On the plane...
He drove Sayid
to being a torturer.
He was partners with Desmond
in the Swan.
S1 - S2 - S3 - MP - S4 - S5 - S6
Kelvin Joe Inman maintained the Swan station, originally with his partner Stuart Radzinsky, then by himself for a time, and later with Desmond.
Before arriving on the Island
Before Kelvin arrived on the Island he was involved with the U.S. military in the Gulf War. During the war, he was connected with Sam Austen, Kate's stepfather, and manipulated Sayid, forcing him to act as a translator and torture Iraqi prisoners for information (although later Kelvin reveals that he can speak Arabic himself). After the war ended, Inman transferred a handcuffed Sayid to a deserted area and gave him money, including "bus fare" back to Ramadi. Addressing Sayid's disapproval of the torture methods he forced him to use, he tells him in Arabic that it will come in handy in the future before releasing him. Kelvin later told Desmond that he had been a spy for ten years but left because "...men followed my orders."
He was later recruited by the DHARMA Initiative, possibly before the Purge, which presumably brought him to the Island. (Official Lost Podcast transcript/January 29, 2009)
On the Island
Kelvin joined the DHARMA Initiative sometime between 1991 and December of 1992. It is likely that he joined in 1991, since the Purge took place in 1992. It is unknown exactly how Kelvin came to the Island. He became the operator of the Swan research station with his partner, Stuart Radzinsky. According to Kelvin, Radzinsky committed suicide by putting a shotgun in his mouth and firing it, leaving a blood stain on the ceiling. Kelvin later buried him in between pushing the button. Kelvin and Radzinsky were the only known survivors of the Purge that hadn't defected to the Hostiles.
When Desmond's boat shipwrecked in 2001, Kelvin was on the beach and rescued him. He asked Desmond the snowman joke, and "Are you him?". When Kelvin realized that Desmond was not the man he expected, he showed him the station's orientation film, and enlisted him as his partner to push the button in the Swan.
Kelvin continued working on the blast door map after Radzinsky died. This map was meant to plot the locations of the other DHARMA stations on the Island. Kelvin also told Desmond about the fail-safe key.
Kelvin planned to escape the Island by secretly repairing the sailboat Elizabeth, under the guise of investigating the Island. He always donned a HAZMAT suit when he left the hatch. On September 22, 2004, as Kelvin went to repair the boat, Desmond noticed the suit was damaged. He followed Kelvin and watched him take it off outside the hatch. Desmond continued following him until Kelvin confronted him at the cove. He asked Desmond to join him, but Desmond refused. He attacked Kelvin, and accidentally killed him by slamming his head against the rocks. He then left to go push the button, leaving Kelvin's body behind on the rocks.
- He was singing the old Iraqi national anthem in a drunk state while telling Desmond about the fail-safe system.
- Kelvin is of English origin, and its meaning is "friend of ships". Also possibly a place name referring to a river.
- His name may be a reference to Lord Kelvin, an Irish physicist, following the convention of characters named after famous scientists, e.g. Daniel Faraday and George Minkowski.
- His name was listed as "Joe Inman" in the script for "One of Them", despite never being used in the dialogue for that episode. This was done on purpose because TV Guide has a tendency to name characters even when they aren't referred to by name in the actual episode. If the name "Kelvin" had come up, fans would have instantly tied him to the "Kelvin" Desmond mentioned in "Orientation." His full name, thus, is "Kelvin Joe Inman." (Official Lost Podcast transcript/May 26, 2006)
- Wears a wedding band during his involvement in Operation Desert Storm, but does not appear to wear one while on the Island.
- The Kelvin scale is a thermodynamic (absolute) temperature scale where absolute zero, the theoretical absence of all thermal energy, is zero (0 K).
- His name is similar to Bobby Ray Inman, who was Vice Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1976-1977 (Bobby Inman was also Director of Naval Intelligence prior to being Vice Director of the DIA, and following the DIA he was director of the National Security Agency and Deputy Director of the CIA). This accords with Kelvin Inman's relationship with the DIA and his claim of being a spy.
- His name is also similar to the British surgeon Thomas Inman, who established one of the first theories about the origin of the Ankh symbol in 1869.
- Kris Kelvin is the main character in Stanisław Lem's novel Solaris, which has an alien planet and a human research station on it, that, respectively, bear some similarities to the Island and to the Swan station (Kris Kelvin's role in the novel as an outsider coming to the Solaris station parallels Desmond more than Kelvin Inman).
- Kelvin was the last known working member of the DHARMA Initiative.
- The Name "Kelvin" is frequently used by J.J. Abrams in his works as a reference to his grandfather, Henry Kelvin. In Fringe, there is a project called "Kelvin Genetics." In Mission Impossible 3, there is a letter addressed to H. Kelvin. The Star Trek movie directed by Abrams and produced by Damon Lindelof had a Starfleet ship called Kelvin.
Behind the scenes
- Do not answer the questions here.
- Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Kelvin Inman/Theories
- How and when did he get to the island?
- Why was someone like him selected for the Swan?
- How long was Radzinsky in the Swan station with him?
- Why did he continue to push the button even after the purge?
- Why did he think he could escape on the boat Desmond brought to the island?