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Canon: Level 3 | Timeline: Sarah Connor Chronicles [3]
"What model are you? Are you new? You seem... different".
- John Connor.

Cameron Phillips is a reprogrammed Terminatrix sent from the year 2027 to protect John Connor and his mother, Sarah Connor. Cameron is an advanced model and is admittedly different from all others.[4] Cameron's living tissue model template was based on Allison Young, a human Resistance fighter close to John Connor; this allowed her to replace Allison in an attempt to infiltrate John's camp.[5] Cameron is the most realistic cyborg yet encountered, with detailed programming of social behavior.


"Thank you for explaining".
- Cameron

Cameron flirting with John Connor in the Pilot episode

Although Cameron was capable of pretending to be a human when approaching John in the pilot episode, befriending John and even flirting, she no longer displays this behavior. Since Cromartie's attack on John in the pilot episode, she has remained relatively emotionless and has thus far proved to have poor social skills when she and John return to school in the third episode. This regression of abilities is explained as her "mission" in "Pilot" was to acquire and ingratiate herself with John, having done so the majority of her time is spent as a protector, and her "girlishness" is an extraneous factor.[6]

She has been shown mimicking the behavior of others, such as the Latina lookout from the second episode, providing a baseline for her current behavior. This is also shown in the fifth episode when she impersonates the voice of a distressed student she met just prior to the girl committing suicide. Cameron's initial interactions with John were part of a program designed specifically to get close to him. Therefore, once her identity was revealed, she was no longer required to follow the program and reverted to her base settings.101


Practicing ballet

When John comments on the differences between her behaviors at different points, she replies, "I fooled you."103 At times she also displays awkward humor, such as in the fifth episode when she and John are entering a vehicle driven by Sarah. John, wanting to ride in the front passenger seat, calls out "I call shotgun," to which Cameron responds, "I call nine-millimeter." In the episode "The Demon Hand," Cameron is shown performing a complex ballet dance for no apparent reason, a feat that even moved a watching Derek to tears. This, coupled with a line in the same episode by a ballet teacher that "dance is the hidden language of the soul", suggest that Cameron may be more than the soulless machine John claimed her to be in "Vick's Chip". She even seems possibly materialistic; when the Connor house is robbed in 'Brothers of Nabulus' she seems concerned about the loss of her leather jacket and it is the first thing she demands back when the protagonists find the thieves.


Displaying human behavior

Despite her display of human characteristics, Cameron remains a machine following programming, and as such often displays behavior that would be considered cold-blooded or callous in humans, such as her killing of Enrique Salceda in "Gnothi Seauton", in "The Demon Hand" allowing Dmitri Shipkov and his sister, Maria, to be murdered (it is implied that since she had no instructions to either kill or protect the two, she did nothing), in "The Turk" she prevents John from preventing a girl from committing suicide so as not to draw attention to himself, and in "What He Beheld" she kills and stuffs the false Sarkissian's goon in the trunk of his Mercedes to protect John.

Sarah Connor is shown on several occasions having to order Cameron not to kill people and reprimanding her when she commits acts of violence.102 There have been, however, moments in which Cameron has shown signs that she may be learning the value of human life; in "Vick's Chip", she senses that she has offended Sarah when she refers to a murder victim as being just "bones and meat" and in "What He Beheld" she chooses not to kill Carlos' girlfriend.

Cameron has been called "Tin Man" and "Tin-Miss", referencing the Tin-Man from L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz.102/105 The Tin-Man's journey to find a heart reflects Cameron's growing understanding, and emulation, of what it means to be human. At the conclusion of Baum's story the Tin-Man discovers that he had a heart all along, from Cameron's point of view this might suggest that she is already capable of being human but has yet to discover this fact.


Cameron after shooting Enrique

When someone explains something to Cameron that she is unfamiliar with, such as mourning one's death, the human imagination, or phrases that don't take their literal meaning, she responds with "Thank you for explaining."100 Another aspect of Cameron's personality that has yet to be explored is her apparent fashion sense, as she is seen in a wide range of outfits during the series (as opposed to most previous terminators who generally wore a single outfit).100 But from the point of view of the television show, to present a female, teenage terminator with a wide range of outfits is simply the logical thing to do - her charm would be greatly diminished if she only wears a black biker/military outfit throughout. It may also due to her condition of living with the Connors rather than embarking on a short mission with them (as the T-800 in T2 and T3 was doing).

TSCC 2x01 Samson Delilah bts 5

Cameron reverted to Skynet's programming: Terminate John Connor

As a result of the car bomb, Cameron has suffered extensive damage, resulting in compromising her CPU chip's integrity, leading to "glitches" in her personality that make her unpredictable and sometimes dangerous. Under the glitches, she would experience memory loss, delay in decision making and in worse cases reversion into her former mission of terminating John Connor. During the brief reversion to her Skynet settings, Cameron demonstrates her near-perfect mimicry of human behavior by tearfully begging John not to remove her chip, even going so far as to say that she loves him. Though it is likely that this was just a ploy to deceive John, it is not a stretch to consider that Cameron was genuinely concerned for her own well-being.201 However, Josh Friedman himself stated in the DVD commentary that Cameron really loves John. Cameron also appears to have adopted her "Pilot" demeanor as she is seen to be more in touch with her human characteristics after the events in "Samson & Delilah", bringing her full circle.202

Although Cameron probably just rebooted normally the second time after the explosion and so her reprogramming is loaded correctly, she may have made the conscious decision to not kill John, despite the demands of her Skynet programming. John is unable to repair her chip in any fashion, which rules out the possibility of outside interference. Cameron also clearly hesitated for several seconds while pointing a gun at John, the termination order flashing in her HUD before the appearance of a termination override order replaced it. For Cameron to be able to override her own pre-programmed settings, it would show that she is quite possibly above any restriction enforced upon her and that it is her desire to protect John.

Another interesting observation is that Cameron appears to be developing a sense of pride in her accomplishments. This is seen most predominantly during the "pool scene" in "Automatic for the People", after which she smiles with smug satisfaction at having won a $50 bet. This can also be seen during her and Sarah's initiation into the Serrano Point nuclear power plant, wherein it is implied that Cameron hacked the employee database and created two vacancies for herself and Sarah. When the personnel manager comments on this, Cameron smiles faintly.202

Cameron has also started to demonstrate dissatisfaction with her recent duties, which have included menial tasks such as grocery shopping, something that makes very little use of her skills. Her mild annoyance is often expressed towards John, as she gives him several looks of aggravation when he treats her as subservient.203/204


Cameron crying when talking to the social worker

When she loses her memory in "Allison from Palmdale", Cameron demonstrates that she is capable of appearing to show genuine emotion as she is seen crying when talking to Rita, the social worker, anger towards John when he tries to remind her of what she is, and multiple instances of joy while in Jody's company. She also displays fear when confronted by a man who threatens to assault her and Jody, resulting in Cameron begging him not to and giving him a stack of money. As her machine side starts to resurface, it becomes apparent that Cameron's ability to express emotions is controlled by her programming.

Due to her parroting nature, Cameron seems to base her personality on those around her, taking aspects from various subjects and combining them to create her own unique persona. When she was pairing with Derek Reese, for example, she mirrors his personality by being more curt and reckless. When she was near Sarah, she was kinder and warmer. Another interesting observation is Cameron's overall demeanor as influenced by her current mission. When she was programmed to protect John, Cameron was more inclined to emulate positive behavior and emotions; an example being her habit of reassuring others, be it John or an upset student. On the flip side, when programmed to terminate John; Cameron is more devious and manipulative, displaying negative behavior and emotions, including anger and even slight sadism. After overriding her directive to kill him, however, Cameron seems to be developing a balance between the two personas.

Since suffering damage to her chip, Cameron appears to be contemplating suicide (self-termination). In "Automatic for the People" Sarah asks her if she is going to explode one day, which Cameron later references in "Self Made Man", likening her faulty chip to a bomb waiting to go off. She asks her friend at the library, Eric, if he has ever considered suicide, revealing that she may be considering it due to her chip damage. In "The Tower Is Tall But the Fall Is Short" Cameron tries to remove the chip from a modified Terminator, only for it to self-destruct upon removal. She is later seen examining the chip while reading a leaflet for suicide prevention. In "Ourselves Alone" Cameron somehow manages to attach an explosive to her skull next to her chip, and gave the remote detonator to John in the event that she becomes a threat (confirming that she is incapable of self-termination). Her suicide contemplation is in line with her reprogrammed directive to protect John, should she revert to her original programming.


Cameron has started to develop a new glitch which manifests as a twitch in her left hand, resulting in her accidentally killing a bird. She at first believes it to be the result of physical damage and swaps out a part in order to fix the problem. This did not resolve the issue, however, as she started twitching again while struggling to decide what to do with Riley, and again while talking to Sarah about the reasons why Future John sent her back in time. It is implied that this glitch is caused by a conflict in her chip between her pre-programmed directives and her emerging self-awareness. This glitch has since ceased to be an issue, as she is later able to hold a pigeon with both hands without harming it.



Cameron/Post Judgment Day
Timeframe: ???? - 2027.
Cameron is created as a dedicated replacement for Resistance fighter Allison Young. Her purpose: to get close to John Connor. Whether she was supposed to terminate him, or, as a probable member of Cyborg Resistance, to help him fight Skynet is not known. She is later seen alongside Human Resistance and John (possibly reprogrammed to do so), who sends her back to the year 1999 to protect his younger self.


Cameron/Season 1
Timeframe: 1999 - 2007.
Cameron travels back to the year 1999 with the objective of finding and protecting a 15 year-old John Connor. She saves him from multiple assassination attempts and uses time displacement equipment to send John, Sarah, and herself to the year 2007 where they endeavor to prevent the creation of Skynet by hunting down a computer system called the Turk.

Born to run-00212-1

Cameron/Season 2
Timeframe: 2007 - 2009.
Cameron is damaged by an explosion and temporarily becomes the very thing she was programmed to protect John against. She is fixed, however, but is plagued by glitches as she struggles to find her place in the world while keeping the increasingly reckless John safe from Skynet's assassins.

Behind the Scenes[]

  • Cameron is portrayed by Summer Glau, who was Josh Friedman's first choice for the role. A trained ballet dancer before she became an actress, Glau's dancing skills were transferred to the character of Cameron in the episode "The Demon Hand".
  • The scene used for Summer's audition involved a crying Cameron discussing with John the future in which she meets him, how he saves her life and "how [she] feels about [him]".
  • Cameron's origins have remained a mystery throughout the first season and the opening episodes of Season 2. However, her story is partially revealed in "Allison from Palmdale", wherein she is revealed to have her living tissue infiltration sheath Model based upon a real human called Allison Young. Cameron was created as a dedicated infiltrator human replacement whose goal was to infiltrate John Connor's camp. Allison was terminated by Cameron once her usefulness had ended.
  • Like John Connor (initial "JC"), her name is a tribute to James Cameron.


Main article: T-900
  • Cameron is the first Terminator with various additional features, such as full color HUD, feeling, crying, and eating.
  • Combat: Cameron's physical abilities may be somewhat diminished compared to larger endoskeletons, due to her greater sacrifice of overall mass and reach. However, she seems to be far more flexible than the other Terminators but is endowed with comparable pure strength. She is programmed with the greatest repertoire and mastery of Eastern Martial Arts compared to all the Terminators in existence thus far, and relies on sophisticated techniques and finesse rather than brute force in comparison. She also employs tactics that utilize the surrounding environment more than her rivals, such as in the Pilot episode when she used an electric fuse to force Cromartie offline. She was shown to be powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with Cromartie and disable him in single combat in the pilot episode as well as other T-888s such as Vick (whom she manhandles, defeats and deactivates while absorbing only a series of near useless punches) and Greenway (whom she battles and destroys as well, albeit with Sarah Connor providing a high-velocity distraction with an M4 Carbine) in more straight up battles. Despite any disadvantages she may have with larger machines, her superior combat programming and advanced capabilities have allowed her to defeat, disable or destroy nearly a dozen enemy Terminators, more than making up for this shortfall. Cameron's combat abilities have also been shown to be able to defeat another Terminator (Rosie) of comparable dimensions and possibly the same model as herself. Her fight with Rosie demonstrates her full combat prowess as she physically contorts the other machine, even applying enough force to drive a high heel into its eye socket, a fight Cameron left with only a few scratches. In "Self Made Man" Cameron had a short battle with a T-888 Terminator and easily emerged victoriously after spraying it with a Thompson submachine gun and dropping an elevator car on it. In "Ourselves Alone" John Connor said that Cameron was not designed to combat other Terminators, however his knowledge is more relevant to the T-800 as Cameron is the first of her model that he has encountered, so this may be questionable information.
  • Weight: Cameron is much lighter than one might expect, as are other Terminators. Though it is shown that she is heavy enough to require the combined efforts of both Sarah and John to lift her into a chair. She also claims that she cannot swim, which is true for other Terminators. However, Josh Friedman said: "Terminators' weight is the same as human counterparts." during a chat with fans. [7]
  • Series / Model / Class: A promotional poster lists Cameron as a "TERMINATOR CLASS TOK715". Terminator "classes" are a new concept, and it remains to be seen how (and if) they tie to series and model numbers. Cameron does refer to herself in the colloquial "we" when discussing the reprogramming of Terminators by the Resistance and that she was memory wiped after capture to help insure success in the reprogramming.
  • Name: Her name, Cameron, is how she identifies herself. This differs from Cromartie, who only used that name briefly as an alias (although the Connors and Cameron continue to refer to him by the name) or Carter, who similarly appears to be using an alias. However, Vick Chamberlain also uses a distinct name for the purposes of his mission, and may have been intentionally crafted with that identity to replace the "real Vick" during the car crash it uses to now cover his behavioral shortfalls. The origin of Cameron's name has yet to be revealed; it's not yet known whether she created it as an alias when she went back in time, or if she was given the name in the future (presumably by the older John Connor). In Born To Run, she was given a new identity, Emily Gage. Though, it is unknown what inspired this name behind-the-scenes.
    Emily Gage

    Cameron's new ID.

  • Built Date: According to the official FOX website of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, "Completion date: January 13, 2007" is displayed when hovering the mouse over the unfinished cyborg Cameron Phillips. It is unknown if this is intended for the build date of Terminator Cameron Phillips or a mistype and meant for the air date of the show, which is actually January 13, 2008. It seem hard to make the date fit into the storyline of the show if this is actually a build date of Cameron Phillips. However, given the events in "Allison from Palmdale", it is possible she was created at some undetermined time in the year 2027.

Character concept[]

Creation and development

"Terminators—and this is from James Cameron's vision of the mythology—are actually infiltrators. If that is the case, then what better infiltrator than a beautiful, petite teenage girl?"
- Josh Friedman.

Josh Friedman referenced franchise creator James Cameron's original concept for Terminators as he formulated ideas for the character. James Cameron envisioned Terminators as robotic, humanoid infiltration units "that could blend in with humanity." In keeping with this idea, Friedman introduced Cameron as the most advanced model of Terminator whose ascendancy over other models was defined by her ability to mimic human behavior. The decision to make the character a teenager, female and of a small physical stature was also influenced by the original Terminator character concept; Friedman believed that such attributes were ideal for an infiltrator. Another factor that prompted Friedman to characterize Cameron as an adolescent female stemmed from the desire to add a "coming-of-age" aspect to the narrative by incorporating the story of how John Connor becomes a man. He has stated "eventually, John has to let go of his mother. This requires a third leverage point... another girl." The decision of Cameron's age and gender were, therefore, also made to satisfy the conditions that the role of the "third leverage point" entailed.

It has been noted that Cameron has been written differently from the pilot episode to the series, with the character acting much more human in the former and more like a machine in the latter. Both Friedman and Glau have acknowledged this. Summer Glau in an interview said about Cameron's changing behaviour: "We were experimenting with Cameron quite a bit, and we wanted her to be able to seem human. We wanted especially John to be fooled by her, so that he would let her into his life. And so in the pilot, I do act very human. And then as I go through the series, it appears that I’ve taken steps back and that I am acting more like a terminator would. We did that for several different reasons, but I know for me it’s fun because I get to take more time for her development, her human development. I think that it also is funny and I think once her cover was blown with the Connors, she kind of was able to drop that persona and become who she really is around them, if that answers the question."[8] Friedman stated in an interview with IGN that he views the pilot, in which Cameron acts "very mannered and strange," as a learning process and that when he began writing the second episode, he became interested in exploring a new side of the character. He continued "Cameron has been programmed to come back for a particular purpose or purposes. Her behavior may seem inconsistent to a viewer, but it doesn't mean it's inconsistent for what her goals are."



  • Cameron has been shown speaking five languages: English, Spanish102, Russian107, Armenian109, and Japanese210.
  • Cameron seems to enjoy listening (and dancing) to Chopin's Nocturne in C-sharp minor, although, as a computer, she is putting in to practice what Allison told her under interrogation about her mother's (Claire) favourite composer.106. She has also an apparent affection for pop music, as she inexplicably changes the radio station on John's car to one of these and smiles in satisfaction.
  • Cameron is the first female character to say the famous line, "Come with me if you want to live".
  • Cameron's been seen using seven weapons: a Glock 17 pistol102 (apparently her favorite firearm, which she on occasion dual-wields210), an MP5K105, an M79 grenade launcher106, an M4A1202, a Benelli M1 Super 90 shotgun208, Thompson submachine gun211, and a Remington 870212. In certain promotional posters, she has been shown to dual-wield a shotgun and a pistol or a .45 Long Slide with Laser Sighting.
  • Cameron has two catch phrases: "That's tight."101 and "Thank you for explaining."107. Other terminators have been seen to have similar "thank you" catch phrases, such as Cromartie's "Thank you for your time" and Carter's "Thank you for your service".
  • Promotional material suggests that Cameron's TDE bubble materialized in the middle of a desert road.
  • Cameron's endoskeleton is very similar to the original T-800 endoskeleton, although with a more feminine shape.


See also[]

Promotional imagery[]

External links[]


  1. "Born to Run"
  2. The Sarah Connor Chronicles Bible, Page 4
  3. This is canon level 3 and any assumptions made based on the character articles involving TSCC are to be taken as such. The films state a clear and present timeline that does not interfere with the TV show in any way besides the "what if" factor of Sarah Connor not dying of cancer in 1997.
  4. In the Pilot, John Connor asks Cameron, "What model are you? Are you new? You seem... different." She eats a potato chip and says, "I am."
  5. "Allison from Palmdale"
  6. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 1 DVD Episode Commentaries
  7. Save Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles » Transcribing the Awesome
  8. http://scifichick.com/2008/02/02/summer-glau-interview/