'Torchwood: Miracle Day:' Who's Who

'Torchwood' creator Russell T. Davies introduces the show’s characters as the cult drama heads to America.

Frank Ockenfels / Starz

Frank Ockenfels / Starz

Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)

The omnisexual and immortal time traveler was last seen drinking away his sorrows after the events of Torchwood: Children of Earth, in which he lost his lover Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) and sacrificed the life of his grandson in order to save the world’s children last season.

But with the advent of Miracle Day, there’s a catch for Captain Jack, as he will discover that he’s not quite as impervious as he thought, according to Torchwood creator/executive producer Russell T. Davies.

“Jack is our sexy, swaggering, smiling hero who suddenly finds that he is not as indestructible as he used to be,” says Davies. “He’s facing up to mortality. He’s facing up to life on Earth. He’s facing up to assassins who can actually kill him for once. It’s not a reinvented Jack. It’s the same old Jack with more problems, which is always good.”

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Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles)

The indefatigable Gwen Cooper has gone into hiding at the end of  Torchwood: Children of Earth, the last remaining member of Torchwood and—as we learned during the five-episode season—an expectant mom.

Living in seclusion with her husband Rhys (Kai Owen) and their baby Anwen, Gwen has seemingly put her days in Torchwood behind her. Except that she’s paranoid and jumpy any time someone crosses onto their property.

“The woman who thought it was all over,” says Davies of Eve Myles’ Gwen. “The woman who thought she could escape her life and have a husband and a child, but… she knows the past is coming back to haunt her. Gwen’s biggest problem is that she loves it. A gun in her hand and adrenaline in her gut and she’s excited. That’s her problem. What’s the better life: family or danger?”

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Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer)

CIA operative Rex Matheson is the sort of cocky intelligence agent we’ve come to know from a zillion espionage movies and television series, but when Miracle Day arrives, his life is forever changed after a car accident… and Rex finds himself surviving when he should have perished. When he learns about the existence of the Torchwood Institute, he’ll stop at nothing to find its remaining members and learn of their connection to the Miracle.

“Rex, king of the world,” says Davies. “Subtly named, that one. King of the world who falls from a great height to a grave. He dies on Miracle Day… and then has to rebuild his whole life. What I love about it is that he does. He gets to make new friends, he gets to see a new world and he never loses that swagger. He remains the same: that arrogant, strong man throughout. He’s a good man.”

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Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins)

CIA watch analyst Esther Drummond never imagined that she’d find herself ducking from bullets and explosions when she catches wind of something called Torchwood. But when Miracle Day arrives and she uses her considerable investigative skills to ferret out the connection, she finds herself dragged into a world of danger, one far from her tidy cubicle.

“Esther is a calm, quiet, self-possessed thinker who finds herself so out of her depth,” says Davies. “One minute she’s at a desk, planning her career. When you ask her what she wants to be in five years’ time, she’s got an answer, with dates. Suddenly, the desk is gone; there are assassins, there is danger, and it’s sink or swim for Esther. It’s not easy. We keep that going all the way through. She never gladly becomes a gun-toting fighter.”

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Dr. Vera Juarez (Arlene Tur)

Seemingly out of a job now that death is no longer an option, Dr. Vera Juarez throws herself into the numerous panels and government-led think tanks in the days following the Miracle. She’s asking the tough questions that no one wants to ponder and doing so with intelligence and passion, even as she becomes of interest to some dangerous people.

“Vera gets left out quite a bit, but Vera is the fifth member of the team,” says Davies. “By the time it gets to episode 5, Vera is joining up. In fact, there’s a great scene in episode 5, where she says, ‘I am Torchwood. I am here.’ She’s the one with her sleeves rolled up to her arms in the muck and blood and sweat. She’s seeing these injuries and she’s on these panels for the rebuilding of society. She’s a really hard worker. She has more insight into what’s going on than most people. So Torchwood needs her and she needs Torchwood… and she’s attracted to Rex as well. It’s a great drawing together of the minds there.”

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Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman)

A sadistic and remorseless child killer who undergoes lethal injection when the Miracle strikes, Oswald Danes finds himself first a pariah and then an unlikely media darling when he successfully sues the government for his release.

“The flare, we used to call him,” says Davies of Oswald. “In a world gone mad, there are these flares, like magnesium flares, that draw everyone’s attention. He’s one of them. The only way he can survive [is to embrace that]. He’s a murderer, he’s unrepentant, he’s a liar.”

“He’s going to be thrown to the mob; being released is the worst thing that could happen to him. Where does he go? Who does he turn to? The most he could do is ride the crest of success in order to give himself a bed at night. Beyond that, he’s a very clever man. He knows that whoever is helping him succeed is also probably connected to the miracle.”

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Jilly Kitzinger (Lauren Ambrose)

Seemingly always in the right place at the right time, PR maven Jilly Kitzinger seems to be one of the few people in the post-Miracle days who have their eyes on the bigger picture. Cutthroat and cunning, she’s deadly mysterious.

“The mysterious Jilly will remain mysterious,” says Davies. “You keep your eye on Jilly Kitzinger because she’s a great survivor. She works in PR; they’re always great survivors. It’s a world gone mad. Here is a woman that can profit from this. She’s very, very clever. She’s far more clever than she looks. She’s already, even now, turning her job into a position of power. Just watch her: by episode 5, she becomes connected to the villain behind the miracle. She sets herself on a terrible path… She’s very watchful of everything around her. It’s not long before people are going to start watching her.”