Samuel "Sam" Fisher is the main protagonist and player character of the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series of video games developed and published by Ubisoft and endorsed by Tom Clancy. Fisher was created by JT Petty and designed by Martin Caya. He is voiced by Michael Ironside in all the Splinter Cell games from the first to Conviction. In Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Eric Johnson was the performance capture and voice actor for the role.

A former Navy SEAL operator and CIA clandestine operative, Fisher is a former field agent of the "Splinter Cell" program for Third Echelon, a top-secret initiative within the National Security Agency (NSA). In Blacklist, Fisher became the commander of a covert unit called Fourth Echelon.

Early LifeEdit

Sam Fisher was born in 1957 in Towson, Maryland. While not much is known of his childhood, it is known that Sam attended a military boarding school after the death of his parents when he was young and that he majored in political science while at the U.S. Naval Academy. During the mid-1980's, Sam was working for the CIA, under cover of being deployed as a diplomatic aide in Eastern Europe where he later met a NSA cryptanalyst named Regan Burns in the then-Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia. They had a "stormy" affair and Regan became pregnant. After learning of the pregnancy, they had a small, quiet wedding ceremony at a U.S. military base in Frankfurt, Germany, where their only child, whom they named Sarah, was later born in May 31, 1985. It was a distant, difficult marriage. Sam and Regan eventually separated after three years of marriage. Regan went back to the United States and took Sarah with her, reclaiming her maiden name and changing Sarah's. Sam became estranged from Regan and Sarah as he dedicated himself to his work, operating extensively in Afghanistan (during and after the Soviet invasion), "east Germany, and the Soviet satellites in the years leading up to the collapse of the USSR". Regan later died from ovarian cancer when Sarah was fifteen years of age, sometime around 1999 and 2000. Sam gained custody of Sarah and he took a bureaucratic job with the CIA in the United States.


For two decades, Fisher has been involved in numerous armed conflicts throughout the world, many of them unconventional. Over the course of his extensive service career, he has served in hot spots such as the Persian Gulf (Iraq and Kuwait), Iran, Colombia and Afghanistan as well as taking covert assignments in North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Panama, the former East Germany, Myanmar, China, Japan, and the former Soviet Republic of Georgia amongst several others. He has not only survived, but has also excelled in the field of covert operations through hard work, insatiable curiosity and brutal honesty. Combat, espionage and constant training have defined his adult life; his tactical experience has become part of his instinct.He is quiet, instinctive and observant: somebody who watched from the outside. Even outside of work he is most comfortable on the fringes of society, keenly observant but still removed.

Though fully aware and confident of his abilities, Fisher understands that his survival has often been a gift of chance. He knows he is human and fallible, and he does not want to die. Highly trained, skilled and experienced, Fisher possesses a distinctly dark sense of humor, which he uses to control his fears and keep himself calm while in the field. Personality wise, Fisher is abrasive and honest, and his little patience for niceties and even less for lies, especially when the immediate problem presents itself. Unlike younger operatives, he is not a blind idealist.

But in order to achieve the discipline required for his work, Fisher has had to bury certain aspects of himself. His ability to detatch himself emotionally from the immediate situation in order to better achieve his objectives is an exceptional attribute. Though, on rare occasions, his emotions have been known to surface. A man of few words, he is truly himself only when he is on the job - he has, in a sense, become what he does. He has acquired an admirable collection of scars, war experiences, and a place in military history. He has little left to prove to the world and has no interest in glory. If he fights, it is because he believes he is capable of provoking positive change.

Navy careerEdit

A highly-decorated commissioned officer of the U.S. Navy, Fisher attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander (O-4) while serving in the U.S. Navy SEALs, where he participated and led various special operations in the Persian Gulf, Bolivia, Colombia, Senegal, Kosovo and various other hotspots around the world. During this time in the Navy he spent nearly three years (2 years 11 months) as an intelligence analyst. At one point he was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal. He was discharged from the Navy at some point during 1996.

Operational historyEdit

Sam Fisher has been into the most sensitive areas around the world. Since his recruitment in August 2004 (the 1990s in the novels and essentials), Sam proved himself to be one of the most valuable assets in Third Echelon's arsenal, from his first official mission in 2004 during the Georgian Information Crisis, to his last operation in 2008 when he went undercover as a convicted felon to infiltrate the domestic terror organization, John Brown's Army.


Fisher took part in Operation Just Cause, when he was part of a CIA raiding team that went into a bank in Panama searching for Manuel Noriega's drug money. He later spent most of the rest of the year "sleeping in a ditch on the road between Baghdad and Kuwait".


Sam Fisher is a veteran of the Gulf War (1990-1991), during which he participated in SEAL operations throughout he Persian Gulf.

Operation Desert StormEdit

Highway of Death, Diwinya, Iraq

Sam Fisher was rescued from a hostage situation during the Liberation of Kuwait campaign by fellow SEAL team member Victor Coste (callsign "Husky") after being captured by Iraqi Republican Guard soldiers following an ambush that killed two of his men (one from an IED, the other was shot to death) while leading a four-man SEAL team on patrol through a highway in Diwiniya leading out of Kuwait back towards the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Umm Qasr, IraqEdit

[to be continued]


As a covert agent of the U.S. government, Fisher approaches his target objectives in a gruff, no-nonsense manner, but maintains a light-hearted relationship with his colleagues and even with his momentary hostages (even if he is going to kill them). Fisher has little patience for government bureaucracy or political maneuvering. A political realist, Fisher maintains a cynical, jaded and sarcastic sense of humor about the covert, illegal, and often morally ambiguous nature of his work. In Pandora Tomorrow, when Lambert informs Fisher that "Nobody knows whether Norman Soth's a US Agent or a terrorist" Fisher replies that "Those things aren't mutually exclusive". At the same time, he is highly loyal and a staunch believer in the ideals his work ultimately protects. He is quickly angered by the casual slaughter of civilians or unarmed military personnel by his enemies.

In the original Splinter Cell, Fisher is a new member of Third Echelon, and thus his interactions with his commander Colonel Lambert are relatively straightforward and respectful. At the same time, Fisher does drop the occasional "smart" comment at particularly unusual or obtuse mission orders. For instance, during the final level in Pandora Tomorrow, Sam is in an elevator that shuts down when his enemies cut the power. Lambert informs him that the lights went out, and Sam retorts with a sarcastic, "Thanks, Lambert."

In Chaos Theory, Fisher is shown as rather ruthless towards his enemies, and he appears fairly disappointed when Lambert orders him to avoid enemy fatalities as part of his mission parameters. Frequently holding captured enemies at knife-point, his dialog with them is creative and highly intimidating, though often morbidly humorous to the audience. For example, in the "Penthouse" level Fisher captures a guard and says: "Pick a number between one and ten". When the guard guesses, Fisher says: "Huh. Lucky guess. You get to live. Now tell me something useful or we'll play another round".

However it must be said that Sam is not a sadistic individual as he states in the Chaos Theory trailer "...I take the lives of a few to protect the lives of many. I commit acts of war to preserve the greater peace. I take no joy in killing, but make no mistake; I'll do what needs to be done. Because it's my job. It's my duty. My name is Sam Fisher, and I am a Splinter Cell."

Sam Fisher Chaos Portrait

Sam Fisher in "Chaos Theory".

Fisher's dark sense of humor during missions is his way of dealing with the tension that he feels during a stealth operation. While Fisher is a very competent and experienced soldier and operative, he is also keenly aware of his own limitations and mortality, and thus he uses humor to help keep himself calm in the dangerous situations he is often ordered into.

Throughout the games, Fisher attempts to uphold what he believes is "right". A notable instance occurs during Chaos Theory where Lambert instructs Fisher to leave the unconscious bodies of downed pilots at the scene of the crash, which Fisher is about to demolish via airstrike. While the game allows the player to demolish the site, he can first pick up the pilots and carry them to safety. Lambert tells Fisher to stop because it may compromise the mission, but Fisher continues anyway. Lambert then reminds him that his valiant actions can not be officially recognized and that he will not receive a medal, to which Fisher replies, "Medals don't help me sleep at night, Lambert."

Another instance is when Fisher is ordered to not tamper with the corpse of tortured computer engineer Bruce Morgenholt, whose body could not be extracted. The player may choose to cut down the ropes binding the corpse, causing Lambert to admonish Fisher who replies by saying, "Just because he's dead doesn't mean I have to leave him there hanging like a piece of meat....You can spare thirty seconds for some simple dignity." If the player proceeds to shoot the corpse, Fisher explains that he is "making sure he [the engineer] is not suffering."

Occasionally, Fisher demonstrates complete contempt for the mission objectives to the point where the player may decide to not comply with all the parameters. In one instance, Fisher is suddenly told to kill Dahlia Tal, a Shin Bet double agent with whom he had been working. If the player kills her Fisher angrily asks, "Tell me what I just did, Lambert", and "Killing unarmed women seems mighty close to terrorism." If the player does not, Lambert shouts at Fisher to which Fisher responds, "I'm going to need a little more warning to shoot unarmed women," and "When I return to the States, I'll wear a dunce cap in a corner." In either case, Fisher openly declares his moral disagreement with the order to shoot Tal.

Another time he shows contempt for the missions, is in the bath house level of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, when the player has the choice to shoot Shetland or not. The player can shoot Shetland, but if he holsters his weapon, then Shetland will attack, and Sam will be forced to kill him anyway. He holds loyalty in very high
Sam Fisher Double Agent Portrait

Sam Fisher in "Double Agent".

regards and maintained multiple times in the story that he felt Shetland was playing straight. "If Shetland's crooked I'll take him down myself", he mentions as the plot thickens. At the climax of Shetland's rogue-rant in the Japanese bathhouse he taunts Sam with lines like: "You've made yourself the instrument of a policy you don't believe in, Sam. Walk away", "Blood is thicker than water and you and I have bled a lot together. You're trading your honor for their agenda", and "You wouldn't shoot an old friend". Doug's betrayal toward Sam by trying to shoot him despite holstering his weapon makes Sam sarcastically remark that he "wouldn't shoot an old friend", since Sam was forced to stab him instead. He makes the same remark if the player decides to shoot Shetland, which changes the statement to mean that Doug is no longer his friend.

Another side of Fisher's personality is his occasional compassion for unlikely individuals. One example is in the first Splinter Cell game on the Kalinatek level. Sam can talk to a wounded mercenary who asks Fisher to carry him to the medical room. After he does so, the mercenary will talk with Fisher more before he dies. But Sam is talking in a softer tone to the mercenary, almost like he feels sorry for him.


  • Sam Fisher has been featured in five released video game titles and four novels.
  • Lead character artist Martin Caya established in early interviews about the game that during his career Fisher had served in Afghanistan, where he had an experience in which he was forced to hide under dead bodies in order to avoid being killed.
  • Martin Caya also established that Fisher had served in East Germany and in "other Soviet satellite countries leading up to the collapse of the USSR."

See AlsoEdit

Voice ActorsEdit


  1. Splinter Cell (Game)
  2. Splinter Cell (Novel)
  3. Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow
  4. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
  5. Splinter Cell: Essentials
  6. Splinter Cell: Double Agent
  7. Splinter Cell: Conviction
  8. Wikipedia

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