The Axeman was a jazz musician who played saxophone in various clubs throughout New Orleans. After the city was rocked by a 1919 killing spree, the Axeman typed up a confession naming his murder victims and intention to kill again, which was delivered to and printed by the local newspaper. The manifesto promised amnesty to those residents who played jazz music in their homes, and death to those who did not. However, further murders were prevented as the Axeman was lured by defiant opera emanating from Miss Robichaux's Academy. Within, he was baited into a room by the witch Millie who, with the aid of magic and a knife in the hand of every one of her coven sisters, put an end to his reign of terror over their community. His spirit secretly remained behind as a ghost confined to the school.
Personality and Appearance
The Axeman is tall and suave, with salt and pepper hair. Under his gentle and poised pretense lays a ruthless serial killer. He is a saxophone player and jazz enthusiast, whose axe spared those who shared his interest. His voice was deep and gravelly, yet smooth, and he tended to refer to his saxophone as his "instrument."
The Axeman was contacted by Zoe Benson, Queenie, and Nan by means of an Ouija board to find information on Madison Montgomery's whereabouts. Though the initial attempt at questioning him failed, Zoe later communicated with the Axeman on her own, promising him release should he comply with her wishes. He did as she asked, but Zoe failed to uphold her side of the deal. The Axeman appeared to Cordelia Foxx in her bedroom (the same in which he was executed), armed with his axe and violently demanding release. Zoe, Queenie, and Nan managed to save Cordelia by reciting an incantation which freed his spirit from the Academy and unknowingly gave him a physical presence in the world.
Fiona follows him to "his" apartment - the owner was killed and left in the bathtub - where he attempts to seduce her, but her desires are stifled by her impending death by cancer and her chemotherapy taking her hair. He still convinces her to stay for sex, using his technique with the saxophone as a metaphor.
The next morning he awakens to find Fiona ready to leave, where she refers to the dead body in the bathtub - he counters with his knowledge of her lifetime, as he was trapped in the house since his death in 1919. He recounts how he injured a bully who was tormenting a group of younger students (among whom was a young, defiant Fiona), and how she grew to be a strong and powerful woman. He admits that he fell in love with her. Fiona rebuffs his advances, but her insecurities about her mortality lead her back to him.
The Axeman and Fiona discuss plans of running away together, and living a quiet life in a farmhouse in Georgia. Fiona laughs at the idea of her becoming a farmwife, but he reasons that she has already been everywhere and met everyone, and it has not made her happy. He offers to help her with her plans, if leaves with him afterwards. She agrees.
During Marie Laveau and Fiona's meeting with the Delphi Trust, The Axeman poses as a waiter and massacres a majority of the staff minus Harrison Renard. The Axeman hands over his axe to Fiona, who slices Harrison's neck and kills him.
Later on, Cordelia barges into his apartment to warn him about her mother. She warns him that Fiona cannot love anyone but herself and is planning to leave the country without him. The Axeman discovers this to be true when he finds a plane ticket in Fiona's bag. He angrily reminds her of their deal to run away together, but Fiona assures him that her departure will only be temporary until the next Supreme has been identified for her to kill. With the Axeman's consent, Fiona plants a false vision in his mind to fool the Coven into believing that he murdered her. While he is passed out, Fiona covers him with goat's blood before leaving, causing him to regain consciousness.
He later ambushes the Coven, attempting to kill them while Misty Day and Madison are brawling. However, all the witches present use their telekinesis to throw him against the stairs. From the blood dripping from him, Cordelia realizes that he killed her mother and fed her body to the alligators, which prevents Misty from possibly bringing her back to life. Kyle pulls the Axeman away, but Madison cuts him with his axe, hacking at his abdomen. Misty, Zoe, and Queenie telekinetically retrieve knives from the kitchen, and kill him by stabbing him to death.
After becoming the new Supreme, Cordelia uses the Sight to discover that the Axeman never really killed Fiona - it was merely a ploy to have the Coven get rid of him and buy Fiona time until she could kill the next Supreme. Now on the verge of death, Fiona makes amends with Cordelia before finally passing. She awakens in her personal hell, condemned to live with the Axeman in his farmhouse "heaven" for all eternity.
- The Axeman's Letter: "Esteemed Mortal, They have never caught me, and they never will. They have never seen me for I am invisible even as the ether which surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and fell demon from hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians call the Axeman. When I see fit, I shall come again and claim other victims. I alone know whom they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody ax."
- The Axeman's Letter, Part 2: "Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer which I am. But I could be much worse if I wanted to. At will, I could slay thousands of your best citizens for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death."
- The Axeman's Letter, Part 3: "Now, to be exact, at 12:15 earthly time on next Tuesday night, I'm going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to the people. Here it is. I am very fond of jazz music and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose house a jazz band is in full swing by the time I have just mentioned."
- The Axeman: "If women will not dance to the sound of my ax I shall make them dance with the other."
- His full name is never directly revealed (as the real identity of the historical axeman remains unsolved), however in one of the clubs he performed at one of the waitresses called him "Joe." A likely reference to the case's prime suspect; Joseph Momfre, and possibly revealing Momfre to be the Axeman's identity in Coven.
- The Axeman is the first character in American Horror Story to be portrayed by Danny Huston. For a complete list of his characters, see Cast.
- The Axeman's letter featured in the sixth episode, "The Axeman Cometh", is an excerpt from the original letter allegedly written by the unidentified serial killer on March 13, 1919 and published in local newspapers.
- The Axeman is one of three ghosts who managed to get out of the place of their death, the other two being Queenie and Moira O'Hara.
- See also: The Axeman/Media