Olivia Dunham

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Olivia dunham pensive.jpg
Profession:  Special Agent, FBI Portrayed by:
AnnaTorv.jpg
Anna Torv
Also Known As:  "Sweetheart", "Liaison", " "Liv", "Olive", "Livvy", "Han"
Family:  Henrietta - daughter, Rachel - sister, Ella - niece, Marilyn - mom
Peter - soulmate/significant other, Missy - aunt, stepfather - name unknown
Connections:  John Scott, Lucas Vogel, Col Henry Jacobson, Nick Lane, William Bell, Sam Weiss, Marilyn Dunham, Cameron James, Henry Higgins, Christopher Broyles, Simon Phillips
Images of Olivia Dunham    Alternate Version    


Olivia Dunham is a hand-picked FBI Agent assigned to the Fringe Division multi-agency task force, with the mission to respond to the events known as The Pattern, the Observer Invasion, and to collaborate with the forces from the alternate universe who previously prepared to destroy her universe.

See Also: Jeff Pinkner's comment

Contents

About

Leader of the Fringe Division Science Team.

Dunham was involved in an intimate relationship with her work partner, John Scott, in the year leading up to the Flight 627 incident (Pilot). They were sharing a bed at an unidentified motel at the time the plane made its automated landing. When Olivia's cell phone rang, she addressed the caller as "sir" and immediately dressed and left the motel. She was later annoyed when Broyles trivialized her participation in the investigation by referring to her as "liaison" in a sarcastic tone, sending her on what appeared to be a useless inquiry at a storage facility and quibbling over her identification of Walter Bishop as a potentially valuable person. While investigating, Olivia has her first encounter with Nina Sharp, who mentions The Pattern. By the end of the first episode, Olivia had won Broyles' respect.

When assigned to investigate the death of a woman who died giving birth of baby who, in turn, died of old age within three hours, Olivia recognized similarities to a serial murder case she and John Scott had worked. The serial murderer killed his victims to remove their pituitary glands. Olivia has her second encounter with Nina when the Science Team needs to borrow a high technology camera. While waiting to see Nina, Olivia imagined Broyles asking her if she was "safe" the last time she was intimate. She was startled, then entered a dream sequence in which she became pregnant nearly to term; the dream ended when Nina's assistant announced that Sharp was available to talk to Olivia. After tracking down the killer, who was unable to acquire enough pituitary glands to prevent his aging. Olivia watches as the man dies of old age. Olivia is surprised when, upon returning the camera to Massive Dynamic, Nina offers her a job at Massive Dynamic, luring her away from her Federal law enforcement duties.

On her birthday (The Cure) she received an envelope with no postage containing an unsigned card. The message on the card was "Thinking of you."

Targeted by Jones in Safe

Before his death, Dunham confided in her friend, Senior Agent Charlie Francis, who was aware of her secretive relationship. He consoled her on the loss of Agent Scott.

She has travelled to the alternate universe several times, has met with William Bell and has been captured by US Secretary of Defense Bishop. He attempted to implant the memories of his Agent Dunham in her.

Background

When she was three years old, Olivia was living in Jacksonville, Florida because her father was stationed at the local military base. During a telephone conversation with Nina Sharp (Ability), she learns
Having a less than stellar day (Subject 13)
that a small trial of the drug Cortexiphan, previously thought to have been tried only in Ohio, was held in Jacksonville, using school children as test subjects.

As a child, Olivia suffered because her stepfather, when drunk, would accuse her mother of seeing other men and beat her. Olivia's mother never reported the assaults to the police. When Olivia was nine, her stepfather broke her mother's nose and left the house, driving away. Olivia heard her stepfather's car returning; she picked up his handgun and shot him twice when he entered the house. She regrets not having killed him. He recovered from his wounds and one day, without warning, departed for an unknown destination. Olivia told Peter that she first knew what she wanted to do in life since she was nine.

At some point, Olivia attended boarding school (Safe).

While serving as a US Marine Corps special investigator, Dunham helped prosecute the best friend of her current supervisor, DHS Special Agent Phillip Broyles. Charges involved the assault of three Marine Corps privates.

At some point in her life, Olivia acquired the ability to remember sequences of numbers and to count cards.

Every birthday, Olivia receives mail from her estranged stepfather to remind her that he is still out there somewhere.

While abducted (Bound), Olivia received a spinal tap ordered by David Jones to determine if she had Cortexiphan in her system. The results were positive.

Adjusted Background

  • In the Season 4 timeline, she tells Bolivia Dunham that she killed her father because he was abusive. She does not share how, or when in her life, she did this. (One Night In October)
  • She shares that she had run-away as a child, and seeks maternal comfort from Nina who jokes about the awkwardness of a high school boy asking her to the prom. (Subject 9)
  • She tells Lee that she and her sister were kept from entering the foster care system by Nina after their mother died. (Novation)

Quotes

  • "I've been trained for a lot - hostage crises, terror campaigns, suicide bombers, chemicals attacks, but, you know the things I have seen since I started working for you... If I'm gonna do this job, I need to know what it is I'm dealing with." - to Broyles (trying to convince him she needs more disclosure from him. (The Ghost Network))
  • "What you said before... I know what it's like to have a hole in my life. It's been there as long as I can remember. I told you about the incident on the plane. After that, Broyles asked us to join Fringe Division, and somehow I knew that this is where I would find... my answers." - to Agent Lee (on his first day in the division, consoling philosophy after the deeply personal loss of a fellow agent and good friend. (Neither Here Nor There))
  • "Nina, our universe is breaking down. If this man has any information about the Machine, then I need to know who he is and what he told you." - to Nina (trying to save the two universes, only to learn a few seconds later that she is very familiar with the First People hero of the day - Sam Weiss. (Brave New World, Part 1))
  • "I met a woman today. She'd just lost her husband, and as she was talking about him and her marriage, as much as she wanted to be, she -- she wasn't in love. As I was listening to her... I realized what she was saying. She had let go of the possibility of love... of finding love. And I could see myself in her. I didn't like who I was. Now, all of these... memories and feelings that I'm experiencing, they're from a -- a better version of me. I've decided to let things run their course." - to Nina (releasing herself to the metaphysical transition that Peter brought with his return from non-existence - course correcting the universe and the paradox that them not being together caused. (A Short Story About Love))
  • "I don't know what's happening to me. What I'm becoming. I've got this -- this power inside me that terrifies me because I don't understand it, and I just -- I just want it out." - to Peter (fearful at the Cortexiphan powers she is just now manifesting in the adjusted timeline following his metaphysical return, and the paradox that was always meant to be corrected. (Brave New World, Part 1))
  • "I wanted so much to be a mother, but... I just... didn't think that I was programmed that way. That I was... destined for something else. Ever since I was a kid, ever since the Cortexiphan Trials, I just... I was at odds. So how could I have this incredible little girl? So, when we lost her, I felt like that was my punishment... my punishment for being too conflicted to appreciate her when we had her." - to Peter (reflecting on their relationship split after Henrietta disappeared during the Observer invasion and the separate paths they pursued in their grief. (The Recordist))
  • "I’ve lost you before over this, and I’m not gonna let that happen again. Now, your thinking is way ahead of mine - I understand that, but the fact that I am here has got nothing to do with anything except feeling. And soon, you're not gonna be able to feel anything, Not for me, not for ‘Etta." - to Peter (trying to coax him to remove the Observer tech implant in his brain stem before he totally disassociates with his own humanity. (The Human Kind))

Trivia

  • Olivia Dunham was named Olivia Warren in the developmental, pre-(Pilot) script.
  • Olivia's apartment is: 1124 Strathmore Blvd, Brighton, MA 02135 (The No-Brainer)
  • Olivia's office number was 2168 (Pilot)... then 3233 (Power Hungry).
  • Olivia offered 7-18-6-22-7-9 to identify herself when she needed to have her cell phone traced (The Arrival).
  • Olivia introduces herself to David Esterbrook as Amanda Bennet (The Cure) after selecting Bennet's name tag from an unattended table.
  • Olivia speaks German fluently (In Which We Meet Mr. Jones).
  • Olivia had oboe lessons for six months (The Equation).
  • Olivia introduces herself to a bartender (Safe) as Stephanie.
  • Olivia speaks Mandarin (Midnight).
  • Olivia understands and speaks some Arabic (Fracture).
  • Olivia has Peter Bishop on speed dial behind her sister Rachel and Mr. Iyer from the Indian take-out place (Olivia. In The Lab. With The Revolver.).
—   Plot Relevant Questions   — Address theories about questions on Olivia Dunham/Theories   Ask minor questions on the Talk Page  

 1) Do not answer the questions here.
 2) Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.

  • Why was she hesitant to tell John Scott that she loved him? (Pilot)
  • Why did she see her Uncle's kayak during her vision of John? (Pilot)
  • Why did her uncle's kayak have the Circles? (Pilot)
  • Who sends her unsigned cards on her birthday? (The Cure)
  • Was she able to survive near brain death because of latent Cortexiphan in her system? (A New Day In The Old Town)
  • Is her superior memory as an adult a result of Cortexiphan testing as a child? (Jacksonville)
  • Is VPE exclusive to the alternate universe? (Bloodline)

Characters

Central Characters: Olivia DunhamPeter BishopWalter BishopPhillip BroylesAstrid FarnsworthNina Sharp
Central Characters (alt): Bolivia DunhamSecretary BishopColonel BroylesLincoln LeeAgent FrancisAgent FarnsworthBrandon Fayette
Recurring Characters: The ObserverAgent LeeHenrietta BishopEllaBellCaptain WindmarkRachelBrandonSam WeissDavid Jones(alt) Nina SharpCharlieHenry HigginsSanford HarrisMitchell LoebJohn Scott
Additional Characters: Episodic CharactersMinor Characters