These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Reception of regular teachers is also split down the middle. Some are decent and helpful while others are total jerkasses.
Social workers are portrayed as unprofessionals who aren't afraid to break the law for their own gain or power.
Acceptable Targets: If an episode even features a Black person, it will involve racism, drugs or basketball, if not a combination of two or more of these elements. Played up to eleven with Det Jeffries regarding racism, especially from suspects. Poor Will can't even get a break from minority suspects, who frequently accuse him of "selling out" by becoming a cop; if anything, this actually cheeses him off more than outright racism.
Christians as well, surprisingly, as some episodes portray them rather poorly (Churchgoing People, Running Around, That Woman, etc.)
Played with a bit in "Colors." The episode is a Jackie Robinson Story with the victim as an expy of the Jackie Robinson, there are at least two suspects with believable race-related reasons to want the guy dead, and even the episode's title suggests race as a major theme. Obvious motive, right? Nope. It was the victim's white-but-not-racist-at-all best friend, who simply didn't want him to quit the team.
Alternate Character Interpretation: The killer in "The Hen House" can be seen as either an attempted Atoner tragically pushed back into doing evil again, or simply a murdering, identity-stealing, Nazi scuzzball through-and-through.
Anvilicious: In "That Woman", we learn the important lesson that suggesting a group of teenagers exercise self-control will turn them all into heartless killers.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The episodes "Wishing", "Kensington", "Family", "Baby Blues", "Spiders" and "The Dealer" (to name a few) are examples where the it's only the victim and usually one other person are the only sympathetic characters among a cast of monsters and jerkasses.
Harsher in Hindsight: "Late Returns" was based on the real-life murder of Chandra Levy, an intern to a Congressman whom she was also sleeping with. The public opinion of the time, as well as the episode, pointed the blame at the Congressman, and the scandal ruined his career. Several years after the episode aired, the Congressman was found to be completely innocent.
In "The Plan", the closing montage shows that the military academy's swim teacher is now a woman. Presumably she was hired because it's been revealed that the last teacher, a man, was a pedophile, but the recent rash of teacher/student sex cases means it isn't really any less likely that she isn't one herself.
Hollywood Homely: The main victim, Martha, in "Lonely Hearts." We're repeatedly told that she's extremely unattractive and has no chance with men, and even the detectives, in a surprising display of insensitivity, comment that her traditionally-handsome boyfriend "must've had some kind of fetish." In reality, while she's somewhat overweight and by no means supermodel-gorgeous, she comes across as an adorable Manic Pixie Dream Girl type apart from being an accomplice to a Serial Killer, that is and in the scene she first meets her lover she has a flower in her hair and is fairly pretty.
Also the victim's daughter and murderer in "Blackout," who is continually put down as "plain" by her drop-dead-gorgeous mother.
Brown hair and drab clothes are apparently enough to make the killer in "The Crossing" the dowdy, matronly alternative to the glamorous, willowy, red-headed victim, even though they're about the same age.
The (innocent) frenemy of the victim in "Factory Girls", depicted as pitifully jealous of her popularity at their workplace, as well as her happy marriage, to the point where she blatantly tries to interfere in the relationship by making herself look like the better option. All because she's considered an Old Maid at only 22 (by the standards of when the episode is set) and regarded as a Plain Jane when she is clearly no less attractive than any of the other women seen throughout the episode.
The victim in "sleepover, is considered unattractive and nerdy by the other girls who consider her unpopular, in reality, she's adorkable, and quite cute.
Ho Yay: The show has many acknowledged gay couples but "One Night" has an ambiguous relationship between Justin (who was almost a victim) and his friend Valentino that is often interpreted as this.
In "Jurisprudence," Doherty having Kat transferred, simply as Revenge by Proxy to spite Stillman.
Narm: In Andy in C Minor the tension between deaf and hearing people is about as bad as 1960s racial tension, complete with everyone trying to pull apart two lovers because they belong to different worlds, and the victim having been killed because he wanted to get a cochlear implant.
It's hard to take the end montage of "Dead Heat" seriously when some of the people would flash back to them wearing those ridiculous jockey uniforms.
In "The Sleepover" Daveigh Chase did it, in "World's End" Ralph Waite did it, in "The Hen House" Peter Graves did it., in "Red Glare" Orson Bean did it, in "Free Love" Dale Dye did it, and in "Creatures of the Night" it's not even a spoiler that Barry Bostwick did it.
RonnyCox appears as the victim's husband in "Slipping." He's just as evil here.
A pre-fame Summer Glau and Mae Whitman among others have showed up as oneshot victims; Jennifer Lawrence appears as the present-day version of a teenage girl in another episode. Shailene Woodley makes an appearance in a Season 5 episode as a sister of a Amish murder victim. Kim Coates plays against type in a season five episode.
"Jackals" features a pre-Mike Ehrmantraut Jonathan Banks as John Clark, leader of a brutal biker gang. Yeah, he did it, one of the few episodes where the prime suspect was in fact the culprit.
Rewatch Bonus: This happens frequently as new evidence puts previous flashbacks in a new light.
In the opening sequence of Forever Blue, this is said about the Cowboy Cop victim:
"Isn't is about time he got married?"
"You gotta go on a second date for that."
In that context, it makes him sound like a womanizer. However, once you realize that he's gay, you realize that he never went on a second date, not because he couldn't be satisfied by only one woman but because he couldn't be satisfied by any woman. To make matters worse, he was also secretly in love with his partner who he saw all the time. He probably thought that if he kept going out with women, he could suppress his feelings.
There's also the fact that his partner's wife is very cold to him. One thinks it's because he's late, then that it's because that they've been having an affair and she's angry about his sleeping around. Another flashback reveals it's because she walked in on him and her husband kissing.
Seasonal Rot: Debatable. However, most long-time viewers agree that Season 7 was the point at which the series went downhill.
It did not help that both Lilly and Scotty went out of character and turned rogue against Moe Kitchner and Hector Cruz respectively over several episodes causing Arc Fatigue or that some episodes were merely retellings of older episodes.
Some also point to Season 6 with the Scotty-Frankie storyline as another point of decline.
Squick: Most of the scenes showing the victims' bodies come off as this.
Strawman Has a Point: When Moe Kitchener fills a complaint for harassment against Lilly for stalking him. When you think about it, she has no evidence but a Dying Dream to prove he was the one person that tried to kill her in "Into the Blue".
When Patrick Doherty points out that Stillman's repetitive actions to protect his team when they keep Jumping Off the Slippery Slope are more counterproductive than anything.
Patrick Bubley is portrayed as unreasonable for wanting to perpetuate the Cycle of Revenge against the Latino Gang Bangers that killed his brothers; while this is true, the fact is that the cycle only began in the first place because the cops assumed his brothers were Gang Bangers themselves and put little effort into their cases, and this aspect of the plot goes strangely unaddressed in the episode.
Unfortunate Implications: Many episodes. "It's Raining Men" showed that gays sleep around and contract AIDS. Granted the episode takes place in 1983, but the implication is still difficult to avoid.
"Honor"/"The War At Home" (amongst others) points out that being a veteran is not all it's cracked up to be, since rather than gaining respect and sympathy from your fellow man upon your return back, everyone will eventually turn their backs on you, especially if you happened to be physically/psychologically damaged afterwards.
The fathers from "Jackals" and "Blank Generation".
The so-called best friend from "Kensington".
The victim's boyfriend in "Our Boy Is Back". We're supposed to feel sorry for him for having to put up with Vera's harassment regarding his refusal to take a DNA test to determine if he's responsible, especially when Vera obtains his DNA anyway and it proves what the man has been saying all along—that he's innocent. Only for Lily to realize that the lack of his DNA at the crime scene means that he wasn't sleeping with the girl at all. So basically, all because he couldn't bear the humiliation of having the cops realize that he had yet to have sex with his girlfriend, this man basically let her killer get away with murder for several years and essentially invited the very harassment that he was complaining about.
The Untwist: "8: 03 AM." The cases are reopened because it was discovered that the murders took place at exactly the same time on the same day, and Kat hoped that a connection could be discovered. Turns out there was none; it was a total coincidence, although the victims did know each other, something that wasn't apparent in the original investigation.
Also occurs in "Debut" and "Hubris", in which the killer turned out to be... exactly who everyone thought was the killer. The only reason the cases become as long and involved as they do is due to the villains' attempts to deflect suspicion off themselves.
Used interestingly in "Creatures of the Night." They know who did it from the beginning; the real challenge is proving it before the guy walks due to a ridiculous deal he took when he confessed to prior crimes.
Wangst: Many of the doers' confessions and rationale for the stupidity of their actions come off as this. Special mention though goes to Dale Wilson in Fireflies and Gibby Hanes's tearful admission in 8:03 A.M..
The killing couple in "Love Conquers Al," who apparently believed their high school romance to be one of the all-time greatest love stories in history.
What an Idiot: The revelation of who the doer was in "Time to Crime" was heartbreaking, to say the least, that doesn't really change the fact that he was a complete and utter moron. Dude buys a gun that he intends to use to kill someone from the same person he intends to kill, then instead of, say, shooting him right there, he waits until the guy is in the middle of a crowded park, then fires randomly into said crowded park, and not only misses his target, but hits his own sister by accident.
Perhaps he knew that shooting the guy right then and there would immediately focus suspicion on him, whereas shooting at him via a drive-by might leave the case unsolved? (the guy was well known as a local criminal and there would have been no shortage of suspects). Maybe he had second thoughts about killing the guy and only the realization that he was going to continue to be a problem for him spurred the killing?