Isaac

Isaac is a Revolutionary war leader of soldiers and spirits alike and is deeply insecure about his place in history. His rivalry with the founding forefathers, notably Alexander Hamilton, brings out his most jealous and snarky nature.

 

Played by: Brandon Scott Jones
Family members: Beatrice Higgintoot (wife), Nigel Chessum (fiancé in the afterlife)
Abilities: Combat Readiness, Diplomacy, Negotiation, Public Speaking, Nation Building and Political Discourse.
Ghostly Ability: Able to make people smell flatulence when walking through him.
Occupation in life: Revolutionary War captain; statesman
Cause of death: Dysentery

Personality

A fascinating blend of contradictions makes up Isaac’s personality. Raised in the colony of New York (‘Ghosts: the Musical‘) and later educated at Dartmouth College (‘Hello’) he is pompous and well-bred in bearing, but prone to envy and making salty remarks of his more well-known contemporaries. Some have speculated that his inflated ego could be a cover for insecurity and an effort to hide a tender heart.

As seen in ‘Hello,’ Isaac struggles with a deep longing to be well-known and admired as a ‘founding father’ like the celebrated politicians he knew. Snarky, sassy and quick-witted, Isaac loves to brag about his experiences but made critical mistakes and tactical errors in both his military and political careers. Isaac has a love for name-dropping, gossip and drama, often poking fun at others, but is quick to forgive and to apologize himself (‘Dinner Party,’ ‘D&D,’ and ‘Alberta’s Fan’).

While he has been called the ‘brains’ of the ghostly group, and was innovative on the battlefield (‘D&D’), Isaac shows a fierce loyalty to his fellow ghosts, and demands the same in return (‘Halloween’). While being the third oldest ghost in the mansion (behind Thorfinn and Sasappis), Isaac keeps his political dreams active by serving as a leader amongst the ghosts and protector of the mansion (‘Halloween,’ ‘D&D’). Keenly observant and curious, Isaac is almost always part of the ghostly ‘welcoming committee’ for those who visit the mansion. Even though he is not seen or heard, he typically has an opinion of each person or situation he encounters (‘Pilot,’ ‘Possession,’ ‘Alberta’s Fan’). As for Sam, Jay and his fellow upstairs ghosts, Isaac demonstratives an attentive attitude, while sometimes boasting of his own importance in the effort. (‘D&D,’ ‘Ghostwriter’).

Flamboyant and light-hearted in his attitude and mannerisms, Isaac is well-known for having dramatic facial and eye expressions and exaggerated gestures. In keeping with his fancy and vibrant nature, he has a passion for tea parties, fancy dinners, and musical theater.

In the beginning of the show, while everyone saw Isaac as being closeted gay, Isaac did not see this himself. After his painfully awkward attempt to seduce Hetty (‘Thorapy’) in order to deflect attention from him and Nigel, Isaac come out to her by telling her his eye has indeed been on his former enemy. Slowly, Isaac began to come to a sense of his own self-awareness, his true affections for Nigel and his heart for the residents of Woodstone. At the end of Season 1, Isaac tells Nigel, ‘I like you,’ in front of the other ghosts (‘Farnsby & B’). And his actions in Season 2 have shown his growth as a character — he helped to foster communication between Thor and his son Bjorn (‘The Baby Bjorn’), helped save Sam’s life at a painful and shameful cost (‘Halloween 2: The Ghost of Hetty’s Past‘), revealed the pain of his rejection from the Freemasons (‘The Liquor License’) and made peace with his marriage to Beatrice, the later of which led him to fully accept Nigel and kiss him in ‘The Christmas Spirit, Part One & Part Two.’

While Isaac’s life was cut short before he achieved his dreams, as a ghost, he maintains a sense of self-importance and determination to fulfill the potential he was denied of while among the living. And he remains determined to get that biography of his written.

Note: Many of the points for Isaac featured here were contributed by ‘Ghosts’ fans on social media. Thank you!

History

Isaac Higgintoot attended Dartmouth College (‘Hello’); his area of study is unknown but he sought to distinguish himself through politics and the military. Isaac sat on the precipice of U.S. history, an observer and bit player in the creation of the new country, but not making the significant contribution he truly wanted to make. He served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress (‘Alberta’s Fan’), and knew many notable early American leaders. He was also married, to a ‘handsome woman’ named Beatrice, but they slept in separate bedrooms during their marriage. (‘Hello’).

Isaac took great pride in his military career, achieving the rank of captain in the U.S. Continental Army. In 1777, Isaac created a weapon he called the ‘Eyesaac’ — a spy glass attached to a musket — to spy on British Lt. Col. Nigel Chessum across the battlefield (‘D&D’). Not long thereafter, Isaac accidentally discharged the weapon, killing Nigel, an anguishing secret Isaac kept for over two centuries.

Later in 1777, Isaac negotiated the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga in New York to the British (‘Hello’). Two weeks later, on the grounds of what would become the Woodstone mansion, Isaac dies of dysentery (‘Hello’).

As a ghost, Isaac is able to release the smell of flatulence whenever a ‘living’ walks through him (‘Pilot’). This ability is related to the intestinal disease that killed him. Isaac revealed that in 1883, he temporarily possessed the body of one of Hetty Woodstone’s workmen when the mansion was wired for electricity (‘Possession’).

Even in death, Isaac maintains a strong drive to be a leader amongst the upstairs ghosts, but was saddened to learn he was only a ‘footnote in history’ and that his rival Alexander Hamilton achieved great success and recognition (‘Hello’).

Under Isaac’s direction, the Woodstone spirits engage in surveillance and other general haunting and house-bound activities. He even rallied them to torment Sam until she acknowledged their existence (‘Hello’). Later, he talked her into writing his biography ‘Hello’).

Over the course of Sam and Jay’s time living at the Woodstone Mansion, Nigel has grown to become a pivotal part of Isaac’s life. In ‘D&D,’ Sam discovered a shed on the property that was to be torn down, which was occupied by three British Revolutionary War ghosts, to include Nigel, the man whom Isaac accidentally killed. Before this, Isaac and Nigel parleyed periodically to discuss matters still pertinent to the Revolutionary War. After much agonizing worry, Isaac confessed to Nigel that he had indeed, been the sniper who shot him. Infuriated, Nigel threatened to take over the Woodstone. Despite being broken-hearted over Nigel’s reaction, Isaac valiantly defended the Woodstone from Nigel’s invasion. Later, Isaac apologized to Nigel for not being forthcoming about the circumstances of Nigel’s death (‘D&D’). Isaac’s confession and apology served to deepen their friendship and their meetings grew to become a daily occurrence (‘Thorapy’).

With the Woodstone B&B due to open, Sam and Jay had the ghosts share bedrooms in order to finish up renovation of rooms (‘Thorapy’). Isaac and Hetty rather reluctantly agreed to share a room. Concerned that his fellow ghosts were focusing on Isaac’s growing relationship with Nigel, Isaac decided to make an attempt at seducing his new roommate Hetty. Hetty’s enthusiasm for Isaac’s amorous intentions deflated Isaac’s advances and his ‘mission’ failed. In a state of sorrow, Isaac later returned to Hetty to apologize. At that point, he also came out to her over his feelings for Nigel (‘Thorapy’), although Isaac related that he was not yet ready to tell Nigel.

From there, a 130-year friendship deepened and flowered into something greater and more powerful between Hetty and Isaac.

As unique events have transpired at the Woodstone Mansion, Isaac has expanded his relationships with his fellow ghosts, and has seen his own character grow in the process. In ‘Trevor’s Pants,’ Isaac, along with Hetty, Alberta, Sasappis and Sam, put Ari Cantor on notice for his involvement in Trevor’s death and disposal of the body. When he, and the others, were caught up in teenage ghost Stephanie’s ‘mean girl’ trick on Sam, Isaac expressed anger at Stephanie for her actions and apologized to Sam. But at Sam’s encouragement, was a part of the ‘ghost prom’ Sam puts on in Stephanie’s honor. And finally, in ‘Farnsby & B,’ Isaac musters the courage to approach Nigel at Hetty’s encouraging, only to be told by Jenkins that Nigel had been ‘sucked off.’ Despite his sorrow at this news, Isaac is the first to offer Sam gratitude for what she has done for the ghosts, when there was the concern that her attempt at reversing Thorfinn’s Norse curse might prevent her from seeing them anymore. Later, Nigel confronts Isaac over Jenkin’s lie that Isaac had an interest in Thorfinn. At that point, Isaac ‘comes out,’ telling Nigel that he likes him, with Nigel reciprocating the sentiment.

As Season 2 moved forward with the opening of the B&B, Isaac himself has been opening in many regards as a character himself, both in terms of his sexuality, his past and his relationship with the other characters. As Isaac slowly progressed with his relationship with Nigel, he’s had to come to terms with Nigel not being entirely comfortable with Thorfinn’s boisterous ways, but not forsaking his friendship with the Viking either (‘Spies’). In covering up his ghostly but unwelcome power to Nigel, Isaac blamed Pete for leaving the stinky trail and not him.

When Sam’s life was in peril in the safe, Isaac endured pain (and the revelation of his lie), when he stopped Jay in a heroic but humiliating act that helped save Sam (‘Halloween 2: Ghost of Hetty’s Past’).

With the help of Flower, Isaac helped foster communication and understanding of a Danish-loving Bjorn and resistant Thorfinn (‘The Baby Bjorn’). Isaac also revealed his rejection of becoming a Freemason (‘The Liquor License’). And finally, it was revealed that Isaac was hesitant in moving forward with his relationship with Nigel due to his fear that his wife Beatrice saw their marriage as a sham and he was guilt-ridden over ruining her life. When Sasappis revealed that she had traveled to see her dying husband, and dressed him in his Continental Army uniform before his death, he saw she had no ill will towards him, leaving him the freedom to go to Nigel and kiss him.

As season 2 progressed, Isaac continued to keep an ever-critical eye on going’s on at the B&B. He observed — while supplying his take on — the arrival, departure, return and final departure of Woodstone B&B manager Freddie (‘The Perfect Assistant,’ ‘The Family Business,’ and ‘Ghost Hunter’).

Isaac sought to ‘pull rank’ in ‘Ghost Hunter’ by directing other ghosts to enter Freddie’s Latvian ghost trap and later, offered advice to Samantha to help free Thorfinn, Flower and Pete from it. Isaac later flexed his leadership muscle again by protecting Hetty from the treacherous ‘fine print’ in Elias’ demonic contract, as well as lobbying fervently for Hetty to spare Pete (‘Weekend from Hell’). But the major developments for Isaac were the publishing of his long-sought-after biography and the progression of his relationship with Nigel. Both situations, though, were not without complications.

The episode ‘Isaac’s Book’ saw Isaac see his long-awaited biography completed by Sam; however, the book is initially turned down by the publisher. Unwilling to leave Isaac distraught, Sam tells him the book has been accepted, and continues to augment the lie throughout the episode, especially after the Ghosts post a Facebook announcement about it, and Sam begins to see the affect her ‘success’ is having on her successful college rival Isabel. The truth about the book eventually emerges, leaving Isaac embarrassed and angry. When Sam comes to later explain why she lied, Isaac offers Sam understanding and forgiveness as the two express how important the other is to the Woodstone household. And in a stroke of good fortune, precipitated by Isaac’s ghostly family, the book is accepted by the publishers for publication.

As season 2 continued, Isaac and Nigel’s relationship grew but experienced some residual growing pains. In ‘Trevor’s Body,’ Jenkins lets slip to Thorfinn and Pete that he and Nigel ‘liaisoned’ during the 15 hours Nigel and Isaac were apart on Christmas Eve. Upon confronting Nigel about this, Nigel tells a furious Isaac that they were on a respite, causing Isaac to tell him ‘We’re finished.’ Thorfinn later tells a depressed Isaac that there is a gay ghost residing at the Farnsby’s, and arranges for a meeting between the two, which results in nothing as Isaac is put off my George’s forward ways. Realizing how special his relationship is with Nigel, and in an effort to keep Nigel away from Jenkins, Isaac asks Nigel to move into the mansion with him.

With Nigel choosing to reside in the library, the British newcomer seeks to formally introduce himself to the others in the mansion, and immediately runs afoul of Hetty, who dislikes Nigel efforts to cut into her ‘pondering dates’ with Isaac (‘A Date to Remember’). Later, when Nigel invites her to his welcome tea, she feigns being insulted for not being welcomed first, and plots revenge on him with an eager Trevor. Hetty arranges for a half-birthday party for Alberta, ensuring Nigel’s welcome tea goes unattended. Isaac sharply rebukes Hetty for her treatment of Nigel, leaving her shocked, and later, apologetic to the couple, while Isaac is there, but defiant with Nigel when alone with him.

Thus, Nigel and Hetty are at war, unbeknownst to Isaac.

As season 2 drew to a close, Isaac expanded his relationships with others in the mansion in unusual and amusing ways. When Crash’s head is discovered in ‘Ghost Father of the Bride,’ Isaac goes to great and dramatic lengths to uncover who would have taken the young man’s head, and Alberta joins him in his investigation. As the two interview witnesses, both Isaac and Alberta assume the sleuthing personas of ‘Pony and Bangs’ and are able to extract a confession from Flower. Yet Alberta, picking up on a statement Isaac makes about what Crash was watching at the time the greaser’s head was snatched off his body, correctly concludes that Isaac was the one who took Crash’s head. As Isaac confesses, he tells her the reason he took Crash’s head was because he was bored, but charms Alberta with the fact that both of them enjoyed their time working and solving the case together. The episode ends with both of them plotting some future mischief.

To Isaac’s satisfaction, Nigel and Hetty appear to reach a detente, once Hetty makes it clear that she and Trevor are dating; the two couples even begin double-dating (‘Woodstone’s Hottest Couple’).

In the last episode of Season 2, ‘The Heir,’ Isaac was found negotiating with Sam for half of the $20,000 advance she received from the publication of his biography. When she agrees, Isaac gleefully tells some off his fellow ghosts he plans on getting a new day bed from Pottery Barn, leaving Nigel feeling spurned by Isaac for getting an item meant only for one.

After getting advice from Thorfinn and Trevor, Isaac, being the man of tradition he is, goes to Nigel, bending on one knee, and asks him for his hand in marriage.

Appearance

Tall, refined and handsome, Isaac appears to be between the ages of 35-40. He has a white stock around the neck, with lace jabot at the chest in front. He is outfitted with a dark blue regimental coat with a buff-colored rise-and-fall collar, cuffs, and facings (lapels), in addition to a buff skirted waistcoat and buff breeches. On the shoulders of his coat are gold-threaded epaulettes, which are decorative in nature and signify rank (gold for officers). There are gilt buttons on each lapel, cuffs, collar, and waistcoat. He also wears leather riding boots. His look is completed by having his own brown hair queued back and tied with a blue ribbon.

In the flashbacks episodes ‘The Liquor License’ and ‘The Christmas Spirit, Part One & Part TwoIsaac appears in simpler, early American attire. But the distinguishing part of his appearance is curly hair, which most likely is a wig.

Many thanks to Dr. Tyler Putman, Senior Manager of Gallery Interpretation, Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia for the information contained in the Trivia and Appearance sections!

Trivia

  • Isaac is the U.S. interpretation of the Captain from the BBC ‘Ghosts’ series.
  • Isaac’s uniform evokes those worn by many senior officers during the Revolutionary War. Blue and buff were the traditional colors of the Whig/opposition groups in Britain, and it appears that early in the war, George Washington and others adopted these colors as their Revolutionary uniforms.
  • Isaac is a first tenor. (Ghosts CBS-NFL Promo)
  • According to actor Brandon Scott Jones, his favorite part of Isaac’s garment are ‘the frilly cuffs made of lace. My least favorite thing are the pants, which have precisely 19,000 buttons which must be undone to go to the bathroom.’ (CBS Watch Magazine, Autumn 2022).
  • Isaac’s wife Beatrice dressed him in his Continental Army uniform just prior to his death, coming a long distance in order to do so.
  • Sasappis was a witness to Isaac’s passing in a medical tent in 1777.
  • In ‘The Christmas Spirit, Part One & Part Two’ episode, he tells Pete he was spending his 280th Christmas on the property. This would make his birth year 1742 and with his passing in 1777 would make him 35 when he died.
  • Beatrice gave Isaac the nickname ‘Cricket’ because to her, he continuously chirped like the little bug. She also gave him a handkerchief with a cricket on it, which he had on his person when he died.
  • Isaac was married at least 4 years, having had his wedding ring on in the tavern with his meeting with Ben Franklin in 1773.
  • Unlike many Founding Fathers, Isaac could not join the Freemasons, which was a devastating rejection for him.

Quotes

  • ’Could you imagine if she doesn’t make it? What a terrible last memory for him. Ending things in an argument.’’ (Season 1, Episode 1)
  • ‘’I must know what he went on to do. He haunts me, and I’m a damn ghost.’’ (Season 1, Episode 2)
  • ‘’I was mentioned in but one academic journal, in a footnote. I’m literally a footnote in history!’’ (Season 1, Episode 2)
  • ‘’I was never the type the commoners liked to have an ale with. Those dirty, filthy, ignorant commoners.’’ (Season 1, Episode 3)
  • “Huzzah!” (Season 1, Episode 4)
  • ‘’Oh Gadzooks, what a couple of lickspittles!’’ (Season 1, Episode 4)
  • ‘’I hate to say, ‘I told you so.’ Wait, no, it’s actually quite satisfying.’’ (Season 1, Episode 5)
  • ‘’Really, no one gasped? Well, I guess if you’re not gasping at that, you’re simply not a gasper.’’ (Season 1, Episode 7)
  • ‘’Well, back to the closet. To look for Jay’s shirt.’’ (Season 1, Episode 8)
  • ‘’Pirate! Damn my ruffled colonial garb!’’ (Season 1, Episode 9)
  • ‘’It was quite the interesting experience being inside another man.’’ (Season 1, Episode 10)
  • ‘’Need I remind you before that saint of a man was felled by a little girl’s arrow? No one compromised on anything around here.’’ (Season 1, Episode 12)
  • “You’re a woman with a comely nape, and this man wants to kiss it.” (Season 1, Episode 15)
  • “Okay, I’ll say it. And then it’s said. The person who caught my eye is ….. Nigel.” (Season 1, Episode 15)
  • ‘Oh, well, Hamilton pretended to not know me at a party once. And then “got my name wrong” several times over the years after that. Classic archrival shenanigans.’ (Season 1, Episode 16)
  • ‘Oh, come on. That was gasp-worthy. There’s something wrong with you people.’ (Season 1, Episode 16)
  • ‘You have bros. And we are they. Enjoy.’ (Season 1, Episode 16)
  • ‘Oh, God, who would’ve thought that a prom of all things would create such a stressful situation.’ (Season 1, Episode 17)
  • ‘The Boston Tea Party. Well, all they were missing was a giant shortbread cookie. That would’ve killed at the tavern.’ (Season 1, Episode 17)
  • ‘Please tell me you’re not quoting that musical Hamilton. Incorrectly, I might add.’ (Season 1, Episode 18)
  • ‘I-I recently learned that you should say things to people before is too late. So even if this isn’t goodbye, I think I speak for all when I say, Sam, you have changed our afterlives for the better. And we are forever grateful. And please finish my biography. You have really dropped the ball on that. Okay, you may proceed.’ (Season 1, Episode 18)
  • ‘I like you….Please don’t make me say it again.’ (Season 1, Episode 18)
  • ‘Oh, someone can consume food. Must be nice.’ (Season 2, Episode 1)
  • ‘I don’t even know what this thing is with Nigel yet, but whatever it is, I don’t want to ruin it before it starts. So I’m sorry that Thor is unhappy, but when is it my chance to be happy? Hmm? When is it old Higgintoot’s turn?’ (Season 2, Episode 1)
  • ‘And Nigel, I care about you but something I learned today is that If you want to be my special companion, you got to get with my Viking friend.’ (Season 2, Episode 1)