Naveen Andrews as <EM>Lost</EM>'s Sayid Hassan Jarrah Naveen Andrews as Lost's Sayid Hassan Jarrah
Our favorite castaways thus far have been on the island a few months, but for Lost

fans, it's been more than 260 days since Jack's super-freaky flash-forward. As the Jan. 31 season premiere (finally) draws closer, TVGuide.com is offering daily profiles — "refreshers," if you will — of the key players in ABC's island-based odyssey. 

Sayid, by the "Numbers": Resourceful, levelheaded and possessing many skills that have come in handy on the island, Sayid Hassan Jarrah (played by Naveen Andrews) became an early leader among the survivors. A former communications officer in the Iraqi Republican Guard, he became an interpreter and torturer for the U.S. military when his unit was captured during Desert Storm. After the war, he returned to Iraqi service and soon encountered his childhood love, Nadia, whom he was tasked with interrogating, but when the order for her execution was passed down, Sayid helped her escape. He later ended up working as a chef in Paris; there he met Sami, who tricked him into visiting his restaurant and then captured him. Sami's wife, Amira, claimed that Sayid had tortured her while he was still working for the Republican Guard (she later retracted her story and insisted that Sayid be freed after he apologized to her). Sayid was in Australia doing an undercover operation for the CIA, tracking down a terrorist cell. He was heading off to find Nadia (whom he'd been told was living in California) when Oceanic Flight 815 crashed.

Things Got Interesting When...: In those early, uncertain days, Sayid was a significant resource for the group as he repaired the plane's transceiver and eventually picked up Rousseau's signal on loop. It was only when Shannon was having an asthma attack and Jack and Sayid suspected Sawyer of squirreling away her medication that another side of Sayid was revealed, as he tortured Sawyer in an attempt to get information about where the medicine was.

'Tis Better to Have Loved and Gotten Lost?: No one could have guessed that Sayid and Shannon would end up falling for each other, given their less-than-cordial first meeting in the airport, when Shannon cast suspicion on him after he asked her to watch his bag for a moment (she reported him to the authorities and he was temporarily detained for leaving his bag unattended). But early on, when Sayid returned to the camp with Rousseau's maps, the two grew closer as Shannon attempted to translate Rousseau's French annotations. Sayid eventually took Shannon for a romantic evening on the beach. Sadly, their romance was cut short when Ana Lucia accidentally shot Shannon in the jungle.

Six Degrees of Serialization: Shannon wasn't the only fellow survivor Sayid encountered in the airport: He passed Jin, who was on his way to clean up after Sun spilled a drink on him, when Sayid was returning from being questioned. Sayid also had a few more pre-island encounters and crossovers (some one-degree removed). The man Kate believed was her father, Sam Austen, was a soldier during Desert Storm and met Sayid. And there's a similar connection between Sayid and Desmond: Inman, the man who taught Sayid how to extract information through torture, was living in the Swan Station when Desmond arrived on the island, and he taught Desmond how to push the button. Charlie once saved Sayid's beloved Nadia from a mugger, and Locke inspected her house in California.

Sayid's Season 3 Story: At the beginning of Season 3, Sayid was mounting a rescue of Jack and the other kidnapped survivors with Desmond's boat. Sayid later discovered the Flame Station and its occupant, Mikhail, while following Locke on one of his spiritual journeys. When Jack rejoined the camp with Juliet, Sayid was suspicious of her, especially after hearing the tape she had recorded for Ben. He eventually learned of Naomi's satellite phone, and as Jack and the others made their way to the radio tower, Sayid led Bernard and Jin in a counterattack against the Others. After taking out several of them, Sayid and his group were temporarily captured but emerged victorious after Hurley's well-timed van ride and Sawyer's rescue attempt.

How Sayid Has Us Puzzled: Just how does he fit into the group of survivors? It's clear that he has an important role among them, and yet he remains in certain ways an outsider. Also, why did Sayid tell Rousseau that Nadia was dead? And will he ever have a lasting love interest?

Our Wild Prediction: Sayid and Rousseau shack up together after it becomes clear that they are the two most durable, sensible people on the island.

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