Produced and created by AlexKurtzman and RobertoOrci, Sleepy Hollow premiered September 16, 2013 on FOX that stars Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Orlando Jones and Katia Winters. Airing on Mondays at 9:00pm Eastern Time, the show’s a modern-day retelling of Washington Irving’s short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.In the series, Ichabod Crane is brought back to life 250 years in modern day Sleepy Hollow after dying during a mission for General George Washington in 1781. Crane learns the Headless Horseman, whose head Crane chopped off before his perceived death, has awakened as well, beginning his nightly killing spree after just murdering Sleepy Hollow’s sheriff. In order to bring down the Horseman, Ichabod Crane partners with Lieutenant Abbie Mills, who’s investigating the Horseman after he kills her partner, the (former) sheriff.While hunting said Horseman, Abbie looks into the old case files the sheriff was investigating and learns there exists two types of occult groups, one being evil and the other good, which may have summoned the Headless Horseman and if the Horseman isn't stopped, dark supernatural forces will affect Earth. Unfortunately, stopping this entity proves difficult as he discovers modern weaponry, which he assimilates into his ritualistic hunt and it’s revealed to be Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as described in the Book of Revelation.Ichabod Crane not only has to solve a mystery from his own time involving the Founding Fathers and their involvement with the supernatural phenomena of Sleepy Hollow but he must adjust to the societal and technological differences of the 21st century. Given the fact that he is, and states he is from, the time of the American Revolution, local law enforcement see him as a madman but reliable in hunting the Headless Horseman.A huge hit for Fox (in fact, it was their first top-rated fall drama premiere in six years), the series was renewed for a second season on October 3, 2013 - after only three episodes had aired.This is not to be mistaken for the 1999 Tim Burtonfilm of the same name.
Accomplice by Inaction: All of the dream demon's victims in "For The Triumph of Evil" had this in common. By their failure to tell the truth, all three of them helped cause the institutionalization of Abbie's sister.
Anyone who knows anything about the Revolution knows that the war had all but ended in the north by 1781, and Washington had long since moved to the south. This makes the scene where he tells Ichabod about the Horseman highly improbable, at best.
No-one was burned as a witch on American soil, at least in the British Colonies. Hanged yes, burned no.
In Ichabod's day - before running water and sanitation, buying bottled water would have been a great idea.
He also gets weirded out when Abby tells him there's arsenic in the un-bottled water, when in his time drinking water straight from a river or other source would have been a very stupid idea. Not that it matters, since arsenic is naturally occurring in ground and surface water anyway.
Ichabod rants about how much things cost (supposed to imply that he doesn't understand inflation) but US dollars weren't established until after his death, so how would he know that $4 was a lot or a little?
Ichabod making snarky comments about modern pollution when English cities in his day were basically an open sewer.
The Hessians uniform was blue but in the show all of them wear red coats.
They also didn't become involved in the war until after the Boston Tea Party.
They also didn't wear metal half-masks.
Reference is made to Washington being a commander of the rebellion that would grow into the American Revolution at the time of the Boston Tea Party. He didn't become a leader of the revolution until two years later.
In "The Lesser Key of Solomon", Ichabod finds that Jenny has been to Mexico, Guatemala, and Somalia. There's a brief gag about how he's never heard of Somalia, but Mexico and Guatemala should also be unfamiliar to him. In 1781, present-day Mexico and Guatemala were part of New Spain (then again, both of the names were used for important parts of New Spain in 1781...).
Ichabod's rant about a 10% sales tax being outrageous. Firstly, taxation of tea and other items was not what the American Colonists were upset about. It was the fact that the taxes had been passed without their consent (hence the phrase "No Taxation Without Representation") that had them up in arms. Second, the Revolutionary War was fought for many different reasons (these reasons are detailed in the Declaration of Independence if anyone is curious). Taxation without representation was only one of the grievances against Britain, and a fairly small one at that.
Crane assumes Abbie must be an emancipated former slave despite the fact there were a fair few black people in the English Colonies/Northern United States who were born free.
In "Blood Moon," Ichabod says that the language Sarilda speaks is "Romani Greek." While Romano-Greek is a mixed language of Romany and Greek, it is highly doubtful that he would understand much of it based on a knowledge of Ancient Greek alone.
In "John Doe", the inhabitants of Roanoke Island, a colony that dates from the late 1580s, are depicted as using Middle English. This variant of the language had already been replaced by what's known as Early Modern English (aka Shakespearean English) about a century earlier.
Artistic License - Traditional Christianity: It is noted multiple times that the Horseman is meant to be the horseman of death. The problem is that Death is the fourth (and not the first, as the show portrays) Horseman of the Apocalypse. Also the description in the pilot quoted from Revelation, a man riding a white horse and bearing a bow is not of Death but of Conquest, who is indeed the First Horseman, and does use a bow, while Death bears a scythe.
Actually it quoted from the book of "Revelations". Which also qualifies for this category.
However, it is revealed that the Horseman of Pestilence (Conquest) has already arrived (albeit being kept contained by isolating his plague in Roanoke), so the show may be accurate after all.
While he does rank as a major demon, it was not Moloch who led the rebellion against Heaven but Lucifer/Satan.
And Paradise Lost is a work of fiction, not a "theological text" as Ichabod states.
Badass Bookworm: Ichabod was a history professor before he was conscripted.
Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Discussed in-universe, as Ichabod interrupts a museum lecture about Paul Revere's ride to point out that the riders actually said "The regulars are coming. Not 'the British are coming.' See, we too were British at the time, so that would have been most unhelpful."
The Boston Tea Party was engineered as a cover for stealing the Lesser Key of Solomon from the British.
The Roanoke island colony disappeared because the Horseman of Pestilence/Conquest unleashed a plague there as part of the Apocalypse, only for the spirit of Virginia Dare to guide them to a hidden place where time has stood still since, keeping the plague (and the Horseman) contained.
Bad Boss: Moloch, the demon god who controls The Headless Horseman and the other Three Horsemen of The Apocalypse when he kills Brooks for failure. Though it does revive him in the second episode and gives him another chance to serve.
Born in the Wrong Century: Inverted. Ichabod Crane is uncommonly open-minded and progressive for having been born in the eighteenth century, which is a very good thing when he wakes up in the twenty-first century and has to work with a black female police officer. He still has trouble adjusting, but he does fairly well for a man who slept through just about every civil rights movement. He was also friends with Native Americans.
Broad Strokes: In this universe, there is no short story written by Washington Irving.
Boring, but Practical: Irving keeps his shotgun on a lanyard connected to his belt so he can't lose it in a fight or have it taken from him.
Broken Pedestal: Played for Laughs with Ichabod and Thomas Jefferson, after the former finds out that the latter not only fathered six children by one of his slaves, but also took a quote of Ichabod's and claimed it as his own. Ichabod initially tries to discount the former as "prurient gossip", until Irving gives him a cliffs notes on DNA and how it proves Sally Hemmings' children were Jefferson's.
Burn the Witch!: Katrina was convicted of witchcraft, and though she is still able to contact Ichabod and there's no body in her grave, according to her headstone she was burned alive - despite the fact that, in Real Life (as mentioned above), they didn't burn witches in America.
The villain of the week in episode 2 is Serilda, the high priestess of the evil coven in the 1700s, who was captured (after being Brought Down to Normal by Katrina) and burned at the stake (ironically, after burning all her victims). And then Abbie and Crane blow her up, which counts as this trope if you squint.
Bus Crash: The Freemasons that are introduced in episode 6 are killed off-screen at the beginning of episode 7.
Came Back Wrong: Brooks is left considerably less than human after being resurrected by Moloch.
Casual Danger Dialogue: The two cops who stop the Horseman in the pilot. After seeing him pick up a machine gun and the fact that he has no head, one of them wonders if he can actually hear their commands.
Cat Scare: To little Kyle Hemington in the second episode. The family cat jumps on his bed.
Chekhov's Gun: The tunnels Abbie and Ichabod use in episode 2 have two examples: Serilda's bones, which she needs to complete her resurrection, are buried there, and the crates of gunpowder down there are used to re-kill her.
The Chessmaster: Sheriff Corbin. While he was The Obi-Wan to Abbie, he was secretly also The Obi-Wan to her sister Jenny, orchestrating things so that they'd eventually have to work together and begin to mend the rift in their relationship.
Chunky Salsa Rule: How Ichabod and Abigail deal with the resurrected witch Sarilda in the second episode, after she finds bullets to be an unconvincing argument.
The Chosen One: Ichabod believes that he and Abbie are the two witnesses foretold in the Book of Revelation. This has been confirmed by his wife, Katrina, and the visions that Ichabod and Abbie share.
Comically Serious: Ichabod is extremely poised despite the modern world's attempt to fluster him.
He has twice demonstrated the properly graceful way to hide behind a wall to protect yourself from an explosion.
Conspiracy Thriller: A conspiracy about the Founding Fathers' involvement in an occult order to prevent the Apocalypse, which also extends to the modern day residents of Sleepy Hollow who are also members of said cult - as well those working against them and trying to bring the end of days. Unfortunately for Abbie and Ichabod, they don't know who's on which side.
Cyanide Pill: Used by a captured bad guy after spilling what little he knew to Ichabod, Abbie, and Jenny.
Da Chief: Captain Irving, except for the shouting.
Dark and Troubled Past: Played with. The sisters, Abbie and Jenny Mills were burgeoning delinquents getting in and out of trouble until their episode in the woods, which separated them, and left scars on them both.
Deal with the Devil: The British allied with the evil coven to win the war, though it seems unlikely that they knew about the coven's apocalyptic plans.
Ichabod's friend, Abraham Van Brunt, agreed to become the Horseman so that he could gain possession of Katrina and revenge on Ichabod for "stealing" her. Ichabod actually refers to this by the trope name when he finds out.
Defector from Decadence: In this interpretation, Ichabod started out as a British soldier, before coming to agree with the American revolutionaries and switching sides.
Twice over apparently, as he states that his father was a noble, and he was glad to reject the trappings of aristocracy
Dream Sequence: In Episode 3, due to the Sandman being the monster of the week.
And Katrina's only method of communicating with Ichabod from the dimension in which she is confined.
Driven to Suicide: The Sandman attacks people who have messed up in waking life, and whose guilt is hidden/buried, taunting them with it until they can't take it anymore and suicide to get away from him and their guilt.
Eternal English: Mostly averted. While Crane's 18th century English is perfectly understandable today, the residents of Roanoke used a variant of Middle English.
Evil Albino: Possibly the Horseman's steed. It is explicitly described as "the pale horse" (as per the Biblical reference) and close-ups of its eye make it look more pink than the usual Red Eyes, Take Warning trope.
Eyeless Face: The Sandman simply has two dark and empty eye-sockets.
Eye Scream: The Sandman apparently fills the insides of his victims' eyeballs with sand. One of them even pops while under examination by Abbie and Captain Irving.
Fanservice: Abbie and Ichabod are both shirtless in the third episodenote Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view, Abbie is still wearing her bra.
Fingore: Abbie nearly bites off Brooks' thumb when struggling with him in the pilot.
First Episode Spoiler: The covens, the revival of both Ichabod and the Horseman, the secret connection to Revelations... the list goes on.
First Name Basis: In the first episode, after Abbie Mills thaws out a bit and opens up to Ichabod Crane about her background, she invites him to call her "Abbie" instead of "Lieutenant." Such familiarity would be highly inappropriate in Crane's era, but in later episodes, he accepts the spirit of the offer by addressing her as "Miss Mills" (a social title) rather than her rank. By contrast, Crane himself is still addressed as "Crane" by everyone in the modern era.
In episode 1.06, The Sin Eater, Ichabod uses "Abbie" three times when trying to convince her that the only way to get rid of the horseman is for him to sacrifice himself. It remains to be seen if this will continue or if he returns to "Lieutenant" or "Miss Mills." There was much squeeing amongst the Ichabbie shippers.
Ichabod's exchange with Jenny about the "boyfriend" line in "For The Triumph of Evil."
Ichabod: We are amicable, yes, and I am male...but I suspect you are implying something else.
In "Sanctuary" the concept of a "billionaire" has Ichabod utterly baffled. Apparently the combined income of all thirteen colonies across his entire lifetime only barely managed to crack a billion dollars.
Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Played with. Abbie and her sister Jenny both saw the vision of Moloch in the woods. They both went on to become troubled women. Thanks to Corbin, Abbie found a better path and became a cop, while Jenny sank deeper into her "insanity", and stole survival gear in preparation for the End of Days.
Foreshadowing: The use of "Sympathy For The Devil" seems innocuous at first, but then the revelation comes that the whole show is about keeping out the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which are controlled by some mysterious demon.
Irving got a Traitor Shot just after finding Abbie in Corbin's office. This is not followed up by the end of the episode.
In "Lesser Key of Solomon", the first words the piano teacher says are "Left hand, Aaron. Always the left hand will save you." It turns out He is a Hessian, this universe's secret army of followers of Moloch, bringing about the End of Days. Satanism, dark magic (versus white ethical magic), siding with Demonic, is associated with or as known as "The Left-Hand Path."
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it bit in "John Doe", after Ichabod points out a plant that closes up at human touch as a sign that Thomas went that way, a girl in the colony offers Abbie a flower from the same plant, except the plant isn't closed up. And then the colony turns out to have been dead all along.
Give Me a Sign: Abbie in "John Doe". She attempts to hide from her fellow officers, realizes she's in a multidemoninational chapel, and asks for (pretty nearly demands) a sign from God.
Gory Discretion Shot: Mr. Gillespie, who saw the demon in the woods with young Abbie and Jenny, puts his gun beneath his chin and the camera abruptly jerks upward to Ichabod through the window as Abbie screams "No!"
Halloween Episode: Ironically averted due to the network's broadcasting of the 2013 World Series. This may change for season two and beyond.
Pestilence/Conquest shows up in "John Doe", and is revealed to be responsible for the disappearance of the Roanoke colony. However, as long as the victims of his plague are kept cut off from the rest of the world, he's unable to ride forth.
Something to take note of — Pestilence appears to be a spirit, while Death is a physical being who used to be human.
Innocent Bigot: Ichabod is from the 1700s, after all. The first episode establishes that he was rather progressive for his time, though, having been supportive of the emancipation of slaves.
Insistent Terminology: Crane is very particular about pronouncing Lt. Mills' rank as "leftenant" (which is indeed how an Englishman of his era would have pronounced it).
The Internet Is for Porn: Ichabod, while struggling with a laptop and what he dubs "the ninninet" while trying to look up the Freemason manuscript, eventually stumbles across an adult webcam site. This actually flusters him greatly, and he quickly closes the laptop.
Jerkass: Morales. He apparently fancies himself an alpha male and a prankster, who's taken shots at both Crane and Irving.
Jump Scare: Two in the pilot alone: The eyes on the Horseman's head opening suddenly, and the cracking of the mirror at the end after the Demon disappears back into the mirror.
Limited Wardrobe: It has been days, at a minimum, since Ichabod woke in the 21st Century, yet he still wears the outfit he was buried in every day since; and no one seems to have thought to take him shopping for anything new or different.
MacGuffin: The Horseman's skull and Washington's Bible.
Made of Indestructium: The montage of attempts to destroy the Horseman's head in "Midnight Ride," to the point where it reminds of trying to destroy the Horcruxes. Ichabod and Abbie try and hilariously fail at destroying the skull by sledgehammering (the hammer breaks instead), acid bathing, dry ice, and even bombing!
Ichabod: The myriad of destructive devices at your disposal is mind-boggling.
Mouth of Sauron: Brooks acts as a medium for the Horseman to speak through.
My Car Hates Me: One of the magistrate's descendants is in his car. It stubbornly refuses to start as Sarilda approaches.
My Greatest Failure: Abbie pretended she saw nothing and let her sister Jenny get taken away and committed for insiting they saw a demon in the woods. It nigh-permanently damaged their relationship, to the point where they stopped speaking altogether after ending up on opposite sides of the law. It also nearly gets Abbie killed by a supernatural boogum that torments people with guilt issues. Abbie later tries to start making up for it to her sister.
Ichabod defected from the British after failing to save Arthur Bernard, the man who showed him the truth about the Secret War, and he's carried that guilt ever since; in fact, that's what the Horseman's been using to keep the two of them linked. Henry Parrish channels Bernard's spirit to help Ichabod let go of his guilt, severing the link.
Name's the Same: Abbie Mills is also the name of the female lead in Harper's Island. Aside sharing a name and having a father-figure in their local sheriffs who are later killed by their respective series' villains, they don't seem to have much in common.
Neck Snap: How Moloch the demon dispatches Brooks, to such an extent as to be a narrow subversion of Off with His Head!. Which makes his resurrection the next episode even more disturbing, as Moloch doesn't fix his neck until after he's alive again.
The Plague: The disease carried by the people of Roanoke in "John Doe", created by the Horseman of Pestilence/Conquest.
Post-Historical Trauma: Ichabod lived up to the ideals he believed the American Revolution to be about. He's quite upset when he learns that many of his former comrades didn't, such as when he learns they massacred their former Native American allies, and to a more comedic degree his Broken Pedestal for Thomas Jefferson.
Post Modern Magic: Knowing that the sun weakens the Horseman they use UV lights to trap him and keep him contained.
In episode 7 another black actress has a walk-on part as police officer. You can't help but feel that it's a deliberate Take That to the above complaint.
Possibly why the Headless Horseman is introduced in a Redcoat uniform despite supposedly passing himself off as a Hessian mercenary, whose standard uniform in real life would have been blue. Episode 4 shows an actual Hessian in a flashback also in a red uniform.
Really 700 Years Old: The town reverend, who is the same one who was part of Katrina's coven (presumably, being a witch is why he hasn't aged).
Either that or he's an Identical Descendant. Aside from being played by the same actor, it's not really made clear.
The Four Who Speak As One, also members of Katrina's coven, but who banished her to purgatory and killed hers and Ichabod's son, feature in "The Golem". They were hiding out at a moving carnival, posing as mind-readers.
Brooks: Reports of my demise were...pretty much true.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Irving objects to reports of an unkillable headless horseman corroborated only by a man who claims to be from the Revolutionary War but he's aware something is going on and supports the others as much as he can. Once he has proof he's 100% on board.
Rule of Cool: The Headless Horseman gets several guns from Brooks near the end of the pilot, and then proceeds to run around town with a shotgun and a military assault rifle. It's even more awesome than it sounds.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The Horseman has been locked in a chained up coffin at the bottom of a river for the last 250 years, but now has been unleashed again by Moloch.
Sealed Good in a Can: Basically what happened to Ichabod — his blood mixed with the Horseman's when he cut off his head, linking them, so Katrina had to put Ichabod in a sort of stasis to keep the Horseman sealed in its own can. However, its awakening caused Ichabod to awaken as well.
Katrina herself is trapped in another world by Moloch.
Shoot the Dog: The reason Katrina hid Ichabod's sleeping self was because the Freemasons were convinced that killing him was the only way to stop the Horseman (due to them being linked), and come after him in the present to finish the job. Fortunately, Henry Parrish convinces Ichabod that they can find another to stop the Horseman and helps him break the link.
Soundtrack Dissonance: "Sympathy for the Devil" in the pilot, shortly after very frightening scenes. Continues into the second episode with similar tracks.
Start of Darkness: We learn The Horseman's in "Necromancer". He's actually Ichabod's old best friend Abraham. He was left heartbroken by Katrina rejecting him after their relationship seemed so strong and lost his temper during a mission when Ichabod admitted that Katrina had rejected Abraham for him. Him losing it resulted in him being shot and captured by Moloch's hessians, at which point he made a Deal with the Devil and became the Horseman out of anger, jealously, heartache, and a desire for vengeance.
Tainted Veins: in "John Doe" when a mysterious plague infects Sleepy Hollow.
They Fight Evil: He's a time-tossed soldier-professor. She's a supernaturally touched badass police officer. They fight the Apocalypse!
Taking You with Me: This was Ichabod's last thought before he died, beheading the Horseman in the moment before he succumbed to his own wounds.
Throwaway Guns: In episode 2, Ichabod tosses his gun after firing one shot, being unaware that modern guns hold more than that.
Time Stands Still: The town of Roanoke in "John Doe". Time has not moved forward for them in four centuries.
Too Dumb to Live: This is what it looks like for the two hunters who come across the Horseman's steed in the woods, and go right up to it. It's subverted when one of the hunters reveals himself as a Hessian and coldly shoots the other man.
Witch Species: Witches' powers are genetic in this show, as seen by Katrina and Ichabod's son Jeremy inheriting his mother's abilities.
Wizards Live Longer: The priest from the first episode, a member of Katrina's coven, has been alive for centuries.
Would Hurt a Child: Serilda. Luckily for the child in question, he was adopted and thus of no use to her.
Writers Cannot Do Math: Everybody comments on how Ichabod supposedly died 250 years ago, but the caption in the very first scene states that the year he died in was 1781 - 232 years before the start of the series.
This show doesn't seem concerned with historical accuracy, though, and 250 years sounds cooler.
Possibly Justified by the fact that 250 rolls off the tongue a lot easier than 232 does, as well as the fact that, in numbers that large, rounding up to 240 or 250 wouldn't be that strange. Also, considering the fact that Ichabod never actually identifies what year he died in, so, far as they know, he might have died in 1776, in which case, rounding to 250 is most definitely not out of the question. (And for him, it's never specified what year he's in now, and he's just going off the interrogator saying it's been 250 years.)
It was stated above that in the year specified as Ichabod's death is when the war had mostly left the north and had moved south, and General Washington along with it. Maybe the writers didn't know history, but the interrogator did, and on hearing Ichabod's story assumed he died earlier in the war.
Wunza Plot: One's a cop, one's a time-lost professor/Revolutionary spy.
You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: Ichabod tends to refer to Abbie as "Miss Mills" except in times of danger and trouble. He then defaults to referring her by the expedient "Lieutenant". When the danger is over, he reverts back to the less formal manner of addressing her. And when situations are really serious, he actually calls her "Abbie".
You Have Failed Me: The Demon Moloch's stated reason for killing Brooks at the end of the pilot. Considering that he was about to tell Abbie and Ichabod everything as part of a plea bargain, however, there's also an element of He Knows Too Much in there too.
He revives him in the second episode for another errand though.
You Have 12 Hours: In episode 4, Da Chief gives Abbie and Ichabod that long to find the escaped Jenny before he opens up a dragnet for her.
You Have to Believe Me: Abbie prefaces telling Irving about information she got from a vision of Katrina Crane telling her she needs to get a Sin Eater to sanctify Ichabod because the Headless Horseman is going to come back by acknowledging that it's grounds to have her committed...but if they do nothing, people are going to die. He doesn't exactly believe her, but he agrees to help.