Dec. 08, 2003
60 min.
SyFy TV Network

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Battlestar Galactica (2003) tv show photo

Battlestar Galactica (2003)

The Cylons, who developed human-form models, launch a massive attack against the humans and The Twelve Colonies are destroyed. Commander Adama of the BSG and President Laura lead 47,000 survivors on a desperate search for the fabled 13th Colony - Earth. With a focus on tough political, philosophical and religious issues, this intense tale has realistic and not always perfect characters.

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Admiral Helena Cain Battlestar Galactica (2003)
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Admiral Helena Cain

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  Played by:
Michelle ForbesMichelle Forbes
Born in Austin, Texas, Forbes – originally hoping to become a ballet dancer – began receiving formal ...

Character Bio

Admiral Helena Cain photo

As a 9-year-old girl on her home colony of Tauron, Helena witnessed her parents' deaths during a Cylon attack on the final day of the first Cylon War. She fled with her sister, Lucy, but the younger sibling stumbled in the rubble. Too injured to continue, Lucy pleaded for help from her older sister, but Helena froze and, seeing a Cylon landing party, ran away and hid in a nearby storage container. She was discovered there by a Centurion sentry. As it targeted her, she picked up a folding knife and prepared to defend herself. Before the Centurion could strike, however, it received orders that a treaty had been signed and departed.

Now safe, Helena returned to where she left her sister, but the younger girl was missing. Only her doll remained. In the aftermath, Helena vowed to do whatever it took to survive.

In the colonial fleet

Cain later made a name for herself as a smart and ambitious officer in the Colonial Fleet. She was something of a rising star with strong political connections: Commander William Adama later remarks she was promoted "to Rear Admiral over half the Commanders on the list".

Cylon attack

Prior to the destruction of the Twelve Colonies, Cain's flagship, the Battlestar Pegasus, was docked at the Scorpion Fleet Shipyards for a major refit. The refit team included a civilian network analyst, Gina Inviere, with whom Cain initiated a romantic relationship. At the time of the attack, Admiral Cain, like many of her crew, was preparing to leave the ship on shore leave. The initial Cylon strike destroyed five Colonial vessels in Pegasus' immediate vicinity and severely damaged the Pegasus herself, killing 700 crew members. In a desperate gamble, Admiral Cain ordered a "blind jump" that took the Pegasus out of the combat zone..

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Cain addressed her crew, promising revenge against the Cylons through a guerrilla-style war. Among her inner circle, however, she said she was not willing to foolishly risk lives in the pursuit of vengeance.

During the attack, Cain became impressed by the fortitude of her new aide, a young, impressionable officer named Kendra Shaw, and quickly took the young girl under her wing, giving her the knife she found as a child. Shaw worked with Gina to restore the Pegasus computers, and they discovered a Cylon communications relay nearby. Cain saw this as the perfect opportunity to strike back at the Cylons and ordered an attack. After jumping into the range of the relay, a fleet of Cylon Raiders jumped in and attacked Pegasus. Pegasus first officer Jurgen Belzen suggested a retreat, fearing the relay was a trap. Belzen's suspicions soon proved to be correct. Cain doubted his judgment, instead preferring to launch a full counterstrike, hoping it would catch the Cylons offguard. This strategy did not work out at all as Cain had planned. When Belzen questioned the decision and refused to carry out the order, Cain took his sidearm and shot him in the head. She then appointed Colonel Jack Fisk as executive officer and ordered him to launch the attack. Shocked by Belzen's execution, Fisk immediately agreed to carry out the order.

The Cylons attempted to board Pegasus during the attack, leading to the discovery of Gina as a Cylon. With the betrayal heightened by her relationship, Cain ordered Lt. Alastair Thorne to brutally interrogate the prisoner.

Pegasus then found 15 refugee civilian ships, but rather than protecting them like Galactica did, Admiral Cain opted to strip these civilian vessels of any useful parts and supplies, draft any civilians who had valuable technical experience into her crew, and then leave the remaining civilians aboard their ships, defenseless. If any civilians refused to join the Pegasus crew, Cain ordered their families shot. Overall, two families were killed under her orders until the draftees relented.

Meeting Galactica

Six months after the Cylon holocaust, Pegasus was tracking a Cylon fleet when it accidentally encountered Galactica and her civilian ships. Taking over from Commander Adama as military commander of the fleet, Admiral Cain quickly arranges for Galactica's stores to be replenished from Pegasus's own, but neglects the civilian fleet, ignoring President Laura Roslin's requests on their behalf.

Cain's chief military objective became identifying a mysterious Cylon vessel sighted in the fleet pursuing Galactica.[2] Cain gives Dr. Gaius Baltar access to Gina to continue the interrogation and learn more about the ship, identified as a Cylon Resurrection ship. The strategic value of knocking out the Cylons' means of avoiding death is not lost on the Colonial military commanders, and so Pegasus and Galactica plan a joint operation to engage the Cylon fleet and destroy the Resurrection ship.

Admiral Cain shortly before her death

Concurrently with this operation, Admiral Cain and Commander Adama come into conflict over the treatment of two Galactica crew members, Lt. Karl Agathon and Chief Galen Tyrol. Admiral Cain sentences the pair to death for the murder of a Pegasus officer, Cylon interrogator Thorne. Cain and Adama come to the brink of firing on one another's vessels[2] before standing down and agreeing to postpone their disagreements until the Resurrection ship has been destroyed. Nonetheless, each makes plans to have the other assassinated following the successful conclusion of the operation. Neither plan is carried out, much to the relief of the respective assassins: Captain Kara "Starbuck" Thrace and Colonel Fisk.


Unknown to Cain, Baltar also once had a relationship with a Six, and still had visions of one influencing his decisions. As he interrogated Gina, Baltar fell in love with her. After the Resurrection Ship is destroyed, Baltar tells Gina she deserves justice and helps her escape. Gina kills her guard, steals his gun, and makes her way to Cain's ready room and shoots Cain in the head. After her death, Cain is eulogized by both Colonel Fisk and Captain Thrace, who says they are weaker without her. Fisk was promoted to Commander and assumed command of the Pegasus after Cain's death,[3] and later was succeeded by Barry Garner, the ship's chief engineer, and finally by Lee Adama.[4]

Episode Screenshots

04x03 - The Ties That Bind
Season 4, Episode 03
03x00 - The Resistance
Season 3, Episode 00
04x16 - Deadlock
Season 4, Episode 16
01x04 - Act of Contrition (Part 1)
Season 1, Episode 04
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Admiral Helena Cain Photos

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