Characters: Torchwood

For characters from Torchwood: Miracle Day, see that series' character sheet.

Captain Jack Harkness

Captain Jack Harkness is the man in charge at Torchwood: knowledgeable, immortal, absolutely gorgeous. Originally introduced in parent show Doctor Who, he revived 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:
  • 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
  • Artifact Alias: The name of Captain Jack Harkness is an alias that he took from a deceased American volunteer pilot to mix in with WW2 era London. He still goes by that title for most of his appearances, well after it serves any purpose. In fact, his true name is never revealed.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: He always dresses in a 1940s military style, and when forced to wear anything else, he is not happy about it.
  • Awesome McCoolname: He seems to think so too, stealing it from an RAF pilot and all.
  • Back from the Dead: It happens again and again and again... and again...
  • Badass
  • Badass Bookworm
  • Badass In Charge: For Torchwood-3.
  • Badass Longcoat: Of the World War II greatcoat variety.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He can go from dashing and witty to deeply scary and holding a gun in Your face in a matter of seconds.
  • 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.
  • Breaking Speech: For a hero, he's frighteningly good at these.
  • 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.
  • Byronic Hero
  • Cain and Abel: The Abel to Gray's Cain.
  • The Captain
  • Camp Gay: Often puts on this persona when he wants people to underestimate him. And to piss off Rex.
  • The Casanova
  • Cartright Curse: Granted, his immortality means he can't find a lifelong partner anyway, but as it turns out they have a habit of dying in messy ways (such as Estelle and Ianto). Alice's mother Lucretia was a rare lucky one, and even she grew to resent Jack for his eternal youth prior to her death of old age.
  • The Charmer
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Has the occasional flirt with Gwen (and jokingly invites her for a threesome) and has a snog with his ex-boyfriend shortly before he asks his sometime 'dance partner' Ianto on a date. Has been happily married at least once, and is still good friends with his ex-girlfriend from the 1940s, pretending to be his own son. Makes sure to spend quality time with his daughter and grandson and takes responsibility for them. The world is ending (again), he goes on a complete bender, gets smashed drunk, hooks up with a random bartender... and because he happens to be mortal that day (long story), he still insists on using condoms.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Was the Time Agency's 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 by Origin Story: He was killed by Daleks on Doctor Who and was revived and made immortal by a temporarily god-like Rose Tyler. Every time he died subsequently, he then returned to life. When we meet him at the start of the series, his death and resurrection happened 138 years ago. His death, abandonment by the Doctor, and immortality, more or less created the Jack we see here.
  • Death Is Cheap: Explictly immortal so it's okay.
  • Ethical Slut: For the most part, extremely ethical about it, to the point where if someone in a monogamous relationship kisses him, he probably won't kiss back. Jack probably could have seduced Gwen away from Rhys if he had really tried to, but instead he was the one telling her to keep some small measure of normality in her life. Despite his desire for Gwen to have a normal relationship with Rhys, he has cast her longing looks in the series.
  • Expy:
  • Extreme Omnisexual: "You people and your quaint little categories...."
  • Genre Savvy
  • Good Is Not Soft
  • Good Thing You Can Heal
  • Healing Factor
  • The Hero: Main good guy, or as close to one Torchwood gets.
  • Hurting Hero
  • Iconic Item: His Badass Longcoat.
  • Immortality Hurts: Especially if it's well within reason that he has died over a billion times. He was once buried alive. He suffocated to death and came back every few minutes for two thousand years. That's not the worst that's happened to him.
  • 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.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice
  • Large Ham: Occasionally.
  • The Leader: The brash type.
  • Leitmotif: "Captain Jack's Theme", a barnstorming (literally) action theme that also captures Jack's subtle mystique. According to Ben Foster, he wrote the theme around the phrase "here he comes in a ruddy great tractor", as the theme first plays when Jack... drives through a barn in a tractor.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Always wears some variation of a blue shirt, dark 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.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: While dying a lot isn't fun, living a lot provides a lot of opportunities for tail. It also comes in handy in his line of work.
  • Loveable Sex Maniac: According to Ianto, Jack's style in bed is "innovative... bordering on the avant-garde."
  • Manly Gay: More like Manly Omnisexual, but still.
  • Mean Boss: His management style involves a lot of snapping and shouting at people who question him and he seems to consider explaining his more unpopular decisions to be a completely foreign concept (which is unfortunate, because he's almost always right).
  • 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 series 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.
  • Offing the Offspring: More specifically, Offing the Grand-Offspring. Not that he had much of a choice in the matter, though, especially after having crossed the Despair Event Horizon over Ianto's death previously.
  • 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 700 Years Old: Now past the 2000 mark.
  • Really Gets Around
  • 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 Slow Path: Has had to wait from 1869 to 2008 for the Doctor to fix his vortex manipulator, and again from 27 AD to 2009 (with many, many 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.

Gwen Cooper

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.

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 uses an alien pheromone spray on himself to date rape both a random woman and her boyfriend. From that point on, though, he goes through absolute emotional hell about once every three episodes, and gradually becomes a much more agreeable, likeable person. Incredibly Troubled, but Cute ("I'M BROKEN, TOSH!"). Also functions as The Lancer. Is also the only member of Torchwood Three to never have met the Doctor.

  • Abusive Parents: "Adam" hints that his mother wasn't very kind to him - he describes the day she kicked him out, when he was 16, as "the nicest thing you've ever done for me, Mum".
  • And I Must Scream: The worst part wasn't when he died, or when he was revived as a deathless, sentient zombie when Jack used one of the alien Resurrection Gloves on Owen. Or even when Owen discovered that his body, while immortal, was no longer able to digest food or heal injuries naturally, making him rather fragile. No, the worst came in "Exit Wounds", when Owen was trapped in the control room of the Turnmill Nuclear Power Plant and faced the decision to vent the radioactive steam from the overheating core through the room he was in, in a Heroic Sacrifice to save the plant from going into meltdown. As he told Tosh over radio, the fact that this body was already dead meant that he wouldn't die quickly from the massive dose of radioactivity but instead would be trapped inside his body while it was slowly being consumed by the radioactive waste shredding his cells. He shut off the radio before he vented the system as to spare Tosh having to listen to his screams... assuming he was still able to scream, that is.
  • 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.
  • Back from the Dead: Which they all assume at first, but when he doesn't expire from the second resurrection glove's use it turns out he Came Back Wrong.
  • Badass
  • Badass Normal
  • Bi the Way: Hypnotizes a woman using alien pheremones in his first appearance, until her boyfriend shows up... at which point he promptly hypnotizes 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.)
  • Came Back Wrong
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: What his final death was.
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Excessively so. Its partly why he comes off as a jerk.
  • Disappears into Light: Not a regular example but when he dies for good, he's engulfed in a great flash of light, almost like an ascension.
  • Famous Last Words "It's all right. Oh, God."
  • Face Death with Dignity: Initially freaked out over dying, but after being talked down and comforted by Toshiko, he calmly Disappears into Light.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Frequently, which becomes hilarious once he loses the ability to digest anything.
  • Jerkass Façade
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold
  • Leitmotif: A sad and painful theme that becomes prevalent after he dies once.
  • Kavorka Man
  • Killed Off for Real: Hard to tell how having his type of immortality reacts with his body being atomized. But for all intents and purposes, yes. By the end of Miracle Day, he's probably very definitely dead.
  • 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 date rape — 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.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: His first episode saw him committing date rape on two people. Just a few episodes later, he got to experience rape from the other side through a telepathy gizmo, which gave him rather a lot to think about.
  • Red Right Hand: Evoked when he breaks his own little finger in an act of defiance. Since it can't heal, he wears one black leather glove from that point on.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot
  • The Snark Knight
  • Token Evil Teammate: Starts out as this in series 1 — first by raping two people in the very first episode, then by starting an affair with Gwen, who's in a monogamous relationship and uses him to cheat on Rhys. The first series has him slowly working his way towards a Heel-Face Turn, an arc that properly kicks into gear in series 2.
  • 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 series 1 and eventually kills Jack. Breaks again in series 2 and becomes a suicidal zombie.
  • The Undead

Toshiko Sato

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.

Ianto Jones

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)

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. He 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 series 2. He gets to meet the Doctor.

Other Recurring Characters

Rhys Williams

[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.
  • Agent Mulder
  • 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 series 4.
  • Back from the Dead After being stabbed to death by Bilis Manger in the series 1 finale, he was brought back to life via the Rift after it was opened and time was re-wound, thus preventing his death from taking place in the first place.
  • Berserk Button: He is shlubbish, out of shape, even a little dim sometimes. He's not in Jack's league, and he knows it. Gwen loves him anyway. Don't hurt her, or the secret conspiracy keeping Britain safe from alien invasion? It won't have the resources or ability to save you.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: When confronted by the alien responsible for impregnating his fiance, ruining his wedding and impersonating his mother, Rhys comes at it with a freaking chainsaw. Unfortunately, it spluttered out just as he was about to use it.
  • Dungeonmaster's Boyfriend
  • Happily Married: From Series 2 onwards.
  • Muggle
  • Naked People Are Funny: It's shown (twice!) in the first series 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.

Lois Habiba

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.

Alice Carter

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
  • Muggle
  • Remember the New Guy: She is Jack's never-seen-or-mentioned-before daughter. It is stated that she asked him to stay away due to his condition.
    • However, this wasn't entirely out of left field. Jack has revealed that he's been in relationships numerous times before (and we even get to meet some of these people), and he mentions how painful he finds it that he can't age while they will, so the CoE reveals did come with some hefty foreshadowing.
  • Trauma Conga Line

Recurring Villains

Suzie Costello

She's a real find, this one. Gwen Cooper. She's better than me. She's so much better. (crying) I was never any good. Jack, I'm sorry.

Played by: Indira Varma (2006)

Torchwood's Token Evil Teammate. She was just like the rest of the Torchwood staff at the beginning- a normal, fairly approachable person with a share of her own secrets, and you couldn't tell that she was hurting beneath the congenial work personality. Except Suzie was the most broken of them all. She had a very hateful and cynical personality brewing under the surface, but mounds of guilt more than anything. After she got caught killing people as test subjects for the Resurrection Gauntlet, she tried to murder Jack. When he resurrected, she gave in to despair and capped herself. But she had a "Plan B" in the lurch to come back to life just in case she did bite the bullet.

Bilis Manger

Played by: Murray Melvin (2007)

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.

John Frobisher

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.
  • You Look Familiar: Previously played Lucius Caecilius lucundus in "The Fires of Pompeii". RTD has stated he that he's probably a descendant and he considers the death of Frobisher's family to be the universe balancing itself out for the Doctor saving Caecilius' family.
    • Capaldi would also later go on to play the Twelfth Doctor, which according to Word of God will be addressed.

Big Bads

Abbadon (2007)


"I want you to suffer. I want your life. This is Cardiff. 27AD. The city will be built here, over the next 2,000 years. Your grave will be the city's foundations. Your blessing of life becomes a curse. Each time you revive, with a throatful of earth, each time it chokes you afresh, and you thrash on the edge of death, you think of me."

Young Gray played by: Ethan Brooke (2008)
Adult Gray played by: Lachlan Nieboer (2008)

Jack's long lost brother. During their childhood, Jack was separated from him during a savage alien raid on their home, failing to protect Gray by letting go of his hand in fear, resulting in their father's death and Gray being dealt a terrible lot of servitude to those murdering creatures. By the time they reunited, Gray was beyond begrudged at Jack for the hell on earth he went through, and started a crusade to get Jack as close to dead as he could due to his immortality, and take down a few of his friends who would die permanently to spite him.

The 456

You will die. And tomorrow, your people will deliver the children.

Voiced by: Simon Poland (2009)