The Human Factor
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Broadcast Date  10 February 1996
Season  3
Broadcast Order  16th
Episode Number  65
Production Number  316
Writer  Phil Bedard &
Larry Lalonde
Director  Geraint Wyn Davies
Previous Story: Games Vampires Play

Next Story: Avenging Angel

You're telling me that all it took for you to become mortal was love and a little restraint?
— Natalie, The Human Factor


The witness sketch of a murderer reveals to Nick that Janette has finally returned to Toronto—but he has yet to learn the secret that has brought her to kill an arson investigator from Montreal.

Guest CastEdit

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Detailed Story RecapEdit

An arson squad investigator from Montreal named Mario Larouche is murdered at a hotel after a one-night stand. His date, coming back from the shower, sees the shooter through a window and later relates the episode to Nick and Tracy.

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the police artist's sketch of Janette

The date sits down with a sketch artist, and the result is an identified composite of the killer that looks uncannily like Janette, who has been gone from Toronto for some time now. From forensic evidence, Natalie suggests that it seems that Mario Larouche knew the killer or he wouldn't have let her get close enough to pull a gun on him. Nicholas is exceedingly troubled, and goes to Lacroix for help. Lacroix scoffs at the idea that the woman is Janette, insisting that "I would have sensed her." Both of them are still hurt that Jeanette chose to leave in the first place. In addition, Lacroix is resentful toward Nicholas because Janette confided in him that she wanted to leave because Nicholas was making her doubt the vampire in herself.

Janette has indeed returned to Toronto, though she has not yet shown herself to anyone but Mario Larouche, whom she killed. She is not alone, however; she has brought a young boy, Patrick, along with her, and they seem to have relatives in common. She leaves him with an aunt, returns to the city, and is sprayed with bullets in her car in a driveby. Unhurt but frightened, Janette turns to the only place she will feel safe: Nicholas.

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Patrick shows Tracy the photograph of Nick and Janette

Nick is very surprised when she turns up in his apartment, and she confirms that she is Larouche's killer. She gives him a choice: turn her in for murder or help her finish what she came to Toronto to do. They take the day to sleep on it and in the evening Nicholas agrees to help her. First, Janette apologizes for abandoning him, but she was beginning to doubt herself, and therefore wanted to reaffirm the vampire in herself, before she began to long for mortality like he did. Yet in Montreal, she stumbled into the very trap she had hoped to avoid. She explains that she has come to Toronto to search for evidence that will clear the good name of her mortal Montreal friend and lover, the late Robert McDonaugh, and she needs to retrieve it from a locker from the Toronto civic center before someone else does. As they travel to the civic center, Janette shares her story.

Robert McDonaugh was a fireman who rescued Janette from a high-rise fire set by Mario Larouche in order to collect insurance money from a Toronto developer. Robert and Janette fell comfortably in love, and Janette became a second mother to Robert's son, Patrick. Finally, the relationship got so serious, Jeanette told him what she was, and for once the mortal didn't run away—their love grew. When Robert discovered that Mario & Co. were responsible for the fires and corruption within the arson quad, Robert decided to 'join' them as a spy, to bring down the ring. His mistake was underestimating how ruthless Larouche was.

Nicholas and Janette arrive at the locker, and are opening it when Nick realizes they're being followed by two men. They leave hurridly and are followed by the thugs. At the last moment, they fire shots and run away, but one shot has hit Janette. Nick practically drags her to the door before he realizes she's in pain—it's true, she tells him—she's mortal.

Meanwhile, Tracy's been visiting Patrick McDonaugh and his aunt Peggy. She's trying to find out about Janette, and Patrick tells her that he brought her to Toronto to visit 'Uncle Nicholas.' He brings Tracy a picture—you guessed it—it's Nick. She leaves and goes back to the station, where she has minimal success in sorting things out.

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Tracy inquires of Natalie what she knows about Patrick's photograph of Nick and Janette

Nick brings a bleeding, trembling Janette in to the only safety he knows—Natalie. Natalie, needless to say, immediately feels betrayed by fate and demands of Janette to know how it happened. As Natalie dresses the wound, Janette finishes her story. She recounts that each time she and Robert made love, he also let her feed, and his blood calmed her heart in a way that she was able to let him live each time. She thinks that this, added to the deep love that she and Robert shared, is what caused her to regain her mortality. Robert, however, was shot by a sniper to keep him silent about the arson affair, and it was then, as she tried unsuccessfully to vamp to give Robert back his life, that she realized she had become fully mortal. She finishes by saying she's ready to confess and face the consequences. Natalie lets her call Patrick to let him know what's happenning, but when she calls Peggy's house, it's the thugs from the civic center who answer. They want the key in exchange for Patrick and Peggy. Nick and Janette take Nat's car and Nat holds down the fort when Tracy comes by with questions about Nick.

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Nick screams with anguish when Janette collapses

Nick and Janette reach the house and are prepared to make an exchange with Larouche's former associates, but they're double-crossed and fired upon right in front of Patrick and his aunt in the living room. The thugs detonate a bomb and the house begins to burn. Nicholas revives and gets the two mortals out of the house, but Jeanette is too badly wounded. He offers to bring her across again before it's too late, but she resists. She dies on the floor in his arms. He is overwhelmed. Nick has a brief dream of what would happen between him and Natalie if he could become mortal. He awakens to Captain Reese on his answering machine, calling him to the civic centre. A double murder. No sign of a suspect. When he arrives, Tracy shows him the evidence they found in an open locker near the bodies. Enough to blow the whistle on the arson ring that Mario Larouche was part of. Nicholas talks to Natalie, who concedes that the slim chance of Nick's mortality is not worth risking her life, as much as it hurts her not to try. She leaves him icily with this bit of mystique: the bodies of Larouche's thugs have vampire bite wounds in them. He is speechless, his guilt evident.

Nick meets briefly with a pensive Lacroix at CERK, who maintains that he seems to have lost a daughter, but regained a son. "Plus ca change, Nicholas," he muses.

Flashbacks: Though a few of the flashbacks are Nick's brief remembrances of coming across, most of the flashbacks belong to Janette, as she tells the story of how she met the mortal man she fell in love with, and how she became mortal again. Lacriox also has a couple of flashbacks that give part of the story about why and how Janette left Toronto, but there appear to be gray areas to the story she gave, as if there may have been another motive.

Vampire LoreEdit

  • A vampire can indeed regain mortality. It is, however, unclear just what precise conditions allow this. Janette ascribes it to overwhelming grief, which she experienced when Robert McDonagh was murdered. Nick, on the other hand, has a dream in which Natalie ascribes it to a rush of hormones.

Fan FictionEdit


Nightcrawler MonologueEdit

Cold, barren, bleak...Winter is the kindest season. The heart will not melt in winter. Chilled by the cold, we are spared the guilt, the sorrow, the messy emotion of life. Winter is solace for the lonely. It's cold touch soothes the tettered heart. The sad tales are best told in winter.

Where is she? Slipped away like a child in the fairground; lost in the crowd. Does she wander through the noise, searching for the hand that guides? Does she embrace the heavenly alchemy, breathing liberty like the fresh flower that brings the summer? 'Soon' fades into 'Forever', and she is left forsaken. To face the chill of winter.



Behind the ScenesEdit

  • The German title of this episode is "Endlich sterben" ("Death at Last").
  • The part of Patrick McDonagh was played by Geraint Wyn Davies' son, Galen.
  • When Robert McDonagh is shot, the shot of the car exploding is abruptly cut. Severe cold weather during shooting literally froze the camera, leaving only a few seconds of usable footage.
  • The tag of the episode was cut by many US stations at the time of first airing.
  • The final scenes of the episode are ambiguous, which has led to considerable controversy about the most appropriate way to interpret them.


Canadian ContentEdit


  • Janette refers to having been a vampire for eight hundred years. However, in A Fate Worse than Death, it was established that she is actually about a thousand years old.
  • When Janette returns to Toronto, Nick should have been able to tell that she is no longer a vampire. For one thing, physical indicators should have revealed her altered status. For example, with his keen ears, he should have been able to hear that her heart rate had speeded to human-normal. (A vampire heart beats much more slowly.) In addition, it had long since been established that there is a bond between members of the same vampire family. In Killer Instinct, for example, Nick could sense the proximity of both Janette and LaCroix. With Janette human, this bond would no longer be there—and Nick should have noticed its absence.

See alsoEdit

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