|Birth||May 25, 1905|
- "God's mill may grind slowly but it grinds finely, son!"
- ―James Donnelly
James Donnelly was born in 1905 to an Irish family. In 1921, he joined the LAPD at the age of 16, and eventually became a Captain. As Captain, he presides over handling the affairs of the Homicide department and assigns detectives to various murder cases, occasionally providing background information if it is available.
Events of L.A. NoireEdit
Cole Phelps first met Cpt. Donnelly after his arrest of Edgar Kalou. Surprised that a simple Patrol officer had beaten his Homicide detectives at a murder investigation, Donnelly allowed Phelps to conduct the interrogation of Kalou. After successfully extracting a confession from Kalou, Donnelly applauded Phelps, acknowledging his efforts during the war and his show of initiative. Soon after, Donnelly requested Phelps' promotion to Detective, which resulted in his promotion to Traffic.
Partnering Phelps with Rusty Galloway and replacing retired Detective Floyd Rose, Donnelly sent the two to investigate Celine Henry's murder. Subsequent cases included the murders of Deidre Moller, Antonia Maldonado, Theresa Taraldsen and Evelyn Summers. Although the cases were successfully closed, Donnelly and Phelps began to see similarities between the murders, and how all linking to each other and to the unresolved Black Dahlia murder, though Donnelly and Rusty dismissed the similarities as acts of copycats. Impressed with their strong convictions, Donnelly praised Phelps and Galloway as his "finest crusaders".
After receiving a series of anonymous letters and retrieving Deidre Moller's rings, Donnelly and Phelps realized that they were being mocked by the Black Dahlia killer, who was ultimately responsible for the other murders. This meant that the department had arrested five innocent men, with four impending execution sentences. Donnelly warned Phelps and Galloway that their careers would be over and would have to take the blame for their wrongful convictions unless they caught the real culprit - a hypocritical statement, given that Donnelly had once pressured them for quick convictions and dismissed the Black Dahlia killer as a suspect.
Using the letters as clues, Phelps and Galloway set out to find the real killer, during which they found substantial evidence from the previous murders. The trail ultimately led them to the Christ Crown of Thorns where they found and killed Garrett Mason, the Werewolf serial killer, in a shootout. Donnelly arrived and revealed that Mason was in fact the half brother of a very powerful and undisclosed politician, hence Mason's name and acts were to be kept out of public knowledge and out of official records. However, Donnelly promised that he and the District Attorney would ensure that the previous suspects would be quietly released. With the truth quietly buried, Phelps was promoted to Vice.
Later, as Phelps was trying to close the stolen morphine case, he questioned Courtney Sheldon and Dr. Harlan Fontaine. Donnelly and William Worrell appeared and interrupted Phelps' interview, summoning him to Worrell's office where they revealed the adultery charges against him for his affair with Elsa Lichtmann. Donnelly harshly chastised Phelps, expressing disgust and disappointment.
Captain Donnelly is the feared and respected Officer-in-Charge of the Homicide desk. The tough and no-nonsense Captain has been known to push a bareknuckle enforcer’s demand for confessions and convictions, and is less concerned with playing by the book if it means getting the results he demands. To this end, he often relies on interrogation to extract confessions rather than evidence. This proves to be his downfall, as he approves convictions for five innocent suspects, and sheepishly passes the blame to his Detectives.
Donnelly professes to be a deeply religious man, and speaks frequently in poetic biblical language. But it is clear that this is a façade he uses to cloak his strict and sadistic nature under a pretense of righteousness, and as a result, he demonizes and brutalizes suspects and convicted felons. Careers are made and broken on Captain Donnelly’s word. Cole Phelps, and before him Stefan Bekowsky, were promoted to Detective through the recommendation of Donnelly.
- "The Red Lipstick Murder"
- "The Golden Butterfly"
- "The Silk Stocking Murder"
- "The White Shoe Slaying"
- "The Studio Secretary Murder"
- "The Quarter Moon Murders"
- "God's mill may grind slowly, but it grinds finely, son. I hear it's you who nabbed our malefactor from the shooting yesterday?"
- "Then tell me, boyo - I hear you're quite the climber, a man of initiative. How would you like a chance at smiting this man with the sword of justice?"
- "I am, young Phelps. You've only been with us a short time and you've assembled yourself a stellar arrest record."
- "Not to mention the fine work you did in the war sending heathens back to the hell they came from."
- "But I'm curious as to whether you can turn our hand to interrogation. Takes a certain animal cunning, lad. Do you think you might be ready for that?"
- "Good man. You need many things for a conviction, young Phelps. A motive, opportunity, hard evidence, and best of all, a confession."
- "If you fail in the former you can always use a modicum of violence to obtain the latter. How are you feeling, lad?"
- "Very good. The evidence is overwhelming. May the cat eat him and the cat be eaten by the devil. Bring me a confession, young Phelps."
- "This is your chance. Don't fail me."
- "You disappoint me, Cole Phelps. Get back in there and raise some lumps, boy. I need a confession."
- "Masterfully done, Officer Phelps. It is just 'Officer' Phelps, isn't it lad?"
- "Then let me have a word with the Chief of Police, young Phelps. The department needs heroes."
- "A shining honest face the public can admire. I applaud a man with your talent for unwavering justice."
- "Back to your duties for now, boyo."
- "But here's a piece of advice - get yourself two suits, get them pressed. You'll be needing them."
The Red Lipstick MurderEdit
- "Alright, gentlemen, take your seats. Let's get this over with before lunch."
- "Floyd Rose of the Homicide Squad has decided to take early retirement. We will all miss Floyd and the steely edge he brought to his police work."
- "The Department has arranged a wee drink at the Galway Arms to quench the mighty thirst a man gets from 25 years of police work."
- "Floyd's departure leaves a place at the top table and the Chief has seen fit to promote Cole Phelps from Burglary to the Homicide Desk.
- "Stand up, Phelps. Take a cheer. Your in the major leagues now, sonny."
- "Rusty Galloway, a fine lawman of the old school, will be taking you under his wing."
- "Your first case is the murder of a woman, found dead last night and bearing all the signs of The Werewolf. Get out to the scene, lads."
- "I have nothing more to say, Detective."
- "Are you questioning my judgement, Cole Phelps?"
- "Good. I thought not."
- "Jacob Henry is a sob sister, pushed around by his wife. I think with the right kind of persuasion he might be prepared to seek absolution."
- "Are you prepared to show him the error of his ways, young Phelps?"
- "Rusty is a practical policeman. A bird in hand is always worth two in the bush."
- "Let's liberate a confession from poor Jacob and the public will sleep easier tonight. Run alng now, Phelps. I've warmed him up nicely for you."
- "Phelps. You've failed me, son."
- "I hope so, Phelps. I really hope so. I'm deeply disturbed by your style of police work."
- "You did a grand job, lads. Phelps, that's quite a way to acquit yourself in your first outing as a Homicide investigator."
- "It seems this city has a new and vengeful guardian."
- "Considering the evidence against your suspect, and the thoroughness with which your report was compiled, I foresee a safe passage through the courts, and the DA agrees with me."
- "Brutality on a scale such as this deserves retribution. The people and the press of this city demand it."
The Golden ButterflyEdit
- "Now boys, boys, you know as much as I do. I'll be holding a press conference once the autopsy has been completed."
- "I have two of my finest investigators on the case, fresh from bringing down the sword of justice on the crazed sex fiend, Alonzo Mendez."
- "Boys, boys, be sensible. We have the greatest police force in all the world with the greatest scientific investigators at our disposal. How can any killer continue to beat that?"
- "Be advised, we keep the gas chamber at San Quentin primed for the sons of Cain who continue to believe they can take a life in the City of Angels."
- "Run along, boys, and let these officers get to work. We have God's work to do here and it can't be delayed."
- "Another woman sacrificed. Speak to Carruthers. I want daily reports, gentlemen."
- "Yes, Phelps. I know. This particular fiend is an old aquaintance. I have tried to reaffirm his belief in a wrathful and terrible God."
- "Whichever way it goes, I'll be dealing personally with him."
- "Ah Phelps, Galloway. Congratulations are at hand. Drink, boys? I think you'll receive a commendation for this one, gentlemen."
- "In the meantime, I'll speak to the DA about expediting the passage of the case. We need swift and merciless justice for poor Deidre."
- "I have to say I'm disappointed. I stood in front of a troupe of reporters and made promises - promises of swift and fearful retribution - and you bring me an armful of vagary and happenstance."
- "You made the department look bad, lad. Do it again and your career as a policeman will come to an abrupt and ignominious end. You two are back on the streets. Find street criminals."
- "Roust them, beat them and restore some fervor to your police work."
- "Your next case will come when you've revived my faith in your abilities. Now get out of here."
The Silk Stocking MurdersEdit
- "Ah, Phelps. I was just discussing with Finbarr here how well you were doing. Have a seat."
- "You boys have a new case. A poor Hispanic woman murdered near City Hall and left naked in an alleyway."
- "Yes. We seem to have had quite a run of them since the Dahlia fiend first struck..."
- "Well, young Phelps, you win some and you lose some in your police work."
- "Over the moon, boys. The DA couldn't be more pleased with the evidence, the witness, and the lack of an alibi. Now... get out there and catch me another sinner."
- "Boys - come on in. Phelps, have you met Finis Brown?"
- "You see, Finis? I told you this lad was a bright boy."
- "He could have got the wording from the papers. As you said, he is fiendishly clever and takes pleasure in taunting us."
- "What's happening with the Maldonado case?"
- "Well upstairs then, lads, and see if we can break him."
- "Outstanding job on this case, gentlemen. The poor woman can now rest in peace."
- "I'll pay thr fiend a personal visit myself, and remind him that crime in this city does not go unpunished."
- "When they've finished with him at the Receiving Hospital we'll have him up before the Grand Jury. I have a meeting this afternoon with the Mayor, lads. I'll be sure to mention your names. Now, on your way."
The White Shoe SlayingEdit
- "Good morning, gentlemen. And what a grand morning it is, too. We have just cause for celebration."
- "Galloway and Phelps are sending another fiend to San Quentin. A nice showy trial and he'll be strapped down with gas seeping into his tiny reptile brain."
- "Now, to fresh business. Galloway and Phelps, the task is at hand. The address is on the hill, North Downtown off Fremont Avenue."
- "Now, boys, we all know how many imbeciles have confessed in the Short case."
- "A man down on his luck I can abide, but a filthy red who chooses to live outside the rules of society I cannot stomach."
- "Maybe poor Theresa Taraldsen will provide the catalyst we need. I've spoken to the Chief and the Mayor, and I think it's time we sent some men in to remove the godless and send them on their way over the county line."
- "A grand day that will be, gentlemen, and a grand result you have brought me. You two are fast becoming my finest crusaders."
The Studio Secretary MurderEdit
- "Of course we will look into it... yes, I'm aware that it's an election year... keep a hold of your hat, Counselor. Now is not the time to lose your nerve."
- "It would appear that someone has hocked a rose gold wedding ring and matching engagement ring. Sound familiar?"
- "Press the pawnbroker and see what you can find out. The address is 348 South Main Street."
- "The Moller case goes before the Grand Jury Next week and the DA does not want any egg on his face."
- "And then get out to the railroad depot on Santa Fe Avenue."
- "We have another poor unfortunate, found this morning beside a railroad line. Fourty year old white woman."
- "Ray and Mal have some concerns over the Henry and Moller cases, which I don't want aired outside of this room."
- "I agree, Rusty. It's just that corpses keep piling up."
- "I've been banging the same drum. But the notes and the lipstick messages..."
- "Keep this under your hat for now and follow up on Evelyn Summers. I want daily reports."
- "Congratulations, boys, you've bagged a fine catch. Another Red to boot. Grand."
- "Now, I want you to put this business about a repeat offender out of your mind."
- "This McCaffery creature shows no remorse and neither will the Grand Jury."
- "You would have to walk a long mile to find a better candidate for an unmarked plot in the prison graveyard."
The Quarter Moon MurdersEdit
- "Well done, lads. You did well with the Summers case. But we have a problem."
- "The Examiner received a new letter today."
- "But where does that leave us?"
- "If this is the Dahlia killer and he is responsible for the Taraldsen murder, not to mention the Moller case..."
- "Let me finish, Rusty."
- "We have five birds in the hand and none in the bush."
- "The Department will not survive the scandal if we have to let them all go without catching a fiend first."
- "Your careers would be over for a start, gentlemen."
- "A what?"
- "Are you finished?"
- "Good, because there won't be any press briefings or commendations."
- "You got no one. Mason was a ghost."
- "Mason is the half brother of one of the most highly elected officials in this county."
- "Beyond the moon for mere mortals like us, Rusty."
- "There'll be no more mention of him."
- "The city owes you both, but there'll be no mileage in ever bringging this up again."
- "A bit of missing evidence at the Grand Jury."
- "A prodecural error here, a mistake there. They'll all be quietly let go."
- "The DA knows how he'll have to play it."
- "I'm afraid it is."
- "And I have some news for you, Phelps."
- "No more rooting around in the entrails of cadavers and corpses for you."
- "The head of Vice has asked the Chief for you."
- "I'm reluctant to see you go to the glory boys of Ad Vice, but my hands are tied."
- "Go home to that lovely wife of yours and celebrate your promotion."
- Donnelly appears to be modelled after Dudley Smith from James Ellroy's "L.A. Quartet" series. Smith was also the head of Homicide and was Irish. Both are self-serving political climbers. Smith was also corrupt; a trait which is, to an extent, also shared with Donnelly.
- An unusual aspect of Donnelly's character is his penchant for speaking in poetic phrases. This spoofs similar characters in film and television (particularly cops of Irish ancestry) who speak in the same manner.
- Donnelly has shown he is not against breaking the law, as in "The Silk Stocking Murder". After Donnelly congratulates Phelps on finishing the case, he steals a crate of liquor from the Just Picked Fruit Market.
- In game subtitles have his surname misspelled as "Donnely", or "Donelly". This is first seen in "The Red Lipstick Murder" when Cole Phelps is on the phone with R&I.
- In game subtitles during the case "The Silk Stocking Murder", they also misspell his name as "Donelly". It is seen when Phelps and Galloway get a request to return to Central to see the new Dahlia letter and the first Shelley poem.
- Despite being his superior officer, Donnelly is younger than Rusty Galloway.
- In the opening of "The Studio Secretary Murder", Donnelly is seen occupying Gordon Leary's office, rather than his own office.