The Bounty Hunter was the fourth episode of Series 1 of K9. It revealed K9's circumstances before his regeneration.
K-9’s past comes back to haunt him, when an alien "bounty hunter" arrives and accuses him of committing a murder in the 50th century.
Gryffen is at work trying to fix K9's memory. He finds a fragment from just before he transported here, an alien called Zanthus Pia, head of the Galactic Peace Commission, who orders him to leave immediately. He warns that assassinating him will gain his assassin nothing and others will replace him. He vows they will have peace in the Galaxy. Gryffen tells K9 he'll have to work harder if he's going to retrieve his memories. K9 assures Gryffen he's working as hard as he can as that fragment is all the memory of his own time. Starkey tells Gryffen he can't get blood out of a stone. K9 corrects him and references the rocks of Nebulax 4. Gryffen finds K9 can retrieve data but not memories. Starkey offers to take K9 for a walk to get his mind off it. As they walk, Gryffen watches them on the monitor and notes how much the surroundings have changed, a common effect for someone who hasn't gone outside in ten years. They go to a ferris wheel, which speeds up as a group of CCPCs walk in. Starkey thinks he's been found and tells K9 to save himself. K9 declines the order. Meanwhile at the mansion, as Gryffen instructs them to leave, a strange man comes through the STM.
The CCPCs keep the worried crowd under control. Drake informs them of a dissident attack. A bomb has been attached to the speed clutch in the control centre. If they try to stop or even slow the wheel, the bomb will explode. K9 decides to help. Starkey says the place is swarming with CCPCs. K9 says it is a compulsion as he is programmed to assist humans in distress. Starkey notices a CCTV camera arriving on the scene. Gryffen investigates the state of the man. He grabs him, telling him to stay where he can see him. Gryffen asks how he can control the portal. He says he didn't. Gryffen decides to get him some tea.
On the scene, Drake talks to a news camera, stating the dissident threat will be tracked down and eliminated; stay in view of a CCTV surveillance point and report any suspicions. Starkey tells K9 it's a publicity stunt, the story of the Department saving the day from rogue dissidents. K9 says it's unlikely. Starkey asks if it's such big news and such a big threat, why haven't the CCPCs done anything? K9 agrees and says he isn't interested in the camera and has to help them.
Back at the mansion, Gryffen apologises for being inquisitive but he can't control the STM. The man tells him he followed someone here, a cybernetic device known as K9. Starkey asks the crowd why doesn't Drake do anything. A mother whose children are stuck on the wheel asks Drake the same question. While Drake is distracted, K9 and Starkey sneak into the control room and find the strangely non-explosive bomb. This is a publicity stunt planned by the Department. K9 destroys it, which slows the wheel, saving the people on it.
Starkey and K9 are praised by the crowd to Drake's dismay. They leave. Back at the mansion, the man grows impatient and demands to know where K9 is. He says that his name is Ahab and he is the most renowned bounty hunter in the galaxy and he's here to bring K9 to stand trial before the Galactic Council for murder. K9 is wanted in the year 50,000 for the unlawful disintegration of Zanthus Pia, president of Galactic Peace Assembly. Gryffen says there is no K9 here. Ahab's voice analyser reveals he's lying. When Gryffen refuses to tell him where K9 is, Ahab grabs his face. They are interrupted by a Department broadcast from Drake claiming that the "mechanical dog" was not the hero of the ferris wheel incident. Ahab asks how to find the Department. Gryffen suggests he go to the nearest CCTV camera. He does and tells Drake they need to talk.
The team are shocked when Gryffen tells them and refuse to believe K9 is a murderer. Starkey says his programming forbids it. Gryffen says that according to Ahab, K9 disintegrated Zanthus Pia with extreme prejudice. They argue the legality and morality of the situation until they conclude K9 should hide. Darius offers his services.
At the Department Mobile HQ, June and Drake argue about K9. Drake says she was aware of a dangerous alien yet failed to alert his section. She says K9 isn't dangerous and his technology could be of great value to the Department. Drake agrees and decides to have him apprehended and dismantled to learn his secrets. June says his section has no jurisdiction as K9 poses no security threat. Drake consults Lomax, who says he will consider the matter and orders them to keep doing what they're doing. June assumes K9 is under her control, and Drake simply agrees to keep doing what he's doing.
Darius takes Jorjie, Starkey and K9 to his secret storage facility in the sewers, made up mostly of food and supplies that fell off the back of trucks and vans. June comes to Gryffen's house and tells Gryffen to tell her if Drake comes looking for K9. Gryffen tells her of his encounter with Ahab and that the kids are hiding K9. She asks him to have Jorjie come home with her. Ahab arrives at Department Mobile HQ and shows Drake how he intends to subdue K9. They make a deal. As Starkey, Darius and Jorjie eat, Starkey tells Jorjie he's "de-fragging". Jorjie wonders if it's possible K9 assassinated Zanthus Pia. Starkey refuses to believe it but Darius argues neither they or he know what he did before he came here. Starkey asks if he has done anything suspicious.
As Starkey pets K9, he accesses the remains of his memory and an encounter with Zanthus Pia. The clip shows K9's HUD stating Zanthus must be destroyed. The clip glitches and cuts to a burning corpse, which K9 identifies as Zanthus's remains. As everyone is asleep, he determines he is guilty and a murderer.
K9 decides to surrender himself to the Department and leaves. He is spotted by a CCTV camera. At the Department Mobile HQ, June uses this to trace him to the sewer. She is angry Jorjie spent the night there and decides to get her. She tells Gryffen to tell them to stay there if they contact him. Gryffen wonders why K9 would be so careless as to miss a motion detector. He contacts K9, who shows him his memory of Zanthus Pia's corpse. He says his human life protection protocol was compromised.
Starkey and the others look for K9. Darius spots him. They try to stop him, but K9 insists he must surrender to the authorities and stand trial. Drake and Ahab arrive and Starkey tells K9 to run. K9 says he he must face justice. June is contacted by Drake, who tells her Ahab betrayed him and took K9 and the kids to Gryffen's house. He explains his arrangement with Ahab which would have given the Department access to K9's technology. She decides from now on all matters concerning K9 will be handled by her section.
At the house, Ahab pulls K9 to the STM vortex. The leash-like device Ahab uses on K9 turns him into a conductor, restoring his memory of Zanthus Pia. K9 did not kill him; Ahab did. When K9 notes the device Ahab uses generates extreme cold, weakening him, Jorjie throws a cup of tea on the beam, disabling it. The force of the device throws Ahab into the STM and he disappears.
June arrives at the house. She says K9 is under the control of her section and not security. She gives Gryffen responsibility for K9 and makes K9 and the team the "Official K9 Unit". As Jorjie leaves with June, Darius asks what's stopping Ahab from coming back. Gryffen says he went to the time of his destination, but not the place. He's been landed in this exact spot fifty thousand years from now. Darius thinks he's home safe and sound, but Gryffen explains the planets are continually moving through space. The Earth won't be in its current location. Darius asks where he is. K9 says, "Lost in space".
- A news report states a man named only "Mr Smith" has won the lottery and asks anyone who he is. "Mr Smith" could be the Doctor, who often goes by the alias of "John Smith" or it could be Sarah Jane's computer, as it is likely still running in 2050.
- When Ahab killed Zanthus Pia, a Jixen is shown to be in league with him.
- When Drake appears in the news, the news at the bottom notes the first flight of the NX-2000 (USS Excelsior of Star Trek).
- The same broadcast also mentions a self-aware oven known as THX1138, a reference to the movie of the same name.
- Publicity for this episode states Ahab came from the 51st century, but in the episode he states he is from the year 50000 which is in the 501st century.
- Gryffen suggests that the Jixen in league with Ahab was the same one who followed K9 in Regeneration.
- The team defeat Ahab by sending him to a place other than his intended destination, similar to what Torchwood Three did with Mary in TV: Greeks Bearing Gifts.
Home video releases
This episode is featured in the following DVD sets:
- Series One complete box set, released in Australia on 29 September 2010.
- A "vanilla" DVD called The Bounty Hunter, containing Regeneration, Liberation, The Korven, The Bounty Hunter, Sirens of Ceres and Fear Itself, released in Australia on 29 September 2010.
- K-9: Series 1: Volume 1, containing episodes 1–12, released in the UK on 31 January 2011.
- K9: Ultimate Collectors Edition, containing the full first series, scheduled for release in the UK on 11 June 2011.