He has worked closely with Inspector Cate Pritchard. Being described as the "British version of Dr. Brennan" while Cate was the "British version of Seeley Booth". Cate and Ian were somewhat antagonistic and argumentative towards each other but remaining close friends and on-off sexual partners.
A doctor working at Oxford University, he held a class with many students in which Brennan gave a lecture. He and Cate work with Brennan and Booth to solve the murder of Portia Frampton. Throughout the episode, he shamelessly tries to seduce Brennan and get her into bed. Towards the end, he asks her one last time and while she admits she'd like to, she'd feel like it would upset Booth. Ian accepted this and said his goodbyes before heading home. Promising to see her again before she went back to America.
His dig site uncovered a Bronze Age find. Roger Frampton bribed Ian with £25,000 to sign off the dig site as having no historical importance whatsoever so that Frampton could build a condo development over it. Having not found anything at the sight for 2 years, Ian agreed.
Using the money he went to the Highgate Gentleman's Club and paid off £5,000 in cash which he owed in debts. He began gambling and got drunk. Lake and Palmer - with whom he had a rowing race due the next morning - found him and angry he was drunk before an important race dragged him out of the club. Outside he ran into Jasper Ferry, Ian had previously slept with Jasper's sister and they argued about this before Jasper headbutted Ian. Lake and Palmer then dragged Ian into the boathouse where he spent the night before pumping him full of coffee the next morning so he could race.
Later, Ian made an actual discovery at the dig site - the first in 2 years - and decided to return Frampton's money. His student, Vera Waterhouse realized that Roger Frampton would then reveal Ian took a bribe and ruin his career, which in turn would have ruined Vera's. Vera confronted Ian and in anger murdered him by stabbing him to death with a bone from the dig site. She tried to disguise the murder by causing a gas explosion to make it seem like Ian had fallen asleep with a cigarette while the gas was on.
However, his murder was solved by Cate Pritchard, Seeley Booth, and Temperance Brennan.