2x13 sawyer

Sawyer working a con. ("The Long Con")

Deceptions and cons are a frequently occurring theme of Lost and an integral part of the drama and plotline of the show. Nearly every main character and many others have engaged in one, and many of the cons can be quite intricate and complex. Two of the show's main characters are themselves experts in this field; professional con man Sawyer, and expert manipulator Ben Linus.


Ana Lucia

Character Deceptions/Cons
Ana Lucia Cortez


Charlie Pace


Hugo "Hurley" Reyes


Jack Shephard


Katherine "Kate" Austen


Michael Dawson


James "Sawyer" Ford


Sayid Jarrah


Shannon Rutherford
  • Convinced Boone that her boyfriend Bryan was beating her so that Boone would pay off Bryan to leave her, and they could split the money. But her plan backfired when Bryan took the money and left. ("Hearts and Minds")
  • Re-established her connection to Boone, her stepbrother, by sleeping with him. ("Hearts and Minds")
  • Feigned interest in Charlie so that he'd catch a fish for her. ("Walkabout")


Sun-Hwa Kwon


Walt Lloyd

Nikki and Paulo

Paulo and Nikki

Flashback characters[]

Character Deceptions/Cons

Anthony Cooper

Locke dad
Anthony Cooper
  • Conned James Ford's parents under the name Tom Sawyer.
  • Used Locke's mother to con him into giving away his kidney.
  • Is a professional con man.
  • Faked his own death to escape his creditors.
  • Used Locke again in a money-transfer scam.
  • Failed at conning Mrs. Talbot in a wedding con.


Cassidy Phillips
  • Fledgling con woman, trained by Sawyer as part of a long con.
  • Began by convincing people at gas stations to buy fake jewelry.
  • Conned the authorities into revealing themselves by impersonating Kate.

Eddie Colburn

Eddie Colburn
  • Undercover police agent who pretended to be a hitchhiker drifter to befriend Locke.
  • Secretly operated a sting to uncover Jan and Mike's marijuana-growing operation.

Dr. Je-Gyu Kim

Dr. Je-Gyu Kim
  • Told Jin and Sun while they were together in his doctor's office that Sun was incurably infertile due to advanced endometriosis.
  • Later accosts Sun when she is on the street alone to tell her that he had lied and Jin was the infertile one.
    • Claims that he couldn't tell him, for fear that an employee of Mr. Paik would want retribution if he gave him such news.
  • Unknown motivations, and unknown which version was a lie at this point.




Kelvin Joe Inman
  • Led Sayid to believe he couldn't speak Arabic so that Sayid would torture Tariq.
  • Got Desmond to live with him in the Swan for years and believe in the Sickness, when he himself did not.
  • During this time, secretly fixed Desmond's boat (the Elizabeth), in the hopes of escaping the Island and leaving Desmond to push the button.

Richard Malkin

Richard Malkin
Richard Malkin
  • Originally read Claire's fortune as a psychic, and told her that her baby was in great danger if she did not raise it herself.
  • Later gave her the option of meeting with a mysterious couple in L.A. who wanted to adopt the baby and give her money
  • When he met Eko he told him he was not psychic, but pretended to earn a living.
  • Unknown motivations, and unknown which version was a lie at this point.

Sam Austen

Sam Austen
  • Always knew that Kate was not his biological daughter, but let her believe otherwise.

The Others[]

We did all this because the only way to gain a con man's respect is to con him. And you're pretty good, Sawyer. We're a lot better. -- Benjamin Linus ("Every Man for Himself")

Character Deceptions/Cons

The Others

The Others
  • In the first two seasons, The Others went to great lengths to present themselves as uncivilized, unevolved primitives to the Losties.
    • Initially, Tom wore a distinctive fake beard.
    • They were shown wearing dirty clothes, later revealed to be costumes, such as when Eko and Jin saw them walk through the jungle; only seen from the leg down, their clothes appeared simplistic and raggedy.
    • They even used an entire decoy village that appeared very run-down; nothing like the highly modern Barracks that they actually lived in.


Henry Gale
Benjamin Linus

Ben is notorious among the show's characters for being an expert manipulator and liar.

  • Convinced most of his people (except for Richard Alpert) that he was born on the Island. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")
  • Posed as Henry Gale when captured by the Losties. ("One of Them")
  • Set up an elaborate plan that included using Michael to lure Jack, Kate and Sawyer into an ambush. ("Exposé")
    • As a part of the plan, Jack would eventually be convinced to treat Ben's medical condition, a tumor on his spine.
  • Sent spies to infiltrate the Losties. ("A Tale of Two Cities") Ethan to infiltrate the mid-section Survivors, and Goodwin to infiltrate the Tailies. However, it appeared that he knowingly sent Goodwin on a mission he knew would be fatal because of his affection for his wife.
  • Attempted to manipulate Jack, Kate and Sawyer (during captivity) toward unknown ends.
    • Used Juliet's resemblance to Jack's ex-wife to manipulate him.
    • Pushed Kate and Sawyer into a situation where their emotions for each other would likely come out in the open.
  • Tricked Sawyer into believing they had implanted a pacemaker in his body that would cause his heart to explode if it started beating at a certain number per minute. ("Every Man for Himself")
  • Manipulated Locke into following through on his plan to blow up the submarine by making him think that he didn't want it to happen. ("The Man from Tallahassee")
  • Told Jack that the others were going to kill Jin, Sayid, and Bernard if he didn't give up the satellite phone. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")
  • Told Alexandra that her mother was dead. ("The Man from Tallahassee")
  • Told Locke that he had no idea why Charles Widmore wanted the island, but later revealed that he did know. ("The Other Woman")
  • Told Jack that he had not spoken to Locke, yet Ben was actually the one who killed Locke. ("Because You Left")
  • Sarcastically told Jack that his mother taught him to read, even though she had died in childbirth. ("316")
  • Originally claimed his reason for visiting the Monster had nothing to do with Alex's death. ("Dead Is Dead")
  • Admitted to Locke that he had never met, seen, or even spoken to Jacob. ("The Incident, Part 1")


Ethan Rom
  • Pretended to be a crash survivor to infiltrate the group on Ben's orders.


Goodwin promo
  • Pretended to be a tail-section survivor to report on them.


Juliet Burke
  • Took part in Ben's plan to "break" Jack, using her own resemblance to his ex-wife Sarah.
  • Gave Jack a speech about the importance of saving Ben's life, while simultaneously playing him a video of herself holding cue cards asking Jack to play along but then kill Ben during the surgery. ("The Cost of Living")
  • Attempted to manipulate Kate into thinking they were "in it together" by handcuffing herself to her and putting her out in the jungle. ("One of Us")
  • Agreed to infiltrate the survivors for Ben and collect information on the pregnant women among them. ("One of Us")
  • Double-crossed Ben and told Jack about the planned raid on the beach camp by the Others. ("Greatest Hits")


Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Bakunin


  • Told Jack and Hurley he would lead them to the Temple, but took them to the Black Rock instead. ("Dr. Linus")




5x16 Jacob
  • Told Sayid he was lost in Los Angeles to lure him away from being hit by the car that killed Nadia. ("The Incident, Part 1")
  • Told Hurley he and Jack needed to operate the Lighthouse, but later admitted he really wanted them away from the Temple. ("Lighthouse")
  • Did not know how to lie, according to his Mother. ("Across the Sea")
  • Deceived his twin when asked whether Mother knew of their visits. ("Across the Sea")

Other characters[]

Character Deceptions/Cons

The Man in Black

5x16 Nemesis
The Man in Black
  • One of the Man in Black's powers was his ability to impersonate the deceased perfectly, in terms of both appearance and voice. In general, this has granted him a great capacity to manipulate others and he almost certainly used it many times over his millennia spent on the island.
  • Throughout the fifth and six seasons, The Man in Black deceived everyone remaining on the island into thinking he was John Locke, all in a successful ploy to con Ben into killing Jacob by convincing Ben that Jacob was the cause of Ben's fall from grace. By the sixth season, it was figured out that he was an impostor. ("The Incident, Part 1")
  • Unable to kill Jacob's remaining candidates directly due to the Rules, The Man in Black fooled them into bringing a bomb onto Widmore's submarine (the survivors thought they were taking him surprise by trying to escape in it, but he knew they would). Jack had deduced that he wanted one of the survivors to attempt to defuse the bomb, which would in turn trigger it, thus being a loophole for the Man in Black's inability to kill them directly. An unconvinced Sawyer attempted to defuse the bomb, but this triggered it, resulting in the deaths of Sayid, Sun and Jin.


Although unconfirmed, it seems very likely that the entire The Pearl station was a deception. Its workers were led to believe that for the purposes of a psychological experiment, they were monitoring inhabitants of another DHARMA Initiative station, The Swan, who had been pushing the button on a computer. The people working at The Pearl would believe that the button had no purpose, and they were to monitor and log everything they observed at The Swan.

However, Desmond Hume postulated that perhaps the people stationed at The Pearl were the actual subjects of the experiment. This is not only substantiated by how pushing the button is indeed very important (as dangerous spikes in electromagnetism energy occur if the button isn't pressed, spikes that caused Oceanic Flight 815's crash), but also because of the enormous capsule dump consisting of pneumatic tubes sent out by those working at The Pearl; the size of the dump suggests that all of those reports were never read.

The pros of cons[]

The following are all, or have been, professional con artists:


The following episodes have a strong focus on deception and cons: