Ian Clayton Gallagher was born in 1996 in Metz, and is often the most strong-hearted, persistent, and goofy -yet currently reckless- third oldest child in the Gallagher family. He is presumably the product of a PCP-fueled affair between his mother Monica Gallagher and Frank Gallagher's brother, Clayton Gallagher, in the summer of 1995. Ian has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder; he currently refuses to visit the doctor and does not believe he needs to take medication. For these reasons his behavior has been erratic and out of control, worrying his family. He is a high school drop out, having left his education behind when he illegally enlisted in the army at the end of Season 3. While in the army, Ian attempted to steal a helicopter, and was a wanted criminal on at least two charges: attempted theft of government property and impersonating his older brother, Phillip Gallagher. He has been in an on-again-off-again relationship with the aggressive neighborhood thug, Mickey Milkovich, and was best friends with Mickey's sister, Mandy Milkovich; he has complete hatred for Mandy's abusive boyfriend, Kenyatta, with whom she moved away to Indiana in Season 5. He helped around the house and assisted Mickey and Svetlana with the care of their son Yevgeny.
After spiraling out of control, Ian becomes a religious fanatic in Season 8 and is arrested. During Season 9, Ian is sent to prison to serve a two-year sentence, where he is reunited with Mickey Milkovich and his character was temporarily retired from the series, making an appearance in the season finale before Fiona leaves. Ian returns in Season 10 with Mickey and both are eventually paroled. Ian struggles with life after prison, building a future with Mickey and his own insecurities, but eventually he and Mickey get engaged and are eventually married.
Ian is not as intelligent as Lip, but he is more physically fit. He is described by Frank to having an excellent work ethic in nearly everything he does. He is often uncertain of what he wants to do in his life, but once he makes a goal for himself he goes after it 100 percent.
Ian is also self-conscious of his bipolar condition, which he inherited from his mother and often feels inadequate as it prevents him from certain things. He sometimes refuses to admit that he has a problem when his condition causes him to go off his usual path.
Ian gets along with all his siblings who were aware of his sexuality long before he revealed it and accepted regardless. He is closest to Lip and Fiona but does get along with his younger siblings and often help shield them from Frank's influence. Ian was devastated by the betrayal of Samantha Slott who told the army of his AWOL choices. However, he did try to redirect Samantha's son Chuckie Slott from his misguided views from juvie.
Ian like his siblings resents his father Frank for his neglect and his treatment of him since his mother Monica left them. For some time, Ian felt his father despised him the most. However, he was greatly surprised to learn Frank wasn't his biological father but rather his uncle. After meeting his presumed father (Frank's brother), Ian chose not to broach the subject and accepted Frank was his father, just as Lip and the others are his siblings. Interestingly enough, Frank also claims Ian is still his son while not scorning his sexuality and accepting him no matter what. Despite stating he hates him, Ian was worried when Mickey plotted to kill Frank for discovering he was gay. Ian also warned Frank of the danger he was in but listened to his father's words about his life. Ian was even present for Frank's time in the hospital when it looked he was going to die from liver failure and even seemed sad. However, he went back to his usual reaction to Frank after he got a new liver and survived. After Frank ruined Fiona's wedding, Ian took part in throwing Frank off the bridge, he wasn't surprised to see him alive when he returned and didn't try to help him in his moment of pain. Ian also expressed pleasure in Frank's disownment until Frank took revenge by taking Liam and blocking the family out of the house. This tension skyrocketed to the point where he and Lip were tortured by Frank with a raccoon and Frank created a new family while sending him away. Ian's anger mellowed when he introduced Trevor to Frank and still called Frank his father. However, his dislike remained as he tried to attack his father after he tried to return home but soon relented and slowly forgave his father when he helped Liam and fix the house. Ian made full amends with Frank after seeing his grief at Monica's death and hearing him express pride in them, despite their past. In the month after, Ian was also surprised to see Frank put in the effort to change and saved him along with the rest of the family from an armed meth-head while realizing Frank was holding back on him for years in his attacks on him. Though not entirely convinced but grateful for the rescue, Ian seemed to encourage Frank's actions and was pleased that he put in the effort to bond with Liam. Regardless, Ian does show that he cares for Frank and was pleased to see him happy when he turned his and Mickey’s wedding. When Ian discovered that Frank was suffering from dementia, he appeared concerned and no longer became hostile towards Frank showing a deep down that he does love him.
Ian is gay and has had several troubled relationships over the course of the series. He had several flings with Kash and Lloyd but neither of them worked out because of their complicated lives getting too much for him, resulting in Ian dumping them. His first relationship was the neighborhood thug Mickey, who was the person that he wanted to be with all the time but he was devastated Mickey's pride and reaction to his bipolar disorder blocked that. His second relationship was with firefighter Caleb who was different from all his partners in that they were doing normal things, as they went on dates and confided in personal secrets: Ian being bipolar and Caleb being HIV positive. Caleb was also more encouraging, as he pushed Ian to fight to be a paramedic, something that was a success. Their relationship lasted a month, as Ian discovers Caleb was bisexual and cheating on him with women. Ian's next partner was Trevor, who is transgender and showed a mutual attraction to him. Though Ian just broke up with Caleb, he felt different with Trevor and after moving past differences, they slowly built a relationship once they found common interests. Ian ruined his chances by cheating on Trevor when hooking up with Mickey and nearly running off with him. However, Ian returned to Trevor and they started to reconcile until Ian became a religious fanatic and arsonist. In prison, Ian reunited with Mickey and they resumed their status. Ian and Mickey had reconciled in the six months that passed but things became tumultuous due to the fact that they would constantly fight about small things. Regardless, they still cared for one another as Mickey prevent Ian from ruining his parole meeting and helped Ian in getting a phone for him to see his new nephew Freddie Gallagher. After they were both released from prison they moved in together and things were more smoothly than in prison. However, Ian hesitates at the idea of marrying Mickey, eventually revealing that a lot of it stems from insecurities over how Mickey could love Ian with all of his issues when Mickey could potentially find someone better. After overhearing Byron bad-mouthing Mickey and his qualities, Ian is inspired to not only leap to Mickey's defense, but to propose to Mickey himself. Despite the turbulence at their wedding plans and the reactions of Mickey’s father, Ian was ultimately able to marry Mickey with the help of his family, friends and even his old Gay Jesus followers. With Mickey as his new husband, Ian couldn’t help but be happy about finally finding the person he truly wanted. The only sadness Ian showed was that Monica couldn't be there to witness the wedding.
Throughout the Seasons
Ian is introduced as the third eldest of the Gallagher Family, he is revealed to be gay and closeted. When his older brother Lip discovers a cache of gay pornography in the room they share, he first confronts Ian with it and then sets him up to receive oral sex from Karen Jackson, a neighbor whom Lip tutors. Later, Lip comes to accept his brother and becomes Ian's trusted confidante.
When his mother returns in Nana Gallagher Had an Affair, Ian is not too pleased to see her again especially when she announces she is marrying her life partner Roberta and taking Liam. After a paternity reveals that Liam is Frank's biological son, both Ian and Lip decide to get a test to see if they are not his kids. At dinner, the tests come in and Lip reveals to all that Ian is not Frank's son, which surprises him, Monica, and Frank. Ian goes over the test and tells Frank that while he is not his son, they are still related since he is possibly the child of one of Frank's brothers, making him both the half-brother and cousin of his siblings.
In Daddyz Girl, Ian and Lip visit their grandmother Peggy Gallagher in prison. They inform her of who they are and why before she gives them the names of Frank's brothers for cigarettes. The two visits Jerry Gallagher, who they are surprised to see is Frank's twin before he turns them away after learning they are his nephews. Ian didn't want Jerry to be his family especially when he threatens to shoot them. They soon visit Clayton and his wife Lucy claiming they were working on family tree projects at school and he shows pictures of the family. It is noted by Lip and Lucy that Clayton resembles Ian after Lucy calls Clayton away. Ian overhears their talk and decides to leave. Lip suggests Ian might as well take the opportunity and share the wealth with his obvious father. Ian gets upset and tells Lip that Fiona, his sister, just like Lip is his brother, and he's happy living with them despite all their troubles with Frank who he still sees as his father since he was the only one he had. They then go home with Clayton watching at the door and overhearing the talk.
Ian is involved in a sexual relationship with Kash, owner of Kash and Grab. Kash, a Muslim, is married to Linda, a white woman who converted to marry him and has two children with her. Usually, Ian and Kash have sex in the storeroom, but one weekend when Linda and the children are out of town Kash brings Ian to their home. Upon seeing the reality of Kash's life with his family, Ian balks at having sex there. Lip quickly finds out about Ian's and Kash's relationship, and so does Linda. Although angry, she tells Kash he can continue sleeping with Ian after he gets her pregnant. She allows Ian to keep his job, but strictly forbids any sexual encounters between the two until she successfully conceives.
Ian's schoolmate Mandy Milkovich expresses a sexual interest in him. When he does not reciprocate, she gets revenge by telling her brothers that Ian imposed himself on her sexually, causing them to chase him with violent intentions for a few days. After evading them, he comes out to Mandy, who not only calls off her brothers, but suggests that she be his beard to deflect any questions about his sexuality. The two start going on non-sexual dates, genuinely enjoying each other's company.
Meanwhile, Mickey Milkovich, one of Mandy's brothers and an aggressive shop lifter, due to whom Linda had installed the security cameras that revealed Kash's and Ian's relationship to her, has been terrorizing Kash and steals the gun kept in the store for protection. Ian confronts Mickey at his home, determined to retrieve it. In the ensuing altercation the pair realizes their attraction and has sex. They maintain the sexual relationship although Mickey denies any emotional attraction to Ian, who cools off his relationship with Kash. Eventually Kash catches the two having sex in the store and, in response, shoots Mickey in the leg and has him arrested following Mickey's brazen theft of a candy bar. Though he kept his relationship with Mickey a secret at first, he tells Lip about them after Mickey gets shot and sent to juvie.
Ian has problems with Lip after West Point recommends him, as a result he doesn't talk to him even after the latter tries to make amends. This is best seen when he informs Ian of their grandmother's return or the problems in the house. Ian's continued distance with Lip soon causes them to come to blows until their grandmother steps in. She suggest Ian and Lip fight to get out their issues like she had her sons do. Taking her advice, the two fight under the railway though neither wins, they reconcile and go for drinks.
When Mickey is released from juvenile detention and he and Ian resume their relationship. Mickey starts working security at the Kash and Grab. Frank catches the boys having sex in the cooler and Mickey, fearing that his father would kill him should Frank tell what he saw, resolves to kill Frank.
Worried, Ian tries to warn Frank of mickey's intentions but Franks casts it aside since he was dealing with his mother's dying though gives Ian advice.
After stalking him for several days, Mickey can't go through with killing Frank and assaults a police officer instead, violating his parole and returning him to juvenile detention.
Monica returns home following the death of Frank's mother Grammy. While she is at home she tells Ian that Frank told her about seeing him with Mickey and that he should be proud of who and what he is. She takes him to his first gay bar. The next day Ian, depressed over a poor math score, allows Monica to take him to a local enlistment center to join the Army. He is refused, because he has not graduated from high school. The following morning Ian is attacked in the kitchen by Terry Milkovich, father of Ian's beard Mandy, because he believes Ian has gotten her pregnant.
Ian spends the next few days avoiding Terry, but it becomes increasingly more difficult. Lip suggests they plant Grammy's old gun in the Milkovich home; this will violate Terry's parole and, if the gun is tied to a murder, could get him incarcerated for life. They break in and discover Terry already has several guns; they plant theirs anyway.
The night before Thanksgiving Ian returns to the gay bar he has visited with his mother. He is picked up by an older gentleman who calls himself Ned; they spend the night together. A few days later at Fiona's insistence her erstwhile boyfriend Jimmy arranges a dinner for the Gallagher's and his family. Ian is shocked to learn that Ned is really Lloyd, Jimmy's father, who sends repeated text messages to Ian suggesting they get together again. Ian tries to tell Fiona several times, but is interrupted when Frank shoves him against the wall out of anger for Monica leaving. Ian is saved when Jimmy's wife, Estefania hits him over the head with a frying pan.
Several months after the incident with Frank, Ian is still trying to improve his chances of getting into West Point, while helping with the financial stability of the family. He also now has regular contact with Lloyd, which has turned into somewhat of a friends-with-benefits relationship. He has also been seen having sex with a 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 beats the boy up who runs off. Mickey and Ian have sex and then start catching up from an interval of separation. Ian feels confused over whether Mickey actually likes him or not, especially after he has sex with a girl from their neighborhood. Ian asks Mandy for some advice about knowing if a guy is attracted to you. 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 asks, "The fuck are you lookin' at?" Though later he realizes that Mickey must care about him when he follows him and Lloyd on a date.
Mickey starts becoming jealous because Ian is seeing the other men. Eventually, Lloyd reveals that he is pansexual when he is kicked out of his house and calls Jimmy soon after. When Lloyd and Jimmy come back to the Gallagher house after drinking at The Alibi Room, the older man seems to want to reach for Ian, but he falls down because of his drunken state. Jimmy offers him to let him sleep on the couch. When Lloyd wakes up in the middle of the night and decides to look for Ian upstairs with nothing but his boxers on he runs into Molly Milkovich while peeing in the bathroom. He apologizes, then continues walking down the hall. He climbs into Lip's bed with no clothes on, believing he is Ian. Lip reacts loudly, saying that Lloyd has a boner and almost beats him up until Fiona walks in to intervene. Lloyd looks around and then says he was looking for the bathroom because he was going to 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 was sure Lloyd had a boner, leading Ian to admit that Lloyd had been looking for him and that the two have been dating. He adds he did not know Lloyd was Jimmy's father when he met him at the club.
Lloyd later asks Ian if he could break into his house to steal back his belongings since his soon-to-be-ex-wife changed the locks. He enlists Mickey and a couple of his cousins to do it. When Mickey asks Ian why he likes Lloyd, he says it is because he is not afraid to kiss him. Right before Mickey goes into Lloyd's house for the heist, he kisses Ian. 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 her hand. She ends up shooting Mickey in the butt. Ian quickly drives away with a bleeding Mickey and his cousins. He ends up calling Lloyd and asks for his help in getting Mickey mended.
When Ian and the rest of the Gallagher children are taken away by child protective services, Mickey lets him stay at his house since his father Terry was away on an extended hunting trip. Terry ends up coming home early and catches Mickey and Ian having sex. He beats both of them, and forces Ian to watch Mickey have sex with a prostitute. Afterwards, Mickey goes to great lengths to avoid Ian. Eventually Mickey marries the prostitute, since she is 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. He 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 Mickey 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 him not to go through with it. Mickey says it is just a piece of paper, but Ian does not think so. They have sex, and Ian tries to stop him from going through with the ceremony again, but they get interrupted by Mandy, who has been looking for Mickey, who then proceeds with the wedding. Ian continues to drink all through the ceremony and the party. He ends up calling out to Mickey and calling his wife a whore. During his ranting, he inadvertently reveals to Mandy that he and Mickey have been sleeping together. Lip tries to take Ian home, but he stumbles and passes out in some bushes.
Ian goes to enlist in the army using Lip's identification, because he is not old enough. Ian visits Mandy to ask her to get him something. Mickey tries to talk to Ian, but he tells him that he is enlisting. Mickey tries to persuade him not to leave, but still fails to express his feelings. Mandy gives Ian what he asked for and he leaves. Mandy asks Mickey if that is all he has to say to Ian, but gets no response.
In the season premiere, 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 him 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 There's The Rub, Lip is approached by military police and finds out Ian used his name and social security number to enlist. He 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 ask if he recognizes him; Lip covers for him by saying he has never seen him before. Concerned for his brother, Lip returns home to the Southside and begins looking for clues. He asks Mickey if he has seen Ian; Mickey says no and asks if Ian is in trouble. With Debbie's help, they find out that Ian has been in touch with Mandy and told her he was staying with an old boyfriend. Upon investigation, they find out it was Lloyd, though Ian stopped staying with him as he had been asked to leave when he damaged Lloyd's property. Lloyd informs them that Ian is now with Monica. They find and abandoned house full of Ian's stuff, but not him. When they call out for Ian, they are approached by a naked woman who threatens to shoot them. After reasoning with her, the siblings 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 glittery top and makeup, and he acts as though he is on drugs. Upon seeing his siblings, Ian approaches them very enthusiastically and acts as if nothing had happened. He appears manic, offering them drinks and seeming very distracted. He does not answer Lip's questions, but informs him that he has been working at the club for two weeks. He also comments that he finds the idea of the army police searching for him "hilarious", and that he did not "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 does not 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.
In A Jailbird, Invalid, Martyr, Cutter, Retard, And Parasitic Twin, Mickey, after having been informed by Mandy about Ian's current situation, attempts to get Ian to return home. He eventually finds him who is currently giving an older man a lap dance, who puts an unspecified pill into his mouth. Ian is going by the name Curtis to his clients. After breaking up the lap dance, Mickey is told by Ian that he will only stay if he pays for a lap dance. Mickey obliges. While Ian is performing the lap dance, Mickey tells him that his family misses him. Ian is unresponsive and argues with an aggravated Mickey. A security guard breaks up the fight. Later, Ian leaves the club with an older man. While waiting for the cab, Ian asks him if he has any "party favors" as the man attempts to put his hand down Ian's pants. Mickey, who was waiting, intervenes and assaults the man. Ian, meanwhile, collapsed onto the floor and Mickey carries him into the waiting cab, taking him home.
In Hope Springs Eternal Ian awakens to find Svetlana staring at him. She informs him that he has been asleep all day. Ian nonchalantly gets up to shower. Svetlana walks in on him, with a hammer, and threatens to "smash his orange head" if he continues to stay at her and Mickey's home. Ian returns home to a surprised Fiona. While relaying information of where he has been to her, Fiona picks up on his slightly erratic behavior, such as laughing too loudly. She is concerned over his disinterest in returning back to school. Svetlana tells Mickey that she has kicked out Ian and Mickey comes to the Gallagher home to talk to Ian. After Fiona casually mentions that Ian is upstairs, Debbie, Carl, and Lip follow Mickey. Ian is ambiguous over what he has been up to, attributing joining the military to "relationship issues". Lip knowingly turns towards Mickey, before leaving with Debbie and Carl, giving the two time to be talk. Once alone, Mickey wants to know if Ian is here to stay, to which Ian asks if Mickey will suck his dick whenever he wants. Ian has a journal where he begins to jot down "ideas" while waiting for a response from Mickey. Mickey obliges and gives Ian a blow job right then and there. The next morning, Ian entertains his siblings with stories of basic training in the army. As everyone leaves for school, Ian stays and continues eating breakfast. Mickey walks in and sits. Fiona asks Ian for cash and he gives Fiona a few crumbled bills. Ian invites Mickey to come see him perform at the club that night. At the club, Ian tells Mickey that they have been invited to a party being hosted by one of his clients. When Mickey complains about not wanting to go, Ian attempts to kiss him. It is not until Mickey looks around and realizes that they will not be judged, that he and Ian kiss in the middle of the club, solidifying their relationship. Mickey is out of his element at the party, starting with not shaking hands with Ian's friend to having an awkward conversation with one of the other guests who asks Mickey what he does for a living. Ian and Mickey fall asleep at the party. The next day, Mickey is asked if the two are together, to which he says yes. The questioner says that Mickey is a "lucky dude".
In The Legend of Bonnie & Carl Ian's erratic behavior increases while Mickey's problems with his wife also intensify. Desperate for money to keep Svetlana's mouth shut, Ian and Mickey carry out a scam on a older, married man who Ian pretends to seduce for money.
In Liver, I Hardly Know Her Ian's manic episode continues as he makes breakfast for his family with hardly any sleep. Ian helps in the search for Fiona while Mickey has an encounter with Kevin. Ian tries to convince Mickey not to harm Kevin as they walk into his house. They see Mandy having lunch with her abusive boyfriend, Kenyatta. Ian attempts to convince Mandy to come back to the Gallagher house with him. Kenyatta approaches, and Ian grabs a knife which he holds to Kenyatta's throat. Mickey calms him down, and they leave. Mickey finally asks Ian what has been happening to him and if he is abusing drugs. Ian looks just as confused by his behavior. They later attend Frank's wedding as Ian's behavior seems to have distracted Mickey from his plans of revenge.
In Emily Ian and Mickey's relationship takes center stage. After Carl begins to notice the relationship between Mickey and Ian, Ian asks Mickey for confirmation of their relationship status. Mickey simply replies, "of course we are." Ian crashes the christening of Mickey's son, telling Mickey he will not be a mistress anymore. Mickey replies by publicly announcing that he is gay. Ian helps Mickey fight off Terry and their relatives before the latter is arrested. Afterwards, Mickey is released by a sympathetic gay cop and both are happy that they can try to be a couple.
In Lazarus Mickey and Ian are an established couple for the first time, Fiona gets arrested but Ian has come crashing down from his manic episode. Mickey cannot get him out of bed, and asks the Gallagher's for their help. Debbie and Carl immediately recognize the symptoms Ian is exhibiting. Fiona later comes to the Milkovich house to see Ian. The family comes to the conclusion that Ian is having serious mental health issues, and is most likely bipolar like his mother. The season ends with Mickey refusing to let Ian have any psychiatric help and insists he will take care of him himself, though this is most likely out of lack of information than Frank's similar reaction to Monica submitting herself to a hospital for her illness.
In the season 5 premiere, Ian is at the Milkovich house and is helping Svetlana with Yevgeny. Ian is running with Fiona and she asks if he has seen the doctor from the clinic, to which he replies that he "feels good" and that he doesn't need to go. Fiona responds with the insistence that the best time for him to go is when he is feeling good. Ian is at the shop with Yevgeny and Liam shopping when he runs into Kevin. They talk about the babies and then notice that there is a man flirtatiously watching Ian. Kevin asks if Ian minds the man watching him and Ian says that he does not. Kevin leaves, while Ian goes behind the grocery store with the man who has been staring at him. They give each other a hand job before leaving. Ian and the family are at the diner where Fiona works, when again, Ian notices one of the male employees watching him. The employee goes to the bathroom and Ian follows him. Once in the stall together, the employee gives Ian a blow job. These are all signs of Ian's increasingly reckless and impulsive behavior, which can be attributed to his bipolar diagnosis.
In I'm the Liver, Ian is getting ready to go to a soldier's funeral. At the funeral is a church group who is holding an anti-gay protest. After enduring their endless chanting (which is disrupting the funeral service), Ian becomes furious and begins to scream and swear at the group, threatening to kill them with a wooden cross that he took from someone's grave.
Ian has just arrived back to the Milkovich house with Mickey and is still furious about the protest and searches for grenades and fully automatic weapons. Then Ian and Mickey have some friends over (gay guys) and they argue about who's gonna do something (i.e. a blow job). All of them say no, then Ian says "I'll do it" to which Mickey responds "No, you will go overboard and kill the son of a bitch." Then Mandy and the Protest leader are on the couch and Mandy is flirting with him. She tries to convince him to let her give him a blow job. He agrees, but then closes his eyes, which puts the plan in action where one of the guys gives the protest leader a blow job instead of Mandy and then they take a picture and post it all over the web.
Ian continues to display erratic behavior as the season progresses and things come to a major halt when, Ian disappears for a full night during which he agrees to be in a porn, having unprotected sex. Mickey finds out and is furious, more importantly he realizes that Ian is sick and not making good choices. Ian refuses to accept his conditions and kidnaps Yevgeny, going on a road-trip. However, Ian goes off to a gay bar and leaves Yevgeny is a hot car (again not making good choices). A woman notices and calls the police, Ian takes Yevgeny, however, he is taken by the police when he displays erratic behavior. Lip and Fiona tell the police Ian has bipolar disorder. Ian feels bad for taking Yevgeny and listens to his family. He is put into a mental ward. Even then, he still refuses to believe that he has bipolar disorder. When Mickey and Fiona go to visit Ian, he is out of it, and distracted. His therapist interviews him and asks him questions, which results in the therapist clinically diagnosing him with bipolar disorder.
In South Side Rules, Ian tells Sammi all the things he did when he was still in the army. Ian tells her about how he is still wanted. Later on, Mickey and Ian go to the field where they had sex at a couple years ago. Ian starts opening a beer to drink. When Mickey tells him not to drink, because drinking on lithium can cause you to get drunk quicker, he gets angry and punches Mickey across the face. He states he wanted the "shit talking, bitch slapping piece of southside trash he fell for". Mickey gets mad and pushes and punches Ian, which is what he wanted. They begin rolling on the floor fighting, and when they stop, they begin laughing. They both start to drink beer. Later, Ian is completely drunk after drinking just one can of beer. Mickey and Ian are happily dancing and singing in the streets. Ian realizes they've never been on a real date. Mickey asks to borrow a shirt before they go on a date. When they walk in, Sammi tells Ian he's a great kid who will be going places, but he will have troubles ahead of him. Mickey and Ian look at her weirdly and two army men come out. Sammi called the army and told them about Ian. Mickey and Ian try to fight off the army men, but they had guns with them. Ian gets taken and Fiona is on her way back home. Mickey and Fiona are yelling at the army men, but it is no use. Sammi comes out and tells them this is how it feels to get someone they love taken away from them because Chuckie is in juvie due to Carl.
He is released later, he reunites with Mickey before he watches him get chased by a vengeful Sammi and shooting at him since he tried to kill her. He soon reunited with Fiona and V before they watch the scene and the cops take both away.
Ian is still struggling with his condition and still appears to be distant and withdrawn from surroundings; although he visits Mickey in prison, he seems disinterested in continuing their relationship (given that Mickey will be in prison for almost 8 years). He briefly re-encounters and helps Mandy (who is now working in an escort agency), and though he fails to convince her to find a better job, he reassures her that he is still her friend.
During The F Word, Ian tries to save a woman from a burning car but is nearly suffocated himself though is saved by a fireman.
Following this event Ian spends most Going Once, Going Twice, seeking out the fireman who rescued him to thank him.
In Refugees, Ian tracks down the firefighter who saves him. He finds the firefighter who is named Caleb. Ian stays to have fun at the game and encounters Tony Markovich who he greets with a hug and is shocked to see he is gay. Ian later comes onto Caleb who rebuffs his advances and calls him childish. Caleb tells Ian that he is interested in him but tells Ian that he would like to go a date with Caleb. This surprises Ian since Caleb was different from his other partners.
During NSFW, Ian begins dating Caleb however, the date does not go particularly well but gives Ian a perspective on a real relationship and he calls Caleb for another chance. He tells him that he is thinking about becoming a firefighter as well.
As of Pimp's Paradise, they continue to see each other despite this and become closer; Ian even is Caleb's date to the sister of Caleb's wedding. However, Ian is insulted that Caleb wants to show him off to his homophobic religious father but after Caleb apologizes things go better and both enjoy tormenting Caleb's father.
In Be a Good Boy. Come For Grandma., the pair start officially dating, and Caleb introduces Ian to his old friends and ex-partners. During the night, both decide to reveal a "skeleton in their closet", hoping to clear the air. Ian reveals he is bipolar, Caleb reveals he is HIV positive due to a guy who lied to him in college, but they use condoms as Caleb's doctor said he cannot infect anyone. This also leads to Caleb saying Ian should get tested. Ian does, and goes to the doctor with Caleb, and his results are negative. The nurse also asked Ian how many sexual partners he had had, which led to Caleb leaving the room because Ian did not want to reveal that to Caleb. Later Ian tells Caleb that he truly did not know how many because he used to dance at a strip club "and worked the back of the house as much as the front". Caleb seems to be okay with Ian's past.
Along with all this going on, Ian is working to be a firefighter and passes his EMT test with flying colors with the help of Caleb, but is distressed when he gets the paperwork and realizes he won't be able to be an EMT because of his Bipolar Disorder, but Caleb convinces him to lie on the paperwork. Ian gets a EMT job and has a good first day but then his boss runs a background check on him and finds out about his stay in the mental ward. Ian tells her that they wouldn't hire him if he put that. She tells him she can't employ somebody she can't trust. Ian is then fired. However, Caleb convinces him to go back and make a case for hiring him in spite of his disease. After trying and failing to find more menial work elsewhere, Ian does so, arguing that he can be more helpful with assisting the mentally ill and that he would not be denied the job if he had any handicap apart from mental illness. His former teammates are moved, and refuse to make the next run unless the boss puts back Ian on the team. She does so, with the stipulation that he will be sent home if he starts showing any abnormal behavior. Ian agrees and rejoins the team.
After Frank ruins Fiona's wedding to Sean, Ian joins Debbie, Carl, Kevin, Veronica, Svetlana and Caleb in taking revenge on Frank by kidnapping him, driving him to a bridge over the freezing Chicago river, and dumping him in.
As seen in Hiraeth, Ian still works as a fireman, he continues his relationship with Caleb but one morning, Caleb tells him he is going to meet an old friend. Ian gets suspicious over that friend's being a female. He has a chat with Rita and Rita tells him gay men are likely to cheat. Ian does not think so, as he has never cheated on Caleb. At home, he and his brothers are not too surprised when it is revealed that Frank survived the fall and returns home but is not welcomed back. Like his siblings, he wants nothing to do with him. Along with Lip, stalks Caleb on the train. Ian sees the girl, and Lip wants to go back. But Ian wants to see the scene completely. Caleb finally makes out with the girl, Lip tells that at least Caleb is not cheating on Ian with a man. Ian replies, "I wish she had a dick." The episode ends with Ian's frustrated face.
In Swipe, Fuck, Leave, he is pleased Frank disowns them since it was already a shame. However, he is worried when Frank decides to take Liam, as the latter is the only loyal child he has. Ian's protests are ignored and he watches his brother go with Frank. Later on, he confronts Caleb on his affair but the latter admits to being bisexual. Ian then breaks up with Caleb for not being honest with him. He goes home, only to find the walls were blocked with cement, courtesy of Frank getting revenge on his children for trying to kill him and kicking him out. Ian was not pleased by his father's act. He and Lip teased Carl for his circumcision but stop after he tells him that it already hurt without them making him feel less like a Gallagher. That night, Ian and his siblings try to get rid of Frank but he maintains his stance and drops a raccoon to torture them. Ian is woken up by Lip and it to run from the raccoon while Frank taunts them for their treatment of him. Eventually he and Lip get Carl some pain medication and later on they destroy the walls of cement wall while Frank flees the house.
In Home Sweet Homeless Shelter, Ian tries having straight sex but fails. His break-up triggers his manic episode, something Fiona and his boss have to get through to him. Due to this, he takes a break from work. He is not too pleased when Fiona lays down ground rules to earn a keep in their house. When Veronica appears to tell them something about Frank, Ian sees Frank has opened a homeless shelter in a empty house not far from the house. Ian protests his father's choice but Frank tells him along with his other children (except Liam) to leave him alone since they have shown him how they feel (throwing him off a bridge and insulting his since his return) and they leave.
When he returns, he meets Trevor and takes an interest in him, as he seems like the opposite of Caleb in character. He confesses to be a transgender man. Ian unintentionally offends Trevor with his ignorance. Ian apologizes. Later on, Ian introduces Trevor to his father. Trevor initially likes Frank because he believes Frank is trying to help the community by opening a homeless shelter.
As the seventh season progresses, Trevor introduces Ian to some LGBT+ friends. Ian starts to learn that the world is not only black and white and gray and he is also falling for Trevor, sensing that his feelings are not mutual this time. But luckily, Trevor kisses him during a party. After this kiss, both of the guys discuss and seemingly both of them have worries. Trevor thinks Ian is afraid to date a trans man. Ian thinks that they only kissed because they were drunk, and that there was nothing special about it for Trevor. This discussion ends with the two kissing again in a "friendly" manner. Ian now wants to sleep with Trevor but he is confused about how to approach him and he wants Kev's help. As a straight man, Kevin gets more confused than Ian so he cannot be of much help. Ian tries to act normal when he is with Trevor but he cannot help ending up weirdly. This overall weird condition lasts till Ian loses an injured woman and goes to Trevor's house for comfort. Since Trevor is the only person Ian has wanted to tell about the incident, the two characters are about to have sex. However, they both want to top, therefore they cannot have sex at the moment, and they laugh about it. After some time they manage to have sex.
Ian and Trevor become an official couple and Trevor comes to realize the "true" Frank. Ian continues to keep Frank out, even attacking him to force him to leave. Eventually, he mellows out after Frank fixes up the house and helps Liam enter private school; he also permits him to walk his brother to school though threatens him with a bat after pepper spraying him.
On a date, Trevor refuses to go to a bar in which they ask for IDs. Ian suspects he is underage. He says he still uses his ID which he got before his operation. He does not want Ian to see his old photos with long hair, etc. The two have a sad dispute and Monica, who has been with them tries to calm Ian down. Ian does not listen to her, saying "You just appear in no time and ruin our lives," and leaves Monica with Trevor. Then we see Trevor with Ian, now he volunteers to show his ID to Ian. Later, outside the Gallagher house, a detective informs Ian, Trevor, Fiona, and Lip that Mikhailo "Mickey" Aleksandr Milkovich escaped from prison. Ian promises Trevor that he will not get involved with Mickey again. The next morning, a stranger bumps into Ian on his way to work and continues walking. Ian then hears a burner phone ring from the ground, apparently dropped by the stranger. Ian answers the phone and is greeted by Mickey asking if Ian missed him. He then tells Ian to meet him in an hour and to drop the phone in the sewer. Ian initially goes to work like normal, but tells Sue that he is sick and leaves. Ian then goes to the meeting place, where he is blindfolded and forced into a van. Ian is taken to some high school bleachers where Mickey is waiting for him. Ian is initially shocked to see Mickey, but quickly becomes angry that Mickey had him blindfolded and kidnapped. Mickey, in turn, is mad that Ian was late. Mickey sees Ian's uniform and notes that Ian "went all official," and Ian informs Mickey that he now works as an EMT. Mickey then asks Ian if the police talked to him, and Ian tells Mickey that he did not snitch. Mickey then tells Ian that he plans to get a fake ID, some cash, and flee to Mexico with his cellmate and asks Ian to join them. He tells Ian to think about it, and leaves another burner phone for Ian. Ian asks Fiona for advice by asking what her life would be like if she went away with Jimmy Steve. Fiona tells him that she is proud of him because he improved his life and that Mickey would ruin his progress.
Ian ultimately decides to meet up with Mickey that night. Mickey tells Ian, "I knew you'd come," and kisses him passionately. Ian initially returns the kiss, but soon pushes Mickey away. Ian tells Mickey that he's "got [his] shit together now" and even has a boyfriend. Mickey seems unfazed and asks, "Then why are you here?" Ian initiates the kiss this time, and the two have sex at the docks. The next morning, Ian wakes up in the van cuddling with Mickey. While Mickey is still sleeping, Ian leaves a message on Trevor's phone saying he misses Trevor. Ian then wakes Mickey up to let him know that Ian has to leave for work. Mickey asks if he will see Ian again, and Ian takes the unlit cigarette out of Mickey's mouth to kiss him before replacing the cigarette and leaving.
Ian meets up with Mickey again before Mickey plans to leave. Ian still has not told Mickey if he plans to go to Mexico with him, so Mickey asks, "Is this goodbye?" Ian answers by tossing his bag in the front seat and getting in the car.
On the road, Mickey pulls the car over and tells his cellmate to get out of the car so Ian and Mickey can have sex. Later, when they stop at a gas station, Mickey and his cellmate go inside the store while Ian stays in the car. Ian hears gunshots and sees Mickey and his cellmate run out. Mickey is angry at his cellmate for trying to rob the store, so Mickey and Ian ditch the man when they steal a different car. Mickey later plans to rob a store in Texas so they can get some money, but Ian convinces him to go to a bank instead. The two enter the bank and Mickey thinks they are going to rob it. Ian passes a note to the teller and asks her to read it. Mickey is surprised when the teller asks Ian if he is sure he wants to withdraw all of his money and close his account. Ian tells her he is sure, and the two leave the bank with a sizable amount of cash. Ian accompanies Mickey all the way to the southern border. There, Ian tells Mickey that he loves him, but "this isn't [him] anymore." Ian gives Mickey the money, and Mickey gives Ian one last kiss before crossing the border alone.
In the finale Requiem For a Slut, Ian is given update on his mother's death and later confesses to Trevor that he has been with Mickey and Trevor only suggests to attend Monica's funeral. Before the funeral, he meets and watches his grandfather Bill Darrgen fight Frank and is surprised by the display. At the funeral, Ian speaks for his mother and soon sees Frank make a moving speech about Monica before leaving with his family.
After the funeral, he and his family party with Ian dancing around. He is shown to have made amends with his father, since he didn't kick him out the house and is amused by his dancing for Monica. He notes to Fiona on Frank's genuine love for Monica before he watches Frank ask Fiona for a dance.
He still works as a EMT and he seems to be continuing his BD treatment. As of the second episode, he seems like the only Gallagher that misses his mother. He and his siblings also believe that Frank has lost his mind after he smoked most of the meth and decided to change by getting a job.
In Where's My Meth?, he talks to Carl about their mother but seemingly the methamphetamine matters to Carl more than their mother. They go to the storage unit to get something of Monica's. However, due to drug-dealing both brothers got into trouble when they are threatened by man named Eric Stark who owned some of the meth and chases them. They manage to elude him and return home.
During God Bless Her Rotting Soul, Ian continues his job but learns Eric has tracked them down from his boss. Ian arrives home to try to save Carl who was being drowned but was subdued and Eric threatens the Gallagher family for his money or meth. He and his brother research Eric and learn of his dangerous past and decide to ask Lip and Debbie for help but they are unable to get enough money. Ian soon asks Frank to steal from his new job but he refuses. Left with no other option, they go to Fiona for help. Ian apologizes for not listening to his sister and watches as the others except Carl doesn't do so. After Liam and Frank (who had decided to change and experienced guilt) appear to help, Ian and his family are forced to dig up Monica, since Fiona put her share of meth in the ground with her. Ian wanted to pay respect to his mother after her body fell out. The family soon gather the items and arrive at the storage unit to pay Eric, Ian hands Eric some money but its still not enough and Eric threatens them at gunpoint. Ian safeguards Debbie and Liam in the time. Fortunately, Frank steps in and Ian watches as he successfully intimidates Eric to accept the payment or be faced with death if he ever comes near the family again. Ian is surprised by his father's actions and leaves the area with his family. Ian later puts his mother back to rest and is pleased with doing so.
While Ian continues his life in Fuck Paying It Forward, he learns about Lip not getting action with ladies and Sean being back in Fiona's life. He sees Frank is still trying to change and is surprised when the latter gave Lip helpful advice. After Frank states he is going to be more fatherly, Ian remarked he's out of kids to screw up with his new ways but Frank says he still has Liam and resolves to raise him properly. He watches as Frank does just that. Ian is surprised by his father's continuing change and calls him "Saint Francis" as he bonds with Franny.
As the season progresses, Ian admires Trevor's helpful personality. He, himself, wants to help the kids too. Ian and Trevor need to find shelter for the kids. They find an abandoned church. Ian needs money, so he tries to blackmail an old visitor of Fairy Tail but it backfires as this rich man's wife knows about Fairy Tail. She invites Ian inside and demands oral sex from him. Ian, who has performed straight sex since the seventh season, agrees to do so for the sake of the kids. He manages to take the rich man's money and he tries to give it to the woman who tries to sell the church. He says, "We're buying it," and Fiona, who is there at that moment, tells Ian that "The neighborhood needs safety." Ian replies, "My kids need safety." Fiona claims those kids are creating the insecurity and the episode ends there.
In the next episode, Ian jokingly wants to give Carl money to kill Fiona. The money is not enough for Carl, actually. After this joke, Carl takes Ian to where he is going to come across Kevin. Kevin, who has been questioning his sexuality, needs Ian's advice. Ian tells him that while he was a 5th-grader, he liked a girl that looked like a guy. Then he was certain because of Justin Timberlake. Kevin asks if Ian finds him hot, but before Ian is able to give an answer, Sierra interrupts them, by serving their coffees. She tells Kevin that it was already paid by a guy. A confused Ian leaves Kevin there, looking at the man who paid for his coffee.
Later, Fiona pays a visit to Ian in his workplace in order to leave behind their argument from the previous episode. But Ian seems like he is not ready to forgive Fiona. The last scene involves Ian, pouring water onto a sleeping Fiona. Ian is going to continue these protests, with his "kids".
Fiona is angered by Ian's protests and asks him if he stopped taking his meds. Ian yells at Fiona and leaves the scene. Trevor, who's there at that moment, takes Fiona's advice and goes to see a building for the homeless kids. He likes the house and Ian doesn't like it. Then, Fiona for the last time visits Ian in his room to fix the things between them, Ian now seems like he's calmer. He tells Fiona that he shouldn't have spent time on trivial things while he had bigger problems, and Fiona asks what they are. Ian doesn't reply.
Next episode, Ian becomes increasingly hostile towards Fiona about the Church. One of his and Trevor's homeless kids tells the two boys about a homosexual guy who tried to commit suicide because his family were forcing him to go to Church. Ian and Trevor buy him some food while his mom's not at home and learn where that Church is. They go there and attend the Priest's speech, who's trying to "free" a lesbian girl of her "sin" of "homosexuality". Ian despises the Priest greatly and he and Trevor leave there.
Next time, the same Priest tries to "free" a gay boy of his "sin" of "homosexuality". While quoting the Bible, Ian interrupts him, by quoting another passage from the Bible and the Priest asks him if he's homosexual as well. Ian says yes and continues to quote. The Priest makes more quotations and Ian makes more. After some time, he asks Trevor if he's Ian's "queer" boyfriend. Trevor comes out as "queer transgender ex-boyfriend" and Ian says that they'll probably have sex again soon. Ian also calls the homosexual ones among the audience to their place where their homeless kids stay. The very homosexual boy who was forced to be heterosexual in the first place tells Ian he'll go there. This whole scene is being recorded by a girl among the audience and it ends with the gay boy's dad, calling him back. Ian intervenes and asks the dad if he wants his "ass, kicked by a h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l". The dad stops, calling his son and some other homosexual people follow Ian and Trevor, out of the Church.
The girl who recorded the scene apparently posted it to YouTube and the homeless kids know about it. They thank Ian, and the boy who tried to commit suicide hugs him. In the next episode, Ian is seen what he told the Priest he'll do: having sex with Trevor.
Two priests pay a visit to Ian and they tell him they agree with him. Ian and his kids, with the support of these priests, make more protests in order to help the homosexuals going forcefully to Church and one priest, against Ian, has a heart-attack. Ian applies CPR and his life is saved. The episode ends there.
In Church of Gay Jesus, Ian is dealing with the fallout of becoming popular on the internet. People are showing up at his work and home, asking for autographs, asking him to speak at their events, and asking when he will perform his next miracle. Ian is overwhelmed by the attention, but doesn't outright hate it. But the popularity is making Ian skip out on helping Trevor, which leaves Trevor hurt. Ian is dubbed "Gay Jesus" (against his will, but promoted by Frank and Liam selling shirts), and drawings of him as Jesus start popping up everywhere.
In the next episode, a kid named Blake tells Ian he is going to be kidnapped by his dad. When this actually comes to pass, Ian stops the kidnapping by laying down in front of the vehicle. Later, Blake's dad talks to Ian and makes him believe Blake's a junkie and mentally sick, and that they're okay with him being gay. Ian talks to Blake, and Blake says that his parents are lying about being accepting, and that he's not mentally ill, but was given a drug to supress his labido. As Ian's followers raise a banner declaring the building the Church of Gay Jesus, another kidnapping attempt is made. Ian stops the attempt with a speech, "My God's a f***ot, my God's a d*ke, my God's trans, a junkie, a whore!" Ian's friend blows up the dad's van right after this speech so it's like Ian performed yet another miracle. The crowd goes wild and the episode ends there.
Ian is absent for most of the next episode as police are looking for him. Eventually Trevor finds him hiding out in the shelter, not sleeping nor eating nor taking his meds. Trevor convinces him that a true leader would turn himself in before things get out of hand. Ian decides eventually to let himself be arrested by making as much of a scene as possible so the police will find him and arrest him on the news. An attempt by his followers is made to protect him by 'pulling a Sparticus', but the police just arrest everyone. Ian smiles as he is put in the police car.
As seen in Are You There Shim? It's me, Ian, Ian is still gay Jesus and he gives speeches in jail. As he has not taken his medicine, he acts erratic but is shown to be a skilled leader as he defends the gay inmates and force their lovers to comply with his demands and soon does. When visited by his sister, she can see he is spiraling without his meds and wants to pay for his freedom but he wants to stay in prison.
During Mo White!, he is bailed out by his followers on the outside and he is overwhelmed by the new attention that he is receive. Being free triggers his manic episode, and he tries to hear Shim, an-invented word for the genderless God. At Frank's comment, he visits a Church and some temples in order to ask if the religious people can hear Shim. None of their answers satisfies Ian so he starts questioning being gay Jesus. He goes to a meeting with his lawyer, with Fiona attending even though he told her not to. Ian watches as Fiona "goes Fiona" on his advisor, unable to make his own choice. After the meeting, he leaves Fiona who is sad at this.
As of Black-Haired Ginger, Ian's court date is bear and he hears Frank's comments on prison. Afterwards, he visits Terry Milkovich who tries to shoo him away after telling him where Mickey is but he asks the latter about jail. Terry tells him of his experience there and advises Ian to flee while he had the chance. After considering it, Ian dyes his hair in black and gets a bus ticket, preparing to flee. However, he doesn't go through with it and returns home where he meets Lip and they talk about recent events and share a laugh. The next day, Ian wakes up for his hearing and finds his family and friends waiting for him. He finds Fiona has decided to let him make his own choice and they go to court. Ian makes a speech about his life and soon pleas not guilty on counts of insanity after admitting his bipolar condition and not being medicated at the time, much to his family's joy and his followers' dismay.
In Face It, You're Gorgeous, Ian is sentenced to two years in prison, he enjoys his last day packing up his belongings and decides to sit at home, while talking to his family. He learns some fighting moves from Carl and his girlfriend Kelly to help survive prison before a former inmate and a friend of his comes to give him tips on how to survive. The next morning, he waits for Fiona but she doesn't appear to take him as she promised before Kev takes him with most of his siblings. Ian shares a tender moment with his loved ones outside the gate, before he bids them farewell. As he settles in, Ian finds out his old lover Mickey is his cellmate, to his surprise. Mickey tells Ian that because he worked as an informant, during his time with a cartel in exchange for getting to choose where he would be locked up. The two are happily reunited and kiss, concluding Ian's story on a good note.
In Down Like the Titanic, it is revealed Ian left an alarm clock with a picture of him in the attic. The family realize that he left them a memento and smile at the gesture.
During Found, Ian is visited by Fiona and she catches him up on the family business such as Frank's injury, Lip expecting a baby, and Liam moving out. He is amused by these tales and tells his sister of what he has been up such as his hair being shaved, Mickey being up in Laundry. Fiona soon tells him of her money and plans to leave to begin anew, something he supports. Ian tells his surprised sister that she worked hard and deserves it, while also telling her not to look back. The siblings embraced as Ian parts ways with her for the last time. While playing basketball in the court, he noticed the airplane carrying Fiona and smiled as he silently wished his sister well.
During in Sleep Well My Prince For Tomorrow You Shall Be King, six months have passed and Ian is still with Mickey in prison and things appear to be turbulent in the time that passed. The repeated arguing is known to to get out of hand and be known by most of the other inmates in the prison. At one point, Ian suggest they go on a break with him going into solitaire after stabbing an inmate. Ian tells Mickey that he has decide to stab a prisoner and get sent to solitary but an upset Mickey tells him that he will do the job himself but they are locked down because of the jail. The next day, they both barge into the medical bay and repeatedly stabbed the inmate with the shiv before a guard appears arrived in the room familiar with the inmate stops this. He has both of them come with him and tells the two stop the bickering.
In Which America?, Ian continues to have problems with Mickey and soon gets a letter telling him he has a parole hearing. While he is excited, Mickey is not too pleased. Ian discusses this with two prisoners who tell him that he should of had “the talk”, which is the plan of what to do after release. He tried to go over this with Mickey but this causes an argument the ends when Ian says he will tank his parole. Later on, Ian talks with Debbie and learn Lip has had his child but the call is ended. Ian soon talks to the same prisoners who recommended he shank a prisoner to stay in jail. However, Mickey had anticipated this and along with a couple of other prisoners stop Ian and bring him back to their cell. Mickey tells Ian that he has to be released in order to meet his new addition to the family and that they will work something out. That night, Ian is asleep in his bunk before Mickey bribes a guard. Ian is given a burner phone that Mickey had smuggled in. Happy with this, Ian quickly face times his brother Lip who is surprised to see him. Ian then learns that Lip had a son named Freddie Gallagher. Lip then shows Ian his new nephew and the latter is amazed by the infant while congratulating Lip.
In Sparky, Ian is released and meets Lip who was waiting for him. After sharing a joking banter, Ian returns home with Lip where they find everyone gone. However, he meets Tami Tamietti and Freddie. At first, Ian tries to bond with Fred but Tami tells him she is busy with him. Ian is upset and sits down displeased with this sad welcome. Ian meets his parole officer Paula who is revealed to be a crooked woman that makes him do shady paramedic work and he is coerced to do it to avoid going to jail again. That night, Ian returns home where he finds his family and friends all disappointed that he hasn’t shown up yet. Touched by the gesture, Ian catches their attention by asking if there's a scrimmage then he sides with Liam in reference to the decor. The group celebrates his return with a cake depicting a flaming van. During the festivities, he talks with Lip about his experience and their past relationships but realizing it made them stronger. Ian continues with the party in soon gets the chance to hold his nephew Fred while being happy too.
During Adios Gringos, Ian talks with Debbie about how derricks widow wants custody of Franny. He tells his sister to go to a group home in order to get a read her child that will be a complete disaster for Peppa. Ian also tells her about his new job being a scam for his parole officer and listened to her comparisons of Gay Jesus to an insurance fraud. Later on, Ian is getting ready for his paramedic job until looking out the window and seeing Mickey climb through. Surprised to see his boyfriend again, Ian is told how Mickey was released. While out on the job, he goes against Paula's protocol and saves an injured woman. Later that night, he is alerted by Paula's arrival and he watches her speak to Mickey before she shifts attention to Ian and takes him for a ride. Ian accepts that she might send him back to jail but she still has use for him, though teaches him a lesson. She ties him up, strips to his underwear, places ground beef on his lap and threatens to release her dog on him to eat. Ian is scared and promised to obey her rules and he is released from the chair.
In Citizen Carl, Ian comes in on the talk of Mickey and his cousin Sandy who drops off some of his belongings. Ian walks in to jump to Mickey's defense of being taken and talks with Sandy. He and Mickey make a date after Ian gets his check before he and mickey tease Sandy to respond to Sandy's words about their closeness. Ian goes to work and his coworkers implores him to take it and run but Paula arrives to steal the check for his previous discretion. Ian belatedly realizes that's why he was warned to run. At the mall, he and Mickey have lunch, with Ian complaining about his parole officer, Mickey tells him to suck it up. Ian tells him he can say that because he got the kindhearted Larry as his PO. At that moment, Paula shows up and once more antagonizes the pair. After Mickey remarks that he’s happy that she isn't his parole officer, Ian watches Paula reveal that she pulled some strings with Larry and is now Mickey's parole officer as well. Paula remarks that she will make good use with him since he’s a Milkovich. Ian welcomes Mickey to his nightmare, now that he has to share this. Soon he and Mickey are forced to track down Paula's parolee who escaped her sights and he is shocked at her urging to have Mickey throw a man out a window. After Mickey complies, Ian is forced to help the injured man. At the end, Mickey agrees with Ian that Paula has to die.
During Debbie Might Be a Prostitute, he and Mickey were preparing to hang out before they are visited by cops. Mickey runs from them on instinct, as the officers tell Ian that Paula is dead and is soon found by Ian after the cops leave. Mickey was informed that Paula was killed after being thrown out of a window. Mickey is delighted but he and Ian are suspicious of each other. Sometime later, he visits an officer who is familiar with the family and he says he hasn't seen his father but Ian asks him for advice after telling him about Paula and Mickey's behavior.
In Now Leaving Illinois, Ian approaches Mickey only to discover that Mickey has a new boyfriend, Byron, whose Vespa no longer works since Ian pissed in his gas tank. Mickey refuses to talk to Ian alone, stating that anything Ian wants to say he can tell Mickey in front of "the love of my life, Byron." Figuring he made a mistake, Ian starts to leave, but Byron invites him to join them at a show. In response to Mickey's dig that Ian has "a lot of personal work to do before you can play the field," Ian claims that he took a page out of Mickey's playbook and hooked up with the first person he could find and had come to tell Mickey that he'd moved on. However, Ian was lying to Mickey and desperately searches Grindr for a date to cover it up despite Liam pointing out that Ian is still in love with Mickey. Ian's date proves to be the extremely effeminate Cole, surprising Ian and the patrons of the Alibi.
At the show, Mickey is amused by Ian's date Cole while Ian overhears Byron telling another guy that he hooked up with Mickey once and then he moved in so Byron brought Ian to the show in an attempt to get rid of Mickey. Byron insults Mickey, causing Ian to beat Byron up while Mickey knocked out Cole for his own comments. Ian proposes to Mickey on the spot, only to have Mickey interrupt his speech and accept his proposal, leading the two to kiss. The two return home in time to have Lip reveal at a family meeting that he is moving to Milwaukee with Tami and Fred.
In Gallavich, Ian and Mickey's wedding venue is burned down by Terry, leaving Mickey homicidally angry at his father to the point that Ian has to restrain him and later handcuff Mickey to keep him from doing something rash. Mickey is convinced that until Terry is dead, he can never be happy and is dismissive of their friends and family's attempts to find an alternative solution. The others eventually find a new venue at a polka hall, but it requires Mickey to pretend to marry Debbie due to the homophobic owner. With Debbie distracting the owner, Kevin keeping the bartender from intervening and Ian's Gay Jesus followers keeping Terry away, Ian and Mickey are able to get married. Ian admits to Debbie that he misses Monica and they reminisce on how Monica would've loved the wedding. Ian and Mickey end up dancing to Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" and they later drive off in a Mercedes owned by Frank's ex Faye to their honeymoon. However, while celebrating their honeymoon and deciding on their last name, Ian and Mickey's hotel room is shot up by the still-angry Terry. Thankfully, neither Ian or Mickey are harmed.
Cameron Monaghan said he was drawn to the role, because "it's one of those really intricate multi-layered characters, with all this inner struggle going on." He said that "Ian is smart and he's tough and he's brave and he's really caring and responsible - and I think that's not always shown in one character."
- His middle name Clayton is the first name as his possible father Clayton Gallagher.
- He is one of the few Gallagher children to call Frank "Dad", in spite of the fact that he knows that Frank isn't his biological father.
- He and Lip have attacked Frank the most.
- However, this likely stopped after he saw Frank threatened an armed killer to defend the family and realize the latter held back on him.
- He is close to Fiona and Lip though gets along with his younger siblings.
- Besides Lip, he is the only Gallagher child to meet his uncles.
- Ian has bipolar disorder, something he inherited from his mother
- Much like Monica, he refused treatment when he was first diagnosed and flat out denied his mental illness.
- Unlike his mother, he has since accepted the fact he is bipolar and is on medication to manage it.
- He has had multiple partners over the series.
- However not counting flings, he had three real relationships Mickey, Caleb, and Trevor.
- Ian along with Carl and Lip appear to notice Gallagher men attract unhinged partners.
- Ian is the fourth Gallagher child to be married.
- He is one of the only Gallagher children to actually stay married though.
- From his marriage to Mickey, he is the stepfather to Yevgeny Milkovich.
- Ian is the third Gallagher child to be sent to prison the first two were his sisters Fiona and Sammi.
- He nearly had sex with a woman, during his time with Caleb.
- He starred in a porn movie during one of his manic episodes.
- He never met his Unnamed nephew/cousins born from Carl.
- Ian revealed in season 11 that when he was six years old Frank once locked him in the basement to stop him from crying but he ended up staying in there for days.
- In the last episode of Season 11, it's stated as a plot point that Mickey and Ian's first wedding anniversary is on the 21st of the month, though which month is never explicitly stated.
- A political rant earlier in the episode places the date the episode takes place after January 6th, 2021. The episode aired mid-April, 2021, thus placing their wedding date either on January 21st, 2020 (a Tuesday, an unlikely day for a wedding), March 21st, 2020 (a Saturday, but after COVID Lockdowns began in the US), or February 21st, 2020 (a Friday wedding).