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Film / Searching

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Detective Vick: One, after study session Margot didn’t return home. Two, she didn’t attend school on Friday. And three, she’s been transferring funds for the last six months. We’ll handle the ground investigation, but as a parent you can help us with who your daughter talks to. Is that something you can do?
David Kim: Yes.

Searching is a 2018 thriller film directed by Aneesh Chaganty from a script he co-wrote with Sev Ohanian. It stars John Cho, Debra Messing, Michelle La, and Joseph Lee.

David Kim (Cho) finds that his daughter Margot (La) has not returned from a study group session, and after nearly a whole day of not hearing from her, he begins to worry and calls the police. With the help of Detective Rosemary Vick (Messing), David goes through any means possible to find out what happened to Margot.

The film is notable for being told from the POV of laptop and phone screens, much like Unfriended's take on the Found Footage subgenre did back in 2014 (though this film is by a totally different production team).

A sequel, called Missing, was released in January 2023. Chaganty returns as a producer, but the film does not not feature the characters or story of the first film (except as a fake Netflix documentary episode shown in-universe), while it shares the same style.

Due to the mystery elements of the plot, a lot of these trope names reveal significant information about the plot by themselves. Please proceed with caution.

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2.

Searching contains examples of:

  • Ambiguous Situation: It's never made clear how much Vick is telling the truth about Margot's fate. Did Robert want to turn himself in, or does she only say that because she's Taking the Heat for him as best she can? Was it really her decision to leave Margot behind at the ravine, and did she really assume Margot was dead or did she not look because she wanted not to find the body? Also, is there really something wrong with Robert? Is he mentally challenged in some way or is this just Vick's continued efforts to believe the best of her son?
  • An Aesop:
    • Grief is hard to deal with, but it's important to not let one's mourning for lost loved ones overshadow one's relationships with still-living ones. In particular, the death of someone you love doesn't only affect you, and reaching out to others can be a key element of processing a shared tragedy.
    • Be careful about trusting people online if you don't know them in real life, and don't take anything online as gospel. What appears as compassionate online may actually be predatory.
  • Anti-Villain: Detective Vick, who, despite deceiving David and the public for days and killing a completely innocent person and later framing him, was doing it to protect her son from prison.
  • Bad Influencer: Downplayed. Margot's False Friend Abigail directly tells Margot's frantic father David that they were not friends and she only invited Margot to her study session to help her get into Berkley, including uploading a video of her ignoring Margot who is sad in the corner. When it's revealed that Margot is missing, Abigail makes a video dramatically declaring that Margot is her best friend, earning thousands of views
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Even while dying of lymphoma, Pam looks pretty much the same, albeit pale and weak.
    • Margot also looks okay when she's rescued from the ravine, too, despite repeated warnings that she may look gruesome. Even more so a couple of months later when, despite being in a wheelchair from the injuries she sustained, she looks very healthy and just like she did pre-disappearance and being stuck in a ravine for a week.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Abigail, Margot's classmate who outright tells David she only invited Margot to the study group session so that Abigail can get into Berkeley. After Margot is reported missing, she makes a phony tearful video saying Margot was her best friend.
    • Detective Rosemary Vick, who intentionally deceives David and the public, frames a reformed criminal for Margot's supposed rape and murder, kills said reformed criminal and disguises his murder as a suicide to tie up all loose ends and close the case prematurely, and is ready to leave Margot to die at the bottom of a cliff, just so she can prevent her son (a Stalker with a Crush responsible for Margot's disappearance) from ending up in jail.
  • Bookends:
    • Margot and David's pictures together on the first day of school. They take another one near the very end when Margot recovers and goes back to high school.
    • Early on, David tries to text Margot that her mother would have been proud of her for trying to achieve her goal, but he deletes it, as he is afraid to talk about the matter of his wife's death. David follows through on telling her at the very end after they are reunited that her mother would be proud of her now.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: A non-romantic version. Throughout the film, it is shown that David is unable to have an honest talk with Margot about Pamela, since the trauma of her recent death is still too painful for him. Whenever he tries to broach the subject, he retreats, leaves things unsaid or changes the subject. This leaves Margot unable to process her own grief, which causes her to abandon her piano classes (pianos remind her of her mother), confide in her uncle Peter instead and start smoking weed as a coping mechanism against the pain. Peter eventually calls out David for being so caught up in his grief that he neglected his daughter's well-being. David gets over it by the time of the epilogue, finally being able to tell Margot that her mother would be proud of her.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The rainstorm that puts a stop to the second day of the search for Margot ends up saving her life. She would have died of dehydration at the bottom of the cliff otherwise, but the rainstorm gave her enough water to stave off the dehydration until her father and a rescue team could find her.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • User fish_n_chips on YouCast, who frequently texts with Margot and share many personal info with her. At first, she seems to be uninvolved in the case, until David finds out that the girl who appears in the advertisement for the MemorialOne website is the same person as the girl in fish_n_chips' profile picture. Then it turns out the girl who appears in both pictures is actually a stock photo model edited from the internet. The girl herself actually has nothing to do with it. But the account itself belongs to Detective Vick's son Robert, who makes the fake account to try to get close with Margot because he likes her.
    • Vick's son, Robert, also counts. He appears for less than a minute when he opens the door while Vick is Skyping with David, and it turns out he was catfishing Margot, attacked her, and pushed her into the ravine.
    • One of the reformed criminals Vick enlisted to be a volunteered construction worker that appeared in the photo that David looks up to see if Vick is trustworthy, who turns out to be the same person as the supposed murderer of Margot. This leads David to suspect that Vick is up to no good.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The stock photography model used by MemorialOne just happens to be the exact same model used by fish_n_chips to catfish Margot.
  • Convenient Photograph:
    • David sees a photograph that shows Margot in the background Eating Lunch Alone.
    • Less so the photograph itself, but its placement. David just happens to see the same stock photograph on MemorialOne.
  • Cool Uncle: Peter who hangs out and smokes weed with his niece, helping her open up about her feelings after her mother's death. It later becomes clear that he's making her mother's kimchi recipe because Margot was coming over.
  • Cop/Criminal Family: Vick is a highly decorated detective, while her son Robert is a teenage fraudster who's always in trouble. And he stalked and attacked Margot, only not killing her through a stroke of luck. And then Vick used her police powers to direct away from him as much as possible.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Between the dozens of death threat emails David got, one of them is from Sev Ohanian, the movie's co-writer and co-producer, and explains the ending of the movie: "My Theory - It's obvious what happened: Your daughter was catfished by this Fish_N_Chips character - who is no doubt the son of"
    • In the end, we see a list of users of laptop chat application Margo uses two years after the incident. One of the users is the film's producer Timur Bekmambetov, and other producers who are involved.
  • Creepy Uncle: David thinks that his brother is this, but it's subverted - Peter is actually a Cool Uncle, and he's just smoking weed with Margot. It's actually a Red Herring.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The way Vick's son is presented in the movie, along with the wording of Vick's testimony at the end of the movie, seem to have been written in ways that bring to mind the Brock Turner case, specifically in how the parents of a child who attempt to keep their children out of jail because they are "special".
  • Double-Meaning Title: Searching both refers to David's frantic search for Margot and his main method of investigation: by searching through the social networks, and discovering who his daughter really is in the process.
  • Dramatic Irony: As David begins to lay into his brother with an accusation of harming Margot, he ignores his phone... which buzzes with Detective Vick repeatedly trying to tell him the “real” culprit had been apprehended.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all the hell that David goes through to find Margot, she is found alive and the two are reunited.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Margot, who was revealed to be lonely and kept distance from her friends, ate lunch alone in the cafeteria everyday, proven with photo evidence.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • David's first interaction with his daughter includes him typing out a message broaching the subject of her late mother, but deleting it. This establishes David's primary flaw of not addressing the uncomfortable subject of the death in their family.
    • When David first meets Detective Vick, he does a quick Google search of her, revealing that she's a decorated officer, a loving mother and a volunteer. The latter two also establish that she'll do anything for her son and connect her to the "culprit" who gets pinned with Margot's murder.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Vick stating that there was no way for Margot to have survived for the past 5 days makes David remember the rainstorm that stopped the investigation three days prior, saving her life.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Peter is a lazy stoner, but he would never groom and sexually exploit his own niece. He is deeply hurt and angry when David levels accusations of such at him, calling it "un-fucking-speakable".
  • False Confession: Vick forces a former inmate to confess to killing Margot to throw suspicion off of her and Robert.
  • False Friend: Turns out two of Margot's classmates that she still keeps on her Facebook friends list and contact information, Abigail and Derek Ellis, are this. The former was just using Margot to get to U.C. Berkeley as she faked being a best friend, while the latter was just sexually harassing her on social media and exploiting her disappearance for his own petty ends. Margot has no idea about what either of them really are. By the time of the epilogue, however, she seems to have learned better and she doesn't want to talk to them anymore.
  • Father's Quest: This movie chronicle's a determined father's quest to find his missing teen daughter through technology such as social media.
  • Fictional Social Network: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all shown, but the streaming site YouCast appears to be based on the real site YouNow.
  • Foil: David and Detective Vick, both of whom are a Papa Wolf and Mama Bear respectively and are willing to do anything to protect their kids. Vick goes off the deep end in doing so however, but David was pretty close to doing so himself, accusing his own brother of possibly preying on Margot and violently assaulting a teenager just for making an admittedly tasteless joke about Margot's disappearance. And while David barely knows anything about his daughter, Vick knows her son all too well.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: David and Peter Kim are brothers who are starkly different from each other. David is responsible, hardworking, and stern, while Peter is a carefree, lackadaisical pothead. Then it's zigzagged when David is driven to erratic behavior and Peter is the one trying to rein him in. It also quickly becomes evident that David didn't actually know what was happening in his daughter's life, and she instead went to Peter to discuss her feelings. Peter ultimately calls his brother out for failing to actually give his daughter what she needs.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The news articles David pulls up at the beginning foreshadow upcoming events, such as a weather report on an upcoming storm, and a story about how a hiker was lost for nine days before being found by a search party.
    • David and Peter's FaceTime call is interrupted by a doorbell, followed by Peter quickly and awkwardly hanging up. This scene has more significance later on when David finds text messages between Margot and Peter, leading the audience to think Peter had something to do with Margot's disappearance. It turns out that Peter was a Red Herring, and that the interruption was most likely Margot coming over to get high with him.
    • Vick tells David about how she once covered for her son when he made up a fake charity to scam people out of their money, showing how willing she is to protect him. She covers for him again after he's responsible for Margot's disappearance.
    • A picture early on in the film identifies Margot's school mascot as the Catfish. The climax of the movie involves revealing that the attacker created a false online persona to get closer to Margot, an act otherwise known as catfishing.
    • Pay very close attention when David calls Detective Vick about Margot's connection to Barbosa Lake. Vick brings it up before David does, and he never catches this error on her part.
    • Furthermore, every time we see Robert in person prior to the reveal, it's when he's anxiously checking in on his mom when she's yelling about the case. Why would a detective's son interrupt his mom constantly during frantic/heated work calls? Well, he knows that the case is actually about him, and he can't bear not to know what's unfolding in the moment.
    • When David goes through Pam's old files on Margot's grade school friends, one of them is of a boy named Robbie Abolt who has a crush on Margot. Robert is Detective Vick's son, and has been stalking Margot for years and is responsible for her disappearance. Pam's notes also mention that his mother is in the SVPD, and that she's divorced, which is why his last name in the file is not Vick.
    • When David first logs into YouCast, fish_n_chips logs in almost immediately, and then just as quickly logs off. This is Robbie Abolt panicking about seeing the supposedly dead Margot online, and then logging off. If fish_n_chips had just been an unrelated online friend of Margot's, you might expect her to ask David who he is. When David browses Margot's cast history, the first time fish_n_chips interacts with Margot, she doesn't have a profile picture. This is because he created the false identity after his first interaction with her.
    • Margot states her favorite Pokemon is Uxie, which lives in a lake.Now, where was Margot found again? A lake.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Between the dozens of death threat emails David got, one of them is from Sev Ohanian, the movie's co-writer and co-producer, and explains the ending of the movie: "My Theory - It's obvious what happened: Your daughter was catfished by this Fish_N_Chips character - who is no doubt the son of"
    • Interestingly enough, there appears to be an Alien Invasion subplot occurring while David is searching for his daughter, but it's only shown in news articles and on the margins, and has nothing to do with the overall plot so you have to pay very close attention to spot its trace elements.
  • G.I.R.L.: fish_n_chips is actually a guy. Particularly, he's Robbie Abolt, Detective Vick's son.
  • Hate Sink: Margot's classmate Derek Ellis is an unrelenting jackass who spams her pictures with crude comments and then has the audacity to joke about her being with him because he says he's her pimp.
  • Heroic BSoD: David collapses to the floor sobbing and wailing uncontrollably when the call comes in that the suspect was found and confessed to murdering Margot.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: Detective Vick specifically volunteered for the case to hide her own involvement in it.
  • I Will Find You: David will stop at nothing to find his missing daughter.
  • Idiot Ball: Somehow, with the extensive lengths of scouring he goes to, David didn't think to try using Find My iPhone.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: Easy to miss, because even David never realizes it, but when he calls Detective Vick in the middle of the night to tell her about Margot's connection to Barbosa Lake, one of the first things out of her mouth is "Is she at the lake?" without any suggestion on his part that a lake was involved.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: David flips out on Derek at a movie theater after seeing his gross comments online. The fight gets uploaded to YouTube, where David is labeled "Crazy Dad".
  • Internet Counterattack: David is subjected to this after his daughter’s disappearance hits the news.
  • Internet Safety Aesop: The moral and theme of the entire story are that you shouldn't trust the people you meet online and there are some real-life consequences to what you do online.
  • Internet Stalking: A father tries to find his missing daughter by searching and retracing her internet activity.
  • In-Universe Camera: A slight variation. Every single shot in the movie is done from the perspective of a screen of some kind. Almost all of the camera shots were seemingly taken from webcams and phone cameras, with the remainder from news reports viewed on a computer (and one police interrogation room camera).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: David's brother Peter, who's a pothead and shares weed with his teenage niece behind her father's back. But he does so to help her deal with the pain of her mother's death, and to help her open up about her feelings. She's clearly more comfortable talking to him about her feelings and choices than her father, and whether or not his actions were well-advised, they were clearly drive by genuine concern.
  • Knight Templar Parent: David Kim is accused of being this by people on social networks after his personal investigation of Margot's case gone too aggressive. Detective Vick herself is also revealed to be one. She will stop at nothing to prevent her son from going to prison, even if it means letting an innocent child die and framing a reformed criminal for the crime he didn't commit and possibly murdering him after his Fake Confession.
  • Living a Double Life: As the film unfolds, David does his own investigation alongside the official and finds that he barely knows anything about his daughter, from her friends and activities. Along the way, he found out Margot has been stealing his money under the guise of paying for piano lessons, may have had a secret group of friends he didn't know about, possibly ran away from home with a fake ID to meet up with an online friend. Then it later becomes subverted towards the end of the film as Vick's plan unravels and Margot just turns out to be a good kid, just very lonely and was even stealing the money to help with fish_n_chips's purported financial situation.
  • The Lost Lenore: Pamela Kim, whose death devastated David and affected his entire relationship with his daughter. As part of the hell David goes through, he is constantly running across pictures, videos and other reminders of his beloved wife as he searches through the computer.
  • Meaningful Background Event: A lot on every single account on the computer.
  • Mental Handicap, Moral Deficiency: Implied to be the case, possibly, for Vick's son Robert. She constantly refers to him as being "different", which has led to a lifetime of rejection and isolation, says that he struggles to fit in with others, and is prone to outbursts. However, it's left ambiguous ultimately whether this is true or just another way for Vick to justify her son's behavior.
  • Missing Child: Margot is sixteen when she goes missing.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: David suspects that his brother Peter might have had something to do with Margot's disappearance after reading suggestive messages between them that imply they are hiding something from David, but it turns out that they were talking about Peter giving Margot weed.
  • Mons as Characterization: In Margot's video chat with fish_n_chips, she says that her favorite Pokemon is Uxie, while fish_n_chips says her favorite is Kecleon. Margot says she likes Uxie because it has the power to erase memories, alluding to her own struggles with dealing with the grief of losing her mother. As for Kecleon, it's a Pokemon that can change its own type, alluding to how fish_n_chips is really Margot's stalker Robert hiding his identity.
  • My Greatest Failure: Even though he has no direct involvement in the matter (and it's eventually revealed to be a lie from Vick), David sees Margot's "murder" as this, thinking that it could have been prevented if he had been more attentive and caring toward her in her time of need. As such, when she is found alive, David finally decides to be more open toward her in order to mend their relationship.
  • New Media Are Evil: Zig-zagged. While the dark side of the Internet is present, David’s access to his daughter’s social media allows him to make far more headway searching for her than he might otherwise. Other modern technology also plays a part in his search.
  • Never Found the Body: Only Margot's car and money were found in the lake, giving hope that she may still be alive.
  • Never Suicide: It's hinted that Randy Cartoff, the convict who made the "confession," may not have killed himself. When asked whether Cartoff really committed suicide, Vick doesn't answer.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Many Real Life locations of San Jose, California had their names changed or mixed together for fictional stand-ins in the movie.
    • The name of Margot's high school, Evercreek High, combines the names of two local high schools, Evergreen Valley and Sliver Creek.
    • The "Oakfair Mall" where David confronts Derek uses the names from Westfield Oakridge and Westfield Valley Fair, the latter located in the neighboring town of Santa Clara.
    • Peter's favorite hockey team, the San Jose Fins, is a stand-in for the real life San Jose Sharks NHL team.
    • The Silicon Valley Police Department is an obvious analogue for San Jose's own police department (and possibly for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office as well since the majority of Silicon Valley is rooted in most of the county).
  • No Sympathy:
  • Not Me This Time: Randy Cartoff is a convicted felon, but he had nothing to do with Margot's disappearance.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Vick's explanation that her son Robert was the "fish_n_chips" that Margot was talking to, and not another girl as David has suspected, gives the YouCast videos he saw earlier a different view.
  • Parents as People: A big part of the movie. David is a loving father, but when his wife Pamela dies, he's so consumed with his own grief, he is unable to help Margot deal with her own grief, and they become distant. All of which hinders the search for Margot throughout the movie because David knows so little about her and has to get information about her from second-hand sources, a couple of whom turn out to be unreliable.
  • Police Are Useless: Zigzagged. When David reports Margot's disappearance to the authority, he finds that the state he's in, California, has a statistic of resolved missing person cases below 50%, implying that the police forces there are ineffective in finding missing people. When Vick, a seemingly very dedicated detective is assigned to the case, David is a bit more reassured. As the case goes on, however, only David's personal investigation manages to make any progress on finding Margot and what happened to her, while Vick just gives him some clues here and there. There is a reason for the uselessness: Vick was behind the whole thing. She had been leaving fake trails for David to chase and orchestrated the entire case in such a way that no one will know what actually happened to Margot. When David finds out, he calls a squad of police to arrest her then later assist him in rescuing Margot once her location is found.
  • Precision F-Strike: Peter drops one after David accuses him of preying on Margot.
    Peter: You come in here and accuse me of something UN-FUCKING-SPEAKABLE and you're wondering what kind of family I AM?!
  • Progressive Era Montage: The opening scene shows the evolution of the internet and social media in the 2000s and '10s against the backdrop of Margot growing up with it.
  • Red Herring: Several of them.
    • Early on in the investigation, David discovers that Margot has been converting cash to online money and sent it all to some sort of shell account. Detective Vick says this is a way to launder money, suggesting that Margot has some sort of criminal enterprise going on. It later turns out that Margot just donated it to her online friend fish_n_chips, and the account has been deleted by Detective Vick to erase the evidence.
    • Derek Ellis is a Hate Sink who plays Teens Are Monsters pretty straight, and David has every reason in the world to suspect that he may have something to do with Margot's disappearance. Turns out he has nothing to do with it, he's just being an asshole about the whole situation.
    • David's brother Peter, whom David finds his disturbing messages with Margot and mistake him for being a pedophile preying on her. He had nothing to do with her disappearance, he's just sharing weed with her to offer her a way to ease her mind off her own personal issues.
    • The user "fish_n_chips" on YouCast, a young girl who apparently makes several fake aliases and sites to take advantage of people in distress. Turns out the girl shown in those accounts and sites is actually a photoshopped stock photo model used as a roleplay gone horribly wrong. The girl herself has nothing to do with anything.
    • The criminal who confessed to raping and killing Margot before "killing" himself. Turns out Detective Vick, in her desperation to protect her son, framed him for the crime in order to throw the investigation off the tracks and end the case prematurely.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • If you watch carefully, something from Pamela's account actually spoils exactly what happened to Margot. When David is looking through the notes of her friends from middle school, he finds a note from Pam that explains that "Robbie Abolt" has a mom in SVPD (Vick), has a crush on Margot (his whole reason for catfishing and attacking her), and is from a divorced family (which explains why he and Vick don't share the same surname).
    • In the second watching, a lot of things Vick does actually foreshadows her actual role as the mastermind behind the plot. She seems very eager, almost too eager even, in trying to solve Margot's case, in California where the rate of resolved missing people cases is below 50%. When David calls her in the middle of the night to inform her that he follows Margot's trail to the lake, Vick immediately goes to the location not even changing her clothes and telling her son Robert that she'll take care of everything. Also, after David assaults Derek at the theater, she orders David to stay put and not participating in the investigation further. In the first case, she immediately goes to the lake because she's afraid that David will find out what her son did to Margot, and in the second case, she cuts David loose after realizing that David will stop at nothing to find out what happened to his daughter and he could find out the truth.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: David finds some disturbing messages between Margot and Peter and assumed that they did something terrible behind his back. He was correct, but for the wrong reason. David initially assumed that the two are in an incestuous relationship, but in reality, Peter was just sharing his weed with Margot and was not responsible for her disappearance.
  • Screamer Prank: In-Universe; one of the videos during the opening montage of the Kims is David being tricked into playing the Maze Game (albeit a copyright-friendly, Exorcist-free version).
  • Social Media Is Bad: Played with. The bad side of social media is shown — Margot's schoolmates post about her disappearance for sympathy points although none of them were close to her, and a video of David attacking one of her schoolmates goes viral to his detriment. However, it's only through social media that David is able to make any headway in his search at all.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: David's brother Peter. He seems like a harmless stoner...and, despite David's brief concern that he was grooming Margot and therefore had something to do with her disappearance, he is. He only helped Margot and he is genuinely horrified by the accusation.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The web address "" (you know, this very wiki's page for the film, or at least the main page) pops up when David is typing "tumblr" in his URL address bar for a brief moment.
    • Laura Barnes is one of the trending topics for Facebook, seen earlier on in the movie. This is not surprising considering how its producer Timur Bekmambetov is also the producer of that film.
    • One of the trending topics for Reddit reads "Is Margot Kim Gone Girl Crazy?"
    • Margot’s high school mascot is the Catfish.
    • M. Night Shyamalan's name is featured in the Facebook trending bar. Chaganty stated that Shyamalan inspired him to get into filmmaking.
    • During David's Google search of Vick, you can see results come up for Detective Rosa Diaz in the search bar.
    • Vick's first name is Rosemary, and her only son attacked and nearly killed Margot.
    • Of course, there are a few to Pokémon, which Margot is a fan of. Her Poké Ball keychain is a plot point.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Vick's son Robert is this toward Margot, having catfished her for months just to talk to her.
  • Stealth Pun: The username of the account catfishing Margot is fish_n_chips.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Vick testifies that her son insisted that he was going to try to owe up to fooling Margot, but considering Vick's overzealousness to protect her son from consequences and way of excusing that he fought against Margot, it's likely there was more to the story that she'd be very willing to overlook or leave out.
  • Villainous Mother-Son Duo: Downplayed by Vick and Robert. While they weren't initially working together, Robert stalked Margot and - they both thought - killed her, while Vick botched the investigation and framed and possibly killed an ex-con to protect him. However, Vick is shown to feel extremely guilty for her crimes and to feel Trapped in Villainy and if she's to be believed, Robert does too.
  • Wham Shot: To the public, the case is resolved, if tragically... and then David notices that Margot's friend on YouCast, whom Vick had told him was legit and had an alibi, has the same face as a stock photo model, meaning Vick had been lying about that...and possibly everything else.
  • Wham Line:
    • David calls up the model used as the profile pic of the "fish_n_chips" account on YouCast and asks her questions about knowing Margot, only for the girl to tell him she doesn't know any Margot. When David tells her what's basically happened with Margot on YouCast, the model (whose name is Hannah) replies with:
      Hannah: ...What's YouCast?
    • The operator at the police station telling David that Vick volunteered to get on the case to find Margot, as opposed to him being told earlier that Vick was assigned to it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While Vick and her son are seen arrested for their crimes, the audience does not get to see the outcome of their trials, though presumably they are both found guilty.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Detective Vick chews out David after his own personal investigation has gone too aggressive which results in a brawl between him and Derek Ellis that lands the latter in a hospital before deciding to cut David loose from the case entirely. It's later revealed to be a ploy. Vick was behind the whole case, so the reason she cut David loose is that she realizes David will stop at nothing to find his daughter and the truth will be out.
    • Peter calls out David for neglecting Margot's well-being after her mother's death, which ends up with David barely knowing anything about Margot and causes her to confide with Peter instead and starts to smoke weed to ease the pain.

"I didn’t know her. I didn’t know my daughter."