|Portrayed By||Cameron Monaghan|
|Season||1 - Present|
Mandy Milkovich (beard)
|Parents||Frank Gallagher (de jure)|
Clayton (assumed biological)
Ian Clayton Gallagher is the third Gallagher child. While in high school, he works at a local convenience store (most likely under the table), though he later joins, then goes AWOL from, the Army. He is gay and, as the series begins, is having a secret affair with his married boss, Kash, as his brother Lip discovers shortly after finding out that Ian is gay. Kash's dominating wife also discovers the affair and, although angry, she tells Kash he can continue sleeping with Ian after Kash gets her pregnant again as a quid pro quo. She allows Ian to keep his job but strictly forbids any sexual encounters between the two until she successfully conceives.
Lip is incredulous as to why Ian wants to go to West Point and serve in the Armed Forces when so many of its officers are prejudiced against gays, but Ian never specifies this beyond a sarcastic "maybe I'm a patriot.". Despite the pitfalls he continually faces in his quest for West Point (especially his poor GPA, which Lip sometimes helps salvage) Ian is a dedicated worker and never gives up his Army training. He is physically the most fit of the Gallaghers due to his constant exercise and combat training, as shown when he clobbers Lip in a fistfight; he is also proficient with firearms. He still uses cigarettes and alcohol on occasion but less frequently than Lip, and in general he is much more responsible; although he is not around his younger siblings as often, he does his part in taking care of them. With the exception of his relationship troubles, Ian generally has the most stable existence of the older Gallagher children and is the least quick to anger. Despite this, he gets beaten up nearly as often as Lip, although he has avoided a juvenile record.
A girl in Ian's class, Mandy Milkovich, becomes sexually interested in him and becomes enraged when he doesn't reciprocate the attraction. For revenge, she tells her family that Ian sexually assualted her, causing her brothers to chase him with violent intentions for a few days. In desperation, Ian eventually reveals to Mandy that he's gay, after which she not only calls off her brothers but also offers to pretetnd to be his girlfriend, giving him a cover story. The two start going on non-sexual dates, genuinely enjoying each other's company.
Ironcially, Ian later begins a secret affair with Mandy's brother Mickey, who is a neighborhood thug and frequently terrorizes Kash, flagrantly shoplifting from his store. When Kash discovers the affair, he goes into a jealous rage and, the next time Mickey steals merchandise from him, (consisting of just a candy bar in this case), Kash shoots Mickey in the leg and has him arrested for theft.
During Season 1 it is discovered that Ian is not Frank's child but that of one of Frank's brothers. Ian and Lip investigate by visiting two of Frank's brothers, and they both come to believe Ian's father is Clayton Gallagher , whom Ian strongly resembles and whose given name matches Ian's middle name. Clayton's wife becomes very upset looking at the two sitting side-by-side and tells Clayton that she wants Ian and Lip out of her house. Ian decides not to interfere with Clayton's marriage, as his place is with the family he's always known.
During Season 2, Ian and Mickey resume their secret sexual encounters after Mickey's release on parole. One day Frank walks in on them having sex at the store and makes a few sarcastic comments. It's not until Ian is faced with the possibility of losing Mickey that he truly comes to understand how much Mickey meant to him and that, unlike with Kash, who he thought he had loved, it was Mickey who he had fallen in love with. Mickey, horrified at the possibility of being revealed as gay, decides to kill Frank to protect his secret. Ian tries to talk Mickey out of the murder but fails; however, at the last minute Mickey is unable to go through with the deed and assaults a police officer, deliberately violating his parole and returning to prison.
Mandy is later revealed to be pregnant. Since Ian has been posing as her boyfriend, Mandy's father, Terry, assumes him to be the father. Enraged, Terry assaults Ian at the Gallaghers' house and, after being stopped by Ian's mother, vows further violence against Ian. Ian hides out from Terry for several days, during which time he goes to a hotel with an older man he had recently met, Dr. Lloyd, for sex. Eventually, Ian and Lip decide to get rid of Terry by planting an illegal gun in his possession. However, Terry catches them and chases them, cornering Ian in the kitchen, pointing a gun at his head, and threatening to kill him. Mandy arrives just in time, aiming a shotgun at her father and revealing that he, Terry, was the father of her unborn child, not Ian or Lip. Ian and Lip are disgusted at learning Mandy has been subjected to incest, but Mandy warns them that if they say anything she'll kill them herself.
Sometime later, Ian is invited along to meet Jimmy's family at a seafood restaurant. However, Jimmy's introduction of his father was entirely unnecessary as he was revealed to be Dr. Lloyd! A shocked Ian excuses himself to go to the bathroom and is quickly joined by Dr. Lloyd. Ian asks if the doctor's family members are aware of his sexuality, but he claims not to be gay. Seeking comfort, Ian tries to tell Fiona about Dr. Lloyd but is unable to work up the courage.
During Season 3 Ian is still dating Dr L. and having sex with another guy from his ROTC class, when Mickey shows up again. After Ian is interrupted, the boy pleads with Ian not to tell anyone, then Mickey slightly beat the boy up and the boy runs off. Mickey and Ian have sex and then start catching up from an interval of seperation. Ian later asks Mandy for some advice about knowing whether or not if a guy is attracted to you, specifically, Mickey, though he doesn't let her know thats who he is talking about. Mandy says that he would know it when he looks in his eyes. The next day Ian saves a kid from Mickey's wrath. Ian then tries to stare at Mickey's eyes, seeing if there was the supposed "look", but Mickey only asked what he was looking at.
Mickey starts becoming jealous because Ian is seing other men, namely Dr L. Eventually, Dr. L. reveals that he is gay when he is kicked out of his house and calls Jimmy soon after. Dr. L and Jimmy meet at the Alibi, and Dr. L. explains the situation and is still discreet about why he was thrown out, likely due to Candace (Jimmy's mother) finding out about Dr. L.'s sexual orientation. When Dr. L. and Jimmy come back to the Gallagher house, Dr L. seems to want to reach for Ian, but he falls down because he's so drunk. Jimmy doesn't want his father out drunk, so he offers to let him sleep on the couch. Dr. L. wakes up in the middle of the night and decides to look for Ian upstairs with nothing but his trunks on. He runs into Molly (Mandy's sister) while peeing in the bathroom. He apologizes and then continues walking down the hall. He stumbles upon Lip. Believing that it's Ian, Dr. L. climbs into the bed with no clothes on. Lip reacts absurdly, saying that Dr. L. has a boner and almost beats him up until Fiona walks in to intervene. Dr. L. looks around and then says he was looking for the bathroom because he was going take a shower, trying to hide the fact that he was looking for Ian. Jimmy takes his dad downstairs, and Fiona asks Lip if he's sure Dr L. had a boner, leading Ian to admit that Dr L. had been looking for him and that the two have been dating. He adds that he didn't know Dr. L. was Jimmy's father when he met him at a club. After a brief conversation with Jimmy downstairs, a car comes to take Dr. L. home.
Dr L. later enlists Ian for help getting his things back from his wife Candace, by robbing the house they used to share. He tells Ian he can take anything he wants as everything in the house is covered by insurance, but to make sure to get a few of his choice belongings. He explains the best times to rob his own home, based on Candace's schedule and habits, and tells Ian to show up in the early morning, with a van to make it look like they might be movers. Ian agrees, and asks Mickey if he wants to help. Mickey agrees. The morning of the robbery, Ian tells Mickey that he's not afraid to kiss him, even though Mickey is, not wanting to put his homosexuality on display. However Mickey, as he gets ready to go into the house, kisses Ian quickly, then rushes off. Ian waits in the van to be the getaway driver until the robbery goes wrong. Candace wakes up when she hears a ruckus and comes down the stairs with a shotgun in hand. She ends up shooting Mickey in the butt. Ian quickly drives away with a bleeding Mickey and his cousins. He ends up calling Dr. L. and asks for his help in getting Mickey mended.
Ian and Mickey continue their sexual relations. One day, while at Mickey's house for a sexual encounter, Ian and Mickey are caught by Mickey's dad, Terry. He goes after Ian, saying Mandy wasn't enough, and punches him. Mickey jumps on Terry to get him off Ian. Terry overpowers Mickey and beats him with the base of his gun. Ian tries to make a run for it, but Terry points a gun at him and forces him to sit on the couch. Mickey tries to stop Terry despite that fact that he bleeding. Terry knocks Mickey out cold with a swift punch to the face. Thinking he can also knock the gay out of his son, he calls a Russian prostitute over to have sex with Mickey and forces Ian to watch. Ian later tries to speak with Mickey and is unsuccessful. He then finds out from Mandy that Mickey is getting married to the Russian prostitute, since Mickey got her pregnant. Ian goes to talk to Mickey, but it goes badly; Ian tries to get Mickey to admit he loves him, angering Mickey, who brutally beats Ian. Mickey leaves, claiming to feel better. At the end of the episode, Ian cries alone in his room.
On the day of Mickey's wedding, Ian helps Mandy set up the chairs. Ian is still so bothered by the fact that his gay lover is getting married to a woman that he starts to drink heavily, getting very drunk just before the wedding. He tries to confront Mickey again, pleading with him not to go through with it. Mickey says it's only a piece of paper, but Ian doesn't believe so. The two have sex, and then Ian tries again to stop him from going through with the wedding. Mandy interrupts their conversation, and Mickey proceeds with the wedding. Ian continues to drink, becoming increasingly drunk and calling out to Mickey, calling his new wife a whore. Lip tries to take Ian home, but Ian stumbles, throws up, and passes out in some bushes.
In the last episode of Season 3, Ian goes to enlist in the army using Lip's ID, because Ian is not old enough to enlist. He visits Mandy and Mickey, and asks Mandy to get him something. Mickey tries to talk to Ian, but Ian tells him that he's enlisting, and Mickey almost tries to persuade him not to, but still fails to express his feelings. Mandy gives Ian something and he leaves. Mandy asks Mickey if that's all he has to say to Ian, but gets no response; she then calls him a pussy and walks away. This would indicate that Mandy knows about Ian and Mickey and approves of the relationship.
As of Season 4 episodes 1-3, Ian's family and neighbors do not know of Ian's exact whereabouts, they only know he has "taken off". Debbie is worried and has been arguing with Fiona about reporting to the police as a missing person, but Fiona says she trusts Ian and does not see the need to do so. Mickey is seen to be missing him and secretly pining for him.
In Season 4 episode 5, Lip is approached by military police and finds out Ian used his name and social security number to enlist. Ian is now wanted for the attempted theft of government property, impersonating Lip and going AWOL. The military police show Lip a picture of Ian and asks if he recognizes him; Lip says he has never seen him before in his life. Concerned for his brother, Lip returns home to the Southside and begins looking for clues. He asks Mickey if he's seen Ian; Mickey says no and asks if Ian is in trouble. Lip tells Mickey he'll let him know when he learns anything.
With Debbie's help, they find out that Ian has been in touch with Mandy and told her he is staying with an old boyfriend. Upon investigation, they find out it is Dr. L., though Ian is no longer staying with him as he was asked to leave when, while having friends over, he damaged Dr L.'s property. Dr. L. informs Lip and Debbie that Ian is now staying with Monica.
Lip and Debbie find an abandoned house full of Ian's stuff, but no Ian. When they call out for him, they are approached by a woman who threatens to shoot them. After reasoning with her, Lip and Debbie find out that Ian now works at a bar called the White Swallow. They enter the bar and see Ian serving people drinks. His appearance and behavior are different: he wears a silver glittery top and makeup, and he acts as though he's on drugs. Upon seeing his brother and sister, Ian approaches them very enthusiastically and acts as if nothing had happened. He appears manic, offering them drinks and seeming very distracted. He doesn't answer many of Lip's questions, but informs him that he's been working at the White Swallow for two weeks. He also comments that he finds the idea of the army police searching for him "hilarious", and that he "didn't steal anything", he just "started the rotors". Lip tries to get Ian to talk outside, but to no avail; he is dragged away by security and Ian doesn't seem to notice. Debbie expresses concern for her brother, asking if there is something wrong with him. Lip tells her that at least they know where he is now, and says he will check on Ian again soon.