Katherine Anne Austen, known to many of the survivors and her friends as simply "Kate," is a courageous, yet vulnerable 26-year old young woman with a shadowy past, and is one of the Oceanic 815 crash survivors on the mysterious island. She is played by Evangeline Lilly, where she plays a billed role and appeared in 107 episodes.
Pre-CrashSam Austen returned from a posting in South Korea. When Kate was five, her parents split up and her mother, Diane, married Wayne Janssen. Wayne was a vile drunk who often beat Kate's mother. It is not certain if Wayne abused Kate, but he often made suggestive comments towards her. Kate found a confidant in Tom Brennan, who became her childhood sweetheart. She was able to tell him about Wayne and how Wayne was the reason she always wanted to run away. At age eleven, the two buried a time capsule together containing, among numerous other trinkets, Tom's toy plane.
About three years prior to the crash of Oceanic flight 815, Kate waited for Wayne to return home drunk. She put him to bed, fending off his suggestive comments, and then left. Shortly after a natural gas explosion she planned tore through the house and killed Wayne. She had discovered that Wayne was her biological father and, unable to bear the thought of sharing the same genetic material as that vile man, wished him dead. Kate briefly met with her mother the night of Wayne's death and gave her an insurance policy for the house that she took out in her name. She tried to disappear, but a U.S. Marshal, Edward Mars caught her as she was trying to take a bus to Tallahassee, revealing that Diane had given Kate up. On the way back to Iowa for her arraignment, the Marshal swerved to avoid a black horse and Kate was able to escape. She went to see her "father", Sergeant Major Sam Austen, to ask him why he didn't kill Wayne long ago. He simply told her that he didn't have murder in his heart. He let his daughter have an hour's head start before he notified the authorities.
A few months later, Kate headed back into Iowa to see her mother. After he car broke down, she met a woman named Cassidy Phillips and gave her some help in getting out of a botched con. She learned Cassidy had been conned out of her money by a bad man (James "Sawyer" Ford) and that she was pregnant with his child. Cassidy thought one of them should have something nice happen to them and decided to help Kate. With Cassidy's help, Kate was able to talk to her mother in private and find out what had been bothering her - why her mother gave her up. Even though Wayne had beaten her and treated her like a dog, Diane told Kate that she loved Wayne and that you can't help who you love. She believed that Kate killed Wayne not to help her, but did it only for herself. Diane let Kate go without informing the U.S. Marshals following her, but swore to God that, if she ever saw Kate again, the first thing she would do was yell for help.
About a year into her life on the run, Kate learned her mother was dying from cancer and was under police protection. She got Tom, now a doctor and married with a child, to schedule an MRI so she could have some time alone with her mother. Killing time until the MRI, the two dug up their time capsule and reminisced about their childhood. At the hospital, Kate tried to speak with her mother, but Diane made good on her earlier promise to Kate and immediately cried for help. Kate wanted to flee the hospital in Tom's car, but Tom refused to get out and was shot by a police officer as Kate attempted to drive out. She was only able to save his toy airplane before police backup arrived.
The Marshal, still hunting Kate down, came into possession of Tom's toy plane. As the two were taunting one another, he put it in a safe deposit box in a New Mexico bank. Kate discovered the whereabouts of the plane and conned three men into the idea of robbing the bank with her. After one of the men was about to kill the bank manager, Kate shot two of them and foiled her own "robbery" - she just wanted the toy plane.
At one point during her life on the lam, Kate met a Miami-Dade County police officer, Kevin Callis, and married him. She tried to settle down into a life of relative normalcy, but doubts still crept into her mind and she called the Marshal to beg him into letting her go. The Marshal taunted her, telling her he knew she could never settle down. After receiving a negative result from a pregnancy test, Kate realized she couldn't continue living this life. She revealed her true name and identity to her husband, but drugged him so people wouldn't think he knew about her and lose his job.
Kate eventually fled the country and arrived in Australia. There she met a farmer, Ray Mullen, and agreed to help him work his farm in exchange for modest pay and a place to sleep. However, the Marshal tracked Kate to Australia and wanted posters were distributed; one of which Ray saw. He turned her in for a $23,000 reward. The Marshal was accompanying Kate on Oceanic flight 815. During the heavy turbulence, the Marshal was knocked unconscious and Kate retrieved his keys to unlock her handcuffs before placing an oxygen mask on him.
After the crash, Kate exited the woods and stumbled upon Jack Shephard. She assisted him in sewing up a wound he suffered in the crash and they became friends. The following day she accompanied him and Charlie Pace to the nose section to recover the aircraft's transceiver and was one of the first people to encounter the monster close up. She later accompanied a second group in an attempt to use the transceiver to send a distress signal, but only heard Danielle Rousseau's transmission.
The Marshal was seriously injured in the crash and Jack tended to him as best he could. However, the Marshal showed him a mug shot of Kate and warned Jack that she was dangerous. Kate offered to tell Jack why the Marshal was after her, but Jack declined and told her on the island they could all start over. However, the Marshal's condition worsened and the only question was not if he would live, but how long he would suffer. Kate gave the Marshal's service weapon to James "Sawyer" Ford, who attempted a mercy killing with the last round in the gun. He missed and Jack was forced to finish the job.
A love triangle formed in these early days when Sawyer was interrogated by Jack and Sayid Jarrah as to the whereabouts of Shannon Rutherford's asthma medicine. After being tortured by Sayid, Sawyer agreed to give up the location of the medicine if he got a kiss from Kate. Kate reluctantly agreed and gave him a kiss, but Sawyer revealed it was all a ruse as he never had the medicine.
After Ethan Rom kidnapped Claire Littleton and Charlie, Kate assisted John Locke and Jack in tracking the two trails in the jungle. Although she admitted she wasn't as good a tracker as Locke, she put her skills she learned from her father, Sam Austen, to use in eventually finding Charlie.
Later forays by Kate into the jungle revealed the whereabouts of the Marshal's case at the bottom of a waterfall. Unfortunately, Sawyer got his hands onto the case first and the two vied for its ownership. Despite his best efforts, Sawyer was unable to the open the case which gave time for Kate to enlist Jack's help. The two exhumed the body of the Marshal and Kate attempted to remove the keys to the case from the body in secret, but Jack stopped her. After getting the case from Sawyer, Kate and Jack opened the case together to find weapons, ammunition and Tom's toy plane.
Kate later helped Sawyer track down a boar that was hassling him in exchange for getting anything she wants whenever she wants from his stash. During the hunt, the two played a game of "I Never" and revealed secrets, some fairly dark, to each other. In keeping with secrets, Kate later figured out Sun-Hwa Kwon spoke English, but agreed to keep the fact a secret from Jin-Soo Kwon and the rest of the survivors.
As Michael Dawson was nearing completion of his raft to escape the island for help, Kate saw her chance to get off the island and back on the run before the authorities came when rescue arrived. Sun didn't wish her husband to go on the raft, so Kate convinced her to poison Jin's water to prevent him from leaving and thus freeing a spot for her. However, Michael was the one who got sick and blamed it on Sawyer. Sawyer feared for his spot on the raft and, knowing Kate would do anything to get on, revealed to the survivors that Kate was the convict the Marshal was escorting. He emptied her backpack and showed everyone that she stole the passport belonging to Joanna Miller, the woman who drowned a few days after the crash, and swapped in her picture.
With no spot on the raft and the other survivors wary of her, Kate accompanied the group Rousseau led to the Black Rock in the "Dark Territory." She volunteered to carry one of the backpacks of unstable dynamite, but Jack secretly switched the dynamite to his pack. On the way back from the Black Rock, the monster struck and attempted to drag Locke into a hole. Kate used a stick of dynamite to stop the monster and prevent it from taking Locke. As they prepared to blow open the hatch with the dynamite, Jack told her that Locke could become a problem. Kate told him that she would have his back.
With the hatch blown open, Kate was lowered in first by Locke. At the bottom of the shaft, she was held at gunpoint by Desmond Hume and knocked unconscious farther into The Swan. After coming down after her, Locke was forced to bind Kate and lock her inside a pantry, but managed to slip a knife on her. Kate managed to escape into the station's ventilation ducts and drop down into the armory, grabbing a shotgun. She was able to sneak up on Desmond and hit him, but he accidentally discharged his weapon into the side of the computer. She left the station to retrieve Sayid and the computer was fixed before the timer reached zero.
A feverish Sawyer was brought to the Swan by Eko, marking the arrival of the tail-section and raft survivors. She watched and cared for Sawyer, only leaving when Jack sent her out to get fruit. In the jungle she saw a black horse, similar to the one that was instrumental in freeing her from the Marshal. The survivors attended Shannon's funeral, leaving Kate alone with Sawyer and the button. Sawyer, in a delusional state, grabbed Kate and yelled "You killed me! Why did you kill me!?" as if he were Wayne Janssen. Kate fled the Swan in terror, but was chased down by Jack who chastised her for leaving the button. Kate brown down crying, but kissed Jack briefly before pulling back and running. She eventually returned to see Sawyer and, not sure if Wayne was somehow in him or not, spoke to him as if he were Wayne. Drifting back to consciousness, Sawyer heard Kate's confession of why she killed her father and how he reminds her of Wayne. Kate helped Sawyer out of the station and the two witnessed the mysterious black horse.
After Michael locked Jack and Locke in the Swan's armory and left to find the Others and his son, Kate and Sawyer freed them. She wanted to go with the group after Michael, but Jack insisted she stay to keep an eye on the timer. She refused and followed them in secret, but was captured by the Others and used as a hostage. Jack was forced to hand over the hunting party's weapons to get Kate back. She later accompanied Claire to The Staff when Claire had fragments of memories about her stay there when she was kidnapped. Exploring the station, she discovered the Others' ragged clothing, a fake beard and theatrical glue; leading her to believe the Others were not who they appeared to be.
Henry Gale's identity as an Other was revealed, and Jack took Kate to make a deal with the Others. The Others never showed themselves, but Michael stumbled out of the jungle and collapsed. Upon freeing Henry Gale, and killing Ana-Lucia and Libby, Michael selected Kate as one of the few people to go after the Others and bring back his son. During the trek, Kate spotted two Others trailing them and opened fire with Sawyer. One of the Others was killed and Kate wanted to go after the remaining one to prevent him from warning the Others, but Jack told her the Others knew they were coming. He forced Michael to reveal the truth about the trap he was leading them into. Continuing on, the group came across a large open area filled with unopened capsules from The Pearl. Here they were ambushed by the Others with taser darts. Jack attempted to carry Kate to safety, but was also hit. The group was taken to the Pala Ferry dock where Kate learned she was one of those to be taken "home" with the Others.
Kate woke up in a large communal shower area of The Hydra with some blood drawn from her arm. Tom provided her a sun dress and brought her to meet Benjamin Linus and have breakfast with him on the beach. He told her she was having breakfast so she would have "something nice to hold on to" as the next two weeks were going to be "very unpleasant." Kate was locked in a cage opposite a similar cage housing Sawyer. The two were removed from their cages and taken to a construction site under the supervision of Danny Pickett. Alexandra Rousseau spoke to Kate in secret and inquired about a guy named Karl who should have been in her cage. Unable to answer her questions, Kate learned the dress she got from Ben once belonged to Alex. Later, Sawyer made an escape attempt and managed to secure a dropped rifle, but Juliet Burke held Kate hostage and forced Sawyer to give up. Returned to their cages, Sawyer revealed to Kate that he believed Juliet would have shot her. Pickett's wife was later killed during a raid on Desmond's sailboat and Pickett dragged Sawyer out of his cage and beat him badly, asking Kate if she loved Sawyer. Kate tearfully asked Pickett to stop as she does love Sawyer. With Sawyer back in his cage, Kate told him that she doesn't love him and only said that to make Pickett stop hitting him.
Unable to persuade Jack into performing surgery on him, Ben had Kate brought to see Jack. Kate tried to convince him to do whatever the Others asked him to do as they would let them go if he did. She told him they were going to kill Sawyer, which only upset Jack and he demanded she be taken away. Returned to her cage, Kate slipped out again at night and attempted to free Sawyer, but learned they were on a second island and escape was impossible. With death a possibility in the morning, the two slept together and Sawyer admitted he loved her. Jack watched the two together on a security monitor and, upset, agreed to go through with the surgery. During Ben's surgery, Pickett saw his chance to exact revenge on Sawyer without Ben interfering. As he was about to put a bullet in Sawyer's head, Tom came over the radio and demanded he give the radio to Kate. In the ensuing confusion, Kate and Sawyer turned the tables on their captors and locked them in the cage. The two Others were eventually freed and went after Kate and Sawyer, who received help from Alex in exchange for helping her find Karl. The group eventually found Karl and made it to Alex's boat, but were stopped by Pickett. Before Pickett could kill anyone, he is shot by Juliet who then lets Kate, Sawyer and Karl leave. Over walkie talkie, Kate confirmed to Jack that they were safe and made a promise to Jack not to return for him. Upon making it back to the main island, Karl was freed by Sawyer. She argued with Sawyer about going back for Jack, but Sawyer refused and the two eventually made it back to the beach camp.
Believing the rest of the survivors were unwilling to go after Jack, Kate went into the jungle in search of Danielle Rousseau. She eventually found her and recruited her by telling her about a young girl with the Others named Alex, believing that the girl might be Rousseau's daughter. Accompanied by Rousseau, Sayid and Locke, Kate headed after Jack. The group eventually came across a DHARMA Initiative station called The Flame and its occupant, Mikhail Bakunin. Mikhail was soon discovered to be one of the Others and captured. Locke activated a self-destruct built into The Flame, but Sayid managed to recover some documents before its destruction. One such document was a map to a place called the barracks. Heading there, the group came across a series of pylons acting as a security system. The system seemingly killed Mikhail, but the group managed to find a way over and discovered the barracks.
Under cover of darkness, Kate attempted to contact Jack at his residence in the barracks but was captured. After Locke destroyed the Others' submarine, the Others abandoned the barracks and gassed the Oceanic survivors with knockout gas. Kate found herself out in the jungle and handcuffed to Juliet. At Kate's insistence, the two made their way back to the barracks to find Jack. Juliet informed Kate that Jack saw her sleeping with Sawyer through a CCTV camera, and the reason he didn't want her coming back for him was because she broke his heart. They were later accosted by the monster, but Juliet was able to reactivate the barracks' security system and keep the monster from attacking them. Arriving at the barracks, Kate found Jack and apologized for not listening to him and ruining his chances of getting home.
The group eventually returned to the beach camp, but Kate found her relationship with Jack changed. He began spending more time with Juliet and less with her. Her overtures to Jack were rebuffed and she turned to Sawyer, sleeping with him again. Sawyer later discovered that she did it because of Jack's relationship with Juliet, but simply told Kate that she didn't have to use him and only had to ask. She later learned from Sayid that a woman, Naomi Dorrit, had parachuted onto the island and Desmond, Charlie, Jin and Hugo "Hurley" Reyes had found her. However, they failed to tell Jack about her as they weren't certain of his loyalties. Kate decided to break the news to Jack about how his friends no longer trusted him, but he was more concerned about how Naomi planned to contact her off-shore freighter.
At the news, Jack decided to inform everyone that Juliet told him about a planned raid on the camp to take any pregnant women. Tired of running, Jack decided to lay a trap for the arrival of the Others. Sayid, Jin and Bernard would stay at the camp to detonate three stacks of dynamite; Charlie and Desmond would head to The Looking Glass to turn off its jamming equipment; and Jack and Rousseau would lead the remaining survivors to the island's radio tower, turn off Rousseau's distress signal and use Naomi's satellite phone to contact her freighter. Kate accompanied Jack and the other survivors, but they witnessed only two explosions go off. Sawyer decided to return to the beach camp to find out what happened, but refused to let Kate come with him. Jack let Kate know that Sawyer was just trying to protect her and, asked why he was defending Sawyer, told her that he loved her. Despite being intercepted by Ben and Alex, the group arrived at the radio tower and turned off Rousseau's distress signal. Locke appeared and threw a knife into Naomi's back, seemingly killing her, but he vanished into the jungle after confronting Jack. Jack contacted Naomi's freighter.
Rescue was on its way, but the people on the freighter needed Naomi to change some settings on her satellite phone to get a clear fix on their position. Jack claimed she was out gathering firewood and disconnected the call, but he and Kate discovered Naomi's body was gone. Ben, tied to a tree in front of her body, was the only one to see what happened to her but he feigned ignorance. Two blood trails were found, one by Rousseau and one by Kate, but Jack decided followed Rousseau's lead. Kate decided to take matters into her own hands by surreptitiously taking the satellite phone off of Jack when they hugged, and followed the trail she found while Jack believed she was leading the survivors back to the beach camp to wait for rescue. Her trail did lead to Naomi, but she was ambushed by the injured woman and had Locke's knife pressed to her throat. She attempted to tell Naomi that Locke acted alone while Naomi demanded the satellite phone. Kate relented when the phone received a call from the freighter. Naomi believed Kate and covered for the survivors, claiming her injuries were sustained when she parachuted onto the island. She reset the satellite phone so the freighter could find them and then passed away. Kate returned to the survivors at the nose section wreckage of Oceanic 815 where they all learned of Charlie's death and warning that Naomi wasn't who she claimed to be. The survivors split into two groups: those who believed Charlie's warning sided with Locke while those who still believed in rescue sided with Jack. Kate couldn't believe Sawyer sided with Locke, whose group left for the barracks.
Kate, along with Jack, came across one of the people from the freighter, Daniel Faraday. The helicopter he was in experienced electrical problems and he was pushed out for his own safety. The other members of his team were wearing GPS transponders and, using Naomi's satellite phone, they could track them down. As they started their search, Kate discovered a container from the helicopter. Inside were gas masks and red bags marked with biohazard symbols. Daniel claimed to not know what they were for as he wasn't responsible for packing, but told them that rescue wasn't their primary objective on the island. The three eventually found Miles Straume, who ambushed them and demanded to be taken to Naomi. She had used a code phrase to inform the freighter she was in danger, so she hadn't covered for the survivors as Kate believed. Kate took the group to Naomi's body at gunpoint and Miles came to the conclusion they were telling the truth and didn't kill Naomi. Sayid and Juliet caught up with them and disarmed the two men from the freighter. The group tracked down another signal only to discover the transponder was tied to Vincent; Locke had captured Charlotte Lewis. They then found the last team member, Frank Lapidus, by the helicopter he landed intact. Juliet treated Frank's wounds, but Frank discovered he wasn't on Oceanic 815 and informed Miles. Miles revealed to the group that they came to the island for Benjamin Linus.
Sayid struck a deal with Frank to bring Charlotte back safely in exchange for a ride to the freighter. Jack had Kate accompany Sayid and Miles to the barracks, knowing Sawyer wouldn't Locke harm her. The group arrived at the barracks, but were eventually ambushed by Locke's group and Sawyer watched over Kate. The two discussed why they went with the group they did, and Kate learned Sawyer didn't want to leave the island. He reminded her that the only thing waiting for her off the island were handcuffs. Sayid exchanged Miles for Charlotte and left, as Kate decided to stay behind. She wanted to know what Miles and the rest of the people on his freighter knew about her. Miles refused to help Kate unless he got a minute to talk to Ben, so Kate went to Sawyer for his help. Sawyer lured Locke away from where he held Ben while Kate led Miles inside. With her end of the bargain fulfilled, Kate learned that the people on the freighter knew all about her and how she was a fugitive. Miles suggested she'd be better off staying on the island, that perhaps she didn't survive the crash. Locke caught up with Kate and Miles, returning Miles to his makeshift cell and telling Kate she was no longer welcome with them. Kate spent her last night with Sawyer, eventually telling him she was sure she wasn't pregnant. Sawyer was elated at the news, but Kate wasn't as enthusiastic after speaking earlier with Claire who suggested she'd be a good mother. She told Sawyer she was going back to the beach camp. Sawyer believed she was just finding an excuse to leave and, after a week, would find some reason to get pissed off at Jack and come running back to him. In response, Kate slapped him and left.
After the Island
After being rescued from the island, Kate returned to the United States with Claire Littleton's son, Aaron, as her own son. Her past caught up with her and she went to trial in Los Angeles for a list of charges including fraud, arson, assault on a federal officer, assault with a deadly weapon, grand larceny, grand theft auto and murder in the first degree. Kate pled not guilty. Her lawyer wanted to use Aaron to generate sympathy, but Kate refused to get her son involved. Instead, he called Jack Shephard to testify as a character witness, who told the court he was badly hurt in the crash and was saved from drowning by Kate. While they were stuck on a deserted island in the South Pacific, Kate had helped the five survivors of Oceanic 815 by treating their wounds and finding food and shelter. On cross-examination, Jack said he was no longer in love with Kate. Kate's mother and the prosecution's star witness, Diane Janssen, met with Kate. She told Kate that things changed when she believed Kate had died on Oceanic 815, and she doesn't know how much time she has left to live. She wanted to see her grandson in exchange for not testifying against Kate, but Kate refused. Despite being rebuffed by Kate, Diane did not testify due to "medical reasons". The prosecution was forced to cut a deal with Kate, who eventually agreed to ten years probation and she wouldn't leave the state of California. Finally a free woman, Kate was met by Jack who revealed to her he still loved her. However, Jack couldn't bring himself to see Aaron and Kate told him that nothing could happen between them until he could get over that.
Kate's relationship with Jack appeared to never improve afterwards. She began to ignore his calls, even after seeing him on the news when he rescued a woman and her son from a car wreck. She finally agreed to meet him one night by the Los Angeles International Airport where she commented he looked terrible. He asked if she went to the funeral, but Kate asked why she would go. She learned Jack had been flying across the Pacific every weekend, hoping the plane would crash and he would return to the island. He was sick of lying, and believed they made a mistake and weren't supposed to leave. Kate disagreed and left to go back to Aaron.
- Information is shown in chronological order. Episodes in bold are flashback/flashforward episodes.
- 2x09 - What Kate Did: Kate's original crime is revealed.
- 3x15 - Left Behind: Kate gets to her mother and finds out why she gave her up to police.
- 1x22 - Born to Run: Kate goes to see her dying mother.
- 1x12 - Whatever the Case May Be: Kate organizes a bank robbery.
- 3x06 - I Do: Kate marries a police officer, but is unable to stop her life on the run and flees.
- 1x03 - Tabula Rasa: Kate is hiding from the law in Australia shortly before the crash.
On the Island
- 1x01 - Pilot (1): Kate survives the plane crash and escapes the grasp of Marshal after he is knocked unconscious.
- 1x03 - Tabula Rasa: Kate is forced to deal with the dying Marshall.
- 1x12 - Whatever the Case May Be: Kate desperately tries to get a mysterious silver suitcase back from Sawyer.
- 1x22 - Born to Run: Kate resorts to desperate measures to get a spot on the raft.
- 2x09 - What Kate Did: Kate thinks she might be going crazy after seeing a familiar-looking black horse on the island.
- 2x11 - The Hunting Party: While secretly following the party looking for Michael, Kate gets captured by the Others, but released when Jack turns over the party's weapons.
- 2x15 - Maternity Leave: Kate goes with Claire in search of the place Claire was kept for 13 days.
- 2x23 - Live Together, Die Alone: Kate is captured by the Others.
- 3x06 - I Do: Sleeps with Sawyer.
- 3x07 - Not in Portland: Escapes from the Hydra with Sawyer.
- 3x15 - Left Behind: Finds Jack and apologizes to him.
After the Island
- 4x04 - Eggtown: Goes to trial and, after cutting a deal, becomes a free woman. Lives in LA with her "son" Aaron.
- 3x22 - Through the Looking Glass: Meets Jack who tells her they have to go back to the island.
- Premature: In the original draft, Jack was going to die, and Kate was going to be the group leader, but without the fugitive back story.
- Nicknames: Sawyer's nickname for Kate is "Freckles".