Galen Tyrol (commonly referred to as The Chief) is a character on the television series Battlestar Galactica. Tyrol is responsible for the maintenance of the Vipers and Raptors aboard Battlestar Galactica. After the events of the miniseries, he was the ship's highest-ranking non-commissioned officer[1] at rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer.

Galen Tyrol
Battlestar Galactica character
First appearanceMiniseries
Last appearanceBattlestar Galactica: The Plan
Portrayed byAaron Douglas
In-universe information
SpeciesHumanoid Cylon
TitleSenior Chief Petty Officer (BSG Miniseries - Episode 4.04)
Specialist (Episode 4.04 - Episode 4.16)
Senior Chief Petty Officer (Episode 4.17 - Current)
AffiliationColonial Fleet, Final Five Cylons

Galen Tyrol is played by Aaron Douglas, who originally auditioned for the role of Lee Adama before that role went to English actor Jamie Bamber.

Character historyEdit

At the start of the series, Tyrol is romantically involved with Lieutenant Sharon "Boomer" Valerii aboard Galactica, who is, unbeknownst to either Tyrol or herself, a Cylon, model Number Eight.[2] Once Sharon's true nature is revealed, when she attempts to assassinate Commander Adama, Tyrol is accused of being a Cylon and is thrown into the brig with Sharon. He claims he hates her and orders her to keep her distance, but when Sharon is shot and killed by Cally, he mourns her and reveals his true affection for her. Tyrol is found not to be a Cylon, for the time being, and resumes his job. Discovering the existence of Sharon "Athena" Agathon, who as another Number Eight Cylon looks identical to Sharon Valerii and is pregnant and in love with Helo, confuses him, especially with Sharon Valerii's death still haunting him.[3]

Galen's father was a Priest; his mother, an Oracle. He has served in the Colonial Fleet since he was 18 years old, working at various points on the Battlestars Pegasus, Columbia, Atlantia, and finally Galactica.[4] It is suggested his experience extends beyond mechanical knowledge when he is stranded on the surface of Kobol - his actions there suggest a strong grasp of tactical and other military knowledge, as well as an extremely high level of competence overall.[5] Adama holds him in very high esteem as Colonel Tigh acknowledges when he says "the old man has a soft spot" for him.[4] Tyrol even modeled his own style of leadership on Adama's, and generally keeps a professional demeanor - although Tyrol tends to become overly protective, sometimes even irrational, when anyone under his command is injured or killed.[6]

Tyrol and Helo encounter trouble when Lieutenant Thorne, an officer on the Pegasus, attempts to rape Sharon Agathon while interrogating her. Rushing to her aid, Tyrol and Helo accidentally kill Thorne and are summarily sentenced to death by Admiral Helena Cain.[7] After Cain's death, the two are eventually released from the brig by Pegasus' new commander, Jack Fisk, and all charges are dropped.[8]

Near the end of the second season, Tyrol begins to believe he may be a Cylon sleeper agent, and begins to entertain thoughts of suicide. He viciously attacks Cally when she wakes him from a nightmare, an act which prompts him to seek religious counsel. Brother Cavil's guidance convinces Tyrol that he isn't a Cylon, and makes him aware of Cally's feelings towards him. However, the meeting with Brother Cavil later allows Tyrol to expose the priest as a humanoid Cylon when a duplicate copy returns from the Caprica rescue mission.[9]

Tyrol and Cally are among the thousands that settle on New Caprica. The two get married and have a son, whom they name Nicholas Tyrol (although Galen later learns that he is not Nicholas' father). Tyrol worked as a union leader when the Cylons arrive and occupy New Caprica. Tyrol's speech urging the union to strike shortly before the occupation begins is based on Mario Savio's "gears of the machine" address at the University of California, Berkeley.[9][10]

During the Cylon occupation, Tyrol served as an active member of the resistance, bombing strategic targets and recruiting new members.[11] After the colonists escape New Caprica, Tyrol is appointed by President Tom Zarek to be a member of "The Circle," a six-person jury charged with trying and executing humans suspected of collaborating with the Cylons. When Felix Gaeta is tried, Tyrol reveals Gaeta was the "inside source" the resistance relied upon, effectively exonerating him. Soon after, The Circle disbands.[12] Tyrol and Cally return to duty aboard Galactica.

After the fleet makes its way to the algae planet, Tyrol is one of those assigned to the base camp on the planet during the algae harvesting process. He feels a compulsion to walk into the hills above the camp where he discovers the Temple of Five, a place which Tyrol's parents revered.[13] He tries to find the location of the Eye of Jupiter within the temple but the Cylons make their move before he is able to do so and the humans are forced to abandon the temple. Tyrol cannot bring himself to activate the explosives he placed there, and by the time then-Major Lee Adama presses the detonator it is too late, the devices have been disconnected by the Cylons. Afterward, Tyrol finds Gaius Baltar within the temple and knocks him unconscious before he and the rest of the humans on the planet's surface return to Galactica as the local star goes supernova.[14]

Tyrol and Cally have a rough patch in their marriage caused by Tyrol always volunteering the two of them for additional duty instead of spending time with their son. They get locked in an airlock losing atmosphere due to a damaged patch. Admiral Adama decides the best way to rescue them is to blow the main hatch and catch them in a waiting raptor. After they are caught, they are rushed to sick bay for treatment. Seelix brings his son to him in sick bay and he renews his commitment to his family and marriage. After a problem arises with the tylium refinery, Tyrol organizes a general strike to protest the working conditions. When Admiral Adama threatens to shoot Cally, Tyrol backs down. He then has a meeting with President Roslin to discuss working conditions, replacement personnel, and training.

In the cliffhanger Season 3 finale, "Crossroads, Part II", he, along with Samuel Anders, Saul Tigh, and Tory Foster become aware that they are Cylons, based on hallucinatory music (which turns out to be a cover of "All Along The Watchtower" written by Bob Dylan) that only they can hear, and a "switch" Tyrol believes has gone off within them.

At the start of season 4 Tyrol and the other three Final Five Cylons begin meeting in secret. In "The Ties That Bind" Tyrol's wife Cally becomes suspicious of him being away from her all the time. After seeing him meeting in the bar with Tory, she believes he is having an affair. However, she later listens in on a meeting between Galen, Tory and Tigh and finds out her husband is a Cylon. After he returns to their quarters she knocks him out with a wrench and takes their child to commit suicide in an airlock. However, Tory comes and punches her out, takes the baby and then opens the air lock killing Cally. In "Escape Velocity", Tyrol gives a eulogy for his wife and is obviously deeply affected by it when it affects his work. Later, Admiral Adama comes and meets him in the bar telling him he can take time off or have more work, whichever he needs. Tyrol then imagines Adama saying it was his fault Cally died and he goes ballistic, ranting and raving about how he settled for Cally because Boomer turned out to be a Cylon. Adama demotes him after he refuses to calm down, thus removing him from duty on the hangar deck and is to report to Petty Officer Basim for reassignment.

Tyrol sinks deeper into depression, almost committing suicide and later assaulting Baltar at one of his sermons for mentioning Cally (although Tyrol eventually accepts an apology from Baltar). When Tigh reveals himself, Sam Anders and Tyrol to be Cylons and the marines arrest the latter two, Galen smiles, looking almost relieved.

After Lee Adama gives a full pardon to the final four, Galen Tyrol (before going down to Earth) was last seen in his quarters playing with his son. The feelings from his former deck crew to the knowledge of him being a Cylon are not yet known.

When on Earth, Tyrol explores the area he is in and is drawn to the remains of a wall that has a silhouette burned into it that matches his shadow exactly. Upon touching it, Tyrol experiences a flashback of his life on Earth 2000 years ago. He is strolling down a crowded market street when he is suddenly engulfed by a nuclear explosion. Tyrol then realizes he and the rest of the Final Five Cylons had previously lived past lives on Earth, though he is unsure how they found their way to the Colonies.

In "A Disquiet Follows My Soul", when his son, Nicholas, is in sickbay with acute renal failure and brought to Doc Cottle for treatment, Galen discovers Nicholas is not his son, but the son of Brendan "Hot Dog" Costanza, who Cally had a brief fling with just before marrying Galen.

During the mutiny onboard Galactica, Tyrol sides with Adama and using his intimate knowledge of the ship, is instrumental in helping end the conflict. He helps Roslin escape the ship and during the standoff between Galactica and the rebel Cylons, disables Galactica's FTL drive to keep it from escaping. He is dismayed to notice metal fatigue in the engine room.

Tyrol is reinstated to duty, with full rank, by Admiral Adama, who charges Tyrol with fixing the damage to the ship.

In "No Exit", Samuel Anders reveals Tyrol and Tory used to be "madly in love" 2,000 years ago (before their memories were wiped by John Cavil). Tyrol chuckles at the idea.

In "Deadlock", Tyrol comes face to face again with Boomer who has brought Ellen Tigh back to Galactica. Tyrol identifies her as Boomer to Adama who promptly orders her thrown in the brig. Tyrol is reluctant to visit her initially but he is later shown looking at her through the glass pane of her cell as she sleeps.

In "Someone to Watch Over Me", he visits her again and Boomer shows him the life they could have had, using Cylon "projection", they had planned for before the war had started, including a 'daughter'. Galen attempts to dissuade Roslin from handing over Boomer to the Cylons for a trial, afraid that they will kill her. However, Roslin refuses his request. Galen then knocks out another Number Eight and switches her with Boomer in the brig, while Boomer knocks out Athena. He helps Boomer escape pretending to be Athena. To his horror, Boomer has tricked him and kidnapped Hera Agathon.[15]

During the series finale, Tyrol is among the volunteers who join Adama's rescue mission. While he and the rest of the Final Five are downloading the secrets of resurrection to the Cylons, their minds temporarily combine and Tyrol discovers Tory Foster was responsible for Cally's death. He breaks the download and kills Tory in anger, but is later forgiven, as Tigh remarks if Tory had killed Ellen, he would have done exactly the same thing. When they arrive on the second Earth, Tyrol decides to live as a semi-hermit on a northerly island, far away from both Colonial humans and Cylons, and only sparsely populated by terrestrial humans. The podcast for "Daybreak, Part II" confirms that Tyrol settled in Scotland, and there were no people living there. Tyrol became the 'Tribal King of the Scots', apparently due to Aaron Douglas' great enthusiasm for the idea. In the Netflix "Watch Instantly" streaming version of the series finale, Tyrol's decision to settle on an island is omitted.

Character developmentEdit

According to the podcasts by producer Ronald D. Moore, Tyrol was originally intended to be a smaller role in the series and only had about fifteen lines in the miniseries. Aaron Douglas so impressed Moore with his ability to ad lib dialogue that the character was expanded in both the miniseries and the first season. The original first season story arc would have had Tyrol and Sharon forming a family unit with the character of Boxey, named for the young character in the 1978 series. After the Boxey character was dropped, Tyrol's role as a deck chief became more prominent, and he became the representative of the working class in the Colonial Fleet. Moore also credits actor Aaron Douglas for coming up with names for recurring 'knuckle-dragger' characters such as Tarn and Diana Seelix. Douglas stated that he felt a great deal of reluctance towards the idea of Tyrol becoming a cylon until he realized the expanded opportunities for the character.[16] In the final podcast for the series, Moore acknowledged that the island Tyrol exiled himself to was in fact Britain (The original idea was that he settled on Vancouver Island, though because the idea of him settling Scotland was so popular with fans, that is what was made canon).[17] In the Netflix "Watch Instantly" streaming version of the series finale, Tyrol's decision to settle on an island is omitted.

Caprica showrunner Kevin Murphy stated that, had that show gotten a second season, Tyrol would have appeared in an episode, meeting Zoe Graystone in a virtual reality world and giving her help in developing the first "skinjob" Cylons.[18]

While it may be a coincidence, Tyrol's forename, Galen, is one of the series' many homages (intentional or otherwise) to the Planet of the Apes franchise. Galen was the name of Roddy McDowall's character in the 1974 television series who, like Galen Tyrol, was a non-human aiding human military astronauts and surveying a post-apocalyptic "Earth".

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "Litmus". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  2. ^ "Miniseries, Parts 1 and 2". Battlestar Galactica (TV miniseries).
  3. ^ "Flight of the Phoenix". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  4. ^ a b "Resistance". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  5. ^ "Fragged". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  6. ^ "Scattered". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  7. ^ "Pegasus". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  8. ^ "Resurrection Ship". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  9. ^ a b "Lay Down Your Burdens". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  10. ^ Battlestar Galactica: The Official Companion Season Two: "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II" (p. 102)
  11. ^ "Episodes 1–10". Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance.
  12. ^ "Collaborators". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  13. ^ "The Eye of Jupiter". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  14. ^ "Rapture". Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series).
  15. ^ Maureen Ryan (28 February 2009). "Play it again, Starbuck: Talking to Weddle and Thompson about 'Someone to Watch Over Me'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  16. ^ TV Guide Interview, March 2009,
  17. ^ Ronald D. Moore Battlestar Galactica podcast
  18. ^ The Caprica Times Exclusive Interview: Kevin Murphy Archived 2012-03-23 at the Wayback Machine