Series: Witchblade

Not someone to take lightly.

A 2000 live-action television series based on the comic book Witchblade. The series contains a similar premise - New York Detective Sara Pezzini is bonded to an Empathic Weapon called the Witchblade, which makes her of interest to Chessmaster Kenneth Irons, who seeks to control the Witchblade though he cannot wield it, and his Dragon, Nottingham. However, the series tells more like a re-imagining of the concept rather than a retelling.

To the disappointment of some fans (and the delight of others), the Stripperiffic nature of the Witchblade was done away with, replacing it with a more traditional knight's armor.

The Witchblade itself is a supernatural weapon that can only be wielded by a woman. The reason given for this varies from character to character - Irons says it's because women are "more elemental" while Nottingham claims it is because women can better stand pain. It ends up on the wrist of Sara during a shootout at a museum where it was displayed, ultimately saving her life. From that point forward, it begins to show her visions of the past and, later, her dead partner, Danny.

But there are many people after the Witchblade and its wielder, and their intentions and motives are rarely good. Sara must learn to master the Witchblade's powers without falling under the control of Irons or being killed by those who desire to take the Witchblade themselves.

The series is something of a cult classic among viewers, and was only recently released onto DVD. General opinion has that the show was a reasonable translation of the comics and quite good in that regard. In fact, the show would have likely continued for several more seasons if not for lead actress Yancy Butler's substance abuse problems.


This series contains examples of:

  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Danny Woo is shown practicing kata in one episode of season two, and uses it to subdue a Serial Killer a couple episodes later.
  • Anyone Can Die: Being in the opening credits is no defense in the first season. By its end, every major character save Sara and most of the recurring characters are dead. But then Sara uses the Witchblade to reboot the entire season to square one.
  • Back from the Dead: Everyone who died in season one, thanks to the Reset Button Ending.
  • Badass Normal: Sara, without the Witchblade. With, she's just plain Badass.
    • Also her partner Danny after the reset button is hit in Season II, and he stops being the enigmatic ghost guy, we get to see that he is pretty bad ass himself.
  • Battle Butler: Nottingham.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Many famous historical figures, including Joan of Arc, were actually wielders of the Witchblade. And, in a strange twist, actually all Sara herself. Constantine and Adolf Hitler were both wielders of The Lance Of Longinus.
  • Biker Babe: Sara loves her Buell Lightning X1, so much so that the White Bulls have it smashed up to rattle her.
  • Bullet Catch: Nottingham can do this, apparently.
  • Bullet Sparks: Used to indicate when a bullet has ricocheted off the Witchblade. Also causes a gas main to blow up in the pilot episode.
  • Bullet Time: Used to show that the Witchblade can slow down time.
  • Buried Alive: Happens to Danny in season 2.
  • Cartwright Curse: Sara's suitors and boyfriends tend to end up dead, in comas, or possessed.
  • Catch and Return: Sara catches a crossbow bolt and throws it back at the shooter with enough force to kill. Later, she pulls a Punch And Return with a bullet.
  • The Chessmaster: Ken Irons. His extremely nice chess set is a common prop for him when he's shown at home.
  • Da Chief: Joe Siri until his retirement. Complete with a Turn in Your Badge moment in the pilot.
  • Dead Partner: Literally in season one. Danny Woo is murdered in the pilot and spends the rest of the season following Sara around as a ghost.
  • Cloning Blues: See Evil Twin. Also, Ian's clone is a complete homicidal maniac.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: With the Witchblade, anyone (female) can block bullets and slow time. If you're not a chosen wielder, however, it's as likely to turn on you or abandon you as it is to protect you.
  • Cowboy Cop: Sara is a rare female example.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Ken Irons, particularly in season 2.
  • Demonic Possession: A priest in a rather narmy episode.
  • Dirty Cop: The White Bulls, a secret society of dirty cops inside the NYPD. One of the rules is that if you find a spent shell casing with a bull engraved on it, it's a signal to cover up the crime.
  • Dodge the Bullet: One of the powers of the Witchblade is to automatically move to intercept and block bullets. Nottingham can also literally dodge bullets, as well as catching them.
  • Doing It for the Art: In-Universe, Conchobar gives this as his reason for not accepting any of the many record deals he's been offered. He wants to be a troubadour, not a rock star.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Witchblade.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Ian Nottingham.
  • Evil Twin: Subverted. First, they are triplets (or, as The Stinger reveals, quadruplets) rather than twins. Second, all three are pretty damn evil.
  • Fake Shemp
  • Fight Clubbing: "Palindrome" has Sara, Danny, and McCarty investigate a death at an underground fight club. Sara keeps watch outside because women aren't allowed in.
  • Flaming Sword: The Witchblade, after it protect Sara from a flamethrower.
  • Ghostapo: The most recent Witchblade wielder was an American spy in World War II who was given the Witchblade by an SS officer she romanced while undercover (the implication is that the Nazis looted it from the Catholic church, who are confirmed to have taken it from Joan of Arc). Adolf Hitler was a wielder of The Lance Of Longinus.
  • Government Conspiracy
  • Hostage for MacGuffin
  • Human Sacrifice: Done by a nutjob in order to summon/resurrect an ancient Irish warrior goddess, a wielder of the Witchblade.
  • I See Dead People: One of the powers the Witchblade grants Sara is the ability to see and speak with certain dead. She spends all of season one with Danny Woo as her ghostly companion. There seems to be some unspecified rules though: she seemingly can't interrogate her homicide victims unless Danny acts as an intermediary.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode's title is a single word, often from ancient Greek, e.g. "Agape".
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Established in the pilot when Sara is able to block gunfire and even redirect bullets. It's all the Witchblade's doing—without it Sara is just an ordinary cop with an ordinary department-issue Glock.
  • It Only Works Once: The time-reversal power Sara uses at the end of season 1 can only be used once by each wielder.
  • Killed Off for Real: In season two Sara kills Irons in the Lance of Longinus episode (or rather he runs himself through when she has him at swordpoint), but he's around for the rest of the season as a ghost. In the series finale she uses the Witchblade to banish his ghost for good.
  • The Lance Of Longinus: The Lance is the (literal) Spear Counterpart to the Witchblade.
  • Little Dead Riding Hood: Bola.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: The Witchblade.
  • Mega Corp.: Vorschlag Industries. They even have their own television station.
  • Mexican Standoff: A group of criminals in season two.
  • Morph Weapon: The Witchblade can take the form of a bracelet, a gauntlet, or a sword. Season 2 adds brass knuckles. And the sword can either sprout from Sara's wrist or emerge from the end of her fist.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Conchabar, who has numerous Shirtless Scenes.
  • New Meat: Detective McCarty, a rookie homicide detective who is assigned Sara as his training officer after Danny Woo is murdered. Subverted. As revealed late in season one, he's really an undercover FBI agent investigating rumors of a Dirty Cop ring inside the NYPD. This is presumably still true in season two despite the Reset Button Ending, though it doesn't come up.
  • New York City Cops: Inevitable, given who the protagonist is.
  • Nineties Anti-Hero: None of the cops seem to have a problem breaking the rules to get things done. Though Sara doesn't go as far against ordinary criminals as the others: McCarty is shown using the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique at least once.
  • Not So Different: Gallo to Sara.
    You know, you and I aren't that different. We're both hunters and we both like to kill.
  • Nothing Personal:
    Gallo: You know, killin' your father wasn't personal. Neither was Maria. And don't flatter yourself, neither are you.
  • One-Woman Wail
  • Pilot Movie: Opens with a double-length pilot that follows Sara as she acquires the Witchblade and begins learning to use it.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Irons and some minor characters.
  • Reincarnation Romance: One of the earliest wielders of the Witchblade was an ancient Irish Action Girl named Cathain, who was sought out by a tribal chieftain named Conchobar for battle training. They fell in love. So do Sara and a present-day Irish indy rocker who uses Conchobar as his stage name. And as in the story, Conchobar ends up dead.
  • Reset Button Ending: The Season 1 finale has Sara use the Witchblade to turn back time to the beginning of the season. It Only Works Once, and season 2 goes a very different route with Sara only occasionally getting flashbacks of the previous season's events.
  • Retcon: In the season two premiere, it is revealed that Gabriel witnessed the chase that ended with Sara receiving the Witchblade.
  • A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: In The Pilot, the titular artifact gauntlet bonds with Sara, she has the following exchange with Kenneth about what the artifact is.
    Sara: What is this thing? What is the Witchblade?
    Kenneth: A mystery, wrapped in a riddle, and cloaked in a conundrum.
    Sara: That doesn't help very much.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The pilot, we first see a figure pulling jeans over boxer shorts, grabbing a gun and a bike helmet, and riding a motorcycle to work. It's not until "he" removes "his" helmet that we learn that "he" is a she.
  • Scary Black Man: Mobius.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Aras, Sara's Evil Twin.
  • Secret Keeper: Gabriel.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Conchabar has his shirt off in a lot of his scenes.
    • Danny gets an extended one in season two while practicing martial arts kata to work out.
  • Shower of Angst: Sara takes one in the pilot after nearly getting killed in a shootout, complete with troubled fetal position.
    I don't know why I keep pushing the envelope. Something's gotta change. I've gotta change.
  • Snow Means Death: It's snowing at Danny's funeral.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Sara and Conchabar. The first time around, he is taken hostage by Irish intelligence officers trying to use him as leverage against his terrorist brother, and is killed by one of his captors during Sara and Ian's rescue attempt. The second time is during the Fight Clubbing episode in season two, when he winds up comatose from a head injury sustained in a bout.
  • Straight Gay: When Sara and McCarty investigate a Serial Killer operating out of a gay bar, she lays into him for mild homophobia (he's visibly uncomfortable talking about two men being together). Turns out she's a lesbian and nobody noticed because she fits neither of the major stereotypes. (Although it's quite possible she was just messing with his head, given that all of her Love Interests in the series are male.)
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Conchobar. He dies within Sara's sight, but otherwise fits.
  • Suicide by Cop: Nolan attempts this, although Sara foils it. Also, Nottingham in the season one finale, after Irons casts him out for his devotion to Sara.
  • Super Soldier: The Black Dragons, which includes Nottingham. They were an elite unit created by Vorschlag Industries for SOCOM using experimental therapies.
  • Sword over Head: Sara defeats Gallo in the season one premiere and holds the Witchblade to his throat. In the end, though, she chooses to arrest him instead of killing him.
  • Thunderbolt Iron: The visions Sara has of the Witchblade indicate it was forged from a meteor. Tests on the blade itself indicate it's an unknown metal.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Joe to Sara after the shootout at the Rialto.
  • Villainous Crush: Nottingham has strong feelings for Sara. Sara's exact feelings for Nottingham are unclear, but his declaration of love certainly flustered her.
    Nottingham (to Sara): I love you. In unguarded moments.
  • Voices Are Mental: In the finale, Gabriel speaks in Irons's voice when possessed by him.
  • Who Shot JFK?: Sara is visited by JFK's ghost in a late season 2 episode and the assassination is touched on. JFK says something to the effect of, he was killed for wanting to change the world.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: In the Witchblade episode "Lagrimas", Sara meets and falls in love with a man named Daniel Germaine. Daniel was a Roman prison guard who abused Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion. Jesus cursed him to live until the Second Coming and Daniel spent the next two millennia trying to find a way to end it. Turns out that the Witchblade, a weapon of divine origin, is his way out: at his urging, Sara runs him through and he dies happily in her arms.