Stephen Franklin Character Profile
Stephen Franklin was the chief medical officer on Babylon 5. Richard Biggs played the role.
Stephen Franklin was dedicated to the preservation of life. He may have thought that his position maked him a god, but he had some of the most human faults of the entire crew.
Note: This is a complete biography of Dr. Stephen Franklin. Therefore, it contains spoilers for Seasons One through Five of Babylon 5. The biography is written in chronological order, so if you are watching Babylon 5 for the first time you can safely read the early parts of this article and stop before you reach the sections that would reveal events that you haven't seen on the show yet.
Stephen Franklin was the son of General Richard Franklin. General Franklin was a veteran of the Dilgar War, Earth-Minbari War, and several other conflicts. Stephen did not get along well with his father, partly because General Franklin treated Stephen and his four sisters - Juanita, Maria, Celia, and Kathy - the same as he treated his troops.
Richard Franklin was captured in 2230 when his ship was shot down during a colonial war. An enemy doctor saved Franklin's life, and the doctor was later called a traitor by his own people and killed. Stephen was moved by the mercy of the enemy doctor who saved his father and decided to study medicine instead of following his father into the military.
Stephen Franklin entered Harvard in 2237. After graduation in 2242 he hitchhiked across the galaxy, trading his medical services for passage on ships. During this period, he collected extensive notes on alien species.
Stephen joined EarthForce during the Earth-Minbari War. However, he destroyed his notes on Minbari physiology rather than divulge them to the Earth Alliance to develop biological weapons. He was inprisoned for this act.
In 2258 Dr. Stephen Franklin was assigned as Babylon 5's chief medical officer, replacing Dr. Benjamin Kyle.
Franklin took his Hippocratic Oath very seriously and valued the saving of life above all other things. He did exhibit a god complex to some degree. At times his ethics - other than his desire to save lives - seemed questionable.
In 2258 Franklin defied the wishes of alien parents and a direct order from Commander Jeffrey Sinclair by operating on a child against his religious beliefs. The parents put the child's soulless empty shell to rest after the surgery, and Franklin realized that he is dealing with a no-win situation.
Through 2258 and 2259, Franklin maintained a free clinic in Downbelow to help lurkers. However, the clinic also served as a cover for an underground railroad smuggling rogue telepaths away from the Psi Corps. Captain Sheridan clashed with Franklin over this much as Sinclair did over the alien child.
In 2259 Franklin displayed more questionable ethics when he became romantically involved with a patient who was exceptionally disoriented because she had just been awakened from a sleeper ship to find her husband dead.
The good news in 2259 wa that Franklin finally reconciles with is father when the General used Babylon 5 as a staging area for a battle.
During the Narn-Centauri War of 2259 Stephen Franklin became addicted to stimulants while trying to cope with the increased workload. He refused to heed the concerns and warnings of his fellow doctors and his friend, Michael Garibaldi. In 2260 Franklin's addiction interfered with his work to the point where it almost cost a patient's life. Franklin finally realized he had a problem and resigned from his position.
Franklin's religion held the key to his recovery...
Stephen Franklin was a Foundationist. This religion was formed after Earth's first contact with the Centauri. The Foundationists believe that God is too big to be defined in words. They seek to understand God by studying as many alien religions as possible, believing that each viewpoint adds more to the understanding.
One of the practices of the Foundationists is the Aboriginal custom of the "walkabout". This is a journey to find oneself. Stephen Franklin left his friends and job behind to go on such a journey while fighting the symptoms of withdrawal from stimulants. Franklin journeyed through the seedier side of Babylon 5 for quite a while. Eventually he literally met himself - as a hallucination - after he was gravely wounded in a brawl. Franklin managed to live and returned to his job, realizing that he should try to do better rather than trying to do more.
In 2261 Stephen Franklin stepped out from the MedLab to take an active role in the fight against President Clark. He and Marcus Cole traveled to Mars to present Sheridan's plan to the Mars resistance. There he became the lover of Number One, the leader the Mars resistance. He also assisted in the rescue of John Sheridan from an EarthForce prison.
Franklin experimented on the cryogenically frozen telepaths who were fitted with Shadow implants. His experiments led to the most objectionable but necessary part of Sheridan's plan. Thirty of the telepaths were smuggled onto EarthForce ships. Then Franklin provided Lyta Alexander with an amplifier to send the telepathic activation signal. The telepaths woke up and disabled the loyalist ships.
After the fall of President Clark, Franklin rushed back to Babylon 5, but he was too late to stop Marcus from transferring all his life energy to Susan Ivanova with an alien healing machine.
The ISA Researcher
In 2262 President Sheridan asked Dr. Franklin to compile the definitive work on alien biology. During this work he uncovered the secret of the Hyach, who were on the path to extinction due to their own mistakes.
Franklin got to play the adventurer once again when he and Lyta traveled to the Drazi homeworld at the request of Centauri Ambassador Vir Cotto. There they discovered that the Centauri warships were unmanned and being controlled by Shadow technology. Unfortunately this information came too late to save Centauri Prime from decimation by the Narn and Drazi fleets.
The Head of Xenobiology
When Dr. Benjamin Kyle retired from the position of head of Xenobiological Research at Earthdome, Stephen Franklin left Babylon 5 to take his place. He selected Dr. Lilian Hobbes to replace him on Babylon 5.
In 2267 Franklin was trapped on Earth by the Drakh plague. He led the Earth-bound team searching for a cure. He was considered so important to the effort that on at least one occasion he was smuggled off the Earth to conduct research in an isolation bay on the Excalibur.
In 2281 Franklin was still the head of Xenobiological Research. He visited John Sheridan and examined him to confirm that he was dying. After the decommissioning of Babylon 5, he returned to Earth.
According to Joe Straczynski, Dr. Stephen Franklin met his final fate on a distant, unexplored planet.