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You devious, rabble-rousing slanderer! The.. the level of dishonesty in that paper of yours! I'll have that printer scrapped for parts.— McDonough speaking to Piper Wright

McDonough is the mayor of Diamond City in the Commonwealth in Fallout 4.


A larger-than-life figure in both the figurative and the literal sense of the word, McDonough has been running the Green Jewel of the Commonwealth for years, maintaining it as a prosperous center of commerce for the Commonwealth.


McDonough was the brother of John Hancock, the leader of Goodneighbor, when he was still John McDonough and the son of Patrick and Martha McDonough.[2] He was described by Hancock as "the standard big brother - entitled, punchy, liked to shove rotten tatoes down my shirt and slap my back."[1] After the brothers moved to Diamond City, the elder McDonough's decision to pursue a political career came as a surprise to Hancock, but he did not stand in his brother's way, at least not until McDonough started campaigning for the 2282 mayoral election.[3]

Running on the "Mankind for McDonough" ticket, the mayoral candidate promised to remove all ghouls from Diamond City if elected.[4] His program was supported by the "elite" Upper Stands residents and eventually earned him the mayoral position. McDonough's anti-ghoul decree was enacted immediately, with his inaugural speech triggering an exodus of ghoul families. Hancock soon after confronted him and tried to protest, but the mayor simply replied that, while he has no ill will towards ghouls, he could not defy the will of the people and smiled, something so unusual for him that Hancock no longer recognized the brother he grew up with and estranged himself from McDonough since then.[5]

No longer wanting anything to do with the newly-minted Mayor McDonough, John left Diamond City and his bigoted brother behind. He tried to help the victims of the ghoul exodus, who had been forced to survive in the desolate city and resettle them elsewhere in Goodneighbor. However, most of them could not get used to its rough lifestyle and eventually disappeared while John lamented how the DC residents "signed [the] death warrants" of ghoul families they once lived beside.[6]

The truth[]

In reality, the Great Green Jewel's incumbent mayor is an Institute plant, a synth infiltrator, designated M7-62,[7] who monitors developments in the Commonwealth and compiles reports on matters of possible interest to the organization.[8]; Hancock's brother had been kidnapped by the Institute and replaced with a synth duplicate sometime before 2282.[5][9]

After the mass exodus of its ghoul residents, in his position as mayor of Diamond City, the synth has been carrying out a secretive mission to infiltrate the city and its inhabitants from the Lower Fields to the Upper Stands, all while keeping everyone oblivious to his true nature as an Institute agent. His only point of contact was Conrad Kellogg, who lived nearby, as the Institute lacked another way to receive the messages from him without causing an uproar in the city.[10] McDonough took efforts to conceal his secret allegiance to the scientific community from the city's residents, even after local journalist Piper Wright caught a whiff of his plans and published a sensationalist piece smearing him as a synth and Institute lackey via her Publick Occurrences newspaper. Piper has gotten on the bad side of the mayor as a result of her spotlighting the rumors of his false humanity, which has led to her receiving a temporary ban from city limits.[11]

The other issue facing the synth's mission is that his anti-ghoul rhetoric is running out of steam, especially with the foundation of the Slog by Wiseman outside of the Boston area. Evidence of peaceful, prosperous ghoul settlements will inevitably lead to people realizing that not all ghouls are monsters and eventually would allow someone to challenge McDonough's bigoted policies and remove him from power, as far as he sees it. McDonough determines that the Institute should consider engineering a situation where the ghouls are "less friendly."[4]

McDonough's personal long-term goal is to eventually transfer within the SRB and become a courser. Not only is he unaware that his synth body would be incompatible with the lifestyle of a courser, but also that his handlers view his level of independence as too much of a liability. Furthermore, the Institute actually considers him expendable: if he is ever outed as a synth, he would be cut loose with an estimated survival time of two weeks.[7]


McDonough has been a popular mayor among merchants and the wealthy Upper Stands residents, due to his emphasis on keeping Diamond City prosperous and safe, but something of a conflicted figure among the Lower Field population due to the circumstances of his election and his refusal to investigate the recent spate of kidnappings allegedly orchestrated by the Institute, which has sparked mass paranoia within the community.

Interactions with the player character[]

Interactions overview[]

Perk nociception regulator color
This character is essential. Essential characters cannot be killed. The essential flag is removed during In Sheep's Clothing.
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This character is involved in quests.
Icon interactions other
This character has other interactions.
  • 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.




  • His true identity as a synth can be learned at any time before or after completing the story with a non-Institute faction by triggering Political Leanings by talking to Justin Ayo, or by reading a terminal entry within the Institute SRB.
  • If the player character enters his room, they can see two mannequins in a corner. One is dressed in a sweater vest and one is dressed in a red coat.

Notable quotes[]


Mayor McDonough appears only in Fallout 4 and Fallout Shelter Online.

Behind the scenes[]

  • The character of McDonough was inspired by real-life Boston mayor James Michael Curley, who served four terms as mayor in the 20th century. He was known as a colorfully corrupt figure in Boston politics, yet still incredibly popular among the working class.[Non-game 1]
  • Piper's interactions with Mayor McDonough have parallels to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's reporting of the Watergate scandal which eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, who was known for proclaiming "I am not a crook!" This is further alluded to in Mayor McDonough's "I am not a synth" speech.
  • McDonough was the maiden name of lead designer Emil Pagliarulo's mother.[Non-game 2]
  • A loading screen in Fallout Shelter Online, set before Fallout 4, claims that there are no other non-humans in the city besides Nick, suggesting the mayor was replaced by a synth instead of always being one. However, Fallout Shelter Online was developed by an outside studio for non-Western markets and is considered outside of the series' main canonicity, so it should not be considered factual.



  1. 1.0 1.1 The Sole Survivor: "You and McDonough knew each other as kids?"
    John 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."
    (John Hancock's dialogue)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "I am not a synth" speech
  3. The Sole Survivor: "Thanks. You're not so bad yourself."
    John Hancock: "I never get many complaints. 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."
    (John Hancock's dialogue)
  4. 4.0 4.1 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."
    Mayor 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)
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Sole Survivor: "How could they do something like that?"
    John 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. 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."
    (John Hancock's dialogue)
  6. The Sole Survivor: "He murdered those Ghouls."
    John Hancock: "Him and that whole damned city. 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."
    (John Hancock's dialogue)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Institute SRB terminal entries; SRB terminal, Infiltrator Unit: McDonough
  8. 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)
  9. The Sole Survivor: "What do you mean you didn't recognize him?"
    John Hancock: "I don't know. Just didn't seem like the guy I grew up with. When I'd first heard the rumors he'd been swapped for a Synth, thinking back on that night, I thought it made a lot of sense. But now, I don't know. I don't think I buy it. I've seen him since then and there's no way they copied him that perfectly. Even got his tightass walk. But at the time, I just needed to get the hell away from him. Him and that whole damned city."
    Note: This is the default answer.
    The Sole Survivor: "What do you mean you didn't recognize him?"
    John Hancock: "I don't know. Just didn't seem like the guy I grew up with. Guess that all makes sense now, knowing that he was with the Institute, but honestly I think I'm more angry now. I mean, where do I draw the line? Was the guy I grew up with the amoral piece of trash who gave the Ghouls the boot or was that just some Synth makin' a play for the city? Have I been hatin' the guy all these years for nothin'? Almost makes me wish I didn't know. At the time though, I just couldn't wait to get away from him and his whole damn constituency."
    (John Hancock's dialogue) Note: This is the answer should McDonough have already been outed as a synth and Institute spy.
  10. 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)
  11. Political Leanings


  1. Emil Pagliarulo on Twitter: "Trivia! Mayor McDonough was actually inspired by real Boston mayor James Michael Curley. #Fallout4 #Boston"
  2. Emil Pagliarulo on Twitter: "Behold, my new family sword! Custom-made, Irish design. My mother's maiden name was McDonough, and growing up in South Boston, the Irish side of you tends to take over. The inscription reads, "Garg'n Uair Dhuisgear" - the McDonough battlecry, meaning, "Fierce when roused." ♥️☘️🗡"