Season: 1–6, Episodes: 104, Faction: Survivors
James Ford, better known by the alias Sawyer, and known to the DHARMA Initiative as Jim LaFleur, was one of the middle section survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. His rural Southern accent, selfishness, machismo, and folksy use of oft-abrasive nicknames belied his sophisticated and tender sides as an avid reader and a caring lover—elements of his personality that became more apparent as he spent more time on the Island.
On the Island, Sawyer used his skills as a confidence man to accomplish various ends. He hoarded material possessions to leverage power, leading to his involvement in several “A-missions”. His acts of rebellion led him to, at various times, become the most hated survivor on the island, though he still formed a bond with Kate.
In an early attempt at rescue, Sawyer left the Island along with Jin, Michael and Walt on Michael’s raft but was forced to return when Walt was kidnapped and the raft was blown up by the Others. They washed up on shore and met up with the previously unknown tail section survivors of Flight 815 and returned to camp. After pulling off a long con, he gained control of all the guns and a position of power over the other survivors. He was later captured by the Others, along with Jack and Kate, as a result of Michael’s betrayal. While with the Others, Sawyer and Kate were used as leverage to convince Jack to perform surgery on their leader, Benjamin Linus, until he and Kate eventually escaped. During the time spent on Hydra Island and through the remainder of season three, Sawyer started an on-again, off-again relationship with Kate. Sawyer was asked by John Locke to kill a man, Anthony Cooper, who was revealed to be the real “Sawyer”. After Jack called the freighter for rescue, Sawyer joined Locke and a small number of survivors sheltered in the Barracks.
When the Oceanic Six left in the helicopter, Sawyer was left behind after he kissed Kate goodbye (also whispering her to tell his daughter he’s sorry) and heroically jumped into the ocean, when the chopper was running low on fuel. This sort of ended his relationship with Kate. He and a small group of survivors underwent time shifts as a result of Ben moving the Island. He led the small group until a final time shift, where they were stuck in 1974. Sawyer joined the DHARMA Initiative and eventually became their head of security. He began a relationship with Juliet and continued to live in the 1970s for three years until Jack, Hurley and Kate returned to the Island following the crash of Ajira Airways 316.
Sawyer joined the Man in Black upon meeting him, although he ultimately betrayed him whileboarding Widmore’s submarine to escape the Island. The Man in Black however, had conned Sawyer into stealing the sub so that he could kill the remaining candidates with a bomb. After the explosion, Sawyer was knocked unconscious and brought ashore by Jack. While Jack was preventing the Island from being destroyed, Sawyer managed to escape on the Ajira plane with Kate, Claire, Frank, Richard, and Miles.
In the flash sideways, Sawyer was a police detective rather than a crook. Eventually, he was reunited with his lover, Juliet Carlson, and they moved on together with their friends.
4×01 – The Beginning of the End
Sawyer was still celebrating at the beach. While he he drank a beer, he watched Juliet dig Tom’s grave and listened as Hurley told everyone of Jack’s call. Desmond then returned to inform them of Charlie’s death and his final warning about the boat. Sawyer said they must radio Jack to warn him, but Sayid told Sawyer not to because the “rescuers” may be deceiving them; Sayid believed that if their intentions were indeed bad, they were likely monitoring communications on the Island.
Hurley settled the debate by grabbing the radio and throwing it into the ocean. Instead, Sawyer, Hurley, Juliet, Jin, Bernard, Sayid, and Desmond grabbed some guns and set out to meet up with Jack and the others in the jungle.
Sawyer tried to comfort Hurley over Charlie’s death, but Hurley did not want to talk about it. Journeying on to the cockpit, Sawyer eventually joined Locke’s side. When Kate questioned him on his actions, he told her that he was doing what he had always been doing: surviving. Along with Locke and those who sided with him, Sawyer walked off into the jungle, headed for the Barracks. (“The Beginning of the End”)
4×02 – Confirmed Dead
The next day, as Locke’s group was trekking across the Island, Sawyer noted that the group was not going in the right direction to get to the Barracks. Locke replied that they had to take a detour to a cabin, to which Hurley replied that the cabin was in a different direction. Sawyer began to question why Locke believed the freighter people were bad, and expressed doubt once Locke explained that it was Walt (or a vision of Walt) who instructed him to kill Naomi and attempt to stop the people on the boat from coming to the Island. To prove his story, Locke lifted his shirt to show the gunshot wound inflicted by Ben.
Later, he intervened when Karl was about to attack Ben, saying that Ben was only trying to get inside his head, only to end up attacking Ben himself when he antagonized Sawyer about Kate. Sawyer told Locke that they should kill Ben, saying that he was sure to find a way to cause trouble, but Locke says they needed him.
The group later found Charlotte Lewis and exhibited hostility and disbelief toward her as she told her story. Ben stole a gun and shot Charlotte, prompting Sawyer to beat him. Locke told Sawyer that he was right about Ben, then Sawyer offered to kill him, but Locke said that he would do it himself. Sawyer then witnessed Ben reveal that he already knew about Charlotte and her team. (“Confirmed Dead”)
4×03 – The Economist
Shortly afterwards, Sawyer and the rest of Locke’s group captured Sayid, Miles, and Kate at Ben’s house in the barracks. Sawyer watched over Kate as Locke and Sayid negotiated. Sawyer revealed that he did not want to leave the Island because he had nothing to go back to. He questioned Kate’s motives for leaving by reminding her that she had nothing to look forward to except jail if she left the Island. Sawyer told Kate that he would be content to stay and live on Island. Kate asked him how long they could “play house.” Sawyer said they should find out. (“The Economist”)
4×04 – Eggtown
Kate stayed with Claire at the Barracks and was visited by Sawyer. They argued about the pregnancy, and Kate was clearly still upset about the fact that he’d left her, and she tells him to go home. She later visited him, asking if he could help her break Ben out. He then reported this to Locke, distracting him for Kate; however, Locke caught Kate, banishing her from the Barracks. That night, she came to Sawyer’s room and he vowed to protect her. They kissed passionately, but apparently did not have sex based on Sawyer’s comments the following morning. The following morning, they got into a fight over the pregnancy. Kate assured Sawyer that she was not pregnant, but when Sawyer declared that having a baby would be the “worst thing in the world” for them, Kate got upset and left. (“Eggtown”)
4×06 – The Other Woman
While playing a game of horseshoes with Hurley, Sawyer saw Ben walking freely into his home. Amid their confusion about his freedom, Ben cheerfully said to them, “See you guys at dinner!” (“The Other Woman”)
4×08 – Meet Kevin Johnson
Later, Sawyer attended a group meeting at Locke’s house, where he learned that the freighter’s crew planned to kill everyone on the Island after they captured Ben. Afterward, Sawyer confronted Locke about the $3.2 million that Miles wanted from Ben. Locke replied that he didn’t think this matter was worth mentioning at the meeting. (“Meet Kevin Johnson”)
4×09 – The Shape of Things to Come
Sawyer was playing a game of Risk against Hurley when the phone rang, heralding the imminent arrival of Keamy and his team. Sawyer attempted to get all the other residents of the Barracks inside their houses, but Keamy’s group shot three survivors dead and attempted to gun down Sawyer.
Sawyer took cover and made his way to Claire’s house, which one of the mercenaries blew up with a rocket-propelled grenade. The attackers then ceased fire, allowing Sawyer to enter the debris of Claire’s house. Finding Claire still alive, he carried her back to the house in which Ben, Locke, and Hurley were taking shelter. Ben tried to prevent Sawyer from entering the house, but Sawyer and Claire made it safely inside through a window.
That night, Sawyer was present when the Monster attacked Keamy’s team. While the mercenaries were distracted by the Monster, Sawyer, Ben, Locke, Hurley, Claire, and Miles fled from the Barracks. Sawyer, fed up with Ben and Locke’s mysterious plan to consult Jacob, declared his intention to return to Jack’s group at the beach camp, and offered to take Claire and Aaron with him. Claire agreed and Miles also decided to go with them. However, when Sawyer invited Hurley to go with them, Ben and Locke demanded that Hurley come with them to Jacob’s cabin. Sawyer aims his gun at Locke in defense of his friend, while Locke aimed his gun at Sawyer. Ultimately, Hurley convinced Sawyer to let him leave with Ben and Locke, to which Sawyer complied, telling Locke that if he hurts one hair on Hurley’s head, Sawyer would kill him. Sawyer, Claire, and Miles set off toward the beach. (“The Shape of Things to Come”)
4×10 – Something Nice Back Home
Sawyer continued to behave protectively toward Claire and Aaron, imposing a “restraining order” on Miles as they headed for the beach. He was quick to get her out of the area upon the discovery of Rousseau’s and Karl’s bodies, and told her to get behind him when they heard someone (Frank) approaching through the bushes. He told them Sawyer, Claire, Aaron and Miles to hide in the bushes as Keamy and his team were coming. They hid, but Aaron let out a cry and Keamy almost investigated, but Frank convinced him not to.
The next morning, Sawyer realized that Claire was gone. Sawyer’s “restraining order” had backfired, as Miles had apparently let her wander off into the jungle in the dead of night with what appeared to be her father, Christian Shephard. Equally furious and worried, Sawyer left Miles to find Aaron when he began to hear the baby crying. Upon finding him alone on his blanket at the base of a tree, Sawyer picked up the child and began yelling for the still missing Claire. (“Something Nice Back Home”)
Sawyer, Miles, and Aaron were making their way back to the beach when they ran into Kate and Jack, who were tracking the helicopter. After a brief argument, Kate took Aaron, and she and Miles returned to the beach, while Jack and Sawyer continued on towards the chopper. They arrived at the chopper and found Frank alone, hand-cuffed to a seat. Frank warned them about where Keamy and his team were going and the danger of the Orchid. Frank promised to fly them off the Island right away, until Sawyer realized Hurley was in danger at the Orchid. Jack and Sawyer trekked off into the jungle, in search of the Orchid, to save Hurley’s life. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 1”)
They soon find Hurley and Locke at the Orchid. After Jack chooses to ignore Locke’s pleas for them to stay, they leave with Hurley.
Sawyer leaves the Island in the helicopter with Lapidus, Kate, Jack, Sayid, Aaron and Hurley. It soon becomes apparent that there is a leak in the copter’s fuel tank, and that they need to lose weight. Throwing several loose items off doesn’t have enough of an effect, so Sawyer takes a moment to size up the situation. After whispering something in her ear, he kisses Kate passionately, then jumps out of the helicopter into the sea, heroically sacrificing his escape to save Hurley, Jack, Sayid and Kate. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2”)
Surviving his fall, Sawyer swims back to the Island and finds Juliet alone on the beach with a bottle of DHARMA rum. While he is initially in good spirits, he is dismayed when Juliet points out the wreckage of the freighter. At this point the Island moves, taking Sawyer with it. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 3”)