- "As your designated liaison, I, Special Agent Joanne Yates, will act as governing party over your team and engage with my superiors in good faith regarding ethical, moral, and legal matters stemming from your team's presence in the 21st century."
- — Joanne Yates
Special Agent Joanne Yates, played by guest starring cast member , is the FBI agent assigned to be the liaison between the core Traveler Team and the FBI.
Yates was contacted directly by The Director by way of her dying mother. Her mother, who was brain dead and in a coma following a series of strokes, was used as a messenger by The Director to relay a very specific message for the Director of the FBI, saying “Tell him that the bargain he made was not with his God, but with me”. She delivered the message, which prompted the him to call off a covert strike operation against all known traveler teams worldwide. (Ilsa)
The Director originally attempted to initiate contact with Yates after he had assimilated Ilsa, a quantum AI created by Dr. Teslia. The Ilsa platform was isolated from the world both digitally and spacially, and thus The Director needed to relay his communication attempts through Teslia. Originally, Yates didn't believe what Teslia was telling her, until a message correctly predicted a plane crash resulting in several deaths.
When The Director contacted Yates directly, the message killed her mother, as it does all mature humans. These messages exposed her to the traveler program for the first time, with The Director's message used to save their operations.
Following those events, Yates functioned as a liaison between Grant MacLaren and his team, and the FBI. Despite what she has witnessed, she remains skeptical and suspicious of Grant and his team, having been informed by the FBI Director how the travelers arrive and subsequently operate. She doesn't trust Grant, going so far as to flippantly refer to him as a phony FBI agent in the presence of other agents.
She often refuses to provide assistance when he asks. When Grant and the team come to Dr. Teslia hoping to connect Ilsa to the internet so that The Director could gather some crucial information, Yates intervened and insisted they stop before completing their intended task. Grant and the team distracted Yates and Teslia by debating the issue while Grace snuck behind the mainframe and connected Ilsa/The Director herself. (Perrow) Yates has also demonstrated a lack of cooperation in other cases, such as declining to run a facial-recognition check on a suspect at Grant's request. (Philip)
Yates is married, although her wife is never seen or named. She showed some empathy when MacLaren revealed he was having problems with his wife, replying: "Same here." (Yates)
Yates was present during the final moments of Version One. She admonished MacLaren for the failure of the Traveler program, reasoning that the Travelers sped up the destruction of civilization rather than preventing it. She stepped outside to spend her last moments alive looking at the sky. (Protocol Omega)