Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) serves as the smart and beautiful main character of the TV series "Fringe". Olivia is an independent, dedicated individual. These attributes prove to be a double-edged sword throughout the series allowing her to succeed in several difficult situations, yet at the same time causing her to bite off more than she can chew, which is the cause of some of those very circumstances. It is revealed early in the series that Olivia came from a home with an abusive stepfather, whom she was forced to shoot at age nine in defense of her and her mother. This situation was what eventually led to her current career.
Thankfully, to off-set her recklessness, she is often accompanied throughout the series by the roguish super-genius Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), who in turn keeps his crazy genius father, Doctor Walter Bishop (John Noble), in check. Throughout the series, these three work within the FBI, combining the best aspects of their individual talents to uncover the truth behind cases of unusual or seemingly supernatural natures. It is discovered that these incidents are linked to the "Fringe" sciences, studies and experiments of natures that are assumed by most people to belong in science fiction, not the safe little bubble that they consider reality. Psionic powers, inter-dimensional travel, mutant creatures and more are all part of Olivia's reality.
Olivia's first appearance in the series is in a motel with her secret lover and FBI partner, Agent John Scott (Mark Valley). The two are abruptly sent to investigate what is assumed to be a weapons lab, where Scott is exposed to a flesh-consuming substance thought to have been used during an attack on a U.S. airliner. This leads Olivia to track down Peter Bishop in order to have access to his estranged father, Walter Bishop. While Peter is initially brought on as Walter's babysitter, he quickly proves himself worthy of his 190 I.Q., along with being somewhat capable in a brawl or a gunfight.
After a series of unorthodox experiments and procedures, Agent Scott is healed. During her investigating, however, Olivia realizes that he was involved in the attack, which he proves by killing the man suspected of arranging the terrorist attack portrayed in the beginning of the episode. As Olivia and others attempt to chase him down, Scott crashes his vehicle and is mortally wounded, dying shortly after.
This single event eventually branches off into a series of investigations that all point to a related group of events. Olivia begins to see memories that she eventually learns belonged to Scott. As a result of one of the experiments that Olivia was involved with during the first episode, she inherited part of Scott's consciousness. With Walter's help, she is able to communicate with this other consciousness and end the fight between her mind and his.
More interestingly, it is discovered that when Olivia was a child, Doctor Bishop was involved in a series of drug tests during which she was injected with a chemical called Cortexiphan, whose creator, William Bell, claimed would allow children to retain higher brain functions into adulthood. Olivia was shown to exhibit telekinetic and pyrokinetic abilities both in videos as a child and in odd cases as an adult. As a child, she could also discern if an object was from another dimension by a faint glimmer that was only visible to her. She attempted to unlock these abilities as an adult with Walter's help.
At the end of the first season of "Fringe", Olivia was able to meet face-to-face with William Bell because of her special condition. To most people, this would come with serious side-effects, as Bell resided in an alternate dimension. Bell shares with Olivia the plans of those living in that dimension to invade his and Olivia's home dimension and she spends much of the second season trying to remember this encounter.
"Do you mean a hot shower is better than drowning in a pine coffin? Much thank you."
"Send the Bishops up please."
"I happen to know someone who is fluent in gobbley goop."
"Can you just cut the Yoda crap and tell me what's happening to me?"
"The man was clever enough to Star Trek himself out of a maximum security German prison."