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Leland Adama

From Battlestar Wiki, the free, open content Battlestar Galactica encyclopedia and episode guide
Revision as of 12:31, 23 November 2006 by WeiSein (talk | contribs) (added image of maj adama in viper)
The article discusses the Re-imagined Series character with the pilot callsign of "Apollo." For information on his Original Series counterpart, see Apollo (TOS).
Leland Adama
Leland Adama


Colony Caprica
Birth place {{{birthplace}}}
Birth Name Lee Adama
Birth Date {{{birthdate}}}
Callsign Apollo
Nickname {{{nickname}}}
Introduced Miniseries
Parents Caroline Adama (mother, likely deceased), William Adama (father)
Siblings Zak Adama
Children 1 unborn child with Gianne (presumed deceased)
Marital Status Married to Anastasia Dualla
Family Tree View
Role Commander Air Group, battlestar Galactica
Rank Major
Serial Number {{{serial}}}
Portrayed by Jamie Bamber
Leland Adama is a Cylon
Leland Adama is a Final Five Cylon
Leland Adama is a Human/Cylon Hybrid
Leland Adama is an Original Series Cylon
Additional Information
[[Image:|200px|Leland Adama]]

Biographical Notes


Lee "Apollo" Adama is the eldest son of Caroline and William Adama. Together with his younger brother, Zak, he was raised largely by his mother on Caprica, following his parents' divorce when he was eight.

Despite his father's estrangement from the family, Adama nevertheless inherited his passion for flying - a passion that saw him enrolling in the Colonial military reserves after graduating from college. Following his basic training, he graduated from the military academy third in his class and immediately applied for flight school.

Not to be outdone by his elder brother, Zak Adama applied for military service, a move that eventually brought tragedy to the Adama household.

Accepted into flight school, Adama proved himself a gifted and natural pilot, hampered only by his tendency to over-intellectualise things - a result of his upbringing with his mother, who encouraged him to read widely, and think freely (encouragement that lead him to read banned texts by the renegade Tom Zarek while at college (Bastille Day)).

Graduating from flight school, Adama was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Colonial Reserve, flying the Viper Mark VII. During this time, he was also introduced to Kara "Starbuck" Thrace, a training instructor at flight school, who was also involved with Zak Adama. While Adama was still at flight school, the three frequently spent time together, and Adama and Thrace developed a friendship through Zak Adama (Miniseries).

Brother's Death

Tragedy struck some two years prior to the renewed Cylon attack on the Twelve Colonies when Zak Adama, recently graduated from flight school, was killed on a routine Viper mission. At the time, the cause of the accident was put down to pilot error. However, Lee Adama chose to blame the mishap on his father, whom he believed had pushed Zak into applying for military service and for applying for flight school (Miniseries).

Following Zak's death, Lee Adama became estranged from his father, seeking to build his career well away from any influence exerted by either William Adama or the legendary battlestar Galactica, his father's command. While he was successful in this - gaining promotion to Captain through his own abilities, the decision nevertheless placed a heavy strain on his friendship with Kara Thrace, as she applied for pilot duty aboard Galactica.

Adama spent much time on Caprica and becomes engaged to a woman named Gianne. She told him she is pregnant with their child, causing him to run from her due to his own family issues. Before he can speak with her again he is assigned to take part in the decommissioning ceremony aboard Galactica (Black Market).

Adama is reunited with both his father and Kara Thrace when Galactica is to be decommissioned as a living museum and educational center of the Cylon War. As a part of the final ceremonies marking Galactica's retirement, Lee Adama participates in a final Viper flyby to salute both the ship and her commanding officer - an assignment he undertakes grudgingly, doing little to hide his true feelings from the moment he arrives on the battlestar (Miniseries). Matters are not helped when he discovers he will fly not in his own Mark VII Viper, but in a newly-restored Viper Mark II his father had flown during the Cylon War (Miniseries).

Things worsen after the PR official aboard Galactica, Aaron Doral, sees Captain Adama's presence on Galactica as a major PR opportunity and has Adama and his father pose for pictures together. Immediately following this, Adama confronts his father over his brother's death, venting two years' worth of anger and belief that his father was responsible for the loss of his brother.

Surprise Cylon Attack

Following the decommissioning ceremony, Lee Adama departs Galactica, acting as an unofficial escort for Colonial Heavy 798, the official transport for Secretary of Education Laura Roslin, who represented President Adar at the ceremony. Midway through their return to Caprica, Adama and the crew of Colonial Heavy 798 hear of the Cylon attacks on the Twelve Colonies, and soon find themselves under direct attack. Adama is able to thwart a missile attack, but his father's old Viper is disabled. Aboard Colonial Heavy 798. Adama becomes one of Laura Roslin's unofficial advisors, aiding her in her self-appointed rescue mission. Adama's annoyance of his father's old Viper comes back to haunt him when Boomer, returning from her unexpected rescue mission on Caprica and disastrous attack on two Cylon Raiders, notes to him that other Vipers and other modern Colonial spacecraft like his Mark VII were easily destroyed by Cylon attacks.

Adama again saves Colonial Heavy 798 from a nuclear missile attack with a failed experiment he toyed with in War College, using Galactica's EMP coils that were placed on the ship for return to Caprica and the Colonial Fleet - while simultaneously making it look like the ship had been destroyed. He supports Roslin in her rescue efforts, persuading Roslin to lead the FTL-capable ships to follow Galactica to Ragnar Anchorage.

As the ranking pilot aboard Galactica, and despite his relative inexperience, Adama finds himself promoted to the position of CAG by Colonel Saul Tigh.

Apollo leads a Viper squadron in keeping Cylon Raiders at bay while the civilian Fleet Jumps away from Ragnar Anchorage. His ship is badly damaged midway in the battle and Adama would have been killed by a missile were it not for the lightning-fast and highly-accurate shooting of Starbuck. Starbuck's highly unconventional flying force-fits her fighter and Adama's now-powerless Viper nose-to-nose and flies him back to the battlestar seconds before the port flight pod closes and Galactica Jumps away.

Special Advisor

Adama and President Roslin shake hands after appointment as military advisor in "Water". (c) Universal)

Adama's work as Roslin's "special advisor" to further help her understand military matters does not sit well with his father (Bastille Day).

In the weeks following the Cylon attack, Adama finds time to re-evaluate his relationship with his father - due in no small part to Starbuck's admission of her involvement in Zak's acceptance as a fighter pilot (Miniseries) and his subsequent death. Father and son grow somewhat closer - even standing shoulder-to-shoulder when Starbuck is MIA (You Can't Go Home Again). Even so, Adama's former self-doubts and moodiness are not easily overcome and sometimes come back to haunt him when he is tasked to fill a role that others are unsure he can manage. As a Viper pilot, Adama is able to escape from Starbuck's shadow, proving himself capable in unconventional and skilled flying in the Battle for the Tylium Asteroid (The Hand of God).

After the tylium asteroid mission, Adama matures enormously, emerging from his shell as a somewhat disillusioned officer and becomes a practical leader who now comfortably straddles his responsibilities as CAG of Galactica with his duties as advisor to Roslin. With few issues with either Roslin or his father, Adama demonstrates his maturity particularly well in his handling of security arrangements for the initial meeting of Roslin's Quorum of Twelve aboard the luxury liner Cloud Nine (Colonial Day).

The Inner Conflicts at Kobol

Unfortunately, Adama's beliefs in the need for democratic representation and civil government brings him in direct conflict with orders given him by Commander Adama. During the arrest of Laura Roslin following her interference with military operations, Captain Adama draws his gun on Colonel Tigh in a direct act of mutiny, protesting his father's removal of Roslin from office. Arrested together with Roslin, Adama watches helplessly in CIC as Lieutenant Valerii shoots his father at point blank range, seriously wounding him (Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II).

Adama is temporarily furloughed by Colonel Tigh so that he can continue his CAG responsibilities, For a time, Commander Adama's initiative lives on through his son. Young Adama leads a fight with Cylons to buy time for Galactica to find its proper bearings to the civilian Fleet (Scattered), He leads a team of Marines to stop Cylon Centurions from reaching Aft Damage Control, saving the ship (Valley of Darkness). After that, Adama continues his initiative and leads a SAR mission with two Raptors to retrieve stranded Colonials on the surface of Kobol (Fragged).

Adama's desire to let democracy work without overt military action comes to a head once more as he plots with a handful of others to free Roslin and smuggle her away from Galactica (Resistance). Before he leaves, he apologizes to his unconscious Commander Adama at his bedside for what he is about to do: Leave with Roslin and a faction of ships to search for data on Earth on Kobol. Commander Adama begins to awaken just as young Adama leaves his side.

On the Astral Queen, Adama is so happy to see Kara Thrace had returned safely from Caprica with the Arrow of Apollo that he hugs and also impulsively kisses her, pleasantly surprising Thrace. Moments later, as the Caprica copy of Sharon Valerii entered, Adama instantly grabs the known Cylon agent in anger and would have killed her if Helo and Roslin did not intervene.

Adama and Kara Thrace speak aboard the Astral Queen in "Home, Part I". (c) Universal)

Later, with their military protocols and attitudes temporarily relaxed, Adama playfully teases the brooding Kara Thrace by stealing a pyramid ball she took as a keepsake from her time with Anders on Caprica. He returns the ball after sensing her depressed mood and tells her that he would be happy to listen to what was on her mind. In the same conversation, he lets it slip out that he loves Thrace. Amused, Thrace cheers up a bit and teases Adama, telling him that there are no take-backs on what he said (Home, Part I).

Adama and Thrace join President Roslin and her other supporters on their quest to find the Tomb of Athena on Kobol. When Cylon Centurions ambush the group along an ancient trail, Adama and Thrace work well together in the fight, complementing each other for their fine shooting. During the incident, Adama chases what appeared to be an escaping Valerii, with Thrace calling Adama back in vain. Valerii takes a grenade launcher and aims it in the direction of Adama, but Valerii actually uses the weapon to destroy the last Centurion instead before dropping the weapon to a very surprised Adama.

Adama's reunion with his recovered father on Kobol further mends the wounds between them, both politically and personally. Like Captain Adama had done on the Queen, his father reacts violently to the existence of a another copy of Valerii, leaving Captain Adama in the awkward position of defending her from his father.

In the virtual planetarium created by the Tomb of Athena, Adama is the party member that completes the mystery of interpreting how to use the constellations as viewed from Earth to make a flight path. He spots the Lagoon Nebula in the sky where the Scorpius constellation resided, a celestial body known to the Colonials which gives them a reference point to navigate to Earth. His father confirms Adama's observation, noting that the nebula is far away from their current location at Kobol.

After the Fleet's reunification, Lee Adama is fully restored to flight status and his position as the Commander, Air Group (Final Cut). Apollo doubts that Tyrol could successfully complete a prototype fighter later known as the Blackbird, but in the end aids in its first test flight with Starbuck. Around this time, Adama begins to develop a peculiar attraction to Petty Officer 2nd Class Anastasia Dualla (Flight of the Phoenix).


Apollo is on CAP when the battlestar Pegasus reunites with Galactica: he was one of the first to see it up close. Soon afterwards, friction develops between Adama and the CAG of Pegasus, Captain Cole "Stinger" Taylor. Taylor feels that Adama's pilots were undisciplined and implies that Adama has his position through his father's influence. Taylor recommends that Adama have his pilots focus on keeping a "killcount" of Raiders to encourage competition between his pilots, while Adama stresses that his first priority is to make sure that all of his pilots merely survive another day.

To Adama's shock, Admiral Helena Cain re-assigns him and Lt. Thrace to Pegasus, under Taylor's command. Cain believes that having Commander Adama's son in the role of CAG was a mistake that had clouded Commander Adama's judgment, as young Adama had been insubordinate and even mutinous in the past. During a briefing on an upcoming scouting mission against the Cylon fleet following them, Thrace crassly points out that it would never work. She is grounded while Taylor orders Adama to perform the humiliating task of co-piloting a Raptor. However, after the briefing, Adama surreptitiously gives Starbuck a surveillance package and tells her to take the Blackbird to carry out a recon mission on her own. When Commander Adama and Admiral Cain turn on each other, Apollo is away in Taylor's Raptor on his recon mission (Pegasus).

As the two battlestar commanders begin sparring with Vipers, Pegasus orders Taylor to relieve Adama of duty. Taylor pulls his sidearm and takes away Adama's. Now weaponless and with nothing more to do than to ride along, Adama asks permission to head to the rear of the Raptor. While Taylor is busy, Adama secretly sends an encoded wireless message to Starbuck on her whereabouts with the Blackbird and the secret stealth mission he tasked her with. It happened that Starbuck arrives back in the Fleet's space to see the furious and dangerous game of Viper-tag and replies to Adama, asking what was going on. Starbuck's return on the outer fringes of DRADIS activate proximity alarms on both Pegasus and Galactica, whose Vipers unite as a team to intercept what they think is a Raider. Starbuck manages to identify herself before things get out of hand.

Cain feels that persecuting young Adama for authorizing Thrace's mission would be odd since she was promoting Thrace for her work on her recon mission. Thrace successfully returns Adama to flight status, but demoted to Lieutenant (Resurrection Ship, Part II).

Battle of the Resurrection Ship

While Thrace plans an assault on the Resurrection Ship and the two basestars defending it, she tells Adama that his father has ordered her to kill Cain after the battle, and asks Adama to watch her back. Outraged, Adama confronts his father with this, shocked to learn it was President Roslin's idea. Thrace assigns Adama the specific task of disabling the Resurrection Ship's FTL drive by sneaking up on it in the Blackbird and destroying it with a precision missile strike. Apollo succeeds, but the Blackbird collides with a Raider. Apollo is able to eject, but the Blackbird is destroyed. Alive, but not unscathed, Apollo floats in space watching the battle take place, able to faintly hear Dualla calling for him over wireless. His damaged flight suit leaves him in hypoxia, drifting in and out of consciousness, found shortly afterwards by a SAR Raptor and resuscitated. Adama becomes despondent and distant from his friends and family after his near-death experience. In the pilot's locker room, Thrace tells Adama "Let's just be glad that we both came back alive, alright?" to which Adama responds "That's just it, Kara, I didn't want to make it back alive" (Resurrection Ship, Part II).

The Black Market

Captains Adama and Thrace apprehend Viper saboteur Asha Janik of the Demand Peace group after she sabotages Viper ammunition.

After President Roslin is saved from her illness, she begins trying to put down the Fleet's black market. New Pegasus commander Jack Fisk is soon murdered, leaving the elder Adama (now an Admiral) to assign his son to investigate. With his association with prostitute Shevon and her daughter Paya on Cloud 9 Anastasia Dualla asks where the relationship between the two of them was heading. After he hesitates, Dualla takes it to mean it is over. Rushing to help Shevon after her call for help, the captain is ambushed by Phelan's men. Waking up from the attack, he finds the Fisk's murder weapon, and the body of Fisk's murderer.

With some help from Tom Zarek, unwilling to accept the neatly-wrapped up case of Fisk's murderer or the missing Shevon, Adama finds the black market's main ship, the Prometheus. He finds Paya and other children locked in a storage room. He confronts Phelan, who tells him a black market is necessary, since some supplies may never reach needy people any other way. After Phelan admits running a child prostitution ring, Adama shoots Phelan, and tells his bodyguards that the market can continue operations, unless it keeps holding back essential medicines, begins killing, or returns to child prostitution.

Shevon refuses to see Adama anymore, realizing that Adama has tried to use her and Paya as replacements in his mind for his lost fiancé Gianne and their unborn child (Black Market).

Friendly Fire

While on leave to Cloud 9 with Anastasia Dualla, a group of terrorists seize a bar and demand the second copy of Sharon Valerii for execution, while they hold hostage approximately a dozen people, including Dualla, Billy Keikeya, Ellen Tigh and Adama. The captain secretly sabotages the bar's sensors to appear as if it were leaking atmosphere. The sabotage enables Captain Thrace to gather intelligence on the situation, but her cover is blown, and she is forced to lay down some fire to escape. One shot hits Adama in the chest. Dualla is able to care for Adama long enough for him to survive to Galactica's sickbay, and later sat at his bedside while he recovers (Sacrifice).

A Worthy Command

Adama finds himself promoted to Major and assigned to battlestar Pegasus to assess the new commander Barry Garner, a former officer in engineering, and the bad situation on the ship in general. His relationship with Dualla has become very intimate following his promotion and recovery. Garner finds an instant dislike for Kara Thrace, still assigned as Pegasus CAG, and orders her sent back to Galactica. Against orders from Admiral Adama, Garner takes Pegasus in to search for two Raptors missing during a recon mission into a binary star system. His impulsive and unwise efforts result in the battlestar's ambush by three Cylon basestars.

With the FTL drive damaged after successive nuclear missile strikes, Garner relegates command to Major Adama and heads below to help in FTL repairs. After a moment's hesitation (perhaps thinking what his father would do), Adama orders the forward guns to fire on the nearest basestar's central spire, critically damaging the basestar and forcing its retreat, while commanding the battlestar's fighters (led by Starbuck) to guard embattled areas damaged from nuclear pummeling. Adama's attack buys time for Commander Garner to repair the FTL drive, enabling Adama to order Pegasus to escape back to the Fleet and relative safety.

Admiral Adama debriefs his son, and congratulates him by promoting him to the rank of Commander and giving him command of battlestar Pegasus (The Captain's Hand).

Sometime later, Adama wishes Thrace good luck in rescuing Anders and the rest of the resistance group on Caprica, despite his clear personal feelings towards her. After Thrace and Anders' return, Adama attempts to introduce himself politely, but is hampered by the couple's amorous and highly drunken behavior. When Thrace gives a rude comment, Adama bows out the area, beginning a quiet but palpable rift in their friendship.

Lee Adama in command of Pegasus (Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II).

Just over a year later, commanding a half-capacity, nearly unneeded battlestar orbiting New Caprica, Commander Lee Adama gained a considerable amount of weight in the intervening year. He is in the process of deciding whether or not to supply Kara Thrace with antibiotics for Anders (now her husband, suffering from pneumonia) when Dualla (now Lieutenant, Pegasus CIC and wife of Lee Adama) spots a massive Cylon fleet jumping into the nebula. Adama and his father briefly discuss their course of action; young Adama argues for an immediate emergency jump. Reluctantly, the Admiral ordered the orbiting remains of the Fleet, whose population consists of around two thousand citizens, to escape, leaving New Caprica to the Cylons, for the time being (Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II).

Battle of New Caprica and Destruction of Pegasus

Commander Adama and his father get into a disagreement over whether or not a rescue mission should be mounted to New Caprica. Lee believes that it would end with the destruction of both Galactica and Pegasus, leaving the pitiful remnants of the Fleet at the mercy of the Cylons. Lee also objects to the Admiral's decision to reinstate Sharon Agathon as a Colonial Fleet officer to act as liaison between the New Caprica resistance and Galactica. These disagreements lead to heated arguments between the two, prompting Admiral Adama to make a comment about Lee's weight by calling him a "fatass" and saying he has grown "soft" in the past year (Occupation, Precipice). Due to his son's objections, Admiral Adama decides to take Galactica to rescue the people on New Caprica alone. He gives his son orders to wait 18 hours for his return; if he does not return by then, Lee is to resume the search for Earth with what's left of the civilian fleet (Exodus, Part I).

Lee is certain that the elder Adama will not return, and he is conflicted between his duty to protect the civilians and his duty to his father. His wife's attempt at reassurance only serve to heighten his guilt. Leaving his ship's Vipers behind to protect the civilians, the Commander takes Pegasus to assist Galactica, fully aware that he may very well be on a suicide mission. He joins the Battle of New Caprica just in time, saving his father's ship from certain destruction at the hands of four Cylon basestars; Pegasus immediately destroys one basestar with its forward guns. Lee then uses Pegasus to draw fire, giving Galactica time to escape. This action damages Pegasus beyond repair. He orders the crew to evacuate and the ship's batteries to be set on autofire; he is the last person to leave CIC, thanking the ship as he departs. The small crew evacuates on Raptors and executes FTL jumps just as Pegasus rams a basestar, destroying itself in the process. One of its flight pods flird away from the force of the explosion and annihilates another basestar in a final act of defiance (Exodus, Part II).

The Commander and his crew transfer to the last remaining battlestar, Galactica. Still a Commander three days later, Lee reports directly to his father regarding important affairs within the Fleet, including the mysterious disappearances of 13 people confirmed to have survived the Exodus from New Caprica. Dissatisfied with his round appearance, he had also taken up a rigid exercise regimen and starts losing weight rapidly (Collaborators).

The Second Exodus

Lee Adama back as a major in the role of Galactica's CAG. (Torn)

As of the episode "Torn", he has returned to the role of Galactica's CAG, with the rank of Major. When a dying basestar is discovered in the Lion's Head Nebula, Adama leads a team of marines on it and captures several humanoid Cylons. When Doctor Cottle discovers that they are infected with a virus lethal to the Cylons, Adama advocates to use the prisoners as biological weapons in an attempt to exterminate the Cylons. The plan is approved but ultimately fails due to the intervention of Karl Agathon (A Measure of Salvation).


In my first draft of the mini, Lee Adama had just been accepted into test pilot school on Caprica and was not currently assigned to any battlestar. Presumably, he had been posted to at least a couple of battlestar air groups in his career, as well as several ground assignments as well. This isn't canon yet, however, and I'm currently thinking of changing some elements of his specific backstory as I work on storylines for Season Two. Overall, I'd say Lee was striving (perhaps too hard) to blaze a different path for himself in the fleet from that of his father. I don't think Lee ever saw himself as a battlestar commander and was looking for a different way to make his mark.

  • According to Jamie Bamber, Adama's official character biography states that “Lee is never so happy as when he’s in his kitchen cooking.”
  • The subtitles under Apollo's name in "Final Cut" list him as "CFR". In the podcast, RDM explained that this stood for Colonial Fleet Reserves; likely analogous to the U.S. Army Reserve, the U.S. Air Force Reserve and such of the United States military; and Apollo is in that because, as stated above, he wasn't sure what he was doing with his life and wasn't sure if he was going to pursue a full career in the Fleet.
  • Jamie Bamber is the husband of actress Kerry Norton, who portrays Layne Ishay, the paramedic from "Scattered".
  • Bamber is actually a British citizen; he disguises his accent to play the role of Lee Adama.
  • Bamber's natural hair color is blonde, but his hair is dyed brown to play Apollo, so he will resemble Edward James Olmos more, who plays his characters' father.
  • According to Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion, Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell were hand-picked for their roles, while the rest of the characters were cast by audition: among those in the running for the role of Apollo was Farscape and Stargate SG-1 star Ben Browder, though the role ultimately went to Jamie Bamber.

Preceded by:
Jackson "Ripper" Spencer
Commander, Air Group of the battlestar Galactica Succeeded by:
George "Catman" Birch
Preceded by:
George "Catman" Birch
Commander, Air Group of the battlestar Galactica Succeeded by:
Kara "Starbuck" Thrace
Preceded by:
(unknown, eventually Jack Fisk)
Executive Officer of the battlestar Pegasus Succeeded by:
(unknown, eventually Anastasia Dualla)
Preceded by:
Barry Garner
Commanding Officer of the battlestar Pegasus Succeeded by:
(none, ship destroyed)
Preceded by:
Louanne "Kat" Katraine
Commander, Air Group of the battlestar Galactica Succeeded by:


See Also