Tucked beneath the veneer of the world you know is a hidden world, populated by mutants and monsters and held in a delicate balance by a network of scientists collectively known as the Sanctuary network. At the helm of this project is Dr. Helen Magnus, a woman as enigmatic as the Abnormals she fights to protect. While perfectly comfortable wielding any technology presented to her within the modern confines of a Sanctuary laboratory, Magnus' beginnings are just as unusual as her current occupation as network head and chief scientist.
DR. HELEN MAGNUS
DOB: 27 August 1850
HOMETOWN: London, England
PB: Amanda Tapping
HAIR: Dark brown
She began life in the much-less-modern Victorian London, the only daughter of another formidable research scientist. Not content with what was meant for her station and sex, Magnus pursued the study of science and medicine alongside her father and eventually applied to attend Oxford University, albeit only as a silent auditor at the start. It was at Oxford that she met some of the greatest scientific minds of the age: James Watson, Nikola Tesla, John Druitt and Nigel Griffin. She and her friends became known as The Five and began to research things that pushed the boundaries of known science, things that would never be learned within the hallowed halls of Oxford University. The pinnacle of their research lay in the vampire Source blood, the last remnants of the seemingly-extinct vampire race. After months of testing the blood, The Five injected themselves and developed powers tailored to each of them; Magnus became effectively immortal, susceptible only to life-threatening injury and illness.
As secret as they tried to keep things, such power cannot remain hidden for long and a few decades later the Prime Minister contacts each of the original Five to track down a dangerous and deadly acquaintance, Adam Worth, a real life Jekyll and Hyde. This is, of course, after Magnus and Watson cut ties with the rest of the group, who have descended into crimes ranging from serial murder (Druitt) to bank robbery (Griffin) and unlawful experimentation (Tesla). Threatened with their reputations and, potentially, their lives, The Five agree to hunt down Worth in exchange for, essentially, freedom to continue their research. It is Magnus who ultimately delivers what she thinks is a fatal wound to Worth and his death weighs heavily on her conscience for years afterward.
Magnus spent the next century or so building up her Sanctuary network, protecting what needs protecting and eliminating what needs to be eliminated. In that time she also gives birth to a daughter, Ashley, and she works by her side as a more militant counterpart to Magnus' scientist.
But what is dead may not always be and Worth reappears on the scene some 110 years after his seeming-death, hellbent on getting revenge against Magnus. Having developed a way to manipulate the time-space continuum, Worth freezes time in an abandoned warehouse and traps Magnus inside, leaving her to fight for her life with her bare hands.
Magnus spends most of the next year trying to unravel Worth's plans and, in doing so, discovers that the only way to truly ensure the safety of Abnormals everywhere is to go back and destroy him before he has a chance to wreak havoc. Being blessed with longevity, time is no object, and Magnus makes the decision to travel backward in time 113 years, kill Worth, and avoid her past self until she can "catch up," so to speak. During that time, she is able to make investments and set into place plans for an elaborate underground network to completely divorce the Sanctuary network from any and all government ties and after faking a particularly-spectacular death, goes underground for good.
She enters sixthiteration from the series finale, "Sanctuary for None."