The Dresden Files

Season 1 Episode 6

Soul Beneficiary

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Mar 04, 2007 on Syfy
out of 10
User Rating
204 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


An otherwise healthy man experiencing premonitions of his own demise seeks Harry's help but ends up croaking right in his office. As the dark circumstances surrounding his death are revealed, Harry finds himself in the crosshairs of a dangerous magic-user; meanwhile, the crime that got Bob condemned to living in his own skull for all eternity finally comes to light.


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  • Soul Beneficiary

    Soul Beneficiary was a superb and very entertaining episode of The Dresden Files and I really enjoyed watching this episode because the story was fun, well paced, and interesting. There was character and plot development, action, humor, and drama. It was an interesting idea the way the dark magic user and her lover were collecting insurance policies over and over again. It was great watching Murphy find Dresden thanks to Bob's help. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!moreless
  • An entertaining episode with some interesting revelations about Bob's past...

    This episode was an entertaining mix of lighthearted humour (is there anything cuter/funnier than a drugged-up, wobbly Harry?) and serious subject matter (Sharon's black magic and Bob's tragic past). The plot is interesting and involving if a little complicated/incomprehensible at times. I came out of the episode havng thoroughly enjoyed it but nonetheless a little hazy of some of the specific plot points: I'm still not sure how "Nancy" faked her death (or did she actually die and was revived by Sharon too?) and it really wasn't made clear how Sharon was reviving their victim - Bob said Kelton was killed by black magic and brought back to life by "something worse". I'm also not entirely clear on how the drug worked in the climactic final scenes... Harry was aware enough to realise that he didn't know his "wife"'s name and to throw the drugged juice in her face but he also still seemed to believe she was his wife and he was in his home etc as he tried to reason with her during the fight scene and commented on the items she destroyed in the fight. A little confusing therefore but the episode overall was good enough, and entertaining enough, for me to overlook the minor plot quibbles.

    For the most part the mix of humour and seriousness worked well - it was good to see Harry really working a case as an investigator, sneaking into Sharon's house in the search for clues, and I enjoyed seeing the hockey stick staff in use again. It was also good to see Bob play a significant part in this episode and to get some good character development - he was instrumental in discovering what was happening to Kelton/Paul, was responsible for saving Harry, and of course we finally found out a little more about his past and how he came to be a ghost living in a skull. A favourite moment in the episode for many fans was of course the Harry/Murhpy kiss. It was a fun, sweet moment and seeing Harry drugged and woozy and Murphy having to be "mum" and coax him in the right direction/get him into the car etc was cute and funny. The shallower parts of my brain also enjoyed the few moments of peekage afforded by Harry's pyjamas... ;)

    Overall, this was a good episode which kept me interested and entertained. I enjoyed the character development, the humour and the backstory... and I liked that, after the silliness of the penultimate scene, the episode actually ended on a quiet, serious note.moreless
  • Very original episode though the ending was not very convincing...

    This was an interesting episode...Harry is visited by man who experiences strange dreams ,and who has a heart attack and dies after...The strange events continue,as the wife comes to visit Harry and dies as well...Harry finds out that in reality these people aren't dead, and that black magic is involved...the person responsible, Sharon comes after Harry and manages to drug him...But Murphy manages to save the day by saving Harry...This was the first episode in which Harry doesn't really manages to save the day, cause Sharon isn't captured...The strong points were again the magic performed by Harry...One finds out why Bob is a prisoner in his own skull, which i also find interesting...Its finish wasn't exactly the best...However, this episode was exciting and adventurous.moreless
  • This episode was very different. It was a bit weird at first and then i started to realize what was going on.

    I liked the whole kidnapping of Dresden in this episode. When he wakes up and was like who are you to the girl. That was classic! Though i was a bit confused with the whole plot until the asian girl came into play. Very clever little witch she was. For money? I think people will do anything for the doe! But then she gets away in the end! You know we will be seeing her again! Murphey kind of suprised me. She really knows Dresden! I think these two hooking up will be awesome! He kinda needs a woman to put him in his place. Plus i really dont like the diner chick! Over all this episode was cleverly plotted with some twists in the mix. All in a magic days life!moreless
  • I thought this episode was great.

    Harry Dresden is hired by his police friend Murphy yot heolp her solve when someone dies in his apartment while speaking with him about a xase but then he is unhired when another person dies in his apartment. He is now a suspect. But what is happening around the city is taht there is a coroner that has to powers to bring people back to life and kill them in an instant. And she is connected to the murders that have been happening in Harry Dresdens apartments. And when all suspicion goes to her. She tries to take Harry into her scandal of financial fraud.moreless
Hamish McEwan

Hamish McEwan

Kelton Franks

Guest Star

Tara Rosling

Tara Rosling

Carol Sarkisian

Guest Star

Karen Cliche

Karen Cliche


Guest Star

Matt Gordon

Matt Gordon

Waldo Butters

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Kerry Lai Fatt's name is misspelled in the closing credits as Kerry LaFaitt.

    • In the beginning of the episode, Nancy keeps calling Dresden for breakfast while she prepares it. When the scene replays at the end of the episode, however, she only starts calling him after everything is prepared.

    • From this episode on there is a slight change in the opening theme score, in which some additional instruments were incorporated.

  • QUOTES (12)

    • Harry: (Voice over) Remember how I said I prefer surprises? Well, I've had a change of heart. I'd really like to know how this is going to turn out. I'm having a premonition but the answer is "not well."

    • Harry: (Voice over) Here's a question. If you could see the future, but you couldn't do anything to change it, would you still want to know? Me? I prefer surprises... except in my soup.

    • Bob: (About Dresden tearing money for a spell.) Do you really have to use all of it?
      Dresden: Well, it's Sharon's money. She touched it. So the more I use, the better the chance I got of finding her.
      Bob: I know, but the rent's due next week.
      Dresden: Bob, you're a spirit. You live in a skull. You have no physical needs. You're really going to bitch about the rent?
      Bob: I'm just thinking of you.

    • Harry: So, Bob?
      Bob: Yes.
      Harry: This resurrection thing. Death. Your punishment... You going to fill me in?
      Bob: Winifred. She was a sorceress.
      Harry: What, she's the one who turned you into a ghost?
      Bob: She's the one I lost my heart to. All those centuries ago.
      Harry: Yeah? And...?
      Bob: She died. And I brought her back.
      Harry: You brought her back?
      Bob: Yes. I transgressed. I crossed the line. Several times. I wanted her back so badly I destroyed us both. And for my pains I was sentenced to spend all eternity in my skull. (after a moment of silence, Bob turns to mist and floats away)
      Harry: Oh, Bob.

    • Harry: When I cast a tracking spell, I never know where it's going to take me, so I always brace myself for the worst: death, depravity, horror, the suburbs.

    • Bob: Alas, poor Kelton, he did not go gentle into that good night. It was probably your tea that killed him, given that you ahven't washed your teapot during the current millennium.
      Harry: I don't think it was bad housekeeping that killed him, Bob.
      Bob: Then what was it, poison?
      Harry: People die, you know. It happens. I checked his aura, it was clean.
      Bob: Unlike your dishware.

    • Bob: (About Dresden kidnapping Paul Woods.) Kidnapping is still a crime, right?

    • Murphy: Great. Sharon's still in the wind and now Dresden's missing.
      Kirmani: He's probably on a weekend pass to Middle-earth.

    • [Bob looks in the mirror at the likeness he's assumed]
      Bob: I can't believe she wore that shawl with those shoes!

    • Harry: I got an idea. It's a... little out there. (goes quickly out of the room)
      Bob: (to himself) And how would that be any different from any of your other ideas?

    • Bob: Do that voodoo that you do, not very well.

    • Harry: Um, he's been married ten years and he likes running.
      Murphy: Hmm. Married. That's probably what killed him.
      Harry: You don't have a good thing to say about the institution of marriage, do you?
      Murphy: No, I don't have a good thing to say about my ex-husband.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Many times during the episode we can see in one of Dresden's house pillars a symbol painted in red of a two-headed serpent whose heads face one another.

      Although the serpent is most known as a Jewish symbol, it's a very common symbol in ancient cultures, having many different meanings, but mainly being associated with wisdom, life and death. At the same time, its heads facing one another probably represent ambiguity and/or opposition.

      Hence, as it is used in the set design, this symbol may represent either:

      The Caduceus (often mistaken with the Rod of Asclepius, symbol of medicine), the most widespread symbol of two snakes' heads facing one another, a staff carried by the Greek god Hermes and whose basic power is to heal or harm.

      Or Nehebkau, a two-headed serpent in Egyptian mythology that guarded the entrance to the underworld and served two opposite gods, Ra and Atum, sky and earth (or life and death in a controversial interpretation).

    • When looking for Dresden inside his house, Kirmani picks up an old book with a rune in its leather cover.

      The rune is the Marcomannic rune "Gilch", a more recent version for the Elder Futhark rune "Kaunan", whose meaning is sometimes credited as "illness" and other times as "torch" - both very likely themes to a book owned by a wizard.

    • This is the first episode in which Murphy, Valerie Cruz's character, sees magic being used. In this case, Bob used a spell to indicate Dresden's location to her.

    • When Dresden is talking with Mr. Franks in the beginning of the episode, it's possible to see on Dresden's desk a sculpture of a dragon holding a disc with a Canterbury cross painted in it.

      Although the sculpture may refer to something else, the Anglican symbol makes it a probable reference to Saint George's dragon, which in the earliest versions of the myth was destroyed only by Saint George's Sign of the Cross.

    • The reason for Bob's punishment is finally revealed in this episode.


    • Bob: Alas poor Kelton, he did not go gentle into that good night.

      Bob is refering to the famous poem written by Dylan Thomas in 1951 Do Not go Gentle into That Good Night which supposedly speaks to the poet's father to rouse him from his deathbed and fight to reclaim his life, not to give into Death.

    • When trying to find out the connection between Paul Woods and Kelton Franks, Bob says he may be a Doppelgänger, a Simulacrum or a Skin-walker.

      A Doppelgänger is a sinister creature that can become the double of a living person and, hence, becomes known as his/her "evil twin", being counted as a bad omen or even a death harbinger.

      A Simulacrum, on the other hand, is an object that imbodies the essence of an individual and thus becomes a perfect reflection of its original, although it doesn't have a will or a soul of its own.

    • Harry: This resurrection thing. Death. Your punishment... You going to fill me in?
      Bob: Winifred. She was a sorceress.

      Curiously, Winifred is the name of a 7th century Welsh Christian saint who had her head severed from her body by her fiancé because she wanted to be a nun instead of marrying him and who, according to one of the versions of the myth, had her head rejoined to her body and was restored to life due to the efforts of her maternal uncle.

      The abbey at St Winifred's Well in the town of Holywell, North Wales, is built around a natural spring which is said to have sprung from the ground at the spot where Winifred's severed head came to rest. The spring was believed to have healing properties and the site was a popular destination for pilgrimage.

    • Middle-earth

      Murphy: Great, now Dresden's missing.
      Kirmani: He's probably on a weekend pass to Middle-earth.

      Although the term "Middle-earth" is not exclusive to The Lord of the Rings universe, being a translation of Old Norse "Midgard", the lands between heaven and the underworld where mortal men live in Norse mythology, it's the most well-known usage of the word and, therefore, most likely what Kirmani is referring to. That and the fact that Harry is a wizard, as are a few of Tolkien's LotR characters.

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