- "How dare you raise your hand to your mother! I gave you birth. I gave up my life, so you could drag that worthless carcass around and call it living!"
- ―Catherine Madison to her daughter Amy[src]
Catherine attended Sunnydale High School, where she was a popular and talented cheerleader. Under her leadership, the Cheerleader squad became tri-county champions. Her victories earned her a trophy, which would later be housed in the school trophy case, and the nickname Catherine the Great. She was also Homecoming Queen, while her boyfriend was Homecoming King. The two got married right after graduation.
After her daughter, Amy was born, however, Catherine and her husband began to have heated arguments. Amy often heard her father call Catherine a witch, but failed to realize that her father had meant it literally. After Catherine's husband left the family for another woman when Amy was 12, she became increasingly unstable, locking herself in her house's attic for days. During this time, Catherine also put herself through cosmetology school to support herself and her daughter, though she also forced her to eat nothing but broth if she gained a single pound.
Trying to Regain her Glory
- "Mommie Dearest is really... Mommie Dearest."
- ―Buffy Summers[src]
During Amy's sophomore year at Sunnydale High, Catherine used her powers to exchange Amy's body with her own, in order to relive her glory days as a cheerleader. However, she discovered that in her new body, she was unable to compete with the others, which left her as an alternate. Unwilling to accept this, Catherine placed dangerous curses on several other cheerleaders in order to make the squad, using Barbie dolls as talismans to focus each curse on its intended victim. These included Amber Grove, whom Catherine caused to spontaneously combust; Lishanne Davis, whose mouth was erased; Cordelia Chase, who went blind; and Buffy Summers, who was cursed with a Bloodstone Vengeance Spell - a curse that caused a severe, debilitating fever that killed the victim in a matter of hours. By this time, Catherine kept a cat to guard her spellbook.
With Buffy suffering from the Bloodstone Vengeance Spell, Rupert Giles cast a spell of his own to reverse all the curses that Catherine had cast, and thus also successful at switching Catherine back into her own body, but was knocked out by Catherine soon afterward. Back in her original body, Catherine turned against her daughter, though she was confronted by Buffy, now back to full health and strength.
Catherine then tried to cast an imprisonment spell on Buffy (not realizing that Buffy was the Slayer), but she deflected it back at Catherine with a mirror. Under the effects of her own spell, Catherine's spirit became trapped within, ironically, the trophy she had won decades before. Incapable of speech, the only sign of Catherine's presence within the trophy was her moving eyes and her muffled voice.
When the school was destroyed during the Graduation Day battle, it is likely that the trophy was destroyed as well, presumably killing Catherine. In the unlikely case that the trophy was not destroyed, she would have been sucked into the Hellmouth in 2003.
Nine years later, Buffy takes her appearance with a magic illusion to frighten Amy, who had by then become an evil witch who took Willow hostage.
Powers and abilities
- "I shall look upon my enemy. I shall look upon her and the dark place will have her soul!"
- ―Catherine attempts to cast a spell[src]
Catherine was an extremely powerful witch, capable of casting numerous potent spells and curses on those who crossed her path with little or no effort, presumably due to her innate talent for witchcraft and her many years of extensive practice. She also demonstrated an advanced version of telekinesis which she employed both to move objects with her mind and to injure other people by blasting them out of her way or once choking Xander from a distance.
Her natural powers of manipulating the mystical forces of magic was also passed on to her daughter, who not only mirrored her talents, but also followed in her footsteps, and eventually became both corrupted and insane.
She was the first witch seen to have black eyes, a trait that was later used and associated with another extremely powerful dark witch, Willow.
Behind the scenes
- She was portrayed by Robin Riker.
- Her cheerleading images were created by superposing Robin Riker's headshots over images of Elizabeth Anne Allen, who portrayed her daughter Amy.