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Keith Szarabajka as Daniel Holtz
|First appearance||"Heartthrob" (2001)|
|Created by||Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt|
|Portrayed by||Keith Szarabajka|
Holtz was an 18th-century English vampire hunter who chased Angelus and Darla through much of Europe and North Africa. He had connections to an elite order of Inquisitors within the Roman Catholic Church and an army at his command. According to Wolfram & Hart records he was the most successful non-mystical vampire hunter in history, with over 300 kills to his credit. Angelus and Darla retaliated by attacking Holtz's family at his home near York, killing his wife and their infant son. As a finishing touch, they turned his remaining daughter, Sarah, into a vampire. Upon returning home, Holtz had little choice but to throw his sired daughter into direct sunlight and watch her burn to ashes.
Holtz relentlessly chased Angelus and Darla across two continents, even capturing Angelus twice (only to lose him both times). Desiring more than just a quick death for his nemesis, Holtz repeatedly squandered his chances to kill Angelus. Holtz finally managed to trap him in the sewers beneath Rome, and tortured him for days; but eventually Darla arrived and broke Angelus free, killing many of Holtz's men and leaving him for dead. Following this incident, Holtz gave up his hunt and became a hermit.
Nine years after the deaths of his family, the demon Sahjhan came to Holtz and offered him a chance for revenge. Holtz is placed in a state of mystical suspended animation, and reawakened in Los Angeles in the year 2001. There he is briefed by Sahjhan on navigating the city, and is also given a new army, this time a cadre of demons. A lot has changed in those 200 years: Darla is pregnant and Angelus now has a soul. Since his motives are not in the interest of justice but rather vengeance, Holtz once more spares Angel's life—unsatisfied with merely killing him—and instead devises a more elaborate plan to use Angel's newborn son Connor to cause the vampire as much pain as Angelus caused him.
Before long, Holtz poisons his demon soldiers, his reasoning being that they are just soulless mercenaries, and therefore useless. Holtz claims to need real warriors who are invested in what they are fighting. He recruits a brash young vampire hunter, Justine Cooper, who lost her sister to a vampire's bite and has since wandered through her own life, seething with rage. Holtz manipulates her thirst for vengeance, as well as that of many others, and builds a new army.
Shortly after Connor's birth, Holtz arranges for Wesley Wyndam-Pryce to kidnap Connor. Out of devotion to Holtz, Justine helps abduct the baby and slits Wesley's throat. Holtz and Justine plan to keep Connor for themselves and raise him as their own. When Lilah Morgan's men and Angel ambush Holtz's truck, they are forced to pull over and are surrounded by Lilah's gunmen. A tense four-way confrontation between Angel, Wolfram & Hart, Holtz, and Sahjhan ensues beneath the bridge at the edge of town. Sahjhan threatens to swallow all of them into portal leading to Quor'Toth, "the darkest of the dark worlds", but at the last minute Holtz defies expectations and shoves Justine to the ground, leaping into the hellish portal with Connor clutched in his arms.
For years Connor grows up in Quor'Toth, where time moves faster than on Earth. During his childhood and teenage years, Holtz acts as Connor's adoptive father and instills a deep hatred of Angel within him. Over the years, Holtz finds himself surprised at the affection he feels for the boy, regarding Stephen (the name he gives Connor) as his son rather than merely an instrument of revenge. Connor finds a way to return to Earth after years in his world but mere days in this one, and an elderly Holtz soon follows. Holtz gives the impression that he forgives Angel and that he wants Connor to live a healthy life with his biological father, but this is simply the final phase of his scheme. Holtz reunites with Justine and asks her to kill him. Together, they simulate a vampire attack by stabbing Holtz twice in the neck with an ice pick, in a manner resembling a vampire's fangs. Holtz himself seems to realize how far he has fallen, even telling Justine, "I'm not asking you to follow me into Hell, just help send me there." Once he discovers his "father's" corpse, a heartbroken and furious Connor blames Angel, though he learns the truth several months later.
Later, it is revealed that Holtz had abused Connor during their time on Quor'Toth, at one point tying Connor to a tree when he was about eight years old, and then abandoning him.
The song Holtz can be heard quietly singing to himself throughout the series was first sung by him to comfort his daughter, after finding his wife and son murdered. The song is "Ar Hyd y Nos" ("All Through the Night"), a Welsh song that later became widely used as a lullaby in England. Holtz sings the song numerous times in the 21st century. Lorne is able to foresee Holtz's plan to destroy the Caritas when he hears Holtz singing the lullaby as he exits. Lorne actually sings a bit along with him until he gets the premonition. The lines of the song that Holtz can be heard singing are, "Sleep, my love, and peace attend thee, all through the night. Guardian angels God will lend thee, all through the night. No forebodings will alarm thee, all through the night. They will keep all peril from you, all through the night..." Because the original song is in Welsh, some translations of the lyrics differ from others. "Ar Hyd y Nos" was first recorded in 1784, 20 years after Holtz's family's death, and 11 years after his meeting with the demon Sahjhan who later transports him to the 21st century.
Holtz is first mentioned in the Season Two episode "The Trial," though doesn't appear until the first episode of Season Three.
Holtz has appeared in:
- Holtz appeared as a guest in 11 Angel episodes: