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Christian Kane as Lindsey McDonald
|First appearance||"City Of" (1999)|
|Created by||Joss Whedon|
|Portrayed by||Christian Kane|
|Affiliation||formerly Wolfram & Hart Special Projects Division
occasional ally of Angel Investigations
Lindsey McDonald is a fictional character from the television series Angel. He debuted in the series' first episode, "City of," and is featured prominently in the story arcs of Seasons 1, 2, and 5. Lindsey is the only character besides Angel himself to appear in both the first and last episodes of Angel. Lindsey is portrayed by Christian Kane.
While primarily an antagonist, Lindsey is shown to be morally ambiguous. Serving as both an enemy and an ally to the Angel Investigations team, he occasionally allied himself with them to stop some of Wolfram & Hart's particularly heinous agendas. There were moments where he could have genuinely switched sides and others where he displayed camaraderie, affection, and, in later episodes, admiration for Angel despite their history. Kane has described the character as being driven by cynicism and ambition: "I still think this cat looks at the glass as being half empty. And so, damn it, I’m going to drink the rest of that water."
Born into a dirt-poor dysfunctional family in the south-central United States, Lindsey worked hard to overcome his upbringing. His exact origin is ambiguous though he has an Oklahoma license plate on his truck in "Dead End", Angel comments in "You're Welcome" Lindsey was "a tiny Texan". While studying at University of California, Hastings College of the Law, Lindsey was recruited for the corrupt corporation known as Wolfram & Hart. Starting in the mailroom, he quickly worked his way up, becoming one of Wolfram & Hart's most valued lawyers. Lindsey legally represented many a vampire and demon, as well as evil humans. He also became a regular at the Host's Caritas club, associating with vampires and demons even in his private life, often not only singing for the Host to gauge his future but even providing his own music on guitar. He developed respect for the Host's sanctuary rules, which declared everyone welcome; in Season Two, he even, though enraged, refuses to fight Angel on the club's premises because of this. In turn, the Host did not judge Lindsey's evil actions for the firm.
He meets Angel in the first episode in the series, when Angel kills Russell Winters, one of his vampire clients, by hurling him out the window of a building just after Lindsey claimed Angel couldn't touch his client. From that point on, Lindsey works to kill Angel, and is the co-architect of a plan to hire then-renegade Slayer Faith to do just that. This is not particularly well received by his superiors, who want to keep Angel alive for their own reasons.
Lindsey experiences a crisis of conscience later, when Wolfram & Hart plans to kill a trio of blind children with psychic abilities, and so he forms an alliance with Angel to save them. After this, he is poised to leave Wolfram & Hart, but is wooed by a promotion and stays, becoming an integral player in the plan to resurrect Darla, to the extent he takes over the chants when the demon Vocah, originally performing the ritual, was distracted when Angel attacked him; the monks participating in the ceremony were distraught by the interruption, but Lindsey seized control and recited the unfamiliar incantations expertly. During the ensuing battle, Angel chops off Lindsey's hand to stop him burning a scroll Angel needs to save Cordelia, forcing Lindsey to use an artificial one. This only further cements his hatred for Angel.
When Darla is returned to life, Lindsey becomes enamored of the now-human Darla, and is present when she is re-sired by Drusilla. His infatuation does not end when Darla becomes a vampire, and he is one of only two Wolfram and Hart employees spared by Darla and Drusilla in the massacre at Holland Manners' wine cellar; ironically, Lindsey had claimed he would not "mind" if Darla killed him, demonstrating a borderline death wish. With only himself and Lilah Morgan left of Wolfram & Hart's Special Projects Team, their rivalry reaches an all-time high as the two start a power struggle for the vice-presidency of the team.
Darla manipulates Lindsey's feelings, which she never reciprocates, to gain his help after Angel sets her and Drusilla on fire. Darla stays at Lindsey's house, manipulating him to gain insight into Wolfram & Hart, and attempts to steal a mystical ring from the Senior Partners. Angel is at the meeting and beats her to the ring, and she is almost staked by guards but Lindsey saves her. After finding Darla with the ring, he figures out Darla has slept with Angel.
Lindsey responds by brutally beating Angel with a sledgehammer, as well as hitting the vampire with his truck a few times, demanding to know what happened with Darla. Angel eventually turns the tables on Lindsey, smashes his prosthetic hand (noting that Lindsey should be grateful he recently had an epiphany as Angel could have easily destroyed Lindsey's remaining real hand instead), knocks him out with a kick to the head, and steals his truck. Returning to his apartment, Lindsey finds Darla had left town, taking all her clothes with her. Lindsey is left alone, and broken.
Consequently, his work at the firm suffers, but he is still in a race with Lilah for the promotion. Hoping his performance will pick up again with the return of his hand, Lindsey's superiors arrange for him to receive a mystical transplant, but the new hand acts up, writing "kill" whenever Lindsey doesn't concentrate. Fearing the hand is evil, Lindsey goes to Caritas and sings for the Host, revealing he used to be a regular customer and musician at Caritas until he lost his hand. Perhaps significantly, he sings a song (written by Christian Kane, the actor who plays Lindsey) about Los Angeles undergoing an apocalypse ("The sky's gonna open / People gonna pray and crawl / It's gonna rain down fire / It's gonna burn us all."), presumably the one Wolfram and Hart has spent years engineering for the Senior Partners, which later occurs in the Angel: After the Fall comic book series; in the song, he admits that he "can't feel a thing" about such a catastrophe, implying his years at Wolfram and Hart have made him utterly indifferent even to the potential deaths of millions.
Lorne sets him and Angel on the path that will end with the two working together to discover a Wolfram & Hart facility specializing in unwilling transplant donors. Among them is the donor of Lindsey's hand, an old friend of his from his mailroom days. After figuring out his hand isn't evil but rather suicidal, Lindsey pulls the plug on his friend and destroys the facility, while saving those that can still be saved. It is then Lindsey decides to leave Wolfram & Hart permanently, casually informing the board in a meeting he's bored with the firm's games and warning them not to follow him due to his "evil hand issues".
In a last confrontation between Angel and Lindsey, the two bury the hatchet, and Lindsey warns him of the games Wolfram & Hart is trying to play. Lindsey leaves Los Angeles and goes on a soul-searching trip, including, amongst other places, Nepal. He does not reappear for two seasons.
In season five of Angel, Lindsey finally returns to Los Angeles, when he learns Angel has taken over the Los Angeles division of Wolfram & Hart. Although it seemed he and Angel had reconciled, Lindsey is unable to cope with the fact a "Eurotrash vampire" (as he called Angel in "You're Welcome") had become the C.E.O. of Wolfram & Hart almost overnight, while he had worked extremely hard just to become a normal lawyer. His hatred for Angel returns in full force. Runic tattoos cover Lindsey's body, mystically hiding his presence from the Senior Partners. At some unrevealed point, he begins a relationship with Eve, for whom he shows true affection. (Kane has said that he considered Lindsey to be driven in his hate for Angel over losing Darla to him – "Even though I’m in love with Eve, Darla was a true love. And Angel did that.")
Together, Lindsey and Eve manipulate events so that Spike, not Angel appears to the Senior Partners to be the ensouled vampire foretold in the Scrolls of Aberjian, the one who will have a crucial impact in the Apocalypse and fulfill the Shanshu Prophecy. Lindsey hopes that once the Senior Partners realize the folly of attempting to seduce Angel to their cause, he will be stripped of his position at Wolfram & Hart, leaving a power vacuum which Lindsey could fill, gaining a measure of revenge on Angel.
The seeds of this plot are planted in the finale of Season Four of the series when Angel is given the amulet which Spike eventually uses to destroy the Hellmouth in Sunnydale. At an off-screen point between "Chosen" and "Conviction", Lindsey travels to the ruins of Sunnydale and digs Spike's amulet out of the Hellmouth, proceeding to anonymously mail it to Angel at Wolfram and Hart. Deposited and incorporeal in Wolfram & Hart, and unable to leave the city limits, Spike gradually grows attached to L.A. and reconsiders his initial intention to seek out Buffy in Europe, preferring to allow Buffy to remember him as a hero who died to save the world.
Lindsey then initiates the next stage of his plan, sending an anonymous package to Wolfram and Hart that emits a bright flash of light, which restores Spike's physical form. He later seeks out Spike under the assumed identity of a drifter named Doyle, closely paralleling the initial encounters between Angel and the real Doyle before the two and Cordelia officially formed Angel Investigations. Claiming to receive visions from the Powers That Be, he gains Spike's cooperation and trust.
Lindsey and Eve contrive a situation where Spike saves Angel from a demonic parasite (placed on an unconscious Angel by Eve), which simultaneously disheartens Angel, galvanizes Spike, and adds weight and veracity to the claims made by "Doyle"/Lindsey. Although the "mind numbing" visions that Lindsey reports are non-existent, the events described are true, such as Spike rescuing a woman from a vampire attack. For a time, Spike appears to be the far more likely candidate to fulfill the Shanshu Prophecy.
However, when Cordelia seemingly returns to life, Lindsey's plans are upset. Lindsey sends Spike to kill her, claiming she was possessed by Jasmine; he later admits he did not expect the plan to succeed, but it "was worth a shot". Meanwhile, he infiltrates Wolfram & Hart. When informed by Eve that Spike had failed, Lindsey intends to activate the Senior Partners' program meant to kill Angel if he turned against them. The plan is averted though as Spike, Cordelia, and Angel are able to uncover Lindsey's actions.
While Spike battles the zombie defenses protecting the creature meant to kill Angel, Angel and Lindsey face off in the chamber where the "contingency plan" is stored. The pair fight on a rising container that holds the creature, while Cordelia tries to stop the process. Lindsey displays the new abilities he has learned on his journeys, enabling him to keep up with Angel in a physical confrontation. Despite this, Angel finally defeats Lindsey, informing him, no matter what he tries none of it matters, because, "I'm Angel. I beat the bad guys." As soon as he defeats Lindsey, his comrades complete a ritual dissolving the tattoos that protect Lindsey from the Senior Partners' wrath, resulting in him vanishing through a portal.
Lindsey is incarcerated in a hell dimension which emulates suburbia, complete with a wife and son. Time operates in a loop; each day, after waking up and sharing a normal day with his "family" he has his heart cut out by a demon hiding in the house's basement, only for it to regrow. He is eventually rescued by Angel, Spike, and Charles Gunn for information they need. They are only able to leave by the sacrifice of Gunn, who remains behind to take Lindsey's place.
Lindsey later reveals the existence of the Circle of the Black Thorn, the Senior Partners' instrument on this plane, a secret society devoted to maintaining man's inhumanity in exchange for power. He notes while Angel is sidetracked at Wolfram & Hart, the Apocalypse is already underway, and Angel and his team are becoming more and more corrupt by the day.
Lindsey and Angel ally once more in an effort to stop the Circle, Lindsey willing to do so because such an undertaking hasn't been done since the beginning of human history, and he wants a part of it. The two agree to fight the upcoming battle together and leave Lindsey the possibility to take the L.A. office of Wolfram & Hart for himself should they fail/succeed.
Lindsey destroys the Sahrvin demon clan with Lorne's assistance as planned. However, Angel knows Lindsey can never be trusted. Consequently, Angel secretly instructs Lorne to assassinate Lindsey once the Sahrvin are eliminated. Lindsey insists to Lorne he has changed. But Lorne, no longer Lindsey's friend, remarks that he can't change, shooting Lindsey twice in the chest with a silenced pistol. A stunned Lindsey slumps against a wall, both outraged and humiliated he was killed by one of Angel's "flunkies" instead of the vampire himself.
Angel: After the Fall
In issue five of the canonical Angel: After The Fall comic book continuation of the television series, while conversing with Wesley in the White Room, the Senior Partners propose the possibility of resurrecting a "zombified McDonald" (or Eve) to be their liaison to Angel. Wesley, while unhappy with being forced to be their current liaison, shoots that possibility down, saying the presence of either alongside Angel would not help the Senior Partners get what they want as he would ignore them in a worst-case scenario and kill them in a best-case one.
Extra information released in the graphic novel of Angel: After the Fall reveals Lindsey was originally going to appear in a First Night storyline where he killed Eve to prove himself to the Senior Partners and was subsequently told to 'wait' before they sent him back, but the storyline was rejected because it was seen as out-of-character for him to kill Eve and it gave the impression Lindsey was going to be more important than he would have been.
Powers and abilities
His long career in Wolfram & Hart gained him a great deal of legal knowledge, and until the removal of his strumming hand he was also a competent guitarist. Although rarely called upon to use magic, he was quite knowledgeable about the supernatural and dealt with unexpected situations with exceptional aplomb; at the end of Season One, he took over a complicated mystic ritual at a moment's notice.
Thanks to an unrevealed mystical process, Lindsey became gifted with superhuman physical attributes before his appearance in the fifth season, allowing him to go toe-to-toe with Angel in single combat, as well as runic tattoos meant to hide him from all known surveillance methods other than the naked eye. He was also capable of transmuting a small knife into a sword and was an adept swordsman, as well as some telekinetic abilities. Lorne remarks that, with or without his mystical strength, he is still a "master swordsman," after he had dispatched the Sahrvin clan alone and without much apparent effort.
Lindsey has appeared in:
- Appearing in 21 episodes in total, Lindsey appeared as a guest in the following episodes:
- Season 1 (1999–2000) – "City Of", "Five by Five", "Sanctuary", "Blind Date", "To Shanshu in L.A."
- Season 2 (2000–01) – "Judgment", "Dear Boy", "Darla"; "The Trial"; "Reunion", "Redefinition", "Blood Money", "Reprise", "Epiphany"; "Dead End"
- Season 5 (2003–04) – "Destiny"; "Soul Purpose"; "You're Welcome"; "Underneath"; "Power Play"; "Not Fade Away"
- "Christian Kane (lindsey) - Horror-web.com Interview - Article #4160". Whedon.info. 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2013-06-30.