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No, I am not the damsel in distress. I am not some case! I have to work this. I lived in a cave for five years in a world where they killed my kind like cattle. I am not gonna be cut down by some monster flu, I am better than that! What a wonder... How very scared I am.
―Winifred Burkle[src]

Winifred "Fred" Burkle was a physics student and member of Angel Investigations, and later the head of Wolfram & Hart's Practical Science Division.

Born in Texas, Fred moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school at UCLA until one fateful day when her jealous physics professor, Oliver Seidel, used dark magic to banish her to the dimension of Pylea, where she spent five years as a human slave; the time there took a serious toll on Fred's sanity. In 2001, Fred was finally saved and returned to Earth when the vampire Angel and his friends arrived in Pylea and liberated it from the control of the Covenant of Trombli.

Upon recovering from her mental trauma, Fred joined Angel Investigations, adding her smarts and scientific knowledge to the team. After Angel Investigations took over Wolfram & Hart in 2003, Fred met her end when one of her coworkers, Knox, brought in an ancient sarcophagus which infected her with the essence of the Old One Illyria, and despite her friends' best efforts, Fred perished and her body was taken over by Illyria itself. Though her soul was believed completely destroyed in the process, Illyria retained Fred's memories and some of her emotions and personality traits.

However, after Illyria's death and the reversal of the end of magic, Fred was resurrected in London and Fred and IIlyria shared the same body.



Fred was born in Dallas, Texas to Roger and Trish Burkle. When she finished San Antone High School,[1] she moved to Los Angeles for graduate school at UCLA. Originally majoring in history, Fred took a physics class with Professor Seidel, which inspired her to take another path. Around this time, she began working at Stewart Branch Public Library. On May 7, 1996, while shelving a demon language book, a curious Fred recited the cryptic text out loud and was accidentally sucked into a dimensional portal to Pylea. Her future friend, Lorne, was sucked into the same portal on his side and ended up in Los Angeles. The portal was actually opened by Fred's jealous college professor, Professor Seidel, who had sent every promising student to it, essentially sending them to their death. Fred was the only one of at least six to return.[2] While still in school, Fred was a marijuana user and was something of a conspiracy theorist.[1]


Handsome man saved me from the monsters.
―Fred is saved by Angel in Pylea[src]

Angel is "rewarded" as a champion, and is given the honor of killing Fred.

For five years, Fred spent an arduous life as a "cow," the Pylean equivalent of a slave. The harsh life of solitude and serfdom took a serious toll on her social skills, as well as her mental health. When Angel met Fred, she was curled up in a cave, scribbling on the already-covered walls, having seemingly convinced herself that her previous life in Los Angeles had not been real. Fred had once been forced to wear an explosive shock collar. However, Fred's salvation came when Angel and his crew arrived in Pylea to find Cordelia Chase, who had become trapped there. When Angel's demon came fully to the fore, it attacked just about everyone but Fred, including Charles Gunn and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. Despite this shocking display of violence, Angel never seemed to scare Fred and even at his most demonic, he never attacked her. In fact, she seemed to have a calming effect on him.

Angel Investigations

Look, I could go home with you and pretend the last five years didn't happen. I could even pretend to have a normal life. But the truth of it is... Well, I'm not normal anymore. I guess what I'm getting at is... I missed you both so bad. But, I belong here.
―Fred tells her parents she wants to stay with Angel Investigations.[src]

Fred often used her knowledge of science to help Angel Investigations.

After Pylea was liberated, Fred accompanied Angel and the rest of the gang back to Los Angeles and stayed in the Hyperion Hotel to re-adjust to life on Earth and regain her mental stability. Despite several traumatic instances, such as being held hostage by Gunn's old vampire-hunting crew, she adjusted quite well to "normal" life. Her knowledge of physics and mathematics made her an excellent asset when researching and developing strategies. Fred's ingenuity and resourcefulness also allowed her to create several constructs and contraptions that helped her adapt to stronger and more powerful enemies. After some time, Fred's parents came to Los Angeles looking for her, but Fred avoided them and appeared afraid of them, briefly leading the rest of Angel Investigations to believe that the Burkles were abusive. However, Fred's reluctance to see them was a result of her trauma from Pylea and the Burkles were in fact loving and supportive. Though she initially decided to return home to Texas with her parents, Fred ultimately decided that her place was in Los Angeles with Angel Investigations, a decision which her parents respectfully accepted.

Fred quickly developed a romantic relationship with Gunn, which lasted roughly one year. She was also the object of affection of Wesley, who attempted to step aside after Gunn and Fred started dating, but was still drawn to her. Near the end of her relationship with Gunn, Fred and Wesley shared a kiss, but after discovering that Wesley had been in a relationship — albeit a rather complex one — with Lilah Morgan, her feelings for Wesley cooled.

Eventually, Fred discovered that it was actually her former professor's fault that she had been trapped in Pylea, and indeed, Professor Seidel had attempted to trap her in another world again. Furious, she plotted to kill him, with Wesley's help. Gunn, however, felt that such a brutal act, even against Seidel, would ultimately destroy her as a result. In a battle where she was trying to trap him in a hell dimension, Gunn snapped Seidel's neck himself and dropped the body into the portal. This caused a rift between Fred and Gunn and ultimately ended their relationship.

Fred used a "magic bullet" to free Angel from Jasmine's control.

Later on, when Jasmine came to the mortal realm and put everyone under her thrall, Fred inadvertently managed to break free of the mental brainwashing while cleaning Jasmine's blood-stained blouse; Fred apparently scrubbed it so hard that her fingers bled, resulting in her blood coming in contact with Jasmine's and breaking the spell. She ended up in a similar situation as Pylea: alone and fighting against a population that wanted her dead. Eventually, she managed to free Angel from the thrall as well by shooting through Jasmine and hitting Angel, thus exposing the vampire to Jasmine's blood. After the two escaped, she broke down, tearfully remarking that she was scared and not a champion like Angel, though Angel comforted her and insisted otherwise.

Later, the two freed the rest of Angel Investigations, sans Connor, and Fred helped participate in the battle against Jasmine's followers, led by Connor. Once Angel and Connor destroyed Jasmine, Lilah returned and offered the team Wolfram & Hart as a reward for ending Jasmine's "world peace." Although hesitant, Angel Investigations accepted the offer, unaware of the fact that the Senior Partners actually wanted to corrupt them and keep them distracted while their "scheduled" apocalypse was underway.

Wolfram & Hart

Head of the Science Division.

Everything changed for Fred when she and the rest of Angel's crew joined Wolfram & Hart. A spell removed all of her memories of Angel's son, Connor. Fred received her own laboratory and became the head of Wolfram & Hart's Science Division. She was a major asset to the team. Angel consistently relied on her department to quickly and efficiently solve problems. At this time, Fred was concentred to help to materialize the new member, a ghostly Spike. During a mission paired with Wesley, she was almost killed by Emil's henchmen. Angel blamed Wesley for it. After going on a few dates with co-worker Knox, Fred began to have feelings for Wesley again. The two paired up for about a week, but the couple's happiness was not to last.

A mysterious sarcophagus, allowed through customs by a signature from Gunn, appeared in the lab. As Fred examined it, a hole opened in the cover and a blast of wind blew into her face. The sarcophagus was a holding cell for one of the original, pure-breed demons known as the Old Ones, which was predestined to rise again. The air Fred inhaled was actually Illyria's essence, which immediately began a parasitic existence in her body, eating away at it and making her a shell. Worse still, Knox had worshiped Illyria for years and worked at Wolfram & Hart for the sole purpose of bringing the demon back. Because of his affections for Fred, he chose her as the only one "worthy" to house his goddess.

As Angel and Spike traveled to England to find a cure, Wesley remained in Fred's bedroom with her, comforting her as she fought bravely, but slowly began to die. Angel learned that the only way to save Fred was to draw Illyria back to the Deeper Well in England by using her sarcophagus as a beacon. However, thousands of others would die as Illyria's essence cut across the world back to the Well. As much as they cared for Fred, Angel and Spike were unwilling to let such an atrocity happen and thus were forced to do nothing, knowing that Fred would not have wanted it that way.

As she lay dying, Fred's mind began to give way. Nearing the end, she panicked, stating that Feigenbaum, a stuffed rabbit named for mathematical physicist Mitchell Feigenbaum who studied chaos theory, should be there. When Wesley asked her who Feigenbaum was, Fred replied that she did not know. Cradling her in his arms, Wesley stayed with Fred until the moment she died, after which her body was taken over by Illyria.

According to Dr. Sparrow, Fred's soul was consumed, making it impossible for her to return from the dead or enjoy an afterlife. Later, though, Illyria stated that there were remnants of Fred in the form of her memories, which were a source of confusion for Illyria. Fred's emotions sometimes emerged in Illyria, accounting for her great affection for Wesley, Gunn and Angel. On occasion, Illyria took on the appearance of Fred in order to go about unnoticed and to deal with Fred's parents. On another occasion, Illyria took on Fred's form to comfort the dying Wesley. On that occasion, Wesley's killer, Cyvus Vail, fooled by Fred's frail form, offered Illyria a free shot. This proved to be his downfall as Illyria used the opportunity to shatter his head with a single punch, reverting back from Fred midway and avenging Wesley.


Illyria takes Fred's form for Wesley.

Shortly after these events, Angel used Fred's death to his advantage in order to infiltrate and ultimately destroy the Circle of the Black Thorn, the Senior Partners' primary source of power on Earth, by making it appear that he himself was the one who arranged for Illyria's sarcophagus to be transported to Wolfram & Hart.[3]

Although it was implied that Fred could not enjoy an afterlife, Lorne stated that she was the lucky one, because she was in heaven. Also, when Wesley was mortally wounded by Cyvus Vail, Illyria herself said that Wesley and Fred would be together again. Fred reappeared, manifesting as a transformation of Illyria into not just the physical appearance of Fred, but also her personality.[4] This happened a first time upon the initial fusion of Hell and Los Angeles and then a second time upon a reunion of Illyria and Wesley. The essences of Illyria and Fred had been struggling for dominance over their shared body and Spike had been trying to suppress Fred's manifestations, even going so far as to ask Angel for help. He admitted that he would have kept Illyria away from the battle had he known Wesley was going to be present.

Seeing someone Fred cared for triggered the change, while dangerous situations transformed her back into Illyria.[5] However, the Fred manifestations were just Illyria's interpretation of Fred. With these remnants lost, Illyria reverted to her true form.

After the fall of Los Angeles was reverted by the Senior Partners, Angel used his newfound fame to rename a wing of the public library to the Burkle Wyndam-Pryce Wing in honor of Fred and Wesley. When Angel reminisced about Fred and Wesley, wondering if the two of them were together in the afterlife, Cordelia rustled up a breeze to dissuade him from pessimism. Illyria also appeared to be influenced by Fred's characteristics, writing on the walls as Fred once did, albeit listing methods of killing.

Later, when encountering Buffy Summers, Illyria declared that her similarities with Fred were an "affectation" to humor Fred's friends, which she suggested was ultimately a bad decision for all parties involved. Later, Illyria had her powers stolen by "the Siphon", Severin, a process which ordinarily killed demons. Illyria openly mooted that it might not be residual magic which was sustaining her life, which attracted attention from Willow and others for being uncharacteristically compassionate, even going so far as to make the ultimate sacrifice, leaving the question of how much of Fred remained in Illyria up until her death open to discussion.


Newly resurrected, Fred reunites with Angel in Magic Town.

Some time after Illyria's death, Angel encountered what appeared to be Fred walking along a street in Magic Town, London.[6] Talking with Fred as she was assessed by Nadira, Angel determined that Fred was apparently restored by the restoration of magic causing most of the old rules to be "reset" as things that were lost were brought back. Fred explained that she remembered Illyria's time in her body, such as her attempt to awaken her armies, but was still aware of Illyria within her, granting her access to Illyria's older memories and occasionally allowing Illyria to take over when she was exhausted or stressed (although they both slept when Fred slept). Thanks to these flashes, Fred was able to reveal to Angel that Eldre Koh's tribe was killed by Illyria centuries before to frame him so that the cult he belonged to would be disbanded.

Angel and Faith took Fred to Zane Pharmaceuticals with the hope of identifying some means of containing Illyria, but the subsequent tests actually amplified the secondary brainwave representing Illyria's consciousness, allowing her to retake control and reveal her role in the deaths of Eldre Koh's family. However, Fred was eventually able to retake control of her body by fighting Illyria on a mental plane, with Angel arranging for Fred to stay with Rupert Giles' aunts Sophronia and Lavinia Fairweather while they determined her new limitations.

Attempting to get away from her current memories and see more of her own world, Fred asked for Angel to take her on a trip somewhere, the two eventually taking a vacation back to Angel's original home town of Galway. However, the vacation was interrupted when they discovered a coven of witches using the blood of a Gachnar to gain power by generating fear through tours taken of the Galway murders of 1753. This plan was thwarted when the witches' attempt to harness Fred's unusual power for themselves unleashed Illyria, who promptly tore them apart for their insolence.[7]


Fred was stronger than anyone you'll ever know. To go through what she did and still come out able to love someone? If that's not strength, then I don't know what is.

Fred was a fairly kindhearted and sweet individual, perfectly willing to help others. The most notable example was perhaps her interactions with Spike. When he confided in her that he was being slowly dragged into Hell, Fred worked tirelessly to build a machine that would restore his corporeal body. She was the first to believe that Spike was "worth saving" and though her efforts ultimately failed, she nonetheless earned Spike's perpetual gratitude. Her personality was, in a sense, similar to that of Willow.

Just as Fred was willing to help others, she was also fairly vengeful against those who threatened her or her friends. When she and Gunn realized that Connor was responsible for Angel's three month disappearance, Fred berated him while repeatedly hitting him with a stun gun. Another example was when Fred pursued revenge against Professor Seidel, an act which nearly came to fruition, if not for Gunn's intervention.

Fred was also an innocent, unassuming young woman which often led people to underestimate her. On many occasions, she used this to her advantage, such as shocking Connor with a stun gun and knocking out a suspicious lab assistant at Wolfram & Hart. Also, she showed signs of great inner strength and an innate ability to survive on her own despite overwhelming circumstances. This was shown as she attempted to flee from Jasmine's followers and earlier with her experiences in Pylea. In fact, while conversing with Illyria, Spike had said that Fred was one of the strongest people he ever met, solely based on the fact that she could still be able to love as after everything she had gone through in her life.[8]

Due to her traumatic experiences in Pylea, Fred briefly suffered from an undiagnosed mental disorder, although she fully recuperated. Although that it return brievly when she was attacked by an interdimensional tentacle demon, invoked by Seidel.

She liked pancakes, waffles, tacos, fish sticks and double-mocha milkshake. She was a fan of the country all-girl band the Dixie Chicks.

Powers and abilities

She's smarter than all of us put together.
―Wesley on Fred[src]

Fred was a normal human woman with no supernatural abilities. Nonetheless her work as a member of Angel Investigations and her prolonged stay in Pylea allowed her to develop exceptional skills. She is also a brilliant physicist and an expert in other branches of sciences and engineering.

  • Scientific expertise: She had a brilliant mathematical mind, immense knowledge of quantum physics and science, and a natural ability in designing inventions that made her an important asset of Team Angel. Fred always took a scientific approach to demonology and the occult. She also had an exceptional calculation ability, such that she once was referred to as a human computer.
  • Programming expert: She is also a skilled with computers. She developed the Angel Investigations website and even designed various computer programs.
  • Multilingualism: During her time in the demon dimension Pylea, Fred managed to learn their native language, and could speak to Lorne in his native language with remarkable fluency, although Lorne remarked that she was still not completely fluent.
  • Combat prowess: During her time with Angel Investigations, Fred also acquired some moderate fighting skills, mainly using a crossbow as a weapon, but even sword and gun. Later, when Jasmine took over Los Angeles, she was forced to face down all of Los Angeles on her own and was also able to hold her own unarmed, taking out a few armed Jasmaniacs, including one armed SWAT member.
  • Skilled survivalist: Unlike the rest of the students who were sent to Pylea by Professor Seidel, Fred managed to survive all on her own and even sustain herself, even though prolonged time within Pylea had affected Fred's mental stability. During the time she was being hunted by the Jasmaniacs, she managed to avoid being discovered and evaded them long enough to cure Angel of Jasmine's mind control.

Dual personality

Following her resurrection, Fred acquired a "Jekyll-and-Hyde"-esque dynamic with Illyria,

  • Persona swapping: Illyria is able to manifest from Fred with her full powers and abilities whenever she wants or or needs to. Illyria can also hand control of the body back to Fred if needed be. Despite Illyria having all of her powers, Fred only had the potential of those powers rather than being able to use them herself.
  • Suspended aging: It was implied that Fred is now immune to aging, as she is sharing her body with an ageless entity.


It's my boys. I haven't had this many big strapping men at my bedside since that night with the Varsity Lacrosse team... That was a joke.
―Fred joking as the men in her life gather around her deathbed[src]


  • Gunn — After Fred moved on from her crush on Angel, she and Gunn fell in love and started a relationship that lasted for about a year before breaking up after Gunn killed one of her old college professors to prevent her from doing it herself. Despite the evident discomfort in their relationship after this event, it was implied that feelings continued to linger afterward, with Gunn being particularly devastated when his actions inadvertently resulted in Fred's death.

  • Knox — Fred's assistant in Wolfram & Hart; the two dated briefly, but Fred ultimately decided that the two of them should only be friends. Knox's bizarre obsession with her caused him to use her body as Illyria's new form, arguing that she was the only person "worthy" of such a gift.
  • Wesley Wyndam-Pryce — Wesley had been enamored with Fred nearly from the beginning. His first chance to be with Fred was shot down after he tried to kill her while affected by the misogynistic Billy. He was very hurt when she chose to be with Gunn, but always came to help when she was in danger, especially after he had been ousted by the gang; likewise, Fred, though also angry and hurt over Wesley kidnapping Connor, also understood he had been tricked and was the only one who was willing to understand his side, to the extent she attempted without success to persuade Cordelia to talk to Angel on Wesley's behalf.[9] Fred and Wesley dated after she broke up with Knox, a relationship that ended prematurely following her death and possession by Illyria.


  • Angel — Fred's relationship with Angel was an interesting one: when Angel saved her from Pylea he "vamped out", but rather than his face changing like usual, due to the unusual nature of Pylea the demon inside of him came out completely. After killing two guards — but notably simply sniffing Fred before leaving — it tried to kill Gunn and Wesley, until Fred, her right hand soaked in blood, lured the demon back to her cave. Fred cared for Angel as he recovered, and remained the only person who wasn't scared by Angel's demon after learning about his vampire nature. She was instantly somewhat enamored with Angel, saying "handsome man saved from the monsters",[10] and confided with him while he struggled to come to terms afterwards with his transformation.[11] When Angel brought Fred back to Los Angeles, he took her in and was the only member of the team that didn't seem unnerved by her state of mind. In the beginning, she only truly felt comfortable around Angel and was encouraged to venture out of her room by his prodding.[12][13] Fred developed a crush on him, but Angel didn't seem to take it too seriously and initially ignored it. After seeing a movie with her (neither of his other friends wanted to go), she became excited and talked endlessly about the experience, describing Angel dreamily as being very deep. When he switched bodies with a womanizing old man who quickly flirted with her, Fred jumped at the chance to be with him and felt they were actually going on a date. After seeing "Angel" almost sleep with Lilah, she was devastated and cried to herself over in a corner. Upon realizing he was not really Angel and getting his body back, the two quietly shared a moment in the aftermath. Fred expressed to Angel that she knew he did not see her in a romantic light and was accepting of it despite her sadness.[14] She eventually moved on when she learned about the curse on his soul. Despite this, Fred cared for his son Connor (she was the only other member of the team who was present at his birth), both when he was a baby and when he reappeared as a teen (until he betrayed Angel, at which point she tortured him with a taser and knocked him out). When Fred was being devoured by Illyria, Angel considered but discarded a plan that would kill tens of thousands to save her. And ultimately, as Angel's soul had been ripped out of his body to make way for the demon, her soul had been ripped from her body to make way for Illyria, with some aspects of Fred potentially influencing Illyria's later respect for Angel. Though their relationship wasn't romantic, Fred did kiss him once to fool passersby into thinking they were just a random couple. When she asked if he thought they bought it, he replied "I did." After Fred was restored following the restoration of the Seed of Wonder, Angel noted that, while it would take time to adjust to thinking of Fred as being 'back', he was grateful for her return.
  • Cordelia Chase — Fred first met Cordelia when she was accidentally thrown in Pylea through a portal and forced to do slave duty for the demons. Despite her disuse of being near people during her five-year imprisonment, Fred supported Cordelia and encouraged her to be careful, genuinely concerned when she was suddenly taken away after having a vision.[15] After being saved by Angel and taken to Los Angeles, Cordelia at first kept her distance from Fred, feeling uncomfortable by her strange habits and refusal to leave her room.[12] Despite this, she remained to admire Cordelia's place in Angel Investigations, describing her as being "Angel's Lassie" and extremely necessary to the group.[13] Eventually overcoming Cordelia's discomfort, the two became closer after Angel prodded her to spent time with Fred to get her out in public with people again.[16] After seeing "Angel" kissing Lilah Morgan, a devastated Fred confided in her feeling of betrayal as Cordelia comforted her.[14] When Cordelia falls in a long coma after Jasmine's birth, Fred was the most genuinely concerned after Angel, demonstrating a real sorrow.
  • Lorne — Fred and Lorne were very close. Their mutually kind and loving natures allowed for them to bond, not to mention their shared experiences of living in Pylea. Fred looked to Lorne as a brotherly friend, and Lorne looked to Fred with an equal amount of affection, once referring to her in song as "his sunshine." Lorne, much like the rest of the team, was also protective of Fred. While she was dying from Illyria's possession, Lorne confronted Eve, and warned her that if he ever find out she was involved, he'd personally kill her. Her death caused Lorne to become disillusioned with the work he was doing; he began to drink his sorrows away, and eventually left the team.
  • Spike — While they never shared a romantic relationship, Spike initially flirted with Fred after he materializes at Wolfram & Hart, and his feelings later evolved into affection and esteem. Fred was the first person in Los Angeles to believe that he was "worth saving" and she worked tirelessly to recorporealize him. She denied being taken in by his admitted charm, saying that she simply wanted to use Wolfram & Hart's resources for the good that Angel promised. When fighting the demented ghost Matthias Pavayne, Spike sacrificed a chance at becoming corporeal to save Fred's life.
  • Willow Rosenberg — Willow and Fred shared a mutual love for knowledge, and thus naturally bonded over this. While Fred's talents focused more on science, Willow was more into magic and technology. Willow fascinated Fred with her competence and knowledge, and with her attempt of seduction, making her her right hand in doing the spell to give back Angel his soul. The two were often seen chatting about their shared love of learning whenever Willow was in town, and Fred always trusted Willow and her considerable powers enough to call her whenever there was a magical solution to a problem.
  • Faith Lehane — Initially, when escaping from prison to help Angel Investigations against Angelus and the Beast, Faith had disdain for Fred. Five years later, when Fred was resurrected, a mature Faith helped her to find a solution to control Illyria. The two women developed a good friendship and were an effective partnership when investigating murders at St. Cuthbert's and fighting Drusilla.


  • Roger and Trish Burkle — While she loved and was loved by her parents, Fred choose to go adventuring with Angel & Co. Even possessed by Illyria, she still had sentiments for them. 


  • Oliver Seidel — He was her science teacher, mentor, and hero. He was responsible for Fred being in Pylea to begin with. He was jealous and threatened by Fred's intellect. After Fred found out years later, she was going to kill him. But Gunn killed him all because he didn't want her to carry the burden of his death by her hands, but that was the beginning of their break-up.


  • Connor — Fred initially was very caring towards Connor, acting as a de facto mother alongside Gunn when both Angel and Cordelia are unavailable. Once she found out that Angel's disappearance was Connor's fault, however, she began to mistrust him, a trait that the rest of the team shared with her.


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Behind the scenes

  • She was portrayed by Amy Acker.
  • Felicia Day (Violet) auditioned for the role of Fred.[17]
  • Amy Acker wore her own glasses while playing Fred.[citation needed]
  • Joss Whedon originally intended for Fred and Illyria to be split in two had Angel gotten a sixth season, as revealed by Amy Acker in an interview: "As I'm playing this new character now, it was just some stuff that he was going to do with her and bringing Fred back and getting to work with both characters." Eventually, this plot was resurrected in the comic continuation.[18]




Buffy the Vampire Slayer Classic
Angel (IDW series)