In 2282, McDonough chose to run for mayor of Diamond City, doing so with an anti-ghoul platform. He sought the support of the Upper Stands citizens by promising to remove ghouls from the city, using the slogan "Mankind for McDonough." The divide between the richer citizens of the stands and working class living on the field was significant enough to result in his election, and the city turned on their ghoul neighbors, throwing them out into the ruins of the Commonwealth. His brother ran to the new mayor's office, begging him to call it off, and in response, McDonough smiled and stated that he couldn't, as it was the will of the people.
Disgusted, his brother left Diamond City, attempting to help refugee families seek refuge in Goodneighbor. Sometime after his election, McDonough was replaced by a synth, assuming his identity and serving as a conduit for intelligence on the location. The mayor now monitors developments in the Commonwealth and compiles reports on matters of possible interest, covertly meeting with other Institute agents to relay reports.
Despite discretion, resident and journalist Piper Wright is skeptical of the mayor, convinced of the mayor's true nature as a synth, publishing her suspicions in a Publick Occurrences news article titled, "The Synthetic Truth." This follows 60 years of paranoia and fear following the Broken Mask incident, where a prototype synth was released for field testing prematurely, its true nature revealed after killing Diamond City residents in the public square. Piper's publication specifically calling McDonough's humanity into question has resulted in the Institute questioning the mayor's usefulness moving forward.
Interactions with the player character
This character is essential. Essential characters cannot be killed.
In Sheep's Clothing: McDonough is confronted in his office after it's revealed that he is a synth and is holding Geneva hostage. The Sole Survivor can convince him with a medium Speech check to release his hostage to prevent her from being harmed.
One can learn that he is a synth after the completion of the main quest line on the side of anyone but the Institute and traveling to Diamond City, starting the quest In Sheep's Clothing, by being given the side quest Political Leanings from Justin Ayo, or by reading an SRB terminal within the Institute.
The first time entering Diamond City, Mayor McDonough will give a speech to a small group of residents in front of the Wall where he proclaims "I am NOT a synth" and shortly after, praises the Wall in response to Piper's reporting.
If Piper is brought into his office, he will shout at her to get out.
"You devious, rabble-rousing slanderer! The level of dishonesty in that paper of yours! I'll have that printer scrapped for parts."
↑McDonough: "I am the same flesh and blood boy who grew on these streets. Who was born in a shack just down the waterfront to Martha and Patrick McDonough." (McDonough's dialogue)
↑The Sole Survivor: "You and McDonough knew each other as kids?" Hancock: "Oh yeah. Guy's my brother. Grew up together in a little shack on the waterfront. Guy was the standard big brother - entitled, punchy, liked to shove rotten tatoes down my shirt and slap my back. But I never thought he'd be capable of something like what they did to those Ghouls." (Hancock's dialogue)
↑McDonough: "Welcome, welcome. Good to see you again. I trust you've been sent by our mutual friend, Mister Ayo? I hope he's doing well." The Sole Survivor: "He's fine." McDonough: "I'm glad to hear it.There's a farm out there run entirely by Ghouls, if you can believe it. They might be a problem in the future.I ran on a campaign of strict "No Ghouls Allowed" politics. When you build up a scapegoat, you need them to remain distant and scary. But Ghoul settlements breed Ghoul sympathizers. Let our mutual friends know we might need to... give them a reason to be less friendly... The full details are in my report, along with some other points of interest. Here it is. Make sure that nobody sees this. Better you destroy it than let it fall into the wrong hands." (McDonough's dialogue)
↑Hancock: "It's just real rare these days, find someone who's not just willing to take things the way they're handed to them. Too many good folks not willing to get their hands dirty and too many assholes taking advantage of it. Look at what happened to Diamond City. Before McDonough took over, it was a half-decent place to live. A little stricter than I usually go for, but not terrible. I thought he and I had a pretty happy childhood. But then he decides he's gonna try and get elected with his anti-Ghoul crusade - "Mankind for McDonough." Before ya know it, you got families with kids lining up to drag folks they called "neighbor" out of their homes and throw 'em to the ruins." (Hancock's dialogue)
↑The Sole Survivor: "How could they do something like that?" Hancock: "There'd always been a pretty big gulf between the folks living in the stands and folks down on the field. McDonough ran on it because he thought enough of those Upper Stands assholes would vote for him. Guess he was right." (Hancock's dialogue)
↑ 8.08.1John Hancock: "I remember storming into his office above the stands after the inauguration speech. He was just standing there, staring out the window, watching as the city turned on the Ghouls. He didn't even look at me, just said:"I did it, John. It's finally mine."Should have killed him right there, but I don't think it would have changed anything. Instead I pleaded with him, begged him to call it off.He said he couldn't. He had nothing against the Ghouls. He was just carrying out the will of the people. And he couldn't betray the voters. And then he smiled. That hideous, fucking mile-long smile. He never smiled like that when we were kids. I didn't even recognize him." (Hancock's dialogue)
↑John Hancock: "I still wasn't a Ghoul at this point, so I didn't have to leave, but I couldn't bring myself to stay in that cesspool after that. I'd been sneakin' off to Goodneighbor for years to get decent chems, so I knew the safe routes. I managed to track down a couple of the families, lead 'em there, but most couldn't get used to the Goodneighbor lifestyle. I brought them food for a couple of weeks, but after a while, they just disappeared. Folks in Diamond City signed their death warrants and all the good people were willing to just sit by and watch. I felt like I was the only one who saw how screwed up things truly were, who couldn't just pretend things were fine. Still feel that way... or I did. Until I met you. I know I run my mouth, but having someone who sees the world for what it is and is willing to do something about it. It's meant a lot to me. I feel damn lucky to have you as a friend. " (Hancock's dialogue)
↑Justin Ayo: "If you're going to be in Diamond City anytime soon, I have a favor to ask of you. You might not be aware of it, but the city's mayor is a synth, an Institute plant. He monitors developments in the Commonwealth and compiles reports on matters of possible interest to us. Since you visit the surface more than anyone else down here, I figured you could pick up the latest report." The Sole Survivor: "How do we do this without raising suspicion?" Justin Ayo: "You'll meet with the mayor privately, away from prying eyes. The mayor will be waiting in his office. He'll give you the report, and then you'll bring it back to me. Remember, discretion is vital to our operations in Diamond City, so try to keep a low profile." (Justin Ayo's dialogue)
↑The Sole Survivor: "I'm not a mailman. Send one of your robots." Justin Ayo: "I can't send a Courser into Diamond City without starting a panic, and that's the last thing the mayor needs. Kellogg usually took care of this, but since he's dead, I have nobody left to ask. The mayor will be waiting in his office. He'll give you the report, and then you'll bring it back to me. Remember, discretion is vital to our operations in Diamond City, so try to keep a low profile." (Justin Ayo's dialogue)
↑Fallout 4 loading screens: "In the year 2229, a mysterious visitor to Diamond City killed several people. It was only after he was shot dead by city security that the stranger was revealed to be a synth. The people of the Commonwealth have feared the Institute ever since."