The Outer Limits (1995–2002)
4 user

The Message 

Implants that should've allowed deaf Jennifer Winter to finally hear cause her to receive a binary message no one else can hear. Her husband thinks she's insane. Her friend on meds, Robert, thinks it's an alien distress signal.


Joseph L. Scanlan


Brad Wright




Episode complete credited cast:
Marlee Matlin ... Jennifer Winter
Robert Wisden ... Sam Winter
Larry Drake ... Robert Vitale
Ken Camroux-Taylor ... Dr. Madison (as Ken Camroux)
Kevin McNulty ... Dr. Leiberman


Jennifer Winter is deaf and had great hopes for a cochlear implant but unfortunately it doesn't seem to work. She does begin to hear voices however, whispers more than language, and begins to frantically write what seems to be binary code. Robert Vitale, who works at the hospital, explains binary code to her and when he enters the data on his computer, the result is a message, apparently from an alien being. Jennifer's husband is concerned by his wife's actions and her doctor thinks she might be having a psychotic episode. Jennifer and Robert believe she's received a call for help. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

16 July 1995 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Atlantis Films See more »
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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


This is the first episode of the series not to feature any on-screen deaths or reference deaths which took place prior to the events of the relevant episode. See more »


Robert says that the Earth "revolves" on its own axis. However, the Earth in fact rotates on its axis. See more »


The Control Voice: There is the silence of the oceans and the unending silence of space. There is the welcome silence of serenity and the everlasting silence of death. A cry for help is lost in the shrill noise of the world, but the faintest of whispers, when spoken in silence, can resonate across the universe.
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User Reviews

Nicely Done, Though a Little Much on Technology
17 March 2014 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

This episode is as much about a relationship between a couple of troubled souls as its science fiction element. A young deaf woman (Marlee Matlin who appeared frequently on "The West Wing") finds an implant has failed to bring her hearing back. She is married to an insensitive jerk who has no respect for her feelings. Shortly after her surgery, she begins to receive binary code messages through the implant. There is a scene where she begins to put ones and zeros, along with some x's on the blackboard in front of her hearing impaired students. Doctors, of course, convince her husband that she is having a psychotic episode and needs medications. Meanwhile, as she waits in the hospital, a janitor who has himself been diagnosed with schizophrenia (and who was dismissed as an engineer with NASA, played by Larry Drake). Takes her binary notes home so he can input them on his computer. What follows is a cat and mouse game as the clueless husband refuses to listen to anything his wife tells him, seeing her as dangerous to their child and mentally unbalanced. She and the former engineer realize that they have received messages from an alien life form and it is critical that they build a laser to keep this species from going out of control and destroying themselves. It is a neat and intense episode. The hard part to believe is the incredible machine the two are able to build. They do have pretty limited resources. Also, there is an egalitarianism at work here that will probably get them nothing going forward.

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