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Lieutenant Nathan Forbes was a fictional character featured in the 1960s gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. Played by actor Joel Crothers, he was a central antagonist in the 1967-1968 storyline colloquially referred to as the "1795 Flashback". Forbes appeared in 40 episodes during this story-arc until the character was killed off in episode 460. The ghost of Nathan Forbes was featured in episode 512 and Crothers reprised the role for five episodes in 1969 when the character of Barnabas Collins traveled backward in time to the year 1796. As both a living person and a ghost, Nathan Forbes appeared in a total of forty-six episodes.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Arrival in Collinsport[edit | edit source]


Second marriage[edit | edit source]


Conspiracies[edit | edit source]

With Millicent incapable of making her own decisions, Nathan was confident that he would soon have control over her vast fortune. This changed dramatically however when he discovered that Millicent had signed over all of her financial assets to Daniel shortly before their wedding. He quickly deduced that if something were to happen to Daniel, then the money would revert back to Millicent and he would be able to regain control over it. Nathan hired one of his colleagues, Noah Gifford, to abduct Daniel and murder him. Initially, Gifford refused to take part in such a heinous crime, but Nathan blackmailed him by telling him that he would go to the authorities accusing Noah of being the Collinsport Strangler. [2]

Noah reluctantly agreed, but when he failed to kill Daniel, he was forced to return meekly to Nathan to tell him the news. Enraged, Nathan sent him back out to finish the job, but as it turned out, Noah was shot and killed by Victoria Winters while attempting to apprehend Daniel. Vicki's lover, Peter Bradford came upon Noah's body, but Nathan arrived only a few moments later and captured Peter. Accusing him of murdering Gifford, he handed him over to the local authorities. [3]

Forbes discovered that Naomi and Joshua had been hiding Victoria Winters in the study at Collinwood. Nathan Found her and brought her back to the constables so that her sentence could be carried out.

Death[edit | edit source]

Naomi Collins grew distraught with the way Nathan had been treating Millicent and his sudden cruel disposition towards Daniel. She let him know that Daniel was being sent away and that she intended to do everything in her power to protect him from Forbes. Hoping to derail Naomi's efforts against him, Nathan told her the truth about Barnabas Collins. He told her that Barnabas was the Collinsport Strangler and that he could be found in the tower room at Collinwood. Naomi didn't believe him at first, but all it took was one trip to the tower to see that Nathan's accusations were true. Unable to deal with the reality of what her son had become, Naomi took her own life soon after.

When Barnabas learned of his mother's death, he blamed Forbes for driving her to suicide. He found Nathan at The Eagle and the two confronted one another. Nathan shot Barnabas with his revolver, but the bullets proved ineffective against him. Barnabas didn't want to kill Nathan just yet, but rather, he wanted him to suffer - waiting for the moment when he would finally take his life. Barnabas told him that by the stroke of 9:00, Nathan Forbes would be dead.

Terrified, Nathan retreated back to Collinwood. He pleaded with Joshua Collins for sanctuary, but the mourning elder Collins had no sympathy for him. He even tried appealing to Ben Stokes, who took great pleasure in seeing Forbes trembling in fear. Ben even told him that the only way to stop Barnabas was to find him in his coffin at sunrise and drive a wooden stake through his heart. He added the caveat however that Forbes would be dead long before such an opportunity would present itself. At 9 o'clock, Barnabas came to Collinwood looking for him. Nathan secured himself in Joshua's study and found a crossbow on the wall, which he had hoped would be enough to kill the vampire. Barnabas entered the room and Forbes fired the weapon. The arrow struck Barnabas in the chest, but missed his heart. Barnabas rose to his feet and strangled Nathan Forbes to death. Joshua had Ben Stokes bury Nathan Forbes in an unmarked grave on the Collins' estate. The official story that he told the rest of the family was that Nathan Forbes had left Collinsport. Even Millicent, still lost in her own mania, barely remembered who Nathan even was. Joshua had their marriage annulled and all reference to Nathan Forbes was removed from the Collins family history. [4]

Vengeful spirit[edit | edit source]

In 1968, Victoria Winters, having only recently returned to her proper time period had a dream wherein she saw Lieutenant Forbes at the Collinsport Court House. In the dream, she pleaded with Forbes to spare her life, but Forbes glibly denied this request, sardonically stating, "My dear Miss Winters, don't you understand? I'm powerless to sway the court for the same reason that you are. How could they possibly hear you or me when we are both dead?" [5]

Later, the ghost of Reverend Trask captured Barnabas Collins and held a mock trial accusing him of multiple counts of murder. He summoned the spirits of several of Barnabas' victims from 1795 and 1796 including Lieutenant Nathan Forbes. The ghost of Forbes testified that Barnabas Collins murdered him by strangulation. [6]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Actor Joel Crothers is also known for playing the role of Joe Haskell, a recurring supporting character in the regular timeline of the series.

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Although the era in which the character was featured was commonly referred to as the 1795 Flashback, the year of his death was actually in early 1796.
  2. Dark Shadows: 454
  3. Dark Shadows: 455
  4. Dark Shadows: 459-Dark Shadows: 460
  5. Dark Shadows: 465
  6. Dark Shadows: 512

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