Helix (Season 1)
A team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention arrive at Arctic Biosystems research facility to investigate an outbreak of unknown disease.

Helix is an American science fiction drama television series produced by Sony Pictures Television that premiered on Syfy in January 2014. The series follows a small team of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who arrive at a research facility in the Arctic to investigate an outbreak of unknown, highly infectious disease. Soon after their arrival however, they realise that they are dealing with something far more sinister and far-reaching, with the potential implications for the future of the whole mankind. One of the executive producers of Helix is Ronald D. Moore of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica fame.

A distinctive feature of the series is that each episode represents the events of one day within the story, thus the entire thirteen episodes of the first season take place in under two weeks of Helix-universe time.

Dr. Alan Farragut, the leader of the team, is former husband of Julia Walker and is romantically involved with Sarah Jordan, another member of the team.

A four-member team of epidemiologists from the CDC, led by Dr. Alan Farragut (Billy Campbell), and comprising scientists Dr. Julia Walker (Kyra Zagorsky), Dr. Sarah Jordan (Jordan Hayes) and Dr. Doreen Boyle (Catherine Lemieux) are tasked with investigating a strange viral outbreak at Arctic Biosystems, a remote bioresearch installation in the Arctic. Upon their arrival, they are met with the head of the research facility Dr. Hiroshi Hatake (Hiroyuki Sanada) who, despite trying to appear friendly and forthcoming, seems to be hiding something. They soon find that there is more than meets the eye, with some areas of the station completely off-limits to the members of the team, and with the Ilaria Corporation, the company running the research station, clearly more interested in containing the knowledge about the true nature and goals of their experiments at the facility, than in resolving the outbreak.

It soon becomes apparent that the scientists at the facility were developing some sort of bioweapon and that they have succeeded in creating two variants of a highly pathogenic and contagious virus: NARVIK-A with a close to 100% mortality rate, and NARVIK-B with a nearly 100% infection rate but 0% mortality rate. Those infected with NARVIK-B have their consciousness overtaken by primal instincts and turn into extremely agile, overly violent, zombie-like creatures dubbed by the scientists ‘Vectors’. The Vectors are driven by an insatiable urge to infect other victims by the interchange of highly contagious black bodily fluids, primarily through mouth-to-mouth contact. Collective behaviour of the Vectors is not unlike that of a pack of animals, in that there is a dominant member that exerts control over the whole group.

Dr. Julia Walker believes that she spent her childhood in a cabin in Montana, and is shocked when she learns from her father Hatake that she actually grew up in the mock-up of their family house built in the basement of the Arctic Biosystems facility.

One of the infected is Dr. Peter Farragut (Neil Napier), researcher at the facility and Dr. Alan Farragut’s brother. Alan tries to cure Peter using all sorts of radical, untested treatments, with Peter temporarily regaining some normality, before relapsing, escaping from quarantine, infecting Julia and joining the rest of the Vectors as their, rather imposing, leader.

The CDC team tries to find a cure for the infected patients and contain the outbreak by isolating those exposed to the virus, but attempts at quarantine result in mutiny and foiled escape of the infected, and all hopes of reinforcements are dashed when the communication with the outside world is cut off after saboteur’s explosive charge destroys the satellite dish.

In the meanwhile, Doreen is murdered by one of the Ilaria’s mercenaries, Major Sergio Balleseros (Mark Ghanime) after she gets too close to figuring out what is really happening at the facility.

Dr. Sarah Jordan is suffering from severe hand tremors caused by the effects of a cancerous spinal tumour that she is secretly battling.

After becoming infected, Julia is taken care of and cured by Hatake, who reveals that he is her father. It also transpires that he is over 500 years old and one of the ‘Immortals’ - an elite group of people who benefit, or in some instances suffer, from the eternal life. Immortals also heal more quickly than ‘normal’ humans and can be easily recognised by their eerily silver eyes that they often hide behind natural-colour contact lenses. The Immortals, who run the Ilaria Corporation, had created the NARVIK virus in order to establish control over the world, as Vectors have a unique ability of detecting whether a particular person is already infected, or is one of the Immortals, and if it is the latter, they instantly become passive and subservient in behaviour, which gives the Immortals a form of immunity from the infected.

To regain control of the situation, Ilaria despatches its executive Constance Sutton (Jeri Ryan), who arrives at the research station with a small army of mercenaries and begins pressuring the members of the CDC team into creating, and handing over, an anti-viral cure to benefit the Ilaria Corporation's objectives. Sutton informs Hatake that he has lost the confidence of her superiors and tries to relieve him of his position by taking charge of the installation. However, Hatake soon retakes control by killing Sutton with a garrotte.

Dr. Doreen Boyle pays with her life for getting too close to figuring out what is really happening at the bio-research facility.

The CDC scientists, under constant attacks of the Vectors, at last succeed in creating the cure for the disease, and Sarah’s terminal cancer is miraculously cured by an injection of Julia’s cerebrospinal fluid, though as a side-effect, she too becomes one of the Immortals. The CDC team, now in possession of the cure, ambushes the remaining Vectors, including Peter, and injects them with the antiviral serum.

After losing Sutton, the board of Ilaria sends in ‘The Scythe’ (called so, rather confusingly, for his preference for a pair of sickles as the weapon of choice), merciless psychotic assassin with the outward appearance of a 16-year-old boy, who is revealed to be the Immortal Spencer Chiswick (Robert Naylor), Constance Sutton’s son. The Scythe comes with a strict order: get the virus and take Hatake, alive; kill everyone else – and he is happy to oblige, killing the bulk of the remaining survivors, just as they recovered from the effects of the infection.

In the meantime, Alan and Peter (who makes a full recovery) learn that an unknown viral infection has hit Puerto Rico and deduce it to be NARVIK A – the more deadly version of the virus. Alan is sure it’s Ilaria who is conducting a test of the virus, but he is confident they can contain it, now when they have the cure.

Those infected with NARVIK-B virus turn into extremely agile, overly violent, zombie-like creatures driven by primal instincts dubbed by the scientists ‘Vectors’.

Spencer is briefly captured, but then set free by Peter, who is revealed to be working for Ilaria all along. The Scythe blows up the installation (by triggering the explosive charges set around the building by Hatake in anticipation of the arrival of Ilaria’s mercenaries) stealing both the virus and the cure. He also takes Julia hostage and is about to flee in an Ilaria’s helicopter, when Alan jumps aboard and tries to free Julia, but only succeeds in snatching one of the canisters, containing either the virus or the cure, before Spencer pushes him off the rising chopper.

While the plot of Helix may not be the most original ever written, and the science of the show is not entirely up to scratch, the series offers enough twists and turns, as well as thrills and suspense, to keep you coming for more. Definitely a better take on the “viral pandemic threatens to wipe out the human race” scenario than The Last Ship.

Helix was renewed for a 13-episode second season, returning in January 2015.