In the episode "A Race Through Dark Places", Talia Winters joined hands with the rogue telepaths to cheat Bester and gave him the illusion that he had the rogue telepaths taken care of. How could Bester be cheated, given that there is a sleeper or spy implanted by the Psi Corp into Talia Winters (See episode "Divided Loyalties"? Even if this sleeper allowed Winters to commit her treacherous act against the Psi Corp, this "spy" within would surely have reported her treachery to Psi Corp. How could Bester not know?

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    I'm thinking that the "Sleeper" personality was literally that - it had to be "activated" or woken up if you will. I'm speaking from memory though and have no evidence to back that up. Out of universe, it was a plot device to allow for Andrea Thompson's unexpected departure from the show.
    – komodosp
    Oct 18, 2017 at 13:09
  • The job of the "Sleeper" is to be a spy. It is not logical to have a spy who cannot report on secret activities seen until woken up. Yes, it can be dormant and hidden but the spy reporting should be regular. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense to plant a spy. I guess it was a plot device to allow for the actress unexpected departure to explain this inconsistency.
    – user486818
    Oct 18, 2017 at 13:11
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    Dupe of scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/148614/… ?
    – Kitkat
    Oct 18, 2017 at 13:22
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    The job of the "Sleeper" is to remain latent until activated. Not to activate themselves. A sleeper is not a spy, a sleeper is a resource being husbanded for future deployment at the discretion - and explicit action - of the handler.
    – gowenfawr
    Oct 18, 2017 at 13:47
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    A sleeper who reports back is per definition no longer a sleeper but an active spy. The trick of a sleeper agent is that they don't do anything that could raise suspicion. Reporting back would increase the risk to be detected. The sleeper implanted in Talia was - iirc - programmed to activate on a certain code phrase and not under other circumstances. Of course, that's always a strategic decision: It's more safe that way, but it also prevents the sleeper from taking initiative in a critical situation. But perhaps it was just simpler this way (one phrase against a whole set of possibilities). Oct 18, 2017 at 14:04

2 Answers 2


Bester is high up in the Psi Corps, but he's not at the top. We get a little better view of his position within the Corps in the episode "The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father". While we are never shown all the roles he plays in the Corps, most of what we see of him shows that he's a highly competent field agent.

The Corps may be small compared to the population of humanity at large, but it's large enough to for there to be different projects run by different groups that don't all talk to each other about everything. Some reasons for the separation might well include practicality (no one can know everything going on in an organization), and deniability (what one doesn't know, another can't find out).

From the JMS speaks portion of the Lurker's Guide page for "Divided Loyalties":

[Question:] Did Bester try to befriend Talia because she was Control? (cf. "A Race Through Dark Places")

[JMS:] You're assuming Bester knows everything. Also, Bester's interest may have been more...carnal than PsiCorp oriented.

We also see in the episode "Epiphanies" that he's not let in on the entire plan that he's being involved in. As shown in the episode "Ship of Tears", he never knew what the Corps did with the 'Blips' like Carolyn they had.

This doesn't show that Bester definitely wouldn't know if Talia's sleeper personality reported back to the Psi Corps, but it should show that he's not in a position to know everything that goes on. If Talia's sleeper personality reported back, he simply may not have been told. Also, even if he knew, there's no reason for him to act on the information (and therefore show us that he knew), because it would compromise a valuable information-gathering asset.

This also depends on the sleeper personality reporting back. It's certainly possible that it did, as in "Divided Loyalties" Lyta identifies the personality as Control, who did play a part in "A Spider in the Web". It's also possible that Talia's sleeper personality simply remained quiet and bided its time, while Talia became more involved in resistance activities. We're never given any indication either way.

  • Besides, most secret organizations, even governmental funded secret services try to keep vital information on a need to know basis (hence "Top Secret" classification) so that it wouldn't corrupt the entire organization if one project fails or one agent gets captured. Thus it is perfectly reasonable that even as a very high ranking PSI cop, Bester wouldn't have knowledge of projects outside his direct line of work.
    – Adwaenyth
    Oct 19, 2017 at 13:58

We shouldn't assume that the split personality aspect was in play then at all. It was a justification to get her off the show when the actor wanted out.

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    While this is true, I am guessing the author is looking for a "Watsonian" rather than "Doylist" reason...
    – komodosp
    Mar 25, 2019 at 8:43
  • You get extra points for the Watsonian/Doylist distinction. I think it was unclear enough that a Doylist response was warranted in this situation.
    – Sarah Z.
    Apr 22, 2019 at 20:00

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