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James Ford, or "Sawyer", is a 35-year old self-loathing con man. He is played by Josh Holloway, where he plays a billed role and appeared in 104 episodes.
Note: Even though his real name is James, he will be typically referred to as Sawyer for the sake of clarity, since that's what most of the islanders know him as. The original con man who stole from James Ford's family will be referred to as "Tom Sawyer".
Pre-CrashSawyer; the con man whose scheme destroyed his family and his life. When James was nineteen, he was in trouble and needed money. He became a confidence man, the thing he hated most, and took the name Sawyer for himself.
Two years prior to the crash of Oceanic flight 815, Sawyer was pulling a long con on Cassidy Phillips, a woman who received $600,000 in a divorce settlement. He deliberately got himself caught pulling an investment con on her and Cassidy was intrigued by his profession and wanted to learn how to con people. Sawyer taught her some of his tricks while spending six months with her. Gordy, Sawyer's partner in the con, got annoyed and wanted Sawyer to get the money from her and go. Sawyer told him he was falling in love with Cassidy and wasn't going to go through with the con, but Gordy threatened to kill him and Cassidy if he didn't get the money. Faced with the possibility of Cassidy's death, Sawyer finished the con and got Gordy his money.
Conning Cassidy turned out to be a bad idea as she knew Sawyer's real name and pressed charges, sending Sawyer to prison. After nine months served, Sawyer heard about a new inmate, Munson, that ripped off the government for $10,000,000 and hid the money. Sawyer approached Munson, pointing out the special treatment the Warden had been giving him and how the Warden was buttering him up to get the money for himself. Cassidy later visited Sawyer in the prison and showed him a picture of a baby girl — Sawyer's daughter, Clementine. She told Sawyer they were living in Albuquerque, New Mexico and thought he might write her a letter. But Sawyer was upset about the news and told Cassidy that he had no daughter and left. Talking with Munson, Sawyer was able to get the location of the money out of him under the pretense of getting the money moved before Munson's wife found it through a private investigator. However, Sawyer gave the information to the Warden and a Treasury Department official. In exchange the remaining six years of Sawyer's sentence was commuted and he was given a "commission" for the information. Sawyer asked that the money be sent to a new account at any bank in Albuquerque under the name Clementine Phillips.
Shortly before the crash, another of Sawyer's ex-partners, Hibbs, gave Sawyer information about the original Sawyer. He told Sawyer that "Frank Sawyer" was now a fried shrimp stand owner in Sydney, Australia under the name Frank Duckett. Sawyer flew to Australia, appropriated a handgun from a man that knew Hibbs and confronted Duckett. However, he found himself unable to pull the trigger and headed back to Sydney. While at a bar, Sawyer met Jack's father, Christian Shephard. Christian gave him advice that ultimately led to Sawyer returning to Duckett and shooting him. But Sawyer learned Duckett wasn't Tom Sawyer, rather Hibbs wanted Duckett dead for owing him money. Sawyer returned to Sydney, was arrested for head-butting a politician and was on Oceanic flight 815 for deportation from Australia.
Immediately after the crash, Sawyer became the loner of the survivors and looted the wreckage and bodies for his own stash. He looted the service weapon and badge from the Marshal. He later used the weapon to shoot and kill a polar bear, then used the last bullet in a failed mercy killing of the fatally wounded Marshal.
Wanting people to hate him, Sawyer allowed the survivors to believe he had Shannon Rutherford's asthma medicine. Unwilling to part with the information on the medicines whereabouts, Sawyer was eventually tortured by Sayid Jarrah until he agreed to tell Kate Austen for a kiss. Upon receiving the kiss, Sawyer revealed he never had the medicine. Sayid didn't believe him and, in a scuffle, Sawyer was stabbed in the arm, but the wound was treated by Jack Shephard. Sawyer later found the Marshal's suitcase containing several other guns and additional rounds of ammunition. Claiming to be able to open any lock, Sawyer was unable to crack the suitcase. Jack eventually got the suitcase safely from him by threatening to stop giving him medication to treat his knife wound.
One of the island's boars eventually found a grudge with Sawyer, destroying his shelter. Chasing the boar into the woods, Sawyer heard whispers in the wind, notably the words "It'll come back around," the last words of Frank Duckett after Sawyer shot him. He later started getting headaches that aspirin wouldn't help. Jack diagnosed him as being farsighted and Sayid fashioned a pair of glasses for him from two separate pairs.
While vying with Kate for a spot on Michael Dawson's raft, Sawyer deduced that Kate was the convict the Marshal was escorting. After he was accused of Michael's poisoning, Sawyer revealed that Kate was the prisoner to get his spot on Michael's raft back. Talking with Kate afterwards, he told her he wanted to leave because there wasn't anything on the island worth staying for. Before he left on the raft, Sawyer told Jack about meeting Jack's father in Australia, and what his father told him. The raft left the island but, that night, the Others found the raft. Sawyer was shot in the shoulder and fell into the water, while the raft was destroyed.
Sawyer saved Michael from drowning, getting him to a floating piece of wreckage, and revived him. He managed to hold onto his gun, but accidentally dropped some of the bullets into the water when a shark nudged the raft wreckage. Tending to his wound, Sawyer pulled the bullet out of his shoulder with his hand. He and Michael eventually drifted back to the island and found Jin. The group was taken captive and tossed into a pit. After Ana-Lucia Cortez, a fellow passenger, was dumped into the pit, Sawyer decided to use the remaining bullet to shoot their captor. However, Ana-Lucia hit him, took the gun and was lifted out of the pit.
Sawyer's captors, the tail-section survivors, eventually brought them to the Arrow, a DHARMA Initiative station. The survivors decided to go to the other side of the island where the mid-section survivors are. The group eventually left on their long journey, but Sawyer became increasingly feverish from his gunshot wound. The survivors eventually had to construct a makeshift stretcher to carry him and, after Ana-Lucia had it taken apart for vines to bind Sayid, Sawyer was carried the rest of the way to the Swan by Eko.
Riding out the fever in one of the Swan's bunk beds, Sawyer finally regained consciousness and was helped outside by Kate where he returned back to his shelter on the beach. Sawyer let Jack and John Locke out of the Swan's armory after Michael locked them in to go after Walt. He accompanied the hunting party that went after Michael. During the trek, Locke told Sawyer that he knew his real name was James Ford and asked who he got the name Sawyer from, but Sawyer wouldn't give him a straight answer. The party stumbled into a trap by Mr. Friendly, who Sawyer identified as one of the men on the boat that took Walt. The group was eventually turned back by Mr. Friendly.
After Jack took back some painkillers from his tent, Sawyer warned him to give them back. He enlisted Charlie Pace in a con that would embarrass Jack and Locke, the latter a man Charlie hated. Charlie staged a botched kidnapping attempt on Sun, making it look like the Others had returned. Sawyer noted to Kate that the details were off, suggesting Ana-Lucia was the culprit and was trying to get her hands on the guns by making everyone afraid that the Others are back. Kate had Sawyer warn Locke, and Locke had Sawyer watch the Swan's button while he removed all the weapons from the armory and hid them. However, Charlie was able to tail Locke and remove the weapons after Locke was finished. That night, Sawyer revealed to the survivors that he now had control of the guns and would die before giving up their location. Kate was angry at being used and knew Sawyer did his con to make everyone hate him.
With all the items he's hoarded, Sawyer was one of the first people to learn Sun was pregnant when he gave her a Widmore Labs pregnancy test. He eventually used his stash in games of poker with other survivors. Jack dealt himself into a game and Sawyer eventually lost all the medical supplies he stole from the Swan.
Ana-Lucia came to Sawyer for a gun, but he refused to give her one. However, she was able to manipulate Sawyer into having sex with her and Sawyer had the gun on him stolen. He didn't realize it was missing until Jack pulled a gun on him, demanding he turn over the guns. Realizing that Ana-Lucia had a gun, was alone with Henry Gale and had a motive to kill him, Sawyer accompanied Jack, Kate and Locke back to the Swan. There they found Michael shot, Ana-Lucia dead and Libby dying. Jack asked him to get the heroin from his stash so Libby wouldn't die in agony, and told Kate to go with him so she could find the guns back. Sawyer revealed that he had hidden his stash and the guns under his shelter. Sawyer turned over the weapons to Jack.
Michael hatched a plan to get Walt back, but only involving a select few people he picked. Sawyer invited Sayid along, but Michael was adamant that Sayid didn't come. Before they left, Sawyer told Jack that he had sex with Ana-Lucia and that was how she got the gun that she was killed with. Asked why he was telling him this, Sawyer told Jack that he was the closest thing he had to a friend.
On Michael's hike to the other side of the island, Kate spotted and Other and asked Sawyer to help surprise them. When they opened fire, Sawyer hit and killed one of them. Sawyer wasn't happy when Jack revealed that he knew Michael was leading them into a trap, but continued on the trip anyway after Jack said he had a plan, and turning back might end up with the Others trying to kill them. The group came across a clearing with piles of tubes from the Pearl, but the group was ambushed and captured by the Others. Sawyer, Jack and Kate were taken "home" by the Others.
Sawyer woke up at The Hydra, inside an open-air cage that once housed polar bears. A young man, Karl, was in a similar cage across from him and inquired about how far away Sawyer's camp was. Karl picked the locks on their cages and they fled, but Sawyer was tased by Juliet Burke and returned to his cage. Karl was forced to apologize to Sawyer for the escape attempt and was taken away; Kate was later placed in Karl's cage. Danny Pickett oversaw Sawyer and Kate at a construction site being run by the Others. Sawyer made an escape attempt and secured a rifle dropped by Pickett, but Juliet held Kate at gunpoint and had Sawyer drop the rifle. Thrown back into their cages, Sawyer told Kate that he believed most of the Others hadn't seen any real action, but Juliet would have killed her. Sawyer was later beaten by Ben after another failed escape attempt. Ben removed him from his cage and took him for a walk, revealing to Sawyer that they were on a second island and escape was impossible. Pickett's wife was killed during a covert strike and Pickett saw Sawyer as a means to take his anger out on. Kate knew he was going to kill Sawyer and, after getting out of her cage, freed Sawyer. Sawyer refused to leave, revealing to her that they had no where to run. With escape impossible, the two slept together in Sawyer's cage. The next morning Pickett came and was about to put a bullet in Sawyer's head when Tom came over the walkie talkie and demanded that it be given to Kate. In the ensuing confusion, Sawyer disarmed Pickett and locked him in the cage. Sawyer and Kate escaped into the jungle where they were aided by Alex in exchange for helping her free Karl. Sawyer carried Karl to Alex's hidden canoe when Pickett caught up to them. As he was about to shoot Sawyer, Juliet shot and killed Pickett, letting Sawyer leave with Kate and Karl. The group make it the main island, but Sawyer decided to free Karl so Karl can go back and get Alex.
Returning to the beach camp, Sawyer discovered that his stash had been rooted through. He confronted Hugo "Hurley" Reyes about a missing bottle of scotch, but ended up helping him fix a DHARMA van found in the jungle in return for DHARMA-branded beer. Hurley later conned him into being nice to the other survivors and helping them out, as Locke, Kate and Sayid went out into the jungle in search of Jack. Because these three would have been the leaders looked to in Jack's absence, Hurley believed everyone was looking to Sawyer now until they returned. The group eventually returned with Jack, but Locke left with the Others and Juliet joined Jack. Jack and Juliet spent a majority of their time together, causing Kate to become jealous at their relationship and taking her frustration out by sleeping with Sawyer. Sawyer knew what Kate was doing and simply told her to drop the pretense and only ask him.
Locke later returned to the beach camp in secret, looking for Sawyer. He claimed to have kidnapped Ben and wanted Sawyer to kill him. Sawyer was led to the Black Rock, but he soon found himself locked inside the ship's brig with a hooded man. He discovered the man wasn't Ben, but Anthony Cooper, Locke's father. He learned from him that Locke was once paralyzed, but he also learned that Cooper was a confidence man who went by many names including "Tom Sawyer". Realizing Cooper was the man who ruined his life, Sawyer forced him to read the letter he had written to him as a young boy. Cooper was dismissive of Sawyer's letter and apparent revenge kick, and ripped the letter to pieces. In a fit of rage, Sawyer strangled Cooper to death with a length of chain. Afterwards, Locke told Sawyer that he chose him to kill Cooper because Cooper ruined both their lives and deserved to die. Sawyer received a warning from Locke that the Others were planning to raid the beach camp for pregnant women and received an audio tape proving Juliet was still working for Ben as a mole.
Sawyer played the tape to Sayid and the two decided to confront Juliet but found she and Jack had disappeared into the jungle. The existence of Naomi Dorrit, a woman who parachuted onto the island, was revealed to the Oceanic survivors along with the tape of Juliet. Jack and Juliet returned, revealing that Juliet had already informed him of what Ben wanted her to do. He had decided they were going to stop running and start fighting back. With Rousseau's help, dynamite was placed in three tents marked by Juliet. This trap was to be detonated manually by Sayid, Jin and Bernard; Desmond and Charlie went to The Looking Glass to turn of its jamming equipment, while Jack and Rousseau led the remaining survivors to the island's radio tower to turn off Rousseau's distress signal and contact Naomi's freighter. However, the survivors witnessed only two explosions when the trap was sprung. Sawyer decided to turn back with Juliet and find out what happened, but refused to let Kate go as he was secretly worried about her safety. The two made it back to the beach camp and found Sayid, Jin and Bernard being held at gunpoint by three Others. Unarmed, the two tried to formulate a plan but Hurley showed up out of the blue in the DHARMA van, running over Ryan Pryce. The second Other was killed by Sayid while Juliet, retrieving Tom's gun, held Tom at gunpoint. Tom surrendered but Sawyer shot him for taking Walt off the raft.
- Information is shown in chronological order. Episodes in bold are flashback episodes.
Before the Crash
- 2x13 - The Long Con: Sawyer falls in love with a woman who wants to become a con artist like him.
- 3x04 - Every Man for Himself: Sawyer discovers he has a daughter.
- 1x08 - Confidence Man: Sawyer works a scam in Louisiana.
- 1x16 - Outlaws: Sawyer learns where the person who stole his fathers money is living.
On the Island
- 1x01 - Pilot (1): Sawyer survives the plane crash.
- 1x08 - Confidence Man: Sawyer refuses to hand over life-saving medicine and is stabbed in the arm.
- 1x16 - Outlaws: Sawyer is harassed by one of the island's boars.
- 1x23 - Exodus (1): Sawyer leaves the island on Michael's raft.
- 1x24 - Exodus (2): Sawyer is shot in the shoulder by the Others.
- 2x06 - Abandoned: Sawyer's untreated bullet wound worsens his health.
- 2x09 - What Kate Did: Sawyer's fever breaks and he begins his recovery.</spoiler>
- 2x11 - The Hunting Party: Sawyer joins Jack and Locke to find Michael.
- 2x13 - The Long Con: Sawyer cons Kate, Jack and Locke and gains control of the Swan's weapons cache.
- 2x20 - Two For the Road: Ana-Lucia seduces Sawyer and has sex with him.
- 2x22 - Three Minutes: Sawyer turns the guns over to Jack.
- 2x23 - Live Together, Die Alone: Sawyer is captured by the Others.
- 3x04 - Every Man for Himself: The Others force Sawyer to be compliant by threatening Kate.
- 3x19 - The Brig: Sawyer finally confronts his namesake, the man who conned his parents, and kills him.
- 3x22 - Through the Looking Glass: Executes Tom for taking Walt off the raft.
- 1x16 - Outlaws: Sawyer and Kate play a game of "I never" to get to know each other better.
- 1x23 - Exodus (1): Before he leaves the island, he tells Jack about meeting his father, and that his father loved him.
- 2x09 - What Kate Did: A feverish Sawyer mumbles that he loves Kate to Jack.
- 2x13 - The Long Con: Sawyer gives a speech after revealing that he has the guns now.
- 2x23 - Live Together, Die Alone: Sawyer is captured by the Others.
- 3x04 - Every Man for Himself: Sawyer pleads with Kate that if she does love him, leave him behind.
- 3x19 - The Brig: Sawyer finally confronts his namesake, the man who conned his parents, and kills him.
- The Letter: For the Pilot, Josh Holloway was told the letter his character was reading was essentially a suicide letter.
- 1x03 - Tabula Rasa: "You're just not looking at the big picture, doc. You're still back in civilization. [...] Me? I'm in the wild."
- 1x08 - Confidence Man: "Look! I don’t know what kind of commie share-fest you’re running over in Cave Town, but down here, possession’s nine-tenths.”
- 1x08 - Confidence Man: "(Sawyer) was his name. He was a confidence man. Romanced my momma to get to the money. Wiped them out clean, left a mess behind. So I wrote that letter. I wrote it knowing one day I'd find him. But that ain't the sad part. When I was 19, I needed six grand to pay these guys off I was in trouble with. So I found a pretty lady with a dumb husband who had some money. And I got 'em to give it to me. How's that for a tragedy? I became the man I was hunting. I became Sawyer. Don't you feel sorry for me. Get the hell out. Get out!"
- 1x23 - Exodus (1): "Jack. About a week before we all got on the plane, I got to talking to this man in a bar in Sydney. He was an American too. A doctor. I've been on some benders in my time, but this guy was going for an all-time record. So it turns out this guy has a son. Son's a doctor too. They'd had some kinda big-time falling out. The guy knew it was his fault... even though his son was back in the States thinking the same damn thing. See, kids are like dogs. You knock 'em around enough, they'll think they did something to deserve it. Anyway... there's a pay phone in this bar, and this guy... Christian... tells me he wishes he had the stones to pick up the phone and call his kid. Tell him he's sorry. That he's a better doctor than he'll ever be. He's proud. And he loves him. I had to take off... but something tells me he never got around to making that call. Small world, huh? [...] Good luck, Jack."
- 1x24 - Exodus (2): "... The only letter I ever wrote is to the man I'm gonna kill."
- 2x13 - The Long Con: "That's right, Jack. (Locke)'s as stupid as you are. You were so busy worrying about each other you never even saw me coming, did you? How about you listen up because I'm only going to say this once. You took my stuff. While I was off trying to get us help -- get us rescued -- you found my stash and you took it, divvied it up -- my shaving cream, my batteries, even my beer. And then something else happened, you decided these two boys here were going to tell you what to do and when to do it. Well, I'm done taking orders. And I don't want my stuff back. Shaving cream don't matter; batteries don't matter. The only that matters now are guns. And if you want one you're going to have to come to me to get it. [He looks at Sayid] Oh, you want to torture me, don't you? Show everybody how civilized you are. Go ahead, but I'll die before I give them back. And then you'll really be screwed, won't you? New sheriff in town, boys! You all best get used to it."
- 3x04 - Every Man for Himself: "If you do love me, then go!"
- 3x22 - Through the Looking Glass: [shoots an unarmed Tom] "That's for taking the kid off the raft."