Jankowski is a veteran of the first F.E.A.R. team. He is the team's previous point man, and he lacks faith in the "New Guy's" capabilities, remarking that he was transferred to the F.E.A.R. team only a week before the game's events. Jankowski believes the new Point Man's lack of experience makes him unsuitable for the upcoming mission. This sequence of mistrust continues with an overheard conversation between Jankowski and F.E.A.R. Technical Officer Jin Sun-Kwon, in which Jankowski admits to feeling uneasy around the Point Man, claiming to feel as though "...he's looking right through you."
During the first encounter with Paxton Fettel's clone army, the Point Man's Delta squad escort is killed by Alma Wade, and his objective changes to regrouping with Jankowski's team. However, as the Point Man advances through the Sullivan Shipping and Receiving yards, Jankowski disappears while reconnoitering Replica forces with his own Delta escort, which is found liquefied in a similar fashion to the Point Man's. Throughout the following trip through the South River Wastewater Treatment Plant, Jankowski occasionally appears to the Point Man as a phantom wandering through the plant, crumbling into dust when approached. During these appearances, and despite displaying mistrust earlier, Jankowski persistently warns the Point Man about Alma Wade through cryptic messages.
Later on, Jin Sun-Kwon informs the F.E.A.R. team over radio that she has discovered human remains that might be Jankowski's, although they are impossible to identify without lab work. F.E.A.R. Commissioner Rowdy Betters, however, claims, "That can't be him," stating, "...his life signs are a little unusual, but he's definitely alive," even though all signs seem to point to Jankowski having been killed by Alma. Shortly thereafter, fire and rescue personnel arrive at the harbor and commence searching for Jankowski.
When the Point Man arrives at Armacham Technology Corporation Headquarters, Betters picks up Jankowski's signal in the general area and expresses his disbelief. The phantom continues to make occasional appearances to the Point Man. Later, well into his advancement through Armacham Technology Corporation headquarters, the Point Man receives a radio transmission from Betters, who explains that fire and rescue have given up on their search for Jankowski, hours after having begun. Somehow, Betters does not pick up his life signs in the Auburn district in which Jankowski's phantom still haunts the Point Man. As such, he persists in making appearances to the Point Man throughout the game. It is never made clear exactly what happened to Jankowski.
During F.E.A.R. Extraction Point, Paxton Fettel confronts Jin Sun-Kwon in a psychic vision. During the vision, Fettel brags about "tasting" Jankowski's visions, suggesting that Fettel cannibalized Jankowski at some point. A ghostly vision of Jankowski then appears and begins to approach Jin, who then mentions that his eyes look strange, an allusion to the fact that Jankowski's phantom is missing his eyes.
Jankowski's phantom also appears briefly to the Point Man, urging him to "hurry," during his attempt to reach Jin at Auburn Memorial Hospital.
In F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate, Jankowski appears once to the Sergeant, who observes him walking into a dark alley. The Sergeant follows him into the alley, but he is nowhere to be found. After turning around to leave, however, Jankowski appears and utters "Is someone there?" before disappearing. Whether its connected to the story or not, its possible that his is put there to surprise the player, as he is not seen or mentioned again. The encounter is also optional, as its not on the main path.
Coincidentally, when the Sergeant exits out of the sewers and regains radio communication, Betters expresses his relief and states that he didn't want "another missing man."
It is possible that Spencer had some psychic abilities, but was unaware of them.
In F.E.A.R. 2, all Dark Signal operatives with such abilities are killed, mostly by Alma herself, because of these abilities. Jankowski is the second Phantom encountered in F.E.A.R., and is the only F.E.A.R. operative Phantom in-game.
F.E.A.R. medic Jin Sun-Kwon is seen even in Armacham HQ, but she is never attacked by Alma or any of her ghostly minions. That could mean that Jankowski's death might be Alma's work, due to his psychic abilities. Or it could have simply been that Alma was unwilling to attack Jin while the Point Man was present, as she never killed in front of him throughout the game; the Point Man only ever saw the aftermath or visions.
Jankowski almost certainly suffered the same end fate as his squad, who were killed by Alma. However, it should be noted that, although Jankowski is believed to have been killed by the fanbase, it is never officially declared one way or the other in the games themselves. However, since it is likely impossible for a living person to be a Phantom (unless they had immense psionic powers like Fettel to be able to produce hallucinations of that nature), he would have to be dead, as his vital signs that confuse Betters may have been a result of his "psychic signature" confusing the F.E.A.R. operator's equipment. A key factor to note is that, while the remains of his squad were found, his were not. This has led to several theories:
- Jankowski was taken alive by Alma for an unknown reason, and then killed later.
- Jankowski was absorbed by Alma and either used by her to lure the Point Man to her, or managed to use his supposed psychic abilities to try and warn him, and to give the Point Man hints as to Alma's motivation (and thus Fettel's).
- One of the more plausible theories is that Jankowski and Harold Keegan became phantoms in a similar event. Keegan walked into a white light, converting his physical presence into a spirit/phantom-like state. His body disappeared and reappeared randomly. It can be speculated that both Jankowski and Keegan suffered similar fates. Both became phantoms, yet their vital signs were still "active." However Jankowski was not able to make physical contact with the player, nor he is seen armed and hostile to the player as well.
- Jankowski's last words might have been "Is someone there?", before Alma killed him, hinting that he was able to see, or at least sense, Alma's presence before his "death".
- During the early events of F.E.A.R. 2, it is possible to find a bound and wrapped corpse in an X-Ray lab in the underground hospital. The body has several distinct features including no eyes, shaved head, and a uniform similar to what Jankowski was wearing while alive.
- Main article: Spencer Jankowski/Quotes
- Close to end of the briefing in the first F.E.A.R. game, the player can hear "static" and if the subtitles are on, it will be seen "blinking" when Jankowski does not think it's proper for the Point Man to participate with them in the field.
- At the beginning of the game, when the Point Man is ordered to scout the area ahead upon finding Charles Habegger's corpse, Jankowski will be irritated if the player stays longer (and stares at him). He will say "What, are you chickenshit or something? Look, you're the FNG so you do as I say." (FNG stands for "Fucking New Guy.) He then gets so annoyed that he simply stare at the Point Man until he leaves.
- In one level, when Jankowski's Phantom appears in front of the player, he utters "You don't even know who you are." If the player is fast enough to throw a grenade at him, it will cause the Phantom to explode, leaving blood and organs on the walls. Interestingly, his blood is black, rather than red, and the organs are dark red.
- In the F.E.A.R. E3 Demo, Jankowski is shown alive as the Point Man is flown to ATC headquarters, putting his "death" much later than it was in the finished game.
- The appearance and name of the character is based on a longtime Monolith IT staffer, Spencer "Spen" Maiers.
- His phantom form is missing the headgear that he wore when alive.
- It is possible that Spencer Jankowski may have suffered from an unknown incident before his death which could have affected his eyes (which could be an allusion to his earlier quote "He's looking right through you"). His face and armor is covered in blood and many phantoms in the F.E.A.R. series bear injuries on their bodies. Despite this, however, he does not have any problem in "seeing" the Point Man, and is well aware of his surroundings.
- Although Spencer's eyes are blue, his brother, Redd, has brown eyes.
- In the DVD Director's cut commentary, the developers remark that the Point Man was originally supposed to discover Jankowski's corpse early on in F.E.A.R., but they decided it would be more atmospheric for Jankowski's remains to be left undiscovered, and his ultimate fate left unknown.
- He appeared to not like Point Man in the beginning, though he's mostly friendly toward him during later missions. He also appears to care for Jin, at least in the Vivendi timeline, as he can be heard urging the Point Man to hurry to her aid when their teammate is in danger.