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Wolfram & Hart – Attorneys at Law
First appearance City of
Last appearance Not Fade Away
Created by Joss Whedon
David Greenwalt
Statistics
Name Wolfram & Hart
Purpose Represent the interests of the Senior Partners
Membership Key members

Senior Partners
Lilah Morgan
Lindsey McDonald
Holland Manners
Nathan Reed
Linwood Murrow
Eve
Marcus Hamilton

Wolfram & Hart, Attorneys at Law is a fictional international, and interdimensional law firm featured in the television series Angel, as well as other extended materials in Joss Whedon's Buffyverse.

Contents

Fictional history

"The Wolf, The Ram, and The Hart" are the names of the members in an ancient trio of true demons. The group was at one point, before the time of man, considered relatively weak, and was not regarded as a threat by the Old Ones.[1] After man's triumph over the demons they remained, and slowly gained power and influence, eventually leaving this dimension altogether. In the present day on Earth they are referred to as the Senior Partners by their employees, and enact their will through various puppet organizations. One of the groups they command on Earth is the law firm of Wolfram & Hart.

While the Senior Partners have left Earth's dimension, the source of Wolfram & Hart's power, the Home Office, exists on Earth itself. Without the evil residing within every living person, the firm would not exist.[2]

In the Buffy and Angel universe the firm maintains offices in many major cities throughout the world.[3] However, the only branch offices featured in the television series are in Los Angeles and Rome (both have identical interiors); in Italy the firm is known as Wolfram e Hart.

The building is the site for the death of one of the Senior Partners, it is slain by Angel in the episode "Reprise".

In the canonical continuation of the television series, the Wolfram and Hart office buildings have retroactively vanished. The site is now being used for the construction of a "Doublemeat Palace" facillity.

Operations

As a law firm, Wolfram & Hart typically defends unscrupulous and detestable clients, including stalkers,[4] mobsters,[5] murderers,[6] corrupt senators,[7] and a number of demonic individuals and groups.[4][8] While many of these clients are rich or powerful, the firm is also known to work some cases pro bono, especially when it has a secondary interest in the client.[9][10] The firm also maintains departments of Real Estate;[11] Entertainment;[12] Science;[12] Research and Intelligence;[13] and Interment Acquisitions (the firm's term for grave robbery).[14]

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Special Projects

In addition to the many legal functions the firm performs, Wolfram & Hart also maintains a Special Projects Division.[15] Special Projects is responsible for a wide range of activities, from sponsoring high-profile charity events with the intention of stealing upwards of 95% of the funds raised,[9] to hiring assassins to kill individuals deemed threatening to the Senior Partners.[10] At the Los Angeles branch, Special Projects devotes a considerable amount of attention to Angel. According to prophecies, Angel is destined to play a key role in the Apocalypse, but it is not known which side he will take. The Special Projects division is committed to ensuring Angel will be on their side when the prophecy is fulfilled.[9] Among the resources at the division's disposal is a heavily-armed special ops team, which carries out operations such as kidnapping at the firm's behest.[16] Marcus Hamilton claims that the patentholder for cancer is a client of theirs.[17]

Human resources

Wolfram & Hart is known for its unforgiving treatment of its employees. The firm conducts random sweeps of employees, using telepaths to find workers who are disloyal to the company they pledged to work for. When discovered, these individuals are often executed on the spot.[10] The Senior Partners are reputed to have forced employees to eat their own liver if unhappy with their performance.[18] In another instance, several employees were reported to have been sacked with actual sacks. They have also permitted employees to execute and replace their superiors in light of poor performance,[19] and it was once said by Knox that on at least one occasion they literally terminated an employee ("He was fired. Oh, no, sorry, he was set on fire.").

Every 75 years, the firm conducts a review of its employees. During the Review, a Senior Partner takes corporeal form to punish employees who have shown unfavorable performance. Many employees live in fear of the Review, and in the days preceding it do whatever they can to endear themselves to the Senior Partners, including animal and human sacrifices.[2]

However, departmental heads at Wolfram & Hart can use discretion when dealing with insubordination. If a manager thinks highly enough of an employee, he or she may decide to forego punishment in favor of a second chance.[10]

Wolfram & Hart's employees often have a "perpetuity clause" in their contracts, meaning they remain with the firm even after their deaths.[2][12]

As mentioned by Harmony Kendall, there are also non-Human resources.

Los Angeles branch

The Los Angeles branch of Wolfram & Hart is founded in 1791 over holy ground de-consecrated through a ritual employing the blood of serial murderer Matthias Pavayne, who is able to survive as a spirit in the building for over 200 years.[13] The branch is notable because it operates in the same city as Angel, who becomes the focus of many W&H projects.

In 2003, the Los Angeles branch of Wolfram & Hart is destroyed by The Beast after it launched a brutal assault on their offices [20] and then slaughtered almost everyone else in the city who worked for the company.[21] The building is quickly rebuilt (and somehow managed to replace the staff extremely quickly), and Angel is offered stewardship of the branch by their now-deceased employee Lilah Morgan, ostensibly as a reward for preventing world peace.[12] In reality, the Senior Partners hope to turn Angel to their side, and keep him from recognizing the firm's apocalypse already in progress.[22] Angel accepts the offer on one condition: in exchange, Wolfram & Hart agrees to alter his son Connor's memories and place him with a loving family.[12] The remaining members of Angel Investigations also join Wolfram & Hart, assuming control of various departments.[23]

Angel struggles with the moral ambiguities of his position as branch manager. While he is able to make some changes to the business, such as firing the more evil employees[23] and instituting a zero tolerance policy on killing humans,[24] he must keep the business profitable in order to maintain control of the branch.[23] As a result Angel must keep his often immoral clientele happy through creative solutions to their problems that best fit his understanding of doing good. After running the branch for months, Angel and the others disrupt the Senior Partners' plans by killing all of the members of the Circle of the Black Thorn, the Partners' major representatives on Earth, effectively destroying their influence and stalling the plans of the Partners. Next, during a battle between Angel and Liaison to the Senior Partners Marcus Hamilton, the Los Angeles branch collapses.[25]

White Room

Within the Wolfram & Hart solicitor's building, one can enter 'The White Room'. This is an interdimensional space that serves as a "Conduit" to the Senior Partners - it is the most direct line to them, but it requires speaking through an intermediary. The 'Room' is accessed by pressing a certain sequence of buttons on an elevator panel. If conditions are met, the elevator doors open and a blinding light transports the occupants to the White Room.[26]

When it is first visited by Angel, the room is occupied by a small girl[26] named Mesektet, the most malevolent member of the Ra-Tet, a family of mystic beings.[27] When Angel visits the Room looking for the demon Sahjhan, the girl offers a brief history on the demon.[26] When Wolfram & Hart falls under siege by The Beast, Angel and his group find their only refuge in the White Room; they arrive just in time to see The Beast draining the dark energies from Mesektet, killing her. Before her death, she transports the group back to the Hyperion Hotel before The Beast can kill them as well. [20]

When the employees of Angel Investigations are offered positions at Wolfram & Hart, Charles Gunn is taken to the White Room as part of his personalized tour. To his surprise, he is greeted by a black panther;[12] the new Conduit's form is determined by the viewer.[3] During his tenure with Wolfram & Hart, Gunn makes use of the Conduit when he has exhausted all other resources.[13] When Gunn visits in search of a way to save Fred's life, he encounters a mirror image of himself, who viciously beats him for his insolence in using the Room for his own convenience.[3]

Other realms

In addition to its operations on Earth, Wolfram & Hart maintains a presence in a number of other dimensions.[28]

The region of the extradimensional world of Pylea visited by Angel Investigations is ruled by priests known as the Covenant of Trombli. This group possesses a trio of holy texts emblazoned with a wolf, a ram, and a hart (red male deer) respectively.[29] The Covenant has since been overthrown,[30] and the full extent of Wolfram & Hart's influence on Pylea or in other dimensions is unknown; however, there are assumed to be many more, as Angel tells Spike in "A Hole in the World": "Wolfram & Hart has branches in every major city in the world, and a lot more out of it."

Production details

Conception

  • Series creator Joss Whedon has described why Wolfram & Hart was created as the ideal antagonist for the show's setting and tone:
[Actor Christian Kane as Lindsey McDonald] embodies what we wanted for our villains, which is a group of young, go-getter lawyers who are just evil incarnate, working for a great conglomerate. Rather than have The Master, or some seeable villain as we had on Buffy, to have an entire corporation: just sort of an unseen, all-encompassing, "we make the bad world run" L.A. kind of corporation be the villain.[31]

Locations

  • The distinctive exterior of the Wolfram & Hart offices seen in the first four seasons of the series is actually the Sony Pictures Plaza, located in Culver City, California.[32]
  • The exterior shots in season five are of the Arco Center towers in Long Beach, California.
  • The interior of the Los Angeles branch seen in "Home" is actually a large business complex in Thousand Oaks, California.[33]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Shells". Angel. 2004-03-03. No. 16, season 5.
  2. ^ a b c "Reprise". Angel. 2001-02-20. No. 15, season 2.
  3. ^ a b c "A Hole in the World". Angel. 2004-02-25. No. 15, season 5.
  4. ^ a b "City of". Angel. 1999-10-05. No. 1, season 1.
  5. ^ "Sense & Sensitivity". Angel. 1999-11-09. No. 6, season 1.
  6. ^ "Billy". Angel. 2001-10-29. No. 6, season 3.
  7. ^ "Power Play". Angel. 2004-05-12. No. 21, season 5.
  8. ^ "The Girl in Question". Angel. 2004-05-05. No. 20, season 5.
  9. ^ a b c "Blood Money". Angel. 2001-01-23. No. 12, season 2.
  10. ^ a b c d "Blind Date". Angel. 2000-05-16. No. 21, season 1.
  11. ^ "That Vision Thing". Angel. 2001-10-01. No. 2, season 3.
  12. ^ a b c d e f "Home". Angel. 2003-05-07. No. 22, season 4.
  13. ^ a b c "Hell Bound". Angel. 2003-10-22. No. 4, season 5.
  14. ^ "Just Rewards". Angel. 2003-10-08. No. 2, season 5.
  15. ^ "Reunion". Angel. 2000-12-19. No. 10, season 2.
  16. ^ "Quickening". Angel. 2001-11-12. No. 8, season 4.
  17. ^ "Time Bomb". Angel. April 28, 2004. No. 19, season 5.
  18. ^ "To Shanshu in L.A.". Angel. 2000-05-23. No. 22, season 1.
  19. ^ "Deep Down". Angel. 2002-10-06. No. 1, season 4.
  20. ^ a b "Habeas Corpses". Angel. 2003-01-15. No. 8, season 4.
  21. ^ "Calvary". Angel. 2003-02-12. No. 12, season 4.
  22. ^ "Underneath". Angel. 2004-04-14. No. 17, season 5.
  23. ^ a b c "Conviction". Angel. 2003-10-01. No. 1, season 5.
  24. ^ "Harm's Way". Angel. 2004-01-14. No. 9, season 5.
  25. ^ "Not Fade Away". Angel. 2004-05-19. No. 22, season 5.
  26. ^ a b c "Forgiving". Angel. 2002-04-15. No. 17, season 3.
  27. ^ "Long Day's Journey". Angel. 2003-01-22. No. 9, season 4.
  28. ^ "Loyalty". Angel. 2002-02-25. No. 15, season 3.
  29. ^ "Through the Looking Glass". Angel. 2001-05-15. No. 21, season 2.
  30. ^ "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb". Angel. 2001-05-22. No. 22, season 2.
  31. ^ Whedon, Joss & Greenwalt, David, "City of" (Commentary by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt), Angel: Season One on DVD, Twentieth Century Fox, 2002.
  32. ^ () TV Locations - part 7, http://www.seeing-stars.com/Locations/TVlocations7.shtml, retrieved 2007-08-01 
  33. ^ Minear, Tim, "Home" (Commentary by Tim Minear), Angel: Season Four on DVD, Twentieth Century Fox, 2004.

External links


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