Series: Bullet In The Face
A Viciously Funny ComedyBullet in the Face
is an ultraviolent, blackly comedic
Canadian-American television series created by Alan Spencer (Sledge Hammer!
) that premiered on August 16, 2012 on IFC. It follows sociopathic criminal Gunter Vogler (Max Williams) who, after being shot by his lover and partner-in-crime Martine (Kate Kelton) during a botched jewel heist, wakes up in a hospital three months later with the surgically-transplanted face of the last man he killed.
Brüteville Police Commissioner Eva Braden (Jessica Steen) gives him an ultimatum: die or work for her undercover to take down the city’s powerful crime lords, Tannhäuser (Eddie Izzard
) and Racken (Eric Roberts). Aided by Lt. Karl Hagerman (Neil Napier), the partner of the man whose face he now bears, Vogler must adapt to life as a cop if he wants revenge on those who betrayed him.
This show provides examples of:
- A God Am I: Tannhäuser thinks of himself like this.
- Ambiguously Gay: But just barely. It’s strongly implied that, in addition to working together as police officers, Hagerman was a different sort of “partner” to the man who originally owned Gunter’s new face.
- The Atoner: Averted.
- Axe Crazy: Gunter Vogler and all of the other criminal main characters (Racken likes to shoot henchmen for frivolous reasons, etc.).
- Badass Longcoat: Gunter. Averted with Hagerman, as his coat is far more badass than he is.
- Bad Boss: Merely the possibility of betrayal prompts Racken to murder a whole room full of his men, despite his pointing out he’s known them all for years and that any one of them would take a bullet for him, as well as arguments they offer which he admits are convincing. Tannhäuser’s not much better, killing a mild-mannered man who keeps beating him at chess.
- Battle Couple: Martine and Gunter occasionally act like one. It doesn't last. Either time.
- The Beard: Despite compounding evidence that he is gay, Lt. Hagerman mentions a wife and daughter a few times.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Gunter and Braden appear to share this, but Gunter’s actually just toying with her for the lulz.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Gunter. Though, ironically, he originally has black hair before the surgery.
- Butt Monkey: Lieutenant Hagerman. Even his boss can't stand him.
- Captain Obvious: Hagerman again
- Chess Motif: The last three episodes in spades.
- The Chessmaster: Tannhäuser wishes he were this, given all the chess motifs he uses and the lessons in chess he's taking.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Lt. Hagerman. He feels compelled to protect the man who wears his partner’s face, regardless of Gunter’s despicable antics. Taken to its logical extreme in a dark comedy, he dies while vainly trying to defuse a bomb.
- City of Adventure: Brüteville
- Cliff Hanger: Tannhäuser barely escapes his apartment, and sets off a bomb that may have killed Commissioner Braden. Meanwhile, Martine dispatches Racken and his thugs with the submachine gun she has hidden in her fake belly, pointing her gun at Gunther. Finally, Hagerman tries to defuse a bomb in the basement of a hospital...the episode ends on a shot of chess pieces falling over, leaving all three threads hanging.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Almost everyone, apart from Commissioner Eva. And even then, it's iffy.
- Combat Pragmatist: Martine and Gunter.
- Companion Cube: Tannhäuser treats his snow globes like these.
- Cop Show: A parody of one.
- Cowboy Cop: Gunter behaves in like fashion after he goes undercover, mostly by dint of being a complete psychopath who has no real interest in anything but getting his own face back.
- Crapsack World: Brüteville. It doesn't help that it gets worse as the show continues.
- Da Chief: Commissioner Braden
- Dark Action Girl: Martine.
- Depraved Dentist: Gunter faces one in “Angel of Death.”
- Driven to Suicide: In “Angel of Death,” Gunter and Hagerman investigate a string of priestly suicides. Turns out all the “priests” are ex-criminals being picked off as a part of the Racken-Tannhäuser gang war.
- Eagle Land: From Braden and Racken's dialogue, the series probably takes place there.
- Racken comes off as a strong type 2, with every stereotype of the New York mobster.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: The villains are occasionally prone to bad jokes and puns.
- Evil Versus Evil: A Laughing Mad Axe Crazy Cowboy Cop against two Large Ham gangsters
- Expository Theme Tune
- Facial Horror: Gunter is shot in the face three times in the first three episodes. There's also the fact his face is not ready, as there are slips and cracks happening.
- For the Evulz: Gunter's main motivation.
- Geisha: A group of thespians-turned-prostitutes who kill gangsters in revenge for their theater falling into ruin have this as their gimmick.
- Genre Savvy: Tannhäuser. But since he's insane and believes he's destined for a tragic and operatic downfall, he doesn't use it to his advantage very much.
- Giggling Villain
- Hidden Depths: Most of the time, Gunter comes off as a wanton killer and insufferable asshole, but at the same time he seems to have genuine affection for his girlfriend Martine (even after she shot him), is excited about the prospect of becoming a father and often quips and waxes philosophical about society, his fellow man and the nature of good and evil.
- Kill 'em All: Depends on how you interpret the Cliff Hanger.
- Large Ham: Gunter, though he could be very subdued if he wants to. Logically so, since his face can not handle him laughing all the time.
- Tannhäuser revels in this.
- Laughably Evil: He may be a relentless bastard and murderer, but it’s his unrestrained behavior and nihilistic attitude that make Gunter so damn fun to watch.
- Lampshade Hanging: Racken has a guy in his organization that lampshades almost everything he does in that scene.
- Magic Plastic Surgery
- Manipulative Bitch: Braden thinks she’s this to Gunter, except he spends most of his time ignoring her save when his original face is on the line. Martine Mahler is one played straight.
- Mob War: Tannhäuser and Racken start one with each other that eventually dominates life in Brüteville. By the end, it's revealed the whole thing was prompted by Martine.
- Mood Whiplash: The last three episodes are noticeably more serious than the first three, more darkly comedic ones.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Gunter argues that religion causes people unnecessary stress, but that he can “do no wrong as long as [he does] wrong” and that “civilization is a prison” and the world is wicked and “deserves to be punished for its hypocrisy.”
- No Name Given: The identity of the man Gunter killed and received the face of is never mentioned.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Gunter always speaks with his German accent, even while he's suppose to be the cop that shot him. Said cop did not speak with such an accent. Gunter even refers about this in the first episode.
- Obviously Evil: Gunter. And Martine.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Commissioner Braden's (highly flawed) reasoning for forcing Gunter to work with the police.
- Perp Sweating: Gunter fails at this. Over and over and over.
- Phrase Catcher: "Shut up, Hagermann!"
- Pillow Pregnancy
- Psycho for Hire: Gunter is introduced as Tannhäuser’s foremost hired gun.
- Real Song Theme Tune: In an odd way. The song is Am A's "Dispatch", but reworked lyrically to fit the show.
- The Reveal: At the end of "Cradle to Grave," Martine reveals she isn’t pregnant at all and merely pretended to be in order to take out the three most powerful criminals in Brüteville.
- Teens Are Monsters: Gunter tries to encourage this mentality with a teenager in “Drug of Choice.” Averted when it turns out the drugs made him that way.
- Theme Naming: Most of the main characters and even the city they live in have Germanic names, although Gunter is the only recurring character with a German accent.
- Token Evil Teammate: Gunter.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Braden had this with Gunter because of his new face, but he doesn’t feel the same way about her at all. Neither did the face’s original owner.
- The Vamp: Martine again.
- Villain Protagonist
- Wham Episode: "Kiss Me Thrice" takes a more serious tone and cranks up the Myth Arc.
- Wicked Cultured: Tannhäuser. And Gunter, a little.
- Women in Refrigerators: The fate of Tannhäuser's henchwoman.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit