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"When the chips are down, when you're at the end of your rope, you need someone you can count on. And that's what you'll find here. Someone who'll go all the way, who'll protect you no matter what. Don't lose hope. Come on over to our offices, and you'll see there's still heroes in this world."
―Allen Francis Doyle[src]

Angel Investigations, also known as Team Angel, was the name of a detective agency specializing in supernatural cases run by Angel. The agency allowed Angel to openly advertise his willingness to assist people in trouble without specifying the agency's specialization in supernatural cases; their slogan "We Help the Helpless" (originally "We Help the Hopeless") was especially appealing to people who were unfamiliar with the supernatural world and therefore were afraid to ask for help, fearing they would be considered crazy, but who were nonetheless in desperate need of aid.

The agency provided Angel and his colleagues a source of income. The group later became known as Team Angel, following the demise of Angel Investigations as a business.

History

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Angel Investigations calling card

The agency is founded by Angel sometime between the first and second episodes of Season One. Angel makes friends with Doyle, a half-demon who's been given visions by The Powers That Be of people in need of Angel's help. After they successfully rescue former Sunnydale associate Cordelia Chase, she joins them and encourages them to front their operations with a detective agency, with the hope of having a steady paycheck while she attempts to make it as an actress. Cordelia also coins their slogan, "We help the hopeless" (later changed to "We help the helpless") and designs their business logo, a stylized angel which, according to Angel and Doyle, resembles "a lobster".

Angelinvestigations

Angel Investigations office.

Halfway through Season 1, Doyle passes his visions on to Cordelia just prior to his death. Another old Sunnydale friend, self-styled "rogue demon hunter" and former Watcher Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, joins Angel Investigations soon there after bringing an extensive knowledge of demons and magic to the agency. At the end of season one, street tough vampire hunter Charles Gunn also joins Angel Investigations, adding much-needed brawn to their group. Angel Investigations originally operate out of Angel's residence, a basement apartment beneath a ground floor office space comprised of an inner executive office and an outer reception area. At the end of the first season, however, an agent of the evil law firm Wolfram and Hart blows up the building as part of a scheme to eliminate Angel.
Angelinvestigations

The main employees of Angel Investigations.

Cordelia's residence is pressed into service as Angel Investigations headquarters until shortly into Season 2, when Angel Investigations moves to a new location, the Hyperion Hotel. Now empty and all but abandoned, the Hyperion is a luxury hotel where Angel stayed in 1952. The Hyperion was abandoned due to a demon that drove the occupants to insanity. Angel Investigations kills the demon and takes control of the building for use as their headquarters, Angel concluding that they will redeem the building like he seeks to redeem himself. The manager's office in the lobby is used by Angel (and later Wesley) and several of the empty rooms are used as a residence for various characters. Halfway through season two, Angel fires his three colleagues after escalating disagreements about his growing moral corruption. Instead of disbanding while Angel deals with his private issues, Gunn, Cordelia, and Wesley continue running Angel Investigations without him in a rented office. They opt to keep the name "Angel Investigations" because they feel they are continuing the "mission" that Angel started out with, but their attempts to operate independently are hampered by the lack of Angel's supernatural abilities and his weapons stockpile. Eventually, Angel rejoins them and their base of operations returns to the Hyperion Hotel. As part of his amends, he agrees to work for them and Wesley is selected as the leader of the team, though Angel was often unofficially "in charge" even with Wesley's presence, leading their fight against such opponents as Gunn's rogue gang or Wolfram & Hart's attempts to abduct the pregnant Darla.. At the end of the second season, A.I. spent several episodes in the demon-dimension Pylea, home to friend Lorne. There they rescue Winifred Burkle, a stranded former physics student, who joins the agency around the middle of Season 3 after spending some time recovering from the trauma of her time in Pylea.

Angelwebsite

The Angel Investigations website

After a fallout in Season 3, Wesley leaves the group and sets up his own group, which is run more as a paramilitary mercenary group than a detective agency. Angel resumes his function as leader with the departure of Wesley, and remains the de facto leader after his return.
Angel investigations logo

Angel Investigations logo

At the end of Season 4, the agency is dissolved when Angel assumes control over the L.A. branch of their former enemy Wolfram & Hart.

In Season 5, the A.I. team is now known as Team Angel, though, in "Underneath", Angel claims that they "don't have a name,"- when Spike reflects on his former time with the Scooby Gang- which Spike thinks is for the best, as he'd call them "Angel's Avengers or something" (Angel, at first, thinks this is ridiculous, but then apparently starts to consider it). As a result of their association with Wolfram & Hart, Angel's friends and allies in the Scooby Gang, including Buffy, have deemed Angel, and his teammates by extension, untrustworthy.

By After the Fall, the team seems to have been fully disbanded, though the members are still active, albeit operating mostly independent of each other; the now-human Angel and a ghostly Wesley are combating the Demon Lords from the destroyed Wolfram & Hart building, Spike and a somewhat unstable Illyria (now appearing to manifest Fred's personality within her) are posing as Demon Lords in order to save humans and benevolent demons, a vampiric Gunn is fighting them and plotting revenge against Angel for letting him die, Connor is heading a safe house for humans and benevolent demons (most of them having been rescued and evacuted into his care by Spike and an anonymous Angel) alongside Nina Ash and Gwen Raiden, and Lorne is the neutral Lord of Silver Lake with the Groosalugg as his champion. In Angel's battle with the other Demon Lords' champions, Lorne rallies the others in order to help him in the fight, and afterwards, they all move back into the Hyperion. As of these events, the Angel Investigations team has been fully reformed.

After the Senior Partners rewind time, Angel reopens Angel Investigations as a business, first operating out of an old church, and then returning to the Hyperion. As the group reorganizes with new additions such as former ally Kate Lockley, jaguar warrior Desdemona and ex-Watcher Laura Weathermill- Laura serving to replace Wesley's research skills-, they face new problems such as the alleged Potenate James, really a higher demonic power seeking control of Earth.

Following recent events, Angel, Spike and Illyria have taken a leave of absence from the team, Spike needing to learn who he is without feeling the need to "beat" Angel and Angel wanting to give Connor a chance to develop on his own (Illyria simply following Spike), although Angel returned after he and a future Illyria defeated James in the future.

While Angel was working undercover in an anti-Slayer paramilitary organization, Angel Investigations was still functioning without him under Connor's leadership. With Twilight's plans ended, Angel relocated to London, working with Faith to complete the unfinished work of Rupert Giles, whom Angel killed while possessed, and find a way to bring Giles back to life. Proceeding the end of magic, it would appear that Angel Investigations had indeed disbanded; Kate had returned to the L.A.P.D., Nina had gotten married, Connor had returned to college, and Illyria had simply vanished, although Gunn still appeared to be continuing to hunt demons.

Aforementioned karaoke-demon Lorne was regularly affiliated with the agency, although it is unclear whether or not he was ever actually an employee.

Angel Investigations members

(In chronological order)

  • Angel - Angel is the founder and leader of Angel Investigations, and thus he generally has final say in regard to the course of action the team takes; he is also commonly the team's strongest fighter due to his vampiric powers. He is the most consistent member, only leaving the group for brief intervals in seasons two, four (when becoming Angelus), and later in the ongoing comic series.
  • Cordelia Chase - Cordelia was a founding member and originally the team's secretary and primary researcher, though Wesley takes over this role when he joins he team. Originally only working with Angel while she tries to become a successful actress, the character develops throughout the series, becoming a good fighter and acting as Angel's connection with The Powers That Be. She died in Season Five after entering a mystical coma, although she has since reappeared as a higher power, contacting Angel when he was in a near-death state.
  • Allen Francis Doyle - Doyle was a founding member of Angel Investigations and the team's original connection to The Powers That Be via visions. Immediately prior to his death he passes the visions to Cordelia. Despite being a main character, he dies in the 9th episode of the first season, Hero.
  • Wesley Wyndam-Pryce - Wesley first appears in Season 1, Episode 10, and becomes an official member of the team soon after. As an ex-Watcher, he has a wide knowledge of the demonic world. Despite his general loyalty to Angel- once defying the Watcher's Council despite their offer to take him back in exchange for helping them capture Faith because he trusted Angel more than them-, he has shown that he is not averse to working against him if it proves necessary; it is understood that he would kill Angel if Angelus resurfaced, and he kidnaps Angel's son when he suspects Angel will kill him. He is killed in the last stand against the Circle of the Black Thorn, although he aids Angel for a time as a 'ghost' while Los Angeles is in Hell.
  • Charles Gunn - First appearing towards the end of season 1, Gunn leads a street gang who fight vampires. Angel manages to win Gunn's trust, and Gunn helps the team on numerous occasions before properly joining the team when they travel to Pylea. In season 5, he gains a perfect knowledge of demonic legal systems, and is an excellent fighter throughout the seasons. He temporarily betrays the team when he is turned into a vampire after the Fall of Los Angeles, but returns to their side after he is restored to human form, continuing to protect Los Angeles.
  • Lorne - Former owner of the demon karaoke bar Caritas, Lorne became increasingly affiliated with the group during Angel's dark phase after Darla's resurrection, going on to stay with the team after the destruction of Caritas, progressing to becoming an apparently more permanent member after his attempt to start a career in Las Vegas fell apart due to him being blackmailed by a sorceror; eventually sacrifices his life to become the new 'centre' for the Music of the Spheres
  • Fred Burkle - The team meets Fred in the parallel universe of Pylea, where she has been stuck for 5 years with no other human contact, leading to poor social skills. She comes back to LA with the team, and becomes a valuable member due to her excellent mind prior to her 'death' when she is consumed by Illyria.
  • Connor - Connor is the miracle son of Angel and another vampire, Darla. He is kidnapped and spends the first 16 years of his life in another universe, where he is taught many fighting and tracking skills in harsh conditions, and is made to believe that Angel is still evil. He returns to this world only days after leaving (although, due to differences in how time moves in the two dimensions, he is now a teenager) and is full of resentment for Angel. Eventually, they develop a bond, but Connor still has many problems. He is a part of the team in season 4, helping to bring the entity Jasmine into the world, and is the only person she does not affect, but the one who aids her. He leaves the team when Angel agrees to take of the LA branch of Wolfram and Hart in return for Connor having a new life with no memories of his previous life, although he returns when his memories are later restored, his new life giving him an emotional balance that he had previously lacked and helping him to bcome a more capable and reliable ally.
  • Spike - A vampire who traveled and killed with Angelus, but eventually gets a soul as well. Originally a member of the Scooby Gang, he was sent to Los Angeles as a 'ghost' after the destruction of the Hellmouth, remaining with the group after he regained his body to eventually become a full-time member after Fred's demise; moved on to make his own way when he realized that he was still "competing" with Angel.
  • Illyria - An Old One who takes over the body of Fred, and stays with the team as she adjusts to the new world, seeing first Wesley and then Angel as her 'guides' on humanity.
  • Nina Ash - a woman turned werewolf who dated Angel for a time, she later aided the team many times during the Fall of Los Angeles.
  • Kate Lockley - originally the team's contact in the LAPD, she was fired in the early 2000s; after a three-year absence, she returned to Los Angeles, becoming the team's newest member after the Fall of Los Angeles.

Team Angel

Following the end of magic, Angel Investigations has essentially disbanded and ceased operation, but Angel continues to fight alongside a team of his own;

  • Faith Lehane - Following Twilight and the end of magic, Faith worked with Angel in London to complete Giles's unfinished business, although they do not consider themselves a 'business' in the same sense that Angel Investigations was an official organization.
  • Sophronia Fairweather & Lavinia Fairweather - The aunts of Rupert Giles, Sophia and Lavinia moved back to London to ask Angel and Faith for help in dealing with various demons they had previously made pacts with, the two serving as the occasional ally when a series crisis arises.

Relationship/Comparison with the Scooby Gang

Angel Investigations has a rather confusing relationship with their Sunnydale counterparts, the Scooby Gang (despite Angel Investigations being essentially a splinter organization that was formed by Angel and Cordelia after they left the Scoobies to operate independently), although they share numerous similarities. They have similar goals and morals, though the members of A.I. are more willing to kill evil humans if they are certain the situation requires it (such as Angel killing blind assassin Vanessa Brewer who Wolfram and Hart reguraly prevented from being brought to justice) while the Scoobies prefer to leave their human enemies alive to face human justice for their crimes (such as Buffy's reasons for wanting to spare Warren Mears after he unintentionally killed Tara Maclay, although she unhesitatingly kills Caleb, presumably as he's too powerful to stop any other way and his physical strength suggesting that he no longer qualified as pure human any more); during "Sanctuary", Angel actually briefly fought with Buffy when she came to Los Angeles over their differing opinions regarding Faith, Buffy wanting Faith to be punished for her actions and Angel arguing that she deserved a chance at redemption, though both sides were somewhat satisfied when Faith willingly turned herself in to the L.A.P.D. Additionally, A.I. regularly employs the usage of firearms, while the Scoobies have a strong distaste for them, Buffy herself having even forbidden her teammates from using them.

While the Scooby Gang is somewhat mystically superior to Angel Investigations thanks to Willow's magical talent, Angel Investigations tend to have superior fighters; the Scoobies' knowledge of combat tended to focus simply on basic punches and kicks while trying to stake vampires, leaving more complicated opponents to Buffy- to the point that they were forced to activate the Buffybot to make any kind of impact on the city's vampire population after Buffy's death-, while A.I.'s members are all capable fighters even if Angel remains their primary combatant when facing their more powerful enemies, Cordelia and Fred receiving training while all other members possessed varying degrees of combat skills before joining the team (Although Lorne preferred not to fight, his culture makes it clear that he would received some lessons).

While the Scoobies tend to handle the more large-scale, immediate enemies, with their traditional 'Big Bads' representing immediate threats to the world as a whole- save in the case of The Trio, who were primarily comically dangerous rather than genuinely malevolent-, A.I.'s enemies are traditionally more patient, long-term planners, Wolfram & Hart constantly subtly attempting to subvert and corrupt Angel due to his prophecised role in the Apocalypse and the entity known as Jasmine having apparently planned for years to manipulate the team into a position where she could be reborn. A.I. is also somewhat more organized than the Scooby Gang as they are guided by the Powers That Be and people who contact them directly about supernatural problems, where the Scooby Gang become aware of their latest threats due to Buffy discovering something while patrolling, Giles reading up on prophecies, or 'Big Bads' looking to kill the Slayer. Another difference between the two groups is that A.I. deals with a lot of evil human enemies, mostly Wolfram and Hart employees, while the Scoobies enemies are primarily demons and vampires. The only real human enemies the Scoobies have is The Trio and Caleb. Additionally, while the members of the Scooby Gang are entirely human (with the exceptions of Angel and Spike), the demon members of Angel Investigations actually outnumber the humans.

Another key difference between the Scoobies and A.I. is the exact way their groups operate. While A.I. operates as a private detective agency, publicly offering their services to others and thus granting themselves a semi-legal reason for their actions, the Scoobies largely remain underground as a vigilante force, with few people besides their closest friends and family members even knowing of their existence. Another key difference is how others view them as of recent events: while the Angel Investigations staff are hailed as celebrities and heroes for their actions in the Fall of Los Angeles, the Scooby Gang is viewed and denounced as a terrorist group by the world at large as a result of the anti-Slayer movement.

It is often implied that the Scoobies and A.I. have met each other on occasion off-screen. Fred calls Willow for help against Angelus in Angel season four, and Willow is/was aware of Connor's existence and relation to Angel before meeting him in that same episode. Additionally, Buffy knew where the original Angel Investigations offices were located and went to confront him there, whereas Willow visited the Hyperion Hotel to inform Angel of Buffy's death; in "Blind Date", Cordelia also called Willow for advice and tips when attempting to hack encrypted computer files that Angel had stolen from Wolfram & Hart. It is known, however, that the two groups regularly keep in contact.

In addition, several Expanded Universe materials, most notably Monster Island, depict the Scooby Gang and Angel Investigations teaming up to take down a greater common foe (In Monster Island, for example, the group fought a demon army lead by Axtius, the father of former A.I. member Doyle).

Team variations

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Angel: After the Fall

Angel: Aftermath

Headquarters

Like their Sunnydale counterparts, the Scooby Gang, the Angel Investigations team has had many different headquarters throughout the years, the most notable of which being the Hyperion Hotel.

Gallery

Wiki-wordmark The Angel Investigations article has a Photo Gallery.


References

  1. "To Shanshu in L.A."
  2. Angel: After the Fall

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