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He was brought across in 1228; preyed on humans for their blood. Now he wants to be mortal again, to repay society for his sins. To emerge from his world of darkness. From his endless...forever night.
Airing from 1992 through 1996, this series examined the plight of Nicholas Knight, an 800 year old vampire who is determined to reclaim his humanity. In the meantime, he works as a police detective; he is assisted in both causes by coroner (and love interest) Natalie Lambert. His efforts are often mocked and sometimes thwarted by maker Lucien LaCroix and "Big Sister" and ex?lover Janette DuCharme.Each story has a B plot, usually taken from Nick's 800 years of backstory and told in flashback, and usually relating thematically (occasionally directly) to the main plot.Bears no relation with the recurring antagonistic group from the Ben 10 franchise.
This show provides examples of:
AB Negative: They actually not only get the blood type info right, saying Schanke, who is AB+ , "can take anything but motor oil," while O- can only receive O-, it's involved in a plot point, too. The killer's mother had died from hepatitis contracted from a blood transfusion, which slipped through the screening process; he was taking out only O- donors who could have been the source.
Accidental Bid: Subverted; Nick really is bidding on the item, but his partner Schanke, who doesn't yet know that Nick is insanely wealthy, thinks he's doing it by accident.
Action Series: It's a crime drama so there's obviously a showdown with a mad bomber or a serial killer about once every episode or two.
Addiction Powered: Natalie once found a drug that could cure Nick's vampirism, but it turned out to be addictive and only remained effective with greater and greater doses.
And You Were There: "Curiouser and Curiouser". A woman is killed in "The Raven" when Nick botches taking down a pair of shotgun-armed robbers. Nick proceeds to hallucinate a world in which LaCroix has been murdered, "The Raven" is run by Cohen, Janette is his wife and the mother of his child, and Natalie is his captain and mistress.
In the novel Intimations of Mortality, a magical item gives Nick dreams of a world in which most people are vampires, including Natalie, and his vampire acquaintances are the human resistance.
Breaking Speech: LaCroix gives mini-versions of these several times throughout the show, then it gets inverted during the Downer Ending, when LaCroix tries to convince Nick that he'll get over Natalie's death eventually. Needless to say, it doesn't work.
Bus Crash: Schanke and Cohen die offscreen between seasons 2 and 3.
Canada Does Not Exist: The series was set in Toronto (and characters do talk about being in Canada often enough, with a lot of Canadian terminology, e.g. the "Crown" for the prosecutor, thrown in), but so downplayed that you had to have the deductive powers of Sherlock Holmes to actually notice it. The police force is simply the "Metropolitan Police," without mention of Toronto. Police uniforms and badges are made to look generically American, with the distinct features of the Metropolitan Toronto Police uniforms (such as the red trim on the hats and red stripes on pants) left out.
Interestingly, the Ontario provincial flag is far more visible on the show than the Canadian flag. Presumably because Americans are not so familiar with Canadian provincial flags than with the national flag?
Honorable exception for "Capital Offense", which focuses on the issue of an escaped American convict facing the death penalty back home. The CN Tower is also used fairly regularly, including an appearance in the credits sequence.
Another (near) honorable exception in case of "False Witness" where the workings of the Canadian legal system are on full display, along with the flags of Ontario and Canada in the courtroom. However, unlike the normal practice in Canada, the accused and the defense counsel sat together (although this does sometimes take place). Usually, the accused would be sitting alone, sometimes in a "prisoner's box."
RCMP (the Mounties) shows up quite a lot on the show, whenever the scope of the case goes beyond that of the local police department, but unlike their usual portrayal on American TV shows, they NEVER appear in their red dress uniform.
Formal photographs of Queen Elizabeth II (Canada's titular sovereign) can be seen on the walls of the station's offices in several episodes.
Clip Show: "Close Call," in which Schanke starts putting together all the strange things he's noticed about Nick (and comes this close to confirming that Nick is a vampire).
Coconut Superpowers: Actually used on-screen flying effects in the first season, but because of safety and budget issues, decided to imply Nick's flight by just having him lifted up before cutting to an in-flight viewpoint and then to him "landing" at his destination.
Confessional: In one episode, Nick is staking out a confessional. Schanke (his partner) goes into the other side, confesses, and figures out that Nick's in the other side. Nick maintains the perfect Irish accent and reiterates his command to say his Hail Marys.
It was hardly perfect.
Cool Car: A light blue 1962 Cadillac. It served as his coffin at times. Nick made mention on at least one occasion that he bought it because its trunk was big enough for him to camp out in during daylight if he couldn't get to shelter in time.
It has the largest trunk of any car built in North America in the last 30 years. At least, according to Nick.
Creepy Child: Divia, who is both LaCroix's mortal daughter and later his maker. Her only appearance in the series (outside of flashbacks in an earlier episode) is a Roaring Rampage of Revenge as she kills those close to him in vengeance for his nearly killing her and entombing her for two thousand years.
Critical Psychoanalysis Failure: An episode had a serial killer who escaped from a mental institution. He talks about killing in such an enticing way that he almost drives Nick (a vampire trying to "go straight") into killing again. Also, his ranting has already gotten to his therapist: she kills one of her patients, and is about to kill another when Nick stops her.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Nick's vampiric dependency on blood is treated like alcoholism. It's said that he could even become human again like he wanted if he could just kick the habit. At one point, he even tries a 12-step program.
The first season aired with 40 minutes per episode on CBS, and 47 minutes on Canadian broadcasts. Fans were soon passing around videotapes of the "Canadian versions" and posting transcripts of missing scenes; while many of the longer episodes contained filler scenes of Nick brooding, some contained important plot points or character development. The later two seasons only had one version.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Cpt. Amanda Cohen and police detective Don Schanke were unceremoniously killed off off-screen in a plane crash, in the first episode of the series' last season.
And then there was the case of Janette, Nick's vampire lover. After being Put on a Bus, she returned for one episode, having somehow become human. She was then mortally injured, and Nick turned her back into a vampire, explicitly against her will, rather than let her die. The irony of this was not lost on anybody.
Equivalent Exchange: One episode featured a mystic healer that could take darkness out of people. However, said mystic happened to be a novice at her craft, and didn't know that this darkness had to be put somewhere, (usually into an inanimate object of some sort), and wound up absorbing it herself and being overwhelmed by it. The episode had a really sad end to it, Nick was quite close to becoming human again, with most of his vampiric urges gone. But she herself was absorbing his darkness and becoming a vampire. She died from "OD'ing" on his evil, which he re-absorbed into himself. Her grandfather alluded that she might have been capable of fully healing Nick (or at least making his gains permanent) if she had been more skilled.
Even Evil Has Standards: Divia again. What got her trapped in a sarcophagus was the fact that she wanted LaCroix to have sex with her, which he refused to do because, you know, she was his daughter. And did I mention that physically she was 11 years old? And looked 10?So yeah. When during the episode she brought up the fact that she considered his refusing her to be a betrayal, LaCroix invoked this trope: "I always thought evil was a finite entity until you showed me otherwise. Even I have my limits, Divia!"
In another episode's flashbacks, Nick and LaCroix meet a young German soldier named Adolf Hitler on a train. At first, LaCroix wants to bring him across, but eventually decides not to: There's a kind of evil in him that "we don't need."
Also when LaCroix bites Jack the Ripper it seriously debilitates him, and he tells Nick to go finish the Ripper off. Nick, who doubts anyone could be more evil than his sire, doesn't bother doing so, to his regret.
Extra Y Extra Violent: One episode centers on a legend that a (female) vampire who mated with an XYY male "higher than high, under the light of the full moon" would become human. The XYY human did have extra violent tendencies.
Final Season Casting: The third season sees Janette gone and LaCroix taking over her club, Nick's partner Schanke replaced with Tracy Vetter, Capt. Cohen replaced with Capt. Reese, and the introduction of a new vampire, Vachon, plus two recurring vampire characters, Screed and Urs.
Firemen Are Hot: Janette gets together with a hunky firefighter. When she says, "He knocked down my door, swept me off my feet and carried me off," she is not speaking figuratively. She is, however, neglecting to mention that her apartment was on fire at the time.
Flashback: Every episode, usually multiple times. Nick actually seems to be having these in character, since he occasionally drifts into oncoming traffic in the middle of having one.
I Just Want to Be Normal: One of Nick's driving motivations is the desire to be mortal. Unfortunately, his other driving desire is to make up for his centuries of killing by doing police work and he constantly uses his vampiric powers as a detective. If he ever lost them, he'd be dead within the week.
Immunity Disability: If someone learns of vampires, a vampire will hypnotize them to forget. If they're one of the few people who are immune to hypnosis they'll usually be killed.
Jedi Mind Trick: Vampires can do this to most humans (Natalie and Tracy are among the exceptions).
Kill 'em All: We really mean it about the Downer Ending. Okay, you asked for it. After a season of killing off or sending away the supporting cast, Nick's partner Tracy gets killed in the line of duty, with Nick facing an Internal Affairs investigation for killing the guy who shot her. Then, while preparing to make love to his mortal love interest Natalie, Nick drinks so much blood from her that she ends up near death. Instead of turning her into a vampire and a killer (she had previously said she was "not afraid of death, or an eternity in darkness" if it meant they would be together), he chooses to let her die, then asks LaCroix to kill him, as he can't live without her. LaCroix's final line (the final line of the series) as he stands behind Nick with a stake, summed up many fans' reaction to this ending: "Damn you, Nicholas.")
Laser-Guided Amnesia: In one episode, an injury makes Nick forget he's a vampire. He eats regular food for a while, but when he goes out in the sun it still burns, and Natalie has to tell him the truth.
Mainlining the Monster: A vampire doctor used injections of her own blood as a "miracle youth-restoring treatment" marketed to aging rich people.
The Older Immortal: LaCroix has a millennium or so on Nick and Janette, who are already among the oldest vampires on the show.
Our Vampires Are Different: Averted; our vampires are pretty much the 1800s classics. Garlic repels them, sunlight causes them pain but doesn't kill them particularly quickly (although it will still kill them), stakes or beheadings kill them, crosses repel them and so on.
Nick casts a reflection, handwaved as resulting from his humanity. Really, it was a budget thing.
And one episode shows that even dogs can be turned.
Phone-Trace Race: One episode had a serial killer phoning a radio psychiatrist, and killing his victims on the air; he knew about phone tracing, and was keeping his calls short enough to prevent a trace. When he kidnaps the psychiatrist, Nick takes her place on the air, and starts playing mind games with the killer so that he stops watching his clock and stays on the phone too long.
Pilot Movie: Nick Knight, starring Rick Springfield as Nicholas, aired in 1989. Although it used almost exactly the same script as the show's actual pilot, the entire cast except for John Kapelos was replaced, including the coroner changing from male to female, and the setting moved from Los Angeles to Toronto.
Poor Communication Kills: Serena of "Baby, Baby" asked Nick to give her "eternity"; Nick interpreted this as a request to bring her across and uncharacteristically did so...after which it turned out she'd wanted to get pregnant. Ooops.
The Power of Blood: Nick, and all the other vampires in the series, get their supernatural abilities from drinking blood. Nick drinks only cow blood (he's given up human because he has a conscience), but human blood is hinted at as being more potent.
Scenery Censor: In a point-of-view shot, Nick Knight raises his badge just in time to block our view of a stripper's below-the-neck-area as she turns to face him. This scene was used in the opening title sequence for the series, for obvious reasons.
Later a few other characters get the role. Ironically, Nick's third season partner knows that vampires exist but not that Nick is one. She thinks that she's keeping the secret of their existence from him.
Sheet of Glass: Double Subverted in Nick Knight: A runaway car, barreling down the hill. Guys carrying pane of glass across the road. Drive yelling and trying to wave them off. Frightened face of car's helpless driver reflected in the glass. Guys make it out of the way in time, saving the glass...except they're so busy watching the car, they walk into a nearby tree, smashing the glass anyway.
Tag-Along Actor: In "Amateur Night," an actress shadows police detectives Nick and Schanke to research for a movie role. She ends up getting too involved in the case, putting herself and others in danger. In a humorous parallel, Schanke learns more about the movie business and decides he wants to purse an acting career.
Translation Convention: Usually involves characters speaking a few lines in a foreign language and then switching to English, or switching back and forth between the two.
Un-Cancelled: The show was originally canceled during its first season, but was saved by a massive letter-writing campaign. Canceled and saved again after the second season.
Un-Confession: In the episode "Be My Valentine", Nick and Natalie finally openly declare their love... except LaCroix doesn't like Nick being in love with a mortal because he had to give up his love for Nick's sister 800 years ago (which somehow never came up with any of Nick's previous mortal Love Interests). By the end of the episode, Natalie has lost her memory of the entire preceding day.
Undead Tax Exemption: There are people who specialize in providing fake identities for the vampire community.
Unexplained Recovery: LaCroix is killed off in the first episode note well, 2nd half of a two-parter, and shows up strictly in Flash Backs for the remainder of the season. Then at the end of the first season it's revealed that he survived.
Of course, it was pretty obvious LaCroix survived considering the smirk the "dead body" gave off.