- "Sal is a cancer. A leech. The only way to make that right is by killing every cocksucker who's ever looked at that piece of shit."
- — John Donovan
John Donovan graduated from Princeton University in 1953 and was recruited into the CIA soon after as a paramilitary operations officer. As an operative he was sent into Vietnam where he ran covert operations against the North Vietnamese regular and Viet Cong forces. During an operation in April of 1966, Donovan met Corporal Lincoln Clay, who distinguished himself by controlling the battlefield despite overwhelming odds. Clay ignored his own injuries while retrieving two fallen soldiers, PFCs P. Ellis and Q. Doroquez. Donovan continued to work with Lincoln and the two became close friends and colleagues during their time in Vietnam.
Donovan reunites with Lincoln in New Bordeaux, where he reprises his role as handler and trusted source for Lincoln, supplying him with intelligence and advanced government technology in his effort to take out the Marcano Crime Family. Donovan later left the CIA in 1969 as a result of his actions.
During Lincoln's recuperation, Donovan rented a room at the Blue Gulf Motel which he furnished with surveillance equipment stolen from the FBI, and started running surveillance operations on the Marcano Crime Family and potential assets that Lincoln could recruit to his cause, including a network of civilian informants that he had cultivated to report on the activities and whereabouts of Marcano's henchmen.
After Lincoln had Sal Marcano and Giorgi Marcano backed into a corner, forcing them to seek refuge in the Paradiso Hotel & Casino, Donovan doused his impromptu surveillance centre in gasoline and set the room on fire to cover up his acts.
He later reconvened with Lincoln and Father James at Saint Jerome's Catholic Church, after Lincoln had finished off the Marcano's, where he advised Lincoln to take over New Bordeaux's criminal underworld and to murder his remaining underbosses before they betrayed him. He left the city after this.
- See also Mafia III Endings.
In August 1971 John Donovan was called before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to testify about his knowledge and participation in Lincoln Clay's murderous rampage against the Marcano Crime Family.
As the hearings were winding down Donovan asked Senator Blake where he was when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. The Senator replies that he doesn't remember, but believes he was at home. Donovan recounts his whereabouts at the time, being in a muddy hut in Vietnam, dismembering an old woman piece by piece because her son was an NVA officer and hurting her was the only way to make him talk.
Senator Blake breaks in, saying he doesn't understand what this has to do..., but he's interrupted as Donovan continues recounting the events of that day, stating that what that NVA officer told him saved the lives of an entire platoon of men. That's 42 men who lived another day because he was willing to take a saw to that old woman. Again, Senator Blake breaks in and stands up as he begins to dismiss Donovan, only to be told by him to sit down and shut the fuck up!
Donovan continues by saying he did a lot of terrible things in the name of this country, things that will haunt him for the rest of his life, because he believed this nation stood for. To be sitting ass deep in mud, that old woman scattered all around him, and hearing that the President of the United States had just been murdered, he knew right then and there that he couldn't let that stand and he would make it right no matter how long it took.
Growing impatient, Senator Blake asks Donovan what he's saying, to which he replies that Sal Marcano and a group of conspirators murdered President Kennedy, to which the Senator replies as being the most absurd thing he's ever heard. Assuming he would say that, Donovan pulls out a silenced pistol, aiming it at the Senator. He tells him that he doesn't hold anyone's ambitions against them, and the Senator certainly was ambitious, having gone to law school, become a district attorney, and then a United States senator.
As he approaches the Senator, gun still pointed directly at him, Donovan explains that after Sal died, he went through his files. Imagine his surprise when he saw Senator Blake's name over and over again. The mob wanted President Kennedy dead and Blake was more than willing to help. With the cameras still rolling, and in front of all the witnesses, Donovan states that he wants everyone to know he isn't finishing with Senator Blake, he's starting with him. He then fires one shot into the Senator's chest, followed by another to his head.
Turning toward the camera Donovan states that they're next and waves his gun in front of the other members of the committee. He then laughs as he excuses himself and walks out of the room. What became of John Donovan after that is unknown.
- The Home Fires Burn
- Thicker Than Blood
- The Way of Flesh
- The Blade Stained Red
- Work the Man Who Bleeds
- Compromised Corruption
- Everyone Will Notice
- The Dead Stay Gone
- A Little Late for That
- Hot Rubber & Cold Blood
- The Connection to Cuba
- The Poor Sumbitch
- Real Nice Time
- Jesuit in New Mexico
- Burn Like Napalm
- There's a War Goin' On
- Certainly Was Exciting
- Yet Here We Are
- Blind Eyes of God
- Donovan drives an orange Potomac Independent.