Grew up… the son of a brilliant scientist. Walter graduated from Harvard University and went on to obtain graduate degrees from Oxford and MIT. His 169 I.Q. makes him one of the brightest scientific minds currently alive. For almost 20 years, Walter was an endowed chair of biochemistry at Harvard, where he conducted experiments with his lab partner, William Bell. His future colleague Olivia Dunham explained, “He was part of a classified U.S. army experimental program called Kelvin Genetic. They gave him the resources to do whatever work he wanted. Which was primarily in an area called fringe science... things like mind control, teleportation, astroprojection, invisibility, genetic mutation, reanimation.”
Living… locked away in a mental institution for the past 17 years. Walter was accused of experimenting on humans after one of his assistants died in 1991. He was charged with manslaughter and instituted at St. Claire’s Psychiatric Institution – with only immediate family members permitted to visit him. But after a flesh-degenerating toxin infected an FBI agent, agent Olivia Dunham sought Walter’s expertise in hopes of saving his life. Olivia blackmails Peter Bishop, his unwilling son, into releasing Walter and the three of them begin to investigate bizarre cases.
Profession… unlocking the mysteries of pseudoscience. Walter, Olivia, and Peter have been recruited by the FBI’s Fringe Division to investigate “The Pattern” – unexplained scientific phenomena occurring around the world. Security Senior Agent Phillip Broyles (Olivia’s boss) described The Pattern, “As if someone out there is experimenting, only the whole world is a lab.” Walter takes over his old lab, in the basement of Harvard’s School of Public Health, to investigate these incidents.
Interests… his son, the unknown, ginger ale, baking, candy, and prescribing himself medication (usually psychedelic drugs). As he puts it, "There is little that makes me happier than taking drugs. Perhaps administering them, designing and carrying out experiments that bend the plane of what we consider reality.”
Relationship Status… widow who longs to establish a relationship with his son. Peter does not remember much of his childhood, but firmly believes that his father was a constant source of chaos and heartache. Peter was relieved when his father left, and only talked with him once in the subsequent 17 years. Walter hopes to finally get closer to his son now that the two of them are working together.
Challenge…regaining his sanity and saving the world. Walter’s mind was seriously handicapped by the years he spent at St. Claire. With the team constantly facing high stakes, Walter struggles daily to stay in touch with reality and keep those around him safe.
Personality…brilliant, loyal, damaged. Before being institutionalized, Walter was a brilliant mastermind who (at times) lacked a moral compass. Peter eloquently described him as “the most self-absorbed, twisted, abusive, brilliant, myopic son of a b***h on the planet.” Walter’s stint at St. Claire’s left him a shell of the man he was.
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