Gwen Cooper is a fictional character portrayed by Welsh actress Eve Myles in the BBC science-fiction television programme Torchwood, a spin-off of the long-running series Doctor Who. The lead female character, Gwen has featured in every episode of the show to date as well as two crossover episodes of Doctor Who. Gwen appears in Expanded Universe material such as the Torchwood novels and audiobooks, comic books and radio plays. Portraying Gwen increased Eve Myles' profile as an actress and has been cited as effective in promoting her native Wales.
Gwen is introduced as an audience surrogate, much like the perennial "companion" character in Doctor Who. Within the series narrative, Gwen is a South Wales Police officer who discovers the mysterious Torchwood Institute, into which she is recruited by Captain Jack Harkness. Gwen operates as a field agent on Torchwood missions and brings a humane and rounded approach to her team's investigations of extraterrestrial cases through her police procedural training. Despite promoting her as empathetic and conscientious the creative team have also stressed Gwen's moral ambiguity by having her ethically compromised by her line of work.
Gwen starts off in the mould of the "girl next door", and becomes more militant as the series progresses. As the character has developed as an action heroine the production team have also sought to keep the character grounded through her on screen family. The relationship dynamics between Gwen, her boss Jack and her boyfriend-cum-husband Rhys typify the character's conflict between her domestic world and her extraordinary life with Torchwood. Reviewers have generally responded positively to the conflicting elements of Gwen's characterisation and Eve Myles' portrayal. Eve Myles received a Welsh BAFTA for the first series of the show and has been nominated for several other acting awards across each of Torchwood's four series'.
Read more about Gwen Cooper: Reception
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