Dr. Ephraim Goodweather is the main protagonist and used to be head of the CDC Canary Team in New York City.
Dr. Ephraim Goodweather was a recovering alcoholic that lost a custody battle over his son Zach, one of the sole reasons for his involvement in "saving the world". His second-in-command was fellow epidemiologist, Dr. Nora Martinez. They had a complicated office romance. Issues from a very demanding job at the CDC has prevented Goodweather from being the father he knew he truly was.
Kelly’s mother used to tell him he was always ten minutes too late to all the major milestones of his life. Late for Zach’s birth, late for the wedding, late to save his marriage from falling apart, etc.
Once Nora, without any other options, had to temporarily leave Zach behind in the subway tunnels, Zach's mom finally caught up to him via bloodbeat and abducted him for the Master. Ever since then, for the last 2 years, Eph had been trying to find his son.
He had been ripped to shreds at the core by many emotions in what might be described as a protracted nervous breakdown, self medicating with vicodin and relapsed on the booze. As he became brittle and unhinged in his single-mindedness during the events of 'The Night Eternal', he experienced lucid visions in a delirium that would attune him to contents of the Occido Lumen, decoding secrets to the Master's vulnerability recorded therein.
Ephraim embarks on a suicide mission against the Master when, at the very end, he discovers his son is present with the Master, placing him in an agonizing dilemma and almost leading to the abandonment of the plan. Upon realizing that invoking the widespread devastation laying waste to everyone around was the only means of releasing his son, he proceeded out of despairing love to detonate the weapon on the strategic site, breaking the Master's strain.
Ephraim Goodweather is about to lose custody of his son, Zach, to his ex-wife Kelly for being absent due to his demanding job as head of the CDC Canary Project in New York. He is summoned to the airport mid-custody hearing when a flight from Berlin, the Regis 753, arrives on the JFK tarmac with all passengers seemingly dead and all electronics turned off. His subsequent loss of custody over Zach and his constant battle with Kelly and her new boyfriend (Matt) keep Ephraim stressed while the events of the series begin to unravel. Ephraim is more than just friends with his coworker, Dr. Nora Martinez, who is a well-accomplished scientist in her own right. She works with him on the Regis 753 airplane case. Their investigation of the Regis flight leads to no satisfying conclusion, additionally, they are being instructed by the New York CDC boss Dr. Barnes to release over 200 dead bodies to their respective relatives while issuing an explanation to the press that the passenger deaths were the result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
In the airport, Ephraim, Nora and Jim Kent run into an old man with a gray beard and ornate walking stick, goes by the name of Abraham Setrakian. This man is privy to the existence of vampires/strigoli, as well as to the mysterious large ornately carved wooden cabinet/coffin that was found in the cargo hold on the plane. But Setrakian keeps this knowledge to himself, well aware that nobody would believe him and would also question his sanity. The only four surviving flight passengers are released when Ephraim's authority is overriden by Dr. Barnes who shows barely any concern for conducting a thorough investigation. He only is concerned with appeasing the public and to pacify the deceased passenger’s families to avoid a panic. A tight upholded quarantine as requested by Ephraim would impact trade and commerce likewise. Being stalled by his own boss stressens Ephraim and Nora and the unresolved mystery of the passengers death leaves him distraught.
Ephraim Goodweather is eventually contacted by Captain Doyle Redfern the Regis 753' pilot who complains about medical problems which he cannot find any remedy for, including odd whispering noises in his ears. Ephraim advises him under the care of a hospital that diagnoses and treats complicated medical cases. Ephraim and Nora are attacked by Doyle after he is medically dead, but he has turned into a vampire/strigoi. Ephraim ends up caving his head in with a fire extinguisher. To take advantage of the bad situation they dissect Doyle’s body and record the autopsy as evidence in order to show their boss (Everett) to convince him of the seriousness of the situation at hand. Nora and Eph attempt to track down the other 3 survivors of the plane only to be attacked again by the turned victims, with Setrakian at their side who insists they cannot save the victims but only can release them by death. Both doctors are very reluctant and refuse to join the crusade though Ephraim does take video evidence of one turned survivor hoping to get official effots on the way to combat the outbreak. However their boss works against them even using the CCTV of the hospital as evidence of Ephraim being a dangerous criminal. Ephraim goes on the run but is turned in at home by Kelly's boyfriend Matt.
Ephraim is interrogated and tortured by the 2 federal agents that apprehended him, he says he'll make a deal with them by giving the location of the bodies of the outbreak victims they have dispatched. On the way the agents are killed by what they thought was just a hobo, who had been turned. As a fugitive not able to go through official channels Ephraim has little choice than to join the crusade, they lose Jim who is euthanised (shot by Fet) after being scratched and thereby infected by one of the monsters while they were all holed up inside the gas station. Jim had confessed to betraying his friends and the people as a blackmailed conspirator for the takeover of the city by the vampires/strigoli.
Ephraim also finds Kelly is missing and manages to save his son from Matt (Kelly’s boyfriend), who had turned. They seek sanctuary in Setrakian's abode, which is a fortress hidden under his pawnshop. The urge to find Kelly is strong, with the internet in disarray (part of the plan devised by ) Zach is able to locate Kelly's phone, Ephraim unfortunately discovers what he feared, Kelly had succumbed to the virus. With things bad as they are he commits fully to the cause and with the help of Nora and newfound friends they strike at the master vampire himself.
Their first shot is a failure, the master uses Kelly against Ephraim, hearing her voice he is lured into a trap and is utterly outmatched by the much bigger and stronger master in a fight. He is saved however by his friends though the master escapes, they have to withdraw being totally outnumbered. They would suffer a defeat soon after, with the strigoi led by Eichorst the master's right hand storming the heroes base. They escape though Nora's mother is infected and euthanised.
The finale however has another reversal with the band discovering the master's den, a block of buildings owned by one of the surviving passengers of the plane Gabriel Bolivar. They storm the place and force the master out into daylight, he is gravely wounded but escapes!
Eph continues to contribute to the fight against the master by working on an anti-vampire pathogen with Nora. He continues to have no time for his son Zach who needs him more than before since Kelly is now a full fledged vampire under the control of the master. Zach cannot accept that and Ephraim as a father is unable to bond with his son anymore. The growing stress and lack of progress in their fight takes a toll on Ephraim who relapses into his alcoholism. Ephraim tries to fight the good fight again by the official channels, going as far as shaving his head as a disguise seeing he is still a wanted felon. This journey has him accidentally fling his boss out of a government train bound for Washington DC, at one point it appears he may pull off a mass production of the 'bio weapon' to fight the strigoi plague. Ultimately he is thwarted, he is almost assassinated, losing his friend and someone who he got intimate with briefly (When telling Nora what happened that part left her crying privately), who was to be key to getting the bio weapon produced by a pharmaceutical. This fills him with hate, enough to become a killer and he even tries to assassinate Eldritch Palmer (The main human conspirator, head of the Stoneheart Group that sent an assassin for him). He fails and is arrested but circumstances enable him to escape with his friends who came to rescue him.
Despite the setbacks they are able to get the weapon out and for a time it is effective, also and inspiring politician Justine Feraldo takes the fight to the monsters so, while not on the scale they wanted due to the conspiracy the master set in motion they are supported by official means with successes. The season ends with them able to locate Zach's grand parents in Atlanta, the plan is to send Zach there for safety especially as Zach cannot come to terms with his mother being the enemy, to him she will always love him and not harm him. They get as far as boarding a train, which is derailed by a swarm of strigoi in the tunnel. Ephraim is separated from Nora and Zach too long, when he finds Nora, Zach has gone with Kelly with an infected Nora left behind. Nora doesn't let it drag out and electrocutes herself on the train rail.
The humans appear to be winning in the war but things take a turn for the worse later on. Ephraim becomes an antihero somewhat the latter half of the show. He never gives up hope in getting his son back and even betrays his friends to try to make this happen by making a deal with the master. It's a trap but they seemingly win the day slaying the master. They would learn the master merely changed host so Ephraim and Dutch Velders (The hacker that was paid by Stoneheart to crash the internet) devise a means to disable the master. Worth noting, Ephraim and Velders (who disliked each other early encounters with Ephraim righteously looking down on this wayward selfish hacker but became closer with time, most notably with both being drinking buddies after Ephraim's relapse) get intimate this series to Fet's chagrin. (Fet in particular dislikes Ephraim after his betrayal and this culminates in a fistfight near the end of the series). Putting their differences aside they defeat the master and trap him in a box of silver and lead, the lead cutting off his control of his strigoi horde. The device to disable the master played a key part in it, Ephrain was wounded in the fight so stays behind while the others go to dump the box in the Atlantic. Unfortunately Kelly and Zach find him, Kelly tries to kill him but is killed in self defence. Zach, holding the remote for a nuke in anger sets it off blowing up Liberty Island. The box is lost and this would seal the master's victory over humanity as the world crumbles into further chaos starting a nuclear winter, it became known as Illumination Day.
9months pass after Illumination Day. Like Nazi Europe 70years before, New York is an occupied city with humans as the subservient race kept alive to work and feed the strigoi. Lots of propaganda is aired to sell the coexistence is for the best, with many humans selling out to the new order.
Ephrain has given up the cause and gets buy doing odd jobs but fortune gets him mixed up with freedom fighters, at first he doesn't want to help as fighting the master cost him everything but he ends up back in the game. He scores a major victory poisoning the blood supply of the strigoi killing at least thousands. His journey would lead him to getting contact from the master himself through one of his turned. This spurs Ephraim to return to New York to save Zach after he has confirmation he is alive.
Eph explains to Setrakian and co how they killed thousands of strigoi through poison, that warfarin a blood thinner is fatal to rats the same way as it was to strigoi. Setrakian uses this against Eichorst in their last encounter. With all they endured and lost the heroes give it one last shot, devising to blow up the master in his new HQ at the top of the Empire State Building. This plan is thwarted by Zach, feigning he escaped the master but Eph is not that gullible and plays along to test him. Zach outwits him one way by cutting his finger, allowing him to be tracked. Eph seeing how dark his son has become points a gun at him but cannot pull the trigger so locks him in there while the heroes make their escape.
Fet figures out somewhere to nuke the master without the cost of innocents, deep underground in an unfinished project to connect water supplies over a great distance. The catch is at least one person must set it off while Quinlan occupies the master. The master throws caution to the wind and goes after them with all his might, killing endless innocent people in thin out the hiding places of his enemies as well as adding to his forces.
In the final moments of the show Ephraim uses a moment of affection between Dutch and Fet to replace Fet who initially volunteered to safeguard the detonation of the nuke and thus sacrifice himself when Quinlan manages to have not only the master but also Zach being escalated downwards into the tunnels where the nuke is placed. The master occupying Palmer's body is successful in killing Quinlan but Quinlan manages to rip out Palmer's stinger and renders the master occupying a body hopelessly maimed. The master orders Zach to kill his father, Zach refuses so is to be turned but Eph intervenes. The master is able to regurgitate his worm into a reluctant Eph who becomes the master's host in the final moment's of his life. Seemingly not fully in control of Eph, Eph arms the nuke and Zach embraces his father before he reaches behind his back to set off the nuke, resulting in the demise and annihilation of the master, Eph, himself and the bodily remains of Quinlan and Palmer.
Behind the Scenes
- The Strain (First appearance)
This list shows the victims Eph has killed: