|Created by||Ben Affleck
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of episodes||7 (aired)|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original network||ABC, CTV|
|Original release||September 17 – October 24, 2002|
Push, Nevada is an American mystery television series set in the fictional town of Push, Nevada. It premiered on September 17, 2002 on the ABC network, and ran for 7 episodes before it became one of the first shows to be cancelled during the Fall 2002 season.
Created by Ben Affleck and Sean Bailey (co-producer of Project Greenlight), Push, Nevada was unique in that it offered viewers a chance to follow along and solve the mystery of Push for a prize of $1,045,000. Each episode contained clues, from web addresses in the opening credits to specific phrases uttered by characters in the show, each having its own significance to the mystery.
24-year-old New Jersey resident Mark Nakamoto won the grand prize, calling a special number within just two minutes of the last clue being given during an airing of Monday Night Football. The show's cancellation came about two weeks before the final clue was given, but U.S. law required that the contest continue until its conclusion.
The show followed a mild-mannered IRS agent, Jim Prufrock (Derek Cecil), as he travelled to the mysterious desert town of Push, Nevada. While conducting an investigation of a sizable accounting error made by the Versailles Casino, Jim begins to realize that there may be stranger things going on in this town than embezzlement. Despite frequent warnings from a 'Slo-dancer', Mary, (Scarlett Chorvat) to leave town before he's in too deep, Jim continues to investigate the strange town where a lot of things don't seem to add up. After many unpleasant incidents, and with the help of his faithful secretary, Grace, Jim discovers that no one in Push, Nevada has filed an income tax return since 1985. There's also a clandestine corporation known as Watermark, LLC., that appears to control every financial facet of the town, as well as local law enforcement and even forces in the federal government. With the help of Shadrack, Mary Sloman, Caleb Moore, Job, and others who appear to be less crooked in town, Jim begins to unravel the mystery surrounding the missing million (and Bible), and the strange behavior of Push's residents.
It should be noted, however, that by the final episode, Jim never finds out about the contents of the North Wing of Martha's Boarding House, or that his father, Alfred (presumed dead since Jim was a child), was the sender of the mysterious fax that first sent him to Push, Nevada.
Each of the 13 originally planned episodes was to have a clue word or phrase embedded into it. This word was repeated and hidden several times throughout the episode. For example, the clue for the 7th episode Jim's Domain was "www.toyota18.com", and that web address was seen throughout the episode as the address of the Carson City IRS, spelled out by letters on stacks of books and boxes, and hidden as an acronym of the news headline "Why Would We Drive Or Take Taxis? One Young Orphan Takes An 18 Day Outing To Climb Oracle Mountain".
After the 6th episode aired, the clues for the remaining 6 unaired episodes were shown, and viewers were told that the final clue would be revealed during the October 28, 2002 episode of Monday Night Football.
The complete list of episode clues was:
- peter pan
- morse code
The final clue given during Monday Night Football was "Spaces and punctuation count. Don't count the first episode. Then 5th place, 1st, 9th, 1st, 5th, 7th, 4th, 1st, 2nd, 7th, 5th, and 2nd places in order." By taking the appropriate letters from each episode (5th letter of "television" is V, 1st letter of "orange" is O, etc.), the word VONGEYELNAIL was spelled. Replacing EYE with the letter I (as a sign in the background of the clue instructed) produced the word VONGILNAIL, which translates into the phone number 866-445-6245. The first person to call that phone number won the contest.
Cast of Characters
- Jim Prufrock: a mild-mannered IRS agent who travelled to Push, Nevada to investigate a fax that was accidentally sent to his office.
- Mary Sloman: a 'Slo-dancer' at the local bar who seems to have a great interest in Jim's well-being.
- Grace: Jim's enigmatic secretary at the IRS.
- Silas Bodnick: a rude, little, bald man who's been skimming approximately a million dollars from the Versailles Casino each year. He's involved with Watermark LLC, but has no idea how powerful they really are.
- Dwight Sloman: a crooked businessman, owner of many of Push's establishments (including the Versailles Casino, and the Slo-Dance Bar), and as we find out later, he is Mary's incestuous father.
- Caleb Moore: body-temp-deficient local who helps Bodnick steal the money and Bible from the Versailles safe.
- BRB: a strange truck driver, who picks up Jim in the desert after his car breaks down. BRB is also involved with Watermark.
- Job: an "honest mechanic" in the town of Push. He tows and fixes Jim's car after it breaks down - - for free.
- Martha: the owner and operator of Martha's Boarding House. She seems to have known Jim's father, Alfred, from her Slo-Dancing days.
- Ira Glassman: Jim's boss at the IRS. Ira is a Yes-man. He does what he's told by his superiors, and apparently cannot think for himself. Ira felt comfortable enough with Jim's visit on their first encounter by wrapping up the meeting with "let's grab an Arby's".
- Sheriff Gaines: a moron. His idiocy could be the result of blind obedience to the Watermark boys. Clearly, they control him.
- Dawn: at first, Dawn appears to be a flakey, quirky Sheriff's Deputy. Later, we learn she is an agent from the U.S. Treasury, investigating Dwight Sloman.
- Shadrack: an eccentric, desert artist. Shadrack used to be a city official in Push, before Watermark took over. He also used to know Jim's father, as well.
- Darlene: Jim's soon to be ex-wife. She has more addictions than she has money, so between drunken one-night-stands, she calls Jim for more money, which he actually sends. Later, Watermark does their voo-doo on Darlene, and she transforms herself into the perfect little house-wife, trying to woo Jim back into her arms (and out of Push, Nevada).
- Delilah: a former Slo-Dancer, now BRB's wife. She's under Watermark's mind-control, but senses there is something wrong with her own behavior.
- Oswald Wilkes: Silas Bodnick's killer (with the serpent tattoo).
- The Well Dressed Men: those three expensive suited, Lexus driving corporate-thugs. They are the go-between for Watermark and Dwight Sloman. They handle Watermark's Public Relations, as well, through persuasive suggestion.
- Michael Sudris: Job's tattoo-artist friend (Finally, thanks to the Push Experiment book that still lingers in cyberspace, we know his name). He tattoos Jim's back with, "Death & Taxes". He couldn't handle the mind-control attempts of Watermark when they first began in Push. He flipped out one day, and moved to Demonhead Flatts in his trailer/tattoo parlor, to smoke peyote, and never watch TV again.