) A man sneaks into a Buenos Aires orphanage in the middle of the night and tries to kidnap one of the girls. A young Nadia resists him and escapes.

(Present Day) Vaughn shares his father's journal with Sydney. He asks her for access to the Operational Archives. Later, Vaughn decodes an address in Lisbon that may help reveal the mystery of his father's life.

At APO, Sloane says that the Belorussian Institute of Science had developed a next gen optical component, called the Amplifying Glass, which can boost a laser pulse. It can enable a CD player's laser to shoot a plane from the sky or slice a tank in half. A Jakarta faction has employed Cesar Martinez, an Argentine resident, to acquire it for them. Nadia knows him - she recalls stealing from a restaurant owner with him as her accomplice.

Nadia reports that Martinez is a freelancer, and he earned his reputation with the execution of former Argentine intelligence officer, Roberto Fox. Their mission is to outfox Martinez and obtain the Amplifying Glass at a party held in the Minsk's Institute of Science. As the team left the room, Nadia admits to Sydney that she knows Martinez.

A blonde Sydney arrives at an elegant party in the Institute of Science. She charms an architect, whose Blackberry holds the building's blue prints and project files. After scanning and decrypting his PDA with Marshall's help, Sydney waits for Nadia, who has stolen a key from one of the scientists.

Later, Nadia spots Cesar Martinez. Nadia again flashes back to her teenage years. She's crying in the corner of a jail cell. Roberto Fox recruits her to work in espionage for the government. Nadia consults the headmistress of the orphanage, who encourages her to take the job. At the party, gunmen open fire as Martinez follows Sydney's path.

In the lab, Sydney cracks the safe and retrieves the Amplifying Glass. When Martinez and his thugs enter, Sydney surrenders the Glass. Martinez asks Sydney who she works for, Nadia arrives and says, "She works with me." He recognizes Nadia, and ties her and Sydney up.

Back at APO, Sloane reprimands Nadia for not sharing her past regarding Martinez. Nadia insists she can get the Glass back from Martinez. She doesn't tell them that she actually worked with Martinez under Roberto's tutelage.

In Buenos Aires, Nadia sits at an outdoor restaurant while Sydney and Weiss observe from a van. Martinez arrives and although Nadia convinces him to sell the glass to her, he demands that she accompany him back to his office without -- tracking and backup. Nadia agrees despite Sydney's reservations.

Martinez asks Nadia if she still thinks about Roberto Fox. Nadia recalls finding her dying partner, who says that Roberto Fox is a criminal who had them steal government intelligence. Nadia thought she'd been working for the Argentine government.

Martinez says he didn't kill Fox. It was Nadia who shot the traitor in the chest. When Nadia says she'd do it again, Martinez points a gun at her. She knocks it away and hits him. Nadia grabs the gun and points it at him. Sydney arrives with Weiss. Nadia tells them that the Amplifying Glass is in the safe and Weiss takes Martinez away. Sydney and Nadia embrace.

In Lisbon, Vaughn finds the address mentioned in his father's journal. The door opens to reveal Nadia's headmistress at the orphanage. She says the only time she met Vaughn's father was when he came to her, covered in blood with a baby in his arms - the baby was Nadia. Pressed for further details the headmistress says she heard his father mention one particular word during a phone conversation - "nightingale."



Special Guest Star[]

Guest Starring[]




Aliases Used[]



  • "Lakme Flower Duet" by Léo Delibes

Allusions and References[]


  • Martinez: Who do you work for?
  • Sydney: You forgot to say the magic word.
  • (Martinez backhands her)
  • Sydney: Now you're gonna have to say "pretty please."
  • Marshall: Vaughn asked me to lunch.