Ned is a young man with a very special gift, as a child, he discovered that he could return the dead briefly back to life with a touch. But his random gift is not without deadly consequences, as he soon finds out. As a pie shop owner, grown-up Ned puts his talent to good use by touching dead fruit and making it ripe with everlasting flavor.
Ned brings the dead back to life with a single touch, but there are two conditions. First, if he touches a revived person, plant or animal for a second time, it will die forever; and second, if the revived remains alive for more than sixty seconds, something or someone else in close proximity will die in its place.Generally, whatever dies is a rough equivalent to what has been revived: a person for a person, an animal for an animal, or a plant for a plant.
Revival may suspend the aging process: Ned's dog Digby, having been resurrected by Ned when Ned was nine and Digby was three, remains with him to this day and appears to be in healthy physical condition despite his great chronological age in terms of dog years.
Ned discovered his gift by reviving his dog, Digby, who was run over by a truck. Later that day, Ned also revived his mother after she suddenly died of a brain aneurysm, but soon discovered that his gift had consequences when Chuck's father died next door in exchange. Ned discovered the other effect of his gift later that night, when his mother kissed him goodnight and died a second time. During their respective parents' funerals, Ned and Chuck kissed—the first time for both of them. After the funeral, Ned's father dropped him off at the Longborough School for Boys, and never returned or contacted him again except to say that he had moved.
Ned continued to test his gift, learning its limitations and rules by such experiments as reviving a jarful of fireflies. After finishing school, Ned opened his own restaurant, The Pie Hole, a restaurant specializing in pies. Ned lives above the restaurant in an apartment, next door to his employee, Olive Snook, who is not aware of his ability. Olive is jealous of Chuck's romance with Ned, but despite her many attempts to attract him, he doesn't reciprocate, though a couple of near-death experiences have prompted suspicions that he may have stronger feelings for her than he initially thought.
Relationship with Chuck
Ned grew up in the village of Coeur d'Coeurs, next door to a girl named Charlotte Charles, nicknamed "Chuck", on whom he had a childhood crush. During the pilot episode Ned and Emerson hear of a woman being murdered on a cruise ship, with a $50,000 reward for solving the crime. Ned learns that the woman is Chuck, whom he had not seen for almost 20 years. He revives her to ask her who killed her, but discovers that she doesn't know. He is about to touch her but cannot bring himself to do it, allowing her to live instead and inadvertently causing the larcenous funeral director to die. Chuck and Ned soon develop strong feelings for each other and begin a relationship; however, they cannot touch at all, as doing so would cause Chuck to die. However, Ned and Chuck find other ways to express affection: they kiss each other while encased in body bags and while holding a sheet of plastic wrap between their lips. Ned installed a glass window with a rubber glove in his car so she could sit next to him and hold his hand without touching it, and at another point, Chuck holds a prosthetic hand, pretending it's Ned's. With Chuck's presence encouraging him to take a greater role in life, Ned begins to become more involved in Emerson's cases, occasionally going undercover with Emerson and Chuck while searching for further information about the case; on one occasion he has even solved a murder aided only by Olive, Emerson and Chuck being otherwise occupied.
Due to Ned's power, he rarely touches people and dislikes physical contact. He also seems to fear any sort of change, at one point saying that he prefers to be "tightly wound" instead of a "shapeless mass with room for surprises" though Chuck points out that she was a surprise and he made room for her.
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