Series: Day Break
"We may race and we may run"Today Detective Brett Hopper will be accused of shooting state attorney Alberto Garza. He will offer his rock solid alibi. He will realize he's been framed. And he will run. Then he will wake up and start the day over again.Day Break was a 2006 action thriller television series starring Taye Diggs (Equilibrium, The Way of the Gun) as a cop framed for murder. He's on the run from the police, a local latin gang who want to track down the key witness he's hidden away, and the shady mobsters who want him to take the fall. With each loop Hopper gets another chance to fix all his mistakes and try to escape the day.What sets this apart from other time loops is the fact that injuries sustained carry over in the loop, so dying is not an option. Also, he can inspire individuals to fix their own problems by leading them towards their own personal epiphanies, which keeps him from having to fix everyone's problems everyday. This can cause problems when people don't do what he expects.It's up to Hopper to find the true murderer, save his loved ones, get his witness to trial in one piece, and make it to tomorrow.Not to be confused with the British breakfast television show.
"We'll not undo what has been done"
"Or change the moment when it's gone"
"We'll not undo what has been done"
"Or change the moment when it's gone"
— David Gray's The Other Side, played near the end of the first episode
This series provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Miguel Dominguez, a notorious Professional Killer working for the conspiracy, went to prison for murdering his own parents. It's originally believed that he's just a total psycho who targeted his sister afterwards and she's been in hiding ever since, but it eventually transpires that he was trying to protect her because their father slashed up her face while the mother watched. She's adored him ever since and is his contact in Los Angeles.
- A Day in the Limelight: Most of the supporting cast has a problem to be solved, and they get their own episode to deal with it.
- Anyone Can Die: Most of the main cast die at least once. But next day they live again. Hopper's biggest fear is the loop stopping when somebody he cares about is dead. In the end it's subverted, all Hopper's friends live.
- Big Bad: Councilman Tobias Booth, who is leading a city-wide alliance of corrupt administrators trying to control Los Angeles behind the scenes. Booth is directly responsible for framing Hopper and setting the whole plot in motion. At least until it's revealed that he actually answers to Barry Colburn, Hopper's supposed defense attorney.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: The hotel shootout. Hopper runs to the car, Andrea is covering him. The gunman shows up, and rather than shoot him, she calls out and allows herself to be shot. Then she shoots back.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Chad Shelton.
- Cut Short: Averted, actually. The show was cancelled after only six episodes were aired, but the 13-episode season was already completed. Despite the Sequel Hooks, the series' one season is actually a fully completed and pretty well-contained story.
- Death Is Cheap: Thoroughly averted despite the presence of a "Groundhog Day" Loop. Wounds that the main character suffers carry over into the next day, so Hopper can't afford to be reckless and get into gunfights where he might die because he can always try over. If he dies, that's it. He also can't just dismiss other people dying even though they do generally come back, as he has no control over the loop. When someone asks him why he doesn't just "try again the next day" when Hopper isn't certain about someone's safety, he admits that his worst fear is that someone he loves will be killed for good because the loop has stopped.
- Detective Drama
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Happens several times. In one iteration of the loop, Brett accidentally reveals to Rita that their first date was actually a stakeout.
- Do with Him as You Will: At the end of the series, detective Brett Hopper discovers that the person who killed his father years earlier is actually uncle Nick, his father's old partner. Hopper's informant Damien, a career gangster, captures him after he tried to double cross Damien and to give Hopper the satisfaction of killing him presents him with a gun. Hopper taunts the killer's protests that he had no choice by saying that there's always a choice and walks away. Damien executes the killer seconds later.
- Driven to Suicide:
- Subverted with Hopper's dad. His old partner actually killed him because he was digging too deep into a case.
- Played straight with Conrad Detweiler in the last episode, who places his shotgun underneath his chin upon reading about the conspirators being rounded up in the morning paper.
- Mrs Garza either got killed or shot herself too.
- Dysfunction Junction: The lives of Hopper and everyone he knew were really damned screwed up before the conspiracy made its move.
- Entitled to Have You: Chad is still broken up about the failure of his marriage to Rita, thinks that they belong together, and that Hopper isn't worthy enough to be with her. He frames Hopper for Garza's murder by tampering with the murder weapon while it's in evidence lock-up.
- Evil All Along:
- Uncle Nick killed Hopper's father way back when to save his own hide.
- Chad Shelton planted the murder weapon to incriminate Hopper.
- Barry Colburn is initially introduced as a helpful if sceptical defense attorney assigned to publicly defend Hopper, and in a later episode he helps Hopper out further with his investigation. At the end of the series it's revealed that he was actually pulling the strings of the Big Bad.
- Fanservice: Victoria Pratt and Moon Bloodgood are always lookin' good, and considering that Taye Diggs wakes up every morning with his shirt off... Except that one time after he got shot.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: Subverted. Injuries Hopper sustains from one day carry over to the next, ranging from a shaving cut to bruises to bullet wounds. Everybody else is fine though.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: The whole series is built around one. In all, Hopper seems to be stuck in the loop for a month or two until he dismantles the conspiracy succesfully.
- Guns Akimbo: Brett pulls this off on his 3rd loop during the hotel shootout.
- Heroic BSOD: After the death of Hopper's sister, he flashes back on the deaths of everyone he cares about due to his actions in the loops and starts to break down. He gets over it pretty fast, though.
- Hostage Situation: Of all the places to have one, Hopper starts one in his own police station in downtown L.A. during one of the time loops. He needed information which only an Internal Affairs agent who hates Hopper could provide him with, but the agent chooses to be obstructive out of spite and couldn't be persuaded (let alone bribed, since he's I.A.), The first time Hopper tried force to get his way it immediately got him arrested, the second time he actually had to take the agent hostage in his own office, resulting in an hours-long armed stand-off with his colleagues.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title begins with the question "What If...", illustrating how Hopper uses different tactics each day to get to the bottom of the conspiracy.
- Inspector Javert: Detectives Spivak and Choi, who are investigating the Garza murder and proceed to arrest Hopper for the crime the conspiracy framed him for. Choi proves to be more reasonable than his partner however, and actually helps Hopper after Hopper saved his life in one loop.
- Internal Affairs: Chad Shelton is an obstructive internal affairs agent who dislikes Hopper because Hopper's girlfriend Rita is Shelton's ex-wife, pretty much accusing Hopper of "stealing" her. He also has some leverage over Hopper's partner and proves to be at least a bit corrupt as well, having previously covered up a crime committed by Rita to protect her brother, and turns out to have forged the evidence used to convict Hopper of the Garza murder for his own reasons.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Wow, that Chad Shelton isn't such a bad guy after all, right? Wrong. Chad framed Hopper for murder because he was bitter about losing his ex-wife.
- Karma Houdini:
- Barry Colburn has been leading the entire conspiracy through his front man Booth. His distance from the whole affair means that the dismantlement of the organization doesn't affect him in the slightest. Hopper figures Colburn's place in the thing out by the end but can't obtain any actionable evidence beyond suspicions, so Hopper can only warn Colburn that it's not over yet.
- Chad Shelton is arrested when his role in the conspiracy is brought to light, but he subsequently escapes, possibly as part of a Sequel Hook.
- Another scene of "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue shows Garza's murderer and several other hitmen in the prison van with concealed pistols and ready to kill their guards.
- Kinda Busy Here: Over and over again.
- Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal: During one of the repeating days Hopper visits his mother's home to further the investigation by digging up information on his dead father. When she chastises him for not visiting her more often he explains that he's too busy at the moment since he's wanted for murder in Los Angeles, although he didn't actually do it. Her response? "Well of course — I didn't raise no murderer!"
- The Man Behind the Man: The thugs targeting Hopper are commanded by the ominous "Man from the Quarry". We learn his name — Conrad Detweiler — only several episodes later. Then he is heard taking orders from somebody else — Tobias Booth. Who in one episode even executes him for allegedly leaking information to Hopper.note But Booth is actually subordinate to Barry Colburn, who is the ultimate leader of the conspiracy. Hopper eventually learns the truth, but Colburn is actually so high up in the criminal chain that all his tracks are covered and Hopper can't do anything about him, so he remains a free man.
- Meaningful Echo: For every decision, there is a consequence. Decision.....consequence.....
- One Degree of Separation: Hopper's friends, family, lover, enemies, his entire life is relevant to the murder of Roberto Garza.
- Pet the Dog: Played with. At the end of the Hostage Situation, the erstwhile dickish and obstructive Chad throws Hopper (who has been taken into custody) a bone, telling him not to bother searching Chad's office in the next loop because he can find the file that Hopper needs in Chad's parked car. However, Chad is only doing this because he thinks Hopper is insane and is thus a meaningless gesture.
- Professional Killer: Miguel Dominguez aka "El Llorón" ("The Crying Man") is the contract killer who murdered Assistant District Attorney Alberto Garza, for which Hopper is framed. He's normally incarcerated, but he has an agreement with the corrupt authorities to release him occasionally so he can take out people whenever his employers want him to.
- Red Herring: Detective Spivak (played by Mitch Pileggi) is one of the homicide detectives assigned to the Garza case, and unlike his more reasonable partner seems a bit too eager to nail Hopper for the murder he's been framed for. When Hopper finds out that the ballistics report was falsified, he suspects that Spivak is responsible and is part of the conspiracy. Not only is Spivak not responsible, it turns out to have nothing to do with the conspiracy and was merely an act of revenge by Internal Affairs agent Chad Shelton, who was still bitter over Rita leaving him and becoming involved with Hopper.
- Save Scumming: It's a "Groundhog Day" Loop, so this is obvious. Also subverted, because it's not a true GHL when people actually can change from loop to loop. They may not remember what you did, but they're still pissed at you. And if you do something good for them, they still feel grateful. Plus, injuries are carried through the "reset", but only for Hopper. Being shot in an early iteration locks him out of several more, as he keeps losing his stitches every time he loops.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Subverted. The first thing Hopper does when he becomes aware of the temporal loop is not to fight the conspiracy that is trying to frame him but to take his loved ones and just run away from everything. It doesn't work, as he wakes up back at Rita's place when the daytime converges. He has to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
- Self-Made Orphan: Hitman Miguel Dominguez was originally locked up for killing his own parents. It's later revealed that he did this to protect his sister from their abusive father.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: This seems to be the reason for the loop. Illustrated early on by the bus accident.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Hopper gets a lot of these. Though to be fair, most of the time he already knows what the bad guy is going to say.
- Sequel Hook: For both the A plot and B plot. Though Barry Coleburn is revealed as the Big Bad behind the Garza murder, the waves of arrests and suicides following Hopper's victory passes him right by without damaging any of his assets or capabilities... but between those deaths and the prestige Hopper gained from the arrests, he'll be Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department within weeks, with all the assets he needs for a drawn-out war with Coleburn. Also, several hitmen and Chad manage to escape. Coleburn and Hopper share a few pointed words as to how It Has Only Just Begun before Hopper leaves to go to the final confrontation with Uncle Nick. As for the time loops? The final shot of the series is Jared Pryor looking at Hopper meaningfully despite having given him a clean miss on the final iteration of the day.
- Short Runner - 13 episodes, 7 didn't air.
- Soft Glass: Averted. In the pilot episode, Brett throws a guy into a glass display case. In a later scene set a few hours later, we are told that "they're still picking the glass out of his back" at the hospital.
- Time Travel Tense Trouble: Brett often ran into this whenever he tried to explain the "Groundhog Day" Loop to another character.Chad: When did I say this?Brett: Today.Chad: Wait, how many todays ago?Brett: Yesterday.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!
- Two Lines, No Waiting: The A plot is a murder mystery, complicated/enabled by the B plot — the "Groundhog Day" Loop. It's implied by the description of Jared Pyror's illness that humans can become "trapped" in loops due to Unfinished Business. Once Jared was made completely aware of his confusion, his loops ended. Hopper had to face the complications of his entire screwed-up life before he could move on to the next day.
- Viewers Are Morons: Implied, but possibly justified given the complexity of the plot. Starting from later episodes, each new day for an episode begins with a caption to identify the day (Day 1, Day 2, etc.), but these only apply to the current episode, which is why you see multiple Day 1s and Day 2s from episode to episode.
- Waking Up Elsewhere: Paired with Tap on the Head. Hopper gets knocked unconscious all the damn time.
- Wham Line: I'm sorry I bit you.
- What Happened to the Mouse?
- If Margo isn't hit by a bus, she is kidnapped, brought to a warehouse and tortured to make courthouse passes to massacre judge Nitzberg and the jury. On the last day Hopper stopped the bus, but forgot about the warehouse. Did they kill her, keep her or let her go?
- Every day Detweiler and Tony try to persuade Rita Shelton to testify against Brett. The one time we saw her refuse and leave, Detweiler tried to shoot Tony, but was shot by Brett and Chad. On the last day she refused, but the circumstances were very different. What happened to Tony?
- White Shirt of Death: Although he didn't die, Hopper got shot while wearing a white shirt. The blood is very noticeable.
- Win Your Freedom: Miguel Dominguez was let out temporarily so that he could commit a murder.
"Remember, for every decision, there's a consequence."