The 39 Clues Wiki
The 39 Clues Wiki

"The queen didn’t look happy, did she? Well, I’m sorry if one of the richest women in the world was upset over one little teacup, but if you ask me, I did her a favor. Did you see how old that china was? I think it’s about time she got some new dishes."

— J. Rutherford Pierce to English news reporters in Countdown

James Rutherford Pierce is the main antagonist of the third series, Unstoppable, that was introduced in Nowhere to Run. He is the head of Founders Media, "the number one media conglomerate in the United States!", and is very famous; he has many followers, called the "Piercers". His personal assistant is Arabella Kessler. He has a wife Debi Ann, a daughter Cara and a son Galt. He is currently running for the position as President of the United States. He and his family reside on an unknown island off the coast of Maine.


Post-Day of Doom - Pre-Nowhere to Run[]

He impersonates Fiske Cahill to obtain the ingredients to a much more stabilized Master Serum made by Sammy Mourad.

Nowhere to Run[]

In Nowhere to Run, Pierce's objective is to kill Amy and Dan, as his men attack them in William McIntyre's Funeral.

Pierce first appears at the new Founders Media headquarters. He is directly confronted by Amy and Dan Cahill who ask questions about why Pierce was attacking them. Pierce refuses to answer the questions, and has his men take Amy and Dan away.

Pierce then appears with Mr. Atlas, and Atlas reassures him that the plan is going as planned. It's revealed that as soon as he becomes president of the United States of America, he detonate 6 nuclear devices in key cities on distant continents; the resulting international animosity will eventually lead to World War Three. During the war, he'll create an unstoppable army of Master Serum enhanced soldiers, which he will then use to lead the United States of America to victory. Then, once the United States of America wins, he'll rebuild the broken world in his own image and gain complete global domination.

He is manufacturing the Master Serum in mass at a facility in Wilmington, Delaware.

It's revealed that Pierce was once in love with Hope Cahill, as he compares Amy Cahill with her mother.


In Breakaway, the first chapter begins with Pierce's six men coming to see him. Afterwards, he gives them candy, which is the key to his plan. After the thug's leader is hesitant about answering whether their previous plan was successful, Pierce eventually finds out Amy and the group beat them. He plans on severely punishing them, but doesn't and says he will give them two "gifts." The first which is an "opportunity to redeem themselves," and the second being "motivation." When asked why, he reveals that the candy he gave them was filled with a slow-acting poison and he would give them an antidote, if they complete their assignment, or else it will kill them. After that he tells them to go and then takes his (Pierce's) antidote. He then wants to be the one to wipe away all of London's history.


In Countdown, Pierce takes Cara and Debi Ann with him to Washington to a series of meetings. As a result of the Cahill serum, despite its diluted dose, Pierce starts to lose control of some of his his body parts, starting with his left leg. He accidentally kicks one of the senators and Cara when his left leg suddenly jerks, but uses jokes to cover it up. However, in a series of meetings on his daily campaign, he can't stop his leg from shaking and is running out of jokes and charm to cover it up.

When his new leader of his men, Morrow comes to see him, he warns him that if he misses Amy and Dan Cahill again, he will suffer similar to Pierce's original six men. They had died of the slow acting poison after failing to catch Amy and Dan. Pierce also notices that Morrow is also possibly involuntarily jerking his left leg. Pierce makes plans to combine the Master Serum and the Antidote Codex into a Super Serum, which would give Pierce all of the positive effects of the Master Serum and none of the bad, would be completely immune to the effects of the antidote, and would make him virtually unstoppable.


J.Rutherford Pierce is about to announce his candidacy for Presidency but Amy and Dan release the antidote on Pierce via bushplane and all people who had consumed the the enhanced serum are cured.

Then he tries to detonate the nuclear bombs he set up but is stopped in the last 2 seconds. Once Dan and Amy defeat him, the two see him crying realizing that he lost.

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After J. Rutherford Pierce was defeated in his mansion, Debi Ann, with the help of Lucian lawyers, gained much of Pierce's funds. However, he was able to escape total deprivation due to the amount of money, and thus power, that he owns. Despite this, his reputation was left in tatters because of the missile incident and the Patriotist Party was later disbanded. Pierce later became a punchline on a joke during late night talk shows as well as having a sandwich named after him (Limburger cheese and bologna on a Kaiser roll which obviously smelled horrible).

Worlds Collide: Tales from an Awesomesauce Party[]

In Worlds Collide, the Cahills, and Hystorians, and Greencloaks are partying when J. Rutherford Pierce, Zerif, and Tilda burst in to steal the Clues, talismans and the Infinity Ring. Pierce drops a smoke bomb into the Cahill Command Center and the whole room bursts into chaos. However, he, Zerif, and Tilda are defeated and thrown out.


His main card is Card 472: J. Rutherford Pierce



  • It's likely that the Vespers knew about him; there was a message on Card 301: Detonation mentioning that he knows too much.
  • In Countdown, it is hinted by Debi Ann that he once loved Hope Cahill. This explains why he hates Amy and Dan so much. It is confirmed in Flashpoint that he did love her, but she wisely turned him down.
  • There's a code in Day of Doom that says 'One other has the serum' foreshadowing his role in the Unstoppable series.
  • J. Rutherford Pierce is the only main antagonist of the 39 clues series to not have close connections with the Cahills; Isabel Kabra being a distant relative, the Vespers being a former partner of the Cahills and the Outcast being Amy and Dan’s grandfather respectively.
    • He's also the only main antagonist not to die at the end of the series and still remains at large. Isabel and Damien Vesper were both killed by the Doomsday Device while the Outcast was killed by bees originally used to kill the Cahill family.