Jim Ellison

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Name: James J. Ellison
Occupation: police detective
Relationships: father, William; younger brother, Steven; cousin, Rucker Ellison; ex-wife, Carolyn Plummer
Fandom: The Sentinel
Other: also known as Enqueri (as per the Chopec tribe with whom he lived in Peru)[1]
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fanon alert! The cover of the zine, Come to Your Senses, Jim decked out in white socks, art by K9

Jim Ellison is a main character on the television show The Sentinel, played by Richard Burgi. Jim is a "Sentinel," or a person with super senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste). As a police officer, Jim uses his superpower to fight crime, guided by his unofficial partner, Blair Sandburg, the other half of the popular slash pairing Jim/Blair. Most of the fanfic and fannish discussion centers around his Sentinel abilities, his work as a detective, and the relationships in his life (or lack thereof.)

Special Powers

Jim's super senses often help him in his police work; he is able to see small details, overhear conversation without use of listening devices, track criminals, and perceive other helpful information. His super sight also seems to give him perfect aim. [2] However, these senses don't seem to stop Jim from dropping his gun repeatedly. Some fic challenges have been made where Jim's senses are the point of the challenge, whether they be the subject of Blair's testing, some known drawback, or Jim's use of said senses to fight crime. Much discussion has also been made regarding just how far Jim's senses extend.


Jim is portrayed as an upstanding paragon of justice with an unshakeable sense of right. He can tend to be set in his ways and standoffish. His reserve can make him seem unemotional, but he is affectionate and loyal with his closest friends.

The fannish Jim is often depicted as a clam.


In the pilot it is stated that he is a part of a "team from 7th Group" and Jim states he is ODA 731 (Operational Detachment - A Team 7th Special Forces Group, 3rd Battalion, 1st company) when he is found. Canon repeatedly states that he is an Army Ranger and participated in "Covert Ops". 7th group is Army Special Forces - Green Beret. His perceived military background is relevant in various fanfics.

Fandom Reaction

As a character, Jim suffers a lot from fannish Hero Bashing.

Within the Jim/Blair sector of the fandom, some fans self-identified as "Jimbabes" or "Blairbabes" in the late 1990s.

In slash fiction, fannish opinion diverges on whether Jim is a natural top or a natural bottom. Meghan Black established a popular page called Born to Bottom, listing her favorite "bottom!Jim" stories, which served as the inspiration for similar recs pages in other fandoms.


While the vast majority of slash fanworks depict a Jim/Blair pairing, Jim is sometimes matched with others.

  • Jim/Simon: one example: A New Understanding by Summer Rain.
  • Jim/Blair/Rafe
  • Jim/Blair/Simon
  • Jim/Blair/Megan
  • Jim/Jack Pendergrast
  • the occasional Jim/OFC

Canon or Fanon

  • Name - James J. Ellison. Popular fanon consensus is that the "J" stands for "Joseph".
  • Family relationships - Canon shows that Jim has a tense relationship with his father, William and that he was estranged from his brother, Steven, for fifteen years. Both relationships are canonically reconciled. Whereabouts of Jim's mother is unknown in canon. Fanon has developed these relationships into varying degrees of extremes, usually showing Jim's family as being disapproving of his relationship with Blair, often to the detriment of said family ties.
  • Jim stops breathing when he is in a deep zone-out - Mostly fanon. The biggest canonical danger from a zone-out appears to be that Jim loses his ability to sense anything else but what he's focused on -- like whether a garbage truck is headed for him because he focused on a Frisbee's flight. However in the episode Rogue, when Jim zones out on the minefield, Blair tells him to breathe so it could be implied - "Come on, Jim. Jim, come on. Breathe, buddy".
  • Jim loves white socks - a discussion on the RBFC Yahoo!Group in 2000 mentioned that Richard Burgi was asked about this (either at a convention or during an interview) and gave the, possibly tongue-in-cheek response that it was to "dork him up a bit."[3]. Nothing specifically exists in canon that states Jim has a preference for white over any other color of socks, so, fanon.
  • Blair physically grounds Jim's senses - Again, fanon; "grounding" is never mentioned, and in canon the two men don't touch each other more than usual.
  • Jim's Singing Senses - Fanon trope that Jim's senses sing/are enhanced when he is around Blair Sandburg.
  • Jim can tell if people are lying by listening to their heartbeat/Jim can pick out a specific heartbeat in a crowd - In the series, Jim is shown listening to people's heartbeats, but the canon shows only that he can tell if someone's sleeping or tense.
  • Jim was a medic in the Army - canon; specific mention of his being a medic is made. As a Ranger, he would have also been trained in first aid and how to stabilize someone under battle conditions until help arrived.
  • Jim was a loner and a hard-ass before Blair met him - Canon shows that he was a loner and hard-ass before he met Jack Pendergrast, his first partner in the Cascade PD. Jack taught him what being a partner meant. Jim was friends with Simon Banks before he met Blair, and he had other friends. He was still friendly with his ex-wife when the series starts.[4]
  • Jim told Blair to 'check his humanity at the door - Blair used that phrase in the show, although Jim didn't disagree.
  • Jim needs Blair to be nearby or else he can't use his senses well - This is fanon; canon shows Jim uses his senses plenty of times without Blair in range, including several undercover assignments where Blair couldn't be near Jim even if he wanted to be.[5][6] [7] [8]
  • Jim can sense ghosts - Canon has Jim seeing a ghost[9], but whether this is strictly Sentinel-sense related is debatable.
  • Jim calls Blair 'Chief' - Canon, but Jim's use of the nickname is not exclusive.
  • Jim's Cascade PD Sweatshirt - Nowhere in the show is Jim shown owning said sweatshirt, much less that the Cascade PD has any for sale. Fanon has Blair borrowing it constantly.
  • Jim's role as Blair's "Blessed Protector." - In the tag for Cypher, Blair teases Jim with that title, but it's not referred to again in canon. Fanon has developed this role into a full-fledged position, complete with jealousy, rage, and consequences.
  • Jim's not open-minded - This is a point of debate among fans. His experiences with living with the Chopec imply a degree of willingness to adapt; he's willing to listen to Blair's myriad theories, even if he sometimes disagrees with them. At the same time, he's a detective, trained to look for factual evidence, something Blair doesn't always have to give.

Notable Fanworks


  • other Jim-centric fiction?

Fan Art


See Category:Sentinel Vids.

Notes & References

  1. ^ Season 3, episode 1, "Warriors"
  2. ^ See season 1, episode 1, "The Switchman", in which he shoots a bullet down the barrel of another gun, among others.
  3. ^ RBFC Yahoo!Group
  4. ^ Nightowl's "Canon? Or Fanon?" page
  5. ^ Inside Man transcript
  6. ^ Vendetta transcript
  7. ^ Prisoner X transcript
  8. ^ Kat's Canon vs. Fanon page
  9. ^ The Waiting Room