Series / 21 Jump Street
"..You'll find you'll need us, 'cause there's no one else to call..."

The 1980s version of The Mod Squad, with a somewhat more believable premise. The series lasted from April, 1987 to April, 1991, with a total of 103 episodes in five seasons.

21 Jump Street was the Fox Network's first drama, and aired on its premiere night along with sitcoms Married... with Children, The Tracey Ullman Show, Duet and Mr President.

Here, it's about a special undercover police unit in an unnamed American city, where young-looking police officers infiltrate schools to investigate youth-related crimes.

The series made Johnny Depp a star, but a Teen Idol was the last thing he wanted to be. As such, he quit at his first opportunity, which made the show Jump the Shark at that moment.

A very well received film "sequel" (a raunchy comedy spinoff) has been released, starring Jonah Hill (who also co-wrote the script), Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, and Ice Cube. Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise appear in cameos as their original-series characters, Tom Hanson and Doug Penhall. Holly Robinson Peete also returned as Judy Hoffs, in a slightly more substantial role. The film itself recevied a sequel, which finally featured small cameos from Dustin Nguyen and Richard Grieco.

Due to the drastic difference in tone and contradiction of the show's continuitynote , the movie is not necessarily recommended for fans of the series.

This series provides examples of:

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  • '80s Hair: Penhall's and Ioki's mullets. Hanson's longer haircut he had in Season 3.
  • Abusive Parents: A.o.: Blindsided - A (police Captain) father sexually abuses his daughter. Parental Guidance Suggested - A family where the children are physically abused by the parents.
  • Adults Dressed as Children: More adults dressed as teenagers; the whole premise of the show is young looking police officers going undercover in high schools. Decades later, Depp would poke fun at the "fascist" nature of this premise.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Several schools are broken into this way during the show.
    • In one episode, Harry tries to sneak in through the vents while a school is under siege. He gets inside, but the vent and ceiling give way beneath him at the worst possible time, dropping him in front of a bunch of guys with guns.
    • Played for Drama with minor character Kenny, who, after convincing Hanson that he [Kenny] is being abused in an institution, dies trying to escape from said institution through an air vent.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Due to the show's attempts to confront such difficult issues as drug use and criminal behavior in high schools somewhat realistically, episodes often end this way, sometimes qualifying for a Downer Ending if a student they're trying to protect dies or goes to jail, but leaving the viewer with the question of what to do about the tragic circumstances that led to it.
    • Fear and Loathing with Russell Buckins: Did Tom Hanson sleep with Debbie?
    • Honor Bound: Does one of the murderers of the gay man, urged by Hanson and Penhall to confess, in the end confess, so that justice is served?
    • Last Chance High: Was Frances really physically abused by her parents, or was she making all of that up being at best delusional, at worst a pathological liar?
  • Armor-Piercing Question :
    • Christmas in Saigon: After Ioki is revealed to by Vietnamese, Hanson talks to Fuller (a Vietnam war veteran), who's not being very supportive of Ioki.
      Hanson: Do you know how many Vietnamese officers we have on the force?
      Fuller: No.
      Hanson: One. Now.
    • Judy and Fuller are both African-American, but he's one generation older. They get into a discussion about racism, with him being much more cynic about it. Judy is outspoken against him, until he asks this and she doesn't know what to say anymore after it:
      Fuller: What does your father work as?
      Judy: You know that.
      Fuller: I want you to say it. What does your father work as?
      Judy: He's a dentist.
      Fuller: Mine was a bell-boy.
  • Artistic License History: Due to a slightly awkward Retcon, Ioki is hiding the fact that he is Vietnamese, supposedly to avoid the ire of colleagues who may have fought in the Vietnam war. The strange thing is, Ioki would almost certainly be from (the former) South Vietnam, who were America's allies. (And even if he was from North Vietnam, his colleagues wouldn't know that.)
    • Unless their potential discrimination were based on resentment of simply being in the war itself instead of hatred for the enemy.
    • Unfortunately, this is Truth in Television; in the case of racism based on nationality, people very rarely care about what section of a country a person is from, or their history with whatever reason is used to 'justify' said racism.
  • Artistic License Law: Higher Education: A high school teacher gets his (just-turned-18, thus statutory rape is not relevant) student pregnant; he claims the sex was consensual, according to the girl she was forced. The girls' enraged father goes to him with a baseball bat; there is a fence between the teacher and the father, and by-standing cop Ioki does nothing to stop the father from his physical intimidation. The father violently keeps yelling and smashing the fence with his baseball bat, and Ioki says he's not going to intervene because there's a fence between the other two; until the teacher confesses that he raped the student as opposed to consensual sex. As much as this teacher was a Manipulative Bastard (if he hadn't indeed raped the girl through outright physical force, at least he had coerced her into sex), a confession obtained from a suspect under these circumstances would never hold up in court and even work against the prosecutors (keep in mind that Ioki has a vested personal interest to the man's confession too, since Ioki was previously accused (though innocent) of having had sex with the girl himself).
  • Asshole Victim:
    • The Shock Jock whose car gets blown up in Next Victim. Due to his hateful and racist ranting, the team is none too happy about having to look for the person who did it.
    • Character Booker was written out of the show after lasting only one season; ironically, his character was shipped off due to doing the right thing (uncovering that Hanson was sent to prison innocently), but due to Booker being antagonistic to Hanson (the most popular character - hey, it is / was Johnny Depp) from his first appearance on, and to Booker seeming ambiguously racist, Booker can easily be taken for an Asshole.
  • Babysitting Episode: Doug has a crush on his neighbour, who is a single mum; he hopes to go out on a date with her, but instead she asks him to babysit her baby, which he isn't enthusiastic about, but he does it.
  • Badass Long Coat: Booker wears these on occasion, when not sporting a leather jacket.
  • Becoming the Mask: in Joey Penhall's first episode, he's sent undercover into a cult, despite his lack of previous undercover experience, because he has the same kind of history and psychological profile as the kids who are being recruited. But it doesn't take much, or take very long, for Joey to become a genuine convert, precisely because he does have the same psychological profile as the kids considered ripe for recruitment. This is actually Lampshaded by both Joey and Doug during the later scenes when Doug is talking to Joey to deprogram him from the cult's mindset.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Hanson reaaally hates it when people make fun of how young he looks.
    • Hanson also reacts very irritated when other characters "accuse" him of having been a nerd during his adolescence:
      Hanson: [...disregarding a whole lot of other characterizations] I did NOT wear a pocket protector!
    However, everything revealed about Hanson's teenage years does indicate he was a nerd back thennote , making this a form of Suspiciously Specific Denial.
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: Don't Stretch the Rainbow takes place at a high school with racial tensions, and a black girl and white boy who have a relationship have to keep this a secret, for fear of both getting violent repercussions for it. She even does a suicide attempt first seemingly because of the racial tensions, though later also explained to be because she is pregnant. The ending is on a happier note though, as they decide to raise the baby together, and come out with their relationship which really does seem to make an impression on the other students.
  • Book Burning: Brother Hanson and the Miracle of Renner's Pond - Strictly religious people burn high school biology books that mention evolution.
  • Bowling for Ratings: Hanson is an avid bowler, and a few episodes feature shots of him in bowling alleys.
    Hanson: I can't Friday, that's my bowling night.
    Penhall: Your bowling night?
    Hanson: Yes. I'm in a league.
    Penhall: In. A. League?
  • Break the Cutie: Tom Hanson in Season 4. He starts the series out as a well-spirited and motivated man. But during Season 2 and 3 he is broken down by, amongst other things: having his girlfriend shot dead in front of him in a mugging and his guilt over not having been able to prevent it, causing him to slip in a PTSD-like state for a while (Orpheus 3.3); an undercover operation in a mental institution gone wrong causing him drugged off and lost in the system (I'm OK, You Need Work); an undercover operation in juvenile prison making him cynic / doubtful about whether what he's doing as a cop is actually making lives better (Swallowed Alive). But the straw is the Season 3 finale (Loc'd Out), in which he is wrongfully convicted for murder and sent to prison even though innocent. Beginning Season 4, he's proven innocent, released from prison and returns as a police officer, but the rest of Season 4 he seems a darker, broodier version of himself with a permanent expression of chagrin on his face. He keeps mentioning during Season 4 that he wants to quit the police force. Beginning Season 5, he's suddenly disappeared without explanation and his co-workers seem unaware he's ever existednote .
  • Breather Episode:
    • Fear and Loathing with Russell Buckins is a pretty breezy episode in which Hanson lets himself loose, and it follows the heavy, dramatic Christmas in Saigon episode, which not only had Ioki almost extradited out of the U.S., but featured the war in Vietnam.
    • Chapel of Love, in which the guys reminisce about bad dates over a poker game on Valentine's Day, could be considered this, coming right after a Very Special Episode about a teenager with AIDS.
    • In Season 4, Awomp-Bomp-Aloobomp-Aloop-Bamboom (ep. 18) takes place in Florida during Spring Break and features partying college students and lots of girls in bikini's; this follows after episodes dealing with the death penalty and with illiteracy and college sports corruption, and following it comes arguably the most grim episode of the entire series, La Bizca, which is about the civil war in El Salvador.
  • The Bus Came Back: After Booker quits the force and is spun off into his own series, he returns midway through Season 4 for a two-part crossover between the two series.
  • By-the-Book Cop:
    • Captain Fuller was this straight. He's strict about following procedure and expects his Officers to do the same, scolding or even suspending them when they do otherwise.
    • Subverted for Officer Tom Hanson. He is strict by-the-book during the pilot episodes, but loosens up - sometimes purposely withholding information from Fuller, and one time even breaking into fellow Officer Booker's apartment to get evidence.
    • Double subverted for Officer Booker. He first seems an inversion of this: he goes way over the line doing pranks on suspects, and acts racist. Then it turns out that was a role he played because he is Internal Affairs, and he is trying to provoke the Jump Street team into unacceptable behavior.
  • The Chick: Judy Hoffs. However, she is the only one of officers to make Detective, and is depicted as being an intelligent, well rounded member of the cast. Her status as the chick comes from her tendency to rely on her feelings about the suspect, which often are proven wrong. Also, she tends to be addressed by first name more often than the other officers.
  • Christmas Episode: Set against the backdrop of Christmas, Christmas in Saigon is about the police finding out that Ioki has been lying about his identity. It has flashbacks taking place in '70s Vietnam, but in present time it is Chrismas, and at the end, all characters have a Christmas dinner together.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Hanson and Ioki's departures between Seasons 4 and 5 are never explained.
  • Citizenship Marriage:
    • In Come From the Shadows, Penhall falls head over heels for an immigrant woman from El Salvador, and goes so far as to marry her mere days after meeting her, to prevent her from being deported. Knowing that Status Quo Is God makes the inevitable Downer Ending a Foregone Conclusion.
    • Also Nadia's (a Polish girl on a high school exchange in the U.S.) motivation for going after every man she met in America, Oh What a Town. She was hoping she could find a way to stay in America.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • The ending of Season 3. Hanson is wrongly convicted and sent to prison for a murder he didn't commit and Ioki is in coma and on the brink of death after being shot. Also, Booker and Penhall have fallen out with each other over the former's arresting Hanson, and the latter's lying during testimony in court.
    • The ending of Season 2—the team are told that Jump Street will be dismantled, and they all find other jobs during the season finale. Come Season 3, Jump Street is restarted.
  • Clip Show: Back From the Future uses a young cop 50 years in the future, interviewing the now elderly members of Jump Street about their glory days, as a framing device for this.
  • Clumsy Copyright Censorship: The American DVDs suffer from this - while the licensed music wasn't the WHOLE draw of the show, it was an important part of the atmosphere, and lyrics were often used to communicate plot, which makes chunks of some DVD episodes make very little sense now that they're backed by nothing but elevator music. The DVDs still sold enough to finish the show, possibly because there weren't many bootlegs in circulation. Uploads of the show now are almost always from this butchered version, even though the full versions do exist (see the Trivia page).
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Played straight for some of the rebellious teens featured. Played with for Hanson, who spent his teenage years as an uptight Republican and doesn't go through his rebellious phase until after joining the Jump Street division.
  • Compulsory School Age: The cops are still adult age, but they look like high schoolers, so they have to go to high school to fight crime that happens in / around high school.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: While Harry is shot and left in a coma, the other officers visit to make peppy little get-well speeches and talk about what's been going on in the department. Hoffs is mortified when she slips and admits that she thinks of him as dead. He got better.
  • Corrupt Cop:
    • Penhall comes across a group of these near the end of Season 4, when he's temporarily assigned back to uniform; the only innocent member of the group, besides Doug himself, is the rookie. When Penhall turns them in, he recruits said rookie into Jump Street. Dean Garrett was the show's first attempt at a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Hanson; he sticks around several episodes at the murky end of Season 4 / beginning of Season 5 before disappearing, only to be Back for the Dead halfway through Season 5.
    • Part of Tony "Mac" McCann's backstory; he wasn't one, but knew a group of cops who were. He'd decided to keep his head down and stay out of the mess, but instead he was shot by one of the group, who thought he was going to inform on them. Afterwards, he was metaphorically run out of town and into Jump Street.
    • Suverted for Booker. In the 1st episode he appears in, he physically bullies high school students as well as fellow undercover cops, and he is racist, leading Hanson (and at first, the audience) to believe Booker is a Corrupt Cop. Turns out that Booker is an Internal Affairs officer though, so he was playing that role to provoke the Jump Street team. He ends up joining the Jump Street team by the end of the episode, and isn't hinted as being a corrupt cop again during the rest of his appearances].
    • Loc'd Out / Draw the Line: A cop is into illegal weapon trade. Even worse, he murders his own partner, and then deliberately lies in court to frame Hanson, another cop, for the murder so Hanson goes to prison.
  • Cool Car :
    • Hanson drives a Sixties-era Ford Mustang.
    • Hoffs drives a hip car - as remarked by the other characters In Universe in the Pilot. Hanson even keeps repeating "Really?" when she says it's hers, upon which she says in a fake-snotty manner "You know, they were all out of pink Cadillac's".
    • Penhall drives a jeep-like vehicle, that another character really likes and keeps insisting on buying (Penhall: "It's not for sale.")
  • Cop Killer:
    • 2245 episode: Ronnie Seebok kills one of the 21 Jump Street officers; there isn't enough evidence to arrest or convict him for this though. Later, he gets a death sentence for for a murder he didn't actually commit (it was his girlfriend who had shot the convenience store employee, but he was convicted for it).
    • Gotta Finish the Riff: Averts this, as Jenko is killed, but not on the job as a cop; he's hit over by a drunk driver.
    • Part of Hanson's backstory, as revealed in Chapel of Love - his father was a cop who was killed on the job one Valentine's day when Tom was in high school.
    • Recurring character Dean Garrett is briefly shown in the teaser for In the Name of Love; between the murky lighting in the scene and it being half a season since his brief run on show, you don't recognize him, and think he's just a random mook getting killed off by the ep's Big Bad. Which makes it an even more effective shock when he's identified by name after the opening credits, when Captain Fuller reminds us that he worked briefly at Jump Street, which is why they're willing to work with the FBI to arrest the Big Bad.
  • Curse Cut Short: Consistent with the Badbutt nature of the rest of the curses, at the end of Fear and Loathing with Russell Buckins, Russell, having just been thrown out of a car by Hanson and, like the audience, wondering whether Hanson slept with Debbie, utters "You did, you son of a—" — cue end credits.

  • Darker and Edgier: To the 2012 same-called movie, which itself is Denser and Wackier. The series often featured heavy subjects, and lacked the Played for Laughs style of the movie.
  • Date Rape: Stand By Your Man - Judy is raped by a suspect while hanging out with him socially while undercover.
  • Death Row: 2245 - A criminal's last days, and past story, before he gets the death sentence are shown.
  • Dirty Harriet: Judy joined the Jump Street program because it was the only way she'd be able to get any other type of assignment. Of course, this didn't mean that she didn't still get just such an assignment occasionally.
  • Disguised in Drag:
    • Hanson had to disguise himself as a woman during a case where a boy was abducted and Hanson had to pose as the child's mother.
    • Ioki put himself in drag when the team was trying to capture a man that was exposing himself to women.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The theme tune was performed by Holly Robinson who played Officer Judy Hoffs on the show (with the "JUMP!" shout provided by Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise). Incidentally, this is one of the few Stephen J. Cannell shows where the theme tune was not written by Mike Post (see also Hawkeye (not that one), Cobra, Street Justice and Missing Persons).
  • Double Date: Played For Awkward: Penhall is caught flirting with an attractive co-worker of his, Jackie, by his girlfriend Dorothy. He then wants to set up Jackie with his best friend / partner Hanson, thus invites an (initially very resistant) Hanson out for a double (dinner) date at Penhall and Dorothy's house. The date goes extremely awkward, as Hanson and Jackie first bicker about differing music tastes and then turn out to be distant co-workers and go fight about a work case as well, resulting in Hanson abruptly abandoning the entire thing.
  • Dr. Psych Patient: Hanson and Penhall have to go visit a psychiatrist after they have been involved in a shooting. When they arrive in the doctor's office, a young woman wearing a doctor's coat starts a session with them, seemingly very professional—until a man, the real psychiatrist, walks in, apologizes for being late, and sends the woman away to her hospital room (it's also clear from his reaction, that this patient of his regularly does this).
  • Dreadlock Rasta: When Fuller sees his son for the first time after his divorce again, the first thing he notices about his son is that he now has dreadlocks. The son then turns out to have become a Rastafarian, and have some hippy-ish convictions in general now.
  • Driven to Suicide: Best Years of Your Life - A teenager commits suicide after being arrested.
  • Da Chief: After Capt. Jenko is killed off, Capt. Fuller takes over and makes it very clear from the beginning that he means business and giving him any lip is a bad idea.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Captain Jenko, We Hardly Knew Ye.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In Best Years of Our Lives, this is pretty much everyone's in-universe reaction to Penhall when he starts telling incredibly crass jokes about suicide as a coping mechanism to deal with a student killing himself (and, as it turns out, his own mother doing the same back when he was just six).
  • End-of-Series Awareness:
    • Season 2 ends with the Jump Street program being suspended, possibly due to the writers not knowing if the show itself would be canned or get a third season.
    • Hanson makes several references to wanting to quit the force in Season 4. It was well known by this point that Johnny Depp wanted to leave the show, which he actually did at the end of the season.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change:
    • During the few episodes in Season 3 when Penhall leaves the Jump Street team to join the Intelligence team, he suddenly grows a pretty big beard and his hair is slightly longer and more unkempt than usual. Even the other characters In Universe remark a few times "What's with the beard?". The hairstyle change seems to symbolize how he's doubting he even should be at Intelligence the entire time he is there. His experience there ends bitter, anyway, since he is shipped off from that team after having made a mistake on a case. Then he returns back to Jump Street clean-shaven, and his spirits rise again.
    • Fuller's son, between the two episodes he appears in: first, he's a teenager who has become a Rastafarian and is acting like a hippie (this is played as "a teenager trying to find his identity") and has dreadlocks. In the other episode, three seasons leater, he's an ambitious and almost preppy college student - and he's cut his hair short.
    • Meta version for Johnny Depp: as the show went on, and he became more and more of a "teen hearthrob" (to his vocal dismay), his bangs get longer and longer, until they're half-covering his face; this was deliberate on Depp's part, to try and hide the face that got him so much unwanted attention.
  • Fair Cop:
    • Tom Hanson was the male version. As his colleagues Hoffs and Penhall remark in Back from the Future, the ladies really noticed him. And he was played by Johnny Depp, who was the shows Mr. Fanservice.
    • In the Name of Love referenced this for Hanson's Season 5 Suspiciously Similar Substitute Tony McCann, only in a negative fashion. The FBI agent they're working with refers to the 21 Jump street 'studs', in a tone of voice full of Unfortunate Implications. Mac and Capt Fuller are both clearly offended by the implications in the agent's tone, but they can't protest too much because they have to work with the man on an important case.
    • Judy Hoffs was the female version. As Penhall remarks at a certain point, it doesn't say anything about Booker that he's flirting with Judy because "everybody always flirts with Judy!". This character trait of Judy's was sometimes exploited when she played the Dirty Harriet.
  • Fan Sequel: 21 Jump Street Rangers, which takes place years after the original team's adventures. (The series also adapts Tomica Hero Rescue Force for added points.)
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Deconstructed in Whose choice is it anyway?. The main guest star seriously looks into adoption, and sees a counsellor to explore her options, including abortion. The character ends up miscarrying after her boyfriend bombs the counselling/abortion clinic, him not knowing she's in there. In the episode it's also revealed that Judy had an abortion at 17; when asked if she regretted it, Judy answers poignantly that she regrets getting pregnant, and she really regrets not sharing it with her mother, but she believes that she made the right choice. The episode itself shows either a serious exploration or an example of all the three main choices: keeping and raising the baby, adoption, and abortion—and all are shown as valid choices.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck! : Happens frequently. "Good gaul-darn riddance!". Also, when originally aired on tv every instance of the word "ass" was dubbed over with the word "tail"; the actor's mouths clearly were saying "ass" though.
  • Halloween Episode: There were two: The Worst Night of Your Life in Season 1, and Old Haunts in the New Age in Season 4. In both, Halloween was important as background, and both had much in common plot-wise, as noted under Recycled Script under Trivia.
  • Henpecked Husband: Despite not actually being married, Penhall gets a bad case of this when Dorothy rather abruptly decides to not only get back together with him, but also to move in with him (uninvited). Cue every nagging housewife cliche the writers can think of. Taken Up To Eleven when Dorothy throws Penhall out of the house they just bought together, forcing him to beg his friends to give him a place to stay.
  • Heterosexual Lifepartners:
    • Penhall and Ioki were this to each other for a while during Season 3 - after Penhall was thrown out of his house by his girlfriend Dorothy, he moves into Ioki's apartment (driving the latter almost instane with his bad manners). It even accumulates in a scene with Ioki dressed up in drag and them pretending to be a heterosexual couple on a date (in order to catch a criminal), in which they're bickering about their domestic differences.
    • Penhall and Hanson were like this, too; so much so, that their most frequently-repeated undercover persona was as the MacQuaid brothers.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Captain Fuller, when he showed up to replace Captain Jenko in Season 1 ep. 6, was played as a very stern, strict man and police Captain - essentially the opposite of the Hippie, rocker Captain Jenko. Fuller remained a very strict and by-the-book Captain for the police officers, but throughout the series little bits of background about the man were unfolded that made you feel for him - especially, that he was hurt very much by having his son taken away out of his life after a divorce after he cheated on his wife with a police co-worker (something he confessed to his police subordinates in a Season 2 Valentine episode, and which he still was regretful about). He also despite his strictness was willing to come through for his officers when push came to shove - most notably, in Season 3 ep. 1 when Hanson suspects something is off about Booker, Fuller pulls some strings to find out Booker is from Internal Affairs.
  • Hold the Unsolicited Ingredient: In the episode Gotta Finish the Riff
    Reginald Brooks: [Ordering pizza for his hostages] I want 10 with sausage, 10 with pepperonis. And no anchovies. I see one anchovy and I kill the librarian
  • I'm Going to Hell for This: In Chapel of Love, after telling a story about the time he had an affair with his partner back in the 70s and getting ridiculed by the other guys got it, Captain Fuller points out that they're all going to hell anyway for playing poker in a church.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Taylor Rolator (Josh Brolin) in My Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades. He's a smug, coke-sniffing, thrill-seeking honor student from a prep school who essentially walks free by turning in the two buddies who joined him in raping and murdering a troubled high school girl. At the end of the episode, he runs into the girl's brother, a tough guy mechanic who had threatened to enact street justice on his sister's killers. The mechanic shoots Rolator, leaving him with a fate much worse than the jail time his school friends and drug dealer are facing.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: several times, but one that stands out is Whose Choice is it anyway?. A teenage boy is infuriated that his girlfriend is considering abortion, and egged on by a local pro-life spokesman he firebombs the local planned parenthood-style clinic late at night. After he's arrested, he's full of self-righteous fulfilment, even after being informed that the clinic wasn't empty; that's when Ioki tells him that his girlfriend was at the clinic for an after-hours counselling session (and she was at the clinic at that time because the boyfriend and the pro-lifers were harassing everyone in the vicinity during business hours). The girlfriend will be okay eventually, but she's miscarried the baby.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Judy and Doug almost have sex with each other - and afterwards (mostly on insistence of Judy, who seems to feel very awkward about it) swear to each other to act as if that never happened, and to never speak of it again (least of all to other people, Judy insists; and it is telling that, as far as is shown on the show, Doug never tells even his best friend Tom).
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: Hanson gets his butt hit hard with a wooden plank, as part of a hazing ritual when he's undercover in a fraternity, in Hell Week.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage:
    • Penhall falls head over heels with, and marries, an El Salvadorian woman within four days of meeting her. She's an illegal immigrant and he is soon being accused of marrying her only to get her into the U.S.; a judge annuls their marriage and sends her back to El Salvador, upon which we don't hear anything about her again for half a season. It does not end well: Penhall and Hanson finally go looking for her in El Salvador but find out she's been murdered by the corrupt military.
    • Averted for Penhall's own parents: he mentions a few times during the series that he has a Jewish mother and a Catholic (former priest) father, and this seems to have been a happy marriage up until his mother died.
  • Manic Pixie Dreamgirl:
    • An episode featuring a girl named Quincy, who sort of positions herself as this, dragging the straight-laced Hanson around and trying to convince him to "lighten up". Of course, her idea of fun is crime sprees and potentially-fatal thrill-seeking. She terrifies him, and ends up shot to death by security guards while robbing a house.
    • Hanson's ex-girlfriend Linda he runs into in Season 4; she is an aspiring painter / artist, married to a nightclub owner (as admitted by herself, mostly because this man has the financial means to get her her own gallery). The attraction between this wacky character and the straight-laced cop Hanson is, is hard to explain, but it's probably "for old time's sake" only. At the end of the episode, she does a Screw This, I'm Out of Here!, leaving town and leaving both her husband and a heartbroken Hanson behindnote .
    • Played with for Tony 'Mac' McCann, Hanson's Suspiciously Similar Substitute; in his case, it's more Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl, as she turns out to be the leader of a Satanic coven, which among other nasty things practises human sacrifices of homeless people.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The 'psychic' girl in the Halloween episode Season 4. She sees / draws things that she shouldn't have any way to know, but she's not infallible either. Psychic, or lucky guess?
  • Mistaken for Aliens: Old Haunts in the New Age: Doug is convinced he has encountered aliens, and that they moved his belly button. Turns out the lights he saw was just an advertisement by normal humans, not aliens.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Season 4 featured two episodes that took place out of state: the first (ep. 18) took place in Florida during Spring Break and featured partying college students and lots of girls in bikini's; then in ep. 19, the tone turned very grim and Played for Drama when Doug and Tom went to El Salvador, which had a civil war at the time, and found out Doug's wife had been murdered.
    • Within the Season 2 episode Chapel of Love. This is in general a Breather Episode, consisting of all the characters playing poker and telling about Valentine dates gone wrong. Four of these stories are Played for Laughs or bordering on slapstick, but two contrast sharply as Played for Drama: Fuller tells how his previous marriage ended because he cheated on his wife, and Hanson tells how his father, a cop, was murdered on Valentine day. After he finishes the story, everybody looks shocked and nobody knows what to say. Then Judy walks in, and again a breezier story follows.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Young Johnny Depp.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Young Holly Robinson. There's an in-story reason for it sometimes, when they want her to pose as a "bad girl" and/or distract a perp.
  • Multi-Part Episode: The Season 3 finale consist of two episodes (Loc'd Out, or a.k.a. Partners'') that technically are one storyline.
  • My God, What Have I Done?
    • Fathers and Sons: Jackie, Hanson's D.A. girlfriend whom he confides in that the mayor's son is the biggest suspect in a big drug case, in reaction, out of worry that the case will ruin Hanson's career, tells the mayor, and the Jump Street team is told by higher-up to abandon the case. The teen son of the mayor then promptly dies of a cocaine overdose. Hanson, angry about Jackie violating his trust, points out to Jackie that had Jump Street not been removed from the case because of her meddling, the teen would have been arrested but not dead. She looks completely guilt-stricken about it and later begs Hanson for forgiveness.
    • Whose Choice Is It Anyway? A boy whose pregnant teenage girlfriend wants to get an abortion while he wants to have the baby, bombs the abortion clinic - but the girlfriend is there at the time, leading to her miscarrying the baby and her getting severely wounded. Upon finding that out, he has this reaction. Also see Laser Guided Karma.
    • Honor Bound: Some members of a military high school do violent assaults on gay men; one of the attacked gay men dies. The murderers don't have any remorse initially, but it turns out the murdered man is the boyfriend of one of the assailants' brother. Upon hearing that he murdered his brother's lover, the assailant is shocked, cracks and for the first time seems to consider gay people as persons.

  • Never Learned to Read: The relevantly-titled Afterschool Special - An illiterate boy in a disadvantaged-neighborhood high school. Say It Ain't So, Pete - An illiterate university student that got into university on an athletic scholarship.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Captain Jenko, an aging hippie who, in the first episode, has to teach Hanson how to act like a bad seed.
  • New Transfer Student: Happens in about every episode (at least during the earlier seasons, when the episodes more consistently take place at schools), due to the premise: the show is about young-looking cops going undercover in high schools. Every time they go undercover into a school, they pose as a high school student that just transferred. Discussed explicitly in a.o. Season 4's Out of Control when Tom Hanson is filling out a transfer student form, and in Research and Destroy when Tom says he transferred to the college from M.I.T.
  • Non-Indicative Title: Though many episodes were named Exactly What It Says on the Tin, there also were some with puzzling names.
    • 2245 is a Very Special Episode about a prisoner who gets the death sentence. That number doesn't appear anywhere in the episode, and fans have always been wondering what its significance is.
    • Say It Ain't So, Pete is about gambling college students. There isn't any Pete character in the episode, and that phrase isn't uttered or referenced in any way in the episode.
  • Office Romance:
    • Downplayed with Hanson and Jackie. He's a cop and she's a D.A., so they don't literally share the same office, but they often work on the same cases, thus knowing each other from work. Indirectly, they meet because their work overlaps (Penhall works with her, and is the one who sets them up); they also bicker about their common work environment (ep. Blue Flue), and work eventually is what breaks their relationship (Hanson confidentially tells her something about a police case, but she tells the mayor, whom she works with as a D.A., leading to the case being dismissed - Hanson can't forgive her for that).
    • Played for Drama with Judy. She starts a romance with a sort-of co-worker (a municipal employee who has to review the Jump Street officers). Turns out he's married and deliberately concealed that fact to her; upon which she breaks up with him. Then he turns into a Stalker With a Crush, stalking her with telephone calls and, when she refuses to continue the romance with him, outright lying on his report about her / the Jump Street program. This case is also conversed In Universe, as Judy's story, once Hanson finds out, gets Hanson and Jackie (themselves in an Office Romance, see above) talking about OfficeRomances, their viability and dangers.
  • Oh, Crap!: The reaction when one of the Jump Street officers says "I'm a cop!", or when the young offenders discover the ruse for themselves. ("You're a cop!")
  • Older Than They Look: The show was entirely based around the premise of cops who looked young enough that they could go undercover as high school students.
    • Which was pretty silly, and only sorta worked because of Dawson Casting. The actors standing next to ACTUAL high-schoolers would've looked hopelessly out of place.
      • Not silly considering many programs were based on cops passing as high school students.
    • acknowledged somewhat in later seasons; see Real Life Writes the Plot
  • Orphaned Punchline: The Season 3 premiere ends with a joke of the "Several racial stereotypes walk into a bar" variety being told by Booker to Hanson. We never hear the punchline, which fits the overall Ambiguous Ending concerning whether Booker is actually racist or was just playing the role for a case he and Hanson had worked on together.
  • Out of Focus: Most episodes tend to center around the one or two officers working a case, with the captain and the other characters only getting a few lines here and there, but Season 4's God Is a Bullet is notable for not featuring any scenes at the precinct, and Penhall and Hoffs being the only main characters who appear. Later in Season 4, an entire episode took place in El Salvador, and didn't feature any police work at all and no characters but Doug and Tom.
    • This becomes more prevalent as the later seasons progress, with most of the characters other than the one or two in the spotlight getting a mere Mandatory Line, if they appear at all. Johnny Depp - ostensibly still the star of the show - is absent more frequently than any other actor at this point.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: While early seasons almost exclusively revolved around the Jump Street cops posing undercover in high schools, later seasons saw more episodes where the main plot didn't focus on a student, or students.
    • Shirts and Skins: Penhall investigates the murder of a neo-Nazi leader with an adult son who is eventually revealed as the killer, while Hoffs and Aoki blend in with anti-racism vigilantes.
    • Numerous later-season episodes which focus on the officers' personal lives, as opposed to campus or youth crimes.
    • Stand by your Man: Starts as a standard episode where the team investigates drug abuse. But that case itself is solved within 15 minutes and the episode turns out to be about Judy's rape, making her the victim here instead of the police officer. It's much more dramatic and less crime/action oriented than most of the series (see also "Break the Cutie" above).
    • The biggest disgression happens with two episodes in Season 4, which respectively center around: first going to Florida on Spring Break, and then going to war-ridden El Salvador and discovering Penhall's wife has been murdered by the corrupt military.
  • Overly Long Title: Season 4's episode Awomp-Bomp-Aloobomb, Aloop Bamboom go Awomp-Bomp-Aloobomb, Aloop Bamboom.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Hanson's mother breaks up with her boyfriend, and Hanson asks why the relationship suddenly ended. She, after asking "Can I be frank with you?" tells Hanson that the sex was bad - to which Hanson has a "Squick, I don't want to know!" reaction. She reacts with "I didn't think you'd be so sqeamish!". It's actually pretty funny.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • The opinion of the Street Rangers from Season 3.
    • In general, even though the main characters are the police, uniformed officers still appear to be useless, since the story almost always makes some excuse to not bring them in and bust a suspect, because of course Jump Street needs to gather more evidence via their undercover officers first. This can be a bit silly in situations where most real-life officers would call for backup, but it's probably more a case of The Main Characters Do Everything.
    • This is character's Tom Hanson's sentiment during much of Season 4. Following his having experienced what it's like being in a Juvenile Prison in Season 3; having been wrongfully sentenced for a murder he didn't commit; and watching someone he arrested get capital punishment, Tom gets extremely cynical about police work. During Season 4 he keeps mentioning wanting to quit being a cop, and at the end of Season 4, he seems to have finally done that, since he disappears.
  • Popular History: The show stands as a good example of what the 80's were actually like.
  • Prison Episode
    • Swallowed Alive: Hanson goes undercover in a youth prison.
    • I'm OK, You Need Work: Not technically a prison, but practically: it features a private drug clinic where parents put away teenagers, and they are (illegally) treated essentially as prisoners there.
    • Draw the Line: Tom Hanson is in prison after being wrongfully convicted for murder. He manages, with help from Booker, to prove his innocence and is released at the end.
    • 2245: Takes (mostly) place in a prison, where it follows a man convicted to the death penalty.
  • The Quincy Punk: Mean Streets and Pastel Houses - About a group of 80's punk teenagers.
  • Rape as Drama: Judy becomes a rape victim in Season 4's Stand by your man; several episodes later mention Judy's later trauma over it, even near the end of the show.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: In How I Saved the Senator, a Senator was saved from a bomb explosion targeted at him during a speech. A journalist interrogates all Jump Street members, and gets vastly different and contradictory stories from everyone. They are all shown as films in different styles: Hanson's is a silent, black-and-white movie note , Ioki's a martial arts movie, Penhall's a James Bond-style movie, etc. In the end, it turns out none of the stories was true and a student did most to get everybody away from the bomb.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot : In-series. The actors aged so much in Real Life, that after a few seasons they couldn't realistically pass for high school students anymore. Therefore, as of Season 3, episodes start to deviate from the, previously standard, High School setting as where the Jump Street crew goes undercover - and start to cover different, more adult, environments they go undercover in. E.g. Hell Week takes place at a college / university; Blinded by the Thousand Points of Light is about homeless young adults; A.W.O.L. is about a soldier on the run. This was played up even more in Season 4, which had even more episodes set at college / university instead of high school (Say It Ain't So, Pete, Stand By Your Man, Research and Destroy), and was when a Jump Street crew member, Penhall, first went undercover as a staff member instead of as a student (Blackout / Business as Usual). By Season 5, Penhall and Hoffs have visibly aged enough that they have not only been on 'regular' duties more than once, but in Season 5 they're both sent undercover as staff more than students. E.g. in Diplomas for Sale, Doug, Judy and new guy Mac are college, not high school students. Poison, Judy is a guidance counsellor, and Penhall is off-site support for the guest star undercover agent; in Just say no! high, Judy is a student, but Doug is an assistant sports coach.
    • one of the reasons (besides Johnny Depp leaving) that Mac McCann and Joey Penhall joined the cast season 5; they still looked young enough to pass as high school students, even if only as seniors. You can really tell the difference, when Doug and Michael DeLuise are in a scene together.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: After Booker has violated many rules in order to get the falsely convicted Hanson out of prison, he is disciplined by being reassigned to a paper work job in the basement of the police library. Upon hearing that he immediately resigns from his job (and then becomes a private detective in his own spin-off series).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Penhall and his (most-of-the-time) partner, and best friend, Hanson, respectively. Penhall was more brash, Hanson more by-the-book.
    • When Penhall was living in Ioki's apartment during Season 3, Penhall was the Red Oni to Ioki's Blue Oni; Ioki was shown to be very precise in keeping his house neat and clean, and Penhall was shown to be messy, which caused friction between them.
  • Rewatch Bonus: The opening scene of Higher Education shows a teacher interacting with a girl of his class, Patti. The teacher seems casual and nice towards her, and he to be a popular teacher with the whole class. Later it turns out that he had coerced another student, Joy, into sex and gotten her pregnant after which he didn't want anything to do with her anymore; plus he probably slept with other female students too. Knowing that and watching the opening scene again, you realize he's actually subtly flirting with Patti. Fridge Horror especially sets in when you realize Patti later is shown to be tutored by him at his own house, and that's precisely how Joy had gotten raped and pregnant - Patti was probably next...
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat: In one episode, Officer Tom Hanson witnesses his girlfriend being shot in a convenience store robbery and feels guilty that he was unable to stop him. He spends his days watching the surveillance camera tape, replaying the same moment over and over, being obsessed over how much time it would take for him to have been able to stop the murderer.
  • Road Trip Plot:
    • Fear and Loathing with Russell Buckins is about Hanson going on a road trip with Russell Buckins in an act of rebellion.
    • A.W.O.L. starts out as this, as Hanson and Penhall have to transport a military guy who dodged service. About halfway through though, the military guy escapes and Hanson and Penhall are lost and stuck in the wilderness and the cold.
    • Cory and Dean Got Married: Penhall and Hoffs go on a trip to transport a girl who's arrested, to a different state.
  • Sad Clown: Penhall. He acts all brawny but as the show progresses, we learn that he has a tragic backstory - including that his mother committed suicide when he was six years old, and that he's estranged from his brother.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up:
    • In the episode Woolly Bullies, the main characters recount the bullies who have plagued them in their youth. When Doug Penhall recounts his particularly bitter memories of such a tormentor, a friend suggests he seek the bully out and confront him. However, when Penhall does just that by finding the bully's current home, he learns that the bully is now a pathetic unemployed loser with an unhappy marriage to a shrewish wife. Delighted at this turn of events, Penhall decides not to speak to him and returns home quietly gloating how he got the classic best revenge by living well.
    • He even suffered a case of Threw My Bike on the Roof.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!:
    • Penhall sets up Hanson for a double date with his [Penhall's] girlfriend, and his co-worker Jackie, whom he wants to set up Hanson with. The Double Date very quickly turns sour with Hanson and Jackie bickering over work issues, upon which Hanson simply announces "I'm gonna go", and leaves, leaving a confused Penhall and Dorothy behind with a half-finished dinner.
    • Eternal Flame: Hanson encounters an ex-girlfriend (by now married to someone else) and relives romance with her; at first the romance seems to be played straight / real, but at the end, even though Hanson goes straight for her, she denounces both her husband and Hanson, says she "needs to choose herself", and leaves town.
  • Sequel Episode:
    • Kenny is a teenager involved with drugs, who originally only appeared in the pilot episode, which also showed his family. In a later season, he and his family return as characters; it turns out his parents have put him into a shady drug rehab center.
    • Also in the pilot episode was a criminal character who Hanson arrested—Reggie. This guy suddenly shows up again in a Season 2 episode to take revenge on Hanson.
    • Early in the series, Ronnie Seebok is a criminal who crosses paths with Hanson. In Season 4, we see more of his background and follow his (downer) fate: he's on death row and reaches out to Hanson (who earlier in the series arrested him) for support.
  • Series Continuity Error: Things We Said Today has a minor one, at least if episodes are assumed to be set in the same year they aired. A flashback to the day of the Challenger Explosion in January 1986 shows Ioki working a case and the Jump Street squad commenting on Captain Fuller as if he were still new to the squad. The first episode of the series aired in April 1987; Captain Jenko was still in charge at that point and Hanson was just joining the squad.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Penhall, in an awkward twist, is caught flirting with his co-worker Jackie by his girlfriend Dorothy. Penhall then, in an effort to control the damage, sets up a double-date in order to hook up Jackie with his best friend and partner Hanson. Almost ironically, Penhall and Dorothy break up soon afterwards while Hanson and Jackie get together and stay together during almost the whole rest of the season.
    • Hanson's friend Russell Buckins convinces Hanson to try to get back an ex-flame of Hanson's Inconveniently, she's is about to get married to someone else right now. Russell believes Hanson and she should be together though.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: Booker, who is totally rad and a good guy deep down, but is kinda dangerous and plays by his own rules. Like, totally.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Sal was rushed into marriage at a very young age by an angry father who caught him and his then-girlfriend fooling around, even though nothing sexual had actually happened between them (though it wasn't for lack of trying).
  • Shot in the Ass: Happens to Hanson in The Dragon and the Angel. Even worse, it turns out to be Penhall's fault.
  • Shout-Out: A lot of episodes are named after, or based on '50s to '70s classic songs — Things We Said Today (The Beatles), Chapel Of Love (The Dixie Cups), School's Out (Alice Cooper), Woolly Bull(ies) (Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs), Stand By Your Man (Tammy Wynette), (Re)search and Destroy (Iggy and the Stooges), Awomp-Bomb-Aloobomb, Aloop Bamboom (Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti"). There are also several examples of 1980s songs being used as inspiration for episode titles — Tunnel of Love (Bruce Springsteen), What About Love (Heart), In the Name of Love (U2) and (My) Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades (Timbuk 3). Loc'd Out was one of the first international hits for legendary Australian music group Crowded House.
  • Shower of Angst:
    • A pastor's son feels so ashamed of touching a girl in his teen Bible study group that he goes into the river and frantically tries to "baptize" himself to wash away his sin.
    • Officer Judy Hoffs plays this trope straight after one of the characters in the case she was working on rapes her. Despite knowing intellectually, as a detective, that this would destroy much of the evidence, she is too traumatised by the event to plan out her actions.
  • Stalker With a Crush:
    • Don't Pet the Teacher: A female, pretty young and attractive, teacher at a high school is stalked by continuously getting love notes and unwanted presents by an unknown admirer. At first she and the police suspect it's one of her high school students but turns out it's the school's janitor.
    • What About Love: Judy starts a romance with a man; when she finds out he actually is married and deliberately concealed that fact to her, she breaks it off. Upon which he turns into a stalker - keeping calling her despite her wishes, lying on a report he has to file about her / the Jump Street team, blackmailing her...
  • Stargate City: Filmed in Vancouver.
  • Sixth Ranger: Richard Grieco's character, Dennis Booker, who only appeared during Season 3. His character was then given his own short-lived spinoff, Booker.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: David Barry Gray's Dean Garrett replacing Johnny Depp's Tom Hanson. However, he never got beyond recurring character and he was later killed off in Season 5; Season 5's Tony McCann did somewhat better in fact, he's the one who brings Garrett's killer to justice.

  • Teacher/Student Romance:
  • Teen Pregnancy:
    • Higher Education had a teenage girl that got pregnant by her school teacher it then turned out to be date rape.
    • Don't Stretch the Rainbow was mainly about racial tensions at a high school and a relationship between a black girl and a white boy there (that they had to keep secret to avoid escalation of the racial tensions). The girl turns out to be pregnant, and she and the boy together tell the whole school not only about their relationship, but that they are also going to raise this baby together, no matter what, and that the other students should take this as an inspiration to stop the racial hate. Their message does seem to make an impact.
    • Whose Choice Is It Anyway featured this prominently, since it was about pregnant teenagers considering whether they should get an abortion, against the backdrop story of violence against abortion clinics. There was one pregnant girl in particular that Judy befriended.
    • Last Chance High subverted this. Hanson meets teenager Frances who shows him her baby. When he asks around at her school about "when [Frances] was pregnant", they reply "Uh no, Frances never was pregnant...". Turns out the baby is not Frances' daughter, but her baby sister whom she kidnapped from her own parents.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Judy and Doug, both acting impulsively, make out and even almost have sex. Afterwards, Judy feels awkward about it and then accuses Doug of deliberately having tried to seduce her - her reasoning being "you had a condom with you" - which might make her a hypocrite note , but Doug's answer to that doesn't help his case: he blurts out that he always has condoms with him just like you always have a spare tire in your car in case your car breaks down. Causing Judy to answer "O great, so I am a road accident?!"
  • Token Romance:
    • Hanson has a girlfriend, Amy, during Season 2; she only briefly shows up in three episodes note , doesn't have any relevance to the plot note , and they don't have chemistry or anything in common and Hanson isn't even attracted to her. It's telling that when she dies, Hanson mostly feels guilty about that he as a cop failed to overmaster the robber who shot her, rather than missing her as a person.
    • Averted for Hanson's next girlfriend, Jackie, who was written in as a colleague of Penhall's, and who worked as a D.A., thus her work partially overlapped with Hanson's.
  • Vacation Episode:
    • Awomp-Bomp note : Although Hanson and Penhall go to Florida on a police assignment, it happens during Spring Break, so it has a vacation atmosphere.
    • A very grim version is La Bizca, in which Penhall and Hanson go to war-ridden El Salvador and find out Penhall's wife is dead.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: Chapel of Love takes place on Valentine's day, and it features all of the characters (except Judy) NOT going out on a date but playing poker with each other in the Jump Street Chapel while telling each other stories of earlier Valentine dates gone wrong (and at the end, even Judy shows up to tell how her own date on that very same day went wrong).
  • Very Special Episode: The show often dealt with hot-button issues, and often had a brief spot afterward with a phone number for the organization dedicated to addressing a particular social problem. Most notable examples:
    • A Big Disease With a Little Name is about Aids, at that time something that was lethal, and a taboo subject.
    • Best Years of Your Life is about suicide among teenagers.
    • Whose Choice Is It Anyway? is about abortion, and violence against abortion clinics.
    • 2245 is about a man getting the death penalty.
    • The Girl Next Door revisited the topic of HIV. This example is particularly interesting, because it also showed how treatment (see Science Marches On on Trivia Page) and some attitudes towards HIV had advanced, even during the 2 or 3 years between the episodes.
  • Villain Episode: All episodes showed the suspects from the point of view of the cop main characters; and they usually featured a secondary story-line about one or more of the cops' personal lives. There were two exceptions in Season 4 though (also see Villain Protagonist):
    • Mike's P.O.V. shows the suspect Mike see how the undercover cops show up at his school, and follow him after he commited the crime and until he was arrested—rather than the 21 Jump Street team working on the case.
    • 2245: The protagonist is a man convicted for murder, and the episode focuses on his backstory, rather than on Hanson, who contacts him.
  • Villain Protagonist:
    • Mike's P.O.V from Season 4: Unlike a typical episode where the crime is committed offscreen and we watch the Jump Street crew being briefed about the case and piecing together clues, everything is shown from the villain's perspective. We know from the beginning of the episode that Mike is the murderer, but since Hanson and Penhall function as secondary characters, we don't see the full details of how they manage to figure this out before arresting him.
    • 2245 features as the protagonist a man who earlier in the series had appeared as a criminal, and by now is in prison and sentenced to the death penalty. He certainly is a villain to the 21 Jump Street team, as he had murdered one of their co-workers.
  • "Walk on the Wild Side" Episode: The normally by-the-book and almost uptight Hanson, under the influence of his wild friend Russell, ditches his work without notice, decides to not show up in court where he is supposed to testify, gets drunk and gets a tattoo in that state, fights a bear, wants to go crash a wedding, and (himself a police officer) has a run-in with the police.
  • Wham Episode: Season 4 ep. 4 Come From The Shadows: Doug, who previously in the series had only had a serious relationship with Dorothy but otherwise was always pretty much a flirt with all women note , falls seriously in love with and marries an El Salvadorian woman. She is extradited out of the U.S. by the end of the episode and in a What Happened to the Mouse? manner, isn't mentioned in any way for 14 episodes; then ep. 18 La Bizca, another Wham Episode, shows Doug and Tom going to war-ridden El Salvador to look for her spoiler  For the remainder of the season, her entire existance is again ignored (though Doug adopts and cares for her nefew Clavo).
  • What Does She See in Him?: Not a romantic, but a platonic and same-sex example. In Universe, other characters (a.o. Penhall, Fuller and the Sheriff) repeatedly wonder how on earth Russell Buckins can be Hanson's friend. Russell is a polar opposite from Hanson - reckless, impulsive and wacky - and the other characters worry because under the influence of Russell, Hanson, totally out-of-character, neglects his job and even does unlawful things.
  • Whole Episode Flashback:
    • Christmas in Saigon is one of these in addition to being A Day in the Limelight for Ioki.
    • 2245 in Season 4 consists mostly of flashbacks of Ronnie showing his backstory and how he got convicted to the death sentence that he gets at the end of the episode.
    • Chapel of Love features each character telling about a bad date they once had on Valentine Day, and they're all shown in flashback (even the downplayed example of Judy, who's telling about a date that happened on the same day - it's still shown as a flashback).
    • Woolly Bullies had all characters tell about being bullied in their childhood, and featured flashbacks for all of them.
    • Things We Said Today: a teenager who Ioki befriended during an investigation three years earlier, shows up, and tells Ioki in flashbacks how that event shaped his and his family's life.
    • Back From the Future: This takes place about 50 years after the events in the series, and consists of flashbacks (actually, re-showing) of important moments that had happened on the show until then.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser:
    • Johnny Depp's attraction to eyeliner didn't start with Captain Jack Sparrow - during his time on this show, he was undercover in drag in In the Custody of a Clown and looked far too convincing.
    • In on episode, Hanson complains about being in drag for other cases, and laughs that it was getting him asked out by guys. Consider how effective he is in drag, it's hard to tell if he's joking or just laughing it off.
    • Harry dresses up as a woman so that his stakeout with Doug in season three looks like a regular date.
  • Woobie of the Week: In many episodes. Some of the most prominent:
    • A teenage boy that had / was dying from HIV/Aids note .
    • A criminal guy who gets a death sentence (in an interesting twist, earlier in the series he's featured as a pretty much one-dimensional criminal; by the 4th Season, he ends up getting the death sentence for his murders and a whole episode is devoted to showing his backstory, drawing some sympathy from the viewer).
    • A family Officer Judy coincidentally finds out physically abuses their teenage children (her Captain Fuller wants her to stay out of it, but she insists on helping the teenage children who are battered).
    • Poor Kenny - introduced in the pilot episode as a somewhat loser teenage boy (with a bitchy teenage sister, and strict parents) who unfortunately gets involved with drugs; he makes an appearance in Season 3 again - only to be put in a mental hospital and there suffocate to death trying to escape.
    • Mike from the Season 4 episode Mike's P.O.V. - a teenage boy who murders the wife of his teacher for money; the episode explains his back story, which is that he has a major crush on one of his class mates, and it's implied he only did it to impress her.
    • Kyle, the antagonist of Things we said today - his life wasn't all that great when he met Ioki; but Ioki's friendship directly influenced him into making a decision whose consequences sent his life straight to rock bottom. after finding out the whole story, Ioki agrees; when Kyle is charged over his holding Ioki at gunpoint, Ioki tries to speak on Kyle's behalf in court, but the judge throws out Ioki's offer of testimony. Ioki pleads with Kyle to speak up on his own behalf, but Kyle silently refuses; it's a testimony to Keith Coogan's performance that he gets across without words that he's had more than enough of Harry Ioki's 'help'.
    • Then there's Lisa Burbank, in In the name of love; she's an outcast at school because of her Hollywood Nerd image, plus rumors that her father's a criminal - which she fiercely denies. But when she's visiting her father at his business warehouse, it's raided by the FBI & police - and she recognises one of the officers in the raid as the new kid at school... the cute guy who became her first friend in years, and who she even asked to have sex with her! Then undeniable proof is found that the father she's so loyally defended is a drug smuggler, and very likely guilty of everything he's been accused of (and the viewer knows that he's guilty of at least one murder)... and the only person willing to comfort her is said undercover cop, who pulls her into a tear-stained Cool Down Hug as her father is led away in handcuffs.
      • and Mac borders on Woobie territory in this ep, himself. 'Persuaded' by the FBI into taking this particular undercover assignment, at the same time he's trying very hard to reconcile with his visiting ex-lover, Samantha. Mac feels uneasy about targeting Lisa to get to her father right from the start, and becomes even more so as the ep progresses, because Lisa really is a nice girl who he honestly likes. But Lisa runs into Mac attending a business function with Samantha as her date. Lisa throws a fit, which not only blows his cover, but brings down criticism from the FBI. While he manages a last-ditch idea to justify a raid of Burbank's warehouse, he has to watch Lisa, who he's genuinely grown fond of, becoming more and more upset. After Burbank is arrested, he comes home to find his ex packing her bags; she's decided that she can't deal with his career.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Chapel of Love: Captain Fuller tells that the reason he got divorced, is that he cheated on his wife with a fellow police officer on Valentine day.
    • What About Love: Judy Hoffs starts a romance with a man. Turns out he is married and deliberately concealed that fact to her. She brakes it off, only for him to turn into a Stalker With a Crush. Also an Office Romance gone bad, as he, in retaliation to her breaking the romance off, lies on a report he has to write about her and the Jump Street team.
    • Eternal Flame: Hanson runs into an ex-girlfriend, Linda, who's now married. That doesn't stop Linda from sleeping with and dating Hanson. Hanson and her are unaware that her husband actually knows of their affair, and it ends with the husband attacking Hanson with a gun as a retaliation for Linda's cheating on him with Hanson; after which the husband is overmastered and arrested for his selling drugs, and shipped off; and Linda then leaves town and both her husband and ex Hanson.