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"Dial M for Mother" is the tenth episode and season finale of the first season of Archer. It originally aired on March 18, 2010.



Questions about the identity of Sterling Archer's real father lead him into a perilous trap... and an explosive confrontation with Malory. Meanwhile, Lana confronts Cyril about cheating on her and gets revenge.


Malory awakens in the middle of the night to an intruder in the apartment, who turns out to be Archer, bloody, half-dressed, and confused. The scene then shifts to the day before, as the ISIS staff discuss a new anti-fraternization policy that Malory has introduced. When Cyril questions why they have until the end of the week to cease fraternizing, Pam tells Cyril that she pushed the deadline back because she wants to convince someone in the office to have sex with her before then.

Archer goes to speak with Malory in her office about the policy, but they are interrupted by a video call from Nikolai Jakov in which Jakov both reveals that he and Malory are still in a relationship, and calls Archer "son." Disturbed, Archer faints, breaking the penultimate Steuben glass. Once he regains consciousness, he questions Malory on his parentage, and she tells him that everything he thought he knew about his father, flying ace John Fitzgerald "Black Jack" Archer, was made up by her, and his funeral was staged. She then tells him that there are in fact three "possibles" for his father: Nikolai Jakov, Len Trexler, and the jazz drummer Buddy Rich. Archer storms out. On a subsequent call with Jakov, Malory reveals that he is only one of the possible candidates for Archer's father. This prompts Jakov to devise an elaborate plan to kidnap Archer, steal his DNA for a paternity test, implant him with a mind-control microchip, and turn him against Malory if he is not in fact Jakov's son. He hires Mannfred and Uta to kidnap Archer, which they attempt to do by luring him into a van, but end up just clubbing him on the back of the head.

Archer awakens strapped to a table in a basement, as the kidnappers try to figure out how to implant the microchip. Once it is implanted, a KGB scientist explains that the microchip only works intermittently, when the satellite signaling it is in range. Additionally, any form of cellphone interference drives Archer into a homicidal rage, which becomes a particular problem when Malory repeatedly calls Archer to figure out where he is. Seeing her name on the caller id, and still under the influence of the microchip, Archer somewhat deliriously grabs a cleaver and goes in search of his mother.

Meanwhile, the ISIS staff is still preparing for the onset of the anti-fraternization policy. Cheryl ends her relationship with Krieger and gives him back his CCR records, citing his "weak womany hands." As a response, Krieger invents a robot to choke her more efficiently, introducing the sex robot who will become Fister Roboto. Cyril comes clean with Lana about his various infidelities (with the exception of one) and she kicks him out of his own office so that she can "bang every last dude in the building" on his desk. Pam is first in line, and disappointed to discover that Lana is not in fact planning on having sex with every man at ISIS. Instead, Lana is charging each man (and Pam) $600 for the privilege to tell everyone that they had sex with her, as long as the first person they tell is Cyril. This has the ultimate effect of driving Cyril to the edge and earning Lana twenty thousand dollars. Pam, upset that nobody at the office wants to have sex with her, breaks down and Lana is convinced to actually have sex with her on Cyril's desk.

The scene then returns to the present moment in Malory's apartment, Archer's mind is still scrambled from the microchip, but he does not immediately attempt to kill Malory. Instead, he demands that Malory make him a grilled cheese sandwich and wavers between confusion and tears . When Malory attempts to make a call, the interference drives him back into a homicidal frenzy and he chases Malory into her bedroom with a cleaver, forcing her to shoot him through the door. Archer survives relatively unscathed and Malory dresses his wound. Malory then reminds him that she taught him all he knows without intervention from a father, and he is forced to admit that she was always there for him.


Cultural References[]

  • Dial M For Murder (1954):  This episode derives its name from this Alfred Hitchcock classic.
  • The Manchurian Candidate (1962):  The main plotline is lifted from this film with Archer as the protagonist being "brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy."
  • 'Greenmantle' by John Buchan: The book Malory is reading is one inspiration Adam Reed noted for the character of Archer.
  • President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963): The flashback of Archer's fathers (fake) funeral is a reference to the funeral of US President John F. Kennedy. Young Archer's salute pose and outfit mirrors that of JFK Jr.'s in the famous photograph of him saluting his father's casket. Malory's fake nickname for Archer's father is John Fitzgerald Archer. JFK's full name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
  • Steuben glasses: Archer and Malory both break this expensive brand of handcrafted glass from New York.
  • Schindler's List (1993):  Pam compares her role accounting for Lana's fake office shagathon with 'that little Gandhi dude' - Oskar Schindler’s bookkeeper Itzhak Stern in "Schindler's List". Lana objects citing 'inappropriate analogy' which is, ironically, the point: the analogy only extends to the keeping of accounts, not what was being accounted for. This role was played by Sir Ben Kingsley as was:
    • Mahatma Gandhi: An indirect reference is made to Gandhi when Pam conflates (joins together) two roles played by Sir Ben Kingsley. (His role in Schindler's List for the purpose of the analogy with his role in 'Gandhi' for the purpose of comedy).
  • Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999): Two of the director's films are referenced in this season finale:
    • Full Metal Jacket (1987): Cyril acts out another iconic scene, this time of Private Pile, after being pushed to snapping point by Lana's office exploits. While loading his rifle he mutters the line word for word: "7...6...2... millimeter...full...metal...jacket..."
    • The Shining (1980): In the final act, Archer hacks away at the door with a cleaver in homage to the iconic scene where Jack Nicolson does the same only with an ax.
  • The Graduate (1967): In reference to a famous scene, Cyril thinks about the time Malory seduced him.
  • When Lana agrees to have sex with Pam, she says she is going to pretend Pam is Alex Karras. Karras was a defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions in the 1960s and '70s but is probably best remembered as the father on the sitcom Webster or as Mongo in the movie Blazing Saddles.

Running Gags / Callbacks[]

  • Can't have nice things - Like carpets, wallpaper and functional sons, can't be had because someone else will inevitably ruin them. In this case, Malory berates Archer for bleeding on her new linen after she shoots him 6 times in the chest.
  • Sploosh! - First and second use by Pam.
  • Running Gags/Lana's Hands - As Cheryl complains to Krieger she needs a man with monster hands, he says "like Lana's".
  • Voicemail Prank - Debuts.
  • Sterling. Malory. Archer.
  • Choke Sex leads to Choke Bot
  • 934TXS - The code on the Soviet microchip.

Archer / Frisky Dingo

  • "Baffling" - said by Archer to Malory / used repeatedly by one of the D&D geeks (think gazebo).
  • Hostile work environment - said by Boris to Jakov / one of the Xtacles raises the same complaint.


  • Krieger was last seen in The Rock (s1e8).
  • Mannfred & Uta were last seen in Killing Utne (s1e4).
  • Nikolai Jakov was last seen in Skorpio (s1e6).
  • Trinette Magoon was last seen in Training Day (s1e2).
  • When Trinette is seen in the park she says the baby's dad knows Krav Maga. She is implying that the baby is Archer's, setting up a story arc in Season 2.
  • Uta wears a t-shirt from the Excelsior, the airship in Skytanic.
  • Archer's gunshot scars from Lana shooting him in the foot twice (first time in Skorpio; second time, in subsequent episode, Skytanic) can be seen as he is being held prisoner.
  • This "Chekhov's gun" principle, which is in use throughout the first season, is here lampshaded. See Archer's gun and Conway's knife in Diversity Hire (s1e3), and the Speargun which appears in Training Day (s1e2) and is discharged in Diversity Hire (s1e3).
  • The office worker with the red bow-tie is reading the same magazine as Cyril was reading in the Odin parking garage (Paris) in Job Offer (s1e9). With the headline reading "Entre le zenit," the satellite depicted foreshadows the one used by the Soviets for mind control. Perhaps Cyril brought it back with him to the office.


  • The title is also shared with an episode of "The Critic", one of the first shows Archer voice actor H. Jon Benjamin appeared on.
  • The beginning sequence of a rainy night closing in on a building may be a reference to the opening sequence of the show Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Dr. Weird's laboratory.
  • In the background as Pam is putting up the ISIS "Fraternization Policy", numerous other bulletins can be seen, including "Want to Carpool to Chemo on Thurs? Contact Jane in Payroll", "Free Kitten: I'm Kitty-Litter-ate! [a picture of a kitten] I'll take your breathe away (but not in the middle of the night) Call Eric", "WWJD about the dirty dishes in the break room!" and "Krieger Improv: The Science of Funny". As with other written items in the Archerverse, such as Pam's ISIS newsletter in "Diversity Hire" and the newspaper clippings in "The Double Deuce", the ISIS Fraternization Policy is partially written in English and Latin.
  • Lana tells the men to deliberately make their lies about having sex with her as nasty as possible. Brett claims Lana gave him a "Jane Hathaway", which is a sex act where a women orgasms on a man's chest.
  • Uta luring in Archer with the line, "Help, my baby is choking!" is reminiscent of a scene from the second season opener of FX's Sons of Anarchy, where Gemma Teller is lured to a van in the same manner. 
  • Archer's ringtone, "Mulatto Butts" can be downloaded from Krieger's easter-egg-hunt website AlgerSoft after logging in, or from this direct link.[2]
  • Archer states that his handgun is a "Chekhov". This is most likely a reference to the dramatic principle Chekhov's Gun as the firearm does indeed come into play before the end of the episode.



(Pam puts a notice up on the bulletin board.)
Cyril: "'All interoffice fraternization of an intimate nature is hereby prohibited, to include, but not limited to: trysts, assignations...' What's this even mean?"
Pam: "It means no more banging co-workers."
Cyril: "Oh, so it doesn't affect you." (laughs)
Pam: "MEH HEH! Oh, wait." (staples Cyril)


Brett: "No."
Pam: "Yes."
Brett: "No."
Pam: "Have sex with me."
Brett: "No."
Pam: "Please?"
Brett: "No."
Pam: "Awww, come on..."
Brett: "Pam..."
Pam: (using her dolphin puppet) "Nobody would ever know."
Brett: "Yeah, I'd know."


Lana: "Okay, we got the french chick and Carol and... anybody else, Rambone?"
Cyril: "No."
(Jane walks in the room.)
Jane: "Hi, Cyril."(giggles then erupts into a coughing fit.)
Lana: "Scatterbrain Jane?! Really?!
Cyril: "Well, see, she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer--"
Lana: "Oh, right! I forgot, your dick's full of radiation and mastectomy coupons."


Pam: (Getting dressed)"Well, that was a huge waste of time."
Lana: "I said don't take your clothes off."
Pam: "Well..."
Lana: "Begged, even."
Pam: "WELL..."


Pam: "Now serving number two!"
Brett: (Holds up number)"I'm number two! That's me!"
(Bumps into Cyril)
Brett: "Move, dude!"
Cyril: "Animals! You're all ANIMALS!"
Ray: "Animals, lying in wait at the watering hole, taut buttocks all aquiver. Aching to pounce on the supple, brown flesh of your woman."
Cyril: "Shut up!"
Ray: "They are gonna mess her up."
Cyril: "Why are you even here?"
Ray: "Hello." (Holds up number)
Cyril: "But you're gay!"
Ray: "Girl, please. Nobody's that gay."


Malory: "Filthy coat! Can't tell what's cow's blood and what's yours."
Archer: "The wet blood, mother, is mine!"
Malory: "And it's ruining my brand-new linens!"
Archer: "Sorry!"
Malory: "This is why I can't have nice things."
Archer: "Why, because you shoot them?"



Dial M for Mother/Transcript

Gallery of Images[]

There are 26 screenshots and images from "Dial M for Mother" on this Wiki, visit the category page for a complete gallery.

External links[]

Reference List[]

  1. Archer Season 1 Ratings on
  2. Mulatto Butts Ringtone