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The first season of Fringe begins with the introduction of the main characters, as Olivia is brought aboard the Fringe division following the death of her partner, John Scott, in an event tied to the Fringe division. As part of her investigation, she finds she needs the knowledge and experience of Walter Bishop, currently institutionalized in a mental hospital. Olivia blackmails Walter's estranged son, Peter, to be Walter's legal guardian, allowing his release from the institution. Olivia finds that Walter's knowledge in the area of fringe science to be critical for her job, and convinces Peter to remain as Walter's guardian; Peter, initially resentful due to events in his childhood, starts to participate directly in the cases, his abilities as a jack-of-all-trades being a benefit to both Walter's scientific needs and Olivia's investigations. Walter himself struggles with life outside the institution, plagued by a secret from his past and often resorting to recreational drugs. Olivia comes to discover that Massive Dynamic, a company that Walter used to be a part of, is connected with several of the Fringe cases.

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