Number One (Babylon 5)

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Number One/Theresa Holloran
Babylon 5 character
Babylon 5 Number One.jpg
Tessa Holloran, aka Number One
First appearance Racing Mars
Last appearance Objects at Rest
Portrayed by Marjorie Monaghan
Species Human
Home planet Mars
Affiliated with Mars Resistance, Interstellar Alliance

Tessa Holloran, also known as Number One, is a recurring fictional character in the television series Babylon 5, and was portrayed by United States actress Marjorie Monaghan. On the show, Number One was initially the leader of the resistance movement on Mars and later became head of covert intelligence for the Interstellar Alliance. During the time frame Babylon 5 takes place, Mars was a human space colony seeking (at times violently) independence from the Earth Alliance, and the issues on the red planet were story elements throughout the Babylon 5 series.

About the character[edit]

Number One first appeared in the series during the season 4 episode "Racing Mars", when Dr. Stephen Franklin and Marcus Cole travel to Mars to meet with the resistance leaders there. The names Number One, Number Two, etc. were used on Mars by the resistance to protect the identity of its leaders. Once there, Franklin manages to convince her to stop her fellow members from attacking civilian targets, citing that such acts only weaken their position, and to support Capt. Sheridan's Earth Alliance Civil War efforts against President Clark.

Later in the show, she provides assistance to Dr. Franklin, Michael Garibaldi and Lyta Alexander as they form a plan to break Sheridan free from prison, events depicted in the episode "Between the Darkness and the Light". During the time that Franklin is on Mars, he and Number One develop a friendship that turns into something more, and the two would rekindle that relationship later in the series.

Number One reappears at the end of Season 5 in the episode "Objects in Motion", when she comes to the station to deliver a warning of an assassination attempt on both Mr. Garibaldi and his soon-to-be wife, Lise Hampton-Edgars. Garibaldi departs the station to run Edgars Industries at the prompting of Lise, leaving his job as Head of Covert Intelligence for the Interstellar Alliance and Sheridan chooses Number One to replace him, as seen in the episode "Objects at Rest".

The character's attitudes towards Telepaths is vividly shown during the show's run. In the episode "The Face of the Enemy", Franklin and Lyta bring special cargo to Mars for smuggling onto enemy ships. Number One recognizes Lyta from past encounters and is quite angered when she learns Lyta is a Telepath, and later during dinner in the episode she continues to act hostile towards her. In addition, as Garibaldi tries to convince Mars Resistance of his innocence and the forced telepathic adjustments made to him, he requests to be scanned. Though Lyta states her opinions won't carry much with the resistance, Lyta scans him for the truth of his story. However Number One flatly doesn't believe the results and chooses to try to execute him then and there, confirming her low faith in the word of telepaths, as seen in the episode "Between the Darkness and the Light".

Throughout the series, she is only referred to as Number One, until the last few episodes of season 5. As she comes aboard the station in the episode "Objects in Motion", she experiences problems with her identicard and identifies herself as Tessa Holloran. After that Garibaldi, Franklin, and later Sheridan refer to her as Tessa and no longer as Number One. She remains on board the station in her new role, upon Sheridan's recommendation that she would have access to more resources at Babylon 5 rather than being on Minbar.

Getting the role[edit]

In an Autumn 1997 interview for The 5 Times Magazine, Monaghan discussed auditioning and getting the role of Number One. The following is her response when asked how she initially got into Babylon 5:

I actually worked with Claudia (Claudia Christian, who portrayed Ivanova on B5) years ago on a show I did called Space Rangers, which she guested on. So when I heard she was in Babylon 5, I watched the pilot - I always watch new science fiction - and I enjoyed it and have watched it, off and on, since. So I had auditioned for it once or twice before. They asked me to come in to read for this part. Joe was there and what I learned, later, is that he knew my work from Space Rangers and actually offered me a job once before. I didn't know that it had come from him, but I did an episode of Murder, She Wrote. So I was very flattered to know that he was that aware of my work. I went in, I had two scenes, which I read and we talked about other things. Then I went home. Then they called me and said I was hired.[1]

As to portraying the character, Swallow wrote in Starlog in September 1998:

On Babylon 5, Monaghan plays the enigmatic Number One. Surely it must be odd to portray so strong a character with such a non-descript title? The actress smiles. "Joe and I are playing a bit of a game about that," she reveals. "She has a name, sure, but it isn't disclosed in the fourth season. I could tell you [her name], but then I would have to kill you. I find it interesting to play characters about whom certain things are hidden."[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Who is Number one?... you are... Marjorie Monaghan". Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  2. ^ Swallow, James. "Freedom Fighter". Retrieved 2009-12-09. 

External links[edit]