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.
5×01 – Because You Left
Though confused by the intense white light, Sawyer was quick to notice that the smoke from the freighter had completely disappeared in an instant. Juliet speculated that the helicopter may have been on the boat when it exploded. Sawyer attempted to calm Rose and Bernard as they panicked but they informed him that the camp had disappeared. Sawyer acted increasingly irritable as the group headed towards the hatch. He first asked Daniel to give him his shirt, and then slapped him and demanded some sort of explanation about the flashes of light. He seemed uncaring that they were travelling through time, When they arrived at the Swan station he suggested to Daniel that they could warn them about not getting on the helicopter, but Daniel replied it would be futile to attempt to change the past.
After jumping back in time again, Sawyer, against Daniel’s attempts to persuade him that it was impossible, headed to the Swan’s back door to get supplies: “Food, beer and clothing”. He attempted to get through the door, shouting “It’s the ghost of Christmas future!” and angrily slamming on the door. He eventually gave up, telling Daniel “Everybody I care about just blew up on your damn boat”. He then stormed off back to the beach. (“Because You Left”)
5×02 – The Lie
Sawyer took Frogurt’s red shirt, and questioned Daniel about how they were going to get off the Island. Later that evening Sawyer became increasingly impatient with Frogurt’s pessimistic attitude and just as tensions peaked Frogurt was killed by a flaming arrow, fired by a group from within the jungle.
As the group of survivors fled, Sawyer was almost hit by one of the many arrows. He went back for Juliet who had stopped to help someone hit, and the two of them disappeared into the jungle to escape. Moving towards the creek to meet up with the rest of the group, Sawyer stepped on a piece of bamboo, skewering his foot. Soon after he and Juliet saw a group walking through the jungle with guns. They tried to stay out of sight but were spotted and held at gunpoint.
The group demanded to know who they were, and moved to cut off Juliet’s arm even when Sawyer agreed to tell them what they wanted to know. Just before it happened they were rescued by Locke and they overpowered their captors. (“The Lie”)
5×03 – Jughead
The next morning, the three attempted to gain information out of the two surviving men. After Juliet was able to determine that they were Others, one of the men, known as Cunningham, was willing to lead them to their camp. Suddenly, “Jones” quickly snapped Cunningham’s neck and escaped. As he ran away, Locke had a clear shot at “Jones'”, but refused to shoot. This lead Sawyer to take his gun and aim for Jones, but his shot missed. Sawyer followed Juliet and Locke as they tracked Jones to the Others’ camp.
Locke and Sawyer argued about their next course of action, and Juliet stuck with Sawyer. They went to rescue Faraday from Ellie who was holding him at gunpoint. They managed to surround Ellie and force her to drop her gun, however soon after there was a time shift, and as the time changed, Ellie and the Others’ camp vanished. Sawyer and his group were left standing on an empty plain where the camp had been moments before. (“Jughead”)
5×04 – The Little Prince
After the flash, Locke tells Sawyer that the only way to stop the flashes is to bring the Oceanic Six back to the Island. Sawyer questions the validity of Locke’s knowledge that the Oceanic 6 are still alive but after Locke mentions bringing Kate back he decides to head to the Orchid. On the way to the Orchid he hears screams and witness the birth of Aaron. He finds himself unable, however, to say anything to the past version of Kate; later he explains that it was because he believed “What’s done is done.”
They head for their camp in order to use the Zodiac to get to the Orchid to save time, to find the Zodiac boat is gone and the camp has been ransacked and abandoned. They also find two outrigger canoes and Sawyer discovers an Ajira Airways water bottle in one of them. They decide to take one of the outriggers before whoever owns them returns. Out in the water Juliet notices Sawyer is distracted and asks if he is okay, to which he tells her how he saw Kate in the jungle. They are interrupted though when whoever owns the outriggers give chase in the other one and begin shooting at them. There is another time shift and the other boat disappears, and the group is caught out in the rain during nightfall.
They quickly paddle to shore when Juliet asks Sawyer why he didn’t approach Kate in the jungle. At this point that Sawyer pointed out that Juliet’s nose was starting to bleed; they both become distracted by Charlotte who had just found some scattered items and what seemed like the recent wreckage of a ship. (“The Little Prince”)
5×05 – This Place Is Death
On their continued journey to reach the Orchid, Sawyer and his group stumbled upon Jin (who they thought was dead) just moments after another flash through time. They convinced him to come with them but now the time shifts were becoming much more frequent. Charlotte then collapsed and Sawyer went ahead with Locke, Miles, Juliet and Jin while Daniel stayed behind with Charlotte. They managed to reach the Orchid but it disappeared in a time flash.
Locke then found and began to descend down a well that Charlotte told them they should look for. There was another time shift and Sawyer tried to pull Locke up but it was too late. The well disappeared while Locke was down in it, cutting off Locke’s contact with the others. Sawyer desperately tried to dig to get to Locke but Juliet told him they couldn’t help him now. (“This Place Is Death”)
5×08 – LaFleur
Sawyer, Jin, Miles, and Juliet discovered that they were way in the past, around or prior to 1867, when Miles pointed out a huge statue in the distance. They viewed the statue briefly, before Locke fixed the frozen wheel and sent them to 1974. (“LaFleur”)
5×08 – LaFleur
When the well reappeared, Sawyer attempted to help Locke, but when he jumped in, he found it either hadn’t been dug yet or had been filled in. They headed back to find Daniel and Charlotte where they saw that Charlotte had disappeared after her death. Sawyer suggested going back to the beach, and Miles scoffed, but Juliet backed him up.
On the way, the group heard gunshots, and saw two Others taking a woman hostage. Sawyer confronted them and asked them to lower their weapons at the point of his own gun, but when one of them attempted to shoot him, Juliet shot him and Sawyer took out the remaining Other. They released Amy who cried out for her dead husband, Paul. She insisted that they bury the bodies of the Others, and take Paul back with her. Sawyer came up with a lie and told her that his group was shipwrecked, but they decided to help. When they got to the sonic fence, Juliet demanded that Amy render it safe. She appeared to do so, but actually just put in earplugs. When Sawyer and his crew crossed the fence, they were rendered unconscious.
When Sawyer woke up, he was confronted by Horace Goodspeed, who asked for his story. He said his name was James “Jim” LaFleur, and told him he was the captain of a salvage vessel looking for the Black Rock. Horace told him he’d be put on the next submarine out, but Sawyer asked for time to find the rest of his crew. When Richard Alpert invaded the DHARMA Initiative camp, Horace went to talk, and when he returned, he asked how well Sawyer buried the bodies.
Sawyer then went for a private talk with Richard, and told him the truth about their situation telling him that they were a third party in the incident. Richard didn’t initially believe that Sawyer was not DHARMA, but Sawyer asked if they buried Jughead and recounted Locke’s trip in 1954. With the specific name of John Locke, Richard then believed Sawyer was not DHARMA, and they hadn’t violated the truce. However, Richard still needed justice and they agreed to send the body of Paul back to keep the peace. In return for dealing with Richard, Horace gave Sawyer two weeks to find the rest of his crew.
At the dock by the submarine, Juliet told Sawyer that Locke had already saved them, noting that the flashes had stopped and they were no longer sick, so there was no need to wait for him. She explained that she had been trying to get off the Island for over three years, and that she intended to be on the submarine in the morning despite Sawyer convincing Horace otherwise. Sawyer, however, talked her into staying for just two more weeks until the next submarine trip. Two weeks inexplicably turned into three years, during which time Sawyer became head of security (under his “Jim LaFleur” alias) and entered a relationship with Juliet, Amy and Horace get married, Jin became fluent in English and he and Miles are part of DHARMA security.
As head of security, Sawyer commanded considerable respect and fear, as his staff debated about waking him up to take care of Horace, who, drunk, started tossing dynamite around near the Flame. Sawyer and Miles found him passed out, and Sawyer took him back to Amy, who admitted they had an argument before he started drinking, then went into labor.
When the DHARMA doctor admitted he had never performed a caesarian (which Amy required), Sawyer recruited Juliet, now a motor pool tech. She succeeds in saving both Amy and her child.
Later that day, as he walked outside, Sawyer stopped to pick a large yellow flower. Smelling it and smiling, he went home and gave it to Juliet, who was in the kitchen making dinner. He kissed her and told her that he loved her and congratulated her on her first successful delivery on the Island. Later that night, Sawyer talked to Horace, who was finally waking up, and informs him that he missed the birth of his son. Horace revealed the fight was about Paul, and Amy keeping his ankh necklace in remembrance. When he asked if three years was enough time to forget somebody Sawyer told a story about a woman he once loved, and who he probably could have been with. Now, he said, he can hardly even remember her face. As it became clear that he was speaking about Kate, he asserted that three years was long enough.
The next morning, he and Juliet were asleep in bed when they were awakened by a telephone call from Jin, who had important news. He didn’t share it with Juliet, but went out in a jeep to meet Jin in the North Valley. The van arrived, and Hurley, Jack, and finally, Kate, emerged from the van. Sawyer’s expression mingled surprise and relief that his friends had returned, and perhaps an indication that three years may not have been long enough after all. (“LaFleur”)
5×09 – Namaste
Sawyer had to conceal the fact that his friends had arrived on the Island. He filled Juliet in and she informed him that the submarine was bringing new people to the Island that day so he decided to have them pose as new DHARMA Initiative recruits. Sawyer gave them instructions, provided new clothing, and assured the three that they would not be detected.
Then Jin called him on the radio with a code 14-J, signaling a hostile intrusion. Jin then quietly told him that the “hostile” was actually Sayid. Sawyer arrived at the Flame, to see that Radzinsky had already locked Sayid in a room and suggested that they shoot him. Instead, Sawyer questioned Sayid, carefully prompting him to identify himself as a Hostile. Sayid played along, and Sawyer pointed out that the terms of “the truce” prevented them from simply executing the “hostile.” Sawyer then moved Sayid to another holding cell and ordered that food be brought to him, stating “We’re not savages.”
Later that night, Jack went to Sawyer’s house, where Juliet answered the door. Jack quickly realized that Sawyer and Juliet were in a relationship when he was invited in. Sawyer, sitting on the couch and reading a book, asked Jack if he’d like to take a load off and drink a beer. Jack declined, then asked Sawyer why he is not working on how to deal with Sayid and how to get them off the Island but Sawyer insisted that he was. When Jack criticized him for just sitting there reading a book, Sawyer quoted Winston Churchill, who said that reading a book every night helped him to think. He stated that it was better to think clearly than act rashly as Jack had done in the past, noting that several people had died under his leadership. Jack defended himself, stating that he had successfully gotten everyone off the Island to which Sawyer replied, “But here you are. Right back where you started.” Sawyer sternly informed Jack that he was in charge, and he would continue to do things his way, then ushered Jack out of the house. As he watched Jack walk away, he saw an unhappy Kate at the next house over. Clearly torn between wanting to talk to her and his loyalty to Juliet, he gave her a small wave and a half-hearted smile. (“Namaste”)
5×10 – He’s Our You
The next day, Sawyer attempted to reason with Sayid, offering him a chance to join DHARMA as a defector from the hostiles. Sayid refused and was brought to Oldham by Sawyer, Horace, and Radzinsky. While Sayid did tell the truth under the influence of drugs, his story was not believed.
In a meeting to decide what to do with him, Sawyer tried to convince the DHARMA council to spare his life, but is outvoted and reluctantly made it unanimous. Sawyer then returned to Sayid and suggested that Sayid strike him and run away, but Sayid again refused any subterfuge.
Sawyer then visited Kate and asked her why she returned, but before she could answer the flaming van crossed the barracks campus and chaos ensued. (“He’s Our You”)
5×11 – Whatever Happened, Happened
After the fire was put out and Sayid escaped, Sawyer was examining the security monitors and Kate approached him to ask what happened to Ben. Horace arrived and was suspicious of them talking. With the discovery of a janitor’s keys found in the holding cell, which made Jack a suspect, Sawyer saw that things were spiraling out of control. He ordered Miles to keep Jack, Kate and Hurley under house arrest in order not to complicate matters.
Sawyer then approached Roger to ask for his keys and Roger said he must’ve left them at home. Later, Sawyer tried to recruit help with little Ben’s surgery from Jack, who flat out refused. After Juliet sent Kate with Ben to take him to the Others for help, Sawyer went after and caught up with her. But he was there to help, not hinder, saying that he was doing this for Juliet. Sawyer deactivated the pylons, and they carried Ben into the Others’ territory.
Along the way she told him about his daughter Clementine, and they discussed their relationship, with Sawyer saying he and Kate would not have lasted at the time, but that he’s grown up in the past three years. A group of Others surrounded them, but Sawyer quickly took charge, demanding to be taken to Richard Alpert. The Others escorted them into the jungle, with Sawyer cracking a joke to help alleviate the tension, when Richard arrived.
When Richard asked Kate who she was, Sawyer intervened, asserting that she was with him. Richard asked if the boy was Benjamin Linus and Sawyer asked if the two had met, to which Richard did not respond. After Richard explained what would happen to Ben, and with Kate’s consent, Sawyer gave Ben to Richard to be taken to the Temple. (“Whatever Happened, Happened”)
5×13 – Some Like It Hoth
Later Sawyer called Miles and asked him to “accidentally” erase the tapes from the sonic fence surveillance. When Kate expressed concern that he could get in trouble, Sawyer smugly told her that he’s “head of security”, and that he could handle it.
After spending the day tracking Sayid, he arrived at his home, and was surprised to find Jack there. He informed Sawyer of Roger’s suspicions. Sawyer followed Jack outside as he left, only to be confronted by Phil. He had the tape that Miles failed to erase, and demanded an explanation. Sawyer invited him inside in order to “explain”, then proceeded to punch him, knocking him out. He then told Juliet to get some rope. (“Some Like It Hoth”)
5×14 – The Variable
The next morning, Jack went to Sawyer’s house to tell him Daniel had returned and had headed to the Orchid. Sawyer responded that he was too busy to help, but Juliet ordered him to explain their predicament – namely Phil, who was still tied up in the closet. Later, Sawyer met Jack, Kate, Jin, Juliet and Hurley at his house to discuss their options. He suggested that they either leave the Island by submarine before they are caught, or head into the jungle to “start from square one.”
They were interrupted when Miles and Daniel arrived, asking where he could find the Hostiles. Sawyer rejected Daniel’s plan, and became angry when Jack suggested that Kate could take them to the Hostiles. Juliet became annoyed when he called her “Freckles”, however, and gave Kate the fence code in order to send her away. Sawyer argued that Jack was making a mistake and that he, Jin, Hurley, and Juliet would meet them at the beach when their plan inevitably fails.
Later, Sawyer and Juliet were packing to leave for the beach when they were interrupted by the alarm. Radzinsky and his assistants burst into Sawyer’s house and informed Sawyer of the situation, but quickly discovered the bound and gagged Phil. Sawyer and Juliet were forced to surrender at gunpoint. (“The Variable”)
5×15 – Follow the Leader
Sawyer and Juliet were taken to the security office where they were brutally interrogated by Radzinsky. He shoved Sawyer’s face into the monitor showing him and Kate at the pylons, demanding to know where his “girlfriend” was, to which Sawyer stubbornly refused. Juliet protested, stating that they were good people. Sawyer ordered her not to talk, whatever she said, they wouldn’t believe her. Phil then took the interrogation to a more vicious level by slapping Juliet, which infuriated Sawyer. But he still refused to talk.
Chang then arrived, angrily protesting the situation. He then told Horace, Radzinsky and the others to stop the drilling at the Swan, and ordered the evacuation of the woman and children from the Island. Sawyer then proposed a deal to Radzinsky: if he and Juliet could leave the Island on the submarine, he would tell Radzinsky everything he wanted to know. He did not include his friends in the deal, curiously enough, only himself and Juliet.
On the dock, Sawyer sarcastically quipped that he’d buy Microsoft and bet on the Cowboys in the 1978 Superbowl. He apologized to Juliet and said that she was right three years ago, that he should have let her get on the submarine and leave. Juliet told Sawyer she was glad that she stayed behind. Once on the submarine, Juliet and Sawyer were handcuffed to a table in the ship’s gallery. Juliet asked Sawyer what they would do when they get to Ann Arbor. Sawyer replied that they aren’t going to Ann Arbor, and that they’d be free in the “real world”. Juliet chuckled saying she didn’t even know what that meant anymore. They held hands and said that they loved each other.
They were about to leave, when Phil brought Kate aboard the submarine, where she was cuffed with Sawyer and Juliet. They gave each other awkward looks as the submarine departed from the Island. (“Follow the Leader”)
5×16 – The Incident, Part 1
Kate tried to persuade Sawyer and Juliet to come back and stop Jack from detonating Jughead, but Sawyer stubbornly refused, saying he made a decision to leave and was sticking to it. Juliet then knocked out the DHARMA worker bringing around sedatives and told Sawyer that “we decided to leave”, and that they couldn’t let those people on the Island die. Sawyer sulkily agreed to go along. They held the submarine captain at gunpoint and told him to surface the sub, and said that after they left, they were not under any circumstances to return to the Island. They rowed back to the Island using a raft from the sub, while Sawyer and Kate engaged in wry banter about directions.
Upon getting back to the Island they spotted Vincent coming out of the jungle, followed by Rose and Bernard (now sporting a beard), who claimed they had known about them all joining DHARMA but they were retired and this was the life they wanted to live.
Upon being told about the bomb, Bernard said it didn’t matter, all that mattered to them was that they were together. Sawyer then cast an affectionate look towards an oblivious Kate, which did not go unnoticed by Juliet. Rose then pointed them in the right direction to the Barracks. (“The Incident, Part 1”)
5×17 – The Incident, Part 2
Sawyer, Kate and Juliet intercepted the DHARMA van as it headed towards the Swan station. Sawyer asked to speak to Jack, who agreed to five minutes. Out in the jungle, Sawyer told Jack about his parents’ murder-suicide, and his witness to the tragedy. Knowing when it happened, he could have gotten on the sub and stopped his dad from killing anyone, but he didn’t, because “what’s done is done”. Jack told him it didn’t have to be that way and it was his destiny to change all of their fates. Sawyer said he didn’t believe in destiny, and he asked Jack what he wanted out of all of this. Jack told Sawyer that he had Kate and he lost her. Sawyer in exasperation tried to tell him if he wanted Kate back, all he had to do was talk to her. When Jack said it was “too late”, Sawyer reminded him that if his “reset” plan worked, he and Kate would be strangers, and she’d be on her way to prison.
When even this failed to sway Jack, Sawyer decided he had had enough and punched him in the face. After a fierce brawl, Sawyer pinned Jack and demanded to know if he would stop his mission. Jack refused and Sawyer continued to beat him until Juliet intervened, shouting at Sawyer to stop. As Sawyer attempted to explain himself, Juliet told him that Jack was right, and that she was going to help him. Sawyer demanded to know where all this was coming from, as she was the one who told him to come back to stop Jack. Juliet told him it was because she saw him look at Kate. She said she loved him but she knew they weren’t meant to be together. She said that if Jack changed everything, she would have never met him, but it would save her the pain of having to lose him. She walks away, leaving Sawyer stunned. Later as they walked back to the van, they passed Jack, who looked at Sawyer and said simply, “See you in Los Angeles”.
Out by the van, Miles began to question whether or not what Jack was doing would cause the Incident, rather then prevent it. When Kate and Jin spotted Phil and the security team headed towards the Swan, Sawyer questioned Juliet whether they should help. She replies “live together, die alone”, and they head off. The van pulled up in time to help Jack, and a firefight ensued between the DI team and the castaways. Sawyer was nearly shot by a DI worker above him, but it was Kate who had his back that time as she shot the worker dead. Sawyer grabbed Phil and forced the others to drop their weapons. He shouted at Jack to drop the bomb, and he exchanged a sad look with Juliet as Jack threw Jughead into the well. After a few moments it became apparent that the bomb had failed to detonate, prompting Sawyer to grumble that they were not at LAX. Then a deep hum started far below ground, as all the metallic objects in the vicinity started to be pulled into the well. Phil managed to grab a rifle and threatened Sawyer, when rebar being yanked towards the well, impaling Phil in the chest.
When Juliet was caught in chains and pulled into the hole, Kate grabbed the chains and held on long enough for Sawyer to hear her calls for help. He grabbed Juliet’s hand and held on, yelling at Kate to free her from the chains around her waist. But it was to no avail, Juliet saw that the scaffolding was collapsing and would take all three of them down, and she told Sawyer she loved him before letting go. Sawyer became despondent with grief, and Jack and Kate were forced to drag him off the structure before it collapsed. (“The Incident, Part 2”)