Kelvin Joe Inman was a member of the U.S. Army and later the DHARMA Initiative. He manned the Swan station after his arrival on the island, originally with his partner Stuart Radzinsky, by himself for a time, and later with Desmond.
Before arriving on the Island
Kelvin and Sam Austen prepare to release Sayid ("One of Them")
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 revealed 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 told him in Arabic that it would come in handy in the future, then released him. ("One of Them") Kelvin later told Desmond that he had been a spy for ten years but left "...because men followed my orders." ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 2")
Joe Inman introduces himself to Sayid.
On the Island
Due to his service in The Gulf War Kelvin probably joined the DHARMA Initiative sometime between 1991 and December of 1992. Determining the exact time of his arrival is extremely problematic owing to the uncertainty regarding the date of the Purge. 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.
Kelvin welcomes Desmond to the Island with a question. ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1")
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.
An enraged Desmond accidentally kills Kelvin. ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 2")
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. ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1")
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 that his 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. Desmond then pulled Kelvin's fail-safe key and left to go push the button, leaving Kelvin's body behind on the rocks. ("Live Together, Die Alone, Part 2")
- 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)
- Kelvin is of English origin, and its meaning is "of the River Clyde." It is also a unit of measure for extremely intense heat, as that of a star.
- 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.
- W. P. Inman is the protagonist of the Charles Frazier novel, Cold Mountain. Inman is a Confederate deserter during the American Civil War, whose journey home mirrors that of Homer's The Odyssey.
- 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).
- 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 Alcatraz's first episode, there is a boat named "Warden Kelvin". 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.
- Out of the main characters, he has only met Sayid and Desmond.
- Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse confirmed on the Season 3 Blu-ray special feature "Access: Granted" that Desmond did indeed kill Kelvin.
- He was singing the former Iraqi national anthem in a drunk state while telling Desmond about the fail-safe system.
- He wore a wedding band during his involvement in Operation Desert Storm, but did 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).
- Kelvin was killed in a similar manner as the doctor from Tenerife (accidentally, hit back of head, bled out, culprit took something from the victim and sprinted away from the scene of the crime).
- Kelvin's final appearance in "Flashes Before Your Eyes" was made entirely from archive footage.
Behind the scenes
- In the March 20, 2007 Official Lost Podcast, Carlton Cuse said he did not believe that the Others knew about the Swan station; however, he acknowledged that the Others might have observed the Swan through the monitors in the Pearl. Therefore, Radzinsky and Kelvin were not killed during the Purge along with the rest of the DHARMA Initiative.
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: Kelvin Inman/Theories
- What happened to his corpse? Did the Others or the Man in Black take it, or did it stay where Kelvin died?