- "I see that you're either the one with the power or you're powerless."
- ―Lindsey McDonald[src]
- "I guess it's fair to say you've never seen anything like real poverty. I'm talking dirt poor, no shoes, no toilet, six of us kids in a room and come flu season that went down to four. I was seven when they took the house, just came right in and took it."
- ―Lindsey McDonald[src]
Born into a dirt-poor dysfunctional family in the south-central United States, Lindsey worked hard to overcome his upbringing. Lindsey was one of six children, two of whom died of the flu. While studying at University of California, Hastings College of the Law, Lindsey was recruited by Holland Manners to the law firm Wolfram & Hart. Starting in the mailroom, he quickly worked his way up, becoming one of Wolfram & Hart's most valued lawyers.
Wolfram & Hart
Lindsey legally represented many vampires and demons, as well as evil humans. In 1999, he worked with vampiric businessman Russell Winters, a client that because of Lindsey's and his firm's services, could feed on young women without alerting attention. When he tried to kill aspiring actress Cordelia Chase, Angel, who arrived recently, attacked Russell at his manor to save her. Upon discovering this, Lindsey sent several top private investigators to find out who the intruder was. But just as he said this, Angel entered the conference they were having where Lindsay introduce him to Wolfram and Hart and telling him that Angel could not touch Winters. Angel then hurled him out the window of the tall building they were in, in the sunlight where he was just. After Angel left, Lindsey informed the firm that they was a new player in town .
Months later, Lindsey then worked with fellow lawyers Lilah Morgan and Lee Mercer, both having had previous plans ruined by Angel, to have him killed. The three hired then-renegade Slayer Faith Lehane to assassinate him, promising to free her from her police charges and a doubled amount of payment. When Faith made the deal known to him, Angel broke into Lindsey's though was quickly caught out when Lindsey walked in. Before Angel left, Lindsey had the encounter digitally recorded and alerted the police. After learning that Faith was convinced by Angel to end the deal and stay at his apartment for rehabilitation, Lindsey then hired an assassin to kill Faith, not wanting word to get out of what happened. Failing in that, he gave information about Angel to police officer Kate Lockley whose father had been recently killed by vampires, putting herself in a vendetta against Angel. 
Lindsey represented Vanessa Brewer, a deadly assassin posing as a blind woman. This allowed her to commit murder and get away due to her supposed disability. Angel tried to catch her out by attacking her, thus forcing her to defend herself beyond the abilities of an average person in front of a court hearing with Lindsey as her defendant. Nevertheless, a new contract required her to kill a small group of innocent children. Putting him in a crisis of conscience, Lindsay teamed up with Angel to save the children and allow him to leave Wolfram and Hart scot-free. Lindsey uses his pass to get Angel past security so he can steal disks with information against his colleagues. The break is eventually detected and Lindsey, along with Lilah, Lee and several others where searched by mind readers. In the search, it was discovered that Lee had consulted with an enemy law firm, and was then executed right next to Lindsey, his blood spraying on his face. Their supervisor, Holland Manners, noticed Lindsey was going through a stage in his life to make decisions and allows Lindsey to take a few days to decide. After saving the three children, Lindsey returned to Holland, returning the disks and admitting to what he did. Holland, surprised by Lindsey's willingness to stand up as his person, welcomed Lindsey back, giving him a raise and his own office..
He then aided in the resurrection of Angel's old lover, Darla by taking over chanting during the ritual to bring er back when the demon Vocah;who was originally performing the ritual; was distracted when Angel attacked him. During the ensuing battle, Lindsey attempted to burn a scroll that Angel needed to save Cordelia. Unable to get within a good distance due to a cross Lindsey held, Angel threw a scythe at Lindsey, chopping off his left hand. This then forced Lindsey to use an artificial hand from then on..
When Darla was returned to life as a human, Lindsey immediately became attached to her, struggling with CDs to play her music at his office and helping her mess with Angel's mind by providing Darla with a fake identity and hired actor to play her husband to frame Angel for murdering him. When she failed to persuade Angel to the dark side, thus stunting her mentality, Lindsey discovered he was in love with her despite her desire to become a vampire. When she seemingly killed a security guard which put her on the run, Lindsay tried to contact Angel but he was already there and hung Lindsey's neck by a string choking, wanting to know where she was but Lindsey explained that she would die if Angel didn't save her. When he did, Lindsay discovered the man slaughter was a hoax to get Darla to Angel, and hopefully take his soul.Failing to do so, Darla was diagnosed with syphilis, the disease that she had before becoming a vampire. Lindsey was eager to have Angel sire Darla, thus saving her. Since he wouldn't do it, Lindsey stormed into her hotel with armed men, with Lindsey personally having Angel tasered and forcing him to watch as Drusilla entered the room and re-sired Darla.
Due to his and Lilah's achievements, they were congratulated at Holland's wine tasting party where Darla and Drusilla came and massacred everyone there, save for Lindsey and Lilah, as payback for being used as pawns. Darla did this with the intent to keep both lawyers as their liaison to the Senior Partners, because though angry for being used by Wolfram and Hart, she desired power. On the other hand, with only Lindsey and Lilah left of Wolfram & Hart's Special Projects Team, their rivalry reached an all-time high as the two start a power struggle for the vice-presidency of the team as at the time neither of them was deemed fit to take the title.
Though rivals at heart, Lindsey and Lilah were also forced to also work together. One their schemes involved organizing a charity event with Anne Steele, operator of the East Hills Teen Center, to improved Wolfram and Hart's image and secretly steal the donations. Learning that Angel planned to expose the truth, they hired an old demon enemy of his to kill him. The demon however, worked against them by causing a distraction with Angel so Anne could show a tape, suspected to have incriminating evidence against them. Upon learning Angel had nothing and the footage consisted of nothing but Cordelia and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce messing around which not only embarrass them when they acted suspiciously to stop the footage being shown, but allowed the demon to take the money and return it to Anne. Because behavior was shown on national television coupled with the loss of the money and how their attempt to kill Angel was revealed, which was against the firm's policy, their new supervisor Nathan Reed grimly gave them the cold shouldered, telling them that Angel's life was invaluable while theirs weren't.
After Angel violently burnt Darla and Drusilla, Lindsay, still very infatuated with Darla, let her recuperate at his apartment. Darla, however, secretly used his feelings to gain information from Wolfram and Hart to obtain a mystical ring from the Senior Partners during the Review. Angel fought Darla for it at the event and Lindsey tried to protect her from Wolfram and Hart, which tried to kill her. Lindsey then discovered that Darla had slept with Angel.Lindsey responded by changing into his casual clothes, getting into his truck and by brutally beating Angel with it and a sledgehammer, demanding to know what happened with Darla. Leaving Angel briefly to get his stake, Angel in that time recovered and turned the tables on Lindsey. Beating him down with his bare hands while apologizing for the fact Darla didn't love him and that he made the right choices, Angel used the sledgehammer to smash Lindsey's 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. Knocking him out with a kick to the head, Angel borrowed his truck to save Cordelia from a group of demons before returning it the next morning though heavily damaged. Returning to his apartment, Lindsey found that Darla had left town, taking all her clothes with her. Lindsey was left alone, beaten both physically and emotionally.
Lindsey quickly replaced his hand with a new prosthetic and continued with his life, requiring pre-made ties for work and unable to play his guitar. Consequently, his work at the firm suffered as he aired his hatred towards Angel against his colleagues while still in a race with Lilah for the promotion. Hoping that his performance would pick up again with the return of his hand, Lindsey's superiors arranged for him to receive a mystical transplant. At first he enjoyed his new privileges, able to play his guitar again. However, his hew hand began to act up, writing "kill" whenever Lindsey didn't concentrate. Fearing that the hand is evil, Lindsey went to Caritas and sang for the Host, revealing that he used to be a regular customer and musician at Caritas until he lost his hand.
Lorne set him and Angel on the path that would end with the two working together to discover a Wolfram & Hart facility that specialized in unwilling transplant donors. Among them was the donor of Lindsey's hand, an old friend of his from his mailroom days. After figuring out that his hand wasn't evil but rather suicidal, Lindsey pulled the plug on his friend and destroyed the facility, while saving those that could still be saved. It was then that Lindsey decided to leave Wolfram & Hart permanently, despite the fact he was promoted. He did this by casually informing the board in a meeting that he was bored with the firm's games while assaulting his colleagues and throwing the promotion to Lilah after revealing she carried files against them out of fear that she would not be promoted and thus killed. Upon leaving, he warned them not to follow him due to his "evil hand issues",pinching Lilah on the bottom as he walked out the door.
In a final confrontation between Angel and Lindsey, the two buried the hatchet, and Lindsey warned him of the games Wolfram & Hart was trying to play. Dressed in his casual attire, Lindsey left Los Angeles and went on a soul-searching trip, including, amongst other places, Nepal. Though Angel saw Lindsey off, he managed to get one last crack at him by taping a sign reading "Cops Suck" on the back of his truck.
- "The Senior Partners gave that Eurotrash vampire everything I've worked for. I couldn't let that slide."
- ―Lindsey McDonald explains his motivation against Angel[src]
Two years later, Lindsey finally returned to Los Angeles, when he learned that Angel has taken over the Los Angeles division of Wolfram & Hart. Although it seemed that he and Angel had buried the hatchet, Lindsey is unable to cope with the fact that the Senior Partners simply gave Angel everything that Lindsey had worked so hard for. 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, Liaison to the Senior Partners, for whom he shows true affection.
Together, Lindsey and Eve manipulate events so that Spike, not Angel, proves (or at least 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, that 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.
Angel is given the amulet which Spike eventually uses to destroy the Hellmouth in Sunnydale. Nineteen days later, Lindsey makes a trip to the crater where Sunnydale once stood and digs Spike's amulet out of the Hellmouth. Afterward, he mails it to Angel at Wolfram and Hart. Deposited, 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, deciding to allow Buffy to remember him as a self-sacrificing hero.
Lindsey then initiates the next stage of his plan, making Spike corporeal again via what is likely a spell sent in a package to Spike at Wolfram & Hart, subsequently working with ex-Watcher Rutherford Sirk to fake an addendum to the Shanshu Prophecy that the vampire with a soul must drink from the Cup of Perpetual Torment—after apparently causing a disruption of reality that Eve claims is the result of there being two vampire champions with souls—in an attempt to provoke a conflict between Angel and Spike that will result in Angel's death. Although his deception is exposed and the Cup revealed to be a fake, Lindsey's plans are nevertheless served as Angel begins to doubt himself after losing to Spike. Lindsey 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 (whether revealed to Lindsey through mundane or arcane means) are true, and for a time, Spike does appear to be the far more likely candidate to fulfill the Shanshu Prophecy than Angel.
However, when Cordelia seemingly returns to life, it throws a monkey wrench in Lindsey's plans. Lindsey sends Spike to kill her, claiming she was still 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 activates 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 that, no matter what he tries, what tricks he's learned, or how 'bad-ass' he thinks he's become, none of it matters, because, in his own words, "I'm Angel. I beat the bad guys." As soon as he defeats Lindsey, his comrades complete a ritual that dissolves 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, reminiscent of the myth of Prometheus. 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 that 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. The two agree to fight the upcoming battle together and at the end, resolve their differences, maybe even allowing Lindsey to take a powerful position at Wolfram & Hart as "the devil they know."
Lindsey destroys the Sahrvin demon clan with Lorne's assistance as planned. However, Angel knows that Lindsey can never be trusted. Consequently, Angel secretly instructs Lorne to assassinate Lindsey once the Sahrvin are eliminated. Lindsey insists to Lorne that he has changed, even joking, "I can sing for you", so Lorne may read his future. Lorne coldly remarks, "I've heard you sing" and shoots Lindsey twice in the chest with a silenced pistol. A stunned Lindsey slumps against by a wall, both outraged and humiliated that he was killed by one of Angel's "flunkies" instead of the vampire himself.
- "You kill me? A flunky?! I'm not just... Angel... Kills me! You don't... Angel..."
- ―Lindsey's last words[src]
While conversing with Wesley in the White Room, the Senior Partners proposes 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 wanted as he would ignore them in a worst-case scenario, and kill them in a best-case one.
Lindsey's murder would have a lasting effect on Lorne in the days to come; having committed a deed that was the exact opposite of his pacifistic nature, Lorne's own body turned on him, causing him to develop cancer.
Personality and traits
- "You're not part of the solution, Lindsey. You never will be."
- ―Lorne to Lindsey[src]
Unlike most of Wolfram & Hart's other employees, Lindsey was not entirely devoid of a moral conscience. On more than one occasion, he joined forces with the Angel Investigations team and helped them stop some of Wolfram & Hart's particularly amoral agendas and operations, such as their plan to assassinate three blind children or their mystical transplant operation.
Lindsey's driving force was his ambition, largely in part due to his childhood poverty.
Powers and abilities
Thanks to an unrevealed mystical process, Lindsey became gifted with superhuman physical attributes, 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, rivaling Angel himself. Even with his powers apparently gone, he retained this ability as noted by Lorne when he took out the Sahvrin clan. In addition, Lindsey had telekinetic abilities, and his long career in Wolfram & Hart gained him a great deal of legal knowledge. He was also a competent guitarist until Angel cut off his strumming hand. Lindsey also seems to be skilled in sorcery to some degree, as seen with the spell that recorporealizes Spike.
Behind the Scenes
- He was portrayed by Christian Kane.
- Lindsey is the only character besides Angel himself to appear in both the first ("City Of"), 100th ("You're Welcome"), and last ("Not Fade Away") episodes of the series.
- Unlike other characters in the Buffyverse (such as Faith, Anya, Willow, Andrew, Angel, and Spike), Lindsey never managed to gain his redemption. Precognitive Lorne states that he never would have, and thus never would have been part of "the solution".
- Christian Kane lends his real singing voice to the episode "Dead End", causing a humorous and seemingly jealous reaction by the Angel character in Caritas.
- Though Christian Kane is a guitar player as well as a singer, it is his KANE bandmate Steve Carlson that lends his hands for the performance shots during the Caritas scene in "Dead End."
- The fleur-de-lis bracelet that Lindsey wears throughout his time on the show is actually a bracelet that Christian Kane wears to remind him of his mother who is from New Orleans.
- Because Christian Kane and David Boreanaz were both friends with Glenn Quinn, the pair were uncomfortable with the season five arc in which Lindsey pretends to be Doyle.
- Lindsey is the only known being killed by Lorne in the series. The normally peaceful demon mostly kept out of the fights and was never shown to kill before he shot Lindsey due to his peaceful nature (It was implied in the comics that this action led to Lorne's subsequent cancer as his body rebelled against him having done something that was so against his nature).
- Though primarily an antagonist in the series, Lindsey was shown to be morally ambiguous. Serving as both an enemy and 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."
- Christian Kane has said that he considered Lindsey to be driven in his hate for Angel during Season Five over losing Darla to him – "Even though I’m in love with Eve, Darla was a true love. And Angel did that."
- Extra information released in the graphic novel of Angel: After the Fall reveals that 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 that Lindsey was going to be more important than he would have been.
- "City of" (1st Appearance)
- "Five by Five"
- "Blind Date"
- "To Shanshu in L.A."
- "Dear Boy"
- "The Trial"
- "Blood Money"
- "Dead End"
- "Through the Looking Glass" (Only mentioned)
- "That Vision-Thing" (Only mentioned)
- "Billy" (Only mentioned)
- "Soul Purpose"
- "Damage" (Only mentioned)
- "You're Welcome"
- "Why We Fight" (Only mentioned)
- "A Hole in the World" (Only mentioned)
- "Time Bomb" (Only mentioned)
- "Power Play"
- "Not Fade Away" (Killed)
- "After the Fall, Part Six" (aka "First Night Part 1") (Only in flashbacks)
- Lindsey McDonald at the Internet Movie Database