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Series: Jekyll
The hero and his other half.

"Heard of good cop, bad cop? This is the movie!"
Tom Jackman, Jekyll

Jekyll is a bizarre British TV series written by Steven Moffat and a Deconstruction of the Jekyll & Hyde trope. It tells the story of the scientist Dr. Tom Jackman, and his Mr. Hyde, who coexist in an uneasy relationship, the two communicating through a dictaphone and "changing" at designated times. Unfortunately, Jackman is married with children, and he will go to any length to prevent his other side from finding out about them. Even worse is the arrival of a shadowy agency intent on capturing Hyde for their own ends.


Jekyll provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Inverted. Benjamin claims that he used to beat his father.
  • Acting for Two: James Nesbitt pulls it off, with Tom and Mr. Hyde seeming like two extremely different people. He's helped by some quite extensive make-up, which is so subtle and complements the acting so well, you might not even realize it's there.
    • He also plays the original Dr. Jekyll and his Mr. Hyde in flashbacks and photos, since Identical Grandson is in play.
  • Affably Evil: Most of the Klein & Utterson employers seem to be more or less Punch Clock Villains for the most part, their CEO not so much, but Syme takes the prize as he's more harmless as a villain that when he tries to be badass, it ends up failing for him. And when Syme manages to actually do something useful, it ends up killing him.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Perhaps not all girls, but Mr. Hyde certainly seems to appeal to a few. Subverted by Claire, who finds him irritating and Catherine, who instead has the hots for the far more beige, but kind and decent, Tom Jackman.
    Claire: Let's be honest, just us girls together. All good taste and decency aside; he does spend half his time as a world-class hottie.
    Katherine: Yes, and he spends the other half as Mr. Hyde! ....oh, you meant the other... the other way around... see what I did there?
    Claire: ...You have good taste.
  • All Lesbians Want Kids: One of the lesbians who aid Jackman throughout the series is pregnant. (Real Life Writes the Plot: her actress was pregnant, so they just wrote it into the script. It doesn't come up in any really meaningful way.)
  • Alone With Prisoner Ploy
  • Alone with the Psycho: Episode 2 has Katherine ending up locked in the apartment with Hyde while the cameras are off. She's appropriately terrified but actually gets out of it unharmed, though possibly traumatised.
    • Again invoked by Hyde who demands the Agency turn off their cameras so he can slaughter Jackman's wife and children.
      • Actually to save them.
  • Alternate Identity Amnesia: Neither Jackman nor Hyde share memories, and at first communicate only by dictaphone.
  • AM/FM Characterization: The show establishes Hyde's personality through his fondness for Disney songs.
  • Anachronic Order: One later episode focuses on Jackman's life before Hyde, and him realizing his condition. Several episodes also have a Cold Open that starts in the present before changing time.
  • Anti-Villain
  • Anyone Can Die
  • Badass
    • Hyde is a clear-cut example.
    • Claire. There's really nothing else you can say about an Innocent Bystander who can go stand up to the most lethal force in the world, and not die. She's also a Mama Bear. It does help that the most lethal force in the world is in love with her, would never dream of harming her and would literally do anything for her, including sacrifice himself, but that's only after she stands up to him so.
  • Badass Moustache: As worn by Robert Louis Stevenson of all people.
  • Bald of Evil: Benjamin
  • Being Good Sucks: The methods Jackman takes to keep Hyde away from his family and not doing too much harm pretty much ruin his life.
  • Berserk Button
    • Do not threaten Jackman's family in front of Hyde. You will die. End of story.
    • Don't you ever, EVER lie to Hyde.
  • Big Bad Friend: Peter Syme
  • Big Blackout: Changing between Jackman/Hyde causes nearby lights to flicker. At one point, the entire city of London powers down.
  • Black Dude Dies First: The first actual death, Benjamin.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Hyde has them.
  • Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: The very ending. Seeing the CEO do the Nightmare Face, from what we saw of Mr. Hyde doing it, sometimes means death for the victim. Unfortunately, that's the last shot of the series, with no indication if Jackman gets out alive.
  • Boring, but Practical: How they kill Hyde: a bunch of men with machine guns get Hyde at one end of a bare hallway and shoot him a lot.
  • British Brevity: Only a single mini-series of 6 episodes was ever created; given how Tom's character arc is pretty much wrapped up this was probably by design. Though there are sequel hooks at the end of the last episode, and Moffat has mentioned the possibility of a second series...
  • Bullying a Dragon: So many people try this on Hyde and quickly wish they hadn't.
  • Cloning Blues: Poor Claire.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Hyde does this to Christopher, the man who placed Eddie in the lion's den. Jackman allows it to happen.
    • As well in Hyde's first chronological outing, he absolutely goes to town on a street thug who earlier on sexually intimidated Claire.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel Hart, who stands his ground when the rest of his team of younger and better armed mercenaries have fled, and fires the final shot that incapacitates Hyde.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Hyde has super strength, super speed, enhanced senses, genius intellect, super-human aim, genetic and hallucinatory memory, enhanced durability, a limited ability to manipulate electricity, a ridiculously high pain threshold, and he can control lions. He can also stop injuries he suffers affecting Tom. He might also have some degree of mind control power, or at least the power to influence minds — in the last episode he's able to cause a number of people to hallucinate, causing them to see the words "RUN IF YOU WANT TO LIVE" all over the place.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Blood, sand, dust, window-fog...
  • Cradling Your Kill: Hyde does this mockingly with his first victim.
  • Creepy Twins: "We swapped, mummy! We were so bored!"
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Tom and Claire are intimidated by a thug and his gang while on holiday, who sexually harass Claire and humiliate Tom for failing to come to her defence. When Hyde emerges for the first time, he savages the thug and bites off his ear, not even knowing why he wants to (because when Claire is threatened, Tom only subconsciously wishes horrific physical injury on her tormentor).
  • Does Not Like Shoes: In the Whole Episode Flashback, Tom apparently used to remove his shoes while he ate. It's unclear whether he still does.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: In the series 1 finale, the show introduces Carver, a Badass merc who is tasked in taking down Hyde. The two finally become face to face with each other and... Hyde just tosses Carver off the roof they were on in a truly hilarious manner.
  • Eagleland: Definite flavor 2, exemplified by Benjamin and presumably ever other American at K+U. Also, (end of series spoiler) Tom's mother and Ms. Utterson are respectively British and American, somehow.
  • Enemy Within
  • Establishing Character Moment: After spending most of the first episode not appearing on screen, the audience's first encounter with Hyde comes when an unfortunate teenager makes the Mugging the Monster mistake. Jackman and Katherine's fear of him is swiftly proven to be entirely justified.
  • Evil Brit: Inverted in that most of the boss-level bad guys in the series are American (albeit with poorly done accents). And those boss level bad guys? Hyde kills them all effortlessly.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Though when coupled with Hyde's Slasher Smile, that isn't exactly reassuring. The scenery isn't the only thing he threatens to eat...
  • External Retcon: Of the original The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • Extreme Melee Revenge: Hyde emerges for the first time to inflict grievous bodily harm upon a thug who humiliated Tom and Claire.
  • The Farmer And The Viper: Following Katherine's traumatic experience where Hyde seemed quite willing to kill her, Jackman's mother gently berates her for assuming Hyde liked her enough for her to be safe, and says people who deal with wild animals must never forget what they're dealing with.
  • Flash Step: Hyde does it to scare Katherine. And the audience.
  • Genetic Memory: Hyde can not only rewind Tom's memories but he can also access those of their ancestor, Dr. Jekyll. With bonus Lampshade Hanging from the bystanders about how scientifically implausible it is.
  • Helpless Good Side: Averted and deconstructed. For the first half of the series Jackman ruins his life trying to minimise the damage Hyde could cause, particularly to his own family. Although Hyde is meant to be the most intelligent creature on the planet, his immature mind and Jackman's own substantial intelligence and careful planning allow Jackman to keep a quite tight hold on Hyde's actions.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mr. Hyde
  • Hyde Plays Jekyll: At the start of episode 5, that's Hyde using Tom's memories.
  • Identical Grandson: Suspected to be a clone, ultimately explained as a perfect genetic throwback.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...
    Hyde: (dramatic flourish) Gentlemen! If any harm should come to Mrs. Jackman I will kill all of you one by one! And I shall take my tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!
    • Jackman also informs Hyde that if he ever goes near Jackman's family again it will be a declaration of war.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Much like the Incredible Hulk, Jackman's changes can be triggered by anger, fear, and arousal. But Hyde can also come through if he's asleep. The third episode plays with the last beautifully.
  • Ironic Echo: Two examples in the 4th episode: "It'll be over in a minute. Finishing touches," and "I apologize for the coffee."
  • Ironic Nursery Rhyme: "Boys and Girls, Come Out to Play". Not only very appropriate to Hyde, but we later find out it's the jingle of the ice cream van that was playing when Jackman was first truly provoked to unleash Hyde's fury.
  • Its Pronounced Tro Pay: The flashbacks to 1860 correctly pronounce Jekyll's name JEE-kyll, and mention that as the original pronunciation.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Jackman and Hyde are the modern Jekyll and Hyde.
  • Kavorka Man: Peter Syme, apparently.
  • Large Ham
    • Hyde.
    • Benjamin and Ms Utterson seem to enjoy being over the top as well.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: Robert Louis Stevenson, acting as ghostwriter for the original Jekyll.
  • Living Lie Detector: Hyde claims to be one. He's probably at least a living polygraph.
  • Locked Room Mystery: The villains are dumbfounded when an old lady somehow gets out of a high-tech cell. Which provides a clue to the eventual twist ending.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: "Hyde is love — and love is a psychopath."
  • Love Makes You Evil: Both subverted and played straight.
    • It's revealed that the psychopathic Hyde is not a manifestation of all the dark impulses of human nature as commonly believed, but represents the ruthlessness of pure love, prepared to sacrifice anything and anyone for the object of his affection. This is proven by both Henry Jekyll and Tom Jackman's circumstances in which they found love.
  • Mama Bear: Despite knowing full well what Hyde can do, Claire says she'll kill him if he goes near her children.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Hyde shows these off when he roars.
  • Mugging the Monster: The audience's first encounter with Hyde comes when a teenage punk is threatening Jackman, only for him to change in the middle of it.
  • Neck Snap: Mister Hyde's definition of "Minimum Necessary Force", notable for the fact it's not an Insta Kill and the victim on the receiving end is incapacitated.
  • Nightmare Face: Mr. Hyde really likes to do this. There's fangs and black eyes.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Hyde to just about any person he attacks. He doesn't seem really capable of anything less.
  • Nominal Hero: Jackman is one. Hyde, not so much.
  • No Social Skills: The Whole Episode Flashback shows that before Tom met Claire he seemed totally incapable of maintaining any kind of conversation, but rather than finding it endearing, it led to tense silences that were uncomfortable for everyone.
  • Oh Crap: A few people have them when they realise that Jackman has changed without them realising, and that they are in fact trapped in a confined space with Hyde.
  • Open the Iris: A non-cute example. Hyde's irises are jagged and black.
  • Papa Wolf
    • You do not threaten Tom's/Hyde's children.
    • Tom is also an interesting example. Klein and Utterson deliberately put Jackman into a situation where Papa Wolf tendencies emerge, by placing his child Eddie in a lion den. This causes the timid and physically weak Jackman to transition into Hyde, willingly doing so at least at a subconscious level, so that he can defend his son. Hyde also mentions afterwards that he can hear Jackman trying to direct Hyde's murderous rage towards the man who placed Eddie in the den.
  • Power of Love: Apparently where Hyde gets his superpowers from.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Hyde. Several times in the series people refer to Hyde as a child (he even calls Tom "Daddy"). But he also likes to screw anything he fancies and kill/maim anyone who seriously pisses him off. He's even describes as a child with all the drives and desires of a grown man. He's a violent sociopath who loves Disney songs. It's a given.
  • Punch Clock Villain: The employees of the corporation.
  • Reality Subtext: The actress who played one of the lesbians became unexpectedly pregnant between signing on and filming, so Moffat just rewrote it into the script. He later said that if anyone could have known that the actress' baby bump wouldn't be prominent (which can vary from pregnancy to pregnancy even for the same woman) the production staff just would have been able to work around it without re-writing.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: As evidenced in the picture at the top.
  • Reflective Eyes: In Episode 2, Christopher Browning is reflected in Hyde's eyes.
  • Roar Before Beating
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Mrs. Calender.
  • Separated at Birth: Having twins was rather surprising, considering Claire had actually had scans and there was only one heartbeat.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: Hyde attracts a lot of female attention and frequently indulges in recreational sex. Since STD Immunity isn't one of Hyde's "superpowers", Jackman had to explicitly make one of his conditions for their body-share that Hyde must wear condoms.
    • Inverted, with Claire and Catherine considering Jackman to be the more attractive of the two.
  • Shapeshifting Squick
  • Shout-Out
    • The twins are called Eddie and Harry, presumably making their full names Edward (Hyde) and Henry (Jekyll).
    • Are you my daddy?"
  • Slasher Smile: Hyde. Made extra-creepy by his pointed teeth. (Currently provides the page image.)
  • Smug Snake: Benjamin really is incredibly over-confident considering he actually witnesses what Hyde's capable of. Not only does it end messily for him, but his own subordinates find him so annoying that they let Hyde leave and openly say they couldn't stand him.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Hyde definitely fits this later in the series, killing and torturing multiple people in the name of protecting his/Jackman's family (or in self-defense, or to annoy Tom). But at least some of the things he does, like assaulting Billy, he seems to do more for fun than anything else.
  • Spies in a Van
  • Split at Birth: One possible explanation for what Harry and Eddie are. It's in the genes...
  • Split Personality
  • Split-Personality Makeover
    • As well as the vastly different ways James Nesbitt portrays them, Hyde looks quite different to Jackman. Hyde is taller, thinner, and younger, he has darker eyes, a receded hairline and a different jawline. This was achieved through camera angles, directing, tailoring, wigs, platform shoes and make-up. In addition, James Nesbitt's Northern Irish accent thickens noticably when he's Hyde.
    • A more literal example from the last scene of the series: when Jackman's mother changes into Ms Utterson, she somehow acquires makeup and a completely different hairstyle.
  • Split Personality Takeover: Deliberately orchestrated by Klein and Utterson so that Hyde will win. In the very end Hyde sacrifices himself, knowing Claire will be happier with Jackman. But when Hyde wins...
    "The Doctor is... OUT. He's out of my head! HALLEUJAH! HOME ALONE!"
  • Stealth Pun: Episode 6's "kiss of death".
  • Superpowered Evil Side
  • Super Strength: Hyde can hurl the corpse of a fully grown male lion over a high wall, and throw a man across a room one handed with ease.
  • Super Speed: Less obvious, but Hyde does Flash Step a lot.
  • Swallow the Key: Claire, to prevent Hyde escaping. He threatens to rip her open to retrieve it. That turns out not to be necessary; she was only bluffing and hadn't actually swallowed it.
  • Take That: Several not so subtle ones directed towards America are scattered throughout the series.
  • Talking to Themself
    • Normally they can only talk to each other via recorded messages, but Hyde can communicate with Jackman through audio hallucinations when Jackman has a certain drug in his system.
    "How could you be phoning me?"
    "Jesus! I'm not phoning you. I'm in your head."
    • They also briefly talk when Hyde brings Jackman's personality back to life in a memory hallucination.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Hyde pre-records his side of a conversation with Jackman, and is able to accurately predict what number Jackman will think of when prompted, what his rebuttal will be and even that he will eventually break the TV set he's talking to.
    Hyde: *Sing-song* I'm in your head! I know what you think, I am what you think!
    Jackman: I'm not scared of you!
    Hyde: Yes, you are!
    • Although because Hyde makes Jackman think he's just reached out at him through the television several seconds later, it's left ambiguous whether Hyde really did record his answers in advance and Jackman is that predictable, or if Hyde wasn't simply causing Jackman to hallucinate their entire conversation?
  • They Were Holding You Back: Hyde gains access to the Genetic Memory of his ancestor, the original Mr. Hyde who tells him to kill Jackman's wife and children because they burden him and make him weak.
  • Totally Radical: Benjamin's whole rant, over the phone, about "havin' respec'!", several times in a few minutes... sounds pretty silly. We get it already, he's black. One critic said it seems Paterson Joseph learned how black Americans talk from watching Rush Hour movies, and no-one told him that's not generally representative.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Jackman (not Hyde,) confronts the man who nearly fed his son to the lions, he maintains his composure very well, hardly raising his voice at all.
  • Trust Me, I'm an X: "Trust me, I'm a psychopath!" Claire is... not wholly reassured.
  • Van in Black: With Lampshade Hanging about how inconspicuous it isn't.
  • Wham Line: "I don't own a black van, Dr. Jackman..."
    • Also Claire saying "I turn his eyes black."
    • The revelation of the formula that turned Jekyll into Hyde: "There was no formula. It was the girl."
    • And then right at the end: "You didn't get the curse of the Jekylls from your father. You got it from me."
  • What You Are in the Dark: The only reason Hyde is kept under any kind of control is because Jackman keeps him under constant surveillance, and promises he'll turn himself in if Hyde does anything too terrible. Jackman himself says that Hyde will do anything if he thinks he can get away with it, and Katherine's Alone with the Psycho moment suggests that he's right.
  • The Worf Effect: At the beginning of one episode, a character is established as the world's most highly trained mercenary, then promptly gets dispatched by Hyde in one blow. Cue Oh Crap from the bystanders.

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Jeeves and WoosterBritish SeriesJeopardy CBBC

alternative title(s): Jekyll
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