The Outer Limits: Mary 25

Work Title: The Outer Limits: Mary 25
Medium: TV Episode
Episode Title: Mary 25
Year: 1998
Writer(s): Jonathan Glassner
"Original" Writer: Yes Own work?: No


Mary 25 is an 'inorganic' - a robot, programmed to be a nanny. Mary 25 is new version of Valerie 23 - a 'companion' robot. Mary is a nanny for Charlie, an executive at Innobotics, and Teryl - who, as it turns out, is an inorganic herself. She is a robotic replacement of Charlie's orginial wife.

  • Self-Written?: 1
  • Source Name:
  • Source URL:

Era/Year of Portrayal: present_day

Distinctive characteristics of the world in portrayal:

Present day, although robotics have greatly advanced. Robots appear very human.


  • Name of portrayed presence-evoking technology: Mary 25, Teryl
  • Description of the technology: MAry 25 and Teryl are robots. They appear extemely lifelike and are very attractive. People interact with the robots as if they are humans. They generally act as programmed, until the end of the story. Teryl learns and evolves, manipulating a man to fall in love with her. She is devious and smart, while Mary is submissive and tue to her programming.
  • Nature of task or activity: Mary performs nanny duties and has sex with Charlie. Teryl acts as a human wife, goes to work and acts normally.
  • Performance of the Technology: functions well as programmed, until Teryl evolves. Charlie beats her, and she eventually manipulates a man into loving her and killing her husband.
  • Description of creator(s): a group within a corperation. The primary caretaker of Mary is a white male in his 30s, attractive.
  • Major goal(s) of creator(s): to make money.
  • Description of users of technology: Charlie is the primary user - a white male in his 40s or 50s. He is a wealthy executive and a misoginist..
  • Type(s) of presence experience in the portrayal: social_presence
  • Description of presence experience: Fine, albeit creepy. Mary appears normal, but not quite normal. She is stiff, and says things like "Please rephrase your question". Interacting with Teryl is pleasent.
  • User awareness of technology during experience: Mary is known to be a robot - people do not realize Teryl is not human.
  • Valence of experience: The experience is fine. Mary is too strict with the kids and not a good nanny becuase she lacks imagination. She is also a little rough and too hand on. However, Charlie seems to enjoy her as a pleasure object. Teryl acts as human and is generally fine to be around.
  • Specific responses: physiological arousal, more intense parasocial relationships, the children feel fear and confusion.
Long-term consequences:

The twist ending reveals Teryl as a robot. Mary kills her husband becuase she is programmed to do so. So, the children and Teryl benefit from his absence, Mary is blamed for his death. However, the programmer thinks he is in love with Teryl, a woman. Unfortunately for him, she is an inorganic.


Coder name: Amanda Scheiner
Coder email:
Coder affiliation: Temple University