Mr. Morden was on the Icarus archeology mission to the Outer Rim. The ship was lost and presumed destroyed with all crew. Among the crew were Mr. Morden and Anna Sheridan.

Mr. Morden became an agent for the Shadows. When he arrives at Babylon-5, he is questioned by Captain John Sheridan. Morden claims he has no memory of the destruction of the Icarus and that for several months after he was found, he didn't even remember his own name. He also says after he was found, he was taken to a medical station after the Icarus accident. Surely the medical crew would do a DNA search on him. Wouldn't Earth government know who Mr. Morden is from his DNA? If it is that easy to identify somebody, Mr. Morden never should have claimed the medical staff could not identify him. And there would be a document trail of his time at the medical station.

In this video clip, Sheridan easily exposes Morden's lies with only a few questions.

Why would Mr. Morden make claims about his survival of the Icarus which are so easily disprovable? It would seem better for him and his Shadow handlers to give him a convincing alibi. If their spokesman is going to talk to high government officials, then surely the Shadows would want a credible person doing the talking.

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    He mostly does his talking in the shadows. A good cover story isn't all that important.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 1:31
  • Does Morden have a first name?
    – Peter
    Commented Mar 6, 2017 at 19:46
  • @Peter To my best knowledge, Mr. Morden's first name is never mentioned.
    – RichS
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 5:23
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    @Peter There is now a question about that. Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 5:33
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    It is part of his character. It is part of the arrogance he displays because he is serving evolution with the most powerful and righteous ally there is. His cover story is more of an invitation to question and oppose him and then ultimately surrender to his superior power. It's a way of saying: "challenging me doesn't get you anywhere, so you may as well believe me". Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 8:47

2 Answers 2


Mr. Morden is very credible. If he says his associates can do something, they will do it. They help Ambassador Mollari in his quest for power, and help President Clark in his. His cover story doesn't even come up the vast majority of the time. Most people don't care who he is beyond, say, buying something in a store. The people he chooses to work with on a more long-term basis are ones who have demonstrated that they are more interested in power and what his associates can do than they are in him in particular.

The only reason his cover story even comes up is because Captain Sheridan has a personal connection to the Icarus mission. Even then, whether his cover story passes muster or not, Mr. Morden remains unflappably calm in the presence of his Shadow handlers, and in the knowledge that Captain Sheridan is crossing several legal and ethical lines in his treatment of him. That the Vorlons and Minbari want Mr. Morden left alone because they don't want to tip their hand to the Shadows doesn't hurt either.

As to the DNA point, we see no evidence throughout the show that Earthgov keeps everyone's DNA on file. We know that members of the armed forces have theirs on file; Links are authorized by the wearer's DNA, and 'Arthur' was Earthforce and identified by DNA in "A Late Delivery from Avalon". Presumably criminals have theirs on file, but Morden wasn't a convicted criminal. The Psi Corps does DNA screening for telepathy, but a screening need not become a filed sample. Even if the Psi Corps does keep samples, it is notoriously secretive and unlikely to share. Interplanetary Expeditions might well keep DNA samples of their people, but they are a private organization and would probably not be open to a general search either.

  • "...Morden remains unflappably calm in the presence of his Shadow handlers..." Heh, seems like his unflappable calmness comes more from his creepy sociopathic personality. Just the kind of person the Shadows would recruit.
    – RichS
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 5:14
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    For a man with a mysterious past, Mr. Morden gets a lot of one-on-one face time with many important people. Would the ambassadors allow just some random person who walked onto Babylon-5 get that much face time without doing even a cursory background check on him?
    – RichS
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 5:26
  • @RichS The personality helps too. My impression from other episodes of B5 is that he seems to take comfort in their presence, and is utterly devastated (more than simply surprised or shocked) when Londo has his Shadows killed.
    – Dranon
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 5:52
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    @RichS As for how much screening the ambassadors do ahead of time, I can't recall anywhere that we've seen how they do screening beyond Londo telling Vir to fob certain people off. The ambassadors simply seem very easily accessible if one makes an appointment. And Londo seems far more interested in power than where it comes from. Centauri politics being what they are, Londo may even assume that any backstory is made up anyway, but I'm now firmly in speculation territory.
    – Dranon
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 5:53
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    There are times when Londo tells Vir not to admit certain people, or even allow anyone to see him. For example, Londo brushes off some religious travelers seeking the Holy Grail in this scene. youtube.com/watch?v=5oLLUlv60C4
    – RichS
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 17:27

Sometimes you don't need the truth, just a plausible lie. Morden needed a simple reason why he didn't have answers as to what happened to the Icarus. So you can prove it's a lie. So what? It's not exactly a crime, and nobody in authority was going to hold him accountable. That's all he really needed. People who knew whom he was serving would keep him out of any serious hot water.

A more convincing lie would likely also backfire. It might make people quietly suspicious, in which case they would only voice their distrust to allies. Such movements might not make themselves known until it's too late. An open lie defies people to call it into question. It makes you question the motives more and makes your adversaries more guarded in what they do.

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