- “Thank you Lindsey... nice to see you again.”
- ―Vanessa Brewer[src]
- “God, two minutes alone with that woman, I feel like my spine has been fused. Still, one has to admire her talent - and work ethic. She kind of reminds me of you. Talent and hard work, not the psycho killer part.”
- ―Holland Manners[src]
According to her file at Wolfram & Hart, Vanessa Brewer wasn't born blind; she blinded herself when she was 21 and spent five years in Pajaur studying with the Order of the Nanjin, cave-dwelling monks that believed seeing with the heart instead of the eyes was the way to enlightement.
Afterwards, Vanessa became an assassin working for clients such as Wolfram & Hart, who represented her in court, pro bono, in order to protect on of their most valuable assets. Her supposed disablity and frailty allowed her to approach her victims unsuspected and to shrug off any kind prosecution from human laws. In 1993, she was first arrested for driving without a license; she drove for six blocks before crashing a laundromat; Vanessa had been fleeing the scene of a homicide, but no chargers were brought. In 1995, she was arrested and charged with aggravated assault; however the case never went to trial as the District Attorney believed the case to be a joke.
In 1999, Brewer was finally arrested as a suspect in a double homicide and put on trial, with Lindsey McDonald representing her. Thanks to their efforts, she was out on bail. However, she remained working for the firm and went after a new target. However, the man she attacked was a decoy meant to lure her away from her true target. The vampire Angel encountered her, but was unable to stop the blind woman from killing the man.
Angel appeared at Vanessa's trial and gave her back her sunglasses by throwing them at her. Vanessa merely raised her hand to catch her glasses, without even turning back her head. Despite this, Vanessa was acquitted thanks to Lindsey's maneuvering, much to Angel's frustration.
Afterwards, Vanessa was sent after a trio of blind children, a so-called "Holy Triumvirate", who once brought together, would be able to see "into the heart of things" and pose a threat to W&H as they grew. Vanessa managed to locate and trespass into the safehouse where the children were kept and kill they Guardian. She then turned to the children themselves, but was stopped by Angel and a guilt-driven Lindsey. During the fight, Angel discovered a way to become invisible to Vanessa's powers: remaining absolutely still. He managed to approach her and once he was close enough, used Vanessa's own walking cane to impale her in the stomach, killing her instantly.
With Vanessa's death, the firm lost their most valuable assassin, forcing them to turn to other empowered people to corrupt. This would be the case of Bethany Chaulk
Powers and abilities
- “Are you telling me self mutilating psycho assassin chick reached "enlightenment"?”
- ―Cordelia Chase[src]
Thanks to her training, Brewer was more in touch with her surroundings than a regular person. She was capable of sensing energy sources around her, as well as every motion around her, even heartbeats and breathing. However, an completely immobile vampire would be invisible for her due to the lack of body heat, heartbeat and breathing, knowledge that Angel used to his advantage.
Her power, combined with her martial arts training endowed her with the ability to become a prime assassin and fighter. Her weapon of choice was her own walking cane, which she used to impale and stab her victims.
- Vanessa's last name was originally supposed to be Vanessa Weeks.
- Her 'powers' bear a resemblance to Marvel Comics character Daredevil, in that both lost their sight but are able to function as normal thanks to their other four senses operating at a superhumanly sharp level.