- for other uses, see Angel (disambiguation)
Angel was a spin-off from the American television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Angel has a darker tone than Buffy, and at times performed better in the U.S. Nielsen Ratings than its parent series. The series was created by Buffy's creator Joss Whedon in collaboration with David Greenwalt, and first aired in October of 1999. Like Buffy, it was produced by Whedon's production company, Mutant Enemy.
The series details the ongoing trials of the vampire Angel, who has his human soul restored to him as a punishment after more than a century of murder and torture of innocents, leaving him tormented by guilt and remorse. During the first four seasons of the show, he works as a private detective in a fictionalized version of Los Angeles, California, where he and a variety of associates works to "help the helpless" and to restore the faith and "save the souls" of those who had lost their way. Typically, this involved doing battle with evil demons or demonically-allied humans (primarily the law firm Wolfram and Hart) as well as battling his own violent nature. (The term "demon" when applied to the Angel universe is often morally value-neutral, as opposed to referring to evil beings exclusively.) In a departure to this the fifth season saw Angel taking over as the head of the law firm Wolfram and Hart in an attempt to fight evil from the inside.
- See also: List of Season one episodes
In the series premiere ("City of"), Angel, who has just moved to Los Angeles, is visited by Doyle, who is half-human, half-Brachan demon. Doyle explains to Angel that he experiences visions from the Powers That Be (also referred to as "The PTBs") of people who are in danger or in trouble and that 'The Powers' have sent him as a messenger on their behalf so that Angel can investigate these visions. (Doyle is reminiscent of Whistler, an enigmatic demon who brought Angel to California about four years earlier to meet Buffy Summers.) While on his first investigation, Angel bumps into Cordelia Chase, who has also moved to L.A. to escape Sunnydale and become an actress. When Angel rescues her from a vampire Cordelia comes up with the idea that she, Angel and Doyle should start up a detective agency "to help the helpless — but charge a fee," as she puts it.
Partway through the first season ("Hero") Doyle dies, sacrificing his life to save a group of mixed-race demons being hunted down by an army of pureblooded demons. Just before he dies he passes on his dangerous visions to Cordelia in a kiss. Like Doyle, she finds the visions to be extremely painful ("Parting Gifts").
Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (who had held a recurring role as the new Watcher in Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) then makes an appearance as a comically inept "rogue demon hunter" and gradually becomes a vital part of the team. Late in the season (in "War Zone") we meet Charles Gunn, a street tough who leads a gang of vampire-hunters. Initially determined to kill Angel, Gunn slowly comes to accept him and join his cause.
In the season finale ("To Shanshu in L.A.") several important events occur. Wesley translates the ancient Shanshu Prophecy which states that, after a final battle, the vampire with a soul will live (that is, become human). Meanwhile, Wolfram & Hart try to raise a powerful creature from the dead. Angel slices off Wolfram & Hart employee Lindsey's hand, but is unable to prevent the raising of the creature. At the end of the episode, the viewer (but not Angel) sees who this is: Darla, Angel's ex-lover and sire — killed by Angel in the first season of Buffy.
- See also: List of Season two episodes
In Season 2, Wolfram & Hart's Lindsey primes Darla as its weapon to bring down Angel. But Darla is brought back as a human, not a vampire, and her conscience prevents her from doing terrible evil. But as a human she also suffers from a terminal case of syphilis — which she had contracted in her original life before being sired. (We learn in "Darla" that she was an early settler in the Virginia Colony, where she was sired by The Master, a vampire whom Buffy would later face.) After failing to get Angel to turn her back into a vampire, Lindsey brings in Drusilla, a vampire originally sired by Angelus, to restore Darla to the cause of evil. Enraged by this, Angel begins to grow darker. He cuts himself off from his staff and attempts to go after the pair alone but in despair he sleeps with Darla ("Reprise"). In an echo of his night with Buffy ("Innocence") he wakes up with an epiphany but instead of losing his soul, this time he sees the error of his ways, banishes Darla and reunites with his group.
Meanwhile, Lindsey is given a magical prosthesis to replace his lost hand. But the hand doesn't work quite right and in the process of investigating, he meets up with Angel and sees the error of associating with Wolfram & Hart. After talking things over with his superiors, he leaves town. ("Dead End")
Towards the end of the season, the group joins forces with Lorne, the demon owner of Caritas, a local karaoke bar and sanctuary. After Cordelia is accidentally transported to Lorne's home dimension Pylea ("Belonging"), the entire gang follows, where they meet Lorne's family and Winifred "Fred" Burkle, a young former physics student who has been trapped in the dimension for five long years. There, Cordelia – who had been struggling to find her place at home – becomes a princess after it is revealed that she has "the curse" — the visions. All other humans in Pylea are enslaved, including Fred. The group manages a daring overthrow of the shadow government of Pylea, and frees the slaves. Cordelia, realizing that she needs to use her visions for good on Earth, abdicates her throne and returns home along with the rest ("There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb"), including Fred. But their joy is tempered when they learn that, in Sunnydale, Buffy has died.
- See also: List of Season three episodes
To get over the loss of Buffy, Angel spends three months in a Sri Lankan monastery, where he encounters some demon monks ("Heartthrob"). He returns to Los Angeles, as does Darla — now heavy with child ("Offspring"). This has never happened to a vampire before, and no one – not Angel's gang nor Wolfram & Hart – can understand why it has happened now. Prophecies reveal that a death will take place at the moment of the child's birth; he cannot be born through conventional means. It appears that the unborn boy might perish, but instead Darla sacrifices her life ("Lullaby") to give birth to Angel's son Connor (magically conceived during their one-night stand in Season 2). The gang is willing and eager to care for the infant, but Wesley soon learns of a frightening prophecy that suggests that Angel will murder his son. Fearing that Angel cannot bear the truth, and feeling disconnected from Gunn and Fred (who have fallen in love), Wesley does not share this information, and quietly kidnaps Connor ("Sleep Tight"). This backfires as he is attacked and the child is seized by an old enemy named Holtz, whose family Angelus and Darla slaughtered two hundred years ago. Holtz escapes through a portal to a hell dimension (Quor-Toth), and raises the boy as his own. Angel feels that his son is lost forever. He attacks Wesley and banishes him from the group. (It is later revealed that the prophecy which spurred the kidnapping is false, created by a demon, Sahjhan, that is destined to be killed by Connor.)
Near the end of the season ("A New World"), Connor comes back as a teenage boy, having been raised by Holtz in a dimension where time moves more quickly. But all is not so sweet: Connor has been taught by his foster-father Holtz that Angel is still the evil vampire Angelus that Holtz once knew. In order to gain his final revenge on Angel, the greatly aged Holtz has his closest follower, Justine, kill him and frame Angel. The grieving Connor uses his inherited super-strength and his father's unsuspecting love to defeat Angel and imprison him in a casket on the bottom of the ocean ("Tomorrow"). Cordelia, who had planned a romantic rendezvous with Angel, disappears the same night, having been elevated by the Powers That Be to a Higher Plane. Meanwhile, Lorne leaves for Las Vegas to pursue a singing career. This leaves a very confused Fred and Gunn to carry on at Angel Investigations.
- See also: List of Season four episodes
At the start of Season 4, Angel is trapped at the bottom of the sea, hallucinating about having a happy dinner with the gang and Connor. We learn that Wesley has captured Justine; he uses her to find and recover Angel ("Deep Down"). Wesley, exiled from the group, has also been having a love affair with Lilah Morgan, an old colleague and rival of Lindsey's at Wolfram & Hart. Angel and Connor meet up again, but the father is not willing to forgive the son — he kicks him out of the hotel. Needing a retreat, Angel, Gunn and Fred head to Las Vegas to see Lorne's act ("The House Always Wins") only to learn that he is actually being held as a slave. They rescue him and return home and find Cordelia — who has complete amnesia.
Frightened and confused, Cordelia takes refuge with Connor ("Slouching Toward Bethlehem"), where she struggles to piece together her life story before a spell finally restores her memory ("Spin the Bottle"). A hellish Beast appears on earth, blocks out the sun, rains fire from the skies ("Apocalypse, Nowish") and, incidentally, wipes out the Los Angeles branch of Wolfram & Hart, leaving Lilah as its sole survivor. Cordelia, feeling that this may be her last night alive, sleeps with Connor as fire continues to fall. They turn out to live another day, but the absence of sunlight makes L.A. a party town for vampires. Cordelia receives visions which convince the group that Angelus is the only one who knows how to stop the Beast ("Awakening"), so they extract Angel's soul.
Shockingly, we then find out that Cordelia is actually evil, and secretly controlling the Beast. While the gang isn't looking, she releases the evil Angelus, kills Lilah, and frames Angelus ("Calvary"). Then Cordelia reveals to Connor that she is pregnant with his child. Short on powerful fighters, the gang springs vampire Slayer Faith from prison ("Salvage"). Unfortunately, she is badly beaten by the Beast, but she manages to incapacitate Angelus, who feeds on her. Unknown to him, Faith had previously taken a powerful psychoactive drug, which neutralizes them both and causes them to re-live moments from Angel's past ("Orpheus"). Willow Rosenberg (from Buffy) visits, restores Angel's soul, and takes Faith back with her to Sunnydale (where she appears in Buffy's final five episodes).
Meanwhile, the gang figures out that Cordelia is the one behind the season's events. But before they can capture her, Connor, deluded into thinking that the gang must be somehow evil, grabs Cordelia and takes her into hiding ("Inside Out"). Angel eventually tracks them down and is about to kill Cordelia when she gives birth to an adult woman named Jasmine, and then slips into a coma. Angel stops, in total awe of the new being.
Jasmine, it turns out, was one of the Powers That Be. She explains to the gang ("Shiny Happy People") that she is a renegade of sorts who has decided to leave the "sidelines" and take an active part in fighting evil, and that the apocalyptic events of prior weeks were "birth pains". Jasmine's winning smile makes all who see it fall under her spell of total happiness. Jasmine brings the promise of true world peace — at the price of complete enslavement under her. But contact with her blood (or that of Cordelia) breaks the spell and lets people see her for who she truly is. By accident, Fred discovers this on her own and becomes an outcast in a city otherwise in love with Jasmine ("The Magic Bullet"). Slowly, she manages to inoculate Angel and the gang (except Connor), though they remain hopelessly outnumbered. They learn, however, that revealing Jasmine's true name will destroy her spell over everyone. Angel visits a demon dimension Jasmine had previously conquered, gains access to the name, and reveals it just as she is about to take over the world. A despondent Connor (who had known Jasmine's true nature the entire time, but went along with her anyway) then kills her ("Peace Out").
In the season finale ("Home"), they are met by the ghost of Lilah, who congratulates them on preventing world peace, and says that as a token of their appreciation, Wolfram & Hart would like to give them the Los Angeles branch. Skeptical at first, the gang is eventually won over, and takes the offer. As part of it, Angel receives an amulet with instructions to deliver it to Sunnydale (where it will play a role in the Buffy series finale). But while this is happening, a despondent Connor finds no reason to live without Cordelia and Jasmine, and has tied himself and the unconscious Cordelia up to several large bombs. To save both their lives, Angel allows Wolfram & Hart to give Connor a life as a normal child and erase him from everyone's memory, except Angel's own. The season closes with Angel watching Connor have a happy dinner with his family, evoking memories of the very first scene of the season.
- See also: List of Season five episodes
In Season 5, the gang begins to get used to their new life at Wolfram & Hart — and the presence of Eve, their conduit to the Senior Partners ("Conviction"). Gunn undergoes a special cognitive procedure that transforms him into a brilliant lawyer. The group receives a package. It turns out to be the amulet that was given to Angel at the end of Season 4, which the vampire Spike used to destroy the Hellmouth in Sunnydale (in the Buffy series finale, "Chosen"), apparently at the cost of his undead "life". Suddenly, Spike appears, seemingly out of the amulet itself, in mysterious non-corporeal form.
Spike soon finds that spectral forces threaten to take him to hell ("Hell Bound"), but he struggles his way out. Though he bonds with Fred as she attempts to help him return to "normal", he is skeptical that they can do good at an evil law firm, so he goes off to work on his own once he is mysteriously re-corporealized by an anonymous package ("Destiny"). Spike learns of the Shanshu Prophecy and wonders if he, in fact, is the one (having regained his human soul at the end of Season 6 of Buffy). He and Angel battle for a Cup of Perpetual Torment (which proves a fake, filled with Mountain Dew), and for the first time, Spike has the upper hand. Soon thereafter ("Soul Purpose"), Spike is approached by a returning Lindsey, who claims to be Doyle (Spike evidently does not remember meeting Doyle in "In the Dark", and so is unsuspecting) and gets Spike to help the helpless the way Angel once did. But Cordelia returns ("You're Welcome") and helps Angel find and stop Lindsey, who is attempting to release a giant monster to devour his old nemesis Angel and destroy the L.A. Wolfram & Hart branch. It transpires that Lindsey was responsible for bringing Spike back, both times, all a part of his plan to get revenge on both the Senior Partners and Angel, with the assistance of Eve. The gang reveal Lindsey's location to the Senior Partners, and he is promptly captured.
Cordelia and Angel finally share a kiss but are interrupted by a phone call, which informs Angel that Cordelia has just died without ever waking from her coma. When he turns around Cordelia is gone.
After helping Angel regain his form after being transformed into a puppet ("Smile Time"), Fred finally declares her affections to a thrilled Wesley. But Fred then receives a mysterious sarcophagus in the mail ("A Hole in the World"), and when she touches it, it infects her with a virus that hollows her out and gives birth to the ancient Illyria. (We later learn that Gunn has unwittingly caused this chain of events to occur in return for a renewed cognitive upgrade.) Illyria, who has super-strength and can slow down her perception of time, uses Fred's body to try to raise her army and destroy Earth but discovers that her army has long ago returned to dust ("Shells"). Wesley is devastated by Fred's death and agrees to help Illyria adjust to her new world — mostly because she reminds him of Fred.
After realizing that they lack the information needed to fight the Senior Partners, Angel, Spike, and Gunn seek out Lindsey, who is being held captive in a Wolfram & Hart holding dimension designed as a hellish suburb ("Underneath"). They free him, but only after Gunn, guilt-ridden over the indirect role he played in Fred's death, agrees to stay behind in his place. Angel returns to W&H just as the well-dressed and incredibly strong Marcus Hamilton corners Eve. Hamilton forces her to sign an agreement forfeiting all her duties and privileges as the Partners' liaison to Angel — including her immortality.
Wesley is approached by a middle-aged couple seeking help for their teenaged son — who seems to exhibit supernatural strength ("Origin"). Wesley refers them to Angel who is shocked to see the "parents" of his son, Connor. He eventually discovers that the sorcerer Cyvus Vail, who built Connor's new memories, wishes for a common enemy of theirs, Sahjhan, to be killed. And according to an ancient prophecy (mentioned in Season 3), only Connor can do the deed.
Angel agrees to let Connor fight Sahjhan, but the battle is not going well when it is nearly interrupted by Wesley. Mistakenly believing that Angel traded Fred's life for Connor's, he smashes a magical jar which releases lost memories. Connor suddenly decapitates Sahjhan in one swift move, and Wesley is guilt-stricken by his memories of betraying Angel. Connor thanks Angel for his help, and then leaves — he is still needed to protect his family. He appears to have both his real and phony memories intact and is a well-adjusted person now.
Illyria, meanwhile, is becoming more and more unstable, as her human body struggles to contain her demonic essence. She frees Gunn from his prison and is about to wipe out Angel and his team for their perceived attempts to kill her when Wesley "cures" her by siphoning off most of her energy ("Time Bomb"). Despite his misgivings, Angel agrees to allow the severely weakened Illyria to remain at W&H.
As the weeks go by, Angel makes a number of uncharacteristic decisions. These include sleeping with werewolf/art student Nina, playing sports with demons, and allowing a human baby to fall into the hands of the demonic Fell Brethren, who plan to sacrifice it. His team is becoming more suspicious by the day, especially after Drogyn, Keeper of The Well, arrives and reveals that Angel tried to have him killed ("Power Play").
It seems that Angel's thirst for power has overwhelmed his conscience, and that he had Fred killed in order to be accepted by the Circle of the Black Thorn, a secret society responsible for engineering the Apocalypse. After murdering the captured Drogyn, Angel becomes a member, and is subsequently attacked by Wesley, Spike, Gunn and Lorne. Angel hurriedly explains that the entire deal is a ploy — Cordelia's kiss had given him a vision alerting him to the Circle's existence, and he had decided to use Fred's seemingly meaningless death as a means to gain the Black Thorn's trust. He asks the crew for their help in destroying the Circle, and despite knowing that it will bring the full wrath of the Senior Partners down upon them, they agree.
After meeting with the Circle one last time ("Not Fade Away") and signing away his interest in the Shanshu Prophecy, and thus any hope of regaining his humanity, Angel hands out the assignments and tells his people to spend the day as it were their last: Lorne sings, Spike performs at a poetry slam, Gunn does charity work in his old neighborhood, Lindsey spends it with Eve, Wesley tends to the wounded Illyria, and Angel meets with Connor.
That night, the team launches its attack on the Circle, dividing up their targets. Illyria wipes out four members after dinner, and Spike destroys the Fell Brethren and rescues their human sacrifice. Lorne, after watching Lindsey cut down an entire demon clan, shoots him in cold blood because he can never be trusted. Having performed this one last job at Angel's behest, Lorne abandons the good fight and leaves for parts unknown. Gunn walks into the campaign headquarters of an evil Senator, killing her and her coterie of vampire staffers. Wesley is unable to defeat his assigned target, the powerful warlock Cyvus Vail, and is fatally stabbed, although he is able to knock Vail unconscious for a short while. Illyria, concerned for his safety, arrives and grieves for Wesley, taking the form of the woman he loved to ease his final moments. Afterwards, Vail wakes up and taunts "Fred"; Illyria shatters his skull with one punch.
Angel poisons Archduke Sebassis, the most feared member of the Circle, then encounters Hamilton, who learned of Angel's betrayal from the vampire Harmony (ostensibly on Angel's side). The two fight, with Hamilton easily holding the upper hand until Connor joins the battle. After Hamilton inadvertently reveals that the Senior Partners' power flows in his veins, Angel bites him and uses that power to kill him. The building begins to collapse as the Senior Partners unleash their wrath, so he orders both Connor and the despondent Eve to go home.
Angel arrives at the rendezvous point, the alley behind the Hyperion Hotel, the gang's old base of operations before moving to Wolfram and Hart, to find Spike waiting. Illyria arrives with news of Wesley's death, and Gunn walks up badly bleeding from a stomach wound. The survivors wait as the Senior Partners' army of warriors, giants, and a dragon approaches. The series ends with Angel and his crew rushing into battle, saying, "Let's go to work."
- David Boreanaz as Angel
- Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase (Seasons 1-4, plus one special guest appearance in season 5)
- James Marsters as Spike (Season 5, plus guest appearances in seasons 1 and 2)
- Glenn Quinn as Doyle (Season 1)
- Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Mid Season 1 - Season 5)
- J. August Richards as Gunn (Seasons 2-5 plus guest appearances in Season 1)
- Amy Acker as Fred/Illyria (Seasons 2-5 as Fred/;Season 5 as Illyria)
- Andy Hallett as Lorne (Seasons 2-5)
- Vincent Kartheiser as Connor (Seasons 3-5)
- Mercedes McNab as Harmony Kendall (Season 5, plus one guest appearance in season 2)
- David Boreanaz (Angel) and Christian Kane (Lindsey McDonald) are the only actors to appear in both the first and the last episodes of the series.
- David Boreanaz and James Marsters (Spike) are the only actors to appear in the final episodes of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
- David Boreanaz is the only actor to appear in the first and final episodes of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
- David Boreanaz the only actor to appear in the first episode of Buffy and the last episode of Angel.
- Mercedes McNab (Harmony) is the only actor to appear in the unaired and aired Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot and the final episode of Angel, giving her the longest, on air run of any character in the series.
- David Boreanaz is the only actor to appear in every episode.
- Joss Whedon originally planned to have Whistler (Max Perlich) serve as Angel's sidekick through the entire series; but due to restrictions on Perlich's schedule, his character was replaced by Doyle.
- Andy Hallett (Lorne) was featured in over forty episodes before appearing in the title sequence as a regular character.
- The opening theme for the show was created by Darling Violetta.