Lucy Preston is a genius professor of history and anthropology of American political movements at Stanford University. She thinks of herself as a nerdy person, as she skipped her high school prom to go to a speaking and debating tournament and holds no regrets over the decision.
Lucy has a sister named Amy Preston, who is 7 years younger than her. She is erased from Lucy's timeline due to consequences from Lucy's first time travel mission.
Carolyn Preston, Lucy's mother, first appears sick with lung cancer in the "Pilot" due to smoking. However, after Lucy, Wyatt Logan, and Rufus Carlin make significant changes in their first mission (saving the Hindenburg), Lucy comes home to discover that her mother is healthy and alive. Carolyn later reveals to Lucy that she works for Rittenhouse.
Lucy's father, Henry Wallace, is mentioned several times in the show, but never appears. Later, however, Lucy discovers that Henry wasn't her biological father. This is revealed when her sister Amy is erased from history due to Henry and Lucy's mother Carolyn never meeting in the new alternate timeline. Her biological father is later revealed to be Benjamin Cahill, also a member of Rittenhouse.
After Carol and Emma save soldier Nicholas Keynes during WWI, Keynes is revealed by Carolyn to be Lucy’s maternal great-grandfather.
1937 - Episode 1: "Pilot"
Lucy is upset when she's denied tenure, desperate to carry on her mother's legacy at the university. She goes home and vents to her sister, Amy, while checking on her mother, Carol, who is bed-ridden from terminal lung cancer. That same night, Lucy is brought by Homeland Security to Mason Industries. There, she finds out that she's been chosen to help recover a time machine, the Mothership, stolen by Garcia Flynn. Lucy reluctantly joins, travelling back, with soldier Wyatt Logan and pilot Rufus Carlin in the Lifeboat, to 1937 on the day of the Hindenburg disaster. Lucy and Wyatt clash over changing or saving history. While stopping Flynn's plan, Lucy is approached by Flynn, who shows her a diary she has written he owns, but that Lucy doesn't recognize. Flynn tells her to ask why she was chosen for the mission, and who Rittenhouse is. Flynn gets away, and when Lucy returns to the present, she is shocked to discover that her mother is perfectly healthy, Lucy herself is engaged, and Amy no longer exists. (“Pilot”)
1865 - Episode 2: "The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln"
Lucy returns to Mason Industries, asking for answers about why Amy was never born. Though no one believes her, Lucy has a photo of Amy from a locket she wore when she traveled back to 1937. Mason Industries programmer Jiya offers to help Lucy figure out why Amy was never born while the team chase Flynn to 1865. There, Lucy figures out that Flynn's plan has to do with Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Wyatt and Rufus both argue with Lucy about letting Lincoln die. Though Lucy is reluctant to let it happen, she insists on keeping history intact. Lucy again encounters Flynn alone, who says that she's going to help him one day, which Lucy doesn't believe. Lucy ends up seeing Flynn kill Lincoln instead of John Wilkes Booth, but stops him from killing General Grant. Lucy later admits that she tried to save Lincoln, not caring about saving history. After returning, Lucy and Jiya figure out why Amy was never born, and that Amy's father is not Lucy's biological father. Lucy arrives home, and meets her fiance, Noah, a complete stranger. (“The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln”)
1962 - Episode 3: "Atomic City"
The trio chase Flynn to 1962 Vegas, where Wyatt and Lucy argue about their jobs, and whose assignment is more important. They later see Flynn going after John F. Kennedy's mistress, Judith Campbell. Judith reveals that Flynn is blackmailing her, and Wyatt decides to use her as bait to catch Flynn. However, Judith knocks Wyatt out, and escapes with Flynn. Wyatt and Lucy later make up when Lucy catches Wyatt trying to mail a telegram to save his late wife, Jessica, in the future, and Lucy admits she'd try to save Amy. Rufus figures out that Flynn is using Judith to steal a plutonium core from Vegas' nuclear testing facility. The team saves Judith, but Flynn escapes with the core. The team returns home, where Lucy tells Noah she's moving back in with her mother for some time alone, which Noah accepts. (“Atomic City”)
1944 - Episode 4: "Party at Castle Varlar"
Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus go back to 1944 Nazi Germany. There, they team with Ian Fleming to stop Flynn. Lucy has to go undercover with Ian to stop Flynn, and has a meltdown. She tells Wyatt about surviving a car accident in college that nearly killed her, and feeling just as helpless now as back then. Wyatt tells her to figure out what she's fighting for to keep going. Lucy again talks to Flynn, and figures out that he's trying to hand over German scientist Wernher von Braun to the Soviets, potentially destroying NASA and the American space program that von Braun helps launch. The team foils Flynn's plan, handing over von Braun to the Allies. The trio once again go home without eliminating Flynn. Lucy then tells Agent Christopher that she'll only continue the missions if they help her get Amy back. (“Party at Castle Varlar”)
1836 - Episode 5: "The Alamo"
Lucy has an argument with Carol about her biological father, revealing Carol hasn't told her the truth. Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus travel back to Texas during the Alamo, and Wyatt reveals that he's been fired, and someone else will be taking his spot. To stop Flynn, Lucy finishes the historic "Victory or Death" letter after Flynn kills William B. Travis, the original writer. Though Wyatt is reluctant to leave when Santa Anna attacks, Lucy convinces him to, saying she needs him on her team. The three escape to safety with the women and children, and return home, saving history. Lucy and Rufus object to Wyatt's firing, and convince the agents to keep Wyatt on the team. When she returns home, Carol finally gives Lucy the name of her father. (“The Alamo”)
1972 - Episode 6: " The Watergate Tape"
Lucy tries to meet her father, but is unable to find the courage to face him. In 1972 Washington D.C. Flynn kidnaps the team, and reveals that he has the Nixon tape with the missing 18 and a half minutes, which reveal President Nixon knows about Rittenhouse. He tells Lucy and Rufus to find the "doc" Nixon kept referring to, or he'll kill Wyatt. Wyatt and Rufus find out about Lucy's journal and her talking to Flynn, something she never told them. Lucy and Rufus discover that the "doc" is a member of Rittenhouse, who defected. She tells Lucy that Rittenhouse is dangerous, and controls everything. Lucy discovers that Rufus has been recording the missions for Rittenhouse, and is angered by his betrayal. Lucy and Rufus turn the tables on Flynn, and are able to save the Doc and Wyatt. The trio goes home safe, but they're distant after Wyatt discovers that both Lucy and Rufus lied to him. Lucy goes and visits the home of her father, Benjamin Cahill, who, unknown to Lucy, is a Rittenhouse agent. She leaves without introducing herself. (“The Watergate Tape”)
1754 - Episode 7: "Stranded"
The trio are stuck in 1754 after Flynn sabotages the Lifeboat. Their trust issues come up after Wyatt confronts Lucy about her deal to get Amy back, which Lucy defends, saying Amy is her reason to fight. They get captured by the Shawnee tribe, and the three bond over regrets and wanting to fix their past mistakes. When Lucy and Wyatt are sentenced to death, but Rufus is spared, Rufus sticks up for them, saying he wants to die too; the three are spared by chieftess Nonhelema. They go to a French camp to get supplies to fix the Lifeboat. Rufus successfully fixes the Lifeboat, and with help from Connor Mason and Jiya, they come home after making peace with each other. Lucy tells Wyatt that she never told them about Flynn and the journal because she's afraid the journal is true, and that one day, she will be helping Flynn. However, Wyatt tells Lucy that she can choose her own future, and to not write the journal. (“Stranded”)
1969 - Episode 8: "Space Race"
The team chases Flynn to 1969 Houston, Texas on the day of the Apollo 11 landing. He and Anthony Bruhl sabotage NASA's computers to ruin Apollo 11 and the moon landing. Rufus and Lucy are able to fix the computers with the help of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, but Flynn and Anthony escape. When Lucy finds out that Flynn was able to save his half-brother, Gabriel, from dying, she is frustrated over not being able to save Amy. Agent Christopher promises to keep their deal after they catch Flynn (“Space Race”)
1934 - Episode 9: "Last Ride of Bonnie and Clyde"
Lucy has dinner with Noah, which doesn't go well. Wyatt tells her to let Noah go, but Lucy wonders if she is meant to be with him, although she does not love him. Agent Christopher tells them to recover a key after Flynn jumps to 1934 Arkansas. In 1934 Arkansas, Lucy and Wyatt are inside a bank just before bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde show up. Lucy sees that Bonnie has the key they need, so she and Wyatt pretend they are a couple and help the robbers escape. Bonnie and Clyde open their home to them, and they find out that Clyde gave the key to Bonnie after stealing it from Henry Ford. Wyatt tells his own engagement story, and kisses Lucy to keep up the act, but the kiss leaves them both dazed. Waiting for a moment to steal the key, Lucy and Wyatt talk for a bit about love and fate. They try to get the key, but they are unsuccessful, with Flynn stealing the key before Bonnie and Clyde are killed. The trio goes home; Wyatt awkwardly apologizes to Lucy for kissing her, but Lucy says they are on good terms. (“Last Ride of Bonnie & Clyde”)
1780 - Episode 10: "The Capture of Benedict Arnold"
Lucy has dinner with Agent Christopher and her wife, Michelle. Agent Christopher later gives Lucy a flash drive of her family photos to keep in the Lifeboat, in case her family disappears like Amy did. The Time Team goes back to 1780, where they meet Flynn, who asks for their help to capture Benedict Arnold, a founding member of Rittenhouse. In exchange, Flynn promises to give back the Mothership. The team complies, and they do capture Benedict Arnold, who reveals that Rittenhouse was started by one man, David Rittenhouse. The team has Arnold take them to Rittenhouse's place. However, Rittenhouse captures the team and kills Arnold. He almost kills them, but they get the upper hand and kill him first. Flynn runs off to kill David's young son, John. Lucy tries to stop him from killing the boy, and John escapes. Furious, Flynn kidnaps Lucy and escapes with her in the Mothership. Rufus and Wyatt hear her screams, but they are too late to save Lucy. (“The Capture of Benedict Arnold”)
1893 - Episode 11: "The World's Columbian Exposition"
Flynn goes back and tries to kill John, but fails, and Lucy is unable to find any other record of him. Flynn takes Lucy to 1893 during the Chicago World's Fair. There, Flynn reveals his plan to kill Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and J.P. Morgan, all Rittenhouse members. Lucy refuses to help him, until Flynn reveals that he had Rufus and Wyatt, who followed them, trapped the World's Fair Hotel with serial killer H. H. Holmes. Lucy gets the help of Harry Houdini, who manages to stop Flynn's plan and helps Lucy rescue Rufus and Wyatt. While trying to find Holmes, Lucy ends up getting kidnapped by the serial killer. Using advice she received from Houdini earlier, she stalls long enough for Wyatt and Rufus to find her, and kill Holmes. Reunited, the trio goes home. (“The World's Columbian Exposition”)
1882 - Episode 12: "The Murder of Jesse James"
Lucy has a dream about Amy that troubles her. The team then chases Flynn to 1882 Oklahoma, where they find out Flynn saved Jesse James from being killed in exchange for his help. To go after him, Lucy gets the help of U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves and his friend, Grant Johnson, to find Flynn and Jesse. On the way, Lucy reveals how she forgot about her sister's birthday the day before, and she's lost faith in the mission to stop Flynn. The team end up at a cabin, where they discover that former time travel pilot Emma Whitmore is alive, and Flynn has escaped with her. They are ambushed by Jesse, and Grant is killed. Lucy kills Jesse, against Reeves' wishes, and deals with the fact that she killed someone for the first time. (“The Murder of Jesse James”)
1983 - Episode 13: "Karma Chameleon"
Wyatt comes to Lucy's place, and reveals he and Rufus are stealing the Lifeboat to save Jessica by preventing her killer from being born. Lucy decides to come along, but Wyatt persuades her to stay to keep her deal to get Amy back. While running interference with Agent Christopher, Lucy gets a call and meets up with Anthony to discuss how to get rid of Rittenhouse for good. He tells her he is going to destroy the Mothership so Rittenhouse won't get it, and asks Lucy to do the same to the Lifeboat. After their meeting, Agent Christopher shows a picture of a Rittenhouse agent talking with Connor, and Lucy recognizes him as her father. When Rufus and Wyatt come back, Wyatt's wife is still dead, and Wyatt is arrested. Lucy goes to her father's house, and confronts him about Rittenhouse. Cahill informs Lucy that she is a part of Rittenhouse, too, since it includes family. (“Karma Chameleon”)
1927 - Episode 14: "The Lost Generation"
Lucy is disgusted by her father's loyalty to Rittenhouse, and leaves in a hurry. After telling Agent Christopher and Rufus about her father, Lucy, reluctantly, and Rufus chase Flynn to 1927 Paris with Master Sgt. David Baumgardner, in place of Wyatt. They discover that Flynn is after Charles Lindbergh, who is part of Rittenhouse. Lucy is grabbed by Flynn, and confronts him about knowing who Cahill was and not telling her. Flynn tells Lucy he wanted her to see how bad Rittenhouse was for herself. Lucy tells Flynn that she'll try to convince Lindbergh to leave Rittenhouse rather than let Flynn kill him. During her conversation with Lindbergh, she reveals how she turned down her dream job a few years before because her mother didn't want her to take the position, but Amy did. She and Rufus save Lindbergh, and return, but find other government agents in charge of the Lifeboat now, headed by Agent Jake Neville. Lucy returns home, and is disappointed that she wasn't able to change history. Carol later gives her a blank journal - same as the one Flynn has. She and Rufus meet Agent Christopher and Wyatt, who escaped with Agent Christopher's help. Christopher informs them that Rittenhouse is controlling the Lifeboat, and the team resolves to stop them. (“The Lost Generation”)
1931 - Episode 15: "Public Enemy No.1"
Neville orders Lucy and Rufus to go to 1962 Houston, and kill Flynn's mother, preventing Flynn from being born. Lucy and Rufus refuse, but are forced to comply when Neville threatens to arrest them. Cahill comes to Lucy, who tells him off, and offers to help her get Amy back if she does this one mission. However, Rufus and Lucy drug the Rittenhouse soldier, and steal the Lifeboat, jumping back to meet Agent Christopher and Wyatt. Lucy then gets the chance to save her sister, but Flynn jumps to 1931 Chicago at the same time; though Lucy wants to get her sister back, Wyatt convinces her that Flynn needs to be stopped, and the team pursues him. The team's pursuit of Flynn leads them to Al Capone, and Lucy convinces Richard Hart, Capone's brother and Prohibition agent, and to help arrest Capone. He helps them, but Al Capone shoots Rufus. Rufus is badly injured, and Lucy and Wyatt get him to the Lifeboat to save him. Just before they jump, Rufus loses consciousness, and Lucy and Wyatt try to revive him. (“Public Enemy No. 1”)
1954 - Episode 16: "The Red Scare"
Rufus manages to get them back to the present, and Lucy calls Noah to treat Rufus. After he does, Lucy ends her engagement with him. After Flynn jumps to 1954, Lucy is reluctant to stop him. But when Rittenhouse shows up, Lucy, Wyatt, Rufus, and Jiya escape in the Lifeboat, and travel to 1954. To stop Flynn from blowing up a Rittenhouse summit, Lucy gets the help of her grandfather, Ethan Cahill. At the summit, Lucy stops Flynn, saying she knows how to stop Rittenhouse. Lucy gets Ethan to gather information about Rittenhouse over many years, and the team uses it to arrest the Rittenhouse members in the present. Lucy gives Flynn the info on who killed his family, but he gets arrested by Agent Christopher's team, to Lucy's dismay. Lucy finally gets clearance to get Amy back. Lucy leaves to talk with her mother, informing her of her plan to get Amy back; but Lucy discovers, to her horror, that Carol is also a member of Rittenhouse, and she's not going to let Lucy make her get sick just to get Amy back. Carol reveals that Rittenhouse now has control of the Mothership thanks to Emma, actually a Rittenhouse agent, and they're putting their plan to change history into motion. (“The Red Scare”)
1918 - Episode 1: "War to End All Wars"
Lucy gets kidnapped by Carol and Rittenhouse, and disappears. Six weeks later, she's seemingly joined Rittenhouse, and travels back to 1918 France. She's led to believe that her friends were killed and the Lifeboat was destroyed by an explosion at Mason Industries. In 1918, Emma and Lucy both show bitterness towards each other, and is also distant from Carol. Lucy is forced to kill an innocent soldier by Emma when he interferes with their plan. She's later reunited with Wyatt and Rufus, who actually survived. Lucy tries to foil Rittenhouse's plan, but Carol catches her, and tries to show sympathy, but Lucy doesn't care for her mother's words. When Emma tries to kill Marie and Irène Curie for discovering the Mothership, Lucy tries to stop her. Emma tries to kill Lucy, but Wyatt and Rufus save Lucy. Carol and Emma escape in the Mothership, while Lucy returns with Wyatt and Rufus, where she's reunited with the other survivors - Mason, Jiya, and Agent Christopher. After Emma tells her that she made trips to make sure Amy can never come back, Lucy breaks down over losing everything, but Wyatt comforts her. The team later figures out that Rittenhouse planted sleepers in the past so they could change history. (“The War to End All Wars”)
1955 - Episode 2: "The Darlington 500"
Lucy has trouble dealing with the time she spent with Rittenhouse, even after being reunited with the Lifeboat team. When the team can't figure out why the Mothership went to 1955 South Carolina, Lucy suggest talking to Flynn, which everyone opposes. However, with no better options, Agent Christopher brings Lucy to see Flynn in prison. Though Flynn initially refuses to help, Lucy goads him into giving up a clue that he found related to Rittenhouse and South Carolina. Using it, the team follows Rittenhouse to 1955, and finds out that Rittenhouse is planning to kill the most powerful businessmen in the automobile industry during the Darlington 500 race, allowing Rittenhouse to take over the car industry and make billions. While getting an assist from race car driver Wendell Scott, Lucy bonds with Wyatt over his father and her mother being people that they can no longer trust. Lucy laments how she idolized her mother growing up, then learned how bad she really was. Wyatt, though, says this is an opportunity for her to move on. With Wendell's help, the team sabotages Rittenhouse's plan. (“The Darlington 500”)
1941 - Episode 3: "Hollywoodland"
When the Mothership goes to 1941 Los Angeles, Lucy doesn't know why they're there, and visits Flynn again to see if he knows. Flynn refuses to help, unless they get him out of prison. Lucy then promises to get him out, if he tells her what he knows about 1941 Los Angeles. Flynn finally gives her the clue, which leads the team to Paramount Studios in 1941. While trying to stop Rittenhouse, Lucy ends up singing at a high society party, and is able to enjoy herself after a long time. While staying at movie star Hedy Lamarr's house, Wyatt and Lucy finally give in to their feelings for each other, and spend the night together. The team foils Rittenhouse's plan, before jumping back. There, Flynn arrives in the bunker, after the team coordinated in the past and present to help him escape. Lucy and Wyatt talk about moving their relationship forward, but Wyatt abruptly cuts the conversation short. When an alarm suddenly goes off in the bunker, Lucy and team discover that Wyatt broke out. (“Hollywoodland”)
Assigned to work together, Lucy and Wyatt often clashed initially because of their respective lines of work and opposing views. (“Pilot”) The more time they spent together, though, the more they bonded. (“Atomic City”) They both came to respect each other's views, and Lucy was happy to have Wyatt by her side during the missions. (“The Alamo”) Lucy's feelings for Wyatt started to develop, but she didn't act on them because of his grief over losing his wife, Jessica. She gave him space and still supported him the only way she could. (“Karma Chameleon”) Lucy eventually admitted her feelings to him, saying he's the reason she keeps going. (“Hollywoodland”) When Jessica came back, Lucy stepped aside to let Wyatt be happy, and also convinced Jessica to give Wyatt a second chance out of love for Wyatt. (“The Kennedy Curse”) She was hurt by losing him, though, and tried to keep her distance, which Wyatt didn't take well. (“The King of the Delta Blues”) Lucy, though, finally stood her ground and told Wyatt he broke her heart, but she needs to accept it for his sake, and so does he. (“Mrs. Sherlock Holmes”) Wyatt eventually tells Lucy that he loves her, but she doesn't say anything back. (“Chinatown”)
Flynn and Lucy started as enemies, but after a long time and a lot of trouble by Rittenhouse, they appear to be good friends for the time being.
After coming home from Lucy's second mission, Lucy discovers she is engaged to a doctor named Noah. While she doesn't know him, she comes across photo albums of the two's time together and he says they have been dating for several years. She continues to be engaged to him, even trying to get to know him, until the first season finale when Lucy finally breaks off their engagement. (“Last Ride of Bonnie & Clyde”)
- Lucy is claustrophobic due to a near fatal car accident she was in during college. She landed in a river and was stuck in the car as water began to fill it, leaving her terrified, until a passerby found and rescued her. She hasn't been able to handle being in small or confined spaces ever since.
- She wanted to join a band when she was younger before deciding to become a historian to honor her mother. During one of her missions with the team, she is forced to sing in front of a crowd to maintain her cover. It is then revealed that she is a talented singer.
- She can speak some French.
- Her parents belong to Rittenhouse.
- Brave, but sometimes naive.
- She has written a book that includes information on the moments of John Wilkes Booth on the day he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. She named Abraham Lincoln to be her favorite historical figure and used to memorize and recite his speeches as a child just for fun.