Pater Familias

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For the Latin term, see Pater familias.
"Pater Familias"
Ghost Whisperer episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 18
Directed by John Gray
Written by John Gray
Production code 318
Original air date May 16, 2008 (US, Canada)
Episode chronology
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Episode chronology

"Pater Familias", or "Pater Families" is the third season finale of Ghost Whisperer, it originally aired on May 16, 2008 on CBS in United States. All main cast appears in the final episode of season three. This episode marked John Gray's departure from the series as executive producer, although he continued to write and direct episodes for the rest of the run.


Continued from the previous episode, Melinda bursts in to Tom Gordon’s hotel room, where it appears that he has attempted to take his own life. Tom is rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but survives. Melinda, still working under the assumption that Paul Eastman is seeking revenge for being wrongly convicted of murder, figures that Tom had been possessed by Paul during the suicide attempt. However, when she confronts Paul and asks him to leave Tom alone, Paul leads Melinda to his own body, which is buried in the house Melinda grew up in. This leads to even more questions about Tom’s involvement with Paul and as Melinda peels away the layers of lies Tom has told her she finally learns the horrible truth. It turns out that Melinda’s mother had been madly in love and engaged to Paul when he was accused of murder, which was how she met Tom. After Paul was convicted, she explained to Tom that she and Paul could see ghosts, and that’s how he had found the little boy’s body. Tom, who turns out to be a total sociopath, promised to help get Paul out of prison, but secretly did nothing to help Paul so he could endear himself to Melinda’s mother and eventually marry her. When Paul finally escaped and confronted Tom at his house, Tom killed him and buried him in his basement. Topping it all off, Melinda discovers that Tom isn’t even her father, but that Paul Eastman is. In the end Tom tries to kill Melinda but Paul saves her by killing Tom. In the very last scene Melinda and her mother, Jim, Delia, Ned and Professor Payne wait to cross the road and they realize that there are only 5 shadows for the 6 of them, which we later learn is a sign from the Watchers for someone's death.


Main cast[edit]

Guest Starring[edit]

  • David Farkas as Young Tom Gordon[1]
  • Haley Alexis Pollos as Young Melinda[1]
  • Kirk B.R. Woller as Dr. Farrington[1]
  • Corin Nemec as Masked Man/Paul Eastman[1]
  • Anne Archer as Beth Gordon[1]
  • Nick Jameson as Sean[1]
  • Sarah Jaye as Young Beth Gordon[1]


  • Afemo Omilami as Archivist[1]
  • Martin Donovan as Tom Gordon[1]
  • Chris Sanders as Ned Banks[1]

Production notes[edit]

The series is based on the work of "Spirit Communicator" James Van Praagh,[2] who is co-executive producer[3] and constantly updates a blog about the show through CBS.[4] The stories are also said to be based in part on the work of "Spirit Communicator" Mary Ann Winkowski.[5] Development of the show dates back to at least two years before its premiere.[6] The show is currently produced by Sander/Moses Productions in association with CBS Paramount Network Television (originally CBS Productions in season 1) and ABC Studios (originally Touchstone Television in the first 2 seasons). The show is filmed on the Universal Studios back lot in Hollywood.[7] One area on the lot is Courthouse Square from the Back to the Future trilogy, though it has been drastically modified to portray Grandview. For example, the clock tower present in Back to the Future has been completely covered up. Cast and crew members also believe that the set gets visits from real spirits.[8] Sound effects are completed at Smart Post Sound[9] and special effects at Flash Film Works.[10] The hair stylist for the show’s protagonist, Melinda Gordon (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt), was 5 time Emmy award nominated hair designer Michael Reitz.