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Video Game: Criminal Case
The main cast, 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: Crime Scene Investigation series, and available for play through Facebook. Specifically, it's a Hidden Object Game which hides all sorts of objects inside various crime scenes.

You take on the role of a rookie police officer, partnered with a detective named Jones to solve all sorts of gruesome murders in the city of Grimsborough. 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.

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.

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.

Examples of tropes in Criminal Case include:

  • 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).
  • 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)?
  • Accidental Murder: Some of the cases turn out to have been caused by this. Some examples: In Case 6, the Dirty Cop victim was shot dead by his partner, with his own gun, when the two men were struggling for the weapon after the victim attempted to kill the other cop. In Case 17, the chef poisoned a plate of food intended for someone other than the victim, but the plates were accidentally switched. In Case 18, the killer accidentally shot his partner-in-crime with a crossbow due to the weapon misfiring.
  • Adventure Duo: Jones and the player character are this from the start of the game.
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Bulldog in Case 4, and Susan Peck in Case 19.
  • A God Am I: The leader of The Crimson Order, Milton Grimmes, claimed to be the god of Grimsborough. During his trial, he angrily declare that they should be worshipping him instead of locking him away.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Rose Cassidy paid no mind to Big Baby's love confession, since she was already in love with Chad Whickman. Alice August murdered Trixie because she was on the receiving end of this.
  • Always Murder: Each case's main mystery.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Animal Motif: Guess what the Vipers' motif is.
  • 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:
  • Arc Words: "The right thing," during the University arc.
  • 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 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.
  • 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, Tess Godwin, gets killed about twenty cases after she's imprisoned. While the judge admits the woman was a monster, she still deserves justice for her death.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Bartender: Alice August is the barmaid for Tony Marconi's nightclub in Case 8.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Inverted and played straight, depending on who the suspects are.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Broken Pedestal: Case 6's victim was this to his police partner.
  • 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, who originally belonged to a killer.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • City of Adventure: Grimsborough.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Covert Pervert: Colin Stokes.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Cut-and-Paste Note: One of these was sent to Case 10's victim the day before his murder.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Destroy the Evidence: Happens in a few cases, most usually concerning incriminating documents that serve as vital clues. Part of the game-play involves putting these items' pieces back together to form the whole.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Some of the suspects in the various cases are not nice people, whether or not they're actually guilty in the specific cases they appear in.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Margaret Littlewood only intended to poison her rival's dog to throw her out of the Dog Pageant. Unfortunately, the dog's owner also ate the poisoned cupcake, setting Case 31 into motion...and the bitter irony is, Margaret's dog, given to Jones after her arrest, goes on to fairly win the pageant anyway.
  • 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.
  • Digital Avatar: The @rtist utilizes one when counter-hacking the police's attempt to snoop on a networking site. The digital avatar has the same look as the @rtist's in-person appearance, interestingly enough.
  • Dirty Cop: Case 6's vitim, Ed Gillespie, is known to visit hookers, bet on dogfights, and more. His killer, his partner, killed him because he wouldn't give up the bad-boy lifestyle.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Jones: Okay, seriously, what is WRONG with the Greene family? They all sound like cold-hearted monsters!
  • 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.
  • 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. And in Case 11, he kills Salvador Cordero for trying to rape Ginger.
    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.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: This tends to happen when one clue in a given case fits all of the suspects. For example, in Case 9, all the suspects wear sports-sneakers, which the killer wore at the site of the murder.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Expressive Mask: The @rtist's mask. While usually bearing an impassive expression, the mask is also capable of smirking or looking nervous.
  • Expy: Zack Holden, who's first introduced in the Maple Heights arc and is the founder of in-universe online networking site Friendnet, is clearly this for Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of real-life online networking site Facebook. Tony Webb, Case 46's victim, is a black golfing champion with a womanizing history—possibly this universe's version of Tiger Woods.
  • Eye Scream: Freddy Stewart, the victim in Case 18, was shot in the left eye with a crossbow.
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Trish Colletti, in Case 3.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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, Milton
  • 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. Said fiance, Luke Harris, is not the killer.
  • The Fundamentalist: Linda Lovara and Dr. Bishop in Case 7, Ezekiel Hersberger in Case 36.
  • 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.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Used in Case 51 when Chief King shoots himself.
  • 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).
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: The victim in Case 11 had his skull cracked when a bottle was smashed over his head.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Depths: Just about everybody, including the supporting characters.
  • 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 
  • Hidden Object Game
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: You can carry around any number of orange juices, potato chips, hamburgers, and Lucky Cards you like.
  • 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!
  • Idiot Ball: Handled by Ramirez one too many times, usually with regards to important evidence. Jones frequently gets exasperated with him because of it.
  • 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...
  • In the Hood: The @rtist wears a black jacket with a hood, both in person and as a virtual avatar.
  • The Informant: Bart Williams. Jones has little tolerance or patience for him, but his information is always valuable.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Rachel Priest.
  • 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.
  • Justified Tutorial: The game's first case serves as this, with Jones as the tutor.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 Makes You Evil and Crazy: Several times, among different cases.
  • 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.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: An odd case. In terms of game-play, your 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 and DNA samples is done by Alex, Nathan and Grace, who naturally are qualified to do that sort of thing, and they don't go around conducting interviews of witnesses or suspects the way most CSI: Crime Scene Investigation-related series would do. The trope eventually gets played straight with Grace in Case 48, as she's partnered with you to solve the case due to Jones being taken off the case in order to deal with complaints levied against him and also because the nature of the case is too serious for him.
  • 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 their 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Motive Rant: Most of the guilty parties deliver one of these once you identify them.
  • 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 Say "Die": Grimsborough does not have the death penalty apparently, because the worst punishment anyone gets is life in prison.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Zeus the pimp is clearly Snoop Dogg.
  • 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 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!
  • Oh Crap: Some characters get this expression a lot, combined with profuse sweating.
    • 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!
  • 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: After busting Tony Marconi, we find out that he 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.
  • 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.
  • Playful Hacker: The @rtist, who helps the team in connecting the various cases involving the Rorschach Reaper.
  • 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.
  • Point-and-Click Map: The main map for Grimsborough, where you can go from one section of the city to another, choosing to leave one case to go to another.
  • Police Are Useless: Some people in Grimsborough have this opinion of the local cops, especially when it comes to complaints getting addressed quickly. The reason for this is Ramirez holding the Idiot Ball.
  • 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.
  • Precision F-Strike: Happens very frequently.
  • 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?
  • 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, the victim's kingdom in Case 49.
  • Reading Your Rights: Several times, Jones reads the Miranda Rights when arresting the case's killer.
  • Repeating so the Audience Can Hear: The Player Character supposedly makes a lot of remark during the case progression, but as they have no dialogue, their partners would repeat it for us instead.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Serial Killer: The Rorschach Reaper, the Big Bad of the University arc.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: Oh, so very many, so much so that there's now a page for all of them.
  • 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...
  • Story Arc: The cases are divided into five of these, set up as taking place in different sections of 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.
  • Supreme Chef: Margaret Littlewood, of whose baking Jones is a fan. Also, the killer in Case 17.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: One of Case 51's side-quests hints that there may be a reason why so many murders take place in Grimsborough, but currently that reason remains a secret.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Crossdresser: Mikhail Levin escapes prison by disguising himself as a cheerleader.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Case 21. The victim is Rachel Priest.
    • Case 51. The killer is Chief King, who kills himself after being found out.
  • 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.
  • Woman in White: Alice August, in Case 8. She's a suspect in the murder herself, but she points you and Jones to the fact that Colin Stokes was a Stalker with a Crush for Trixie Velvet, the murder victim. And then it turns out Alice herself was the killer after all.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Cathy King has pink hair, though an old photo of her with her grandfather indicates it's actually genetically brown and she merely dyes it pink. Three of the suspects in Case 37 have green hair, but those are at least justified since they're costume wigs for cosplayers.
  • Your Head Asplode: Case 41's victim got her head blown off after her tiara was rigged to explode.
  • Your Cheating Heart: A key plot point in several of the cases. Examples include Cases 3, 5 and 10.
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