Rex Matheson was a CIA agent in the 21st century and a member of Torchwood in the year 2011. On Miracle Day, Matheson was saved from a lethal injury by the phenomenon. He played a critical role in identifying the cause of the Miracle and eventually stopping it. During the investigation, Matheson became close friends with Esther Drummond, and had a brief romantic relationship with his doctor, Vera Juarez. After the Miracle, Matheson seemed to have gained a resurrection ability that was identical to the immortality of Jack Harkness.
Matheson was raised in the Los Angeles area by a father who had been experiencing severe personal and financial problems since 1996. After growing up and joining the CIA, Matheson remained out of contact with his father and told acquaintances that he was from the east coast of the United States. (TV: Escape to LA)
At some point, he and Lyn Peterfield had a romantic relationship. However, as they irritated one another, they ended it. (TV: Rendition) According to Allen Shapiro, any woman Matheson slept with ended up bitter. (TV: End of the Road)
Stolen Torchwood cargo
When the British government sold the American government alien weapons salvaged from the ruins of the Torchwood Hub, the American middle men involved went rogue and decided to keep the weapons for themselves. Teaming up with Glen Shaeffer, a former member of the group, Matheson tracked the rogue group from South America to Colorado to Washington DC. Along the way, the group caused destruction in South America and in Colorado, seriously jeopardising Matheson's position and reputation in the CIA. However, the pair continued the search without CIA support. A mysterious man named Mr Wynter, using an Ytraxorian Reality Rifle to travel through time, rewrote history so that Matheson and Glen prevented the assassination of the American president and the destruction of the White House. Mr Wynter destroyed all the weapons except for the Ytraxorian rifle, which he kept. Mr Wynter called Matheson, informing him that he would leave him alive because he admired the spark of idealism he saw in Matheson; but that he would have to kill him if he ever saw him again. Mr Wynter then pulled a few strings to restore Matheson's reputation in the CIA, allowing him to continue as a CIA operative. (PROSE: The Men Who Sold the World)
Matheson was in the middle of a mobile phone conversation with his colleague, Esther Drummond, when a lorry in front of his car stopped suddenly and sent several poles through his windscreen, impaling him. Matheson awoke in a hospital and learnt that one of the poles had struck his heart and should have killed him, but did not: the Miracle Day event, which prevented all humans on Earth from dying, ensured his survival. Matheson began to investigate the phenomenon. His hunt for answers led him to Wales, where he sought out Gwen Cooper, a known member of the Torchwood Institute. When he found her, he collapsed from his injuries and was taken prisoner. Matheson freed himself and escaped from an armed helicopter with Cooper, her husband Rhys Williams and their child, and Jack Harkness. After making their way to Cardiff, Matheson informed the police of their whereabouts and ordered the others be taken to the US, under special protocols allowing their rendition. (TV: The New World)
At Heathrow Airport, Matheson ordered Harkness and Gwen Cooper taken aboard a plane commandeered for the rendition, but to return Cooper's husband and baby to Wales. In flight, Matheson discovered that he had underestimated Torchwood, acknowledging that Harkness' suggestions of possible causes of the Miracle were better than any he had heard.
Matheson realised that one of his fellow agents, Lyn Peterfield, had poisoned Harkness without his orders. Matheson, Gwen and the flight attendants synthesised an antidote, whilst consulting Doctor Vera Juarez by phone for instructions. On landing in the US, Matheson was called by Esther Drummond, who informed him that the CIA had cleared out his office and turned on him. Understanding his situation, Matheson attacked Peterfield and the corrupt CIA agents escorting them and freed Harkness and Gwen. In escaping with Drummond and the Torchwood prisoners, Matheson effectively became one of the Torchwood team himself. (TV: Rendition)
He quickly suspected that his superior, Brian Friedkin, had betrayed them. He broke into Friedkin's home in the middle of the night to confront him at gunpoint. He learned only that Friedkin was under the command of unknown forces more powerful than the CIA. Before leaving, Matheson temporarily deafened Friedkin by firing his gun next to Friedkin's ear.
The four began investigating Miracle Day from hiding. Matheson at first insisted on trying to work within the system, but he was immediately betrayed by his CIA mentor, proving that they were on their own. He struggled against his frustration and with his own damaged heart, which was healing slowly but caused him frequent pain. Looking for support, Matheson broke into Dr Juarez's home for medical treatment, a meeting which led to a sexual encounter. (TV: Dead of Night)
Working with the other team members was productive. Matheson helped to find PhiCorp's massive stockpile of painkillers prepared in advance of Miracle Day. He devised a plan to penetrate PhiCorp's Los Angeles headquarters and steal sensitive computer equipment, and rescued Harkness and Cooper when they were bound and threatened with torture. However, the relationship was also tense. Matheson berated Cooper and Drummond for keeping in contact with family and jeopardising their safety, even though he visited his destitute and antagonistic father. He also fought regularly with Jack Harkness over who should lead the group, and he expressed discomfort with Harkness's homosexual tendencies. (TV: Dead of Night, Escape to LA)
Investigating the camps
After the categories of life were announced and overflow camps were established, Dr Juarez told Matheson she wanted to join the investigation. Juarez suggested that she could use her position on the medical panels to infiltrate a camp, but Matheson pulled rank and decided he would use his injury to gain access. With Drummond's assistance, Matheson made a video recording of human bodies stacked in a camp module. When he returned to the module a short time later, he found Jaurez — who had ignored his order and entered the camp — locked inside. He tried to free her, but the module was activated and Juarez was incinerated alive. Matheson recorded the incident as evidence of crimes against humanity. (TV: The Categories of Life)
Matheson tried to escape the camp, but was detained and placed in chains. He was given permission to speak with Colin Maloney, the camp's director. Unaware of Maloney's role in the killing, Matheson told him about the modules and Juarez's murder, and tried to persuade the director that he would be a hero if he freed him and exposed the government's crimes. In response, Maloney drove a pen into Matheson's open wound until he passed out from the pain. Drummond and a camp soldier named Ralph Coltrane eventually arrived and freed Matheson. (TV: The Middle Men)
Matheson released his video of the overflow camps to the World Wide Web, but he was disappointed at the muted response from governments and the public alike, and he rebuffed any attempt to talk about Juarez. (TV: Immortal Sins)
Shortly after returning to their Los Angeles base, Matheson and Drummond watched as Gwen Cooper borrowed a stun gun and left without explanation. The pair eventually realised that Cooper's family had been taken hostage and that she had been forced to kidnap Jack Harkness. While they followed Cooper, Matheson made a phone call to police Sergeant Andy Davidson for help in saving Cooper's family, and another to Juarez's brother. At Cooper's rendezvous point, Matheson used a sniper rifle to free her and Harkness and force Olivia Colasanto and her men to surrender. Matheson and the others were persuaded by Colasanto to come to her family's residence to meet someone who knew the true nature of the Miracle: her grandfather, Angelo Colasanto. (TV: Immortal Sins)
Matheson's phone call to Juarez's brother had been intercepted, and the Torchwood team was tracked down and captured by Brian Friedkin and loyal CIA operatives at the Colasanto house. Matheson was threatened by Friedkin in the same way Matheson had confronted him months earlier. However, he manipulated Friedkin into admitting that the Families had been paying him and essentially "owned" him. This confession was recorded and broadcast by the eye-5 contact lenses Matheson was wearing. Moments later, the Torchwood members were freed by a legitimate CIA team. Matheson told the team leader, Allen Shapiro, that the phone call was intended to draw the CIA's attention and to prove their innocence. Enough evidence was found for Matheson and Drummond to regain their former positions.
Before leaving the Colasanto residence, Angelo Colasanto died, the first person to die of natural causes since Miracle Day. Matheson remained with the CIA team to determine how it happened. He learned from Harkness that a piece of alien technology hidden under Angelo's bed cancelled out the morphic field that was preventing death. Matheson agreed with Harkness' assessment that the technology was too dangerous to be given to any government. He helped Harkness to escape with a component from the generator, but stayed behind to continue the investigation with the CIA. (TV: End of the Road)
Matheson spent the next two months investigating the Miracle and the Three Families. He and the CIA made little progress for most of that time, as the Families had spent the better part of a century covering their tracks, and had ordered Charlotte Wills, an operative of the Families working inside the CIA, to impede the investigation. Eventually, Matheson found a short story that shared many similarities with the events of Harkness's imprisonment in 1928, but the author disappeared from records soon after. This led Matheson to believe that a relative of the story's author had married into the Three Families. Following increasingly subtle clues, it was discovered that another relative had been murdered and the murder weapon was in CIA storage. Inspired, Matheson ordered that the weapon be analysed for DNA traces. However, Wills was assigned to run the DNA test, and lied about the results. In time, the Torchwood team speculated that the cause of the Miracle, the Blessing, was located at opposite sides of the planet, and Matheson travelled to meet Drummond in Buenos Aires, while Harkness and Gwen went to Shanghai. (TV: The Gathering)
In Buenos Aires, Matheson and Drummond secretly performed a blood transfusion, replacing Matheson's own blood with blood taken from Harkness. While they worked with an Argentine army squad, a soldier secretly serving the Families detonated a suicide bomb, destroying most of the squad and a briefcase believed to hold Harkness' blood. Matheson ordered the surviving army captain to pretend that he and Drummond had become category ones to throw off the Families.
Matheson and Drummond made their way to the Blessing, and were taken prisoner. While communicating with members of the Families and the rest of the Torchwood team in Shanghai, Matheson revealed that he had Harkness's blood in his body. In order to end the Miracle, Matheson and Harkness agreed to sacrifice their lives at the same time by feeding mortal blood to both ends of the Blessing. The leader of the Families in Buenos Aires responded by shooting Drummond, forcing Matheson to choose: stop the Miracle or save Drummond's life.
After a moment, Matheson reluctantly agreed to proceed. He removed the bandage from his chest, allowing the Blessing to pull large quantities of blood from his wound. As the Blessing shook violently and the Miracle ended, Matheson rose to his feet and threw the Families leader to his death before collapsing. He was eventually rescued by army reinforcements, but not before Drummond succumbed to her wound. (TV: The Blood Line)
Matheson attended Esther Drummond's funeral with the remaining Torchwood members, Rhys Williams, and Charlotte Wills. He struggled visibly with his own grief during the service. Afterwards, he learned the truth of Wills's duplicity. He tried to stop her, but Wills killed him before she herself was taken down. To everyone's shock, Matheson's wound healed and he resurrected a moment later, indicating that he had gained some measure of Harkness's immortality. Matheson was mortified by what he had become. (TV: The Blood Line)
Matheson was a determined, persevering, and competently serious man who had a no-nonsense attitude, but also a deep amount of compassion, albeit peppered with a dry wit. He was capable of great kindness and love for those he held close, including romantic and sexual relationships. In this respect, he was deeply hurt by the loss of his lover, Vera Juarez. (TV: The Categories of Life) Matheson also had a deeply ingrained attitude, and would frequently say "what the hell" or "shit" when frustrated. (TV: The New World, et al.) He preferred CIA professionalism over the haphazard operations of Torchwood, and valued the principles he was taught to follow. When he extradited Torchwood to the U.S., they had a passive-aggressive relationship with one another, especially Gwen Cooper, after Matheson separated her from her child. He justified this by telling Cooper that it would be unwise to let her baby get caught up in the violence connected to the investigation of the Miracle. (TV: The Gathering)
Jack Harkness tended to agitate him with his tendency to make jokes instead of maintaining a professional work ethic. The flippant gay jokes he made were not a pet peeve, but Matheson did not like being the butt of them. To this extent, Rex thought of him as a man in his forties acting like a twenty-year-old, and nicknamed him "World War II" for his flying ace period dress. Despite the rocky start, Rex eventually reached friendly terms with Harkness and Cooper until he was at last considered one of the team. (TV: The Categories of Life)
Quite protective, Matheson kept close watch on the secret operations he undertook, and if he noticed even the slightest risk of a breach, he would quickly put an end to it. His experience, however, made him initially unfair on the rather green Esther Drummond, who made a few mistakes because she was not fully acclimated to the atmosphere of clandestine operations. (TV: Dead of Night) When she nearly instigated the demise of Torchwood by visiting her distraught sister out in the open, he gave her a final warning not to risk blowing their cover again. Matheson warmed up to Esther as she grew more comfortable with her undercover duties. (TV: Escape to LA) Although he had been hard on her at first, Rex gave her kindness and sympathy when she needed it. He encouraged her with the occasional kiss on the forehead, and reacted strongly after she was murdered by the Cousin. He was still in deep sorrow at the time of her funeral. (TV: The Blood Line)
As a trained CIA agent, Matheson was trained to kill if necessary by administering neck snaps or lethal gunshot wounds. (TV: Rendition) He would take lives in hot-blooded self-defence, with the exception of personal injustice to himself or his teammates, leading him to kill for revenge. (TV: The Blood Line) However, his survival instincts were so overwhelming under duress that he would resort to deadly force first, without thinking a culprit might have vital information to divulge. As such, he shot a trained assassin in the throat under the impression he would shoot Cooper, which left him unable to get a lead on The Three Families. (TV: Escape to LA)
Skills and abilities
Having been trained by the CIA, he was skilled with several firearms, ranging from handguns to assault rifles, (TV: The New World) and even a double barrelled shotgun. (TV: Escape to LA) He could also use a sniper rifle, maintaining his aim directly at a target's head. (TV: Immortal Sins)
Rex was also, in Esther's own words, the "best strategist of [the group]", proven when he orchestrated the plan to get Nicholas Frumkin's biometrics and knew how to gain entry in to Phicorp's headquarters. He was also very serious during the missions, viewing saying "good luck" as "kid's stuff" as well as the use of mobile phones to contact people while undercover as "dangerous". (TV: Escape to LA)
Rex was also skilled in fisticuffs, displayed when he overpowered a CIA body guard without assistance, managed to break a woman's neck despite her initially having the upper-hand (TV: Rendition) and knocked out a U.S. Ranger with a single punch to the jaw. (TV: The Middle Men) He also disarmed his father of his shotgun in seconds (TV: Escape to LA) and managed to toss the Cousin over a set of rails despite his chest wound weakening him. (TV: The Bloodline) He was also quite stealthy, sneaking up on a CIA agent and knocking them out with a blow to the back of their head. (TV: End of the Road)
During the "Miracle day" phenomenon, he couldn't die, proven when he was impaled through the chest by a metal rod yet survived long enough to be treated. (TV: The New World) This later persisted when he was stabbed through his ruptured chest with a pen but did not die from the blood loss or trauma. (TV: The Middle Men)
For the first few days after being impaled, Rex struggled to even move, but his resilience improved; managing to walk, drive and eventually run despite the damage to his chest and leg. (TV: The New World) Rex even managed to run up thirty flights of stairs despite the extreme strain it imposed on his body. (TV: Escape to LA) He didn't always maintain this pain tolerance, however, screaming in agony when stabbed. (TV: The Middle Men)
After receiving a transfusion of Jack Harkness's mortal blood and feeding it to the Blessing, Matheson resurrected in a manner similar to Harkness's immortality. However, the extent of his ability to resurrect was unknown, and it was unclear if he was a fixed point in time like Harkness. (TV: The Blood Line)
Matheson recovered or was resurrected from the following fatal injuries:
- Impaled through the chest by a metal pole as a result of a car crash soon after the Miracle had occurred. (TV: The New World)
- Stabbed in his ruptured chest with a pen. (TV: The Middle Men)
- Drained of his blood by the Blessing. (TV: The Blood Line)
- Shot by Charlotte Wills. (TV: The Blood Line)