“Who is Sterling Archer’s father?” It’s the largest looming question in the Archer universe. The mystery has been haunting Sterling himself since the Season 1 finale, “Dial M for Mother,” where Malory revealed that Navy Cross-winning fighter pilot John Fitzgerald “Black Jack” Archer, who supposedly died when Sterling was a child, was all a figment of her imagination.
And there has been so much additional intrigue — as well as Malory sex partners — revealed since then the possibilities can often be hard to track. So with the help of Executive Producer Matt Thompson we’ve put together this collection of candidates, complete with Matt’s own thoughts and some form of a paternity verdict decided by me.
Spoilers to follow. Candidates in chronological order of appearance. Images via Floyd County. Previously: The Ladies of Archer: A Comprehensive Guide.
The former head of the KGB has long been rumored to be Sterling’s father thanks to a 40 year ongoing relationship with Malory. So much so that Sterling went to Russian searching for answers, only to be captured by the KGB, only to be rescued by Barry Dylan, only for the KGB to turn Barry into a cyborg, only for Barry to take over the KGB and blow up a defected Nikolai so that we never find out if he’s the real dad for sure. Phew.
MATT THOMPSON SAYS: “Jakov being the father is possible. He is dead, but what was on that video tape message to Sterling?”
RESEMBLANCE FACTOR: Moderate to moderately high (depending on abundance of wifebeaters).
LIKELIHOOD: High. Jakov has always been a prime suspect and the long-term affair makes sense.
The head of ODIN has regularly professed his love for Malory, has been named as one of Sterling’s potential fathers, and his relationship with Malory spans back a long time, although exactly how long is unclear.
MATT THOMPSON SAYS: “Still possible. It would explain Sterling’s arrested development.” (See what he did there?)
RESEMBLANCE FACTOR: Low. Sterling has way better hair.
LIKELIHOOD: Medium. One of three candidates Malory offers up when she first confesses that John Fitzgerald Archer is a scam, but Trexler hasn’t been around for quite some time and the odds appear to be against him.
Malory hires former ISIS agent Rip Riley to retrieve Sterling in the “Heart of Archness” miniseries, where it is revealed that Rip had a brief sexual relationship with Malory. The details are hazy outside of Rip’s inability to fill Malory’s needs, but there’s still a slim possibility he could be dad.
MATT THOMPSON SAYS: “Noooooope. You are not the father!”
RESEMBLANCE FACTOR: Low, even with matching shiners.
LIKELIHOOD: Zero percent chance.
Prior to actually dating Malory, Burt Reynolds would have been Sterling’s father of choice, but much like Levar Burton showing up, you can’t disappoint a picture.