Daniel Holtz was a vampire hunter during the 18th century and an enemy of the vampires Angelus and Darla. According to Wolfram & Hart's records, he was the most successful non-mystical vampire hunter in history, with over three hundred kills to his credit.
The 18th Century
Holtz was a vampire hunter from England who started slaying vampires from 1754. At one point, he lived in York, but Connor's references to "white cliffs" suggest he may originally be from Dover. He chased Angelus and Darla through much of Europe and North Africa. The book Vampiricus Conquestus documents some of the encounters Holtz had with Angelus and Darla. He has killed 378 vampires during his pursuit of Angelus and Darla.
In May 1764, Angelus and Darla gained entrance into Holtz's home and attacked his family; killing his wife along with their infant son. As a finishing touch, they turned his remaining loved one, Sarah, into a vampire. Upon returning home, Holtz had little choice but to throw his undead daughter into direct sunlight and watch her helplessly burn into ashes.
In 1765, Holtz tracked Angelus and Darla in Italy. The vampires fled to Arles, France but were eventually trapped inside a burning barn thanks to Holtz. Darla escaped on their only horse and left Angelus to fend for himself. The then two met up shortly after this in Vienna but it's unknown as to whether Holtz knew of this rendezvous.In 1767 the vampire James burned down the villa of the Count de Leon, much to the anger of Angelus as this brought them to the attention of Holtz who tracked them in Marseilles, France. Despite a confrontation with the two vampires aided by a large group of men armed with crossbows and riding on horseback, Angelus attempted to save his own life by revealing the location of Darla and James' beau Elisabeth. Holtz preceded to have his men kill them, but both Angelus and James escaped with the former being only wounded from an arrow.
In 1771 Holtz finally managed to trap Angelus in the sewers beneath Rome with the help of the excommunicated Archbishop Monseigneur Rivalli (who also preformed his wedding ceremony with his wife Caroline) along with his order of inquisitors. Holtz tortured Angelus for hours; but eventually Darla arrived and broke him free. They left Holtz behind and chose not to kill him as they now considered him "like family". Following this incident, Holtz gave up his hunt and became a hermit.
In 1773, the demon Sahjhan appeared before Holtz and offered him a chance at revenge, revealing to him it would be his only opportunity to avenge his family as he would die of old age otherwise. He only asked in return that Holtz gave him his word that when the time came, he would show no mercy. Holtz, even though hostile at first, accepted the offer on those terms.
Holtz was placed in a state of mystical suspended animation, and was reawakened in Los Angeles in the year 2001. Despite having been in suspension for over two hundred years, Holtz was immediately ready and willing to kill Angelus, with no need of physical recovery. He was briefed by Sahjhan on navigating the city and how the world had changed in the last centuries, showing him important historical events on multiple televisions. Holtz was also given a new army, this time a cadre of demons. However, a lot had changed in those 200 years: Darla was pregnant, Angelus now had a soul and was now known as Angel. With his new minions, Holtz took out a SWAT team hired by Wolfram & Hart at the Hyperion Hotel and held Angel at his mercy. Angel tried to tell Holtz he was good now but he wasn't convinced until Wolfram & Hart's Lilah Morgan intervened and explained it to him. Realizing this, Holtz thought it was more justly to kill him and end his eternal torment. Angel then escaped by setting off a grenade and blowing himself out of there.As Angel, Darla and his friends then vacated to the demon friendly bar Caritas, Holtz destroyed it by rolling an explosive barrel into the building, not provoking the no-violence spell as he was not presently causing any harm within the bar. He then proceeded into the flaming ruins armed with a crossbow after Angel. However, he stopped at the sight of Angel's newborn son Connor. Since his motives were not in the interest of justice but rather vengeance, Holtz spared Angel's life—unsatisfied with merely killing him—and instead devised a more elaborate plan to use Connor to cause the vampire as much pain as Angelus caused him.
Holtz poisoned his demon mercenaries for being soulless soldiers of fortune. Holtz wanted real warriors, people who believed in his cause and would be ready to die for it. His first recruit was a brash young vampire hunter, Justine Cooper, who had lost her twin sister to a vampire attack and had since fallen to drinking and wandering graveyards at nights hunting vampires. Holtz manipulated her thirst for vengeance, as well as that of many others, and built an army of like-minded individuals.
Shortly after Connor's birth, Holtz arranged for Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, who believed a false prophecy that announced Angel would kill his own child, to kidnap Connor. Out of devotion to Holtz, Justine helped abduct the baby and slit Wesley's throat.Holtz and Justine planned on keeping Connor for themselves and raise him as their own at a small ranch in Utah, even renaming him "Steven Franklin Thomas Holtz". However, Lilah and Wolfram & Hart's Special Operations Team, as well as Angel ambushed Holtz's truck. A tense four-way confrontation between Angel, Wolfram & Hart, Holtz, and Sahjhan ensued beneath a bridge at the edge of town. Since Angel would rather not have Connor in the possession of Wolfram & Hart nor killed, he reluctantly agreed to let Holtz take Connor, and Holtz promised to look after the child as if he was his own son while keeping the identity of his true father a secret.
Sahjhan, who all along hoped Holtz would kill Angel as it could defeat a prophecy claiming Connor would grow up to kill him, threatened to swallow all of them into portal leading to Quor'toth, "the darkest of the dark worlds", but at the last minute Holtz pushed Justine out of the way before he leaped into the hellish portal with Connor clutched in his arms.
For years Connor grew up in Quor'toth, where time moved faster than on Earth. During his childhood and teenage years, Holtz acted as Connor's adoptive father, as well as trainer, teaching the boy to hunt demons and survive, as well as instilling a great hatred for Angel while making him believe Holtz was his true father and giving him the name he intended. Connor eventually found a way to return to Earth which was only months from their arrival to Quor'toth, and an elderly Holtz soon followed.
Back on Earth, Holtz was confronted by Angel and gave him the impression that he no longer wished for revenge and instead wanted Connor to live a healthy life with his biological father. However, this was simply the final phase of his scheme. Reunited with Justine, Holtz asked her to perform one final demonstration of her loyalty: to kill him in order to fulfill his revenge.
Death and Legacy
- “You promised. You said you'd do anything for me. Come on, Justine. I'm not asking you to follow me into hell. Just help send me there. Do it!”
- ―Holtz persuades Justine to assist him in suicide as part of his final scheme.[src]
Together, Holtz and Justine simulated a vampire attack by having the latter stab the former in the neck twice with an ice pick, in a manner resembling a vampire's bite. Connor arrived to find his adoptive father's corpse cradled by a saddened Justine. Just as Holtz intended, Connor - furious and heartbroken - blamed Angel for Holtz's death and - together with Justine - abducted Angel, sealed him in a metal coffin, and sank him to the bottom of the sea.
For three months, Connor joined Angel Investigations under the pretext of helping them find Angel, though in reality, he was trying to ensure that they would never find him. However, Wesley kidnapped Justine and forced her to help him find Angel, informing Charles Gunn and Winifred Burkle of Connor's role in Angel's disappearance upon doing so. Upon returning to the Hyperion Hotel, Angel informed Connor of the truth behind Holtz's death and his scheme.
Proceeding these events, Angel and Connor began to develop a more healthy relationship, but Connor's time in Quor'toth, along with Holtz's brutal training regimen and manipulations, had a significant impact on Connor's mental and emotional stability, with the ensuing Jasmine crisis driving him over the edge and causing him to nearly commit suicide. Ultimately, Angel made a deal with Wolfram & Hart to alter reality to give Connor a normal human life and family with no memory of Angel Investigations or Holtz.
However, Connor ultimately regained his memories. With his new human life giving him the emotional support and stability he once lacked, Connor fully reconciled with Angel. Thus, Holtz's schemes were all for nothing.
- “ Holtz talks about 'justice' and it's stirring, but what he wants is revenge. He's driven by it, blinded by it, and if you, me, or anyone else gets in his way, he'll kill for it.”
- ―Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.[src]
Holtz was a man of God who originally hunted vampires as he believed it was God's will. It was after the death of his family that Holtz's pursuit of Angelus and Darla was elevated on a personal level. Holtz appeared to put more value into passion and personal character rather than tactical advantage. Favoring warriors willing to die for his cause over mindless brute strength and mercantile desire, Holtz killed the demons hired by Sahijan and recruited a number of human warriors while also putting Justine in a number of brutal tests such as having her endure a screwdriver being pierced into her hand and remain there. While appearing as some sort of savior, Holtz didn't seem to care much for his soldiers except for Justine.
Despite Sahjian making efforts to update Holtz on the present, Holtz still remained largely unfamiliar with most modern applications and ideas, referring to a computer as a 'box', thinking a Styrofoam cup was made of cotton and informing Justine that her references to popular culture were lost to him.
After seeing Angel hold his son in his arms, Holtz then believed killing him would not suffice his revenge and decided it would be better for Angel to live and suffer by taking away Connor to raise as his own, though civilly agreeing to look after Connor well at Angel's behest. After spending 16 years in Quor'toth with Connor, Holtz was initially thriving on hate to keep him alive, but discovered that love was actually more powerful, and made his last wish to die on the sole attempt to mislead Connor into turning against Angel. Right before his death, Holtz acknowledged how far he had fallen and told Justine just to send him to Hell and not to follow him there.
Powers and abilities
Holtz, being a normal human, had no independent supernatural powers. However, he was an excellent fighter and was listed as the greatest non-supernatural vampire hunter in recorded history.
Holtz was also an excellent manipulator and leader.
Behind the Scenes
- He was portrayed by Keith Szarabajka.
- The song Holtz can be heard quietly singing to himself throughout the series was first sung by him to comfort his daughter, Sarah, after finding his wife and son murdered. The song is Ar Hyd y Nos (All Through the Night), a Welsh song that later became widely used as a lullaby in England.
- Holtz is first mentioned in Season Two's "The Trial", though doesn't appear until the first episode of Season Three, "Heartthrob".
- Like many villains in Angel, Holtz did not start out evil; in fact, he was a force for good in the 18th century. However, Holtz's life was completely destroyed by Angelus, and he never recovered. He found no solace in Angel's remorse, or his ensoulment, and instead exploited his soul as an instrument of torture. Even in death, he thought of nothing but his own revenge against Angel.
- Holtz has certain similarities to Robin Wood; both have loved ones who were killed by notorious vampires (ironically, the vampires in question—Angel and Spike—are related) and both desire revenge for their deaths. Like Holtz, Robin found no solace in Spike's remorse or ensoulment, only caring about getting his revenge. However, the major difference between the two is that Robin managed to let go of his hate and became a trusted ally of the Scooby Gang, while Holtz's hatred led to his ultimate downfall. Holtz has also been compared to the historical figure of Oliver Cromwell, although he is Roman Catholic whereas Cromwell was avowedly Protestant. Holtz's surname is also a variant spelling of "Holz", the German word for "wood".
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Now or Have
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|Angel: Season 3|
|Angel: Season 4|
|Conviction||Just Rewards||Unleashed||Hell Bound||Life of the Party||The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco||Lineage
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Appears (Only in archive footage)
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After the Fall
- After the Fall, Part Six (Only mentioned)
- Family Reunion, Part One (Only mentioned)
- Family Reunion, Part Two (Only in flashbacks)
- Family Reunion, Part Three (Only mentioned)