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Series: Continuum

Continuum is a Canadian science fiction series that premiered in May 2012, which was entirely filmed in Vancouver. It was created by Simon Barry, who also acts as one of the show's executive producers. As of 2013, twenty three episodes have aired over two seasons, and the show has been renewed for a third. Continuum is aired on the Showcase channel in Canada and SyFy UK in the UK, and began airing on the SyFy network in the USA in January 2013.

Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols) is an ordinary police officer — ordinary, that is, for the corporate-run, vaguely dystopian future of 2077 in the Vancouver District of the North American Union or NAU. She's assigned the routine job of guarding captured terrorists belonging to Liber8 during their very public execution. However, the group has an escape plan that involves Time Travel and Kiera is pulled along with them back to 2012.

Underground, motivated and very dangerous, the surviving Liber8 terrorists are determined to wage their war against the forces they believe will destroy the future in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and it's up to Kiera to stop them. Luckily, she's not alone: she's quickly pulled into the orbit of Detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster) and the Vancouver Police Department, who think she's an expert on this "new street gang up from Portland," and Alec Sadler (Eric Knudsen), a young tech prodigy who will shape the future Kiera and the terrorists come from.

Now has a Character Sheet.

Not to be confused with the webcomic or the role-playing game of the same name.

This series provides examples of the following:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Kiera's future has a wide range of specialized ammunition. Ones shown include a blood-based tracking device, a more conventional but self-camouflaging tracking device, taser rounds, and self-guided flash bang rounds.
  • Acting for Two: Alec does a bit of this after time-travelling a week into his past in "Minute by Minute".
  • Action Girl: Practically every named female character, with the possible exception of Betty.
  • Adult Fear: Kiera has no idea how time travel works in her universe, and is therefore constantly terrified that she's going to wipe her son from existence. Doubly so in season 3, where Alec's trip through time carries the very real possibility that her future is outright gone.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Kellog seems significantly less psychopathic than the other Liber8 terrorists (although he's plenty weaselly to make up for it).
    • Kagame. A wise, thoughtful old man with an affable personality who just happens to be a leader of a Well-Intentioned Extremist faction responsible for plenty of death and destruction.
  • Alliterative Name: Kiera Cameron.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Liber8 storms a VPD police precinct to free one of their comrades. A few officers were killed trying to stop them.
  • Always Save the Girl: Both played straight and averted. Alec in the Season 2 finale uses the Time Travel Device to go back to rescue Emily, but denies Kiera her chance to return home to 2077.
  • Analogy Backfire: The use of the name "Theseus" by the revolutionaries who take everyone hostage in "Family Time";
    Hoyt: He was a warrior who united the people of Athens.
    Alec: He was also pushed off a cliff when the people turned against him.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Freelancers are a secret order founded in the 12th century by a time traveler from the 22nd century with the purpose of preventing time travelers from changing history.
  • Anti-Villain: A rare case of the hero fitting this trope, as a person that acts heroic and noble and has endearing personality traits and a strong moral compass, but nevertheless has fought her entire life for a system and an ideology that made life miserable for the majority - and the further the series progresses, the more disturbing the picture of said system gets. The true villains on the other hand may act violent instead of heroic, but at least are fighting this system.
  • Apocalypse How / The End of the World as We Know It: A significant enough disruption to a timeline can cause it and any closely related timelines to collapse in on themselves and cease to exist.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Invoked by Carlos in "Time's Up" when he and Kiera are interrogating a captured anarchist.
    Carlos: We've got you on inciting a riot, destruction of property, aiding and abetting a kidnapping, obstruction of justice ... oh, and, uh, I'm pretty sure I saw you jaywalking.
  • Association Fallacy / Guilt By Association: Roland Randol is mistaken as the leader of the hostage-takers in "Family Time", due to being an anti-corporation demonstrator, when he's actually one of the hostages himself. He ends up being killed by an ERT team as a result.
    • The same happened to Kellog, who was not originally a member of Liber8. His sister was, before she was killed.
  • As You Know: The conversation between Kellog and Kiera in the season 2 premier serves little purpose other than to bring new viewers up to speed as they bat information they both know back and forth.
  • The Atoner: Future!Alec makes a few allusions to being this and to the time travel plot being a Benevolent Conspiracy to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, but whether this is true is debatable so far.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Season two shows the Super Soldier project was considered this. Despite all the combat advantages Travis possesses, his creation was deemed too costly and the project was shelved.
  • Badass Grandpa: The 65-year-old Kagame is able to briefly hold his own in hand-to-hand combat against Kiera, a highly trained and much younger Protector. It helped that her Protector suit had been damaged previously.
    • Future Alec Sadler could also be said to qualify.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Season 2 ends with all the time travelers save Lucas locked up by the Freelancers, Alec back in time trying to save Emily, Dillon going over Escher's guidebook to create CPS, and Carlos and Betty joining Julian's group.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Throughout Season 1, Kiera wishes that that the police in 2012 were more like the CPS in 2077, who use harsh and draconian measures in the pursuit of justice and to hunt down terrorist suspects, innocent or not. Come Season 2, the police start adopting more of these measures, only to turn them against Kiera, believing her to be the Liber8 mole in their department.
  • Becoming the Mask: Emily was assigned to shadow Alec by Mr. Escher but as of "Second Wave" she's fallen for him for real.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Kellog and Kiera, though it's largely one-way as Kiera is (mostly) keeping faithful to her husband from 2077. Originally Foe Yay, but Kellog defects from Liber8 fairly quickly and becomes Kiera's ally, albeit one with his own agenda.
    • Garza invokes this to troll Kiera during her interrogation.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: Future!Alec sees what he is doing as this.
  • Big Bad: Until proven otherwise, it looks like Escher is this. Maybe.
  • Big Bad Friend: In an interesting twist on this trope, Alec Sadler may be shaping up to be this, seeing as he is one of Kiera's staunchest allies but his future self was the one who sent Liber8 back in time and told Kagame to blow up Building 2 in the first season finale. As well, he has been revealed to have uploaded something to Kiera's CMR and told his younger self that the future course of humanity depends on him.
    • Furthermore, it's revealed that as early as 2035, SadTech designed the mind-control chips implanted in those who have committed "crimes" against the NAU and may even be responsible for operating the factory-gulags themselves.
    • Living with the Villain: Kiera's husband is revealed to have been involved in the conspiracy to send Liber8 back in time, hence his major Oh Crap during the Pilot when he realised that Kiera was present in the execution chamber.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: In the season 1 finale, Kagame dies, and then is born.
  • Black and Nerdy: Lucas Ingram.
  • Black and White Morality: While the background implies Grey and Gray Morality (see below), the characters all are uniformly bad guys on one side and good guys on the other. Well, up to a certain point. Several characters do experience a Start of Darkness that will ultimately lead to the dystopia Kiera is trying to get back to.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Notably averted. The two Liber8 members to die early in the series were white (Jaworski) and Asian (Chen), whereas the two male black characters are the group's de facto leader (Verta) and The Engineer (Ingram). And now Chen is somehow alive again, with no explanation. It can't even be excused as an earlier timeline version of him since he clearly remembers going back in time with the rest of Liber8. He did die, that much is clear, but the means of his revival isn't and he tends to avoid questions from Kiera about his death.
  • Blood Knight: Plenty among Liber8.
    • Garza sure seems to enjoy ambushing and gunning down the police when they storm the power station in the second episode.
    • Kagame rips Travis for acting like this during "A Test Of Time", when Travis gunned down a hostage that Kagame had agreed to release in good faith.
  • Book Ends: Both the season one premiere and finale episodes begin with the Liber8's bombing of the Sadler skyscraper in 2077. Although the premiere showed the tower falling from Kagame and Kiera's point of view, the finale shows the same from the point of view of Travis and Chen just as they're leaving the tower.
    • Also, the second season starts with Keira dreaming that she's imprisioned in an industrial style facility, and ends with her and Liber8 all actually imprisoned in exactly such a facility.
  • Boom, Headshot: Regularly.
    • Agent Gardiner is put down by several in succession.
    • Attempted on Alec Sadler in mid-time-jump by a Freelancer in the second season finale; it misses, but he spends the next episode with a wound on his left temple.
    • All over the place in the third season premiere, "Minute by Minute". Garza finishes off several Freelancer mooks by this method, then gets killed the same way as the timeline is collapsing, and then in Alec's new timeline Emily disposes of Escher and someone does the same to Kiera's counterpart.
  • Bowdlerize: On the U.S. airing, the word "shit" is silenced. Which makes little sense, given that the same word is typically allowed to slide by on cable shows.
    • Although they let the closed captioning slide.
  • Brick Joke: In "Playtime", Betty describes a banned energy drink as being popular with hackers and coders. Later, Alec is shown drinking it at his computer.
  • Canada Does Not Exist: Averted. The show doesn't hide its Vancouver origin. In the pilot, Inspector Dillon resents Kiera (posing as a U.S. detective) working in Vancouver without informing him. By the second episode Carlos is already talking about using the RCMP for a manhunt, and Liber8 attacks a van with "BC Power" displayed on the side.
    • Episode 4 has Vincent talk about "hiring a skywriter to write 'I told you so' over Yaletown".
  • Can't Stay Normal: Alec tries his hand at a normal life after reading the message from his future self. He quickly finds this intolerable since his job at a computer store has him dealing with morons all day long, and ends up taking an offer from Kellog to continue his work.
  • Cardboard Prison: Lucas almost casually escapes from the prison he's held in during the third season episode "Minute to Win It". But then again, it is a mental hospital, so security isn't quite as strict.
  • Cassandra Truth: When Agent Gardner catches her using her Protector suit and demands answers, Kiera flat-out tells him exactly who she is. Naturally, he doesn't buy it.
  • Casting Gag: Perhaps an accidental one — Tahmoh Penikett appears as a somewhat-crooked union politician who eventually wins a by-election to become the new mayor of Vancouver. His father, Tony Penikett, was the Premier of Canada's Yukon Territory from 1985 to 1992.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Early in season one, Chen damages Kiera's Protector uniform by jabbing her with a power cable. In the season 2 finale, Kiera uses this to beat Travis, who has managed to get his hands on another Protector uniform.
    • Garza is shown to have barbell nipple piercings in a flash-forward to 2077. In the present, she uses them to pick some handcuffs a few episodes later.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Chekhov's Cigarette Smoking Gunman. William B. Davis (known for playing the villain on The X-Files) appears for a few minutes as a corporate executive before Kiera is sent back in time. At the end of the pilot, in a flashback, he returns and is revealed to be Alec Sadler.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: The Liber8 leader, Kagame, is present for the time jump in the series premiere but doesn't arrive in the past with everyone else. It turns out he was a little further away from the device than the others, leading him to arrive several days later during the fourth episode, "Matter of Time".
  • The Chessmaster: Kagame, who literally plays chess in "Time's Up". His showing up causes Liber8's plans to become much more elaborate and subtle, making it that much harder for Kiera to pull even a Pyrrhic victory over him. But even Kagame is dwarfed by the man who plotted and instigated his trip back in time, 2077-era Alec Sadler. Both are one-upped, however, by the man really manipulating the timeline: Escher.
  • Chessmaster Sidekick:
  • Child Soldiers: Downplayed, but present; a band of teens (including Julian Randol) inspired by Liber8 turn up in the ninth episode of the first season, preparing to set off a van full of ammonium nitrate as part of "Operation Theseus".
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Kiera's Protector uniform. It grants her enhanced strength, speed, and reflexes. It acts as a Bullet Proof Vest capable of stopping rounds from an assault rifle. It has an Invisibility Cloak, a built-in computer to augment her own bio-implants, can change color, and its sleeves can be used as a stun gun. When it gets damaged and Kiera loses access to most of her fancy gadgets, she is forced to rely on her instincts and her experience as a police officer in order to do her work. Alec manages to repair it just prior to the finale. In "Second Skin", a second suit shows up, belonging to Kiera's partner in the future. She passes it off to Alec to study after the hijinks of trying to get it from a civilian who bought it at a yard sale, drew the attention of Liber8. Travis gets his hands on it in "Second Last", and it seems to work even better for him than it does for Kiera. In addition to having all her abilities, it projects a shield around his head to prevent headshots and can shoot sonic blasts.
  • Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit: Kellog runs the more realistic "quick guaranteed investments" version, lacking a way to go back to the future. He also takes it a step further by then investing in the future creators of the technology society will come to depend on.
    • It appears Mr. Escher is doing the same thing, only on a longer timescale since Piron will exist in 2077.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: There are plenty of them in 2012 and things will only get worse in the future. Apparently in 2077 the people in charge do not see it as much of a problem that a corporation is withholding food shipments, causing food riots, and not even trying to hide it. And by 2035, SadTech owns an entire factory (if not the entire gulag-style system of complexes) devoted just to using zombified "criminals" to turn out more chips to control even more people.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Kagame once advocated passive-resistance and peaceful tactics to bring about the return of democracy, only for the NAU to raid his peaceful demonstration, arrest him and take his family away. Needless to say, he got pissed!
    • Kiera worries about having done this, after she nearly executes Julian in cold-blood, after discovering he will become Theseus. It's heavily implied that this was one of the events that set this in motion.
    • An oddly literal example with Travis. Part of the Super Soldier program involved implanting him with a control chip that lowered his empathy and compassion, whilst ramping up his aggression, making him the unstable psychopath that he is today.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Emily. Up until "Second Degree" she seems to have been a rather ordinary girl whose main talent is being The Mole. Then, when a stranger accosts her in Alec's home, she proceeds to completely lay waste to him in a pretty realistic Action Girl way.
  • Crapsaccharine World:
    • The North American Union in 2077.
      • On the one hand, the corporations of the day are said to have "bailed out" failed governments in the 2050s, and gained a stranglehold on power as a result. For example, food rations are withheld arbitrarily simply to drive the price up for people who need that food. And God help you if you go into debt after about 2030, as corporations are legally empowered to throw you in a slave labor camp!
      • On the other hand, people high up in the corporations or directly under their employ (Kiera and her husband, for example) lead relatively good lives. Though a corporate-run, privatized police state, the 2070s NAU in the series (or at least the province of it that we see) actually has some degree of freedom, from what we see of the era, which keeps it from being a total Crapsack World. Academics, including those with anti-corporate and anti-government views, are allowed to freely express their thoughts (it's possible some corporate strings may have had to have been pulled in order to make this happen, however, but it still allows for some criticism of authority in intellectual discourse). Many individuals in both the present and future would obviously be happy that gay marriage is perfectly legal and respected in the NAU Vancouver of the 2070s, just as it is in Real Life present-day British Columbia.
  • Cue Card Pause: Young!Alec has this problem in front of Piron's board of directors. As he's been distracted by Emily's betrayal, he hasn't had time to prepare his speech. It goes off about as well as you would expect. Kellog even accurately predicts almost exactly what went down when he buttonholes Alec later.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Travis against a group of prison white supremacists. And a few other examples with Travis.
    • Emily against the Freelancer who accosts her in Alec's home.
  • The Cutie / Heroes Want Redheads: Emily.
    • Kill the Cutie: Towards the end of Season 2. Alec goes back in time himself in an attempt to avert this. As of the season 3 premiere this has resulted in the creation of a completely separate branch of alternate timelines in the space-time continuum and the old timeline to start disappearing from existence.
  • Cyber Punk: It has some bits of Cyberpunk, especially with the North American Union under corporate rule.
  • Dark Action Girl: Valentine and Garza.
  • Dark Messiah: Theseus.
  • Dating Catwoman: Kiera sleeps with Kellogg between the penultimate episode of season one and its finale. Their relationship goes right back to normal after that, though.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Alec lets Kellog sponsor him. Subverted in that he repeatedly stands up to Kellog and lets him know he won't just be a puppet.
    • Dillon makes a deal with Escher to better equip the police force to deal with Liber8. As a part of that deal, the police force is gradually being converted into CPS.
    • Alec and Kiera both have to make decisions they aren't completely comfortable with between the end of the second season and the beginning of the third. Alec robs Kiera of a chance to get home to save Emily, and as a consequence Kiera has to ally with the Freelancers to keep him from totally wiping out her future. She even describes it as such.
    • Twice for Emily. First, she signs on with Escher to watch Alec, apparently to escape her Dark and Troubled Past. In the season 3 timeline, Kellog recruits her to assassinate Escher, then hits her with the revelation that he was Alec's father to keep her under his control.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Travis gets the gangs to work together by bringing in the heads of their leaders.
  • Defector from Decadence: At the end of season 2, Carlos and Betty end up being this. It's reset in the season 3 premiere, though it's not necessarily out of the question in the new timeline.
  • Deflector Shield: Kiera can extend the range of her Bulletproof Vest effect to surround her and one other person, but can only sustain it for a few seconds.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Mostly averted as Valentine rarely fights anyone and Kiera and Garza usually end up fighting (and beating up) men. Two noteworthy exceptions are:
    • In "A Test Of Time", Kiera engages Garza in a shootout while shielding two more girls from the gunfire (one of whom is Kiera's own grandmother). Since there were no men around to fight with this is not a "classic" case of Designated Girl Fight but still counts within the context of the episode.
    • In "Second Skin", Garza and Valentine have a truly classic Designated Girl Fight when they get into a knock-down drag-out fistfight while Travis beats up the (male) civilian they're after. Garza comes out on top eventually, but she has to work for it.
  • Disney Villain Death: Travis appears to suffer this fate in the season 2 finale, complete with flat-line on a computer monitoring his vitals, but he shows up in a tank later hooked up to life support, which suggests he'll pull through (again). It's rendered moot when the Reset Button undoes the circumstances of his death.
  • Does This Remind You Of Anything?:
    • The NAU was created after corporations "bailed out" the governments in the North American countries.
    • The explosion and collapse of the Corporate Congress building in the very first scene of the pilot is reminiscent of the Twin Towers on September 11th.
    • Even more blatant is the suicide bombing of Building 2 in the first season finale.
    • A terrorist attack on a major urban center sparks tougher, gloves-are-off measures by the authorities in catching the perpetrators - measures that can easily be abused against people who had nothing to do with the attack or the group that carried it out.
    • Betty is a professional hacker working for those in authority who leaks sensitive information before leaving to seek asylum elsewhere after deciding that her employers are abusing their power. Similar stories should be familiar to anyone who has followed the news in the early 2010s.
    • In "Minute to Win It", we're introduced to "Sonmanto", a corporation targeted by Liber8. They're shown in the episode to be willing to sic a battery of lawyers on anyone who impedes corporate profits, and are obviously hiding some sort of big secret.
  • Downer Ending: The second season ends with Kiera, Jason, and Garza imprisoned by the Freelancers while Carlos and Betty appear to join Theseus' branch of Liber8.
  • Dragon-in-Chief/Dragon with an Agenda: Arguably Travis, who is much more intimidating and overtly dangerous than the mild-mannered and manipulative Kagame. Travis also does a pretty good job starting the heralded "war" before Kagame reappears from the time jump, and even though Kagame quickly reasserts himself as the group's leader, you get the sense that if Travis ever got really displeased, he could dispense with Kagame (or pretty much any rival) with ease. Anticipating this, Kagame's final order to Sonya is to kill him before taking leadership herself, since succession would fall to Travis otherwise. Unfortunately, Sonya failed to follow through, and Travis ended up breaking off into his own cell with Garza.
  • Driven to Suicide: Jim Martin is implied to have killed himself after his association with Liber8 comes to light and torpedoes his career.
  • Dueling Hackers: Alec and Lucas, hacking into Kiera's mind, no less!
  • Enemy Civil War: Sonya's botched attempt to kill Travis results in him and Garza teaming up to take out her and Ingram.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • A bit looser than most examples, but Kiera teams up with Gardner to find out who's been stealing the bodies of time travelers, reasoning that he'll be helping her and be too busy to keep hounding her for the truth in the meantime. Getting murdered by the thieves at least makes the latter a non-issue.
    • In the season 2 finale when Carlos teams up with Julian after leaving an increasingly brutal and corrupt police force.
    • In the season 3 premiere when Kiera and Garza team up to escape the Freelancer stronghold.
    • And in the same episode, Kiera joins the Freelancers once it's revealed that the timeline she's in is collapsing thanks to Alec trying to change the past, and as a consequence her family may never exist unless she fixes it.
      • Within that, Chen makes a secondary offer to be Kiera's partner, reasoning that they share a unique background which neither Alec or Carlos can truly appreciate. Having previously killed him and aware of his obvious distaste for the arrangement in general, she doesn't go for it.
  • Engineered Public Confession:
    • When Liber8 kidnaps a CEO, they force her to read statements denouncing herself as a criminal, though this isn't really taken seriously. Later, they strap a bomb to her, which will only be disarmed when she admits to the fraud she and her company's board engaged in. That ruins her company.
    • Later, Liber8 forces Jim Martin to "confess" to a variety of crimes and malfeasance, some true, some not true. His political career is dead in the water after that, as is the man himself.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: As soon as he gets settled in 2012, Kellog looks up the woman who will be his grandmother and tries to help her and her family. He takes it quite badly when Travis kills her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Kagame, Ingram and Kellog are rather put off (to varying degrees) by the brutal extremes to which their Liber8 colleagues are willing to go.
  • Evil Mentor: Kagame to Julian. Escher to Alec and possibly Dillon. Averted with Kellog, who only tries to make it sound like he is going to be this when he decides to sponsor Alec, but later praises Alec's independent spirit (albeit somewhat snidely) in spite of the sponsor-client relationship.
  • Face Nod Action: In the pilot episode, two members of Liber8 do this before creating a time vortex to the past.
  • Fake American: In-universe, Kiera is a Canadian pretending to be an American while working with a Canadian police department.
    • To make things even more brain-bendy, Rachel Nichols is herself American, playing someone from Vancouver.
    • It appears that in the future, Mexico, the US and Canada are joined in the "North American Union", so presumably all (former) Mexican, US and Canadian citizens now have the same citizenship.
  • False Flag Operation: A multi-layered one in the season two premiere. The mayor is assassinated, which on the surface seems to be Liber8's MO. However, the mayor's stance against organized crime makes the VPD consider that it might have been a hit by the gangs themselves to frame Liber8. Then it's revealed that Liber8 actually is responsible, having anticipated that deduction and framed said gang, all to hide the real reason: moving their own favored candidate into position for election.
  • Fanservice: "Second Listen" has a full-body shot of Garza naked from behind.
  • Fantastic Drug: Retrevinol (or "Flash" in street slang), a drug from the future originally used as an Alzheimer's treatment. It allows the user to vividly recall memories, but results in a dangerous sleepwalking effect as they get lost in their memory, not to mention addiction as they continue to pine for their brighter past. It's implied the drug also glamorizes the memory to some extent, making it feel better than it was in reality. It appears in episode "Second Thoughts". The drug's effect is identical to that of the drug "Refrain" in the anime series Code Geass.
  • Fictional Counterpart: None here. The Vancouver Police Department is depicted as it is. Well, right up until Dillon leads it on a path towards a Start of Darkness in the later episodes of season 2.
    • The real BC electric company is called B.C. Hydro, not B.C. Power. Some of the universities, etc, are also fictional.
  • Five-Bad Band: Liber8.
    • Big Bad: Edouard Kagame, the group's leader and the instigator of the time jump.
    • The Dragon: Travis Verta, de facto leader of the group in 2012 until Kagame reappears from the time jump, and the leader of his own faction after Sonya tries to assassinate him on Kagame's final orders.
    • The Brute: Jasmine Garza, Curtis Chen, and Stefan Jaworski, although the latter two die to bring the "five" back to "Five-Bad Band".
    • Evil Genius: Lucas Ingram.
    • Dark Chick: Sonya Valentine.
    • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Matthew Kellog.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water: A lot.
  • Foot Focus: On Emily, while she sneaks down a flight of stairs in "Second Degree". And again while she proceeds to curbstomp the intruding Mook who necessitated the sneaking.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Most of the special tools Kiera uses show up once and are never used again. While many of these simply don't come up again (the fingerprinting powder is just a more advanced version of modern fingerprinting powder; the police stuff works fine most of the time), the truth serum would be very useful in a number of situations, but is only used once in the very first episode. Then again, it's possible Kiera has a limited supply and no way to replenish it.
  • Frameup: The murder of Gardner is pinned on Kiera by the Freelancers to make trouble for her.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: In the season 2 finale, despite vowing to help Kiera, a grief-stricken Alec uses the device to go back in time to save Emily's life, preventing Kiera from going home. This perhaps mirrors Kiera's decision earlier to dive after the device rather than stay and cover Emily in the first place.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Inverted in "Politics of Time", when after a journalist is murdered, the same assailant enters Carlos' home and attacks him while he is in the shower before he fights them off. It's a rare (and completely non-sexual) cross-gender example, as by this point, Kiera has deduced that the killer is a woman, later shown to be Garza.
  • Future Badass: Alec Sadler from 2077.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Alec isn't quite sure what to make of his future self from Kiera's limited descriptions, and asks Kiera about him. Kiera bluntly states that future Alec is a powerful man and didn't get that way by being a nice guy.
  • Gambit Pileup: The second series has this in spades. Kellog, Liber8 (both splinter factions), Escher, the Freelancers, Mayor Jim Martin and Julian Randol are all running their own agendas.
  • Glassy Prison: Where the Freelancers keep temporal violators that they capture. Not much is revealed about why they imprison some of their targets while killing others, like Gardner, outright.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Kiera scheduled one, but decided against it, and urges her grandmother to do the same (of course, that was to save her own future existence).
  • Government Conspiracy: What is suggested on how the first season is being played out. Some in Liber8 suggest this possibility, which is how they were able to escape CPS custody for instance.
  • Grandfather Paradox:
    • Kiera uses this as a threat against Ingram in the pilot. They later decide to test the theory on Kiera's grandmother. Kellog's grandmother is ultimately shot and killed with no repercussions, though Alec notes that nothing happening doesn't really prove anything, and among the possible explanations is that Kellog may have been mistaken about his parentage.
    • This almost happens to Alec via Garza on his future self's orders, though Alec deduces that he must have arranged this intentionally, knowing that Garza wouldn't do it and that Kiera would save him.
  • Grey and Gray Morality:
    • On one side, we have a bunch of psychopaths trying to avert the total control of the NAU by the corrupt Congress of megacorporations. On the other side, there is Kiera, a good cop protecting law and order — which are, at least in 2077, dictated by said corrupt megacorporations. Overlapping the entire conflict is a possible Big Bad seeking to exploit the timeline for his own mysterious ends, as well as yet another Well-Intentioned Extremist faction who capture and imprison those who tamper with the timeline (whether on purpose or by accident) and have no hesitation killing anyone who gets in their way.
    • Evolving to more of a Black and Gray Morality (at least for viewers) as more of the officially-sanctioned lies and brutality of the mid to late 21st century are exposed in the show, and as several characters start to move towards that future.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: When Travis is in a prison fight, he breaks the arm of one of his assailants, then stabs him in the neck with the exposed bone. The camera cuts away after a split second.
  • Groin Attack: Kiera uses one on Travis in the season 2 finale, with her gun. Even with a Protector uniform of his own shielding him from castration, this still clearly hurt like hell.
  • Help Yourself In The Future: Often. Kellog uses his knowledge of the future to manipulate the stock market and get filthy rich, which he then uses to both set himself up with fine living and help his less-than-fortunate grandmother. Kiera gives advice to her own grandmother. In the first season finale, Kagame arranges for a large sum of money to be delivered to his mother.
  • Hero Antagonist: Julian/Theseus can be perceived as an example of this, though this depends largely on how the viewer perceives the issues the series deals with.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain:
    • Escher, whose motives remain totally unknown, though it's hinted he's from the future. The finale reveals that he's Alec's father, and desires control over time, calling it "the family business".
    • The Freelancers, who are apparently from the future even further ahead than Kiera. The finale reveals that they try to protect the integrity of the timeline.
  • Hide Your Gays: Averted, as Future!Kiera is shown investigating the murder of a woman's same-sex spouse.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Discussed in regards to Julian. Kiera attempts it but ultimately can't go through with, then realizes that her near-miss may in fact have inspired him to become what she remembers (which it did).
    • Screw Destiny: Julian's decision to spare Kiera could be considered an aversion.
  • Hollywood Nerd:
  • Hookers and Blow: Gord Solomon is introduced this way in "Minute Man".
  • Humans Are Bastards: When a corporate CEO is captured and apparently held for ransom by Liber8, the rebels set up an online poll for the public to decide whether she lives or dies. By the time the poll closes, almost two-thirds of the votes are for her death, out of several hundred thousand in total. This dips into Fridge Horror when one realizes that the reason why Liber8 were forcing her to admit her corporate indiscretions was because very few people knew about them — so basically, the people are voting for her death simply based on her position and status in society.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Kellog tells Kiera that he does not approve of his comrades' terrorist tactics. She points out that he is holding a live grenade in a restaurant full of innocent people and is threatening to use it if she tries to arrest him. To his credit, he only uses this tactic to establish a working relationship with her, after which point they get along well enough.
    • Julian gets this retroactively in "Seconds". Despite acting like he's trying to reform, then calling Alec out for selling him out when Alec is innocent of that, he swipes Alec's phone, and several episodes later he gives it to Lucas so he can use it to further Julian's agenda.
    • Kiera points out that if the Freelancers were honest about their talk of sacrifice then Curtis Chen should've let Liber8's execution proceed as scheduled.
    • Kiera herself gets this in the third season, constantly reminding Alec of his betrayal of her by going back to save Emily, even though Emily's death is solely Kiera's fault because she placed more importance on getting back home than she did on protecting others. It certainly doesn't help that Alec's actions snowballed into her younger self getting a bullet to the head and Escher being killed off by Emily.
  • I Have Your Wife: Liber8 holds Kellog's grandmother hostage to force his cooperation in finding Kiera's grandmother. He turns this back on them by finding Kagame's mother instead.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All of the episode names are phrases incorporating a specific word which changes every season:
    • In the first season it's "time".
    • In the second season it's "second".
      • The finale of the second season is called "Second Time".
    • In the third season it's "minute".
  • Idiot Ball: Even if Kellog is self-serving, he nevertheless is a valuable source of information for Kiera and seems genuinely uninterested in Liber8's revolutionary agenda (and thus somewhat interested in her continued existence to help keep the rest of Liber8's shock troops from finding him and blowing him away). In spite of this, it's surprising how often she blows him off when he's trying to reach her with critical, time-sensitive info. This is actually lampshaded in season two, when Kellog points out exactly this. Kiera still gives him the cold shoulder.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Julian, as Theseus, insists that it is better that the "chipped" prisoners in the factories are shut off and killed before the factories are destroyed. It appears that there really is no way to disable the chips without killing the workers.
  • I Don't Pay You to Think: Escher says this to Emily. She counters that she isn't being paid to be a zombie, either.
  • I Hate Past Me: After travelling back in time, Future!Alec has this problem with Past!Alec. Thanks to Future!Alec's meddling, Escher is killed and the revelation of his relation to Alec and Emily's association with him hits pretty hard, rendering Past!Alec a fair bit more cynical. It certainly doesn't help that Future!Alec isn't forthcoming about the details of his little adventure beyond doing it to save Emily, which only further drives a wedge between them.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Carlos hits the bar after a hard day in "Minute Man". Learning that there are two Kieras (the younger version dead), two Alecs (both alive), and about Jim Martin's association with Liber8 would be hard for pretty much anyone to swallow.
  • In Love with the Mark: Emily legitimately falls for Alec Sadler, despite having been hired by Escher as a spy/bodyguard for him. When she admits this to Escher, he actually views it as a plus for her work, and uses it to manipulate her into doing as he says so he doesn't learn the truth.
  • Insistent Terminology: Alec is very insistent on the fact that Roland Randol is only his step-father and quickly corrects anyone who refers to Roland as Alec's father. He continues doing so even after Roland is killed.
  • In the Past, Everyone Will Be Famous: It seems that the events unfolding in 2012-era Vancouver will shape the future to come.
    • After she arrives in 2012, Kiera is able to communicate through her implants with Alec Sadler, the person responsible for inventing the technology that provides the basis for all future computers (including her implants).
    • In the course of one of her investigations, Kiera almost arrests a person who will be responsible for revolutionizing the energy industry.
    • Kiera and Kellog get to interact with their grandparents and Kagame sees his pregnant mother. In the season finale, Sonya gives Kagame's mother a large amount of cash to ensure that her son will be well cared-for.
    • The future mass murderer/terrorist Theseus is Julian Randol.
  • I See Dead People: Ingram, first implied with Kagame then confirmed with Chen. It's suggested to be a side-effect of time travel, similar to how Jason is kinda crazy.
    • Although his seeing Chen is now up the air, since the Season 2 finale reveals that Chen is now inexplicably alive again.
  • Jerkass Ball: Carlos in "Second Truths". Though Kiera's inexplicable knowledge does strain credibility in this one, Carlos is a lot more confrontational about it, in order to motivate Kiera to finally tell him the truth about herself.
  • Jurisdiction Friction:
    • Kiera obviously has no recognizable jurisdiction in 2012, so she pretends to be a detective from Oregon. The police inspector in the Vancouver Police Department is naturally livid that a US cop is trying to butt in on his investigation. However, cops start dying and he does not hesitate to ask for her help. By the end of the pilot he is demanding that she stay and help them catch the killers. Thanks to Alec's hacking skills, Kiera stays with the VPD to catch Liber8 disguised as a member of a top secret government group.
    • Kiera invokes this when the VPD inspector suggests that the US Department of Defense could help them track down the ex-military members of Liber8. Kiera replies that since they did not start their criminal activities until after leaving the military, they are a purely civilian matter. Of course, her real reason for invoking jurisdiction is that the military would have no record of these people ever serving in the armed forces.
  • Jury and Witness Tampering: Julian is found not guilty at his trial for Roland's death because of witness perjury and jury tampering and a corrupt judge.
  • Just A Flesh Wound: Averted with bullet wounds. When Carlos gets shot, it does not seem that bad but soon blood loss and shock make it vital that he get proper medical attention.
  • Karma Houdini: Discussed in "A Matter of Time", when Kiera lets Melissa Dobeck get away with both the murder of Dr Aames and stealing his research into anti-matter, because she's credited in the future as the woman who solved the world's energy crisis.
    • Julian in "Family Time" is a major example. He poses as his father during the hostage situation, leading to Roland's death at the hands of a police sniper. This continues with his subsequent trial, where he is found innocent due to witness perjury, jury tampering, and a crooked judge.
  • Kansas City Shuffle:
    • Liber8 pulls one in the series premiere. After stealing a variety of weaponry, they raid a series of banks and Kiera thinks she's deduced that Liber8 has used the early break-ins as a distraction and are going after the final bank that they hit. Kiera and her 2012-era partner thwart the terrorists there, but when Kiera returns to the police station, she finds that the gang used the whole operation as cover to raid the precinct and retrieve their imprisoned comrade.
    • In "Time's Up", Liber8 kidnaps the CEO of a 2012-era corporation. As Kiera is trying to rescue the victim, she tries to determine what their real goal is: are they in it for the ransom money, or are they trying to make a political statement and earn street cred with the local anarchist groups? In the end, it turns out that the plan was to expose the fraud the CEO was involved in, ruin the corporation, and in the process make a fortune short-selling said corporation on the stock market to fund their next operation.
  • Kill and Replace/There Can Be Only One: The Freelancers indicate that Kiera will have to do something about her counterpart and one of the two Alecs in the new timeline. Someone beats her to the punch with her counterpart, while Alec from one week later seems to intend to stay out of the way now that Emily has avoided her past fate.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Jaworski, late in the series premiere, though he reappears in a flashback in "Playtime".
    • Chen, when Kiera offs him in a fight (due partially to Kellog's machinations). He returns alive and well as a Freelancer in the season 2 finale.
    • Kagame in the first season's finale, as part of a Thanatos Gambit.
    • Gardiner is executed for getting too close to the Freelancers.
    • Emily is shot by the Freelancers during a confrontation for the time travel device. This is undone by Alec in the season 3 premiere.
    • Travis is dropped down an elevator shaft to his death in a fight with Kiera in the season 2 finale, "Second Time". This is undone when Alec goes back to a point in time before his death, creating a new timeline.
    • Garza is shot and killed trying to escape the Freelancers in the third season premiere. This is undone by Alec's creation of the new timeline, as well as Kiera freeing her after arriving in the past.
    • Escher is on the receiving end of Boom, Headshot in the third season premiere, "Minute by Minute".
    • Kiera in the one-week-prior timeline at the end of "Minute by Minute" at the hands of an unknown assailant. Subverted, as Kiera arrives from the "future" timeline shortly beforehand and replaces her dead counterpart.
  • Knight Templar:
    • Numerous characters, to the point where it'd probably be easier to list the ones who aren't this.
    • Most notably, the Freelancers. Kiera even outright calls them a "cult", given their apparent single-minded focus on preserving some sort of "orthodox" timeline.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: "Liber8".
  • Living Lie Detector: Kiera, thanks to her implants being able to conduct detailed medical scans simply by staring at a person. That said, it's not entirely accurate. When Julian is tortured for information about Liber8, Kiera states that he was lying when he claimed not to know where Travis was. Since Julian had seen Travis at his follower's hideout and asked him to leave, he was technically lying about not knowing where he was. This false-positive thus obscured the fact that he genuinely didn't know where Travis was now, the actual intent of the question being asked.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Carlos, of course. The worst part is that he knows Kiera is lying, he just has no idea what the truth is. She eventually tells him halfway through the second season. Even Liber8 feels bad for him.
    Travis: It must really suck to be you.
  • Love MartyrExtreme Doormat: Alec's mother. She went along with Roland's anti-corporate grassroots campaign to support her husband, willingly choose to commit perjury in order to protect Julian, who was on trial for shooting a cop and domestic terrorism and later turns out to have been married to the villainous Mr Escher (aka Marc Sadler).
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Kiera's future pistol has a biometric lock. Anyone else that tries to use it gets a lethal shock. Two people have fallen for it, the first one from the future and thus really should have known better.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Using the memory recall drug Flash, Alec discovers that his father, Marc Sadler, is Jason, the homeless, somewhat crazy time traveler Kiera worked with in the season one finale. Turns out to be subverted, however; Alec only assumed Jason was his father due to the DNA match, and the season 2 finale reveals Jason is in fact his son, while Escher is his father, who faked his death in the fire years ago.
  • Mad Bomber: Liber8 not only blows up an office building as part of their terrorist campaign, but also like to leave explosive "surprises" for the police.
  • Magical Defibrillator: Subverted in the season two premiere, where it fails to revive a flatlined patient with multiple gunshot wounds. Double Subverted when the victim, Travis, turns out to have one built-in, which successfully revives him.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Though it certainly helps that Future!Alec knows both his own past and future, as well as that of others, the man is very good at getting anyone to do what he wants.
  • Master of Unlocking: Kiera has a device which can apparently open any modern lock, be it a simple pin-and-tumbler lock or a complex combination lock safe.
  • Matrix Raining Code: Lucas Ingram's and Alec Sadler's screens.
  • Meaningful Name: Liber8. While on the surface, an obvious pun of "Liberate", it can also be seen as representing Liber, the Roman god of Freedom and 8, the number of members within the group.
    • Not too much has been revealed about Escher, though it's hinted he's a time traveler. His namesake was an artist who created endless looping staircases and drawings of hands wielding pens to draw themselves into being.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender:
    • Stefan Jaworski, Curtis Chen, Roland Randol, and Edouard Kagame are the only main characters who died in the first season; all are male.
    • Inverted in "A Test of Time", when Liber8 tries to hunt down Kiera's grandmother and end up killing Kellog's instead, along with at least one unfortunate woman who was mistaken for Kiera's grandmother.
    • Then say goodbye to Emily in "Second Last".
  • The Men in Black: The Freelancers' uniform is a black suit with a dark shirt and black tie. Averted with the few CSIS agents we see, who, despite working for a government intelligence agency, are considerably less spooky or intimidating and are usually shown wearing a friendly shade of grey (that's just good corporate PR, no doubt).
  • A Million is a Statistic: Liber8's actions are said to have caused the deaths of 30,000 or so people in an effort to bring down the comparatively small number of Corporate Congress board members. Though these numbers might be inflated by propaganda, the urban cataclysm in the first scene of the pilot cannot have had a small number of casualties (and who knows what else occurred off-screen).
  • Mind-Control Device: A chip exists in the future which allows remote control of a human or animal's brain. Travis had one when he was a Super Soldier, debtors get them when they're enslaved to repay what they owe, Curtis makes bugs and a police dog into his servants using them, while Liber8 uses them to turn various white collar criminals into bank robbers using them.
  • The Mole:
    • Someone in the VPD. Kiera believes Gardiner might be it, using his position to undermine her and hopefully expose her as a fraud. For his part, Gardiner suggests to Inspector Dillon that the obvious suspect is Kiera. It's actually Betty.
    • Alec's girlfriend, Emily is one for Escher, though she also serves a protective role.
    • Chen may be one for the Freelancers, planted in Liber8… or vice versa.
    • Dillon plants his own daughter into Liber8.
  • Morality Chain: Garza to Alec, in a very twisted variation. At the request of his future self, she is his "fail-safe" in that if he starts to go down the same road that will lead to the corrupt future they came from, she will kill him. Even though she didn't do it the first time (it ended up being more of a Scare 'Em Straight tactic), it is clear that it's not over yet.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: While repairing her suit, Alec switches the color from brown to black, reasoning that the latter looks cooler. Despite switching to gold for a bit, she ultimately sticks with black.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Carlos Fonnegra, played by Victor Webster is, well, in the words of MST 3 K, a "Stump BeefKnob/Gristle McThornBody". note 
      • Bonus points for being a beefy police officer that somehow manages to be both a pretty boy and ruggedly handsome at the same time. I mean, just look at him.
      • A blatant use of this is when an attacker catches him by surprise in the shower, followed by a fight scene which he remains nude for the entirety of, complete with (since this is still on a family-friendly television station) precise editing and camera angles. Very precise.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Surprisingly averted by Kiera, despite her actress being a model in real life — although her Protector suit is suspiciously form-fitting.
    • Played straight by Emily, particularly in "Second Degree".
    • Also played straight with a full-body nude shot (from behind) of Garza in "Second Listen".
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Kiera's crashing realization that her torture and near-murder of Julian is what could have driven him to become Theseus.
  • Mysterious Backer: Escher. Although it's clear he has his own ulterior motives, he is honestly pretty helpful to Kiera and, to an extent, the police department. Later less helpful than detrimental, as he becomes Dillon's Evil Mentor and leads him (and the entire police department) on a gradual Start of Darkness towards a Day of the Jackboot style dystopian path.
  • Never My Fault: Julian blames the government for his father's death, either ignorant of or unwilling to accept the fact he was the one who impersonated him on the phone with the police, thus making him the primary target.
  • Newspaper Dating: After Kiera and Liber8 arrive in 2012, there's a shot of a newspaper box where the front page mentions austerity measures in the Canadian federal government's 2012 budget.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • The NAU's brutal crackdowns lead to Kagame's transition from a peaceful demonstrator to a militant terrorist.
    • After learning that Travis has a military CMR, the precursor to her law enforcement model, Kiera convinces Alec to use that to track him. This ends up activating his CMR, so now Travis is a Super Soldier with analytical abilities similar to Kiera's, not to mention whatever military enhancements his CMR version has.
    • After showing mercy and not killing Julian, Kiera wonders if her treatment of him might actually have been what fully radicalized him in her future.
    • Liber8's activities in the past have led to the police department teaming up with Piron and throwing out the book, seemingly laying the foundations for the future privately-owned police state.
    • Kiera accuses Curtis Chen of this because of his failure to give up his own life to prevent Liber8 from time traveling in the first place.
    • Alec's decision to go back in time to save Emily causes the destruction of an entire timeline (just not the one he's in), and the Kiera from his old timeline is the only one to survive. Now she is (implicitly) working against him to make sure the timeline stays on course, which may or may not pose problems for Emily later.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Jim Martin thinking he could con both Travis and Sonya into eliminating each other for him. When they realise they've being played, they decide to end their feud with each other and join forces to get revenge.
  • Nipple and Dimed: It received several forms of censorship for the American SyFy broadcast, including this; see Sexy Shirt Switch, below.
  • No Backwards Compatibility In The Future: Majorly averted.
    • Justified since nearly all CPS technology from 2077 was created by Alec Sadler, who already had the prototype versions built in 2012. Played with in the second episode, where he mentions having to upgrade his own system to accommodate Kiera's version, since it was eating up too much of his bandwidth.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Carlos goes to town on a Dirty Cop in "Minute to Win It". Kiera points out how out-of-character this is for him, so he was probably venting given all the craziness of the past two episodes.
  • No Macguffin No Winner: Suggested in regards to the time travel device in "Second Last". Kiera is understandably set against it, and they don't get the opportunity to act on it anyway.
  • Nonindicative Name: The "freelancers" are anything but. In fact, they’re the most disciplined and cohesive organization in the show, with a rigid hierarchy.
  • No Such Agency: Kiera legitimizes her association with the Vancouver Police Department by bluffing about such a program. Gardner, who has reason to actually be familiar with real top-secret government programs, quickly catches on.
  • Nostalgia Filter: The in-universe Fantastic Drug Retrevinol (or "Flash"), first appearing in episode "Second Thoughts", causes hallucinogenic flashbacks to pleasant past experiences that are far more satisfying than was the actual event being remembered, meaning the drug "cannot be trusted".
  • Not Quite Dead: Towards the end of the series premiere, Kiera takes down Jaworski via an electrical shock. A minute later, he gets back up and lunges at her with a knife before Carlos puts a fatal bullet in his chest.
  • Oh Crap: Lucas, when the VPD (acting on intelligence provided to Kiera by Alec) break through his electronic security measures and pinpoint the location where Liber8 are holding a corporate CEO.
    • Kiera's reaction when after thinking she's escaped the "Bodysnatchers" by becoming invisible, one of them casually pulls out a device, points it in her direction and then switches her invisibility off.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: Escher has a wall full of little screens. He uses it to keep an eye on everything via the city's many surveillance cameras.
  • One-Man Industrial Revolution: Alec Sadler has/will apparently design all the major technologies being used in 2077.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: The North American Union.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Travis and some of the other members of Liber8 can shrug off wounds with ease, though this makes some sense since most of them are super-soldiers from the future.
  • The Order: The Freelancers, who double as Time Police.
  • Organic Technology: Kiera's Protector uniform, which is made clear after it's damaged and Kiera explains that they aren't so much repaired as healed.
  • Orwellian Editor:
    • According to Sonya, the North American Union began restricting access to historical records relating to the early 21st century in 2058. Kagame reveals that the reason for this was so the public wouldn't have knowledge of corporate incompetence leading to the financial crisis of the 2010s and government bailouts. Instead, the revisionist history painted them as heroes and meant that no one questioned the corporations seizing power when the reverse happened in the 2050s crisis.
    • "Minute Man" reveals that pretty much anything dating back to before the corporate takeover is considered contraband. Kiera's mother had an old book collection which is considered subversive material, and the only reason she didn't end up jailed is because Kiera claimed she was bringing them in to be disposed of, and manages to strike a bargain with the officer who happened to discover them.note 
    • In 2077, the rebel leader Theseus has become a boogeyman that parents scare their children with, as in the poem Kiera recites below. The real reasons behind his uprising are suppressed and he is portrayed as a complete monster who killed millions of innocents in order to destroy humanity's future. Official records don't even seem to mention his real name and Kiera is surprised and terrified to discover that Julian Randol is Theseus.
      When darkness falls
      and fear sets in,
      he'll be the one
      the nightmares bring.
      With blackest soul
      and coldest core,
      he'll paint a "T"
      across your door.
  • People Puppets:
    • Liber8 figures out how to hack into Kiera's cybernetic implants, controlling her in order to kill a video game company executive (who can identify the members of Liber8), followed by Carlos and then herself. This results in a struggle between Alec and Lucas to wrest control of Kiera's mind from each other. Alec wins, but in the process, Kagame and Ingram deduce that he's the one they are up against.
    • In "Minute to Win It", Lucas and Sonya wire up a bunch of people with implants that allow them to be controlled remotely. In the future, it's shown that the military can control their troops remotely if necessary, as demonstrated when Kiera is forced to execute an informant who no longer had worthwhile information.
  • Phoney Call: Kiera constantly pretends to be calling her nonexistent colleagues in Section 6 when she's actually talking to Alec. In a twist, she doesn't even talk to him on her phone — they talk using her implants, and she holds the phone up to her ear so it doesn't look like she's talking to herself.
  • Police Brutality: As the VPD becomes more militarized and targeting anyone who even expresses the loosest ideological sympathies with Liber8, it's implied that this becomes increasingly common. Kiera's use of the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique on Julian really doesn't help matters.
  • Police Are Useless: Kiera thinks so, with good reason. The VPD in 2012 thinks they are dealing with a standard street gang muscling in on new territory. Instead, Liber8 are ruthless revolutionaries, including former military specialists and super-soldiers, who have no qualms about killing cops and leaving a high body count. The police are completely unprepared for this and are easily outmaneuvered.
    • Gradually averted as the VPD get more used to Liber8's tactics and capabilities.
    • Returns full-force in "Family Time", when the ERT units are utterly convinced that Roland Randol (Alec's step-father) is the one masterminding the hostage situation on his own farm — thanks to his history of hardline activism, plus Julian and Hoyt pretending to be Roland when the ERT team calls to negotiate. A ERT officer ends up sniping Roland as the standoff is ending, while his son Julian gets away scot-free.
    • And possibly somewhat true in 2077. When her suit gets damaged, Kiera seems to realise that the future has become heavily reliant on their tech to make their jobs easier, but this in turn has caused them to lose their gut instincts.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Roland Randol is gunned down by the police due to a series of fumbled attempts at communication that left them under the impression that he was masterminding a hostage situation, rather than his son Julian.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: The future apparently has a serious problem with even the most iconic fiction franchises. Kiera fails to pick up an obvious Batman reference in the season two premiere. Alec is actually surprised when Kiera makes a modern-day pop culture reference. Games such as Rock-Paper-Scissors and paintball have also faded into obscurity. Justified in "Minute Man", where it's revealed that the NAU had basically all pre-NAU material labeled as subversive contraband.
  • Present Day: Subverted. The show takes place in 2012, but many of the major characters are from 2077.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Okay, the existence of Kiera's family may be in question if she doesn't succeed in preserving the original timeline as unaltered as possible. But while her stakes are admittedly high, the very fact that her future is an extremely crappy place for A LOT more people makes it hard to root for her. Even moreso since she already witnessed first-hand the measures the system is willing to take (like engineering food shortages to raise the company's profits, mind-controlling her to make her kill informants that aren't of any further use, trying to coerce her into letting perish children in a fire in favor of executives who enjoy a higher saving priority etc.) - and that's just the stuff she saw herself. Given that she should see that her future is going to be a lot worse than the present and that she is about to bring that future, one wonders whether she's just really desperate, has only temporary memory bouts, or actually considers the system of the future in spite of all its shortcomings an ultimately beneficial system.
  • Psycho for Hire:
    • Most of Liber8, though it's zigzagged somewhat as they actually (to varying degrees) believe in the message that Kagame is preaching. That being said, it's strongly hinted that without Kagame, their group would tear itself apart. Which it almost immediately does once he dies.
    • While her record was only hinted at previously, Emily is shown to have a rather impressive rap sheet. The same file also has video of her brutally shanking a fellow inmate. Apparently she's mellowed out since then, though she's not above assassinating Escher.
  • Putting on the Reich:
    • The CPS have shades of this in how they operate, which in keeping with the heavy undercurrent of authoritarianism in 2077. It seems that this began as early as 2035, where "criminals" were implanted with mind-control chips and set to work in factories. And they also love going after "subversive" material, confiscating anything that might contradict the official story of the pre-2050 world.
    • The Anti-Liber8 Taskforce become increasingly this over the course of Season 2, taking drastic measures to hunt down those suspected of being criminals to the point where "guilty until proven innocent" seems to be their new mantra. The Season 2 finale has Dillon reviewing Escher's plans to turn them into the CPS.
    • In Season 3, active censorship on university campuses and security and police crackdowns over even relatively minor events (pro-Liber8 dances and peaceful protests) are apparently regarded as normal. Granted, a building did get bombed by Kagame, but even so, this kind of heavy-handed response is more characteristic of an emerging police state rather than a reasoned law-enforcement response to seeking out the principal backers of Liber8. Kiera's behavior toward Rebecca, one of Julian's lieutenants, does not help.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • On the protagonistic side, there's Inspector Dillon, Carlos and Betty's boss at the VPD.
      • This has started to slip in the second season, as Dillon has adopted an "ends justify the means" approach towards catching Liber8, starting with teaming with Piron Corp. and Mr. Escher. It's got Carlos concerned at the very least; Cameron less so, since this is pretty much how she's used to operating.
    • On the antagonistic side, there's Edouard Kagame, who is much more calm, rational and pragmatic than his often-violent subordinates in Liber8.
  • Red Shirt/Redshirt Army: The VPD, including the Emergency Response Team.
  • Reset Button: Hit hard in the season 3 premiere. Alec's time traveling in the season 2 finale causes that entire time line to collapse into itself, causing the show to reset to the events of "Second Guess", only with two Alecs and two Kieras running around... until Past!Kiera gets bumped off, leaving only Present!Kiera. All in all, the switch from the collapsed timeline to Alec's new timeline reversed the deaths of Emily, Garza, Travis, Sonya's right-hand gangster, and most of the known Freelancers.
  • Restraining Bolt: A flashback to 2035 shows the NAU fitting citizens who are in considerable debt with chips that render them mindless slaves, and then putting them to work in the manufacture of more chips.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Liber8 is willing to blow up buildings full of people just to kill a few members of a corporation. Kagame tries to shift to a more peaceful method following their trip back in time, but he still blows himself up and takes a building with him. After that, Sonya and Travis end up forming separate groups, Travis being the violent one while Sonya uses more subversive methods.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: After Julian Randol is cleared of attempting to murder Carlos, the judge responsible for the verdict gets a lethal visit from Travis.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Two villainous examples from Liber8, Jaworski and Chen. Chen, however, came back in the next season finale.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Kellog tells his broker that he's from the future and knows what's going to happen, which they both laugh off as a joke.
    • In the season two premiere, when Gardiner questions Kiera about how she survived the bombing in the Season One finale and seemed to disappear before his eyes, she tells him the truth about her future technology sarcastically and he does not believe her.
  • Sanity Slippage: Ingram, apparently as a result of Temporal Sickness. He levels out in Season 3, escaping from the mental institution he was incarcerated at with the help of Sonya. She gives him some medication that keeps him sane.
  • Scary Black Man: Travis. Averted for Lucas; he is much more calm and intellectual.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Taken to the literal extreme with the North American Union. Alec Salder, being a member of the Corporate Congress, is both rich and powerful enough that he is legally allowed to offer a stay of execution for any prisoner he sees fit.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • Liber8's intended goal, though they end up a lot further back than they had assumed they would go, and things are soon revealed to be more complicated. In the second season, it's revealed that Alec himself desires the same, and left a message for his younger self telling him that only he could avert that future. Doubly strange is the fact that he sent Kiera even though he should know she's dead-set against changing it.
    • Done by Alec in the season 2 finale, jumping back a week to save Emily after she died in a firefight with the Freelancers. Then done by Kiera to keep him from making a mess of things, since his interference has pretty much destroyed her future unless she corrects it.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Happens with Emily, and she's clearly not wearing a bra under it.
  • Shown Their Work: Frank Bolo mentions that he has an Authorization to Carry (ATC) permit after being arrested, which is issued to a person to lawfully possess a restricted, or a specific class of, prohibited firearm that is loaded or possessed with readily accessible ammunition.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Theseus, the man who inspired Liber8, is a famous revolutionary by 2077. To those protecting the establishment, like Kiera, he is almost literally Hitler. To those fighting against it, he's basically Jesus. He's Julian Randol. Even Sonia, normally quite composed and in control, is nearly in tears from a chance to talk to him face to face.
    Julian: I'm not interested in being recruited.
    Sonia: This isn't about you joining anyone! This is about you leading everyone!
  • Sinister Surveillance: this combined with Police Brutality are a major part of the VPD's Start of Darkness once it falls under the control of Escher, who seems to be quite fond of exploiting surveillance tech himself.
  • Skyscraper City: Seems to be the standard in the future.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Carlos Fonnegra seems to be leaning to the "cynicism" end at times, especially when he witnesses more and more blatant examples of corporate interference with the ability of an impartial law enforcement agency's officers to do their jobs.
    Carlos: Why don't we just skip to the end where they call us all "protectors"?
  • Stargate City
  • Start of Darkness: The series implies this as the plot trajectory for Julian, Alec, and the VPD: especially Dillon after he speaks with Escher.
  • Status Quo Is God: Kellog loses his grandmother when Travis guns her down, and breaks down (to the point of implied alcoholism) as a result. He even freely does Kiera a favour by using his new boat to take her future grandparents to safety. By the very next episode, he's right back to being manipulative and weaselly, even to the point of sneaking into Kiera's apartment to steal her fragment of the time-travel device.
    • Although to be fair, he may have come to the same conclusion as Alec that she wasn't really his grandmother or simply realised that with no risk of temporal paradoxes threatening his existence, this means that he's now free to do anything?!
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: A literal male example. In one early episode, Liber8 are casually preparing for their next operation in the kitchen of a normal suburban house. Shortly thereafter, the viewer sees that they have murdered the resident and left his body in a freezer in the garage.
  • Super Soldier: Travis and several of the more militant members of Liber8.
  • SWAT Team: The VPD's ERT.
  • Taking You with Me: The de-facto leader of Julian's teen terrorist group in "Family Time", once cornered by Kiera, decides that if he can't escape, he can at least be a martyr by detonating his homemade bomb. Kiera's much better with her gun, however, and he gets gunned down before he can make good on the threat.
  • Tattooed Crook: Garza has a fair number of tattoos.
  • Teen Genius: 2012-era Alec Sadler.
  • Television Geography: While the show makes some effort to refer to real parts of the Lower Mainland, there's no good reason for an oil truck being driven around Stanley Park. Considering how narrow the roads are there, it's about the most impractical thing to do. Also, sharp-eyed people will notice parts of the GVRD stand in for other parts of the GVRD.
  • Temporal Mutability/Stable Time Loop/Rubber-Band History/You Already Changed The Past: According to series creator Simon Barry, Continuum has a consistent model for temporal mechanics that blends different conceptual models of time travel and will gradually be revealed as the plot develops. Thus far, it's clear time is mutable to some extent yet there are also numerous stable time loops in play. Future!Alec has detailed knowledge of the series as it's progressed thus far (it's not clear just how precise it is, but certainly enough to set events to his liking), yet Kiera has directly altered events in the timeline, namely in stopping a murderer who had not only avoided capture in her time but had successfully killed many more victims. Series 3 eventually reveals that a big enough change will create an alternate timeline, but otherwise the timeline is consistent.
    • As things are, the course of events depends on the importance of the incident or the person that is affected by Time Travel. As the leader of the Freelancers states in S 3 E 1, thousands can die without having an effect on the timeline, as long as the truly important people turn out as they originally did. This explains why Kellogg's grandmother can be safely killed/a mass murderer taken out without repercussions: Rubber-Band History evens out the changes and makes sure that any Butterfly of Doom is suffocated (otherwise, the numerous changes would lead to serious long-term consequences, considering how much Young!Alec's life was affected so far). But once Alec Sadler really goes off the rails, shit hits the fan.
    • The show's setting apparently includes a many-worlds multiverse, so that while they're in "the past" they're not in their own past, but the past of an alternate timeline that has them as time-travellers in it. Which is how Kellog's grandmother can die as a young girl without affecting him. However, the season 3 premiere shows that a severe-enough disruption to history can cause a given branch of history to collapse and cease to exist.
  • Temporal Sickness: Possibly a side effect of time travel. Jason spent some time in a mental institution after being stranded in 1992 and in late Series 2, Ingram is also institutionalised after developing full blown psychosis and hallucinations.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Dying in 2012 (on his birthday, no less) seemed to have been part of Kagame's plan all along.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. Kiera's CMR actually comes with a built-in therapist program. It's impressively sophisticated, too, managing to incorporate the reality being thrust 60 years into the past after Kiera pokes some holes in its initial logic that she's become psychotic.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The police in 2077 seem to think it's appropriate to use a gunship to fire over a dozen missiles to detain two unarmed people.
  • This Means War!: Explicitly invoked by Dillon in the first episode after Liber8 have blown through the VPD station to retrieve Lucas.
  • Time Crash: In the season 3 premiere, Alec's use of time travel causes the current timeline to collapse. The sky has gone gray, lightning is striking everywhere, and there are periodic earthquakes. It's not clear how things would have gone if they had ridden it to the end, but it doubtless would have been awful.
  • Time Police: The Freelancers are a vigilante cult who, in the absence of any real Time Police (that we've seen so far anyway), decide it's their duty to serve precisely this function. Per their beliefs in not changing history, however, the cult was set up in the 12th century and members are locally recruited.
  • Time Travel: Of the Set Right What Once Went Wrong variety for Liber8.
  • To Be Lawful or Good:
    • Kiera figures out that a murderer had an accomplice but then realizes that in a few years the accomplice will become a world-renowned scientist whose work will help millions of people. If she has the accomplice arrested for the murder, she would be changing the timeline and averting all the good that the person is about to do. Ultimately, Kiera decides to let the accomplice go.
    • Alec calls Kiera on this in "Split Second", pointing out that her desire to maintain the future is going to force her to choose between letting certain critical moments to the future happen or helping the people in the present. He also points out that her attempt to avert the bombing in the season 1 finale could have ruined the future she's trying to protect.
  • Too Dumb to Live/Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: Alec's friends driving while using mind-altering drugs in "Second Thoughts". And him for being in the car with them and apparently not seeing anything dangerous about that scenario.
    "It's okay man, laser focus!"
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Garza treats violent interrogation like foreplay, much to Kiera's annoyance.
  • Trapped in the Past: Kiera and Liber8. Within that, the Liber8 members thought they would be going back six years, not sixty five. Kagame, though, was well aware that they were going back to 2012.
  • True Companions: Subverted by Liber8. At first they seem to be extremely loyal to each other and willing to go to great lengths to rescue each other from the police. However, we are later shown that there are deadly divides within the group that are kept in check by the group's leaders. They are also willing to sacrifice one of their own in order to kill Kiera. Without Kagame, the group fractures in short order.
  • Turncoat: Kellog offers to betray Liber8 in exchange for Kiera letting him stay in 2012. The end of season 2 sees Carlos and Betty become arguably heroic examples of this.
  • Turn In Your Badge: Carlos is forced to do this as part of an indefinite suspension, when he reveals that he slept with the victim in a murder case hours before she died. He gets it back once he's cleared.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: The series is at least initially set in 2077, after a governmental collapse led to the rise and dominance of corporations. Thanks to Time Travel, though, this doesn't last beyond the first act of the series premiere, though the effects of it are felt through flashbacks of the future.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Inspector Dillon is replaced as head of the department by a more By-the-Book Cop. The new boss is much less tolerant of Kiera's activities and more antagonistic toward her. Subverted when Dillon is reinstated and he begins to turn the department into a prototype of the corporate police force that Kiera belonged to in 2077. Things like due process and civil rights quickly go out the window.
  • Unbelievable Source Plot: Kiera works as a consultant for the police force and provides information based on her knowledge of the future and her communications with the smart kid through her communication implants. Sometimes it seems silly that she doesn't just tell her partner what's up so she wouldn't have to convince him to follow a lead every time she has insider information, but she is certain that no one would believe her. Eventually, she trusts Carlos with the information, but they continue to keep it secret from others.
  • Undying Loyalty: Sonya's loyalty to Kagame is absolute. As Travis learns the hard way, it even trumps their relationship.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Chen is somehow alive and a Freelancer, a contradiction not helped by his utter refusal to clarify his existence.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Travis and Sonya appear to have a thing going. According to the backstories in their character bios, Sonya was responsible for the super-soldier program that gave Travis his genetic enhancements, and began to see him as more than just a test subject. Doesn't stop her from trying to kill him on Kagame's orders, though.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Kiera, to an extent. Having grown up in the NAU and being a member of the CPS, she is reasonably aware of how the system works. But she's also thoroughly sold on their version of history, and thus her story of Theseus is wildly inaccurate compared to what actually happened. She doesn't even know any real details about what happened in the 1960s and 1970s, years of mass agitation by people of color and student movements in Canada and the USA.
  • Villain Has a Point: Carlos even realizes it, as he points out that pro-Liber8 student groups are being harrassed for what are comparatively minor offences and so feel that the authorities are not taking their concerns seriously about the problems with the North American economy of 2013.
  • Villain Protagonist: Kiera technically, though it's only because she's too ingrained in the system to apparently realise she's protecting a future run by a brutal police-state. Travis lampshades this fact during the Season 2 finale, calling her "the true villain of this story".
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Alec Sadler in 2012. He invented the technology that Kiera depends on in the future, so his computers are able to interface with her suit and her cybernetic implants. This is briefly taken to borderline creepy levels when Alec comments on Kiera's good looks when she pauses to look in the mirror in her hotel room. She promptly demands that Alec cut the connection; to his credit, he complies.
    • An interesting element of Alec being a Voice with an Internet Connection is that Kiera seems specifically interested in keeping him one: when he first starts hearing her on his computer he offers to meet her but she quite firmly turns him down. They finally meet in person in "Matter of Time", but only because Alec tracked her down and broke into her apartment. She's pretty pissed, but gets over it quickly. And she returns the favor in the season 2 opener, anyway.
  • Waif-Fu: Not that she's much of a waif, but Emily very capably takes down and kills an intruding Mook who is much taller, larger and better-armed than she is.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Liber8 is fighting to take down pro-corporate governments and restore true democracy. However, they are willing to kill 30,000 people in order to assassinate the twenty corporate leaders in charge of the system. In 2012, they have no problem murdering police officers simply to obtain weapons and create a distraction.
    • A scientist is murdered because he was about to sell his research to the Canadian military. His killers want the technology to be used to help people rather than to build weapons. Kiera, realizing what their work means for the future, reluctantly lets them slide.
    • Future Alec Sadler masterminded the plot to send Liber8 back into the past, as part of a gambit to avert the current future.
    • Dillon, of all people, after speaking to Escher, begins taking much more extreme measures, leading to a Start of Darkness not only for himself but for the entire Vancouver Police Department, leading to the genesis of CPS.
    • Future Julian Randol is guilty of the murder of tens of thousands of people... who had been converted by the NAU into mindless slaves and were apparently incapable of being freed without dying.
    • Though not much has been revealed about The Freelancers, it seems they are dedicated to the fairly reasonable goal of preserving the correct timeline and preventing temporal tampering… regardless of who they have to kill or imprison in order to do so.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future: Another bit of Fish Out of Temporal Water for Kiera, though the VPD gets her meaning.
  • Wild Card: Kellog. First he is a willing part of Liber8, then he decides to strike out on his own and seek a quiet and rich life, then he provides key intelligence to Kiera, and then he is seen searching Kiera's apartment and stealing her recovered fragment of the time-travel device.
  • Wham Episode:
    • In "Seconds" (Season 2, Episode 9), the very final shot reveals that Alec Sadler's company owned the entire prison-gulag complex that made the very control chips used to keep workers in a zombie state for the duration of their "sentence".
    • The season 2 finale in spades. All the time travelers have been captured by the Freelancers, Carlos and Betty have joined Julian, Alec has gone back in time to save Emily, and Dillon is hard at work creating CPS.
  • Wham Shot: Quite literally in Season 3, Episode 1 "Minute by Minute"; Emily kills Mr. Escher.
    • At the end of the same episode, Alec discovering that Past!Kiera was murdered in his new timeline, with the culprit (possibly) being Present!Kiera herself.
  • Withholding the Cure: The pharmaceutical industry executives Kagame targets in the first season finale were meeting to do this, along with price-fixing.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Travis brutally kills a young woman in her 20's when she is misidentified as Kiera's grandmother. That being said, most of the Liber8's (save Kagame, Ingram and Kellog) are indifferent or downright enthusiastic about murdering anyone they feel like.
  • Written by the Winners: In "Time's Up", it's mentioned that the corporations prevent anyone from learning about their history. Kagame is old enough to have been taught prior, and Kellog seems to have at least a working knowledge of that history. Invoked in "Seconds", where Carlos (accurately) notes this might be the case with the "official history" that Kiera knows.
    Carlos: But how do you know that for sure? It's usually the victors who write history.
  • Xanatos Gambit:
    • Liber8's plan in "Time's Up" is engineered so a Corrupt Corporate Executive must admit her corruption, or otherwise die when her fate is decided by people voting online. She chooses to confess, but either way her company is in ruins and Liber8 makes a fortune off of short-selling the corporation's stock in advance.
    • "Second Degree" has Julian's trial. Liber8 kidnaps the family of a juror to get him to vote innocent, which Kiera discovers. To keep the family safe, they can't reveal the fact until they've performed a rescue, by which time the trial is nearly over. The presiding judge, also in their pocket, then delivers a bench verdict which clears him anyway, making sure Liber8 won either way.
  • You Are Too Late: Invoked by the Liber8 leader/spokesman, Edouard Kagame, when he is arrested in the first scene of the pilot after broadcasting a speech outlining the group's manifesto. Kiera arrives with a number of officers to apprehend him, but moments later, they can only watch as a large office tower explodes in the distance.
  • You Cannot Kill an Idea: Seems to be a recurring them with Kagame, who believes that spreading information is more effective than violent activism. Not that he doesn't engage in that, mind you. Showing where he got it from, Julian preaches the same message to his followers when he spares Kiera's life.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Implied to have happened to Travis in the first season finale. Lucky for him, being a Super Soldier helped immensely in surviving it.
  • You Just Told Me: Kellog gets Kiera to admit to her and Alec having traveled back in time through this method, having guessed as much from their behavior and just needing to confirm it.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Liber8 is a group of murderous, violence-addicted terrorists... who are fighting against the world's oppressive corporate overlords in order to restore "human rights" like freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the right to peaceably assemble, and pretty much the rest of the Bill of Rights. And remember... the hero of this story, Kiera Cameron, is trying to stop these rampaging Democracy-advocating, liberal-minded monsters out of a combination of loyalty to the job and a fear that their meddling may negatively affect her personally.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: In the season two premiere, Travis tries this on Sonya. It doesn't work, but a timely interruption saves his life. Amazingly, he actually says this again after he had been shot once before, but in this case rationalizes his belief by indicating that she'd have already done so, rather than give him the chance to speak at all.

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