|“||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.||”|
A photo of young Ingram and Finch.
Ingram was born on June 16, 1962 in Freeport, Texas.
He enrolled at MIT in 1980 and left with an incomplete BSc degree in Computer Science in 1983. ("The High Road")
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 visits Finch while he is 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 watch the news in shock, Ingram tells Harold that while they have changed as they aged, the world hasn't until this moment. Ingram proposes that they try to change the world for the better. ("One Percent")
Ingram at some point made contact with the US government to build the Machine. Ingram acted as the public face of IFT and the man the government dealt, 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 MachineEdit
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 Olivia were in the process of getting separated and Nathan is 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 demonstrates the latest progress with the Machine, Nathan remains 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")
The Machine identifies Ingram as a subject for a "potential threat."
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 miniscule one US 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 considered Ingram as the subject of 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 doesn't even remember all of the lies he's told her. He warns Finch that the truth always catches up to people. ("Til Death")
Ingram learns of the nature of the Machine.
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 back door, the Machine was relocated to its new home. ("No Good Deed")
After the Machine is shipped out on a freight train, Ingram meets with Finch in their now empty laboratory. Finch tells him that he has been thinking about Ingram's desire to help people, and proposes they use their wealth to invest in new projects, such as clean water initiatives and sustainable farming. Ingram retorts that they built the "single most powerful technology known to man, a machine that knows when someone needs help, and you just gave it away." He tells him that they had their chance to help people and they missed it. Finch replies that "we built it, and it saves lives." Ingram argues that it doesn't save enough lives, and Finch responds that the machine is gone. Ingram implies he built a back door into it, which angers Finch as they had agreed not to. He tells Ingram that they agreed not to play God, but Ingram reveals that he isn't proud of that agreement. Finch argues that they did what they set out to do, and that "either we move onto the next thing together, or we don't." ("One Percent")
Ingram leaves the meeting and the Machine sends him the number of a woman named Anna Sanders. Ingram researches and follows her, discovering that she has a restraining order out against her ex-boyfriend because of domestic violence. While watching her from his car one night, he sees a suspicious looking man with a hood and hat concealing his face. Ingram pulls out a pistol and gets ready to follow them. ("One Percent")
Ingram's number is produced by the Machine.
After having coffee one day, his phone rings, and he starts walking. He is unaware that Harold is following him. He goes into the Library, where Finch confronts him. Finch looks around, and deduces that Ingram had accessed The Machine's Irrelevant Numbers. After an argument, Harold gets on a laptop, and enters several computer codes. Unable to halt the contingency program, Finch rescinds Nathan's Admin status, just as Nathan's own number comes up. ("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 Harold Finch ("God Mode")
Ingram's bust at the IFT lobby.
Billionaire's Tragic Death
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")
- At the end of "Identity Crisis", when Reese refused to take advantage of Finch's state to satisfy his curiosity, Reese says good night and walks away, Finch replies "Good night, Nathan".
- So far, one or two characters have possibly referred to Nathan in the present tense while speaking to Finch.
- 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
- Brett Cullen, who plays Ingram, and Michael Emerson (Finch) appeared together on Lost as members of The Others. Emerson's Benjamin Linus was jealous of Cullen's Goodwin Stanhope, and sent him on a mission that led to his death.
- 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.