Series: The Invisible Man
Remember, before you turn invisible, you have to turn into Capri Sun. This is why invisible men go mad.
There once was a story about a man who could turn invisible. I thought it was only a story...until it happened to me. Okay, so here's how it works. There's this stuff called quicksilver that can bend light. Some scientists made it into a synthetic gland, and that's where I came in. See, I was facing life in prison, and they were looking for a human experiment. So, we made a deal. They put the gland in my head, I walk free. The operation was a success, but that's where everything started to go wrong...
channel series that aired from June, 2000 to February, 2002. A total of 46 episodes in two seasons.In exchange for a pardon
, professional thief Darien Fawkes agrees to let his brother Kevin use him as a test subject for a synthetic gland
that allows him to secrete a light-bending substance called "quicksilver" from his skin and turn into an invisible man. However, the gland was sabotaged before the operation by Kevin's right hand man, Arnaud DeFöhn, forcing the host to receive regular injections of a counteragent, or slip into a deeply unpleasant state of "Quicksilver madness".
A terrorist attack on the I-man project facility, led by Arnaud, kills Kevin, and forces Darien to partner with either the group that killed his brother or the mysterious and under-funded "Agency", headed by the manipulative Official, for his counteragent shots. He chooses the Agency, and is usually sent on a new mission every episode. Rounding out the cast are Darien's partner Bobby Hobbes, an experienced but...quirky agent; the Keeper, an acerbic scientist in charge of keeping Darien sane and cooperative; and Eberts, the Official's faithful bureaucratic aide.
Not connected with the 1970s TV series of the same name, despite being inspired by the same source material and the earlier series also featuring an invisible secret agent.
This series provides examples of:
- Absentee Actor: Alex Monroe doesn't appear in "The Importance of Being Eberts," "Brother's Keeper," "Insensate," "Immaterial Girl," "A Sense of Community," "The Invisible Woman," "Possessed," "Enemy of My Enemy" and "The New Stuff."
- Claire also misses "The Invisible Woman."
- Action Survivor: Darien
- Affably Evil: Jarod Stark, the head of Chrysalis.
- The Agency
- And I Must Scream: As noted below, the experiment that created the Catevari paralyzed him for decades. Thing is, he was completely conscious the entire time, but everyone thought his mind was completely gone. Darien figured it out when the Catevari's warning quoted a Grateful Dead song released after he was paralyzed.
Darien: Your pal has been stuck in frozen crazy Hell for 30 years.
- Several of Augustin Geither's experiments in creating an invisible man resulted in several people who lost most or all of their senses including Geither himself.
- An Ice Person: When invisible, Darien's body temperature is -10 degrees Celsius, giving him minor freezing powers.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: During a meeting with FBI agents in the last episode, Darien tries to explain what Chrysalis is and what their plan appears to be, but is laughed off. Take note that the agents know that Darien can turn invisible.
- Ascended Extra: Eberts started out as a minor character, the boss's nerdy assistant. The actor playing him posted to the fan message board, and the fans started a campaign, Get Eberts More Scenes. The GEMS won, and Eberts was in the opening credits the second season.
- The Atoner: Tommy Walker, a.k.a. Augustin Geither.
- Bad Boss: While the Official is by no means a nice guy, he does, on occasion, show that he cares about his agents. He also never asks Darien to kill someone, knowing that Darien wouldn't do it. After the Official is arrested for botching a rescue attempt, a new chief with political ambitions has himself appointed the head of the Agency. He quickly figures out Darien's secret and then forces him to kill people in exchange for the counteragent (with a sniper rifle, no less, despite Darien not being a marksman). Fortunately, Status Quo Is God, so he is removed by the end of the episode, and the Official comes back.
- Badass Preacher: In "Possessed," Darien's childhood priest becomes possessed after going Stage 5 Quicksilver Madness and confronting an abusive father.
"You hit your wife, too? She didn't tell me, Joe. It wasn't hard to figure out, seeing Val come to church with a fresh bruise on his body every week. Do you have any idea what it's like knowing what I know and not being able to do a thing about it because there's a collar around my neck?"
- Batman Gambit: In "The Lesser Evil," Chrysalis gives Darien the Solution: Beta file in order to lure him to their side. The file turns out to be a contingency plan only, but Darien becomes deeply suspicious of the Agency and considers their offer until he learns the truth. And the whole thing turned out to be a gambit by the Official, who leaked the file himself to ultimately strike a blow against Chrysalis.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Arnaud starts off as the first major villain. Chrysalis is later introduced in the second half of Season 1 and Jarod Stark is the most frequently seen member. It appears the villains will form a duumvirate in Season 2, but it naturally doesn't work out.
Darien: Every hero needs a nemesis. Well, as if Arnaud wasn't enough to deal with...
- Big "Shut Up!": Eberts is always told to shut up, but the biggest may be in "Immaterial Girl."
Eberts: Theoretically, anything can happen.
Darien, Hobbes, Claire and the Official: SHUT UP, EBERTS!
- Blessed with Suck: Invisibility is cool. The regular descents into screamingly painful homicidal insanity? Not so much.
- Arnaud gets a gland of his own - one free of Quicksilver madness, but ends up permanently invisible.
- Boxed Crook
- Brought Down to Normal: In "Mere Mortals," the gland is temporarily "turned off." Darien doesn't have to worry about Quicksilver madness and lives life to the fullest, but then finds himself in over his head for the Agency's latest mission.
- Buddy Cop Show: With Darien and Bobby as the cops.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Darien is an ex-con with no formal training, and Hobbes is constantly paranoid and has been kicked out of several agencies for various mental health reasons—with both working for "the crappiest intelligence agency in all the world." And yet, they have a solid record of success and often outdo colleagues from more prestigious agencies.
- Catch Phrase: "Oh, Crap"
- Celibate Hero: Darien for the most part, though not by choice. Intense emotions or sex could cause the gland to activate, which would expose his secret. He's only ever romanced or had sex with women that already knew about it.
- Comes Great Responsibility: A theme of the series. The Official tries to persuade Darien that since the gland is stuck in his head he may as well do good with it. He reinforces his point by blackmailing Darien with the counteragent but by the end of Season 2 Darien actually chooses to work with the government.
- Completely Missing the Point: An acupuncturist forces Darien to help her steal some magical Chinese acupuncture needles from a museum so that she can heal her Old Master. The Old Master claims that the needles are filled with "unenlightenment" because they were stolen. The acupuncturist thinks he means that the needles were stolen from China by a British businessman and that killing the businessman will make them effective again.
- Complexity Addiction: Arnaud, Arnaud, Arnaud.
- Cool Down Hug: A literal version in "The Catevari."
- Covert Group with Mundane Front: The Agency uses a variety of backwater government branches as its front. Including 'Fish and Game', 'Indian Affairs', and 'Weights and Measures'.
- Criminal Amnesiac: Darien gets amnesia in one episode, whereupon both the series' Big Bads try to convince him that he works for them.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Hobbes
- Cryptid Episode: "Legends" serves as a Bigfoot episode. The creatre has a natural ability to turn invisible, with Darien's gland harvested from such a (female) creature.
- Cycle of Revenge: In the pilot, Arnaud offers to avoid this (Arnaud's people having killed Darien's brother) by offering to shoot his own brother and be done with it.
- Darker and Edgier: Season 2 is darker in tone than S1.
- Dating Catwoman: Darien's relationship with morally ambiguous Chrysalis operative Alianora
- Deadpan Snarker: Darien, frequently.
- Distressed Dude: Darien is frequently caught and tied up by people who want to steal the gland.
- The Dog Bites Back: In the pilot, Arnaud's brother has finally had enough of being bullied and threatened by Arnaud. After Darien seemingly kills Arnaud and the rest of his Mooks, the brother provides Darien a shot of the counteragent.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Darien has nightmares of Arnaud before his reappearance (more than once), he dreamed of a place and of going mad and trying to kill Hobbes before it happened, and in a subversion of the trope, he had nightmares that turned out to be flashbacks from a previous recipient of the gland, not his own.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Hobbes has a lot of these moments - usually in regards to not getting a raise, getting charged with damages during a mission or even not getting his parking validated.
- Economy Cast: The Agency has only five speaking characters and a handful of other agents.
- Embarrassing First Name: Eberts. His first name by itself isn't so bad, but would you want to go through life named Albert Eberts?
- The End... Or Is It?: The end of "Germ Theory" sees all the contaminated materials bagged and properly disposed of, but a cockroach emerges from one of the bags and suddenly turns invisible.
- Enforced Method Acting: In-Universe example. When the Agency fakes Bobby's death, the Keeper isn't told so that her grief at the funeral looks real.
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The Official and The Keeper for most of the Series. Their real names are Charles Borden and Claire Keepley, respectively.
- That was probably not The Official's "real" name, however. In a later episode, Jarrod Stark says it's "a name from a hat," implying it's one of many aliases the Official has. And in a second-season episode, another high-ranking secret government guy lumps himself together with the Official as "those of us with no names."
- And we never actually learn the Keeper's last name, only her first. The first time the Keeper introduced herself with that surname, she hesitated and was clearly making it up on the spot. Later on in the season, after she'd used that surname repeatedly, Darien still asked what her real last name was, and she wouldn't answer, insisting that her job required some degree of anonymity.
- Everyone Has Standards: The Official may manipulate his subordinates, but as seen in "Johnny Apocalypse," he is against sending agents into dangerous missions without proper warning.
- Evil Counterpart: Arnaud, after he implants himself with his own invisibility gland. His gland has a different drawback from Darien's, though: instead of having to deal with counteragent shots and quicksilver madness, he's permanently invisible (like in the classic H.G. Wells story).
- Alianora also serves this function to Darien. She was also experimented on, regrets what was done to her and has little choice in working for a secretive organization.
- Done for laughs with the Chinese Ministry of State Security. See The Rival below.
- Faking the Dead: To throw off the bad guys, Hobbes' death is briefly faked in one episode...to the distress and then outrage of the Keeper, the only one who wasn't told.
- Darien was led to believe that this was the case for Kevin. Unfortunately, it was instead an elaborate ploy by Arnaud to uncover Kevin's hidden Quicksilver research.
- Briefly pulled by Darien in the pilot, when he fires a shotgun out of view of the people chasing him and quickly turns his head invisible.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Despite going to some fairly extreme lengths, Darien can never get the gland out of his brain. However, in the series finale, the Keeper gives him a permanent antidote for quicksilver madness, making failure a lot more tolerable.
- Fake Guest Star: Eberts in Season 1.
- Five-Man Band: The main characters fit the formula.
- Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: Hobbes does this in one episode, appropriately titled "Flowers for Hobbes".
- Friend to All Children: Darien forms close bonds with the kid characters in "Ralph" and "Johnny Apocalypse." He also beats up an abusive dad in "Possessed" on principle.
- Friend to All Living Things: Darien adopts one of the Keeper's lab rats so that it won't be experimented on anymore.
"You've already got one lab rat."
- From Bad to Worse: Quicksilver Madness. In the red eye phase, Darien mostly acts like an uninhibited animal, but there is the chance he can be reasoned with or assert some self-control. But if he goes too long in this state without any counter-agent, he'll enter Stage 5 Quicksilver Madness. Darien loses all sense of inhibitions and morality in this state, but is able to think and plan clearly. Worse, if he stays in this state too long, the madness becomes permanent.
- Fun with Acronyms: The agency that runs the Community is called the Agency of Sequestered Seclusion.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: The gland that secretes quicksilver was genetically engineered. In the pilot, Darien compares it to the atom bomb.
- This is disputed by Darien and Hobbes at the end of the second season opener Legends, after they find and kill an invisible bigfoot. The Official denies their accusations but lets it slip that he knew about these creatures, implying that the original gland did come from a bigfoot but may have been adapted for a human.
- Genius Cripple: Thomas Walker aka Augustin Geither
- Go Mad from the Revelation: In "Flowers for Hobbes," a scientist designs a procedure to increase intelligence to improve the human race. All the subjects become vastly more intelligent, but increasingly paranoid and suicidal. One girl blew up herself and the research, while three others became catatonic due to synaptic overload.
Darien: So they lost their minds?
Claire: Well, it's more likely they found them, and it was more than they could handle.
- Gone Horribly Right: Arnaud secretly tampered with the gland to ensure Quicksilver madness, thus giving him a level of control over anyone he sells it to. Falls into this trope whenever he encounters a Quicksilver mad Darien, who is only too happy to try and kill him.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: The plot of some episodes, most notably "Catevari" wherein a spy who has undergone a surgical procedure to make him sweat poison. It works, but the damage done to his central nervous system paralyzes him for decades. This also happens to the first person to have the quicksilver gland implanted.
- Good News, Bad News
- Good Is Not Nice: The Official is a master manipulator and a tightwad, but he's devoted to defending the country from all sorts of threats.
The Official: Look, son, I know what you think. You think I'm slick, two-faced bureaucrat who manipulates and schemes to get his own way, and you'd be right. I make no secret of who I am.
Darien: That's supposed to comfort me?
The Official: My job is to protect the nation, not cheer you up.
- Government Agency of Fiction
- Hand Cannon: Claire, of all people, owns one.
- The Handler: The Keeper. Generally much nicer than most.
- Heel-Face Turn: Augustin Geither.
- Hero of Another Story: Kevin saw first-hand what Geither's experiments were doing to the test subjects. According to Thomas Walker, Kevin got the experiments shut down "on moral grounds." (This also had the result of Kevin leaving the SWRB and ultimately wind up at the Agency.)
- "The Devil You Know" hints at the Official having earned quite a lofty reputation in defending the country.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Darien and Hobbes.
- Hidden Depths: "Cat and Mouse" reveals that Hobbes has a very active social life, including a favorite hangout, lots of friends and a few female admirers.
- Hollywood Silencer: In the pilot, Arnaud and his men attack the base with pistols that are inexplicably silent. They don't even have tubes attached to the barrels.
- Homage: One episode involved Fawkes and Hobbes being trapped in "The Community", an isolated quaint little village for secret agents who had their identity exposed, and their subsequent escape.
- Honor Before Reason: Kevin claims in the pilot that he is capable of removing the gland from Darien, but about halfway through the season, it is revealed that was a lie. More time was needed to figure that part out, but Kevin refused to wait. According to the Official, it was because Kevin didn't want to wait to get Darien out of prison.
- I Choose to Stay: After Darien learns the Official ordered Claire to keep the cure for Quicksilver Madness from him to keep him in the Agency, he says he would have stayed without a second thought, but walks out on account of the betrayal. He ultimately returns; see I Just Want to Be Special below.
- Idiot Ball: In the episode The Lesser Evil, the villain tries to get Darien to walk out on the agency and join Chrysalis by reminding him of all the people he's killed for the agency. Of the two people he chooses to blame Darien's deaths on, one was an accident and the other was self defense. Despite this, he succeeds in making Darien feel visibly uncomfortable. His first task when he tries to join Chrysalis? Kill somebody. Somebody that he likes. On purpose.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Darien spends quite a bit of his free time trying to find a way to free himself from the gland. Becomes a rather lower priority in the finale, when Claire devises a permanent cure to Quicksilver Madness.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Having had a lot of Character Development by the time he leaves the Agency on account of the Official's poor judgment, Darien finds that having consequence-free invisibility as well as a new appreciation for being one of the good guys makes his old gig of professional thievery unsatisfying.
- Imaginary Friend: Darien poses as one of these to a little girl who happened to witness the assassination of some foreign dignitary.
- Informed Judaism: Hobbes' fake funeral is presided over by a rabbi.
- Infectious Insanity: In "Possessed," a new formula for Counteragent briefly causes Darien to go through different stages of Quicksilver madness. While in this state, the quicksilver flakes he leaves behind don't degrade. When people - such as Darien's old priest - touch them, they go into stage five Quicksilver madness.
- Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: Alex is introduced in an episode that involves a newborn baby being taken from the mother. As it turns out, Alex herself is a victim of this. The culprit is a Nebulous Evil Organisation called Chrysalis, and the babies in question are actually those of their members. The women whose babies were stolen were actually secretly being used as surrogates. Alex's baby's biological parents are actually Jarod Stark and his wife.
- Invisibility: Well, yeah.
- Invisible Jerkass: Darrien, when the Quicksilver madness sets in. And Arnaud when he gets a gland of his own.
- Irony: In the last episode, it's Eberts that gets the last word.
- Ironic Echo: At one point, Arnaud manages to corner Fawkes and quips "Tag, you're dead." before shooting him. Fortunately, Arnaud ran out of ammo during the preceding chase scene. By the end of the episode, while under the effects of Quicksilver Madness, Fawkes repeats the line to Arnaud.
- Jerkass: Jones, a recurring FBI agent that Hobbes dislikes and vice-versa.
- Kavorka Man: Hobbes
Darien: What is it with you and the ladies?
- Kiss of Death: Alianora kills people by kissing them and regurgitating water stored in her body, thereby drowning them.
Hobbes: She's gonna give kissing a bad name.
- Latex Perfection: Arnaud, after becoming permanently invisible, uses "latex" masks to be visible. He has a supply of various versions of his face, such as clean-shaven or "rugged."
- Loophole Abuse: The Agency is never shown being sponsored by an intelligence or defense department, which would normally disqualify them from involvement in many cases. However, there is usually a loophole that can be exploited on the basis of who their current sponsor is. For example, in "Ralph," a foreign leader being assassinated on American soil and the FBI takes the lead. But because the assassin acted in a national park and also killed an endangered falcon, the Official says the Agency - which was then sponsored by Fish and Game - can be involved.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Implicitly agreed between Darien and Claire after they both have sex while under Quicksilver Madness and the influence of an insanity inducing experimental Truth Serum, respectively.
- Lovable Rogue: Darien.
- Making a Splash: La Llorona is able to spew high-pressure water blasts from her mouth and transform into water.
- Mark of the Beast/Power Tattoo: The Keeper gives Darien a warning system in the form of an Ouroboros tattoo; it starts out green, and then sections of the snake go red as he gets closer to quicksilver madness.
- Mercy Kill: Darien reasons the Catevari did this, as he slaughtered the hospital staff, but only gently pricked a friend (who had also been experimented on).
- Minion with an F in Evil: In "Liberty and Larceny," Darien's old mentor reveals this is why she cut him loose. He was just too concerned about morals for a thief.
- The Mole: Arnaud, the Swiss scientist in the pilot is the Big Bad for Darien. He also has elements of the Magnificent Bastard.
- Mundane Utility: Darien's ability to render other objects invisible makes him an excellent thief. He also uses it for pranks and things.
- Mutant Draft Board: Since the gland could drive him insane, the Agency uses the Counteragent to keep Darien there. Notably, while they did fund the gland project, the Agency didn't know Arnaud had tampered with the gland. Using Counteragent to keep an invisible man under control was Arnaud's own idea. The Official's intent was to put the gland in a trained agent of the government, but given the way things worked out, he decided to make use of Arnaud's idea. This is undone in the Series Finale, though, when Claire cures Quicksilver Madness. Darien would've stayed, but because the Official tried to stop Claire, he rebelled and temporarily went to the FBI.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Darien whenever coming out of an extended Quicksilver madness. At different times, he has nearly raped a woman, almost murdered Hobbes and generally harassed/assaulted people. Outside of Quicksilver madness, Darien blames himself for Hobbes' head injury in "It Hurts When You Do This."
- My Greatest Failure: "Impetus" reveals that Claire worked as a junior researcher at the Defense Department's Counter-Bio Unit. She was supposed to administer a vaccine test on a volunteer, but a small error on her part caused the vaccine to mutate and give the volunteer Werner Syndrome. Claire spent ten years trying to find a cure, ultimately taking over the Quicksilver Project in exchange for the Agency funding her research.
- Nebulous Evil Organization: Chrysalis. Their exact goal is something that the protagonists try (and fail) to discover during the series. The writers may or may not have intended to reveal their agenda had the series not been canceled, but nobody else has any idea.
- The SWRB from a couple Season 2 episodes. They're actually an American government outfit, but their tactics and practices make them a threat to anyone that crosses them, including the Agency.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: How Darien was caught in the pilot: while Darien is getting ready to leave after robbing a safe, an elderly person walks in and has a heart attack. Darien tries to give him CPR when suddenly he is walked in on in a compromising position. Not only do we get a paper headline reading "Burgling Molester Of The Elderly", but the guy actually testifies in court that Darien was trying to molest him!
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: The only one capable of removing the gland from Darien's brain is his dead brother, Kevin.
- It is a partial subversion, however, in that a new gland is created, and the technology for making more also exists. They just can't get around permanent invisibility without Kevin. In fact, given that they've only had two years and a very limited budget to work on the project, it's not that surprising they haven't been able to get it out. Furthermore, one episode even shows us the disastrous results of early human invisibility tests (people stuck in permanent, total sensory deprivation).
- Non-Indicative First Episode: the visual style of the pilot is just so distinct and interesting compared to the rest of the episodes which looked far more conventional that you wonder what happened to the cinematographer.
- Not So Different: The Catevari tries this with Darien. For his part, Darien sees a lot of similarities and is committed to bringing the Catevari in alive. Heck, the Official put Darien on the case because of this trope.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: At the end of "Legends," the Official reads Darien and Hobbes the riot act for what happened and for their "insulting" assertion that it was all because of an invisible Bigfoot. As Hobbes tries to make the Official see reason, Darien interrupts to say, "Forget it. He's only playing dumb."
- Oddly Small Organization: Apart from a couple secretaries and Red Shirts, there's virtually nobody else employed by The Agency other than the cast. Sort of justified by The Agency's financial troubles, so they probably have to keep the headcount small.
- Oh, Crap: Darien's Catch Phrase whenever he finds himself in an unfavorable situation. Though his tone of voice suggests more of a This Is Gonna Suck. He said it so often that, when struck with amnesia, it was the first clue in his Quest for Identity.
- Especially funny when subverted by the Bad Guy Arnaud, when he shows up suddenly, sees the look on Darien's face and beats him to the line. "Yes, Yes, I know...Oh Crap."
- Speaking of Arnaud, while he's normally very composed, he has this look on his face when he winds up being held at gunpoint by a Quicksilver Mad-Darien.
- Arnaud also exclaims, "Merde!" at one point, the French equivalent.
- The Official, and occasionally other characters, use "Shut up, Eberts!" frequently, often just after he's given away useful or embarrassing-to-the-Agency information.
- In the pilot, Arnaud gives Darien a series of injections, warning him of a "little prick" each time. This later becomes Arnaud's favorite term for Darien.
- In "Insensate," when the Official sees the head of the SWRB enter his office, he is quite visibly shaken.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: "The New Stuff" shows that Chrysalis is run by a sizable one of which Stark is a member. Jarod even boasts that his latest operation is so well-constructed that no one will be able to figure out the pattern and foil it.
- Once an Episode: Darien has a voiceover at the beginning of every episode in which he quotes some famous person, and another one at the end musing over the episode's events.
- Darien actually owns a large book of quotations, that he presumably draws from for the voiceovers. In one episode, Arnaud uses this book to club Darien over the head.
- One Head Taller: Hobbes is 5'7; Darien is 6'2 (6'6 if you count the hair, according to Hobbes).
- Opening Narration: Season 1's is up at the top. Season 2 slightly tweaked it.
- Parental Abandonment: Darien and Kevin's parents were out of the picture when they were children. Their mother had died, leaving the brothers to be raised by an aunt and uncle. Their Disappeared Dad literally disappeared before then and isn't even mentioned until Season 2's "Father Figure." Mason Fawkes had been a government assassin, but upon learning handler Royce was using him to murder his own enemies, Mason turned against him. Royce framed Mason as a traitor, forcing him to go on the run.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: In "Possessed," Darien's old priest Tom Moore comes down with Infectious Insanity. One of the kids in his Sunday school class confesses to having an abusive dad, so Moore goes to the kid's house and nearly beats the dad to death. Darien stops Moore just in time and Claire cures him. The dad tries to bludgeon Moore while everyone is distracted, though, so Darien punches him... and then keeps punching until the kid returns home. The kid is not okay with this, though, and his demand that it stop snaps Darien out of it.
- Phlebotinum Dependence: Darien needs periodic injections to keep him from going insane.
- Poisonous Person: The Catevari.
- Power Incontinence: Darien has much more control over his ability than most versions of the Invisible Man, but occasionally it kicks in involuntarily...most notably, when he's having sex.
- It's generally just arousal that causes Power Incontinence. In one early episode, he's dancing with a Hot Scientist and his hand goes invisible without him noticing.
- In the pilot, Darien attempted to spy on a security guard and a nurse about to get it on, when he involuntarily becomes visible. Needless to say, the security guard did not appreciate that and threw him out, although not before punching him in the face. However, this was more due to inexperience in controlling his adrenalin levels, which is rectified by Kevin teaching him yoga.
- Arnaud has it even worse once he gets his own quicksilver gland: he becomes permanently invisible.
- Pretty Spry for a Dead Guy: Kevin in "Reunion".
- Prison Episode: In "Den of Thieves," Darien infiltrates a terrorist cell and aides them in stealing equipment for the next attack. However, after an alarm gets tripped, Darien and another cell member (Dante) get arrested and go to prison. Darien has to stay there and stick with Dante to find out more about the upcoming attack, all while evading two inmates from his past that have a score to settle.
- Professor Guinea Pig: Augustin Geither
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Eberts in Season 2.
- Properly Paranoid: Darien thought there was something fishy about Arnaud from the moment he met him. He was also suspicious of how Arnaud was able to quickly whip up counteragent for the "unforeseen" Quicksilver madness.
"A con knows a con."
- Hobbes runs all over the place with this. There are plenty of times where he had some justification (e.g. "Separation Anxiety" and "The Importance of Being Eberts"), but he is paranoid about so many things, it's more like the law of averages of catching up with him. Lampshaded by Darien in "Separation Anxiety."
- Hobbes demonstrates this in the pilot when he points to a young Canadian couple and tells Darien they are probably terrorists. Darien laughs at the idea of Canadian terrorists before turning around and noticing them pull out submachineguns.
- Psycho Serum: In reverse: Darien will go psychotic if he doesn't get an injection of counteragent on a regular schedule.
- "Rashomon"-Style: "Going Postal" plays around with this, as Darien, Hobbes and Alex recount an undercover mission at a post office that ended with Hobbes shooting up the place. Main events generally play out the same way in each version, but overall interpretations vary. (Whether a female employee was flirting with Darien or Hobbes, Alex viewing their antics as more childish than they do, etc.) Each version is also presented to viewers in a different style - Alex's like a news feed, Hobbes' like a noir movie and Darien's like a big budget movie.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In "The Choice," Alex delivers one to Stark about what she knows about Chrysalis.
"Besides the fact that you kidnap babies because you can't have any of your own? You're a high-tech club with a Peter Pan
complex and a subscription to GQ. That's it. ... Well, I know that 'Chrysalis' means cocoon and you think you're gonna bloom into something better. But you know what comes out of cocoons? Insects. And insects get stepped on."
- In "Diseased," Darien ridicules Arnaud's penchant for complex plots.
"You're ridiculous. You are. I mean, you join the Q-Gland Design Team just so you can steal the design? Huh? You make me think Kevin's alive so… so what? I could lead you to some files that—hey, buddy—you could've found on your own with a little research. Then you give me the flu 'cause what? So I can wind up in some hospital room and you take out the gland? I mean, douche, Rube Goldberg has got nothin’ on you, pal."
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: see below
- Re Tool: The original pilot was much more comedy oriented than the rest of the series.
- Also, Darien's estranged girlfriend Casey played a prominent role in the Pilot, but is nowhere to be found in the rest of the series. (Darien makes a reference to her in an early episode, suggesting that they broke up.)
- Required Secondary Powers: Unlike most fictional invisible men, there is a fairly believable in-story explanation as to how Darien sees while invisible: when the Quicksilver bonds with his eyes, it allows him to see light outside the visible spectrum, which isn't bent (the downside being that he can only see in monochrome). This also enables him to see things that other people can't see, like other invisible people and lasers. This also explains why he can be seen via thermal imaging. One episode even has him rendered able to see only when invisible.
- Another downside is it makes it impossible for him to see clear objects like windows; highlighted in one episode where Darien was in a foot pursuit while invisible and accidentally leaped through a picture window.
- The Rival: The Chinese Ministry of State Security is headed by an overweight bureaucrat whose geeky assistant is identical to Eberts in every respect save for appearance. At one point, Eberts and Wang (the other assistant) begin to have a heated discussion about collating, causing both the Official and his counterpart to yell "Shut up, Eberts!" and "Silence, Wang!", respectively.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: A quick example after Darien sees one of Arnaud's mooks gun Kevin down. Turning invisible, Darien attacks the mook and breaks his neck in short order.
- The Catevari kills a Senator who ran the Agency when he was experimented on. He also nearly kills the Official and his old Keeper.
- Scooby-Doo Hoax: In one episode The Agency is ordered by government higher-ups to have Fawkes pose as a ghost to get a superstitious South American dictator to get rid of a biological missile system. However, they run into an opposing group (later revealed to be Chrysalis) who are pulling a hoax of their own so they can get their hands on the system.
- Second Episode Introduction: Keeper shows up in the second episode. This seems to be the second type, because it would have been easy to work her character into the pilot. She seems to be a replacement for Darien's girlfriend Casey, a civilian doctor who Darien asks to study X-rays of the gland in hopes of having it removed.
- Sense Loss Sadness
- Shout-Out: The Opening Narration references H.G. Wells, while showing a clip from the 1933 movie. Arnaud, once getting his own invisibility gland, has to either wrap his face in bandages or wear a mask if he wants to be seen, just like H.G. Wells' Invisible Man.
- In "Germ Theory", the Official catches the invisibility-causing infection and his head disappears. When he gets annoyed that he can't see himself in the mirror, Eberts suggests bandages and sunglasses; Darien says he "looks familiar."
- In the second episode of the pilot, Arnaud uses the alias "Hawley Griffin," a Shout-Out to Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
- One episode has Darien holding a rather large coffee cup - referencing his role of Fun Bobby on Friends.
- When Darien and Hobbes get wrongly sent to the Community (where all the retired spies are sent to), they bump into a British man with an umbrella. When Darien comments on it, Hobbes said the show was based on him.
- A young witness to a murder has an imaginary friend named Ralph, which might be a Shout-Out to Ralph Ellison, who wrote Invisible Man.
- Thomas Walker is named after Tommy Walker from Tommy by The Who, a blind, deaf, and mute boy. Pinball games also appear in episodes focused on Walker and Fawkes once refers to him as "the pinball wizard".
- From the two-hour premiere alone: There's a magazine cover with articles reading Time and Relative Dimensions in Space! and Playing the Game of Rassilon!, a business card reading I.M. Foreman, and a doctor named Troughton.
- Sick Episode: "Diseased." Arnaud infects Darien with a nasty virus to make him so sick that he'll be transferred to a specific hospital, where Arnaud intends to harvest the gland. Arnaud's plan backfires spectacularly when the virus makes the gland sick, vastly affecting how it behaves.
- In "Germ Theory," Darien accidentally drops a beaker of experimental Counteragent and cuts himself on the glass. This somehow creates Quicksilver-producing bacteria, as well as slowly makes his body permanently invisible. Claire hopes to study this, but things get out of hand, with the infection spreading to Claire and the Official. They're starting to go invisible, suffer from Quicksilver Madness and worst of all, this disease is more deadly than anticipated.
- Skepticism Failure: In "Immaterial Girl," Darien spends the whole episode trying to convince everyone else that he sees an apparition resembling a woman while invisible. Frustrated, Darien finally just grabs the Official, quicksilvers his eyes and lets him see it for himself.
- Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: In the Pilot when Darien is being chased by Arnaud and his goons, he jumps from out of the armory pointing a shotgun at his own head. It works quite well since it's the gland in his brain they want.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Claire for Darien's ex Casey (who only appears in the pilot.
- Taking the Bullet: Kevin does this for Darien.
- Temporary Blindness: A one-shot Professional Killer, the Chameleon, had a modus operandi of rendering witnesses unable to identify him by permanently blinding them instead of killing them. Darien was a witness, although he was still able to see while invisible. According to Claire, going invisible just as he was being blinded ensured it would be temporary.
- They Fight Crime: Darien and Bobby again.
- They Would Cut You Up: A justified fear of Darien's since he has a unique and highly valuable gland in his brain.
- Throw the Book at Them
- Turn Out Like His Father: In "Father Figure," we learn that Darien's father, Mason, was also a small-time thief that had a strained relationship with his family. Darien has always recognized the similarities. We also learn that like Darien, Mason had problems with the government and was more of a good guy than others thought.
- Uh-Oh Eyes: Darien's eyes turn beyond-bloodshot red when he's on the edge of losing control, and turn silver when he's completely insane.
- Uncanny Village: The Community mentioned above.
- Unusual Euphemism: Borrowed frell from Farscape (which it aired immediately before).
- Villain Decay: Arnaud suffers from this after he's rendered permanently invisible. He's lost a lot of his resources, is starting to crack up and winds up a prisoner of Chrysalis. He seems to shake the decay off in his final appearance, though.
- Jarod Stark is seen to have suffered from this by his colleagues after suffering several notable defeats. In the last episode, the woman he answers to intended to demote him and put another member in charge.
- Visual Pun: In "Brother's Keeper," Arnaud knocks Darien unconscious by clubbing him with his own book of quotes. Arnaud then discards the book and viewers see that it's titled Philosophy's Greatest Hits.
- We Would Have Told You, But...: In "Cat and Mouse," Claire is the only one not told that Hobbes' death was faked. Darien and the Official knew because they cooked it up, they thought it'd be bad taste for the rabbi not to know, and they had to tell a bunch of agents for a possible sting.
- Darien in "It's a Small World." Chrysalis managed to get a nano-bug in Darien that lets him see and hear whatever he's doing or observing—leading to the death of a mole. Claire designs a helmet to block the signal, but the Official doesn't want to let Chrysalis know they're on to them. Instead, they accuse an unaware Darien of being a traitor and "shoot" him as Claire slips the helmet on him.
- Western Terrorists: Arnaud's group, also Chrysalis. And the Canadian terrorists Darien and Bobby take on in their first mission together.
- Wham Line: The end of "Money for Nothing, Part 2," as spoken by an invisible Arnaud.
"I can't come back."
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Unusually Darien asks Arnaud why Arnaud doesn't just shoot him after falling victim to another one of Arnaud's elaborate plans.
- Window Love: Defied by Bobby when Darien is in jail; he just gives a dirty look instead.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Darien, if he doesn't get his shots.
- Your Head Asplode: In the pilot, the method Arnaud uses to eliminate the compound's guards. After getting all the guards to check in on their walkie-talkies:
Arnaud: Some joker put plastic explosives in your radios. *boom*
- Combined with Gory Discretion Shot, as you only see a pair of legs sprawled on the ground outside the guard house.
- Darien reciprocates at the end of the pilot by putting an invisible grenade in the mouth of one of Adnaud's Mooks. Arnaud tries to figure out why the merc is unable to say anything despite his open mouth. Then the grenade becomes visible. Cue Arnaud's "little prick" comment.