"Officially, we're part of the Bureau's Violent Crimes Section - in reality, we work for Web. While we have the full resources of the L.A. field office, we're semi-autonomous, by which I mean completely independent. We take the cases Web chooses, and we pursue them to his satisfaction, which may or may not be completion. He gets bored sometimes . . . Web picks people for one reason: they have something he needs."The Inside
— Special Agent Paul Ryan, "New Girl in Town"
was a 2005 Police Procedural
from Tim Minear
and Howard Gordon. It was based around the Violent Crimes Unit in Los Angeles, and a team of profilers
that solved particularly brutal crimes. Comprising the team is The Leader
Virgil "Web" Webster, his Number Two
Paul Ryan, Danny Love, Danny's sidekick
Melody Sim, Carter Howard and rookie agent Rebecca Locke.
Web handpicked each member of The Team
to fill a role: Paul was The Conscience
, frequently serving as Devil's Advocate for Web. Danny was the comic relief and action guy, there to conduct dangerous operations and make everyone laugh. Carter was frequently the Only Sane Man
, staying behind his computers. Mel - we have no idea what she was, because everyone else got Character Development
but her. Rebecca was the voice of the victims, having been kidnapped and held hostage by a serial killer when she was a girl.
The show was extremely well-written, with such names as Minear, Gordon, Jane Espenson
, David Fury, and Ben Edlund on its staff, and delighted in shocking its viewers with gory crime scenes and a fascinating cast of characters.
Unfortunately, The Inside
had three big things working against it: it debuted the same year as another show about profilers, CBS's Criminal Minds
; it was scheduled to air opposite ABC ratings juggernaut Dancing with the Stars
; and it was on Fox
. Only seven episodes (out of thirteen) were ever aired - in completely random order, of course
- and the series was summarily canceled. The moral of the story? Never let Tim work on your show if it's on Fox, as it will be Firefly
all over again. Unless you're Joss
. Then you'll get two half-seasons.
Provides Examples Of:
- Alone with the Psycho: Rebecca, nigh constantly. At least four episodes have her kidnapped or otherwise incapacitated by the UnSub.
- Lampshaded in Skin and Bones:
Mel: She's always working a case, and she's always getting taken.
Mel: I'm just saying..."Girl to Grab" isn't just Volume Four of some encyclopedia, it's Rebecca's life. She gets taken - like it's a hobby.
Danny: It is on the freaky side of often...
- Always Murder
- Anti-Hero: Web only escapes Villain Protagonist status for two reasons - he works for the good guys and it's never confirmed if he is or was in the past, a serial killer.
- Back from the Dead: An atypical example. Special Agent Margaret Alvarez is killed in the pilot, but appears in "Thief of Hearts" since parts of it take place three years ago.
- Batman Gambit: Web's hat, which he demonstrates magnificently starting with "New Girl in Town" and keeps on doing in every episode. A good rule of thumb is that whatever is happening, Web's pulling the strings.
- One of Web's best is in "Thief of Hearts". He bribes a woman to say she witnessed a suspect doing something suspicious, which was enough to get a warrant for the suspect's house, and planted the evidence he committed the crimes. All Paul had to do was not question the woman too much . . . which he doesn't do until three years later, when Web has a better team and can find the real killer. He may have also acquired Stacey Travers' heart and buried it in Pope's garden, so that Paul would find it and "prove" Pope guilty. Is it possible to play Xanatos Speed Chess with various Batman Gambits? Because Virgil Webster does it for shits and giggles.
- Better The Devil You Know: Why Paul hasn't tried to take over from Web or allow anyone to remove Web from the S.A. position.
Paul: I guess I felt that the world was safer with Web in here.
Rebecca: In here. As in, not out there.
- Big Brother Instinct: What Paul has for Rebecca and why he mistrusts Web, though Danny thinks that Paul really just wants Rebecca for himself.
- Bondage Is Bad: Played with in "Old Wounds". The UnSub is certainly playing the trope straight, and Paul shows disgust over the BDSM paraphernalia, but Web and Rebecca don't find anything out of the ordinary about it.
- Boom, Headshot: Web takes out the UnSub in the pilot like this, from out of nowhere.
Web: Simon Gunther! *BANG* Let her go! *lowers his gun* Damn, got that backwards.
- Break the Cutie: Rebecca comes pre-broken, but that doesn't stop Web from continuing to break her even further, using her pain to make her stronger. Paul gets this pretty badly in "Thief of Hearts".
- Broken Bird: Rebecca, bordering on Emotionless Girl.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Paul's wife Karen hears he's had a bad day, draws up a bath, and leaves her panties and a bottle of wine in the hallway for him when he gets home. The only problem is - it's the exact M.O. of a serial killer Paul hunted three years ago and who's resurfaced.
- Catch Phrase: Like Criminal Minds, The Inside uses "UnSub" to refer to its killers, short for "unknown subject".
- Captain Obvious: Danny, virtually all the time.
- Central Theme: At what point as a profiler do you cease to do your job and become He Who Fights Monsters?. Also likes to play on the socially expected appearances a monster takes, to then show you the real one is unexpected and scarier.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Water added to aluminum iodine powder will start a fire. ("Point of Origin")
- Web instructing his hooker on how to act and dress, and dying her hair blonde. ("Declawed")
- The Chessmaster: Web. All others pale in comparison.
- Children Are Innocent: Subverted by "Everything Nice".
- Clear My Name: Web, in "Declawed", due to his actions in "Thief of Hearts". Rebecca does what she can to clear his name, but it's really Paul who gets Web his job back.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Rebecca Locke. Hoo boy, shall we count? Kidnapped as a small child by a serial killer, held hostage for months. Heavily hinted-at physical and sexual abuse. Only escaped due to a fire she'd set and ended up severely burned for a few years. Joined the FBI, where she's surrounded by a daily reminder of exactly how horrible people can be.
- Deadpan Snarker: Danny and Mel, who are a great double act. Carter gets in on it occasionally, as does Web, though his are usually Crowning Moments of Funny. The only two without this sense of humor are Paul and Rebecca.
- Determinator: Rebecca was - and is - willing to do anything to survive or solve a case, up to and including metaphorically sticking her fingers into her bloody psychological wounds. Deconstructed in The Loneliest Number: her drive to survive makes it impossible for her to do her usual 'speak for the victims' whammy because she is literally incapable of empathizing with the desire to end your own life.
- Double Meaning Title: All of them.
- Driven to Suicide: The killer in "The Loneliest Number". Almost does it to Rebecca, though how much of that is the UnSub and how much of that is Rebecca being pre-broken is anyone's guess.
- Emotionless Girl: Rebecca, due to her past.
- Empty Shell: The first victim in Gem; Rebecca outright states she was dead long before her throat was cut.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- Rebecca getting stuck in the elevator because she's too busy reading a file to notice it's her floor, as well as carting all her luggage to the VCU because she came straight from LAX.
- Web interrogating Rebecca, discussing her failed applications to the BAU in DC (no, not that BAU, not yet anyway) and urging her to tell him her initial profile.
- Paul angrily packing up Alvarez's desk and watching Web's closed door.
- Mel being upset she didn't know Alvarez better, and asking Paul if she "seemed like a cat person".
- Danny reading the newspaper, saying they have no leads and offhandedly quipping "any one of us could be next".
- Mr. Fanservice: Why hello there Adam Baldwin in kevlar, carrying a gun.
- Fiery Redhead: Mel, though she's fairly level-headed and more likely to crack jokes at you.
- Five-Man Band:
- Friendship Moment: The end of "Skin and Bone", which is the finale. Rebecca's been kidnapped again and forced to confront the fact that she does need friends and she does need to start being a real human being. Paul, Danny, Mel, and Web show up to help redecorate her apartment, and Web brings her a plant, telling her "welcome to Los Angeles".
- From Bad to Worse: Most cases, but most notably "Point of Origin" (whose unsub sets fires over all of Los Angeles, just to freak out the VCU).
- Gory Discretion Shot: Ahahaha, this show goes out of its way to show all the gore.
- Gun Nut: Danny shows elements of this, with his fondness for SWAT/tactical gear. A particular example comes in "Little Girl Lost" where his game of "I'll show you my gun if you show me yours" is used to stealth-disarm the park ranger/UnSub du jour.
- Handsome Lech: Danny, who totally wouldn't mind "pressing Rebecca's buttons".
- The Heart: Paul's position on Web's team, made explicit in "Thief of Hearts". Though it's really Mel who serves as the best example of the trope.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Paul's turning into this, though he desperately doesn't want to. We don't know how far past this line Web is, but it's safe to say he's been this for a long time.
- How We Got Here: "Thief of Hearts" is how Paul joined the team three years ago.
- It's Personal: Pretty much every case, for Rebecca. "Thief of Hearts" and "Aiden" for Paul.
- Kansas City Shuffle: If Web's not running a Batman Gambit, chances are he's running one of these instead.
- Kick the Dog
- Kill It with Fire: The serial arsonist in "Point of Origin". The episode also reveals this is how young Rebecca got away from her captor.
- Last Name Basis: Web, whom no one calls by anything other than "Web".
- In "Thief of Hearts", Alvarez calls him "Virge", implying she knows him better than most.
- Little Miss Badass: The girl from "Little Girl Lost", who not only survives a march through the woods with a serial killer, she also deals with a rapidly-imbalanced and hallucinating Rebecca.
- Appropriately, as the girl was herself a hallucination of Rebecca of her Becky George days, Rebecca used to be one of these in her way. Like they said, very few kidnapping victims get home, even fewer make it there on their own.
- Manchild: Danny. Everyone on the team seems to regard his penchant for undercover ops and big sting operations as a kid playing with toys.
- The Mentally Disturbed: Averted. Web berates Danny for reacting poorly to the revelation of Alvarez being bipolar, saying that she was dealing with an illness and managing, not to be treated with scorn.
- Mood Whiplash: All the time, but "Thief of Hearts" is full of Happily Married Paul and his wife Karen juxtaposed with hideous murders involving hearts being ripped out of bodies and rolled-up Valentines stuck in their mouths.
- Monster Fangirl: Pope's lawyer, who legitimately thinks he's innocent and seems to have a moment of horror when he taunts the husband of one of his victims with how much he enjoyed killing the man's wife. Interestingly for this trope, Pope actually seems to care for her, as he howls with as much anguish about her death as he did about getting caught.
- No Medication for Me: Completely averted. Special Agent Margaret Alvarez was bipolar, but medication and therapy seemed to be working well enough that no one suspected. That she went off her medication was a retroactive sign that she was self-destructing and no longer able to cope with the trauma of the case.
- No Social Skills: Rebecca, of course. To the point where even sitting in a restaurant and having a meal with her colleagues is uncomfortable.
- Not So Different: Web to the various UnSubs, which is made explicit by Rebecca's voiceover profile in "Declawed":
Maybe something was taken from him. I believe we're looking for an older man - very lonely, very private, very patient. He chooses his victims carefully. They mean something to him.
- Platonic Life Partners: Danny and Mel.
- Sadistic Choice
- Shaky P.O.V. Cam
- Shout-Out: In the pilot, Simon's security patch says "Wolfram Security".
- In "Everything Nice", Mel calls Bunch's knife his "precious".
- Web's team works out of the "Hollis Mulray Federal Building."
- Spiritual Successor: Criminal Minds is The Inside's, and The Inside was one for Profiler.
- Story Arc: "What happened to Rebecca as a child?" was explored and eventually revealed. "What's the deal with Web?" was not.
- Suicide Is Painless: Deconstructed by "The Loneliest Number", which shows both how painful suicidal impulses are, why people commit suicide, how suicide hotlines can be abused, and the impact a suicide has on family and friends.
- That One Case: Paul has his in "Thief of Hearts".
- Token Minority: Carter, the one black guy in LA.
- To Know Him, I Must Become Him: What Web manipulates Rebecca into doing, regardless of her mental and emotional well-being.
- Lampshaded by Mel in Gem, where she notes sarcastically that it's 'good' Rebecca isn't at the crime scene because she'd "do that creepy thing where she talks like the victim and solves the whole case and where's the fun in that for us?"
- Took a Level in Badass: Paul in "Declawed", when he shuts down Terry's investigation of Web because Terry threatened Rebecca.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Supervisory Special Agent Terry in "Declawed". Rebecca and Paul, in particular, are less than impressed.
- Villain Protagonist: If you ascribe to the theory that Web is a serial killer and is training Rebecca to become one.
- Wham Line:
- "Everyone is here. Ninth victim is Margaret Alvarez." - Web, in "New Girl in Town"
- And a double helping of Wham later: "You expect us to believe that Alvarez did this to herself?" - Danny
- "Him! That's the voice. Real distinctive voice." - "Thief of Hearts"
- What You Are in the Dark:
- Paul would sit by and allow Jason Travers to kill Zora Petticoff and Billy Ray Pope, because Pope isn't a good man and Pope's manipulations indirectly lead to Karen losing their unborn child in a car accident.
- Rebecca - at eleven years old - would set her kidnapper/molester on fire to escape him.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Depending on how influential you think Web is, the entire series could be one for him.