All over the Earth, people who have suffered mortal wounds or fatal diseases are unable to die. At first this seems like a miracle, but medical resources are strained, diseases spread, and population growth quickly runs out of control. CIA agents Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) and Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) learn of Torchwood and manage to locate Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles). They bring them to the US, where they are pursued by agents of The Families. Jack learns that he is no longer immortal, which he believes connects him somehow to the worldwide dilemma. He brings Rex and Esther into Torchwood.
The governments of the world put those with terminal illnesses or mortal injuries into concentration camps. Torchwood infiltrates a camp and discovers that the internees are being incinerated alive. They tell the world, but the governments believe they are doing what must be done. With the news, the world drifts into chaos. Torchwood tracks down the Families, which are everywhere on Earth. It seems the Families are descendants of the patriarchs of three Catholic families that investigated Jack in the Twenties. Frightened by his immortality, they studied and experimented upon him. They are now using the general immortality for their own financial gain.
Several months later, there is a world depression. With information from child-murderer Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman), who survived his execution, Torchwood learns that the Families took control of the economy on the first day of the Miracle, in Shanghai and Buenos Aires, at opposite ends of the Earth. They used Jack’s immortal blood to start a kind of immortality epidemic at the ends of what they called the Blessing. Jack and Gwen, Rex and Esther go to the ends of the earth to investigate.
The Blessing seems to be a kind of tunnel through the Earth, which the Families control. Torchwood believes it can reverse the process, introducing Jack’s now mortal blood to both ends of the Blessing. Rex has been transfused with Jack’s blood, but Esther is shot and if the plan works, she will die. Rex opens a wound and Gwen shoots Jack, which allows Jack’s blood to enter both ends, reversing the Miracle. Esther dies, Jack recovers and escapes with Gwen. Rex is shot by a Families assassin and discovers that he is immortal.
This is the basic plot, but the story is ten episodes and there is a great deal of action and complications. Individual episodes were written by individual writers. It was a kind of mid-Atlantic production, part British and part American. SF stalwart Dichen Lachman, Wayne Knight, Ernie Hudson, John de Lancie (Star Trek’s Q) and Deep Space Nine’s Nana Visitor also appear. Murray Gold, long-time Doctor Who composer, wrote the music.
American reviews were mixed. Many thought that ten parts were too much, and it would have been better as five, like Children of Earth. This is ironic, in that the BBC’s meat-cleaver cutting to five parts of Children of Earth may well have contributed to the tight script that produced glowing reviews, which in turned inspired the BBC to lavish ten parts on Miracle Day. Ratings and reviews in the UK were somewhat better. It reminds me of the Americanized Doctor Who TV-movie, in that it suffered a bit trying for American success, losing a bit of its British charm.
On the positive side, the always entertaining relationship of Jack and Gwen is strong as ever, the SF-inspired story is mostly explained at the end, though some of the science is, as the Brits say, rubbish, as much of TV science tends to be. There is a lot of entertaining cloak-and-dagger along the way, with some repetition, as often found in serials. CIA analyst Esther Drummond is a particularly strong and likable character, which is a good thing, as most of the Torchwood regulars are dead now.