Not to be confused with the Torchwood Declassified episode of the same title.

Dead Man Walking was the seventh episode in the second series of Torchwood. In the same vein as They Keep Killing Suzie, it saw the resurrection of a principal cast member and continued almost directly on from Reset.


"I'm bringing Owen back."

Owen has died. Jack decides to return him to life for a few minutes. No one could have guessed the consequences.


Owen Harper lies dead of a gunshot wound, about to be opened up for autopsy by Martha Jones at the Hub. Jack orders the team to do nothing until he arrives. Jack enters a strange café where a girl, about twelve years old, reads tarot. She tells Jack he owes her a favour and where to find what he is looking for. As he leaves, she holds the Death card.

Jack goes to St. Mary's, an abandoned church where Weevils sleep and store collected bric-a-brac. He breaks into a safe and retrieves from it a box. To the astonishment of the team at the Hub, it holds a resurrection gauntlet. Gwen objects to what Jack is about to do, reminding him of what happened with Suzie. Jack ignores her. He hopes to bring Owen back for two minutes for everybody to say their goodbyes. He resurrects Owen, who is confused and scared. Tosh tells Owen that she loves him, and Jack - after initially upsetting Owen by asking for the morgue access code - tries to prepare Owen for death. The connection is lost, Owen stops breathing and Jack holds his hand, believing him dead. Owen says that he will need his hand back.

The glove has brought Owen back from death permanently. Unlike Suzie, there is no obvious source of life energy. No energy is being drained from Jack as Suzie drained energy from Gwen, but Owen is getting energy from somewhere. Toshiko tells Owen she didn't mean it when she told him that she loved him. Owen says that this is a textbook reaction to grief, but does not want to discuss it further. He changes the subject and leaves the room.

Owen has visions of himself in a place shrouded in darkness, full of eerie whispers. He temporarily loses control of his body. During this incident, his pupils turn black and he speaks in an unknown language. Although he has been put in quarantine, Owen escapes and goes to a bar in Cardiff. He finds he can no longer digest drinks or get an erection (which depends on blood flow), so he can no longer have sex. All his life processes have stopped. He is now the walking dead.

Jack and owen bond

Jack and Owen bond over their immortality.

Jack catches him and they have a bar brawl. When Owen shouts that he belongs to Torchwood "special ops", Jack assumes a fake English accent and denies it. This results in them both being put in a police cell. There, to Jack's amused disgust, Owen intentionally vomits up the drinks that would have otherwise been stuck in his stomach (since his digestive processes have now stopped) and starts to panic. Jack and he bond. Jack says that he once dated Marcel Proust and that his immortality, which Owen covets in his position, is not the gift that Owen envies. They leave after Jack reveals his thoughts on immortality. Outside they encounter Weevils which chase Owen and Jack until they are cornered on a rooftop. Instead of killing them, the Weevils bow to Owen, who again temporarily loses control of his body and addresses the Weevils in the same unknown language.

Owen's cells are changing slowly. When complete, something will take over Owen's body. Research shows a similar incident occurred in legend. Death itself came back with the revived and searched for thirteen victims whose consumed souls would let Him remain in the world; Death would otherwise quickly perish. The story says that 'faith' was what stopped the entity.

Believing this legend is recurring, Owen suggests he must have his neural pathways closed by embalming to stop Death from using him as a gateway. During the process, the resurrection gauntlet comes to life and attacks Martha before being destroyed, draining her life and reducing her to an old woman. Owen shoots the gauntlet.

As his cells change fully, Owen loses control again and the gauntlet becomes a dust which appears to possess him. He speaks as he did when changed earlier, saying, "I will walk the earth forever and my hunger shall know no bounds" - a phrase attributed to Death itself.

Owen tangles with Death

Owen tangles with Death.

Death escapes from Owen and heads to a hospital, drawn to those close to death, and begins taking their souls. Martha is brought to the hospital in her greatly aged state, where a nurse says that as her red blood cell count is low and as she is over eighty, her chances of survival are slim. The team evacuates everyone from the building while Death, after taking twelve souls, chases after a young leukaemia patient who had been left behind.

Owen saves the child and helps Tosh and him escape. Ianto, who is waiting with Martha, explains to the team that the 'faith' which defeated Death before was the resurrected child, whose name was Faith. Owen realises that he is the only one who can fight Death; he is already dead and has nothing to lose. After kissing Tosh (and stealing her alien lockpick device), Owen locks the other team members out of the hospital and begins a brawl with Death, finally consuming its energy and forcing it back into the darkness.

On returning to the Hub, Martha explains to Owen that the energy keeping him 'alive' is dissipating but could take an unknown amount of time to do so, anywhere between thirty seconds and thirty years. Jack explains to Toshiko that you can never defeat death, only escape it. Owen asks Jack to let him work again, as by doing his job as a doctor he can try to repay the lives of those lost when Jack brought him back.



General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics



General post-production staff

Special and visual effects


Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.


  • Martha asks Jack why he didn't inform UNIT about his ability to bring back the dead.
  • The glove Jack removes from the church is different from the one Torchwood 3 previously had.
  • Jack visits a psychic fortune teller.
  • Gwen mentions the resurrection glove's last use on Suzie Costello.
  • Owen has previously shown a connection with the Weevils.
  • Jack appears to have a thing for writers. After mentioning a relationship with Christopher Isherwood in Reset, in this episode he mentions having a short-lived relationship with Marcel Proust.
  • After escaping from the Hub, the pub Owen visits is in the midst of a costume party where a number of people are dressed as angels. Aside from the connection to Owen's situation, the costumes also resemble the Heavenly Hosts of DW: Voyage of the Damned.

Story notes

to be added


  • 1.0 million viewers

Filming locations

to be added

Production errors

  • At 41:30, while Gwen and Jack are walking during the conversation "I'm getting reports of twelve people dead", the camera can be clearly seen reflected in the glass as they approach the door.


If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • This episode continues on directly from the previous story, at the end of which Owen was killed.
  • The Resurrection glove last appeared in They Keep Killing Suzie; this episode features the second glove of the pair, obliquely referenced by Ianto in the earlier episode. This second glove is also destroyed.
  • Owen last displayed a connection with the Weevils in Combat.
  • The Weevils recoiled in the presence of a sleeper agent in a way similar to Owen. (TW: Sleeper)
  • This episode, Reset and the following episode, A Day in the Death, all take place within a period of about three days (based upon dialogue in the third episode).
  • Martha is rapidly aged by the Resurrection glove. Jack and she earlier witnessed the Tenth Doctor being rapidly aged. (DW: The Sound of Drums)


DVD releases

  • This story along with the rest of Torchwood Series 2 was released in a complete series box set in 2008.

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