Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), an officer with the South Wales Police, is investigating a series of strange deaths in Cardiff. Her attention is attracted by a mysterious group calling itself Torchwood, led by Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman). Suzie Costello (Indira Varma) uses a metal gauntlet to bring a victim back to life for questioning. Jack notices Gwen and she flees the scene. The next day, she sees Jack at the hospital and follows him. She runs into an alien creature called a Weevil, which kills a porter. She escapes as Jack arrives.

Noticing the Torchwood SUV, she follows it. She discovers it is unregistered and there is no record of a Jack Harkness except one who disappeared in 1941. In a plaza called the Roald Dahl Plass, she follows on foot until the team vanishes mysteriously by a fountain. Gwen notices a pizza delivery scooter and finds that the pizzeria makes deliveries to Torchwood. Naturally, she disguises herself as a pizza delivery girl and enters a tourist centre, where Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) enters a secret passageway and lets her through. She finds herself in the Torchwood Hub, where the team pretends not to notice her for a while and then breaks into laughter. Jack introduces her to Owen Harper (Burn Gorman) and Toshiko Sato (Naoko Mori), and shows her around the huge hub, including the cell where the alien Weevil is held. They leave the hub through a pavement slab lift near the fountain in Roald Dahl Plass.

Jack explains that a perception filter exists in that spot that makes them invisible to passersby. He takes her to a pub and explains further over drinks. The purpose of Torchwood (Doctor Who with the letters scrambled, incidentally) is to monitor and try to control everything from the space-time vortex that falls through the Rift onto Earth. She wonders why he is telling her this and he says he put an amnesia pill in her drink, and she will remember nothing by the morning. She rushes home and tries to leave a message to herself on the computer, but she falls asleep and Ianto remotely deletes her message. The next day at work, she is shown a drawing of the murder weapon, a strange knife that triggers memories. At home, she finds a brochure for the Millennium Centre on which she has scribbled the word Remember. Torchwood member Suzie is waiting for her at the Plass. Suzie says it was she who killed the victim, to test out the Resurrection Effect which she wants to make permanent. She pulls a gun on Gwen, but Jack appears, and she shoots him in the head. But he recovers and the wound disappears. Despite his trying to stop her, Suzie kills herself. Gwen remembers everything.

In the Hub, the gauntlet is locked up and Suzie’s body goes in the morgue. Jack explains that he has died many times and come back to life every time. Perhaps the right kind of Doctor can explain. In the 21st Century, everything changes, and they must be ready. He offers her a job at Torchwood, and she accepts.

Torchwood is the somewhat more slick, punchy, and dark spinoff from Doctor Who, the group having been created by Queen Victoria in the Doctor Who episode Tooth and Claw, in which the Doctor saves the Queen from a werewolf, and she thinks Britain needs an organisation to battle alien and supernatural threats. Captain Jack Harkness, from the 51st Century, was rendered immortal by Doctor Who companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), who released the power of Bad Wolf to bring him back to life after the Daleks killed him, and it stuck, so now nothing can kill him. Both Torchwood and Captain Jack have appeared in many Doctor Who episodes. The Torchwood series was created by long-time Who writer Russell T. Davies.

The Cardiff space-time rift was first seen in the Unquiet Dead episode, when the Doctor and Rose encountered it in 1869, accompanied by Charles Dickens. The perception filter was left as a footprint by the TARDIS when it landed while the rift was opening. There are three levels in the Torchwood Hub set: autopsy in the basement, the main set on the second level, and Jack’s office at the top, most of it CGI. Indira Varma and Burn Gorham have both played recurring characters in Game of Thrones. The severed hand in a jar belongs to the Doctor. Jack kept it when it fell to Earth and has used it to access time-lord power. The character of Suzie Costello was introduced like a series regular and then revealed as the surprise killer. It set the precedent that main characters die in Torchwood, except for Jack.