Laura Roslin

Laura Roslin

BSG Character

bgcolor = #fc0
fgcolor = #000
name = Laura Roslin
race = Human
gender = Female
callsign =
rank = Secretary of Education of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol (Miniseries) President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol (Miniseries - Episode 2.20, Episode 3.05 - current)
colony = Caprica
affiliation = Twelve Colonies
portrayed = Mary McDonnell
first = Miniseries

Laura Roslin is a fictional character in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series, portrayed by Mary McDonnell. She is the President of the Twelve Colonies. As of season 3, she is serving her second term. __TOC__

Character biography

Cylon Attack and Escape

Just prior to the Cylon attack on the Colonies, Roslin is the Secretary of Education under President Richard Adar and has worked with him since he was mayor of Caprica City. Roslin appears to have been in a romantic relationship with Adar, which fell apart when Roslin successfully defused a large-scale teachers strike. Adar (who assumed Roslin would fail at breaking the strike through peaceful means) demands Roslin's resignation, citing the fact that he wants to use force against the teachers in order to intimidate the other unions on Caprica from striking.cite episode| episodelink=Epiphanies (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Epiphanies| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)]

Roslin refuses to resign and vows to fight for her job, as she leaves to go to a doctor's appointment and the decommissioning ceremony for the "Galactica." At her doctor's appointment, Roslin is told that she has breast cancer and a year to live. Roslin attends the ceremony, and upon leaving, the Cylons attack the Twelve Colonies. During the attack, Roslin responds to an automatic signal, and is informed that she is the highest ranking surviving member of the Presidential line of succession, and is sworn in as President.cite episode| title=Miniseries, Parts 1 and 2| series=Battlestar Galactica (TV miniseries)]

Early Presidency

Her first actions include organizing all FTL-capable ships together and convincing Commander William Adama to abandon a retaliatory attack on the Cylons. President Roslin and Billy Keikeya, her aide/press secretary/chief of staff, establish a working office space aboard her transport, renamed "Colonial One" (which the series' production team intentionally designed to resemble Air Force One). Fact|date=July 2008 She immediately clashes with Commander Adama, the ranking Colonial military officer. They make an uneasy truce - that Adama will lead the military and the fleet's ships, while Roslin will preside over the fleet's personnel and look after the civilians' well-being.

For the first few weeks, she acts as the sole voice of government, attending meetings and issuing orders alone.cite episode| episodelink=Water (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Water| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)] Soon after the conflict depicted in the episode "Bastille Day", Roslin bows to popular pressure and agrees to establish a new Quorum of Twelve.cite episode| episodelink=Colonial Day (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Colonial Day| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)]

During the first meeting of the new Quorum, council member, Tom Zarek moves to nominate a vice-president. Many, including Roslin, see this as a bid by Zarek to gain the vice-presidency so that he can have Roslin assassinated and assume control over the government. In response, Roslin recruits an old political ally, Wallace Gray, to run for Vice-President, but he fairs poorly against the well-connected Zarek. After he gives a stirring speech to the news media, it becomes clear that Dr. Gaius Baltar has become a popular individual in the fleet, and Roslin pressures Gray to drop out so that Baltar can enter the race. With Baltar in the race, the vote comes down to a 6-6 deadlock in the Quorum, and President Roslin breaks the tie in Baltar's favor.

By the close of the first season, the soft-spoken Roslin has become a formidable leader who not only authorizes the use of torture against Cylon agents, but also orders their deaths by way of "airlocking."cite episode| episodelink=Flesh and Bone (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Flesh and Bone| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)]

Prophecies and Arrest

During the first season, Roslin treats her illness through the use of an herbal drug called chamalla.cite episode| episodelink=Bastille Day (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Bastille Day| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)] After beginning the treatment, she begins to experience visions, which coincide with certain prophecies contained in the ancient scriptures of Kobol. She comes to believe, based on the prophecies, that she is the spiritual leader of the Colonials, will lead the fleet to Earth. cite episode| episodelink=Kobol's Last Gleaming (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Kobol's Last Gleaming| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)]

These beliefs begin to heavily influence her decisions as President, including sending Starbuck back to Caprica against Adama's orders, in order to retrieve the mythical Arrow of Apollo in accordance with the prophecies. As a result of this action, Commander Adama has her removed from power and thrown in the brig for breaking their agreement and interfering in military matters.

During her imprisonment, Adama is shot, and Tigh takes charge of the fleet. With the aid of Lee Adama, Roslin escapes, and convinces a large part of the fleet to abandon "Galactica" and join her instead.cite episode| episodelink=Resistance (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Resistance| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)] cite episode| episodelink=The Farm (Battlestar Galactica)| title=The Farm| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)] As Roslin begins searching for the Tomb of Athena on Kobol, Adama attempts to find her and reunite the fleet. After being joined by Adama, and with the help of Sharon Valerii, the group manages to find the tomb. With the Arrow of Apollo, the tomb reveals clues to Earth's location. After reconciling with Commander Adama, she is reinstated as President.cite episode| episodelink=Home (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Home| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)]

Declining Health

After Roslin's reinstatement, her condition begins to worsen. She is told that she has, at most, about a month to live.cite episode| episodelink=Flight of the Phoenix (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Flight of the Phoenix| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)] Shortly thereafter, Admiral Helena Cain of Battlestar "Pegasus" and Commander Adama came to the brink of a shooting war with each other over Cain's disregard for civil liberties and the civilian fleet.cite episode| episodelink=Pegasus (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Pegasus| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)] Roslin realizes that Cain does not accept her as the true President, and with her health rapidly deteriorating, convinces Adama to have Cain assassinated pending a major operation against a Cylon fleet, with Cain secretly planning the same action against Adama. Though neither is ultimately willing to follow through, Cain is still killed by a Cylon she had imprisoned and tortured, and Roslin promotes Adama to Admiral.cite episode| episodelink=Resurrection Ship (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Resurrection Ship| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)]

Weeks after the "Pegasus" joins the fleet, Roslin is admitted to the "Galactica"'s sickbay, on the verge of death. At the height of her illness, Roslin has a flashback of an encounter between Baltar and Number Six prior to the Cylon attack, but is not able to fully process her memories. As part of these flashbacks, it is revealed that President Adar had demanded Roslin's resignation due to a conflict between the two regarding her efforts in resolving a labor dispute, her position effectively secured by the Cylon attack and resulting governmental upheaval.

As Roslin nears death, her life is saved by the apparent curative properties discovered in the blood of the unborn child of Sharon Valerii, whose pregnancy Roslin had previously believed should be terminated. Ostensibly cured of her cancer, she returns to her duties.

After the period on New Caprica, during the trial of Gaius Baltar, Roslin reveals that her terminal cancer has indeed returned. Although she does not disclose how long she is expected to survive, she does admit that she is again taking chamalla. She only admits to her cancer when Lee Adama confronts her regarding her chamalla use while on the stand in Baltar's trial.

Administration Strains

After recovering and processing her memories of Baltar and Six, Roslin asks Baltar to resign his post as Vice President. His pride already wounded by the letter Roslin left him, to read in the event of her death regarding his ascension to the position of "President", Baltar refuses. Roslin says that she will never give him another chance to do so.cite episode| episodelink=Black Market (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Black Market| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)]

Following her return to duty Roslin discovered she had fallen behind in her work, and sought to again regularize internal trade within the Fleet. To these ends she sought to curtail rampant black market trading that had spread through the fleet, and Apollo began investigating it. However, he in the end reported to Roslin that their system would never be perfect, and there would always be some black market trading in the Fleet. Apollo killed the leader of the established black market network (an unscrupulous man that had the network dealing in drugs, killing with impunity, and engaged in child slavery, etc), and let the survivors continue black market trading with the warning that if any of these unsavory actions were continued, he would destroy them all. Roslin was less than happy that Apollo had made this decision and that trade could not be totally regulated, but had to endure it. Apollo had been put on the trail of the black market leadership by Councilman Tom Zarek, who said that he knew of the black market, but did not try to shut it down because it was a testament to Roslin's failures. After Apollo killed the old leadership and cleaned up the black market to a degree, Zarek was seen walking through the old trade bazaar of the black market; implying that he may have orchestrated the entire confrontation to have Apollo kill the old black market leadership, and then Zarek would step into the power vacuum.

Furthermore, Roslin suffers more problems when her longtime aide Billy is murdered during a hostage crisis regarding a group of anti-Cylon activists who seek the death of Cylon traitor Sharon Agathon. Billy is replaced by a new aide, a woman named Tory Foster. Unlike Billy, Tory is shown to be a cold-blooded realist and supports Roslin in her most controversial action in the series, when she fakes the death of Sharon and Helo's baby and orders the child be given to a female fleet member.

Run Up To Election Campaign

When a young Gemenese woman stowed away to the Galactica in order to have her pregnancy terminated, President Roslin insisted that the girl was within her rights to control her own body; abortion had been legal under colonial law before the Cylon attack, and Roslin considered this law to be still in effect. Roslin commented that she had been fighting during the course of her entire political career in support of pro-choice policies; however, Admiral Adama reminded her of the day following the attacks on the Twelve Colonies, when she told him that the human race, in order to survive, would have to retreat and then start to make babies. She then conferred with Dr. Baltar, who confirmed that if the Fleet population continued its constant rate of decline, the human race would go extinct in 18 years. Subsequently, she reluctantly put forth an Executive Order banning the interference in any further pregnancies. The Gemenese girl's pregnancy had been terminated before the order was announced so neither she nor Dr. Cottle could be held criminally liable.cite episode| episodelink=The Captain's Hand (Battlestar Galactica)| title=The Captain's Hand| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)]

This decision undoubtedly weighed heavily in the upcoming elections for the new Presidency, especially since Dr. Baltar, while admitting that he had to support her decision as a member of her administration, publicly announced his private objection to the ban and announced his candidacy for President. The Gemenese in the fleet, who are religiously very fundamentalist, originally supported Roslin, but the Colonial religion views abortion as an abomination in the eyes of the Gods. Although banning abortion may have kept the Gemenese vote (as well as furthering the survival of the species), the damage had been done as many in the fleet turned against Roslin and began to support Baltar's run for the Presidency.

A key issue of the election became the possible settlement of a new, habitable planet discovered by accident as a Raptor hit the wrong jump coordinates. Baltar leapt on the issue, prompted at the urging of Number Six, to push for colonization of the planet as a wedge issue to win the election. President Roslin continued to push for the search for Earth as a final settlement. As most of the people wished for land under their feet and a roof over their heads that wasn't the deck of a starship, Baltar gained considerably in the polls.cite episode| episodelink=Lay Down Your Burdens (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Lay Down Your Burdens| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)]


Vice-President Baltar and his political advisor Tom Zarek were able to successfully capitalize on the colonization issue, and public opinion swung in favor of settling the planet, christened New Caprica, and electing Baltar. During the night of the election, vote totals remained very close until approximately 5 hours after polls had closed, at which point Baltar was leading Roslin by roughly 5000 votes, with 3 ships yet to have their votes tallied. At that point, Roslin's campaign manager secretly called on Colonel Saul Tigh, who was among the military officers supervising vote-counting aboard Galactica. Tigh then signaled Petty-Officer Anastasia Dualla, who left the room and commandeered an incoming ballot box, replacing it with one apparently prepared ahead of time and containing forged votes which favored President Roslin. When these votes were tallied, President Roslin was announced as having won re-election. Tom Zarek was suspicious of the results, but Baltar personally assured him that Roslin would not engage in electoral fraud.

The small conspiracy quickly unraveled, however, when Lieutenant Felix Gaeta noticed that the forged ballots had Vice-President Baltar's first name spelled correctly (Gaeta knew that the ship in question had a set of misprinted ballots). He brought this to the attention of Tigh, who insisted that he would handle the situation, after which Gaeta grew suspicious and personally alerted Admiral Adama. Adama, in turn, privately informed Roslin, who then herself confessed to authorizing her campaign manager's subterfuge. Adama eventually convinced Roslin that, despite the likelihood that a Baltar presidency would be "disastrous," they should announce that there had been a "tabulation error" and allow Baltar to take office rather than betraying their principles.

On New Caprica

After leaving office, Roslin settles on New Caprica. She resumes her old occupation as a school teacher and aides in the care of Sharon Agathon's half-Cylon, half-human baby, Hera/Isis.

During this period, the relationship between Roslin and Adama evolves. During Adama's sole visit to the colony, Roslin shares her dream of building a cabin in the mountains of New Caprica with Adama, and the two are shown spending the night smoking a native herb, and talking about what is to become of the fleet.

But after a year on New Caprica, the Cylons discover the colony, which under Baltar's leadership immediately surrenders. While Roslin does not actively participate in the underground resistance movement, Roslin and her aide, Tory, make a detailed list of the colonists who collaborate with the Cylons for later use, if and when the Cylons are ever driven off the planet.

When Tigh orders the use of suicide bombers, Roslin is arrested on suspicion of aiding in Tigh's decision. Roslin is freed by Baltar, who knowing that Roslin would never approve of such tactics, attempts, unsuccessfully, to get her to join him in jointly denouncing Tigh's actions. Days later, Roslin is re-arrested and nearly executed alongside a large group of suspected resistance members, but is saved by the combination of Tom Zarek and the resistance.cite episode| episodelink=Exodus (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Exodus| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)]

After New Caprica

After the fleet is reunited after the escape from New Caprica, Tom Zarek (who had been imprisoned when he refused to work with the Cylons ala Baltar) becomes President in light of Baltar's actions on New Caprica. In a private meeting with Roslin, Zarek reveals that Adama has threatened to boycott the existence of the civilian government in the fleet so long as he was in power. Rather than fight a lengthy and ultimately futile battle with Adama, Zarek offered a deal: he will name Laura Roslin as his new Vice President and then resign so as to allow Roslin to then assume power. In exchange for his forfeiting of power, Roslin will in turn appoint him Vice President and use her influence over Adama to force him to allow Zarek a seat at the proverbial table.

Upon meeting a delegation from the Cylons (comprised of Gaius Baltar, a Brother Cavil, a Number 3 and Number 8), after discoving the "Temple of the Five," on the "Algae Planet," Roslin's theft of the hybrid baby Hera is revealed. There is a stand-off between the humans and Cylons, complicated by an adjacent star on the brink of going supernova, Roslin's religious insights prove useful when it comes time to determining what parts of the Temple's inscriptions relate to Earth, and perhaps what parts relate to the Cylons. She starts to see that there may be more than a single purpose for the Temple, and that its role in Colonial religious doctrine might not be the only one - perhaps it had messages for both the Cylons and humanity.cite episode| episodelink=Taking a Break From All Your Worries (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Taking a Break From All Your Worries| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)]

During the escape from the Algae Planet, Baltar is captured. Also captured is the Cylon known as 'Caprica-Six'.cite episode| episodelink=Rapture (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Rapture| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)]

Following his capture, Baltar is subjected to a radical form of hallucinogen-based interrogation and then offered the possibility of escaping execution in exchange for cooperation, as Adama, Tigh and Roslin seek to learn any clues to Earth's location. When both of these stratagems fail, Baltar asks for a fair trial. Roslin rejects Adama's suggestion that Baltar be made to "simply disappear" and orders him to be given a fair trial for his crimes, even after a warning from Tom Zarek that doing so will provoke dangerous unrest among the fleet's civilian and military populations alike.

Returning Health Troubles

During Baltar's trial, it is revealed that Roslin's cancer has reappeared and that she is once again taking chamalla. Lee believes this makes her an illegitimate witness in Baltar's trial because of chamalla's hallucinogenic effects. cite episode| episodelink=Crossroads (Battlestar Galactica)| title=Crossroads| series=Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)] Baltar is acquitted of his crimes, leaving Roslin with nothing but her secret illness exposed. She begins to experience shared visions (with Sharon Agathon and Number Six) which involve the human-cylon hybrid child, Hera.

The Route of the Gods is Challenged

In the opening fourth season premiere He That Believeth In Me, the return of Kara Thrace, presumed dead by the fleet for two months, alarms and angers Roslin, as she is convinced that Thrace's resurrection verifies her as a Cylon. Thrace's own conviction that she has visited Earth leads to conflict when Kara insists that the route given to the fleet by the Eye of Jupiter is false, and that they are pulling away from Earth's correct route, causing her great pain. Panicking, she attempts to force Roslin to turn back by infiltrating her quarters and aiming a gun at her head. She is apprehended, but not before Kara gives Roslin the chance to shoot her. Roslin fires the gun, but misses at close range. Adama later chastises the President, accusing her of not trusting Kara because she fears she will lose the people to a new "visionary" and die alone, powerless.

Deterioration, Resting Demons, and Redemption

As Roslin begins to deteriorate further, she discovers that the continued political intervention of Lee Adama has placed a strain on her ability to maintain her normal routines of classified police sanctions concerning fleetwide security, as well as her relentless bias against Baltar. She briefly bonds with a cancer-ridden patient, Emily, who shares with Roslin views on death before succumbing to her illness. Roslin then resumes her duties.

When Thrace returns to the fleet in a crippled Cylon Basestar, Laura, along with Baltar, is invited aboard by a rebel Cylon crew, who are on the run and intent on finding D'anna (Number Three), who possesses the identities of the Final Five Cylons. Roslin is taken hostage along with Baltar and several Galactica pilots when Athena guns down Natalie, a more assertive copy of Number Six and the leader of the rebel Cylons, on board the Galactica, in a misguided attempt to thwart the vision she shares with Roslin from coming to pass.

As the baseship jumps towards the location of the Cylon Resurrection Hub, Roslin begins to experience visions of her impending death, and gradually begins to learn she has taken much in her life for granted, including the love of William Adama and his family.

Roslin gives the go-ahead for a mission to destroy the hub and retrieve the resurrected D'anna, but also requests that she be given exclusive access to her, violating an agreement between the humans and Cylons to mutually question D'anna.

During the assault on the Hub by the human and Cylon alliance, Baltar is severely injured in an explosion, and in a delirious state of self-loathing and desperation, he confesses to Roslin that he is to blame for the attacks on the Colonies. Roslin, initially angry, attempts to murder Baltar by removing his dressings and allowing him to bleed to death, but her conscience tears at her until she relents, and she chooses to spare her enemy rather than die with blood on her hands.

The Basestar returns to the fleet, where Laura reunites with Adama and finally declares her love for him, to which he replies, "About time".


Upon returning to the fleet with William, Laura does not immediately take back her role as President, watching Lee Adama take full control of the role and handling a hostage crisis initiated by D'anna. After the location of Earth has been verified from the co-ordinates supplied by Kara Thrace's Viper, an emotional Laura orders the fleet to jump to Earth, where the crew discover to their horror that the planet is a nuclear wasteland and almost uninhabitable.


External links

* on Battlestar Wiki
* [ Laura Roslin] article at [ SCIFIpedia]

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