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

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Episode complete credited cast:
Marlee Matlin ... Jennifer Winter
Robert Wisden ... Sam Winter
Larry Drake ... Robert Vitale
Ken Camroux-Taylor 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

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Release Date:

16 July 1995 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »


When Jennifer and Robert begin to trace the hidden message, Robert begins tracing above and to the right of Jennifer. When the completed message is shown, Robert's original part of the trace is no longer visible. See more »


[last lines]
The Control Voice: There is no sound, no voice, no cry in all the world that can be heard... until someone listens.
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User Reviews

A craftily written science fiction drama, suitable for children
14 May 2014 | by tombrodySee all my reviews

THE MESSAGE is a science fiction movie featuring Marlee Matlin as a deaf schoolteacher, Robert Wisden as her husband, and Larry Drake is a janitor in a hospital. The janitor was formerly an astrophysicist knowledgeable in computer programing and laser technology, but he fell upon hard times, and was forced to take the janitor job.

The story is about a woman who receives an implant in her ear that is supposed to restore hearing. However, this particular implant does not work properly, and the result is that the woman "hears" strange things. She writes down what she "hears" and the result is a series of X's and O's. She writes down thousands and thousands of X's and O's. The woman works in a school for deaf children, and her experience is first disclosed when she is teaching the class using the blackboard. The camera shows her from a side-view angle, busily jotting things down on the blackboard. The viewer cannot see what she is writing. One of the children senses that something is wrong, and she runs out for help. The school principal returns, and the viewer sees that the blackboard is filled with lines of X's and O's.

As one might expect, things go downhill for Marlee, since almost nobody believes her claim that she is really hearing things. The fact that the X's and O's are, at first glance, devoid of any sense, reinforces skepticism about Marlee's claims that she is really hearing actual things. Her doctor proscribes her with an anti-psychotic drug called MOROXYDOL. (I looked this up, and I found it amusing that there does not exist any drug called MOROXYDOL. It was made up solely for this episode of Outer Limits!!!) The janitor immediately recognizes the many X's and O's as binary code, and he transcribes them to his computer. As the story unfolds, Marlee's husband grows increasingly skeptical regarding her wife's mental health, and the janitor becomes increasingly devoted to decoding the series of X's and O's. Regarding the code, the unfolding plot shows that the meaning of the code is similar to that in CONTACT, a movie starring Jodie Foster. (Don't worry, I do NOT give away the ending.) THE MESSAGE does not have any violence, bad words, disturbing computer graphics, or concupiscence. Thus, this story is fine for children. THE MESSAGE was released in 1995, hence, people interested in following the career of Marlee Matlin will be pleased to view this movie (remember, it was in 1986 that she starred in CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD). The storyline of THE MESSAGE is not particularly clever, and not astonishingly unique, relative to the best of the OUTER LIMITS stories from the 1990's. However, THE MESSAGE is a cute little movie, and I am glad that I watched it.

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