Grant Douglas Ward was one of the leaders of HYDRA. A former HYDRA infiltrator in S.H.I.E.L.D. disguised as a Level 7 operative, he was abused as a child by his family. As a teenager, he tried to burn down his family home. Ward was imprisoned until he was freed by John Garrett, who trained Ward to become a cold-blooded killer. Ward eventually became more loyal to him than to HYDRA. As an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., he was recruited onto Coulson's Team, working with them on all their missions, pretending to be gruff and anti-social and to become emotionally attached to the team.
During the HYDRA Uprising, he killed Victoria Hand but still maintained his cover as a loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. He broke cover on John Garrett's orders and rejoined HYDRA. Despite harbouring feelings for Skye, he followed all of Garrett's orders. When Garrett's HYDRA cell lost the Battle at Cybertek, he was imprisoned by Coulson.
Ward managed to escape many months later and rejoined HYDRA under Daniel Whitehall. However, he left the organization again after Whitehall's death along with Kara Palamas. They started a path in order to close their wounds and move forward that culminated in kidnapping Bobbi Morse, whom they considered responsible Palamas' brainwashing.
Ward ended up accidentally killing Palamas, and he rejoined the remnants of HYDRA, deciding to rebuild the organization and become its new leader.