Michael Dawson was a former construction worker and one of the middle section survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. Before the crash, Michael lost custody of his son Walt, to his girlfriend Susan Lloyd and never got to know him. He had no access to his child until many years later when Susan died and he was awarded custody. After the crash, Michael had issues connecting with Walt but the two eventually bonded during their time on the Island. He was in charge of the construction of the raft and attempted to leave the Island with Walt, Jin, and Sawyer to find rescue. However, while at sea they were attacked by The Others, Walt was kidnapped and the raft was destroyed. They washed up on shore, discovered the Tail-section survivors of the plane, and headed back to camp. After communicating with Walt on The Swan computer, Michael ventured a rescue alone, but was captured himself. When he returned, he shot Ana Lucia and Libby in order to release Benjamin Linus from captivity, and caused the capture of Jack, Sawyer and Kate, meeting his end of the deal he had made with the Others in return for Walt. After leaving the Island on a motor boat with Walt, Michael returned to Manhattan, but racked with guilt, he became estranged from Walt and turned suicidal. In order to redeem himself he went undercover for Ben as a saboteur on the freighter Kahana, posing as a deckhand named Kevin Johnson. He was aboard the freighter when the C-4 bomb was found, and he froze its battery with liquid nitrogen to delay its detonation long enough for the Oceanic Six to escape, but the bomb eventually exploded, destroying the frieghter and killing him.
Michael Dawson was a construction worker and aspiring sketch artist. He lived with his girlfriend Susan, herself an aspiring lawyer, and the happy couple were soon expecting a new arrival in their lives. Named after Michael's father (Walter Dawson), Walt was born to them on August 24. However, not long after, Susan and Michael's relationship broke down, and when she was offered an impressive job prospect overseas, Susan took Walt with her, leaving Michael without any access to his child. ("Special")
Fighting to see his son again, Michael was abashed by his lack of legal rights, as at the time he had little income and could by no means challenge the standard of life Susan was providing for their son. After one heated phone call from a pay phone, Michael walked into the street without looking, and was hit by a car. ("Special")
In the hospital, Michael drew Walt a cartoon designed card, a tradition he had apparently kept to for many years. While recovering, Michael was visited by Susan, who told him she had paid for all his medical bills. Michael challenged her motives, and she admitted that she wanted him to sign all custody for Walt over to her, as well as allow Brian Porter, her new husband, legal parental rights over their son. Michael challenged this idea wholeheartedly, and initiated arbitration over Walt's custody. ("Special")
During a legal meeting, Susan's lawyer told Michael that "for someone who wants to retain his paternal rights so badly, you don't seem to know much about your son." This idea would later echo Michael's relationship with his son, as he was never around as Walt grew up. He then fought for his right to be Walt's legal guardian, as he was his biological father. He later met his son in New York, where he gave him a stuffed polar bear. He ultimately accepted the fact that Walt would have a better life with Susan and Brian, and said his goodbyes. ("Adrift")
Losing custody, Michael remained in America, but was contacted by Brian Porter many years later, who told him that Susan had died from a rare blood disorder. Brian insisted that Michael have custody of Walt back, and while Michael thought that this was due to him not caring about his son, Brian said that Walt was somehow different. In Australia, Michael was reunited with Walt, telling him that he would now be taking care of him. Walt asked about Brian's dog Vincent, and Michael told him Brian had said he could keep him. ("Special")
Together, they boarded Oceanic Flight 815, with Michael unsure if he could handle having a son in his life. Before he boarded the plane, he called his mom, expressed his insecurity, and asked her to take care of Walt. While he was talking with her, Locke can be seen being pushed in his wheelchair across the screen. Her ultimate answer was irrelevant, for the plane crashed, making it impossible for her to watch over Walt. ("Exodus, Part 2")
After the crash of Flight 815, the new relationship between Michael and his son was tested. Walt had only really known Michael for a matter of weeks, and did not yet respect him, or for that matter consider him his father. Much of Michael's time would be dictated by trying to build a connection with his child. ("Pilot, Part 2")
Early on during his time on the Island, Michael was particularly in conflict with Jin, who became jealous of his friendship with Sun (indeed, Michael was the first to learn her secret that she could speak English). The two men also fought when Jin found Michael wearing the Rolex watch Jin had been entrusted with by his father-in-law. ("House of the Rising Sun")
Michael also became jealous, but in this case of the bond Walt formed with Locke, so much so that he accused John of having improper motives in befriending his son. However, it seemed that Michael simply wanted Walt to engage with him on the same level as he did with other survivors, and after he saved Walt from an attacking polar bear and showed him the drawings he had made for him every year, their relationship seemed to grow. ("Special")
So much was Michael's will to take Walt away from the Island, that he began to build a raft. After his first construction was burnt down, Michael gained the help of an unlikely ally, Jin, to aid him in his new design. ("...In Translation")
Dr. Arzt informed Michael that Monsoon season was approaching and that they needed to launch the raft soon. However, Arzt later revealed to Michael that he made the story up, just to get them to launch the raft as soon as possible. ("Born to Run") ("Tropical Depression") On that same day, Michael suddenly fell ill. It was later revealed that Sun tried to make Jin ill by contaminating his water bottle, but that Michael had accidentally drank from the bottle. Michael recovered quickly and continued the build the raft. ("Born to Run")
He and Jin became strong friends, and managed to build a sturdy boat able to carry up to four people. With the boat complete, Michael, Jin, Sawyer and Walt cast off in search of rescue. However, they were intercepted by a boat belonging to the Others, and in the chaos that followed, Walt was taken, and the raft was blown up by a petrol bomb. ("Exodus, Part 2")
Michael's initial reaction is the yell for his now kidnapped son. Michael begins to sink underwater, until grabbed by Sawyer, who pulls him up onto the wreckage of what was the raft. Sawyer then starts pounding on Michael's chest to revive him. Michael wakes up and yells for Walt, despite Sawyer's advice. Michael is quick to blame Sawyer for the kidnapping, because Sawyer made him fire the flare that signaled the Other's boat. Before the two have any more time to bicker, a shark makes its presence known in the water. Michael is even more angry at Sawyer, because his bloody shoulder is what attracted the shark in the first place. Sawyer can't take this anymore and swims to another piece of wreckage, away from Michael. Michael later advises Sawyer not to take the bullet out of his shoulder with his bare hands, Sawyer says that he thought Michael didn't want anything to do with him. Michael tells Sawyer that he has no idea what it is to care for someone else. When the shark attacks, Michael helps save Sawyer. In the morning, they land back on the Island. They soon found Jin, who was being chased by mysterious individuals. ("Adrift")
Before Michael and company have time to collect themselves, they are knocked out and carried to a pit into which they are dumped. Michael and Jin give Sawyer a boost to the top of the pit, but someone sticks a knife in the pit which makes Sawyer fall. Then their captors drop in a girl who is unconscious. When the girl finally wakes up, she reveals that her name is Ana Lucia and that she was also on Oceanic Flight 815. Michael is discouraged when Ana Lucia claims she hasn't seen Walt. In an interesting turn of events, Ana grabs Sawyer's gun, punches him and then is pulled out by an ally of hers. ("Orientation")
Ana Lucia returns and points the gun at Sawyer, forcing Jin and Michael to climb out of the pit. When Sawyer refuses, Ana closes the cover of the pit. Later, Sawyer is given a second chance to come out, which he takes. They all realize that they were on the same plane. Michael introduces himself to Libby, Libby says that 23 people from her group survived. Michael is surprised when they enter the Arrow and only a few people are present. Later in the episode, Michael tells Bernard that his wife, Rose, is safe. ("Everybody Hates Hugo")
Ana Lucia decided that they were going to journey back to the middle-section survivors' camp. Michael chatted again with Libby, before he ran away, in attempt to find Walt. Jin and Eko soon pursued him and convinced him to come back and that they'd get Walt back together. ("...And Found")
Sawyer says a few choice words about Michael, not knowing that he had returned. When Sawyer's condition gets worse, Michael offers him help, but Sawyer refuses. Michael later questions Ana Lucia for being so paranoid about the Others. Ana Lucia tells Michael about the Others kidnapping twelve of her fellow survivors, to which Michael replies, "They took my son." When Sawyer collapses, Michael insists that he'll help Sawyer. He then instructs his fellow survivors on what they need to do to make a stretcher. While carrying Sawyer, they all hear the whispers. Michael then witnesses Ana Lucia accidentally mistaking Shannon for an Other and shooting her. ("Abandoned")
Sayid, who is also present at the scene, attacks Eko despite Michael's pleas. Sayid is quickly knocked out, and Ana acts hysterically, pointing her gun at Michael. Michael gets up to get a tied-up Sayid water. Ana points her gun at Michael and orders him to sit down. Michael claims that he's just bringing him water. He then tells Sayid about the raft, about Ana Lucia, and about his determination to get Walt back. Ana sends Michael to camp to get ammunition and other supplies for her. He leaves the Tailies and runs into Sun in her garden. Sun brings him to Jack and informs him about Shannon's death. Michael offers to bring Jack to Ana, but Eko who is also present takes Jack instead. Later on, Michael is reunited with his fellow survivors. ("Collision")
While all this was going on, Ben and Juliet met in the Pearl station to discuss their plan to use Michael to eventually lure Jack, Kate and Sawyer to a remote location where they would be taken captive. That same day, Michael was contacted by someone claiming to be Walt on the swan computer. ("Exposé")
That same day, while in the hatch, Michael discovers the blast doors. He asks Locke about it, who doesn't know anything either. Locke tells Michael about the Swan Orientation Film and offers to let Michael watch it. Eko asks if he can watch it too. Locke does not object. He shows Michael and Eko the film and then explains the shifts to Michael. Michael investigates the computer. He soon notices that the monitor says "Hello?". Michael types back "Hello?". When "Who is this?" appears on the monitor, Michael replies, typing "This is Michael, Who is this?". To Michael's surprise, "Dad?" appears on the monitor. ("What Kate Did")
The next day, Michael continues to communicate with "his son" on the computer. "Walt" tells him that he's OK and that he's alone. Jack enters when Michael was about to type something. Jack tells Michael that he will do everything in his power to get Walt back and that he can't imagine how tough it is to Michael. Michael thanks him and Jack leaves after glancing at the computer screen. ("The 23rd Psalm")
The next morning, Michael asks John if he can borrow some guns for target practice. Michael drops a box ammunition on the ground. When Locke bends down to get them, Michael knocks him out with the butt of his gun. He then walks over to the computer and gets instructions from Walt on where to find him. ("Three Minutes") By this time, Jack found Locke lying on the ground in the closet. Michael tells Jack that he's going after his son. Jack tries to convince Michael otherwise, but is unsuccessful and Michael locks them in the closet. ("The Hunting Party")
Michael runs through the jungle until he comes across Pickett urinating. Michael corners him, but is soon attacked by Tom, who takes his rifle. Michael flees with Pickett firing shots at him. Tom orders Pickett to stop and throws a bola that trips Michael. They put a bag over his head and gag him. ("Three Minutes")
At night, when Tom removes the hood off Michael's head, Michael's first reaction is to spit on him. Tom warns him not to do that again. Danny and Tom leave to talk to Jack, Locke, and Sawyer, Alex uses this as an opportunity to ask about Claire's baby. When Tom and Pickett return, Alex is forced to knock Michael out with a gun. ("Three Minutes")
They then take a long hike to the decoy village. When Michael first arrives, Pickett takes a blood sample from him. Michael then encountered Ms. Klugh, who asked him a number of questions about Walt's upbringing. Michael was unable to answer any of the questions asked. After being kept as a prisoner for almost a week, Michael was briefly allowed to see his son. In the emotional reunion, Walt was once again pulled away from his father after hinting that the Others aren't who they claim to be. Michael is left in tears, when Ms. Klugh approached him. She offered Michael a deal: if he released the Other who had been captured by his friends, as well as bring Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley to them, they would release Walt. A devastated Michael agreed, but added that if he did what they asked, he wanted a boat. She agreed. ("Three Minutes")
Shortly after, Juliet came in to see Michael, and told him that he can have the boat he requested. She commented that Walt is very special, and that she's glad he will be able to leave after Michael complies with their deal. Juliet assured Michael that they will honor their end of the bargain, as she let him know of her own deal that she made to save her sister. Michael asked why she would do that if she couldn't be with her, and Juliet asked, "Wouldn't you do anything to save Walt?" ("The Deal")
Michael was next seen running through the jungle and finally collapsed in front of Kate and Jack. ("S.O.S.") They brought him back to the Swan. After Michael regained consciousness, he told them that he wasn't captured and knew where the Others lived. ("Two for the Road")
When he was alone in the hatch with Ana Lucia, he offered to kill Henry Gale for her. He then turned and shot Ana Lucia. He turned around to see Libby staring at him and panicked, shooting her as well. With Ana Lucia dead and Libby slowly dying, Michael freed the Other known as Henry Gale. He then shot himself in the arm to convince the rest of the survivors that he was another innocent victim who simply got lucky. ("Two for the Road"), ("?")
Michael then rallied the survivors requested in order to "rescue Walt", insisting that he do it "his way", and refused help from Sayid who was by far the most qualified for a rescue attempt. While many of the survivors fell for the story, Sayid did not, and confided in Jack that he believed Michael had been "compromised". Although Jack had his doubts, he agreed that only Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley should go on the mission. Before leaving however, Jack secretly issued Michael a gun without any ammunition. ("Three Minutes")
Out in the jungle, Michael and his team encountered a large bird that swooped down on them. Michael attempted to shoot it by reflex and realized that his magazine was empty, and when Jack offered to reload the weapon, Michael realized that Jack was suspicious of his motives. The team was scouted by two of the Others, one of whom Sawyer killed. The surviving Other ran from the group, which made all but Jack and Michael fearful that the Others would find out their plan. Jack then revealed that the Others have already been warned, explaining to the team that Michael had betrayed them. He apologized and pleaded for their understanding, but none of them could forgive him for his actions, particularly Hurley who forced Michael to admit his part in Ana Lucia and Libby's deaths. As the team moved through the jungle, they were ambushed by the Others at the capsule dump, all of them taken hostage. The group was moved to the Pala Ferry, where Henry Gale showed his authority as the apparent leader of the Others. ("Live Together, Die Alone")
He acknowledged that Michael kept his word, and returned Walt to him, along with the promised boat. Henry told Michael that by traveling at a compass bearing of 325, they would find rescue. Michael asked Henry how he knew they wouldn't tell people where they'd been, to which he replied that Michael wouldn't dare risk letting people know the lengths he went to in order to get his son back. ("Live Together, Die Alone")
Michael then desperately asked the question on all the survivors' lips: who the Others really were. With the ominous reply and grin from Henry that they are "the good guys", Michael and Walt started up the boat and departed from the pier. While Walt looked back at his friends still held captive, Michael kept his eye on the heading - leaving the Island with his son. Even after all he had had to do, in Michael's mind the two had finally come together once more. ("Live Together, Die Alone")
According to Michael, after following Ben's bearing of 325, he and Walt eventually came to "an island with people." He sold the boat the others gave him and boarded a cargo ferry bound for the United States. After arriving home, he and Walt presumably told no one except Michael's mother who they were. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 1")
Wracked with guilt over the two murders he committed on the Island, Michael attempted to kill himself by driving his car into a shipping crate, having pinned a suicide note written to Walt to his shirt. Michael survived the crash and awoke in a hospital after a visit from his murder victim Libby in a nightmare.
Upon his full recovery, Michael went to his mother's house seeking to speak with Walt, but in a heated exchange with his mother, who was caring for Walt, Michael learned that Walt was distraught and having nightmares. Michael's mother refused to let Michael see Walt, telling Michael that Walt didn't want to speak with him, and when Michael spotted Walt in an upstairs window, Walt turned away.
Michael traded Jin's Rolex watch for a revolver and ammunition at a Manhattan pawn shop. In a back alley, he prepared to shoot himself when Tom approached with an offer of a job. A scuffle ensued, ending in a stalemate. Tom deduced that the reason Walt refused to speak to his father was because Michael confessed his murders to the boy. Tom informed Michael that he would not be able to kill himself even if he wanted to.
Michael returned to a motel room and tried to shoot himself in the head, but the gun did not fire. Michael's repeat attempt was interrupted by a television news report announcing the finding of the wreckage of Oceanic 815 at the bottom of the Sunda Trench. Michael headed to Tom's hotel room where he found Tom in the company of Arturo. Tom ordered Michael to pose as a deck hand named "Kevin Johnson" on board the freighter Kahana, a ship hired by Charles Widmore, disembarking from Fiji. ("Meet Kevin Johnson")
Michael arrived in Fiji and encountered Minkowski, Naomi, and Miles as he boarded the freighter, where Michael was told a crate had been shipped to him. While at sea, he met Frank Lapidus, who told him of his conspiracy theory that the Oceanic 815 wreckage had been staged.
Later, Michael observed Keamy, Omar, and other members of the mercenary team skeet shooting using automatic weapons, but they rebuffed his questions about their mission. Returning to his room, Michael opened the crate delivered to him to find a briefcase filled with explosives. He took the briefcase down to the engine room and prepared to activate the bomb. Libby briefly appeared to him and told him not to do it, but she disappeared and Michael shook off the apparent hallucination. He punched in a detonation count, but at the end of a short countdown, rather than detonating, the bomb popped up a flag reading "NOT YET".
Sometime later, Michael was summoned to the radio room by Minkowski, who told him that Walt was calling from the mainland. Alone in the radio room, Michael discovered that it was actually Benjamin Linus calling him from the Island. Ben ordered him to remain on board the boat, collect the names of all its personnel and relay them to Ben, and disable the radio and the engines. Ben stressed that some of the crew members aboard the Kahana were innocents and should not be killed during a war. Ben stresses to Michael that when he is at war no innocent people will get hurt. ("Meet Kevin Johnson")
Michael questions Ben's plea and asks him why Ana Lucia and Libby had to die in vain. Then Ben reminds Michael of the fact that he was never told to kill them. It was Michael's choice of action. Ben tries to comfort Michael by telling him he doesn't blame Michael, since they did have his boy and what wouldn't a man do for his son. Michael is dazed but accepts Ben's mission, to collect information about the people from the freighter, reluctantly. Ben tells him he has finally joined "the good guys". ("Two for the Road") ("Meet Kevin Johnson")
After Daniel, Charlotte, Miles and Frank left the boat to parachute to the Island, Charlotte was held captive by John Locke's faction of survivors. At the same time, Ben was being held by the same group and a debate raged between Sawyer and Locke as to whether they should let him live. Ben eventually proved his worth to the survivors by recalling information about Charlotte - and saying that he knew who she was because he had a man on her boat. Four days later, Ben revealed to Locke the identity of his spy, and several days later he revealed Michael's identity to the rest of Locke's faction of survivors. ("Confirmed Dead") ("The Other Woman") ("Meet Kevin Johnson")
Desmond and Sayid were being escorted to their new room by Ray, the doctor aboard the Kahana, until they spotted a large blood stain upon the wall of the new room. Ray proclaimed that it should have already been cleaned up and called out to Kevin, the janitor down the hallway. Kevin began to walk towards the room, and when is face was revealed to Sayid and Desmond through the shadows, they recognized him as Michael. Michael introduced himself as "Kevin Johnson," and proceeded to shake the hands of both Sayid and Desmond, who, while serious and confused, maintained their composure and kept Michael’s identity. ("Ji Yeon")
Michael was later seen on the exterior deck of the Kahana along with Sayid and Desmond observing the beating of two men by Captain Gault. Gault maintained that he wasn’t trying to hurt them, but instead trying to save them from sharing the same fate of Minkowski and Brandon. Gault then ordered Johnson to clean up after the scuffle. The people on the deck began to walk away, and while Michael was heading towards his cleaning area Sayid stopped him and asked him why he was on the ship. Michael simply stated that he was "here to die."
After, Michael was in the engine room with another man trying to fix the engines when Sayid and Desmond came down. They said that they where there to help with the repairing so Michael ordered the other man that was with him to go get a valve. When the man departed, Sayid pushed Michael up against a wall and demanded to know what happened to him from the time he left the Island to the time he made it to the ship.
After Michael finished telling Sayid how he got onto the freighter, Sayid grabbed Michael aggressively and forced him into the captain's room. There, Sayid told Gault that Michael is the one that destroyed the engine and communication rooms. He also revealed his real name and proclaimed that he was a spy working for Benjamin Linus. ("Meet Kevin Johnson")
When Keamy returned to the freighter with the wounded mercenaries following the attack on the Barracks, he questioned whether Gault had been the one to provide Ben with information about him. Gault took him to see Michael, who had been locked up following his outing by Sayid. When Michael admitted to giving Ben the information, Keamy tried to shoot him, pulling the trigger of his gun several times with no success. Instead, he knocked Michael out. ("Cabin Fever")
After this Frank enters Michael's cell and he asks him why he never told him he was a survivor of Oceanic 815. However, Michael tells Frank that it was because Widmore, Frank's boss, was the one who staged the wreckage. He then begs Frank not to take Keamy and his team back to the Island because he thinks he will ruthlessly kill everyone. Frank reassures him not to worry and he helps him out of his cell. Once out, Michael and Frank both witness Omar strapping a device to Keamy's arm. ("Cabin Fever")
After Jin, and Sun arrive on the boat, Michael informs Desmond that the engines are fixed. He then attempts to explain himself to Sun and Jin and tries to tell them he is not working for Ben, but instead to atone for his previous sins. Just then, Desmond calls to him, having discovered a large depository of C-4 in the communications room. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 1")
While attempting to stop the explosion, Michael realizes that they'll have to freeze the battery with liquid nitrogen. Unfortunately, only one canister of the substance is available. Michael delays the explosion by freezing the battery wired to the C-4, but is unable to postpone it indefinitely because of Keamy's dead man's switch. As time slowly runs out for the explosion, Michael convinces Desmond and Jin to leave the communications room. Soon after Jin reluctantly leaves, Christian Shephard appears to Michael, telling him he can "go now" (possibly in reference to the Island keeping Michael alive). Michael seeing Christian, an unknown figure to him, asks, "Who are you?" The freighter then explodes, apparently killing Michael instantly. ("There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3")
While on the Searcher, Kate and Jack discussed what to do with Aaron. Kate told Jack she wanted to take care of him herself. She didn't want to lose Aaron, especially after all the people they lost on the Island; and cited Michael and Jin as examples. ("The Little Prince")
When Locke went to visit Walt in New York, Walt asked him if his dad was back on the island to which Locke answered that the last he heard, Michael was on freighter near the island. ("The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham")
In 2007, when Michael's mother took her grandson to see Hurley in the LA institution. They shared some small talk until Walt asked why none of them came to see him and why they are lying. Hurley told Walt they were lying to save everyone left on the island, to which Walt responded "Like my dad." A visibly troubled Hurley agreed with him ("Like your dad, yeah") despite the fact that he thinks Michael died aboard the Kahana when it exploded. ("There's No Place Like Home, Part 1")
According to the official Oceanic 6 story Michael never made it off the plane after it hit the water, though in fact he was one of the first people to get off the island alive and then returned via the freighter, though he never actually went on the island.