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Series: Brimstone

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been a long time since my last confession. I was a cop, and good at my job. I was married; I had a good life. Then my wife was raped. We caught the guy who did it, but he got off. So I tracked him down and I killed him. Two months later, I cornered this petty thief who had a gun. He opened up on me, and I took five bullets to the face and neck. I died. And because I had killed a man in cold blood, I went to Hell. You know it's funny, but even in the most maximum security penitentiary, from time to time, inmates will escape. It happened on Devil's Island. It happened at Alcatraz. Six weeks ago... it happened in Hell."
Ezekiel Stone

"I never loved anyone but God. And that was a long time ago."
Satan

A kind of satanic version of Highlander. Detective Ezekiel Stone was damned to Hell in 1983 for killing, in cold blood, the man who raped his wife after he got Off on a Technicality. Fifteen years later, 113 of the most vicious damned souls in Hell escaped to Earth. Satan, furious at having been "beaten", sent Stone back to Earth to track them down and kill them, returning them to Hell. If he succeeds, he gets the greatest reward of all; a second life on Earth, and thus a second chance at Heaven.

The show starts off in New York but starting with as early as the second episode, takes places in Los Angeles perhaps due to the fact that a resurrected hero cop going around his old haunt, so to speak, might attract unwanted attention.

Unfortunately, it suffered from constant pre-emptions and never quite found its audience, and was canceled after just 13 episodes. Lasted from October, 1998 to February, 1999.

The television show Reaper is eerily similar in concept to Brimstone, though played for comedy rather than dark action.


Provides examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel: The damned souls are mostly invulnerable, Stone included; the only way to kill them is to destroy/remove their eyes. Eyes being the "windows to the soul", of course.
  • Affably Evil: Definitely Satan - unsurprising, considering who played him; the ever sarcastic and witty John Glover.
  • The Alleged Car: Satan gives Ezekiel Stone one of these in one episode. At the end of the episode Ezekiel realises that it's the second damned soul Satan told him to reclaim that week, and shoots its "eyes" (headlights) out to send it back to Hell.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted: the escaped souls are often evil, and one would expect them to be, but, in fact at least a few were shown to have been genuinely good people who made horrific decisions, or in at least one case, were doing what they believed to be the best (i.e. human sacrifice), only to then be judged by another religion's values, after dying. One was even so genuinely contrite and seeking redemption that he was taken to heaven instead of sent back to hell upon his recapture.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Typhoid Mary insisted on this, for good reason.
  • Attack Its Weakpoint: The lost souls are all but "invulnerable", but if you pierce their eyes, they earn a one way trip back to hell.
  • The Atoner: Subverted: Zeke still believes that killing the rapist was the right thing to do
  • Badass Longcoat: Zeke
  • Big Bad: Surprisingly, given its Monster of the Week format and being canceled after only 13 episodes, the series managed to present the mastermind behind the escape, Ash. She seeks to demolish the world's faith in God and possibly bring back her own. This Big Bad even worries Satan.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Justified — every day, he wakes up with exactly what he had on him when he died. This includes his clothes, his money, and his ammunition. But it's supposedly once a day, so he can and does run out of ammo a couple of times.
  • Boxed Crook: The Devil releases Ezekiel Stone from Hell to capture the 113 damned souls that had escaped. If he returns all 113, he gets a second chance at life. If he fails, he returns to eternal damnation.
  • Colonel Makepeace: Detective Ash Who turns out to be one of the 113.
  • Confessional: The opening scene of the series uses the confessional as exposition that the protagonist has been brought back from the dead to hunt down 113 souls who have escaped from Hell. When the priest demands to know why he's telling this ridiculous story, the protagonist says: "Oh I think you know." (The priest is one of the 113).
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Devil. Zeke manages to get in a few as well.
  • Dead to Begin With: Involves a deceased cop making a Deal with the Devil to catch 113 souls that had escaped from hell.
  • Deal with the Devil: See above.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: The Devil is shown at the local hot dog stand and jogging.
  • Divinely Appearing Demons: The series follows Detective Ezekiel Stone, as he is sent on a mission to hunt down 113 damned souls that escaped from Hell. Satan visits at least Once an Episode, played by John Glover and wearing a good-looking business suit. When an angel appears later on, John Glover is dressed in a very worn-out shirt and pants outfit. Ezekiel first mistakes him for Satan, wondering why the new outfit.
  • Don't Tell Mama: Gilbert Jax, the guy who raped Stone's wife is one of the 113 who escaped. Stone doesn't have the heart to tell Gilbert's mother what the guy was really like, and lets her believe he sent Gilbert back to Heaven.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: The Devil is annoyed when Zeke shoots him, and makes it clear he's not to do it again.
  • Evil Is Petty: Whenever Satan drops by, he will engage in some petty prank of anonymous evil. Such as ticketing a legally parked car, loosening a salt shaker, or tying shoelaces together.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Inverted: Stone wears long sleeves and a trench coat in the middle of the day in LA. Justified with Fridge Brilliance when you realize that Stone spent the last fifteen years in Hell and consequently summer in southern California is much colder than he's used to.
  • Expy: The villainess of "Carrier" does a pitch-perfect Harley Quinn impression. Given the episode also makes a reference to Stone being Batman, this seems fully intentional.
  • Eye Scream: The escaped souls can be forced to return when the eyes of their hosts ("windows to the soul") are destroyed. This is often mentioned but usually done off-screen by Ezekiel.
  • Fake Guest Star: John Glover, who played the Devil on every episode, was always credited as a guest star. In fact, the only name in the opening titles was Peter Horton.
    • He was originally supposed to only appear in the pilot, but the chemistry between Glover and Horton was so wonderful that they decided to make him a regular in all but name.
  • Femme Fatale: Detective Ash.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Oddly, Zeke himself is shown to suffer from this the most as he learns things such as looking information up on the internet as an alternative to the library. Others who have been in Hell for hundreds or thousands of years seem to have no trouble adjusting to their surroundings.
  • Five Year Plan: Zeke had 113 damned souls to hunt down.
  • Foe Romance Subtext:
    • Between Zeke and Ash. It started off as mutual attraction, until she got his shirt off and saw her name tattooed on his chest. She still seems to have some interest in him, however.
    • She's even implied to have worked her wiles on Satan.
  • Friend on the Force: Detective Kane in the pilot. But then from the second episode onwards the series takes place on the West Coast, and he's replaced by Ash.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Undergoes a dizzying Genre Shift when the LAPD policewoman who had been his inside track with Earthly authorities is revealed to be the ringleader of the souls, a dead Canaanite priestess who had engineered the escape from Hell by seducing Satan. (The policeman had, unwittingly, been helping her to eliminate members of her "gang" that had gone rogue.) Her plan is to systematically eradicate belief in the God of Abraham from human culture, thereby causing God, Heaven, and Hell, to all blink out of existence. The protagonist realizes that Satan had been desperate to retrieve the escaped spirits, not out of some altruistic desire to restore the Cosmic Balance, but because if the priestess were to succeed in her agenda, Satan, being part of the Abrahamic mythos himself, would blink out of existence as well.
  • Go for the Eye: The eyes of the fugitives from Hell are their only weak spot (because eyes are the Windows of the Soul), thus Zeke has to shoot their eyes to send them back. Interestingly enough, he's also immune to everything except the eyes.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Or, rather, Gotta Kill Them All.
  • Human Notepad: Zeke Stone has the names of the 113 damned souls he's hunting tattooed on his body, 'penned in [the Devil's] native tongue'. When he sends a damned soul back, their name is removed, painfully.
  • The Hunter
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Zeke's pretty good at hitting targets in the eyes. Justified in that a soul escaped from hell gains supernatural powers related to the individual's history and/or mental condition. As a former cop, it's entirely conceivable that superhuman shooting accuracy is Stone's power.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: "It's a Helluva Life," uses this to some extent. Since Ezekiel Stone is already dead, it involves the Devil showing him how all the things he'd done during his life had led to bad outcomes, and pretty much doomed him to Hell, even without him killing his wife's rapist. Luckily, an Angel turns up to point out all the good he'd done as well.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Pulled in the last episode.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Zeke always has exactly what he died with on him — including his handgun and its bullets, and the $36.27 USD he had in his pockets, both of which are replenished each day.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In one of the later episodes, the devil calls Ezekiel out on stuff he did in his life.
  • Knight Templar AND Sinister Minister: Father Edward Salinas, one of the 113 escapees. Sacrifices boys to prevent the Apocalypse.
  • The Legions of Hell
  • Like a Badass out of Hell: The 113 are Type One, Zeke is Type Two.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: The Devil wears an expensive Victorian suit, complete with a red tie and a pocketwatch. In contrast, an angel is shown looking exactly like him but dressed as a blue-collar worker (a ceiling painter).
  • Monster of the Week
  • Night Swim Equals Death: A young woman (who went to Hell after she murdered the families of the men who raped her) goes swimming at night with her new boyfriend. When he gets a little too frisky and triggers her, her demonic powers kick in and she boils him alive in the water.
  • Opening Narration: Subsequent episodes started with a truncated version of Zeke's confession from the pilot.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The Undead are for the most part invulnerable versions of who they were in life, don't need to eat or sleep (the Devil berates Ezekiel for this "indulgence") and any DNA sample taken reveals itself to be dead.
    • Ezekiel himself could be considered a Revenant with the task of one of the Furies.
  • Plaguemaster: The damned soul of the week in "Carrier."
  • Post Rape Taunt: The main reason Zeke was in Hell in the first place. He tracked down his wife's rapist. The guy bragged about it. Zeke opened fire.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Ash. When she's going to kill Roz to become her, she keeps sniffing her like she like-likes her. However, she says she's doing it for her (Ash) and Zeke. Maybe she's bisexual?
    • Earlier that episode, she did sleep with Roz (albeit in a shapeshifted male form) suggesting she may well be bi.
    • Fridge Brilliance when you recall that Ash is over four thousand years old; her approach to sexuality would be closer to Ancient Greece than modern societies.
  • Pun: Done in the pilot when one cop hints he's Jewish.
    "I'm more old testament. You go your way, I go YAHWEH".
  • The Punishment: The longer a soul spends in Hell, the more Hell becomes a part of them; the more Hell becomes a part of them, the more unholy power they're unable to unleash when they break free.
  • Redemption Quest: More or less the entire plot.
  • Repeat Cut: "And I killed him — killed him — killed him," when Zeke is giving his backstory in the first episode.
  • The Reveal: Det. Sgt. Ash is really Ashur Badaktu, the mastermind behind the mass breakout.
  • Running Gag: Whenever Ezekiel met Satan in an elevator, it would always be on its way down.
  • Satan: Played by John Glover, which just goes to show he's a good Magnificent Bastard.
  • Satan Is Good: The Devil isn't necessarily evil. In fact, he's in charge of punishing evildoers, hence his need to get the 113 escapees back to hell. He is, however, an unrepentant Jerkass. note 
  • Sinister Minister: In the pilot episode.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Satan is sometimes spotted smoking a big cigar.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Hasdrabul Skaras, a Canaanite mercenary who gets Stone's attention by targeting police widows for murder.
  • Trickster Mentor: Satan.
  • Walking Wasteland: "Carrier."
  • Water Source Tampering: In "Carrier", Stone has to stop a Poisonous Person before she can throw up in the local reservoir.
  • With This Herring: Zeke is to track down damned souls who have been in hell since the beginning of time, and who thus have amassed fantastic powers. To accomplish this mission, he has a handgun and $36.27, the amount of money in his pockets at the moment he was killed. Luckily, that gun has a Bottomless Magazine and that wad of cash is replenished each day; it's essentially his salary. Just for fun, go grab a Bible and look up Ezekiel 36:27. We'll wait.