Confidence Man (Lost)

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"Confidence Man"
Lost episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 8
Directed by Tucker Gates
Written by Damon Lindelof
Featured music "I Shall Not Walk Alone" by The Blind Boys of Alabama
Production code 106
Original air date November 10, 2004
Guest actors

Michael DeLuise as David
Kristin Richardson as Jessica
Billy Mayo as Kilo
Jim Woitas as Boy

Episode chronology
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"The Moth"
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Lost (season 1)
List of Lost episodes

"Confidence Man" is the eighth episode of the first season of Lost. The episode was directed by Tucker Gates and written by Damon Lindelof. It first aired on November 10, 2004 on ABC. The character of James "Sawyer" Ford (Josh Holloway) is featured in the episode's flashback.



Sawyer is in bed with a young woman, Jessica (Kristin Richardson). After he declares his love for her, she realizes he is late for a meeting. As he rushes to leave, his briefcase falls open, revealing thousands of dollars in cash he claims she was not supposed to have seen. Sawyer then informs her that he is meeting someone to get money for an investment that will triple his cash in two weeks, and Jessica tells him that she will get the money from her husband so that she and Sawyer can split the profit. Later, Sawyer is revealed to be a con artist in debt with a loan shark, Kilo (Billy Mayo), who demands his money, plus fifty percent, by the next day. Sawyer goes to Jessica's house to finalize the deal, but reconsiders upon seeing a small boy emerge from another room. He suddenly calls off the con, drops his briefcase of money, and rushes out of their house.

On the Island[edit]

It is Day 9, September 30, 2004. On the beach, Sawyer catches Boone Carlyle (Ian Somerhalder) rifling through his stash, and Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) attends to a wound on the head of Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews). Sayid reports his failure in triangulating the distress signal, and the destruction of the transceiver by his attacker. Shannon Rutherford (Maggie Grace) brings a bloody Boone to the caves. Boone then explains to Jack that Sawyer beat him, and that his sister Shannon's asthma has become a problem. Everyone becomes convinced that Sawyer is hoarding some inhalers from the wreck. Jack unsuccessfully demands the inhalers from Sawyer, and when Kate does the same, Sawyer says he'll give up the medicine if Kate kisses him. Kate calls his bluff and challenges him about the letter he often reads. Sawyer makes Kate read the letter aloud. The letter is addressed to "Mr. Sawyer" and explains that Mr. Sawyer had sex with the letter writer's mother and stole all of the letter writer's father's money, resulting in the father killing his wife and himself.

As Sayid and John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) discuss the attack on Sayid, Locke suggests that Sawyer is the culprit, since he is doing well for himself on the island, hoarding other people's possessions, and also seems to dislike Sayid. Meanwhile, Shannon is beginning to have trouble breathing, due to her lack of medication and panic resulting from this problem. Jack tries punching answers out of Sawyer, but he stops when he sees others' disapproval. Then with Jack's approval, Sayid ties Sawyer to a tree and tortures him for answers, revealing that he has tortured people before.

Sawyer finally agrees to give up the inhalers, but only to Kate. He again says he will hand over the medication if she kisses him, which she reluctantly does, only to find that he does not have the medication after all. Kate elbows Sawyer, and an enraged Sayid attacks him, stabbing him in the arm and hitting an artery. Jack arrives to stop the bleeding and save Sawyer's life.

Sawyer wakes up the next day, October 1, 2004, with his arm bandaged up, while Kate looks on. She tells Sawyer that she knows the letter was written when Sawyer was a kid; and also works out that the letter wasn't written to Sawyer, but by him. He tells Kate that his real name isn't Sawyer and that the letter was written to the real Sawyer, a con man, who ruined his family. He ended up becoming a con man himself, so he took the name Sawyer as an alias. He snatches the letter from Kate and tells her not to feel sorry for him and to leave.

Despite pleas from Kate, Sayid sets off to explore the island's shoreline in self-imposed isolation, needing time to come to terms with his actions in torturing Sawyer, while Sun-Hwa Kwon (Yunjin Kim) helps Shannon by making a eucalyptus salve to clear her bronchial passages. Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan) convinces Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin) to move to the caves, because they made a deal that if Charlie found peanut butter, she would move. Charlie shares an imaginary jar of peanut butter with her. Sawyer attempts to burn the letter he wrote, but he finds himself unable to go through with it.


The episode was written to humanize Sawyer and set up the love triangle between him, Kate and Jack. It also shows the moral ambiguity of characters to reveal more of their personalities, with the ones introduced as heroes doing things that are not heroic - Jack beating Sawyer and eventually asking Sayid to torture him - and a villainous one proving to be not much of a bad person - Sawyer's backstory and flashback.[1]


This episode attracted 18.44 million American viewers.[2] Chris Carabott of IGN called the episode "a well-written, fascinating character piece that does an excellent job of bringing Sawyer into the spotlight" and praising Josh Holloway's performance saying that "The success of this episode begins and ends with Josh Holloway. So far, we know that he's good at playing Sawyer: The Tough Guy, but now he has to sell a multilayered fragment of a human being who hates himself for becoming the man who destroyed his family. Holloway succeeds in creating a character that quickly unravels throughout the episode as his terrible secret is revealed" and "Holloway does an exceptional job of conveying Sawyer's disgust as he realizes what he was about to do". He also goes on to saying that "Sawyer's relationship with Kate is explored and it's a refreshing change after having 'Jack & Kate' forced upon us for the last several episode. As much as Jack and Kate appear to be better suited as a couple, Sawyer and Kate share far better chemistry. It's obvious they share a far deeper bond and that Sawyer has a superior understanding of Kate than Jack ever will". He gave it a final score of 8.4/10[3]


  1. ^ Lost on Location for "Confidence Man" (DVD). Lost: The Complete First Season Disc 7: Buena Vista Home Entertainment. 2004. 
  2. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings" (Press release). ABC Medianet. November 16, 2004. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  3. ^ Carabott, Chris (August 1, 2008). "Lost Flashback: "Confidence Man" Review". IGN. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 

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