|This article does not cite any references or sources. (June 2009)|
|Nathaniel Samuel Fisher, Jr.|
|Six Feet Under character|
|Portrayed by||Peter Krause|
|Born||January 8, 1965|
|Died||May 21, 2005|
|Place of origin||Los Angeles, California|
Prior to the Pilot
Nathaniel Samuel Fisher, Jr. is the oldest of the three Fisher siblings, and arguably the main character of the series. The series begins when he returns to Los Angeles on Christmas Eve only to learn that his father has died. Nate was born on January 8, 1965 (although in one episode his driver's license revealed he was a Libra) to Nathaniel and Ruth Fisher in Los Angeles.
During the series
When the series begins on Christmas Eve 2000, Nate is returning home from Seattle to celebrate Christmas with his family. Nate had abandoned the family business years earlier. After graduating from Bonaventure High School and attending U.C. Santa Cruz, Nate traveled through Europe and later settled in Washington State, where he managed the largest organic food co-op in Seattle. However, after his father dies, Nate delays returning to Seattle for a few days. He and David each inherit half of their father's business, Fisher & Sons, and Nate ends up sticking around to help run the business after he comes to realize that he has a natural gift for comforting grieving people. He and David initially clash because David is angry at him for leaving home and constantly points out the undertaking-related mistakes Nate is making, but they eventually mend fences and work well together. He also develops a relationship with Brenda Chenowith that began as a random sexual encounter in an airport and slowly becomes something more.
In July 2001 (the end of the first season), Nate learns that he has arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a potentially fatal brain condition which could cause him to have a seizure or stroke at any time, but thanks in large part to the doctor who has diagnosed him Nate decides to not have a risky surgical procedure, not least because the doctor says it doesn't usually have successful results. Nate has a very pronounced fear of death, causing him to initially hide the information from everyone around him in order to avoid admitting his very real chance of dying young. Early in the season, he visits Seattle and seeks comfort from Lisa Kimmel, his lover during much of his time there. He ends up cheating on Brenda with her, to whom he was then engaged, only adding to the subconscious pressure on him; worse, he has his first seizure while there. Additionally, several months after leaving Seattle, Lisa moves to Los Angeles and Nate learns that she is pregnant. Through the course of the season, however, Nate slowly becomes able to face his fear, and finally is able to tell his family about the condition and seek a high-risk surgical procedure as treatment for it (which his doctor falsely says could have been done safely in the first place); he is also able to tell Brenda about impregnating Lisa, but when it turns out that she had been cheating on him as well, they split up. The season ends on a cliffhanger, with Nate undergoing the high-risk surgical procedure required to save his life.
The opening scene of the third season is Nate going into temporary cardiac arrest, causing the season to begin on a surreal note, exploring various possible outcomes of Nate's surgery and his life. However, the series then skips ahead in time to late 2002, where it is revealed that Nate was revived by doctors and the procedure was successful, and Nate and Lisa have married; their daughter, Maya, is three months old. Their relationship, however, is tumultuous because Lisa doesn't trust Nate and he resents her controlling and joyless attitude, and just when things are beginning to look up for the couple, Lisa is reported missing and a month later her drowned corpse is found. Nate is forced to deal with both Lisa's death and being a single parent. Eventually he rekindles his relationship with Brenda and the two become engaged for a second time, marrying six months later in October 2004 (the beginning of the fifth and final season). Their wedding day, however, is darkened by Brenda's miscarriage the previous day.
Brenda later becomes pregnant again, but she and Nate disagree on whether or not she should have amniocentesis to determine if the baby has Down's syndrome or spina bifida after blood tests show the baby may have special needs. This causes a rift in their relationship. Nate seeks friendship and solace in his stepsister Maggie, a Quaker. Nate begins to attend Quaker Meetings and after Maggie requests that Nate give her a ride one evening, Nate ends up having sex with Maggie.
Immediately afterwards, Nate suffers a brain hemorrhage from a second AVM that had developed since his mid-2002 surgery and slips into a brief coma. He wakes up in the hospital the next day and the doctors believe he will have a healthy recovery over the next few weeks. Brenda tells him that she forgives him for his adultery, but he responds by saying that he wants a divorce. Brenda leaves his bedside devastated. Nate is also visited by David, Claire, Rico and Maggie, but Ruth can't be reached due to being away on a camping trip. At the end of the day, Nate unexpectedly dies in his hospital bed while David is sleeping at his side. Although he had arranged earlier in the series to have a female Rabbi conduct his funeral service, he ends up having a secular service at the funeral home and a "green funeral" where his untreated body is wrapped in a shroud and buried at a local park.
Following his death, the series spends the remaining few episodes on the other characters' lives as they attempt to cope with his absence. Nate appears several times to them as a representation of their own thoughts in a device that had been commonly used for many dead characters throughout the series to dramatically illustrate characters' internal monologues. When Ruth dies 20 years later, the last thing she sees is Nathaniel Sr. and Nate in her room helping her ease peacefully into death.