- "I'm a freak."
Gwen Raiden was a superpowered human thief and an ally of Angel Investigations, born with the power to manipulate electricity.
In 1985, Gwen was a young girl, bundled up in heavy winter clothing, taken by her parents to a boarding school in Gills Rock, Wisconsin. There, she was isolated from the other children. Outside in the playground during recess, a male classmate asked if she was a "freak" and told her that she did not look like one. Heartened by this gesture, Gwen smiled and the boy offered to share one of his toy cars with her. As she reached out to take it, an electrical shock traveled from Gwen to the classmate, killing him instantly.
In 2002, the 25-year-old Gwen was using her powers to facilitate her career as a successful and wealthy professional thief. She met Angel when she was hired to steal a valuable artifact called the Axis of Pythia, which he needed in order to find Cordelia Chase on her higher plane.
After finding the artifact, Gwen and Angel fought over its possession. During the course of the battle, Gwen tried to kill Angel with an electric shock. However, since he was already dead, her attack actually served to make his dead heart beat again for a few seconds. Caught in the moment, Angel gave Gwen a passionate kiss. After he regained his focus on Cordelia, the man who hired Gwen attempted to kill Gwen with poison gas. Angel, however, managed to save Gwen. In gratitude, Gwen allowed Angel to use the artifact. He returned it to her afterward.
Weeks later, Gwen was hired by the mysterious Ashet to obtain protection amulets to ward off The Beast. After revealing to him that she did not want to take part in the job, she witnessed Ashet's death at the hands of the powerful demon. Afterward, Gwen joined Angel Investigations in their fight against the Beast. However, she escaped town after the sun was blotted out.
Days after the sun was restored she asked Charles Gunn to help her with a mission under the pretense of saving a kidnapped girl. In fact, she was trying to steal L.I.S.A., an experimental device which would allow her to touch others without killing them. After the two stole the device, Gwen lost her virginity to him.
After the Fall
When Los Angeles was suddenly sent to Hell by the Senior Partners, L.I.S.A. malfunctioned and she fried Nate. Angry, she walked off to find out what happened. Gwen joined Nina Ash and Connor in providing humans and good demons with sanctuary at the Hyperion Hotel. She and Connor were romantically involved.
Gwen has betrayed Team Angel to the vampire version of Gunn, who had already enlisted her before she started working with Connor and, after an intense battle with Angel's dragon, sacrificed herself to destroy some of the legions of dragons sent by Wolfram & Hart.
Gwen was eventually resurrected due to the time reversion by Wolfram & Hart after Gunn killed Angel, though her relationship with Connor was strained. She attempted to ingratiate herself with Angel Investigations, and especially Connor, by helping with research and by imprisoning Dez, who appeared at first to be a sorceress turning people into animals. The revelation that Dez was actually reversing the involuntary transformation of animals into people, and Gwen's inhumane treatment of her, won Gwen no good will with Connor and he told her again to get lost.
Eddie Hope, while on the way home from erasing several people from his list of evildoers, encountered Gwen being chased by security guards from the Morimoto Corporation in search of their stolen property. Gwen fed Eddie a story about her being a runaway victim of experimentation so that he would fight the guards, distracting them and allowing her to steal his ride and escape.
Powers and abilities
Gwen was a mutant with the ability to generate and manipulate electricity. This power could be used in a number of ways, from creating powerful and damaging electric blasts to manipulating and controlling electronic devices. The latter proved especially useful in her role as a high-tech, professional thief, a career at which she seemed especially skilled and adept, making herself quite wealthy in the process. She could also draw her electricity within her own body to improve her strength and speed, allowing her to hold her own against Angel in hand-to-hand combat. Her powers initially came with dangerous, uncontrollable elements. She was rendered unable to touch anyone without her power harming them and she would tend to attract lightning. These drawbacks appeared to have been rectified using a device she appropriated which allowed her to touch other people without causing harm; however, she lost this ability when Los Angeles was sent to Hell.
- Angel — Gwen and Angel shared a spontaneous kiss during a heated battle, with Gwen's usually-lethal powers temporarily causing the vampire's heart to beat.
- Charles Gunn — Gwen lost her virginity to Gunn after he helped her suppress her abilities. She later worked as a double agent for Vampire Gunn in Hell A, believing that his plan to save everyone would work.
- Nate — Gwen was on an awkward date with Nate when Los Angeles was sent to hell by Wolfram & Hart. Unaware that her powers had been reactivated, Gwen electrocuted him. Following both of their resurrections at the hands of the Senior Partners, Nate attempted to comfort Gwen, but she warned him not to touch her again.
- Connor — Gwen and Connor began dating while protecting the citizens of Los Angeles in hell. Once Gwen betrayed Team Angel to the vampire Gunn, their relationship was officially ended. Although she had betrayed him, Gwen gave her life to protect Connor, obviously still harboring feelings for him. When Los Angeles was restored to normal, Gwen was resurrected by the time reversal. She tried to patch up her relationship with Connor, but he wanted nothing to do with her.
Behind the Scenes
- She was portrayed by Alexa Davalos and Megan Corletto.
- Her origins are perhaps a tribute to many comic book characters, particularly those of Marvel Comics: characters such as Rogue, another mutant character who dealt with similar issues concerning her inability to touch people. Her name is likely a reference to Raiden: the mythological Japanese god of thunder and lightning and/or the Mortal Kombat character Raiden, who could shoot lightning from his hands.
- Her function as professional swindler and as she has a personal domestic is possibly a wink to Catwoman.
- "Ground State"
- "Long Day's Journey"
- "After the Fall, Part One"
- "After the Fall, Part Two"
- "After the Fall, Part Five"
- "After the Fall, Part Eight"
- "After the Fall, Part Nine"
- "After the Fall, Part Ten"
- "After the Fall, Part Eleven" (Killed)
- "After the Fall - Epilogue"
- "Aftermath, Part Two"
- "Aftermath, Part Three"
- "Aftermath, Part Four"
- "Aftermath, Part Five"
- "Roman a Clef"