Olivia is a young FBI Special Agent assigned to a multi-agency task force of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security called the Fringe Division, after her partner and lover, John Scott, is exposed to a flesh-dissolving agent. Both Agent Broyles and Nina Sharp consider her to have much potential and talent, the latter even hoping to bring her on as an employee of Massive Dynamic. An experiment by Dr. Bishop to link her to the dying John Scott's mind in order to learn what he knew about his condition results in Olivia gaining part of his consciousness, causing her mind to begin integrating and purging the foreign consciousness. This results in Olivia mistaking John Scott's memories for her own. With help from Walter, Olivia finds a way to communicate with John within her own mind, eventually allowing the memories to fade completely.
Olivia is revealed to be linked the drug Cortexiphan, a chemical developed by William Bell, which supposedly allows children injected with it to retain higher brain functions which would normally deteriorate with age. Olivia was one of a group of preschool-age children who served as subjects of the experiment in her childhood home of Jacksonville, Florida. As a result, Olivia is capable of unspecified psychic abilities, as demonstrated when she shuts off a series of lights wired into a bomb as a kill switch simply by thinking it. Walter has a video of Olivia as a child, ostensibly recorded during the drug trials, which shows her curled up in the corner of the room next to a badly charred bed with Walter saying: "It's all right, you didn't mean it." We later learn that Olivia started the fire with her mind. Olivia also had the ability to discern if an object originated in the alternate dimension due to a "glimmer" that only she could see. When trying to reawaken this ability in her as an adult, Dr. Bishop hypothesized that this ability was partially derived from Olivia's fear about seeing into the alternate dimension. When Olivia regains part of her memories of her meeting with Bell, she is told that she is the only successful subject suitable to pass through dimensions without many known negative side-effects. She has been called the guardian of the gateway by Bell, who will prevent the invasion by the alternate dimension.
Olivia is given permission by Nina Sharp to meet William Bell, who currently resides in another dimension, with his office in the World Trade Center's South Tower. Having left her universe moving at a high speed, she returns at the same speed, crashing through the windshield of her now stationary car, leaving her in an almost fatal condition. She ends up in a short coma and wakes up in an incoherent state and in shock. Olivia apparently loses her memories of her meeting with Bell and whatever information he may have told her. She regains part of those memories and learns more about the invasion between dimensions. Following the transition to an alternate reality, Olivia meets her doppelganger "Fauxlivia", and ultimately shares a kiss with Peter Bishop. She is trapped in the alternate universe by Walternate, Walter's alternative self, while Fauxlivia replaces her in the prime universe. Olivia tries to escape her imprisonment and travel back to her own universe. She is captured and drugged, brainwashed into believing that she is the alternate Olivia, complete with traits such as superb marksmanship skills which prime-universe Olivia did not possess. It is revealed that the alternate Walter plans to use Olivia's Cortexiphan-derived abilities to find a way to safely cross universes, for which he needs her willing assistance. However, Olivia begins to regain her past memories after she has hallucinations of Peter Bishop, who comes to her in a vision and tells her that she doesn't belong there before kissing her. With the help of the alternate universe's Agent Broyles, she is able to escape from custody and make it to alternate Walter's Harvard lab, where she uses the tank to return to her own universe. Meanwhile, Peter realizes that he is with alternate Olivia, causing her to flee and return to her own universe as well. After returning to work, Olivia is dismayed to discover that Peter had become intimate with her doppelganger.
Read more about this topic: Olivia Dunham
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