Characters: Angel Wolfram And Hart
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The Senior Partners
The Senior Partners
"So what's the big plan, Angel? Destroy the Senior Partners, smash Wolfram & Hart once and for all?"
The "Wolf", "Ram" and "Hart" are a mysterious cabal of ancient demons. Following mankind's triumph over the demon hordes on Earth, the "Senior Partners" (as they're now called) continued to exert influence through political connections and corruption, unlike their Ax-Crazy
contemporaries such as Illyria. In the present day, their organization goes by the moniker Wolfram & Hart
and is puppeted by the Partners themselves, who reside in a separate dimension.
The Circle of the Black Thorn
The Circle of the Black Thorn
The agents of the Senior Partners on Earth, the Circle are their direct representatives and thus perhaps singularly the most powerful evil force on the planet. Only the most vile of creatures are accepted into their ranks; given the firm's interest in having Angel on their side of the apocalypse, seeing him corrupted enough to be worthy of the Circle is a fond wish. Individual members appear throughout the fifth series, though it is not until near the end that their commonality is actually revealed ahead of the final confrontation.
- Affably Evil: Izzerial, who comes across as an upwardly-mobile professional involved with networking. Listen to the character without looking at him, and, aside from the occasional reference to death, you'd be pushed to guess he's a demon.
- Big Bad: As a whole, they are this of series 5.
- Cosmopolitan Council: They're a varied group, incorporating demon royalty, vampires (once Angel joins), sorcerors, and even a few humans.
- Corrupt Politician: Senator Helen Bruckner is naturally this, given that she's actually a demon who's taken over a human body (quite probably, Magnus Hainsley was responsible).
- The Dragon: To the Senior Partners, a role they apparently share to some extent with Marcus Hamilton (though the Circle has more power, since Hamilton is just the liaison).
- Well, they probably have more influence on this plain of existence, but in terms of personal power they all die easily enough (Save Cyrus Vail). Hamilton by comparison is the most physically formidable threat in the show, barring possibly the Beast or Jasmine.
- Expy: Izzerial ("Izzy") the Devil, a very obvious one for Satan. Aside from the name, he's a red demon with a forked tail.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: They force Angel to sign away his rights to the Shanshu Prophecy to ensure that he would not betray them. It never occurs to them that Angel would kill them simply for the sake of doing good rather than for a divine reward, and that brings about their downfall.
- Evil Sorceror: Cyrus Vail, a frail, elderly, incredibly powerful warlock.
- If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: It's not directly specified whether it was Angel's idea or the Circle's (the trope being invoked if the former, played straight if the latter), but their torturing and his murdering so pure and noble a warrior as Drogyn the Battlebrand is this trope.
- The Illuminati
- Initiation Ceremony: Angel's is the murder of Drogyn the Battlebrand.
- No Name Given: The human members of the Circle are unnamed.
- Omniscient Council of Vagueness: That they're incredibly powerful and evil is made clear, what specifically their role as Wolfram & Hart's "agents on earth" entails is not. Basically, they seem to make the world progressively more unpleasant to live in.
- Red Herring Shirts: Angel encounters each one separately throughout Season Five.
- Secret Circle of Secrets: Naturally. They even have chants and Venetian robes.
- Spikes of Villainy: Their logo. ('Cause, you know, thorns.)
- Trojan Horse: How the Circle are defeated. Angel manages to fake a Face-Heel Turn convincingly enough for the Circle to let him join; insodoing, he's able to identify their members, and arrange for them to be assassinated separately by different members of his own team.
The Conduit to the Senior Partners (Kay Panabaker, J. August Richards)
"I like trouble. But I hate chaos." — Mesektet
"I am not your friend. I am not your flunky. I am your Conduit to the Senior Partners." — The Big Cat in Gunn's form
Lindsey McDonald (Christian Kane)
"You're either with the one with power or you're powerless!"
A young up-and-coming lawyer at Wolfram & Hart, Lindsey finds himself crossing paths with Angel a number of times. Intelligent and amoral (almost), Lindsey comes to see himself as Angel's rival...even if Angel doesn't.
Lilah Morgan (Stephanie Romanov)
"Funny thing about black and white, you mix it together and you get grey. And it doesn't matter how much
white you try and put back in, you're never gonna get anything but grey."
Another Wolfram & Hart lawyer, she is the rival of Lindsey, the two often vying with each other internally, when they're not trying to make Angel's life miserable. After Lindsey's departure, she begins to climb up the ladder at W&H, bringing her into conflict with Angel time and time again.
- Action Survivor: The Beast slaughters every employee at Wolfram & Hart — except Lilah. She escapes the building with Wesley's help, then later turns up in the sewers, sans stylish clothes and shampoo. She's also pretty handy with a gun, not that it does any good against Angelus.
- Ambition Is Evil: Arguably, the reason she outlasts the other lawyers is because of her sex. She's had to be "quicker, smarter, faster" than any man at Wolfram & Hart.
- Amoral Attorney
- Back from the Dead: An interesting case, since her contract with Wolfram & Hart extends even past her death.
- Becoming the Mask: She cheerfully admits to this.
- Being Evil Sucks: Lilah lives in essentially constant fear that she'll either be betrayed by her co-workers and killed, scapegoated by a superior and killed, or that Angel will get pissed and kill her. The closest things she has to friends are Team Angel and Lindsey, all of whom are her enemies, and her ultimate fate is arguably even worse than Fred's, who at least can no longer suffer. All of this was entirely her choice, mind you - but given the show's themes about redemption, one can't help but wonder if changing her decision really was completely beyond her. As she herself points out in the end, we'll never know for sure.
- Big Damn Heroes: In return for Cordelia helping her get over being beaten by Billy's victims, she shoots the latter, saving Cordelia in the process.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Unapologetically places herself on the side of evil, accepting all its consequences.
- Character Development: Starts out as a Smug Snake who's utterly useless compared to Lindsey, and is constantly afraid of Angel. Over the course of season 2 and 3, she develops into a much stronger character, stealing Lindwood's position, being able to stare Angel down as an equal, and even shows a more sensitive side with her relationship with Wesley.
- Christmas Cake: A season 2 episode (don't remember what) she made a crack about how she should have listened to her mother and had kids so she can sacrifice them to a demon for luck.
- Co-Dragons: With Lindsey. And later his off-brand substitute, Gavin.
- Dating Catwoman: Things get awfully complicated between her and Wesley. More complicated than either of them had ever really imagined it getting.
- Deadpan Snarker: Reaches tremendous levels during the fight against The Beast.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: It's suggested at a few points that she's fallen in love with Wesley. This is ironic, since the whole point of Lilah's seduction was to lure Wesley over to Wolfram & Hart. Their liaisons end up transforming him into a bone fide Ice King, while Lilah's true feelings go unreciprocated.
- The Dog Bites Back: Linwood manages to ride out the humiliating defeats of Season Three, even threatening to throw Lilah to the wolves if it comes to that. Lilah knows a good example when she sees it and, once Linwood pops up again in Season Four, she finks on him to a Senior Partner, who orders him killed.
- Emotionally Tongue Tied: She never does manage to blurt out her feelings. Her 'ghost' tries to, but Wesley cuts her off by decapitating her corpse.
- Enemy Mine: Joins with Angel Investigations in Season 4 to help fight against The Beast/Angelus/Jasmine. She also helps Cordelia fight Billy Blim.
- Even Lawyers Love Their Mamas: She has mentioned that her mother has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home; in one episode they have a phone conversation, during which the mother apparently starts crying when she's told Lilah can't visit that day.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Her point-blank execution of Billy Blim, one of her own clients.
- Foil: To Angel.
- Heel Face Door Slam: Her short-lived alliance with Angel Investigations.
- Hello, Attorney!
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: She blackmails Angel into breaking Ax-Crazy Straw Misogynist Billy Blim out of a Prison Dimension... only for Billy to touch her rival Gavin Park and provoke him into brutally beating her, which results in her helping Angel Investigations take him down.
- Klingon Promotion: Elevates herself to senior management by beheading Linwood.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- As mentioned above, she tortures Cordelia and blackmails Angel into helping her spring Billy Blim, only for her to become the first victim of Billy's Hate Plague.
- Decapitating Linwood during a board meeting, thereby assuming his position. In due course, Lilah is stabbed in the neck by Cordelia who leaves her body behind for Angelus to feed on, obliging Wesley to chop off her head due to the gang not realizing Angelus didn't kill her rather than risk her coming back as a vampire.
- Married to the Job: The quintessential career woman — and judging by quick she was to jump Angel's bones (under the influence), it's not for lack of desire.
From what I hear, bumping uglies with an old man that body-jumped into a vampire
is the closest thing you've had to a meaningful relationship in years.
- Not So Different: She's met her match in Cordelia.
- Pet the Dog: She gets one of these when we learn one of her reasons for working for Wolfram and Hart may be to pay for the care of her senile mother.
- Please Keep Your Hat On: Following her beheading, Lilah develops a preference for scarfs. She still wears them in the comic.
- Signed Up for the Dental: Her salary goes toward paying her sick mother's medical bills.
- Smug Snake: Seasons 1-2; prior to Lindsey leaving, she tended to be rather weak and ineffective.
- The Starscream: Sorry, Linwood. You can only theaten a gal's life so many times before she takes preemptive action.
- Took a Level in Badass: After Series 2, she gained a spine, plus a brain and became extremely friendly.
- The Vamp
- Wicked Cultured: Quotes Shakespeare in conversation and appears to be well versed in The Divine Comedy, especially (big surprise) Dante's Inferno.
"Actually, the world isn't that complicated: it's designed for those who know how to use it."
A high-ranking executive at Wolfram & Hart, later promoted to head of its Special Projects Division, i.e. the "Screwing With Angel's Head" division. Holland's not the last to hold this office, given its high turnover
rate. Basically a re-tooled Mayor Wilkins from Buffy
- Above Good and Evil
"It's not about good or evil. It's about who wields the most power. And we wield a lot of it here — and you know what? I think the world's better for it
- Affably Evil: Or possibly Faux Affably Evil, part of Holland's allure is that the audience is never quite sure... and even when he's one, he can change between both with horrifying speed.
- Ambition Is Evil: Symbolized by him.
- Amoral Attorney
- Big Bad: Meets the criteria for the Big Bad of season 1 and the first half of season 2; his machinations leave a lasting impression with Angel throughout the remainder of the season and, arguably, the rest of the series.
- Card-Carrying Villain: A literal case.
- The Corrupter: Very arguable, but his interaction with Lindsey does sometimes give this vibe.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive
- Evil Mentor: For Lindsay and Lilah, although less so for her (of course, she's a rotten apple from the start).
- Evil Old Folks
- Gone Horribly Right: His plan to corrupt Angel works, all right. He brings Darla back, and then has Drusilla turn her back into a vampire after Angel just went through all sorts of hell to try and save her. Then he encourages Darla and Drusilla to go on a massacre, and organizes a wine tasting to celebrate his victory. Darla and Drusilla proceed to crash the party, intending to massacre every Wolfram & Hart employee there out of revenge for being used as pawns. When Angel shows up, Holland begs for help, but unfortunately (for him), he has corrupted Angel to the extent that he simply throws back an Ironic Echo before locking the doors and letting Drusilla and Darla go nuts.
- Ironic Echo: When Angel criticizes him for endangering innocents, Holland simply remarks that he "just can't seem to care." Angel says these exact words to him during the Gone Horribly Right incident mentioned above.
- Karmic Death: Encouraging Darla & Drusilla's killing spree.
- Knight of Cerebus: His introduction sets up Wolfram and Hart as the Big Bad of the entire series rather than the shadowy Man Behind the Man they were in the first half of Season 1, which is what initially moves the show to arc-based storytelling from the episodic structure it had before. He also helped resurrect Darla, leading to her revamping, Connor's birth and all that followed; an arc that dominated more than half of the series.
- Lack of Empathy: This exchange sums it up quite well:
Angel: You set things in motion, play your little games up here in your glass and chrome tower, and people die - innocent people!
Manners: And yet, I just can't seem to care.
- Magically Binding Contract: He is the first sign of how truly binding a deal with Wolfram and Hart can be.
Manners: Oh, no. I'm quite dead. Unfortunately my contract with Wolfram and Hart extends well beyond that.
- The Man Behind the Man: In Season 1.
- Manipulative Bastard: Tempts Lindsey with power and succeeds triumphantly.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: One of the show's most triumphant example.
Angel: You're not gonna win.
Manners: Well... no. Of course we aren't. We have no intention of doing anything so prosaic as "winning." [laughs]
Angel: Then why?
Manners: I'm sorry. Why what?
Angel: Why fight?
Manners: That's really the question you should be asking yourself, isn't it? See, for us, there is no fight. Which is why winning doesn't enter into it. We — go on — no matter what. Our firm has always been here. In one form or another. The Inquisition. The Khmer Rouge. We were there when the very first cave man clubbed his neighbor. See, we're in the hearts and minds of every single living being. And that — friend — is what's making things so difficult for you. See, the world doesn't work in spite of evil, Angel. It works with us. It works because of us. Welcome to the home office.
Angel: This isn't...
Manners: Well, you know it is. You know that better than anyone. Things you've seen. Things you've, well, done. You see, if there wasn't evil in every single one of them out there why, they wouldn't be people. They'd all be angels. Have a nice day.
- Scars Are Forever: His undead body still bears Darla's bite marks.
- Villain with Good Publicity
- Villainous Breakdown: When he realizes that Angel won't be saving him from Darla and Drusilla.
Lee Mercer (Thomas Burr)
"It's my ass on the line here. I don't want you to make me look bad."
- Amoral Attorney
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: What he becomes after he is killed by The Beast.
- Professional Butt-Kisser
- No Honor Among Thieves: If Gavin and Lilah can be said to cooperate at all, as both are vying for Linwood's approval. Once Lilah takes over the firm, Gavin is downgraded to her lickspittle.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: His insidious plan to destroy Angel: Drown him in red tape! (No one else is impressed.)
- Smug Snake: While he occasionally keeps up with Lilah in their battles for respect among members of the firm, he never really emerges as a viable threat to Angel Investigations, and he's disposed of by the Beast rather unceremoniously.
- Unknown Rival: Gavin believed himself to be the next Lindsey McDonald, a Magnificent Bastard who could arguably be called Angel's Archenemy (well, he would argue that he could), but he just wasn't the man, lawyer or villain that he'd replaced.
Linwood Murrow (John Rubinstein)
"This is outrageous! Are you actually telling me that you went over my head?"
- Adult Fear: Both his sons were taken by the Senior Partners.
- Amoral Attorney
- The Chessmaster: What he thinks of himself. He really is not.
- Custom Uniform: Unlike other W&H toadies, Linwood doesn't like to wear a tie.
- Dirty Coward: The reason why he provides Angel the code to enter the White Room. And why when Angel's trapped under the sea he does nothing to find him, even though a trapped Angel also works against the firm's plans for the vampire.
- Evil Old Folks
- Kill and Replace: Lilah kills him and replaces him as the head of W&H.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Cares very little for Angel and is willing to kill the vampire if he becomes too troublesome, a direct contrast to the plans the Senior Partners have for him. This comes to bite him in the ass, very hard.
- Off with His Head!
- Terms of Endangerment: Angel congratulating him on becoming Connor's godfather — with the added stipulation that, should any harm befall the baby, Linwood will suffer the same injury.
- Would Hurt a Child
Eve (Sarah Thompson)
The first "liaison" to the Senior Partners assigned to Angel. Later revealed to be a child of the Wolf, Ram, and Hart, created to do their bidding.
Knox (Jonathan M. Woodward)
You think I'd have my God hatched out of some schmuck?
"It's a business, boys. Not a Batcave."
The replacement liaison for Eve following her collusion with Lindsay to kill Angel — a big no-no as far as the the Senior Partners are concerned. Like Eve, Hamilton shares a direct line with the Partners, though he is vastly more powerful.