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You know, people will think what I tell them to think. That's how authority works.
~ Gene Carson
Your husband didn't fall off the roof; he FLEW off!
~ Gene Carson revealing to Ms. Kyle Pratt his evil plan and the truth behind Ms. David Pratt's murder.

Eugene "Gene" Carson is the main antagonist in the 2005 mystery-thriller film Flightplan.

He was portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard, who also portrayed Bartholomew Bogue in the 2016 remake of The Magnificent Seven and Hector Hammond in The Green Lantern.

Biography

Carson is an air marshal on board the same flight Elgin 474 as aircraft engineer Kyle Pratt. In reality, Carson is actually a criminal and hijacker under the guise of his status of an Air Marshal and wants fifty million dollars for personal profit, but he cunningly makes it seem as though Kyle is the hijacker as she knows the plane inside out and therefore would be more credible to pin the blame on so he could get away with his crimes. Carson and his fellow conspirators had previously killed Kyle's husband by pushing him off a rooftop as it was believed that coffins are not x-rayed and would be a perfect place to hide explosives and a detonator to bypass airport security. Carson's general plan was to kidnap Julia and make it appear as if she never existed on the flight to make Kyle desperate and frantic enough in the hopes of searching for Julia in the holds and opening the coffin to give him access to the explosives, as Kyle is the only one who knows the combination. Kyle had boarded the plane with her daughter Julia and her husband's coffin in order to bury him on Long Island, as Carson planned.

During the flight, Carson (who is in visible view of Kyle and Julia) and his accomplice, Stephanie, wait for Kyle to fall asleep before kidnapping Julia by secretly storing her into a food cart. When Kyle wakes up, she is startled to find that her daughter is missing. Carson secretly gets rid of all the records that Julia was ever on board the plane, including her boarding pass, and has Stephanie pretend that Julia's name was not on the passenger manifest and to search in avionics, where Julia has been placed and drugged. This makes the other passengers, crew, and the captain of the flight, believe that Kyle is becoming delusional due to her husband's death. After Kyle becomes increasingly frustrated and desperate, Carson is asked by Captain Marcus Rich to handcuff her and keep guard. Despite pretending to aid Kyle in her search for Julia, Carson appears to be apathetic and indifferent about taking his obligations and responsibilities as an Air Marshal seriously.

The captain later receives word from the morgue director who had arranged preparations for Kyle's husband, that Julia died along with her father, to which Kyle angrily protests. This was of course set up by Carson, as it is revealed that the morgue director is also a conspirator who arranged to plant the explosives in the casket prior to it being sealed. Kyle later sneaks into the freight deck to search for Julia herself and opens her husband's coffin revealing that Julia is not inside (despite her being the only one to know the code). As planned, Carson finds her there (presumably with permission from the captain) and aims his gun at her when she attempts to close the casket. He handcuffs her again and escorts her back to the cabin, announcing that she will be arrested for her irrational behavior, but Kyle tries to convince him to let her search the plane one last time. Carson seemingly accepts her request, announcing that he is going to talk with the captain. However before doing that, he secretly returns to the freight deck to retrieve the explosives and detonator hidden within the coffin of Kyle's husband David. He then attaches the explosives to the platform above Julia before leaving.

Later, Carson lies and informs the captain that Kyle is threatening to blow up the plane unless a plane is delivered (to bluff an escape method), and that fifty million dollars is to be transferred to a specific bank account (belonging to Carson, but believed to belong to Kyle) and demands the captain to transfer it although Carson claims that Kyle refuses to negotiate. Since none of the crew believed Julia was ever on the flight, Carson convinces the captain that Kyle was using her supposed existence on the flight as a cover, allowing her to place explosives within the plane during her supposed search. It is then revealed to the audience during a conversation with Stephanie, that his plan is to let all of the passengers be let off the plane, kill Kyle, place the detonator in her hand, and blow up the plane to eliminate all evidence of Julia's body, and then eventually leave without any suspicion on him. Carson then proceeds lies to Kyle that the "FBI and captain has been notified of a missing person case".

When Carson is unsuccessful in stopping Kyle from speaking the captain, he tells her to drop the charade and that the money and plane that "she requested" has been transferred. Kyle then realizes she has been set up and immediately suspects Carson, and when the crew exit the plane after landing at Goose Bay Airport, Kyle forces Carson to stay on board with her, as she uses her advantage as a supposed hijacker. Knowing his cover will be blown if he refuses to follow protocol, he complies and threatens to blow up Julia if Kyle attempts to tell the captain that he is the hijacker. After the crew leaves, Carson is knocked out by a fire extinguisher before being handcuffed to a rail by Kyle. However, he quickly regains consciousness and uses a hidden gun to shoot at Kyle. She quickly escapes into the depths of the plane with Carson hot in pursuit, having freed himself from the handcuffs. Kyle soon ends up confronting Stephanie, who had stayed on board, about her actions and punches her, causing her to flee. Kyle eventually finds Julia in avionics and Carson eventually reveals that he killed her husband. Carson then boasts about how his authority as an air marshal made the crew believe his claims and lies, as well as claiming that everyone would be too apathetic to care for others. Kyle then manages to trap Carson in the compartment by locking the door on him. As Carson attempts to fire at her and Julia, Kyle uses the detonator to set off the explosives, engulfing Carson in a huge fireball and ending his life.

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