- "No, I am not—I am not the damsel in distress. I am not some case! I have to work this. I lived in a cave for five years in a world where they killed my kind like cattle. I am not gonna be cut down by some monster flu, I am better than that! What a wonder... how very scared I am."
- ―Winifred Burkle[src]
Born in Texas, Fred moved to Los Angeles to attend graduate school at UCLA until one fateful day when her jealous physics professor, Oliver Seidel, used dark magic to banish her to the demon dimension Pylea, where she spent five years as a human slave; the time there took a serious toll on Fred's sanity. In 2001, Fred was finally saved and returned to Earth when the vampire Angel and his friends arrived in Pylea and liberated them from the control of the Covenant of Trombli.
Upon recovering from her mental trauma, Fred joined Angel Investigations, adding her smarts and scientific knowledge to the team. Unfortunately, when Angel Investigations took over Wolfram & Hart in late 2003/early 2004, Fred met her end when one of her coworkers, Knox, brought in an ancient sarcophagus which infected her with the essence of the Old One Illyria; despite her friends' best efforts, Fred perished and her body was taken over by Illyria itself. However, Fred's memories, emotions, and personality traits remained with Illyria.
Fred was born in Dallas, Texas to Roger and Trish Burkle. When she finished college, she moved to Los Angeles for graduate school at UCLA. Originally majoring in history, Fred took a physics class with Professor Seidel which inspired her to take another path. Around this time, she began working at Stewart Brunell Public Library. On May 7, 1996, while shelving a demon language book, a curious Fred recited the cryptic text out loud and was accidentally sucked into a dimensional portal to Pylea. Her future friend, Lorne, was sucked into the same portal on his side and ended up in Los Angeles. The portal was actually opened by Fred's jealous college professor, Professor Seidel, who had sent every promising student to it, essentially sending them to their death. Fred was the only one of at least six to return. While still in school, Fred was a marijuana user and was something of a conspiracy theorist.
For five years, Fred spent an arduous life as a "cow," the Pylean equivalent of a slave. The harsh life of solitude and serfdom took a serious toll on her social skills, as well as her mental health. When Angel met Fred, she was curled up in a cave, scribbling on the already-covered walls, having seemingly convinced herself that her previous life in Los Angeles had not been real. Fred had once been forced to wear an explosive shock collar. However, Fred's salvation came when Angel and his crew arrived in Pylea to find Cordelia Chase, who had become trapped there. When Angel's demon came fully to the fore, it attacked just about everyone but Fred, including Charles Gunn and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. Despite this shocking display of violence, Angel never seemed to scare Fred and even at his most demonic, he never attacked her. In fact, she seemed to have a calming effect on him.
- "Handsome man saved me from the monsters."
- ―Fred is saved by Angel in Pylea[src]
- "Look, I could go home with you and pretend the last five years didn't happen. I could even pretend to have a normal life. But the truth of it is... well, I'm not normal anymore. I guess what I'm getting at is... I-I missed you both so bad. But, I belong here."
- ―Fred tells her parents she wants to stay with Angel Investigations.[src]
After Pylea was liberated, Fred accompanied Angel and the rest of the gang back to Los Angeles and stayed in the Hyperion Hotel to re-adjust to life on Earth and regain her mental stability. Despite several traumatic instances, such as being held hostage by Gunn's old vampire-hunting crew, she adjusted quite well to "normal" life. Her knowledge of physics and mathematics made her an excellent asset when researching and developing strategies. After some time, Fred's parents came to Los Angeles looking for her, but Fred avoided them and appeared afraid of them, briefly leading the rest of Angel Investigations to believe that the Burkles were abusive. However, Fred's reluctance to see them was a result of her trauma from Pylea and the Burkles were in fact loving and supportive. Though she initially decided to return home to Texas with her parents, Fred ultimately decided that her place was in Los Angeles with Angel Investigations, a decision which her parents respectfully accepted.
Fred quickly developed a romantic relationship with Gunn, which lasted roughly one year. She was also the object of affection of Wesley, who attempted to step aside after Gunn and Fred started dating, but was still drawn to her. Near the end of her relationship with Gunn, Fred and Wesley shared a kiss, but after discovering that Wesley had been in a relationship - albeit a rather complex one - with Lilah Morgan, her feelings for Wesley cooled.
Eventually, Fred discovered that it was actually her former professor's fault that she had been trapped in Pylea, and indeed, Professor Seidel had attempted to trap her in another world again. Furious, she plotted to kill him, with Wesley's help. Gunn, however, felt that such a brutal act, even against Seidel, would ultimately destroy her as a result. In a battle where she was trying to trap him in a hell dimension, Gunn snapped Seidel's neck himself and dropped the body into the portal. Unfortunately, this caused a rift between Fred and Gunn and ultimately ended their relationship.
Later on, when Jasmine came to the mortal realm and put everyone under her thrall, Fred inadvertently managed to break free of the mental brainwashing. Unfortunately, she ended up in a similar situation as Pylea: alone and fighting against a population that wanted her dead. Eventually, she managed to free Angel from the thrall as well by shooting through Jasmine and hitting Angel. After the two escaped, she broke down, tearfully remarking that she was scared and not a champion like Angel, though Angel comforted her and insisted otherwise.
- Fred: "I'm sorry. I've been so alone and scared. I'm not like you, not a champion."
- Angel: "Everything I see says different."
- — Angel acknowledges Fred's heroism.[src]
Later, the two freed the rest of Angel Investigations, sans Connor, and Fred helped participate in the battle against Jasmine's followers, led by Connor. Once Angel and Connor destroyed Jasmine, Lilah returned and offered the team Wolfram & Hart as a reward for ending Jasmine's "world peace." Although hesitant, Angel Investigations accepted the offer, unaware of the fact that the Senior Partners actually wanted to corrupt them and keep them distracted while their "scheduled" apocalypse was underway.
Wolfram & Hart
Everything changed for Fred when she and the rest of Angel's crew joined Wolfram & Hart. A spell removed all of her memories of Angel's son, Connor. Fred received her own laboratory and became the head of Wolfram & Hart's Science Division. She was a major asset to the team. Angel consistently relied on her department to quickly and efficiently solve problems. After going on a few dates with co-worker Knox, Fred began to have feelings for Wesley again. The two paired up for about a week, but the couple's happiness was not to last.
A mysterious sarcophagus, allowed through customs by a signature from Gunn, appeared in the lab. As Fred examined it, a hole opened in the cover and a blast of wind blew into her face. The sarcophagus was a holding cell for one of the original, pure-breed demons known as the Old Ones, which was predestined to rise again. The air Fred inhaled was actually Illyria's essence, which immediately began a parasitic existence in her body, eating away at it and making her a shell. Worse still, Knox had worshiped Illyria for years and worked at Wolfram & Hart for the sole purpose of bringing the demon back. Because of his affections for Fred, he chose her as the only one "worthy" to house his god.
As Angel and Spike traveled to England to find a cure, Wesley remained in Fred's bedroom with her, comforting her as she fought bravely, but slowly began to die. Angel learned that the only way to save Fred was to draw Illyria back to the Deeper Well in England by using her sarcophagus as a beacon. However, thousands of others would die as Illyria's essence cut across the world back to the Well. As much as they cared for Fred, Angel and Spike were unwilling to let such an atrocity happen and thus were forced to do nothing, knowing that Fred would not have wanted it that way.
As she lied dying, Fred's mind began to give way. Nearing the end, she panicked, stating that Feigenbaum, a stuffed rabbit named for mathematical physicist Mitchell Feigenbaum who studied chaos theory, should be there. When Wesley asked her who Feigenbaum was, Fred replied that she did not know. Cradling her in his arms, Wesley stayed with Fred until the moment she died, after which her body was taken over by Illyria.
- "I'm not scared. I'm not scared. I'm not scared. Please, Wesley, why can't I stay?"
- ―Fred's final words.[src]
According to Dr. Sparrow, Fred's soul was consumed, making it impossible for her to return from the dead or enjoy an afterlife. Later, though, Illyria stated that there were remnants of Fred in the form of her memories, which were a source of confusion for Illyria. Fred's emotions sometimes emerged in Illyria, accounting for her great affection for Wesley and Gunn. On occasion, Illyria took on the appearance of Fred in order to go about unnoticed and to deal with Fred's parents. On another occasion, Illyria took on Fred's form to comfort the dying Wesley. On that occasion, Wesley's killer, Cyvus Vail, fooled by Fred's frail form, offered Illyria a free shot. This proved to be his downfall as Illyria used the opportunity to shatter his head with a single punch, reverting back from Fred midway and avenging Wesley.
Shortly after these events, Angel used Fred's death to his advantage in order to infiltrate and ultimately destroy the Circle of the Black Thorn, the Senior Partners' primary source of power on Earth, by making it appear that he himself was the one who arranged for Illyria's sarcophagus to be transported to Wolfram & Hart.
Although it was implied that Fred could not enjoy an afterlife, Lorne stated that she was the lucky one, because she was in heaven. Fred reappeared, manifesting as a transformation of Illyria into not just the physical appearance of Fred, but also her personality. This happened a first time upon the initial fusion of Hell and Los Angeles and then a second time upon a reunion of Illyria and Wesley. The essences of Illyria and Fred had been struggling for dominance over their shared body and Spike had been trying to suppress Fred's manifestations, even going so far as to ask Angel for help. He admitted that he would have kept Illyria away from the battle had he known Wesley was going to be present.
Seeing someone Fred cared for triggered the change, while dangerous situations transformed her back into Illyria. However, the Fred manifestations were just Illyria's interpretation of Fred. With these remnants lost, Illyria reverted to her true form.
After the Fall of Los Angeles was reverted by the Senior Partners, Angel used his newfound fame to rename a wing of the public library to the Burkle Wyndam-Pryce Wing in honor of Fred and Wesley. When Angel reminisced about Fred and Wesley and wonders if the two of them were together in the afterlife, Cordelia rustled up a breeze to dissuade him from pessimism. Illyria also appeared to be influenced by Fred's characteristics, writing on the walls as Fred once did, albeit listing methods of killing. Later, when encountering Buffy Summers, Illyria declared that her similarities with Fred were an "affectation" to humor Fred's friends, which she suggests was ultimately a bad decision for all parties involved.
Powers and Abilities
Fred was a normal human woman with no supernatural abilities. However, her brilliant mathematical mind, immense knowledge of quantum physics and science, and a natural ability in designing inventions made her an important asset of Angel's team.
During this time, Fred also acquired some moderate fighting skills, mainly using a crossbow as a weapon. Later, when Jasmine took over Los Angeles, she was forced to face down all of Los Angeles on her own and was also able to hold her own unarmed, taking out a few armed Jasminites, including one armed SWAT member.
Fred was a fairly kindhearted and sweet individual, perfectly willing to help others. The most notable example was perhaps her interactions with Spike. When he confided in her that he was being slowly dragged into Hell, Fred worked tirelessly to build a machine that would restore his corporeal body. She was the first to believe that Spike was "worth saving" and though her efforts ultimately failed, she nonetheless earned Spike's perpetual gratitude. Her personality was, in a sense, similar to that of Willow Rosenberg.
Just as Fred was willing to help others, she was also fairly vengeful against those who threatened her or her friends. When she and Gunn realized that Connor was responsible for Angel's three month disappearance, Fred berated him while repeatedly hitting him with a stun gun. Another example was when Fred pursued revenge against Professor Seidel, an act which nearly came to fruition, if not for Gunn's intervention.
Fred was also an innocent, unassuming young woman which often led people to underestimate her. On many occasions, she used this to her advantage, such as shocking Connor with a stun gun and knocking out a suspicious lab assistant at Wolfram & Hart. Also, she showed signs of great inner strength and an innate ability to survive on her own despite overwhelming circumstances. This was shown as she attempted to flee from Jasmine's followers and earlier with her experiences in Pylea. In fact, while conversing with Illyria, Spike had said that Fred was one of the strongest people he ever met, solely based on the fact that she could still be able to love as after everything she had gone through in her life. 
Due to her traumatic experiences in Pylea, Fred briefly suffered from an undiagnosed mental disorder, although she fully recuperated.
- "It's my boys. I haven't had this many big strapping men at my bedside since that night with the Varsity Lacrosse team...That was a joke."
- ―Fred joking as the men in her life gather around her deathbed[src]
- Angel: Fred's relationship with Angel was an interesting one: when Angel saved her from Pylea he "vamped out", but rather than his face changing like usual, due to the unusual nature of Pylea the demon inside of him came out completely. After killing two guards—but notably simply sniffing Fred before leaving—it tried to kill Gunn and Wesley, until Fred, her right hand soaked in blood, lured the demon back to her cave. Fred cared for Angel as he recovered, and remains the only person who wasn't scared by Angel's demon after learning about his vampire nature. When Angel brought Fred back to Los Angeles, he took her in and was the only member of the team that didn't seem unnerved by her state of mind. She had a crush on him for a time after her arrival, even being slightly envious of Angel's love for Buffy at one time but eventually got over it when she learned about the curse on his soul. Fred cared for his son Connor (she was the only other member of the team who was present at his birth), both when he was a baby and when he reappeared as a teen (until he betrayed Angel, at which point she tortured him with a taser and knocked him out). When Fred was being devoured by Illyria, Angel considered but discarded a plan that would kill tens of thousands to save her. And ultimately, as Angel's soul had been ripped out of his body to make way for the demon, her soul had been ripped from her body to make way for Illyria. Though their relationship wasn't romantic, Fred did kiss him once to fool passersby into thinking they were just a random couple. When she asked if he thought they bought it, he replied "I did."
- Gunn: After Fred gets over her crush on Angel, she and Gunn two fall in love and start a relationship that lasts for about a year, before they break up after Gunn kills one of Fred's old college professors to prevent her doing it herself. Despite the evident discomfort in their relationship after this event, it is implied that feelings continue to linger afterward.
- Spike: While they never shared a romantic relationship, Spike initially flirts with Fred after he materializes at Wolfram & Hart, and his feelings later evolve into affection and esteem. Fred is the first person in Los Angeles to believe that he is "worth saving" and she works tirelessly to recorporealize him (while denying being taken in by his charm, saying that she simply wants to use Wolfram & Hart's resources for the good that Angel promised). When fighting the demented ghost Matthias Pavayne, Spike sacrifices a chance at becoming corporeal to save Fred's life.
- Knox: Fred's assistant in Wolfram & Hart; the two date briefly, but Fred ultimately decides that the two of them should only be friends. Knox's bizarre obsession with Fred causes him to use her body as Illyria's new form because he thought she was the only person "worthy" of a such a "gift".
- Wesley Wyndam-Pryce: Wesley had been enamored with Fred from nearly the beginning. Wesley's first chance to be with Fred was shot down when he tried to kill her while affected by the misogynistic Billy. He was very hurt when Fred chose to be with Gunn, but always came to help when she was in danger, especially after he had been ousted from the gang. Fred and Wesley date after she breaks up with Knox, a relationship that ends prematurely following her death and possession by Illyria.
Behind the Scenes
- She was portrayed by Amy Acker
- Joss Whedon originally intended for Fred and Illyria to be split in two had Angel gotten a sixth season, as revealed by Amy Acker in an interview: "As I’m playing this new character now, it was just some stuff that he was going to do with her and bringing Fred back and getting to work with both characters."
- Amy Acker later made a guest appearance like Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase), Julie Benz (Darla), Mercedes McNab (Harmony Kendall), James Marsters (Spike), Harry Groener (Richard Wilkins), Jack Plotnick (Allan Finch), Amber Benson (Tara Maclay), John Rubinstein (Linwood Murrow), Felicia Day (Violet), Chad Lindberg (David Kirby), Jack Conley (Gib Cain/Sahjhan), Jeff Kober (Zachary Kralik/Rack), Aldis Hodge (Masked Teen), Rob Benedict (Jape), Todd Stashwick (M'Fashnik Demon), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Sam Ryan), Megalyn Echikunwoke (Vaughne) and Ridge Canipe (Tommy) on Supernatural.
- Amy Acker later guest-starred on How I Met Your Mother. with Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg) . This show include also many guest-stars of Buffyverse like Seth Green (Oz), Danny Strong (Jonathan Levinson), Danielle Weeks (Debbie Foley), Harry Groener (Richard Wilkins), Alexis Denisof (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce), Kal Penn (Hunt/Brain man) and Tom Lenk (Cyrus/Andrew Wells).
- Amy Acker later starred with Eion Bailey (Kyle DuFours), Harry Groener (Richard Wilkins), Emma Caulfield (Anya Jenkins), Abraham Benrubi (Olaf) on Once Upon A Time..
- Amy Acker later guest-starred with Josh Randall (Bartender), Henri Lubatti (Head vampire), Nick Chinlund (Ellis), Eric Lange (a Lubber Demon), Azura Skye (Cassie Newton), Patrick Fischler (Ted), Michael Maize (Artode) on Grimm (created by David Greenwalt).
- Winifred Burkle at the Internet Movie Database