The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man
Main Characters: Leonardo da Vinci, Lucrezia Donati, Girolamo Riario & Nico
Recurring Characters: Zoroaster, Vanessa, Pope Sixtus IV & Lorenzo Medici
Locations: Florence & Milan
Writer: David S. Goyer
Director: David S. Goyer
Series: One
Episode Number: 1
Previous Episode: None
Next Episode: The Serpent

The Hanged Man was the first episode of the first series of Da Vinci's Demons and was broadcast on April 12, 2013. It was written by creator and head writer David S. Goyer and also directed by him. It introduced the main characters of the show and other recurring individuals for the series.


The Duke of Milan is assassinated just before Easter 1477. Leonardo da Vinci has designed a flying machine that works, and a mechanical dove that flies without wires. The Pope Sixtus IV is revealed to have homosexual relationships. Leonardo sells his designs of air planes, automatic load canons and tanks.


Leonardo da Vinci is inside a cavern with Al-Rahim, who helps him understand why he experiences visions. The man believes that Leonardo is destined for great things. During the discussion, Leonardo experiences dark visions.

Four days earlier, the Duke of Milan has just awoken on Easter morning. In a Church, priests are gathering for normal proceedings. In his palace, the Duke calls for Cicco, his adviser. The Duke asks for breakfast and then prepares to get dressed. The Duke finally arrives at the church with an a group of soldiers as protection. As he enters the church however, he is confronted by a mysterious man who strikes him with a dagger in the throat. He falls dead.

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On a hillside, near the city, Leonardo is painting a picture of a young girl called, Vanessa . Leonardo tells her the story of his childhood about an eagle that watched him as a baby in his basket. He then saw his mother, however, he couldn't remember her face. He quickly steers the conversation away from the subject. Nico arrives claiming that Andrea Verocchio has been looking from him. Leonardo asks Nico to climb into the harness of a flying machine he had devised in the hope that it would work. Leonardo starts the horses and the machine begins to climb into the air. Nico almost loses control, however survives as Leonardo hauls him back onto the cart.

In the middle of Florence, Leonardo and Nico search the streets. Leonardo, however, is distracted by the passing figure of Lucrezia Donati, the mistress of Lorenzo de Medici. A passing town cryer brings bad tidings to the throne, because he's wearing the Sforza family emblem. The messenger gives Lorenzo the message and the lord sends everyone away. The message was about the death of Duke of Milan, and individual that they had relied upon. They sense the Vatican behind the killing. They decide to hold a carnival in order to make the public happy.

Pope Sixtus IV asks a naked boy not to lie as it is a sin. He shows homosexual tendencies as he questions the boy. Men arrive to bring the great news of the duke of Milan's death. They explain the Medici family's panicked reaction and the fact that a carnival is inevitable. Count Girolamo Riario claims to have an ally in the Medici city. Because the boy has heard the discussion he must be killed. His neck is slitted.

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Giuliano Medici and Gentile Becchi try to persuade Morgante to give them the plans for the mechanical dove. Leonardo arrives to open the chest. He reveals that he created the mechanical dove for just such an occasion as the one in question for the carnival. Opening the chest, Leonardo shows them the dove and then demonstrates its capabilities by letting it fly. Impressed by the flight, Giuliano decides to pay the steep price.

In his room, Leonardo is drawing. He is unsatisfied with his work. He slowly falls victim to another vision and falls asleep. On a field, his younger self is walking across a field. At a cave, he investigates a crying sound. Waking up quickly, Andrea Verrocchio comes to make sure that he is alright. Leonardo is worried about his calculations for the dove. Leonardo loses his temper and throws his work in the fire.

Back in town, Leonardo searches a few cages where he discovers birds that he prefers. Paying the Bird Seller a handsome amount, he asks Nico to release Starlings as he draws their movement. The Bird Seller is amazed at the situation. Using a trick, Leonardo manages to get his money back. They watch as his father nears. He announces himself in front of them. He tries to show them a few more contraptions of his, however he is asked to move away.

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In a bar, Leonardo and Nico meet up with Zoroaster who explains that there are dark times in Florence. He tries to give Leonardo animals to draw. Boticelli arrives, asking to pose for Leonardo again. Leonardo sends him away. Zoroaster shows Leonardo and Nice his new invention, called Tarot Cards. He claims that they show the fortune of an individual. Leonardo picks the Sacrifice. Turning away from the subject, Leonardo points out that he could design warfare for the Medici royals. Leonardo notices a Turk being manhandled by Medici guards, Dragonetti, Black Martin & Jacopo Salterelli. Leonardo interferes by fighting them and steals all the guards' swords. The guards, out of dignity, move away from the scene. The Turk, Al-Rahim, says for Leonardo to come and see him at the Inn of the Black Swan before he leaves.

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Now drunk, Zoroaster is helped by Nico back to his place. However, he is now alone and the guards return. Chaining him, Leonardo is tortured. His father is present and tries to reason Leonardo to stay low-key in the society. He talks of Leonardo's mother and how he is a bastard. His father tortures him further for his insubordination. He was tossed onto the street.

Leonardo watches as Lucrezia Donati arrives in the square. Using his pencil and paper, he draws her picture as she searches the flower store. Nico is asked to pass the picture over to Lucrezia. She is shocked, but intrigued at the same time. Leonardo refuses, however, to see her.

At the execution of the Jew, Leonardo hears the man speak of the Fountain of Memory. He is surprised and leaves quickly.

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Leonardo talks to the Inn Keeper of the Inn of the Black Swan and is sent to the Roman Ruins. There, Leonardo finds Al-Rahim who explains the meaning of life. Leonardo talks of the Jew who was hanged. Al-Rahim repeats it. The Turk explains that the whole story of their existence is kept within the Book of Leaves, a novel which the Turk has been searching for. They are known as the Sons of Mithras. He speaks of Lupo Mercuri, the curator of the Vatican Archives. Al-Rahim questions Leonardo about his mother. Leonardo begins to remember the memory more clearly. The young Leonardo enters a cave and he remembers coming out with blood on his hands. Fate has apparently chosen Leonardo.

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Nico and Zoroaster find Leonardo inside an altar-filled house. Apparently Medici himself had been asking about Leonardo. Taken into the Medici Palace, Leonardo meets Becchi and Lorenzo again. Lorenzo mentions Lucrezia receiving the drawn picture of herself. Leonardo, intending on impressing the royals, shows further drawings for war weapons. Lorenzo becomes intrigued and Leonardo proposes to be employed as a military engineer. Leonardo explains his reasons. He points out that allies have weapons, but they do not where the Vatican has gained allies who do have defence. Lorenzo agree for him to become the new engineer. Before Leonardo leaves, he spots a statue in the background, which he had seen before, in his visions.

Leonardo is welcomed home by celebratory people and it is known that he is the new engineer of war. He asks Zoroaster to unearth the body of the recently executed Jew.

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Outside the cathedral, people are amassing for the carnival. Leonardo arrives in order to watch. He and his friends watch as royal visitors arrive. The Pazzi family arrive for the celebrations. As the dove is about to fly, Lucrezia Donati arrives. The dove is released. At first, it scares the audience, however they become more in awe of it as it rises higher and higher before exploding into fireworks.

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In Leonardo's place, he and Lucrezia make love on the same night. He shows her some more of his drawings of her. Leonardo questions her on why she would risk her reputation. He explains that she probably enjoys the excitement of having someone else admiring her. She points out that her husband is taken with his designs. He shows her a few of his designs. Lucrezia, using her manipulation, asks Leonardo to make love to her again.

Girolamo shows a mysterious figure into the secret archives of the Vatican. He gives the figure payment: a thumb. Now inside, the Count and the figure discover Francesco Pazzi, Pope Sixtus IV and Lupo Mercuri. Girolamo explains to them the latest information. He then reveals his source. The figure unhoods. It is Lucrezia, an agent Girolamo has kept in Florence for just such an occasion. Lucrezia warns Mercuri that da Vinci has talked with Al-Rahim, the Turk. The Pope decides that either da Vinci must be stopped or they kill him.



more to be added


  • This is the first episode of the series.
  • This is the first episode to be written by David S. Goyer.
  • This is the first episode to be directed by David S. Goyer.


  • Leonardo is given Tobaco and Black Halibre in a pipe, which supposedly stimulated visions.
  • Leonardo experience visions regularly as Al-Rahim discovers.
  • Leonardo enjoys painting pictures. He often pays Vanessa to pose for him.
  • An Eagle watched over Leonardo when he was a baby.
  • He cannot remember his mother's face.