John Garrett
Played By: Bill Paxton
Alias: The Clairvoyant
Job Title: Agent
Clearance: Level 7
Special Skills: Combat specialist
First Appeared: 1×14 T.A.H.I.T.I.

John Garrett is a skilled specialist agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who prefers the field to desk jobs even after his promotion to Level 7[1] He disdains authority except when it suits him to follow protocol, and is not afraid of using violence during interrogation, though he has also described himself as being able to be persuasive when he wants to be.

However, unknown to most of his S.H.I.E.L.D. colleagues, he is in truth a sleeper agent of Hydra, and is the mastermind of Project Centipede known as "The Clairvoyant".[2]


  • 1 Biography
    • 1.1 Season 1
      • 1.1.1 Uprising arc
    • 1.2 Relationships
    • 1.3 Training and Abilities
  • 2 Appearances
  • 3 Memorable Quotes
  • 4 Trivia
  • 5 References

edit] Biography

Little is known about the early history of John Garrett, except that he and Phil Coulson were both trainee agents together under Supervising Officer Agent Nick Fury (later Director) of S.H.I.E.L.D.. From the beginning of their relationship, Garrett has always been the rule-breaker to Coulson’s company man obedience, though the two shared a deep friendship and rapport that survived through the years. While in the service of S.H.I.E.L.D., he took on at least two trainee agents of his own, Agents Grant Ward and Antoine Triplett, and especially favored Ward above his other pupils, even taking him on as his specialist after Ward’s graduation as a fully fledged S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.

As the years pass, however, Garrett gradually realized that Hydra, the organization S.H.I.E.L.D.’s predecessor, S.S.R. had allegedly defeated in World War II, was still very much in operations, and in fact has infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. to its highest level. Instead of remaining loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. and his own S.O. Nick Fury, he changed his allegiance to Hydra. despite not being a true believer of their pathos. In this capacity, it is believed he also began manipulating Ward towards this new worldview.

It was likely that Garrett commenced work on Project Centipede soon after the Battle of New York, as he had already recruited Edison Po around that time (Po soon after had to kill another Centipede colleague for trying to learn more about Garrett’s alter ego, "The Clairvoyant", which led to Po’s arrest and incarceration). He was also responsible for "brainwashing" Raina, although the details of this operation was unknown.

edit] Season 1

Garrett, as a Level 7 S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, heard of the miraculous recovery of his old friend Phil Coulson after the Battle of New York, and became extremely curious about this extraordinary turn of events. An opportunity came when he’d heard that Coulson was putting a new Mobile Command team together that required a specialist, and he offered his own specialist, Agent Grant Ward, as part of the team, as he knew Coulson wouldn’t be able to resist taking on Ward – a specialist famous for his lousy people skills – as a project in addition to utilizing his specialist skills. In this capacity, Ward was able to use his mole status to report back to Garrett on anything Coulson discovers, as well as the secrets to his recovery. Garrett then took on another of his trainees, Antoine Triplett, as his new specialist.

What Garrett couldn’t foresee is that Coulson’s first mission involved the discovery of his own project Centipede due to a young hacker from The Rising Tide, Skye, who had stumbled upon chatter on the internet about it before Garrett managed to shut down and wipe the chatter. Her interference led to the early discovery of the (destroyed) Los Angeles Centipede lab and the neutralisation of their second test subject, Mike Peterson, who was later inducted into S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy of Operations as a trainee.

Undeterred, Garrett manipulated events to place himself in charge of the manhunt for Ian Quinn, after Quinn’s kidnap of S.H.I.E.L.D. code red S.H.I.E.L.D. Asset Dr. Franklin Hall, while at the same time either blackmailing or persuading Quinn as "The Clairvoyant" to finance the operations of Project Centipede, allowing Quinn to always "escape" pursuit, while also using Quinn as an unwitting assassin of sorts when some of his S.H.I.E.L.D. protegees or teammates nearly stumbled across his true identity either as the Clairvoyant or as a Hydra sleeper, and had to be terminated without suspicion. To maintain The Clairvoyant’s cover identity as an outsider, he instructed Raina to use a hacker of The Rising Tide, Miles Lydon, to hack into and leak out a partial list of The Index from the S.H.I.E.L.D. Hong Kong datastream to search for a low-risk pyrokinetic to assist with Stage 1 of Project Centipede, as the Extremis virus within the Centipede serum is volatile and combustible. This action had the added benefit of throwing suspicion onto Coulson’s teammate Skye as well, as her unconventional thought processes and pattern recognition skills were wild cards that Garrett could do without.

Having successfully stabilized the Centipede serum, Garrett ordered the newest batch of test subjects to be fitted with an Eye Implant device invented by another Hydra project to better control them, with the kill switches in Raina’s hands. He then decided it was time to take matters in his own hands, as Coulson still seems blissfully unconcerned by the mystery of his recovery. Garrett engineered the prison break of Edison Po, deliberately drawing the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D., and sure enough, the assignment was passed onto Coulson’s team, as they were the team who came in contact with both the Los Angeles and Hong Kong labs. This gave Edison Po the opportunity to come into contact with Coulson and reveal to Raina that Coulson was the "key to Stage 3" (of Project Centipede), again promoting his cover identity’s alleged clairvoyance. Using the kidnap of Ace Peterson, son of Mike Peterson (whom was sent by S.H.I.E.L.D. to assist Coulson), his Centipede team managed to capture both Coulson and a severely injured Mike Peterson.

Garrett subsequently ordered Po to put Coulson under an unknown machine (the same one he used to brainwash Raina) to force Coulson’s subconscious memories of his recovery to be revealed, while Raina supervised Peterson’s Eye Implant surgery. After almost three days of uninterrupted torture, in which Coulson’s torture resistance held stong, Garrett grew impatient and killed off Po for his failure, putting Raina in charge of the Project. While she succeeded where Po failed, using the intelligence on Coulson that Garrett (as the Clairvoyant) passed on to her – including but not limited to Coulson’s psych evaluation and surveillance on S.H.I.E.L.D. databases, and Ward’s frequent reports back to his mentor – to systematically break down Coulson’s emotional defenses, and he finally agreed to cooperate with the machine. However, Raina was not successful in getting the information Garrett needed, because Coulson’s will was still strong enough to lie to Raina about what he saw, and because Skye has finally located him and led the team to his rescue, capturing Raina in the process, putting a temporary end to Project Centipede, leaving Garrett with only Mike Peterson, whom he decided to control personally via Eye Implant.

Angry at this setback when he was so close to the answer, Garrett nevertheless had to run damage control when Quinn became neck deep in another set of troubles at S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy of Sci-Tech, and ordered him to reveal his ties to The Clairvoyant so that S.H.I.E.L.D. and Phil Coulson would change orders for his capture and interrogation rather than to shoot his airplane out of the sky. This had the unintentional effect of spurring Coulson’s team to pursue Quinn as an avenue to uncover the Clairvoyant, which led to Coulson and Skye uncovering Quinn’s purchase of Project Deathlok from Cybertek Inc., and unwittingly "poaching" Garrett’s team’s role in the pursuit of Ian Quinn. With intelligence from both the bribed Italian authorities as well as Ward, Garrett almost managed to completely botch the entire operation by killing Agents Melinda May, Leo Fitz, Jemma Simmons and Skye (while merely sedating Ward to deflect suspicion), if not for the completely unexpected resourcefulness of the younger agents on Coulson’s team, which led them to Quinn’s villa deep in the Italian countryside. He contacted Quinn the moment Skye activated the tracker beacon, knowing enough of Skye’s natural curiosity and sudden investment in the operation to realize that she wouldn’t be able to resist infiltrating the compound, and ordered Quinn to shoot Skye fatally, forcing Coulson to pull out all the stops to save her.

edit] Uprising arc

As the agent originally tasked with Quinn’s capture, he had no difficulty getting assigned to take charge of Quinn’s transfer to The Fridge once Coulson disobeyed H.Q.’s direct order on the transfer, and used the excuse to board The Bus, reuniting with both Coulson and Ward. He pretended to help Coulson persuade H.Q. that he would be able to interrogate Quinn onboard The Bus, so he can finally be present when Coulson’s need to save Skye leads him to his own cure. It is under this guise of shadow play that Garrett finally discovered the hidden Guest House facility, which Fury had kept hidden from even himself and Coulson, and witnessed the miracle GH325 cure reviving Skye from the brink of death. However, the operation turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory as the entire facility was rigged with explosives, and nothing was left behind in its wake, leaving Garrett with no means of replicating the drug, and with a rapidly recovering Skye revealing Peterson’s survival and conversion into the cyborg soldier Deathlok

Due to Deathlok’s suspected involvement with Ian Quinn, Garrett and Triplett had no difficulty being assigned to take point on the hunt for Peterson. However, realising that Coulson was now personally invested in taking down the Clairvoyant, he devised a strategy to shut down the investigation once and for all. He ordered Deathlok to attack the safehouse in Sydney, Australia where he and Triplett were hiding, but for Deathlok to leave them alive, despite being fully capable of eliminating them. He then sent a new arm cannon to Deathlok, before using Deathlok’s attack to call for a clandestine meeting with Agents Victoria Hand, Jasper Sitwell, Felix Blake and Phil Coulson, to put forth his theories and strategy to capture "the Clairvoyant" once and for all. Having studied and narrowed the potential Clairvoyant list to thirteen candidates, he was able to control mission handler Skye’s choice of candidates, though not the random nature of the team pairings. It is not difficult to assume however, that Garrett’s selected Clairvoyant decoy, Thomas Nash, was chosen precisely due to his catatonic state. Garrett ordered Deathlok to attack the team sent to intercept Thomas Nash, which put Blake in a critical condition, and to kidnap Nash from the facility.

When Garrett realized that Blake had fired one of Agent Leo Fitz’s tracker rounds into Deathlok, enabling satellite tracking to find him, he ordered Deathlok to move Thomas Nash into a room deep in the basements of an abandoned racetrack, to rig up the room to appear as if he has been monitoring video feeds of various "agents" under his control, and to set up a computer made to resemble a speech reproducing machine used by the catatonic Nash to speak. In reality, once Deathlok lured Coulson’s strike team into the basement and met Nash, the computer was made to speak in a way that goaded Coulson (and to a lesser extent, Garrett) to kill the decoy Clairvoyant. When that failed, Ward had to step up and go in for the kill, but not before "The Clairvoyant" had threatened Skye’s life, deflecting suspicion that he did it for reasons other than saving his team, Skye in particular.

Thinking he had succeeded in halting the hunt for The Clairvoyant, he left Ward in Coulson’s charge and flew off by himself, only to be attacked suddenly by two S.H.I.E.L.D. drones. Uncomprehending, he had to send a mayday call that reached The Bus, which had been remotely hijacked as well. After Coulson dispatched the two drones, Garrett boarded The Bus once again, only to find that a universal S.H.I.E.L.D. signal has been sent out, bearing the following message:

"Out of the Shadows, Into the Light. Hydra."

Realizing that top Hydra brass was ready to reveal itself, he nevertheless had to deal with another unpleasant realization that Coulson had worked out that Thomas Nash was merely a decoy meant to end The Clairvoyant investigation. Thankfully, Coulson erroneously thought it was Victoria Hand who was the Clairvoyant, given that she had refused to be part of the field hunt for the Clairvoyant, and that The Bus has been hijacked to fly to The Hub where she was in charge. He tried to keep his sleeper status hidden so that he could goad Coulson into killing Victoria Hand, who was in actuality a S.H.I.E.L.D. loyalist manipulated to believe that it was Coulson who was a Hydra sleeper, until Garrett accidentally revealed that he knew about Raina’s brainwashing in the same machine that tortured Coulson, a fact that Coulson revealed to no one. Caught, he shrugged and revealed his true colors at last. Giving a chance to Coulson to switch allegiance (which Coulson rejected), he ordered his Hydra compatriots to kill Coulson and May while shooting out Fitz’s kneecaps so that he can be useful in Hydra’s research department, but Coulson and May managed to fight back successfully against the traitors, right before Hand led in the remainder S.H.I.E.L.D. loyalists to arrest Garrett, revealing that they heard Garrett’s silent acknowledgement of being the Clairvoyant and a Hydra agent.

Garrett was subsequently scheduled to be transported to The Fridge by Hand, to be imprisoned there in one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities still safe from Hydra influence. However, this turn of events forced his protegee Ward to reveal his own sleeper status in order to rescue him, killing Hand and her two loyalists in the process, causing S.H.I.E.L.D. Fridge, all its dangerous Powered Objects, and enemies of S.H.I.E.L.D. (including Raina and Ian Quinn) to fall into the hands of Hydra.

edit] Relationships

  • Phil Coulson

Garrett and Coulson are friends of old, with Garrett being the only person to call him "Phil" even while on duty. Both were trained by Supervising Officer Director Nick Fury, the only two characters known to have this privilege. Garrett used to be the rule-breaker opposite Coulson’s by-the-book character, but both prefer field work over desk jobs any day. Despite them having been separated by heading up different teams for years, their friendship remains strong, until Garrett sold out on both their friendship and allegiance to S.H.I.E.L.D. and turned to Hydra, giving the order to kill Coulson when he refused to follow suit.

  • Grant Ward

Garrett and Ward share a very friendly mentor-mentee relationship, even years after Garrett has ceased to be Ward’s Supervising Officer. Ward may be one of Garrett’s favorite trainees, as he was noted to hold Ward up as a pattern for his subsequent trainees. It is very obvious that Ward admires and respects Garrett very much, learning not just his much vaunted Specialist abilities from his Supervising Officer, but some of his attitude as well ("If the job was easy, it wouldn’t be any fun"). Ward was so devoted to Garrett that when Garrett switched sides to Hydra, he followed suit out of his fierce loyalty to Garrett.

  • Antoine Triplett

Triplett appears to be fiercely loyal to Supervising Officer John Garrett, joining his team after his graduation as an Agent. However, Triplett’s loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D. is higher, and when it was revealed that Garrett was responsible for the three deaths of their fellow teammates in addition to being a Hydra sleeper, Triplett lost control and screamed at Garrett, completely turning his back on his S.O..

edit] Training and Abilities

Agent John Garrett is a Specialist agent. Trained by Supervising Officer Director Nick Fury, he prefers to focus on risk assessment and tactical skills out in the field[3]. He is skilled in firearms, combat, and explosives (both rigging and defusing), which he eventually passed on to his trainee agent Grant Ward. He is also a master espionage agent, remaining undetected as a sleeper agent of Hydra until Hydra came out in the open.

edit] Appearances

  • 1×14 T.A.H.I.T.I.
  • 1×16 End of the Beginning
  • 1×17 Turn, Turn, Turn
  • 1×18 Providence
  • 1×19 The Only Light in the Darkness (uncredited; flashbacks only)
  • 1×21 Ragtag
  • 1×22 Beginning of the End

edit] Memorable Quotes

1×14 T.A.H.I.T.I.

  • John Garrett: And here I thought I would get to play bad cop.

1×17 Turn, Turn, Turn

  • John Garrett:(smug) Hail Hydra.

edit] Trivia

  • John Garrett is the Supervising Officer of Agents Grant Ward and Antoine Triplett
  • In addition to be shot at in his back and shoulders as well as getting his throat cut once, Garrett’s worst injury is a third degree burn on his neck and upper chest.

edit] References

  2. Brett Dalton on Agent Ward’s New Role, by

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