Alias returns--and she's got company

ABC promises that when Alias returns to the airwaves after its hiatus, the series will wrap up storylines with the birth of lead character Sydney's baby and the reappearance of a mystery man, Vaughn. In October, the network announced this will be the final season of J.J. Abrams' spy thriller; it returns to the schedule with a two-hour blowout on Wednesday, April 19, at 8 p.m.

Before the show finishes, CIA agent Sydney Bristow, aka Alias, will give birth to the child she conceived with fellow agent Michael Vaughn, played by Michael Vartan. In the cliffhanger finale of season four, Vaughn revealed that he had a secret identity--however, the conversation abruptly ended when they were in a car wreck.

This season, Vaughn was apparently mortally wounded and succumbed to his gunshot wounds while in the hospital, but fans of the series, and of J.J. Abrams' other show, Lost, will know that in this world nothing is quite as it seems. ABC says that Vaughn will be back before the end of the season, but didn't give any more details.

Other plotlines that will be tied up include the outcome of the Rambaldi Prophecy, a "Da Vinci meets Nostradamus" storyline that was started in season one about a 15th-century inventor. The fate of Sydney's sister Nadia will also be decided--Nadia is infected with a virus and has been comatose this entire season.

ABC promises many familiar faces returning to the show, including Sydney's former best friend Will Tippin (Kitchen Confidential's Bradley Cooper), her mother Irina Derevko (Lena Olin), and archnemeses Julian Sark (David Anders) and Anna Espinosa (Gina Torres).

Alias premiered on September 30, 2001, and was an immediate success. Abrams said he originally modeled the character on the female heroine with punk-rock hair from the German film Run Lola Run.

The show won multiple technical Emmys, and star Garner won a Golden Globe for her acting. Ratings plummeted this year after ABC moved it to a different night, away from Wednesday-night ratings champ Lost. The show will celebrate its 100th episode on April 26.

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