Born in 1904, Elizabeth Johnson is a 112-year-old creature as glamorous as she is deadly, who sustains herself with a healthy diet of sex and blood. She kills with her very fashionable, and very sharp, chain mail glove. She has owned and resided at the hotel for decades.
In 1925, while trying to become a famous actress, Elizabeth met Hollywood actor Rudolph Valentino and his wife Natacha Rambova, with whom she began a secret polyamorous relationship. Engaged in the romance of a lifetime, Elizabeth fell deeply in love with them, and was able to explore her pansexuality at a time in which it was considered unacceptable. Tragically, while attending the eve of the Hotel Cortez's grand opening, Elizabeth bared witness to the report that Rudolph had died, with Natacha having disappeared during his funeral. Devastated, Elizabeth almost threw herself to her death out of a hallway window but was saved by James Patrick March, who became instantly smitten with her. Shortly after, Elizabeth and James were married, but the marriage was not one of love, as Elizabeth only married him as a means of acquiring wealth since she could no longer be with Rudolph.
Concurrently, she visited Rudolph's tomb daily for months, leaving behind a single red rose in front of his epitaph as the mysterious "Woman in Black" of tabloid news. While continuing this routine, she was one day again met by Natacha, who revealed that Rudolph was still alive. After explaining that he had faked his death as a result of acquiring vampirism, which allowed him the opportunity to start his life anew, Rudolph afflicted Elizabeth as well so that they could run away together. Unfortunately, Rudolph and Natacha were beaten and kidnapped by James March, who sealed them in a wall of the hotel so that Elizabeth would believe they had abandoned her, forcing her to stay as James's wife.
In 1926, Elizabeth discovered she was pregnant with James's child prior to being turned into a vampire and, wanting to end the pregnancy, visited Dr. Charles Montgomery at the Murder House to ask for an abortion which would end unsuccessfully, culminating in the birth of Bartholomew, a disfigured child trapped in a perpetual state of infancy. In the 1970s she was fond of roaming LA's discotheques, wherein vampires could feed openly upon one another. In 1977, Elizabeth met Ramona Royale at the hotel and began a sexual relationship with her, promising that they would be together forever. However as years progressed, they drifted apart, and eventually Ramona found a man that she thought to be the love of her life, upcoming rapper Prophet Moses, whom she afflicted. When Elizabeth found out, she killed him and broke Ramona's heart, which made her bent on getting revenge.
In the 1980s, Nick Pryor checked into the Cortez as a man and Elizabeth helped her to come out to the world as a trans woman, christening her "Liz Taylor". In 1994, Elizabeth "turned" a young man dying of a heroin overdose and took him as her lover of the next twenty years, and made his mother the hotel's manager. In 2008, Elizabeth decided to make more money thanks to accountant Bernie Madoff, whom friends had recommended. After he was sent to prison for fraud, Elizabeth lost her material riches. In 2010, at a carnival in Santa Monica, Elizabeth took Holden, leading his parents to believe that he had been kidnapped or even killed. Various other towheaded children were captured and afflicted by Elizabeth as well, living in the hotel to serve as a healthy source of blood.
Personality and Appearance
Fashionable and stunningly beautiful, Elizabeth is both complex and emotionally layered, having existed for a little over a century in an ever-evolving world of tragedy and decadence; a world that in equal measure has both created and controlled her. Cultured in all manner of art, music, literature, and high-end couture, Elizabeth lives out her immortal life on a thin veil between the affluent wealth of her past and the bizarre, otherworldly circumstances of her haunted abode. Relishing in her guise of a radiant, mysterious woman, Elizabeth captivates the hearts of unwary victims she lures to the peculiar depths of the Hotel Cortez - her home amongst the shadows, where she and her vampiric brethren can feast openly on human blood.
On the outside, Elizabeth appears nonchalant and cold, displaying a masterful personality that is exceedingly manipulative in the face of those she sees as useful to her goals, using her attractive appearance and sexual appetite to bend others to her will. She neglects to reveal her true nature to others until the time is right, waiting for the perfect moment to kill or dispose of those with value while simultaneously playing the role of an alluring, fascinating woman. She does not like to share what is hers, becoming violent in the face of those who choose to oppose her via threatening or murdering them, particularly when their demise allows her a valuable opportunity to attain something she has her sights on. She compares feeding on her victims as little more than a "night out", implying that she enjoys her insatiable thirst for blood and does not consider the process of killing and feeding on humans as immoral, even attending an art gallery and fashion show for what she excitedly describes as "the hunt". She has no qualms in feeding on children as well, though she does not believe in killing them, preferring instead to make them "blood relatives" and feed on a limited amount of their blood at any given time. This indifference to mortals, having become a vital necessity in the hematophagy that allows her to retain her eternal youth, may have developed in her marriage to James Patrick March, during which she cultivated a gruesome fondness for hearing the screams of his victims opposed to them being silenced.
Despite the needs of her vampirism and her past betrothal to a serial killer, Elizabeth is not an inherently malevolent person, and feels many more emotions than she lets on. She has lived through what would be multiple lifetimes for a mortal; lifetimes of loss and grief, which has made her appear outwardly controlling and emotionless despite her inner bereavement. Because of this, she states that her heart must be "a few karats at this point" and that "there is room there for very little, so what still fits inside means more to me than ever. It means everything". Consequently, she hardly expresses any emotions other than the love she shares for her afflicted family, and for what she describes as the "glorious virus" itself. She has a profound compassion for those who have been discarded and abused, outcasted and shunned by the rest of society until she adopted them as her own, granting them the gift of eternal life. Upon taking them in, she feeds them her blood to ensure that they will never again be at the mercy of those who would choose to do them harm, nor grow out of the innocence they lose as adults. When Alex Lowe asks her why she stole her son, Elizabeth responds, "I saved him, like I save all my children". When Alex asks her what she saves them from, she states "Neglect. I could see where they were headed. A tragic, wasted life. I opened my heart and the children came to me willingly. I brought them here to keep them safe. The world can be such a dangerous place."
For those whom she afflicts with the virus to take as lovers, however, there is a price to this affection. In the words of Tristan, she is addicts the attractive to "the light of [her] love", infecting beautiful individuals with vampirism to preserve their looks and take them as her romantic partners, offering them a glorious eternal life with one very simple condition: that they promise to love only her. For a long while, so long as this condition is followed through, Elizabeth keeps true to her promises, indulging her lovers in her own grand lifestyle of fashionable clothes, expensive accessories, opulent parties, and her advanced knowledge of culture and design, all while they reside with her amongst the luxuries of her penthouse and make constant intimacy. As time passes and years go by, however, Elizabeth begins to grow disinterested and distant, treating them as little more than outdated objects which no longer satisfy her needs, culminating in her breaking her promises. After growing bored of them, she tosses them away after a certain period of time, shutting them out even when they still love her. She states upon breaking up with Donovan and replacing him with Tristan, "It isn't our precious virus that makes you. It isn't who you kill or who you screw. It's the heartbreaks. Bigger, the better. I know better than any of us."
While these actions are undoubtedly cruel and unfair, they are not without reason; everything Elizabeth does strongly reflects the relationship she shared with Rudolph Valentino in the 1920s, which left a scar on her emotions that affected her for the rest of her life.
Before she was 'The Countess', before the unfortunate circumstances that would befall her and change who she was, before there arrived all that would break and bend her into the icy inhuman matriarch of the Hotel Cortez, she was a very different woman once. Long ago, exactly 110 years past, she was a normal human being; a kind, optimistic woman with a quirky charm and big dreams for the future; a future where, more than anything, she sought to make her mark upon the world and rise above the time period from which she was born. She wanted to be different from the other women of her generation, seeking a life greater than what was expected of her. She chose to become an actress in order to create her own legacy, feeling that the "flickers" (or films) were the future. Deeply engaging and blissfully inexperienced at the world all around her, Elizabeth's bubbly, free-spirited personality attracted the attention of all those who knew her, and she valued and respected them with innocent kindness. She first met Rudolph Valentino on the set of The Son of the Sheik, from which she was a background costar alongside her close friend and confidant, Margaret Gibson. She felt the bliss of a crush for Rudolph that he, in turn, deeply reciprocated, and on the night he invited her to his home they spoke in the language of dance, moving their bodies in tandem. To Elizabeth's surprise and disappointment, this dance was interrupted by the cold stare of Natacha Rambova, Rudolph's wife, who was not truly divorcing Rudolph but pretended as such in the eye of the media, as to avoid the constant scrutiny of the news. Despite her discomfort at Natacha's demeaning rudeness, from which she earned the nickname "little mouse", both Natacha and Rudolph brought Elizabeth all the comforts and sensations of her suppressed bisexuality, engaging her in her first sexual experiences. During the events of a long summer, both Rudolph and Natacha showed Elizabeth a whole new world, opening up incredible things in her that were more wonderful than she ever could have imagined, and because of this, she began to fall in love with both of them. For the first time, Elizabeth finally had the exciting new life of romance, pleasure, and success she had always dreamt of, but as she would state later in life, she only loved Natacha because Rudolph did.
When Rudolph was reported dead, Elizabeth's hopes and dreams for the future were shattered, and in devastation, she nearly killed herself on the night she became aware of his passing. All that had brought her joy, all that had made her feel truly accepted and desired, all that had shown her things about herself that were not considered appropriate for her time - was gone, and she felt more alone in the world than ever before. She wanted to die, hoping to rejoin her beloved Rudolph in death, since she could know no further happiness or compliance in life as she did in his arms, fearing her existence as a bisexual woman living in a constricted, judgmental era. Unfortunately, she was saved by James Patrick March, and she decided that if she were to live the rest of her life in grief, she would acquire wealth, surrounding herself with beautiful things since she could not have love. But she never forgot Rudolph, and in honor of his death she dyed her hair platinum blonde and visited his tomb every day to place a single rose at his grave, mourning his death beneath a veil that shrouded her tears. Married to a man she did not truly love, Elizabeth's sorrows would only grow upon realizing that her husband was a serial killer, and the moment she saw him hacking the body parts of a destitute beggar in a bathtub, she knew she made a mistake, trapping herself in a disturbing life of lovelessness, gore, and grief. She had to become cunning while in the company of her husband, conniving that he should murder those with jewels and money to support them both, forcing herself not to feel to appease his mental instability and wrap him around her finger - all while watching and listening to his murders. As time passed and Elizabeth's heart hardened, she slowly became used to her husband's psychopathic behavior, and became so enraptured by the darkness she felt in him that she lost the light in herself that once made her so endearing.
When Rudolph and Natacha finally arrived back in her life again, she thought she had found an escape from her living nightmare and admitted that it was thinking of her love for them that kept her alive. They turned her into a vampire, promising that they would be together for all of eternity. They cared for her enough to come back for her, and they talked about their future life together, restoring Elizabeth's hopes for a life of love and affection over money and influence. The day they told her to meet them at the train station to begin their new life, however, is the day that everything changed. Elizabeth waited for them, her mouth curved in a smile of new hopes, new dreams, a new existence. Seconds of anticipation grew to minutes, minutes grew to hours, and eventually, hours grew to the day's end, and both Natacha and Rudolph never came for her. They both just left without her; just disappeared, with no way to contact them - just gone. For so long, she waited for them, tried to reach out to them, tried to find where they went, why they left her behind, but to no avail. In all the years of her immortal existence, Elizabeth has since wondered if the love between them was just a lie, if they just made her fall in love because they could, because they knew they could make promises they had no intention of keeping. She wonders if they played with her emotions, if anything between them was truly genuine, if they led her on and toyed with her feelings right from the beginning. She wonders if it was her own fault, too - wonders if she cared too much, loved too deeply, clung too tightly. But she'll never know. She'll live her endless life always wondering, always heartbroken, never to receive the closure she so desperately needs. And she will continue to repeat onto others what was done to herself, dooming her lovers to feel as she does for all of eternity.
Elizabeth and Donovan go to a cemetery, where they find and seduce another attractive couple at a movie screening of Nosferatu. They take them to the hotel, and after feigning the beginning of a foursome, kill the other couple and feast upon their blood. Unbeknownst to any staff or resident, Elizabeth put the hotel on the market some time ago, having invited Will Drake to check it out the following morning. She takes Will's son, Lachlan, to a seemingly normal wall in one of the hotel's hallways, revealing a secret passage leading to a game room - the place where she keeps her bloodsucking children, which she presents to Holden.
While attending Will Drake's fashion show/party at the hotel, Elizabeth takes an interest in the cocky male model Tristan Duffy. After going on a crazed search for drugs in the hotel, during which he becomes disturbed by the hotel's supernatural phenomena, he is hunted down by Elizabeth, who feeds him her own blood, thus afflicting him with the virus. She takes him to her suite and, while engaging in a passionate night with him, instructs him on the rules of being one of her kind. The following morning, she breaks off her relationship with Donovan, who is shocked and crestfallen at this sudden behavior. He reminds Elizabeth that upon her first turning him it was one of the most spiritual connections with another person she had ever had, but Elizabeth coldly responds that her turning Tristan was one of the most erotic. Donovan tells her he loves her and doesn't want for them to be apart, but Elizabeth responds that she wants him to get his things and leave.
When Tristan finds out that Will Drake wants to tear down a whole floor of the hotel, he decides to kill him, but his plans are cancelled by Elizabeth, who wants to marry Will because of his money. She invites Will to dinner and serves him a glass of wine, mentioning that "Will Drake must die" as she seduces him, though Will mistakes her as meaning he needs to reinvent himself to the public after his extended period outside the fashion industry. Despite Will identifying as gay, he is turned on by Elizabeth, only for Tristan to burst in on them in a jealous rage, causing Elizabeth to leave in annoyance. At the bar, she tells Tristan about her plans, and the two smile maliciously.
When Alex Lowe finds her long-lost son Holden at the hotel, she takes him home. Holden states that he is thirsty, so Alex brings him a glass of juice from the kitchen, only to find him drinking the blood of the family dog. He asks her to take him back to his "other mommy". He leads Alex back to the hotel, taking her to the empty indoor pool where Elizabeth's children sleep in glass coffins. The Countess appears behind Alex, stating that she knows Alex has many questions; questions the vampire has answers to. After sitting down in her penthouse with the mortal, Elizabeth tells Alex that Holden has been afflicted with a "glorious" virus, stating that the world is a dangerous place for children. After offering to "turn" Alex as well so that she could be with her child forever, with the condition that Alex would be her subordinate, Alex pulls a gun from her purse and threatens to kill Elizabeth. Tristan shows up and intervenes, smacking Alex to the floor and crushing her head with his foot. This scares Alex and she leaves, but she decides to come back to the hotel by nightfall to be with her son. Elizabeth gives her the ancient blood virus by slicing her own breast, influencing Alex to drink the blood running from it. She tells her that she will feel like she is dying, and that perhaps she is, but informs her that once the virus infects her, glorious immortality awaits.
After his breakup with Elizabeth, Donovan feels alone in the world and, despite his resentment toward Iris, realizes in a conversation with Liz Taylor that regardless of his mother's shortcomings, she truly loves him. After nearly finding her dead due to her attempt to commit suicide, Donovan inflicts her with vampirism, and together they team up with Ramona Royale to get revenge on Elizabeth, planning to use Iris to get into the Cortez. Nervous at the potential of the Countess noticing that she has the virus, Iris's deteriorating health and pale skin pallor catches Elizabeth's attention when she arrives at the lobby, dressed as Marie Antoinette for a Halloween party with Tristan. After a short talk with Iris, Elizabeth leaves without learning anything about Iris's condition. At some point in the day, Elizabeth reunites Alex with Holden and purchases a big glass coffin to put in the indoor pool for both to sleep in together.
Elizabeth has sex with Will Drake in an attempt to make him fall in love with her; as Will is gay, however, he cannot climax to a woman, so Elizabeth demands Tristan continue with the act in her place. She is invited to go on a vacation to Paris with Will and Lachlan, and she agrees. She goes to Room 33 to say goodbye to her son Bartholomew. After she is gone, Ramona tries to kill Bartholomew to get revenge on Elizabeth, but she is scratched and leaves without closing the door, allowing the Countess's unnatural offspring to escape by crawling into a disoriented John's luggage.
When The Countess comes back, she leaves Will to rest with his son and sees Liz Taylor, who admits to having an affair with Tristan. Feigning calmness, Elizabeth calls a meeting with Tristan and Liz in a hotel room and, after being asked by the two if they can be together, furiously slices Tristan's throat. She coldly tells a devastated Liz that Tristan is hers, but hers to bury. After going to see Bartholomew, she finds the door open and Alex holding him inside. Alex tells her that Bartholomew had escaped and arrived at the Lowe's family home, where Alex found him injured in the grass and brought him back to the Cortez, patching his wounds. Elizabeth cries softly to herself as she takes him in her hands and puts him to sleep.
Furious that Bartholomew escaped his confines, Elizabeth arrives at Room 55 during the early hours of the morning, throwing the window curtains back so that sunlight awakens Iris from her sleep. She demands to know how Bartholomew managed to escape his room, enraged that Iris has neglected her duty to watch her child. Elizabeth swears that if Iris refuses to tell her who released Bartholomew, she will threaten the life of Donovan. Iris, frightened by the Countess, reveals that Ramona Royale is responsible, having returned to the Hotel Cortez to get revenge.
One of the hotel's greatest secrets is revealed when Will Drake starts his renovations. A secret hallway that has been closed for years has been opened and has set free unknown creatures who kill the workers. When Elizabeth comes to check out the place, Iris says that she has never seen her so scared before. Elizabeth asks James if they can host their monthly dinner a week earlier because she has something that she wants to tell him in person, and he agrees. She comes to his room and reveals that she plans to marry again - this time to Will Drake. James is pleased by this fact and asks her not to kill him at the hotel, telling her it would be awkward to run into one of her deceased lovers, but she says that she might have truly fallen in love this time, albeit to mock James's affection for her. Mad that she's taunting him with the fact that she never loved him, he reveals that the creatures who were trapped in the hallway are her former lovers - Rudolph and Natacha.
In a flashback to 2010, The Countess is having her monthly dinner with James when Donovan interrupts them and presents them to John Lowe. After seeing potential in John to be the next greatest serial killer, James asks the Countess and Donovan to leave him alone with John. A few weeks later, James asks Elizabeth to help him "give John a little push" in order to make him his successor as the Ten Commandments Killer, offering to give her John's son, Holden, in exchange for Elizabeth hypnotizing John to forget his life as a murderer.
Back in the present, the Countess goes to the now-opened hidden hallway of the Cortez to look inside Valentino's luggage, hopeful that something within could help her find him. Crying, she thinks of what it means to be immortal, reminiscing over the meaning of a woman's love and sadness. Deeply nostalgic, Elizabeth mourns the life she wanted with Rudolph so long ago, when she was but a naive actress and he her first romance. She wraps herself in his coat and finds a few fan cards along with his old photos. She hires a private investigator and gives him the photos to find him.
At the lobby, she talks to Will Drake about their wedding, deciding to have an intimate private wedding instead of "the event of the season", as Will wanted. She asks Liz Taylor to order the flowers for the wedding, but she angrily refuses, telling Elizabeth to do it herself. Elizabeth tells her that Tristan never loved her, hoping to justify Tristan's murder, but Liz tells Elizabeth that she didn't know Tristan as she did.
While getting a pedicure, Elizabeth watches TV while Alex serves her a glass of fresh blood. She notices a news report detailing that an entire school was found strewn with the bodies of those drained of blood, and immediately suspects that Alex is in some way involved. She receives a call from the detective she hired, who announces that he has found Rudy. She goes to the motel that he has been seen and they kiss at the door of his room.
At some point, Elizabeth interrogates Alex on the school massacre in private and becomes aware of Max Ellison, a child patient that would have died of measles hadn't Alex afflicted him with vampirism. Elizabeth is furious, demanding that Alex has only one chance to fix this problem. She swears that if Alex fails to do so, she will kill both Alex and Holden.
Feeling hated by all in the hotel and stressed about the numerous circumstances happening in her life, Elizabeth decides to invite Donovan back into her penthouse, making passionate love to him like it was their first time. She regrets having thrown him out, confessing that she never should have left him for Tristan and that life without him hasn't been the same. Donovan forgives her, as his feelings for her have only made him adamant on reuniting with her, forevermore at her side. Elizabeth confides in him her plans to marry and kill Will Drake, thereby taking ownership of his inheritance, and Donovan smiles and embraces her, telling her that they should make a list of who to kill next. He then asks her to promise to have sex with whoever she wants but to love only him, and Elizabeth smiles back at him, holding him closer to her.
The next day, Elizabeth is seen standing in front of the hidden hallway with a construction worker, who she asks to close the hallway by installing a security door and a few cameras inside, demanding it is finished by the end of the day. She explains to him that she wants to turn the wing into a security archive for Will's previous collections as her wedding gift to him, though in actuality she plans to create another lair to drain victims of their blood. The worker says it will take much longer than a day, but James March appears and makes the worker agree to make sure it's all ready by the next day. The Countess is furious at James for having concealed Natacha and Rudolph in the hall, violently slapping him and telling him she never wants to see him again. James is desperate and begs her to continue their dinner arrangement, but Elizabeth tells him he screwed up.
As the day progresses, Elizabeth joins Rudolph at his motel, and they plan to turn the Hotel Cortez into a fortress against the modern world with the money she'll receive after killing Will. Elizabeth asks Rudy if he can go on without Natacha, and he says that he can. Elizabeth invites her to a girls' night at her penthouse, intent on disposing of her.
Donovan informs Elizabeth about Ramona Royale's intent to kill her, and together the two form a plan to lure Ramona back to the hotel. Donovan lies to Ramona, telling her that he drugged Elizabeth into a long sleep, therefore giving her enough time to stab Elizabeth in the heart and end her life. Ramona falls for this and arrives at Elizabeth's penthouse with a knife in hand, making her way inches from the presumably slumbering Countess. As she readies her dagger, Elizabeth awakens and hisses, startling Ramona and allowing Donovan to tase her in the neck. Donovan seals Ramona in a neon-lit cage within the confines of the recently-reconstructed hidden hallway, much to Iris's disappointment, who slaps her son for believing that the Countess actually loves him. Ramona, half-dazed, tells Donovan that he should listen to his mother, but Donovan angrily defies them, telling them that he knows the Countess better than anyone.
At the wedding, Liz Taylor acts as a witness, protesting that she is against Will and The Countess being together. Elizabeth explains to the justice of the peace that Liz drinks and asks Will to pay her no mind, stating that she is joyed to be Mrs. Drake. After the ceremony, Will heads to the bar to pour himself a drink while Elizabeth changes out of her wedding dress back at her penthouse, feeling delighted to call Elizabeth his wife. He is met suddenly by James March, who has a small talk with Will that he will be a stepfather to Elizabeth's child. Confused, Will allows James to lead him to Room 33, where James presents the mortal to Bartholomew. Will, horrified, states the child doesn't even look like a human, unaware that Elizabeth has appeared behind him. Elizabeth reacts coldly to Will, stating that she would have done him the kindness of waiting to kill him in Paris during their honeymoon, but has become disgusted by Will's animosity toward her child and slams him in the head with a toy, rendering him unconscious. Will awakens in the dungeon-like hidden hallway where Ramona is also imprisoned. Ramona persuades Will to unchain her and, as he does so, slices his throat afterward, draining him of blood and feeding on him. Elizabeth watches things unfold through the cameras.
Not long after, in a ploy to inherit Will's entire fortune, Elizabeth calls a meeting with two law enforcement officials at her penthouse, telling them that her husband has gone missing and that it is unlike him to wander off. She uses her acting skills to pretend that she is truly concerned that something awful has happened to him, in the process making it seem as though she is also worried about how she will tell Lachlan that his father has gone missing. After questioning her about Will's last whereabouts, the duo assure the "grieving" Elizabeth that they will find her husband, only to be interrupted by Will's sudden arrival, who apologizes to his wife for not informing her of where he went when he should have and gives her a hug, much to Elizabeth's well-hidden anger. Elizabeth apologizes to the two officers and thanks them for offering her their services, guiding them out of her suite to confront the ghost of a furious Will, who feels both disturbed and betrayed that Elizabeth orchestrated his death to steal his money, forever trapping his soul to wander the halls of the Cortez. He realizes that she is like Ramona - a blood-drinking being gifted with unnatural qualities and eternal life, and Elizabeth mockingly responds that he is much smarter dead than he was alive as she casually lights a cigarette. He mocks her in return, telling her that despite their marriage she was never in his will and that only Lachlan will inherit the family fortune when he comes of age. Elizabeth, already aware of this, states that she will ensure that Lachlan never does; a fact that Will mistakes as meaning she intends to kill him, but Elizabeth responds that she doesn't kill children, preferring instead to turn him into a vampire so that he will never age and, by law, Elizabeth will control the wealth in his stead as his legal guardian. She then taunts Will, telling him that he should go comfort his son, as she wouldn't want Lachlan to think that anything "bad has happened" to his beloved father. As Will runs to his son, James March appears beside Elizabeth, smiling as he tells her "I told you not to kill him in the hotel"; annoyed, Elizabeth responds with a sharp "Bite me", blowing her cigarette smoke in his face and shutting the doors of her suite on him, which James seems to find amusing.
Natacha accepts Elizabeth's invite to stay at the hotel, and when she arrives at Elizabeth's penthouse, their conversation quickly escalates from flirting to whose affection for Rudolph is greater. As their insults toward each other become more demeaning, Natacha threatens Elizabeth with a dagger she earlier concealed in her purse, telling her that she should have killed her during their first tango, but Elizabeth kills her by shooting her in the head, retorting pridefully "Who's the little mouse now?". That same day, Donovan arrives at Rudy's hotel room, confronting him about him coming back into Elizabeth's life. Valentino reacts arrogantly toward Donovan, mocking his appearance and telling him he'd be lucky to be a lowly poster boy. After threatening Donovan with a sword, Donovan kills him by shooting him in the head and then several times in the face. He stands over Valentino's body, stating that Elizabeth has overcome too much and lived too long to be dragged down by her first love, and after sampling some of his blood, retorts that he has "cheekbones for days".
At a dinner with Donovan, Elizabeth finds out that he has killed Valentino. Heartbroken, she goes to his motel room and finds him dead on the floor. The sight of his bloody corpse makes her drop to her knees in despair, crying out as she kneels above his body to look upon the face of her first love one last time. She mourns deeply as she is forced to give him one final kiss goodbye. She arrives back at her penthouse crying and sees Donovan blasting to "Hotline Bling" by Drake. She stops the song, tears rimming her eyes, surprised that he didn't run. Donovan says that she would have only found him, but Elizabeth grievously retorts "I couldn't find him (Valentino) for almost a century....I didn't know if he was dead or had abandoned me. Neither of which were true, because....he'd been trapped here....the whole time". Donovan responds "He's not the only one who's been trapped here. We all have. At least now he's free. And this time you know he didn't abandon you". Elizabeth asks him why he did such a terrible thing as to kill Valentino, and Donovan tells her that he knew he could never be Rudolph and that's why he murdered him. Elizabeth cries as she pushes him, shouting "He made me! He made me! He made me everything I am!", but Donovan responds, "And you made me....in his image". Elizabeth responds, "Yes, I did, I tried to, I thought I couldn't be without him!" She pauses for a moment as she looks into Donovan's eyes, stating "You were never him"; that Donovan was never Rudolph, because the love shared between her and Donovan was real instead of an infatuation. Donovan responds that he destroyed Rudolph the first chance he got and that despite knowing Elizabeth would come back to the hotel to kill him, stayed and waited for her. Elizabeth thinks that he doesn't care whether she kills him or not because he has stopped caring about her, but Donovan holds her close as he responds that he does, and kneels before her. He tells her he is happy to die by her hand, feeling that it would be an honor to be murdered by his "turner" and true love. He tells her that if it takes dying for him to have her love, then he is committed to sacrificing his life for her. Elizabeth's sobs turn from sadness to endearment, touched that he would be willing to give up everything for her love and devotion to him. She realizes that it was Donovan she loved all along. She is proud of the character she's created and they hug, but before Elizabeth can tell Donovan she loves him, Iris and Liz Taylor break in and start shooting at them.
Elizabeth is shot multiple times, but Donovan shields her from the bullets with his own body in the hopes of protecting her, ending up fatally wounded and dying shortly thereafter. When Iris and Liz try to find Elizabeth's body, they see only a trail of blood and no trace of her. It turns out that Sally has saved her. She takes her to the dungeon, removing the bullets and stitching Elizabeth's wounds. Sally tells Elizabeth that the only reason she saved her is that she doesn't want to be alone, and because now the Countess will owe her a favor. She asks Elizabeth to bring John back to the Cortez, as Sally desires his death within the hotel so that he can be with her forever as a ghost. Elizabeth agrees, but she still isn't strong enough to do this, telling Sally that she needs the blood of another inflicted with vampirism in order for wounds of her magnitude to heal. She asks Sally to bring Donovan to her so that she could feed off of him a little bit at a time, but Sally tells Elizabeth that Donovan is dead. Elizabeth is devastated, feeling the torture of once again losing one she deeply loves; this time, her true love. She cries to herself as Sally responds "He was very beautiful", regretting at that moment all she did to push Donovan away. Wounded and broken-hearted, Elizabeth whimpers and sobs with regret, realizing too late that Donovan was always the love of her life, but because she had never gotten closure over the disappearance of Valentino, she never acknowledged everything Donovan did for her and how much he truly loved her until it was too late. As Elizabeth mourns the loss of her beloved, Sally decides that the only way for Elizabeth to fully heal is to bring her blood-sucking children to her, and they convince Elizabeth that they are willing to sacrifice themselves to save her life. Elizabeth begs Sally to find another way, unable to cope with the thought of losing the last remnants of her family, but she is transfused with their blood and becomes strong again, at the cost of her adopted children dying in her arms. Healthy once more, she kidnaps Alex, Holden and Scarlett at their home and leaves the key to Room 64 for John to find.
Back at the hotel, Ramona visits Elizabeth in her penthouse intending to kill her, but has a change of heart when Elizabeth apologizes and asks Ramona to just let her leave, confiding in her that everyone she loved in the hotel has faded, and that there is no longer a reason for her to stay. She tells Ramona that if she is still going to kill her despite her apology, she wants Ramona to make love to her one last time. After finding comfort with her old flame, Elizabeth packs her bags and heads to the elevator intending to leave the hotel for good. Upon the doors opening, however, she is surprised to find John staring back at her with a gun, and he fatally shoots her, completing the Ten Commandments killings and allowing him to reunite with his family. He takes her head as a souvenir to the secret chamber in Room 64, placing it in the category of "Thou shall not murder". Because Elizabeth died on the premises, her ghost is ensnared within the confines of the hotel, per the wishes of James March, who praised John's decision to kill her as being "inspired".
Shortly after her resurrection as a spirit, she is invited to her monthly dinner with James. While there, she bears witness to Miss Evers confessing her love and devotion to him, during which he finds out that it wasn't Elizabeth that exposed his crimes to the police in life - ultimately culminating in his murder-suicide - but that it was Miss Evers. Elizabeth inexpressively smokes a cigarette as she watches a furious James banish Miss Evers. Left alone with him, James cheerfully proposes a toast, telling Elizabeth that he is delighted their dinners aren't just once a month any longer, but for all time - "until fire blots the sky, and the heavens burn in conflagration". Elizabeth sips her wine as tears gently cascade down her cheekbones, knowing she is doomed to an eternity with a man she doesn't love.
In 2022, Elizabeth becomes aware of Liz Taylor's cancer, and arrives at the hotel room where Liz asked a group of deceased tenants in the hotel to kill her so that she could remain with them, her chosen family, for eternity. Elizabeth's arrival forces the other ghosts to stop before any of them can do Liz harm, and they look on with terror and awe as Elizabeth makes her way inside the room. She tells Liz that even more than those she afflicted with vampirism, Liz was always her favorite creation, stating "I wanted to be here to help you transition. One....last....time". Liz Taylor is touched by this, grateful to have her old friend be the one to bring her into ghosthood. Elizabeth gently tilts Liz's head to expose her neck, and with a flick of her chainmail glove, quickly slashes Liz's throat. A single bittersweet tear rolls down her cheek, and she smiles through her heartache.
Elizabeth is last seen sitting alone at the Cortez's bar at 2:25 a.m., where she spots a handsome stranger who immediately piques her interests. She decides to sit next to him while he is served a drink, asking him why he arrived at the hotel. He responds that he's meeting some friends, but Elizabeth flirtatiously tells him he isn't. He smiles back at her and says, "I'm not?", and she responds, smirking, with a firm "No". With her infamous chain mail glove, she gently strokes his chiseled jaw. She tells him "you have a jawline for days" - the same quote she ushered when she first met Donovan.
In October 2021, the witch Mallory uses Tempus Infinituum, the magical ability to bend and control time, to travel back to the year 2015 in order to kill the Anti-Christ, Michael Langdon, before he would discover his true identity as the son of Satan and use his powers to bring about the end of the world. In doing so, she prevents Queenie from checking into the Hotel Cortez, remembering that Queenie had been murdered there in the original timeline. As a result of Mallory's interference, Ramona Royale is unable to feed off Queenie's blood in the new timeline, preventing her from regaining her strength and confronting Elizabeth. As a result, Elizabeth may have left the Hotel Cortez much earlier than she had in the previous timeline, escaping the hotel before John Lowe could kill her. This is presently unclear, leaving Elizabeth's ultimate fate unknown.
- Immortality - Elizabeth was not susceptible to human weaknesses, thus being immune to all aging, disease and death. However, she was still vulnerable to physical injuries.
- Conversion - Elizabeth was able to spread her supernatural virus onto human beings by letting humans drink some of her blood, therefore transforming these humans into vampires.
- Enhanced Senses - Elizabeth was naturally superior to humans in almost every way, possessed of otherworldly senses which allowed her to easily overcome mortals:
- Night Vision - The ability to see in the dark.
- Heartbeat Detection - The ability to hear a human's heartbeat.
- Blood Smell Detection - The ability to identify specific individuals based off the scent of their blood, allowing her to track others over long distances.
- Enhanced Strength - The ability to exhibit strength beyond a normal member of the user's species.
- Enhanced Speed - The ability to perform motions, or movements, at a speed and effortlessness that surpasses that of a normal member of the user's species.
- Hissing - Elizabeth had the ability to emit a loud hiss, similar to a bat, when threatened or angry.
- Concilium - The ability to control others' minds, which she often used to seduce hapless men and women.
- To Iris: "Your boy has a jawline for days!"
- To Donovan: "We're not going for the art dumbass. We're going for the hunt!"
- To Tristan Duffy: "We don't bite, we cut"
- To Lachlan: "I lived in New York once, many years ago. I loved roaming the streets, devouring the pulse of the city.. Electrifying. I miss it very much."
- To Will Drake: "You need to burn, so you can rise from the ashes."
- To Alex: "The world can be such a dangerous place."
- To Liz: "You don't lack beauty, you lack commitment."
- To Liz: "Let me help you become who you were born to be.... A goddess."
- To Liz: "We have two selves. One the world needs us to be, compliant, and....the shadow. Ignore it, and life is forever suffering."
- To Liz: "Oh, honey. Goddesses don't speak in whispers. They scream."
- To Alex: "You'd be amazed, the wondrous possibilities that could begin with a simple...hello."
- To Will Drake: "This isn't a crisis... It's an invitation for an adventure."
- To Tristan and Liz: "An emotion is like a flavor in my mouth, I can taste it. Joy tastes like strawberries. Hate is like ice chips in a Martini. And love is rosewater. I enjoy them all, except for one. Betrayal. That has the taste of the char on a piece of burnt meat."
- To Tristan: "The one in the dress, has more balls than you. "Babe."
- To Rudolph Valentino & Natacha Rambova: "What did you expect? I was all alone in the world. I decided that if I was to live in grief, I might as well be surrounded by…beautiful things. Even if it was with a man for whom I felt nothing. I was drawn to the darkness I felt within him. I ached to be consumed by it."
- To James March: "Why would I help you when it gives me so much joy to see you suffer?"
- To James March: "Are you out of your goddamn mind?! I would kill you if you weren't dead already."
- To Natacha: "Who's the little mouse now?!"
- To Ramona Royale: "I think everyone in the world thinks they're either blessed or cursed. I've come to realize I'm neither. I am a curse. Nobody that gets within ten feet of me survives. And God help you if you get up close, skin to skin, then you're really screwed."
- To Sally: "You have some serious abandonment issues."
- She is the first character portrayed by Lady Gaga. For a complete list of her characters, see Cast. Gaga's portrayal earned her the Golden Globe for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film.
- Elizabeth and Alex Lowe are the only two characters to appear in all episodes of Hotel.
- Elizabeth's surnames include: Johnson (maiden name), March (first marriage), and Drake (second marriage). She self-styled herself as "The Countess"; most likely this noble title has no real value, though it is possible she uses the title in reference to being the current owner of the Hotel Cortez and the ex-wife of its original builder and founder. If the infamous Countess Elizabeth Báthory exists in the American Horror Story universe, it is possible she adopted the serial killer's title due to both of their extreme similarities. During a speech with John Lowe, Elizabeth states "For those blue eyes, I'll be the Countess of whatever you like, baby", possibly implying that she also uses the title for sexual connotations.
- Her name is an allusion to Elizabeth Báthory, a real-life wealthy European countess from 16th-century Hungary, and arguably the most prolific female serial killer in history, She is believed to have killed hundreds of servants in her stead under the pretense that their blood would grant her youth. She was also accused of bathing in their blood (although this is agreed to be mere sensationalism), and purportedly stripped them of their clothing and forced them out into the cold, leaving them to die of hypothermia. Further investigation revealed that many of her victims also had bite marks in their flesh and missing limbs, having undergone numerous tortures for her apparent vitality. Although her crimes were eventually exposed by King Matthias II, her noble status prevented her from being executed or imprisoned, and thus she was trapped within the confines of her estate until her eventual death.
- Elizabeth speaks Italian in the second episode when she says "Bellissimo!" ("beautiful") to Tristan. In "Checking In", she mentions to Lachlan that she is originally from New York City, which is notable for its immigrant population, and reveals in "Chutes and Ladders" that her dad was from Sicily and all of her friends spoke Italian when she was young. In "Flicker", it was revealed that on her first date with Rudolph Valentino, he called her "Bellisima". She also tells Valentino that she's from Bensonhurst, a multiethnic neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.
- Given that the theme of Hotel is addiction, Elizabeth may represent an addiction to love, or more specifically, dwelling on the love that once was, as she refuses to let go of the emotional pain of her past intimate relationships and gets a "high" off of making her lovers feel her heartbreak.
- Elizabeth's famous line, "Your boy has a jawline for days", was improvised by Lady Gaga.
- She is pansexual.
- Her story and personality are similar to the vampire Miriam Blaylock, portrayed by Catherine Deneuve in the movie "The Hunger".
- Her appearance is similar to the vampire Eve, portrayed by Tilda Swinton in the movie "Only Lovers Left Alive".
- According to Ramona Royale, Elizabeth's blood smells like black licorice.
- Elizabeth is the first of two characters to dress up as Marie Antoinette for a Halloween party; the second is Coco St. Pierre Vanderbilt, a witch.
- After Elizabeth and Donovan seduce an attractive couple at a movie screening of Nosferatu and bring them back to the hotel to feed on them, Elizabeth briefly dons a black veil which she removes before engaging in sexual activities with the couple, a harbinger for their impending demise and her cumulative grief over what horrible things she has to do to sustain her vampirism. This is early foreshadowing of her backstory as the "Woman in Black" in 1925, after the supposed death of her first love Rudolph.
- Prior to Apocalypse, chronologically Elizabeth was the last character to appear in the AHS universe timeline,last seen in 2022, thus predating the appearance of Devan Campbell in 2024. As a result of Mallory's time travel, it is possible that Elizabeth's last appearance in the series is no longer canon, as she may have escaped her impending death in the hotel and, thus, her confinement there as a ghost. With Queenie no longer visiting the hotel in the revised timeline, a starving Ramona Royale never would have fed off of Queenie's blood, making it likely that she never confronts Elizabeth. This, in turn, would result in Ramona and Elizabeth no longer sleeping together as in the original timeline, which would mean that Elizabeth would leave the hotel earlier and possibly prevent her murder at the hands of John Lowe.
- See also: Elizabeth/Media