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Saul Tigh

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Saul Tigh
Saul Tigh


Age 65-71
Colony Aerelon
Birth place {{{birthplace}}}
Birth Name Saul Tigh
Birth Date {{{birthdate}}}
Nickname {{{nickname}}}
Introduced Miniseries
Children None
Marital Status Widower, formerly married to Ellen Tigh
Family Tree View
Role Executive Officer, battlestar Galactica
Rank Colonel
Serial Number {{{serial}}}
Portrayed by Michael Hogan
Saul Tigh is a Cylon
Saul Tigh is a Final Five Cylon
Saul Tigh is a Human/Cylon Hybrid
Saul Tigh is an Original Series Cylon
Additional Information
[[Image:|200px|Saul Tigh]]

Saul Tigh is the Executive Officer (XO) onboard the battlestar Galactica, as well as frequently serving as Acting Commander in the place of William Adama. Before that, he served as Adama's XO on the battlestar Valkyrie. A tough but troubled man with a long history of alcoholism, Tigh has served in the Colonial Fleet since his teenage years, seeing action in both Cylon Wars. He is a widower of the deceased Ellen Tigh.



Tigh was born on the colony of Aerelon.[1] A veteran of the Cylon War, Tigh is sometimes estranged from his wife and has been somewhat disillusioned with his career, seeking refuge in alcoholism - a move which has led many in the crew to view him with contempt (Miniseries; "33").

He is a third-generation Colonial soldier. His father was a decorated fighter pilot killed in combat and his grandfather served under President Mueller. According to Billy Keikeya, Tigh was a published military historian until personal problems became apparent (Miniseries, deleted scene).

Tigh began his career as a deckhand[2]. By the second year of the first Cylon War, he was serving as a gunner's mate onboard the Brenik. His ship was boarded by the Cylons where he and others fought in hand to hand combat, during the bloodiest time of that war. It was during this battle that he saw his first dead man, Duncan Rafferty, who was violently vivisected by Centurions (deleted scene, Valley of Darkness). His ship was subsequently destroyed and he survived. He was transferred to another unnamed ship, which succumbed to a similar fate as his original ship. Having borne witness to many a bloody combat, he became emotionally scarred, which had, among other impetuses, led him to alcoholism.

Tigh and Adama's first meeting.

Tigh eventually achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer (Galen Tyrol's position on Galactica). When Viper pilot numbers began running low in the war, Tigh was drafted into Colonial Officer Candidate School and was reassigned as a Viper pilot.[3] As a pilot, he demonstrated considerable skill, earning several medals while posted aboard the battlestar Athena.[4]

After the cessation of hostilities, he was dismissed from service and eked out an existence as a deckhand aboard a commercial freighter. Tigh clearly experienced signs of post-traumatic stress disorder; he commented that every time he smelled grease or machine oil he would nearly vomit, as this smell reminded him of the "stink" of Centurions (Valley of Darkness, deleted scene). While on board, he drowned himself in alcohol and, after a time, encountered William Adama, who had not seen as much combat experience as Tigh himself. They became fast friends, and remained in touch after Adama reenlisted with the service. Two years later, Tigh found himself reinstated into the Colonial Fleet at the rank of captain, thanks to his old friend, and now major, Adama.[5]

Following the Cylon attack, Tigh recovered some of his old verve and attempted to give up alcohol. However, this, combined with the initial stress of flight from the Cylons caused him to over-compensate as a martinet, frequently driving the personnel overly-hard, and berating where encouragement would prove the better option (33). He excused this by using the truism that the XO is supposed to be the "hard face" of command.

"If the crew doesn't hate the XO, then he's not doing his job."

With his drinking problem relatively under control, Tigh settled back into his role as the Galactica's Executive Officer and proved himself both honest and level-headed - if still hard on himself and others - in a number of circumstances, and he provided the kind of support Adama needed.

During Cylon attacks, Tigh has proved himself to be an excellent battle manager and tactician. His quick actions sometimes saved the ship and the Fleet from damage or destruction (Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down, Scattered, Valley of Darkness).

Tigh is uneasy around President Laura Roslin (Water), and resents what he sees as her interfering with Adama's command (Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down) - something born out of his deep respect for Adama which even the most heated of disagreements between them (You Can't Go Home Again) cannot disrupt.

Tigh personally dislikes Kara Thrace, one of Galactica's pilots and, while grudgingly conceding she is a fine pilot, does not understand what Adama sees in her (Miniseries). Tigh sees Thrace as an egotistical, insubordinate youngster. While they have tried to bury the hatchet between them (Miniseries, Water), there is potentially too much water under the bridge now for them to get completely past their differences.

Outside of Adama, Tigh has few others he regards as confidants aboard ship; and since the initial Cylon attack, he has withdrawn from interacting with the crew during off-duty hours, making him perhaps more isolated than even Adama - who is at least held in awe and respect by the crew.

Wife's Return

Tigh and his newly returned wife, Ellen, making a toast: "To starting over" (Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down).

Some three weeks after the Cylon attack on the Twelve Colonies, Tigh is stunned to discover his wife, Ellen, has not been killed as he had thought, but was rescued from Picon, and carried aboard the Rising Star as an unconscious "Jane Doe". Whether this reunion will be for his betterment or not remains to be seen.

Despite the emotional implications from the destruction of the Colonies and life aboard the ship, Tigh is reluctantly thrust further into politics as his wife plays her schemes. Much to his disdain, his wife attempts to procure photo opportunities with the likes of Tom Zarek -- a person Tigh views with the utmost contempt (Colonial Day). Additionally, Ellen seems to re-establish Tigh's alcoholism with gratuitous drinking.

Despite this, Adama sends Tigh with a squadron of marines to arrest Laura Roslin after Adama discovers that she convinced Kara Thrace to Jump back to Caprica to retrieve a historical artifact called the Arrow of Apollo from the Delphi Museum. This action deprives the Fleet of a crucial military asset -- a captured Cylon Raider, intended to have been used to plant a nuclear warhead aboard a basestar in orbit around the planet believed to be Kobol -- and convinces Adama that Roslin is abusing her authority.

Onboard Colonial One, Tigh's men and Roslin's personal security agents are at a standoff when Lee Adama aims a weapon at Tigh's head and attempts to thwart the arrest. Attempting to defuse the situation, Roslin agrees to be arrested and Lee Adama is arrested on charges of treason (Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II).

Tigh in Command

Tigh realizing he's in a bit over his head (Scattered).

Tigh is present in CIC during the attempted assassination of Adama by Sharon Valerii. As guards restrain Valerii, Tigh attempts to stop the bleeding from the torso gunshot wounds Adama sustained in the attempt (Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II). Needing reliable officers, Tigh grants Lee Adama a parole from his arrest. After his daily duties as CAG are done, Lee promises to return to the brig when off-shift.

With Adama incapacitated and with Roslin dethroned, Tigh tries to maintain order. However, his irrational and gruff command style displeases many crewmembers. Morale and ship efficiency began to suffer. Ellen Tigh becomes a private advisor to her husband, frequently questioning his power to command while also suggesting ways of usurping more power and quashing his opponents. Ellen Tigh's advice only exacerbates an already-deteriorating situation.

Tigh's interrogation of suspected Cylon collaborators or infiltrators is brutal. After beating, then nearly shooting the Galactica copy of Valerii, other issues in the Fleet divert him from further interrogation. He orders a special cage made for her for later interrogation. Tigh also savagely interrogates Valerii's former lover, Chief Galen Tyrol as a possible Cylon agent himself. Tigh would have left him with Valerii in the newly built Cylon cage if Gaius Baltar did not intervene to prove medically that Tyrol is not a Cylon himself.

With Roslin in prison, uprisings begin as civilian ships refuse to supply Galactica until Roslin is released. Worse, the Quorum of Twelve demand to see Roslin. Knowing of Roslin's hallucinations in the brig, he intentionally invites the Quorum to see Roslin in her poor state in hopes of disillusioning the Quorum. However, Roslin recovers sufficiently from her Chamalla withdrawal after getting a supply smuggled to her by Corporal Venner, her guard. Tigh, a secular man, believes that the accounts within the Sacred Scrolls weren't to be believed, and teases Roslin in front of the Quorum on her visions. Roslin not only is able to speak to the Quorum, but decisively reinforces her decisions as well as her role in the search for the location of Earth as told in the Pythian prophesies. This act greatly impresses the dominantly religious-minded Quorum, and infuriates Tigh; fearing a larger civilan government uprising led by the Quorum. Tigh institutes martial law throughout the Fleet in an attempt to maintain order in a rapidly chaotic shuffle of power between the civilian and military governments (Fragged).

The supply situation leads Tigh to a poor decision of using Viper pilots to command marines in forcibly retrieving supplies. On one ship, a riot leads to four deaths and many injuries due to the pilot's inexperience in managing such a situation. Unlike Adama (who likely would have taken direct responsibility for the "Gideon Massacre"), Tigh places blame solely on the pilot, absolving himself from the incident.

Fleet Factioning and Adama's Return

The shootings, Tigh's decision for martial law, and his unwillingness to discuss anything with anyone except Ellen Tigh (and the unconscious Adama) becomes the dividing point of those wanting to press on to finding Earth, and those wanting to settle on Kobol (Season 2). Tigh's drinking spirals further out of control, leading to more erratic behavior and causing great concern regarding his ability to effectively command, particularly among the CIC staff. The situation comes to a head when Roslin, tacitly aided by other officers and crew on Galactica, escapes the brig in an attempt to hide amongst the many ships in the Fleet with the aid of Tom Zarek. Tigh chases down the escaping Raptor using the CAP, having the Viper fire across the bow of the fleeing Raptor to persuade it to return. The Raptor brazenly continues onward, leading to a crucial decision for the Colonel. Tigh allows the Raptor to escape rather than shooting it down, which would have killed Adama's son and the President and could have destabilized the fleet.

Tigh and Adama share a knowing smirk at the commissioning of the Blackbird, Laura (Flight of the Phoenix).

Fortunately for the fleet and Colonel Tigh, Commander Adama regains consciousness shortly after the escape and asks what had happened during his absence. Tigh confesses that he has "frakked things up good," but Adama reassures his friend, saying, "I never had much use for people that second-guessed my decisions, especially if they've never held a command. They don't understand the pressure to make a call that affects the lives of thousands, and you have no one to turn to for backup."

Despite all the serious problems that Tigh created, Adama doesn't blame him, telling Tigh that whatever bad calls were made, they would pick up the pieces together (Resistance).

Both Adama (also a rather secular man) and Tigh are astounded at the number of ships that secede from the main fleet to join the faction that sought the Tomb of Athena with President Roslin (The Farm). Tigh backs up Adama while he maintains a similar official position on Roslin and the separated ships as Tigh has. However, after Adama realizes that survival of the entire Fleet would only come if everyone held together, Adama begins to prepare a journey to Kobol to retrieve the remainder of the Fleet and reach out to Roslin (Home, Part I). At first Tigh seems to believe that Adama is retrieving the faction by more military means, and scoffs at Roslin's religious views on the quest until he realizes that Adama is beginning to follow Roslin's information, taking her reports and visions seriously. Tigh is left in command while Adama successfully reunites the Fleet and reconciles with Roslin (Home, Part II).

Fallout from the Gideon Incident

Galactica's crew never liked Tigh, and Tigh never asked for their love. Still, the Gideon Incident was possibly the last straw for many in CIC to lose their trust. Aiding President Laura Roslin's escape is one example to that (Resistance).

After Adama returned to command and Roslin restored to presidency, for a moment the incident was almost forgotten. Before she was invited to Galactica, reporter D'anna Biers was preparing a story about the incident, which would destroy public's view towards Tigh, and eventually the Galactica. However she dropped the subject in favor of a Galactica documentary.

Lt. Joe "Hammerhead" Palladino, the pilot in charge of the boarding operation to Gideon, eventually lost his temper, presumebly due to D'anna Biers' provocative interview style. He first vandalized Tigh's quarters, then tried to sabotage his Raptor, and finally attacked his wife at the gun point and threatened to kill Tigh. Still, Tigh managed to convince Palladino to drop his weapon, before the room was raided by commandos. This incident was also video taped by Biers' crew, but as far as shown the documentary doesn't mention the Gideon Incident at all (Final Cut).

Even though Tigh did his best to evade responsibility of this incident, it is possible to see that his temper and attitude has somehow changed after the command fiasco, like helping Tyrol with Blackbird (Flight of the Phoenix).

Pegasus Discovered

Things once again turn on their head when Galactica has a chance encounter with the battlestar Pegasus, a modern type of battlestar and the flagship of Admiral Helena Cain. Cain, being the superior officer, assumes complete command of the Fleet. The naturally suspicious Tigh is wary about this mixed blessing, but takes it in stride like everything else up until now. When he begins to regularly speak with Pegasus’s own XO Jack Fisk, his suspicions slowly prove to be well founded.

Fisk's conscience-clearing sessions with Tigh reveal that Admiral Cain was responsible for a set of atrocities, the most damning being the pillaging and stranding of a small civilian fleet in open space. When Tigh relays this information to Commander Adama, Adama reminisces about their own questionable activities, particularly their actions regarding the Olympic Carrier. However, Adama keeps Tigh's warnings in mind and they help him in his decision to stand up to Cain later on (Pegasus through Resurrection Ship, Part I).

The Election and New Caprica

When the Presidential election arrives, Col. Tigh is charged with overseeing the vote tallies on Galactica. When it appears that Baltar would win the vote, Tory Foster, President Roslin's aide, approaches Col. Tigh and Petty Officer Dualla to conspire to steal the election for Roslin, forseeing certain disaster in a Baltar presidency. Tigh, never a fan of Baltar's to begin with, assists in the deception in order to keep Baltar out of office. The plot is overturned when Lt. Gaeta later notices the Colonel's suspicious and stand-offish behaviour regarding the ballot boxes. Admiral Adama lets Tigh and Dualla off the hook and the official vote tallies are "revised" without the public learning of the Roslin campaign's attempt to steal the election.

One year later, after the fleet settles on New Caprica on the orders of President Baltar, most of the military staff have all but retired from active service. Col. Tigh is one of the few officers still serving aboard Galactica, but the day eventually comes when Admiral Adama discharges his friend and XO from his duties to let him return to civilian life with his wife. On the surface of New Caprica, now-Mr. and Mrs. Tigh run into Kara Thrace at Tyrol and Cally's union rally. The former colonel and captain share an unusually warm embrace, having put their differences behind them at some point in the preceding year, or Thrace being happy to see a familiar face of the Galactica family. Unfortunately, their reunion does not last as a large Cylon fleet appears in orbit over the planet and the Cylons occupy New Caprica without firing a shot. Tigh and his wife are last seen watching in utter shock as Cylon Centurions march through the streets of New Caprica City (Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II).

Occupation and Resistance

Two months into the occupation of New Caprica by the Cylons, Tigh is organizing and recruiting for the resistance on New Caprica along with Galen Tyrol and Jammer. When the Cylons begin to find the weapons hidden by the Resistance, Tigh orders them to be stored in the Temple, believing it to be the safest place as the Cylon respect the sanctity of the Temple and will not search it. When the Cylons discover the weapons, Nora is shot and Cally Tyrol and her baby barely escape. This leads several members of the New Caprica Resistance to question whether Tigh is going too far. After Tigh plans an attack that could endanger patients at a hospital, Jammer reports him to the Cylon authorities (Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance). The Cylons imprison Tigh and physically tear his right eye out. He is badly beaten and put into a small holding cell. Ellen's sexual efforts with Cavil lead to Tigh's eventual release (Occupation) though this is later revealed to be a Cylon ruse to blackmail Ellen into collaboration with the Cylons as well as find the location of a high level meeting of the Insurgency.

Escape from New Caprica

Tigh handing Ellen her poisoned drink.

Tigh actively participates in the exodus from New Caprica, leading an attack on the shipyard with Galen Tyrol, during which they are aided by Vipers of Galactica's Blue Squadron.

Adama welcomes Tigh back on Galacrtica(Exodus, Part II).

Following the exodus, he resumes his post as the Executive Officer of Galactica, but is unable to conceal his contempt for those who colluded with the Cylons, such as Felix Gaeta. In a face-off with Admiral Adama, in which the senior officer orders Tigh to "sleep it off", it is clear that the events on New Caprica - most notably, his wife's death - are still adversely affecting Tigh.

Tigh is also the apparent ringleader of The Circle, a group of six people authorised by then-President Tom Zarek, charged with bringing collaborators to justice. Thirteen people fall victim to The Circle's mandate, including Jammer. (Collaborators)

Tigh is reunited with an old comrade, Daniel "Bulldog" Novacek and tells him the truth of his last mission. Tigh later stops him when Novacek tries to kill Adama in revenge for being the cause of him spending years as a Cylon captive. (Hero)

Tigh also referees the intership fights organized to boost morale. (Unfinished Business) He returns to duty during operations to resupply the fleet's food stores. (The Passage)


  • Tigh's first name has been given as "Paul" on a number of websites. This is based on an early version of the script (PDF file), which has Adama speaking to "Paul" in their discussion of his fight with Kara Thrace. Since this version of the script has significant differences to the final script, its canonical value is low.
  • Ronald D. Moore has indicated via the podcast commentary on the episode "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down" that the character's name initially was Paul Tigh. The name, however, had to be changed due to legal issues that Moore was unable to recall in that podcast.
  • Tigh is based off the character of Paul Eddington in the movie "In Harm's Way" portrayed by Kirk Douglas (with John Wayne).
  • Tigh's age is one of the only ones which can be accurately deduced. In a deleted scene from Valley of Darkness, we learn that he was serving on the Brenik when it was boarded during the second year of the Cylon War. Tigh tells us that he was "just a kid. Virgin. Teenager." We know that Colonial Day is the anniversary of both the unification of the Colonies, and (roughly) the outbreak of the Cylon War (Source: RDM, April 11, 2005), and was 52 years ago (Colonial Day). Thus, Tigh is between 63 and 69 years old at the beginning of season 2. Season Three begins about two years after this conversation.
  • In the DVD commentary of "Act of Contrition", Ron Moore notes that actor Michael Hogan won the role of Tigh over Donnelly Rhodes, who was one of two other actors vying for the part. Rhodes however went on to play the role of Dr. Cottle, Galactica's CMO.

Preceded by:
Executive Officer of the battlestar Galactica Succeeded by:
Karl Agathon
Preceded by:
Karl Agathon
Executive Officer of the battlestar Galactica Succeeded by:


  1. "Cylon Intelligence Report: Personnel File: Saul Tigh." Battlestar Galactica: The Official Magazine. Feb./Mar. 2006: 62.
  2. Ibid. "Saul Tigh entered the fleet as a deckhand but rose through the ranks and was a CPO (Chief Petty Officer) by the time the First Cylon War broke out."
  3. Podcast: Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down
  4. Ibid. "Tigh joined the Colonial Officer Candidate School and was reassigned as a Viper pilot, something he excelled in, earning a string of medals in his post aboard the battlestar Athena."
  5. Ibid. "Adama reenlisted with the service and Tigh spent two years drinking before Adama pulled strings to get him back into service. Tigh was straightening his life out when he met his wife Ellen, whom he courted and married within two months, about 7 years before the Miniseries. Unfortunately, Ellen did not take well to military life and her repeated infidelities drove Tigh back into the bottle. The two separated shortly before the Cylon attack.