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During his time at the school he began an affair with his teacher Grace Newman, but when she attempted to break it off to give him a chance at a normal relationship, James lost his temper and shot her, subsequently taking his own life in grief.
Years later James' spirit returned, attempting to seek forgiveness for what he had done by possessing others to relive his last moments with Grace, but he was unfortunately trapped in a loop; every time he attempted to undo his mistake, the participants repeated the couples' last moments and James' host ended up shooting Grace's, resulting in the death of one of the teachers when she and the school janitor were possessed (although Rupert Giles was able to stop the janitor before he could kill himself).
Eventually, James managed to break the cycle when he and Grace possessed Buffy Summers and Angelus, with the two ghosts 'switching' genders so that Grace inhabited Angelus; although 'Grace' was still shot, Angelus's vampiric abilities allowed him to survive the injury, allowing 'her' to stop 'James' from killing 'himself' and admit that she had always loved him. With this last act, the two kissed, their spirits finally able to pass on to the next life.
Behind the Scenes
- He was portrayed by Christopher Gorham, Brian Poth, John Hawkes, James Lurie and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
- James shows signs of a borderline personality disorder which includes difficulty controlling aggression, believing relationships to be more intimate than they actually are, frantic attempts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, impulsivity and mood swings.