The titular main character, Angel is a vampire cursed with a soul who is prophesied to play a major role in the apocalypse. He spends most of his time during the series in fighting evil demons, sent on his path by visions from The Powers That Be. Angel's main motivation for his actions is a quest for redemption for the years he spent without a soul. During this time, he was known as Angelus and became known as "The Scourge of Europe", as well as "The Demon with the Angelic Face", causing death and destruction wherever he went. Originally appearing in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel was written out of that show at the end of the third season so he could star in his own spin-off. Angel is originally hesitant to form friendships and allow anyone to get close to him after the events in Buffy. Over the course of his own series, Angel falls in love, fathers a son and gains numerous allies and friends, but is always forced to control the monster that hides within him. Like many characters on the show, Angel changes drastically, starting out as an almost reluctant hero, and ending up an altruistic hero who is, in Cordelia's words, "trying to save everyone on the planet."
Angel is the only character to appear in every episode.
Cordelia Chase seeks to become a successful actress in Los Angeles after events in third season of Buffy. Contrary to that plan, however, she is sucked into Angel's life after almost being killed by a vampire. Initially shallow and vapid, Cordelia is forced to grow after the visions sent by The Powers That Be are bestowed upon her. During her tenure on the show, Cordelia undergoes this transformation, changing from high school popularity queen into a compassionate and nurturing figure. Events in the show's third season lead to Cordelia becoming a vessel for the being known as Jasmine in the fourth season, after which she falls into a coma. No longer a cast member in season five, she guest stars in the episode "You're Welcome", a send-off to her character, setting up the events for the series finale.
Allen Francis Doyle (more commonly known as just Doyle) is a half-demon, half-human hybrid and the original bearer of the visions from The Powers That Be. Doyle plays the Irish anti-hero, who would rather have a drink than fight the forces of evil. When put to the test however, Doyle shows a hero's heart, willingly sacrificing himself to save the lives of his friends in the episode "Hero", just after giving his visions to Cordelia. Archived footage of Doyle is used in two later episodes ("Birthday and "You're Welcome"), partially in remembrance of Glenn Quinn, who died in 2002.
After the death of Doyle, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce shows up, touting himself as a "rogue demon hunter". Wesley teams up with Angel and Cordelia, spending much of the first season providing comic relief, but over the course of the second and third seasons, Wesley grows into the role of a capable leader, accompanied by a darkening of his personality. Originally a tried and true hero, Wesley's methods lead to him becoming more of an anti-hero. Wesley is ousted from the team after events in the latter half of the third season, and is only reluctantly accepted during the apocalyptic events of the fourth season. Wesley is reintegrated into the group during the final season.
Wesley appears in 100 of the 110 episodes, missing only the first nine episodes of the series and the fifth season episode "Destiny". He is the only character besides Angel himself to be a regular in all five seasons. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Wesley and Cordelia shared a mutual attraction that ended abruptly when their kiss had no spark.
Charles Gunn (frequently referred to as simply Gunn) appears at the end of the first season as a young demon hunter from the streets, who grudgingly befriends Angel after the vampire helps him. Joining the cast in season two, Gunn must adjust to Wesley and Cordelia, who are primarily researchers, while he seeks more solace in the simple brawn work. After events in the second season leave the three alone, he becomes close friends with both, notably Wesley, a friendship that is all but destroyed by the end of the third season. After spending three years with the team as "muscle", Gunn quickly accepts the chance to become a highly knowledgeable lawyer during the fifth season, which ends up costing him severely in the end.
Winifred Burkle (more commonly called Fred) is originally a shy girl with troubles of fitting into the group but is shown to be extremely intelligent. She is saved from the demon world of Pylea by the Angel team in the last episodes of the second season. As the series progresses, however, Fred grows to become a capable and sociable person, providing a stable but quirky personality to group. She becomes the subject of a love triangle during the third and fourth season which has severe effects on the make-up of the team and becomes somewhat of a focal point in the series. In the latter half of the fifth season however, she is infected by the legendary demon Illyria, who takes over her form, destroying Fred's soul.
Connor is the son of Angel and Darla. He first appeared in the third season as a baby, left in the care of Angel after Darla sacrificed herself in order to give birth to the child. Cared for and loved by the entire Angel crew, it came as a great shock when Wesley kidnapped Connor in hopes of protecting the child from a prophecy that cited Angel would kill him. Unbeknownst to Wesley, the prophecy had been a fake created by Daniel Holtz, mortal enemy of Angel, and Sahjhan, a demon whom Connor was actually prophesied to kill in the future. Sahjhan opened a portal to the hell dimension, Quor-Toth, and Holtz took the boy and jumped inside to escape capture. After spending years in Quor-Toth being raised by Holtz to become "The Destroyer", a vicious demon hunter, the two were able to return to the normal world. While only a few months had passed for Angel and crew, Connor was now in his late teens. Holtz was able to manipulate Connor into trying to kill Angel, but after Angel was saved, Connor grudgingly came to accept his father and joined the crew with a certain reluctance in the fourth season. Connor would play another important part in the season's final story, as he became father to the season's main adversary: Jasmine. After Jasmine's defeat, Angel allowed Wolfram & Hart to alter Connor's memories, giving him a normal human life, a spell that would ultimately be broken by Wesley during the show's fifth and final season. With two sets of memories mixing, Connor lives a confusing but content life, making an appearance in the series finale.
Lorne is the pacifist and music-loving empathy demon originally opens up a violence-free karaoke bar called Caritas, open to both demons and humans, where he reads people's futures by their singing. He is introduced in the second season, still referred to as The Host then, he is not credited as a regular until the latter half of the show's fourth season. Originally an occasional supporting character, Lorne moves in with the team during the third season, when Caritas is destroyed. Although quickly accepted by the others, he has trouble adjusting to the violent lifestyle that accompanies the group. Lorne comes into his own finally when the team became the owners of Wolfram & Hart's Los Angeles branch, becoming head of the entertainment division. After the events of the fifth season's latter half, Lorne reevaluates his life and decides that he no longer has a place among the team. Andy Hallett died in 2009.
Spike is a vampire who fought to regain his soul and also an old companion/bitter enemy of Angel. He appears on Angel in the show's fifth and final season. He initially appears as an incorporeal being, per events of Buffys final episode "Chosen", and must deal with the tug of the afterlife, more specifically; hell. However, when Spike is made corporeal again, he comes to serve as a constant reminder of Angel's past deeds, but also the hero that Angel no longer sees himself as being. As such, Angel must question his actions past and present, the meaning of the Shanshu Prophecy, and finally, the corrupting nature of Wolfram & Hart. Although the two remain rivals, they have an unshakable bond that makes them brothers in arms right up to the end.
As a result of Fred inhaling Illyria's essence, her body is used as the host, with Illyria inheriting her human emotions, her legacy living on in some way. Although Illyria herself initially opposes the team, she joins them after she finds she has nowhere else to go, and gradually becomes accepted, standing by the team in the final moments of the series.
Harmony Kendall is the type of woman that never moved on after her popular high school years. She is still vapid, shallow and remains eternally at the age of a high school senior. Bitten by a vampire during the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harmony has made recurring appearances on both shows, displaying the same ineptitude for being a vampire as she did for being a mortal. Taken from the Wolfram & Hart secretary pit by Wesley to work for Angel, Harmony earnestly tries to be accepted by Angel and the others, including former boyfriend Spike.
Kate Lockley is a police detective that meets Angel in the first season's second episode, Kate acts as a contact with the police. There are initial hints of a romance between the two, but those disappear when Kate learns of Angel's status as a vampire. Soon, she becomes obsessed with the occult, falling into a negative spiral only enhanced by her distrust of Angel and the death of her father, the man who had single-handedly raised her and was also a retired but respected police officer. Her obsessions grow to become a general hatred for vampires, including Angel, and the law-firm of Wolfram & Hart. Angel, similarly obsessed with the firm, ignores Kate, and thereby almost arrives too late when she attempts suicide. Able to save her, the two reconcile, but Kate decides to leave Los Angeles, she's already been fired from the L.A.P.D., and does not reappear again. Before she leaves, she strengthens Angel's faith in the higher powers by mentioning that he was able to enter her apartment even though she never invited him in, leaving the audience to speculate whether or not Angel truly arrived in time to save her.
Darla was Angel's sire and former lover. She is resurrected as a human in the first season finale, and is then employed by Wolfram & Hart to manipulate Angel. Appearing at various intervals during the early season two episodes, Darla is able to drive Angel into a paranoid and obsessive frenzy. During this time, Darla struggles with her human soul, and eventually learns that she is suffering from a fatal form of syphilis, as she did before being sired by the Master. Before Angel can really help her, she is targeted by Wolfram & Hart, who enlist Drusilla to sire Darla once more. Losing her soul again, Darla becomes one of Angel's most devastating foes. In "Reprise", she and Angel have a one-night-stand, after which Angel threatens to kill her. She returns in the third season, pregnant with their child.
Because of the nature of the Wolfram & Hart organization, they appeared in every season of Angel, providing him with a constant opposition. During the show's fifth season, Angel and his crew become the runners of Wolfram & Hart, but still fight against it in the form of its corruptive effect and their liaison to the Senior Partners, Eve.
Lindsey McDonald is usually both an enemy and ally to the Angel Investigations team and formerly works with Wolfram & Hart. His first appearance is in the latter moments of the show's first episode. Over the course of the following episodes he develops as a constant adversary of Angel, even hiring rogue slayer Faith to attack him. Their conflict comes to a head in the first season finale, where Angel cuts off Lindsey's hand in combat. During the second season, Lindsey's obsession with Angel grows the prosthetic hand a constant reminder of their animosity. Their conflict again comes to the forefront when Lindsey falls in love with Darla and attacks Angel brutally with his truck and a sledgehammer. However, Angel is able to overpower Lindsey and crushes his prosthetic hand. When Lindsey receives a new hand in the episode "Dead End", courtesy of Wolfram & Hart, he is forced to work with Angel when the hand begins to act oddly. At the end of the episode, Lindsey recognizing how far he's fallen, quits Wolfram & Hart, and leaves Los Angeles to find himself. Although they seem to patch things up just before Lindsey leaves, Lindsey returns in the fifth season as a free agent, hoping to kill Angel. He helps Angel destroy the Circle of the Black Thorn but is killed by Lorne who shoots him twice in the chest on Angel's orders. Lindsey dies upset that Lorne killed him and not Angel himself.
Lindsey is the only character besides Angel himself to appear in both the first and last episodes of the series.
First appearing the season four finale, Knox seems to be the typical Wolfram & Hart employee, and not decidedly evil, although this is quickly questioned by Wesley. From their first meeting, Knox is quite taken with Fred, and over the time that the two are working together, a romance develops, but Fred eventually dumps him. Knox, however, has become obsessed with Fred, and orchestrates for her to be the host to Illyria, the being that he has been worshipping since childhood. Finally showing his evil side, working alongside Illyria, Wesley does not hesitate to gun him down as revenge for the death of Fred.
Starting with the show's fifth season, Eve serves as the team's liaison to the Senior Partners. The fact that the entire team did not trust her hardly unnerves her, and it is revealed she's struck up a relation with Lindsey. Together, the two plot a scheme to kill Angel, but they fail and Eve is forced to go into hiding from the Partners' wrath. When new liaison Marcus Hamilton is assigned, she is also forced to sign over her immortality. Just as Lindsey returns to her, he decides to help Angel in his fight against the Circle of the Black Thorn, when she confronts Angel later, she learns he arranged Lindsey's assassination. Completely broken, she is left in the Wolfram & Hart as it starts to crumble around her.
Marcus Hamilton was the team's new liaison to the Senior Partners after Eve's betrayal, he is decidedly more stern than Eve, certain to not give the team any leeway. Eventually becoming a close advisor to Angel, Marcus must stand up to face him when Angel reveals his own betrayal. Describing himself as "legion" and carrying the strength of the Senior Partners in his blood, he loses his battle against Angel, flanked by his son Connor, when the vampire uses this knowledge to drain him of his power. The death of Hamilton is the final piece in Angel's plan of assassinating the Partners' agents, and leads directly into the final moments of the series, where the Senior Partners unleash a veritable hell on the team as retribution.
Sired and driven mad by Angelus, Drusilla used to scour the world with Angel, Darla and her own sired vampire Spike. By the time of second season of Angel, Drusilla is called in to sire Darla by Wolfram & Hart, and together the two go on a killing spree through the city. Angel, taking a turn towards the dark, is able to defeat the two by setting them on fire, and Drusilla flees back to Sunnydale, appearing in the Buffy episode "Crush". She is not seen afterward except in flashbacks.
Daniel "Oz" Osborne appears in the first season episode "In the Dark", crossing over from Buffy to give Angel the Gem of Amarra, which will grant him virtual immortality, thus eradicating any vampire weaknesses, such as sunlight or being killed via wooden stake. The Gem is stolen by Spike, also crossing over from Buffy and Oz assists the Angel crew in their search for him. Oz leaves Los Angeles again after the adventure is over, and Angel decides to destroy the Gem after he has taken it back from Spike.
Buffy Summers appears in two episodes of Angel's first season, first in "I Will Remember You", where she and Angel rekindle their love after he becomes human as a result of a Mohra demon's blood. After Angel learns from The Oracles, conduits to The Powers That Be that Buffy will die if he remains human, he asks them to turn back time, and prevents himself from being affected by the Mohra blood. She returns in "Sanctuary" to oppose Faith, leading to a conflict between Angel that was resolved in the following crossover, in the Buffy episode "The Yoko Factor". Buffy was at first thought to have appeared in the fifth season episode "The Girl in Question", but Sarah Michelle Gellar did not appear in the role, and in the Buffy Season Eight comics it was also revealed to be a decoy and not the real Buffy.
Faith Lehane first made the jump to Angel in its first season, in the episode "Five by Five", hired to kill Angel. After kidnapping and torturing Wesley, she engages Angel in combat, secretly acting on a death wish. Angel is able to convince Faith to walk the path of redemption, the plot of the following episode "Sanctuary". Thanks to Angel's faith in her, Faith agrees to turn herself in and go to prison for her crimes, and Angel occasionally visits her, as he does in "Judgment". Faith returns in the show's fourth season, in the episode "Salvage", broken out of jail by Wesley in order to hunt down and bring in Angelus. Almost at the cost of her own life, they (with some assistance by Willow) succeed to re-ensoul Angel, and Faith goes with Willow to appear in Buffys seventh season.
Willow Rosenberg first appeared on the phone in the season two episode "Disharmony", calling with Cordelia about Harmony. She again appeared, but in a non-speaking role, at the end of the second season finale "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb", to tell of Buffy's death in the "The Gift", over on Buffy. Willow's last appearance is in the fourth season episode "Orpheus" to re-ensoul Angel as she did in the second season of Buffy. During this short time with the team, she connected with the members of Angel's crew, notably Wesley (in fact, Alexis Denisof, the actor portraying Wesley, is married to Hannigan in real-life), who shared their respective experiences with the darkness inside them. As an extra to the adventure, Willow was able to take Faith back to Sunnydale to aid in the ongoing events of Buffys seventh season.
The last of the Buffy alumni, Andrew Wells appears twice in the show's fifth and final season. First in the episode "Damage" as a representative for Buffy's gang to pick up new rogue slayer Dana. It is Andrew that expresses the group's new distrust for Angel's team, reuniting with the resurrected Spike at the same time. Andrew ultimately tricks Angel's team into giving up Dana after he appears with a large group of slayers. Andrew returns in "The Girl in Question", as a support to the Buffy decoy (as revealed in the Buffy Season Eight comics), giving Spike and Angel some advice on life and telling them it's time to let Buffy move on (for now).