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"Provider" is the twelfth episode of the third season of Angel and the fifty-sixth episode in the series. Written by Scott Murphy and directed by Bill L. Norton, it was originally broadcast on January 21, 2002, on The WB network.


Cordelia worries that Angel has lost sight of their mission to help the helpless when he becomes obsessed with making money in order to provide for the baby's future and takes on too many cases.[1]


Now that Angel is a father, he is much more concerned about making money than he was before. He pushes the team to develop Angel Investigations into a profitable business. Fred designs and launches a website, while Gunn posts fliers all over town. Despite the excitement, Cordelia reminds Angel that he and the rest of the AI team work for the Powers That Be and asks him not to forget the mission. While the team waits for the phone to ring, a vampire finds their flyer and rushes to the nearest payphone. However, a pizza place, rather than Angel Investigations, answers the phone. Fred notes the phone number on the flyers isn't theirs.

The next morning, Wesley reports that 6,000 new flyers have been distributed all over Los Angeles. Wesley and Gunn comment on the sweet scene of Fred cuddling with Connor; Wesley says he meant the baby, but Gunn confirms he meant the "hot mama." As Angel enters the lobby, Wesley apologizes to him for the flyer mix-up, and Angel stresses that the team cannot afford any more mistakes because money is their number one priority. Cordelia checks the website to see that it already has a few hits, and the phones begin to ring.

At his hideout, Holtz is scolding Justine, who, against his orders, dusted two vampires. Her hand is pierced by an awl and fastened to a table. She could remove it at any time, but Holtz would take that as proof that she was not committed to his cause.

The lobby of the Hyperion Hotel is full of Angel Investigations clients, both human and demon. Lorne uses his skills to communicate with various non-humans, like Mr. Bleeshusengrung. A group of Nahdrah demons wants to hire Wesley after reading some articles he wrote about demons. Gunn takes Allison, a human client who is being stalked by her ex-boyfriend, to a private office to discuss her case. She says she's gone to the police, but they think she's crazy, and Gunn sympathizes with her, mentioning that sometimes the police don't take cases seriously until someone ends up dead. Allison then mentions that Brian is dead, which leaves Gunn thoroughly confused.

The Nahdrah demons meet Wesley and request to borrow his mind; they want him to solve a puzzle that they can give to their prince. Fred comments on the geometric shapes on the demons' tunics, which happen to be arranged in a specific mathematical order that fascinates her. After Lorne translates what she's said to the demons, they excuse themselves to consult with the prince.

Angel visits Harlan Elster, a businessman, in his office. He says a group of vampires are extorting money from him and asks for their nest to be destroyed. Elster shows Angel a case file, mentioning that the last guy on the case was "mussed" before he could finish the job. After offering him $10,000, half of which the company will receive beforehand, Angel takes Elster's check and leaves. The real Harlan Elster enters the room from a back door, and when he questions why the man is in his office, the impostor punches him.

Holtz returns to find Justine still at the table, albeit weak. After ordering her to go find other humans with the same rage she has, he removes the awl and throws her a bandage. When she finishes nursing the wound, she punches Holtz in the jaw and leaves.

At the Hyperion Hotel, Angel returns from Elster's office, excited that he's being offered so much money for such an easy job. Cordelia reminds him that they shouldn't be taking on so many cases at once, but Angel dismisses her comments. An intoxicated Lorne wanders into the lobby after consulting with his Gar-wawk demon snitch. He says Holtz is no longer using Grappler demons but looking for humans instead. The Nahdrah demons come in, and Lorne says they now wish to hire Fred instead of Wesley. They live on a barge at the marina and estimate the job would take one to two days, depending on how long Fred takes to solve it. They offer $50,000, which Angel accepts with enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, Wesley and Gunn are at Allison's house to protect her. She wonders how Brian can stalk her if he's dead, and, while Wesley is explaining how such a thing could be possible, Brian, who is a zombie, tries to break in. Gunn and Wesley are able to keep him out.

Lorne accompanies Fred to the houseboat where the prince of the Nahdrah demons is staying. They take the duo's picture, offer them hors d'oeuvres, and Fred gets to work on the puzzle.

Angel invades the vampire nest he is hired to clean out and kills the three vampires inside. A bruised Angel returns to the office, looking for Harlan Elster. The actual Harlan Elster tells Angel that the man who hired him was an impostor, so the check he received was no good. Elster explains that the man pretending to be him was Sam Ryan, an ex-employee who was fired six months ago. After Ryan's friend died, he tried to convince Elster to hire someone to clean out the vampires' nest, but Elster thought Ryan had gone insane and didn't believe him. As Angel is leaving, he learns from Elster's off-hand remark that the vampire lair may contain some kind of treasure.

At the houseboat, Fred makes progress toward solving the puzzle. Lorne, who feels queasy, departs to use the restroom and accidentally overhears the prince and his minions talking. Once she completes the puzzle, they plan to cut off Fred's head and sew it on the prince's shoulders. Before he can sneak away, Lorne is knocked out by one of the Nahdrah demons.

Back at the hotel, Cordelia is tending to Connor, trying to demonstrate that she can levitate. When she is unsuccessful, she explains the history of her visions, how his daddy is a champion who fights evil, and then reminds the baby how much his father and "Aunt Cordy" love him.

Angel returns to the vampire lair he cleared out earlier. Sam Ryan arrives and picks up a watch, which Angel takes from him. The watch has only sentimental value, as the vampires killed his friend. Sam mentions there were seven vampires in the lair; since Angel only killed three, there are still four to deal with.

Cordelia is about to lock the $50,000 from the Nahdrah demons in a safe when she receives a vision that Fred is in danger. She attempts to call the rest of the team, but to no avail.

Meanwhile, Gunn and Wesley wait at Allison's house as she grows impatient; she has plans that evening and wants to leave. Brian gets in through the kitchen skylight, which is the one entrance Wesley and Gunn had not secured. After knocking Brian unconscious, the two take Allison with them to her bedroom to barricade themselves inside. Brian makes his way in, and he and Allison talk. Brian explains that Allison poisoned him because she grew tired of their relationship. Despite the issues between the couple, they make up and get back together. As Wesley and Gunn watch them in disbelief, Wesley asks Allison if she plans to pay for their services in cash or by credit card.

At the vampire lair, four vampires are beating on the door, but Angel refuses to fight until he is paid.

At the houseboat, Fred finally solves the puzzle. The Nahdrah demons drag her to the prince's quarters, where she finds Lorne tied up on the floor. The demons bind her to a chair and prepare to cut off her head. Cordelia arrives before they can do so, carrying Connor. She offers to return the demon's money in exchange for Fred. When Lorne translates, he adds that the houseboat is surrounded by killer warriors, assuming that Wesley, Gunn, and Angel are with Cordelia.

At the vampire lair, Angel relents and agrees to help Sam. He kills three vampires when they storm into the room, while one escapes. He then leaves without being paid.

Wesley, Gunn, and Angel appear in the nick of time to rescue Fred and Lorne from the demon's houseboat. When the battle is over, Angel apologizes for getting carried away. He now recognizes that family and the mission are the most important things. Although he is willing to leave behind the $50,000, Cordelia surprises everyone by declaring that they deserve every penny, considering the demons nearly cut off Fred's head. Cordelia takes Connor from Angel as the rest of the team rushes over to the spilled money and starts to stuff it into their pockets.

Back at the hotel, Angel and Cordelia lie on a bed with Connor between them and discuss what to do with the money.




Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • Jack, killed by vampires (only mentioned).
  • Brian, poisoned by Allison (only mentioned).
  • Six vampires, dusted by Angel.
  • Nahdrah Prince, beheaded by Angel.

Behind the scenes[]


  • Alan Henry Brown, who in this episode portrays the Lead Nahdrah, also appears in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the Funeral Director in "Forever" and the Demon Bartender in "Villains."


  • "Provider" had an audience of 2.5 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Pop culture references[]

  • Lorne describes the style of the Nahdrah demon barge as a cross between the science fiction author Jules Verne and the businesswoman Leona "Queen of Mean" Helmsley.
  • After being saved from the Nahdrah demons, Fred quotes: "If you can keep your head as those about you are losing theirs..." which is from the 1895 poem "If—" by Rudyard Kipling.
  • Angel's speech about priority mimics the Inquisitions speech on weapons from the Monty Python's Flying Circus 1971 sketch "The Spanish Inquisition."
  • When the Nahdrah demons arrive at the Hyperion, Cordelia mentions that all she hears is "snap, crackle, and pop," a reference to the slogan of Rice Krispies cereal.


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Zadarmo ani upír nesaje" (Even a Vampire Does Not Suck for Free)
  • Finnish: "Toimeksiantoja" (Commissions)
  • French: "Soutien de famille" (Family Support)
  • German: "Rätselraten" (Guessing Game)
  • Hungarian: "Gondoskodás" (Provision)
  • Italian: "Il fornitore" (The Provider)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Provedor" (Provider)
  • Russian: "Кормилец семьи" (Family Provider)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Negocio redondo" (Round Business)
  • Spanish (Spain): "El dinero no lo es todo" (Money Is Not Everything)
  • Turkish: "Sağlayıcı" (Provider)


Cordelia: "They tried to cut Fred's head off. We earned every penny."


  1. "angel: Provider." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on October 23, 2004.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Third Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008.