Video Game: Criminal Case

The main cast in Season 1, left to right: Alex Turner, Nathan Pandit, Chief Samuel King, Agent David Jones, Grace Delaney, and Officer Ramirez.
Criminal Case is a Flash-player Puzzle Game which was developed by Pretty Simple Games and released on November 17, 2012, designed in the mold of the CSI series, and available for play through Facebook. Specifically, it's a Hidden Object Game which hides all sorts of objects inside various crime scenes.

The player begins the game as rookie police officer in the Grimsborough Police Department, partnered with a detective named Jones to solve all sorts of gruesome murders in the city. Along the way, you and Jones have to contend with various quirky, shady, and outright bizarre characters, including the bumbling beat cop Ramirez, the prostitute Ginger, the mob boss Tony Marconi, and the business mogul Alden Greene.

After 56 Cases, the setting then moves on to Pacific Bay, where the player works with two different partners — Detective Frank Knight and Officer Amy Young — to assist the Police Department solve more murder cases.

The game is played by more than 10 million users through Facebook, and has gotten over 36 million "likes" on the same site. Additionally, as of December 2013, Criminal Case has been named the Facebook Game of the Year 2013. In July 2014, an iOS version was developed.

Not to be confused with Criminal Minds.

Now has a character sheet, currently under development. Also now has its own Shout-Out page.

For those who are currently playing the game, SPOILERS ABOUND.

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    In General 
  • 100% Completion: Getting five-star mastery for a crime scene allows you to access that crime scene with five energy points (before then, each time you play a crime scene it costs 20 energy points). Getting five-star mastery for all crime scenes in a case gives you a gold medal (you get bronze for completing the case's main investigation, and silver for completing the side-quests).
  • Accidental Murder: Some of the cases turn out to have been caused by this.
  • Adventure Duo: The player character always work together with another team member to investigate the various murder cases. In the first season, the player is assigned to partner with Jones (although Grace, Ramirez and Alex have been known to replace his role as the player's partner in a number of cases); while in the second season, the player are given two partners — Amy and Frank — but only one will work with you per case.
  • Always Murder: Each case's main mystery.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: You get some random items to dress up your character avatar as rewards for some of the side-quests you complete.
  • And Your Reward Is Edible: Two inversions that benefit other players—each time you level up, you can share one orange juice (which restores 20 energy points) for other players to get, and each time you increase in rank (which happens every couple of level-ups), you can share a potato chip pack, which restores 50 points. Played straight for yourself by completing some of the side-quests; the reward in some of these cases is a burger, which restores your energy bar by 120 points. There's also rewards for "liking" it on Facebook and playing every day, which gives similarly edible rewards.
  • Anti-Poop Socking : Each energy point, which you use to play the different scenes, takes three minutes to recharge. Since you always have 110 energy points as the base amount, if you use up all of that, you have to wait approximately five hours for the bar to be fully charged (unless you get extra donated energy points or replenishing items from other players). The forensic analyses performed by your in-game CSI team will also take anywhere between two minutes to 18 hours real-time to complete.
  • Arc Villain: The cases in each district are often interconnected by a single theme, with one person being responsible for most — if not all — of the district's murders.
    • Grimsborough:
    • Pacific Bay:
      • Ocean Shore: No particular main villain for the arc itself.
      • Bayou Bleu: Erikah Mabayo, a serial killer who had murdered several prostitutes who works under her, and had started the voodoo craze in the district to oppress the people with fear.
      • Inner City: Between Nikolai Kamarov, Sue Xiong, and Fredo Mancini. It's actually Rupert Snow, using Mark McKenzie as a proxy.
      • Jazz Town: TWO of them. One is Veronica Blade, who is responsible for creating the hurricanesthat destroyed the town and pretty much caused all the tragedy in the district; the other is The Puppeteer, a serial killer who murdered Yann's parents in the past and is the main villain of his story arc.
      • White Peaks: The Night Walker, an urban monster who is responsible for a number of kidnappings and murders, and indirectly causes the death of several others.
      • Ivywood Hills: Holly Hopper, the Utopians' leader, is the mastermind behind the cult's plan to brainwash the entire population of Ivywood Hills, if not the whole Pacific Bay, during the Awards Ceremony, and is directly responsible in the brainwashing of Chief Marquez. Unlike the previous Arc Villains, though, this one did not actually commit any actual murders.
      • Rhine Canyon: There is an arc storyline involving aliens, and there's mysterious set up involving weird guy Randolph and government man Agent Z Randolph is an alien, and Agent Z was trying to help him. There's no arc villain.
      • Innovation Valley: Aphyro-Dite who tried to get the robots to revolt against humans, and nearly succeeded.
      • Paradise Falls: Louis de Rico is set up to be the main villain of the arc, given how he's the leader of the heist team planning to rob the Mennagio Casino. However, it was revealed that the operation was masterminded by someone else. It was Karen Knight, with Frank's help.
  • Asshole Victim: Many of the murder victims were not well-liked by a number of the people they associated with because, quite simply, they were douches. For example, Case 7's victim was a crooked building contractor who tore down a church to erect a new building project on the land, an act that earned him a lot of anger from other people; while Case 29's victim was a perpetual drunk who stole money from the Scouts he led and also beat up his girlfriend. In particular, The Rorschach Reaper gets killed about twenty cases after being imprisoned; the judge says the individual, while a monster, still deserves justice for being killed. This does not abate even in Pacific Bay, particularly in Case 5, where the victim tormented a street performer and tried to get passers-by not to pay him, tried to ruin the social life of a lifeguard, and tormented a waitress until she cried. Her motive for all of these actions was pure spite. Ironically, none of them murdered her.
  • Ax-Crazy: Quite a number of the killers in the game turn out to be this, though the especially monstrous of the bunch are better at hiding it than those who are on medication for actual mental problems.
  • Blackmail Backfire: Adam Bentley was trying to live as a Maple Heights socialite, but he wasn't old money and was running out of cash and connections. Then he discovered The Crimson Order's illegal gold mining operation and tried to blackmail them to pay him to keep quiet. The Order forced Chief King to execute him instead.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Facebook = FriendNet
    • iPhone/iPad = PearPhone/PearPad
    • Red Bull = Rocket Cow
    • Dairy Queen = King Dairy
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: One of the reasons Criminal Case is so popular is because it averts Allegedly Free Game. That being said, you can use real-world money to purchase in-game energy restorers, instantly complete the lab analyses you'd otherwise have to wait hours for, and buy better police dogs.
  • Busman's Holiday: In at least a third, if not half, of the cases, the player stumbles upon a murder while not on duty. In Maple Heights, it happens in almost every case.
  • Canine Companion: You can raise a police dog from puppy-hood to full adulthood, and the dog itself serves to sniff out Lucky Cards, experience points, coins, and energy points, depending on the breed it is. Grace also has a dog named Newton, who you and Jones rescue from his abusive former owner in a side-quest. Jones himself ends up adopting a dog, Astrid.
  • Character Customization: You can change your player avatar's clothes, hair, facial expressions, and accessories (badges, glasses, etc.) at any point in the game, and you can buy new options for each of these at any time with in-game coins earned from game-play. You can also change your character's gender at any time, but you have to pay in-game money to do so each time.
  • Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: Whenever the police team discover a conspiracy theory — be it the existence of the Crimson Order, the possibility that the hurricane that struck Jazz Town is man-made, the Utopians' brainwashing — would turn out to be true, no matter how unlikely and how adamantly your team mates might deny its possibility.
  • Cosmetic Award: The trophies. You win them after performing specific feats in-game (such as consuming a certain number of orange juices, or using one of your boosters a certain number of times), but they don't affect your game-play in any way.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Many of the deaths you're called on to investigate fall under this. Just for a few examples, one victim was burned with cigarettes, then sliced open and hung up among pig carcasses in a butcher's store; another had his hand sawed off and bled to death in a bathtub; and a third was lashed on his back to the point of bleeding, and then crucified; and there was several cases of victims being eaten alive by a shark, a giant-plant, and rats, and another being roasted alive and cannibalized.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: The Facebook and iOS versions can be synchronized by connecting to the former. The trick is that scenes were rearranged for the latter. This can be rather disorienting during the Time Attack bonus games.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • The persons whose problems are the focus of the side-quests consist of those suspects in the main cases who weren't guilty of the murders they were being investigated for.
    • Pacific Bay features a "character arc" for each of the team members in various districts. So far, we have Inner City for Hannah, Jazz Town for Yann, White Peaks for Amy, Ivywood for Russell, Rhine Canyon for Andrea, and Frank straddles the two small districts of Innovation Valley and Paradise Falls.
  • Eagle-Eye Detection: Possessed by your character in-story, and it's also a necessary tool for players to accurately find the hidden items in various scenes.
  • Eaten Alive: A couple of the murder victims died due to being fed to wildlife by their murderers. Aaliyah Banks from Case 39 was half eaten by Piranhas, Roland Vane from Case 50 was crushed to death then almost eaten by a giant boa, Jimmy "Ice P" Lewis from the first Pacific Bay case was fed to a shark, while Nora Lewis of Case 64 (or Case 8 Pacific Bay) died after being ingested by a giant man-eating plant.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect:
    • The murder investigation of Adam Bentley in Case 51 qualifies, as the case involved 8 suspects (instead of the usual 5). Also, none of the suspects is a new character. All of them are well-known from previous cases. This impressive lineup included Tony Marconi (convict), Alden Greene (former convict and corrupt businessman), Howard Johnson (Mayor of Grimsborough), Serena Johnson (Politician, Howard's mother), Martha Price (Politician, Howard's rival), Lola Vallez (Celebrity), Zack Holden (CEO of Friendnet); and, later, even Chief King got mixed up in the whole affair.
    • Also, members of the PD are not exempt from becoming suspects themselves. Case 56 of Pacific Bay takes this up to eleven, 4 out of the 5 suspectsnote  are members of the police department. It's Frank.
  • Experience Points: Gained through playing the different stages, completing forensic analyses, and doing mini-games in the form of restoring torn-up evidence or magnifying of clues for minute evidence traces.
  • Femme Fatale:
    • Samantha Warner, in Case 10. She's been having affairs with at least two different men (one of whom is that case's murder victim, for which Samantha is herself a suspect), and she flirts with Jones when interrogated.
    • Kerry Ann Buxton seemingly tries to become one, without success. A former glamour model who had fallen out of society's favour, she tries to regain her limelight by getting involved in many affairs — including one with the Mayor — and becomes delusional enough to believe that her charms were the reason behind Mayor Johnson's successful campaign. This eventually led to her death, as one of her lovers decided that she's gone too far in degrading herself to gain fame.
    • Velma Bannister of Ivywood Hills is a beautiful seductress who charms men into giving her what she wants. She once seduced Frank to get the police off her back when she was suspected for Murder in case 34 of Pacific Bay, uses her much-older-husband's wealth and influence to bail herself from arrest when she was convicted for dealing with stolen goods, and later seduces Trevor Neuman into giving her a modified version of the Utopians' brainwashing tape to brainwash the whole world into worshipping her beauty forever.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • The screen turns black when Chief King shoots himself in Case 51, and scene pans to a shocked looking Jones afterwards.
    • Same thing happens in Case 86 (or Case 30 of Pacific Bay) in the video footage showing the Night Walker killing Roberto Vasquez.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: There are 184 trophies you can attain by completing specific criteria within gameplay. You can also collect playing cards, or "Lucky Cards" (the aces, the 10s and the face-cards), and if you can get all the cards in any one of the four suits, you can trade that suit for coins (the club suit), experience points (the diamond suit), orange juices (the spade suit) or potato chips (the heart suit).
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: You are asked to input your name the first time you start playing.
  • Heroic Mime: Everybody talks to the player character, addresses him/her by name, offers him/her gifts of food or clothing, gives orders to him/her, flirts with him/her, cusses him/her...and your character never says a word (that's shown on-screen, at least) in response, although character reactions show that the main character is intelligent and not above teasing.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Many of the game's hidden objects are put in scenes where you'd logically expect them to be found in such situations, such as a banner above the entrance to a building or a bit of graffiti on a wall in an alley. Other times, the hidden objects aren't the kind of things you'd expect to see at those scenes but are still in plain open sight anyway, such as a volcano in the background of an urban bridge scene, a Bedsheet Ghost in a casino, or The Grim Reaper in the middle of a prom ballroom.note 
  • Hints Are For Losers: Each time you go to a crime scene, you can take a fellow player's avatar (or Jones, if all of the fellow player avatars are used up), and around their avatar icon is a bar with a maximum of five hints, to point out where the hidden items are in the scene if you get stuck. However, the more unused hints you have when you find all the items, the more points you receive at the end, meaning the inverse is true the more hints you use.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: You can carry around any number of orange juices, potato chips, hamburgers, and Lucky Cards you like.
  • Level Grinding: The more levels you get, the higher you can get promoted.
  • Level Up Fill Up: Your energy point bar gets refilled to the maximum with each level-up.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Aside from your player character, nobody seems to change their clothes at any time, unless it's plot-relevant or in rare moments when we get insight into their personalities. note 
  • Loading Screen: There's one for starting the game, which includes a picture of Jones and Grace drawn in very realistic style as opposed to the more cartoon-like artwork the characters are drawn in within the game itself. There's also a loading screen for the crime scenes, depicted as a police squad car driving along the road en route to the scene.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The number of characters introduced in this game, including team members, victims, and suspects, number over a thousand.
  • Locked Room Mystery: Case 25 is this.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Zigzagged. The player character investigates crime scenes, interviews witnesses and suspects, pieces evidence together, and collects fingerprints and DNA samples. However, deeper analysis of said evidence — fingerprints, chemical substances and DNA samples — is done by the coroner, forensics or tech experts of the PD, who are naturally more qualified to do that sort of thing, and they don't go around conducting interviews of witnesses or suspects the way most CSI-related series would do. However, there are also times where the player character is asked to "match" fingerprints and even biological molecules and chemical substance with the database because it would take the other team members (you know, the experts) "too long" to analyze.
  • Mini-Game: Each case has three of these, incorporating one of three crime scenes associated with the case. One mini-game is a Timed Mission (explained below), one is a tile-sliding jigsaw puzzle that increases the number of pieces the more stars you attain, and one is a spot-the-differences game where two versions of a crime scene are shown and you are expected to find as many of the differences between the two versions as possible. The stars won from completing these mini-games can also be used to advance in the investigation of that case, though the games themselves have nothing to do with the case proper.
  • Never Say "Die": While victims die all the time, there is no death penalty in the Criminal Case world. A few suspects are killed before they go to trial.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Zeus the pimp is clearly Snoop Dogg.
    • Zack Holden, the owner of FriendNet, is an obvious parody of Mark Zuckerberg.
    • Professional golfer Tony Webb is based on Tiger Woods. They even share the same initials.
    • In case 44, the victim, Hank Buxton, has a resemblance to Donald Trump while his wife, Kerry Ann Buxton has too many similarities to Anna Nicole Smith for it to be coincidental.
    • Martha Price looks like Sarah Palin's face on Hillary Clinton's body.
    • Not as obvious as other examples, but Trevor Finn of Pacific Bay is apparently created as a tribute to the Criminal Case Lets Player, Pitchingace88.
    • Case 92 (or Case 36 Pacific Bay) introduces us to a composer named Hannah Simmer, whose name is an obvious Shout-Out to Hans Zimmer.
    • Holly Hopper, a recurring character in Ivywood Hills, looks very similar to Lady Gaga.
  • Pixel Hunt: Sometimes, the items you need to find in each scene are too well-hidden, resulting in you having to use one hint just to find the items in question. Just for one especially frustrating general example, good luck finding arrows that are painted white and are hidden among clouds in the sky.
  • Point-and-Click Map: You can go from one section of the city to another, choosing to leave one case to go to another.
  • Police Lineup: How the suspects in a given case are arrayed for you to point out the guilty party. Each suspect will have at least one or two of the guilty party's identifying marks or traits, but only the one who matches all the traits will be the killer.
  • Precious Puppy: Finding one of these is the basis for one of Case 6's sub-quests; when the puppy's eventually found, Grace adopts him after learning that he ran away from his abusive owner, a dog-fighting promoter. More recently, too, a new option has been added to the game for your character to train a police dog, starting as a puppy, through regular feeding.
  • Puzzle Game: What the game is, overall. Besides the Hidden Object Game aspect, there are also some mini-games that take the form of forensic analyses and reassembling of destroyed clues, which give you a greater energy payout the faster you can solve them.
  • Qurac: Sultanistan, an oil-rich desert kingdom that is obviously based on the Middle East. Case 49 deals with the royal family of Sultanistan visiting Grimsborough, and the eventual tragedy that follows; while a particularly nasty immigration officer introduced in the Inner City is revealed to have migrated from Sultanistan herself.
  • Repeating so the Audience Can Hear: The Player Character supposedly makes a lot of remarks and suggestion during the investigation progress, but as they have no dialogue, their partners would repeat it for us instead. Usually goes something like, "What? You want to do X?" or "Oh, you think X is an important clue?"
  • Serial Killer: Three have been introduced so far:
    • The Rorschach Reaper, the Big Bad of the University arc, uses hypnotism to convince various students to kill their family/friend.
    • Erikah Mabayo from Bayou Bleu have killed several prostitutes working under her.
    • The Puppeteer from Jazz Town targets the parents of 14-year-olds who don't get along with their parents.
    • Duncan Young killed several young women.
  • Scenery Porn: The various crime scenes are very expertly designed. Whether it's a car at the bottom of a river, or a spooky graveyard, or the balcony of a mansion, it's all well done.
  • Shout-Out: Oh, so very many, so much so that there's now a page for all of them.
  • Silent Snarker: The player character is a Heroic Mime, but judging how sometimes Jones (especially when he's annoyed or confused) said something like "Oh, I know that face, [player name]. Stop it.", it seems the player character is quite a Deadpan Snarker just by making a facial expression.
  • Story Arc: The cities are divided into several districts, each of them focusing on different conflicts.
    • In Grimsborough —
      • The Industrial Area encompasses the first 11 cases (including the Justified Tutorial), and the core story is the brewing triangular turf war between the Vipers, the Skulls, and Tony Marconi's syndicate.
      • The Financial Center covers Cases 12 to 21, with the core story being business mogul Alden Green's power-hold over the district and reporter Rachel Priest's efforts to uncover any major news pertaining to him.
      • The Historic Center covers Cases 22 to 31, and the core story is about the annual Grimsborough Dog Pageant (not as upfront as the other arcs, though, as the pageant gets mostly passing mentions up until Case 31, where it's the main focus).
      • The University covers Cases 32 to 41, and the core story is about the activities of the Rorschach Reaper.
      • Maple Heights covers Cases 42 through 51, and the core story is about Mayor Howard Johnson's re-election campaign.
      • The Airport covers Cases 52 through 56, which focuses on an ominous, ancient organization who is largely responsible for most of Grimsborough's criminal activity — the Crimson Order.
    • In Pacific Bay —
      • Ocean Shores encompasses the first five cases of Pacific Bay, and has no centralized plot and mostly deals with an introduction to the new team members, and briefly establishes their personalities.
      • Bayou Blue, a swamp district which covers Cases 6 to 10, deals with a voodoo craze that turns out to be a ruse created by a Serial Killer to consolidate power over the citizens.
      • Inner City, the home town of tech expert Hannah Choi, covers Cases 11 to 17, and the story focuses on the conflict between the Russian and Chinese communities, with an anarchist group called the Inner Chaos seeking to add fuel to the flame.
      • Jazz Town covers Cases 18 to 24, and deals with two distinct plot — one involving a man-made hurricane which has destroyed a large portion of the district and threatens to strike a second time and completely annihilate the town, and another involving the renewed activities of a Serial Killer called the Puppeteer — who had, in the past, murdered Yann Touissant's parents.
      • White Peaks, which covers Cases 25 to 30, is the home town of Amy Young and focuses on her family, her past and her Character Development as she and the player character tries to uncover the mysterious Urban Legend of the Night Walker.
      • Ivywood Hills covers Cases 31 to 38 and mainly focuses on a malevolent cult called The Utopians and their plans to control the district through brainwashing.
      • Rhine Canyon, covering cases 39 through 45, focuses on a government plot and crazy alien landing conspiracies.
      • Innovation Valley, covering cases 46 to 50, deals with human-like robots, their quest for rights, and the tension between them and humanity.
      • Paradise Falls, covering cases 51 to 56, deals with a heist at the luxury Mennagio casino and the six heist members.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: A few of the killers throughout the game have some rather sad reasons for committing their crimes. Such as Case 6's killer, an honest cop, who was forced to kill his corrupt partner in self-defense after failing to convince him to turn from his evil ways, and Case 28's killer, a bereaved mother who murdered her husband because his negligence had caused the death of their infant child and he'd tried to cover it up.
  • Timed Mission: Each level has a mini-game in which you have to find as many hidden objects as possible before the timer runs out. When the mini-game's level-stars for that level are maxed out at five, the amount of time you are given is maxed out at 80 seconds.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: There are many objects that are quite out-of-place in certain scenes, yet they are unrelated with the case at all. Not even Jones or other characters will say anything about it. For example in the second crime scene of the first case, you can find a puma hanging out above a roof of a house.
  • Urban Legends:
    • Grimsborough has two.
      • In Case 25, there's the local story of the "Mad Pilgrim." According to the story, the eponymous character was a cruel man who lived during the 17th century and sent many people to the gallows for the smallest offenses; eventually the Pilgrim's maid poisoned his food and then let the residents in to chop his body to pieces and bury the parts in the four corners of town. Since then, says the legend, the Pilgrim's spirit has remained trapped and very angry on Earth, and anyone who's tried to paint his portrait since then is reported to have died in the attempt. The story comes up because the case's victim died while painting a picture of the Pilgrim, and the scene was set up to appear as though the Pilgrim's ghost came back for revenge.
      • In Case 27, there's the Creature of the Lake, whose mournful wail in the dead of night allegedly lures people to the lake to drown.
    • Pacific Bay has a couple as well.
      • The Night Walker, a Slenderman Shout-Out, is said to haunt the forest of White Peaks and causing a number of disappearances throughout the years.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: You can make your character avatar male or female, and adjust their hair, facial expression, and clothing as you see fit. Some hairstyles, facial expressions, and clothing accessories can be unlocked when you level up to a certain extent, some have to be purchased with in-game coins (which you earn from each crime scene you investigate), and others are gained as rewards for finishing the side-quests associated with each case.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Case 51. Chief King is revealed to be the case's killer, and kills himself after being found out. This permanently changes GPD's team configuration, and changes the usual case formula of having him introduce the chapter to the player.
    • Case 84 (or Case 28 of Pacific Bay). Bobby Prince is convicted as the killer, when almost everyone expects him to play a significant role in the district's final case.
    • Case 112 (Case 56 Pacific Bay) has half of your team members flagged as suspect, eventually culminating in Frank Knight, one of the player's partners, being convicted the district killer. During the trial his ex-wife arrives and helped him escape arrest, perhaps marking the very first time in Criminal Case history where the killer remains a fugitive by the end of the episode.
  • Your Size May Vary: It's not very obvious since none of the characters are ever shown in their full size, but the heights does seem inconsistent. For example, in dialogue scenes, everyone is drawn at the same level, but the police lineup clearly shows (most of) the suspects to stand at differing heights. Also, all mugshot images have the exact same background lines, which puts every single suspects at 6' tall, even though that is very obviously not the case.

    Grimsborough arc 
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Lydia Holly is this to Jones during one of Case 8's side-quests, where she requests that you find her binoculars that she'd accidentally dropped in the alleyway, and that she now wants a "handsome policeman" to retrieve for her, hence her calling the two of you.
    Jones: (nervously) (player's name) and I will find them fast. Like, really, really fast, right, (player's name)?
  • A God Am I: The leader of The Crimson Order claims to be the god of Grimsborough. During his trial, he angrily declares that they should be worshiping him instead of locking him away.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Of all people, The Rorschach Reaper somewhat gets this treatment. It's complicated example, too, as she can also be seen as Asshole Victim given that she's a Serial Killer. But after the team discovered why she's killed, that she attempted to seek the truth about her ancestor's death and indirectly exposed the Crimson Order who responsible for said ancestor's death, she becomes less of an asshole. Even her sister who initially openly hated her for being a killer later admits that she does feel sad over her death.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Rose Cassidy paid no mind to Big Baby's love confession, since she was already in love with Chad Whickman. Trixie was also murdered because her crush rejected her.
  • Amoral Attorney: At the end of Case 15, one of these, Gerald Young, comes forward to represent the killer and appeal the sentence, arguing that the case against his client has irregularities. Fortunately, Judge Hall throws out the appeal and upholds the killer's sentence.
  • And I Must Scream: The victims in Cases 19 and 32 were both unconscious at the time they were put into the situations that resulted in their deaths. Case 19's victim was buried in concrete, which got into her airway and filled her throat while it was being poured into the pit where she was later found; Case 32's victim was put near an anthill and the ants got into her nose and mouth and constricted her breathing.
  • Animal Motif: Guess what the Vipers' motif is.
  • Arc Words: "The right thing," during the University arc.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: The murderer in Case #40 is willing to kill just to make sure that her lesbian relationship remains hidden
  • Artistic License – Law: Even after being sentenced to life imprisonment at the end of Case 21, Alden Greene is somehow able to post bail and appear as a suspect in a later case in the Maple Heights arc. Bail is only payable before the defendant's trial begins, and then it's only a guarantee that the defendant will actually show up for the trial; once sentence has been passed, bail is irrelevant, and if the sentence is a custodial one (i.e. one that includes jail time), the defendant can't pay bail to be released from prison. In this particular case, it's probably to show that the individual is just that much monied and well-connected.
  • Bag of Holding: In Case 3, you and Jones have to search the victim's book-bag for clues. The bag, which itself counts as a hidden-items crime scene, contains all manner of stuff, although admittedly only three sections of the bag are shown open. The items include: a sheriff's badge, a bar of chocolate, a spray-paint can, a six-sided die, a pen, a coin, a knife, a wad of cash, an envelope, a lollipop, a toothbrush, a baseball, a pair of scissors, a hamburger, a cellular phone, a paint-tube, a spoon, a bottle, a table-tennis racket, a letter-opener, a knuckle-duster, a pack of chewing gum, a purse with cosmetics, a watch, a notebook, a wrench...you know what, just look here.
  • The Bartender: Alice August is the barmaid for Tony Marconi's nightclub in Case 8.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Jones remarked that the victim of Case 43 still looks "dashingly handsome" even after being cut in half.
  • Beauty Mark: Ginger the prostitute has one on the left side of her face, just near her mouth.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Greene Bank, and its owner Alden Greene, act as this for Shaun Crosby in Case 13, because they reportedly increased the interest on the loans that were made out by individuals in his father's market district when the residents refused to accept a buyout from the bank. One bank employee recalls that Shaun once flung a garbage can through one of their windows in a rage over the matter.
    • Do not, under any circumstances, eat food over any of librarian Constance Bell's books, or even worse, LEAVE FOOD STAINS ON THEM, if you want to keep her from going ballistic.
  • Black and White Morality: The general view espoused by Judge Olivia Hall and the members of the Grimsborough police team. However, elsewhere in the city the people's views come in differing shades of gray.
  • Blood-Splattered Innocents: The victim of Case 41 was killed using an exploding tiara while being crowned Prom Queen, and her blood splashed all over her boyfriend, who was the prom king.
  • Body Horror: In Case 21. Rachel was injected with an experimental Super Soldier serum, which caused her bones to grow to exponential size. However, since the serum was intended for men, it caused her body to be torn apart from the inside.
  • Break the Cutie: Sarah Mills, an 8-years-old girl from Case #40. First, her nanny is murdered. Then, we've also found out her parents are emotionally abusive. For starter, her mother can get easily mad for her freaking Teddy Bear doll.
  • Big Bad: Milton Grimmes, the leader of the Crimson Order, controls Grimsborough from behind the shadows and their illicit activities are responsible for most of the deaths the player had to investigate throughout the first season.
  • Body in a Breadbox: Corpses can be found in some...weird places. As an early example, Case 3's victim was found hanging on a hook in a butcher's warehouse.
  • Boom, Headshot: Case 51's victim got a bullet right between the eyes.
  • Broken Pedestal: Case 6's victim was a known member of the Grimsborough PD, whom the team later finds out to have been corrupt. His partner, and apparently former mentee, had looked up to him, but ended up accidentally killing him after the victim refused to change his ways.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Joey Manzano, according to club owner Nina Hunt.
    Nina: He spent the night using my waitresses' notepads to give his number to women!
  • Chekhov's Gun: The inkblot test which appears several time as an inconspicuous non-clue in various crime scenes of the University District is later revealed to be a part of the Roscharch Reaper's MO.
  • Consummate Liar: Mikhail Levin. Jones tried to interrogate him using a lie detector, and asked hundreds of questions, but only managed to get 2 straight answers from him.
    Jones: I'll give him this: he sure knows how to lie!
  • The Corrupter: The Rorschach Reaper uses hypnosis and psychologically-specific speeches on selected targets and prompts them to murder people they've got a particular beef with. However, the Reaper later claims that this is More Than Mind Control, since the affected parties in question always had it in them to murder. The Reaper also manages to do this with Jones in an attempt to kill your player character.
  • Crapsack World: Every level you play has a murder as the main mystery for you to solve. Plus there's a lot of gang warfare and mob rivalry going on in Grimsborough, at least one Dirty Cop has affected the Grimsborough P.D., and the rich care more about their money and status than about the feelings or welfare of others.
  • Crazy Homeless People: Linda Lovara. She's a fundamentalist Christian, she lives in an abandoned car park, she's known to get violent when high on a mixture of alcohol and prescription pills, she had a therapist who encouraged her craziness...
  • Cut Himself Shaving: In Case 5, Dimitri Balanchine gives exactly this explanation for the scars on the side of his face when you and Jones question him in relation to the case.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Elvira Milton, the gothic girl from Case #26. She is the friendliest and most cooperative suspect in said case. She's also appreciative on Alex Turner's fanboying her grandfather.
  • Dean Bitterman: Donna Walker, the dean of Grimsborough University, is revealed to have a special hatred for the members of the school's Psi Sigma Gamma sorority, including its president Madison Springer, all of whom she classes as narcissists and opportunists who only exist to crush others and be congratulated for it; in Madison's case, Ms. Walker gave her multiple notices for sneaking out of the dorm at night. As it turns out, Ms. Walker's hatred stems from an incident in her past, back when she was a student at the university—she was the victim of hazing by the members of the sorority at the time, which consisted of forcing her to drink excessive amounts of alcohol that resulted in her being in a coma for four days. What especially angered her was that the dean at the time did nothing to punish the sorority members for the incident.
  • Death from Above: Case 22's victim, a stage actor, had a sandbag dropped on his head. Case 28's victim died a similar death, only in his case the item was a chandelier.
  • Delayed Oh Crap: Jones has one in Case 13, when you and he find a bomb hidden in a car trunk.
    Jones: Here it is! We found the bomb, we...HOLY SH*T, we found the bomb!
  • Dead Guy on Display: How several of the victims' bodies are found, but Cases 14, 24 and 36 in particular play it very straight—Case 14's victim is put on display in her clothing store and another character mistakes her for a realistic mannequin; Case 24's victim was cut open, stuffed, and put on display in a museum; and Case 36's victim was run through with a pitchfork and then disguised as a scarecrow.
  • Dies Wide Open: Case 51's victim, who was shot in the head, has his eyes open when he's presented in his body-bag.
  • Dirty Cop: Case 6's victim, Ed Gillespie, is known to visit hookers and bet on dogfights, among other things.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Case 12's victim, a stockbroker, constantly bragged about a new deal he'd made with the wealthy Alden Greene. His rival's response? Disembowel him and hang him up on display.
  • Dominatrix: Jezabela, who runs the eponymous "Jezabela's Dungeon" and who even wields a riding crop in her avatar picture. She's also implied to have had some...kinky history with Jones, which he's not too eager to delve into.
  • The Don:
    • Anton Levin, the victim in Case 5, was the head of the local Russian mafia.
    • There's also Tony Marconi, the leader of a Mafia group, whom the police never managed to arrest until the Player Character comes along.
  • Down in the Dumps: One case has you visiting a suspect in the local slum district, while a few others force you to scrounge through the sewers for clues.
  • Dueling Hackers: A non-malicious one occurs in Case 33, in which Alex tried to hack into a suspect's online profile, only to be counter-hacked by The @rtist. The latter reveals that she was only trying to get the police attention so that she could assist the team.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Jones comes to see the Greene family as this in Case 15, as they don't seem to be particularly affected by the murder of their own kin, and are more concerned about the possible scandal this death may cause.
    Jones: Okay, seriously, what is WRONG with the Greene family? They all sound like cold-hearted monsters!
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Archibald Ashworth from Maple Heights is a weird old patriarch who loves his bees more than anything else. When told that his grandson had been brutally murdered, Archibald's reaction was very nonchalant, and even glad that there's less of his greedy relatives trying to fight over his riches; but when one of his bees died, he went completely berserk.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Although Tony Marconi is a mob boss, and is suspected in orchestrating a number of crimes, in Case 8 he flatly tells Jones that he would never beat a defenseless woman to death with a hammer, especially if she was one of his strippers and was profitable to him.
    Marconi: You don't hit women. You just don't...
    • Troy Cassidy, the leader of the Skulls, makes it clear to the police in Case 9 that, although Chad Whickman was a former Viper, he wouldn't have killed Chad since he knew his sister Rose was in love with the victim.
    Troy: I'd never hurt my lil' sista like that. Family before honor, that's the Skulls way.
  • Evil Redheads: Well, Bulldog's got red hair, and drug dealers aren't normally classed as law-abiding citizens...
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Kelly Speltz, one of the suspects in Case 21. She's been known to perform illegal experiments on animals which she claims will make humanity better than it is now and she also created the serum that killed Rachel Priest.
    Speltz: People don't recognize my genius often enough. They call my work inhumane and try to have me shut down. Such as that rotten reporter, Rachel Priest. She even tried to have me stop experimenting on animals! I don't even know what she's talking about! My latest guard dog has survived every single experiment so far. No, people like Rachel don't realize I'm doing the work of God: I'm trying to create a new better, stronger humanity!
  • Finger in the Mail:
    Mrs. Carter: (in hysterics) They gave me my daughter's heart so I would EAT it!!!
    • Case 20 kicks off when you and Jones receive a severed finger in a package.
  • Fishing for Sole: In Case 43, the unfortunate Jones discovers the victim this way.
  • Flat Character: Rosa Wolfe, the victim in Case 1's Justified Tutorial, and Matt Barry, her killer. The only thing we know about either of them is that Matt is a football player, but other than that, nothing.
  • Frameup: Colin Stokes, the Stalker with a Crush in Case 8, accuses you and Jones of "planting" Trixie Velvet's necklace in his studio to set him up as the one responsible for her murder.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Case 48's victim was shot through the ribs with a hair-removal laser.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Case 14's killer deliberately sought to invoke this, since he wanted to be remembered as more than just an ordinary guy.
    "Oh, here comes Odell with his cleaning trolley, haha, he's so poor." Now look who's laughing!]]
    • Adam Bentley, an uprising socialite whose background is completely unknown, and has befriended several rich and powerful individuals, most of whom ended up dead. Chief King is particularly wary of him, especially since he's starting to get a little too close to the mayor.
    Chief King: This conman has managed to fool the mayor! A perfect stranger of whom we know virtually nothing about has been gravitating around the most important person in this town!
Later subverted, as it turns out that Adam is just a former Foster Kid who changed his identity to fit in the glamorous community of Maple Heights, and nobody there actually takes him seriously.
  • Frozen Face: Case 33's victim was found with a hideous grin on his face.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Ramirez' frying pan is much more useful than his gun. He even saved the Player Character's life twice with it. The first one he used to knock out a mind-controlled Jones, the second one he used to distract the Crimson Order's Leader.
  • Full Name Ultimatum: We learn Jones' middle name (Jeremiah) in case 35, thanks to a furious Grace who's angry at him because her fiance is a suspect in the case.
  • Gang of Hats: The Vipers and the Skulls. The former gang's members all wear blue and have tattoos of a snake somewhere on their person; the latter gang's members all wear red and carry tattoos of a flaming skull.
  • Genius Bruiser: Chad Baker, a recurring character in the University arc, is introduced as a quarterback understudy for Grimsborough's local football team, the Quails. He's also revealed to be a student at Grimsborough University, and is knowledgeable in electronics.
  • Geographic Flexibility: It's never stated where exactly Grimsborough is supposed to be, but it's got all manner of elements that are just convenient for whatever the plot of a given case requires. For example, one case in the Maple Heights arc has a bridge as one of the scenes with hidden items to find; the bridge itself is a clear expy of the Golden Gate Bridge, which would mean Grimsborough is a stand-in for San Francisco, or is at least located somewhere in the state of California. On the other hand, Grimsborough has only one university to its name, whereas San Franciso proper has several such institutes of learning. As well, the design for Grimsborough's City Hall (seen only in cutscenes) is clearly based on the White House, which is located in Washington, DC, and Grimsborough has an Amish community that's introduced during Case 36, but California's not on the list of U.S. states with significant Amish populations.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Rachel Priest is at this for most of the Financial Center arc, digging around to find any major dirt on Alden Greene.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: The victim in Case 11 had his skull cracked when a bottle was smashed over his head.
  • Harmful to Minors: Isaac Hersberger, an 8-years-old Amish boy, witness the whole murder in Case #36. It's even worse when you found who the murderer is.
  • Haunted House: Hector Fernandez's house, in Case 28, was purported to be one of these after his infant son died under mysterious circumstances there. It was a lie he made up to cover up his negligence, and his wife didn't take it well when she found out.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Troy Cassidy quits gang life to become an inventor, after you return a motorcycle blueprint to him during a side-quest in Case 11.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Ginger, a prostitute in Tony Marconi's employ and an old friend of Jones's.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The Rorschach Reaper believes this, even expounding on this after finally being caught and put on trial.
    Rorschach Reaper: A murderer sleeps in every one of us, your honor!
  • Hypocrite: The murderer in Case #36, an Amish citizen, claimed that murdering person is against the Amish rules, but he still murdered person anyway.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: During one side-quest, a former suspect rages about how Officer Ramirez misplaced some information on the location of the hospital where his wife is expected to be giving birth. Jones tears into the man immediately, telling him to be careful how he talks about Ramirez because the beat cop is an essential part of the force...despite how Jones himself has insulted Ramirez's incompetence multiple times before.
    Jones: (chagrined) I can't believe I just took Ramirez's defense. Oh, stop laughing, (player's name)!
  • I Did What I Had to Do: The killer's Motive Rant in Case 38 includes this, word for word. So does the killer's explanation to Judge Hall in Case 42.
  • I Have No Son: Anton Levin, the victim in Case 5, did not have a good relationship with his son Mikhail; so much so, in fact, that he had already disowned the younger man prior to the start of the case. However, when interrogated, Mikhail claims that he didn't care about being disowned, since he had already come to hate his father anyway.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Jones gets Case 10's murderer to incriminate himself this way.
    Jones: You're under arrest for the murder of Alan Cardwell!
    Killer: Based on what, exactly? You've got nothing against me!
    Jones: I bet you won't look so smug when we show the court the fingerprints we found on the murder weapon.
    Killer: You lie! There weren't any prints on that candlestick.
    Jones: Good job, you caught my bluff. But how did you know the murder weapon was a candlestick? Nobody but us knew that fact.
  • I Read It for the Articles: In Case 8, Jones uses a variation of this as his excuse for how he knows the murder victim was a stripper at Marconi's night-club.
    Jones: What? I used to go there for the music!
  • Identical Grandson: When the Crimson Order's existence became known, we are introduced to several minor characters who were involved in the organizations' activities during their first establishment 400 years ago, and most of them looks exactly the same as their descendants, but with differing outfits. For example, one of the suspects in Case 54, Kirk De Haan is just a modern version his ancestor, Geert De Haan, in a suit and cowboy hat.
  • Idiot Ball: Ramirez frequently mishandles evidence due to his bumbling attitude and general clumsiness, much to Jones' exasperation.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Case 20's killer admits to having ate the victim's liver after torturing and killing him.
    Killer: There is nothing like human liver to enhance the taste of caviar...
  • Justified Tutorial: The game's first case serves as this, with Jones as the tutor.
  • The Informant: Bart Williams. Jones has little tolerance or patience for him, but his information is always valuable.
  • It's All About Me: What Case 8's Motive Rant basically boils down to, when the reason for Trixie's murder is revealed.
    Killer: I got...I got so ANGRY, you know? How could she lie to me? How could she REJECT me?!
  • It's Up to You: Deliberately invoked by Jones concerning you, several times, when he presses you to investigate certain crime scenes that he'd rather not get involved with himself (though he winds up accompanying you anyway). Played for comedy a lot of times, such as when you have to investigate a sewer to find critical clues to aid your investigation.
  • Jerk Jock: Chad Baker comes across this way, especially during Case 38, where he claims not to care about girls who don't care about football. He gets Character Development as the arc goes on, though.
  • Kick the Dog: Vanessa Carter, the victim's mother in Case 3, is already drowning in grief over her daughter's murder when she discovers that her daughter's heart has been packaged together with some meat she'd bought sometime after the killing. The killer intended for her to eat her own daughter's heart.
  • Kill It with Fire: Salvador Cordero, the Vipers' leader, likes to kill people by dousing them in gasoline and setting them on fire. Incidentally, Case 9's murder was the result of the victim, Chad Whickman, being killed exactly this way.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Happens to Case 41's victim moments after being crowned Prom Queen.
    Victim: I can't believe it, it's the happiest day of my lif— (tiara suddenly explodes and blows her head off)
  • The Killer Was Left-Handed: You make this discovery about the killer in Case 4. Three of that case's suspects are left-handed.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Four are shown in Case 8: Lydia Holly, Alice August, Colin Stokes, and—surprisingly—Tony Marconi.
  • King of the Homeless: One-tooth Sam, the "mayor" of Cooperville, Grimsborough's shantytown district.
  • Living a Double Life: Madison Springer, the popular cheerleader and head of the Psi Sigma Gamma Sorority, Madison Springer, is revealed to be an Amish.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Case 11, Marconi files a restraining order forbidding Jones to come near him or his club. What does Jones do? He sends you and Ramirez to Marconi instead, since the terms of the restraining order only explicitly speak to Jones.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch:
    • Madison Springer in University Arc started as stereotypical Alpha Bitch with some shades of Bitch in Sheep's Clothing since Jones didn't like her not-so-innocent smile, making her look like Stepford Smiler as well somehow. However, after we later find out she was born from Amish family, she becomes nicer and Jones admit he shouldn't judge her by her appearance and there's more from her that most people don't know about. And then she died in the arc finale.
    • Lola Vallez, a glamoured celebrity in Maple Heights. Most of her bitchiness are also stereotypical of young adult actress. But she's also kind and cooperative in any investigation she's involved. She's also appreciative on Ramirez's Celebrity Crush on her, although at first she found him weird and creepy.
  • Lovable Jock: Chad Baker, the Grimsborough University football player from University Arc. He is aloof and stoic, although still cooperative, in his first appearance. In his next appearance, he is more friendly to Jones and the player character. He also genuinely loves Madison, although perhaps because Madison's Amish lineage, she never admitted that she loved him, too.
  • Love Confession: Big Baby, a member of the Vipers, sent a letter confessing his affection for Rose, the sister of the Skulls' leader Troy Cassidy; however, Rose ignored the letter. Also, Alice August murdered Trixie for rejecting her confession.
  • Love Triangle: The motive for several of the murders in the game. Case 3's victim was sleeping with the killer's boyfriend, and the girlfriend in question did not take it well. Anton Levin was sleeping with and impregnated his son's girlfriend. Case 10's victim, a married man, was killed by one of his mistress's lover's jealous fling.
  • Mad Bomber: The killer in Case 13 offs the victim with an explosive, then plants a few more around Grimsborough, sending the police force into a panic. One bomb is even deliberately rigged not to go off when its timer runs out, as a way of taunting the cops though Alex later discovers that you would've gotten blown up if you HAD tried to disarm that bomb.
  • Magical Computer: The @rtist is able to halt Alex's hacking into a local online networking site to see the victim's account in Case 33, but only does so because, as explained to the team, the police's software is too obvious on the site's network.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Case 49's killer attempts this by frightening a horse with an explosive and a beehive in its stall, resulting in the horse rearing up and smashing the victim's skull with its hooves.
  • Mama Bear: Hector Fernandez's wife dropped a chandelier on him after his negligence caused her child's death a few days earlier.
  • Man Behind the Man: The Rorschach Reaper manipulated the killers in Cases 32, 35 and 38, but later claims it was More Than Mind Control.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: James Savage, a hunter who lives alone with his dog in the woods and is a supporting character during the Historical Center arc. He's considered very creepy by the locals, and he'll chase you off with a shotgun if you come on his property uninvited, but he genuinely cares for animals and is willing to be civil to your player character and Jones.
  • The Mob Boss Is Scarier: Comes up twice so far.
    • Ash Bison explains to you and Jones that he would never go against Tony Marconi because people who do end up dead.
    • Susan Huckabee killed her brother Stuart in order to protect her family from The Crimson Order. She's given the chance to get a reduced sentence if she'll testify against them, but she flat out refuses because she's more afraid of what the Order will do to her family than she is of a life sentence.
  • Mock Millionaire: Implied to be the case with Adam Bentley. He's not exactly penniless, but he definitely isn't as rich as the society of Maple Heights require him to be, and is revealed to have owed money from various locals because he couldn't afford the lifestyle.
  • My Beloved Smother: Daniel Taylor, Case 23's victim, had an aunt who, when you and Jones meet her, proves to be...demanding.
    Victoria Taylor: Daniel always said he wanted to see the world, to "escape". Escape his duties, more like! My health is troubling me; all I asked was that he be there in case of trouble. But he could never be bothered! He said his "job" is taking up his time. Ha! As if waiting tables at the tea parlor could ever last till 10pm, like last night!
    Jones: (afterward) Well, (player's name), I can't really blame Daniel for wanting to escape his aunt's house! Living with her can't have been easy everyday!
  • Nerd: How Jones classifies Bart Williams and Alex after discovering that both of them obsess over a particular limited-edition doll—sorry, "action figure."
    Jones: Nerds...nerds everywhere...
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Tess Goodwin, one of several recurring characters during the University arc, is this in spades. Compare her usual look with her look as a cosplayer and her appearance for the prom.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Rachel Priest is an amoral news reporter, more interested in digging up dirt on people and finding the next big scoop than in the welfare of her cameramen and other assistants. As soon as she is killed, she's talked up like she was practically a saint.
  • Noodle Incident: Jezabela and Jones are hinted to have some history together...and she almost blabs about their past as a way of blackmailing him into finding a lost item of hers during one of Case 20's side-quests.
    Jones: Jezabela, we're police, not your personal Lost and Found service!
    Jezabela: Now, Jones, I've known you to be more...cooperative. Do you remember when—
    Jones: (a bit too quickly) But I guess this time we can make an exception!!!
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Ramirez is hilariously treated this way by Jones in Case #17, although Jones immediately dropped this as soon as Ramirez suggested him to investigate a restaurant.
    Ramirez: Hey! I want to brainstorm too! I read the statement of her husband and-
    Jones: Ramirez, this is a grown-up discussion. Don't you have some parking tickets to fill?
    Ramirez: Hey, I can be useful! I did my own research and the posh resaurant Gabriel and Daisy usually went to for lunch is called "Chez Valentine".
    Jones: ...! Chez Valentine! I've always wanted to go there, now at least I've got a reason to take a look at their kitchen!
  • Not So Different: In Case 11, Tony Marconi says this of himself and Jones on being arrested for Salvador Cordero's murder, which he committed to stop Salvador from raping Ginger. Jones begs to differ.
    Marconi: You know, Jones, you and I, we're alike: we both do whatever it takes to protect our community.
    Jones: You've got it all wrong, Marconi: you think you're above the law, and I'm here to remind you the law is above EVERYBODY!
  • Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: In Case 11, Jones tries to argue this after being told that Tony Marconi's lawyers have filed a restraining order against him. Chief King isn't having it.
    Chief King: ENOUGH! He's legally allowed to do so and even I understand him: you've let your personal hatred for Marconi dictate your actions and you pushed it too far! Jones, from now on you stay well away from Marconi and his club or you'll be put on leave, you hear?
  • Overprotective Dad: Alcott Milton is this for his granddaughter Elvira, in Case 26.
  • Papa Wolf: Subverted with One-tooth Sam, the "mayor" of the homeless community Cooperville; when Vipers leader Salvador Cordero attacked one of the girls living in the area, Sam armed himself with a knife and prepared to go and kill the gang leader, but on reaching the Vipers' hangout and seeing Salvador, he lost his nerve and fled (it didn't help that he was already an old man suffering from asthma).
  • Pet the Dog: Tony Marconi killed Salvador Cordero after catching him hitting Ginger. Then after being jailed, Marconi leaves his nightclub for Ginger. As Jones put it, it took a lot of the fun out of finally busting him.
  • Piranha Problem: The focus of Case 38, as the victim was half-Eaten Alive by a school of these. It's quickly determined that it wasn't an accident, as the fish were taken out of a science-project tank and the victim was deliberately cut on her leg to ensure the piranha would attack her.
  • Playing with Syringes: Case 21's murder weapon is a syringe with a deadly experimental serum, while Case 45's murder weapon is a collagen-filled syringe (the victim was stabbed with several of these). Kelly Speltz, being an Evilutionary Biologist, also does this often.
  • Police Are Useless: Most citizens of Grimsborough don't think too highly of the local police department, especially when it comes to complaints getting addressed quickly. This is mostly caused by Ramirez misfiling the aforementioned reports, or because Jones often gets overly emotional and tactless when dealing with suspects.
  • Power Hair: Martha Price, the representative of the Blue Party and Mayor Johnson's political rival, has short blonde hair with her bangs neatly parted in the middle.
  • Prison Rape: Jones announces that Bulldog and Mikhail Levin should watch out for this after being arrested and sent to prison.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Dr. Lawrence Bishop, one of the suspects in Case 7, is revealed to be this, by virtue of being a fundamentalist Christian and being on the same medication he prescribed to his patients. That he encouraged Linda Lovara's madness while she was his patient really doesn't help his case.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Jones's response to Chad Whickman's (admittedly bad) poetry to his girlfriend Rose.
    Jones: "Skulls are red, Vipers are blue, gang war sucks, but I love you so much." ...What. The. Hell is THAT?
  • Reading Your Rights: Several times, Jones reads the Miranda Rights when arresting the case's killer.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Case 50's victim was eaten by a giant boa.
  • Rich Bitch: In Case 14, mall cleaner Odell Toole describes Lucy Campbell, a clothing store owner and the murder victim, as this. Case 15's victim, Aileen Greene (Alden Greene's daughter-in-law), is also revealed to have behaved this way.
    Odell Toole: (about Lucy Campbell) Lucy owned this shop, and she wouldn't let you forget it. She looked down on a LOT of people, it's no wonder one of them decided to off her.
  • Safe, Sane and Consensual: BDSM mistress Jezabela insists her fetish parties operate under this, when you question her in Case 20.
    Jezabela: I own a club for adults who enjoy a little domination, but they are not murderers.
  • Secretly Wealthy: One-tooth Sam, who resides in a homeless district and behaves like a typical hobo, but is revealed to be a millionaire who had renounced his wealth.
  • Serious Business: The annual Dog Pageant, which is the subject of the Historic Center story arc, proves to be this for Margaret Littlewood, who's willing to commit murder in order to ensure victory in the competition.
  • Scary Black Man: Biff Wellington, which is kind of necessary for his job as a security officer. In terms of people he considers friends, though, he's a Gentle Giant.
  • Scary Librarian: Constance Bell. She used to browbeat Jones, when he was much younger, over returning library books late or being too loud in the library, and even years after the fact, her use of the Full Name Ultimatum is enough to set Jones on edge when you and he go to see her in Case 26. As well, by her own admission, she was trained in voodoo at a young age, and claimed to have set a curse on the case's victim to give him perpetual bad luck until he returned overdue library books. And then there's her Berserk Button about people leaving food stains on books they've borrowed from her—she threatens in a screeching voice to set a curse on the person responsible, prompting Jones to grab you and beat a very hasty retreat.
  • Eye Scream: Freddy Stewart, the victim in Case 18, was shot in the left eye with a crossbow.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: Your character gets thrust into this role, ostensibly to help with the growing case-load the Grimsborough police department has to contend with. Fortunately, you are partnered with Jones to help you out and provide support.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Alden Greene. This is also the attitude of the affluent Maple Heights residents, as Case 42's killer alleges.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: General James Marsh, one of the suspects in Case 21, calls in Mayor Johnson to convince you not to keep him on your suspects' list.
    Mayor Johnson: You're being horribly misled in thinking that General Marsh is a possible suspect in your murder case. He's just been promoted as head of the army's chemical testing unit! And he hasn't come as far by making any mistakes. I can count on you, can't I, (player's name)? It would be a shame not to have such a powerful man on our side.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Shaun Crosby, in Case 13. On being told that his father, the victim of that case and also a war veteran, was killed in an explosion, Shaun's immediate reaction is to panic and ask if they're under attack and if reinforcements are needed. Jones notes that it must be a sign of PTSD.
  • Slashed Throat: The victim in case 52 is given a Colombian Necktie.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: There are a couple of examples throughout the game of people who are very knowledgeable in their areas of expertise and who wear glasses. One example is Tess Goodwin, a student at Grimsborough University, who majors in psychology.
  • Soft Glass: Averted in Case 11, as the victim was murdered by having a glass bottle smashed over his head, cracking his skull.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Colin Stokes is revealed to have been this for Trixie Velvet, Case 8's victim.
  • Stealth Insult: Ash Bison, the former leader of the Vipers gang, pulls this during Case 1's side-quest, when you and Jones interrogate him about the activities of his organization. Eventually, he offers up information:
    Ash Bison: All right, (player's rank), you got me! We've changed leaders recently. The new guy's name is... Keath Myass!
    Jones: Great! (player's name), let's go talk to this Keath... Keath My... (realizes) Oh you little...That's it! (player's name), put this jerk behind bars!
  • Steel Ear Drums: Averted in Case 13, in which the victim died after being blown up by a bomb; Nathan points out that the perpetrator, as well as anyone less than 30 feet away from the blast, would suffer some hearing loss.
  • The Stoner: Tom Hunt.
    (player's name), why are you all purple? And why do you have wings, such pretty, pretty wings...
  • Supreme Chef:
    • Margaret Littlewood, of whose baking Jones is a fan.
    • Also, the killer in Case 17 has to be a very good cook to be able to poison the food without it being noticed by the victim.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Jones gives one in Case 8 when he suggests that you should go back to Marconi's stripper club to find more clues, while insisting that it's certainly not to go see the club's cute barmaid (who happens to be a suspect).
    Jones: (blushing) No, it's not at all to see Alice! I'm sure there's an important clue hidden in this club!
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: How the murders in Cases 17, 31 and 42 are committed. In the first two cases, the food was poisoned; in the third case, razor-blades were hidden inside the cake the victim was eating, and the victim only died because he was a Big Eater who basically gobbled down his food without chewing properly.
  • Tattooed Crook: All members of the local Vipers and Skulls gangs have a tattoo of, respectively, a curled-up snake and a flaming skull somewhere on their bodies. Also, Bulldog has a tattoo of the letter B with a spiked collar around it, on his neck.
  • Teens Are Short: From Case 18, Ramona Stewart (16 years old) has exactly the same height with Julian Ramis, who is 4 years younger than her.
  • Tempting Fate: Case 16 starts this way.
    Jones: I don't care if a psychopath with a chainsaw runs right past us, I'm not doing anything until we've eaten our hot dogs!
    (cue victim being shoved out of a nearby tower window)
  • Town with a Dark Secret: During the aftermath of Case 51's, a certain Stuard Huckabee hints that there may be a reason why so many murders take place in Grimsborough. This "dark secret" manifests in the form of a notorious secret society called the Crimson Order. The organization apparently controls Grimsborough's finances through their illicit gold mining, and would kill anyone who stands against them.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In his back-story, One-tooth Sam bought his wife an expensive jewel. Some time afterward, she took sick and died despite his efforts to save her, leading him to renounce his wealth and give it all away - but he couldn't bring himself to part with the jewel, so he locked it in a box and hid it in the sewers instead.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Case 47's killer did this to the victim's plane by pouring fake de-icing fluid into the plane's engine, causing the victim to crash the plane at the site of his own wedding party (on the day of his wedding, no less).
  • Vice City: Grimsborough. Aside from the constancy of murders always being the main mysteries of each case, there are several instances of gang violence and frequent conflict among said gangs, mob activity, prostitution, mentally-disturbed residents, drug-dealing, a whole community of homeless people with their own unofficial mayor, at least one case of police corruption, rampant instances of infidelity, and basic lack of compassion from the richer residents.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Rorschach Reaper completely loses it when Ramirez knocks Jones unconscious to save the player.
    Rorschach Reaper: WHAT DID YOU DO?! You ruined everything! (player's name)'s death was going to be my masterpiece! YOU DESTROYED MY WORK!
  • We Can Rule Together: Alden Greene tries this with your player character at the end of Case 21, but it doesn't take.
    Jones: Don't try that trick with us, Alden! Unlike some people in this city, (player's rank and name) has moral values!
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: During one of Case 41's side-quests, a teacher at Grimsborough University is determined that no more of the school's students are going to be killed...so she submits a safety-measures proposal to the dean that consists of hourly helicopter patrols, cameras in the bathrooms, students being required to carry circulation permits, and a stipulation that notifications of schedule changes are to be given two days beforehand.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: During Case 51, you find evidence that the Red Party and Blue Party are really the same thing and both are being controlled from behind the scenes. You later find out that The Crimson Order is behind everything, and that the Red Party's Howard Johnson is a member - but Martha Price and the Blue Party cease to be mentioned after the end of Case 51, even though logically Martha would be a member as well.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jones gets this twice.
    • One side-quest in Case 5 involves figuring out whether the food at Dimitri Balanchine's restaurant is safe for consumption. When test results show that the food is safe, Jones grumbles about how the test result will exempt Balanchine from being prosecuted (since Balanchine has criminal connections). Grace immediately calls him out on this attitude, pointing out that Jones ought to be happy nobody's getting sick as a result of eating Balanchine's food.
    Grace: I've got some good news! The food samples you gave me are clean!
    Jones: (outraged) Dammit! I can't believe this obnoxious douchebag is getting out of trouble again!
    Grace: (frowning) Uh...Jones...should you not just be happy people won't get sick after eating there?
    Jones: Mmph...I guess you're right.
    • In Case 11, Chief King takes Jones to task for allowing his investigation into Tony Marconi to get too personal, threatening him with suspension if Jones violates the restraining order that's been taken out against him.
  • Your Head Asplode: Case 41's victim got her head blown off after her tiara was rigged to explode.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Some of the victims got killed due to an affair they were involved in. Examples include Cases 3, 5 and 10; and in all the three aforementioned cases, the killers' lover was having an affair with the victim.

    Pacific Bay arc 
  • Back for the Dead: Inverted with Shelly Dulard, who came back from a district-long absence, then turned out to be the murderer in the same case that she returned in.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: In Inner City, it seems that one particular suspect will be involved in the final case of the district. As it turns out, that suspect is the killer of the penultimate case of the district. And he dies.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Between Russell and Amy, in Case 56's finale. With animation and everything.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Utopian cult, who runs a brainwashing conspiracy, could make their victims do outrageous things. This can go from pretty harmless stuffs like stealing and destroying a movie script to actually kidnapping a team member and holding them at gunpoint.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: After solving Case 22, Frank will say that he's going to either get a beer or go to bed... or perhaps he'll have a beer in bed.
  • Church of Happyology: The Ivywood Hills is run by a cult (that is very obviously based on Scientology) called "The Utopians" who promises aspiring celebrities a life of eternal youth and fame for a fee. They are also responsible for more heinous activities such as brainwashing.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Unlike Grimsborough, Pacific Bay appears to be a generally peaceful place with many beautiful tourist attractions, but also hides many deadly conflicts and dark secrets, such as the fake voodoo craze in Bayou Bleu, the Chinese-Russian conflict and anarchy in Inner City, the man-made hurricanes and Serial Killer in Jazz Town, the Night Walker Urban Legend of White Peaks, and the Utopian cult in Ivywood.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Luz Lucha, a suspect in Case 33, is revealed to have a skull-shaped birthmark on her forehead, which is why she wears a mask throughout most of her entire appearances in the case.
  • Fan Disservice: Briefly played in Case 14, Spineless, where the player character found a picture of Shelly Dullard (who is fat and not at all pretty) in a sexy/seductive pose. Lampshaded by Frank Knight.
    Frank: Yikes, this can't be unseen!
  • Foreshadowing: When we meet Amy and Duncan's mother — Miriam Young, Frank wonders how a such a harpy can raise to decent kids without one of them ending up as a sociopath. In the very next case, it was revealed that Duncan is the Night Walker, after all.
  • Got Volunteered: When the Pacific Bay police station was attacked by looters in chapter 22, Of Rats and Men, Chief Marquez asked for a volunteer to assess the station's damage. Roxie and Hannah immediately nominates Frank for the task without his consent.
  • House Husband: One of the suspects in Case 36 (who happens to be the victim's husband) had to leave his job to raise his child by himself because his wife is a very busy movie director.
  • I Just Want to Be Beautiful: Velma Bannister is a beautiful Femme Fatale who is used to charming her ways to get what she wants. When she realized that her sex appeal is only going to fade as she gets older, she decided to usurp the Utopians' brainwashing plans and use her own brainwash tape to ensure that everyone in Ivywood will worship her beauty forever.
  • Recycled In Space: An In-Universe example. A film producer in Case 31 wanted to make a TV show featuring the player character's investigations called "Criminal Space", where the investigations will be set in space.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Played in Case 37, where the murder victim is a poor artist trying to pursue romance with an actress, who is already engaged to a wealthy but possessive movie producer. Unlike most examples, however, the actress decided that she loves her glamorous lifestyle (and, by extension, her rich fiance) more than she does the poor suitor and killed him to cut off her ties with him.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The murderer in Case 7 of Pacific Bay killed a bank representative to stop her from demolishing the local theme park only to have the owner of the theme park sell it to the bank anyway, after his arrest.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The ongoing conflict between the Chinese and Russian communities in the Inner City makes it virtually impossible for any relationship between a Chinese and a Russian to work out.
    • In the first case of the district, Heartless a Russian man eloped with a Chinese woman, and the girl ended up being murdered by her husband's sister, who refused to let Chinese blood get mixed into her heritage.
    • Apparently the leader of the Russians, Nikolai Kamarov, and the leader of the Chinese, Sue Xiong, used to be lovers and even had a child together, but the peer pressure from their families and friends causes them to part ways and abandon their son.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Amy's mother, Miriam Young, is just like an older version of Amy (right down to the hair) — if Amy also happens to be a bespectacled, sour harpy that is.
    • Likewise, Russell looks very similar to his father, Jupiter.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Amy and Russell quite obviously have feelings towards one another: they constantly praise each other's works, and gets exceedingly worried whenever the other is in trouble (in Case 36 Amy freaks out when Russell went missing, while Russell gets infuriated when the Utopians brainwashed Amy in case 38). However, aside from their occasional flirtings, nothing explicit ever happens between the two.