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Captain Jack Harkness
Have faith: with a dashing hero like me on the case, how can we fail?
Played by: John Barrowman (2006-present)
Captain Jack Harkness is the man in charge at Torchwood: knowledgeable, immortal, absolutely gorgeous. Originally introduced in parent show Doctor Who, Came Back Wrong after dying, and given a spinoff because of aforementioned reasons. At his core, oscillates between Team Dad and Action Hero. We've definitely seen him be the Science Hero as well, though usually other members of the team (read: Tosh) have that down.
For tropes from Doctor Who see the respective character page
- Action Hero: Oh so much.
- Age Without Youth: Albeit at a much slower rate. This is partially an Author's Saving Throw for if/when Barrowman starts to show his age, unlike the actors who work in Highlander shows.
- And I Must Scream: On many different occasions.
- Anti-Hero: Type III/Type IV
- Anything That Moves: And how.
- Awesome McCoolname: He seems to think so too, stealing it from an RAF pilot and all.
- Badass Bookworm
- Badass in Charge: For Torchwood-3.
- Badass Longcoat: Of the World War II greatcoat variety.
- Bi the Way: Jack is attracted to men and women and anything in between, as well as non-humanoid aliens. It's stated in Doctor Who that in the 51st century almost every human is bisexual.
- Body Horror: His body regenerates layer by layer, and pops him back into consciousness as soon as he's able to live again... even if his skin isn't done regenerating yet. He does a lot of screaming at times.
- Broken Ace: As the series progresses, you definitely see that Jack is having trouble dealing with the shitload of angst he's gotten handed with him.
- Brought Down to Normal: In the first episode of Miracle Day, he discovers that while the rest of the world has become The Ageless, he's now mortal again. He regains his immortality by the end of Miracle Day.
- But Not Too Bi: Is often interpreted as this by fans, although he just avoids emotional commitment in general. Is seen in loving, caring relationships (both romantic and casual) with men and with women. However, the fans still felt that he was "too straight", and Miracle Day balances that out a bit by focusing on his attraction to men.
- Byronic Hero
- The Captain
- Camp Gay: Often puts on this persona when he wants people to underestimate him. And to piss off Rex.
- The Charmer
- Chivalrous Pervert: Has the occasional flirt with Gwen (and jokingly invites her for a threesome), but would never come between her and Rhys. Has a snog with his ex-boyfriend in front of his fuckbuddy Ianto, but becomes monogamous for Ianto as soon as they're officially dating. Has been happily married at least once, and is still good friends with his ex-girlfriend from the 1940's, pretending to be his own son.
- The world is ending (again), he goes on a complete bender, gets smashed drunk, hooks up with a random bartender... and still insists on using condoms.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Was the Time Agencies top interrogator for 10 years. Considering other members included John Hart, and he is shown to do this on occasion, this is somewhat chilling.
- Cursed with Awesome: After episode one of Miracle Day, it's clear how lucky he's been with his type of immortality.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Quite a lot of his dark history has come back to bite him in the ass.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Death Is Cheap
- Extreme Omnisexual
- Genre Savvy
- Good Thing You Can Heal
- Hannibal Lecture: For a hero, he's frighteningly good at these.
- Healing Factor
- Hot Dad: Has at least one daughter, who's already in her forties and has a child of her own.
- Hurting Hero
- Iconic Item: His Badass Longcoat.
- Immortality Hurts, especially if it's well within reason that he has died over a billion times.
- Immortal Life Is Cheap
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Jack is well aware of the sexual tension between himself and Gwen. He also goes to many lengths to make sure her relationship with Rhys succeeds.
- Large Ham: Occasionally.
- Limited Wardrobe: Always wears some variation of a blue shirt, black trousers held up by suspenders, brown boots and an RAF greatcoat. (When it's destroyed, Ianto finds a new one for him within a day while the world is ending.) While there was some variation in earlier series, his outfit goes completely unchanged for the duration of Miracle Day.
- Loveable Sex Maniac: According to Ianto, Jack's style in bed is "innovative... bordering on the avant-garde."
- Mr. Fanservice: He's the character most likely to get naked (which was also Lampshaded in Doctor Who). Finally gets a proper (and quite magnificent) sex scene in season 4.
- Mr. Vice Guy: You'd think it would be his lust that gets him into trouble, but it's actually his brashness.
- Mysterious Past: Other than his immediate family, birthplace, and former occupation, almost nothing is known about him. What is known normally isn't pretty.
- No Name Given: "Jack Harkness" is not his real name, but one he stole from a World War II pilot and has used ever since.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: His Camp Gay persona.
- Officer and a Gentleman: Despite being very very sexually active.
- Out of Time, Out of Mind: 1874 years of unending torture didn't seem to bother him too much. It is possible that he simply stayed dead for the duration of it, but it can't be known.
- Papa Wolf: Hurt his Team and you are in for a world of pain. The Doctor has mercy. He doesn't. This is best shown on two separate occasions: first when he tricks a Starfish Alien in human form that manipulated Tosh via sex and emotions into teleporting into the heart of the sun, and when his team was captured by cannibals and he performed a Big Damn Heroes with a tractor and a pump action shotgun. A Team Dad for many the same reasons.
- Really Gets Around
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Now past the 2000 mark.
- Resurrective Immortality: He can technically die, but only for a short while (in at least one case, for several days) due to a mixture of this and From a Single Cell.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Has seen more pain and destruction than any other good-aligned character in the Whoniverse, except the Doctor and possibly Rory Williams. Becomes even more traumatised after the events of Children Of Earth. Manages to weaponise that fact from the get-go in Miracle Day, when he's able to suggest experimenting on the horrifyingly gruesome victims of Miracle Day's consequences, without being halted by his own emotions.
- The Hero
- The Slow Path: Has had to wait from 1869 to 2008, and from 27 AD to 2009 (a slow path marked with as many as one billion (or more) deaths.
- The Spock
- Time Police: Formerly.
- Touched by Vorlons
- UST: With Gwen.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Dying a lot and centuries of waiting isn't fun.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: It does, however, provide a lot of opportunities for tail.
Oh, bollocks to serenity!
Played by: Eve Myles (2006-present)
Total Watson and general Audience Surrogate, Welsh Gwen joining Torchwood is where the series begins. Functions as The Chick and/or The Heart, so much so that a coked-up-alien-fish calls her on it. An identical relative of one Miss Gwyneth (as the Doctor gleefully tells her, a "spatial genetic multiplicity"), which may explain her talent for using resurrection gimmicks. Does not take crap from anyone.
- Action Girl
- Action Mom: With the start of Miracle Day.
- Badass Normal
- Bound and Gagged: In "Escape to LA".
- Break the Cutie: While she certainly went through her fair share of hardship beforehand, Children of Earth utterly destroys any innocence she may have had left.
- The Chick: She eventually grows out of it.
- Deadpan Snarker: As of Miracle Day.
- Fair Cop: Was a police officer before joining Torchwood.
- Field Promotion: Of sorts after Series 1. While Jack is having adventures with the Doctor, she takes over Torchwood as the de facto leader since Cardiff is pretty much a 24/7 battlefield for weird alien shit and the actual commander was MIA.
- Happily Married: From Series 2 onwards.
- Hot Mom: From Miracle Day onwards.
- The Kirk
- Morality Chain
- Naive Newcomer: In season 1, she freaked out over most of the stuff the other Torchwood members considered as normal as their morning coffee.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: By season 2, she can calmly ask a pedestrian if they've seen a blowfish driving a sports car in complete deadpan. By season 4, she's become just as casual about extreme danger as Jack, and freaks out newcomers by treating the end of the world like a game.
- Pregnant Badass: In Series 3.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin
- Took a Level In Badass
- UST: With Jack. However, both are not only aware of it on some level, there are some things they would defy or even kill each other over regardless by Season 4.
- The Watson
Dr. Owen Harper
This is Owen's voicemail, don't leave a message.
Played by: Burn Gorman (2006-08)
Oh, Owen. Torchwood's resident Dr. Jerk medical officer, Owen likes alcohol, sex, and being shockingly intelligent on occasion. Has a very nasty Establishing Character Moment in his first episode when he drugs a random woman and her boyfriend for date rape purposes. From that point on, though, he goes through absolute emotional hell about once every three episodes, and gradually becomes a much more agreeable person. Incredibly Troubled but Cute ("I'M BROKEN, TOSH!"). Also functions as The Lancer.
- Anything That Moves: Has a penchant for suggesting wild sex any time the world's about to end. Once propositioned Ianto and Tosh when he thought they only had a few minutes left to live. Spends a lot of time trying to find new Fuck Buddies as well as one night stands.
- Badass Normal
- Bi the Way: Seduces a woman using alien pheremones in his first appearance, until her boyfriend shows up... at which point he promptly seduces him too.
- Break the Cutie: Starts the series completely broken, with no sign of "cutie" left. Gradually works his way back up, only to be broken over and over again. Eventually, we catch a glimpse of what he was like before Torchwood, and it turns out that he was a genuine cutie indeed. (In fact, Adam's interpretation of him wasn't even that far off.)
- Deadly Doctor: After mid Season 2.
- Kavorka Man
- Combat Medic: Owen is the team's doctor, but also does things like swing out the window of a moving vehicle and shoot at cars while driving.
- Jerkass Facade
- Killed Off for Real
- The Lancer
- The McCoy
- Only Mostly Dead: From mid-series 2.
- Our Liches Are Different / Our Zombies Are Different: Take you pick as to which he is. He becomes either a non-magical lich or a revenant zombie. Seems to be closer to lichdom than zombiedom as his mind is about as unaffected as it can be after coming back from the dead.
- Pet the Dog: Owen's introduction was uncomfortably close to date rape, when he used alien pheromones to make two people uncontrollably attracted to him. Two episodes later, he gets to experience the feelings of a woman being raped through telepathy, and promptly does a complete Heel Face Turn on the issue. In the episode "Out of Time", he actually falls in love with someone, is dumped days later, and as a result (and after a period of violent mourning) generally becomes a nicer person.
- The Snark Knight
- Too Spicy for Yog Sogoth: After he turns undead, Weevils are scared shitless of him, to the point they worship him like he was a god. He eventually gets Genre Savvy to this and weaponizes it.
- Death personified also avoids him like the plague (he's already dead and there's nothing for it to feed on), and the Nostrovites (carnivorous shape-shifters) won't touch him because he, "smelled a bit off."
- Trauma Conga Line: Gets a new trauma every couple of episodes. Starts out broken, breaks more throughout season 1 and eventually kills Jack. Breaks again in season 2 and becomes a suicidal zombie. And from that point on, It Gets Worse.
- The Undead
I'm going to have to dig down into the system memory and see if I can find any remnants of deleted or temporary files. Completely illegal, of course.
Played by: Naoko Mori (2006-08)
The first member of Torchwood to appear in the Whoniverse, Tosh first met the Doctor in London. She's Team Torchwood's resident brainy chick. Tosh has just about Your Answer to Everything, and can wield a gun to boot. A great example of Intelligence Equals Isolation, or maybe simply I Just Want to Have Friends, made even more heart-breaking by her epic unrequited love with Owen.
- Asian and Nerdy
- Badass Bookworm
- Badass Normal
- Beware the Nice Ones: Her plan to get the team into the Pharm has Ianto calling her "warped on the inside". She responds by smiling happily.
- Broken Bird: Was tortured by terrorists, and subsequently tortured by UNIT for seemingly cooperating with terrorists, before Jack rescued her and offered her a job.
- Break the Cutie: But then just about all the characters exhibit this by the time the show is through with them...
- Bi the Way Has a relationship with an alien woman named Mary.
- Cartwright Curse
- Hot Scientist
- Killed Off for Real
- The Spock
- The Smart Guy
- Token Minority: Made even better by the fact that she is, indeed, the brainiac... and Asian.
- Voice with an Internet Connection
I clear up your shit. No questions asked and that's the way you like it. When did you last ask me anything about my life?
Played by: Gareth David Lloyd (2006-09)
The Ensemble Darkhorse, due to much fan noise early on in the series. Responsible for getting the Torchwood team where they need to be, Ianto also can make a mean coffee and looks great in a suit. Started out as The Big Guy, but eventually was revealed to have a Dark and Troubled Past in his own right. Was initially part of Torchwood London and witnessed the Battle Of Canary Wharf. Becomes Jack's fuckbuddy after a while, and his exclusive boyfriend in season 2. Gets to meet the Doctor.
- Badass in a Nice Suit
- Badass Normal
- Battle Butler
- The Big Guy
- Bi the Way: Starts having sex with Jack halfway through season 1. They properly begin dating and become romantic in season 2. Doesn't openly identify as bisexual: it's "just Jack". (He does identify as bisexual in the novels, so that's either Depending on the Writer, or simply because Ianto lies a lot.) Feels comfortable with being Jack's boyfriend in the context of Torchwood, but quite uncomfortable with it around his family.
- Break the Cutie
- Deadpan Snarker: From late Series 1 onwards, he starts sounding like he's doing a Mystery Science Theater 3000 commentary of the script.
- Expy: If you compare his character in late second to third series to Vince from Queer as Folk
- Killed Off for Real
- The Kirk-> The McCoy: Alternates between the two.
- The Masochism Tango: Seems addicted to it.
- Morality Chain: Word of God says that if Ianto hadn't died, Jack wouldn't have had hit the Moral Event Horizon in "Day Five".
- Noodle Incident: We never found out how he and Jack first started "dabbling".
- Relationship Upgrade: His relationship with Jack has a lot of buildup: he goes from loathing Jack to shagging him in season one, from shagging him to dating him in season two, and from dating him to becoming an official couple (and out to his family) in Children Of Earth.
- The Reliable One: Resents being this in the first season.
- Right-Hand Hottie
- Sharp-Dressed Man
- Submissive Badass
- What Exactly Is His Job?
Other Recurring Characters
[Singing along] Who'd you trust to transport your goods? Harwoods! You won't be sorry with a Harwoods lorry!
Played by: Kai Owen (2006-present)
Gwen's boyfriend. A regular sweet Welsh lad who drives a lorry. Gwen tries to keep Torchwood a secret from him, which of course backfires spectacularly.
- Action Survivor: When he first gets involved with Torchwood, he's not badass per se, but he is willing to do some dangerous things on Gwen's behalf.
- Badass Normal: Eventually, not only does he become surprisingly desensitized to the weirdness around him, he's even willing to stand up to some of the freakier aliens. He even scares the shit out of Oswald Danes in Season 4.
- Dungeonmaster's Boyfriend
- Happily Married: From Series 2 onwards.
- Muggle --> Mix of The Arthur Dent and Agent Mulder.
- Naked People Are Funny: It's shown (twice!) in the first season that Rhys believes morning tea tastes better if you brew it naked.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In Children Of Earth.'
- Secret Keeper
- Sixth Ranger: For Torchwood on occasion, most prevalent during the episode "Meat".
- Understanding Boyfriend: Eventually. Further upgraded to Understanding Husband.
- Unfazed Everyman
Sergeant Andy Davidson
If she's anti-terrorist, I would not mind being Uncle Terrorist.
Played by Tom Price (2006-present)
Gwen's friend (and ex) at the Welsh police who's a bit miffed when she suddenly leaves the force for Torchwood. Is very fond of Just Following Orders and a bit snarky.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Fair Cop: Though more cute that hot.
- Friend on the Force: Originally just for Gwen, but eventually the whole team taps him (not like that) from time to time.
- Just Following Orders: The main thing that restrains him from helping Torchwood, though he finally realizes which side he's on in Children of Earth when he finds out what the government are doing.
- Just Friends: With Gwen, his ex. He's quite frank about his feelings for her, but he refuses to angst about it, and manages to just become mates with Rhys.
- Locked Out of the Loop
- Police Are Useless: Though he starts showing his use in Miracle Day.
- Took a Level In Badass: At the end of Children of Earth.
Played by: Cush Jumbo (2009)
An office girl who has a very confusing first day when her job suddenly involves aliens. Goes off to investigate and quickly gets mixed up with Torchwood.
- Naive Newcomer
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: for Martha
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite Gwen suggesting otherwise in Children of Earth, Lois is nowhere to be seen in Miracle Day.
Played by: Lucy Cohu (2009)
A perfectly normal middle-aged woman with a perfectly normal young son, Steven. Spent much of her life in the witness protection program. Tries to cope with Jack, her father, as best as she can.
- Break the Cutie
- Genre Savvy
- Name's the Same: Not to be confused with pre-war Torchwood member Alice.
- Trauma Conga Line
Played by: Indira Varma (2006)
- The Chessmaster
- Dead Star Walking
- My Death Is Only the Beginning
- Only Mostly Dead
- Thanatos Gambit: Though done in reverse applied to herself in "They Keep Killing Suzie".
- Wrench Wench
- Xanatos Roulette
Played by: Murray Melvin (2007)
- Affably Evil
- The Dragon: To Abbadon
- Hidden Agenda Villain: It's not until near the end of the first series finale that we find out what he wants.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Time Master
- The Watchmaker
Captain John Hart
Here's what's going to happen: everything you love, everything you treasure, will die. I'm gonna tear your world apart, Captain Jack Harkness, piece by piece. Starting now.
Played by: James Marsters (2008)
Jack's former boyfriend of five years, also from the 51st century. A member of the Time Police, and -- like Jack used to be before meeting the Doctor -- a bit of a con man. Has a flair for the dramatic and wears cowboy gear for no discernable reason. Also shares Jack's love for standing on top of buildings.
- Anything That Moves: Once eyed a poodle.
- The Dragon: To Gray, not through any will of his own, though.
- Evil Counterpart
- Expy: Basically he's Spike, as a time-traveling omnisexual instead of a vampire.
- Kiss Kiss Bar Fight
- New Old Flame
- Pet the Dog: In the finale, he's shown to still love Jack and have some sense of honor. He's still amoral but not genuinely evil as he first appeared to be.
- Psycho Ex Boyfriend: Subverted. He looks like he's blowing up Cardiff just so Jack will pay attention to him, but he's actually being forced into it by Gray.
- Why Am I Ticking?: He ends up with a bomb strapped to him in both of his appearances.
Bridget Spears: If ever you think of John Frobisher, just remember that it wasn't his fault.
Played by: Peter Capaldi (2009)
- Anti-Villain: He only wanted to protect his family and do his job as best he could.
- Butt Monkey
- Driven to Suicide
- Just Following Orders: Which the Prime Minister manipulates to no end.
- Punch Clock Villain
- The Scapegoat: Is blatantly used by Prime Minister Brian Green to take the hit for his morally reprehensible actions.
- Ancient Astronauts
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever
- Sealed Evil in a Can: He's said to be the son of the parent show's Great Beast.
Young Gray played by: Ethan Brooke (2008)
Adult Gray played by: Lachlan Nieboer (2008)
- Ax Crazy
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil
- Cain and Abel
- Death Seeker
- Killed Off for Real: Presumably when the Hub exploded, although it's never mentioned.
- The Man Behind the Man: Specifically John, who he has wired to explode if he doesn't comply.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge
- Separated At Birth Casting: Looks and (especially) sounds a lot like Jack.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to him when the Hub exploded?
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds
You will die. And tomorrow, your people will deliver the children.
Voiced by: Simon Poland (2009)
- Creepy Monotone
- Evil Sounds Deep
- Insane Troll Logic
- Invasion of the Baby Snatchers
- Nothing Is Scarier
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: Or rather, gets high on millions of forsaken children.
- Starfish Alien