Ed Straker

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Ed Straker
Cmdr. Ed Straker
Actor Ed Bishop
Gender Male
S.H.A.D.O. Commander in Chief
Occupation  USAF Colonel (Military Intelligence)
Astronaut and Fighter Pilot
Rank Commander
Spouse(s) Mary Rutland (formerly Mary Straker, 1970-1977, divorced)
Children John Rutland (*1977, +1984)
Nationality U.S. American


Ed Straker refers to himself as being an American from Boston[1]. No exact birthdate is given for him, 1980 he is 37-38 years old, which means he was born in the year 1942. The only reference to a date is September, 21st[2], though this is no hard canon fact.

There is not that much more known about him. He graduated with a degree in Astrophysics, and did two years of lunar research at MIT[3], and used to be a USAF fighter pilot before he was trained as an astronaut[4], at one point at least with the NASA. Shortly before the incidents of Identified he joined the Military Intelligence and started working as an aide to General James L. Henderson[5]. In 1970 the General and he were actively researching the UFO incident with Leila and Peter Carlin[6] and meeting the British minister. Their car was attacked and the minister killed, James Henderson badly injured. By then he held the rank of a full bird Colonel of the USAF.

December 1970 he married his British fiancée Mary. The day after the marriage he was asked to represent Gen. Henderson at a UNO meeting [7]. He attends the meeting instead of flying to his honeymoon in Greece with his wife. A few days later he is voted for Commander of S.H.A.D.O. and tasked to build the organisation and Headquarters[8]. He and his wife move close to where HQ is being planned and buy a large house.

Summer 1976, despite his punishing workload, Mary falls pregnant. His long absences from home result in an observation by a private investigator, instigated by his mother-in-law. The P.I. photographs him meeting with Nina Barry in what appears to be an adulterous situation (though it is only a staff meeting at her flat). His son John is born by a Caesarean section in spring 1977, after Straker and Mary had a grave row over her wish to leave him, ending with him hitting her and Mary falling down the staircase. He is incapable of staying with Mary right after the birth, and Mary divorces him, taking the child with her. S.H.A.D.O. HQ becomes operational that summer. Mary subsequently remarries and changes John's surname to that of the new husband[9]. Straker has strictly monitored visitation rights only[10].

When John is about seven years old he is run over by a car, contracts a life-threatening infection and needs a new kind of antibiotics. Straker overrides the offer of John's stepfather Steven Rutland to hire a plane. Instead he orders a transport to bring the drug to London. Due the possibility of capturing an alien willing to defect the transport is delayed, the drug does not arrive and his son John dies. Straker has the chance to re-divert the transport and does not do that[11].

Marriage(s) and Liaison(s)

Family and Children

With his wife Mary the Commander had a son called John, born 1977, in the spring of the year[12] S.H.A.D.O. became basically functional. John dies after an accident in 1984. He and his father enjoyed a loving relationship, curtailed in time by strict visitation rules. Straker gave his son a model boat to build, which the child had finished by the time he died. Straker took John on tours of the studio. John's surname had been changed to Rutland without Straker's knowledge.

Nothing is known of Straker's farther family except he was born and raised in Boston, most likely in a family of prosperous, educated and catholic background. His mannerisms and behaviour point towards being an only child or a latecomer with siblings already out of the house.


Straker has very few friends, and those people he has connected with all are colleagues or ex-colleagues.

Craig Collins
Alec Freeman
Paul Foster

Interaction with Colleagues

General James L. Henderson
Colonel Alec Freeman
Colonel Paul Foster
Colonel Virginia Lake
Dr. Doug Jackson
Miss Ealand

Personality and Skills

Insignia and Ribbons

Cmdr. Straker wears a variety of insignia, medals and ribbons when seen in uniform in flashbacks (Identified, Confetti Check A-O.K.). The majority of these insignia make no or little sense, most of them are worn either on the wrong side (Missileman Badge[13]) or belong to units entirely removed from the stated canon background or are even outside of his age range. Their assembly makes so little sense, that all one can derive from them is that he earned himself ribbons and medals and was assigned somewhere, and they are basically a plot-hole[14].

Significant Quotes and Trivia

Defining Episodes and Memorable Scenes

His final conquest of the claustrophobia he has suffered for many years Sub-Smash

Speculative, Canon-Based Backstory

There are quite a few speculative backstories of Cmdr. Straker around. All of them are fan-written, some are totally fictive[15], and most try to come up with a logical career for him. Unfortunately at the same time most of them are not really true to established canon facts, which make a typical military biography difficult for Straker. That starts with his rather young age during the main part of UFO, which clashes with normal, minimal promotion periods (time in grade) of the US Air Force, and often ends with disregarding some of what has directly been said or shown about his past life in the show.

Speculative backstories (or early biographies) heeding all basic canon facts:

Original Timeline
Ret-conned Timeline

Myths and Fanon

List of Episodes

Identified, Computer Affair, Flight Path, Exposed, Survival, Conflict, The Dalotek Affair, A Question of Priorities, Ordeal, The Responsibility Seat, The Square Triangle, Court Martial, Close Up, Confetti Check A-O.K., E.S.P., Kill Straker!, Sub-Smash, The Sound of Silence, The Cat With Ten Lives, Destruction, The Man Who Came Back, The Psychobombs, Reflections in the Water, Timelash, Mindbender, The Long Sleep


  1. Cmdr. Straker says this in an answer to Mr. Clark in The Cat With Ten Lives
  2. Grey canon! This is the date he himself gives in an unfilmed script named The Patriot
  3. 37:01 Paul Foster in Exposed
  4. In Exposed Col. Paul Foster cites these facts, reading from a newspaper he received from Janna Wade
  5. In Confetti Check A-O.K. his wife Mary refers to his work in the Military Intelligence repeatedly.
  6. Identified
  7. The seemingly blind Henderson asks him in Confetti Check A-O.K.
  8. Henderson asks him in Confetti Check A-O.K., still in a wheelchair
  9. Straker calls the hospital in A Question of Priorities and discovers that John is now named Rutland.
  10. In A Question of Priorities Mary reprimands him for being half an hour late!
  11. A Question of Priorities
  12. Mary mentions the date while phoning her mother Confetti Check A-O.K.
  13. This badge is normally worn on the left lower pocket, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missile_Badge
  14. Of course, as it is forbidden to use any completely realistic uniforms and insignia, this is a plot-hole built into all movies and TV programs depicting uniforms. Hence the proper source for such data are direct spoken or written references.
  15. E.g. the one Chris Bentley wrote "The Complete Book of Gerry Anderson's UFO", which is freely invented and contradicts canon and the show's timeline in many places, which is particularly unfortunate, as many fanfic writers have believed in it without critical review in the past.
  16. At the wedding and celebrating Mary's pregnancy Confetti Check A-O.K.
  17. with Alec Freeman in episode E.S.P.

External links

Personal tools
The Ed Straker Herald