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Nathan Ingram

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Missing info from:Prophets
Nathan Ingram

POI 0111 Nathan7

Played byBrett Cullen

NameNathan C. Ingram


Date of birthJune 16, 1962

Date of deathSeptember 26, 2010 (age 48)

Social Security #XXX-XX-1860

Software engineer

ResidenceNew York, NY, USA

OriginFreeport, TX, USA

FamilyWill Ingram - Son
Olivia Ingram - Ex-Wife


First appearanceGhosts

Latest appearance.exe

FlashbacksOne Percent
Zero Day

Images (51)

Any system can be compromised given enough time. We need an off switch, a back door, and this is our last chance to build one.

— Nathan

Nathan C. Ingram is the co-creator of the Machine along with Harold Finch, and the founder of IFT.


Early years

POI 0110 Pic1

A photo of young Ingram and Finch. (“Number Crunch”)

Nathan Ingram was born on June 16, 1962 in Freeport, Texas.

Ingram enrolled at MIT in 1980 and met Finch and Arthur Claypool (“Lethe”) (“Aletheia”) and left with an incomplete BSc degree in Computer Science in 1983. (“The High Road”).

He founded his company in 1983 (“The High Road”) along with his best friend and MIT classmate Harold Finch (known to him as Harold Wren), who disguised himself as an ordinary employee. (“Ghosts”)

At some point, Ingram gave Finch a photo of their younger selves, and wrote "In the beginning... -N.I." on its back. Finch kept the photo in a copy of Arthur Koestler's "The Ghost in the Machine". (“Number Crunch”) (“God Mode”)


On September 11, Ingram visited Finch while he was working on a new program, in order to break the tragic news of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center earlier that day. As they both watched the news in shock, Ingram told Harold that while they have changed as they aged, the world hasn't until this moment. Ingram proposed that they try to change the world for the better. (“One Percent”)

Ingram at some point made contact with the U.S. government to build the Machine. Ingram acted as the public face of IFT and the man the government dealt with, keeping up the façade that he alone was building the Machine, while in fact Finch covertly began building it. While the government suspected someone other than Ingram was working on it, Finch was able to keep in hiding and they did not find proof. (“Ghosts”)

Working with the Machine


On June 10, 2002, following another ceremony, and after dismissing half of his company's staff, (because of building the Machine) Ingram arrived at an abandoned office floor in the building, and discovered Finch's progress with the Machine. Supplied with the feeds from the NSA, the Machine could track and listen to all the citizens of New York. Finch told Ingram the next step would be teaching the Machine to pick out the terrorists from the general population. (“Ghosts”)


Nathan and his wife Olivia were in the process of getting separated and Nathan was sad about his wife extending the trial separation. He kept on working as it was the only thing that took his mind off of his situation. When Finch demonstrated the latest progress with the Machine, Nathan remained skeptic, until he learned that the Machine had been well aware of his romantic encounter with a PhD student named Molly Cole on May 7, 2004. (“The High Road”)


1x11 IngramThreat

The Machine identifies Ingram as a subject for a "potential threat." (“Super”)

Ingram met with Alicia Corwin, a government worker who supplied the Machine's various feeds. Corwin requested information regarding the progress of the Machine, and Ingram handed her the social security number of a DIA agent. The agent was later found to have been in collusion with the Iranian government to sell weapons-grade uranium.

After meeting with Denton Weeks to discuss the fact that the Machine couldn't allow a human to track specific people, Weeks threatened to reduce the payment for the Machine. He was dismayed to find that Ingram was providing it for a token payment of one U.S. dollar.

Ingram later celebrated with Finch about the Machine's success in discovering a traitor and got a closer look at how the Machine operated. It was at this time that the Machine identified Ingram as a potential threat. (“Super”)


Nathan and Olivia separated after she couldn't take his lies anymore. He admitted to Finch while meeting in a restaurant that he didn't even remember all of the lies he had told her. He warned Finch that the truth always catches up to people. (“Til Death”)


POI FB 0102b

Ingram learns of the nature of the Machine. (“Ghosts”)

Ingram learned of the Machine's programming to ignore any "irrelevant" crimes: any attacks of a smaller scale than those that present a threat to the nation. Every night at midnight, the Machine would erase the list of potential crimes. Clearly disturbed by this piece of information, Ingram stood by as Finch stated that the Machine was not built to save "someone," but rather "everyone.” (“Ghosts”)


Ingram came to realize that the people who were to receive the Machine were not entirely trustworthy. During a meeting with Alicia Corwin, he accidentally let slip that eight people knew about the Machine rather than seven. Later, he tried to convince Finch to make a back door into the Machine, only for Finch to refuse. Just prior to shipping the Machine, Ingram used his administrative access to install a new function named "contingency". After creating the backdoor, the Machine was relocated to its new home. (“No Good Deed”)

After the Machine was shipped out on a freight train, Ingram met with Finch in their now empty laboratory. Finch told him that he had been thinking about Ingram's desire to help people, and proposed they use their wealth to invest in new projects, such as clean water initiatives and sustainable farming. Ingram retorted that Finch just gave away the "single most powerful technology known to man", but Finch insisted that the Machine saves lives. Ingram said that it doesn't save enough lives and went on to imply that he had built a backdoor function. Finch was angered and reminded Ingram of their agreement not to "play God". Ingram said he was not proud of the agreement. Finch simply stated that they either move on to the next thing together or they don't.

Ingram left the meeting and the Machine sent him the number of a woman named Anna Sanders. Ingram researched and followed her, discovering that she had a restraining order out against her ex-boyfriend because of domestic violence. While watching her from his car one night, he saw a suspicious-looking man with a hood and hat concealing his face. Ingram pulled out a pistol and got ready to follow them. (“One Percent”)



Ingram's number is produced by the Machine. (“Zero Day”)

After having coffee one day, Ingram's phone rang, and he started walking. He was unaware that Finch was following him. He went into an abandoned library, where Finch confronted him. Finch looked around, and deduced that Ingram had accessed The Machine's Irrelevant Numbers. After an argument, Harold got on a laptop, and entered several computer codes. Unable to halt the contingency program, Finch rescinded Nathan's Admin status, not noticing Ingram's number coming up before the contingency shut down. (“Zero Day”)

While waiting to board the ferry to meet with a reporter in order to tell them about the Machine, a van loaded with explosives detonated; killing Ingram and severely wounding Finch. Finch woke up in time to see doctors pronounce Ingram dead. (“God Mode”)


After Ingram's death, Finch returned to the Library and checked the irrelevant list, finding his name on it. Moments later, the irrelevant list was erased along with Ingram's name. Finch then reactivated the contingency function to begin saving the irrelevant numbers himself. (“God Mode”)

Although not yet shown, Will Ingram and Alicia Corwin both mention Ingram's funeral. (“Legacy”) (“Wolf and Cub”)

POI 0102 Bust1

Ingram's bust at the IFT lobby. (“Ghosts”)

A bust of Ingram's head was placed at IFT's lobby, recognizing him as "The Founder." (“Ghosts”)
Shortly after his death, an article was published on the News on 10 website. (“Legacy”)

Billionaire's Tragic Death
by Mark Cyr
Nathan Ingram, the highly esteemed visionary and charismatic founder of IFT, has died. He was 48. His friends and family are overwhelmed by the wave of sympathy and support from the employees who worked with him, as well as from the general public and devotees of IFT's ubiquitous technology. It seems as if no one can get through the day without having an interaction with something, be it their car or computer, that has been touched by IFT. (...)

While under the influence of ecstasy, Finch appeared to believe that his accomplice, John Reese, was in fact Ingram. When wishing him goodnight, Finch referred to Reese as "Nathan." (“Identity Crisis”)


  • Ingram is identified by the Machine as "AUX_ADMIN" (“One Percent”)
  • Ingram is the creator of the Machine's backdoor "CONTINGENCY" routine, which later allows Harold and John's current access to the irrelevant numbers. (“No Good Deed”)
  • Other than the bust in the IFT lobby, the Machine states his year of birth as 1956 (1956/6/16 in Freeport, TX). (“Super”) Brett Cullen was born August 26, 1956 in Houston, TX.
  • Ingram acknowledges that most of Finch's aliases are based on birds. (“Zero Day”)
  • So far, one or two characters have possibly referred to Nathan in the present tense while speaking to Finch.
  • In the simulation where the Machine was not created, Nathan was still alive and he was working with Finch. He didn't show any concerns about failing to create the Machine. He was also still married to his wife Olivia and had earned a great deal of money through government contracts, enough that he and Finch would never have to work again. (“.exe”)
  • In the Machine's simulation of the world where it didn't exist, Ingram says that if the government wants something like the Machine so bad, it will eventually get it if it doesn't have it already. This may have been early foreshadowing of Samaritan's existence in that simulated world. (“.exe”)


  • In the casting call for the role of Ingram, he is described as

MALE (40-55; any ethnicity) - INGRAM. A telegenic tech mogul in the mold of Steve Jobs, he's a friend and partner of Finch's. The face of Ingram Technologies, their collaboration has made Ingram one of the richest men in the world. RECURRING GUEST STAR

  • During a flashback to 2010 in the episode “Zero Day”, Harold and Nathan are in Nathan's apartment. Harold is excited due to his preparing to propose to Grace Hendricks. Nathan says, "We need something better than this" (referring to the drink), and he leaves. Suddenly Nathan's phone buzzes and a look of worry comes on Harold's face, and he begins to suspect Nathan may have altered the machine. Harold's suspicions are confirmed when he follows Nathan inside an abandoned library owned by Finch and sees Nathan using a contingency program to access the "Irrelevant list" in order to save their lives.

Appearances (all in flashbacks/simulations)

Season 1

Season 2

Season 4

Season 5

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