- Paedo Hunt: Marcus from "In the Dark" is strongly hinted to be a pedophile. This is one vampire you do not want to be impervious to sunlight.
- Paint the Town Red: Holland predicts L.A. will be reduced to this by the time Darla & Drusilla are finished.
- Pals with Jesus: All of Angel Investigations' members are reduced to Jasmine's lackeys. One by one they manage to break free; Connor, however, elects to stay chummy with She Who Walks Among Us.
- Parental Incest: Heavily implied with Bethany. Wesley concludes that her father's abuse is what triggered her telekinesis.
- Not really, but Connor/Cordelia definitely comes close. Close enough to gross out a lot of fans.
- Angel's relationship with his sire, Darla (to say nothing of Drusilla), has an air about it.
- People Puppet: Gregor Framkin, the creator of "Smile Time".
- Percussive Prevention: Doyle prevents Angel from performing a Heroic Sacrifice by punching his lights out, then sacrificing his own life instead.
- Perfect Poison: Justified (or maybe Hand Waved) by Dr. Meltzer injecting Angel with a paralytic intended for large animals. When used on a human, it induces heart failure. (Good thing he doesn't have one.)
- Perpetual Poverty: Running your detective business out of a moldy vintage hotel isn't as lucrative as one would think.
- Persona Non Grata: Buffy is subjected to this after she tries to kill Faith. In the episode that it happens she is very much treated as the villain, as Angel wants to help people reform when Buffy just wants to kill them, especially Faith, and Angel thinks Buffy is Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
- Perverse Puppet: Polo, Groofus, and Flora in "Smile Time".
- Perp Sweating: Angel's a pro. Contrary to expectation, though, he does not partake in torture. (That's Wesley's department).
- Except for poor Merle being hung upside down and dunked in water.
- Wesley tries interrogating Angel when they're first reunited ("Parting Gifts"). Angel casually swats away his crossbow, leaving Wesley looking rather dejected.
- Physical God: Illyria and Jasmine definitely qualify.
- Pietà Plagiarism: The Teaser for "Salvage" picks up after Faith's final bout with Angelus; Wesley carries Faith's bloodied body into the Hyperion Hotel in slow motion.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Angel claims to be a private detective/in private security. When actual detective work is required, he has at least once hired a real private detective to do it for him! He just tells people he's a detective because it's easier to explain than "I go around protecting people from hellspawn."
Kate Lockley: (holds Angel at gunpoint) You're telling me you're an investigator?
Angel: More or less.
Kate Lockley: Where's your license?
Angel: [beat] That's the "less" part.
- Pivotal Wakeup: Angelus pulls this move inside of Faith's mind.
- Play-Along Prisoner: Faith. She could totally somersault through that intercom glass divider if she wanted.
- Playing Drunk: Angel does this in his very first scene.
- Playing Possum: Penn does this after intentionally goading Kate to shoot him.
- Please Keep Your Hat On: The psychic hired by Lilah (Kal Penn) wears a fez at all times, to disguise his exposed brain.
- The Vocah's mask conceals his maggot-ridden, moldering face.
- Police Are Useless
- Political Correctness Gone Mad:
Rieff: I thought all Brachen demons had a good sense of direction.
Doyle: Yeah, we're all pretty good at basketball, too.
- When Harrie calls out Richard's family for attempting to cannibalize Doyle's brain, his siblings indignantly shout "Racist!" She then calls them out on the hypocrisy of picking and choosing the 'sacred rituals' they want to keep doing and then acting pious when called on it.
- "Sense & Sensitivity" is a giant lampooning of this trope. An Emotion Bomb affects Kate's co-workers so deeply that they start letting crooks go free, decrying the justice system for brutalizing the poor prisoners.
- When Lilah mistakingly uses the phrase "handshake deal" when bartering with a demon assassin, Linday quickly jumps in to emphasize that she meant metaphorical hands. ("Sanctuary")
Lilah: That was species-ist of me. I apologize.
"Y'all can cater to the demon, cater to the dead man, but WHAT! ABOUT! THE BLACK! MAAAN?!
- Wesley reports saving a pair of power-walking health nuts from a Hacklar demon, and getting socked in the face for his trouble. By the health nuts.
Wesley: Apparently she felt I disrespected the Hacklar's culture by killing it.
Cordelia: This town sucks.
- Popular Is Dumb: Cordelia in Season One, though she eventually grows out of it. Played straight with Harmony, though.
- The Power of Acting: Although Cordelia's skill is usually Bad Bad Acting, it does help her bluff Angelus when the chips are down. Cordelia is fairly consistently shown to be pretty good at improv acting, but horrible at following a script.
- Also, when Wesley impersonates Angel he fools a wizard/businessman/mobster and his thugs.
- Also, Angel when impersonating both Jay-Don and Herb Sanders
- Power Degeneration: Thorn.
- Power Glows When it's about to destroy a few city blocks via involuntarily exploding.
- Power Tattoo: Jhiera sports a black facial tattoo over her left eye.
- Power Trio: Angel, Cordelia, and Doyle (later replaced by Wesley). Note that this only applies to Season One.
- Power Walk: A flashback to 1900 AD shows Angel and his posse (Darla, Spike, and Drusilla) walking amidst the flames of the Chinese Boxer Rebellion.
- Joss Whedon loves these. The show (all of his shows, actually) averages at least one per season, and they usually end up featuring prominently in the opening credits.
- Powers That Be: The Powers That Be. And they border on being bad guys with some of the stuff they do.
- Preemptive "Shut Up"
- Pro Wrestling Episode: "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco"
- Profiling: Gunn and the zombie police in "The Thin Dead Line".
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Lorne and Harmony.
- Prophecy Twist: Spike turns out to be just as eligible for the Shanshu Prophecy as Angel. Or so it seems...
- The half-demon clan of "Hero" tell of a prophecy which foretold a "Chosen One" who would save them from The Scourge. The obvious assumption is it's Angel. At the episode's conclusion, though, it's Doyle who sacrifices his life to save them all.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: All of the regulars (with the exception of Fred) become borderline AntiHeroes once they take over Wolfram & Hart.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: You wouldn't guess it, but Lorne comes from a dimension full of these.
- Psychic-Assisted Suicide: The demon-possessed Ryan 'sleepwalks' into the middle of traffic, almost getting killed before Angel tackles him out of a car's path. The demon later confesses that he would have also died had the car struck. By leaping into a body of a remorseless child, the Ethros had unwittingly trapped itself forever, with death as the only escape.
- Psychic Link: Vampires and their sires share these, though only when they are in close proximity. Angel goes absolutely off the rails whenever his 'family' is nearby.
- The Haxil demon of "Expecting" impregnates human women, then controls them via some sort of psychic umbilical.
- Psychic Radar: Wolfram & Hart uses psychics specifically to scan if a vampire has entered their building.
- Psycho for Hire: Marcus in "In the Dark".
- Psycho Strings: Angel's momentary relapse into Angelus in "Eternity".
- Plays during Faith's Cold-Blooded Torture of Wesley in "Five By Five".
- Punch Clock Villain: Several hapless W&H employees, especially in Season 5.
- Punch a Wall: In the aftermath of Faith's first duel with Angelus (which Faith lost -- handedly), the next episode opens with her taking a shower in Wesley's bathroom. Her body is battered, bruised and covered with blood. Without warning, Faith explodes into violence, repeatedly punching the shower tiles until her fists have driven through the wall. Needless to say, this is not played for Fan Service.
- Punny Name: Ratio Hornblower, one of the demonic puppets of "Smile Time".
- Puppeteer Parasite: Talamour, a "Burrower" demon preying on the regulars at a singles bar.
- Puppet Permutation: Happens to Angel in "Smile Time." Within the episode, he fights other, demonic puppets. It also contains the line "You're a wee little puppet man!" from Spike. May or may not be a hint that Angel is being turned into a metaphorical puppet.
- Spike and Lorne later get the same treatment in the comic Spike: Shadow Puppets when they travel to Japan where Smile Time is still popular.
- Purple Eyes: Princess Jhiera, along with the rest of the Oden Tal.
- Putting on the Reich: The Scourge is an army of pure-blood demons bent on the extermination of all "half-breeds". They all dress up in faux-S.S. uniforms, making this a not-so-subtle allegory; Their leader even delivers a Hitler-style, genocidal speech to an audience of mooks.
- For bonus points, from what we know of demons in general, the Scourge are about as pure-blood as Germans are Aryan.
- Now proven In the comics, the Scourge get involved with one of Illyria's former pets named Baticus, who is also an Old One. Baticus incinerates the Scourge but the same attack doesn't scratch Illyira.
- For bonus points, from what we know of demons in general, the Scourge are about as pure-blood as Germans are Aryan.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
- Rage Against the Reflection: Shortly after being re-ensouled, Darla is found lying amongst shattered glass in her apartment, having smashed all the mirrors.
- Lorne punches his own reflection after it gets mouthy with him.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Charisma Carpenter became pregnant during the fourth season, which required a lot of shuffling around of the intended story.
- Real Men Get Shot: And thrown from rooftops, and stabbed in the neck with their own stakes.
- Reality Ensues: From "Over the Rainbow" when Team Angel was facing down a whole village.
Wesley: I think we're winning! (cut to Team Angel tied up)
- Recap by Audit: In Angel, Doyle asks Angel to snoop around his ex-wife's new fiancée, leading to an awkward scene where Angel spots the beau with a knife and tackles him through a plate-glass window. The next morning, Angel grouses that Richard belongs to a family of a harmless restauranteurs "with some pretty expensive windows."
- Marcus Hamilton reading off a list of damages caused by Angel's flunky during a rescue mission.
"Illyria destroyed 11 torture units before she found your man; 2 troop carriers, an ice cream truck, and eight beautifully maintained lawns."
- Red Herring: "Lonely Hearts" goes out of its way to mislead viewers as to which character the Burrower demon has BodySurfed into. The opening half of "I've Got You Under My Skin" uses a similar trick to make Angel suspect the wrong man of being possessed.
- Another episode had Angel and Co. tracking down a demon that had posessed a child and forced it to horrible things. In the end, the demon reveals that the child was born with no soul, and the demon had been the boy's prisoner while he did the horrible things.
- Redemption Equals Death: Used straight and played with in a few instances. Angel refused to fight Faith when she wanted to be killed, Connor was "killed" and given a new life. Played completely straight when Doyle died, elevating himself from "weasel" to hero.
- Redemption in the Rain: Faith's complete breakdown at the end of "Five by Five". Also, Darla staking herself in the episode "Lullaby" to allow Connor to be born.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Spike is the Red Oni by being... Spike. Where as Angel is known for his brooding thus qualifying him as a Blue Oni. One could argue that this dated back to their days with Darla and Drusilla.
- Reformed but Rejected: Faith's supposed reformation doesn't track with Buffy, who arrives in town with the sole purpose of killing her. Angel think she's acting like a spoiled brat, causing the former lovers to part on bad terms.
- Regularly-Scheduled Evil: The undead warrior Tezcatcatl is damned to return every 50 years. In this case, however, it's a bonus; the curse grants him unlimited chances to find his talisman, which would render him invincible.
- Relationship Reset Button: "I Will Remember You" is all about this.
- Relative Button: Holtz sets this one up for Connor.
- Reset Button: Rather frequently in the first season.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Jhiera clashes with Angel over her willingness to sacrifice humans for the sake of protecting her refugee operation on Earth.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: The first mate on the ship ferrying the Brachen clan out of the country decides to rat them all out for money. The Scourge repay his help by testing their human-disintegrating Beacon on him.
- Revenge Before Reason: Despite hating demons and knowing they couldn't be trusted, Holtz jumps at the chance to travel over 200 years into the future to kill Angelus and Darla despite knowing he's making a deal with a demon who isn't sharing his own motives for wanting Angel and Darla dead.
- Revenge by Proxy: Holtz likes to go for the heartstrings.
- Revenge Through Corruption: Holtz does this to Connor.
- Right Behind Me: Cordy's wild fantasies about how rich they're going to get working for Rebecca Lowell -- at the exact moment the star walks in ("Eternity").
- Ripped From the Phone Book
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Used twice with Angel: First, erasing Buffy's memories of their time together ("I Will Remember You"), and again when signing a deal with Wolfram & Hart, giving Connor a brand new family ("Home").
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Holtz takes out 378 vampires during his hunt across Europe for Angelus and Darla.
- Rooftop Confrontation: Buffy's face-off with Faith on the roof of Angel's building. The throwdown gets postponed when the rifle-toting Watcher's Special Ops Team arrives in helicopters and tries to pick off both Slayers at once.
- The entire team facing off against The Beast in a sky lounge.
- Wesley and Robo-Dad in a Mexican Standoff on Wolfram & Hart's roof.
- Room Full of Crazy: Lampshaded in "Somnambulist": Angel deflates one of Penn's evil rants by accurately describing the layout of his "killer shrine" wall, right down to the news clippings and candles -- without ever having seen it with his own eyes. "Oh, you are so prosaic."
- Angel's suite temporarily turns into one of these in "Darla": Wesley appears in the doorway and expresses his concern that Angel isn't exactly well. Angel, who is busily sketching Darla in various poses, brushes him off. Wesley steps inside, revealing pages upon pages of drawings blanketing the entire floor.
- While imprisoned in Pylea, Fred wrote on the walls of her cave to stay sane. It didn't take. Once back in L.A., she immediately starts scribbling on the walls of her room in the Hyperion.
- Even after her supposed 'rehabilitation' later in the series, Fred continues to cope with trauma or stress by writing on walls. Wesley and Gunn lampshade it in the fifth season.
Wesley: (at Fred writing on the windows) That's never good.
Fred: What? Oh, no, I-- I just ran out of white board. I'm not crazy. Again.
- Wesley's office after Illyria's arrival becomes one of these due to his obsession with learning everything he can about her. Lampshaded by Lorne when Gunn mentions having gone in there.
"Oh, God! Don't go in there! That's where he keeps his full-strength crazy!"
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Jhiera is princess of another dimension, where she is fighting an ongoing battle to liberate the females of her species.
- Rubber Forehead Aliens: Prevalent throughout the first season, though the makeup effects improved dramatically by Season Two.
- Rule of Symbolism: The Season Five changeover to Wolfram & Hart. David Greenwalt likened it to Greenpeace taking hold of Shell Oil.
- Running Gag: "There's no such thing as leprechauns." Always spoken while dealing with the supernatural.
- Run for the Border: The Brachen demons in "Hero" charter a cargo ship to take them to Ecuador, where others of their kind are living peacefully.
- Russian Gal Suffers Most: Summer Glau's cursed ballerina in "Waiting in the Wings".
- Sacrificial Lamb
- Sadistic Choice: Allow Holtz to flee to Quor'toth, or he'll snap baby Connor's neck.
- Samaritan Syndrome: Cordelia, starting in Season 2 (and arguably as early as "To Shanshu in L.A.", the first-season finale) had this bad.
- Same Clothes, Different Year: Angel's wearing a black leather jacket in The Seventies. It goes great with the striped pants, semi-unbuttoned shirt, gold necklace and gratuitously wide collars. ("Orpheus")
- Likewise with Spike in "Why We Fight." He becomes so taken with a Nazi captain's leather trenchcoat, he kills him for it.
- Sand in My Eyes: Wesley tearfully blots his eyes after officially being hired at Angel Investigations, complaining of "allergies". Invoked again at the end of "Expecting".
- Same Story, Different Names: In Buffy's "Becoming", the heroine had to run a sword through Angel before he opened a portal and destroyed the world. In "Inside Out", Angel raises his sword to slay a loved one before she can bring forth a demon to enslave the world. (Interestingly, he fails.)
- Scary Black Man: Griff, the debt collector ("Rm v/a Vu"). Technically a Scary Black Demon but you get the idea.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections: Wes and Cordy pose as a police detectives in order to intimidate a wealthy couple outside the XXI fight club. The man counters by dropping the name of their "boss", the police chief - and a close personal friend of his. Cordy swoops in and improvises by pretending they're about to raid the club, and are giving the rich couple an opportunity to scram. They do.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Practically all of Wolfram & Hart's clientèle.
- Scully Box: In her scenes with Lindsey (Christian Kane), Lilah (Stephanie Romanov) wears high heels to accentuate her height. Kane laughingly referred to the duo as "Boris and Natasha."
- Hamilton (Adam Baldwin) utterly towers over David Boreanaz in his introductory scene, rendering his feel-good personality that much more absurd. As the scene was shot in a parking garage, Baldwin simply stood on the ramped incline.
- Second Love: Cordelia would be Angel's second love - Buffy, of course, being his first
- Wesley would be Fred's second love - her first love having been Gunn.
- Secret Circle of Secrets: The Circle of the Black Thorn.
Archduke Sebassis: The Circle does not abide secrets.
Angel: Which is interesting for a "secret society".
- Secret Ingredient: Angel once drinks a cup of blood with an unusual taste. He's told "the secret ingredient is otter."
- Another time, he finds that his blood supply has been intentionally tainted with his son's blood.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Oh, just about half of the villains. Drogyn's Deep Well is practically the Canned Evil aisle.
- Selective Condemnation: When a villain hands out fates worse than death, it's seen as awful. When Angel makes a guy immortal, but locked in a room, unable to move or look at something else or speak because he normally takes people to hell but got resurrected (ok, so the guy was evil in life and was only doing the hell thing to stay out of hell, but remember, he was doing it on Wolfram & Hart's property, so most people he did it to probably asked for it), it's never mentioned again.
- Well, for one thing they didn't have much choice - killing Pavayne just sets him free to rampage again, so indefinite cold storage is the only viable plan they have. For another thing, given that Pavayne's already got his flight reservations booked for Hell, finding some way to actually end him only sets him up for an eternity of torment anyway. Short version is, man justifiably had it coming.
- Plus, Willow mind wiping Tara on Buffy was supposed to be awful, but Angel removing everyone's memories of Conner only is brought up again when Wes finds out, and is quickly dropped again afterwards.
- The terrible part about Willow's mind wipe was that it was violation of the worst kind. The effect of Willow's actions was to force Tara to remain in a sexual relationship that Tara didn't want to continue by altering her mental state without consent -- which puts it on the same ethical level as date rape/Rohypnol, if not actual kidnapping and Stockholm Syndrome. Angel, on the other hand, wanted to remove horribly traumatic memories from his friends' minds not for his benefit but for their own; wiping away Wesley's tragic betrayal, Connor's insanity, etc, which puts his actions on the same ethical level as 'forcible administration of therapeutic drugs without consent'. Still wrong, but nowhere remotely near as wrong'.
- Self-Defeating Prophecy: The visions sent to Angel's sidekicks are often of a monster killing a human, which Angel is then able to prevent.
- Self-Defenseless: Cordelia's "demon repellent". Not to be mistaken for a popular brand of breath freshener.
- Self-Made Man: One of Angel's richest clients, David Nabbit, made his millions by inventing software which allows blind people surf the internet.
- Self-Restraint: Faith's prison breakout in the fourth season makes it clear she could have escaped any time she wanted. Alluded to in "Five by Five" and "Sanctuary" where it becomes clear that Angel is helping Faith come round to the idea of wanting to turn herself in because the only way a human prison could ever hold a slayer would be if the slayer 'wanted to be held.
- As dismissive, threatening and moderately destructive as Illyria is around the office, that's her being restrained. She kills everyone in about ten seconds flat when she actually decides to fight them in a possible future.
- Serial Killer: Penn is nicknamed "The Pope" by the L.A. press, due to his habit of carving crosses onto the faces of his victims (a quirk he adopted from Angel).
- Sequel Episode: Billy Blim, the freed prisoner from "That Vision Thing", turns up again to bring mayhem in "Billy."
- Seventh-Episode Twist
- Season 2: Wolfram & Hart wanted Angel to sire Darla. BAD IDEA.
- Season 3: The arrival of Holtz.
- Season 4: The Beast covers Los Angeles in darkness. Cordelia and Connor have sex.
- Shadow Dictator: The Senior Partners.
- Ship Tease: "Provider" is made of this. Includes moments between Wes and Fred, Gunn and Fred, Angel and Cordy, Cordy and Gunn, and especially Wes and Gunn.
- Show Within a Show: Angel's client in "Eternity" is Rebecca Lowell, former star of the much-adored On Your Own which was recently "canceled by the idiot network!"
- Smile Time. And its Japanese counterpart in the comics.
- Cordy! is a cheesy Friends-style sitcom in an alternate timeline.
- In the comic continuation, Harmony inexplicably stars in her own reality show, Harmony Bites.
- Schmuck Bait: The kidnapping of Alonna. Angel warns her brother that if he tries to invade the vampires' nest, it will turn into a bloodbath. Predictably, Gunn doesn't hear him - or care.
- Shaggy Dog Story: The last five seconds of "The Ring." Whoops.
- Shoot the Dog: Drogyn.
- One of the demonic Sesame Street-esque puppets is a big purple animal thingy with a horn mouth named Horatio Hornblower
- Weyland-Yutani and Yoyodyne are clients of Wolfram and Hart.
- Spike suggests that a hollow tree, if it's not the entrance to the Deeper Well, could be the entrance to Christmas Land. Angel doesn't get it.
- Shut UP, Hannibal: The object of Dr. Meltzer's desire, Melissa Burns, delivers a stinging one when Meltzer comes for her in "I Fall To Pieces". Melissa reaffirms her refusal to be afriad, having been convinced by Angel that she has survived everything Meltzer has done to her so far. This causes Meltzer to (literally) fall apart at the seams.
- Kate tracks her father's killers to an auto repair shop, dusting one of them like a pro. Her Roaring Rampage is interrupted by el jefe: a humongous, steroid-injected demon who lectures Kate on how she cannot comprehend the world she's entered into. Enter Angel:
"A big ugly drug-running demon who thinks he's a lot scarier than really he is, maybe? Yeah, she knows."
- Angelus tries to get under Cordelia's skin by ridiculing her total lack of acting ability. Cordy gets the last laugh when she bluffs Angelus into believing her thermos is full of holy water, resulting in his defeat.
Cordelia: And the Oscar goes to...
- Skinheads: The vampires in "War Zone".
- Significant Monogram: Several Wolfram & Hart lawyers have the initials "LM," much like someone else.
- Signs of the End Times: In "Apocalypse Nowish" there are birds crashing into buildings, snakes coming out of plumbing, rats everywhere, and eventually, all the phone calls they get about these things make an ancient symbol of destruction.
- Single Tear: David Boreanaz squeezes one out during his 'date rape' at the hands of Rebecca ("Eternity").
- Sinister Scythe: The Vocah.
- Slow Motion Drop: Faith breaks a glass upon seeing a TV news report declaring her to be a wanted fugitive.
- Skyward Scream: Angel lets one loose after feeding on a murder victim during the 1970s.
- Sleep Cute: Angel and Cordy cuddled up with Baby Connor.
- Slippery Skid: Angel squeezes a bag of whole coffee beans to test Cordelia's theory that he can effectively grind the coffee with his "vampire strength." The bag bursts, of course, scattering coffee beans everywhere just as Cordelia and Wesley come in the door; Wesley immediately slips and falls.
- Slipping a Mickey: In an effort to make Angel lose his soul and turn her into a vampire, Rebecca Lowell drugs his champagne with a bliss-inducing prescription drug.
- Slut Shaming: As with Buffy, Angel has a tendency to punish sexual promiscuity. In this case, Cordelia ends up with demonic pregnancies. One client of Angel Investigations displays internalized shame with the question, "Does it surprise you? That I'm a giant slut?" after attempting to seduce Angel.
- Smithical Marriage: Wes and Cordelia as "Mr. and Mrs. Penborne".
- Smoke Shield: Jasmine, after getting zapped by a downed power line. Turns out once you've endured the Big Bang, electricity isn't a much of a hinderence.
- Smug Snake: Eve and Gavin. Also Lilah in the first couple of seasons.
- Slow Motion Drop: Wesley's slo-mo knife drop at the end of "Five By Five".
- So Happy Together: Gunn and Fred, and later Fred and Wesley.
- So Was X: Followng Angel's (temporary) reversion to human, Cordy and Doyle suddenly find themselves out of work. Doyle is upbeat:
Doyle: I'll finally be free to go out and make me own mark on the world.
Cordelia: We had a cat that used to do that.
- When Holtz starts fretting about the fact that Angel has a soul, Sahjhan snarkily remarks that Atilla the Hun had one, too.
"Not to mention a heart as big as all outdoors when it came to gift-giving..."
- Soaperizing: In interviews before the show's premiere, Joss Whedon said the spin-off Angel would be a "case of the week"-type show, and not a soap opera like Buffy. It ended up becoming a bigger soap opera, with multiple love triangles, Shot Reverse Shots of people standing around in rooms and rehashing old plot points, Angel's son going from a baby to teenager and sleeping with Cordelia, etc.
- Lampshaded by Cordy herself: "Tell me we're not living in a soap opera."
- Lampshaded by Gunn as well in "Partners": "Listen, I spent most of this year trapped in what I can only describe as a turgid supernatural soap-opera."
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Marcus ("In the Dark"). He sounds like the guy who sells you Chakra stones.
- Something Else Also Rises: Wesley's, erm, sword shooting out of his coat sleeve in Fred's presence ("Spin the Bottle").
- Something They Would Never Say: Subverted. Lorne signals Fred over the phone to send help: "Say hi to Fluffy for me." -- "Fluffy" being their nonexistent dog. Fred, who's a bit dense, thinks he's referring to something else.
- Somewhere a Mammalogist Is Crying: "Through the Looking Glass". Had Wesley simply used the term "hart" or "stag" in the layman fashion (to refer to any male red deer regardless of its age), it might not have been accurate but it wouldn't have been comment-worthy. Unfortunately, he goes into detail saying a hart is "a male red deer or staggard" indicating the script-writers may have attempted to research the proper naming convention that exists for male red deer (that or they thought a "stag" and "staggard" meant the same thing). A staggard is a male red deer in its fourth year of life. A stag is a male red deer in its fifth year of life. A hart is a male red deer over five years old (i.e., in its sixth year of life). The picture itself shows a 10-point deer (5 tines on each antler) which is a "great hart" (a stag over six years old, i.e., seven years old or older with 10-16 tines). By using generalised layman terms, it all could have been handwaved as an ordinary conversation or at least the "hart" being a contraction of "great hart" where the picture itself was concerned. The attempt to be clever by referring to "staggard" simply emphasised the writers had failed to do their research.
- Soul Jar: Angel's soul is imprisoned in one in the fourth season, in order to temporarily release Angelus.
- The "Ethros Box".
- Justine traps her boss' boss, Sahjan, in a jar.
- Sound-Only Death: When the youngest runt in XXI is pitted against Trepkos in the next match, Cribb remarks, "That's not a fight, it's an execution." Trepkos ignores Angel's imploring him not to kill the kid, instead promises to "kill him quick." Indeed, the fight has barely begun before Angel hears a telltale Neck Snap sound.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Angel's flashback to a donut shop robbery, in which he witnessed the clerk get fatally shot. Angel drinks the corpse's blood as "Mandy" plays on a jukebox.
- Fred manages to get one line into "You make me happy", a classic target for this trope, before coughing up blood and collapsing.
- Southern-Fried Geniuses: Both Lindsey MacDonald and Fred.
- Space Whale Aesop: Cordelia, in The Ring.
This is why I don't gamble. You place one small bet, and then another . . . and next thing you know, albino Beetlejuice guys are knocking at your door.
- Special Edition Title: After Angel loses his soul in Season Four, the promo for "Soulless" modified the usual Angel logo to spell Angelus.
- Spell My Name with a "The": The Conduit and The Beast. In "Habeas Corpses", the former is killed by the latter.
- Spanner in the Works: Sahjhan can't control Holtz as well as he'd like.
- Spikes of Doom: Angel gets to experience the full extent of Gunn's vampire-proofing in "War Zone". Upon chasing Angel into Gunn's own building, Gunn rams the wall with his spiked truck, narrowly missing Angel's head. Disoriented, Angel stumbles over a tripwire, triggering a hurricane of arrows as well as a falling spike trap.
- Spirited Competitor: Trepkos, who warmly congratulates Angel on "a good fight." ("The Ring")
- Spoiler Opening: Averted. One episode features Alyson Hannigan as a surprise guest star. The actor's name was removed from the opening credits to hide the surprise; instead they get top billing in the end credits. The same was done to hide Faith's first appearance.
- James Marsters is in the opening credits of the first episode of Season 5, though he doesn't turn up 'til the last scene of said episode.
- Another sort of aversion: Amy Acker's credit sequence for season five includes shots of Illyria ... but only after Fred dies.
- Squee: Cordy keeps giggling like a madwoman after being invited out shopping with TV actress Rebecca Lowell.
- Staking the Loved One: Gunn to his sister.
- Staring Down Cthulhu: You think a ghost is going to make Cordelia leave a rent-controlled apartment? Ha!
- Starter Villain: Russel Winters, whose defeat officially puts Angel on Wolfram & Hart's radar.
- Stepford Suburbia: For defying the Senior Partners, Lindsey is incarcerated in a Hell modeled upon this.
- Sue Donym: As a reward for rescuing their son from walking into oncoming traffic, Mrs. Anderson invites Angel in for some coffee. When probed about his name, Angel replies "Angel-- Jones. Angel Jones."
- At the hospital where Connor was brought after birth, he is officially registered as "Connor Angel," as Fred gave his father the alias "Geraldo Angel."
- Suicide by Cop/DrivenToSuicide: Faith's actions on Buffy drive her to this, attempting to use suicide by vampire. It doesn't work.
- Sugar Bowl: In Angel's nightmare about being usurped by Spike, the view of Los Angeles is replaced by a matte painting of pink castles and rainbows.
- Sunglasses at Night: Jay-Don ("The Shroud of Rahmon"), a Las Vegas vampire who seems to be permanently stuck in the 1960s. Angel assimilates his identity and, in effect, this trope.
- Super Dickery: Invoked in "Why We Fight," although it isn't the only time when Angel acts like a colossal tool.
Spike: Bloody brilliant. Turn the poor sod to save the ship, then make him dash to dry land before the sunshine scorches him a new one. You're still a dick.
- Supernatural Elite: The Circle of the Black Thorn from the series finale.
- Supernatural Soap Opera: Lampshaded by multiple characters, particularly once babies enter into the mix.
- Superpower Meltdown: Narrowly averted with Illyira.
- Super Senses: Angel and Spike (along with any other Vampire) have these, as does Connor.
- Super Strength: Angel, Spike, Illyria, Doyle in Demon form, and most of their foes.
- Super Weight:
- Type -1: Countless, nameless victims
- Type 0: Fred, early-series Wesley and Cordelia, Lorne, Lilah
- Type 1: Gunn, later-series Wesley, Holtz, Justine, Lindsey
- Type 2: Angel, Spike and other vampires, Groo, Gwen Raiden, Connor, Sajhan
- Type 3: The Beast, Jasmine, Marcus Hamilton, Illyria
- Type 4: The Senior Partners, The Powers That Be, Illyria in her true form, Cordelia after Ascending.
- Supervillain Lair: In an inversion of this trope, Jasmine takes over the Hyperion Hotel, and Wolfram & Hart becomes Angel's base.
- Surprise Witness: Angel unexpectedly drops in on a courtroom proceeding with an eyewitness in tow -- the same kid who was thought to have been intimidated by Lindsey into silence. His testimony effectively torpedoes Lindsey's murder case ("Five By Five").
- Suspect Is Hatless: When interviewing witnesses to a demon assault on the subway, the best Kate can glean from them is suspect is of 'average' height, 'average' build, and 'average' weight. Well, that was helpful.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
Partygoer: "Nice sweater. Hand-knit?"
Wesley: Certainly not by me!"
- In "Bachelor Party", Doyle is invited to a stag party for his old flame's new fiancée -- who just so happens to be a demon, too. But something is amiss...
Aunt Martha: Well, they're certainly not going to eat your ex-husband's brains. (Everyone stares) ...For instance.
- Swiss Cheese Security: Wolfram & Hart.
Lilah: Vampire Detectors my ass.
- For such a high-security building, the roof is oddly unguarded.
- Sword Fight: Between Angel and Lindsey in the last season.
- Sword Over Head: Pressed by Gunn's oncoming gang, Angel ends up violently disarming one of his attackers and almost stabs him with his own stake. He stops when he realizes that his prey is a mere kid.
- Untwisted in the Season Four finale ("Home"). Angel finds himself raising a knife over Connor's neck, fulfilling Wesley's prophecy from long ago. Against all expectation, however, Angel brings the knife down with full force.
- Tabloid Melodrama: According to The Inquirer, Rebecca Lowell once slept with Ernest Borgnine, and is bulimic.
Angel: [supportively] I hear Borgnine is a very skilled lover.
- Tailor-Made Prison: Billy Blim is imprisoned in a cube of fire.
- Take It to the Bridge: Angel tracks the depowered Jasmine to an overpass, where she proceeds to Motive Rant as the city erupts into chaos.
- Take That: At Gallagher. Cordelia comments that the comedian has changed his act more times than Penn has in two centuries of ritual killings. (Wesley seems to like him though.)
- When Dennis starts to misbehave, Cordelia threatens to blast the Madonna version of Evita around the clock.
- "[I]f Julia Roberts ever makes a realistic movie about being an escort, it should be called Pretty Skanky Woman."
- Gunn says the devils controlling Smile Time have a very distinctive M.O. "You seen the last few seasons of Happy Days?"
- Lorne's dislike of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Diane Warren. Playing the latter will result in your death.
- Well, except for "Rhythm of the Night".
- Angel toys with the idea of finally seeing Les Mis while in England. "Trust me," Spike warns, "halfway through the first act you'll be drinking humans again."
Joss Whedon: I'm usually not that snarky. I don't like to diss things. But Les Mis went down.
- Knox's manliness comes into question when Harmony discovers his Rick Springfield screen saver.
- Take a Third Option: In "The Ring", Angel implores the other fighters at XXI not to cooperate in the matches. Cribb eventually releases the prisoners, who mob the entire ring and bring the club to a halt.
- Taking the Bullet: Doyle sacrfices himself in order to shut down The Scourge's beacon in order to prevent Angel from doing it.
- Talking the Monster to Death: Angel. Subverted when Wesley just pulls a gun and shoots the guy.
- Tap on the Head
- Tattooed Crook: In "Five By Five", Angel mentors a street hoodlum in his own distinctive style. Cordelia snarkily vocalizes her doubt that "a guy with that many tattoos" can be reformed.
- Teach Him Anger: While the pair is hunting for Angelus, Wesley devises a number of tests to determine whether Faith has gotten too soft. He goads Faith with memories of how she tortured him, then mocks her apparent reformation, calling her a rabid animal who should have been put down long ago. As expected, Faith lunges for the limey's throat.
Wesley: There, that wasn't so hard was it? It's what you'll need to beat him.”
- Team Killer: Angel attempting to smother Wesley in his hospital bed. Before he does, Angel very calmly puts Wes' mind to rest that this is not Angelus talking.
- Techno Babble: Fred's technobabble always comes off as kind of cute.
- Fred has made homicidal rage look cute. Technobabble is as nothing.
- Tempting Fate: Cordelia and Doyle commiserate over drinks, wondering if they're out of a job now that Angel's human ("I Will Remember You"). Doyle figures that if Angel's no longer working for the PTB, that must he's off the hook, too. Cue another vision, causing poor Doyle's head to slam into the bar top. ..Guess not.
- Before departing L.A., Buffy makes a passing laceration at Angel by comparing to her new boyfriend (Riley), whom she "knows" and "trusts" ("Sanctuary"). As we later find out on Buffy, she doesn't know the real Riley very well at all.
- Ten-Minute Retirement: Angel quits the hero business in Season Two (though it lasts considerably longer than ten minutes), firing his team and devoting all his energies toward crushing Wolfram & Hart. Once he finds that the Senior Partners don't exist to be beaten, only fought, he comes to his senses and reunites the team.
- Thanatos Gambit: Holtz giving Angel a note to give to Angel's human son Connor. It explains that the two of them should be together. He also tells Angel the same thing, seemingly having finally made peace with Angel for Connor's sake. Then he has his accomplice stab him twice in the neck so it looks like Angel killed Holtz out of spite. This pretty much destroyed the relationship between Angel and his son forever, especially given the vicious cycle that resulted.
- Theme Initials: A disproportionate number of Wolfram & Hart lawyers have the initials L.M - Lindsay McDonald, Lilah Morgan, Lee Mercer and Linwood Morrow.
- Initially Justified Trope; Lindsay McDonald's, Lilah Morgan's, and Lee Mercer's first appearances were all written to be the same person.
- There Are No Coincidences: When Kate catches her father lingering around a crime scene, she assumes he's been craving "action" and listening the police scanner at home again. It didn't escape Angel's notice, though; he soon learns that Trevor removed a piece of evidence from the scene.
- Invoked on a mammoth scale in Season Four, when Skip reveals the accidents that brought Team Angel together were no accidents.
- There Are No Therapists: The following people did not receive therapy: Gunn, who spent much of his life on the streets fighting for his life, and had to kill his sister. Wesley, whose father was verbally abusive and used to lock him under the stairs. Fred spent five years living feral in a dimension where humans were enslaved, and came back babbling and hiding in her room for weeks. And Connor, who was brought up in a hell dimension by a fanatical vampire hunter from the 18th century who taught Connor that his father was pure evil. The one time Angel went to a guru to talk about his problems, the guy turned out to be an impostor. It might have worth tracking down a psychiatrist who catered to the supernatural, particularly for the last two.
- There Was a Door: Gunn isn't too receptive to the idea of a noble vampire at first. When Angel suggests an alliance, Gunn expresses his skepticism by locking him in a meat locker. Angel spends the next few minutes trying to punch his way out, only for Cordelia and Wesley to unlock the door.
- These Hands Have Killed: Angel being forced to execute Baker during a cage fight. As the crowd cheers, Angel just stares at his blood-stained hands ("The Ring").
- Faith goes a little nuts after slaying a demon assassin in Angel's basement. With what she's gone through, the last thing Faith needed to see was her hand holding a bloody knife.
- This Is Gonna Suck: After Faith drugs Angelus he is forced to relive the good acts he's done. He actually freaks out to Faith when he realizes what's coming.
- Throw It In: During Angelus' return in season 4, David Boreanaz improvised a lot of his dialogue. Also during the episode "Spin The Bottle" they had to structure a comedic bit so that Angel and Wesley didn't have to look at each other because neither actor could keep a straight face.
- Throwing the Distraction: Inverted against the heroes in "War Zone". Gunn issues the evacuation order when vampires firebomb his base. Gunn realizes only too late that it's a distraction, and that he's just sent his little sister outdoors to get chowed down on.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Played straight. Angel sure is handy with a scythe. Lindsey, on the other hand...
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: Cordelia in "Rm w/a Vu". Within a few hours, Angel's basement is covered wall-to-wall with Cordelia's trophies, there's peanut butter on his bed, his leather chair is ruined, and Cordelia is busily cutting up his linoleum floor to examine the hardwood.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: In Angel's "Smile Time" episode, from one muppet to another: "I'm gonna tear you a new puppet hole, bitch!"
- This Means War: Kate Lockely in "To Shanshu in L.A". Subverted in that Kate can't quite make up her mind about this; she and Angel share quite a few "This Means War" moments in Season 2, but always manage to bury the hatchet some way or another.
- After what Angelus did to his family, the only hatchet Holtz wants to bury is the one he can plant inside Angel's head.
- Three-Way Sex: In addition to reportedly having a herculean physique, the Immortal has the stamina of a racehorse, as Darla and Drusilla can attest. (To Spike and Angel's vast annoyance.)
- Thou Shalt Not Kill Muggles: Further deconstructed with each passing year. So, butchering hundreds of demons is okay, but a professor who feeds his students to wormholes = the angels weep?
- Subverted by Angel leaving a whole pack of Wolfram & Hart lawyers to be fed on by Darla and Dru.
- Same goes for Jasmine's pod people. Angel dutifully reminds the viewers at home that these people are under a spell, but it comes down to us vs. them... Gun injects, "Believe me, I'm there."
- An interesting footnote to Season Five: Nina winds up deeply disturbed by the lives she took while a werewolf, regardless of how depraved those people were. Angel? He's cool with it. This highlights the differences between them, as well the gradual darkening of Angel's team.
- To Create a Playground For Evil: Seemingly the Beast's motivation for blocking out the sun.
- Tomes of Prophecy and Fate: The Shanshu Prophecy.
- Too Happy to Live: A textbook example with Wesley and Fred, who get to spend approximately ten minutes of one episode as a happy couple after seasons of Will They or Won't They? before Fred is slowly and painfully killed so her body can host Illyria.
- Took a Level in Badass: Wesley, multiple times. Wesley might as well be a Trope Codifier
- Lilah too. It's easy to forget in the later seasons that she was a largely ineffective Smug Snake for the first two and half years of the show, ultimately getting a promotion only because Lindsey turned it down. It's only from season 3 on that she emerges as a genuinely dangerous and capable figure.
- Gunn as well via a mental upgrade became the go to guy in court. Able to speak multiple demon languages and knowledgable in Demon diplomacy, while still able to take multiple vampires hand to hand. Cordelia from cheerleader to Katana wielding Seer and Fred from crazy Survivor slave to flame thrower wielding bad ass scientist. Angel Investigations, you didn't need to be a Badass to work there, but it helped.
- Took a Level In Kindness: When Faith first appeared on the show she thought if she did enough damage she'd get someone to kill her. When she failed to get even Buffy to put her out of her misery Faith goes to prison for murder, where she could have easily broken out but chose to stay to get her head together. When we next see her she's a much calmer, civil chosen one, even going as far as to send Conner home rather than have him try and kill Angelus.
- Torture Always Works
- Torture Technician: Marcus the vampire is alleged to have "invented some of the classics", but he's closed-mouthed about which. ("In the Dark")
- Faith has a cute system for separating torture into five groups (àla the Food Pyramid), which Wesley gets to experience firsthand ("Five By Five").
- Angelus was pretty handy with torture devices in his day. By and large, Angel gave that habit up. In "Forgiving", though, he comes very close to torturing a captive Linwood with stuff he finds lying around the office. (This is a special case, as Angel is desperate to recover his son.)
- To Serve Man: All part of a balanced breakfast for Jasmine. Gunn lampshades this word-for-word.
- Touched by Vorlons: Happens twice to Cordelia.
- Tradesnark™: As Wesley is reading aloud from the owner's manual for Cordy's new security system, he actually recites the "TM" at the end.
- Transplant: Cordelia originally. Later to be followed by Wesley, whose arc had concluded in Buffy Season 2. Spike, who 'died' in that show's finale, promptly reappeared on Angel in its final season. (Can't keep a good Fonzie down!)
- Traumatic Superpower Awakening: "Untouched": Bethany, the girl with telekenesis, had it awakened when she was abused physically and sexually by her father. It also flared up when someone threatened her in an alley early in the ep.
- Trash the Set: Angel's Season 1 office gets dynamited, Caritas in season 3 and the Wolfram & Hart offices in seasons 4 and 5.
- True Love Is Boring: Outright stated in regards to Fred and Gunn. Possibly the case for Angel himself.
- Try Not to Die: Illyria to Gunn in the final episode.
- Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: After tracking the Mohra demon to a salt refinery silo, a (now-human) Angel tosses salt in the demon's eyes while Buffy goes for the kill. Justified in that Angel didn't have his typical vampire strength and combat ability to rely on.
- Twerp Sweating: Angel giving the third degree to Pierce, a day trader and Cordelia's date ("Bachelor Party").
- Cordy refuses to bring her next date to meet Angel, convinced he'll act like a forbidding father. But she didn't count on Phantom Dennis! When Cordy brings Wilson over to her apartment, Dennis kills the mood by slamming the front door, brightening the lights she dims, and adjusting the radio dial to blast jaunty polka ("Expecting").
- A flashback to the 18th century shows Darla introducing her beau (Angelus) to the Master. Darla tries impressing him with her boyfriend's killing record, but Angelus doesn't warm to his new father-in-law ("Darla").
- Two Guys and a Girl: The original dynamic, with Wesley taking Doyle's place mid-season.
- Two Plus Torture Makes Five: After valiantly fending off Marcus' torture in "In the Dark", Angel casually admits to Doyle that he was an inch away from spilling everything.
"I mean, one more hot poker, and I was giving him the ring, Your Mom, everything. -- How is your mom?"
- Two Roads Before You: Lindsey undergoes a crisis of conscience when asked to facilitate the deaths of three children. (Hey, Even Lawyers Have Standards.) In the end, he is faced with a choice of either taking Holland's bribe, or walking out the door. Lindsey winds up shutting the doors in front of him.
- During the S2 Darla arc, Angel tries to redeem Darla out of a misplaced sense of filial loyalty. Eventually, even Lorne warns Angel that he's about to jump the track.
- Angel is offered a choice between preventing Darla and Drusilla from killing a roomful of Wolfram & Hart employees, or simply walking away. Angel decides the lawyers made their own bed and leaves them.
- Back to Angel