Before Kelvin arrived on the Island he was involved with the U.S. military in the Gulf War. During the war, he was connected with Sam Austen, Kate's stepfather, and manipulated Sayid, forcing him to act as a translator and torture Iraqi prisoners for information (although later Kelvin reveals that he can speak Arabic himself). After the war ended, Inman transferred a handcuffed Sayid to a deserted area and gave him money, including "bus fare" back to Ramadi. Addressing Sayid's disapproval of the torture methods he forced him to use, he tells him in Arabic that it will come in handy in the future before releasing him. Kelvin later told Desmond that he had been a spy for ten years but left because "...men followed my orders." He then joined the DHARMA Initiative, which presumably brought him to the Island.
Kelvin joined the DHARMA Initiative some time between 1991 and 2001. It is unknown how he came to the Island. He became the operator of the Swan research station with his partner, Radzinsky. According to Kelvin, Radzinsky committed suicide by putting a shotgun in his mouth and firing it, leaving a blood stain on the ceiling. Kelvin later buried him.
Based on his arrival time to the island, it is probable that he came to the island under the pretense that he was joining the DHARMA Initiative, when in fact the Initiative personnel on the island had been wiped out and the Hostiles were now running the operation posing as DHARMA. Kelvin probably never knew of this deception.
When Desmond's boat shipwrecked, Kelvin was on the beach and rescued him. He asked Desmond the snowman joke, and "Are you him?". When Kelvin realized that Desmond was not the man he expected, he showed him the station's orientation film, and enlisted him as his partner to push the button in the Swan.
Kelvin continued working on the blast door map after Radzinsky died. This map was meant to plot the locations of the other DHARMA stations on the Island. Kelvin also told Desmond about the fail-safe key.
Kelvin planned to escape the Island by secretly repairing the sailboat Elizabeth, under the guise of investigating the Island. He always donned a HAZMAT suit when he left the hatch. On one of the days which Kelvin went to repair the boat, Desmond noticed the suit was damaged. He followed Kelvin and watched him take it off outside the hatch. Desmond continued following him until Kelvin confronted him at the cove. He asked Desmond to join him, but Desmond refused. He attacked Kelvin, and accidentally killed him by slamming his head against the rocks. He then left to go push the button, leaving Kelvin's body behind on the rocks.
He was singing the old Iraqi national anthem in a drunk state while telling Desmond about the fail-safe system.
Kelvin is of English origin, and its meaning is "friend of ships". Also possibly a place name referring to a river.
His name was listed as "Joe Inman" in the script for "One of Them", despite never being used in the dialogue for that episode. This was done on purpose because TV Guide has a tendency to name characters even when they aren't referred to by name in the actual episode. If the name "Kelvin" had come up, fans would have instantly tied him to the "Kelvin" Desmond mentioned in "Orientation". His full name, thus, is "Kelvin Joe Inman". Template:Crossref
Wears a wedding band during his involvement in Operation Desert Storm, but does not appear to wear one while on the Island.
The Kelvin scale is a thermodynamic (absolute) temperature scale where absolute zero, the theoretical absence of all thermal energy, is zero (0 K).