A perfectly normal night on the beat for Cardiff policewoman Gwen Cooper is shattered by the arrival of a black vehicle at a murder scene. Even the police back off in deference, as four people emerge and use a strange metallic gauntlet to momentarily bring the murder victim back to life. Gwen watches in horror as the man realizes he only has two minutes to tell these people what happened to him – but can’t, since he was stabbed from behind. She finds out who they are – a mysterious organization called Torchwood, led by an American man named Captain Jack Harkness. The next day, she spots Jack again at a hospital, moments before she sees a grotesque humanoid figure brutally murder a hospital porter. Again, Jack and his Torchwood team are at the ready, subduing and capturing the inhuman killer, and just as quickly vanishing under a well-planned cover story.
Only Gwen isn’t about to let it go – she trails Torchwood’s vehicle to the Millennium Centre at the heart of Cardiff, and then follows them on foot to the waterfall – where they abruptly disappear from sight. Refusing to drop the trail, Gwen pays Torchwood a visit under the guise of delivering a pizza, but once inside their headquarters, she realizes that this organization is dabbling in something stranger than ordinary police work…and that their base of operations is actually nestled away right beneath the waterfall, where no one would think to look for it. Captain Jack introduces himself and his team: his second-in-command, Suzie Costello, medical expert Owen Harper, computer expert Toshiko Sato, and Ianto Jones, who serves as the team’s driver and organizes most of their cover. As members of Torchwood, they round up alien technology (and alien threats) that fall to Earth – activity which is apparently alarmingly common in Wales, thanks to a transdimensional rift running through Cardiff. They even have the alien killer from the hospital in custody, which inspires Gwen to propose a liaison between Torchwood and the police, rather than Torchwood sweeping in and taking over crime scenes under total secrecy.
Instead, Jack slips her an amnesia-inducing drug so she’ll forget the entire visit. But the next day, Gwen learns that more murders have taken place in Cardiff, committed with the same savage bladed weapon that felled the victim she saw Torchwood revive, and she gradually remembers Jack’s secret group – and seeing the weapon in their base of operations. If the alien is in custody, then who is still doing the killing? And has Torchwood met its match in Gwen…or a future recruit?
written by Russell T. Davies
directed by Brian Kelly
music by Murray Gold
Cast: John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Burn Gorman (Owen Harper), Naoko Mori (Toshiko Sato), Indira Varma (Suzie Costello), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), Guy Lewis (Young Cop), Tom Price (P.C. Andy), Jason May (Soco), Rhys Swinburn (Body), Olwen Medi (Yvonne), Dion Davies (Officer), JÃ„Âms Thomas (Hospital Porter), Paul Kasey (Weevil), Mark Heal (Security Guard), Gary Sheppeard (Pizza Lad), Gwilym Havard Davies (Man), Cathryn Davis (Woman)
LogBook entry by Earl Green
Notes are included below and contain major spoilers.
Notes: Captain Jack was established in the Hugo Award-winning Doctor Who two-parter The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances; Sato was actually established before that, in the first season episode Aliens Of London (where she seemed to be a medical doctor, not a computer genius, when she crossed paths with the Doctor, though she may have been working undercover for Torchwood there too). Even before that, series star Eve Myles guest starred as Gwyneth in The Unquiet Dead, a story which took place in Cardiff and established the transdimensional rift running through the city; that rift was revisited in a more modern setting in Boom Town, and the combination of the energy from the rift’s activation and the presence of the TARDIS chameleon circuit in that episode is cited as a possible explanation for the cloaking field that covers Torchwood’s arrivals and departures in the Millennium Centre plaza. The Cyberman/Dalek invasion seen in the Doctor Who episode Doomsday (and the subsequent destruction of the London branch of Torchwood) and The Christmas Invasion‘s Sycorax attack are mentioned as recent events here; Suzy’s gauntlet may be leftover Cyber technology, though it looks a little more like a cousin of the Witchblade. Jack’s apparent resuscitation (thanks to the TARDIS-possessed Rose) in The Parting Of The Ways appears to have left him immortal.