Series: Day Break

"We may race and we may run"
"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

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.

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.
  • AM/FM Characterization: A funny moment when we learn that the skinheads in their van listened to "Heat of the Moment" by Asia before they went to attack Damien.
  • 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.
  • Arc Words: Decision ... consequence.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Detective Choi is assaulted in a white supremacist bar.
  • Bait-and-Switch Accusation: At the start of episode 5, a deputy approaches Hopper, saying he knows what's going on. Hopper looks baffled but then it turns out the deputy was talking about the I.A. meeting with Shelton.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: When Hopper gets pinched by a police man at the diner after being rough with Rita, he drops the following lines in order to get away.
    Hopper: Just so you know, that girl is a witness in a homicide case. It she gets away, she's gonna be in serious danger. Now do you want that on your head?
  • 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.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the last possible moment Hopper and Chad storm the motel room door and shoot Detweiler who was about to kill Billy and possibly Rita.
  • Blood from the Mouth:
    • The female victim sports this while floating in the pool at Baxter's place.
    • Also Chad when being shot in episode 6.
  • Bottle Episode: Hostage episode 5, which takes place in Chad's office with lots of dialoguing.
  • Buried Alive: Detweiler, by his own gang at the rock quarry.
  • Calling Card: Hopper mentions that the real killer might have left the gun at his place as a calling card.
  • The Cavalry: The police force comes to the aid of Choi after he is captured in the Bad-Guy Bar.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Hippo. He shows up at LAPD as a random stranger at the vending machine but later turns out to be Uncle Nick's dragon and Friend on the Force.
  • Clear My Name: Hopper is framed for the murder of Alberto Garza and must figure out who's doing it and why. Bummer, when he realizes that clearing his name was not fixing the loop. He has to do more than that.
  • Confiscated Phone: In episode 7, Hopper hijacks the laptop of a pedestrian to read out the data from his USB Stick.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Chad Shelton.
  • Crime Time Soap: The series revolved as much about the personal lives of Brett and his family and colleagues as it did on the mystery.
  • Cut Short: Averted, actually. The show was canceled 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.
  • Dark Secret: Rita's backstory of having killed her dad with a flashlight for him mistreating Billy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Death Is the Only Option: Chad suggests this as a possible solution to Hopper's failure to end the loop and the misery he causes to his loved ones.
    Chad: I've got a solution. If everyone you care about is in trouble because of you, why don't you take yourself out of the equation?
    Hopper: What are you talking about?
    Chad: Kill yourself. Seems to me if you die, everyone else will be fine.
  • 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.
  • Dirty Cop: Chad who tried to frame Hopper for the Garza murder. Also Uncle Nick and Hopper's father who took the hush money and dropped the Jane Doe murder case.
  • Diving Save: Hopper is saving Margo from the bus this way.
  • Domestic Abuse: Subverted. During earlier runs we are to believe that Hopper's brother-in-law mistreated his sister. Turns out it was the baddies.
  • 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.
  • Draw Aggro: Battle does a Heroic Sacrifice and draws Buchalter and Fencik away from Hopper and Rita at the motel so they could escape. Doubles as Redemption Equals Death because Battle atones for the Overt Rendezvous trap she took part in.
  • 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.
  • Embarrassing Ringtone: Chad has an embarrassing ringtone on his phone and Rita calls him out on it when they drive in his car.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Detweiler does this in episode 6.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When Hopper tracks down Detweiler, the latter turns out to be a caring husband who would die for his family.
  • 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 skeptical 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.
  • Fake in the Hole: Hopper throws a rigged hand grenades at the gang of baddies who have kidnapped Choi. The distraction works long enough for The Cavalry to enter.
  • Fall Guy: Hopper was supposed to take this roll for the murder of Garza.
  • 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.
  • Flash Sideways: It's not fully explained if or how other characters besides Hopper are affected by the time loop but Rita seems to be acting differently ever after she and Hopper had a serious talk at Mexico.
  • Frame-Up: Several measures are taken to ensure Hopper is found guilty for Garza's murder. The murder weapon is planted in his apartment. A shirt with Garza's blood shows up at Rita's place. Garza's wife claims to have seen Hopper at the crime seen. And lastly Chad plants finger prints on the weapon to further incriminate Hopper.
  • Friend on the Force: Battle for Hopper.
  • 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 successfully.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Battle in the motel 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.
  • 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.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Uncle Nick drops this line when being questioned by Hopper about his past as a Dirty Cop.
  • 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.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Hopper often reveals that he knows more than he should due to his expanding knowledge from previous loops which gets him into tricky situations.
    • In episode 10, Hopper wants Battle to look into all murder cases done execution style. When Spyvak hears this he notes that this further incriminated him since Garza was killed that way and the information was not released to the public. Battle is not impressed by this detail and sticks with Hopper.
    • In episode 11, Hopper tells Rita in the morning that he did not kill Garza though he should not have known about the murder at this point which makes Rita suspicious.
  • 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.
  • Institutional Apparel: Hopper sports a flashy red/orange jumpsuit in county jail and Rita likes to run around in her ruby nurse outfit all day long.
  • 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.
  • It's All About Me: Chad accuses Hopper of demonstrating this trope in hostage episode 5.
    Chad: It's just so you. Basically, the whole world, the very concept of time, revolves around Brett Hopper, 'cause you're so special. Man, and people say I got an ego.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: The case at hand helps Hopper to reconnect with his estranged sister while also teach him a lesson about trust in relationships.
  • It Was Here, I Swear: When Hopper wants to show the police the dead body in the bath tub above his apartment. It's gone by the time they get there.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Apparently, Buchalter and Fencik obtained access to Hopper's apartment by posing as plumbers.
  • 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.
  • Jitter Cam: Used a lot in action sequences.
  • 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.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Torrez. Damien shots him and his last words to Hopper are:
    Torrez: El Llorón... He's not the... (Torrez dies)
  • Kinda Busy Here: Over and over again.
  • Laser Sight: Used extensively at the end of Hostage Situation episode 5, where Hopper leaves the office with Chad and is pointed at by millions of red laser lights.
  • 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.....
  • Mexican Standoff: At the nightclub in episode 9, when the owner and his gang is confronted by Damien and his men. Then Hopper joins the standoff as a third party.
  • Off Bridge, onto Vehicle: Hopper jumps from a footbridge onto a moving metro to escape his pursuers.
  • One Degree of Separation: Hopper's friends, family, lover, enemies, his entire life is relevant to the murder of Roberto Garza.
  • One Phone Call: Hopper demands one at LAPD after being arrested for murder.
  • 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.
  • Police Lineup: At LAPD, Hopper's neighbor/housekeeper Mr. Zeitoun identifies Buchalter and Fencik as the false plumbers using this method.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Both Garza and Jane Doe in the photograph sport tiny head entry wounds.
  • 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.
  • Punk in the Trunk: The footage we see of Rita trying to dispose of her dad when Buchalter pulls her over and makes her open the trunk of the car.
  • Ransacked Room: Hopper's place has been searched and vandalized. Happens also to his sister's place in episode 4.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Detective Choi, especially later in the story. He is the only one at LAPD believing in Hopper's innocence. He calls Spivak out on his narrow-mindedness and helps out with Hopper's investigation.
  • 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.
    • Jared seems to be part of the solution to the looping problem but he is not seen again after episode 7. He comes back though as the Mysterious Watcher at the very end.
  • Refuge in Audacity: At the backdoor of Garza's mansion, Hopper is confronted by a cop. He then flashes his badge and puts the cop straight for not checking the door for forced entry. The distraction works.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Only Hopper retains memories of earlier days.
  • 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.
    • An obvious example: Hopper needs several days to convince the prison warden in San Francisco to let him see Dominguez. When he finally gets it right, it turns out Dominguez is not there.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: 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.
    • This parallels what happened to Rita and Billy. [[spoiler:She killed her dad with a flashlight before he could beat her brother to death.
  • Sequel Hook: For both the A plot and B plot. Though Barry Colburn 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 Colburn. Also, several hitmen and Chad manage to escape. Colburn 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.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: This seems to be the reason for the loop. Illustrated early on by the bus accident.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Detweiler shows Hopper the footage of Rita being assassinated. Then he reminds Hopper of what could happen to his sister and her children if he didn't play along and confess to Garza's murder.
    • Hopper returns this thread against Detweiler's family when he tracks down and confronts him in episode 6.
  • Short Runner: 13 episodes, 7 didn't air.
  • Shower of Love: Happens in the pilot between Hopper and Rita but is defied by Hopper in later loops because he can't be wasting time in the morning.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: The mother of Jane Doe kept her daughter's room the same way for all those 15 years since the murder. Plot point as it helps Hopper to find leads to who her murderer was.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Spies in a Van: In the pilot, when Hopper is on an Overt Rendezvous with his partner Battle, it turns out he was set up. Hopper realizes this when he notices a couple suspicious people and a white surveillance van parked nearby.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: When Jared asks Hopper to give him his arm, he suddenly bites it and starts shouting "I told you, we taste the same! We all taste just like chicken!"
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Buchalter and Fencik.
  • 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.
  • Tracking Device: Buchalter and Fencik plant a device under Hopper's car so they won't lose track of him. When Hopper finds out, he sends them on a Wild Goose Chase.
  • Train Escape: Hopper fools his pursuers by stepping onto a train but somehow being able to exit the car and hide in the subway tube.
  • Trust Password: At San Francisco's prison, Hopper mentions Detweiler's Catch Phrase "Decision... Consequence." to gain the warden's trust.
  • Unfinished Business: 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.
  • The Unsolved Mystery: What caused Hopper to repeat his day over and over?
  • Vacation Episode: Episode 11, with Hopper and Rita at Las Vegas and Mexico. It soon gets boring for Hopper.
  • 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.
  • Wake-Up Fighting: Jared, when Hopper wakes him up after he blacked out on the hotel room floor.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Hopper gets knocked unconscious in county prison and wakes up Bound and Gagged at the rock quarry, where he is told to confess to Garza's murder.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: Turns out Hopper's gun that he used to keep Chad hostage with was not loaded.
  • 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?
    • In the end of the last episode we see Chad Shelten sneak out of the elevator after he knocked down the police officer. But, whatever happend to him then?
  • White Shirt of Death: Although he didn't die, Hopper got shot while wearing a white shirt in his car on the way to Rita's mother. The blood is very noticeable.
  • Wild Goose Chase: Hopper sends Buchalter and Fencik offtrack by disposing their Tracking Device in a garbage truck.
  • Win Your Freedom: Miguel Dominguez was let out temporarily so that he could commit a murder.
  • Worst Aid: Rita using her skills to remove the bullet from Brett's chest.
  • You No Take Candle: Hopper's neighbor/housekeeper Mr. Zeitoun demonstrates this trope perfectly when identifying Buchalter and Fencik as the plumbers at LAPD.
    Mr. Zeitoun: They're the ones who put Mr. Jarvik in tub. They did not fix leak.

"Remember, for every decision, there's a consequence."
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Hopper believes that clearing his name would end the loop. He is devastated when achieving this goal and still waking up the same morning. So after a short period of despair he investigates further. Turns out he has to bring down everybody connected with the Garza murder before the curse is over.