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GenreCrime drama
Created byCynthia Saunders
Theme music composerAngelo Badalamenti
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes83 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Clifton Campbell
  • Stephen Kronish
  • Kim Moses
  • Ian Sander
  • John Forrest Niss
  • Lorie Zerweck
  • Charles Holland
  • Anthony Santa Croce
Running timeapprox. 42 min, hour with commercials (per episode)
Production companies
  • NBC Studios
  • Three Putt Productions
    (1998–2000; seasons 3–4)
  • Sander/Moses Productions
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 21, 1996 (1996-09-21) –
July 1, 2000 (2000-07-01)

Profiler is an American crime drama created by Cynthia Saunders that aired on NBC from September 21, 1996, to July 1, 2000. The series follows the exploits of a criminal profiler working with the fictional FBI Violent Crimes Task Force (VCTF) based in Atlanta, Georgia.

The show initially starred Ally Walker as profiler Dr. Samantha Waters, the victim of a stalker known as "Jack of All Trades". At the end of the third season, Walker departed the series and was replaced by Jamie Luner as prosecutor-turned-profiler Dr. Rachel Burke during the show's final season.[1][2] Robert Davi, Roma Maffia, Peter Frechette, and Julian McMahon co-starred for all four seasons. Caitlin Wachs and Erica Gimpel also co-starred for the first two seasons; Wachs was replaced by Evan Rachel Wood in a recurring role for the third season, while Gimpel appeared as a guest star.

Along with The Pretender, Profiler was a staple of NBC's Saturday night lineup during the late 1990s. The series shared a similar lead character and premise with the Fox series Millennium, which also premiered at the beginning of the 1996–97 television season.


Seasons 1-3

Dr. Samantha "Sam" Waters (Ally Walker) is a forensic psychologist working for the FBI's (fictitious) Violent Crimes Task Force ("VCTF"), based in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a criminal profiler with her own unique gift to "see" through the eyes of others. This gift gives Sam an added special insight into the workings of the criminal mind.

Sam performs all of her duties diligently and competently, her drive coming from experiencing both a professional and personal tragedy years earlier in which her husband was murdered by a serial killer known only as "Jack of All Trades." Due to Jack's dangerous and pathological nature, Sam must live under 24/7 police guard in a former firefighter station with her seven-year-old daughter Chloe (Caitlin Wachs, later Evan Rachel Wood); and her best friend, artist Angel Brown (Erica Gimpel).

After helping her mentor Bailey Malone (Robert Davi) on a difficult case, Sam comes out of retirement and reclusiveness to join the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force. Also on the team are detectives John Grant (Julian McMahon) and Nathan Brubaker (Michael Whaley), computer hacker George Fraley (Peter Frechette), forensic pathologist Grace Álvarez (Roma Maffia).

In season two, Brubaker leaves the VCTF and is replaced by Marcus Payton (Shiek Mahmoud-Bey), who creates tension on the team due to his skepticism of Sam's methods. Jack also recruits violent ex-felon Sharon Lesher (Traci Lords) to become his partner-in-crime "Jill of All Trades." Bailey is also faced with the rebellious behavior of his daughter Frances (Heather McComb) after she becomes involved in criminal activity.

In season three, all three of the new characters were dropped while Chloe was downgraded to a recurring character. With "Jack" seemingly being captured as a childhood schoolmate of Sam named Donald Lucas (Mark Rolston), the series began to focus more on VCTF cases and Sam's attempts to reintegrate back into society. Sam and Chloe move into an upscale house in the Atlanta suburbs, while Sam also begins to reconnect with her estranged father Walter Anderson (Lawrence Pressman) and pursue a relationship with prosecutor Paul Sterling (John Mese). Bailey also reconciles with his ex-wife Janet (Patricia Healy).

Season 4

It is discovered at the end of season three that Lucas is not the real "Jack"; he was instead framed by violent sociopath Albert Newquay (Dennis Christopher). To mislead and tease the viewers, Albert Newquay, the real Jack's true name, was first mentioned in season two when he took refuge at the Maryland home of his wealthy mother Miriam (Louise Fletcher) to recover after being shot by Sam. Newquay then appeared on-camera for the first time in season three posing in disguise as Ed Post, the seemingly buffoonish sheriff of a sinister fictional small northern California town.

At the start of season four, Sam is kidnapped by Newquay. Bailey calls in for assistance from profiler Rachel Burke (Jamie Luner), a former FBI instructor at Quantico who also had Waters' skill of profiling. After being freed, Sam departs VCTF and Burke joins the team.

Burke initially alienates the team members due to her brusque take-charge manner that is unlike Sam. She and John Grant, who had met her previously, in particular clash due to a disagreement on whether they had actually engaged in intercourse during a liquor-filled nightcap. Rachel struggles to help her self-destructive younger brother Danny (Raphael Sbarge); Grace faces dealing with her second pregnancy after her husband leaves her; and George develops an addiction to painkillers after being injured in a minor car accident.

Rachel soon receives a stalker of her own with the shadowy urban legend named Damian Kennasas. Unstable FBI agent Joel Marks (Gregory Itzin) is initially presented as the main suspect. However, the season ends with a cliffhanger as Rachel is framed for Joel's murder by the real Damian. The VCTF also faces disbandment from U.S. Congress over its high budget. The cancellation of the series resulted in these cliffhangers never being answered.


Main article: List of Profiler episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
122September 21, 1996 (1996-09-21)May 10, 1997 (1997-05-10)
220November 1, 1997 (1997-11-01)May 9, 1998 (1998-05-09)
321October 17, 1998 (1998-10-17)June 5, 1999 (1999-06-05)
420September 25, 1999 (1999-09-25)July 1, 2000 (2000-07-01)


Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4
Ally Walker Dr. Samantha "Sam" Waters Main Guest
Robert Davi Agent Bailey Malone Main
Julian McMahon Agent John Grant Main
Roma Maffia Dr. Grace Alvarez Main
Michael Whaley Agent Nathan Brubaker Main
Peter Frechette George Farley Main
Erica Gimpel Angel Brown Main Guest
Caitlin Wachs Chloe Waters[Note 1] Main
Evan Rachel Wood Recurring
Heather McComb Frances Malone Recurring Main
Shiek Mahmud-Bey Agent Marcus Payton Main
Traci Lords Sharon Lesher Main
Jamie Luner Agent Rachel Burke Main
  1. ^ Wood replaced Wachs as Chloe after season 2. However, she was credited in a recurring role instead of a main role.



The Pretender universe

Profiler shared the same universe with The Pretender, with three crossover episodes, three with Michael T. Weiss guest-starring on Profiler, Ally Walker made a guest appearance on The Pretender in season 3, episode 19, and Jamie Luner making a guest appearance on The Pretender in season 4, episode 10.


Profiler was first syndicated to Court TV in 2000.[4] Profiler aired weeknights at 1:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. Eastern on NBC Universal's 24-hour crime and mystery-themed cable channel Sleuth in 2007. From 2018 to 2022, reruns aired at 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. daily on the network channel Start TV.

In Europe, the series aired on CNBC Europe.

Home media

A&E Home Video (under license by NBC Entertainment) has released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 in the United States of America. The four-season release box set has been discontinued and is now out of print.

Title Format Ep # Discs/Tapes Region 1 (USA) Special Features USA Distributor
Profiler (Season 1) DVD 21 6 1 July 2003
29 July 2003
Profiles of Evil: Inside the Criminal Mind episode of A&E's American Justice series

Commentary by Ally Walker and Robert Davi on the pilot episode "Insight"

Photo gallery

Cast Biographies

A&E Home Video
Profiler (Season 2) DVD 20 6 28 October 2003
25 November 2003
Commentary with Investigative Criminal Profiler Pat Brown on episode "Victims of Victims"

Cast Biographies

A&E Home Video
Profiler (Season 3) DVD 22 6 30 March 2004
27 April 2004

Commentary with Roma Maffia on the episode "Heads You Lose"

Ally Walker's final season

Cast Biographies

A&E Home Video
Profiler (Season 4) DVD 20 5 28 September 2004
26 October 2004
Interview with series consultant Howard Teten, Former FBI Unit Chief and Criminal Profiler

Commentary with executive producer Clifton Campbell on the final episode "On Your Marks"

Cast Biographies

A&E Home Video

Australian DVD Release

Title Format Ep # Discs/Tapes Region 4 (Australia) Special Features Australia Distributor
Profiler (Season 1 & 2) DVD 42 12 22 May 2019 Bonus Episode – “I’ll Be Watching You” Via Vision Entertainment
Profiler (Season 3 & 4) DVD 41 12 10 July 2019 None Via Vision Entertainment
Profiler (The Complete Series) DVD 83 23 16 November 2019 None Via Vision Entertainment


Season U.S. ratings Network Rank
1 1996–97 7.4 million NBC #82
2 1997–98 9.9 million NBC #86
3 1998–99 8.9 million NBC #89
4 1999-00 8.1 million NBC #86


  1. ^ Josef Adalian (July 12, 1999). "NBC's 'Profiler' Looks to Luner". Variety. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  2. ^ Shauna Snow (July 13, 1999). "Morning Report". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 11, 2016. Luner's character, former prosecutor-turned-FBI-profiler Rachel Burke, will be introduced in a two-part season premiere...
  3. ^ Ray Richmond (December 4, 1996). "Martinez Joins 'Profiler'". Variety. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  4. ^ John Dempsey (July 14, 2000). "Court TV gavels in 'Profiler,' 'Forensic'". Variety. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  5. ^ Susan King (July 26, 2003). "Back for reruns, but why?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 18, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016. The set features all but one episode from the premiere season -- the fourth episode is missing because of the very expensive music rights for the Police classic "Every Breath You Take," which is prominently featured in the episode.