"There will be trouble, cause I'll make it." - Burke Devlin
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Maine, New England, USA
Unnamed father Unnamed mother
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Burke Devlin was born and raised in Collinsport, Maine in the 1930s (13). His family was very poor and he grew up in a shack by the water, hating Collinsport (4, 11). His father scrounged for work repairing lobster pots or whatever work he could find (11). Burke had a dog who would hide under the bed when it stormed (30).
Burke's father was very strict and once beat him so hard for running away, his hands were raw for two weeks. Burke had gotten on a coastal freighter to Boston and on board, he got so sea-sick he thought he was going to die (30). Another time, Burke used his favorite pipe for soap bubbles, infuriating him. He later bought Burke an actual soap pipe to use instead (29).
Unable to resist the temptation of a real haunted house in his home-town, Burke went up to the mysterious Collinwood at the age of ten to look for ghosts. He never found any, but wandering the halls of the west wing, he was caught and spanked for snooping around in someone else's house (3, 7).
As a schoolboy, Burke never had time for books, a fact which he would later rectify as an adult (38).
Burke always loved money. He used to roam the streets of Collinsport looking for empty bottles. He built his first fortune this way; 40¢ in five hours (10).
One day in 1957, Burke was driving with Roger and Laura in a car that hit and killed a man (7, 43, The Flip Side). Roger testified in court that Burke was driving the car and the jury convicted Burke of manslaughter, sending him to prison for five years (13, 17). Also at the trial was Doctor Reeves. Burke immediately lost his cool and began threatening to kill Roger. He swore he'd come back to Collinsport and take everything the Collins' owned (21, 24).
Prior to the trial, Sam Evans had been doing a portrait of Burke, but it was interrupted and never to be finished (7). Burke and Laura had been dating at the time of the trial, but the day after his conviction, she married Roger Collins and they moved to Augusta (13).
Burke wrote several letters to Sam from prison, but never got a response (22).
Burke was released on good behavior after five years, and traveled all over the world (11). He spent some time in Norway (65) and saw the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (86). In a filthy bar in Montevideo, a character approached his table and made him a proposition to make some money. Without thinking about it, Burke jumped at the opportunity and soon began building himself a fortune, a process which involved taking many risks (3, 24, And Red All Over...). By 1966, he was running his own investment company in New York, buying into outfits and selling them for a profit (28).
Return to Collinsport
On his second night in town, Carolyn Stoddard came up to visit him and later brought him back home to patch things up with Roger (10). At Collinwood, Burke insisted that he only came back to town for a few days and held no grudge against Roger or his family. Before leaving, Burke asked Roger to meet him at the Blue Whale later, to discuss a business deal. Burke next went out to the garage to look at Roger's car, as he was debating buying one just like it. Victoria Winters found him here holding a wrench he'd found on the front seat (13). This scene would later prove incriminating as Roger's car crashed that night due to sabotage, and Burke was the prime suspect (15). Burke later discovered that David had caused the accident, and the Collins family dropped the issue immediately thereafter (29, 32).
Knowing that Sam knew something about his manslaughter charge, Burke commissioned him to paint a portrait of him (which he'd hoped to hang above the Collinwood mantle someday) in order to extract information from him. He offered Sam $1,000 and with the persuasion of Maggie, he agreed to do it (22). Sam later tried to talk Burke out of the commission, but Burke insisted and upped the price to $1,500, at which point Sam reluctantly agreed once more (35).
Despite openly denying it at first, Burke did, in fact, return to Collinsport for revenge on the Collins family (1). He'd had his banker Stuart Bronson preparing a report on the family's financial situation for about a month (27). He'd also hired a private investigator, Wilbur Strake to report more general information on the entire town of Collinsport as well as Collinwood's newly-hired governess Victoria Winters (1, 8).
Burke's plan included purchasing a rival cannery in Logansport and putting the Collinses out of business, as well as planning to exploit any financial weaknesses that they might have (27). Meeting with Bronson's partner James Blair in Bangor, he put forth a plan to buy up the notes and mortgages unpaid by the Collins family (42).
Burke finally got a confession from the witness Sam Evans. They confronted Roger in front of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. (201). Burke halted his plans for revenge because of the satisfaction from Roger's humiliation. Burke also became concerned about whenever the Collins family was put in danger, particularly the welfare of Victoria Winters and David Collins. His new enemies became mutual enemies Matthew Morgan and initially Willie Loomis.
Burke met Victoria Winters at the Collinsport train station on the night of his return to town. He was immediately attracted to her and when he found out she was headed up to Collinwood to work, he advised her to return to New York (1).
Victoria would often find herself torn between the charming and, at least towards her, caring Burke and her obligations to the Collins family. As other more supernatural events threatened Victoria Winters, David Collins, and the rest of the people living at Collinwood, Burke's relationship with Victoria became more intimate resulting in at least one kiss (114). As Burke's anger towards the family appeared to cool and the family grew less antagonistic to the concept, Victoria and Burke saw each other more frequently for dinners and other social outings.
Much of Burke Devlin and Vicki's early bond was formed over a mutual concern for young David Collins.
After dating awhile, and competing with Barnabas for Vicki's attention. Barnabas harbored a deeply seated resentment constantly comparing him to Jeremiah Collins his uncle.
Burke asked Vicki to marry him (300). Eventually, Burke and Vicki became engaged. They were planning their wedding and anticipating moving into a house near the sea when Burke's plane crashed near Belém, Brazil while he was on a business trip (345). Despite Vicki clinging to hope he had survived, the wreckage was eventually located with no survivors, the bodies burned beyond recognition (364).
Five years in prison had a partially positive effect on Burke. He displayed confidence and drive in both his personal and business interests. Burke also displayed a short temper, and had scuffles with both Joe Haskell and Willie Loomis over Carolyn and Maggie respectively.
Meeting Victoria Winters caused many changes in Burke. Slowly he let go of his vendetta against the Collins Family. Even while in relationship with Carolyn, he displayed a devotion towards Vicki. Over time, as his relationship with Vicki progressed, he became far more sensitive.
Burke suspected that he was the biological father of David Collins, by his former girlfriend, Laura Collins. David's father, Roger Collins also suspected this (32). David's resemblance to earlier Collins ancestors has been listed as potential proof of his paternity; however, the question has never been fully resolved.
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- Burke Devlin was also the name of the reporter played by Rock Hudson in 1957's Universal picture The Tarnished Angels.