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Doctor Who Companion Profile: Jack Harkness

Doctor Who Companion Profile: Jack Harkness


Jack Harkness

Portrayed by: John Barrowman

Doctor(s): Ninth Doctor, Tenth Doctor

Tenure: 5 stories (10 episodes), from The Empty Child”/”The Doctor Dances” (May, 2005) to “The Stolen Earth”/”Journey’s End” (July, 2008). He‘s also the lead of Torchwood, a spinoff of Doctor Who.

Background: Captain Jack Harkness is human from the 51st century who is a former model turned former Time Agent turned con man when he first meets The Doctor in WWII London. After helping the Doctor and Rose save the day, Jack joins the TARDIS team until his death. Brought back to life (permanently) by a Time Vortex-y Rose, Jack goes on many other adventures (detailed in Torchwood) before running across the Doctor and Martha. Jack leaves the TARDIS a second time (more Torchwood), before returning to help the Doctor and Donna save the universe and leaving the TARDIS for the third and, so far, final time.

Personality: Jack Harkness is charming, attractive, and will flirt/sleep with anything that moves. He is a very mysterious figure in Doctor Who with little of his past and future revealed, though much of this backstory is detailed in Torchwood. Jack is sly and amoral, but becomes more heroic when he meets the Doctor and gains immortality. Because of his dark past and myriad lifetimes of dubious choices, Jack is full of guilt which he hides beneath jokes and flirtation. He makes friends easily, but those who are close to him usually end up dead.

Special Skills: Jack is a fixed point in time (he can’t be not alive). He’s skilled with ancient, modern, and futuristic firearms as well as hand-to-hand combatant and he’s well-versed in various types of future technology. His most important gadget (other than the obvious) is his Time Vortex Manipulator which allows him to travel quickly through time and space.

Best Episode: “The Last of the Time Lords”. Jack helps The Doctor and Martha defeat The Master and is revealed to be the Face of Boe.

Worst Episode: “Boom Town”. This episode features the first appearance of the Space-Time Rift in Cardiff, but under-uses Jack and centers on one of the cheesiest aliens in the Ninth Doctor’s tenure, the Slitheen.

Highlights of tenure: Being resurrected by Rose, kissing the Ninth Doctor, sacrificing himself to save the Game Station from the Daleks, his reunion with the Tenth Doctor, flirting with everyone (except for Jackie Tyler) on the TARDIS after defeating Davros, letting Martha borrow his vortex manipulator so she could escape from The Master, riding on the outside of the TARDIS through the Time Vortex for trillions of years and surviving

Lowlights of tenure: Never meeting the Eleventh Doctor or River Song

Memorable quotes:

– “Ladies, your viewing figures just went up.”

– “Captain Jack Harkness. And who are you?”

– “Can’t I say hello to anyone?”

– “The moral of the story is if you’re gonna get stuck at the end of the universe, get stuck with an ex-Time Agent and his vortex manipulator.”

– (sees three versions of The Doctor) “I can’t tell you what I’m thinking right now.”

Other notes: According to the TARDIS Data Core, Jack has died “perhaps millions or billions of times”. He has also dated an alien with no mouth and Marcel Proust.