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Torchwood's Burn Gorman Shares Details on His New Expanse Villain

By Beth Elderkin on at

The return of The Expanse feels like a reunion, but there’s a “fresh face” in the mix in the form of Torchwood’s Burn Gorman. In a one-on-one interview, Gorman shared details on Adolphus Murtry, whether he’s actually a villain, and why Doctor Who and Expanse fans aren’t so different in the end.

We sat down with Gorman at New York Comic Con so we could dive deep into the new character of Adolphus Murtry and his role in the fourth season of The Expanse. Making his debut in Cibola Burn, the fourth book in James S. A. Corey’s book series, Adolphus is chief of security for Royal Charter Energy, an Earth-based corporation with a vested interest in Ilus. He’s described as ruthless, cold-hearted, and possibly psychopathic – but that’s not how Gorman views him.

“He’s a guy who gets stuff done,” Gorman said. “I never see the characters I play as villains. As in real life, if someone is morally questionable they always think they’re doing the right thing. And I actually quite like the fact that he’s extremely good at his job.

“I was, I suppose, pleased that he was a multi-faceted character even though he’s ostensibly a bad guy,” he added.

According to Gorman, we’re first introduced to Adolphus on Ilus, a new planet where competing corporate interests are trying to stake their claim. There’s an ambush that claims the lives of some of his security personnel and causes Adolphus to lose one of his legs, and he gets a prosthetic. Upset about losing some of his comrades, he’s determined to find answers... no matter the cost.

“He loses some of his people pretty early on and, like any good military man, he’s going to find out who’s responsible,” he said.

In addition to The Expanse, Gorman has appeared in notable genre works like The Dark Knight Rises and Pacific Rim. But he’s perhaps best known for playing Owen Harper on the first two seasons of Torchwood, the more-mature Doctor Who spinoff. He returned to the whole in 2017 for Corpse Day, one of the audio dramas in the Torchwood audio series, and said he’d love to come back for another one in the future. As of now, he said there’s nothing in the works. We also asked what he finds similar between The Expanse and Doctor Who fandoms, given his now-experience in both of them.

“The fans are quite similar in the fact that they’re extremely well informed and intelligent and I feel like there’s a sense of ownership, I feel like there’s a sense of pleasure that these things are actually being made,” he said. “It feels very supportive, and I know that the rest of the cast were over the moon to be back.”

The Expanse returns with season four 13 December on Amazon Prime. All episodes of the season will be available. It’s already been renewed for a fifth season, which is currently in production.


Burn Gorman: It’s been a long time since somebody complimented me on my fresh face. I was introduced to this character in the books first and I had a very strong idea about him. But I’m playing Adolphus Murtry, he’s a guy who gets stuff done. Where we meet him is on Ilus, it’s a new planet, it’s a new frontier. Murtry is head of security for RCE. He’s going in there to take control of what’s on offer. And he’s an ex-military man, very organised, he gets the job done.

I never see the characters I play as villains, as in real life, if someone is morally questionable they always think they’re doing the right thing. And I actually quite like the fact that he’s extremely good at his job. He loses some of his people pretty early on and like any good military man, he’s going to find out who’s responsible. So I was, I suppose, pleased that he was a multi-faceted character even though he’s ostensibly a bad guy.

The [Expanse and Doctor Who] fans are quite similar in the fact that they’re extremely well informed and intelligent and I feel like there’s a sense of ownership, I feel like there’s a sense of pleasure that these things are actually being made. It feels very supported and I know that the rest of the cast were over the moon to be back.

But again, that’s the similarities between the fans is that they’re incredibly...they’re always the most fun at the bar, you know, put it like that.

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