Oct. 05, 2000
60 min.
The CW TV Network

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Gilmore Girls

Set in a storybook Connecticut town populated with an eclectic mix of everyday folks and lovable lunatics, Gilmore Girls is a humorous multigenerational series about friendship, family and the ties that bind. This unique mother-daughter team has been growing up together.

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Luke Danes Gilmore Girls
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Luke Danes

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  Played by:
Scott PattersonScott Patterson
An accomplished actor in film, television and theater, Scott Patterson is well known to television audience ...

Character Bio

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Lucas "Luke" Danes is the owner of "Luke's Diner." His mother died when he was young, leaving his father to raise Luke and his sister, Liz. Liz is somewhat flaky, whereas Luke is very dependable and hard-working, helping his father at his hardware store and growing very close to him. After his father dies, Luke turns the store into his diner, keeping most of the original architecture intact as a way of honoring his father.

Luke appears to have a very gruff and unfriendly personality; however, as the series progresses, his image softens, and his willingness to help out his loved ones becomes apparent. He is close to both Rory and Lorelai, since they are frequently at his diner. He has grown very fond of them over the years.

In season 1, His and Lorelai's relationship begins to grow from faux-contentious banter to a true friendship, and it is evident that Luke has romantic feelings for Lorelai. However, his attempts to express his feelings are continuously thwarted, often by other people, such as Lorelai's on-again, off-again boyfriend Max Medina and Luke's similarly intermittent girlfriend, Rachel (played by Lisa Ann Hadley). Rachel is a photographer who travels the world for months at a time for work, and in the past she has returned to Luke and abruptly left him numerous times, causing him much heartbreak. She returns in season 1, promising that she will remain permanently, but she leaves at the end of the season when it becomes clear that Luke has feelings for Lorelai.

When Lorelai announces her engagement to Max, Luke pretends to be happy for her, all the while criticizing how little she knows Max. He later apologizes and presents her with a wedding gift; a chuppah for Max and her to stand under. He is very happy when the engagement is called off.

Later in season 2, Liz sends her son, Jess, to live with his uncle, Luke. Jess has got into trouble in NYC and Liz, not being very stable herself, is unable to deal with his issues. Luke and Jess's relationship is contentious; although they are very similar (both are somewhat anti-social, sarcastic, pessimistic, and gruff), Jess's problems with authority and Luke's inexperience at parenting causes numerous fights between them. One night, Jess is driving with Rory in her car and swerves to miss an animal; they crash and Rory is minorly hurt. Luke sends an unresisting Jess back to NYC, although not before Luke and Lorelai get into a fight. Jess later returns and promises to obey Luke's rules, although he later leaves (at the end of season 3) to live with his father in California. Luke is upset, feeling as if he failed Jess. Jess returns in season 4, and Luke tries to convince him to come to Liz's wedding; when he pressures Jess, Jess yells at Luke that he pushes people too hard, and when they ultimately fail, they feel even worse for having failed Luke as well. Luke is upset by this, but he and Jess eventually mend their relationship and grow closer.

In season 2, Luke buys the building next door to him in order to renovate his apartment and make it large enough for Jess to live in with him. In season 3, Taylor Doose, the town selectman and one of the most prominent Stars Hollow residents, rents a store in Luke's building, causing Luke to meet Nicole Leahy (played by Tricia O'Kelley), Taylor's lawyer. They date and get married on a cruise they take during the summer before season 4; when they return, they initially decide to divorce but later delay the divorce in favor of dating. The relationship ends, though, when Nicole cheats on Luke.

In season 4, after denying his feelings for Lorelai for years, Luke finally realizes that he is in love with her, and the two kiss at the season finale. They date for much of season 5, much to the displeasure of Lorelai's parents, Emily and Richard, who dislike Luke due to his blue-collar, working class status. Emily invites Christopher, Rory's father, to her and Richard's renewal ceremony, hoping for Christopher and Lorelai to get back together. Luke, Christopher, and Lorelai become upset when they discover Rory kissing Logan Huntzberger in a back room, and Christopher and Luke get into a fight over the other's involvement in Rory's life; Christopher proclaims that Rory is his daughter, whereas Luke declares that he has cared for Rory more over the years (taking care of her when she was sick, attending her high school graduation, helping her move into college, etc.). Christopher declares that he and Lorelai belong together, revealing that Emily tried to set them up, and Luke is saddened and angered. He and Lorelai break up but get back together. At the end of season 5, Lorelai proposes marriage to him when she sees how much he cares for Rory (who has stolen a yacht and quit school). He accepts, although they delay marriage plans until Rory and Lorelai reconcile.

In season 6, April Nardini (Vanessa Marano), age 12, appears at the diner and takes a sample of Luke's hair, so that she can determine – purely as a science fair project – which of her mother's old flames is her father. Though April and her mother Anna Nardini (Sherilyn Fenn) initially want nothing from Luke, who is indeed the father, Luke feels a strong duty to do whatever he can for his daughter, and they awkwardly become friends. Unsure how to integrate April into his life with Lorelai, Luke delays telling Lorelai of April's existence, until April spills the beans two months later. Feeling betrayed, and hurt, that Luke broke their "no secrets" agreement, Lorelai questions their future marriage. To make matters worse, Luke asks to postpone the wedding to figure things out. She feels left out as Luke spends more time with April and excludes Lorelai from that side of his life, and resentful of being forced to wait again for the man she had fallen in love with. In the finale of season 6, Lorelai gives Luke an ultimatum: elope with her now, on the spot, or break up. Luke attempts to talk her out of it, and Lorelai walks away.

The breakup from Lorelai does not appear to damage Luke's relationship with April. Things take a bad turn, however, when Anna announces that she was moving back to New Mexico to be with her ailing mother and that she intended to take April with her, and Luke fought her for custody. It ends with Anna and April moving to New Mexico and April visiting Luke during holidays and other times off.

In the final episode of the series, Luke throws a surprise going-away party for Rory and the whole town pitches in to help. On learning that rain is expected, Luke stays up the entire night sewing tarps together to create a giant tent. Sookie tells Lorelai that the whole party was Luke's idea, detailing all the work he put into it. Lorelai thanks Luke, who says it was no big deal, and then confesses that he just wanted to see her happy. Luke and Lorelai kiss, and it is implied that they rekindle their romance as Lorelai is seen flirting with Luke and later wearing the necklace that he gave her.

Episode Screenshots

06x14 - You've Been Gilmored
Season 6, Episode 14
07x16 - Will You Be My Lorelai Gilmore?
Season 7, Episode 16
05x02 - A Messenger, Nothing More
Season 5, Episode 02
07x20 - Lorelai? Lorelai?
Season 7, Episode 20
[More Episodes]

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