A larger than life figure in both the figurative and the literal sense of the word, McDonough has been running Diamond City for years, maintaining it as a prosperous center of commerce and hub for the Commonwealth. In reality, the city's mayor is a synth infiltrator; an Institute plant. He monitors developments in the Commonwealth and compiles reports on matters of possible interest to the organization. His only point of contact was Kellogg as the Institute lacked another way to receive the messages from him.
The human McDonough was the brother of Hancock, the leader of Goodneighbor, and the son of Patrick and Martha McDonough. He was described by Hancock as "the standard big brother - entitled, punchy, liked to shove rotten tatoes down my shirt and slap my back." He was abducted and replaced by the Institute some time before 2282. The goal was simple: To install an Institute agent at the head of the largest settlement in the Commonwealth. The decision to pursue a political career came as a surprise to Hancock, but he did not stand in his way, at least not until McDonough started campaigning for the 2282 election.
He ran on the Mankind for McDonough ticket, promising to remove ghouls from Diamond City. His program was supported by the upper stands residents and eventually earned him the mayoral position. His anti-ghoul decree was enacted immediately, with McDonough's inaugural speech triggering a pogrom of ghoul families. Hancock 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, forever estranging the two brothers. Hancock no longer recognized the brother he grew up with.
John left Diamond City and his bigoted brother. He tried to help the victims of the pogrom, forced to survive in the desolate city, and resettle them in Goodneighbor, but most of them couldn't get used to its lifestyle and eventually disappeared. Meanwhile, as mayor of Diamond City, the synth has been carrying out a mission to infiltrate the city and its inhabitants, who are oblivious to his true nature as an Institute agent. The synthetic mayor took efforts to conceal his secret allegiance to the scientific community from his people, even though an observant journalist, Piper Wright had caught a whiff of his plans and published the information in a news story, titled "The Synthetic Truth." Piper has gotten on the bad side of the mayor as a result of her sensationalizing rumors of him being a synth, which has led to her receiving a temporary ban from city limits. His other issue is that his anti-ghoul rhetoric is running out of steam, especially with the foundation of The Slog. Peaceful, prosperous ghoul settlements will inevitably breed people who don't consider ghouls monsters and eventually allow someone to challenge McDonough's bigoted policies and remove him from power. In his view, the Institute should consider engineering a situation where the ghouls are "less friendly".
McDonough's own long term goal is to transfer within the SRB and become a courser. He is not aware that his synth body would be incompatible with the lifestyle of a courser, and his handlers consider him expendable: If he was ever outed as a synth, he would be cut loose with an estimated survival time of two weeks.
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
|This character is essential. Essential characters cannot be killed.|
|This character is involved in quests.|
|This character offers miscellaneous services.||
- Jewel of the Commonwealth: McDonough is first met in the entrance to Diamond City and gets into an argument with Piper Wright. If the Sole Survivor passes a Speech check, McDonough can direct them to Valentine Detective Agency.
- Getting a Clue: McDonough can be convinced to hand over the key to Kellogg's house.
- Political Leanings: The player must obtain McDonough's report and deliver it to Justin Ayo.
- 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.
|Apparel||Weapon||Other items||On death|
|Pipe gun||Kellogg's house key||Synth component|
- 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.
- 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.
- While listening to John Hancock describe his childhood with McDonough, he starts several sentences with "Guy." This was originally thought to be Mayor McDonough's first name; however, similar sentences start that way in later dialogue.
- "You devious, rabble-rousing slanderer! The level of dishonesty in that paper of yours! I'll have that printer scrapped for parts." – McDonough speaking to Piper
- "I will NOT speak to members of the press. Piper can wait outside." – McDonough tells Piper
Mayor McDonough appears only in Fallout 4.
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.
- Piper's interactions with Mayor McDonough allude to Bob Woodward's and Carl Bernstein's reporting of the Watergate scandal which eventually led to the resignation of President Nixon. This is further nodded to by Mayor McDonough's "I Am Not a Synth" speech.
- The Sole Survivor: "You and McDonough knew each other as kids?"
Hancock: " "
- "I am not a synth" speech
- SRB terminal (Lower), Infiltrator Unit: McDonough, P1: "I'm starting to wonder if M7-62 (the Infiltrator unit "McDonough") hasn't begun to outlive its usefulness. Assuming the identity of Diamond City's mayor has provided us with invaluable intelligence over the years, but suspicions have only continued to mount. This latest incident - the publication of that newspaper article specifically calling McDonough's humanity into question - might just be the tipping point."
- Justin Ayo: "If you're going to be in Diamond City anytime soon, I have a favor to ask of you. 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. 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: " Remember, discretion is vital to our operations in Diamond City, so try to keep a low profile."
(Justin Ayo's dialogue)
- The Sole Survivor: "How could they do something like that?"
Hancock: " "
- Sole Survivor: "What do you mean you didn't recognize him?"
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: The answer changes if McDonough is outed as a synth:
- 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."
- McDonough: "
The Sole Survivor: "He's fine."
McDonough: " The full details are in my report, along with some other points of interest. "
(McDonough's dialogue) "
- 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. "
- Political Leanings
- The Institute terminal entries
- Emil Pagliarulo on Twitter: "Trivia! Mayor McDonough was actually inspired by real Boston mayor James Michael Curley. #Fallout4 #Boston"