* AcceptableLifestyleTargets: Jocks tend to be depicted as little more than sociopathic [[{{Manchild}} manchildren.]]
** ''Lonely Hearts'' gives us the [[ValuesDissonance heart warming message]] that if you are considered [[HollywoodHomely plain]] or [[HollywoodPudgy overweight]] you will either A) [[FaceHeelTurn turn into a heartless killer]] to [[MadLove please your man]] or B) get used and murdered by your man because [[UnfortunateImplications you are clearly desperate and think you are going to be alone forever]]. The victim herself makes a lot of insensitive assumptions on another "ordinary" woman based on her own experiences and ''turns out to be right on all accounts''.
* AcceptableProfessionalTargets:
** Gym teachers appear on this show as creepy perverts and rapists with a strange regularity.
** Social workers are portrayed as unprofessional and unafraid to break the law for their own gain or power.
** The detectives have nothing but bad things to say about private investigators in "The Runaway Bunny," even referring to a cop who became a PI as having "[[Franchise/StarWars turned to the Dark Side]]."
** A notable aversion occurs in ''It's Raining Men'' where one of the side characters is a right-wing news reporter who turns out to be closeted. As ''Cold Case'' is a left-leaning show you'd expect him to be vilified, but he's portrayed as a perfectly reasonable guy and even hands over some essential evidence with minimal fuss. The worst it gets is another character calling him "crazy," which he responds to with a good-natured chuckle.
* AcceptableReligiousTargets: Some episodes such as "Churchgoing People" and "That Woman" depict Christians rather negatively. Unfortunately, even in episodes where religion wasn't even the main plot point have a rather dismissive view of Christianity/God. One of the victims from "The Road" was a young woman who was devout Christian that gave her life to the Lord, which the killer was more than willing to exploit; i.e., [[ArmorPiercingQuestion "If God loved you so much, why won't he do anything to rescue you?"]] Sadly, this broke the girl so badly, [[DeathByDespair it killed her in a short amount of time.]]
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation:
** 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, [[spoiler:identity-stealing, Nazi]] scuzzball through-and-through.
** The victim in "Boy Crazy" - UsefulNotes/{{transgender}}, or just a {{tomboy}}?
* {{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.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: There's a scene in ''Justice'' where Vera catches a gigantic JerkassBall and starts making ''rape apologist'' comments that seems to exist for no reason other than the writers needing someone to sound ignorant to make a point. The scene is never mentioned afterward and everyone goes back to being friends again. Even stranger is the fact that in other episodes dealing with rape, Vera is typically the ''most'' disgusted, even more than Rush and Miller, due to his [[ThatOneCase botching a high-profile rape case earlier in his career]].
** He's also inexplicably and relentlessly rude to Josie Sutton when she joins the team, despite her consistently showing herself to be a competent detective. For some strange reason he's adamantly opposed to working with anyone new and determined to think that because she's female and attractive, she's going to cause trouble--much like the above example, when vague references are made to her involvement in a sexual harassment incident, he insinuates that ''she'' was the one at fault. He never apologizes for his behavior, yet he never acts this way again--he never treats Lily like this and when Detective Miller joins the staff, has no conflict with her.
* BothSidesHaveAPoint: The father and the victim in "Knuckle Up." While it is understandable for the father to want what’s best for his son, anyone who has lived with a parent like that - especially the kind who calls you every hour - knows just how frustrating it is. However, as the victim himself [[RedemptionEqualsDeath eventually realized]], going all BloodKnight was an incredibly stupid thing to do.
* CompleteMonster: See Monster/CSIVerse.
* CriticalResearchFailure: Granted, given this show is more fantasy-driven than fact-based, but some common police procedurals and conduct displayed here are blatantly disregarded and are downright illegal in real life. One very prevalent example was in the sixth episode of the series, ''Love Conquers Al'' where the killer's so-called best friend, [[TagalongKid Will Harrell]], constantly stonewalled detectives regarding his knowledge of/involvement in the murder of a teenaged high school track star. At the end of the episode, he was seen still working at the garage as he was before, but in real life, he would have been arrested both for being an accessory after the fact and obstruction of justice.
** A similar case is the accomplice's secretary in ''Start Up'', who knew for years that her boss had given the killer the poison he used to kill the victim, but kept silent due to her fear of him. The boss is arrested as accessory, but she isn't.
* CrowningMomentOfFunny: In "Andy in C Minor", when Jeffries reads Carlos' text message about Vera's ASL, it's funny to imagine the first message says "You're signing 'socks'". And the second time? "You're signing '[[MemeticMutation Steal socks]]'".
* DarknessInducedAudienceApathy: 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 [[CompleteMonster monsters]] and [[JerkAss jerkasses]].
** A special mention goes to ''Two Weddings'', where both the detectives (who use the wedding they were invited to to solve the [[spoiler: "murder"]] and even when they're caught in the act, still don't care) '''and''' the victim himself (who is [[spoiler: [[YourCheatingHeart already happily married...to a comatose woman while he serenades and becomes engaged to another woman)]]]] are [[JerkAss jerkasses.]] Yeah.
** CorruptCorporateExecutive’s and [[SpoiledBrat Spoiled Rich Kids]] are usually AcceptableTargets in cop shows, but ''Knuckle Up'' really took it up to eleven.
* DesignatedHero: Audrey Metz in ''World's End'', who is portrayed as a liberated woman ahead of her time for... cheating on her husband.
** Scotty Valens, namely in ''Shattered''.
** Nick Vera, too.
* DesignatedVictim: The killer in ''It Takes A Village'', his only real tormentor was his sadist teacher who he purposefully goaded every chance he got. The other kids only attacked him because they were forced to share his punishment over and over again. Yet they were the ones he wanted revenge against and not once did he acknowledge his [[NeverMyFault culpability in the incident]].
* DesignatedVillain / TheSoCalledCoward: In universe in both Family and Bad Reputation the father’s were called cowards by their sons for not letting honor before reason dictate their actions despite the fact that doing so would have made a bad situation far worse.
* DracoInLeatherPants: The mall shooters in ''Rampage'' are disturbingly popular.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: A number of the one-off victims have small fanbases of their own, particularly Sean "Coop" Cooper (''Forever Blue'') and Carrie Swett (''That Woman'').
** Even if the killers on the show, particularly the SerialKiller{{s}}, mostly manage to avert being [[EvilIsCool portrayed in a positive light]], George Marks is considered the most memorable. His ruthlessness, ability to actually outwit the detectives and being [[PlayingAgainstType played by]] the quirky [[Series/StarTrekEnterprise John Billingsley]] made him a standout character and a villain that the show later continuously tried (and failed) to recreate.
* EsotericHappyEnding: ''Family'' can be seen as this. Yes, the killer and the kidnapper do end up being arrested for their crimes, but the fate of the mother and daughter is unlikely to end well; the girl is still [[BrokenBird damaged]] from her years of growing up without a father, her knowledge of mother abandoning her at birth (and in a garbage can, no less) and being exposed to the harsh world of foster care (or it was in her case). The mother, on the other hand, lives hand-to-mouth in a group home, virtually has no skills to come by and is seen as still [[NervousWreck emotionally wrecked]] by the end of the episode, even with the HopeSpot between the two women reuniting and all.
** This also applies to the victim's daughter in ''Gleen''. Her mother was viciously murdered when she was only five years old, it still deeply affects her in the present day, twenty years later, and even with a caring and well-rounded supporter at her side (in the form of her father's fiancée), she outright admits to Lilly that she may as well [[spoiler: [[DrivenToSuicide kill herself]]]] if it's found out that her father was the one who killed her mother. [[spoiler: [[FromBadToWorse He did]] and Lilly does end up arresting him, [[ThrowTheDogABone but out of respect to her, she can't bring herself to put the cuffs on him in front of her.]]]]
** The bastard father from ''The Brush Man'' is finally arrested for murdering the salesman who tried to intervene with the abusive situation of the man's family. However, this still does little to undo the 40-plus years of torment he inflicted onto his wife, who's nowadays an alcoholic and his son, who hasn't accomplished much with his life due to all of [[DarkAndTroubledPast his underlying issues.]]
* EvilIsCool: [[AvertedTrope Averted]]. The show goes out of its way to show nearly every killer, including the somewhat sympathetic ones, as a {{wangst}}y, pathetic person making threadbare excuses for themselves. Even prolific {{Serial Killer}}s like George Marks, Paul Shepard and John Smith, who might be {{Magnificent Bastard}}s in another show, are depicted as ultimately sad, scared little men desperately trying and failing to seem bigger than they really are.
* EvilIsSexy: A decent amount of both killers and {{Asshole Victim}}s are quite seductive and alluring, including [[GoldDigger Sherry Fox-Stephens]] in "Sherry Darlin," [[BlackWidow Caroline Hargreave]] in "The Runaway Bunny," [[AlphaBitch Becca Abrams]] in "Stand Up And Holler," [[MrsRobinson Lauren Williams]] in "Blackout," and [[FaceOfAnAngelMindOfADemon Mike Delaney]] in "Justice."
* FamilyUnfriendlyAesop: Doing the right thing [[NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished will often get you killed.]]
** ''A Dollar, A Dream'', ''Stalker'', and ''World's End'' all revolve around a loved one [[BrokenPedestal going through financial problems]] either losing their job or livelihood somehow/ and their child/wife telling them that they aren’t allowed to have problems. The first two involved that loved one getting killed, the last ended up killing his wife. While portrayed sympathetically all of the murders stem from the fact that they couldn’t instantly bounce back from a problem despite trying their hardest.
** To be fair a heaping helping of LaserGuidedKarma was dished out in those episodes. The eldest daughter in ''A Dollar, A Dream'' spent the rest of her life as an emotional mess while her sister was adopted by a loving family. The daughter in ''Stalker'' had to watch her entire family be killed after attempting a double suicide with her brother (who may or may not have wanted to do it). And the wife was killed after abandoning her husband and child to their death to be with her lover.
* FanPreferredCouple: Lilly and Scotty, who had a clear UnresolvedSexualTension in the early seasons (even lampshaded by John Smith, who bluntly asks Scotty, "You get a piece of that? Bet you think about it from time to time.") [[MayDecemberRomance Lilly and Stillman]] also have their fans, as do Kat and Vera.
* GeniusBonus: Episode [=S4E23=] episode is titled ''The Good Death'', which deals with the premature death of a terminally ill man who was later discovered [[spoiler: to be [[MercyKill mercy killed]] by his wife, through an act of euthanasia.]] The term "Euthanasia" originated from the Greek term that means "good death."
* HarsherInHindsight: ''Late Returns'' was based on the real-life murder of Chandra Levy, an intern to a California Congressman Gary Condit, whom she was also sleeping with. The public opinion of the time pointed the blame at Condit, and the scandal ruined his career. Several years ''after'' the episode aired, Condit 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.
*** Not to mention the show acknowledges female pedophiles exist, with the season 4 episode ''Blackout''.
** Also, in ''Love Conquers All'' (which is based off of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diane_Zamora the real-life 1995 Texas Cadet murders]]), the victim based off of the murdered girl, Adrianne Jones, could be seen as unsympathetic because she cheated on a guy with a girlfriend, although her knowledge of if he had a girlfriend ''when'' they got together is left ambiguous. As it was revealed in the real-life trial of one of the killers, David Graham, ''he never slept with her'' and on top of that, didn't even get a ride home with him that night. He only said that [[ManipulativeBastard to screw around with his girlfriend's head since she was so paranoid about him cheating on her.]]
*** Graham later admitted that he did have sex with Jones; the only reason he lied about it was on his defense lawyer's advice.
** Watching season three episode ''Death Penalty: Final Appeal'' and season five episode ''Spiders'' ends up this due to the actors in the episode (one playing a character who was ''innocent'' of the crime he was executed for and the other one playing the younger version of the killer) committing murders in real life.
** One season four episode has Valens catching a pedophile watching children at a park and later he is seen beating said pedophile up and suffering no consequences for it. A later episode of ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' has Amaro (who is also a CowboyCop portrayed by Danny Pino) in a similar situation, only this time [[RealityEnsues he is arrested, charged and finds himself in danger of losing his badge.]]
* HilariousInHindsight: Anytime Biggie says the word "Management" in the episode ''Metamorphosis'' is hysterical if you've seen ''Series/{{Carnivale}}'' (where Michael J. Anderson plays virtually the same role and Management is a [[MagnificentBastard sinister figure]]).
** Anyone who has watched one of D.L. Hughley's stand up special will find ''Breaking News'' hilarious.
** 5 years after "Thrill Kill", an episode about a man who went crazy and killed three kids because of a harmless prank, ''WesternAnimation/UglyAmericans'' produced a season finale involving someone going crazy over a harmless prank and killing everyone involved.
* HollywoodHomely: 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 ManicPixieDreamGirl type [[spoiler:apart from being an accomplice to a SerialKiller, 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 [[spoiler:and murderer]] in ''Blackout'', who is continually put down as "plain" by her drop-dead-gorgeous mother. [[http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3064265216/nm0999270?ref_=nm_ov_ph This]] is what the actress looks like when not made up to look frumpy.
** 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 OldMaid at only 22 (by the standards of when the episode is set) and regarded as a PlainJane when she is clearly no less attractive than any of the other women seen throughout the episode.
** The victim in ''The Sleepover'' is considered unattractive and nerdy by the other girls who consider her unpopular. In reality, she's adorkable, and quite cute.
** Tina in ''Rampage'' is referred to as a [[UnusualEuphemism butter face]] (as in everything is hot "but her face") by her [[SmugSnake meathead]] [[JerkJock ex boyfriend]]. [[IAmNotPretty She even calls]] ''herself'' a "hit and run queen". Oh yeah, for those of you who haven't seen the episode [[http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0115297/mediaviewer/rm2242182400 this]] is the aforementioned "butter face".
* HoYay: 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.
* JerkassWoobie: AlphaBitch Brandi in ''The Sleepover''. Is it any wonder that she's a bully with parents like that? Her brother Neil, who committed the secondary murder in the episode, is a WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds.
** The eldest daughter in ''A Dollar, A Dream'' subverts this and comes across as a spoiled SmugSnake that looked down on her mother for being unable to instantly adjust from being a housewife after her husband died. Given that her family ended up homeless and she spent the rest of her life thinking her mother abandoned her and her sister you initially do feel sorry for her. Unfortunately as the episode went own this aspect began to lessen until she just became UnintentionallyUnsympathetic.
** ''Cargo'', an episode with a [[NiceGuy genuinely]] kind and [[IronWoobie sympathetic victim]] gives us a [[TearJerker heartbreakingly]] [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds tragic killer]] in the form of [[spoiler: Kateryna]]. True she did knowingly destroy her best friends chance at a happy life to gain her own freedom and then when that didn't work, ''she killed a man'', but ''Good Lord'' this girl has been through absolute hell! Its also worth mentioning that she had later tried to [[DrivenToSuicide kill herself]] showing that she certainly ''wasn't'' feeling guilt free. Her arrest at the end definitely feels like a KickTheDog moment.
** Cy Tisdale in ''The River''. Sure he's a [[SmugSnake louse]] who has no problem ripping off people or even ''robbing'' them to feed his gambling addiction, but good lord this man has had a crappy life. The victim (and Cy's only friend) acknowledges this as a reason why he can't keep going on [[DespairEventHorizon the way he has]] [[spoiler: leading Cy to have to MercyKill ''the only person who gives a damn about him'']].
* MagnificentBitch: [[spoiler:Caroline Hargreave from ''The Runaway Bunny'', to the point of being the only non-sympathetic villain in the show to [[TheBadGuyWins win]]]].
** In Universe example: Johanna in ''Blood on the Tracks''.
* MoralEventHorizon: Alessandro from ''Sabotage'' is initially very sympathetic, for a SerialKiller... until it's revealed who he sent his final bomb to: [[spoiler:[[WouldHurtAChild his preteen niece]], as he wanted his brother, whom he viewed as responsible for the TraumaCongaLine he had endured, to [[RevengeByProxy know the pain of losing a child as he had]]]]. Considering that the people he targeted were people who were trying to help him the best way they could given the restrictions they were under his first murder was this as well, especially since his first victim was just a teen doing his job.
** In ''Jurisprudence'', Doherty having Kat transferred, simply as RevengeByProxy 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 [[spoiler: 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.
** The [[HurricaneOfPuns hurricane of poker puns]] exchanged between the victim and his [[spoiler:[[MercyKill mercy-]]]]killer in ''The River'' causes his death scene to lose a bit of its bite.
** The victim's utter devotion to disco in ''Disco Inferno'', to the point where he throws away a dental scholarship to be a professional dancer, in light of [[HarsherInHindsight what eventually happened]] [[DeaderThanDisco to that fad]].
** Any episode where [[HollyWoodOld moderately old people try and fail to act REALLY old]], for instance, ''Family 8108''.
** The villain in ''That Woman'' and her [[InsaneTrollLogic bizarre]] obsession with her high school chastity club, to the point that she's never had sex ''at all'' in ten years, not even with her own husband, which costs her her marriage.
* NarrowedItDownToTheGuyIRecognize:
** ''The Sleepover'' [[spoiler: Daveigh Chase]]
** ''World's End'' [[spoiler: Ralph Waite]]
** ''The Hen House'' [[spoiler: Peter Graves]]
** ''Red Glare'' [[spoiler: Orson Bean]]
** ''Free Love'' [[spoiler: Dale Dye]]
** ''Creatures of the Night'': it's not even a spoiler that [[CastingGag Barry Bostwick did it]].
** In ''Knuckle Up'', [[spoiler: Robert Picardo]] did it, and he wasn't even considered a suspect.
** ''Soul'' [[spoiler: Loretta Devine]].
** [[Film/TotalRecall1990 Ronny]] [[Film/RoboCop1987 Cox]] appears as the victim's husband in ''Slipping''. [[spoiler: He's just as evil here]].
** ''Metamorphosis'' has an example of this that doubles as a CastingGag. The direct killer is [[spoiler: Carel Struycken]], whose crime was then covered up by none other than [[spoiler: his former ''Series/TwinPeaks'' co-star Michael J. Anderson]].
* RetroactiveRecognition:
** 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. TJ Thyne appears as the AssholeVictim's gay lover in as Season 1 episode two years before gaining fame as Dr. Jack Hodgins in ''Series/{{Bones}}''. Shailene Woodley makes an appearance in a Season 5 episode as a sister of a Amish murder victim. Creator/KimCoates plays against type in a season five episode.
** ''Jackals'' features a pre-[[Series/BreakingBad Mike]] [[Series/BetterCallSaul Ehrmantraut]] Jonathan Banks as John Clark, leader of a brutal biker gang. [[spoiler: Yeah, he did it, one of the few episodes where the prime suspect was in fact the culprit]].
*** The same episode features a pre-[[Series/OnceUponATime Neal Cassidy]] Michael Raymond-James as a biker.
** David Hiney of ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'' appears in ''Fireflies'' [[spoiler:as the doer]].
* RewatchBonus: 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 CowboyCop 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.
** There's also this little tidbit between the victim's partner and father right before the above mentioned exchange, when he arrives looking disheveled and tucking his shirt in:
-->"Brawl or Babe?"
-->"Brawl. Got a Babe." *''cue wife looking very displeased''*
** Again, this makes him sound like a carefree irresponsible womanizer and sort of plays into the idea that he's got an affair with the wife but is possibly double-timing her. Upon rewatching one realizes just ''why'' his partner was so sure it was a 'brawl' and more importantly that the 'babe' is ''the partner himself''.
** Also in "Blood On The Tracks". Johanna's own ''husband'' mistakes Sarah for her while they and their friends are reviewing slides from their college days, driving home how much they resemble each other. This is never mentioned again during the episode, but later, after the detectives have figured out that Johanna has been impersonating Sarah for decades, one recalls that we only saw Jack's death, not Johanna's, that Johanna was present in every one of "Sarah's" flashbacks, and that Sarah was always portrayed very negatively in them. It seems odd that someone would present themselves so unflatteringly, until you remember that Sarah was the only one who supported Jack's plan to confess, while Johanna strongly objected.
* TheScrappy:
** Frankie Rafferty.
** Moe Kitchener also seems to have very few fans even for a villain, owing largely to [[ArcFatigue his arc being dragged out]].
* SeasonalRot: 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 ArcFatigue or that some episodes were merely [[ItstheSameNowItSucks 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.
* StrawmanHasAPoint: When Moe Kitchener fills a complaint for harassment against Lilly for stalking him. When you think about it, she has no evidence but a DyingDream 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 JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope are more counterproductive than anything.
** Patrick Bubley is portrayed as unreasonable for wanting to perpetuate the CycleOfRevenge against the Latino GangBangers 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 GangBangers themselves and put little effort into their cases, and this aspect of the plot goes strangely unaddressed in the episode.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot:
** Not that it is very important, but [[Film/BackToTheFuture Thomas F. Wilson]] plays a person of interest in an episode about the 1973 murder of a college student... who was already 'old' in 1973, and died before the investigation was reopened in the mid-2000s.
** The killer in "It Takes a Village," rather than targeting innocent children for MisplacedRetribution, could've easily been a sort of VigilanteMan targeting abusers for RevengeByProxy regarding the guy actually responsible for the killer's own abuse -- which would've certainly helped with the UnintentionallyUnsympathetic-ism.
* UnintentionallySympathetic: Arguably the real killer-pedophile, [[spoiler:Cliff Burrell]], in "Offender." Yes, [[spoiler:he]] crossed the MoralEventHorizon via what [[spoiler:he]] did to the Hathaways. Sounds like a recipe for prime CatharsisFactor once Mitch Hathaway finally gets his hands on [[spoiler:Cliff]], right? ...Well, it turns out [[spoiler:he]]'s become such a broken, cowardly, pathetic, and regretful wreck over [[spoiler:his]] actions (and of course, Mitch's RoaringRampageOfRevenge) that even Scotty can't seem to muster enough of his usual PaedoHunt-ism (instead, he just calmly makes [[spoiler:Cliff]] confess and tries to talk Mitch down) -- so [[spoiler:Cliff]] ends up NotWorthKilling and just arrested instead. If anything, the RedHerring postman from earlier was more HateSink-worthy, outright bragging about his pedophile exploits and proudly proclaiming himself EvilerThanThou over [[spoiler:Cliff]] -- thus making said postman's eventual DisneyVillainDeath a textbook MomentOfAwesome for Mitch.
** The best friend from "Soul". Granted, everything probably could have been avoided if [[spoiler: she had just [[CannotSpitItOut confessed that she was in love with her friend much earlier]], but she still comes off as sympathetic since even though she was talented enough to be a singer, she]] was insulted in a room full of music producers on how [[HollywoodHomely fat and unattractive]] they viewed [[spoiler: her and how they won't even consider her for a career (all while her friend said and did ''nothing'' to defend her to them then or later) and he ends up impregnating one of the producers' sexy secretary ''[[WhatAnIdiot and then telling his friend about it.]]'' In spite of his ObliviousToLove status (as well as other things) and that she still killed him in the heat of the moment and left his body on the street, she was genuinely sorry for killing him,]] even paying for his tombstone in the end and it shows that women don't like being "friend-zoned" any more than men do.
** [[AxeCrazy Cameron's]] parents in "Rampage". The way the detectives [[NoSympathy treat them]] would have you believe that they are AbusiveParents whose negligence drove their son to his murderous ways. The few scenes we see of them however show them as normal people who, as the dad pointed out ''lost their son too''. The bit where they find out that not only is their only son dead but that he was also the shooter is truly [[{{TearJerker}} heart breaking]]. Adding to that they are immediately labeled as [[TheScapegoat Monsters]] by the media. At the very worst they could be considered TooDumbToLive or GenreBlind in their choice of weapons but ''not'' evil. The ending montage shows them [[EatingLunchAlone eating together but not saying a word]]. You can't help but want to give [[TheWoobie them]] a massive hug. [[AdultFear Talk about every parents worst nightmare!]]
* UnintentionallyUnsympathetic: ''Several'' examples throughout the series, including:
** The killers from ''The Hitchhiker'' and ''Dog Day Afternoons''.
** Brandi, the AlphaBitch from ''The Sleepover'' (and [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation some would say]] her brother, as well.)
** [[UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom Leah, the victim's female "friend"]] from ''Wishing''.
** The girlfriend from ''Family'' who even as a BrokenBird status still dumped her baby ''in a garbage can.''
** The fathers from ''Jackals'' and ''Blank Generation''. One was imprisoned for a despicable crime (stealing benefit payments from disabled and dead veterans) instead of being on the outside and protecting his daughter and the other was an InsufferableGenius / JerkAss whose cold, unloving attitude drove his son to join a dangerous cult.
** Speaking of fathers, there is also the father from ''Justice''. His 18-year-old daughter was raped and when she came to him and told him what happened, his response was "''[[NoSympathy Nice]]'' [[NoSympathy girls don't invite boys up to their room.]]" As a result of his words, the poor girl [[spoiler: ends up [[AteHisGun eating her gun.]]]] It's only then that he's remorseful and says to the (sympathetic and willing to help, but her superiors didn't take the matter seriously) officer, [[NeverMyFault "Why didn't anyone help my little girl?"]]
** The victim in ''The Key'' manages to avert this, at first but later in the episode dives headfirst into this trope. She's the only person in her inner circle of friends not to want to screw around with somebody's partner but [[YourCheatingHeart her hubby disagrees]] so she decides to give it a go and falls in love with her fellow adulterer but decides she doesn't need a man in her life. Sounds fair right? Well see the thing is, during these revelations she discovers that [[SarcasmMode shock horror]], [[spoiler: her new man ''and best friends husband'' isn't interested in staying loyal to her]]. How does she retaliate? By bumping and grinding against ''his fifteen year old son''. Oh and it gets better [[spoiler: she's actually ''surprised'' when aforementioned son gets the wrong idea!]]
** The so-called best friend from ''Kensington''.
** The mother and the killer from "Time to Crime", but particularly the mother. The former cheats on her hard-working husband out of "loneliness" with a slimy, serial cheating arms dealer and [[WhatAnIdiot still tried to get him back even after learning that he cheated on her,]] causing the murder in the first place. The latter ended up killing [[spoiler: his younger sister in a drive-by shooting when he tried to shoot the dealer ''instead of shooting him the moment he received the gun from him.'']]
** Scotty at times. There were so many bad things that happened to the people in his life (his mother's attack, his brother being molested as a kid and being haunted by it and what happened to his fiancee), but these things happened to ''them'' instead of him. In addition, a lot of the bad things that occurred in his life, such as his suspension, were of his own doing.
** Ariel in ''The Sleepover'' as well given the fact that not only did she not tell anyone what happened but spent all those years as Brandi’s supplier.
** The eldest daughter in ''A Dollar, A Dream'' came across as incredibly spoiled always blaming her mother for not being able to fix the horrible situation they were in. when she found out her mother was killed she changed her stance from her mother abandoned her and her sister to her mother killed herself to get away from them. It can be seen as a form of LaserGuidedKarma that her life turned out completely different from her sister's.
** The killer in "It Takes A Village" barely avoids this. In fact the only reason he isn’t this is that the kids decided to cut off his finger instead of just beating the crap out of him and even then its hard to feel sorry for him given that he kept intentionally goading his teacher, that and his motive rant makes him come across as having a [[AGodAmI serious god complex]].
** The hypocrisy and sheer patheticness of the killer and victim in ''Lonely Hearts'' make them this. Especially since they, not the con artist, were the one who escalated it to that point.
** Done in universe in ''Strange Fruit'' while one of the suspects questioned didn’t have anything against the wife of the killer personally, the fact that she was ignorant of the goings on in her own home made him not like her.
** Pretty much everyone in ''Knuckle Up'': the only thing that saved the victim from this was him realizing just how depraved he was acting. Too bad it took someone dying for that to sink in.
** [[spoiler:Johanna from ''Blood on the Tracks'' killed her husband and best friend all so she could keep her wealthy life]].
** The killer in ''Officer Down'' do to being TooDumbToLive.
*** This may have been [[SuicideByCop intentional as the cops had to force themselves not to shoot him]].
** Nick on occasion. The events of ''Flashover'' in which a man he wrongfully accused of murdering his children some years ago has been killed in prison and then causes him to go into a downward spiral involving drunk driving, finding out his ex-wife has remarried and had children with someone else and temporarily getting suspended come off as LaserGuidedKarma more than anything else.
** The (innocent) frenemy of the victim in ''Factory Girls''. We're supposed to empathize with her unrequited love for the victim's husband. Except that she blatantly tried to interfere in their marriage and made an advance to him when his wife was barely cold in her grave. Despite him adamantly rebuffing her, at the time of the episode, she has spent ''60-something'' years pining away for the man, even ''proudly'' declaring "To this day, I would jump for him if he wanted me." Surely she must have received offers from numerous other eligible men during all this time, all of which she turned down in the faint hopes that he might someday change his mind. Overall, she just comes across as pathetic.
** Both of the parents in "Baby Blues" who were too wrapped up in their own lives (her job and his affair) to care adequately for their daughter, tried to blame their son for the murder (who was only ''seven'' at the time of her death) and the father leaving the family after said daughter's death.
** The best friend from "Detention". Even with an AlcoholicParent [[spoiler: and him knowing that the death he caused was an accident,]] he still went on to become an addict to "honor" his friend and tell everyone under the sun that he committed suicide.
** The victim's boyfriend in "Our Boy Is Back". We're supposed to sympathize with him for having lost his girlfriend and having been suspected and harassed by Vera for the past five years. Except (a) Vera actually listed some perfectly valid reasons for thinking he was the killer, and (b) When they finally do test his [=DNA=] and realize that it isn't a match, Lily realizes that the real reason for his refusal is that he didn't want it known that ''wasn't'' sleeping with the victim. This supposedly innocent victim of an overzealous detective was actually a self-centered jerk who cared more about protecting his studly reputation than finding the man who raped and murdered his girlfriend.
* TheUntwist: ''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 [[spoiler: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 [[spoiler:''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.
** "The Brush Man": The killer is the only suspect who has nothing positive to say about the victim.
** 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 [[spoiler: Dale Wilson]] in ''Fireflies'' and [[spoiler: 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.
** Or the guy in ''Saving Sammy'', who thought killing his girlfriend's parents was a good idea.
** [[spoiler: Lyle]] in ''Wilkommen'', who ''literally'' killed to get a part in a musical.
* WhatAnIdiot: While 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, [[JustShootHim 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 [[spoiler: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?
** Most likely as he himself said he was just copying what he saw from a television show. While incredibly intelligent he was still just twelve years old the thought of shooting the guy right then and there probably never entered his mind. Also he was looking for an aliba. He chose that night because both his parents were out but knew he was home.
** The agent in ''Witness Protection'' sleeping with his client’s wife as well as not telling him he was living near one of the people he thought he was testifying against.
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