Television Back Story
Winifred Burkle was a simple girl from a small family in Dallas, Texas. With an intellect far surpassing that of her peers, Fred moved away from her mother and father to study physics at UCLA. At UCLA her genius wasn't unnoticed. Afraid Fred's potential, her advisor plotted to trap her in the demonic dimension of Pylea
hoping that she would simply die. In the library where Fred worked (which just happened to be near a gateway to Pylea) he left an enchanted book for her to find. When Fred read from the ancient text a vortex opened before her and sucked her out of our world. In Pylea humans were given enchanted collars to ensure obedience to owners and were treated as livestock. Fred would figure out a way to remove her collar, and eventually escaped captivity into the hills. Alone she made her home in a cave, scavenging to survive. She would remain there for the next five years. Fred grew thin, and without contact with anyone her mental health began to decline. At one point she even began to believe that Los Angeles had only been a dream. She drew what she could recall of the words that had sent her there on the walls in her cave, hoping to unlock their secret and find her way home.
Angel Season Two
Fred's salvation would come when a beast from Pylea was accidentally sent to Earth, landing in the karaoke bar of the empathic demon Lorne
. Lorne recognized the creature as being from his home world and came to Angel
for help. While trying to discover the link between Fred's disappearance (which Cordelia
Chase had seen in a vision) and the animal that had escaped into their dimension, another gateway was opened sending a demon from Lorne's world to our plane and sending Cordelia to Pylea. Fred found Cordelia in the marketplace being sold as a cow, and attempted to contact her and help her. She was scared off by some local demons, and went back into hiding for fear of being put to death. Angel, Gunn
, and Lorne traveled to Pylea in order to rescue Cordelia. Angel had met, and was taken in by Fred after getting into a fight. Fred would be rescued by the group, and traveled back to Los Angeles with them. After she was rescued, she came back and lived in Angel's hotel. There she fell for Angel
, but when she discovered that he was unable to get romantically involved.
Angel Season Three
For a long time Fred wouldn't leave her room, eventually only venturing out when Angel was around. She made a mess of the room they made for her, scribbling similar drawings over all of the surfaces of her room as she had done in her cave. She would eventually come out and join the others occasionally, but living in seclusion for so long made her uncomfortable in the presence of others and she would generally remain under a table or desk while around them. While getting over Angel, Fred became the target of both Wesley and Gunn's affection and admiration. She didn't necessarily return either of their feelings at first, but grew close to both of them. Both Gunn and Wesley fought for her attention, and eventually she fell in love with Gunn. The two began to date which caused Wesley a great deal of pain.
Fred's intellect and pension for constructing devices quickly made her an important part of the team. While still inexperienced with a weapon, Fred would remain at the sidelines eventually learning to assist with research. When Wesley left the team her role as a researcher would become even more important, and the team would grow to rely on her as a primary source of information. Lacking his training and experience with a variety of human and demon languages, Fred was unable to completely fill Wesley's shoes, however the information that she did bring was often helpful to the team's success.
Angel Season Four
Fred's love of science eventually overcame her, and she wrote a physics paper about a new theory that was accepted to a physics journal. She was invited to a lecture where she met her old professor. During her speech she was attacked by a demon that came from a portal over the stage. Angel and the team were able to save her, but she was shook up by the event. She later met with her old professor, excited by the prospect of going back to school to study physics again. In his office she noticed books on dimensional sorcery, and realized that it was her jealous professor who trapped her in Pylea to die. When she realized that it was a trusted teacher that had betrayed her and sent her into a hell dimension for five years Fred became intent on murdering him. Angel attempted to dissuade her but failed. She sought out the estranged Wesley (who was still in love with her) to help her seek revenge. Wesley had grown away from the team's nicer methods, and no longer had issue with taking a human life. Wesley equipped Fred and dropped her off at the school to take out the professor. Angel and Gunn arrived to stop her from taking a life, attempting to save her in the process. The professor summoned a demon which could heal from most wounds, which kept Angel busy. Meanwhile, Fred had trapped her professor in a lab attempting to strand him on Pyela to die as he had once done to her. Gunn arrived before she could complete her task. In an act of love and in order to save her from doing something that she would regret for the rest of her life (and something Gunn knew he could not stop her from doing forever), Gunn broke the professor's neck and threw him into the portal to Pylea. When Angel finally arrived Gun told him that the professor had gotten trapped by his own portal and was sucked into Pylea. Angel was satisfied by this explanation for the time, and the three left. After killing the professor, Fred's relationship with Gunn began to fall apart. Unable to live with what they had done, they began to fight and eventually they broke up from the strain.
When the entity Jasmine was born through Cordelia and Angel's son Conner the entire team was taken under her spell and fell in love with her and worshiped her. Jasmine's effect was felt by anyone that came in contact with her, but was instantly broken when anyone came in contact with her blood. Fred was the first to be freed of Jasmine's control when she accidentally got Jasmine's blood inside her, and was able to see her for the hideous being that she actually was. She was able to escape Jasmine, but was hunted by her former teammates and the growing legion of Jasmine's infected followers. She was able to trick Jasmine into coming after her in person with Angel and Connor, and shot bullet through Jasmine which penetrated Angel. Angel was also freed from Jasmine's control, but having been under it longer was devastated. The two devised a plan to free the others using Cordelia's blood, hoping that since she gave birth to Jasmine that her blood would also break her spell. They were able to also free Wesley and Gunn, but had to escape when they could not break Connor from her control.
On the run the team had to go underground as Jasmine's army allowed her to hear and see virtually everywhere. They were discovered, Fred was taken into custody with the others as Angel traveled to another dimension that Jasmine had conquered. It was there that he was able to locate the only means of de-powering her, which was her true name. Angel used this to break Jasmine's grip over the world and freed Fred and the others. De-powered, Jasmine was killed by Connor.
Angel Season Five
Largely in an attempt to save Connor, Angel Investigations
obtained the LA branch of Wolfram and Hart, Attorneys at Law
. While each of the group had an offer to entice them personally to coming aboard, Fred became head of the science department. By signing on to work there Fred's memories of all events surrounding Connor's life were altered, causing her and the rest of the team (except for Angel) to forget his existence. Eventually, Fred started dating Wesley
, and it seemed that although they were trying to correct things from the belly of the beast, things might be O.K. Leading the science department, Fred was able to contribute to the group in a way that she never was before. She had a fully staffed lab at her disposal with the most sophisticated technology and magic available to do research for the group.
Unknown to the group, a deal made by an unknowing Gunn would forfeit Fred's life. Betrayed by a member of her staff, Fred came into contact with the tomb that held the essence of the ancient demon god Illyria
, releasing Illyria into her. She did not realize this at first, but rapidly became extremely ill. Illyria was burning Fred up from the inside, causing her internal organs to rapidly degrade to make room for Illyria within her body. Locating the resting place of Illyria's tomb at the Deeper Well, Angel realized that Fred's life could only be saved at the cost of tens of thousands of innocents (possibly more). Instead, Angel made the painful, decision to allow Fred's death. Dying in front of the loving eyes of Wesley, her body became a shell to house Illyria
, consuming her very soul in the process.
As a human, Fred had no powers to speak of. She grew to be a decent fighter, but her mind was one of her most powerful assets. She had a natural talent for all forms of science including engineering and building devices (and weapons), understanding and modifying technology, and was a physics expert. As the leader of Wolfram and Hart's science division Fred also demonstrated that she was skilled in other scientific endeavors including various forms of biology, genetics, and some demonology. While not at Wesley's level, Fred also demonstrated an ability to do research quite well for the team.
Also, as she evolved into a more independent and stronger female throughout the course of the series (as would be expected by a Whedon female character), Fred began using her apparent innocence and sweetness to her advantage. She used it to fool and taser Connor, and when Angel was possessed in season three, Fred along with Cordy beat Angel with baseball bats.