The Bionic Woman was a television series which spun off from The Six Million Dollar Man. It starred Lindsay Wagner as Jaime
Sommers, a tennis professional who was nearly killed in a sky diving accident, and was rebuilt by Oscar Goldman
(Richard Anderson) and Dr. Rudy Wells
(Martin E. Brooks), who had also rebuilt The Six Million Dollar Man. As the result of her operation, Jaime Sommers had amplified hearing, a greatly strengthened right arm, and enhanced legs, enabling her to run faster than a speeding car.
The series ran on the American Broadcasting Company from 1976 to 1977 and on NBC from 1977 to 1978.
Jaime Sommers and Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man, had been engaged prior to his career as an astronaut, but had drifted apart.
Jaime first appeared in a two-part episode of The Six Million Dollar Man in 1975 entitled "The Bionic Woman." In this episode, Austin travels to his old hometown of Ojai, California to visit with his parents and take a vacation from his work. During his visit, he rekindles his old relationship with Jaime Sommers, now one of America's top tennis players. Their relationship progresses rapidly to the point where Austin proposes marriage.
During an outing, Steve and Jaime take part in some skydiving. However, Jaime's parachute malfunctions and she plummets through a clump trees and hits the ground. Her injuries are extensive and she is not expected to live. Austin makes an emotional plea to his boss, Oscar Goldman, who agrees to assign Dr. Rudy Wells and the bionics team to rebuild her.
Jaime's body is reconstructed with parts similar to Austin's, but smaller. The actual cost of rebuilding her is not revealed but is said to be less than the $6 million it cost to rebuild Austin. (However, the German dub of the show changes this - the show itself is called The 7 Million Dollar Woman, breaking down to $2 million for each leg and her arm, and the ear at $1 million.) Jaime is given two bionic legs and her right arm is also replaced. In addition, her right ear is augmented by a bionic device that gives her the ability to hear a whisper a mile away. Jaime recovers well from her operation and even threatens to upstage Steve in some areas. Over Austin's initial objections, Jaime agrees to go on a mission for Oscar Goldman. But during the mission, her bionics malfunction and she begins experiencing mental instability and blinding headaches.
Dr. Wells determines that Jaime's body is rejecting her bionic implants. Soon after, she goes berserk and crashes her way out of the hospital. Steve takes pursuit and eventually catches up with her, where she collapses in his arms. Soon after, Jaime appears to die on the operating table, her body shutting down. The downbeat episode ends with Austin weeping at her memory.
The character was so popular that the next season it was revealed that Jaime hadn't died after all, although Steve Austin was not informed of this fact. He discovers it when he is hospitalized at Dr. Wells' bionic clinic after a mission goes bad and he suffers severe damage to his bionic legs; he sees Jaime as he is being rolled into the operating room for repair. Eventually, Jaime is revived from a coma and the rejection issue appears to have been resolved. An unfortunate side-effect, however, was she developed amnesia that caused her to forget her relationship to Austin; any attempts to make her remember her life with Steve causes her headaches and pain. Steve reluctantly let her go on to live her own life, as an agent for the OSI.
Jaime, now retired as a tennis player, took a job as a schoolteacher in Ojai. She lived in a converted farmhouse rented from Austin's mother and stepfather, who were aware of her and Steve's bionic nature and their double lives as secret agents. In later episodes, Jaime adopted Maximillion, a german shepherd that had been given bionic legs and jaw. He was an experiment to see if trained animals could benefit from bionics. She also worked frequently with Austin on missions and the two reestablished their friendship, although no romance resulted initially.
Her most noted enemies were the Fembots, a line of powerful androids that Jaime fought twice in the series.
Jaime's bionic abilities were depicted as being similar to Austin's. She could run in excess of 60 mph, could bend steel bars with her right arm and could jump great heights with her new legs. In one episode, Kill Oscar (Part 1), we see illustrated the limits of her abilities. After jumping out of a particularly tall building to escape the Fembots, Jaime's legs exploded upon impact when her legs' shock absorption function was overwhelmed. Instead of an artificial eye, her right ear is an extremely sensitive implant that can detect most sounds regardless of volume or frequency. As it is encased in her body, it is also typically not subject to the negative effects extreme cold has on bionic implants.
In later years, the love between Jaime and Steve rekindled and this was further explored in three made-for-TV reunion movies in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The first reunion, "The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman," introduces Steve Austin's son, Michael.
Jaime Sommers and Steve Austin are reunited after ten years of living separate lives. Jaime's memory is fully restored and she tries to reconcile her feelings for Steve. Steve also tries to build a relationship with his 23-year-old estranged son Michael, who is now an Air Force pilot. Michael is critically injured in a tragic jet crash. Dr. Rudy Wells rebuilds him with state-of-the-art bionic replacements. The radical group Fortress captures Rudy and Michael with plans to build their own bionic army to take over the United States. Jaime and Steve stop them along with the help of Michael and the Air Force.
In one of these films, a new "Bionic Woman" was introduced (played by Sandra Bullock) a paraplegic whose entire body essentially becomes bionic after receiving an extensive series of next generation bionic implants that did not require the replacement of whole limbs.
In the final reunion film, Bionic Ever After?, a computer virus corrupts Jaime's bionic systems. Dr. Wells informs Steve that "she may never be bionic again," which suits Steve just fine only in that he wants her alive above all else. She undergoes a major upgrade, which not only increases the power of her bionics but gives her night vision. Finally after so many years of waiting around, the bionic couple say their I Do's.
- From Wikipedia