This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Lower Decks, and thus may contain spoilers.
Rutherford was assigned to the USS Cerritos as an ensign of the engineering division and worked under Lieutenant Commander Andy Billups. He bunked at Bunk A12002 on Deck 11, on the wall opposite Beckett Mariner's bunk. (LD: "Second Contact", "Moist Vessel")
Some time before, Rutherford had a head injury, a broken left eye and scars over his face and torso. He then received a Vulcan cybernetic implant a couple weeks before Stardate 57436.2. The implant at the beginning did not work properly and suppressed his emotions. While he believed it was a voluntary operation, a stray memory stored in his implant indicated it was not. (LD: "Second Contact", "First First Contact")
Rutherford's dedication and hard work aboard the Cerritos were noticed by many of the ship's senior officers. Lieutenant Commander Andy Billups, who served on the Cerritos as the ship's chief engineering officer referred to Rutherford as his "number-one-with-a-bullet systems guy," and when Rutherford decided to temporarily explore other opportunities on the Cerritos, Billups said that any department would be lucky to have him. (LD: "Envoys")
He was instrumental in the battle between the Pakleds and the Federation in the Kalla System some time in 2380. Rutherford delivered a virus coded by his holographic program Badgey that could disable the attacking Pakled ships. He and Shaxs boarded the Sequoia, which crashed into a Pakled Clumpship. Rutherford left the shuttlecraft and plugged in the Pakled computer into his system to download the virus from his implant. Badgey delayed the download and threatened to blow up the ship, and Shax ripped the implant off Rutherford given the encroaching Pakled army. Rutherford was left unconscious and dumped in the Sequoia, which Shaxs pushed out into space to evacuate him. (LD: "No Small Parts")
Rutherford lost his long-term memories and has changed behavior after the ordeal. His implant was the then replaced and then regained consciousness. While he has regained memories and readjusted his personality to that before the accident, Rutherford decided to back-up his memories with Tendi three times before his limited memory capacity forced him to delete redundant memories. (LD: "Strange Energies", "First First Contact")
Rutherford was very knowledgeable of the ship's systems and how each one worked. He was prone to getting excited over being able to use certain tools for the job and even took up holodeck programming as a hobby. (LD: "Cupid's Errant Arrow", "Terminal Provocations")
Rutherford hated pears, finding them "mealy and bland". He briefly liked them after receiving a new implant in 2380, though the relevant synaptic pathway was later reverted by Ensign D'Vana Tendi. (LD: "Strange Energies")
Rutherford appeared to have some feelings for Ensign D'Vana Tendi. The two of them quickly became friends when she was transferred to the Cerritos, and she often enjoyed spending time with him as she settled in on the ship. At one point, Rutherford went as far as trying to find another job on the ship so that he could honor a date he had promised her in watching the Trivoli pulsar with her, without needing to worry about his duties in the ship's Jefferies tubes. When these opportunities did not work out, she simply offered to watch the pulsar with him in the tubes. (LD: "Envoys")
At one point, Rutherford also took it upon himself to help her learn how to space walk on the holodeck, when she confessed to him that she never finished learning how to do so at the Academy. When the holodeck malfunctioned, he took it upon himself to protect her from his program, which was actively trying to kill them. He would admit to his creation, a character named Badgey, that he was trying to impress Tendi, because he found her very cute, and killed Badgey to protect her. (LD: "Terminal Provocations")
Despite their friendship, the two could also be incredibly competitive with one another in their love of duty. In particular, the two raced each other in who could finish their job first when they were assigned temporary duty aboard the USS Vancouver, in hopes that they would be able to take a T88 back to the Cerritos for their respective departments. (LD: "Cupid's Errant Arrow")
Rutherford held Chief Engineer Andy Billups in high regard and respect. He believed Billups to be among the best engineers in all of Starfleet. Despite this reverence, he was too shy to admit this directly to Billups himself. (LD: "Crisis Point")
When Billups' mother, Queen Paolana, visited the Cerritos in 2381, Rutherford helped thwart a scheme from Paolana to trick Billups into losing his virginity, and assuming his role as King of Hysperia against his will. He stood up for Billups, and rushed to reveal the plot to Billups before he engaged in the act. Fortunately, Billups struggled to get aroused, and Rutherford was in time to reveal Paolana's plot. (LD: "Where Pleasant Fountains Lie")
Rutherford impressed Lt. Shaxs with his cybernetically enhanced combat prowess upon temporarily transferring to the Cerritos's security division in 2380, earning the nickname "Baby Bear". Later that year, Shaxs gave his life defending Rutherford from Pakleds when the two of them infiltrated Jackabog's ship. (LD: "Envoys", "No Small Parts")
In 2381, Rutherford was mystified by Shaxs's resurrection and, feeling responsible for his death, attempted to persuade Shaxs to explain how he came to live again. Shaxs absolved Rutherford of any blame for his death and reluctantly explained the terrible secret of his return, traumatizing Rutherford with "dark truths about scientific depravity." (LD: "We'll Always Have Tom Paris")
Rutherford briefly dated Ensign Barnes, who was also assigned to the Cerritos. A date at the mess hall did not result in a long-term romantic relationship, as Rutherford found himself more concerned about the ship's engineering malfunctions than Barnes during a rage virus outbreak on the Cerritos. (LD: "Second Contact")
- LD: Every episode
Rutherford was voiced by Eugene Cordero.
In developing the characters for Lower Decks, Mike McMahan described all four leads in an 10 August 2020 TrekMovie.com interview as a combination of other Star Trek characters, parts of himself, and people in his life. Rutherford gets some character traits from Geordi LaForge, symbolized by his cybernetic implant being "a half-VISOR." McMahan described Rutherford as "really great at what he's doing, but he's not able to solve everything at the end of 40 minutes, because he's not the chief engineer on the Enterprise," that Rutherford is "still learning," and part of science is that sometimes he will test things and get things wrong. 
When Rutherford was first revealed, unlike the rest of the main cast of Lower Decks, his design was not finalized. While his final eyepiece was lavender-colored, his early design showed it as being cyan, with his implant having multiple other lights.
Rutherford appears as a duty officer in Star Trek Online.
"Samanthan" is not a known long form of "Sam," and appears to be a masculine version of "Samantha."