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|Portrayed by||Zachary Quinto|
|Known abilities||Intuitive aptitude, |
Empathic mimicry (Pretty much inert),
Current acquired abilities:
Rapid cellular regeneration,
|Formal name||Gabriel Gray|
|Aliases||Gabriel Sylar, |
Special Agent Andrew Hanson,
|Nicknames||Boogeyman, Brain Man, Bad Man|
|Date of birth||September 27th, 1974|
|Place of birth||Brooklyn, New York|
|Date of marriage||None|
|Home||New York, New York|
|Residence||Formerly Virginia Gray's apartment, |
formerly Sampson Gray's house
|Occupations||Former agent of Pinehearst Company, |
former agent of the Company,
former clock/watch restorer
|Significant others||Formerly Elle Bishop (Deceased), |
formerly Maya Herrera
|Parents||Samson Gray (Biological father, adoptive uncle), |
unnamed mother (Deceased)
Martin Gray (Adoptive father, biological uncle),
Virginia Gray (Adoptive mother, deceased)
Gabriel Gray a.k.a. Sylar (Which he adopted from the name on his watch) was an ordinary timepiece restorer who always desired to be special. Chandra Suresh came to him, identified him as "Patient Zero" in his research and revealed the existence of evolved humans to him. Discovering his ability of intuitive aptitude, he realized he could figure out how abilities worked and how to gain more. Sylar became a serial killer, targeting other evolved humans to steal their brains and gain their abilities. Sylar is driven by an uncontrollable "Hunger," which he has proven unable to overcome.
Gabriel was born to Samson Gray and an as yet unknown mother, but was raised by Samson's brother Martin, who abandoned the family while Gabriel was young, and his wife Virginia. He always dreamed of bigger things, of being "special". Adopting the name "Sylar," he becomes a serial murderer, targeting people with abilities, but doesn't discriminate against killing anybody who stands in his way. Having the ability of intuitive aptitude, Sylar is able to see how things work and use that to take the special abilities of others after killing them. The FBI has categorized Sylar as a suspected serial killer. His suspected victims are sometimes seen with their heads sliced open horizontally at the center of their skull and their brain removed. Other victims are pinned to walls, frozen, or beaten. Sylar is hunted by the FBI, but has successfully eluded and taunted them, growing stronger and more powerful with each victim. Sylar's activities have since been noticed by the Company, who have made him their most wanted until twelve villains were released from level 5 accidentally by Elle Bishop. Since, he's supposedly been trying to change from being a serial killer to doing good, his motives however remain unknown. He was Noah Bennet's partner in the Company for a short while, and was on Arthur Petrelli's side for a while as well, until he learned that he was not his father. After learning that Samson Gray was his true father, Sylar began seeking him, gaining a companion, Luke Campbell, in the process. Eventually he sent Luke home and finally confronted his father who was dying of cancer and like him had intuitive aptitude and was a former serial killer. After leaving his father Sylar went back on a killing spree, teaming up with Emile Danko to kill other evolved humans and gaining the ability of shape shifting.
The case file also contains a psychological profile:
In chapter 9 of The Agent, Sylar walks past Danko's office while shape shifted as Danko. Danko's assistant, Bob, calls for Danko, and he shakes his head and tells Bob that he can't be bothered now. Bob then informs him of Danko's meeting with Agent Mills and Internal Affairs, and he asks Rachel if she is Agent Mills.
When Rachel acknowledges that she is, Sylar smiles and invites her into Danko's office after checking his watch. Proceeding inside, he reaches out a hand to guide her into a chair. Next, while still using Danko's form, Sylar asks Rachel how a girl like her wound up in a place like this, and if she would be free that night for a drink.
However, Rachel ignores the drink offer and gets him to agree to allow Dan from Internal Affairs to join them. Sylar checks his watch again, and a short while later, Dan arrives with two security agent. He listens as Dan interrogates Rachel, placing his hand on a thick file that Dan drops on the corner of his desk but not opening it. Then, he interrupts Dan's questioning, asking them both to leave. When Dan responds by asking Sylar to repeat himself, Sylar tells Dan to stop picking on Rachel and to get out of his office, adding that he has somewhere to be. Dan then replies that they have discussed the substantial evidence, tapping on the thick file; but Sylar points out that the file is just a bunch of old requisition forms. As Dan flushes that his bluff was called out, Sylar asks them to excuse him as he has to see a man about a corpse and leaves.
Sylar's innate ability is the ability to determine exactly how things work. Sylar used this innate ability to discover how to take the abilities of other evolved humans. He determined that Chandra Suresh was correct that the abilities are based in the brain, and several of Sylar's victims have had their skulls opened and brains removed. By studying his victims's brains he is able to determine how their abilities work and replicate those abilities himself.
Arthur revealed to Sylar that he can obtain the abilities of other people without killing them through empathy. Arthur left Sylar in a room with Elle, with whom he had a long talk, after which Sylar manifested her ability.
With this ability comes a 'hunger' for more knowledge and abilities. Sylar believes that it is this hunger that drives him to murder others and steal their abilities. In one future, Sylar is able to control this 'hunger' and settle down to a normal life.
During their conversation, Sylar and Noah Bennet confirmed that Sylar has multiple abilities (Fallout); However, apart from telekinesis, the Company was unable to identify what these abilities were (Godsend). Based on Mohinder Suresh's statement to the authorities (Fallout) that at least six people from his father's list have been murdered by Sylar (Prior to Zane Taylor), it's likely that Sylar had acquired at least ten abilities before he was infected with the Shanti virus in Kindred: The six Mohinder mentioned, plus four he acquired after Mohinder made his statement.
While he was infected, he attempted to take an ability from Candice Wilmer, but he was unable to use it. In an interview, the writers confirmed that Sylar was unable to acquire this ability while infected.
After he cured himself of the virus (Powerless) he was once again able to use his innate ability in addition to the ability he had acquired from Brian Davis, which he retained due to his guilt over killing Brian. He has also presumably used this empathic technique to retain his other abilities, and also used it to obtain electrical manipulation, microwave emission, shape shifting, and flight. It is very difficult for him to use his empathy.
He has acquired several new abilities since curing himself of the virus and continues to acquire more, although he now seems to pursue them less obsessively.
He inherited intuitive aptitude from his father, Samson Gray.
With Sylar's ability enabling him to take the abilities of others, he has acquired many other abilities.
Before he was infected with the Shanti virus (Kindred), he had acquired the following abilities (In order):
- Telekinesis from Brian Davis
- Kinetic projection from Trevor Zeitlan
- Super stamina from an unknown dude
- Cryokinesis from James Walker
- Enhanced memory from Charlie Andrews
- Liquification from Zane Taylor
- Enhanced hearing from Dale Smither
- Precognition from Isaac Mendez
- Induced radioactivity from Ted Sprague
He may have collected six more abilities besides these, guessing from Mohinder's comment. Guessing from the time that the comment was made, and the fact that murdering Trevor was the true beginning to his killing spree, these six abilities would go somewhere between kinetic projection and liquification.
He has since recovered from the virus (Using a cure in Powerless), and subsequently demonstrated his original ability, telekinesis and super stamina (The last of which became obsolete soon afterwards.). Since that time, he has acquired the following additional abilities:
- Dynamic camouflage from Chameleon girl (Acquired via brain removal)
- Rapid cellular regeneration from Claire Bennet (Acquired via brain removal)
- Alchemical transmutation from Bob Bishop (Acquired via brain removal)
- Clairsentience from Bridget Bailey (Acquired via brain removal)
- Sound manipulation from Jesse Murphy (Acquired via brain removal)
- Electrical manipulation from Elle Bishop (Acquired via empathy and then brain removal)
- Lie detection from Sue Landers (Acquired via brain removal)
- Metal mimicry from Danny Pine (Acquired via brain removal)
- Imprinting from Joe Macon (Acquired via brain removal)
- Microwave emission from Luke Campbell (Acquired via empathy)
- Puppet mastery from Eric Doyle (Acquired via empathy)
- Shape shifting from James Martin (Acquired via empathy)
- Disintegration from Tom Miller (Acquired via brain removal)
- Flight from Nathan Petrelli (Acquired via empathy)
Telekinesis is Sylar's most commonly observed acquired ability. Before his infection, he frequently used cryokinesis as a secondary offensive ability and the passive enhanced hearing, as well. Since recovering from the virus and acquiring the abilities, he often uses the passive abilities of lie detection and rapid cellular regeneration, and he also seems to favor electrical manipulation and shape shifting. He has demonstrated the ability to use at least two of his acquired abilities at the same time (The Hard Part).
Possibly because of his intuitive aptitude, Sylar's control over an acquired ability is often superior to that of the person from whom he obtained it.
- A female coroner (Into Asylum)
- Emile Danko (Turn and Face the Strange)
- Sandra Bennet (Turn and Face the Strange)
- Steve Donner (Turn and Face the Strange)
- Agent Taub (I Am Sylar)
- Virginia Gray (I Am Sylar)
- Micah Sanders (I Am Sylar)
- Nathan Petrelli (1961)
- Claire Bennet (An Invisible Thread)
- Liam Samuels (An Invisible Thread)
- Peter Petrelli (An Invisible Thread)
- Nurse Hammer (The Fifth Stage)
- Gretchen Berg (Pass/Fail)
"When I was a kid... I used to wish some stranger would come and tell me my family wasn't really my family. They weren't bad people, they were just... insignificant. And I wanted to be different. Special. I wanted to change. A new name, a new life. The watchmaker's son... became a watchmaker. It is so futile, that I wanted to be... important."
"Mom — Mom, don't. Don't, it's just... maybe I don't have to be special. That's okay to just be a normal watchmaker. Can't you just tell me that's enough?"
"And how much of it do we actually use? Ten percent of it, maybe twenty. Imagine the answers we'd have with a hundred percent. Why is there evil? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? How do we make love stay?"
"I almost forgot how good it feels."
"You're not a killer Peter. I am."
- - Sylar (to Peter before killing Arthur) (Our Father)
"Before the night is over, I'm going to prove to you, one by one, that you're all monsters, exactly like me."
"He was gonna shoot you in the head, I mean I could have just let him."
"And I let you live, which is kind of a big deal for me!"
"I'll keep trying to kill you for the rest of my life."
"Well, everybody needs a hobby."
"Right... He's gonna die too."
- Clips from the debunked episodes on the Season Two DVD show Sylar getting his abilities back and continue killing and acquiring abilities. In the episode, Elle Bishop tells her father that Sylar has acquired four new abilities, though we see only two of the thefts take place: He steals the ability of impenetrable skin from a character named Robert Keep, and the ability of dynamic camouflage from a character called "chameleon girl".
- In an interview, Tim Kring responded to the question "Are Sylar and Claire's father connected?" by saying "There is a connection between the two, which will become clear in later episodes."
- Kristin Veitch of E! indicates that Sylar's character "is the opposite of what you'd think it would be."
- In an interview with Wizard Magazine, Tim Kring states "Sylar's storyline is much cleaner line than a lot of people think. He's literally just a character who wanted to be special and he gets kind of f—ked up and becomes a serial killer. That's all it is."
- When the apparently dead Sylar revives in The Fix and in The Kindness of Strangers, the familiar "tick-tock" can be heard, perhaps implying he has used his ability.
- Sylar seems able to levitate himself somehow. He seemingly did this to elude capture (One Giant Leap) and to approach Dale Smither without her hearing any sound of footsteps (Unexpected). He also escapes Virginia Beach police by propelling himself into a tree (Road Kill). Jason Badower stated that the script for Road Kill specifically states that Sylar uses telekinesis to escape the crashing Northeast Brewing Company truck. Whether or not the other instances are also a specialized use of his telekinesis is unclear.
- Sylar introduces himself to the trucker as "Drew O'Grady", apparently taking the alias from two headlines in a newspaper he had seen shortly before meeting the trucker. The headlines read, "President drew fire for welfare comments" and "O'Grady Farm to be purchased back..." (Road Kill). This is in keeping with the way he acquired the "Sylar" alias, taking the name from a watch as he meets Brian Davis (Six Months Ago).
- In an interview, Aron Coleite and Joe Pokaski explain that, although unusual vocal effects were used for both Sylar (Distractions) and Peter Petrelli (Unexpected), both were for "coolness factor", and were not an indication that either was using persuasion. They later reiterated the point in reference to Sylar's voice in .07%.
- The address Mohinder discovers for Sylar in his father's journal is 1146 Trenton Place APT 1B, Queens, NY 11011. (One Giant Leap)
- In an interview, Zachary Quinto said he purposely chooses to take on the characteristics of Sylar's victims. "[Distractions] was the genesis and then it continued for me as an actor to draw on the characteristics of the other characters that I was killing. There were choices I made in scenes to bring echoes of those characters to what I was doing."
- In The Butterfly Effect, Sylar tells Elle that she is especially to blame for what he has become. This is likely a reference to the fact that she helped manipulate him into killing more people after he'd acquired his first power and was trying to stop (Villains).
- Exposed reveals that Sylar was sold to Martin and Virginia Gray in 1980, which shows Sylar as a young child, probably in his preschool years (4-6). This implies that Sylar was born during the mid 1970s.
- In Into Asylum, Sylar suddenly appears in the back seat of Danko's car. After taunting Danko for a short time, Sylar abruptly disappears, only to be seen seconds later on a nearby rooftop. How Sylar accomplished this feat has not been explained.
- Sylar's mysterious survival after Dual is finally explained in Turn and Face the Strange: the fire at Primatech melted the glass in his head, allowing him to regenerate.
- A photograph on NBC's Heroes site shows a birth announcement for a "Paul E. Sylar", dated June 11, 1962. The announcement appears to be pinned next to the map in Chandra Suresh's Brooklyn apartment. However, the casting of 29 year-old Zachary Quinto seems contrary to this information, as does the revelation that "Sylar" is an assumed name. In all likelihood, since the announcement only ever appeared clearly in promotional photos, the character concept has changed since the original announcement was designed and there is no "Paul E. Sylar." This is a remnant from the original cut of the pilot episode (In His Own Image). In that version, the conversation on the Sylar tape can be heard, but it is a conversation between Chandra and Paul E. Sylar. Katherine Pope, an NBC drama development executive at the time, read the original pilot involving the early appearance of Sylar and pushed Kring to put off the character's reveal until nine episodes into the first season. 
- The role of Sylar was originally offered to Christopher Eccleston. He declined the role because he thought it was a cliché for European actors to play villains in American culture.
- In the first draft of the pilot, Sylar was supposed to appear in an Italian prison. According to Greg Beeman's blog, this version of Sylar was supposed to have long claw-like nails and sharp teeth. He was also supposed to be "way weirder and more monstrous. like Nosferatou."
- Ando tells Peter that Sylar is like okage which he translates as "boogeyman" (Homecoming). Molly Walker also refers to Sylar as "the boogeyman" (The Hard Part). In I Am Become Death, a future Gabriel Gray refers to himself as a "boogeyman" to the time-traveling Peter Petrelli.
- Sylar taking his name from a watch mirrors one theory regarding the Zodiac Killer who killed several people in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 60s. One suspect was allegedly given a "Zodiac" brand watch that had the same logo (a crossed circle) that the killer used to sign his letters. Also of note, before one alleged victim died, she was followed by a suspicious man wearing horn-rimmed glasses.
- Before the airing of Six Months Ago, the theory that Sylar is Peter had become so stale at 9th Wonders, the semi-official Heroes fansite, that it has inspired a drinking game: whenever someone brings it up, drink.
- At the end of Powerless, when Sylar regains his powers, the first thing he grabs with telekinesis is a can of spinach. This is a joke by the writers relating to Popeye the Sailor, who gains his "ability", strength, after eating spinach. 
- According to his case file (password: GGeh81zu) at primatechpaper.com, Gabriel Gray weighs 150 pounds.
- "Sylar" is a German surname that literally means "ropemaker." 
- Sylar sounds like Schuyler, which is from a Dutch surname meaning "scholar". http://www.behindthename.com/name/schuyler.
- Sylar's name that he uses when paired with Noah (Special Agent Andrew Hanson) is a masculine variation of Agent Audrey Hanson, an FBI agent who was tracking Sylar in Season One.
- Sylar is left-handed. (An Invisible Thread)
- For other uses of Sylar, see Sylar (disambig).
- For other uses of Gabriel, see Gabriel (disambig).
- For other uses of Gray, see Gray (disambig).
- For other uses of boogeyman, see boogeyman (disambig).
- For a partial list of articles related to Sylar, see Related Articles:Sylar.
- For a full list of articles related to Sylar, see List of articles related to Sylar.
- For images of Sylar, see Images of Sylar.