Early life and medical careerEdit
Owen Harper was born in 1981. (TOR: "Dead Man Walking") On his tenth birthday, his mother spent the day screaming at him. His mother told him that she loved him because he was her son, but said she did not have to like him. When he turned sixteen, his mother packed his bags for him to leave home. (TOR: "Exit Wounds", "Adam")
He decided to become a medical doctor because he thought if he could save one life his own life would be worthwhile. When he was writing his MD thesis, Harper found Aaron Copley's published works on immunology very helpful. (TOR: "Fragments", "Reset")
He worked in the accident and emergency department of Cardiff General Hospital between 2000 and 2002. He was the duty doctor on cases 1992, 2148, 2310, 2471, 2659, 2871, 2883, 2918, 3152, 3295, 4025, 4183, 4291, 4371 and 4472. In September 2001, Lucy Marmer (case 4291) was brought in dead on arrival after sustaining unidentified chest trauma that involved shattered ribs and the removal of the heart. He had only been qualified for six months at this point and he felt like throwing up when he saw the body. The records and post-mortem were then removed by the police as part of Operation Lowry. (TOR: Greeks Bearing Gifts")
By 2005, he was engaged to Katie Russell, a junior doctor who worked with him at the Royal Cardiff Infirmary. Sometime after their engagement, she had began to display the symptoms of a degenerative neurological disorder that interfered with her memory and personality. Although Russell was subsequently diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, he was determined to marry her and he stuck by his promise to her of a summer wedding. Harper was given hope by her days of clarity, but grew cautious as her condition diminished. He approached Jim Garrett, a friend and colleague who had been among those who diagnosed Russell, and asked him run more tests on her just to be certain of her condition. Garrett, having agreed to run one more MRI scan, subsequently discovered what appeared to be a brain tumour that had been missed in scans as recently as a week earlier. By the time Harper and Russell had learnt of the growth, she was no longer able to remember his name.
Harper waited outside the operating room while Russell was rushed into surgery by Garrett and a team of surgeons who aimed to remove the tumour. After a long period of waiting, Harper was passed in the corridor by an American-accented man in military uniform who pushed him aside and entered the operating room. Harper followed him inside where he found all the surgeons dead on the floor and Russell on the operating table with a tentacled life form protruding from her open skull. The man explained that the creature was an alien that incubated in the brain, disrupting its shape and function. He told Harper that, if threatened, the creature would emit a toxic gas fatal to humans. When Harper protested after hearing that the man would have to remove her brain and take it back to Torchwood, he was chloroformed by the man. After waking up in a hospital bed, Harper was prescribed three months rest by a psychiatrist. Having been told that Russell's tumour was inoperable and that Garrett had died in a car accident, Harper decided to check the CCTV footage to find the American, but the footage showed him to be alone the entire time. (TOR: "Fragments")
While mourning Katie at her grave in a cemetery sometime after her funeral, he spotted the man from the hospital. Blaming him for the failure to save Katie, Harper threw the man to the ground and started to strangle him. After Harper had stopped his attack when he broke down with grief, the man told him that it was not possible to save her and that he needed Harper as a medic for something he was building in Cardiff. Still sceptical about aliens and convinced that he was instead having a mental breakdown, Harper was taken to the Hub where the man - Captain Jack Harkness - persuaded him to join Torchwood. (TOR: "Fragments")
During his second week at Torchwood 3, he was unavailable to examine the creature that was found in the spaceship that landed in the Thames because he was hungover and unreachable. Torchwood 3 technological specialist Toshiko Sato covered for him by posing as a medic - "Doctor" Sato - and doing the examination for him. (DW: "Aliens of London"; TOR: "Exit Wounds")
- "Everything Changes"
- "Day One"
- "Ghost Machine"
- "Small Worlds"
- "Greeks Bearing Gifts"
- "They Keep Killing Suzie"
- "Random Shoes"
- "Out of Time"
- "Captain Jack Harkness"
- "End of Days"
- "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang"
- "To the Last Man"
- "Dead Man Walking"
- "A Day in the Death"
- "Something Borrowed"
- "From Out of the Rain"
- "Exit Wounds"
- "Children of Earth: Day One" (photograph)