- « "Shoot to kill? That makes a refreshing change, I was beginning to feel like a social worker." »
- — Tom Ryan on his job[src]
Tom Ryan was born around 1972. He joined the army when he was 17 and saw active service in the Gulf Wars, gaining extensive desert combat experience. He later joined the SAS elite unit, engaging in top secret operations. (Episode 1.1, )
When Nick Cutter was preparing to go on an exploration mission through an Anomaly in the Forest of Dean into the Permian, Claudia Brown assigned Captain Ryan to accompany Cutter through the Anomaly without any question or argument from Cutter, to protect Cutter from any danger in the Permian. After Ryan geared up, he and Cutter, with Rex, then went through the Anomaly into the Permian, and Cutter asked a reluctant Ryan to give him an hour to explore on his own.
Captain Ryan and Cutter then separated began looking around in the Permian for Helen, until Ryan found the old remains of a Human camp and a half-buried human skeleton, and called Cutter over to show it to him. When Captain Ryan questioned whether or not the skeleton was Helen's, Cutter examined it and deduced it was a man. Ryan then noticed that their time was up, but Cutter refused to leave and wanted to stay to continue searching for Helen; forcing Ryan to knock Cutter out with a blow to the back of his head.
Captain Ryan carried the unconscious Cutter back to the Anomaly as a furious Cutter awoke, and Ryan then saw that the Anomaly was closing but Cutter still refused to leave without Helen. Captain Ryan resorted to threatening to stay and become trapped in the Permian with Cutter if he didn't come back with him, and Cutter gave in and the two ran back through the Anomaly to the present just before it closed.
Following the Forest of Dean Anomaly incursion, Claudia left Captain Ryan in charge of cleaning up all evidence.
When the Home Office found evidence that there was a new, venomous creature incursion in the London Underground beneath Arsenal Station, Ryan and his men travelled with Claudia and the field team to the Station, and Claudia sent them into the tunnels first before the field team to find what creature they were up against. In the tunnels, Captain Ryan and his soldiers located and entered an abandoned Underground bunker, where they encountered a large nest of Carboniferous Arachnids that attacked them and almost overwhelmed them, until an overly bright gunshot drove the Arachnids off.
Ryan and the soldiers then retreated from the tunnels back to the surface, where Ryan told Cutter and the team about the Arachnids and what they had seen. When Cutter, Stephen Hart and Abby Maitland were gearing up to head into the Underground and see the Carboniferous Arachnids, Ryan offered Cutter a gun against the Arachnids, but Cutter instead asked for powerful torches with which to drive the Arachnids away.
Later, after Stephen and Abby returned without Cutter after the latter was attacked by an Arthropleura, when Claudia learned that Stephen had disobeyed and gone back into the Underground for Cutter by himself, Claudia sent Captain Ryan into the tunnels to rescue Cutter and Stephen. Cutter and a bitten and poisoned Stephen met up with Ryan and his men at Arsenal Station's platform, and Ryan and the soldiers took Stephen out of the Station and to a waiting ambulance. Ryan and his soldiers subsequently secured the abandoned bunkers and used light from bright torches to drive the Carboniferous Arachnids back through the Anomaly, and Cutter ordered Captain Ryan to ensure at all costs that the Arthropleura didn't escape back through the Anomaly until the team obtained a pure venom sample from it.
After all of the Arachnids were back on the other side of the Anomaly, Captain Ryan and his soldiers began searching the Underground for the Arthropleura with the field team; and when Connor Temple found a tunnel that the Arthropleura had burrowed to escape the bunker, Ryan crawled through the tunnel into a large maintenance bunker with Cutter and Connor in search of the centipede. The trio tracked the Arthropleura to an electrics room on a high-up level of the bunker, and Ryan feigned shooting the creaeture until it nintentionally gave them a pure venom sample when attempting to bite Cutter. Captain Ryan afterwards opened fire on the Arthropleura until it swatted his gun away; and after the centipede was electrocuted and killed when a metal, conductive stool was jammed by Connor in its mandibles, Ryan left with Connor and Cutter to get the venom sample to the hospital to cure Stephen.
When the Special Forces were sent to a reservoir to locate and contain an underwater Anomaly, Captain Ryan was among the soldiers sent there to isolate the reservoir and guarded the shores. After the Anomaly closed while one of the Special Forces divers was on the other side, Ryan talked with the others and the Home Office about it.
Later that day, when the Anomaly reopened in the cellar of the Dexter house, Captain Ryan went to the residence with the Special Forces after the body of the diver lost in the reservoir came back through the Anomaly. When Ryan saw a handkerchief with Helen Cutter's initials on the diver's body, he called Claudia over about this, and explained the diver's reappearance to her and showed her the handkerchief. Ryan was present when Lester arrived and decided to the rest of the team to send Cutter through the Anomaly to make contact with Helen and attempt to bring her back to the present.
While Cutter was on the other side of the Anomaly searching for and making contact with Helen, Stephen and Captain Ryan fed and monitored a tetherline which they used to keep Cutter tethered to the present through the Anomaly, until Cutter's two-hour time was up. Ryan and Stephen then pulled a drowning Cutter back through the Anomaly from the other side into the Dexter house. After Claudia resuscitated Cutter and learned from him that Helen was indeed on the other side of the Anomaly, she sent Ryan and a team of Special Forces divers through the Anomaly to capture Helen and bring her back through, and Ryan and his men shortly afterwards returned with Helen and took her away for questioning by the Home Office.
When a creature sighting was reported from a block of flats in Central London, Ryan and the Special Forces responded and rushed to the scene with the team, but found that there was no Anomaly incursion and it was actually an escaped python. Later, when Helen Cutter claimed that there was an open Anomaly at a football stadium which threatened to release a pride of Smilodon on London, Ryan and the Special Forces went to the stadium with the team, and found that there was indeed an Anomaly in the stadium's kitchens.
While Ryan, his men and Cutter were moving food out of the fridge where the Anomaly was located to avoid the smell drawing the supposed Smilodon through, when Helen escaped through the Anomaly from the team, Claudia immediately sent Ryan through after Helen to bring her back. Stephen followed Ryan, and the two found that the other side of the Anomaly was part of an entire Spaghetti Junction of dozens of Anomalies. Ryan and Stephen subsequently returned through the Anomaly to the stadium and revealed this discovery to Cutter and Claudia. Shortly afterwards, when a flock of Dodos came through the Anomaly into the stadium kitchen, Ryan and his soldiers helped the team round them up and send them back through the Anomaly.
Later, when Connor and the team learned that Tom and Duncan had stolen a Parasite-infected Dodo from the stadium incursion which had infected Tom, Ryan and his men went with the team to Tom and Duncan's flat in search of Tom, but found that Tom had already fled and the Dodo had died from the Parasite. After some time, when the team learned that Tom had followed the Roswell tracker to Abby and the dead Dodo and taken them both, Ryan, the team and the Special Forces tracked Tom down to the football stadium in time to stop him from infecting Abby with the Parasite. Ryan wanted to shoot and kill Tom, but Cutter got Ryan to hold his fire and let Connor try and coerce Tom into fighting the Parasite's influence off. Ryan underestimated the strength of Tom's friendship with Connor, and wanted Connor to get away from Tom once Tom released Abby and believed Tom would attack Connor. Ryan subsequently watched with the team as Tom successfully fought the Parasite's influence off and died in Connor's arms.golfer was found dead at the Forest Heights Country Club golf course, Ryan and Claudia went with the team to investigate, and Ryan had the Special Forces begin evacuating the civilians at the golf course and secure the area perimeter on Claudia's orders.
Later on, as Cutter, Abby and Stephen watched and monitored a Pteranodon in the skies above the golf course, they called Ryan and Claudia over when they feared that the Pteranodon was the predator and was now going after Connor down the golf course. As the Pteranodon pursued Connor down the golf course, Claudia wanted Ryan to shoot the creature down, and despite Cutter on the other hand wanting Ryan to stand down, Ryan followed Claudia's orders. However, Cutter pushed Ryan as he fired at the Pteranodon, causing him to miss the creature and giving the Pteranodon just enough time to get out of range of fire.
Afterwards, as the Pteranodon flew into the city, once Cutter and Stephen located the creature through satellite imaging on an office building's rooftop, Ryan and the Special Forces left by car for the office block to kill the Pteranodon. Ryan and his soldiers arrived at the building, but Cutter and Stephen beat them to the Pteranodon and managed to tranquilise and capture the creature alive. The tranquilised Pteranodon was subsequently taken back to the golf course, where a tensed Ryan guarded it with Stephen and two other soldiers. When the Pteranodon defecated and Stephen wanted to examine the dung to confirm whether or not the Pteranodon was indeed the predator that had killed the golfer, Ryan was further repulsed and grossed out when Stephen examined the dung for remains by tasting it.
Later, when the golf course's hotel came under attack by a swarm of Anurognathus (the real predators), Cutter called Ryan on an ambulance's phone to tell him of the swarm and that Claudia was trapped in the hotel, and Ryan set about getting to the hotel with the Special Forces quickly. Ryan and his men some time later arrived at the hotel to find it destroyed in a gas explosion and the Anurognathus dead, leaving Ryan silently stunned at Cutter before the latter sarcastically confirmed he wasn't the one who caused it. Ryan afterwards helped with the team release the awakening Pteranodon to draw it back through the Anomaly to its home just before the Anomaly closed. Connor asked for a Hi-five, but Ryan ignored him.
When the original Anomaly in the Forest of Dean reopened and an unseen creature came through, Ryan and the Special Forces responded with Cutter and Stephen, but when they were unable to find any tracks, they were led to assume that the creature had gone back through. However, a few days later, the team learned from Helen Cutter that a creature originating from the future was on the loose in the present and killing people for food.
After the Future Predator's lair was tracked to the woods in the Wellington Zoo area, Cutter and Ryan led the team and a Special Forces squad into the woods with dogs to try and find the Predator's lair, and Ryan was pleased when Cutter authorised Ryan and his men to kill the creature (due to the danger the Future Predator posed, and Cutter's belief that killing a future creature wouldn't damage the past or present). When the Predator launched a brief attack against the team before vanishing among the woods again, Ryan, the team and the soldiers found themselves to be severely outmatched by the creature's immense speed, agility and camouflage and its fast thinking, but when they worked out that the Future Predator was using echolocation, they were able to use this to track the Predator's presence with an oscilloscope.
The team and the Special Forces subsequently tracked the Predator's lair to a crate storage hut, where they found the Predator's infant young and the corpses of its victims. The father Future Predator then arrived and attacked Ryan's men, until Cutter lured it away and killed it. Ryan and the Special Forces afterwards captured the Predator young, and the team later reached a decision to use the captured Predator infants to find the future Anomaly in the Permian that the Predators had come from so they could contain it.
The following day, Captain Ryan and several of his men went through the Forest of Dean Anomaly into the Permian with the Cutters and the captive Future Predator young, to locate the future Anomaly and leave some of the men to remain in the past indefinitely to guard the Anomaly. However, while Ryan's men were setting up camp, Cutter and Ryan realised that the Anomaly had sent them back to a point years earlier than it did the first time, and that the camp they were setting up was the one their past selves found in ruins on the first mission into the Permian. Before Nick and Ryan could discuss it any further, the Predator young's mother arrived and attacked, quickly slaughtering Ryan's men. When Ryan bravely tried to stop the Future Predator, it attacked him as well, ramming and mortally wounding him before a Gorgonopsid arrived and killed the Predator. As Ryan lay wounded and dying, Cutter stayed by his side. With his dying breaths, Ryan realised aloud to Cutter that the skeleton they found on the first mission into the Permian was in fact Ryan's own future corpse from after he dies here and now, before succumbing to his wounds and dying. Nick and Helen subsequently buried Ryan and his fallen men at the spot where Cutter and Ryan saw Ryan's future skeleton on the first mission.
The half-buried human skeleton that Cutter and Ryan found on their first mission into the Permian, at the remains of the camp their future selves had left there, was either Ryan's or one of the other soldier's skeleton. (Episode 1.1)
In the new timeline created during the second mission into the Permian, Ryan's history up to the mission was presumably the same, except he and the rest of the team at some early point moved from the Home Office to the Anomaly Research Centre. However the post-timeline versions of Ryan, two soldiers, Nick and Helen Cutter never returned from the Permian.
Intelligent, skeptical, and self-motivated, Ryan is fiercely loyal, committed to the army ans his unit. Ryan personally preferred brute force and killing the creatures rather than sending them back through the Anomalies alive, however in the end he will do as he is ordered. Ryan would have preferred that the Anomaly operation was entirely military however, he and Professor Cutter grudgingly respected each other. On the other hand Ryan apparently had no respect for politician or anyone who doesn't get their hands dirty.
- Episode 1.1 (first appearance)
- Episode 1.2
- Episode 1.3
- Episode 1.4
- Episode 1.5
- Episode 1.6 (death)
- Episode 2.1 (flashback)
- Ryan was the first main character to die in Primeval.
- Tom Ryan was one of the 5inch Primeval action figures made by Character Options.
- In The Making of Primeval, Douglas Henshall, who plays Nick Cutter, wished that Ryan would return to the series.
- Ryan was not mentioned by Matt Anderson during his speech in Webisode 4 about the people whom the ARC had lost over the years, probably because he was not a civilian.
- In a behind-the-scenes clip of Series 2, Captain Ryan's spirit seems to appear to Connor.