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Bill McDonagh
Ryan nationalized Fontaine Futuristics -- he owns it now, lock, stock and barrel. "For the good of the city," he says. He'll break it up in due time, he says. I've resigned from the council and lodged me letter of protest, but that's just pissing in the wind. It'll be war, I say… unless somebody stops Ryan and right fast.
― Bill McDonagh[src]

Bill McDonagh, the general contractor in Rapture under Andrew Ryan, was a man of strong hands and a stronger Cockney accent. A well-meaning man who believed in the promise of Rapture, he provided much of the expertise and labor necessary to build the city. McDonagh is also the protagonist of the novel BioShock: Rapture.



Life on the Surface[]

The following is based on the BioShock: Rapture novel and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

McDonagh grew up on Cheapside street in London, and worked his way through the East London School of Engineering and Mechanical Vocation. With the outbreak of World War II, McDonagh enlisted in the Royal Air Force and helped to drive back the Luftwaffe during the Blitz. After the war, he moved to America, believing it to be the place where a man can rise to the top. There he started working for Bud Chinowski as a plumbing contractor, hoping to one day be able to found his own plumbing company.[2]

End of information based on the BioShock: Rapture novel.

He first met Ryan while he was repairing the fixtures in the bathrooms of Ryan's New York suite. Ryan asked why McDonagh was using brass fixtures instead of the tin ones that were arranged with the contractor, and McDonagh replied that he would pick up the cost of the fixtures, as a point of personal pride being that none of his work had ever leaked. Impressed, Ryan made him general contractor.[3] When McDonagh moved to Rapture his disappearance was noted by his nephew Flann McDonagh.[1]

Life in Rapture[]

McDonagh was one of Rapture's City Council members, possibly because of his close friendship with Ryan or because of his great influence in building and maintaining the city. McDonagh was often called on for maintenance in various parts of the city, including problems with the pipes in Arcadia, the Medical Pavilion and Dionysus Park.[4][5]

McDonagh displayed a more realistic outlook than Ryan when it came to upkeep of the city. He attempted to lessen the unrest amongst the poor population by getting Ryan to agree to a series of debates with Sofia Lamb. Unfortunately, this did not have the intended effect and only made Ryan's political situation worse.[6] McDonagh was also the first of the council to realize that things were getting out of control with Fontaine's Plasmid business and Fontaine's Home for the Poor. He tried to tell Ryan that real grievances did exist among Fontaine's followers, due in strong part to the excesses and philosophy of Ryan himself.[7]

After Fontaine was supposedly killed in a shootout with Ryan's security forces, McDonagh urged Ryan to prevent any further unrest by dealing with the matter equitably.[8] However, Ryan ignored his advice, nationalizing Fontaine Futuristics and contradicting all of his philosophies against "Big Government" in the process. This upset McDonagh so much that he resigned his position on the city council in protest.[9]

As the situation in Rapture worsened, McDonagh realized that the Civil War would not end until Ryan was dead. In order to save his beloved city he decided to kill Ryan.[10] Ultimately, he was unsuccessful. Bill McDonagh was killed and his body was impaled on a pillar outside of Andrew Ryan's office in Rapture Central Control after he turned on Ryan in an attempt to prevent the chaos from growing worse.


Main article: BioShock

Reaching Hephaestus, Jack finds McDonagh's corpse, hung up in Ryan's Trophy Hall after his failed assassination attempt, along with six other men and women, including Anya Andersdotter.

BioShock 2[]

Main article: BioShock 2

Bill McDonagh is mentioned by Andrew Ryan and Kate O'Malley in the Audio Diaries: "Pauper's Drop" and "Dionysus Park's Weakness".

Burial at Sea - Episode 1[]

Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 1

An altered version of Bill McDonagh's audio diary portrait is briefly seen in the Need to Know Theater: "Taking the Taint Out of Fontaine", among the rest of the Council.

Audio Diaries[]


Behind the Scenes[]

  • It is stated in the novel BioShock: Rapture that Bill is the owner of the Fighting McDonagh's tavern. He named it after his father, who had been a boxer in his youth.
  • Ken Levine, the director of BioShock,[11] stated Bill McDonagh in a way represented Ryan's conscience in the game.[12] Levine also stated that Bill McDonagh's storyline is intended to show the point of view of the Civil War from Ryan's side, while Diane McClintock's storyline shows it from Atlas' side.[13]
  • Bill McDonagh shares his last name with Joe McDonagh, a writer on BioShock and part of its marketing and public relation support team.[14] Joe McDonagh also helped naming the Big Daddy and Little Sister characters.[15]
  • Bill McDonagh has two portraits in-game: his audio diary photo of him wearing a collar shirt, and a photo of him wearing a suit, seen during the loading screens of BioShock on the PlayStation 3 and in the Need to Know Theater "Taking the Taint Out of Fontaine" in Burial at Sea - Episode 1.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Monthly Undergrounder newspaper article: In The Bag
  2. BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 1
  3. Bill McDonagh's Audio Diary: Meeting Ryan
  4. Bill McDonagh's Audio Diaries: Eden Leaking & Freezing Pipes
  5. Kate O'Malley's Audio Diary: Dionysus Park's Weakness
  6. Andrew Ryan's Audio Diary: Pauper's Drop
  7. Bill McDonagh's Audio Diary: Rapture Changing
  8. Bill McDonagh's Audio Diary: Genetic Arms Race
  9. Bill McDonagh's Audio Diary: Ryan Takes F Futuristics
  10. Bill McDonagh's Audio Diary: Stopping Ryan
  11. Ken Levine on Wikipedia
  12. Gamespot Interview with Ken Levine
  13. Ken Levine on BioShock: The Spoiler Interview on Shacknews
  14. BioShock Credits
  15. Joe McDonagh on Twitter