Season 3, Episode 12
Provider Main
Air date January 21, 2002
Written by Scott Murphy
Directed by Bill L. Norton
Episode Guide
"Waiting in the Wings"
David Boreanaz Angel
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
Alexis Denisof Wesley
J. August Richards Gunn
Amy Acker Fred
Guest Starring
Andy Hallett Lorne
Laurel Holloman Justine
Jeffrey Dean Morgan Sam
Eric Bruskotter Brian
Sunny Mabrey Allison
Tony Pasqualini Harlan
Keith Szarabajka Holtz
Co Starring
Allen Henry Brown Lead Nahdra
David Ramírez Pizza Chef
Brett Wagner Nahdra Prince
Benjamin Benetiz Tat Vamp #2
Jake Tupen Connor
Connor Tupen Connor
Trent Tupen Connor

"Provider" is the twelfth episode of the third season of Angel and the fifty-sixth episode overall. Written by Scott Murphy and directed by Bill L. Norton, it was originally broadcast on January 21, 2002 on the WB network.

Angel is now looking for money to raise, feed and educate his son. Angel Investigations begins to advertise. Fred builds the Angel Investigations website while Gunn distributes fliers all over LA. Angel Investigations now has more cases than they can handle. Three of these cases turn out to be scams and end badly for the team. Angel apologizes for getting carried away with the need to make money. He now understands that family and the mission are more important.


Now that Angel is a father, he is much more concerned about making money than he was before. He pushes the team to develop Angel Investigations into a profitable business. Fred designs and launches a website, while Gunn posts fliers all over town. Cordelia Chase reminds Angel that he and the rest of the AI team work for the Powers That Be and asks him not to forget the mission. Although things get off to a bad start with the initial batch of flyers displaying the number of Fabrizio's Pizza instead of their own, things are put right and soon the phones begin to ring.

At his hideout, Holtz is scolding Justine, who has disobeyed one of his orders. Her hand is pierced by an awl and fastened to a table. She could remove it at any time, but Holtz would take that as proof that she was not committed to his cause.

The lobby of the Hyperion Hotel is full of Angel Investigations clients, both human and demon. Lorne uses his special skills to communicate with various non-humans, like Mr. Bleeshusengrung. A group of Nahdrah Demons wants to hire Wesley. Gunn takes Allison, a human client who is being stalked by her ex-boyfriend. to a private office to discuss her case. She says her ex-boyfriend is dead. Cordelia answers the phone.

The Nahdrah Demons meet Wesley. They want him to solve a puzzle for them. Fred comments on the geometric shapes on the demons' tunics. The demons excuse themselves to consult with their prince.

Angel visits Harlan Elster, a businessman, in his office. Elster wants him to clean out a vampire nest. He says the vampires are extorting money from him. Angel leaves. Another man enters from a back office, who turns out to be the real Harlan Elster. The man who talked to Angel is an impostor.

Holtz returns to find Justine still there. He removes the awl, freeing her hand. He tells her to find others with the same rage and commitment as herself. She bandages her hand and punches him in the jaw.

At the Hyperion Hotel, Lorne returns from a consultation with his Gaw-wawk snitch. He says Holtz is no longer using Grappler demons, but looking for humans instead.

The Nahdrah Demons come in. Lorne says they now wish to hire Fred instead of Wesley. They offer $50,000, which Angel accepts with enthusiasm.

Wesley and Gunn are at Allison's house to protect her. Brian, who is a zombie, tries to break in but Wesley and Gunn beat him back.

Lorne and Fred go to a houseboat the marina, where the prince of the Nahdrah Demons is staying. Fred gets to work on the puzzle.

Angel invades the vampire nest he is hired to clean out. After killing three vampires, he looks for Harlan Elster. He learns that the man who hired him was an impostor and the check he received was no good. As Angel is leaving, he learns from an off-hand remark by the real Harlan Elster that there might be a treasure in the vampire lair.

At the houseboat, Fred makes progress toward solving the puzzle. Lorne leaves to visit a restroom. He accidentally overhears the prince and his minions. He learns that they intend to cut off Fred's head, once she has solved the puzzle, and sew it on the prince's shoulders.

Cordelia is attending to Connor at the Hyperion Hotel.

Angel returns to the vampire lair he just cleaned out. The man who fraudulently hired him shows up and picks up a watch, which Angel takes from him. It turns out the watch has only sentimental value. Angel also learns there were seven vampires in the lair; since he only killed three, there are still four to deal with.

At the Hyperion Hotel, Cordelia is about to lock the $50,000 that the Nahdrah Demons paid in a safe when she has a vision. She learns what the demons intend to do to Fred.

At Allison's house, Brian gets in through the kitchen skylight. Allison, Wesley and Gunn retreat to Allison's bedroom. Allison and Brian talk. It turns out Allison killed Brian by poisoning him. Nonetheless, the two make up and get back together.

At the vampire lair, four vampires are beating on the door, but Angel refuses to fight until he is paid.

At the houseboat, Fred finally solves the puzzle. The Nahdrah Demons immediately drag her into the presence of the prince, where she sees Lorne tied up on the floor. The demons bind her to a chair and prepare to cut off her head. Cordelia appears, carrying Connor. She offers to return the Nahdrah's money in exchange for Fred. When Lorne translates, he adds the message that the houseboat is surrounded by killer warriors.

At the vampire lair, Angel relents, kills three vampires while one flees, and then leaves without being paid.

Angel & Cordy Connor

Angel and Cordelia discuss their plans for the money.

At the houseboat, Wesley, Gunn and Angel appear in the nick of time to rescue Fred and Lorne. When the battle is over, Angel apologizes for getting carried away. He now knows that family and the mission are the most important things not the money. Although he is willing to leave behind the $50,000, Cordelia surprises everyone by declaring that, considering the demons nearly cut off Fred's head, they deserve every penny. Therefore, Angel Investigations takes the large sum of cash and leave.

Angel and Cordelia lie on a bed with Connor between them and talk about what to do with the money.


  • Angel and Cordelia sleep together with Connor between them like a father and mother, discussing what they shall do with the money: paying the bills, college fund and a boat (which Angel doesn't like possibly due to his experiences in 'Why We Fight') but they agreed on a ski condo.
  • Cordelia, formerly the most materialistic member of the team, is now the least materialistic. This is a dramatic switch from the first season, when Cordelia focused on finances, and Angel felt it was more important to "help the helpless" for moral reasons.
  • Angel Investigations suddenly becomes quite well known when a website is created and the team starts handing out fliers.
  • Taken together with "Doublemeat Palace" (aired a week later), this explores both Buffy and Angel dealing with the suddenly critical issue of money.
  • Fred again would be considered "worthy" for sacrifice in Season 5, this time for the demon Illyria.
  • Cordelia can identify with Fred's situation in this episode. In Some Assembly Required, Cordelia was going to have her own head removed in a Bride of Frankenstein-type scenario.
  • Reference to Angel not knowing how to check is voicemail on his phone, a recurring joke about Angel being bad with technology, his phone in particular.

Body Count

  • Jack, killed by vampires (before episode)
  • Brian, poisoned by Allison (before episode)
  • Six vampires, dusted by Angel
  • Nahdra Prince, beheaded by Angel

Behind the Scenes

Pop Culture References

International titles

  • German: Rätselraten (Guessing Game)
  • French: Soutien de famille (Family support)



  • It may be implied that Sam and Jack were actually a gay couple and not just friends. Most of Sam's actions could have easily been him just wanting revenge for his friend, but the watch may imply more. First, Sam's relentless desire to get the watch back and his statement that it's worth "a lot" more than $10,000 shows that it has great significance to him. This could just be because Jack was his friend, but then Sam says that the watch was the first thing he'd ever bought Jack, and that's why Jack wouldn't part with it. It seems unlikely that Jack would have risked his life over a keepsake from someone who was just a friend.


Cordelia - "They tried to cut Fred's head off. We earned every penny."

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