Walter Bishop was an eccentric researcher specializing in fringe science. His parents are Robert and Renata Bishop.  After seventeen years of being locked up in a mental institution, which had many negative effects on his personality, Walter was eventually recruited by the FBI to work in their Fringe Division alongside Olivia Dunham and his son, Peter Bishop.

Original Timeline[]

Background information[]

Walter Bishop was born in Cambridge in 1946, and attended Harvard University, conducting a postgraduate study at Oxford and MIT. His I.Q., a profoundly above-average 196, made him one of the most brilliant scientific minds of his generation. From the 1970s until around 1991, Walter, an endowed chair of Biochemistry at Harvard, conducted experiments in the basement of the college's Kresge building, along with his lab partner William Bell and their assistants. The field of the duo's experiments ranged from quantum physics to genetic engineering, propelling Walter into an unknown relationship with the U.S. government to advance its most scientifically innovative -- and ethically questionable -- research projects under the heading of fringe science.

Walter in the lab at Harvard.

At one point in the early 1980s, Walter assisted William Bell's experiments on children using the drug "Cortexiphan". The test subjects included both Olivia Dunham and Nick Lane. ("Bad Dreams")

An accident in 1991 resulted in the death of at least one of his assistants, Carla Warren ("The No-Brainer"), beginning many accusations of Walter using humans as guinea pigs for his experiments. Charged with manslaughter, Walter was instead deemed mentally unstable

Walter and Peter at Radein Lake.

and admitted to St. Claire's Psychiatric Institution. Only Walter's immediate family were able to visit him in the institution, though it took seventeen years before his son, Peter Bishop, would even speak to him.

Season One[]

When John Scott, an FBI agent, was infected by a toxin that caused his flesh to degenerate, agent Olivia Dunham discovered that Walter had conducted research on a very similar type of toxin. With the reluctant help of Walter's estranged son Peter Bishop, Olivia was able to speak to Walter about the toxin; he revealed that he had known someone would ask him about it. Olivia had much trouble communicating with Walter, as his words were disjointed and he was distracted.

Walter in St. Claire's

After several questions, he demanded to see Peter. The two reunited briefly and informally, and Peter showed some hostility toward his father. However, this meeting seemed to help Walter regain his focus, and he stated that he would need to see Scott's afflicted body in order to identify how advanced the toxin was.

Walter was then released by the hospital into Peter's custody, and he traveled back to the hospital to examine Scott. During this, he discovered that his former laboratory had been closed down, and he became violently upset. At his request, the FBI reopened the laboratory and provided Walter with several pieces of equipment, including a cow. The laboratory was subsequently reopened. Making the laboratory his headquarters, Walter became more enthusiastic and less distracted, though he still acted somewhat eccentrically, often developing cravings for foods that he had been deprived of during his time in the mental institution.

In the process of solving the case, Walter used a synaptic transfer to give Olivia access to John Scott's memories, a process that would later be repeated several times. After the case was solved, Peter decided to stay with Walter to help solve more cases related to The Pattern. ("Pilot")

After solving two cases related to his previous work ("The Same Old Story") ("The Ghost Network"), a case of a mysterious cylinder that burrowed up from the ground presented itself to Walter, and Walter found it necessary to hide the cylinder from everyone else. The cylinder case also led him into contact with The Observer, whom he had met before during a "car accident" from Peter's childhood. ("The Arrival")

Walter later explains the concept of parallel universes to Olivia Dunham to help assist her during a fringe case, with which it will be of huge significance in the overall scheme of matters. ("The Road Not Taken")

Season Two[]

When Walter has an MRI of his brain, his charts show that he has been through a procedure on his brain. A review of Walter's test results showed that has had three incisions on the left temporal lobe. Walter had tissue removed from his hippocampus, which stores memory and contributes to spatial awareness. This was done by his friend William Bell to remove the memory of how Walter opened the doorway to the dimension. When his brain pieces were reconnected by Thomas Jerome Newton he seemed more normal than ever. ("Grey Matters")

Walter says that he had been an atheist until he stole Peter from the other side. The night after the crime Walter instinctually realized that he had violated God's trust and domain and believes the series of misfortunes that have taken place since have been God punishing him. Walter asks God for proof of his forgiveness in the form of a white tulip. When another scientist points out that tulips don't bloom at this time of year, Walter responds "But he's God". He further explains that "If God can forgive me maybe it's in the realm of possibilities that my son can forgive me too" ("The Man from the Other Side")

After an incident on a bridge where Peter sees "a man from the other side", Peter realizes that he is not from the prime universe. Walter is saddened by Peter's anger and he tries to apologize, but Peter won't forgive him. ("Brown Betty")Walternate crosses over to take Peter home, and Walter is further saddened by this. ("Over There: Part 1") He then gathers Cortexiphan test subjects to cross over to rescue Peter. While over there, he reunites with William Bell and eventually rescues Peter. Though Bell dies in the process when they return to the prime universe, Walter does get some closure from Bell. ("Over There: Part 2")("Season 2")

Season Three[]

After Bell dies, Walter inherits Massive Dynamic from him. ("The Box")Once they travel back to the prime universe, Walter does not want Peter working on the machine as he believes no good could come from it. Once parts of the machine are found underground, Walter becomes increasingly interested and even allows Peter to work on it in his lab. ("6955 kHz") The machine is eventually put together, but Walter becomes worried when he believes that it is changing Peter. ("Reciprocity")

Later on, Walter begins to worry when the prime universe begins to break down which he believes will lead to what happened to the alternate universe. ("6B") When Bell takes over the body of Olivia Dunham, he gets a chance to work with Walter again therefore giving him some closure. ("Stowaway") Walter and Peter go into Olivia's mind to rescue her and move Bell's soul into a computer, but the plan doesn't work. ("Lysergic Acid Diethylamide")

Walter and Olivia reunite.

After Walternate activates the machine on the other side, Peter has to get in it on this side, but Walter isn't willing to let him go. Eventually, he talks to Peter and lets him go into the machine, but Peter is thrown out and is badly injured. Walter goes to a church and talks to God, asking Him to save his universe even though he knows he has done bad things. ("6:02 AM EST") Once Peter gets back into the machine, his consciousness flashes forward to the year 2026. There Walter has been put in prison for destroying the other universe, but Peter is able to get him out to help him on a case. Walter realizes that the First People are indeed them and that they have to send the machine back in time through a wormhole that was created by the universe's destruction. Since this future won't happen because the alternate universe wasn't destroyed, it is unknown if any of these events will come to pass. Back in the present day, Peter creates a bridge between the universes but then he is erased from the timeline and Walter is there to witness it. ("The Day We Died")

Alternate Timeline[]

Background Information[]

In the alternate timeline, Walter still took Peter from the other side, but once they crossed back over Peter drowned in Reiden Lake and died because the Observer didn't save him. Instead of Walter being checked out of St. Claire's by Peter, he was checked out by Olivia. He didn't live with Peter in a house, but instead lived in his lab and he hardly ever went outside of it due to tremendous fear. Without the constant of Peter being there, Walter was fragile and not whole.

Season Four[]

Walter began to have visions of Peter and he believed himself to be going crazy until Olivia said that she was also seeing him in dreams. ("Neither Here Nor There")Eventually, Peter showed up in Reiden Lake after Olivia saw apparitions of him. ("Subject 9") Walter didn't trust Peter and especially didn't believe him to be his son. At first refusing to work with Peter at all, Walter slowly came to accept him and try to help him return home. As the two spent more time with each other, Walter began to regard Peter with a warm affection, treating him like the son he never had the opportunity to get to know.


Walter began working with September to create a plan to defeat the Observers. The plan was rearranged in Walter's brain to protect him from being read by Observers. Meanwhile, Walter created a series of videotapes

Walter in amber in 2036.

leaving detailed directions to obtain all of the pieces of his plan should something happen to him. Before the invasion, William Bell and Walter reconnected. Bell claimed he wanted to help Walter defeat the Observers. However, William betrayed Fringe Division and led the Observers to them. Walter ambered his Harvard Lab and all of the videotapes. He also ambered Astrid, Peter, William, and himself, at an unknown location in New York City to prevent the Observers from reaching them.  In 2036, Walter was discovered in amber by an associate of Henrietta Bishop, his granddaughter. Etta and Simon Foster went to the former Massive Dynamic building to locate pieces of Walter's brain. Restoring Walter to a new form of sanity, the team

Walter and Etta

was ready to begin constructing the plan Walter had designed decades prior to defeat the Observers. Walter also led him to the place where he had been ambered and removed Astrid and Peter. Walter, knowing he would need Bell's handprint to access the beacons located in Bell's storage facility, cut off his hand before heading off to find Olivia. 

Season Five[]

Walter tortured by Windmark

Finally free of the amber, Walter joined with the Resistance to put an end to the Observers. The reunited team began to seek out Olivia, who had been ambered while retrieving a vital component of Walter's plan, the

Walter and the plan.

Transilience Thought Unifier that could make sense of the pieces inside his brain. However, by the time Olivia was rescued, Walter had been kidnapped by the Observers. He was tortured by Windmark, who was trying to discover what Walter's plan was to bring down the Observers. The torture took such a toll on Walter that even after he was rescued, he could not get the device to unify his thoughts. Henrietta believed that his ability to recall the information was destroyed and irrecoverable. ("Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11") Walter discovered the videotapes once the team returned to Harvard and began

Walter, Peter, Olivia and etta.

the lengthy process of removing them from amber. Each tape led the team to a different piece of the puzzle. However, tragedy soon struck. Windmark murdered Henrietta, leaving Fringe Division reeling. ("The Bullet That Saved The World") Walter slowly began to fear that he was losing himself.

Walter and Etta.

The pieces of the brain that had been recently implanted back into Walter were the cause of his concern. He had the pieces removed because of the hubris man he was becoming decades before. He feared that he was slowly returning into that man once again. Walter believed Peter would serve as his anchor and save him from himself. He did not know, however, that Peter was slowly losing himself as well, turning to Observer tech to avenge Etta. As Walter struggled with his past demons, he turned to Nina Sharp. He requested that Nina help him remove the pieces from his brain once the plan was complete. ("Five-Twenty-Ten")

Walter on LSD.

Walter turned to LSD to distract himself from the man he was becoming. His hallucinations granted him a glimpse into his subconcious, where he witnessed Carla Warren as well as the day he crossed over to steal Peter from the Alternate


Universe. Walter also hallucinated a journal that contained all of his plans prior to removing the pieces of his brain. In an act of denial, Walter attempted to burn the journal before discovering it was merely a hallucination. His vision of Carla Warren warned him that he was not the man he wanted to be anymore. Walter's final vision was that of the man he so desperately did not want to become.("Black Blotter")

The fringe team looking for Donald.

The team recovered Michael, a crucial part of the plan. He touched Walter's face in the lab as he tried to read his thoughts via machine to uncover his true significance to the plan. Instead, however, Michael showed Walter images from the Original Timeline.("Anomaly XB-6783746") The memories came flooding back and Walter recovered all of his Original Timeline memories. He explained to Peter that he loved him even more now, although he had originally not thought this to be possible. More significantly, however, Michael also revealed the identity of Donald: Septem


ber. Walter went into the sensory deprivation tank to study his memory of Donald. He was able to ascertain Donald's location. Once the team tracked down September, they were able to gain a better understanding of the history of the plan. They followed Donald to a storage facility to acquire the final pieces

Walter and Donald.

of the plan.("The Boy Must Live") The plan seemed at jeopardy once Michael was taken by Loyalists and handed over to Captain Windmark. The team discovered, through their contact in Broyles, that the boy was being held at Liberty Island. The facility was so secure, however, that it was thought to be inpenetrable. Olivia had an idea, however. She suggested that she travel to the Alternate Universe, enter the Department of Defense on Liberty Island, travel back to the Prime Universe and retrieve Michael, and then escape back through to the Alternate Universe. Walter gave Olivia four doses of Cortexiphan to allow her to complete the mission. ("Liberty")

Walter, Astrid and Gene.

Walter and Micheal

The final step of the plan, which would send Michael forward in time, required Walter. Michael would be incapable of communicating with the scientists, so he needed an escort. However, in order to safely travel through time, an innoculation was required. Walter was innoculated in 2015, believing it would redeem him for his hubris and breaking the universe many years before. He also left one innoculation in amber with the tapes in case something were to happen to him. September took the last innoculation in 2036 and explained to Walter that he wanted to take his son to prove his love for him once and for all. However, moments after the portal was opened, September was gunned down by Loyalists. Walter

Walter and Peter.

realized that it had always been his destiny and that he must sacrifice his life with his son in order to save the world. Walter took the boy to the year 2167 and prevented scientists from creating the emotionless Observers. Michael acted as an example of what could


be- human emotion did not need to be sacrificed for higher intellect. However, this would cause a paradox. If the timeline was reset, the Observers would never invade, meaning Walter would never have occasion to take Michael to the future.


Walter's experiences that stemmed from the moment of the Invasion caused his plan to be put into effect. Nature would automatically stamp out Walter at the moment of the invasion to rectify this paradox, allowing for his Alternate Timeline self to still exist in 2167, thus closing the time loop and allowing for the people he loved to live happily and blissfully ignorant to the horrible ordeals they were exposed to in 2036. ("An Enemy of Fate")

Final Timeline[]

Walter was erased from the timeline in 2015. His very existence would be considered a paradox, as two versions of himself would be existing at once- one in the present day and the other, a version that had experienced 2036 and taken Michael to 2167. His 2015, Final Timeline self, was erased by nature in order to allow his 2036 self to exist and prevent the future scientists from sacrificing human emotion while creating Observers, preventing a time loop and paradox. Before he was erased, Walter sent Peter a white tulip and left a video explaining everything at the Harvard Lab.


Also known as Walternate, after losing Peter, the Walter from the alternate universe has a career that took a dramatically different trajectory. Walternate has not apparently been committed to an asylum and quite to the contrary has vaulted to the position of the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Walter Bishop.


Walter experimenting on human subjects.

  • Has trouble sleeping without someone singing "Row, row, row your boat" after spending time with another St. Claire's patient named Carlos.
  • Has begun to prescribe and administer his own medication - a cocktail of psychoactive drugs. Claims it re-balances him after having been institutionalized for 17 years.
  • The Kresge Building is the home of the Harvard School of Public Health.
  • Has sudden cravings for certain foods and/or beverages.
  • He has a cow. She lives in the lab and is named Gene. He enjoys milking her and using her milk.
  • He rarely remembers Astrid's name: referring to her by many variations including Asterisk, Astro, Asteroid and others.
  • He got his sanity back for a short amount of time in one of the episodes. He became surprisingly hostile, which also happens when he hears bad news or someone interrupts him.
  • He claims to know what KFC's eleven secret herbs and spices are.
  • His other universe counterpart is the secretary of defense.
  • In 1973, Walter scientifically proved that breakfast was, in fact, the most important meal of the day.
  • Astrid is considered his best friend. 
  • He is a fan of David Bowie. 


"Don't eat my pudding."

- Walter ("Do Shapeshifters Dream Of Electric Sheep?")

"There's only room for one God in this lab, and it's not yours."

- Walter ("Peter")

"Hello Peter, this is me, your father, Walter Bishop."

- Walter

"Oh dear god, that is putrid. On a separate topic, do you like coffee cake?"

- Walter

(Peter) "Walter, what are you doing?" (Walter) "I'm dosing a caterpillar."

- Walter

"Excellent. Let's make some LSD."

- Walter

"Do you have any cocaine?"

- Walter

(Peter) "Walter, wake up it's important." (Walter) Oh, do you two want to use the room?"

- Walter

(Walter) "She is beautiful, isn't she?" (Peter) "Who?" (Walter) "The Slug."

- Walter

"Don't be ridiculous. Purple never goes out of style."

- Walter

"I thought you'd be fatter."

- Walter

"It was something important. Oh, I decided on the pancakes, blueberry."

- Walter

"They all died young lady. Horrible and possibly gruesome deaths."

- Walter

"Do not remove the headphones under any circumstance or you may die a horrible death. Thank you and have a nice day."

- Walter

"I plan to urinate in 23 minutes."

- Walter

"You are my favorite thing Peter. My very favorite thing."

- Walter

"When you open your mind to the impossible, sometimes you find the truth"

- Walter

(Walter) "I just pissed myself." (Peter) "Excellent." (Walter) "Just a squirt."

- Walter

"Matter is just energy waiting to happen." (The Road Not Taken)

Prime Universe Characters
Olivia DunhamWalter BishopPhillip BroylesAstrid FarnsworthNina SharpLincoln LeeJohn ScottCharlie FrancisDavid Robert JonesWilliam BellRachel BlakeElla BlakeNick LaneSally ClarkHenrietta Bishop