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Series: The Dresden Files

A TV adaption of The Dresden Files.

Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is Chicago's only practicing professional wizard, solving supernatural mysteries to pay the bills, and occasionally helping out the Special Investigations unit of the Chicago PD, led by Constanza "Connie" Murphy. He's assisted by Hrothbert of Bainbridge, or Bob, the ghost of a medieval wizard who was condemned to his own skull as punishment for breaking the Laws of Magic.

Other characters include Bianca, the sexy vampiress in charge of one of Chicago's more illicit establishments; Kirmani, a skeptical cop working under Murphy; and Morgan, the High Council's chief enforcer, who hounds Harry, believing him to be a warlock waiting to happen.

It was aired on the Sci Fi Channel in 2007 and lasted twelve episodes before being canceled.


This TV series provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Murphy goes from blonde in the books to brunette in the show, while Susan goes from brunette to blonde (see also Race Lift).
  • Adult Fear: The first broadcast episode has a Skinwalker posing as a teacher to kidnap a young boy from his single mother, who understandably doesn't take it well when the kid is kidnapped by a clan of Ravens who are actually trying to protect him.
  • Affably Evil: Bianca, who seems to have genuine affection for Harry and who disapproves of supernatural drugs like Third Eye. She is still a vampire running what is almost certainly a brothel, and she makes it clear that she may have to kill Dresden one day, and indeed she does attack Harry in "Storm Front" when he accuses her of being responsible for the deaths of the three girls.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Harry calls Hrothbert of Bainbridge 'Bob'.
  • Agent Scully: Murphy has trouble believing in the supernatural, even when Harry tells her about stuff.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Bob will often say things like, for example (while copying the appearance of a little old lady) "I can't believe she wore THAT shawl with THOSE shoes!" And he cries during Chick Flick movies.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "When I cast a tracking spell, I never know where it's going to take me. So I always brace myself for the worst: death, depravity, horror, the suburbs..."
  • Beam-O-War: Fired from Harry's trusty hockey-stick.
  • Behind the Black: Literally. In the DVD commentary the creators explicitly state that, with regards to how Morgan appears and disappears without being noticed, "the editor likes him" and cuts away from him whenever he needs to not be seen. Morgan himself explains that he uses magic to make Harry not see him, as opposed to actually turning invisible.
  • Blatant Lies: Harry insisting that magic and the supernatural don't exist to Murphy, apparently as a way of getting around the prohibition on talking about magic with Muggles.
  • Bottle Episode: Things That Go Bump.
  • Broken Hero: Harry is feared and hated by his own kind and distrusted by normals.
  • California Doubling: Mostly some mild Vancouver Doubling, but most egregiously when Harry goes to "West Lafayette"—the mostly rural college town is so violently unlike the urban setting depicted that your jaw will drop.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Harry. Lampshaded in "Rules of Engagement": Bob grills Harry on why he is still involved in the case, even though he's not being paid, the murder victim has turned out to be a demon, and the girl he's trying to save gave him a Tap on the Head rather than be rescued.
  • The Commandments: The Seven Laws of Magic.
  • Composite Character:
    • Creator Robert Wolfe said that Morgan was intended to be a blend of his book self and Michael as 'the badass with a sword'.
    • Bob is an mix of his book self, Ebenezar McCoy and Thomas Raith by being Harry's teacher and only remaining 'family'.
    • Ancient Mai is a composite of the entire White (High) Council, plus the lion's share of Morgan's anti-Dresden zealotry.
    • Bianca fulfills Lara's role of sexy head vamp and Susan's as doomed vampire love interest.
    • Justin Morningway combines both adopted father/teacher Justin DuMorne and the Leanansidhe as "evil yet caring, in an evil way, family member".
    • Heather has composite traits of the various werewolves in Fool Moon and Susan's plotline from the books (bitten by a supernatural critter, having to leave because her growing connection with Harry puts him at risk, and Harry vowing to research a cure even though it's likely impossible).
  • Cute Monster Girl: Heather becomes one over the course of "Hair of the Dog."
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone at points, but most especially Bob. As Jim Butcher put it, being locked up in the skull for a couple hundred years with no way to affect the world has left Bob with "a nuclear arsenal of snide."
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The pilot episode was actually broadcast as the 8th, and follows the book it was based on a lot more than it follows the series. Bob is strangely non-present (his scenes being cut because in the pilot, he was just a talking skull and not the ghost we see in the rest of the series), his office and lab look differently and his lab is even in a different place. He has a cat like in the book, and his interaction with Murphy is noticeably missing some of the character development done earlier in the series.
  • Everybody Lives: aside from the initial murder that kicks off the plot no one dies in "Rules of Engagement."
  • Evil Uncle: Justin, who was just an Evil Mentor in the books.
  • Exposition of Immortality: In one episode, Bianca refers to a building as an enemy's "hideout." Harry jokes that she sounds like a 30s gangster's mol when she says that, and she retorts she was a 30s gangster's mol. In another part of the same episode, one of Bianca's girls calls Harry "Mr. Wizard," and Harry says she can't possibly be old enough to remember that show—to which she points out she is 57.
  • Eye Scream: in the episode Walls, Harry links his sight and hearing to a trio of wasps by having them sting him in the ear and eye. Ouchie.
  • Fake American: Paul Blackthorne as Harry Dresden.
  • Fake Brit: Terrence Mann as Bob. In the DVD commentary for the series, the creators jokes that he and Blackthorne swapped accents as soon as the cameras started running.
  • Ghostly Advisor: Bob is one of these, rather than a Spirit Advisor.
  • Girl of the Week: Harry has these, a stark contrast to his book counterpart.
  • Haunted Fetter: Bob is bound to his skull.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Harry in spades. Normals think he is either crazy or a con-man and other wizards are convinced he is a dangerous Black Magic user like the rest of his family.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: Bob's reaction to Harry's attempt to explain why he kissed Murphy.
  • Jerk Ass: Morgan and Ancient Mai, who are supposed to be the good guys.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than the books, which had scarier villains, darker themes and more death and pain. In its defense, it was still on its first season.
  • Magic Tool: Harry uses a drumstick as a wand and a hockey stick as a staff.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman : Just barely averted in "The Boone Identity." When Boone bodyswaps with Murphy, he looks down, uncomfortably adjusts the bra, and just notes, "This will be interesting," with a sour expression.
  • Masquerade: As Harry puts it, the High Council's policy is that if you don't already know about the supernatural, you don't get to know. In one episode, Morgan starts to say, about Murphy, that something will have to be done because she found out about the High Council, but Harry cuts him off and says if anything happens to her, he'll make them sorry.
  • Older Sidekick: Bob, to Harry. Several centuries older, actually.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Immortal, shapeshifting creatures who breathe green fire.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Bob, bound to his own skull as punishment for using black magic in life.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Red and Black Court are mentioned as distinct, but the show doesn't go into detail as to how except that they "don't get along."
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Called "lycanthropes," they're uncontrollable shapeshifters who want to kill and eat anything they can catch. You become one by being bitten by a lycanthrope, and you can stop being a lycanthrope by killing 9 others from the same bloodline (the show doesn't make it clear as to whether it has to be your own lycanthropic bloodline). Alternatively, there's an elixir which apparently cuts down on the effects.
  • Portal Cut: Happens in the episode Walls, when an item enchanted to let people walk through walls fails at a bad time.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • In the original pilot Bob was, as in the books, merely a talking skull. When it was determined that this simply would not work for a TV audience they cast an actual actor and re-wrote his backstory (Now a ghost instead of spirit of intellect) so that he and Harry could have face-to-face conversations.
    • Harry's staff was re-imagined as a hockey stick he re-purposed to serve the same role because he's trying to keep a low profile (which also led to his costuming being simplified). Not only is it not odd for a guy in Chicago to carry one around (maybe he's a Blackhawks fan), should it be damaged or destroyed it's easier to replace.
    • His "Blasting Rod" was replaced with a drumstick, used as a wand.
    • The Blue Beetle was replaced with a run-down old army jeep, because it's actually really difficult for a man as tall as Harry to keep getting in and out of one of the smaller cars on the planet.
  • Race Lift:
    • Short, blonde Irish Karrin Murphy became Constanza "Connie" Murphy in favour of a Cuban-American actress. It works. Susan Rodriguez goes the opposite direction, switching from a tall, Hispanic woman to a short (Well, shorter than Dresden), blonde woman. The reason for this, and the Adaptation Dye-Job mentioned above, is that the producers had originally recruited each actress for the opposite part before switching them.
    • Morgan, who is described as an older man, and is depicted as white in the comic book adaptations, is a young-ish looking black man.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Bob is apparently a real sucker for sappy foreign romance films.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Oddly averted in "Storm Front," when Detective Kirmani picks up Harry's holy water pistol and jokingly asks if he has a permit for it. Despite the fact that the gun is yellow, plastic, and obviously a toy, Kirmani's finger stays outside of the trigger guard, presumably out of sheer habit.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Ancient Mai when she gets angry (Or angrier than usual.)
  • Scary Black Man: Morgan.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Every other villain - and the hero's sidekick. Bob is a damned and cursed soul, damned and cursed for trying to resurrect his dead love. When released from his eternal prison he saves Harry instead of killing him and gets sealed back in the can for his troubles.
  • Secretly Wealthy: This iteration of Harry. Harry was the sole heir to Justin Morningway's estate, but refused to claim any part of it, due to certain... issues between them.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Susan, since she does not have her own storyline like she did in the books.
  • Shout-Out: "Let me guess, a few years ago you were a Jedi knight, now you're a wizard named Harry. Must be good publicity, but couldn't you have thought of something a bit more original?"
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Part of Bob's backstory.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Morgan loves doing this, and Harry assumes that he is teleporting. When Harry finally asks how it is done, Morgan explains that he is not teleporting, and it is not technically invisibility, but that he makes Harry not see him.
  • Up to Eleven: Invoked by name in the episode Hair Of The Dog By Harry. He uses some magic chemicals to turn his sense of smell Up to Eleven to backtrack someone.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: In the series, Harry has a sexual relationship with a Red Court Vamp, which in the novels have a more violent and predatory relationship with humans.
  • We Help the Helpless: Harry does what he does 'Because I can.'
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: In one episode, Harry is reading a book about magical artifacts and tries to say "Le Main De Gloire"note  and butchers the French horribly. (Even pronouncing the word for hand like the English word "main".) Bob lampshades it immediately.
    • Heather from "Hair of the Dog" also has a strange accent, sounding vaguely Irish at times
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Harry, occasionally. When Bianca kills a Black Court Vampire, Harry steps back from the body. After she gives him a look, he says he always expects them to burst into flames or something, and blames Hollywood for that. Bianca just rolls her eyes.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Harry says this a lot to both wizards and mundanes. Mostly they don't.


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