Seeing as how this is a production/behind-the-scenes question, I'll ask it here instead of the Sci-Fi SE.

Episode S05E19 of Stargate: Atlantis, titled "Vegas", is drastically different from the show's usual formula. The entirety of the episode takes place on an alternate reality version of Earth (mostly in Las Vegas hence the title), where John Sheppard is a detective on the trail of a serial killer who is

really a Wraith that crash-landed on Earth and is feeding on the victims.

This seems like a really odd choice considering that it is the next-to-last episode of the series. In addition, the ending "twist" seems like a rather obvious Diabolus ex Machina (warning: TV Tropes link) for getting the Wraith to Earth - something that has been teased since the first season.

Has anyone involved with the production of "Stargate: Atlantis" explained the reason for such a drastic departure from the series formula in this episode?

  • 1
    Whatever makes you think the SciFi SE doesn't want BTS questions?
    – BCdotWEB
    Jul 14, 2017 at 7:48
  • 2
    @BCdotWEB - not that they don't want them per se, but I feel like questions related to strictly just the making of the show are better suited here. Anything else - in-universe lore, characters, source materials, etc - I'd probably put there.
    – Omegacron
    Jul 14, 2017 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


The only public comment I can find (from Producers Joe Mallozzi and Paul Mullie) are found in issue 27 of the Official Stargate Magazine, page 20:

Joe: CSI: Atlantis as I titled it! Rob Cooper wrote and directed the episode...

Paul: It's an alternate reality in which Sheppard he leaves the Air Force altogether. We're dealing with a Sheppard who's not with the Atlantis expedition at all. He's never been to Atlantis. he's never even heard of it — he became a cop. We've always known that he had shady thing that happened to him in the air force, for which he was reprimanded. Basically, Rob wanted to do a kind of CSI inspired episode, in which Sheppard played the cop investigating a serial killer, whose victims look very much like victims of Wraith feedings. It's much more about a guy who has nothing to do with that world suddenly being drawn into it and being confronted with weird revelations. The idea being that there's a Wraith on Earth who has to feed to survive. Whoever was investigating would keep finding these bodies that would look old, but they'd. ind out the identity of the victim and realize they're only 35 years old. Sheppard is very much like, 'what the hell is going on?' Rob had the idea to actually shoot a portion of it in Las Vegas. There's a poker game that takes place in the episode that they're going to shoot in a hotel room with a nice view of the strip. Obviously we didn't just want to do an entire episode that takes place in alternate reality, we wanted to have some consequence from that story, as well as a consequence for our characters in the reality that we normally deal. At the end, there's a nice little beat that actually rolls in to our last episode...


Basically, it was... a lark? Something they wanted to do as an homage of sorts to the then (and still now) popular CSI shows.

Who would have guessed?

  • Yes I have the entire run in my garage in bags. Yes I am a bit embarrassed by this.
    – dvaeg
    Jul 14, 2017 at 3:42
  • 1
    Stand tall, man - be proud. I'd love to have the entire run.
    – Omegacron
    Jul 14, 2017 at 15:38

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