Carnell described her as "the sexiest officer I have ever known", a rare compliment. Kasabi described her as "a credit to your background - spoilt, idle, vicious", and added "greedy", "sick" and "degenerate" before she died. She had also, when a Federation political officer, listed Servalan as "unfit for command". Sula called her "a tasteless megalomaniac" and alluded to her as "a grotesque anachronism". Krantor described her as "perfidious as a snake". Rontane said that "any attempt to embarrass her personally is an exercise in total futility", and Bercol agreed, adding "she has all the sensitive delicacy of a plasma bolt". Avon later likened her to a "greedy gangster".
She was entirely self-interested and possessed a ruthless ambition.
History[edit | edit source]
While a Supreme Commander of the Terran Federation, Servalan was in charge of the Federation's military force. She was principally concerned with organizing efforts to destroy Blake and crush resistance to the Federation's rule. She was a cold, calculating, ruthless sociopath who was not above using her sex appeal and charm to get what she wanted.
Just before the Andromedan Invasion, as Star One began to fail, she staged a military coup and became President of the Federation. After the Intergalactic War, she began concentrating her efforts on capturing the powerful Liberator in order to cement her position. However, her rule was unstable. At least one coup ("Rumours of Death") almost toppled her. During this time, she developed an adversarial chemistry with Avon, who respected her ruthlessness but distrusted her.
After successfully capturing the Liberator at Terminal, only to have to abandon it shortly after due to structual failure, she is deposed and becomes a fugitive from Federation justice. She builds power again under the alias Commissioner Sleer, killing at least 29 people to protect herself and her identity as Commissioner Sleer, including the blind Ardus.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
During the episode "Sand", Servalan reveals to Tarrant that she had one romantic interest in her life, Don Keller. When he disappeared on planet Verne, "power became my lover" and she began her ascent up the Federation ranks. Tarrant and Servalan have a minor romantic fling; however, this lasts only as long as it takes for Servalan to discover how to survive their predicament.
Avon has a contentious relationship with Servalan in season three. During the episode "Aftermath", Servalan offers Avon the chance to rule the Federation by her side; however, regardless of whether she is serious or not, Avon pointedly refuses, shoving her to the ground during their embrace and stating "I'd be dead within a week". In the episode "Death-Watch", the two meet on a neutral planet, and after discussing Servalan's latest scheme, embrace and kiss passionately (Servalan also remarks that she viewed Avon not as an enemy, but as a future ally). In the episode "Rumours of Death", Avon takes pity upon Servalan, who is chained to a wall; similarly, it is she who reveals to him the truth about Anna Grant. However, these brief moments do not diminish the attempts of Servalan to kill Avon and the rest of the crew (although, at one point in season four, she purchases Avon as a slave, grossly outbidding anyone else's offer).
Although they do not interact romantically during the episode "Weapon", Servalan appears to be quite pleased with the farewell message she receives from the "puppetmaster" Carnell, when he describes her as the "sexiest" commanding officer he had ever met. Similarly, at different times during the first two seasons, it is implied that Servalan enjoyed dalliances with some of the younger men on her staff. She was also intrigued by the former Ven Jarvik ("Harvest of Kairos") both because of his ambition and his rough treatment of her.
Episodes[edit | edit source]
At some point, she was appointed to the post of Supreme Commander by the President, supported by Councillor Joban. She had clearly been involved with Egrorian at some point after her appointment, and assisted him in his disappearance from the Space Research Institute. She did not, however, appear to reciprocate Egrorian's feelings towards her. At first she was seen to direct Travis from her headquarters, but soon became personally involved with the acquisition of Orac, promising without authority to pay 100 million credits for the computer. She then hired the services of the psychostrategist Carnell in securing IMIPAK, a plot that almost succeeded. Her interest in capturing Kasabi seemed to go beyond the purely professional, since she said she had waited "a long time" to get her hands on Kasabi and took a personal hand in interrogating her. She also took a personal part in the chase to stop Blake finding the location of Star One, although cannot be definitely ascribed with wanting to find its location for herself (although her visit to Freedom City was not in an official capacity and she went to Goth personally rather than send an assault force to recover Lurgen's brain print). As Star One began to malfunction she launched a coup against the President and the High Council, suggesting she may have considered the problems with Star One to have their origins in the Civil Administration, or to have felt that only the military could lead the way out of the crisis. Her rise to the Presidency during the Intergalactic War may therefore have been a product of circumstance rather than intent.
On Sarran she spoke to Avon for the first time (and kissed him into the bargain) and also earned Dayna's undying hatred by killing Hal Mellanby. In Powerplay she recognised Cally on the hospital ship and Vila on Chenga. In The Harvest of Kairos she boarded the Liberator and met all of the crew. On Auron she held Avon, Cally and Tarrant prisoner, and tried to negotiate with Vila. In Rumours of Death she met Avon, Cally and Tarrant whilst held prisoner by Sula's rebels (Dayna also entered the cellar whilst Servalan was present but it is unclear whether they noticed each other). On Sardos she briefly teamed up with Vila. In Death-Watch she was confronted by Dayna, who reminded her of Hal Mellanby's death (Servalan appeared to have forgotten), and Avon again. In Terminal she met all of the crew again, though only very briefly in Vila's case. As President (she was first seen to be properly addressed as "Madam President" by Mori in Volcano, although Durkim had called her that before she formally seized power) she concentrated on capturing the Liberator, trying and failing no less than four times: on the last occasion she finally acquired it minutes before its destruction. She boarded the ship twice, in The Harvest of Kairos and Terminal.
In Volcano she also exterminated the population of Auron and nearly provoked war between Teal and Vandor. While on Auron she attempted to clone herself, but the clones died when the replication plant was fired upon. Servalan was telepathically aware of their deaths. Exactly how powerful she was is a matter for conjecture: Practor referred to her as "the Supreme Empress", Tarrant mentioned the rapid expansion of her empire in Ultraworld, but Grose said that her "reconstituted Federation" wasn't "worth a light".
At some point between Death-Watch and Traitor she was deposed, and according to Practor reported dead in the rearguard action on Geddon. She later told Tarrant that the Presidency had been stolen in her absence on Terminal. Surviving the destruction of the Liberator through a power surge in the teleport system, at least by her own account, she reappeared as Commissioner Sleer, responsible for the Pacification Programme on a number of worlds. Leitz was the 26th person she came to kill to protect her identity. She later killed Ardus for the same reason, and would probably have killed Reeve as well if Tarrant had not done so first. As Commissioner, she deliberately sought out the crew of Scorpio four times (in Assassin, Gold, Orbit and Warlord), other encounters being coincidental. As well as pursuing her official duties she also found time to embark on her own enterprises, as in Gold. She was last seen leaving Zukan's ship, having planted an explosive device in the airlock, and there is no evidence for her ever being present on Gauda Prime.
Bodycount: She was seen to personally kill Coser and later one of her own troopers with IMIPAK; Kasabi through drugs in interrogating her; a Sarran; Deral and Ginka; Hob; a number of Grose's men on Sardos; Practor, Forbus and Leitz on Helotrix; Ardus and Justin in Animals. She was also responsible for the deaths of Ensor Jr., Maryatt, Ardus, Zukan, Finn, possibly Gerren and probably Keiller. She knocked Avon to the floor in Terminal.
Captured by: Jenna in Pressure Point, where she was used as a hostage to release Blake, Avon, Vila and Gan from Travis in the Central Control bunker; the Sarrans, from whom she was rescued by Avon in order to find out where Orac was hidden; Sula and her rebels on Earth, where Avon again released her in return for Bartolomew's identity; and Grose on Sardos, where she effectively rescued herself with some help from Vila.
On Terminal she was recognised on Helotrix by Dayna and Tarrant, and in Animals captured Dayna, and used her to capture Justin. On Domo she purchased Avon for 2,000 vems, and narrowly missed being shot by Dayna. In Sand she was stranded on Virn with Tarrant for some hours. Finally, she met Avon, Tarrant, Dayna and - for the first and only time - Soolin on Beta-5 in Gold.
She handled light weapons with apparent ease and familiarity, and may thus have had some training in their use. In Orbit she flew her L-type cruiser unaccompanied to Malodar, suggesting some ability as a pilot. It seems likely that she also piloted a ship from Sardos as she had three ships, but only two pilots.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
- In Paul Darrow's Lucifer: Genesis, Servalan was the daughter of the pirate Tariq da Luca and his Somali princess wife Farah, who were killed by Federation troops. Discovered as an orphaned baby, she was adopted into one of the Federation's leading families, but on learning of her origins she orchestrated the deaths of her adoptive family while using their influence to advance to Supreme Commander. She then sidelined the Federation's founding elite and steered it in a more authoritarian direction. In Darrow's Lucifer, Servalan is eventually killed after many years searching for the escaped Avon.
- In Tony Attwood's Afterlife, she is shot to death by a resistance fighter.
- Servalan/Sleer appeared in both of the BBC's official audio adventures, The Sevenfold Crown and The Syndeton Experiment. She also returned in the unofficial audio adventure The Logic of Empire.
- Her creator Terry Nation originally intended her to make a single appearance[source needed] but she finally appeared in all four series.