By People Staff
Updated March 17, 2010 12:00 AM
Credit: Mario Perez/ABC

MIA from the Lost canvas for several weeks, Sawyer re-emerged with a vengeance Tuesday in an episode full of clever cons. Add that to the list of “pros” for season six.

The Big Twist: Sideways Sawyer initially appeared to be the same ol’ con man with the same ol’ proclivity for pretty marks. But — surprise! — he’s actually an L.A. cop whose partner is none other than Miles Straume, his deputy in ‘70s-era Dharmaville. LaFleur+Straum = Buddy Cop Spin-off?

While Det. James Ford wasn’t hurting for lusty hook-ups, it seems, deep down, he’s really just a lonely guy who hasn’t yet found that someone special to crack open a beer and watch Little House on the Prairie with. (Seriously, what kind of wacky world is this Sideways place where Josh Holloway can’t find love?) But like his island counterpart, this Sawyer holds con man Anthony Cooper responsible for his parents’ deaths and, while he may now be on the other side of the law, he still plans to kill when he finally tracks him down.

Meanwhile, on the island, Sawyer played along when Locke Monster sent him off to Hydra Island, where he and Kate were once locked up by the Others, to do recon on the Ajira plane passengers. There, he found rotting bodies and a woman (Sheila Kelley) who claimed to be the lone survivor, but she was really working for the recently-returned Charles Widmore. (Quick sidenote: The guy who held a gun on Sawyer and marched him to Widmore’s sub was Frederick Koehler, the actor who played young Chip on Kate & Allie!) Sawyer told Widmore he’d deliver Locke Monster to him to kill as he pleased, then turned around and told Locke Monster of his deal with Widmore. The jury’s still out on whether Smokey, who’d deemed Sawyer “the best liar I ever met,” believes the intel. Regardless, Sawyer told what would seem to be the whole truth to Kate: “I’m gonna let them fight it out. And while they got their hands full with each other, you and me are getting the hell off this island.” And, Freckles, they ain’t flying the plane — they’re takin’ the sub!

That is, if Kate can stay free of crazy Claire, who tried to kill her for raising son Aaron, and Locke Monster, who seems to be running his own long con. How intriguing — and utterly bizarre — was his beach chat with Kate? The Smoke Monster had a crazy mom, whom he holds responsible for the “growing pains” he’s still trying to work through? Whatever happened to Lost being all about Daddy issues??

The Sideways Crosses: Thanks to Miles, Sawyer went on a blind date with archaeologist Charlotte (welcome back, Rebecca Mader!), but he blew any chance of turning their hook-up into something more when he freaked out over her discovery of his childhood trauma. Liam Pace, Charlie’s brother, got the brush-off in Sawyer’s precinct. And then there was Kate, who crashed into Sawyer’s car while attempting to flee the cops, only to be caught by the LAPD’s Finest Dimples. Um, Juliet who?

Little Scoop: Like all things Lost, there’s likely much significance to the Little House clip producers chose to include while Sawyer ate his microwavable dinner. But its inclusion was also a nice nod to Holloway’s own past: Before Lost, the actor had auditioned for the Pa Ingalls role in a proposed Little House remake and was so crushed when he didn’t get it that he nearly stopped acting. The Lost producers are thankful he stuck with it. “One of the problems with television is that it’s difficult for actors to bring something new to the same role, especially when they’ve been playing it for six years,” says executive producer Damon Lindelof. “With Josh, it feels like he’s bringing something new constantly, and the work he’s doing leading up to the end of the series is unbelievable.”

Adds executive producer Carlton Cuse, “We love writing for Josh because he can do it all. Frankly, I wish I were Josh.”

Reunion Alert: Ava, Sawyer’s hookup #1, was played by Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, who was Don Johnson’s daughter on Nash Bridges … which was created by Cuse. “We were looking for a beautiful actress who could stand toe-to-toe with Sawyer, and she immediately came to mind,” Cuse says. “We just called and offered her the part, saying how would you like to do a sex scene with Josh Holloway? And she seemed to be good with that.” Surely, there are worse gigs. —Shawna MalcomMario Perez/ABC

Tell us: What did you think of Sawyer’s Sideways slice of life? What was your favorite moment in the episode?