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The front cover of Profit DVD.
Format Drama
Starring Adrian Pasdar
Lisa Zane
Keith Szarabajka
Jack Gwaltney
Allison Hossack
Lisa Darr
Lisa Blount
Sherman Augustus
Scott Paulin
Jennifer Hetrick
Country of origin  United States
No. of episodes 8
Executive producer(s) Jo Swerling, Jr
David Greenwalt
John McNamara
Stephen J. Cannell
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel Fox
Original run April 8 – April 29, 1996

Profit is a short-lived American television series that aired on the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series was created by David Greenwalt and John McNamara, and starred Adrian Pasdar as the titular character, Jim Profit. A DVD compilation of aired and unaired episodes was released on August 9, 2005. The unaired episodes were shown publicly for the first time on the Trio cable network in 2002. In February 2008, episodes began airing on Chiller.

Considered by many to be ahead of its time, the show is a precursor to more recent edgy television shows that include Nip/Tuck, Dexter , Mad Men , and House M.D. Dark themes stemming from the villainy of the central character made the show uncomfortable and unfamiliar viewing for mainstream audiences and Fox station affiliates, which ultimately led to the demise of the series.



Jim Profit is a newly promoted employee (following the heart attack death of the former VP of Acquisitions) at Gracen & Gracen (G&G), a multinational corporation that is less than ethical with some of its business practices. That doesn't worry Profit, who has even fewer ethics and isn't above blackmail, bribery, extortion, or even murder to get ahead in the company. Joanne Meltzer, the security chief, Charles "Chaz" Gracen, the president of G&G, his brother Pete, Profit's secretary Gail, and Profit's stepmother (and former lover) Bobbi Stakowski, among others round out the cast of characters. At the end of each episode Profit would directly address the audience and speak to the camera with such poignant quotes as: "The line most people say they won't cross - it's usually something they've already done when they thought no one was watching."

Characters and actors


Main characters

  • Jim Profit (Adrian Pasdar) - born James Stakowski, he was raised in a cardboard G&G shipping box with the television on at all hours by an abusive father in Tulsa, Oklahoma, until he set his father on fire and ran away. The experience left him with a complete hatred of TV and a desire to insinuate himself into the G&G family by any means necessary...but he still sleeps in a G&G shipping box in a secret room of his apartment. Worked in Auditing before ascending to junior-vice president of Acquisitions. He intends to climb the corporate ladder at G&G by secretly engineering the ruin of those who stand in his way and/or refuse to assist him.
  • Joanne Meltzer (Lisa Zane) - the obsessive chief of security for G&G. Had an affair with Jack Walters after his wife had (temporarily) run-off with a lover. Remains loyal to Jack Walters, and admires him as a person. Jack's downfall (engineered by Profit) is the main thing motivating her to stop Profit. She is constantly trying to figure out Profit's motives and master plan, but has her own psychological issues...
  • Charles Henry "Chaz" Gracen (Keith Szarabajka) - the no-nonsense, paranoid, short-tempered chief executive of G&G. Is known to take a different mistress each year. Loves money above all else. Occasionally displays a dark sense of humor.
  • Pete Gracen (Jack Gwaltney) - Chaz's younger brother, and the Senior Vice President of Acquisitions. Long-standing alcoholic. He's also impotent, and seemingly incompetent.
  • Nora Gracen (Allison Hossack) - Pete's insecure, lonely, yet trusting wife. She initially was seduced by Profit, then obsessed over him when he insisted on 'being just friends'. Regards Profit as a close friend and kindred spirit.
  • Gail Koner (Lisa Darr) - Profit's resourceful secretary (was originally Jack Walter's secretary), and primary henchperson. Initially Profit blackmailed her into assisting him in his schemes. However she feels increasingly loyal (or, obligated) to Profit, since he saved her job, covered up her petty embezzlement, and pays 100% of her sick mother's nursing home bills. She also seems to be one of the few characters he shows any care for. In the episodes Cupid and Chinese Box he takes pride in her becoming more and more deceitful and is one of the few people he lets know about his abusive childhood. He at the very least feigns caring in her mother's well being, and says in Chinese Box that he is grooming/paving a way for her to become an executive at G&G.
  • Bobbi Stakowski (Lisa Blount) - Profit's stepmother, and former lover. Heroin addict, alcoholic, and former prostitute. She repeatedly tries to blackmail Profit (with evidence of his patricide, and, other crimes) into financing a luxurious lifestyle for her.
  • Jeffrey Sykes (Sherman Augustus) - a corporate lawyer and the newest member of the G&G team. Sykes takes a more antagonistic approach to Profit.

Recurring characters

  • Jack Walters (Scott Paulin) - the former President of Acquisitions at G&G.
  • Elizabeth Gracen Walters (Jennifer Hetrick) - Jack's wife.
  • Constance Gracen (Teryl Rothery) - Chaz's wife, though she's separated from him.

Guest characters


Episode First US Airdate & Network Writer(s) Summary
"Pilot" (parts 1 and 2) April 8, 1996 / Fox John McNamara & David Greenwalt Jim Profit joins the Gracen and Gracen executive team just as a public scandal erupts from an unethical baby food decision - sparked by a press leak that Profit orchestrated.
"Hero" April 15, 1996 / Fox David Greenwalt Joanne Meltzer and Jack Walters search into Profit's past, while Profit sets up a key plan to dislodge Jack Walters from his senior position at G&G and clear the way for his own promotion.
"Sykes" April 22, 1996 / Fox David Greenwalt Lawyer Jeffrey Sykes is hired by G&G, but his agenda has more to do with G&G and Profit's deal with a local mobster than actually helping the company.
"Healing" April 29, 1996 / Fox John McNamara Joanne and Profit's rivalry comes to a head when Chaz announces that they will both take a lie detector test. Profit tries to mess with Joanne's mind by blackmailing her psychiatrist.
"Cupid" December 6, 2002 / Trio John Shirley G&G wants to acquire a company jointly owned by a separated couple, so Profit is charged with getting them back together - even though the husband is acting rather disingenuously. Bobbi sets her sights on Chaz.
"Chinese Box" December 7, 2002 / Trio W. K. Scott Meyer In order to avoid an imminent FBI investigation, Profit must sever G&G's relationship with a recently-acquired Chinese company by acquiring a codebreaker chip from Dr. Jeremy Batewell. This proves harder than it seems since Gail got him fired from G&G for sexual harassment some time ago.
"Security" December 8, 2002 / Trio John McNamara Profit is having an affair with the newest G&G security team addition - Kelly Hunt. However Ms. Hunt isn't who she appears to be and is a muckraking reporter looking for dirt on G&G.
"Forgiveness" December 9, 2002 / Trio David Greenwalt Profit's manipulations come to a head: A secret from Nora's past may hold the key to derailing a hostile takeover of G&G; Joanne and Sykes come closer to finding out who the "real" Jim Profit was and Bobbi faces a near-death experience that makes her realize what she really wants.


Nominated for a 1996 Artios Award in category "Best Casting for TV, Dramatic Pilot".

DVD release

Anchor Bay Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 on August 9, 2005.


The exterior shots outside the "Gracen & Gracen" twin towers were filmed on the plaza in front of the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel in Vancouver. For production, a "Gracen & Gracen Wall Center" placard was positioned over the covered entrance in front of one building and two G&G logo monuments were placed in the front and center of the plaza. Another part of the same hotel complex now includes the well-known One Wall Centre building that had not yet been constructed when Profit was shot in early 1996.

According to John McNamara on the Profit DVD commentary, the interior G&G office shots for the two-hour pilot episode were taken at the real working office of a large oil company in Vancouver. Subsequent episodes were shot in studio sets modeled after these offices. The scene outside a hospital with Joanne Meltzer and Profit in the episode "Healing" was shot in front of St. Paul's Hospital located just across Burrard Street from the Sheraton Wall Centre. The exterior of Profit's apartment building featuring columnar bay windows up and down the entire front of the building is a location called Eugenia Place in Vancouver's West End; the structure is notable for the presence of a 35-foot Pin oak tree growing on the building's roof, located 180 feet above street level.

What would have happened

David Greenwalt & John McNamara gave details of plotlines from the second season in the commentaries on the DVD.

  • Joanne Meltzer dies early in the first episode of the never-produced second season while in Ireland looking into Profit's background. The phone booth from which she is calling Sykes is set to explode. There is a bomb planted there by the Irish Republican Army. It was to be revealed later that this was done at the behest of Profit.
  • Jim has stolen the identity of a "real" Jim Profit. The "real" Jim Profit is in a coma after he was drowned by the protagonist Jim Profit. Later on, the protagonist would return to finish killing his alias.
  • Charles "Chaz" Gracen has a heart attack while running on his treadmill due to a mild poison Profit slips into Chaz's water bottle. Profit eventually convinces Chaz that his father (who is the Chairman of G&G's Board of Directors) is trying to kill him.
  • Profit engineers the death of Chaz and Pete Gracen's father to help the two brothers reconcile their differences, eliminate a troublemaker on G&G's Board of Directors, and help tighten Profit's control over G&G.
  • Another storyline involved Profit getting a current Senator drunk to the point of blackout, staging a car accident, and convincing the Senator that he had killed someone. These events probably led into a related storyline where Pete Gracen becomes a Senator himself.
  • Pete and Nora Gracen would have divorced.

Also of note is the fact, reported in 2001, that David Greenwalt, who later went on to produce the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off series Angel, once entertained the idea of having Adrian Pasdar reprise his role as Jim Profit in said series. The main villains in Angel were a lawyer company called Wolfram & Hart, and Profit would have joined them. Conflicting working schedules with Pasdar (then the lead on NBC's Mysterious Ways), and the predictable difficulties in securing the rights to use the character prevented this from happening before Angel ended on its fifth season in 2004.[1]


  • According to a documentary on the 2005 DVD, McNamara and Greenwalt came up with the concept for Profit while watching Sir Ian McKellen's production of Richard III set in the 1930s.
  • In the commentary of the 2005 DVD, McNamara and Greenwalt indicated that Fox executives requested that the character of Bobbi Stakowski be revised from Profit's biological mother to the slightly less provocative role as Profit's stepmother.
  • Jim's father idolized the Gracen family as "royalty" and the box that Jim sleeps in bears the name "Gracen & Gracen: The Family Company". This may also explain Jim's motivation to become President of Acquisitions; he wants to grow and nurture the G&G family he is a part of while protecting it from potentially disruptive additions (acquisitions).
  • Profit's traumatic upbringing was based on the childhood of a real-life serial killer, who had been similarly raised in a box with only a television present as described in the nonfiction novel Whoever Fights Monsters - My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler & Tom Shachtman.
  • Stephen J. Cannell, Executive Producer of Profit admits the name "Profit" is a bit of homage to the crazed Mel Profitt character portrayed by Kevin Spacey on the Wiseguy series which Cannell also produced.
  • Stephen J. Cannell reportedly was "shopping" a revival of Profit around July 1996, and said that the cable network Showtime had "shown some interest". A Showtime original series with some similarity to Profit called Dexter premiered 10 years later in 2006; since then Dexter has received numerous awards and widespread critical acclaim. Lisa Darr, who portrayed Jim Profit's assistant Gail Koner, had a small role as a defense attorney in the Dexter season 4 premiere episode called Living the Dream. In the episode she is cross-examining Dexter Morgan and completely destroys Dexter's credibility on the stand; this could be construed as a slight nod to Profit as Gail Koner was constantly manipulated by psychopath Jim Profit and in this episode she takes "revenge" on another psychopath (Dexter) by destroying his credibility.

External links



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