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Villain Overview
Sharks are the oldest creatures on the planet.... from a time when the world was just flesh and teeth.
~ Jim commending about sharks.
(Franklin: What... in God's creation?) Oh, not his... ours.
~ Jim presenting the big shark to Franklin in the wet lab.

James "Jim" Whitlock is a supporting protagonist of the 1999 science-fiction horror film Deep Blue Sea. He is a scientist at an ocean facility called Aquatica and the best friend of Susan McAlester in hopes of finding a cure for Alzheimer's with the usage of brain tissues from genetically engineered Mako sharks. Despite his good intentions, his infamous actions (along with Susan's) are what led to set off the plot in the film.

He was portrayed by Stellan Skarsgård.

Biography

Beginnings

Jim helped Susan to genetically engineer three Mako sharks to produce protein complex from their brains that will serve as a cure to reactivate human brain cells, thus reversing Alzheimer's. He also fell in love with marine biologist Janice Higgins, who is also a member of the team. It later turns out that Susan and Jim used gene therapy to increase the brain mass, which is considered a violation of a code of ethics called the Harvard Genetics Compact. As a side effect, the sharks become more smarter and dangerous than ever. This also allows the sharks to develop an ability to swim backwards (something which a normal shark can never do) and developing a taste of their own kind, such as the time when the crew released a tiger shark into the test sharks' pen, the test sharks instantly devoured the tiger shark. To keep it a secret, Jim tagged along with Susan's ruse of using a hormonal enhancer to increase the sharks' brain 5 times the normal size as opposed to using gene therapy.

Role

In the beginning of the film, one of the three sharks escaped captivity and attacked a boat full of teenagers, but expert shark wrangler Carter Blake (who is another member of Susan's team and the hero of the film) rescues the boat and takes the shark back to its pen. The incident struck the news, and Aquatica's finances are put at risk. Despite this setback, Susan convinces her company Chimera Pharmaceuticals (the facility's main sponsor) to give her a chance of putting in the test so that they can use her research to sell the cure for profit. To ensure the success, the company sends in their board president Russell Franklin to personally investigate the facility and the experiment.

Jim was first seen pissing off in the wind, an act that was witnessed by a disgusted Franklin himself. He later helped arrange a surprise party for Susan, where he and Janice explain to Franklin about the experiments on the sharks, which he has put his pride that it will bring a cure to Alzheimer's for good. The next day, Susan had Carter to round up the largest shark into the lab. After having the shark sedated and put to sleep, Jim helps Susan extract the protein complex from its brain and applies two CCs of it onto a sample of inactive brain neurons of an Alzheimer's patient. The result was a complete success as the cells start to reactivate and maintain membrane integrity in 6.5 seconds.

Though Jim seems to be very delighted by this turn of events, things get out of hand when he ends up having his arm chopped off by the big shark. Screaming in pain, Jim falls into the floor while Carter attempts to shoot the shark with a shotgun, but Susan releases it back into its pen, much to Carter's anger. The team then calls in a paramedics helicopter to evacuate Jim for medical attention.

As the helicopter arrives to the facility, the team manages to connect the cable to a stretcher with Jim on it, but a strong hurricane made it too difficult for the pilots to reel the stretcher in, causing the stretcher to fall into the pen waters. One of the test sharks grabbed the stretcher and instantly pulled the cable, causing the helicopter to crash into the facility tower, killing both the helicopter pilots and the facility's tower operator Brenda Kerns.

The explosion also causes a complete system shutdown in the entire facility. The shark then used the stretcher to ram against an underwater window to flood the main control room while Jim dies succumbing to asphyxiation, an act witnessed by a horrified Janice. As a result, the entire facility starts to sink slowly as the team tries to head up to the surface. During the journey, Susan is forced to confess that she and Jim performed illegal experiments on the sharks that caused them to be smarter and deadlier in the first place, causing the entire team to turn on her and become extremely furious at her for this.

Eventually, every single one of the team members (including Janice) ends up being devoured by the sharks, leaving Susan, Carter, and the facility's chef Sherman 'Preacher' Dudley as the sole survivors. While Preacher and Susan managed to kill the first two sharks, Carter swims down in a failed attempt to drain a stairwell to the surface, where he spotted Jim's corpse floating in the water tangled in cords, much to Carter's horror.

After reaching up to the surface, Susan, Carter and Preacher formed a plot to kill the third shark (presumably the big one) with a harpoon and boat battery to prevent it from escaping into the open sea. To that end, Susan slits her hand and jumps into the water to lure the big shark with her blood, though she ends up being devoured in the process. This allows enough time for Carter to reel the shark at firing range, allowing Preacher to fire a harpoon at the shark's dorsal fin, though it pierced Carter's leg in the process.

As the giant shark finally attempts to swim out to the open sea, Carter frees himself from the harpoon and Preacher connects the trailing wire to the battery. As a result, the giant shark blows up to pieces, avenging the deaths of Jim and the rest of the team, much to both Carter and Preacher's relief.

See also

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