Often the most fearsome landscapes are hiding the most succulent gardens.
— Dr. Wainwright to Mary Sibley

Samuel Wainwright was a Bostonian who came to Salem to investigate the mysterious plague outbreak. The doctor was soon enticed by Mary Sibley, and involved in the diabolical scheme of the witches and puritan zealots.

Dr. Wainwright was portrayed by Stuart Townsend.

Character Description

"An English doctor who attempts to discover the town's secrets while he fights to maintain his own. A cold-hearted but quick-witted surgeon whose predilection for sadism."[1]

Early Life

When he was a child he survived the plague and probably this affliction has spurred him to pursue a medical career. Member of different groups of academics who delight and provide for the dissemination of medical science and to fight superstition. Dr. Wianwright knows personally leading figures such as Sir Isaac Newton.


Described by the authors as "a cold-hearted but quick-witted surgeon whose predilection for sadism", Samuel Wainwright is a man of science, strongly anchored to the logic and not at all intimidated nor superstitions nor fear of the divine as the Puritans. Show a great practical spirit in the most difficult circumstances - as it can be a city overrun by the plague - and also a quite mischievous mind, as evidenced by the speeches with Mary Sibley. When he discovers the actual existence of witchcraft, he remains fascinated, coming to define it a science yet to be discovered, proving to be a very open-minded man for his century. Eager to learn the arcane secrets, he offers himself to Mary as a faithful servant, in contrast to the behavior he showed previously. Indeed, when it comes to satisfying his sexual appetites, Samuel Wainwright is not one that opts for the normal; very well using his tongue for purposes other than disquisitions and debates and preferring the use of ropes and inconvenient situations for a puritanical mentality.

Physical Appearance

Tall, broad-shouldered, short brown hair and a beard that covers the lower part of the face. Dr. Wainwright has a well-proportioned body, with a hairy chest and broad shoulders. His face is severe and his dark brown eyes are curiously cautious, as befits a scientist. Vaguely reminiscent of Cotton Mather, but with hardest facial features. His clothes are not very sophisticated, but they are still good shape.Mainly he wears shades of brown, white shirts and redingote ranging from black to brown.

Throughout The Salem Series


Dr. Wainwright comes to town perhaps alarmed by reports of a plague that hath been widespread in the town of Salem. Makes an appearance during a council meeting in the church, making a mockery of the words of Mr. Hawthorne, thereby supporting the intentions of Mary Sibley. Totally uninterested in political, has as its goal to save the sick by finding the epicenter from which spread the disease. Then undertakes a research concluding that his answers are hidden in the northern woods of Salem, where he'll find the Malum rotten and full of worms next to a semi-dead Isaac, who'll bring back to town, believing that the young man has an immune system by which he can extract a cure from the blood.[2]

The doctor is involved in looking after the sick of the plague in a building used as a makeshift hospital. Here reveals to Mary Sibley that Isaac woke up and slowly seems to recover from the disease, raising fears the witch to be on the verge of being discovered. Later, he is surprised by Mary at the home of John Alden (who was introduced in its turn home believing there were thieves or, perhaps, John) and the doctor reveals that Mr. Hawthorne gave him permission to stay in the house since it is empty. The two discuss the feminine qualities so much opposed and feared by Mr. Hawthorne, with the doctor that implicitly tries to seduce Mary but withdraws from advance saying that she is the only mistress of her body.[3]

Eps. 2x03-6 TBA

Skills and Abilities

  • Scientific and medical knowledge: Dr. Wainwright is a luminary of science, convinced rationalist who has a scientific explanation for everything, even considering witchcraft and magical laws as a science yet to be discovered. His medical knowledge is cutting edge and based on empiricism, human anatomy and the use of drugs, rather than superstition and healing done by bleedings and prayers. Unlike many of his colleagues, he's fascinated by human anatomy and dissection practices, both on the living (biopsy) that on the corpses (autopsy), labeled by the common moral, highly influenced by religion, as necromancy and prohibited by law. Wainwright is a trained doctor. He is capable a treating people for wounds and illness, prescribing drugs and performing blood transfusions.
  • Multilingual: because of his university studies, Wainwright knows languages like Latin and Greek.
  • Basic knowledge of witchcraft: as an "apprentice sorcerer" Dr. Wainwright had begun to learn the basics of magic such as Glamour from her mistress Mary Sibley, before being sidelined.


Main article: Mary and Samuel
I think perhaps, Mrs. Sibley, you are like the Queen Elizabeth of Salem.
— Dr.Wainwright to Mary Sibley

Mary and Samuel on the street.JPG

Mary and Dr. Wainwright know shortly after the arrival of man in the city and now seem to get along. She sees him as one of the few allies against misogynist selectmen who would usurp her command over the town. The two flirt shamelessly and also have sexual intercourse.

Main article: Cotton and Samuel
You're all right, Mather, for a damn Harvard man.
— Dr. Wainwright to Cotton Mather

S02e07 298.jpg

Although their relationship started as antagonistic because of ideological differences (scientific vs theological), the two begin dating very often to find out the cause of the plague by putting together the pieces of the puzzle coming to find that the ditch is now a pit of Hellfire. Although the two have a different background, both are willing to fight the evil that lurks in the streets of Salem.

Sebastian: Are you ready to take a bite out of that forbidden fruit?
Dr. Wainwright: I am. At whatever cost. It's all that I've ever wanted from life. Answers.
— about initiation into Witchcraft
A relationship barely hinted. While Wainwright believes that the Baron might be a master to teach him the secrets of the dark arts, Sebastian Von Marburg considers the doctor an obstacle to winning the heart of Mary Sibley. Their relationship ended when Sebastian Von Marburg throws Wainwright in the hellish pitch puddle, sentencing him to roam alive in Hell.

A formal and very hostile relationship, since Wainwright considers Magistrate Hathorne a pompous bigot only interested in useless policy. On behalf of Magistrate Hathorne, then, there is not much to add because the two had a little way to interact, limiting all at public or social events.

Memorable Quotes

Dr.Wainwright: "The pox no more discriminates by sex than a lion prefers to eat a man or a woman. Though like a lion, it may take the weakest first. And I have just been to where your weakest reside, in wretched Knocker's Hole. I had hoped to give them more voice here than they obviously have, but I find you all consumed with petty politics. I'm headed back there now to see what can be done."
Cry Havoc
Mary Sibley: "Tell me, Sir, who are you to speak with such confidence of the pox?"
Dr.Wainwright: "A doctor, Ma'am, with royal certification. I've walked through many poxes. I survived the plague as a child, and I believe I can save all of you. Not by prayer, not by repentance, not by fasting, nor by purging your community of undesirables, witches, or powerful women, but, in a word, by science."
Mary Sibley: "Your arrival here could not be more fortuitous.I think you might be God's gift to Salem."
Cry Havoc
Mary Sibley: "Those are deep woods, Sir.Even locals fear to trek there."
Dr.Wainwright: "Ah! "Terra incognita." Well, I live for unexplored territory. And in my experience, often the most fearsome landscapes are hiding the most succulent gardens."
Cry Havoc
Dr.Wainwright: "I seek the materiality of the soul. Its embodiment, and, likewise, the soul that lives in all things. If we can understand the physical seat of the soul, and we understand the spiritual nature of all things, then we might learn to do so much."
Mary Sibley: "You sound like a witch."
Dr.Wainwright: "Well, perhaps so. Perhaps, in their own misbegotten way, witches are scientists."
From Within
Dr. Wainwright: "My mind is not shackled by the petty superstitions and fairy tales of religion."
Wages of Sin
Dr. Wainwright: "I believe my entire life has been leading to this very moment. Ever since I was a child, I've dreamt of nothing more than seeking out the hidden places in nature. Now I feel like... An explorer on the edge of an undiscovered continent. But not this continent... Something far greater."
Wages of Sin
Dr. Wainwright(to Cotton Mather): "The only Hell I believe in is a blackened human heart. I don't believe in witches or devils. But I do believe in evil, and I think you're right. There is great evil at work here. Human evil. And if so, it could be anyone, and they are more than likely hiding amongst us."
Dead Birds





  • Samuel: From the Hebrew name שְׁמוּאֵל (Shemu'el) which could mean either "name of God" or "God has heard". Samuel was the last of the ruling judges in the Old Testament. He anointed Saul to be the first king of Israel and later anointed David. As a Christian name, Samuel came into common use after the Protestant Reformation.
  • Wainwright: is an Anglo-Saxon occupational surname derived from the pre-7th-century Old English word waegnwyrhta. The prefix,"waeg(e)n/waen, refers to a vehicle/wagon, common in its time as being horse-driven and four-wheeled. The suffix, wyrhta/wright, refers to a maker/builder. The earliest public record of the name dates to 1237 in Essex. There are many variations, such as Wainright, Waynewright, Wainwrigt and Winwright.


  • In "Salem: Witch War," the WGN's special dedicated to the second season, is implied that Doctor Samuel Wainwright arrives in town to solve the plague that afflicts Salem.
  • "John Alden (Shane West) might be Mary's first, true love, but he's definitely not the only man interested in her. Wainwright is a mysterious new doctor in town who's come to rid Salem of its plague and, by the looks of it, sweep Mary off her feet."
  • "There's this new guy, Wainwright, who's different than John," says Braga. "John's kind of a brute, nature guy. Wainwright is more erudite and intellectual. And he's a scientist, and in some ways, witchcraft and science are related, so he and Mary will develop something."
  • He's appealed several times as "Necromancer" by Mary Sibley.
    • In "From Within," Mary says that in the city there are rumors of the doctor's necromantic activities.
    • In "Book of Shadows," when Mary sees the doctor examine the body of Corwin, question if he is not trying to "talk to the dead" as a necromancer.
  • Dr. Wainwright in more than one occasion gave the understanding to be sexually aroused by dominant and submissive role-playing; He especially takes pleasure in tying and literally have in his hands the lives of his partners.
  • According to Adam Simon, "the good doctor is not dead, although he probably wishes that he were, considering the great amount of anguish and torment that he is experiencing in Hell is far worse than death". And also, "After all, he is the first man since Dante to enter Hell alive, and there’s no reason he shouldn't, like Dante, make his way back out." Adam concluded with an interesting question about Wainwright's fate, that is: "So the real question for Wainwright is when he emerges from Hell, will he have even a shred of sanity left?" [4]
    • Despite the apparent intention of Adam Simon not to leave Wainwright's fate pending of a proper closure, and to look at the possibility of the doctor's return from Hell, this storyline was eventually set aside in the final draft of the third season due to unknown reasons.


See Also

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