"Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime (and only his own lifetime--except for certain instances), Dr. Sam Beckett led an elite group of scientists into the desert to develop a top secret project known as Quantum Leap. Pressured to prove his theories or lose funding, Dr. Beckett prematurely stepped into the project accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself in the past, suffering from partial amnesia and facing a mirror image that was not his own. Fortunately, contact with his own time was maintained with Al, the project observer, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Dr. Beckett can see and hear (due to a link via neurons and mesons). Trapped in the past, ("driven by an unknown force to change history for the better"-God, Fate or Whatever), Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life (regardless of age, race or gender), putting things right that once went wrong and hoping (desperately) each time that his next leap will be the leap home."
Sam physically swaps places in time
with the "Leapee." Each is surrounded by the
other's "aura" which makes Sam look and sound
like the Leapee and vice versa--as Sam would say, "Oh, boy!"
Sam was born and raised in Elk
Ridge, Indiana. "The Next Einstein," he
graduated High School at age 16, attended MIT, speaks 11
languages, and earned six degrees and a Nobel Prize. His
family in Elk Ridge-mother, father, sister (Katie) and
brother (Tom)-are of the utmost important to him,
especially his sister who married an abusive drunk, his
father who died young and his brother who (originally)
died in Vietnam.
Al is Sam's friend and mentor on
his journey through space and time. Al is an ex-Navy
officer, ex-astronaut and is famous for his tales of
ex-wives and former girlfriends. His devotion to Sam,
however, is unwavering.
Sam's theory of time travel: A
string represents a person's lifetime, one end is birth
and the other is his death. Tie the ends together and you
have a loop. Ball up the loop and all the points of a
person's life touches one another
enabling him to
travel from one point to another.
With the failure of the Project
Quantum Leap retrieval program, Sam is the only one who
knows how to get himself home
pity his memory is
Other important people include his
wife Donna, Gooshie (the head programmer of Quantum
Leap-short guy with bad breath), Beeks the Quantum Leap
Psychologist and Ziggy, the Megacomputer running the
According to the final episode (Mirror Image), Sam never made it home...leaving "Leapers" constantly hoping for Quantum to return on TV or even the big screen...
There are "rules of quantum leaping" (occasionally broken) which include not telling or confirming the leaper anything that he does not already know, the leaper must at least pretend he is the leapee and that the leaper leaps only within his own lifetime.