"I'm not worried about difficult, I'm not even worried about illegal."
―Benjamin Donovan to Wilson Fisk[src]

Benjamin "Ben" Donovan is a lawyer whose education into law was funded by the Stokes Crime Family, allowing him to found the Donovan and Partners, which became notorious for representing high-profile criminals. All throughout his career, Donovan had still remained loyal to the Stokes as long as they continued paying him, personally ensuring that Cottonmouth remained out of prison and protecting their interests, including ensuring that Candace Miller and Shades were safe. However when Mariah Dillard briefly lost all her money Donovan turned his back and worked for Bushmaster, only to return to Dillard and defended her from criminal charges until her death, where he was tasked with arranging her will, which included handing over Harlem's Paradise to Luke Cage as per Dillard's wish.

Donovan's law work outside of the Stokes family had included being hired by Wilson Fisk, in the wake of Fisk's incarceration into Ryker's Island. Donovan and Nicholas Lee worked to not only shorten Fisk's imprisonment, but as per Fisk's requests, returning Vanessa Marianna to Fisk's side. Under the orders of Fisk, Donovan then personally enabled Fisk to build up his criminal empire from behind bars and arranged his deal with the FBI to be moved inside the Presidential Hotel where Fisk could still continue rebuilding his own power over the criminal underworld of New York City, while also hiring agent Benjamin Poindexter to act as Fisk's personal assassin, which Donovan had personally arranged for Fisk, allowing Fisk to gain power and seemingly redeem himself in the eyes of the public.


Early Life

Supported by the Stokes

"Mama Mabel put your ass through law school."
Mariah Dillard to Benjamin Donovan[src]

Having grown up in New York City, Benjamin Donovan had been put through law school through the financial assistance of Mama Mabel, allowing him to become a successful lawyer. Due to Mabel's help in gaining his law degree, Donovan then became loyal to the Stokes Crime Family, willing to represent them in the court of law, despite knowing full well that they were a family of criminals who were all guilty of almost every crime which he was legally defending them for.[1]

Stokes vs. Jamaicans

"My clients owe him nothing. Or her."
"Mr. Donovan, Mrs. Stokes, this piece of paper is an agreement both men signed acknowledging a 50% split on everything, from the Rum Company to the Club."
―Benjamin Donovan and Terence Rogers[src]

While working for the Stokes Crime Family, Donovan was hired to travel to Jamaica in order to assist Mama Mabel with a dispute against the McIver family, as Gwen McIver was demanding an equal share in both the Bushmaster Rum and Harlem's Paradise in the wake of her husband, Quincy McIver's death, which Mabel was refusing to hand over. As the situation got heated, Donovan watched as McIver accused Mabel of murdering her husband, which she did not deny having an involvement in.

Donovan then debated with Terence Rogers over what was owed to McIver, as he had denied Rogers' requests to gain fifty percent of the businesses, claiming that the Stokes never owed the McIver family anything. Rogers however produced a signed napkin which had been signed by both Mr. McIver and Buggy Stokes, seemingly agreeing to split their businesses, which destroyed Donovan's arguments. With their defence falling apart, Mabel responded by mocking Jamaica, which amused Pistol Pete as he laughed while Donovan considered their next move to try and win their case against the McIvers.

When Rogers noted that the McIvers would undoubtedly win in an open court room, Donovan asked Rogers what he wanted, Rogers then told him that they needed to open their books in court, which Donovan refused to do. Rogers then suggested that they settle the matter privately, requesting that his client gain half of their shares in both the Rum and Club, which Mabel and Pete laughed hysterically over. In response to Donovan losing the case, Mabel set fire to the McIver's home, killing Gwen as John McIver barely survived, as the Stokes continued making profits without the McIver's support.[2]

Defending Criminals

Assisting Wilson Fisk


Donovan greets Wilson Fisk inside prison

"Mr. Fisk, I am doing everything I can to get you out, but we're talking about a process that could take months, maybe years. In the interim, we need you to keep your head down, avoid trouble while you're in here. The state will jump on any infraction to shoot down an early release, to keep you inside. It's the best move, Mr. Fisk, in fact it's the only move."
―Benjamin Donovan to Wilson Fisk[src]

Years later, Donovan founded his own law firm, Donovan and Partners. He was hired by Wilson Fisk when he was accused of running a criminal organization within New York City. Despite Donovan's best efforts, Fisk was sent to Ryker's Island due to the work of Nelson and Murdock. Donovan spoke with Fisk in jail where he promised that his firm was doing everything they could to get him freed. Fisk then asked about Vanessa Marianna who Donovan claimed was hoping to come see him soon, which Fisk refused. Donovan then recommended that while he was in prison, Fisk keep his head down and not get involved with any criminal activity.


Donovan gets new orders from Wilson Fisk

Donovan continued his work to try and get Fisk freed, meeting him at Ryker's where Fisk ordered Donovan to assist with Stewart Finney's legal case and pay the rent on the Andrea Valdez' home. Despite Donovan's objections as he had perviously advised Fisk not to get involved with any criminal activity within the prison in order to avoid any unwanted attention, but Fisk ordered him to get it done and ensure that the transactions were untraceable. Despite his reluctance for Fisk to do this sort of work, Donovan got the tasks completed as instructed as quickly as possible.


Donovan is ordered to collect the Punisher

Finally Fisk ordered Donovan to pay off one of the guards at Ryker's Island in order that he could bring Frank Castle to Ryker's. Donovan had another meeting with Fisk to move his final funds to bribe the guards into joining his side, although Donovan warned that any other money he would need would now be taken from Vanessa Marianna's protection, Fisk, however, assured Donovan that he would not need any more money after this was completed. Donovan asked if he wanted to know what the Punisher would be doing but Fisk did not answer, noting that Donovan likely did not want to know.[3]

Fisk vs. Murdock


Donovan gives Matt Murdock a legal contract

"You will refer to Mr. Fisk only as Mr. Fisk, and you will not ask any questions until I personally approve of them first."
"That's a lot of rules."
"Rules are what separate us from the animals."
―Benjamin Donovan and Matt Murdock[src]

When Matt Murdock asked to meet with Wilson Fisk inside Ryker's Island, Fisk asked Donovan to make up a legal contract, in Braille, describing the conditions of the meeting and penalties for Murdock not conforming to those conditions. Donovan greeted Murdock and listed all of their legal demands from him before he escorted Murdock to his meeting with Fisk, who was handcuffed to a table waiting for his arrival.


Donovan sees Murdock and Fisk's meeting

When Murdock asked Fisk if he was responsible for Frank Castle's escape, Donovan advised Fisk not to answer the question. However, Fisk then responded that he was not responsible. Donovan did not interrupt the meeting further, even when Murdock threatened to keep Vanessa Marianna from ever returning to New York City, and when Fisk responded violently by attacking Murdock. Donovan then told Murdock when the meeting was over, and attempted to escort him out. Murdock, however, angrily rejected his help and walked out of the prison alone without any kind of assistance from Donovan.[4]

Defending Cottonmouth


Donovan frees Cottonmouth from the prison

"Next time, it would behoove you to have actual evidence. You know, something besides the dogged harassment of a misguided beat cop."
―Benjamin Donovan to Misty Knight[src]

When Cottonmouth had been arrested for accusations that he had been involved in the murder of Rafael Scarfe, Benjamin Donovan arrived to defend him. He showed to the New York City Police Department that there was no evidence presented against Cottonmouth other than Detective Misty Knight and Scarfe's testimonies, both of which could easily be questioned due to one being personally affected by Scarfe's death, as her emotions clouded her judgement.


Donovan walks away free with Cottonmouth

But before Cottonmouth and Donovan left, they were confronted by the furious Knight, however Cottonmouth was unintimidated by her attempts to threaten him and called her dog chasing a stick. But Knight said that she promised Cottonmouth will be seen in the prison where he belonged in the wake of Scarfe's murder, however this merely made Cottonmouth laugh loud as he then walked outside with Donovan, who handed Priscilla Ridley the papers he had filled out before Cottonmouth was driven back to Harlem's Paradise to enjoy his freedom thanks to all of Donovan's successful work.[5]

Defending Candace Miller


Donovan stops Candace Miller's questioning

"Don't say another word, Ms. Miller. I'm representing you now."
"Is this snake your lawyer? Candace, if you're not guilty, you'll answer my questions."
"Nice try. My client isn't under arrest."
―Benjamin Donovan and Misty Knight[src]

Upon hearing that Candace Miller was being questioned over the murder of Cottonmouth, Donovan was called in to represent her, knowing that she had to be kept from revealing the truth that it was infact Mariah Dillard who was responsible. Donovan arrived and pulled Miller away from Misty Knight who was conducting the interview, with Donovan insisting she say nothing else and leave immediately with him.


Donovan takes Candace Miller out the station

While Donovan insisted that Miller must stop speaking as she had not been arrested, Knight was horrified by seeing that Donovan, who she referred to as a snake, was representing her. Donovan continued to try and remove Miller from the station while she was continuing to insist that Luke Cage was responsible for Cottonmouth's murder, as she had been instructed to do by Dillard and Shades. With the law on his side, Donovan then took Miller out as she was not being charged, much to the annoyance of Knight who could now do nothing to stop Donovan from leaving with Miller and delay her investigation.[6]

Defending Arturo Rey III

"I find your charm disarming. This interview stops now."
"Like hell it does. Your client got caught with a–"
"Caught by whom? Luke Cage? A known vigilante."
"It was a citizen's arrest."
―Benjamin Donovan and Misty Knight[src]

Donovan was once again contacted by the Stokes Crime Family as their latest buyer, Arturo Rey III had just been arrested following his attempted murder of Luke Cage, as Donovan then entered the room to find Rey III being interrogated by Detective Misty Knight. Donovan first made a poor joke referring to Knight's missing right arm, before he demanded that his client be allowed to go free, which Knight refused as she noted how Rey III had been caught with a Judas Bullet, which was illegal, following the attempted murder of Cage.

Donovan however had then successfully argued that Cage was still a known vigilante whose involvement in the case actually held no legal strength, to which Knight claimed that it had simply been a citizen's arrest. While Donovan pointed out that Cage had failed to read Rey III his rights when he had assaulted and arrested him, Knight claimed that regardless of Cage's actions they could arrest Rey III for having possession of a Judas Bullet. Donovan however had noted that Rey III had been granted his bail by Mariah Dillard and was therefore able to walk free immediately, much to their considerable satisfaction.

With Knight unable to make any arguments that would keep Rey III in her custody, Donovan then told Knight that he would see her in court, although he remained confident that it would never actually get that far. Donovan had then mockingly questioned if Knight needed a hand with taking off Rey III's handcuffs before Tom Ridenhour stepped up and uncuffed him. With their arguments having been made, Donovan and Rey III then left the 29th Precinct Police Station with confident smiles on their faces, leaving Knight to be reprimanded by Ridenhour for failing to follow police procedure while questioning Rey III.[7]

Cockroach v. Cage

"Speak your truth, my brother. Take your time."
"I've been fighting since I was eight years old. Had to. You know, that's Harlem all day. Survival of the fittest."
―Benjamin Donovan and Cockroach Hamilton[src]

Having learned that Cockroach Hamilton had been brutally assaulted in his own home by Luke Cage while Cage was attempting to assist Hamilton's girlfriend, Donovan was then hired yet again to represent Hamilton by the Stokes Crime Family. Sitting down across from Cage and his defence lawyer, Foggy Nelson from Hogarth, Chao and Benowitz, Donovan had requested that the lights be dimmed as he claimed Hamilton's injuries had made him sensitive, which Cage said was an exaggeration.

Donovan then told Hamilton to speak his mind as he claimed that he had been fighting all his life while growing up in Harlem before then comparing that Cage's attack against him to being mauled by a bear, claiming that he had been helpless against Cage. When Cage tried to argue that Hamilton had been hitting his girlfriend, Nelson broke up the argument before Donovan told Hamilton to continue, as Hamilton noted how he and Drea Powell often argued but insisted that Cage had no right to burst inside his home and assault him for his claims of domestic abuse, which there was little physical evidence of.

While Donovan listened closely, Hamilton then claimed that Cage's assault was the story of his life, noting how he had been beaten up by the New York City Police Department multiple times before being sent into to prison by Detective Rafael Scarfe for crimes that he did not actually commit. Hamilton's claims annoyed Cage to the point that he then broke the table with his enhanced strength, leading to Donovan then making his final offer to Nelson for a payment of one hundred thousand dollars to put the case to rest, which forced Cage to work for Piranha Jones in order to try and make the payment.[8]

Fall of the Stokes

Abandoning the Stokes

"Wonderful performance. Two-handed."
"I only deal in nonfiction."
"It's outlandish and full of hearsay. Make sure you don't break my client's sunglasses. They're expensive."
"Can your client account for his whereabouts last night?"
―Benjamin Donovan and Misty Knight[src]

Donovan was later informed that Mariah Dillard was almost murdered as Bushmaster had captured and tied both her and Tilda Johnson up inside her Brownstone before setting it on fire, only for them to be rescued just in time by Luke Cage. Donovan was let into the interrogation by Nandi Tyler and had then found Detective Misty Knight interrogating Dillard over several recent acts of violence, as Donovan had demanded that the interrogation was ended immediately.

Once Donovan had questioned if Knight had a charge against Dillard, she confirmed that she did not and they then prepared to walk out. However, before they could all leave the room, Tyler had whispered something to Knight who asked Shades to stay behind, noting that his car had been identified to be close to a crime scene and he was now the suspect of the murder of Tom Ridenhour, as he was also a close friend of Comanche, the other victim found at the crime scene. Although Donovan had tried to insist that Shades was not involved, Knight gave her evidence as Shades was taken into custody.

Donovan listened closely as Detective Knight explained her theory on how Shades had witnessed Comanche shooting Ridenhour before he murdered Comanche. Once Knight was done, Donovan applauded her performance, making reference to her missing arm while claiming that her theory was outlandish and full of hearsay, while also insisting that Knight be careful with Shades' sunglasses. Knight asked about Shades' whereabouts on the night of the shooting, as Donovan still defended him, insisting that Shades could speak for his whereabouts and that Knight had no physical evidence to actually link him there.

Donovan had told Knight that she had nothing and that she had once again wasted his time, before Donovan then got a phonecall, as he stepped out of the room to answer it, telling Shades not to speak one word to Detective Knight. However, Donovan's phonecall informed him that Piranha Jones had handed the Stokes Crime Family's cash to the Stylers, and therefore Dillard could not pay Donovan for all his legal services. Having learnt this, Donovan had stepped back into the interrogation room and had simply explained that he would no longer represent Shades, wishing him good luck before walking out.

With nobody paying his bills, Donovan then informed Dillard that he was quitting her service as her personal lawyer, which had enraged Dillard as she noted how Mama Mabel had paid for Donovan to go to law school and therefore he could not simply quit on them. Donovan however calmly told Dillard that he was only loyal to Dillard's money and no there was nothing left, telling Dillard not to make the situation more upsetting than it needed to be as it was simply business before walking out, which had left Dillard frustrated and angry at Donovan's sudden and unexpected betrayal to her and her entire family.[1]

Working for Bushmaster

"Go on, tear up the club. The only thing you're gonna discover is what I already know. You have no power. I have the power. And I don't need a gun, a badge, a plastic arm to use it, see?"
"That's enough harassment of my client today. Anything else?"
Bushmaster and Benjamin Donovan[src]

Seeking a new client, Donovan was then almost immediately hired to represent Bushmaster, who had taken over Harlem's Paradise in the wake of stealing almost all of Mariah Dillard's money and assets with the assistance of Piranha Jones. Now loyal to Bushmaster, Donovan had greeted Misty Knight once she arrived with yet another search warrant in the wake of Bushmaster's seeming assassination attempt against Dillard, with Knight and Nandi Tyler shocked that Bushmaster had stolen Dillard's personal lawyer as well as her club.

Donovan then listened closely as Bushmaster had explained that he was taking back what had belonged to him, pointing to a picture of his grandfather, Quincy McIver alongside Buggy Stokes who built up Harlem's Paradise together. Getting back to the matter at hand, Tyler noted that the New York City Police Department had two members of the Stylers in custody who were claiming that Bushmaster had put out a hit on both Dillard and Tilda Johnson, which Bushmaster had denied, insisting that they could not prove otherwise, while Knight asked Bushmaster about all of the recent beheadings.

While Knight continued and questioned Bushmaster over the burning down of Dillard's Brownstone, Bushmaster had still insisted that it had nothing to do with him and that they did not have any evidence to link him to it, telling Knight that he had the power and did not need a gun or a Prosthetic Arm to use his power. Finally Donovan stepped up and told Knight to stop harassing his client, just as another office informed them that the search had come up empty. Once Knight and Tyler left, Donovan then checked if Bushmaster was okay as he had looked weak, only to be told that he could leave there as well.[1]

Restoring Mariah's Fortune

"I'm here because it's the right thing to do. All of your holdings, Harlem's Paradise, your cash, everything has been restored. Check your phone. It's real."
"One cannot sign a contract under extreme duress."
―Benjamin Donovan and Shades[src]

Once Bushmaster had eventually been briefly recaptured by the New York City Police Department, although he had managed escaped and gone on the run, Donovan focused on restoring the stolen money to the Stokes Crime Family. Donovan had then joined Mariah Dillard as she had returned back to Harlem's Paradise, finding some candles and other ritual items which Bushmaster had left on the floor, much to Dillard's annoyance as she blamed Donovan for everything.

Donovan however insisted that he had called Dillard in order to fix the current situation, although Dillard claimed the only reason he was there was because his partnership with Bushmaster failed. Donovan informed Dillard that her money and ownership of Harlem's Paradise had been restored. As Shades questioned how this had happened, Donovan explained that due to Piranha Jones being captured and tortured when handing over the money, the transaction was not legal, telling Dillard that he had it expedited as he claimed he was going the extra mile for his client in order to regain her own trust in him.

As Shades questioned the situation with the police, Donovan then explained that they were not an issue as they would be tied up with litigation for years which would then keep Misty Knight from finding any real evidence against them, while Dillard's fortune as well as all of her assets were restored to her from the Stylers. With everything explained, Donovan questioned if this had settled things between them, which Dillard answered by grabbing Donovan by the crotch tightly, causing him considerable pain while claiming that this did not fix the situation which Donovan had caused by a long shot.

While twisting his testicles tightly, Dillard then began questioning if he had stolen money from her which Donovan had adamantly denied. Satisfied that he was telling the truth, Dillard then let go of her grip over Donovan's testicles and allowed him to leave Harlem's Paradise so she could then speak with Shades alone. As Donovan had then grabbed his suitcase and prepared to leave, Dillard made a mocking comment about his privates, claiming that his nickname of "Big Ben" was inaccurate, which Donovan chose to ignore before walking out of the Paradise despite now being annoyed by the comment.[9]

Defending Mariah Stokes

"Your Honor. I object to the prosecution's grandstanding during what should be a simple arraignment for a first time offender."
"I'm not grandstanding, Your Honor. Ms. Stokes Dillard's hands are drenched with blood."
―Benjamin Donovan and Blake Tower[src]

Donovan was called upon to represent Mariah Dillard when all of her numerous crimes had eventually caught up with her and Dillard was arrested by the New York City Police Department once she had been betrayed by Shades. Donovan stood in the court room and objected to Blake Tower's statements four separate times as Tower accused Dillard of murder in the first degree, including the murder of Cottonmouth, as Donovan claimed that Tower had been grandstanding for case should have been a simple one for a first time offender.

Tower however had still insisted that he had not been grandstanding, telling Judge Amanda Garmon that Dillard's hand's were drenched in blood, noting her involvement with the Massacre at Gwen's while also giving evidence that Dillard had been involved with illegal trading with Atreus Plastics with the help of Piranha Jones. While Donovan had attempted to make his defence for Dillard by claiming that she had in fact always been an upstanding member of her community, several friends of Dillard's victims then got up and furiously yelled out abuse before being taken outside under Garmon's orders.

Despite Donovan's efforts, Dillard's bail was still denied and she was found guilty on all counts, before told she was to be sent to Ryker's Island to serve her prison sentence, as Dillard then gave a speech in which she warned of the war coming to Harlem once she has gone, claiming that the other crime families would be scrambling to take control of the crime world without the Stokes Crime Family running Harlem. While Donovan listened, Dillard warned how the neither the police nor Luke Cage would be able to stop the situation that would put innocent lives at risk, claiming that they needed Dillard.[10]

Meeting at Ryker's Island

"Everyone not protected by blood, or attorney-client privilege."
"I appreciate that."
"I thought you would."
―Benjamin Donovan and Mariah Dillard[src]

With Mariah Dillard now locked up in Ryker's Island, Donovan had paid her a visit as Donovan confirmed that they could speak truthfully in there without any risk of being overheard as it would be illegal for anyone to listen in, also noting that he had bribed the CO and ensured that the monitors were turned off. Dillard had first asked about dealing with Shades, although Donovan explained that he was now untouchable, much to Dillard's great frustration as regardless, Shades had already gone on the record so it was too late to stop him.

However Dillard suggested that they could focus more on the jury, claiming that they could build a narrative around Dillard being the widow of Jackson Dillard who had been seduced by an aggressive gangster like Shades who had led her into a life of crime against her will through seduction and sex. Agreeing to this concept, Donovan noted how Shades had already confessed to numerous murders, including Candace Miller and Comanche, while the revolver used as evidence against Dillard was her family heirloom which Shades had stolen from her in order to commit several of these murders.

Donovan went on to note how Shades also confessed to tampering with Cottonmouth's corpse and therefore, in the court of law, there would be reasonable doubt about Dillard's involvement with any of the crimes she was being accused of. Dillard then ordered Donovan to put out a hit against Shades, before questioning if her former allies had flipped, telling Donovan to have them killed before they could consider it. Donovan confirmed she meant everyone, including Alex Wesley, noting Donovan would still be kept alive for all his legal work, as well as Sugar for giving Dillard some of his wife's clothes.

Knowing he would be safe, Donovan enacted Dillard's request, and ordered assassins to assassinate anybody who was ever associated with Harlem's Paradise or the Stokes Crime Family, with the limited exception of those Dillard told him to protect, which was limited to family and a select few. However, when the assassination attempt on Shades had failed, he requested that Donovan bring him to Ryker's so that he could have his one on one talk with Dillard. Once Shades had left, Donovan informed Dillard that Tilda Johnson had called and was finally ready to see her mother which Dillard had accepted.

Donovan arranged for Johnson to visit Dillard in Ryker's, as Dillard had desperately attempted to make peace, only for Johnson to reject her mother, not wanting anything to do with the Stokes family or their career in crime. When Johnson then prepared to leave, she had first kissed Dillard onto the lips before walking past Donovan on her way out, who had just been called by Luke Cage who also wanted to see his client. Donovan then spoke with Dillard, who was commenting on Johnson calling her mother not mummy, before Donovan told Dillard of Cage's phone call as they agreed to arrange a meeting.

Donovan was first recruited by Dillard to write up a new will. Dillard told Donovan that the Jean-Michel Basquiat painting would be given to the Studio Museum in Harlem and her remaining millions would go to the Family First Initiative. Dillard then informed Donovan that she decided to hand Harlem's Paradise onto Cage rather than Johnson, who would instead only get Cottonmouth's keyboard. As Donovan questioned why, Dillard explained that the Paradise was Harlem, and she wanted it to be left to someone who also loved Harlem as much as she did, also hoping that the Paradise would corrupt Cage.[10]

Bequeathing Mariah's Will

"Her leftover millions will transform the Family First Initiative into the Family First Foundation. Tilda she left you Cornell's keyboard. And I quote, "To Carl Lucas, known on the streets of Harlem as Luke Cage, I give Harlem's Paradise.""
―Benjamin Donovan to Luke Cage[src]

As it soon turned out, Tilda Johnson's visit was her way to get close to Mariah Dillard in order to kiss her with poisoned lips, resulting in Dillard dying a painful death inside of Ryker's Island. As her lawyer, Donovan was tasked with arranging Dillard's will, as he collected those who were mentioned in it, paying a visit to Pop's Barber Shop where Donovan found Luke Cage, while Cage was with Sugar and Dave Griffith and told him that they needed to talk, with Cage insisting that he would not speak with Donovan at the Barber Shop.

Returning to Harlem's Paradise, Donovan then sat down with those mentioned in Dillard's will to inform them of her final requests for her assets. Donovan explained how the Jean-Michel Basquiat painting would be given to the Studio Museum in Harlem and her remaining millions would then go towards the Family First Initiative and help it continue to grow in the wake of her death. Donovan had then turned towards Tilda Johnson first and informed her that Dillard had left her the keyboard which had once belonged to Cottonmouth which had seemed to satisfy Johnson, who loved music like Cottonmouth.

Finally Donovan turned toward Cage, quoting Dillard's will as she had named him Carl Lucas and then gave him the ownership of Harlem's Paradise, much to the complete shock or both Cage and Johnson. While Johnson walked out in disgust at her mother's final insult onto her, Cage questioned if Dillard had really said that, to which Donovan claimed that Dillard had said Cage could not rule over Harlem from a barber shop. Donovan calmly watched as Cage looked out over the Paradise and then questioned if he wanted to take this, which Cage finally accepted after taking several hours to consider the offer.[10]

Kingpin's Freedom

Helping Vanessa Marianna

"It's going to be more complicated than we anticipated."
"How so?"
"The federal government has decided to charge her as an accessory. If they locate her overseas or she sets foot on US soil, she will face prosecution and prison."
―Benjamin Donovan and Wilson Fisk[src]

With Wilson Fisk continuing to serve his time in Ryker's Island for his many crimes against New York City, Donovan had focused his efforts on securing his release. Donovan and Nicholas Lee went to see Fisk in person while he was eating his breakfast, informing Fisk that while his appeal was moving forward as they had originally intended, however they also had to regretfully informed Fisk that Vanessa Marianna's return was now meeting several setbacks, as she would be arrested as an accomplice to Fisk's crimes, as the sadden Fisk ordered them to leave upon hearing this.[11]

In order to get Fisk out of Ryker's for all their negotiations, Donovan arranged payment to Jasper Evans to stab Fisk, so the FBI would have him then moved to the Presidential Hotel instead, with Donovan making several demands to Ray Nadeem for the deal.[12] Once Fisk had been moved into the hotel, Donovan and Lee arranged to meet with him, as Donovan insisted to the FBI agents standing guard that all of the cameras in the room be turned off so that he and Lee could speak with Fisk in private, however Fisk insisted that they not worry about the camera and say whatever it was they had to say.

Donovan was then forced to inform Fisk that Marianna had recently gone missing. Getting through to Felix Manning, Donovan learned that Marianna was safe and had simply been relocated, as he and Lee returned to the Presidental Hotel to inform Fisk of this update, with Lee noting that they were avoiding being tracked by not using cellphones. Donovan and Lee explained that Marianna was in a safe house outside of Barcelona, which angered Fisk who did not want Marianna in Spain which would have put her at risk of extradition, as Donovan noted that he and Lee had advised against the decision.

Donovan however then explained that Marianna enjoyed the art and insisted upon going to Spain, as he and Fisk agreed that Marianna could be very insistent. Although Fisk had calmed down, he had still noted that it would be too easy for the Albanian Syndicate to target Marianna there and demanded that Manning move her onto another, safer location for the time being, noting that he wanted it to be closer to New York City. With that being said, Fisk then sat back down and looked at the white wall in front of him, as Donovan and Lee took this as their queue to leave him in peace and fulfil his instructions.[13]

Daredevil's Assault

"I don't know what you're talking about. You've got the wrong person. Fisk hated prison. The FBI got him out."
"No, no. He could have turned on anyone. Why the Albanians?"
"I'm just a lawyer."
"What is Fisk really getting out of this?"
―Benjamin Donovan and Daredevil[src]

Following his meeting at the Presidential Hotel, Donovan returned into his car and prepared to leave, only to find that a Daredevil waiting for him in his car, who proceeded to wrap his wire around Donovan's throat. With Donovan's life now in danger, Daredevil then questioned why Wilson Fisk would turn over the Albanian Syndicate to the FBI, although Donovan had still continued to deny any knowledge of whatever the Masked Man was asking him about.

With Donovan still refusing to answer him, Daredevil tightened the wire around his throat and threatened to continue doing so until Donovan wanted to breath again. With few options, Donovan finally confessed that Fisk was doing this for Vanessa Marianna, explaining that if Fisk did what they wanted then the FBI would drop all of their charges against Marianna and allow them to be reunited. Although Daredevil had doubts, Donovan had insisted it was the truth. However before he could ask anything more, Daredevil heard the FBI coming and made his escape, with Donovan calling out for help.

On his way to escape, the Masked Man was confronted by six FBI agents, however he was able to subdue all of them and escape, without killing anybody on his way out. Following the assault against him, Donovan returned upstairs to speak with Fisk in his Penthouse Suite and updated him about the situation, with Donovan believing that the Masked Man was in fact Daredevil, while he had then also commented that although he was not in his usual Red Suit, he was sure that it was him. With this, Fisk then looked out window, which overlooked New York City, commenting on Daredevil's return.[13]

Fisk's Freedom

"For the past two years, ever since his unjust conviction on racketeering charges, our client has maintained his innocence and fought to clear his good name. One hour ago, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of Wilson Fisk. Having seen the proof that they were wrong, the Department of Justice will not be going forward with charges. As of tonight, we are proud to announce that justice has prevailed and Wilson Fisk is once again a free man."
―Benjamin Donovan[src]

To be added


"I was loyal to your money. And you no longer have it. Don't make this more sad than it needs to be. It's just business."
―Benjamin Donovan to Mariah Dillard[src]
This section requires expansion

On first glance, Mr. Donovan is a scummy man who only offers his services to the highest bidder, namely criminals like Cockroach Hamilton and the Kingpin, and will not hesitate to cut them off when they can no longer afford him, as shown when he stopped representing Shades and Mariah because they lost their money, despite the fact that it was Mama Mabel who paid for his education, making it possible for him to be a lawyer in the first place.

However, despite how crooked he may appear, there may quite possibly be some good in him. When Matt Murdock was assaulted by Fisk, after ending the interview between the two, Mr. Donovan attempted to help him by offering him his arm to guide the blind man out of the room. Mr. Murdock however, rejected his help.


This section requires expansion
"Look, I wish there was something I could do, but Mariah's favorite lawyer is just too damn slick."
Misty Knight to Luke Cage[src]
  • Expert Lawyer: Benjamin Donovan is an expert lawyer, able to allow Cottonmouth to be released from prosecution.






Appearances of Benjamin Donovan

In chronological order:


  • In the comics, Benjamin "Big Ben" Donovan was a lawyer from Harlem and an acquaintance of Luke Cage, but became a criminal over time.


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