The 18th Century
- “I would need ten thousand [years] just to name the color of your eyes.”
- ―James to Lisbeth[src]
James and Elisabeth (then Lisbeth) met infamous vampires Angelus and Darla in the year 1767, on Marseille, France, and planned on traveling to Morocco together. The foursome were responsible for the death of Count De Leon, while James and Lisbeth, much to Angelus' displeasure, burned the Count's villa to the ground. That same night, James stole a heart-shaped locket and gave it to Lisbeth as a token of his love for her.
However, the villa's destruction attracted the attention of a group of Marseillan gendarmes, forcing Darla and Lisbeth to flee to the ship the foursome planned on boarding, while the male vampires stayed to fight off their would-be attackers. Minutes later, Captain Daniel Holtz, a vampire hunter and enemy of Angelus and Darla, appeared.
Surrounded by Holtz and his men, Angelus revealed Darla's location to in exchange for his life. James confronted Angelus and then, disgusted that Angelus would betray Darla to save himself, took their only horse and fled to the docks to protect his lover from Holtz and his vampire hunters.
The 21th Century
Against Angelus' predictions, James and Elisabeth remained together and in love for little more than two centuries. James would never forget Angelus' treachery.
By 2001, the couple was established in Los Angeles and took on a bunch of vampire minions of their own. One night, Elisabeth and her minions crashed a party at Wilson College thanks to a poster with the text "Everyone's invited" written on it. The trio kidnapped a couple but were confronted by Angel, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce and Charles Gunn. During the fight, Elisabeth was staked by Angel, while one of the minions escaped.
The Ultimate Bargain
- unidentified minion: “You want to be alone.”
- James: “No. I want to die.”
- — an unidentified minion and James[src]
After learning of Elisabeth's death and the one responsible, an enraged James killed the surviving minion who gave him the bad news by throwing him into sunlight. Consumed by depression and rage, James sought Dr. Gregson, a Slod Demon. Gregson submitted James through a medical procedure to extract the vampire's heart, making him invulnerable to wood or sunlight for six hours so that he could gain vengeance for Elisabeth's death.
After the surgery was completed, James tracked Angel down at the Hyperion Hotel and tried to kill him and Cordelia Chase, whom he believed was Angel's current lover. Angel and Cordelia escaped to a subway train, but although James followed and the two vampires fought, Angel proved too much of a match for James despite his advantages. James accused Angel of not knowing the true meaning of love when Cordelia told James about the recent death of Buffy Summers. James protested that Angel wouldn't be able to go on after Buffy's death if he had genuinely loved her. Despite failing to kill Angel, James claimed he was still the winner as he had genuinely lived while Angel merely existed. James's invincibility then wore out and he crumbled to dust. Although Angel was slightly uncertain about his feelings for Buffy after his encounter with James, wondering if his foe had a point about his ability to keep going after her loss, Cordelia assured Angel that having the strength to honor Buffy's memory and continue on after she was gone made him a more devoted lover than James, as he cared more about what Buffy would have wanted rather than James defining himself by his relationship and his own inability to go on without his lover.
- Angel: “It's not real unless it kills you? This your idea of love, James?”
- James: “What's yours? "It's fun as long as it doesn't cost me anything?" You don't know what love is. You think you won 'cause you're still alive? You're such a loser—I lived, you just existed.”
- — Angel and James[src]
Despite his vampire status, James was a romantic at heart (somewhat similar to Spike), completely devoted to the one he loved, to the point of risking his life for her and descending into suicidal depression after losing her. The centuries at Elisabeth's side had made him obsessive and dependent on her, focusing the entire meaning of his existence on her.
Powers and Abilities
Originally, James had all the regular abilities and weaknesses of a vampire, though his strength and reflexes were greatly enhanced due to his somewhat advanced age. Following his operation, he became immune to staking and sunlight, as well as capable of regenerating any wound instantly. However, his newfound invulnerability only lasted six hours, after which he died and became dust.
Behind the Scenes
- He was portrayed by Ron Melendez.